The other day I posted Watching Life Through a Viewfinder — Are Photos Ruining the Experience? Is it the kids that make your mind jump in quick succession from one bit to another or could it be an adult ADHD?
Actor Sean Penn attends the 'The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty' Gala Screening presented by Aud during AFI FEST 2013 at TCL Chinese Theatre on November 13, 2013 in Hollywood, California.
Themes: Awe, Courage, Freedom, Happiness, Humor and Human Comedy, Identity, Initiation (Innocence vs. A man living a predictable, orderly existence is content simply to daydream of a life less ordinary, until one day circumstance requires that he step up.
Here we meet Walter Mitty of the classic James Thurber short story, now both portrayed and reimagined by director Ben Stiller with screen writer Steve Conrad (The Pursuit of Happyness). Walter is a good-natured if unremarkable man, devoted to his family (Shirley MacLaine and Kathryn Hahn) and finding himself reluctantly under the wing of a dogged eHarmony employee bent on helping him improve his lackluster profile. Life Magazine is undergoing a sea change (overseen by the insufferable Ted Hendricks, played to perfection by Adam Scott), and Walter finds himself at the center of a mystery. It is, and he does… and thus commences perhaps the sweetest, most intrepid, most beautifully realized personal adventure of the year. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty vibes on much the same wavelength as Stranger Than Fiction; though Fiction is pure fantasy and Mitty finds its fantasy inside Walter’s mind, they articulate the emergence of bravery and fortitude in very similar fashion.
Sporting a lovely score by regular Stiller collaborator Theodore Shapiro (who in fact scored The Big Year), it’s rounded out by the most perfect application of soundtrack since Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.

Approach The Secret Life of Walter Mitty with a willing spirit, and you just might find yourself inspired to see what new heights you yourself might reach in a brave new year. Because of your recommendation at our Christmas gathering, Michael and I saw Walter Mitty yesterday – what a delight for the soul. You suggest things I would never select on my own or think I won’t like, and I always enjoy them. If you want to take glorious pics with your canon best chance is to keep your distance and let the children be free to play.
If you want to be involved within the action, take a 85mm and you will not be too much on their way nor you are gonna feel lonely cuz of the distance, try a fast lens (1.8 is great). If you still feel that you are loosing the moment, DROP the camera (or give it to your husband lol) and go play with them as much as you want or need. And he does…Unless you’re nursing a serious Ebenezer Scrooge pre-visitation, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty presents your perfect holiday fare, bearing a genuine spirit of goodness and of the hope that reveals itself when one dares to believe. A mystery which, if not solved, will wreak grave disservice upon his beloved magazine and grievously disappoint the work of a particular dedicated photographer, as well as the photographer personally (Sean Penn in fine form as Jeff Spicoli all grown up). Is the encouragement and assistance of co-worker sweetheart Cheryl (well, sweetheart in his daydreams) enough to spur him on?
Here we see him in dramatic form a la Permanent Midnight sans the hole in the soul, leavened just a smidge by his non-descript Everyman of Tower Heist. Supported by the exceptional cinematography of Stuart Dryburgh (Lone Star, The Piano), The Secret Life of Walter Mitty becomes colorful, crisp, and energetic, communicating perfectly Walter’s world from inside his own head to the slick environs of Life Magazine to the chill snap of wild Icelandic air and sea.

Stiller has done exceptionally well for himself here, and this one deserves to be revisited in perpetuity, offering to the heart what Tropic Thunder offers the funny bone. I caught the Danny Kaye version since we spoke, and both the differences and commonalities were marvelous. A somewhat frustrated photographer wannabe whose Depression Era father wouldn’t support an artistic career, last year I convinced my wife to let me buy a Canon 5DM3. It’s a perfect option for those celebrating Christmas today, and for all in general it’s an endearing inspiration for ringing in the New Year and reaching for all that may await the brave. Others lead actors were under consideration over time, including Owen Wilson and Mike Myers, and I shudder to think how close we came to losing the film in its current form.
I wouldn’t even go the mirrorless route but instead get a compact with good image quality and fast autofocus.
Ben Stiller, Kristin Wiig, Shirley MacLaine, Sean Penn, Adam Scott, Kathryn Hahn, Terence Bernie Hines, Patton Oswalt.

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