Old Joy has a lot going for it. An indie film made for about $30,000, winner of an Independent Spirit Award and an award from the L.A. Film Critics, shorter than Booty Call. Critics were generally positive (it gets a score of 84 out of 100 from Metacritic) ... it even got an A in Entertainment Weekly, and Andrew O'Hehir at Salon loved it. In its insistence on the importance of the seemingly mundane, it reminds me of a couple of the movies I made when I was a film major, and even some of the fiction I wrote when I took writing classes. MovieLens, with 1136 of my movie ratings on file, decided I would give Old Joy 4 1/2 stars out of 5.
I was bored shitless by Old Joy. I don't have to worry about spoilers ... there was no plot (I guess that might be a spoiler if you watched it and wondered if anything was going to happen). Two old friends go camping ... they come back. There, I've told you the plot. The acting is low-key, if not amateurish. The movie looks lovely, but who cares? Dialogue is almost completely absent. The film packs some intensity into the relationship between the two guys, who rarely say anything (and it's even more rare that they say anything that matters) ... the movie asks you to fill in 99% of the gaps, but for people of a certain generation (mine), those gaps are easily filled, which is another reason I should like it ... it's about people I know.
Bored shitless. It's pretty rare to watch a 76-minute movie and think "whoa, that was way too long." Old Joy is based on a short story, and that's probably where I should have encountered it ... I bet it's a fine story indeed.
I watch movies almost every day, and I hardly ever write about them here ... as I've stated many times, I assume no one cares what I thought of (to take ones I've watched recently) The King of Kong or They Live By Night or Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. But I had to say something about Old Joy, because ... did I mention this? ... I was bored shitless.