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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Story Of Us
The Story Of Us
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Review by Aaron Beierle | posted February 14, 2000 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

In Short: Absolutely, positively, not recommended.

I watch a great deal of movies every year. Even in most movies that I don't care for, I find at least a little something I liked: a scene, a performance, the cinematography, maybe even the score. Rarely do I see a movie that I consider worthless - a complete waste of the past two hours. "Story Of Us" unfortunately, is one of those rare movies, a depressing, dull movie that feels endless.

Michelle Pfeiffer and Bruce Willis star as the Jordans, a couple who seemed to get a long for about a fraction of a second. Then, they proceed to spend many additional years screaming at each other. They yell and yell and yell, get along for about a second, then the chaos begins again. Sometimes they just begin yelling out of nowhere. The women and men of the movie sit around talking about relationships in the most insipid, uninteresting terms. Placed on top of the whole mess is a narration full of "Deep Thoughts" by the two main characters. It's almost funny how insightful the movie seems to think it is.

This is one of those films where every emotion, every feeling, every thought has to be completely overdone - glances are held forever, fights seem so overacted and phony that they almost become unintentionally silly. Willis and Pfeiffer don't manage to do a number of things. First, they don't come close to becoming their characters - we're just watching two stars yell and whine. More importantly, they don't manage to make us care one bit about what's going on. It even completely wastes Rita Wilson in a supporting performance where she has to spout "shocking" dialogue about issues between men and women. Director Reiner himself acts badly in a short performance that's anything but funny. The few jokes sprinkled throughout the mess of a screenplay feel uncomfortable in a movie that's otherwise so depressing. The main part of the score is an Eric Clapton song. Played over and over and over and over. Early on, I checked how long was left in the movie and when I found that there was sixty minutes, I wondered if I had falled into some horrifying, whiny universe where time goes really, really, realllllllly slow.

I don't know whose idea it was to have the angry, miserable, mean-spirited lives of two unhappily married people onscreen for two hours, but that person should be made to sit through this mess over and over. Or, if you're a film student, this could work as the perfect documentary about how not to make a movie. Either way, I hated this flick - a total waste of time.

The DVD

VIDEO:
Not that bad, but not the best work that Universal has ever done. Images are generally sharp and clear, with good detail. Generally no major complaints about the colors, which are strong and vivid. Flesh tones are sometimes slightly unnatural looking. In general, the picture looks fine, but there are times when the image seems slightly on the dark side. There was a suprising (and irritating) amount of shimmering and a couple of small marks on the print used. No instances of pixelation, though. An average presentation, nothing special.

SOUND: Certainly one of the more uninteresting films I've watched lately in terms of audio. I understand that it's a dialogue-driven movie, but it doesn't even do much with the Eric Clapton song that's played over and over again. The surrounds are almost never used thoughout the whole movie - there's nothing to it but the dialogue. Dialogue is clear enough to give me a major headache listening to the two scream at each other for two hours.

MENUS:: Blah. "Subtle" menus with images from the movie floating by and that score in the background. When will Universal stop making people come back to the menu to change the audio. They're the last studio to keep doing that and it's getting really annoying.

EXTRAS: Although this isn't one of Universal's Collector's Editions, it still includes a decent amount of uninteresting extras. First off is commentary by director Rob Reiner, who sounds like he doesn't want to be doing this discussion, nor does he have much to say. He speaks in a dull tone of voice and there are a number of major gaps between comments. There were a few moments when I forgot I was listening to the commentary and that's never a good sign. There's Universal's usual "Spotlight On Location" feature that details why the cast and crew thought this was a good movie to make. I still think they must have been really drunk. Trailers for "Klumps", "Rocky and Bullwinkle" and "Story Of Us" are included, along with production notes and cast/crew bios.




Final Thoughts The DVD quality isn't bad, but the movie sure is. Not recommended.

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