Why, oh Why Can’t a Movie Set in Greece…

…be a decent movie?  I really wanted to like this movie. I really did. I love Greece. The release corresponds with next Saturday’s opening of the New Acropolis Museum. But, read on.

Destination: Greece

Movie: My Life in Ruins

You would think I would learn. Long ago, in 1982, we had, Summer Lovers quite possibly the worst movie ever made in the most beautiful setting in the world, Santorini.  Then last year there was Mama Mia, set on the island of Skopelos. Well, granted a lot of people went to see that and think its just swell, but the reviewers held their noses. And I’m not even counting all the lame attempts at recreating gods and goddesses and heroes of the Odyssey or the Illiad.

Now the lovely and talented Nia Vardalos, of the hysterically funny My Big Fat Greek Wedding fame, gets stuck in an absolute stinker called My Life in Ruins.I am slapping my hand here to keep it from typing some silly take on the ‘Ruins’ word.

The movie’s dialogue is so incredibly lame, (thank you Mr. The Simpsons Writer) that the only person to rise above it is Richard Dreyfuss.

In fact, when the spotlight turns to Dreyfuss in the second act, the movie almost comes to life.  Thank goodness HE is not the one who has to give the name of the bus driver: Poupi Kaka. Funny? When I was in fifth grade.

Does this mean I do not think travelers should see this movie? Not at all.  I heartily recommend that you wait until it is available on DVD, rent it, and watch it with the sound off. The scenery–both the old broken marble stuff and the Greek guys–is magnificent. And, honestly, dear reader, on my first trip to Greece, the bus driver was just as good looking as the movie’s bus driver/soon to become lover, Alexis Georgoulis

If you want to see some great views of the Parthenon, Delphi, and Olympia, definitely see this movie’s scenery. And oh, yeah, an iconic shot of Santorini turns up, although how that got into the itinerary is a real geographical mystery. DOH!

Have you seen a really GOOD movie filmed with the glorious backdrop of Greece. PLEASE, tell me about it.  THANKS!

Meanwhile, this week will be greco-centric as I celebrate the opening of the New Acropolis Museum. (You can read more of  A Traveler’s Library articles about Greece by checking the “Where Do you Want to Go” box in the right hand column.)

About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, or recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She has written for Reel Life With Jane, Life is a Trip and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

14 thoughts on “Why, oh Why Can’t a Movie Set in Greece…

  1. The only good movie ever made in Greece remains ‘Zorba the Greek’ with Anthony Quinn in the (eponymous) role of his career playing opposite Alan Bates. Dramatic black& white photography and a haunting score – it is the mama & papa of all movies set in Greece. There are longeurs but is a like the Grecophile’s dream of escape – the lost travellers dream under the hill..

  2. If anyone is still looking for a good movie set in Greece,you should try “Shirley Valentine.” A 1989 Academy award nominated drama (i would call it more of a “dramedy”) approx. 2/3 filmed on the Island of Mykonos. It’s a truly brilliant, funny, beautiful film that (according to my boyfriend who’s family lives on Rhodes and who’s visited Greece many times) does justice to the scenery and atmosphere. It’s also a great British humor flick (according to my bf who’s father is British). I rented it b/c we are visiting Rhodes in September and I wanted a taste of the Islands before we go.

    1. True. I mentioned Shirley Valentine and Corelli’s Mandolin,in an earlier review . I should have said here that they are both good movies to actually learn something about Greece. I’ve enjoyed both the movie Shirley Valentine and the stage version. Really a hoot, and a lovely fantasy for middle-aged women, to boot.

  3. Hey, don’t knock Summer Lovers. When you’re a teenage boy, it’s FANTASTIC! 🙂 B.F.G.W. is a great, cozy movie, perfect for a Sunday afternoon. Loved it!

    1. Yeah, I didn’t say Summer Lovers didn’t have good “scenery”. Just a seriously DUMB movie. I agree about BFGW, but My Life in Ruins doesn’t live up to that, unfortunately.

  4. I’m not seeing it either. I can’t think of a single good movie set in Greece. Maybe this is your next calling — to make a really good feature film with one of your favorite countries as a backdrop?!

    1. Ruth and Jennifer: I hate to discourage people from seeing the movie entirely. After all the scenery is terrific, and Richard Dreyfuss rescues the last half. But the general humor level does not live up to the classical background, that’s for sure.

  5. “Watch it with the sound off” is such a funny recommendation! If I come across a good movie set in Greece, I’ll send it your way.

  6. You’ve convinced me not to see it!

    But here’s a question: When does a movie become so terrible that it’s actually a riot to watch? Did this movie meet that standard? I still won’t see it, but I’m wondering.

  7. funny review – i will watch it (dvd) for sure. i love seeing the greek countryside. too bad they couldn’t find better writers. cripes!

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