Quick recap: John Sullivan is a popular director of comedy films who wants to make a socially conscious film. Upon realizing that he is a rich white guy, Sullivan sets out to ‘find trouble’ in order to better understand the plight of the poor.
Fun fact: The Coen brothers chose the name to their film O Brother, Where Art Thou? as an homage to director Preston Sturges. The title comes from the book Sullivan writes about his experience.
My thoughts: Paul Blart Mall Cop is one of the greatest movies ever made and you should feel like a jerk if you didn’t love it. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Schindler’s List is worthless and you are a pretentious jerk for appreciating it because that is not what society needs. Stop being a jerk! This is basically what I learned from watching Sullivan’s Travels, although the point was a little more subtle than what I said. I’m sorry I called you a jerk, by the way. I didn’t mean it.
Sullivan’s Travels is a comedy about how important comedies are. In 1941, America was still going through the Depression and things sucked, for the most part. It was no secret that people were suffering, especially the people living it. The last thing they wanted was a ‘socially conscious’ film about their plight because, really, what would that do? This is what Sullivan learns in his travels, as he becomes a homeless man and then later comes into some real trouble when he is sent to a labor camp for almost killing a railroad conductor. It’s quite a complex plot which I don’t have the energy to hash out right now but I will say that its complicated nature pleasantly surprised me when I watched it.
So, is Sullivan’s Travels a ‘good’ movie? I guess that’s not really my place to make a judgement. I didn’t love it or really even like it because physical comedy doesn’t do much for me, but that’s not to say that it wasn’t worthwhile to someone at some point. The plot, as I stated before, was much more complex than I expected and I never got bored. The most profound part of the movie was when Sullivan completed his first attempt to live like someone in poverty and decided to give money away to show his appreciation. Spoiler alert- it didn’t work out too well for him. It wasn’t until he actually became someone without anything that he understood that money doesn’t solve everything, and that what people really need is a temporary vacation from their troubles.
Final review: 4/5. I wanted to give this a lower rating because the physical comedy didn’t do much for me but considering the amount of time I have spent trying to sort my thoughts, I guess it deserves my respect.
Up next: Top Gun