Review of Off the Cliff

Off the Cliff: How the Making of Thelma & Louise Drove Hollywood to the Edge written by Becky Aikman
Rating *****

I loved this book. As a fan of the film, I found the whole behind the scenes anecdotes entertaining. Can you picture Jodie Foster and Cher as Thelma & Louise?

I’ve always felt that the best films are those that involve collaboration. There are very few writer/director films that hit on all notes. One film that comes to mind is Risky Business. In the case of Thelma & Louise, I would have liked to have seen what Callie Khouri might have come up with had she been the director. I agree with her criticism of the over-the-top trucker. She might also have been right about the biker rescuing the cop in the trunk. But I doubt she would have had the skills needed to add the visual layers that Ridley brought.

The success of the film starts with writer Callie Khouri. Author Becky Aikman didn’t mention how many drafts Callie had before she started shopping it. I know from experience that first drafts are seldom good enough. Once Callie found someone to champion her script, though, everyone else who came on board contributed in one way or another to the success of the film.

My first impression on seeing the movie was that it was a little over the top in its male bashing. Christopher McDonald as Darryl made all us guys look like buffoons. But I got the joke. The scene where the cop goes from badass to a blubbering wimp when under pressure is a scene that fit the theme perfectly. Little did I know that it was the actor playing the role who came up with that idea.

As much credit as I give the writer, I can’t envision anyone other than Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon as Thelma & Louise. They made the film work. And then there is Brad Pitt as J.D. Perfect role. Perfect performance. Brad Pitt learning that Thelma held up a convenience store – “What, Thelma?”

As for that ending. I still don’t agree with it. It feels to me like Callie put her characters into a corner and had no pages left to find a resolution. I do agree, however, with the freeze frame.

To round out the book, the author delves into the history of women in Hollywood and the many disadvantages that women face. I hope that that trend ends.

Next in my queue – Thelma & Louise.


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