Quiet on the Set

It’s a Hallmark Card of a movie … that’s what “Seven Pounds” is.

All the mush with none of the crush.

Did it push Shop Boy’s tear-duct button? Sure. But what’s the challenge there, eh? Manipulative? You bet. Great film? No. But it was better than a sharp poke in the ribs.

Mary and Shop Boy saw the film Friday night at a theater near Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Very cool, modern moviehouse, with faux leather bucket seats and arm rests that fold up for easy, um, dating or whatever. The theater is steeply banked, so nobody’s big hair can block your view of the screen. This is a big deal in Baltimore.

OK, quickie “Seven Pounds” synopsis: An IRS agent with a secret and a briefcase full of guilt (Will Smith) uses inside knowledge to find seven individuals most worthy of his help. It becomes his life mission to save them. So, there’s this one lovely young woman (Rosario Dawson) who needs a heart transplant but can’t find a match or the money to pay for it, seeing that she’s already tens of thousands in debt to the IRS. Turns out her heart makes her too weak to run a manual printing press — a C&P, looking radiant as well — and the Heidelberg Windmill’s heart’s given out as well.

Oh, our gaunt (at least until he takes his shirt off) hero also hopes to help a battered mom, a kid with cancer, a coach who needs a kidney and a blind guy, among others. Good for him.

But mostly it’s about the hot girl with the heart of gold that’s about to stop beating. Can’t blame the dude — or the filmmakers — for keying on that bit.

All right, most important, did “Seven Pounds” get letterpress right?

Mary and Shop Boy didn’t let our expectations get too high, but … Hollywood, we gotta talk.

At one point, Rosario shows Will her printshop, demonstrating the ancient C&P by pumping the foot treadle a few times and exhaustedly handing old Will the finished product of one pass of the rollers.

A four-color, airy fairy greeting card.

And Mary whacked Shop Boy in the ribs. (Dang. Should have lowered that arm rest.)

A four-color job in one pass on a press that’s clearly been idle for months? Hey, it’s Hollywood, so whatever. But it seems the director took all of the grand advice of a highly regarded letterpress consultant on dialogue and printing history, mashed it between the platen and bed of the press and said, “Here, this fits better.”

When did Hollywood get the idea that all talk is bad?

I mean, who better than Ms. Dawson’s lovely lips to give a succinct tutorial on modern letterpress printers’ reasons for turning away from the traditional “kiss” impression? Perfect. But how much time would it have taken from the story for her to simply add something like, “This is what I was working on when my ticker went bad. I don’t want to ink the press and then have to clean it. But I’ll give this card a little punch so you can feel what I’m talking about.”

Would have saved Shop Boy a few bruised ribs.

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One Response to “Quiet on the Set”

  1. ampersand duck Says:

    I had a good old snort at that one too! And you gotta love a man who can enter in the middle of the night and fix your electric press without even waking you up [double snort].

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