GOTHIKA (2003)

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Elizabeth (spoilers!)

Something we see so often in terrible movies is that it takes place in what is supposed to be our world (ie, not science fiction or fantasy) and yet bears no resemblance to our actual world.

Like in Gothika, when psychiatrist Dr. Miranda Grey (Halle Berry) is accused of killing her husband not only is she placed in the same mental hospital where she works, but placed under the care of her close personal friend and co-worker, Dr. Pete Graham (Robert Downey, Jr.). I’m sorry. No. So much of the conflict in this movie comes from “OOoo the doctor is now the patient how is she going to deal with that!” but considering that would never fucking happen it really takes a lot of the suspense out.

Here’s another thing: one of Miranda’s patients, Chloe (Penélope Cruz), who is in the hospital because she murdered her abusive rapist step-father, constantly claims that she is being raped in the hospital. Miranda dismisses her every time, as does everyone else. But . . . would you really dismiss claims like that without checking? As Chloe’s doctor, doesn’t Miranda have an obligation to Chloe to check it out? Chloe is already a mental patient so it seems unfair to just write it off as her being crazy. And it’s not as if this is a fortress in which men cannot enter. Because surprise, surprise, Chloe is being raped, but Miranda doesn’t believe her until she’s a patient and sees it happening in Chloe’s cell herself. Way to drop the fucking ball, Miranda!

Turns out, Miranda got possessed by a ghost who then used her body to kill Miranda’s husband. Miranda remembers murdering him, but nothing else about motivation. Conveniently, Miranda escapes from the hospital and also remembers this cabin she and her husband bought that apparently she never really went to. She goes there and finds a bloody bed in the basement with all kinds of scary tools and a camera. She rewinds the camera (and clearly sees her husband in the frame while she rewinds but I guess we just pretend that she didn’t see it) and plays it back, only to find that it’s showing her husband torturing and presumably murdering a girl. The cops break in to catch Miranda, but when they do a not-dead girl pops up from the basement where she’s apparently somehow been hiding the whole time after being a victim of Miranda’s husband.

Miranda goes to jail where she talks to her husband’s best friend, who’s a cop. She starts giving a “profile” of someone who would do the things her husband did, which basically is like “Tortured animals when he was a kid,” which isn’t something you need a degree in psychiatry to guess about. Lo and behold, Miranda realizes her husband’s friend fits the profile and also has the same chest tattoo of the man he saw raping Chloe. He attacks Miranda and she kills him.

CUT TO MIRANDA AND CHLOE JUST CHILLIN ON THE STREET!! Yes, at the end of all of this, Miranda and Chloe are just back in the outside world, totally well-adjusted and ready to live life. Every time we saw Chloe before this she was barely functioning and acted like she was on PCP or something. And Miranda straight up murdered two people (albeit one in self-defense). Because their quick release would, again, never fucking happen, it feels like the filmmakers just cut to them walking around on the street instead of trying to explain how that could ever happen. I mean, the entire movie we see Chloe like this:

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Only to suddenly see her in the end like this:

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Okay cool, makes sense!

This movie really isn’t bad enough to be funny or interesting. It’s just really fucking stupid.

Christopher

I really only wanted to watch this movie because I vividly remember when the trailer for this came out. From what I remember it was Halle Berry’s first movie after Monster’s Ball and I feel like people were anxiously awaiting this hoping it would be another hit. After watching the movie I can see why it went nowhere.

This movie was bad but the worst part about it was how often the film wanted us to ignore stuff so they could continue the story. The worst part about this movie is how EVERYONE is connected. Halle Berry’s character is a psychiatrist and she works with mentally unstable people all day long. However, one day she is possessed and ends up in the mental hospital herself. However, instead of going to another one she just ends up in the one she worked out. So her friends are now her doctors and nurses and she is now caged up with all the people she was helping. I am all for supernatural elements in a film but to add in all this other unbelievable real life stuff was just way too much. It was hard not to think, ”This would never happen” in every single scene.

The most shocking part of the film was how many celebrities were actually in the film. Not worth watching at all, however, I’m glad I saw it just so I can talk shit about it. Cause everyone still talks about this movie, right?

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THE DEVIL AND DANIEL JOHNSTON (2005)

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Christopher

I was first exposed to Daniel Johnston when the trailer of this movie came out. It was during my phase of needing to watch every single trailer that came out but it was always worth it when I found a gem to become obsessed with. The Devil and Daniel Johnston was definitely one of them and even though I wasn’t really sure who he was I was fully caught up on his music and career before the movie actually came out.

It was extremely easy for me to get into Daniel Johnston ‘cause I loved his voice from the very beginning. He has that strange voice that so many people cringe and move away from but I can’t get enough of. This movie does a great job of outlining his life and career. I think at times they give him the benefit of the doubt more than the maybe should. The best thing about watching this film now is how most of his career was based out of Austin. When I first saw the film I had only been to Austin on day trips as a kid but now I know Austin well and can get around no problem so seeing a lot of familiar places in the movie was interesting.

The other thing about watching the movie now is really how little they show you of his music. Yes, songs play in the background but you never really get to hear a full song. This movie seems to be best if you are already a fan going in. I think this stood out to me a lot because Elizabeth was not into this movie but it totally makes sense to me. If we knew each other in high school I’m sure her not liking the movie would of made me mad but the way the movie is laid out really makes it feel like a love letter to Daniel as fan instead of, hey this guy is amazing, come check him out.

I think this movie is great but in terms of great documentaries I don’t think it has what it takes to transcend genres.

Elizabeth

The problem I had with The Devil and Daniel Johnston is that it’s a documentary about the life and trials of a genius musician. Except . . . he’s not a genius musician? Not to me at least. I tried listening to Daniel Johnston in high school, but it all just sounded horrible to me; just like a child screeching into a tape recorder from 1985.

I wanted to watch this documentary because I did think it would be interesting and it’s not like I knew a ton about him. And I probably would have found it more interesting as a portrait of a bipolar man. But watching it under the assumption that this guy will blow your mind with his ingenius take on music and songwriting was just sort of maddening.

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY (2015)

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Elizabeth (spoilers!)

I haven’t read Fifty Shades of Grey, so it wasn’t until earlier this year that I found out the main character is named Anastasia Steele. Which, I’m sorry, is a fake as fuck name. But it got me excited that maybe this story was worse than I thought. It was.

Before I get any further, I need to address one major thing. Even though I hadn’t read the book, I obviously knew about it. That it was a spawn of Twilight fan fiction, it involved BDSM, middle-aged women loved it, and the main character was an Edward Cullen-esque gorgeous guy. When Christian Grey first appeared on screen, I knew it had to be him, but only because he was a guy in a suit in Christian Grey’s office. Because this  man was . . . not what I was expecting. I was expecting a masculine, stop-you-in-your-tracks handsome, suave guy. THIS IS WHAT WE GET INSTEAD:

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This dude just looks like a dad from the 90s to me. Fluffy hair, weird mouth . . . really throughout the movie I was distracted at how the left half of his face looks like it’s paralyzed from a stroke. Would you really stop your life for this guy? Really?

Okay, anyway. We meet Anastasia “Ana” Steele, a college senior majoring in English lit. When we see her, she’s getting ready for an interview with Christian Grey, which I at first thought was a job interview but they reveal really late that she’s interviewing him for her school paper on behalf of her sick roommate. Literally as soon as the door to Christian’s office opens, Ana falls on her face. I think this was supposed to establish her “realness” but actually made it look like she couldn’t function as a human. The interview is painful; she doesn’t have a writing instrument and immediately starts chewing on the pencil Christian gives her, which obviously turns him on. She robotically reads him generic questions, seemingly without reading them first as she asks “Are you gay?” and then immediately looks down at her paper, confused and says, “I’m sorry, I didn’t write these.” UH but are you not reading them and saying them aloud? Anyway, they have a cringe-worthy exchange that goes something like:

Christian: Some people say I don’t have a heart.

Ana: Who says that?

Christian: People who know me well.

OOOOO YOU ARE SO DARK AND BROODY, CHRISTIAN! Later in the interview, Ana says she doesn’t believe that there are people who know him well, which makes Christian immediately cancel his next meeting because he is now suddenly obsessed with Ana. When she tells him that she’s an English lit major, he says, “Tell me, was it Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, or Thomas Hardy who first made you fall in love with literature?” Christian, please excuse me while your condescending nonsensical comment said only to prove you are aware of three 19th century writers makes me THROW UP ALL OVER YOUR STUPID SUIT.

When she gets home, she learns that Christian has emailed Ana’s roommate detailed responses to all the questions, to Ana’s surprise. Later, we see Ana at work at a hardware store. By the way, Ana lives in Vancouver, Washington, and Christian lives in Seattle, Washington. So while working at this hardware store in Vancouver, she turns a corner to see Christian standing there, staring at her. Because you see, he was in the neighborhood to pick up some things. How he knew she worked there, we’ll never know. He buys serial killer supplies, such as rope and cable ties, and leaves her his card to schedule a photoshoot for the article. During the photoshoot, Christian literally does nothing but stand there and stare at Ana. “How about a smile this time?” the photographer asks, as Christian completely ignores him and continues to stare at Ana. There are only four people in this room, by the way, and Ana is only standing a few yards in front of Christian. After the photoshoot Ana and Christian meet to get coffee. The date seems normalish, until before Ana can have her coffee (or eat her tasty-looking muffin), Christian straight up leaves. Outside, he tells her that he never has girlfriends and that she should stay away from him. Sounds reasonable!

Except a few days later Christian sends Ana a package that contains first edition copies of Tess of the d’Urbervilles. When Christian asked that vomit-inducing question, Ana’s response was Hardy, so I get where Tess of the d’Urbervilles comes from. But I like Thomas Hardy too, but I wouldn’t necessarily want a super creep who might murder me to send me first editions of any of his books. And the fact that he sends her the books right after he literally tells her to stay away from him is also a super creep move. Immediately forgetting this, Ana and her roommate go out drinking, where Ana drunk dials Christian while she’s in line for the bathroom. Christian can’t even handle this in a relatively normal way; we can assume Ana is at least 21 because she is about to graduate college, and yet Christian still repeatedly asks “Have you been drinking?” And then tells Ana to stay where she is because he’s coming to get her. Which would be great if she were alone wandering around somewhere, but she’s just in a club. Regardless, Christian shows up, saves Ana (from herself?) and . . . brings her to his hotel room. The next morning, Ana wakes up in his bed. “Did you undress me?” She asks. “I didn’t really have a choice,” Christian says. Uhhhhhhhh . . . sorry dude, SHE is the one that didn’t have a choice, THANKS TO YOU. If I had to choose between sleeping in my clothes or having a maniac undress me while I’m unconscious in his bed . . . uhhhh yeah. Luckily, Christian refrained from having sex with/raping Ana. WHAT A KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR!

Naturally, Ana and Christian start “dating” after that. And by dating I mean Christian makes her sign a non-disclosure agreement that forbids her from discussing their relationship and he’s 100% only into and willing to do BDSM. This comes as a shock to Ana who is, unshockingly, a virgin. Is it crazy to graduate college a virgin? Of course not. Though, if I didn’t I sort of find it hard to believe that anyone does. But still! I know it happens! But then Christian says something like “But you’ve done other . . .” to which Ana says no. Meaning she has never done anything sexual before. HAHAHAHAHA. Okay, no. Sorry. Everything we know about Ana tells us she’s smart, nice, attractive, and without any major weirdness going on. And she literally hasn’t done a single sexual thing when she’s probably 22 years old? No, sorry. Nope. But let’s say that is true and possible (because it is possible, I have to grant that). Christian then starts to probe about what turns Ana on . . . BUT SHE DOESN’T KNOW! So Ana is either a lesbian or asexual. Seriously, because I’m sorry, virgins know what turns them on, even if they are the most virginest virgins ever. If Ana is legitimately attracted to men, she should be able to give Christian a hint (I’m not talking big concepts here, I’m saying she could say she likes dirty talk or something) as to what she’s into. But, no of course she can’t. So Christian gives her the most precious gift of all . . . being devirgined by Christian Grey! THANKS CHRISTIAN!

Hopefully Ana enjoyed her vanilla sex that first night, because after that she’s presented with a contract by Christian that she must sign if they are to “continue” with their “relationship.” This contract outlines the fact that she will be his full-time submissive, which includes: only eating foods on a certain list, staying in a room in Christian’s apartment but never sharing his bed, and giving Christian sex whenever he demands it. Naturally, Ana is just a little hesitant about signing it, so she puts it off, even though Christian always hangs it above her head. He buys her a car and a new laptop, because Christian’s infinite bank account definitely has nothing to do with why Ana stays with him. Ana keeps suggesting that they be more of a couple, Christian keeps suggesting she sign his contract. When Ana tells him she’s going to visit her mother in Savannah (they most definitely didn’t film in Savannah, by the way), he shows up in Savannah unexpectedly with no invitation, because, again, he is a super creep. After Savannah, Christian keeps sending mixed signals by reminding Ana of the contract that explains they have a strictly sexual relationship while also doing things like taking her to dinner and bringing her to his parents’ house for a dinner party.

Now is a good time to note something important: it’s revealed in the initial interview Ana has with Christian that he was adopted at the age of four. The first member of his adopted family we meet is his brother, who immediately hooks up with Ana’s roommate. The second member we meet is his mother, who shows up unexpectedly at Christian’s apartment the morning after Ana spends the night for the first time. Weird? Sure. Overbearing? Definitely. Abusive? Eh, not so much. We meet the rest of his family at the dinner party, and despite being insanely rich they all seem fairly normal and well-adjusted. We also know from the countless scenes where Christian is shirtless that he has weird scars all over his chest, presumably from his past relationship where he was the submissive (more on that a little later). But one night Christian decides to pour his heart out to Ana while she’s sleeping, because I guess he thinks that counts. He tells Ana that his birth parents were abusive drug addicts and they caused the scarring, suggesting that they are the reason he can’t get close to people or have normal relationships. Now, I’m not a psychologist. I do know that severe abuse on really little kids can have lasting effects as an adult. But . . . really? Those are all the details we get so it’s all we have to go on. But are we really to believe that this unnamed abuse Christian experienced before he was four years old, before he was adopted by a loving and insanely rich family (and I’m sure his adoptive parents would have been aware of his birth parents’ issues if they adopted him when he was four) fucked him up so much that as a 27 year old he literally can’t stand to be touched in a loving way? Again, I know it’s not impossible. But I find that reallyyyyy hard to believe . . . plus the fact that he spilled all this out while he knew Ana couldn’t be listening is lame and doesn’t garner any sympathy from me.

Speaking of abuse, that relationship where Christian was a submissive? Yeah, that started when he “lost his virginity to” (aka was raped by) his mother’s middle-aged friend when he was fifteen. And it lasted for six years. Does it really not occur to Christian that maybe his fucked upness, especially about sex, might have more to do with a trusted family friend raping him and taking his virginity and proposing that he be submissive to this rapist for six very formative years than abuse-we-don’t-know-the-details-of inflicted on him when he was under four years old? Christian might be damaged and abused, but he’s also stupid.

Back to the plot, there are a bunch of sex montages and more back and forth between Ana and Christian on whether or not they’re a “real couple” and whether or not Ana will sign the contract. Finally, in the end, as a way to see what she’s getting herself into, she demands that Christian show her “how bad it can get,” meaning the sadism side. Christian is hesitant but agrees. I didn’t know what to expect at this point . . . but I imagined it involved some combination of hanging from the ceiling (possibly by the nipples), burning, maybe some blood. Because Ana and Christian are acting like he’s about to skin her alive. Instead, he has her bend over a table and count as he whips her with a belt six times. Now, I’m not saying this wouldn’t be painful or maybe shocking. But that’s the worst it’s ever going to get? I thought they were already way past that. But it turns out the belt was too much for Ana, because she cries the entire time and then pushes him away and tells her not to touch him. She storms out, he’s sad about it, THE END!!! Luckily there will be two more sequels to complete this compelling tale for us!

Two major non-plot points I had severe problems with:

Christian truly seems like a crazy killer. I knew he wasn’t going to kill her because of what movie this is, but everything within the movie points to him being totally psychotic and killing her. And I have to say, that took out a whole lot of sexiness and empathy for Christian for me. The thing is, watching this entire thing, I couldn’t figure out why anyone would ever watch this for sexual gratification over porn. The story and characters are laughable, so that’s not enough. At least with porn you know the guy isn’t going to kill anyone and any pain inflicted is consensual. A way less stressful experience than watching this.

And here’s my biggest issue: if you are going to make an erotic romantic drama that is primarily about sex and marketed primarily toward women . . . there better be some dick. It never happens of course, but this is just bullshit. We see Ana naked in every way possible, but we don’t get to see shit with Christian. Why the hell should any woman waste their time with a terrible movie all about sex when you don’t even get to see any dick????? Obviously this did not keep women away from the theater. But fuck that. It’s downright offensive in the context of this movie to not have equal amounts of female and male nudity.

Watch this movie if you want a good laugh because it’s probably much worse than you think. Do not watch this movie if you want to see some good sex scenes . . . save yourself the trouble and time and watch real porn instead.

Christopher (spoilers!)

I was definitely pushing for us to watch this so it was exciting when Elizabeth picked it up at a Redbox one day. Because of how popular this book was I was really excited that they decided to make a movie since I knew I was never going to read the book. I hear they’re different so I can only speak about the movie specifically. After watching the film, I was really only left disappointed.

I knew the movie was going to be bad but I thought we were at least going to get this amazing insane sex epic. I’m not super knowledgeable about BDSM but everything that was in this movie I thought was already general knowledge. I was expecting to learn stuff I had never even thought of before but it kind of felt like I was just watching the Sesame Street version of that lifestyle.

Especially the very end! He hit/spanked her maliciously, but wasn’t she expecting that at some point? Haha oh yea, my favorite part of the movie was how Christian gave Anastasia a computer to research the “contract” but when she sits down to go over it with him she doesn’t know what a butt plug is?????????????

The best part about this movie to me was how good it was at being stupid while wearing a serious face. Elizabeth told me what’s to come in the other two films so I cannot wait.

THE THIRD MAN (1949)

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Elizabeth (spoilers!)

When the opportunity came to see The Third Man in theaters, Chris and I had to take it, especially because I had never seen it before. And going into it, I knew I didn’t know what to expect, but I don’t think I realized how little I knew of the movie. First of all, I definitely thought it was a horror movie in the same vein as M. Pretty quickly though, the tone of The Third Man tells you that it’s not a horror movie. So it took me a few minutes to sort of readjust my thinking, but after that I was totally onboard.

There are really a lot of great things about The Third Man. To me, one of them is how simple the mystery starts. Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) is invited to Vienna by his oldest friend, Harry Lime – except Martins arrives the day of Lime’s funeral following his sudden death from being hit by a car. At the funeral, Holly meets Major Calloway (Trevor Howard), a cop who says Lime was a criminal, and Anna Schmidt (Alida Valli), Lime’s girlfriend. Martins finds out that Lime was crossing a street with a friend, when another friend called to him from across the street. Lime crossed without looking, was hit by a car, and his two friends carried him off the road where he later died. Except the porter of Lime’s apartment tells Martins that there was no way Lime didn’t die instantly and that there was a third man carrying Lime’s body. So really, it starts off as a simple mystery that Martins was trying to solve: who was the third man? But it very, very, very quickly becomes  much more complicated, starting with the porter getting murdered.

In Anna’s apartment, Martins tries to play with her cat by dangling string in front of its face, which the cat clearly doesn’t care about. Anna says “He only liked Harry,” and the scene moves on as they talk inside her apartment. But a few minutes later, we follow Anna’s cat as it hops out of her window and starts trotting along the street. He goes into a dark entryway, where we only see a pair of shoes – and he immediately starts placing with the laces. Now, not only is this such a good way to reveal that Lime is alive, but it also uses a cute cat to further the story, which I always appreciate. But anyway, that reveal is so great and profound – it’s shocking (or was to me, at least) and once you make the connection between cat-Lime-cat-Lime, it suddenly puts an entirely new spin on the whole movie.

At this point, Martins has no idea what to believe. He travelled to Vienna to see his good, honest, alive friend, Harry. He arrives in Vienna to learn that Harry is dead. He is told by the police that Harry is evil. He sees Harry, confirming that Harry is not dead. But is he evil? Well . . . yeah, he is. Calloway doesn’t tell Martins about Lime at first – which is something I really loved about Calloway (that and the fact that Martins kept calling him Callahan, which the British-Not-Irish Major wasn’t all that happy about). He could have told Martins about Lime on the day of the funeral, but he really chose to not tell him until it was really necessary. Because what Lime was really doing was stealing penicillian from military hospitals, diluting the shit out of it, and then selling it on the black market – causing the deaths and ill-treatment of hundreds, mostly children. It’s a hard pill to swallow for Martins, and he’s reluctant to believe it, but when Calloway takes him to a hospital that seems to mostly care for infants infected with the bad penicillan, he’s moved to completely believe Calloway.

Martins agrees to meet with Lime at a ferris wheel, where Lime very casually and cooly basically admits to Martins that he’s a psychopath by saying “What if I told you I could give you twenty thousand pounds for every one of those little dots down there?” The little dots, of course, are the people walking around beneath the ferris wheel. Lime says it so casually and openly, it’s as if he thinks Martins would be a total idiot to not agree. I just love that while Calloway tipped Martins off to Lime’s true nature, it was Lime himself who really revealed that to Martins.

Martins helps Calloway and the police track Lime down through the sewers of Vienna, Lime killing cops along the way. Eventually, Martins takes it upon himself to kill Lime once he’s cornered. It’s a bittersweet end in a way, as Martins loses his best friend (and kills him himself) and Anna loses the man she loves. But a man who was essentially a child murderer was killed, so it’s not that bad. So just like everything else in The Third Man, the ending isn’t even all that black-and-white.

Moreso than a lot of movies from around 1949, The Third Man has such incredibly rich, developed characters. The cast isn’t huge, so everyone gets a chance to shine and have their character mean something. This is just a really special movie.

Christopher

My memory of when I actually first saw this movie is a little vague in my head. I know my grandfather had it on VHS and I can see the cover perfectly, but I think it wasn’t till high school that I actually watched it. I know when I finally did watch it though, how could you not love it?

One of the biggest memories I have about this movie too is being very into the theme music. When I moved to college my friend and I had a contest on who could find and download the theme song first. I don’t really remember who won but I know for the rest of the year I had the song on my iPod and would listen to it a lot on the bus ride to classes.

Okay, this movie. I think watching this with Elizabeth was my fifth time watching it. I owned it on DVD in high school and would watch it fairly often. It was also one I let a lot of people borrow. Watching the film now, in a theater though, I don’t think I had really thought of all the humor in the film. There are a ton of emotions in the movie but it wasn’t till being around an audience that exploded with laughter at a good many number of scenes that I really thought of how many of the scenes have a light-hearted anecdote or quip.

I think what this movie does best is the solid writing. Every single scene has a purpose and reason to be in the movie. Watching bad movies so much really shows how directors/writers/people love having pointless scenes in movies. The very first time I remember watching a movie and knowing so many of the scenes were pointless, had nothing to do with the movie, was Teeth. I was so excited about the concept of the movie I was surprised how bad it was.

What is this post about again? Oh yea, The Third Man is great and you should totally watch it. It’s a very smooth film with everything (writing, directing, acting, cinematography, etc.) is on point. If you know nothing about the film, keep it that way and go see it now!

DREAM HOUSE (2011)

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Christopher (spoilers!)

I really thought I had heard this movie was good but it was clear from the beginning that I must have been thinking of a different film. This movie was a giant mess. The story was overly complicated. Not really confusing, just complicated, and really didn’t work the way I think the original idea of this movie must of looked.

The most distracting part of this film is Daniel Craig. I believe in this film he’s supposed to be an American, but he rarely has any kind of American accent in this movie. I’m always curious about stuff like this because if Daniel Craig cannot do an American accent, why make him American? In this film he plays a father, family man, neighbor. There is nothing in the story that requires him to be from the states. I feel like it would have been a far better choice to just have him British and have the back story be that he met the wife overseas in college or something. This movie was so terrible this is really the only thing I have to talk about it.

OHHHH yeaa, SPOLIERS!!

But also, this did exactly what Non-Stop did and had a bad guy show up within the first few minutes without the protagonist knowing. Movies need to get over this fad; it’s way too easy to spot.

Elizabeth (spoilers)

OH GOOD! Another movie where everyone turns out to be ghosts and we saw the killer in the beginning!! GLAD THIS WASN’T A WASTE OF TIME AT ALL!!!

THE WEDDING PLANNER (2001)

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Elizabeth

Over the years, I’ve spent a good amount of time defending Matthew McConaughey and his acting. It started when I was way younger and thought he was one of the best looking and well-built guys on the planet. And then in middle school I read A Time To Kill, which made me see the movie, which made me really fall in love with McConaughey because he was just so good in it. I usually cited that and Contact as examples whenever anyone made fun of him for doing movies like Sahara, Failure to Launch, or How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days. Or . . . The Wedding Planner.

Although I would be lying if I said I hated this movie when I first saw it. I was thirteen when I saw it in theaters, and I’m starting to think around thirteen and female is the true target audience for romantic comedies (especially PG-13 ones). I thought Mary (Jennifer Lopez) was sort of annoying, but mostly cute and charming. I thought Eddie (McConaughey) was kind of a jerk, but mostly cute and charming (and hunky). And watching it again now, all of that is still sort of true. There are definitely worse and more offensive romantic comedies. Buuuuut that doesn’t really make The Wedding Planner a good movie.

Mary is the wedding planner in question. She is Italian-American, despite Jennifer Lopez being arguably the most famous Latina woman in the US – especially in early 2001. And her Bronx/Latina accent didn’t really help sell the whole Italian thing. She meets Eddie, a seemingly perfect pediatrician whom she hits it off with and nearly kisses. She then finds out that Eddie is the fiancé of her new client, Fran (Bridgette Wilson-Sampras). She continues to plan the wedding, and Mary and Eddie continue to love-hate each other the entire time. In the background, Mary’s father Salvatore (Alex Rocco) is extremely concerned that Mary is in her thirties (Lopez was 31 when this was filmed) and unmarried. So throughout the entire movie, Salvatore tries to convince Mary to marry an Italian guy she just met, Massimo (Justin Chambers).

Unfortunately, McConaughey’s character was the hardest for me to get behind. He didn’t kiss Mary that first night they met, but he straight up went on a date with her, slow danced with her, and leaned in for a kiss. I’m not saying it’s the same thing as sleeping together, but from what we saw, he (at least emotionally) cheated on Fran that night. So we know pretty early on that he’s not that great of a guy, and is actually kind of sleazy. At first Mary and Eddie try to hate each other, but the more time they spend together, the flirtier and friendlier they get, until they’re spending time together without Fran at all. One day, while shopping for flowers, Eddie and Mary run into Mary’s ex, who cheated on her and is now married with a baby on the way. Seeing him puts Mary into a manic depressive state that ultimately results in her getting drunk. Eddie valiantly brings her drunk self back to her house, where she quickly seems much less drunk, to comfort her. To do this, Eddie decides they should roast some marshmallows.

Wedding Planner Clip 1

Can someone explain to me why anyone would ever think it would make sense to roast marshmallows over a scented candle . . . when you have a ROARING FIRE literally right behind you?

Anyway, this marshmallow date causes Eddie to essentially tell Mary that he like-likes her, but she turns him down because of, you know, being nearly married. To help cope with her loss of Eddie, Mary decides . . . to go ahead and marry Massimo! You know, the Italian guy she doesn’t really know but her dad was forcing on her and was honestly extremely annoying and childlike! She even puts on a wedding dress and goes to the court house with him. Luckily, she decides to get married on the same day of Fran and Eddie’s wedding, who realize that they probably shouldn’t be getting married. Even luckier, Mary comes to her senses and bails on her ridiculous plan. All so she and Eddie can end up together! Fuck you, Fran!

So yeah, like an odd number of romantic comedies, the main relationship here is based on lies and cheating. And McConaughey is charming – but almost to the point of being creepy once we realize he’s not all that great and nice. So is this the worst movie ever? No . . . but really not that great.

Christopher

When I think of this movie I think of it playing on TBS and I think of my sister watching it a lot when we were younger. Watching this movie now, it’s hard to think that that’s the same Matthew McConaughey from True Detective. The thing that stays the same though is how I feel about wedding movies and the people in them. Aren’t weddings just a small event that kicks off being with the person that you love for the rest of your life? In movie like this it’s never about that, it’s just about the event, a wedding.

In all of these films there is always someone, generally a lady since apparently the wedding day never has anything to do with the man, who obsesses over having the perfect wedding but never really seems to care about who they want to marry, just that they need to marry to have the party. It seems so stressful and not that fun.

This movie was just way too boring to put to much effort into. I’m falling asleep justjjjjjjjjs jksd

SUSPICION (1941)

Annex - Fontaine, Joan (Suspicion)_01

Christopher

I had never seen this before but I’ve heard of it. I don’t think I ever really knew what it was about though. This movie is brilliant. It does such a great job of manipulating the audience. I feel like not knowing anything about this movie makes it better but I will say that casting such a likable character as Cary Grant was perfect for this role.

Elizabeth

I first saw Suspicion a long time ago (sometime in elementary school) because it was on a list of the best thrillers but still didn’t sound all that scary. And it’s not really scary per se, but it freaked me out then and it freaks me out now.

I don’t understand a lot of things about weddings and marriage, the biggest one being that I don’t understand why couples feel like they need to rush into marriage. When I first learned of arranged marriages when I was a kid, that scared the hell out of me. To me, marriage meant forever, and forever seems even longer when you’re single-digit age. So the idea of being forced into something that you have to stick with forever was really horrifying to me. And consequently, the idea of voluntarily going into something forever too soon was pretty scary to me, too.

All of the fears I had surrounding that kind of stuff is manifested in Suspicion. It follows Lina (Joan Fontaine – who has some of my favorite eyebrows of all time), a rich, shy, unmarried woman. She meets Johnnie (Cary Grant) who is . . . well, what you would expect from a Cary Grant character: handsome, charming, witty, attentive. Not long after meeting they run away together and get married against Lina’s family’s wishes. Aaaand it turns out Lina’s family was in the right; almost immediately after returning from their honeymoon, Lina learns (for the first time) that Johnnie is unemployed and was banking on Lina’s father’s money to support them. Oh yeah, and he has a gambling addiction!

And it really doesn’t end there. He also embezzled money from his last job and sold,without Lina knowing, two antique, family heirloom chairs given to both of them by Lina’s father as a wedding present, to pay off a gambling debt. All signs point to Lina leaving Johnnie, but something keeps her. Maybe his charm and good looks, but I also think it has a lot to do with Lina not wanting to give up on this relationship that she’s already put so much hope into. Plus then Lina’s father dies, which seems to further put breaking up with Johnnie on the backburner. But Lina’s annoyances with Johnnie turn to suspicions when Johnnie is openly disappointed that Lina didn’t inherit money from her father. She then overhears Johnnie convincing their friend to go in on a huge land deal with him, which Lina thinks is a con. Lina tries to talk their friend out of it, making Johnnie angry enough to apparently cancel the deal completely, even though Johnnie still travels to Paris with their friend. In London, while Johnnie is still gone, their friend is killed and Lina immediately suspects Johnnie.

Johnnie doesn’t help clear his name with her though, by questioning one of Lina’s novelist friends about untraceable poisons, which makes Lina think he is now trying to kill her for her insurance money. The more Lina focuses on this, the more suspicious Johnnie acts – including giving her milk that Lina is too scared to drink for fear of being poisoned. Johnnie and Lina continually dance around each other, talking but not talking, suspicious of each other but trying to cover it up. Finally Lina decides to visit her mother for a while to get away from everything, but while driving her there Johnnie is practically suicidal; he swerves like crazy on a scary mountain road, causing Lina’s door to fly open. Johnnie reaches over and Lina doesn’t know if it’s to pull her back into the car or to push her out completely.

In the end, Johnnie pulls her back and admits that he is suicidal, but not homicidal, and that he was going to kill himself after dropping Lina off at her mother’s. He then admits that that’s cowardly and wants to face all of his problems head-on, which Lina supports and she tells him that they’ll face it together.

Soooooo, yeah, I would say don’t marry someone that you just met. At least find out their employment situation first. Like a lot of movies we’ve seen, so many of the issues between Lina and Johnnie could have been resolved if they just talked to each other. Now, talking would not excuse all of Johnnie’s shitty behavior or anything, but Lina might not have thought he was trying to murder her. But then that’s another really good part about Suspicion: Lina is convinced that Johnnie is good and that he was not after her. But do we, as an audience, buy that too? The first time I saw this, I was convinced that Johnnie was terrible and was just making up the suicidal stuff to make Lina less suspicious. And I still think that; unsurprisingly age hasn’t exactly made me less cynical.