Descendants: George Cooney is the man of above average movies

George Clooney was once a "man of constant sorrow". That was probably the last time he was in an extraordinary film. Everything since then has been mostly above average but not great. He wants to be. He tries ("Good night and good luck") and tries ("Up in the air", "Michael Clayton") but only sometime gets there ("Syriana") and that makes him sport one of the best resumes in film industry in a long long time. To some degree it is unfair that his desire to make good movies is almost indistinguishable at this point from his desire to win Oscars.

The Descendants is the story of a man who owns a bunch of land in Hawaii but not his family. The story was supposed to be about Clooney's relationship with his daughters but it is mostly the story of his dying wife and her relationships. This is mostly the story of a modern man: emotional, circumspect and forgiving to the point of impotence. In one winning scene in the film, its only one, Clooney's aged father-in-law is able to smack a young kid far more easily than Clooney can even yell at him for a similar type of offense.

There is also the issue of the land but that is just a distraction. The film is slow-paced, entertaining at times but generally more like a made-for-TV movie. This is certainly the weakest in a series of wonderfully engaging films from director Alexander Payne ("Election", "About Schmidt", "Sideways") but it is certainly watchable and certainly worth his while as the film got three key nods from Oscars today.


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