Movie Review: Boulevard

Robin Williams works at a bank, and has been there forever. He’s comfortable in his life, and his marriage to Joy. He has a single friend, who is sleeping with a waitress at a restaurant where Robin Williams and his one friend has a weekly meal. It’s a stable, but dull life. Sadly, Robin Williams father is swiftly declining in health.

One night, Robin Williams is driving down a – well, lets just say not nice area of town, and almost hits a young man. In apologizing, the young man asks for a ride, but turns out he is a male prostitute. Robin Williams rents a motel room and just talks to the young man, named Leo. Robin for some reason is captivated by the man, and spends more and more time and money on Leo, and it affects his marriage and his job.

That’s the build for Boulevard. What should follows is how Robin Williams finds himself and comes to terms with what he is and explaining that to his friend and wife. I’ll save the problems with the movie until after the spoilers but, let me say this much.Boulevard Robin WIlliams

First and Foremost: Whomever scored this movie should be shot. It’s awful. The score does the worst thing that a score can do to a movie. It’s distracting. It takes away from the pace and makes it hard to listen to at times. Just awful. This synth-pop is a mess.

This is one the last movies Robin Williams did before he killed himself, and it does affect the movie. Looking at Robin, you always see a glint in his eyes, it’s part of what makes him a joy. Even when he is playing a serious character, there is a spark. There is no spark here. Even at the end when Robin smiles as he has found happiness, there is no joy in those eyes. I’m not sure if I’m reading into the movie, but again, these are my feelings on it.

I’ll get more into what I found wrong with Boulevard more concretely after the spoilers, but I’m going a 2 here. This is an awful movie. I can’t even call it a time-waster, this is not a good movie.

Spoilers Shead

OK. What exactly does Leo want? He just takes and takes, and even though he seems to have an actual chance to get out of his situation, with a minute amount of give-a-shit, he doesn’t take it, and does his best to shit all over Robin and help destroy his life.

Yes, I said destroy.

Boulevard Robin and LeoThis is California, in a fairly modern age. Robin has been there for 26 years, and he is up to get a branch managers job, and he’s fired for being gay? Fired for bringing a pimp in the parking lot? Maybe Robin Quit to go to New York.

But why does Robin throw all this away for Leo? He doesn’t love Leo, he loves his wife (he claims) Leo doesn’t help him, doesn’t love him, doesn’t teach him, doesn’t do ANYTHING for Robin but let himself be gawked at and smoke cigarettes. If not for the gay overtones and Robin discovering who he is, then Leo would be a gold-digging villain. Being the enlightened man I am, I still look at him as a villain. Leo just takes from Robin, robbing him of everything- his job, his home, his career, his comfort, everything. Again, is it worth it? I could think so, but I also think there are better ways of doing so. I’m sure coming out is hard, but Leo makes it harder than it has to be.

That’s the thing though, isn’t it? Robin isn’t happy, and loses everything, Leo has nothing and ends with nothing, Joy loses everything as well, and none of it is her fault. Even Robin telling off his father solves nothing, as he’s still a shit. We hope Robin finds true happiness, we hope Joy finds, well, Joy on the cruise, and who knows what will happen to Leo? He obviously doesn’t want to help himself. So what are we looking for again?

You do wonder if Robin hadn’t taken a trip down Boulevard, what if he was paying more attention to his driving, what if he had almost hit a female prostitute or a mean one that was more belligerent. Would he still have come out? Would he still end up in the same place? I don’t really get the feeling that Robin wants to come out, he’s more forced to come out more than anything else. That’s a problem.

Did I mention Boulevard’s score stinks?

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3 Comments

  1. Dear David Snipes,

    I wrote the movie Boulevard. Wow. I feel as though i should locate the nearest bridge! Seriously, the film is not for everyone, and it’s clear it didn’t resonate with you. Not a problem. That’s your job. It’s difficult, however, reading such a poorly written, thrown-together review when there is so much you didn’t understand.

    Regarding Leo, you say, “He just takes and takes, and even though he seems to have an actual chance to get out of his situation, with a minute amount of give-a-shit, he doesn’t take it, and does his best to shit all over Robin and help destroy his life.”

    Aside from your eagerness to use the word “shit” a lot, you didn’t seem to understand that Leo is letting Nolan go. He doesn’t want to be taken care of, he turns down money, a chance at school. Physical contact through sex is the only connection he can make.

    You say:

    “Robin has been there for 26 years, and he is up to get a branch managers job, and he’s fired for being gay? Fired for bringing a pimp in the parking lot?”

    David, he didn’t get fired. He quit. Also, you say he threw everything away for leo. What?? He hated his job, his marriage was unfulfilling, and it was through the relationship to Leo that he set himself free.

    You say Leo just lets Nolan gawk at him and smoke cigarettes. I’m not even sure how to respond to that. You clearly didn’t get the movie.

    You say, “If not for the gay overtones and Robin discovering who he is, then Leo would be a gold-digging villain. Being the enlightened man I am, I still look at him as a villain. Leo just takes from Robin, robbing him of everything- his job, his home, his career, his comfort, everything.”

    I believe I’ve already addressed what’s wrong with that interpretation. Leo doesn’t want Nolan to help him.

    You say: “Robin isn’t happy, and loses everything, Leo has nothing and ends with nothing, Joy loses everything as well, and none of it is her fault.”

    I guess the notion of people surrendering illusion and facing the truth of their lives is nothing to you. If that’s the way you feel, nothing I can do about that.

    You say: “You do wonder if Robin hadn’t taken a trip down Boulevard, what if he was paying more attention to his driving, what if he had almost hit a female prostitute or a mean on that was more belligerent. Would he still have come out? Would he still end up in the same place?”

    That statement is so bizarre I really have to think about it. I’m not sure how to answer it.

    I’m not sure what your background is, but your writing could use a polish. Seriously, with some study, work and practice and a copy of Elements of Style, you might improve your writing. In the meantime, take a look at the following review, posted in Roger Ebert’s website, which, aside from liking the movie, is a fine example of writing and reviewing.

    http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/boulevard-2015

  2. Thank you for your comment and taking the time to read my review. Allow me to respond to your points. (I’ll have my points after the –)

    1. I wrote the movie Boulevard. Wow. I feel as though i should locate the nearest bridge! Seriously, the film is not for everyone, and it’s clear it didn’t resonate with you. Not a problem. That’s your job. It’s difficult, however, reading such a poorly written, thrown-together review when there is so much you didn’t understand.

    — No, it didn’t. I’m sorry. I normally watch a movie twice to try and catch anything I miss. (once to enjoy, once to review).

    2. Regarding Leo, you say, “He just takes and takes, and even though he seems to have an actual chance to get out of his situation, with a minute amount of give-a-shit, he doesn’t take it, and does his best to shit all over Robin and help destroy his life.”
    Aside from your eagerness to use the word “shit” a lot, you didn’t seem to understand that Leo is letting Nolan go. He doesn’t want to be taken care of, he turns down money, a chance at school. Physical contact through sex is the only connection he can make.

    — Well, I did use the word “shit” 3 times in a 767 word article, but twice in the same paragraph, I should diversify a bit. Apparently I missed something there. I didn’t catch any of what Leo wanted from Robin. He’s young I get the physical part, but Leo didn’t even act as if he wanted sex. I got the impression that Leo just wanted sex to end a transaction so he could move on and get out of there.

    3. You say:
    “Robin has been there for 26 years, and he is up to get a branch managers job, and he’s fired for being gay? Fired for bringing a pimp in the parking lot?”
    David, he didn’t get fired. He quit. Also, you say he threw everything away for leo. What?? He hated his job, his marriage was unfulfilling, and it was through the relationship to Leo that he set himself free.

    — That I get. It’s never stated that he quit. Robin obviously blew his chance at promotion and making his boss look like an idiot doesn’t say a lot for his job security. Show me where he quit. They have issues in the parking lot, next, Robin is boxing his stuff.

    4. You say Leo just lets Nolan gawk at him and smoke cigarettes. I’m not even sure how to respond to that. You clearly didn’t get the movie.

    — What else does Leo do? I can’t see where Leo cares a bit, as when Robin shows up at his door, Leo does everything to reject him. The only thing that shows Leo feels anything is Robin’s number is the only number in the phone. That just seems . . odd, especially after the pimp knows he has a phone.

    5. You say, “If not for the gay overtones and Robin discovering who he is, then Leo would be a gold-digging villain. Being the enlightened man I am, I still look at him as a villain. Leo just takes from Robin, robbing him of everything- his job, his home, his career, his comfort, everything.”
    I believe I’ve already addressed what’s wrong with that interpretation. Leo doesn’t want Nolan to help him.

    6. You say: “Robin isn’t happy, and loses everything, Leo has nothing and ends with nothing, Joy loses everything as well, and none of it is her fault.”
    I guess the notion of people surrendering illusion and facing the truth of their lives is nothing to you. If that’s the way you feel, nothing I can do about that.

    — I didn’t say Robin doesn’t gain anything. I said Leo doesn’t gain anything. Joy gains the freedom to move on, and Robin does gain the strength to be who he is. There is nothing wrong with that, as much of a train wreck that Robin makes of his life.

    7. You say: “You do wonder if Robin hadn’t taken a trip down Boulevard, what if he was paying more attention to his driving, what if he had almost hit a female prostitute or a mean on that was more belligerent. Would he still have come out? Would he still end up in the same place?”

    That statement is so bizarre I really have to think about it. I’m not sure how to answer it.

    I’m not sure what your background is, but your writing could use a polish. Seriously, with some study, work and practice and a copy of Elements of Style, you might improve your writing. In the meantime, take a look at the following review, posted in Roger Ebert’s website, which, aside from liking the movie, is a fine example of writing and reviewing.
    http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/boulevard-2015
    — I actually do read a good bit of Roger Eberts old reviews, and I’ve picked up a few of his books. I am constantly trying to improve my writing, but don’t we all. I am sorry if you took my review personally or as an attack. I simply did not enjoy the movie. I understand as the writer you didn’t have anything to do with the score, however. Boulevard is currently running at 50% on Rotton Tomatoes, and at 5.6 on IMDB, 54 on Metacritic, so I don’t feel that I am the outlier here (Like on Apocalypse Now, a movie I don’t care for)

  3. Good points, David. I admit I took your review too personally. It’s always tough reading negative things about something you’ve written. I think in this case the usual sensitivity was aggravated by the tragedy of Robin. We had such high hopes, and they just weren’t to be. I appreciate your thoughts. I truly do. I’ve distance now and can move on.

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