MIDNIGHT IN PARIS

 

I watched Woody Allen’s latest movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS last night.  My wife doesn’t care much for Woody’s sense of humor or neurotic nature, so she decided to skip the film.  But I think the movie was charming and found nothing to dislike about it.  I’m weary of popcorn movies that are made for “everybody” because that means, in essence, they’re made for nobody in particular.  I liked MIDNIGHT IN PARIS because it was the kind of movie for me.

But because I enjoy entertaining my wife, and because Woody Allen won Best Original Screenplay at the Oscars last Sunday for this movie, here’s the movie summarized in script format:

EXT. PARIS

We get an establishing shot of Paris. Followed by four hundred thousand more establishing shots of Paris.

OWEN WILSON

Hi, I’m Woody Allen. Wait – damnit. Start over.
(pause)
Hi, I’m Owen Wilson, a neurotic screenwriter who wishes he lived in the Jazz Age so badly it colors his life and his work. So obviously, NOT Woody Allen.

RACHEL MCADAMS

For God’s sake, Owen. When are you going to grow out of this?

OWEN WILSON

Grow out of what?

RACHEL MCADAMS

You know. The things you like, and do, and say, and are.  I honestly can’t even pretend to be interested in any of it.

OWEN WILSON

Boy, the audience can really see why a nice guy like me is engaged to a girl like you.

 

RACHEL MCADAMS

Oh look, there’s Michael Sheen. He’s much, much better than you in every single way and I‘ll probably end up sleeping with him.  Michael, meet my worthless screenwriter fiancee.

MICHAEL SHEEN

Screenwriting, I see. It’s like normal writing, but written by worthless no-talents, right?  What are you working on?

OWEN WILSON

Uh, I’m actually writing a semi-autobiographical novel about a guy who wishes he lived in 1920’s Paris.

MICHAEL SHEEN

Ah yes, a common defect of pathetic cowards.

 

OWEN WILSON

Wow, you’re incredibly obnoxious. I mean that literally.  I don’t find it credible that such a rude egomaniac could be regarded as a dashing gentleman.

RACHEL MCADAMS

Hey Owen, how about we change the entire itinerary of our vacation to revolve around this one douchebag we ran into?

OWEN WILSON

You go ahead, but I’d rather stroll the streets randomly, or scrape off my face with broken glass, or pretty much anything really.

He wanders the beautiful rain-dappled streets, then at midnight gets transported back to the 1920s.

OWEN WILSON

Holy shit, I’ve gone back in time! And the first person I see is Cole Porter! Huh, is this going to be one of those time travel movies where every single person I meet is famous?

F. SCOTT FITZGERALD

Hi, I’m F. Scott Fitzgerald and this is my famous wife Zelda.

OWEN WILSON

Buh!  The Fitzgeralds muh guh!

F. SCOTT FITZGERALD

How charming you are, we must be instant friends.  Please, have an Ernest Hemingway.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY

Hello, I’m an extremely broad caricature.  Man, war, death, honor, et cetera.

OWEN WILSON

HEMINGWAY! Read my book, pretty please!

HEMINGWAY

Anything for a gawking, barely-coherent fanboy I’ve known for thirty seconds. Here, I’ll have Gertrude Stein critique it for you, that won’t be a massive waste of her time or anything.

KATHY BATES

Okay, let’s have a look. “Once upon a time-”

MARION COTILLARD

Wow, it’s brilliant! I’m so hot for you right now, Owen.

 

OWEN WILSON

So, every person I speak to is insanely famous and they all love me at first sight.  Now, a super-hot French chick suddenly wants to do me. I take it I’ve gone not to the real 1920s Paris, but instead slipped into the idealized picture-book version which exists only in my own head? How metaphysical.

MARION COTILLARD

No, it later gets confirmed you literally time traveled back to the actual 1920s.

OWEN WILSON

Ah, yes.  So this is just contrived wish-fulfillment bullshit, then.  Well, as long as we’re being contrived, I might as well return to the present and find your seventy-five-year-old diary at some random street stall.

He DOES THAT. Then he finds the President of France’s attractive wife who agrees to sit down on a park bench and translate it for him, because at this point, why the hell not.

CARLA BRUNI

“Dear Diary, even I have to point out how head-scratchingly bizarre it is that I’m ditching virile geniuses like Hemingway and Picasso for a touristy dweeb like Owen Wilson.”

OWEN WILSON

Wow, my name really is in there! Apparently I didn’t even scan the text to see if I showed up. Weird.

CARLA BRUNI

“P.S., I’d totally have sex with Owen if he gave me some earrings.” Well, should I keep reading, giving you a unique opportunity to learn about your own future?

OWEN WILSON

Nah, we’re not going to explore that. Instead I’m going to use information from Marion’s private diary to manipulate her into sleeping with me.

INT. HOTEL ROOM

OWEN WILSON

Whoops, I forgot to get those earrings for Marion!  Considering the entire plan was “get Marion earrings”, it would seem I’m also a total moron. I’ll just steal some earrings from Rachel.

He does, but Rachel immediately walks into the hotel room and discovers her earrings missing. Time for HIJINKS!

RACHEL MCADAMS

I’m calling the hotel detective!

OWEN WILSON

Wait, uh, here they are.

RACHEL MCADAMS

Oh. Never mind then.

OWEN WILSON

That was certainly worth our time. On to infidelity!

EXT. 1920s STREET

MARION COTILLARD

Wow, earrings! Just like from my private thoughts! I’m so in the mood to – OH LOOK A HORSE AND CARRIAGE, LET’S DO THAT INSTEAD!

OWEN WILSON

Aw, what the hell, another unexplained time travel? This is definitely not cool.

Owen and Marion take the cockblock express back to the 1890s.

 

 

MARION COTILLARD

Gee, we went back in time. Whattayaknow.

OWEN WILSON

Jesus, Marion. I know “low-key” is kind of your thing, but at least raise a damned eyebrow or something.

They proceed to, of course, run into a bunch of super-famous dudes from the 1890‘s at the Moulin Rouge.

MARION COTILLARD

Hey, I just got offered a job making ballet costumes after three minutes of conversation! I guess time travelers can just have whatever the hell they want, huh? Anyway, I’m staying in the 1890s!

OWEN WILSON

I could just tell you that there’s no choice because we automatically get sent home at dawn, and that would be a reasonable thing for me to point out right now.   Instead
I’ll just explain this epiphany I just had: you can’t fantasize about some nonexistent perfect time, it’s just a way to escape reality.

MARION COTILLARD

Oh, that’s it?  Um.  Michael Sheen already said that.  This is really your big character-changing discovery?

OWEN WILSON

Yup.
(pause)
And, this is the dramatic climax of the film by the way.

Owen goes home, breaks up with his fiancee and decides to stay in Paris, meaning that now he actually has a more established life in the twenties than modern day, but whatever.

OWEN WILSON

So that about wraps it up.  Sure, it was trivial, but at least it contained a valid moral: you have to live in the real world, not some daydream fantasy.

HOT YOUNG FRENCH CHICK

Hi Owen, you’re a Cole Porter fan so I love you.

OWEN WILSON 

Let’s take a walk in the rain.

Owen and the hot young French chick half his age then fly away on a unicorn while the film’s message sobs quietly in a corner.


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3 thoughts on “MIDNIGHT IN PARIS

  1. I feel like I should thank you but can’t help wondering, do you feel like you wasted more time watching the movie or describing it so I wouldn’t have to?

    Anyway, thank you for saving me that exorbitant time sink.

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