Finding Forrester (2000)

(On Cable TV, August 2016) Sometimes, catchphrases stem from the unlikeliest places. So it is that Finding Forrester’s “You’re the man now, dog!” became an integral part of Internet meme history, which is really truly weird coming from such a staunchly classic inspirational film. Here, Sean Connery gets one of his last good roles as a reclusive author who discovers a brilliant but disadvantaged teen writer/athlete (Rob Brown’s debut performance). Much of the movie runs on autopilot, predictably portraying both men helping each other with their problems. There’s gratuitous antagonism provided by F. Murray Abraham, a cameo by Matt Damon, some basketball, romance with Anna Paquin and an attempt to make writing look really exciting. Finding Forrester blurs quickly with many other similarly themed films, although Connery’s presence is a bonus. The glimpse inside an elite high school can be interesting, the emphasis on literary matters will please a number of middlebrow viewers, and the movie does get points for not insisting too much on the protagonist’s racial struggles. Otherwise, there really isn’t much to say: Finding Forrester is the kind of inspiring story that Hollywood churned out by the truckload for decades, and while director Gus van Sant’s work is not exactly dull, it’s not particularly memorable either. Well, aside from the sight of Connery barking out “You’re the man now, dog!” once his protégé figures out how to type correctly. That’s still weird sixteen years later.

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