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Cameron Crowe
Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst, Susan Sarandon
Writing Credits:
Cameron Crowe

During a hometown memorial for his Kentucky-born father, a young man begins an unexpected romance with a too-good-to-be-true stewardess.

Box Office:
$45 million.
Opening Weekend
$10,618,711 on 2517 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Audio Description
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 123 min.
Price: $29.95
Release Date: 2/9/2021

• “Filmmaker Focus” Featurette
• “Training Wheels” Featurette
• “Meet the Crew” Featurette
• “On the Road” Featurette
• “The Music of Elizabethtown” Featurette
• Deleted & Extended Scenes
• Photo Gallery
• Trailers & TV Spots


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Elizabethtown (Paramount Presents Edition) [Blu-Ray] (2005)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 27, 2021)

Maybe Cameron Crowe can’t have it both ways. 2000’s Almost Famous received consistently positive notes from critics but failed to find much of an audience. 2001’s Vanilla Sky did much better at the box office, but it earned little critical affection.

At least one side or the other liked each of those films. In the case of 2005’s Elizabeth, critics and moviegoers agreed: it was a dud. The flick earned mostly weak reviews and took in a mere $26 million at the box office.

I really like and respect Crowe, so I’d like to say that he deserved better. Unfortunately, I fully agree with the majority on this one: Elizabethtown stinks.

Creative whiz kid Drew Baylor (Orlando Bloom) works for a major shoe company and bombs with his unusual design for the “Spasmotica”. Its failure causes the company to lose $972 million and leads Drew to the brink of suicide.

Literally about to off himself, his sister Heather (Judy Greer) calls to tell him their father Mitch (Tim Devitt) just died while on a visit back to his family home of Elizabethtown, Kentucky. Their mom Hollie (Susan Sarandon) is too upset to make the trip, so they entrust Drew with the duty to retrieve Mitch’s body and bring it back to Oregon for cremation.

On the long flight, Drew meets chatty flight attendant Claire Colburn (Kirsten Dunst). The extroverted Claire forces Drew to spend time with her on the nearly-empty flight and leaves him with a card that includes her number.

While Drew finds himself surrounded by family – albeit folks he barely knows – he ends up lonely back in his hotel room. He reaches out to speak to someone and takes a stab in the direction of Claire.

They end up having a mind-blowing all-night conversation. This leads fitfully to a romance and many other adventures as Drew tries to deal with his failure and come to terms with his father’s death.

If you like musical montages, then Elizabethtown is the flick for you! Crowe started as a music writer, and his love for rock remains well-established. He fills his movies with songs and usually uses them to good effect.

However, Crowe also usually finds a way to make the music embellish the story and not just act as filling. In the case of Elizabethtown, I get the impression Crowe picked a lot of songs he liked and created a film around them. The tunes never serve the scenes, as the scenes seem to exist to feature the tunes.

For the love of Oat, this is a movie that climaxes with a musical montage! I don’t think it’s a spoiler to indicate that the final act features a long road trip in which Drew drives home to the accompaniment of a collection of mix CDs created for the occasion.

Not only does the film suffer from the inclusion of yet another montage, but also it drops a few points due to the absurdity of the whole enterprise. The CDs are timed to perfectly coincide with each part of the road trip. What if Drew gets in a traffic jam or gets lost?

Never mind logic, though - Elizabethtown tosses that out the window. It’s never very clear why Drew’s shoe is such a monumental failure - wouldn’t they test out the thing before they invest so much money in it?

And isn’t it hard to believe that one shoe could lose almost a billion dollars? I’m not a businessman, but that seems hard to accept.

We also get a scene in which the seriously poorly behaved son of Drew’s cousin Jessie (Paul Schneider) apparently immediately changes his ways after he watches one short instructional videotape.

Damn, I need me a copy of that tape! I work with kids like that – I wish I had such an easy solution.

That’s the problem with Elizabethtown: it lives in some bizarre world of fantasy, just chock full of unrealistic characters. The movie never bothers to attempt to explain why Drew became so distant and detached from saintly father, a man clearly beloved by all and seemingly a fine dad to Drew. I guess we’re supposed to accept that Drew simply became obsessed with his work, but I don’t quite buy that.

I also can’t accept the caricatures that populate the movie, and poor Dunst gets stuck with possibly the most absurd character of the bunch. Claire is arguably the most whimsical piece of quirkiness to grace the screen since Johnny Depp’s lead role in the sickening Benny and Joon.

Dunst makes the character palatable, but she’s so ridiculously whimsical that she could only exist in the mind of a writer. And where in the world did she find the time to burn 42 hours of CDs?

At least Dunst fares better than Sarandon, as her character has nothing to do but look foolish until her One Big Scene. Even though she insists that she won’t come to the memorial for Mitch – longtime animosities keep her from Elizabethtown – she pops up at the last minute anyway. Then she gives a speech that includes a standup routine complete with a joke about a neighbor’s erection and some tap-dancing!

Add to that the memorial’s conclusion: a rock band’s performance of “Free Bird” that finishes with a fake bird that catches fire as it soars over the ballroom. How is it possible that the same man who created the sweet, memorable “Tiny Dancer” scene in Almost Famous can thrust such absurd, idiotic nonsense on us?

I don’t know, but I can say that Elizabethtown stands as a major blemish on Cameron Crowe’s career. Silly, stupid and almost unwatchable, the film pointed toward a filmmaker in decline.

The Disc Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B-/ Bonus C

Elizabethtown appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though more than decent, this tended to be a less than terrific presentation.

Which I must suspect stemmed from the source. As I’ll discuss, the DVD looked blah, and while an improvement, the Blu-ray didn’t look as appealing as one would expect from a movie shot in 2005, so I can’t help but think this was just how it always looked.

Sharpness was generally positive but not consistently solid. While the majority of the movie seemed fairly well-defined, examples of softness materialized.

No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge haloes remained absent. Grain seemed natural enough, and the image lacked print flaws.

Colors seemed adequate, and they occasionally flared to life in a reasonable manner. However, the hues lacked a lot of vivacity and could appear a bit on the heavy side.

Blacks were acceptably deep, but shadows tended to appear slightly dense. Ultimately, this became a more than watchable image, but as noted earlier, it seemed somewhat blah for a ovie from 2005.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Elizabethtown failed to present many strengths. That’s because it was a decidedly low-key affair, and not much happened to bring the soundfield to life.

Music was omnipresent and offered reasonably good stereo imaging, but effects played a minor role. They added some specifics at times but I’d be hard-pressed to name any scenes that made them stand out in a memorable way. This was a music-centered movie that didn’t do much with its soundscape.

Audio quality was fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, and I noticed no problems with the dialogue. Effects were clear and accurate, even if they did stay in the background.

Music varied dependent on the source but remained consistently good at worst. The songs were clean and distinctive. This was a serviceable soundtrack.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD? The lossless audio seemed a bit more dynamic, though the subdued nature of the mix limited room for growth.

As mentioned earlier, the Blu-ray offered superior visuals when compared to the blah DVD, but the image didn’t deliver as big an upgrade as I expected. Like I said, I suspect the semi-drab nature of the flick came from the original photography.

In any case, the Blu-ray definitely brought a step up from the DVD. While the Blu-ray felt a bit flat, it still worked better than that mediocre DVD.

The Blu-ray repeats the DVD”s extras and includes some new ones as well. In keeping with the movie, a two-minute, 21-second featurette called Training Wheels presents a musical montage.

We hear a song demo as we see video footage from the shoot and rehearsals. It offers a mildly interesting glimpse behind the scenes and nothing more.

Next comes a two-minute, 35-second piece entitled Meet the Crew. Yet another musical montage, it shows us folks on the set and tells us their first names and jobs. It’s nice to give them this form of credit, but that doesn’t make it very compelling.

Including a one-minute, 54-second intro from writer/director Cameron Crowe, eight Deleted & Extended Scenes fill a total of 23 minutes, 49 seconds. Most seem pretty forgettable, though the “Alternate Ending” gives us a sunnier finale. While interesting, it feels out of place for the story.

Note that only two of these eight scenes appeared on the DVD. The other six appear to be new to the Blu-ray – and the Crowe intro clearly comes from 2020.

On the Road to Elizabethtown spans 13 minutes, 49 seconds and brings notes from Crowe, producer Paula Wagner, executive producer Donald E. Lee Jr., and actors Kirsten Dunst, Orlando Bloom, and Susan Sarandon.

“Road” looks at the movie’s origins and path to the screen, story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations. “Road” never digs especially deeply, but it offers a decent overview of the film.

With The Music of Elizabethtown, we find a five-minute, 32-second reel that features Crowe. Unsurprisingly, the featurette goes over the songs of the film. It’s a disappointment as Crowe doesn’t dig into his choices with much insight.

Note that although “Road” and “Music” were created in 2005, they didn’t appear on the prior DVD. It’s unclear if they showed up anywhere or if the Blu-ray marks their home video debut.

Shot specifically for this Blu-ray, Filmmaker Focus gives us a six-minute, 22-second chat with Crowe as he discusses the project’s origins, casting, story/characters, locations, and the movie’s legacy. Most of the info repeats from other programs, so Crowe adds little new material.

Note that Crowe denies that Claire is a “Manic Pixie Dream Girl”. He’s wrong – Claire defines the MPDG concept.

A Photo Gallery splits into 10 smaller areas. We get some behind the scenes shots as well as collections of publicity photos that focus on the actors. All together, we locate 132 images. A few are good, but most are unmemorable.

In addition to two trailers, we locate one TV spot.

One of the most absurd movies I’ve seen in some time, Elizabethtown comes as a major disappointment. I always root for Cameron Crowe, but this stinker flops in almost every way. It borders on parody much of the time and never remotely embraces any believable emotion. The Blu-ray brings acceptable picture and audio along with a mediocre collection of extras. Skip Elizabethtown and watch Almost Famous again instead.

To rate this film, visit the prior review of ELIZABETHTOWN

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