November 20, 2009, - 12:58 pm
I did not particularly like any of the new offerings at the box office, this weekend. They range from atrocious ghetto glorification to cheesy teen heartthrobs to cloying manipulation dressed as a sports movie. I did not see the animated “Planet 51,” which is getting few positive reviews. Lots of saccharine this week. Nothing sweet.
* “The Twilight Saga: New Moon“: It’s no news that this teen drivel is destined to be a multi-gazillion dollar hit. There’s nothing extremely offensive about this movie, unless you want your daughter to learn it’s fun to jump off cliffs and get on the motorcycle of random street trash when she’s brooding over a boyfriend who left her. . . and return from all of this unscathed. Oh, and there’s also the main character worrying ad nauseam that when she gets old, her boyfriend won’t find her attractive anymore. Isn’t this an issue older women are supposed to be worried about? Now it’s a teen prob?
And brooding is actually the word of this movie. There’s no shortage of brooding. It’s in every scene. The excessive angst, anguish, and brooding is the lifeblood of this movie, based on the teen vampire novels in Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” series. Whereas I gave a good review to the first movie in this series, this far inferior second installment isn’t just slow, boring, and lackluster, it’s cheese galore.
There were so many gratuitous, cheesy guys-with-their-shirts-off shots and annoying extended make-out (and almost make-out) scenes, I felt like I was being subjected to softcore porn for teens. Yes, this is Harlequin romance for teens. Bleccch. Unfortunately, as I noted yesterday, a number of those who drool over these chesty boys and their vampire-thriller-lite (veeeery lite) story, are middle-aged women. Get a life, girls.
The story: We left off at the end of the first movie with Bella Swan, the main character (Kristen Stewart), dating vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson)–who is a teen, but in reality a 109-year-old vampire. Pining for her is a Native American/American Indian, Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), who is really a werewolf. Yup, American Indians are werewolves (where is their version of CAIR when we need them?).
Cullen leaves Bella because he realizes that her blood puts her in danger with other vampires who want to drink it. As she pines away for him, she does all kinds of stupid things, including jumping off a high cliff and picking a random hoodlum in a bad section of town, riding off with him on his motorcycle. Yeah, great example for kids.
Soon, Bella becomes close to Jake, who pines for her. And since werewolves are mortal enemies of vampires, it becomes a drawn out, overwrought love triangle. She loves Edward the Vampire, Jake the Werewolf loves her, and the fight is on. It’s the classic teen story–he loves her, but she loves another guy. Blah, blah, blah. A twenty minute story dragged on forever. And most of it was silly. Plus, would it bother the filmmakers to make this Bella girl dress like a girl in just one scene? Throughout the entire movie, she dresses butch. Think Ellen Degeneres’ wardrobe. Not sure what’s up with that. But would it kill the movie to have her wear a single skirt, ruffle, frill, or piece of lace? The male vampires in the movie are far more feminine.
As a horror-lite thriller of vampires versus werewolves, this movie didnt’ do much. Yes, there was no sex or sluttiness, which is what a lot of people are touting as its selling point as a movie for kids and teens. But that should be the baseline for a good kids movie, not the high point. There wasn’t much beyond that. Don’t believe the hype.
HALF A REAGAN
* “The Blind Side“: This Lifetime Channel-style movie parading as a sports flick is cloying and manipulative. Guys don’t fall for this as a great football flick. It isn’t. While it’s based on the real-life story of a wealthy White family which adopts and helps an impoverished Black boy from the ghetto, it’s not without it’s obligatory show of White people as racists . . . almost as an apology for showing a real-life story where White people aren’t racists but actually exhaust great effort to “help a brother out” and give him a leg up.
Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw play the Tuohys, the White couple which adopts Michael Oher, now an NFL rookie lineman with the Baltimore Ravens. Their saccharine, way-too-cutesy son, played by Jae Head, befriends him and provides the impetus to adopt the gigantic, undereducated teen, whom they help get through a Texas private school with passing test scores barely high enough to score a college scholarship. Anytime a movie heavily relies–as this one does–on an overly cute kid as a gimmick, you know it’s weak. Ditto for the cameo appearances of Lou Holtz, Nick Saban, and a pile of other famous NCAA college football coaches.
While the story is nice, the filmmakers apologize to the forces of political correctness by showing us the Tuohys as a lone family of nice White people, with Bullock/Mrs. Tuohy’s friends mocking her and making racist comments at lunch in a fancy restaurant. Plus other scenes show us little kids and other students afraid of this “big Black guy.” Yes, we’re all racist, except for this one couple. When Bullock goes to Oher’s inner city neighborhood looking for his mother, Black drug-dealing thugs are shown chiding her, but never a racist comment about White people is uttered. Yeah, like that would happen.
And even though, I’m no fan of President Bush, the ripping on him as Governor of Texas in this movie is simply overt piling on and very annoying. Bullock goes to a Texas DMV office to adopt her new son and get him a driver’s license, and she is stuck in a long line. She asks who is in charge and at fault for the long lines, and is shown a photo of then-Governor Bush on the wall. Yeah, like no other DMV offices in any other state in the country have long lines. Come on. Was this really necessary to the movie? Oh, and a question for Sandra Bullock: how does a woman from Texas manage to over-exaggerate and screw up a Texas accent?
After the family adopts Oher, the movie needs more material. So, it draws on the real-life mini-scandal of an NCAA investigation into Oher and whether the Tuohys adopted him so he would go to their mutual alma mater, Ole Miss. Much drama over nothing. Who cares? I didn’t. It seemed trumped up.
This mildly entertaining movie wasn’t terrible. But it wasn’t great, either.
* “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire“: Sadly, this movie is just the silver screen incarnation of a growing phenomenon in Black urban America: gangsta lit or ghetto lit. That genre glorifies rape, incest, torture, prison life, gang life, prostutition, welfare, and drug-dealing. It’s garbage, and so was this movie. If I wanted to show the rest of the world what a “horrible country” America is, I’d show ‘em this disgusting piece of utter trash produced by Oprah Winfrey.
A morbidly obese teen girl is raped by her father and impregnated twice by him. Her first child is a Down Syndrome baby her abusive mother calls “Mongo” (short for Mongoloid) and an “animal.” The teen, Precious, lives in the ghetto on welfare with her morbidly obese mother (Mo’Nique). Her mother beats and abuses her and lies to welfare authorities (including a glammed-down Mariah Carey) in order to keep getting welfare checks, so she can sit around all day smoking and watching television. Soon, Precious–now a new teen mother–learns that her father died of AIDS and that she is HIV positive.
The end. Yeah, lovely movie. This is the movie all the critics are gushing over and praising ad absurdum. I expect it to get several Oscar nominations, as only crap like this does. An older White guy I saw walked out of the movie, telling me, “I couldn’t watch that garbage.” I wish I could have followed him out of the theater (but then I couldn’t review the movie). And as I’ve said about Mo’Nique, this celluloid circular file is yet another reason the world needs Less Nique, not Mo’.
Leading Black Americans, like Oprah and Tyler Perry, bring Black America this kind of “culture,” and then Black America blames White America when the Black underclass expands because Black America emulates this lifestyle.
One of the worst movies I’ve ever seen, if not THE worst.
Tags: Bella Swan, Blind Side, Edward Cullen, Jacob Black, Jake Black, Kristen Stewart, New Moon, Precious, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, The Blind Side, The Twilight Saga, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Twilight, Twilight: New Moon, vampires, werewolves