Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Walk To Remember.


A Walk To Remember (Adam Shankman, 2002) 

Today's post features a guest take from American Studies enthusiast and FOTB Katie Ross. Hilariously, this is the only movie at which she has really cried. Feel free to ridicule her on the street for that.

Also, stay tuned for an important blog announcement at the end of this post, if you somehow make it to the end of this post.

Category: Sparks. This is the fourth of the six Sparks films that I have covered for the blog. The first three were all over the map. We’ve gone from awfully entertaining, to entertainingly awful, to just awful. I don’t know where we go from here.

Aside from being a sad film about memorable walks, I hear that this is a sad movie about sick teenagers. We’ve done sick kids, sick adults, sick geriatrics: all tragic in their own way, of course, but I have a feeling this category will lend itself to a really high level of angst. Because let’s face it: healthy teens have plenty of angst as it is. Throw in a dash of cancer, and you can just hear the Dawson’s Creek song playing on repeat. Lots of feelings in play.

My familiarity with this issue: I know plenty about doomed teen romances. In my experience, they were doomed because the girl didn’t know my name, or had an actual boyfriend. None of them had cancer, though. It is tough for me to relate to this stuff, as the worst disease anyone at my high school had was diabetes.

I’m not very familiar with Mandy Moore, and I think that’s fair. She burst on to the scene in the late 90s/early 00s, overshadowed by Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Jessica Simpson in the “teen girl pop sensation” department. I don’t think I could name one of her songs besides “Candy,” which I remember being terrible. Her film career was slightly more successful. She’s well-known for dating a bunch of famous men, like Andy Roddick and Zach Braff and Ryan Adams, to whom she is now (hilariously) married. (This is the same Ryan Adams who has had people kicked out of his concerts when they cheekily requested “Summer of ‘69.” And now he’s married to the star of How to Deal.)

As for my familiarity with the movie/its ending: I basically know how it ends, but I don’t know anything else of significance about the movie. (I do have on good authority that the music of Switchfoot is featured prominently in the film. As a long-standing fan of the ‘foot, I can scarcely contain my excitement.) As for the whole teen romance angle, since it’s a Sparks film, it can go one of two ways: (1) the girl is rich, the guy is poor, and the girl’s family thinks she’s too good for him, or (2) the guy is rich, the girl is poor, and the guy’s family thinks she’s too good for him. Draaaaama!

Plot summary yoinked from IMDb: “In a coastal North Carolinian small town in the mid 1990's, a boy from the popular but troubled undirected group of students gets busted, and for punishment, you guessed it, has to do community service activities which include the high school's spring play. This throws him in with the minister's daughter, you guessed it, the mousy seemingly awkward yet beautiful girl with an angelic heart, and she sings too. They grow hesitantly closer than their previous adversarial relationship as old bonds are tested and new awarenesses are inspired.” “YOU GUESSED IT.” Don’t act like you’re better than the plot summary thing, Scott from Milwaukee.

What FOTB Katie Ross thought of the movie: I would not say that I am a crier in movies. As local film minor/connoisseur [Editor’s Note: #getout] and FOTB Micah Lubens astutely pointed out, crying in a movie is perfectly acceptable, as it “only proves that you have empathy and are therefore human.” I agree with this. However, I believe there is a difference between getting a little misty-eyed in a Pixar flick, and bawling your eyes out in a theater full of strangers. Although I often get a little choked up in sad movies, the only movie that I can remember sobbing openly for many minutes to in a crowded(ish) theater is A Walk to Remember.

After re-watching the movie this weekend with John, I have come to the conclusion that my overly emotional reaction to this movie was not a cause of the beautifully written story, or the superb acting (unless I was crying because I had shoved a sharp pencil in my eye), but because of the “wait, CANCER?!” reaction. A very important part of my experience with this movie is that I had absolutely NO clue what I was seeing when I sat down in the theater. It could have been a trashy teen movie about a walk of shame for all I knew. [Editor’s Note: brb writing that movie now and calling it A Walk to Forget.] And it starts just like EVERY other high school romantic comedy. Plot: cool kids are really mean, particularly to this one nerdy hot girl (for seemingly no reason) who apparently no one can tell is hot (mind-boggling). The bad boy falls for nerdy girl and they have their summer fling. How that movie is supposed to end is one of them goes to college on the East Coast and one on the West, and they are sad because it has to end. But in this twisted version, instead of college ending it all, the nerdy religious girl has CANCER.

The scene where Jamie (Mandy Moore) tells Landon (Shane West) about it is filmed in a way that basically slaps the audience across the face with it. Jamie and Landon are walking down Main Street together (probs where the title comes from) and they turn the corner down this deserted road and all of a sudden, BAM she has cancer. There are zero signs throughout the movie that she is even a little bit sick. Despite the first hour and fifteen minutes of the movie seeming like it is in slow motion and dragging on for centuries, the cancer bit is on fast forward. There is no thought put into establishing how much time has passed, and the next thing you know they are getting married. She seems to die two or so days afterwards, and then the movie is over.

So yeah, I cried. I fell for Sparks's cheap ploy for getting his audience to taste his sad. Whatever. It just proves that I have empathy and am therefore human. Yup.

What I thought of the movie: Ugh. It’s just so lazy. As Katie points out, this opposites attract thing has been done in just about every movie about high school romances, and I guess that makes sense: in theory, these couplings should be far more interesting than ones involving members of the same clique. (Popular kids get together in high school all the time, and it always ends the same way: in tears at the abortion clinic.) The problem is that it’s been done so many times by this point that it’s not interesting anymore. Plus, in this movie, we’ve got a bunch of hackneyed Sparks themes on top of all the other clichés. Sure, there are dashes of crazy here and there which I’m happy to deconstruct for all of you. But there’s very little that was original about the movie at all, and what's more, the movie didn't really seem to want to make us care about it in any authentic way.

I won't go through the entire plot, partially because any one of us could have basically written this thing. Shane West, the bad boy, is up to some hijinks, so to punish him, the principal makes him tutor underprivileged kids (which seems like a dumb idea, considering the fact that he’s almost certainly a terrible student), help out the janitorial staff, and help out with the school play. Except “help out,” for some reason that is not even remotely explained, quickly becomes “read the lead role in the first rehearsal.” OK fine, trying to get the new kid involved. He's uninterested and reads it poorly, and everyone's had their fun. Maybe he can help building the sets or being on the run crew or wait what, they just GIVE HIM the lead role?! What? I can just imagine the poor gay kid who was in line for that role getting very upset about this. There'd also probably be tense Board of Education meetings filled with shouting parents over this (at least on Long Island there would be). But in this movie everyone just accepts it.

We really should talk about the play for a second, because it is twelve different kinds of ridiculous. It’s an original musical, with music and lyrics written by Mandy Moore’s character, set in the ‘20s, and it features Shane West as the tough gangster and Mandy Moore as the glamorous nightclub singer. That’s all we learn about the plot of the show. During the performance, we see Shane West mumble all his lines (PROJECT, Shane, PROJECT). The biggest question I have is: if it’s a musical, and Shane West is playing the lead, wouldn’t he sing in it? We don’t see him sing at all, nor do we have any indication that he can sing, or is learning how to sing, or anything like that. We only see one song (which, hilariously, is actually a song by Switchfoot interpreted in the play by Mandy Moore; if Switchfoot had any credibility, this scene would have surely destroyed it), but we know that Shane West has a lot of lines, and that it is a musical, and usually musicals have more than one song, and the lead characters usually... you know what, I give up. Whatever. It’s a musical with one song and no plot. Let’s move on.

So let’s talk about preacher’s daughter/bangs enthusiast Mandy Moore, who as Katie notes is inexplicably and consistently mocked by the popular crowd, including Shane West, who does so less viciously the other kids (because of his sensitive side). She lets it roll off her back, though, because Jesus is her co-pilot. Shane and Mandy are forced to interact with each other what with the tutoring and the play. They develop something like a friendship (although there is the requisite scene where he pretends to not really be friends with her in order to save face in front of the cool kids) and engage in semi-philosophical conversations about vaguely Christian topics. Shane’s more cynical about life than Mandy, which really doesn’t make any sense considering (a) that her mom apparently has died, and (b) the cancer-stricken elephant in the room. But she’s not intimidated by his bad boy side or his general doofishness, and spunkily tells him all about her bucket list (the urgency of which is not yet clear to the audience). 

Inevitably, he falls in love with her; incredibly, he does so DURING the play, when she’s wearing her slinky nightclub dress, and her hair is all done up, and he looks at her while she’s singing her Switchfoot song and realizes that she’s actually super-hot. (That certainly helps when you're falling in love with a loser.) Didn’t they have a dress rehearsal for this show? Didn’t he see her backstage beforehand? After the play, there are the standard obstacles to them getting together. The cool kids disapprove, her father the preacher isn’t keen on it, etc. (By the way, the preacher is the only character in the movie with a Southern accent, even though I think it’s set in North Carolina. That's because it's a rule in movies that angry Christian preachers must have Southern accents.) They go out to dinner and dance (even though he says he literally doesn’t know how to dance was there no choreography in this musical?), and he helps her accomplish some of the things on her list; most vomit-inducingly, “being in two places at once” (she straddles the state line and is thus in two states at once, CLEVER). 

And then, as Katie puts it, BAM she has cancer. She’s mad that he fell in love with her (even though she specifically asked him not to earlier in the film, in a line that caused me to suffer an eye injury due to excessive rolling), because, as she says, “I do not need a reason to be angry with God.” Not to put too fine a point on it, but doesn’t she have, like, several reasons already? She’s eighteen and has never done anything wrong in her entire life. But this movie is very Christian, so no one says that out loud. In the last few months of her life, he helps her cross off the last few things from her bucket list. He builds a telescope that looks like a giant pill bottle, and marries her in the church where her mom was married, and then she dies. It’s par for the course in the sadness department as compared to the other Sparkses, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But as Katie pointed out, it's all very abrupt and feels tacked-on to a movie that is otherwise very deliberate in its badness. Weird.

How I, John Krizel, related to this movie: All that theater stuff kept me engaged, as you can tell. The thing is that Shane West is not a good actor, as evidenced by the fact that he has not been in anything else of note since this movie (no, I did not forget about The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen). So he’s convincing in the early theater scenes, when he’s supposed to be bad. But then after the play, everyone says, "Wow, you were amazing, we had no idea!" And maybe they're like regular theater people who say nice things to your face but then talk shit behind your back. But I feel like the movie is too nice for that and wants us to believe that he actually WAS good. So that’s awkward.

I found it interesting that, since the TQ (tripe quotient) was heavily skewed toward teen-movie and vague Christian themes, there was precious little room for Sparks’s usual treacle. There’s an almost entirely unnecessary subplot about Shane’s relationship with his estranged father, which is classic Sparks. But the best thing in the movie is that every now and then, there are brief, random shots of the water, boats on docks and all that, for no reason. They have no significance to the story at all. Shane and Mandy never go on a boat. They don’t really walk by the water. Most of their walking is done through a graveyard (FORESHADOWING) to where her telescope has a good view or whatever. It seems to me that they are only in the movie to reflect what I’m sure were many, many descriptions of water in the book. I imagine Sparks seeing a rough cut of the movie without the water shots and saying, “Listen, it’s great, but can you add more shots of the water? It’s kind of a theme.”

There is one line in the movie that I actually really liked. On their first date, Shane says to Mandy, “I might kiss you,” to which Mandy responds, “I might be bad at it.” That felt authentic to me. It’s a big concern for people who have never kissed before, and occasionally a recurring concern for people in their mid-twenties, I hear. So that was actually very nice, and even made me smile a bit. And then Shane says, “That’s not possible,” and I got mad again. Of course it’s possible! People can be really bad at kissing! What if she bit your face? Ughhhh.

How I felt after the movie ended: I had to console Katie for a good twenty minutes. No that’s not true. She was fine this time. I was actually quite chuffed at the end of the film, because I totally called one of the last lines. Mandy’s ambition, according to her yearbook, was to witness a miracle. The epilogue of the film features Shane visiting the preacher four years after her death, and Shane says, “I’m sorry she never got her miracle.” I said, “Yes she did. It was you,” right before the preacher did. Maybe you had to be there.

The movie has taught me one thing, though: always beware of the sudden cancer revelation. Usually when someone stops to tell me something serious, it's that my fly is open. But now I'm on high alert. Both for my fly being open and for my close friends having cancer.

BLOG ANNOUNCEMENT: This presupposes that (a) any of you care whether or not I update this blog at all and (b) you are not one of the handful of people I’ve already mentioned this to. (Both of which are pretty presumptuous assumptions.) The blog will be taking a hiatus for a while. At least a month or so. (That sound you just heard was all the FsOTB heaving a sigh of relief.)

Further presupposing that any of you care why I’ve made this announcement: I have been writing this blog with varying degrees of regularity for eight months. It’s safe to say I’m a little burned out. I think it’ll serve the blog well to shut down and retool for a little while, and come back with a fresh perspective.

So. There’s that. Thanks for reading, everyone. I’ll see you on the other side.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sweet November.

Sweet November (Pat O’Connor, 2001)

You asked for it, team. It’s the winner of the first ever Taste My Sad poll! All this was actually super dramatic: as FOTB Pat Ambrosio said, “This was Keanu's greatest comeback since the 4th quarter of that game against Dallas in The Replacements.” (Pain heals. Chicks dig scars.) The tiebreaking vote was cast by FOTB Steve Isaac with just two minutes left! Here is his reaction to this event:

Steve: IM SO HUNGRY
ALL MY FOOD IS REAL FOOD
OR TWIZZLERS

Truly a memorable moment.

Category: Sad Keanu Reeves film. Cheer up, Keanu! (More of these to come, by the way. The FsOTB are CLAMORING for more Keanu coverage.)

Obviously, Sweet November can be classified as a sad month-related movie. Thanksgiving notwithstanding, November is generally a pretty sad month. Autumn is one of the better seasons, in my view, and November is when it starts to wrap up and get nippy out. And I hate things that are nippy: chilly weather, pesky dogs, joints or blunts that contain three parts high-quality marijuana and one part pure rock cocaine. (Nippies destroyed Whitney and Bobby’s marriage!) Also, as noted in the blog poll post, Sweet November features Charlize Theron as a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Sad MPDG films are generally more rare than happy MPDG films, as the whole point of the MPDG is to make things happy and unpredictable. (And dreamy.) But sometimes the MPDG is so carefree because she’s hiding a deep dark secret, which is almost always cancer. Let’s see if that’s the case in this film.

My familiarity with this issue: As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “People love lists.” Here, then, for no other reason, is a list of my favorite things that include the names of the months:
  • January Jones. Ohhhhh Betty.
  • There’s really very little out there for February. Which makes sense: so short, so unsure of how many days it has. It even made Don McLean shiver! What a terrible month. Febtober is much better.
  • John Philip Sousa, the March King. The original Toby Keith. Except Sousa was (presumably) less racist.
  • April from “Parks and Recreation.” A close second is the song “April Come She Will” by Simon & Garfunkel, which was the song they used when she and Andy got married! #connections #awwwwwwwww
  • Brian May, guitarist for Queen/ASTROPHYSICIST. That’s extraordinarily impressive. Let’s see Stephen Hawking play the solo from “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
  • Junebug, featuring an Oscar-nominated Amy Adams before she was real famous. Highly recommended/SAD.
  • “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)” by Bruce Springsteen. Makes me want to learn the accordion, and visit the pre-reality show Jersey shore.
  • Pernilla August, the actress who played the Virgin Mary Shmi Skywalker in the Star Wars prequels. Say what you will about the overall quality of the prequels, but the scene in which Shmi explains Anakin’s miraculous midichlorian-assisted birth is just top-notch cinema.
  • “September” by Earth, Wind and Fire. A go-to song for wedding/bar mitzvah DJs. (Not THE go-to song, though. Stay tuned.)
  • October Sky. This is one of my all-time favorite movies. This film accounts for the vast majority of the “love” portion of my love-hate relationship with the state of West Virginia. So good.
  • “November Rain” by Guns N’ Roses. That solo’s really long, but it’s a pretty song.
  • “December 1963 (Oh What A Night)” by the Four Seasons. THE go-to song, for anyone worth their salt in the DJing game.
That was worthwhile.

The MPDG thing is not my favorite, of course, as I value realism (and people being unaware of each other’s true identities) in my romantic films. I’ve met many girls who are very nice and sweet, even manic, but I’ve never once felt as if they were created to “teach broodingly soulful young men [i.e., me] to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.” I’m no feminist, but I can’t help but feel that the concept is inherently insulting to women, who can do so many more things than teach men about life (cooking and having children, to name but two). And it’s insulting to men, who are perfectly capable of embracing life and its infinite etc. on their own. Or with realistic, unmanic girls.

Plot summary yoinked from IMDb: “Nelson is a man devoted to his advertising career in San Francisco. One day, while taking a driving test at the DMV, he meets Sara. She is very different from the other women in his life. Nelson causes her to miss out on taking the test and later that day she tracks him down. One thing leads to another and Nelson ends up living with her through a November that will change his life forever.”

What I thought about the movie: I didn’t even get thirty seconds into this shit before saying, aloud, to myself, “Oh God it’s gonna be one of those movies.” And even then I had no idea.

The movie opens with Keanu doing the do with Lauren Graham as his alarm goes off at 7 AM, then arising (in the nude), showering and grunting pump-up mantras to himself: “Top dog, big dog, bad dog.” I just want you all to take a second and picture a naked Keanu Reeves pacing around his fancy apartment muttering to himself. Imagine you're seeing this movie on a date, just settling down into your seats before it starts, and then BOOM. That. And not only that: after his shower, he picks up a remote control and turns on the ten television sets in his kitchen all at once, while also calling his deputy (played by That Guy from Ally McBeal) and barking out commands about some account at his Important Advertising Job, while also Lauren Graham exhorts him to slow down and stop working so hard so they can Talk About Us. It was ten minutes before I remembered who I was and what I was doing. This movie blindsides you with crazy.

We learn that Keanu is a sort of modern-day Don Draper, except without all the awesomeness. As such, he has to go to the DMV to take a written exam to keep his driver’s license. Which really shouldn’t be that hard of a test, all things considered. But for Keanu, it’s so hard that, just seconds into the test, he tries to get Charlize Theron (who had shuffled into the test room holding bagfuls of groceries that she immediately spilled all over the floor, which is totally not a cliché) to help him cheat. It’s not the LSATs, Chuck. The red octagon is a stop sign. And so obviously the proctor catches this and dismisses her for cheating. Not him, just her. First of all, what is this, middle school? I half-expected the other scofflaws to go “ooooooo” as she walked up to the front of the room. Second of all, she does not say, “hey, this haircut over here tried to cheat off my test, which is ridiculous because not only is this a driving test, but it was a TRUE/FALSE question, so why don't you kick him out.” 

But this is all because she has a secret plan: to stalk him and guilt him into driving her to break into this building and steal a bunch of puppies wait seriously what is going on in this movie. (The tossed-off explanation has something to do with cruel animal experiments. This incident is not mentioned again in the movie. I am serious.) 

Without really batting an eye, he drives her home post-robbery. She discerns that his singular devotion to his work is unhealthy, and says, as if reading from the MPDG Wikipedia page: “I have a gift, a special ability to help men with problems.” So she offers to have him move in with her for one month so she can do so. He declines, as is the natural reaction to an unstable criminal propositioning you.

But wait now, here’s the other thing: Keanu is actually spectacularly bad at his job. His pitch to the Dr. Diggity Dog hot dog company was like drunk Don Draper plus petulant bitchfaced Pete Campbell multiplied by Freddy “The Pants-Wetting Drunk” Rumsen in its flagrant awfulness, and his crazy reaction to the hot dog folks’ understandable rejection of the pitch gets him fired. (Lauren Graham leaves him too, which was to be expected.) And so he’s more amenable the second time around to Charlize’s crazy advances. He’s kind of rapey, at first, and when she tells him to slow down he freaks out and leaves, but then comes back. It’s a largely pointless sequence, and actually pretty creepy.

So the conceit here is that she has a different guy every month that she “fixes,” and he is her (sweet) November. The slutty nature of this arrangement aside, there are a lot of questions here. At what point in each month does she start scouting for new dudes? Does she have a Rolodex of possibilities? What if she meets someone on, say, the tenth of the month, and he wants to start right away? Does she make him wait three weeks? Does she do the same stuff with them every month? She eventually answers some of these questions, but the point is that it’s a dumb, unrealistic, stupid gimmick, the kind of thing that makes people hate romantic comedies.

Oh also: the kid from Stepmom is in this. Because of course he is. He plays (Li’l) Abner, an outcast who gets made fun by the other kids of at a remote control boat race (which is weird, as the bullies are themselves taking part in a remote control boat race). This scene is really dumb too, by the way, because Keanu decided to bribe a guy with a magnetic submarine (?) to help him cheat and let Abner win. The point is that Keanu still has much to learn about being virtuous from Charlize, no matter how good his intentions are and all that, but it’s just dumb. Abner shows up a few more times later in the film, for about as little reason as he showed up in this scene.

So now at this point in the movie, we're asked to forget about the fact that Keanu sucks and Charlize is crazypants, and just accept the fact that they get along like two peas in a completely ludicrous and unbelievable pod. And this is when the movie gets boring: it settles into him falling in love with her and her having cancer (KNEW IT) and not telling him. (Of course this means that she has that kind of cancer that only exists in the movies, where you can run around and go crazy and not show any symptoms until the plot requires you to.) They fill time with a subplot about Lucius Malfoy Jason Isaacs, the downstairs neighbor who is also a transvestite. (Keanu is really weirded out by this, despite the fact that he lives in SAN FRANCISCO.) Keanu tries to get a job again, but then doesn't because of his new principles and non-workaholic status. The movie presents us with a strange dichotomy: basically, that you can either have a job or have a girlfriend. Clearly it favors the latter, as if the only happy people out there are attached and homeless.

So Keanu fully rejects his former life as a successful person and asks her to marry him, and she says no, what with her stupid rules and concealed cancer. He finally finds out about her secret cabinet of cancer pill bottles, which she then throws at him angrily, because, I don't know, he wasn’t supposed to find out? Either way, don't do that! It's important to keep those pill bottles organized! The whole thing is pretty selfish of someone who, for the entire movie, claims to be doing this all for his benefit. It's a facet of the movie, like many others, that fails to make sense when you think about it for more than three seconds. The movie tries to explain this away in a scene where Keanu talks to Tranny Lucius Malfoy at a bar about all of it, but it still doesn’t work. (By the way, you guys should come see my new glam-thrash-Britpop fusion trio, Tranny Lucius Malfoy. We’re performing at Lezkaban next Friday.)

If I cared at all about the actual characters in this ludicrous movie, I would probably have been really, really mad at how it ended. Basically, the movie acquiesces to her stupid life philosophy: even though he loves her and does all kinds of nice things to try to change her mind, he’s not allowed to be with her as she dies because his month is up. (Technically she’s going to see her family, who she hasn’t seen in forever, or something, and she's not just starting a new month with a new random dude.) But of course the ending doesn’t really matter. At heart this is a movie about people keeping arbitrary secrets and setting arbitrary rules, and so I wasn't really invested in any of it. But good Lord was it crazy.

How I, John Krizel, related to this movie: There is a scene in this movie where Keanu Reeves sprints on a treadmill while watching his ten televisions at once, all of which seem to be playing a bunch of different commercials on a loop. None of them are showing any actual programming. I watched this part three times. I was completely transfixed. I really don't know what else to say about it right now, except that it changed my life.

That’s not the only thing in the movie that's ludicrous and ill-conceived. The song “Only Time” by Enya is played TWICE. TWO TIMES. Keanu Reeves is asked to deliver the line, “You’re a very sexy, smart, interesting, somewhat unusual woman.” (The dialogue in this movie is unreal, by the way.) There is a scene in which Charlize, who by the way has INCURABLE CANCER, runs around on a beach with a bunch of dogs and does CARTWHEELS. I could go on and on with this, and yet the last forty-five minutes just about put me to sleep. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie vacillate so violently between insanity and banality.

How I felt after the movie ended: At the beginning of the movie, we are presented with two main characters: one who is thoroughly unlikable and the other who is borderline mentally ill. (MR F.) But the characters in the movie, for the most part, don’t worry about that. It’s one of those movies where characters grant the premise WAY too easily. The phrase “you’re actually serious about this, aren’t you?” is uttered. Not, “get away from me you freak, I’m calling the police,” which would be the more realistic reaction to nearly everything that Charlize does in the first half hour of the movie.

Charlize’s dumb rationale for leaving him at the end of the film is as follows: “All we have is how you remember me.” It’s true of my relationship with this movie, too. If I hadn’t written all of this down during the movie, I might have forgotten about how awesomely weird/awful the beginning of the movie was. Thankfully I did. And so my lasting memory of Sweet November will not be the really dumb ending, but rather Keanu running on that treadmill, staring at those ten TVs, at once embodying utter nonsense and complete epistemological Truth. Whoa.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Blog Poll #1.

NEW THING: While sifting through the Netflix Instant Watch "Tearjerkers" section for possible blog material, I came across two films that caught my eye: Autumn In New York, a 2000 film starring Richard Gere and Winona Ryder, and Sweet November, a 2001 film starring Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron. For as long as I can remember, I have not been able to tell these two movies apart. Their titles are similarly autumnal (one more directly so than the other, but still). They came out at around the same time. From what I understand, both films have similar plots, feature Manic Pixie Dream Girls, and are sad. They are also both probably terrible.

I intend to watch one of these two films this week for the blog (I'll probably watch the other one in a few weeks or so), and seeing as how I cannot distinguish between the two, I figured I'd leave it up to you, the readers. So please take the poll at right. I arbitrarily set the deadline for the poll for Wednesday, May 4, at 11:59 PM. After you decide, I'll do my best to watch it Thursday and have my post ready for all of you to read on Friday. (Although if my previous attempts at setting time-sensitive goals for this blog are any indication, I will have my post ready for all of you to read sometime next year.) 

I'd also love it if you explained your choice in the comments! So do some research, check out the Wikipedia links above, then go ahead and intelligently defend your violent hatred of either known shoplifter Winona Ryder, or known simpleton Keanu Reeves. Or both. 

Thanks!