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Get me rewrite! L.A. Times blasts movie about L.A. Times

By Dean Goodman
April 24, 2009

A movie about the Los Angeles Times just got a big thumbs-down from the Los Angeles Times. 
“The Soloist,” the fact-based saga of an unlikely friendship between one of the paper’s columnists and a troubled street musician, is “trite and contrived,” according to critic Kenneth Turan.
soloist“I can’t help being mightily frustrated by ‘The Soloist,’” Turan added in his review published on Thursday, the day before the feel-good drama was scheduled to open across the United States and Canada.
“I can’t help resenting that it suffered the death of a thousand cuts and, more frustrating still, that all this happened in the name of doing good in the world, of making the story’s powerful lessons more palatable to a wider audience.”
Robert Downey, Jr. plays Turan’s colleague, Steve Lopez, a columnist who dedicates himself to improving the life of a paranoid schizophrenic cellist played by Jamie Foxx. 
Turan was troubled that the film’s British director Joe Wright (“Atonement”) and Oscar-winning writer Susannah Grant (“Erin Brockovich”) overplayed the story, “settling for standard easy emotions when singular and heartfelt was called for.”
Other reviews were generally mixed. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times said the film “has all the elements of an uplifting drama, except for the uplift.” But Peter Travers at Rolling Stone said Downey and Foxx delivered “two of the year’s best performances.”
The $40 million-plus film was originally supposed to come out late last year with grand award-season hopes. But Paramount hastily pulled the DreamWorks production from the release schedule. Its new slot is something of a dead zone, coming a week before “Wolverine” kicks off the lucrative summer moviegoing season.
Box office prospects for “The Soloist” are unclear. The Hollywood Reporter said a three-day haul in the teen millions was “certainly doable but not quite guaranteed.” Prognosticators believe the weekend’s top slot will go to another new release, “Obsessed,” a thriller starring R&B singer Beyonce Knowles.


He should be ashamed of himself for writing this about the movie! Robert Downey Jr. kept trying to get information from “his friend Steve” and he wouldn’t give any help to anyone. Robert Downey Jr. is an excellent actor, they couldn’t have picked a better person for the job. Steve Lopez could have helped Robert out though with a little information. He allowed the movie to be made the way it was. Steve Lopez could have objected to the script. He did not – the movie being done this way was basically his fault. They asked him and he told them it was alright. So the fault ultimately lies with Lopez if the movie doesn’t do well. His friend needs to realize this and back down. Lopez could have insisted on changes. I hope the movie does well, because I know that two actors put all they had into it (without Lopezs’ help). I would like to see others benefit from the good the movie could do. Mr.Turan should be hoping the same, instead of slamming a movie that does have a heart and could do alot of good. Steve Lopez could have helped out and wish for the same thing – maybe he should talk to Mr. Turan about the negative comments. Because he basically slams Lopez also – in the wrong way and that is neither a true colleague nor a friend!!!!!!


it makes sense that they would Robert Downey Jr. as an intellectual/journalist type, he was a similar character in Zodiac


While I admired the film’s message about the importance of friendship, both in itself, and as an aide to people living with mental illness, I found its anti drug stance ill informed and potentially harmful. While some people suffering from schizophrenia do not respond well to drug related therapies, many do, an experience an enormously improved quality of life as a result. Drugs are not prescribed to ‘keep people with schizophrenia’ in line or to make them fit into some socially approved box, but to help that person experience a happier life.

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