Holy cow, when did movies get cheap?? I mean, not cheap, but matinee ticket prices at my theater have GONE DOWN 75 cents from last year, to $5 even. Apparently this flat rate is also in effect ANY time of day or night from Monday-Thursday. Yippee!
This was my good news to make up for the tragic discovery that Marcus Theaters have completely redone the music for their little "the following trailer has been approved for everyone who loves movies" reel, which is a thing I cannot explain unless you frequent this chain, but if you've been there surely you recognize this. Marcus! We have been exclusive cinema partners for almost a decade. That reel is half of why I love you; you can't just change it up like that without warning!
Commercial for "G": I hate Gatorade commercials. I hate all the ones have ever existed and "G" is the stupidest campaign yet. HOWEVER. When you choose to re-enact a clip from "Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail" and mix it with a random dance-off? It is THE GREATEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN. It was better than all of the Superbowl commercials this year. Even the Budweiser ones.
Commercial for "The Now Network": WITH BURNING, I LOATHE THIS AD. God damn it, Sprint, I don't mind commercials in the theater when they're classy and cinematic, but you play this piece of crap a million times a day on TV and I despise your company as a result. The only reason I even know it's you is because I looked you up to curse you out. Prior to 5 seconds ago I never even noticed who was behind the commercials. Fail on several levels!
(500) Days of Summer - I don't know. I've been reading a lot about it in EW and didn't think it sounded that great; the whole "this is not a love story" thing is warning me away, but it looks so shiny on the big screen that I might rent it someday. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is devastatingly attractive for someone who avoids the spotlight. Then again, if it is what it looks like, I don't know if I can take any more stories about charming lovelorn men tripping over themselves to be with less-invested girls. These kinds of stories make me hate women.
Taking Woodstock - there's a reason I don't want to see this, right? An unsavory and quite possibly dirty reason that I have blocked from memory after reading about it in EW? Because otherwise this preview would trick me into wanting to see such a classic, summery period piece.
The Time Traveler's Wife - see, this just has IRREPARABLE TRAGEDY stamped all over it. I have Doctor Who, thanks. I see no reason anyone would willingly subject themselves to this kind of emotional torment. Ignorance is bliss!
And now, for the main attraction...
Away We Go
There are a lot of things wrong with this movie. Back in my feverish heyday of anticipation, I was mortally offended that Entertainment Weekly gave it a B-, even though I knew it wouldn't be perfect. Now that the fog has cleared and I have some perspective, I can safely it deserves that grade. To be honest, if not for my desire to pump up its box office numbers, I don't know if I really needed to see this in theaters. I feel like I could have been satisfied with just a DVD, where maybe I wouldn't have noticed Maya Rudolph's extremely large, ugly and distracting mole between the eyebrows.
But like I told my mom as we walked out, despite the partial falseness of this statement, "I knew it had flaws going in. I took a calculated risk."
(Reasons I love my mom, part 11985: "Yeah, I figured you'd thoroughly researched it." She knows me so well.)
Things That Are Ungood
1) The language. I've gotten SO SPOILED by rejecting movies and just watching broadcast TV. As a result it makes me want to kill myself when my ears are suddenly subjected to harsh swearing and vulgarity nonstop. Do people seriously talk like this? How do you even live in the world and not want to rip out your eardrums? I like to throw the F word around here when I'm ticked off and possibly call characters jackasses a lot, but I could never form these words with my lips. I CERTAINLY could not so much as bring myself to write half the words in this movie, never mind say them.
2) Maya Rudolph. John Krasinski overcame a thick beard, thick glasses, saying words I never want to hear again and a generally disheveled look in terms of attractiveness, but he could not overcome his love interest - she never wins me over. I PRETEND she wins me over, for the purposes of shippy thrills, but actually I am never not overcome by a desperate desire to recast her immediately, post-haste, anyone, BY GOD, I will even take Scarlet J. or KIRSTEN DUNST over this woman! I didn't exactly go in with an open mind, per se, but I went in with a mild "I don't like you, but let's see if your character can change my mind." Long story short, she didn't.
Plus, because I'm me, I was continually reminded of my urge to slap Verona silly for continually rejecting the idea of marriage because she "didn't see the point," despite swearing that she'll always love him and never leave. I - just! - what! - this attitude defies my ability to speak of it in rational conversation. I cannot discuss it. At all.
3) The vulgarity. I can handle maybe one or two mentions of certain body parts? I don't need them brought up at every other turn. Besides the fact that I had to spend the first scene with my eyes shut and my ears plugged, humming to myself, I feel like this script maybe needed about five or six more revisions before filming began. There were a lot of things that just went on WAY too long, Maggie Gyllenhaal's character was only funny for one scene, and the family of Verona's former boss wasn't funny or interesting all, unless you count the glimpse of greyhounds. Dogs are cute! The rest I've blocked out.
4) The soundtrack. It's a bit of a paradox, because I like the SETTING the music evokes - just like the stuff in "Elizabethtown," it's very small-town, lonely roads, rural areas, a simple lifestyle, nostalgic for decades past, everything lovely in the world you could ask for from life - but the actual sound of the music itself makes me want to spork my ears out. I know people who like this style and I understand why, but I'm much more Downtown L.A. when it comes to my music.
1) I'm torn about where they ended up. On the one hand, I'm devastated by anyone who chooses living in a hot (and worse, humid) climate over a cold place with lots of snow and winter, at least if they leave the latter for the former before the age of 60. THAT IS NOT EVEN A CHOICE. RURAL CABIN > EVERYTHING. Pines over palm trees, always, always!
On the other hand, I was reduced to squeaky noises of longing at the sight of that huge, beautiful, OLD southern mansion (bonus: childhood home!). That beats a small place in the city of Montreal any day. Louisiana, is that where it was? I'm going to assume so, because it's the one place south of Missouri I've been and so anywhere with palm trees & Spanish moss = New Orleans to me.
I guess the bottom line is Lousiana > everywhere else they visited, but a little part of me is still heartbroken that they're giving up that tiny woods cabin, even with all its shabbiness and run-down amenities, just because the setting outdoors was so indescribably beautiful. And, well, as much as I love fancy and beautiful old homes, I am a sucker for rustic cabins too. Even if they are more like little boxes of falling-apart sheds. It's a fixer-upper! In a FOREST. Forest > coastline.
2) Wait a minute, did we see Burt shirtless at any point? (bare shoulders don't count) I don't think we did! Goodness, I believe I'm a little put out. That was going to be my consolation prize for whatever other R-rated antics I had to suffer through. And while most of me is in fact grateful that this movie is not rated R for nudity* or graphic sex*, part of me is a little miffed that there is more skin on "The Office."
*there's a line, Gyllenhaal, and you are on it
*seriously, I hated the first scene but Grey's Anatomy has done worse several times over
Why This Movie's Worth It
1. SNUGGLING. Wrapped up in a blanket, in various beds around the country...there is a lot of it. I'm especially fond of that bit in the cabin where he keeps reassuring her they are not screw-ups. Which I unfortunately have to watch on mute because they call it something else, and that was one of the first places in the movie where I started saying, "Why does this movie need to be rated R? Answer, it does not*. Why can't you just change some things to make it PG-13? It would not damage the story and I would be a much more comfortable viewer."
* If you recall my statements about watching TV, I don't really believe any movies need to be rated R. But other people do, and most of the time I'm not interested in the ones that are, so I figure that's enough compromise.
2. CUDDLING. (I feel it deserves a whole separate mention, since the last paragraph got off track) My brain has already short-circuited and caused me to forget half of why I kept squealing under my breath, but through careful meditation I've recovered the memory where he keeps rambling about how he can't wait to see her as a mom, until he realizes she's crying...no, wait, already lost the rest of that.
-And the kiss on the hillside from the previews, which is in fact one of the sweetest things about this movie. For a while I just wanted to pause the movie right there and skip the next, I don't know, 30 minutes of crap.
-And the comforting bit on the train, another section for the mute button, after he insists that "I'll always love you. No matter what."
-Probably there is more, except another frustrating thing about watching movies vs. TV is that you cannot immediately stream it online after viewing. You'd THINK I could just look up clips on YouTube, except APPARENTLY NOT. YouTube says it has no clips from this movie that do not come squished inside interviews, and I do not want to sit through those. DAMMIT, YOUTUBE.
3. The Montreal couple! I enjoyed their normalcy, even their history of miscarriages, minus the weird amateur karaoke/strip club (I wasn't clear) setting. Also I enjoyed the fact that the woman was one ROSE from Two and a Half Men - someday I will learn the actress's name; that day is not today, but GOSH I love her to bits in everything she does. How come she couldn't be Verona? Seriously? Maybe my brain will practice mental recasting...
4. That one bit where Maya's SNL background is temporarily useful, since her ability to do different voices utterly SHINES when they use a couple of Annabelle's stuffed animals and act out a random funny scene for her. True story, Annabelle is the second-best actress in the movie.
In fact, now that I think about it, pretty much everything with his brother makes up for all the freakish people they visit. Best part of the movie takes place in Florida.
5. Trampoline scene. Which like everything else that is good, I have to watch partially on mute because I DO NOT UNDERSTAND how in the world you keep rejecting his proposals after that (those quasi-vows? They are not a substitute any more than Derek & Meredith's stupid Post-It was). But the bits I'm focusing on are mainly - and I paraphrase, because YouTube is a jerk and won't give me clips so I can get the quotes right - his teary eyes, the heartbreaking "how do you look at her and not want to give her everything?" and the even more heartbreaking plea for her to promise that no matter what, she'll never abandon their child.
GOD, WHY IS THIS NOT ON YOUTUBE OR SIMILAR; I NEED TO SEE IT SEVERAL DOZEN MORE TIMES.
Conclusion: So basically, this entire movie is saved by the magical power of John Krasinski. As I always knew it would be. Is he my favorite actor right now? I think he is. Sorry, Tennant; call me when you have more movies like "Recovery."
P.S. Poking around YouTube did, however, yield me this fantastic outtakes reel from an interview with him, which I have watched at least 5 times already and cannot stop giggling hysterically at: