RODEO AND JULIET (2015) WITH SUPER SPECIAL GUEST POST!!!

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Elizabeth

It’s hard to say what the biggest problem with Rodeo and Juliet is. Is it the immediate comparison to Romeo and Juliet, which it kind of follows and then gives up on? Is it the fact that you never get a clear understanding of the main characters’ ages? Is it that all of the main characters are distractingly ugly?

When we first meet Juliet, she is eating pizza (teenager?) and video chatting with her girlfriends (teenager?) and complaining about being forced to spend Christmas break (teenager? college?) with her mom. It’s also difficult to gauge Juliet’s age under the 10 pounds of makeup she constantly wears:

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Juliet’s mother, Karen, doesn’t make it easier to determine age. She dresses like a teenager but looks like she’s had some kind of work done to her face.

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Karen’s father, whom Juliet has never met, has just died and Karen is taking Juliet to Louisiana to collect her inheritance, mainly the “ranch” that Karen’s father worked so hard on it killed him. I’m from Louisiana, too, and found it hard to imagine exactly what kind of ranch they were talking about. All we ended up seeing was a house on a biggish piece of land and one horse. It doesn’t look or sound like a ranch but it was apparently enough of a ranch for Karen’s former love, Hugh, and his nephew, Monty, to work on apparently full-time. Hugh is mentioned a few times before we meet him, and I didn’t know what to expect. Some overly-rugged overly-handsome dude.

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That’s the dude causing all this inner-turmoil in Karen? And she lives in New York now? Uhh, well he apparently wasn’t worth even breaking up with when they were previously ENGAGED, so I think it’s safe to say that he’s not worth it (for both of them, really). Then at a “barn dance” Juliet meets Hugh’s nephew, Monty. Monty looks like a cartoon character and Juliet dresses overly sexy for . . . a . . . teenager? College student? Hmm . . .

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Karen finds out that Juliet and Monty have met and freaks out and forbids Juliet from seeing Monty again. Okay, so at this point JULIET meets a boy and his uncle whom when their names are together make MontyHugh which is a fucked up version of Montague, at a party and his forbidden to see him. INTERESTING! But she also meets a horse named Rodeo. So who is Juliet’s true love: Rod[m]eo or Monty[gue]?

Karen wants to sell Rodeo and Juliet fights to keep him. She starts secretly training with Monty to win a horse show with Rodeo, to win enough money to keep him. Karen finds out Hugh owns part of the ranch and keeps hating him. Juliet’s face gets harder to look at:

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Karen realizes she doesn’t hate Hugh, she loves him and has loved him all along! Juliet loses the horse competition but Karen, her cold bitch heart now full of love, lets her keep Rodeo anyway. She and Monty are told they are on demand on the horse circuit now, and so they all get to stay and be one big (slightly incestuous) family. So I guess . . . Juliet is not in high school? Or school of any kind? Or Karen just doesn’t give a shit and just wants Juliet to do whatever she needs to do to stay. Good thing it doesn’t matter!

I hated this movie. And I would never watch this without the motivation of company:

SUPER SPECIAL GUEST POST: MIKE WILDER OF https://waldersblog.wordpress.com/

First of all I want to say that it is an honor to be featured on Chris and Elizabeth’s wonderful blog. They are both wonderful people with interesting perspectives on cinema and I hope I don’t embarrass either of them but especially Elizabeth. Anyways here comes my take on Rodeo & Juliet!

I came into this movie expecting one of those stories where the stuck-up city girl goes to the country and, despite her shock at the way Real Americans live, falls in love with the hottest guy there. Instead it was exactly like that. This is a powerfully unoriginal movie full of unremarkable performances and plot points that are objectively uninteresting. But keep reading my review of it anyway please.

At the start of the film, Juliet (like from Shakespeare) has to go with her mom to the country for a little while to settle her grandfather’s estate. While they’re out in the country, she learns she is a naturally talented “barrel racer” and meets her hunky country boyfriend who helps her learn to ride. It’s a little bit like Star Wars Episode 1, I guess, with the horse as the podracer and Juliet as Anakin Skywalker: the talented youngster who makes the best of a bad situation by learning to race fast. Anyways, Anakin somehow learns to be one of the best “barrel racers” in the area in like two weeks and goes to the Big Local Competition where she goes head to head with the defending champ. She loses.

Besides the horse sports story line, the central conflict here is that Juliet and her mom might not be able to sell the ranch that kind of belongs to them. They can’t sell it because they don’t have Juliet’s grandfather’s will. BUT the will might be out there somewhere. Every time the will comes up, everybody starts talking about how they haven’t found it but it might exist. This really happens so much throughout. My favorite part of the whole movie was when they finally found the will and everybody had to shut da fuck up about it. Anyways, the will said that Juliet’s mom had to split the ranch with her ex-lover and so they fell back in love and got engaged and (miracle of miracles!) Juliet’s boyfriend is that guy’s nephew/son so they have a perfectly efficient Family Romance Unit! There’s also something about how Juliet and her mother have things they are avoiding in New York, but selling the ranch and falling in love are clearly the important things here.

At the end of the movie, after 90 minutes of things that didn’t really matter at all have happened, Juliet and her mom don’t have to go back to New York. Which is a relief even though that’s where they live. The viewer is left to assume that Juliet and her mother didn’t have any relationships in New York worth maintaining. I guess they just turned their two-week trip into a new life with their new boyfriend/husband combo who are, once again, essentially a father/son combo. Makes sense.  Good movie. Really really good. I strongly recommend this movie. Especially if a horse once kicked you in the head so hard it made you like bad movies about horses but you don’t want to shell out $2.99 to rent War Horse on iTunes.

Christopher

It’s an honor to have a guest reviewer on our blog today. It can be a difficult duty watching these terrible movies and it’s nice when you know another person is going through the same experience as you. Mike also has his own movie blog so you should absolutely check that out right after you read this. 

After watching The Longest Ride, still one of my favorite terrible romance movies we’ve seen, I’ve been interested in love on the ranch. Though there isn’t an attractive person in sight, Rodeo & Juliet was pretty engaging to me throughout 88 minutes.

It’s very apparent that this movie was on a very low budget but nothing said it more than the insane makeup of the main character. There were many moments in the film where it was almost hard to watch her on screen. I feel like the closest I’ve ever come to that before was when I saw Pink Flamingos with my roommates in college. But what’s also distracting is how much older she looks than what I assume the character is supposed to be. She is upset that her mom has to take care of the legal issues surrounding her father’s ranch. This means she has to live in the middle of nowhere indefinitely with her mother. No cell service, yuck. No internet, unfair! Just on her own. But luckily within days there she ends up loving the ranch and wants to ride her grandfather’s horse, Rodeo, in a barrel race. And yes, the horse is called Rodeo. I wonder is this movie helped inspire Travi$ Scott.

When the mom is dealing with the deed of her father’s ranch we meet the town judge. Or some old guy that runs a business out of his home and it’s slightly cluttered but only in the sense that what did clutter the office was only what the producers of the film could find around set. The house the mother and Juliet live in is also very bare and eerie. Did the grandfather need such a giant house if he only had a few belongings? And going with the theme of this movie feeling cheap the audio is very distracting. In multiple scenes the white noise level jumps all over the place depending on who’s talking. It reminds me of freshman film classes at SCAD.

Another frustrating part of the film is the ranch itself. We know the mom wants the land. We know that the mom’s love interest wants the land because he spent most of his life riding with the grandfather and working the ranch. But we never really see the ranch. Is it just the house? At one point they say it makes money. How does it make money? It’s very vague. It’s similar to Tyler Perry films trying to talk about law. It’s just a bunch of very generic terms.

This movie has some bad acting. The two male love interests are the obvious ones. But Rodeo & Juliet gives us lines like this: “Everything looks accurate,” said by a DMV notary documenting a supposed agreement with the grandfather that he owned all the land. And before Juliet starts the barrel race in the not-so-climactic end, Juliet says to Rodeo, “So don’t lose.” Ohhhh how charming she’s just a silly quirky high school adult? Actors such as Juliet’s love interest Monty, mumbles most of the film. When I fist became obsessed with Bob Dylan my mom made fun of a part in “Talkin’ World War II Blues” where he kind of mumbles and doesn’t complete a sentence. While I think it’s perfect and has a purpose in the Dylan song it doesn’t work when people mumble and don’t enunciate most of their lines throughout Rodeo & Juliet.
Anyway, this was fun to watch but I wouldn’t really recommended it to anyone. Instead go see Vampire’s Kiss.
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