Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Okay, so, I saw Twilight. Just to be clear, I totally swear that I really, truly am a guy, despite the fact that I do shit like this. Yes, I saw Twilight. No, I haven't read the books. No, I don't think Edward is particularly dreamy and I honestly couldn't even recognize him from Harry Potter, primarily because I hadn't paid any attention to his character (I can't remember if I was checking out Hermione or Cho during the fourth movie, but I assume it was one of them...for that matter, I didn't even see the fourth movie in theaters, so that was probably working against me as well).

Totally unrelated, a while ago I saw this indie British movie called, um, Cashback, I think. If it was called that, I don't know why it was called that. Anyways, the main character was this dude who was totally familiar but I couldn't quite place him for almost half the movie. All I knew was that his voice sounded really familiar. Anyways, to make a long story short, it was the guy who had played Oliver Wood in the first Harry Potter movie. If you recall, girls went nuts for this dude who had probably two lines and guys didn't even know who the girls were all talking about because they didn't realize they were supposed to be paying attention to him. So, yeah, I will admit that he has a pretty amazing British accent, which was actually how I managed to figure out it was him. Yeah, I'm not doing much to strengthen my case for me being a guy, am I? Not that the movie is related to anything at all, it was pretty good. Sort of like a good version of Art School Confidential, only it doesn't make fun of the art world (yeah, I said it, Art School Confidential is freaking pretentious even as it's making fun of all the pretentious people in the art world).

It's kind of weird (I'm still talking about Cashback, by the way) because it was a ways into the movie before I realized that the love interest was the love interest (she starts out as just another character and then suddenly we realize she's the love interest). It's weird because at this same point, she suddenly becomes kind of hot. Prior to that point, she's not, but then she is, even though I couldn't really see what changed besides his perspective of her. So, yeah, since we're seeing the world from his perspective, his opinion influences our own perception of the world he exists in. I think that's kind of cool.

Sorry about that, I really meant to talk about Twilight, I swear. Now, to be perfectly honest, I kind of had a good time. Okay, scratch that. I had a lot of fun watching Twilight. I certainly would not see it again and after someone attempted to summarize the plot of the sequel, I have to say I probably couldn't even be convinced to see that (the plot of the sequel was so inane that hearing it actually started to make me angry, it was pretty impressive). Of course, the reason I had a good time was because the movie is ridiculous. I spent a good 80% of the movie laughing. The parts that were meant to be funny were funny and the parts that weren't meant to be funny were typically significantly more funny (on other occasions, they were boring of course, which was less cool, but whatever).

The coolest thing, though, was that this movie had tons of characters that were familiar, to say the least. So, one game to play while watching the movie was simply: figure out what random semi-mainstream thing that actor has done in the past. It was fun. For example, Edward's "Mom" is this chick who was the star in a CBS comedy called The Ex List that was canceled after, like 5 episodes. Yes, I watched all 5 episodes (man, I'm totally failing at making even a semblance of an argument towards me being a guy).

Even better, both of the girl's friends at school had been in stuff I liked as well. The friend that looks like she should be a conniving bitch, but who turns out to be pretty cool was totally the love interest in a movie I raved about in February or something called Rocket Science (or something like that, look it up in the archives). In that movie, she played the classic unattainable love interest who is both smarter and more desirable than the main character could ever hope to be (and then she uses him for her own evil plans and it's awesome). In this one, she's just a random friend, though, but I like to think there was still an evil debate fiend lurking beneath the surface.

But, the familiar character who made me shriek like a little girl was none other than a young woman named Christian Serratos. Now, that name probably doesn't mean anything to you. And, lets be honest, it didn't mean anything to me either (until I saw it in the credits). But, oh did I recognize her. Yeah, so quite possibly my favorite live action Nickelodeon show that doesn't have anything to do with Dan Schneider (there's a post about him, check the archives) or kids named Pete, is called Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide. Actually, you know what? Ned's Declassified is my favorite live action Nickelodeon show, hands down.

It's not on the air anymore, but it was pretty hilarious (in fact, it's entire real airing time was while I was in college...which is kind of depressing, since I've seen the vast majority of the episodes). The concept sounds kind of lame: a semi-nerdy, but basically average looking kid named Ned and his two friends deal with typical school problems and give/receive advice about it along with healthy doses of humor along the way. The advice is boring, but the presentation of the problems and the silly solutions attempted (which typically are only vaguely influenced by the advice being provided) are very funny. So, yeah, I think it's one of the best kid's show's produced in that it manages to tell funny stories, presents real problems in funny ways, and makes a legitimate attempt to deal with them both seriously and comically. I can appreciate that. I would put it on par with Doug in terms of being an actually "good" show for kids.

Now, I bring this show up because Ned's love interest, of sorts, in the show is named Suzie Crabgrass (most of the side characters have joke names and her name, I think, comes from the fact that one of Ned's friends and her are always competing). And, well, she's kind of cute, and, yeah, you know how it goes. But, once the show was done and she was gone (although I never did get to see the finale episode, to my disappointment), I assumed I'd never see her again and didn't really worry about it. But then, to my shock and awe and amazement and supreme joy and excitement, she showed up as a random friend in Twilight! Did I mention that I shrieked like a stupid little fangirl? Oh, I did...then never mind. And, just for the record, she was totally amazing in Twilight (almost all my favorite laughs involved those two girls). And, the best news of all, she's 18, so it's technically okay for me to have a crush on her now (yay for me!).

Okay, after who knows how many paragraphs about things that are not really related to Twilight, or my thoughts on Twilight, I think I will actually start writing about Twilight (in case you were curious, part of the reason I'm wandering so much is because my mind was wandering while I was watching it too, so everything I've been typing is actually related to Twilight in that it's what I was thinking about while I was supposed to be watching the movie).

So, the first thing my brother said upon coming out of Twilight was that he thought it was weird that there was no explanation for why Kristen Stewart's character liked Edward. So, I imagine that's an observation that only a boy would have (of course, I'm not claiming that it occurred to me, so I can't use it as proof that I'm a guy). But, it's an interesting question to ask: what does she see in him? Especially at the start. I mean, I think once a cute guy has saved your life and in doing so given you a glimpse into a secret world that is much more exciting and interesting than the world you knew before (and risked his own reputation and safety in doing so), then most people are alright with using that as shorthand for, well, falling for the guy. Understandably so, I'm sure (yeah, like I know).

But, what does she see in him before then? It's certainly a question to ask. But, in truth, it's not supposed to even be asked. The assumption going into this movie is that Edward is desirable and any reasonable girl would be into him. I think guys, as an audience, have been trained to expect the male lead to prove himself to the girl (just as girls have been typically trained to expect guys to prove themselves to them), but this movie is different.

It's kind of like the beautiful girl in most movies, who ignores the main character or treats him like dirt as he tries to prove his worth to her. We don't question why he does that (okay, some of us do, because he's being stupid, but that's not the point, because it's an accepted plot/sub-plot, particularly from 80s teen comedies, but I imagine it's been around longer than that). In the same way, it's just assumed that he's good enough for her (but, she doesn't have to actually do anything to earn his affection either, which I suspect arises more from the wish fulfillment the book is peddling than from typical story conventions).

Possibly my favorite decision that was made in Twilight, though, was the decision to portray the other kids in school as super nice and welcoming people. I mean, who does that anymore? She's a new kid and everyone wants to be her friend!? That's ridiculous. Guys hit on her, girls ask for her opinions and welcome her into their group. And she...tolerates it. It's a cool decision. It makes her really unsympathetic, but I'm okay with that (I have to admit Kristen Stewart was cuter than they'd portrayed her in the ads...don't ask why that's relevant, but it is). She feels isolated and alone in this new town, but it's not because she actually is. It's because she's an adolescent. And I think that's kind of cool. That tells us a lot about her character (a lot more than the obnoxious narration, that's for sure) and, well, it tells us a lot about its audience as well (this is the character they identify with, for better or worse).

Let's see, those were the two things that really stuck out to me while watching it. Obviously, that whole baseball thing was kind of stupid and ridiculous, but no more so than anything else in the movie. And the pitcher was cute (but hadn't been in anything I'd seen before). So, in summary, I approve.

Also, I don't really understand why she wants to become a vampire. I know she'd get to spend forever with Edward and that would be so cool and awesome and stuff, but she should ask herself a very real and important question. If one of the main things about her that Edward finds so attractive is her smell, and becoming a vampire would get rid of that smell, then is it really worth the risk? I'm not sure it is. Tough call, in any case. Hopefully, he still wouldn't be able to read her mind, but if him turning her into a vampire got rid of that too, then she'd have to rely on her personality to please him for forever (and good luck with that, Missy, forever is a long-ass time...or long ass-time, I have no preference). So, yeah, she should really give it some hard thought because bugging him to just bite her already will probably get on his nerves (did I mention that it got on my nerves? I didn't? Oh, well, it did).

Well, I think that's all I have to say about Twilight. It was interesting. Even when it was stupid, and I can appreciate that, I think. It definitely didn't make me want to read the book, though. Also, if you're going to see a movie about a human and a vampire falling in love, then you should probably see this Swedish movie called Let the Right One In. It's better by a very large margin. On the other hand, it doesn't have Suzie Crabgrass (win some, you lose some). I don't want to get into it too deeply, but, well, it's a lot darker than Twilight (because, honestly, the kind of person that would actually fall in love with a vampire, is probably rather screwed up). It's also actually scary (crazy concept, I know).

Also, I keep meaning to watch The Lost Boys but I haven't gotten around to it yet, but I will soon. And then I'll be all vampire-d out (for a little while at least).

That is all.


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