Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Movies to avoid: 500 Days of Summer, Spectacular Now, The Fault in Our Stars.

Last week I managed to watch "The Spectacular Now". It had gotten pretty good reviews overall and I also had read The Bitter Script Reader's rave about it. Naturally I had to give it a chance, not because I thought it would be a good film, but because my instincts told me it's a bad movie.

Now, the reason that I didn't have any high hopes for "The Spectacular Now" was because some months ago I had seen "500 Days of Summer". That movie was written by those same guys who also wrote "The Spectacular Now" too.

As you might know, "500 Days of Summer" had gotten great reviews and was a box office success. It was supposedly this great indie romantic comedy that would set the standard for future aspiring film makers. It was so fresh and original, they said.

The problem with "500 Days of Summer of course was that despite its success, it wasn't really a good movie at all. Even though it started off rather well, after I finished it, I had to admit to myself that the film made very little sense.

500 Days of Summer had huge problems with the story, the themes and its point of view. It was about a guy who loves a girl - who doesn't really love him back. An objective look at a subjective experience that the guy was having. 

That itself was pretty confusing already, but it got way worse. For example the writers had decided to play with the structure of the movie. Scenes were played in random order so that the so called smart (dumb) people wouldn't notice that the movie didn't have characters or a plot.

I couldn't believe how disappointing the movie was. The characters talked and nothing interesting happened. They just moved on from one scene to the next one. There was no conflict and there was no real growth.

So once I finally started watching "The Spectacular Now" - by the same writers - I already knew what to expect. The story would be severely undercooked, the characters wouldn't really make sense, the conflicts - if any - would be forced and the reactions would come out of nowhere.

In "Spectacular Now", the main character  meets a lovely girl and they start dating. How this movie differs from 500 Days of Summer is that instead of the girl not loving him back, this time the guy has an alcohol problem.

I wasn't really sure about this 'problem'. When I kept watching the movie,  it became pretty obvious that even though the guy has a drink in his hand in almost every scene - which I found to be pretty comical - he doesn't really seem to have a drinking problem.

This is what made the movie so bland. The whole gimmick was the non existing personal issue, so once we got to the last of third of the movie, none of the things that happened were organic. Most of the beats came out of nowhere, which made the movie so disappointing.

It simply wasn't believable how the main character got so freaked out over his dad's "problems". His reaction came out of nowhere and from that moment on the film made no sense. It just tried to follow the beat sheet - and failed.

Anyway, this still leaves us with "The Fault in Our Stars", a film that _again_ is written by the same guys who wrote these other two movies. This one is a well reviewed movie too that has done extremely well when it comes to the box office.

"The Fault in Our Stars" is a film that is again about a girl and boy who this time happen to be cancer patients. It is, not surprisingly, supposed to be some kind of a romantic comedy that will make you laugh and cry and will give you insight about life.

I haven't seen the movie yet but based on those other movies, I feel pretty strongly that there's no reason to watch "The Fault in Our Stars". I'm pretty sure that it's an uninspired film where the characters mostly talk, the story is underdeveloped and there's no conflict. It's just like those other two films.

In my opinion, the lack of raw writing talent on these films is just a bit too obvious and unfortunate - and based on some of the more critical reviews I've read, "The Fault in Our Stars" isn't any better or any different from "500 Days of Summer" or "The Spectacular Now".

It's pretty amazing that this is the best that Hollywood can do with romantic comedies. But I think it's even more amazing that someone in charge keeps hiring these clearly-not-that-talented guys over and over again.

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