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Friday, July 1, 2011

June Movie Review: Best and Worst

First of all, as you’re beginning to see, I don’t watch movies when the come out. The last movie I saw in a theater was Star Wars: Episode III. I like going to the theater. I don’t even mind the insane ticket prices. It’s just, a trip to the theater never seems to work out. I’ve been trying to go for about six years now. Since obviously that hasn’t happened, I rely on movie channels for my fix. (My favorite channel is IFC, if you haven’t guessed by now.)

Anyway, this month’s Best and Worst featured two films that were most definitely NOT on IFC.

Best Movie I Saw in the Month of June: Inception (2010)

I know. I’m the last person on the planet who hadn’t seen it. I wanted to, but a six year streak isn’t broken easily. Not even by Leonardo DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Oops, sorry. I said his name. Now this review can’t be about Inception anymore.

My apologies, Inception fans, but I can’t mention Joseph Gordon-Levitt without going off on a lengthy aside. He deserves it.

Right now there are two actors who may get me to the theater to break my streak and Gordon-Levitt is one of them. In my post on Robert Pattinson I referenced a special status that an actor or actress gets in my book where I will see any movie, in any genre, with any plot, just because that person is in it. In case you haven't read it, Pattinson is not one of those. Gordon-Levitt is.

Having said that, don’t let Inception fool you. He didn’t have a whole lot to do in this film and his character was disappointingly flat. Still, that wasn’t his fault, and although he hasn’t jolted to top-billing A-list status like his co-star DiCaprio, I wouldn’t doubt that has more to do with his pattern of choosing dark, edgy films rather than the celebrity-inducing Hollywood blockbusters that put actors on the map. That’s not a criticism, that’s part of the reason I like him.

If you’re thinking “wait, isn’t that the kid from 3rd Rock from the Sun,” then I’d invite you to watch Manic (2001), The Lookout (2007), Brick (2005), and even (500) Days of Summer (2009) and Uncertainty (2009). (Warning: Uncertainty was only a so-so film, although he was good in it as always).

Gordon-Levitt has been in countless other movies. Some I’ve seen, others I haven’t, but of the ones I have, there’s always a depth to his characters that I’m not sure is a function of the script. It’s a special quality that I think James McAvoy (my other favorite actor) brings to his roles. I would have loved to see Gordon-Levitt in Remember Me instead of Pattinson. Sorry, Rob.

Anyway, so I know all this has nothing to do with Inception, but any time I can put in a plug for the underrated, I will. Moving on to Inception.

Did Inception make any sense? Heck no. Did that matter? Not in the least.

What I loved most about Inception was the fact that I accepted almost all of it while I was watching it. It was one of those films where you nod and say “ok, yeah” throughout. and it’s not until three hours later when you’re lying in bed that it occurs to you the movie made no sense. That’s a good movie. It does its job. If you’re still thinking about it a few days later, it really did its job.

Unless it’s because you’re thinking about what you’re going to say for your blog because it was so terrible.

Which brings us to:

The Worst Movie I Saw in the Month of June: Twilight: Eclipse

It probably doesn’t come as a big surprise that I haven’t read the books. In fact, I think I may have mentioned that in a previous post. I’m not afraid to admit that I thought the first movie in the series was good. I thought the second was OK, but I’ll be perfectly happy not to see it again.

This one, wow. It took me two sittings to get through it.

I was dumbfounded.

How could a movie about gorgeous vampires, shirtless werewolves, and red-eyed Dakota Fanning be boring? Lame, maybe. Cliched, expected. But BORING??

It was two hours of watching people (and beings) mumble about doing things. Maybe if they actually stopped mumbling for a moment and DID something... Oh that’s right, there was the big battle scene. I was long gone by then and really didn’t care at that point.

I don’t mind movies where people just talk about doing things. Some of the best ones I’ve seen involve people just talking about doing things. The catch is, the characters have to be fascinating. That acting has to be phenomenal. What they’re talking about doing has to be compelling.

Twilight failed on all three accounts.

Problem #2: Edward.

In the first film he was enigmatic and untouchable. It was easy to comprehend his appeal. I’m not sure if it was on purpose, but in this film, he was portrayed as a clingy sap. I would have been kissing Jacob too – even if his best scenes were the ones where he just had to stand around without a shirt and not act.

Problem #3: Jasper.

It’s pretty sad that I was more interested in his back-story than the entire rest of the film. Not the conversion part, that was as clichéd as they come, but what’s with the armies and battles and training and scars? Now that would have been interesting. I know, the books probably explain it all. I don’t really care that much.

Problem #4: Bella.

She’s just annoying. She was annoying in the first film. Very annoying in the second. And pretty much back to just annoying again in this one. I don’t know if it’s Kristen Stewart’s portrayal of Bella or that’s how the character’s written. I’m going to give Stewart the benefit of the doubt and assume Bella’s supposed to be that way. But, really, imagine what the series could have been if Bella were remotely interesting or engaging. Audrey Tautou as Bella. Now that I’d see.

Problem #5: Bella’s Dad.

Really, dad? You haven’t figured all this out yet? You haven’t snatched up your daughter and taken her far far away from all the vampires and werewolves and battles and vampire lords and evil vampire armies? You’re dumb.

Problem #6: Bella’s Friends.

Ditto. They sparkle, people. They have creepy yellow eyes. They’re basically the same age as their adoptive parents. I know, they try to avoid sunlight so no one sees them sparkle.

Problem #7: They Sparkle.

Sorry, I still can’t get over that. Why the heck do they have to sparkle? Who wants their mysterious, alluring knight to sparkle? I must have a different fantasy than tween girls because I prefer my heartthrobs without lipstick and sparkles.

I’m thinking this is a good enough list to get my point across.

To summarize:

If you haven’t seen Inception yet, do it. Now. Go!

If you haven’t seen Twilight: Eclipse yet, go for it. Just make sure you have laundry to fold, or coupons to cut, or Angry Birds on your phone for the first hour and a half while they mutter about doing stuff that you don’t care about. You can put it aside briefly for the one scene where they actually do it, and realize, yeah, you really didn’t care. By the way, Jake’s best scene where he has to act is the last one. So you could really just fast forward to that if your laundry doesn’t take as long as you thought.


  1. I was at a Redbox and figured, I should finally watch this. If only to say how bad it is. Then, when I started the movie I realized it kinda looked familiar. I had already seen it! This movie was so bad, I erased it from my memory.

    Especially, Jasper "deer caught in headlights" Hale.

  2. I was going to recap the plot, then thought, what's the point?

    And I totally agree about jasper. What's with that? Why does he always look like his brain is about to explode? I like his backstory, but I'm not sure I could have tolerated seeing him anymore than we had to.

  3. Wow! This post is scarily similar to my own views. I loved Inception. I too, love Gordon-Levitt. My other favourite actor? James McAvoy. My one fault with Inception was that the characters weren't well-rounded enough.

    Twilight Eclipse, I hated that movie. I loved the books though(except for Breaking Dawn). It's Kristen Stewart's portrayal which is awful, rather than the character herself.

    And no. Robert Pattinson does not do it for me.

  4. Sweet! That's awesome!

    James McAvoy is incredible. I don't know what it is, but no matter what he does, he makes it fascinating. Gordon-Levitt also seems to have this ability to immediately draw you in and garner sympathy for his character.

    I completely agree about the characters in Inception. It was such a great concept and well-constructed film. They had a very talented cast. Why not use them and go all the way with complete characters?