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The Soloist
Movie Stats & Links

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jamie Foxx
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Paramount Home Entertainment
Movie Site: www.takepart.com/thesoloist
Kiddie Movie: They'd be bored.
Date Movie: If she likes a "Hollywooded" drama.
Gratuitous Sex: Nah.
Gratuitous Violence: Things get a little hairy with the homeless folks.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Not reallly.
Memorable Scene: The poignant scene with Nathaniel playing the cello the first time for Steve is ruined by overblownness.
Memorable Quote: None.
Directed By: Joe Wright

Cool Things About the DVD

Learn French! It's got your standard languages and subtitles.
Buy a New TV! It really does look great on the bigger screen, especially in Blu-ray def.
Buy a New Stereo! Will help with the orchestral arrangements
Anything Else! Oddly, I enjoyed the more inside looks at Nathaniel and Steve via the extras on the disc.

The Soloist
A Movie/DVD Review

 

DVD Rated - PG-13

It's 1:56 Long

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
Too many times I find a movie is ruined by being “Hollywooded” up.  What do I mean by this?  I mean it has a great story, sort of inspiring, poignant, and the lead parts are being played by some great actors, but then things are extended to “Hollywoodland," where a beautiful, simple cello solo is ruined by grandioseness, extended drama is added that is unnecessary, and good storytelling is ruined by adding overblowness.  Sadly, such was “The Soloist,” although I sort of recommend it if only for the acting of Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx.

In simplest terms, for “The Soloist,” Jamie Foxx portrays a real-life dude named Nathaniel Ayers.  Nathaniel’s a musical virtuoso who went to Julliard and then suffered a mental breakdown, resulting is his living on the streets of Los Angeles.  Robert Downey Jr. portrays Steve Lopez. He’s a journalist who one day runs into Nathaniel on the street, writes a series of articles about Nathaniel and the plight of the homeless, and finds a friend.  As the movie goes we see Steve getting in an accident on his bike and looking for a better story to write about for the newspaper, and as he becomes closer to Nathaniel, he also becomes conflicted because even though he is happy to be helping Nathaniel, to be bringing stories of the homeless to the masses, and seeming to be a good guy, he’s not ready for the emotional ties of being a friend to a schizophrenic, homeless dude who can play the hell out of a violin and cello.

Okay, I admit, the story for the movie gets more complicated as we are introduced to the personal, movie troubles of Steve, namely some relationship issues with Mary (Catherine Keener), and this actually annoyed me because I would have preferred the movie keep its focus on the life of Nathaniel on the streets of Los Angeles and more about the writings of Steve.  There was some backstory of the homeless situation in Los Angeles and the good works some people are doing, but for me, the movie could have lost about 15 or 20 minutes and kept its focus on our two characters, thereby keeping the “movie drama” away.

The saving graces for “The Soloist,” however, are the performances by Robert Downey Jr., who does a great job at portraying a dude who finds himself more and more wrapped into the personal life of an unlikely friend, and Jamie Foxx who is able to bring a fantastic and realistic portrayal of a man who is brilliant yet mentally ill.

Look, the movie is a drama, in the truest sense of the word, with little room for laughter as the subject matter is touching, hopeful, yet slightly sad, but I really didn’t need the movie overpulling heartstrings as the movie did because the true story doesn’t need it, and if the movie would have just stuck to telling the story of these two men, I would have been happier.  I suppose as long as you are ready for all of that, and two great performances, you will probably enjoy the film a little more, but for me it’s only a 2 ½ star film out of 5.

As far as the Blu-ray and DVD extras, the deleted scenes were nice enough, but the better shorts were the real-life parts explaining Nathaniel Ayers and Steve Lopez a little more.  I actually enjoyed those parts more than I enjoyed the movie.

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

 

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