Will Ferrell is the type of actor that you either love him or hate him. Other than me, most people either light up when they talk about him or they complain about how stupid he is and how much money he owes them. My father is one of the latter. He always says that if he ever meets Will Ferrell, he’s going to ask for his movie back.
My father loves Stranger than Fiction. He says it is the only good movie Will Ferrell will ever make. Why does my father, who loathes Will Ferrell to the very core, love Stranger than Fiction?
Blake Snyder shares his screenwriting wisdom in his book, Save the Cat! He says that every good screenplay should be a primal story. It should speak to our inner drives as a human being.
Stranger than Fiction is an amazing story. It is about the most primal of subjects: mortality and survival. We are all going to die one day. None of us knows which day will be our last. Harold Crick, Will Ferrell’s character in the movie, doesn’t know which day will be his last, but he knows his day is coming. He has to find and convince someone he doesn’t know that he deserves to live. Although Harold wants to prolong his life, he doesn’t want to at the expense of someone else’s life. This movie makes one feel as though we all could be noble if we only try.
Stranger than Fiction’s estimated budget was $38 million and it only grossed $40.1 million. Why did this great story do so poorly at the box office? This movie was marketed as a comedy. It is definitely not a comedy. Movie goers expecting another Talladega Nights or A Night at the Roxbury were completely disappointed. This is a dark comedy. I know someone who went into viewing thinking it was a comedy, hates the movie AND refuses to watch it again. People do not like being tricked. That is what makes marketing so important.
If you haven’t seen Stranger than Fiction, you definitely should. But don’t expect to laugh very much, and you may want to have a box of Kleenex handy.
Favorite Line: Get bent, taxman!
Favorite Character: Professor Jules Hilbert
Favorite Scene: When Professor Hilbert gives Harold the quiz to find out what kind of story he is in.