Thursday Trailer Face-Off! Like Crazy vs. One Day
Welcome to Thursday Trailer Face-Off, a feature in which we cast a critical eye on two similar upcoming film releases, pitting them against each other across a variety of categories to determine which is most deserving of your two hours. This week: Like Crazy vs. One Day, two romantic dramedies about melancholy-ish British girls whose romantic relationships with very cute boys go awry after they graduate college.
In Like Crazy, which one two jury prizes at Sundance this year (including the Grand Jury Prize), Jones plays Anna, a British exchange student at a college in Los Angeles who becomes involved with Jacob, an American. Her visa expires on graduation, but she stays in the United States (presumably to be with Jacob). When she tries to come back to LA after returning to London, she’s turned away by customs officials, and their relationship is thrown into turmoil. One Day is based on David Nicholls’ bestselling novel, which concerns Dexter and Emma, a pair of friends who meet on July 15, 1988 when they graduate the University of Edinburgh. The movie follows them through the subsequent twenty years by checking in on them during various July 15ths, spent together and apart. It’s a little gimmicky, but the movie seems to pull it off, and at least it’s a bit more complicated and expansive than Like Crazy‘s comparatively simple premise. Advantage: One Day
Anne Hathaway is obviously One Day‘s biggest draw; it also stars Interview favorite Patricia Clarkson, Mark Ronson’s fiancée Joséphine de la Baume, and Jim Sturgess, who’s been in some stuff (21, The Other Boleyn Girl, Across the Universe) but isn’t really a household name. Pretty strong! Like Crazy stars Jones and Yelchin along with 2010 Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence, who is bafflingly only in the trailer for about two seconds. Yelchin is a definite up-and-comer who must have a hell of an agent—this year, he’s also starred in the much-hyped Fright Night remake, as well as the controversial The Beaver; and he’s got three films slated for 2012. Felicity Jones won the dramatic acting prize at Sundance this year, and she, too, has a ton coming up, including Maggie Gyllenhaal-Hugh Dancy romantic comedy Hysteria, which is about the invention of the vibrator. And we don’t need to tell you that Jennifer Lawrence is the toast of the town, with X-Men behind her and The Hunger Games looming. One Day definitely has some big names, but we’re frankly a little more excited about the cast of Like Crazy. They’re fresher! Advantage: Like Crazy
Like Crazy was directed, as well as co-written, by a silly-looking man named Drake Doremus. For a relatively young guy (he’s just 28), he’s got some credits under his belt—three previous features, all with wacky one-word titles: Moonpie, Spooner, and Douchebag. (Doesn’t that sound like a really bad law firm?) And he’s got an untitled project on the horizon starring Jones, Guy Pearce, and Amy Ryan. Definitely a name to watch! One Day, on the other hand, was directed by Lone Scherfig, who will automatically win this category for two reasons: one, she is a working female director; and two, she directed An Education. Done. Advantage: One Day
The movies are evenly matched on a couple of fronts: the chasing-each-other-around-a-beautiful landscape front (the beach at 0:32 in Like Crazy, fields at 1:08 in One Day), for example. And each one has some other fun-romantic stuff going for it, too: in Like Crazy, they do go-kart racing at 0:25, and do a funny walk together in a train station at 1:42, and make jokes in a bubble bath at 1:44. At 0:40 in One Day, when Dexter and Emma are 25, we see her working in a crappy Mexican restaurant, complete with jaunty sombrero. Poor Emma! Dexter convinces her she needs a vacation, and he and Emma take a road trip together, so she outlines some rules: “Separate bedrooms! No flirting! And absolutely no skinny-dipping!” Of course, they immediately go skinny-dipping. One Day loses the category, though, when Dexter gently makes fun of the haircut Emma’s gotten at 1:56, which she calls “butch.” Anne Hathaway obviously has exactly the fawnish beauty required to pull off a Jean Seberg crop, and she looks amazing. Let’s not pretend that’s a bad haircut. Advantage: Like Crazy
“I’m so much better when you’re around,” Dexter laments to Emma on the phone in One Day; later, Emma, crying, hugs Dexter and says “I love you, Dexter; I just don’t like you anymore.” And at 2:04, Dexter carries his mom, who is clearly dying of cancer, up the stairs. These are all pretty powerful moments—and ring fairly true to life, as far as we can tell! But there’s something about the subtlety of the Like Crazy trailer: the intensity of Anna and Jacob’s under-the-covers whispers about what they’ll do when they graduate (0:44); the precise, heartbreaking way Anna says “Um… hey,” to Jacob on the phone (0:54); the pain in her voice when she asks if it would be easier if they saw other people (1:10). The bottom line is that both of these films have tragicomic elements, but you can really tell which one’s going to be the tear-jerker based on which music is used in each trailer: One Day employs OneRepublic’s “Good Life,” a rather jaunty, uplifting number, while Like Crazy uses Ingrid Michaelson’s cover of “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” which is somehow even sadder than Elvis Presley’s original. If we’re being 100% honest, we’ll probably cry at both, but Like Crazy has all the hallmarks of a movie that we’ll still be thinking about three days later. Advantage: Like Crazy
It’s rare, in Thursday Trailer Face-Off, that we assess two movies we’re actually really excited to see—but this week fits the bill. Like Crazy and One Day both look like the kind of romantic dramedies we wish Hollywood would produce more often. That doesn’t mean there’s not a winner—Like Crazy looks just slightly more risky and unusual to us—but this is an instance where we’d like to urge you to see both, if only to send a message with your box-office dollars. Winner: Like Crazy, by a hair