Wednesday, April 17, 2013

# 85: Just Like Heaven (2005)

Code-name: Haunted Apartment

Director: Mark Waters
Type: Chick Flick (with elements of romantasy [romance & fantasy] and dramedy)

Notable Cast:
Elizabeth Masterson- Reese Witherspoon
David Abbott- Mark Ruffalo
Darryl- Jon Heder


If memory serves me, this movie was panned by some critics and moviegoers because the twists this movie has pushes the envelope of believability. Even though it is part fantasy.

I take the opposing viewpoint.
For me, this is one of those movies that I go back to almost every time it's shown. It's one of those popcorn movies (although for me, chocolate bon-bons come to mind) where I am so absorbed by the story and its characters that I hate to see it end.

The last time I saw it was a little less than 2 years ago, the same day "The Kids are All Right" premiered on HBO. Both star Mark Ruffalo and happened to be on back to back that Saturday night.
The latter, I wanted to see for a couple of reasons. The storyline had me curious, especially with  gay marriage being a big issue these days. It was nominated for Best Picture, and by the time the next Oscars rolled around, I swear I'd seen nearly all of the 10 nominations. Then of course, there was Mark Ruffalo, who I wanted to get reacquainted with before "Avengers" hit theaters.


While I'm on the subject, the movie was as "all right" as the title suggests. It was a good story, but with somewhat of a disappointing ending. Unfortunately, being a very conservative person, its outrageous amount of nudity and sexuality made it difficult to watch at times.
Naturally, I berated myself afterwards for not doing my research. I don't mind the use of sexuality on film if it's necessary to the plot, but personally, I think they overdid it.

Nowadays, Mark Ruffalo is one of those activist celebrities people with conservative affiliations scoff at. In his case, he is outspoken about his anti-fracking beliefs. When he appeared on "The Colbert Report" and managed to monopolize the interview, I was completely floored by him. Although I am a huge fan, it doesn't hurt for Stephen Colbert to get taken down a peg every now and then.
Having said that, I eventually stopped following Mark Ruffalo on Twitter because that's all he tweets about. The repetition just got to be too much.


Now I can get to talking about the actual movie. Hopefully, a couple of people are still with me at this point.

Mark Ruffalo appeared on my radar after the movie "13 going on 30" where he plays the moody ex-best friend of Jennifer Garner. Moody, but endearing, not to mention handsome.

But his role in "Just Like Heaven" will go down as my favorite that he ever played simply because he's one of those characters I'd brand as "my type." Although it takes a little while for him and Reese Witherspoon's character to hit it off, he is such a nice, sweet guy that any girl would consider themselves lucky to be with. It's hard to explain other than it's just a feeling, a sense of compatibility, kinda like being wrapped in a warm blanket.

(be wary of spoilers ahead)

Reese Witherspoon is another story entirely and I'll go into it more on another movie further up my list. 
Her character, Elizabeth, is a doctor who gets into a car accident at the beginning of the movie. Time passes and David (Mark Ruffalo) moves into her apartment, where he takes to moping for days and weeks until she makes contact with him. The audience quickly discovers that she's a ghost still haunting her apartment and tries everything to scare David away. But to no avail.

This movie came out a little while after Jon Heder's break-out role of Napoleon Dynamite, so I'm sure his presence in the trailers of this film attracted people to it as well. He plays a dude who owns a bookstore, but apparently he's psychic as well because he's the only other person who can see the ghost of Elizabeth.

They eventually find out what happened to her and this is around the point where the polarization starts to happen in the audience.
Unlike other films of this nature that feature ghosts of the dearly departed, Elizabeth is actually in a coma, has been for the past three months and supposedly, she'll soon be taken off life support. 

Also while talking to her friends and family, Elizabeth and David come to realize that she was a workaholic who they almost never got to see. 

Eventually, everything does come together in the end.

While Elizabeth's sister dismisses David's attempts to tell her the truth, she believes his story when her daughter claims she saw Elizabeth too.
In a race against time, David gets to Elizabeth's body before she can be taken off life support and he saves her life. (If the rest of the movie didn't do it, this act alone is what really made me love Mark Ruffalo in this). Unforturtunately when she wakes up, she doesn't remember him.

In the last scene, Elizabeth goes to the roof of her apartment and finds it an amazing garden built in its place. David used to be an architect and decided to do this favor for her. Amazingly, they get reacquainted, she suddenly remembers him and they end the movie with a kiss.

Yeah, maybe it's a little cheesy, predictable and so on, but this is probably one of the sweetest endings I'd seen in any film of this genre.

In fact, I think I wrote a short story that ended with a similiar scene because I saw this film around the same time I was finishing it up.
But in my case, my characters were together in another life and they cross paths again on an apartment building rooftop. Other than that, there really aren't any other simliarites.

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