Craig Johnson’s Wilson (Fox Searchlight, sometime in March) is basically about a middle-aged, passive-aggressive malcontent (Woody Harrelson) who’s way too friendly, way too open, doesn’t edit himself, has no social skills. He smiles sweetly and blathers on about anything that comes into his head. Free and unrestricted commentary about this, that and the other thing, and without a point or a strategy of any kind! Except to convey that he’s a passive-aggressive malcontent.
Wilson is a sweet, kind-hearted guy who will never “fit in” to any semi-conventional social congregation because he really has no idea what the word “dignity” means. One of my definitions of that term is being able to sense when it’s cool to say something in mixed company and when it’s best to shut the fuck up. This instinct is not in Wilson’s tool kit.
He also seems incapable of understanding a concept that I’ve always respected, which is that sometimes you shouldn’t say anything unless you can improve upon the silence. There’s a lot of joy and peace in silence, but lovable social calamities like Wilson will never, ever be able to get that.
Which is one reason why I would carefully limit my time with a guy like Woody’s Wilson if life had managed to install him in my orbit in some capacity. I wouldn’t necessarily cross the street or bolt in the opposite direction if I saw him coming, and I would never say anything cruel to the guy, but I would politely avoid him whenever and however possible.
This is basically why I didn’t much care for Johnson’s film, which is based on an original script by Daniel Clowes. I didn’t hate it, but I wasn’t the least bit disappointed when it ended.