Imagine you've come off of a lllooonnnggg week of work, and you and a group of friends are ready see the newest flick. You go through great lengths to look great for this night, because you've been anticipating it since Monday.
It's Friday night. You're in the theater with your crew, and your buddy- the one whose lame re-telling of the Funny or Die jokes automatically renders them unfunny- is in the middle of telling the dumbest joke of the week, and you're silently praying that God will send a quick little natural disaster his way. Nothing serious. Maybe he'll remember that he forgot to put extra butter on his popcorn. Tragedy. God does you one better. He says, "Let there be darkness", and the house lights go down. Then, something strange happens: instead of being all kinds of amazing, as the trailer suggested, the film leaves you in a state of disgust. You can't believe you just sat through that when you clearly could have had a V8. And that, my friends, is what I call the sucker-punch. The movie sets you up for a good time and leaves you feeling cheap and used.
Melodramatic? Maybe. But in these high-stress, low-income times, people really don't have money to throw at the movie industry for no good reason. The sucker-punch is a cheap shot that Hollywood seems to be using as a go-to move. The worst part is that we don't even see it coming. Here are three films that hit America with a quick left hook from far left field this past year:
- True Grit...I can't even go through this one again. The exaltation True Grit received this past season truly baffles me. See here for more. I just can't.
- Unstoppable... I really LOVE Denzel. He's one of the most talented and convincing actors of his time, your time, and mine. I didn't even review this film out of respect for Mr. Washington. I guess it's really hard to make a movie about a speeding train interesting for long. The tension falters at some point, and, in this case, the rest of the movie goes with it.
- The Black Swan I know what you're thinking: "Wait, I thought you loved Natalie Portman in this film!" And I did! If she's not an actual psycho, she did a great job of portraying one! I get the genius behind this movie, I really do, but I found it to be made exponentially cheaper by the fact that Nina (Portman's character) was certifiably insane for the entire movie. This is an example of how a film's highest point (man vs self) is also its lowest, because the character's problems are caused by severe multiple personality disorder mixed with some bi-polarism and delusion. It's just too much crazy, and it took away from my ability and desire to connect with Nina on a level that surpassed a mental institution recommendation.
I have seen some other movies that were nice surprises, namely Inception. This weekend's The Adjustment Bureau reminds me of that film, not because of the subject matter but because it looks like a good movie with the misfortune of a terrible trailer. I guess, we shall see.
Until the next scene,