There was a time in my life where a movie like The Monuments Men wouldn't have done much for me because I didn't understand it. The true story about a group of old and fat soldiers who were sent into Europe during World War II to protect and locate art stolen by the Nazis and destroyed by war seemed kinda meh. But I went to Italy a few years ago and stood in front of the Statue of David and it changed me. I looked at that statue for over an hour. I moved around it. I studied each curve and angle. The fact that it was created from one solid piece of rock not only blew my mind but made me feel humble. I wasn't someone who appreciated or understood the power of art until that moment and a movie like this is important for understanding why we still have it.
Not only does this movie star George Clooney but it was written and directed by him too. I know that sounds impressive but it's not really a good thing. See, there isn't a person alive that likes Clooney more than me...accept maybe himself; but his directing credits are pretty bland. Leatherheads, The Ides of March, Good Night and Good Luck? These movies didn't do much for me and the reason why is because of his directing. His films are very slow and sluggish and he doesn't seem to have a good sense of narrative or excitement when he's behind the camera. The Monuments Men is his best directoral effort but it still suffers from the same problem.
The cast, however, is one delivered from God. If you said to me, "Gavin, what is your dream cast for...well...any type of movie?" I would basically pick this one. Besides Clooney, you also have Matt Damon, Bill F**kin' Murray, John Goodman, Bob Balaban (Best in Show, Close Encounters of the Third Kind), and Jean Dujardin (The Wolf of Wall Street, The Artist). The saddest part about this cast is that they weren't given much of a script to work with and you can tell. That's not to say that their performances aren't great though. Murray has a scene that feels shoehorned into the movie but you don't mind because it breaks your heart and is one of the best in the whole film.
The movie isn't heavy-hearted though despite some scenes of melodrama and tragedy. Most of The Monuments Men is light and fun and feels like a mix of Ocean's 11 and Hogan's Heroes. That might be part of the problem as well since it never really finds its tone. However, the obligatory monologues about how important art is to culture and society and the gorgeous, romantic shots of 1940s Europe are enough to make you go. The sweet and important true story is enough to make it worth the price.
Gavin's Giveaway this week is Dallas Buyers Club on Blu-Ray & DVD! CLICK HERE to enter to win!