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2012-07-08 07:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I still don't feel I expressed myself very well on most of these points. The jiu-jitsu, for example: so he'll never be the bullied nerd again, but I think it's significant that the art he learns is self-defense, manipulating an opponent's greater strength against them, rather than something more traditionally confrontational like boxing. (He does throw one punch, with a windmilling windup and zero follow-through; it works because there are about six inches between his fist and the other guy's chin and the other guy doesn't believe he'll go through with it.) Or the finale where he rallies the workers to finish the picture and save the studio: I'm sure his arguments are all kinds of politically confused, but the important thing is that the usual motivations are not in play. With a premise like
cold-fish banker goes to Hollywood
, the film could very easily have had Dodd fall in love with the imagination of the movie industry. He's explicitly identified as a man who doesn't dream—plain and precise as a column of figures, relentlessly prosaic—he needs that touch of fancy to humanize him. Instead, it's the jobs done by all the unseen people (like Plum, standing in for the star; like himself, the brains behind the name of his firm) that really count with him. He's not saving the studio for the American movie-going public. He's saving the studio for the people who make the pictures happen and no one ever sees them do it. He doesn't transform. He just becomes three-dimensional, adding in greater facets of himself without ever ceasing to be the sort of person who enters rooms and automatically empties the ashtrays because he's a bit of a neat-freak.
(He's never going not to need those horn-rimmed glasses. But someone will always make sure he won't walk into walls without them.)
Writing a note to remind yourself to propose sounds like something off one of those Lichtenstein-esque greeting cards, where the woman realizes she forgot to have a baby, or whatever.
It's very characteristic. He's demonstrated that he can be spontaneous: the finale comes about because his carefully planned recovery of the studio is short-circuited by external events and he has to think on his feet. But there's still that last item on his checklist.
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