Tag Archives: twilight

Beyond Twilight: Victimization of Women in Twilight Fanfiction

True story: I’ve written Twilight fanfiction.

I am the first in line to criticize the plot, characterizations and anti-feminist nature of Twilight.  I read the books while bored working in security, and treat the movies as a soap opera akin to Passions, creating drinking games for home viewings.  I’m far more enamoured with Alice than Edward.  It was my love of Alice – and anger at how Meyer shortchanged the character’s back-story – that led to my first fanfiction in the fandom.  This in turn led to a random midnight musing of “What if the characters were in Empire Records?” and then, a one-shot that blew up to become an intricate examination of mental illness, and ultimately a revival of my original fiction writing.

You see, many fanfiction writers create their stories as a means of testing their skills, toying with a plot idea in a way that yields ample feedback, or simply amusing self and others “in on the joke”.  I read fanfiction from multiple fandoms because I appreciate a good tale in any form.  There are true talents in the fanfiction world, and I wish them well in original pursuits.

In discussing fanfiction based on Twilight as of late, a somewhat disturbing trend emerged that sparked a broader discussion.  Specifically, several of us commented on the now-prominent trope of “Victim-ella”:  a Bella that is battered/abused/raped as a key plot feature.  Why the rampant storylines of this nature, we wondered.  Were writers channeling their personal experiences, going for shock value, or romanticizing violence against women?

For me, to understand the phenomenon, there are two angles to appreciate.  First, the canon story and characters of Meyer’s series are a breeding ground for victims.  Consider the Cullen women and their back-stories:  Rosalie Hale is gang-raped and left for dead when Carlisle finds her and turns her; Alice Brandon is committed to an asylum, abandoned by her family after realizing her father has hired an assassin to kill her, and stalked by James; Esme Evenson is beaten by her husband, and eventually attempts suicide when her infant child dies.  Happy beginnings, huh?

As for Bella Swan, she is nearly gang-raped (rescued by Edward in Port Angeles), stalked and nearly killed by James (again rescued by Edward), must become a vampire or be killed by the Volturi, deals with Jacob forcing his advances on her (with her father congratulating him for going for her), is stalked by an army of baby vampires and a vengeful Victoria, and is the key player in a war bent on killing her daughter and imprisoning her and her family.  Did I mention the fact that Edward creeps her, makes her decisions for her, leaves her to protect her and manipulates her friendships and relationships?  I mean, he offers Jacob as a sexy baby-making playmate to convince her to abort Nessie!

At the same time, Bella has an unhealthy approach to their relationship. Edward is her life, period. She has no real interests or hobbies outside of him once she has him. Until she’s pregnant, she truly orbits him like Renee says. Her self-worth is tied into him loving her. Even at their wedding, Tanya makes her insecure, even though anyone with a brain can see Edward’s sole focus is Bella.

Is it any wonder then, given this canon, that All-Human (AH) Alternate-Universe (AU) fanfiction often spins off into the realm of violence against women?  With that foundation, it’s no wonder that inexperienced fic writers – fans who simply have a whim of an idea and write it, figuring “anyone can do it” – will step in and create stories with Bella as a damsel in distress, escalating it further and further to the point where raped/beaten Bella is the norm. They continue to up the ante, exaggerating the core canon.  I’m not immune to this, either: in one of my own AU-AH stories, Alice and Rosalie are survivors of sexual violence and deal with alcoholic parents; in another, Bella is struck by angry men in one scene.  It’s not difficult to conceive of these female characters in peril precisely because each and every one has been in dire circumstances with devastating psychological effects.

The other angle to consider is the main demographic of fanfiction authors:  women, 18-45 years of age.  Given the statistics on violence against women, it is no wonder that women craft these stories.  Many are, indeed, drawing from real life.  Be it a cruel boyfriend or an abusive husband, a large percentage of women behind the computer screen are coping with their own pain.

But here I’d like to draw the distinction between Victim and Survivor:  while a Survivor storyline traces the healing trajectory and has the character emerge stronger than ever, a Victim storyline centres either on the Damsel-In-Distress motif that’s been a constant for centuries, where only a man can save her and “fix her” with his love, or worse, it veers into Victim-As-Titillation, where rape and abuse are sexualized, romanticized and condoned, as our heroine “redeems” the Big Bad Man and lives Stockholm-Swooning Ever After.

These latter stories are the disturbing ones for me.  They perpetuate dangerous beliefs about relationships and what women should tolerate, and also insult those who have endured violence by minimizing their trauma/making it romantic.  Sadly, this is nothing new, particularly in crime thrillers and suspense stories:  women in danger are “sexy” and sell.  Men in danger, whimpering and begging, are an affront to our internalized notions of masculinity and femininity.  Male readers dismiss them as weak and uninteresting, not worth saving via identification with the usually male hero; women cannot relate to their struggle and vulnerability, because it is women who are faced with danger so often in their lives.  Men have privilege, and thus, we cannot sink into a world of men in peril.  We can also look to the media and tabloids, finding a culture of women needing to be saved. Rihanna and Chris Brown. Whitney and Bobby Brown. Mel Gibson and Oksana Grigorieva.  “The beat(ing) goes on…”

Even the strongest heroines fall prey to old themes:  in season six of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Spike attempts to rape Buffy, proclaiming she loves him and will remember when she feels him inside her; in season seven, he is granted his soul and magically, through self-mutilation and pitiable demeanor, Buffy suddenly forgives, forgets, entrusts him with her sister and, in a way, loves him at last.  In Veronica Mars, Veronica is nearly killed, raped and ridiculed for it, and puts up with psychologically unhealthy relationships with men – one of whom (her big love of the series) threatens her, controls her, then sleeps with the woman who roofied her.

Hell, even Disney trains young girls to have a dysfunctional view of love. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourites, but seriously consider what’s going on: he threatens her, holds her hostage, threatens to starve her if she doesn’t obey… and she loves him anyway. The Little Mermaid? Gives up her voice and whole world for a stranger who’s cute.  It’s a tale as old as time all right, Mrs. Potts.

Bringing us back to the fandom at hand, I took a wander through past reads on Twilighted, a site dedicated to fanfiction for the Saga that is “well-written”.  In examining Twilight fanfiction, I present a few summaries of stories involving violence against women in the fandom – healthy and dysfunctional.  This list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s a taste of what is out there, provoking ire and concern.  In fairness, I’ll stick to completed or actively updating stories as much as possible.

In alphabetical order:

Beautiful Hitchhiker by emarroquin: In the opening chapter, Bella has James demanding sex from her in exchange for a lift in his car, Bella refusing and being assaulted, and in swoops Edward (a stranger) to pick her up from the side of the road.  Despite the terrors of James and his knife and gun, Bella is screwing Edward in his car within the first few chapters, and they’re going at it non-stop throughout.  In between, James and his serial killer/rapist partner stalk them etc.  Oh yes, and they have a LOT of sex.

Break Even by TwiStar_Junkie:  Another Bella in peril story, this one sees Bella tolerating beatings from James, her husband, for years, even as Edward picks up the pieces and cleans wounds.  She tells him she’s pregnant and is beaten beyond anything before, and finally leaves him.  Edward the rescuer engages, offering to raise the baby as his, move her in, etc. – as her best friend.  He hasn’t revealed he’s in love with her, and she hasn’t revealed her love.  That’s somewhat grating (and years of standing by respecting her decision to stay with him is hard to appreciate if you’re in love) but at least the emotional healing work is realistic and the love affair sweet.

Could Be Worse, Right? by Savage:  In answer to the question posited by the title:  not really.  A tale of human trafficking, Edward purchases Bella as a sex slave, treats her as awful as that entails… and well, this scene happens and rage ensues:

I still didn’t understand her reasoning, and as much as that part of me wanted to just say “fuck it” and go with whatever the hell was happening here, there was the other, albeit smaller part that wanted answers.  Needed answers.  As much as it was physically painful to do so, I pulled back from her, kissing her lips softly just a couple more times before I looked into her eyes.
“Why?” I asked softly, just trying to make some kind of sense out of any of this, and figuring it was a hopeless task.  I knew why I wanted her – it was far too obvious – but I didn’t understand why she wanted me.   Not at all.
“Why what?”
“Why…how can you…want this?”
The backs of her fingers brushed my cheekbone.  She brought her mouth back to touch me briefly, gently running her lips over mine.  I let my hand glide down her side until it rested on her hip.
“Because I can see the man inside of you,” she whispered back.  “He’s not what he tries to show everyone else.  He’s not even what he thinks he is.  He wasn’t trying to do anything…evil.”
Even as I kissed her again, I didn’t believe her.
“That doesn’t make any sense,” I said with my lips still against hers.  “I can’t make up for what I’ve done to you.”
“But you have tried,” she responded.  Her fingers twisted into my hair and she pulled me hard against her mouth.  I felt her tongue on my lips, and I welcomed it…craved it…longed for it.
I would never be able to refuse her again.  It just wouldn’t be possible.
“I know what you really wanted,” she told me.
I felt that lump in my throat again.
“I wanted sex.”
“No, you didn’t, Edward,” she corrected me.  “That’s not what you wanted at all.”
“It isn’t?”
She slowly shook her head from one side to the other.
“You wanted someone to stay with you,” she said.  “You wanted someone you could trust – who you knew wouldn’t leave.  That’s not a bad thing to want, Edward.  You just didn’t know how to find that without doing something stupid.”

Fridays At Noon by followstrouble1017:  Classify this one under “tolerates abuse far too much”:  Edward is a rich, controlling asshole.  Bella is his waitress at a posh restaurant, where he treats her like garbage.  When she retorts, he’s turned on.  He pushes his way into her life, refuses to respect her opinions on accepting his money, keeps secrets but demands she tolerate his boorish behaviour… and she does.  Even when she’s in danger of being killed out of spite towards Edward by James.  There’s far too much “I can fix him” tolerance here to be healthy.

Love and Obsession by michelly: The entire plot of this one centres on Bella’s abusive relationship with James, who is also an Italian mobster’s relative, Edward rescuing her (along with her entire family) after she finally admits everything (she’s knocked up and said abusive love affair has been completely secret), and then makes stupid mistakes in Bella fashion to “spare” everyone else’s lives.  Grows more confabulated by the chapter towards the end.  I blame canon for this one.  That and apparently blind family and friends for not noticing months of relationship including sex in a room down the hall.

Mental by MaraPore321:  Not updating often, but worth noting if only for how disturbing it is.  Amplifying the canon notion of deadly Edward and enraptured Bella, the story takes place in a mental hospital.  Edward is confined for the murder of 14 women, at the behest of a voice in his head.  Bella, a new employee at the hospital, quickly becomes the object of Edward’s affections, even as the voice wishes her dead.  Edward beats an orderly who sexually harasses Bella; she swoons despite herself.  Edward orders her to say she belongs to him, that she won’t have sex with her husband anymore; she agrees and does not find cause to change jobs or report Edward.  Disturbing as hell, and not in a dark romance fashion.

Sins of the Father by bethaboo: I’m conflicted about this one, but enjoy it overall.  Edward is the troubled son of an IRA member who is kidnapped by his Irish side; Bella is inadvertently dragged in as a fan disillusioned with his loss of musical direction.  While primarily a story of Edward’s reconciliation with his history and family, his behaviour towards Bella can be emotionally abusive and worse, Bella tolerates it a little too much for my liking.  It’s hard to imagine why she’s fallen for him at times, but ultimately, it seems intent on not excusing Edward, which is a huge plus.

Speak Now by SaritaDreaming, wmr1601: Irksome shock value usage of sexual assault here.  Plot is kicked off by a plan conceived by Tanya to drug Bella, have Mike mack on her to send Edward running into Tanya’s arms, and Bella finding out years after marrying Mike, sending her to break up Tanya and Edward’s wedding.  The plausibility of Mike recording the conversation, let alone having to have drugging involved, grates deeply.

Teenage Dirtbag by palewhite_n_icecold:  This one decidedly falls under the umbrella of dismissive towards violence/thrown in to spice up plot.  Bella is dating super-popular jock, Jacob.  One day, Bella decides that Jacob is an asshole and tries to break up with him.  Jacob decides to try and rape her.  Lucky for her that Edward swoops in with Alice and Jasper and saves the day.  Of course.  Jacob spins the story to make Bella into a tramp.  Rather than march into a police station with her bruised arms and get some justice, the foursome concoct a weird scheme of Bella and Edward fake-dating to get Jacob to snap and reveal his douchebaggery in front of everyone, thereby saving Bella’s reputation.  You know, because that’s what really matters here.  Also, Bella has no problem macking on Edward after this trauma.

The Letter – changed_by_edward:  In the opening chapter, Bella recounts being nearly date-raped by a drunken Jacob, her father blaming her for the assault, and then marrying verbally abusive Mike Newton (who also rapes her within the marriage if she refuses sex).  These plot points fade fairly quickly – Mike re-emerges for mild drama during a court case – but these traumas are quickly set aside to deal with child-neglecting Tanya (Edward’s ex) and Edward’s borderline-abusive rap persona.  No matter, though:  Bella loves EC Velvet anyway.  She changes him, softens him and all is magical.

The Ride by aylah50: One of my favourite fanfiction stories of all time, hands down.  Written by a survivor of sexual violence and it shows in the raw honesty, emotion and journey Bella takes throughout the story.  Edward is no rescuer; Bella saves herself.  She heals herself through her own strength.  There are stumbles and falls along the way.  Haunting and beautiful.

30 Days of Darkness by Mkystich:  Ever seen or read Kiss The Girls?  Then you know the plot of this one.  Brutal, graphic violence against women.  Women fight back.  Women struggle to heal.  Not a pretty story, but not titillation either.

Turn To Stone by nikkipattinson: This is one of the stories that is centred on sexual assault, but is realistic and of the “healthy” variety.  One of my favourite stories, it centres on Edward and Bella’s relationship, her first since a violent sexual assault that nearly killed her.  The twist: Edward defended Bella’s rapist on a previous charge, getting him acquitted days before he attacked Bella.  Heartbreaking, raw and a tale of mutual redemption, Edward doesn’t just save or rescue Bella; they work together.

***

I will have more to say on this topic in general in the future, but for now, what are your thoughts?  Is violence gratuitous in fiction?  Is it more so in fanfiction?

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Live Blogging: The Twilight Saga – Breaking Dawn Pt 1

I am an ironic Twilight fan, in that I wouldn’t call myself a fan of the books in the sense of “what amazing literature!” or “how wonderfully Meyer fleshes out the backstory for her secondary characters!”, but rather, “this is a gloriously bad soap opera that swings back around to enjoyable – especially with alcohol” girl.  This isn’t to slag anyone who’s a through and through fan; it’s just to preface what will come with an understanding that I view the series through the lens of sarcasm and LOLZ.

That said, Breaking Dawn is, by miles, my least favourite book of the Saga.  Aside from glorious exchanges between Rosalie and Jacob, I pretty much want to slap everyone for the entire first half, get mildly interested in the beginning of book 2, then roll my eyes at the end, shrieking, “REALLY?  That’s it?” and wishing there was more Alice and Alistair.

I don’t hold high hopes for the movies, then, but I am a completist.  Even though I loathed Eclipse, and still think New Moon is the best film (and book) of the series, I must see this one too.

Armed with pizza, wings, and a frightening amount of alcohol in my veins courtesy of drinking these (Adios, indeed!), I’m settling in to watch.  I’ll be randomly commenting on things I see as I go and posting the results, so enjoy the madness!

Live Blogged:  Breaking Dawn, Pt 1

  • Voice-over: KStew tells us to grow up; on screen: Jake wah wah fursplodes.  Beautiful.
  • “Does no one have vision?!”  Now THERE is the Alice we all know and love.  There has not been nearly enough fun with Alice in the series. As always, NEEDS MOAR ALICE.
  • I wonder if Edward ever gets pissed about that dreamcatcher still on her bed….
  • Rob, you’re a good guy, but you really don’t handle these Monologue-ward moments…  They’re always kinda wooden/odd.
  • Peeping Kellan!  Peeping Jackson!
  • In walks the Megabitch – er Rosalie… Cold as Ice plays in my head…
  • And of course, Alice is so adorable and could she please make an appearance in my life to molest or at least snuggle with kthxbi?
  • Charlie wins at everything.  Seriously, Billy Burke is 30% of my reason for watching these movies.
  • Okay, I have never seen a less enthusiastic bride.  Fer serial.
  • Ahhh!  Now she’s had her smoochie times, all better!
  • Yeah, totally do not buy this Tanya as able to make Bella jealous.  Fugly.
  • These speeches are why I am NOT having any speeches at my wedding.
  • CHARLIE. <3  OMFG love you.
  • Renee is LOLZ.  Get that bitch a karaoke machine.
  • The Jake scene…. I almost liked him…
  • For all of my criticisms of these movies, Billy and Kristen are perfect together in their scenes.
  • Edward totes gives her the sex eyes and bam! Bella is pregnant before the sexing.
  • Bella is having an existential crisis over something she’s been demanding forever. WTFuckery
  • Sex-crazed Bella is LOLZ
  • Vampire shock! Dun da dun!
  • “I wanna cooooooooooooooooooool rider!” *Jake rides in*
  • *swoon* Rosalie calling Jake a dog…  I’m serious – the unending barbs between them is the best part of the book IMO.
  • Okay, the whole doggie voiceover? So failtastic cheese.
  • Edward hits Yahoo; learns the facts of life. Carlisle wishes he’d thought to pack condoms.
  • Edward has a point: Bella is a total bitch for just storming on ahead, not caring about what her dying would do to Edward or the Cullens.
  • Mmmmmm bloodshake!  Om nomm nomm!
  • LMAO @ everyone mocking Renesmee.
  • OMG Bella looks so gross and yuck and Cryptkeeper and OMG BRB hiding face EWWWWWWWW!
  • Bloody baby is icky please bathe it now.
  • Older Renesmee is hot, just sayin’.
  • Oh, Edward…. Jacob imprinted…. so yay, no killing but um…. yeah. Poor guy.
  • “Don’t panic, Edward; she’s just too stoned to writhe. LOLLERSKATES!”
  • DUH DUH! RED EYES!
  • Execution for poor grammar=epic winning.

Et voila!  Part one of the last book is in the can…  And considering how meh the source material was, Condon did a good job.  My one bitch – and Rosenberg really is notorious for this – is the cutting of the Rosalie-Jacob barbs, like the dog dish and such.  It would have been much needed comic relief.  Then again, she has a tendency when adapting these books to cut small moments that, to me, are actually important (ex: Bella crying when she realizes Edward is taking her to prom, not changing her ass).  How the bitch does so well with Dexter, I do not know.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Weekly Spam: the Gif-Tastic edition

So lately, my folder’s been flooded by a new set of spammers, who’ve taken to trying to evade the spam filters by making the entire contents of their message, save a sentence or so, into an image.  Too bad they’re still all ending up in Spam-land. Fail.

In any case, this one just made me LOL, so without further ado, Weekly Spam in Pictures:

Okay, what the hell is wrong with this girl’s face?  It’s stretched out like the creepy smiles in Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun video.  Yuck!  I can’t even… it’s like Mr. Ed humped a Beverly Hills housewife or something.

But beyond that, I LOVE the product name:  Bill My Parents.  *snort*  That’s just awesome.  It makes no apologies for what this is, and keeps it simple.  In fact, when I saw this, I immediately thought of this:

Yeah, you totes know all the dumb-ass spoiled teens ARK Fail Factory enlists have parents who hand out prepaid credit and debit cards to their pweshus spawn.  Now that we’ve got Mummy and Daddy’s money, you know what time it is!

And guess who’s gonna be performing at the party with Rebecca?  Only the most no-no-notorious dude in their class:

I really hope Bill My Parents Mr. Ed Progeny has better luck than Rebecca hitching a ride to this sweet party:

Oh wait; there’s the spoiled teen brigade now.  Our Bill My Parents girl has a ride to the party!  Whee!

Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun!

This post brought to you by my sleep-deprived brain randomly surfing my accumlated gifs.  Now go get that prepaid debit card!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

The 20 Most Overrated Films I’ve Seen: Part One

In working to complete the movie portion of the 2011 Pop Culture Challenge, I started thinking of the contents of IMDB’s Top 250 List, and its slant towards, well, guy movies.  You know – mobsters, war, sci-fi…  all of the stuff that seldom does anything for me.  I stare at the IMDB ratings on certain movies and wonder if I saw a different movie or if the userbase is just oblivious to quality films.  Thus, may I present to you the first of two posts, in which I tear apart twenty movies that are, in my little opinion, overrated.

Now, before we proceed, let’s keep two things in mind:  1)  this is only my opinion, and is subjective (and I’ve seen plenty of lists bashing some of my favourite films, like Pulp Fiction, so opinions vary); and 2) overrated does not always mean bad – it just means that I feel it received more acclaim, accolades or audience love than it deserved.  In this first half of the list, wherein I tackle the lower ten, you’ll find many movies I actually liked; they’re just not worth the hype they were given.

20.  Inglourious Basterds

That’s right, I did it:  I started with Tarantino, whose work I generally love.  People went absolutely ballistic for this film when it was released, generally praising the hell out of it.  Now, I enjoyed this film, as I enjoy all of Tarantino’s work – even Four Rooms – but for me, it was not the second coming of Pulp Fiction-esque perfection it was painted as by so many.

This film desperately needed an edit.  I personally feel that the use of multiple languages detracted from Tarantino’s strongest gift, which is his ability to write fucked up yet intelligent dialogue sequences.  The action elements and general plot were wonderful fun, but sequences like the drawn out ‘little miss theatre owner Jew chick has dinner with douchebag guy associated with the SS’ were way too long and, frankly, boring as shit.  This was only made worse by me having to read subtitles.  The first half of the film is, for the most part, a snore, made only tolerable by our lovely ‘Jew Bear’ Donny, portrayed by Eli Roth.  I’m actually pretty sure that most of the hype for this film is derived from Roth’s performance and that fact that the SS takes it up the proverbial ass, which is indeed incredibly satisfying.  It’s not a total letdown of a film, nor is it by any means bad; it’s just not as good as people made it out to be.

19.  Twilight Saga

Given that the Twilight films have taken a hell of a slagging from critics and the public, they’re not overrated per se.  However, the box office take for these films is proof that impressionable young minds will gobble up anything if properly packaged – and do so over and over… and over.  In that sense, the Saga is way overrated.

You can’t blame the movies entirely; the source material is pretty dreadful, with a weak heroine devoid of depth and common sense, a presumed hero who is rewarded for being a stalker who is disturbingly controlling, and a BFF who verges on date rapist in the third book/film.  That said, the movies are… wow.  I can’t honestly imagine being a fan of the books and finding the films satisfying, given the poor acting, the weak special effects (‘gay man vomited on me’ glittery vampires, anyone?), dropping the few key character defining moments from each of the movies, making me wonder why Rosenberg was hired for these scripts…  The list goes on.  The most tolerable of the lot is New Moon, the second installment, because Weitz stays pretty true to the original text, making one adjustment that brings a more visual element to something that works better on paper (Bella’s hallucinations). It can’t fix the fact that Nikki Reed’s roots are always showing or that her eyebrows betray the fact that she is not a natural blonde like Rosalie, proving Hardwicke cast her because they’re BFFs.  Horrid actress, that bitch is.  And don’t get me started on Jackson Rathbone’s poodle hair…

These films are fun to watch intoxicated, or to approach like a bad soap opera like Passions, but they generated way too much revenue.  Summit thanks you, tweens.

18.  Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels

This is another one of those films where it was a good movie, and I enjoyed watching it – but only to a degree.  This film, one of Guy Ritchie’s babies (another of his is coming on this list), has the cool British crime element and plays out like the constantly shifting plot spawn of Tarantino and McQuarrie’s The Usual Suspects.  When the film is good, it’s really fucking good and funny;  however, there are moments of lag and other moments of confusion as the plot grows increasingly convoluted, to the point where my brain just shut off, annoyed at keeping the characters straight.  It’s almost as if it began with the awesome bits, only to have them hastily written into a coherent stream and packaged as a film.

Unlike Basterds, this film needed to be a bit longer, better establishing the key players in each gang so that the viewer is arsed to keep them all straight.  Granted, I never saw the director’s cut; maybe it would satisfy me more?  All in all, a worthwhile watch, but not nearly as awesome as The Usual Suspects or, say, The Departed.

17.  Diary of the Dead

When us horror afficionados think zombies, we think George A. Romero, similar to how we associated the dramatic crazy horror style with Wes Craven, or stalker-slashers with John Carpenter.  No one can ever discredit Romero’s vision and how it has influenced legions that have followed him (gleefully chanting, “Braaaaaiiiins”).  That said, Diary of the Dead falls extremely flat, and is perhaps worse than Land of the Dead, if only for the acting factor – as in, no one can act in this piece of crap.

Although not an excessively hyped film, Romero did win a 2008 Critics Award for the flick, with even lesser reviews equating the film and its social commentary with previous films.  I have to disagree entirely; everything in this film has been done and said before, only better.  The idea of social networking and blogging being our conduits for information during a disaster?  It’s been alluded to before in several films, including Halloween: Resurrection.  The filming it to document it?  Hello, Blair Witch Project. It’s also done better by Paranormal Activity.  Even the finale at Ridley’s place is all too reminicent of The Walking Dead comics and series. The acting is atrocious, with these supposedly talented theatre students not selling me at all on their backstories, emotions or motivations.

Skip it, entirely; don’t ruin Romero for yourself.

16.  Rosemary’s Baby

Here we come to another of the horror/suspense genre, one of the long-regarded old-school classics.  I have to say, aside from a few Hitchcockian moments, the film’s a snore.  The plot on paper sounds terrifying and creepy:  Rosemary’s husband falls in with Satanists in their building, and allows his wife to be drugged and impregnated with what she begins to suspect is their child, but the devil’s spawn.  Rosemary is increasingly isolated, with nowhere to turn, and then… Well, spoilers!  That said, the suspense just never came through for me.  It plods along, and frankly, Rosemary should have caught on way sooner and bailed while pregnant.  I mean, come on:  her due date is 6/66?  It’s also painfully cliched and insulting to actual witches, who are not Satanists, contrary to the interchanging of terms in this film.

It’s worth a watch, but I do not fathom its epic legacy in the genre.  Then again, Polanski’s work has never really impressed me.  It’s only tolerable because of Mia Farrow’s performance.

15.  ET: The Extra-Terrestrial

This is where I duck the pitchforks of the waiting mob, although a quick Google of overrated films tells me I’m far from being the only one who’s not completely enamoured with Spielberg’s big 80s classic.

This is another movie, like Basterds, that could be saved with a massive edit.  It plods on far too long in the beginning, especially for an 80s film, and I often find myself tapping my foot, waiting for ET to just fucking move in with Elliott and go for the iconic bike ride, already.  I also have always found the scientist invasion of their home just… overdone and overdramatic.  And what the hell is with ET ‘dying’ and then reviving?  Was he faking dying?  How did he magically get better once severing the link with Elliott?  Are we to believe that humans are toxic to aliens?

Ah, that explains War of the Worlds, then!

It’s aimed as a family movie, but ultimately, it seems out to make children hysterical as it threatens the deaths of a CHILD and the adorable alien simulataneously, with no good explanation for the deus ex machina-esque resolution.  Plot fail.  It’s a B+ movie at best, not the classic film people gush over.

14.  Snatch

And here comes Guy Ritchie’s second film of the list!  It almost pains me as a British woman to diss the man twice, but quite frankly, he deserves it.  He also deserves it for Swept Away but since that film garnered no positive attention, I can’t have it on this list.

Snatch is a recycled Lock Stock:  same convolution of crossing plots, same crazy-weird characters and crime theme, same double and triple crossing crap.  Unlike Lock Stock, which at least tries to have a good story (and has too many of them going by too quickly at times), Snatch is basically a collection of interesting characters and performances (Brad Pitt’s being the one that many remember) that are quickly lumped into factions and ridiculous events in order to use them on screen.  It’s uninspired, unoriginal, and frankly, I zoned out for the middle half of it.  See Lock Stock – it’s worth a single viewing, at least – and skip this one.  Why watch a remake of a less than stellar film?

13.  Ocean’s Eleven (the Clooney one)

Okay, seriously:  why the fuck do people love Clooney so much?  I don’t get it.  He’s not attractive.  He acts in terrible movies.  His only redeeming factor is his charity work; at least he’s spending his undeserved money in nice ways, I suppose.  But enough about Georgey boy; let’s get with the movie.

Ocean’s Eleven is a big-ass heist movie with tons of double-crossing, but it plays like the film where they rammed in a lot of big names to hide that fact that, aside from sucessfully screwing three casinos, it’s a flaming paper bag waiting to be stomped out on someone’s porch…. Kind of like the original and its Rat Pack cast.  It’s just too perfect, somehow, and Clooney’s cocky ass just makes me hate the crew, rather than cheer them on for sticking it to the man.  Julia Roberts is annoying as hell in this one as Tess, Ocean’s fairweather girlfriend.  I mean, come on:  do you really think she left Benedict just because he offered to trade her for cash?  No way; she left because the money Benedict had was now in Ocean’s possession.  I ain’t sayin’ she’s a gold digger

Has anyone made a fanvid of this shit to Cee Lo’s Fuck You yet?

On a side note, I feel bad for Brad Pitt.  He’s in three films on the list, through no fault of his own.  He’s great in Basterds!  His character in Snatch is a fun watch.  I’ll forgive him this one.

Just a grating movie experience, namely due to Clooney and Cheadle’s pathetic accent.  And Julia Roberts is a bitch.

12.  The original Star Wars trilogy (now episodes 4-6)

The only purpose these movies serve is endless joke fodder for Spaceballs and a drinking game that will induce alcohol poisoning.  True facts.  I have watched these films as a kid and an adult, and other than the Ewoks being cute, they blow.  Utterly and totally blow.

That said, Harrison Ford is an amusing Bond-esque cocky asshole, and I really love Spaceballs. So I’ve only made this #12.  That and there are enough Trekkies in the world to constitute a large amount of people insisting these are overrated.

Where to begin?  The melodramatic acting?  Luke’s endless whining?  Blowing up the Death Star twice because Lucas couldn’t think of anything else to fucking do?  Oh, and Leia Organa?  Lay-a-organ?  WTF, Lucas?  The middle film, which is as weak to the franchise as The Matrix: Reloaded?  Let’s face it: Star Wars is a soap opera that believes it is serious film, and even Lucas never had the entire story figured out from the start.  As a result, the plot seems slapped together in places, and gets contradicted in others.  Oh yeah, and the love triangle resolution is deus ex machina’ed.  Lame.  Fuck this franchise in the ass.  I can’t watch it sober; it’s that contrived and ridiculous.

Good thing I have this!  Last time, I just drank when people had bad feelings and Luke whined and man, I was wasted!  Now that’s turning lemons into Mike’s Hard Lemonade.

(I may not be a Trekkie, but Trek owns Wars, the end.)

11.  Chasing Amy

I love Kevin Smith’s work.  I love his boldness, his profanity and vulgarity, his repeated casting of Jason Lee…  Hell, I hate Salma Hayek but she’s fun in DogmaChasing Amy had the most mainstream critical success of all of his films (Clerks is the most successful overall, in terms of accolades and cult devotion), and has been critically acclaimed as Smith at his best.  Even Taran-fucking-tino said it was a “quantum leap forward” from Mallrats and Clerks.

I hate it.

The film means well, but honestly plays like a love-note vehicle for Smith’s old flame, Joey Lauren Adams.  Adams plays Alyssa, a lesbian who strikes a friendship with Holden.  Holden writes a comic with his roomie Banky, who, by the way, is homophobic.  Convenient, right?  Instant angst – especially when lesbian Alyssa and Holden fall into bed and begin a relationship.  ZOMG Holden, how can you bang a dyke?!  Oh noes!  Sexuality is a dichotomy!

Spoilers ahead: Things get even more bi-phobic when Holden finds out Alyssa’s boned other men.  *sniffle*  You mean, my cock isn’t your first, Alyssa?  Ugh.  Is Holden an unspoken cherry hound?  Why does Alyssa have to refer to her time with men as experimenting?  She obviously likes dick to a degree; why can’t we leave it at, “I prefer women and so I identify as a lesbian, for easy understanding”?

But wait, there’s more!  Banky is gay and in love with Holden or something?  They should all fuck, too!  Go Holden!  Get you some!

End spoilers: Smith’s film is a fucking insult to gays and bis everywhere, has a too pat explanation for a so-called good character’s assinine behaviour, and, oh yeah, it’s fucking boring.  This would have been better off as a porno plot.

There you have it!  The first ten victims of my overrated films list have taken their respective beatings.  Look for the continuation soon, in which I bemoan a few Disney outings, shred a few supposed old classics, crap all over James Cameron and diss the dumbest dumb comedies ever made.  Stay tuned!

UPDATE:  Part Two Is Now Available!  Click Here!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Advertisements