Thursday, 19 July 2012

Youth in Revolt

I recently watch a movie called Youth In Revolt on Netflix. God how I love Netflix. Anyways, I had remembered hearing about this movie a while ago and had been curious to see it and thanks to Netflix, I remembered this curiosity and decided to finally see what it was about.

Why are Zach Galifianakis and Justin Long on the poster?
They're barely in this movie. 
So, Youth in Revolt is a movie starring Michael Cera and is about a a teenager named Nick Twisp who laments being a virgin because being a virgin is like the worst thing on the face of the Earth, apparently. Well, if you listen to a lot of teen movies it is.

He carries on about how he's so much deeper than most teens because he reads Sartre and Camus and only listens to Sinatra. So my immediate thought about this character is, pretentious hipster. I do get the feeling that it is supposed to be satirical of a teens over blown sense of worth because of their "quirky" or "individual" tastes but it doesn't make me like the character any more.

Nick's family is extremely quirky and weird and it turns out that Nick's stepfather, or possibly just his mother's boyfriend, gets into financial troubles with some sailors who he owes money to. Rather than pay them back, they decide to run and the boyfriend takes them to a trailer park in Ukiah.

There, Nick meets the girl of his dreams. A girl just as pretentious as he is, named Sheeni and he falls immediately in love. Sidebar, can I just say how uncomfortable I was that her name is Sheeni? I mean really, that was the best quirky name you could give her? You really had to make it sound like an ethnic slur?


Anyways, she reveals she has a boyfriend but they have a romance anyways, until Nick's parents decide to head back to Berkeley. Desperate to keep his relationship going with a girl who doesn't seem remotely into him so much as just wants to toy with him for her own amusement, he hatches a plan to return to Ukiah, keep his relationship going and finally lose his virginity.

Sheeni offers to get Nick's actual father, played by Steve Buscemi, a job in Ukiah. All Nick has to do is get his mother to throw him out of the house so he has to live with his dad but to do so Nick has to be bad. He's not used to being bad so he creates an alter ego named Francois who will be bad for him. He named his alter ego Francois because Sheeni mentioned that her dream is to travel abroad and meet some foreign man named Francois who will be her husband and he wants to be more like the kind of man Sheeni wants. For some reason.

He doesn't want to hurt his mother's feelings by simply saying he wants to live with his dad for a while, no he's a saint. So what does he do to get kicked out, you ask? Oh nothing too serious, just blowing up half of Berkeley! Jesus, Nick, virginity isn't that dire a thing to lose you know. I'm sure you can find plenty of other pretentious hipster types once you go to college, if that's still an option for you after that.

Seems reasonable. Fuck people's property, Nick needs to get laid!

I neglected to mention that Nick's mother's boyfriend passed away. She is now dating Officer Ray Liotta who advises them to hide Nick until the heat (pun intended?) dies down and they send him to Ukiah. Mission accomplished except that Sheeni's parents overhear the psychopath bragging about how he blew up half of a town to get thrown out and they appropriately send their daughter away to a French boarding school.

This was apparently her plan all along as her boyfriend also attends the school and this school will enable her to go to France for college. Does this deter Nick? Nope. He still wants her although I have no fucking clue why.

I own you.

Nick follows her to the school and they almost have sex but are interrupted yet again. So he's forced to more drastic measures. He convinces another girl in the school to drug Sheeni with sleeping pills so that she'll fall asleep in class and be expelled. Uhhhhhhh, seriously? Seriously? I've completely stopped rooting for this guy now, not that I was rooting for him much before but this? This would be unforgivable to me.

Officer Ray Liotta has left Nick's mother and she calls Nick to warn him that he will not cover for Nick anymore. The police are now looking for him. He says, fuck it and heads to thanksgiving dinner with Sheeni's family. Unfortunately for Nick, his douchbaggery is revealed when Sheeni's actual boyfriend shows up and reveals to everyone that Nick was responsible for drugging Sheeni to purposely get her expelled.

Everyone is justifiably horrified at what an asshat Nick is and he runs away. His alter ego, Francois pulls him out of his funk however and buys Nick some time to go after Sheeni one more time.
She tells him off for being a creepy asshole and sends him with his tail between his legs off to jail. God how I wish that was the end. Nope, Nick apologizes and professes his love for her and she finally takes his v-card. Because girls love it when you drug them and essentially ruin their future by getting them kicked out of a prestigious private school. We just love that shit.


Anyways, she says she'll wait for him and he's all impressed because the cops have shown up and he's surely going to jail for a long time. She points out that he's only 16 so he'll just be sent to Juvie for 3 months and that one line shows me how flipping ridiculous the juvenile justice system is if that is the attitude it fosters in youth. Nick then realizes that all he had to be all along was him. Yeah, newsflash asshole, you were you the entire movie regardless of your stupid alter ego and guess what? You're an awful, awful person. Being you is the worst thing you could be.

So, in case you didn't get this from my tone, I did not enjoy this movie. It felt like it was being quirky and edgy for the sake of being quirky and edgy, every time Nick and Sheeni interacted it was like a game of who can be more witty and clever and to quote Jack Worthing:

I am sick to death of cleverness. Everybody is clever nowadays.

I concur, Mr. Worthing. To me the movie had an interesting premise, a boy turning to an alter ego to win over a girl, but in order to pull it off, it needed to have more likeable and sympathetic characters. This doesn't mean that the characters had to be flawless awesome people, I like plenty of shows and movies that are about god awful people. It's just, for me personally, I need to the characters to be charming and fun to enjoy a film, be they good or bad. I have to at least like them in an 'I find these people insanely entertaining despite their flaws type of way and I just didn't like these characters. Sheeni is only slightly less awful than Nick and Michael Cera as a bad ass was kind of laughably bad. I couldn't take him seriously as his alter ego with that awful moustache.

I'm suave because I smoke and wear sunglasses. Also, moustache!

He just didn't look suave to me. I enjoyed one scene with Francois and that was at the very end when he called the cops "for Nick" and some of his outbursts could be funny but other than that it just didn't work for me.

I again hear that this was based on a book by C.D. Payne and maybe, just maybe the book covers the characters and their intentions better but I don't know. I'm only going on my feelings from watching the movie and my feelings are that it is just not that enjoyable. This movie has gotten some fairly favourable reviews elsewhere and if you enjoy quirky movies then you might like this but if you don't, avoid Youth in Revolt.

I'm Blinvy and thanks for visiting my Teenage Wasteland again.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The Hunger Games - Post-view

Ok folks, so I just got back from seeing The Hunger Games and (drumroll pleaase), I really enjoyed it. That's not to say it was without its flaws but the good far outweighed the bad here. Bear in mind that I have not read the books so all apologies if things have gone over my head or if I get names wrong.

FIrst off, I had guessed the ending well before seeing the movie because of the snippets I'd heard about the story from friends. I guessed that Katniss would survive based on the fact that I knew there were three novels all about her and when people told me there was a twist, I guessed from the romance aspect that her and her lover would win. It's just simple reasoning really but I wasn't disappointed in knowing the basics of the ending before seeing it, what I was looking for was likable characters and an interesting plot and this movie delivers.

I have a lead who is likable, loyal and selfless in Katniss. She volunteers to essentially die in place of her sister in the annual Hunger Games and from that point on I was rooting for her. I knew she would win but I didn't know exactly how so I still felt her struggles throughout the game. She is also fucking fierce which I love. She doesn't need a guy to look after her, she is more the type to take care of and protect others. The scene where she is displaying her talents to the sponsors who are outrightly ignoring her and she shoots an arrow at one of their apples was just badass. I loved her.

The set designs are pretty gorgeous and the costumes for the rich people are fairly imaginative and represent the lengths a wealthy society will go to stand out and be fashionable. Which is actually another thing I liked about this movie. It didn't make its audience out to be stupid mindless drones worried about romance. Teens can and do care about real issues and this movie, surprisingly dealt with a lot. Sacrifice, death, desperation, hell even questioning our values in fashion and reality tv. Hell, when blue-haired guy was interviewing the tributes, I could almost hear that awful American Idol music playing in the background and that's all this was. A manufactured popularity contest designed to please its audience, except instead of being voted off, you die. Neat.

I wanted to punch mauve/purple dress wearing lady so many times throughout the movie. She was everything I hate about today's general population. Conceited, vain, self-centred, and fake.

I knew everyone in the battlefield was going to die except Katniss and Peeta but goddamit the scene with Rue devastated me. I could see Katniss putting her little sister in Rue early on and losing her, knowing that it could have just as easily been her little sister in her place, her feeling of failure at being unable to protect her was hard to watch. My one nitpick about this is that I kind of wanted a little more development with Rue. It felt too fast. I could see Katniss developing an attachment to Rue from afar, or at least a concern but I just wanted a little more interaction between the two to make the impact of her death all the more meaningful. It felt like Katniss wakes up, they share dinner, they split up, then she dies next time you see her. I don't know, I just wanted a little more.

The climax of the movie was pretty damn exciting and I liked that Katniss and Peeta worked together. I didn't feel like one saved the other or anything, they really felt like a team in that last battle and that they were in it together. It's how it should be these days. No more damsel or dumbass in distress just people trying to survive and helping each other out.

That being said, I was a little thrown off by the romance aspect. I think Peeta was telling the truth about having a crush on Katniss to which she didn't really reciprocate except for show in the begining. However, towards the end I was a little confused because it seemed like she was reciprocating the feelings but then Hamitch? Woody's character told her to tell everyone she was going to throw the game because she loved Peeta so that the Capitol wouldn't have a reason to be pissed at them for throwing the game. I kind of thought that was the reason they didn't kill each other so this threw me a bit. I guess this will be covered more in the other stories?

At the same time, I was very happy that they didn't dwell on the romance too much and that it was very much Katniss's story of survival for the sake of her family who needed her to hold them together. This was a great watch and I'm pretty sure it's going to be a great read as I've decided to give the books a read now.

If you haven't seen it yet, though I'm pretty sure most everyone has, give The Hunger Games a shot. It's got characters you root for and some suspenceful and action-packed scenes. So, you hear that friends? You were right and I'm glad I gave this a shot.

Until next time, I'm Blinvy and I've got some reading to do.

Monday, 2 July 2012

The Hunger Games - preview

Hey internet, welcome once again to the Wastelands.

As you might have realised, I'm not a teenager, just an adult with fond memories of the teen movies of my days be they good or bad. I can still appreciate the charm of a well made teen flick even as the slightly jaded adult that I am, however, I am completely aware that in my parting ways with my teen years, I have also parted ways with my knowledge of all things that are 'in'. I usually find out about a trend as it is dying down a bit or sometimes I avoid over-hyped things at all costs because I assume they'll suck.

So with that thought in mind, today I thought I'd talk about The Hunger Games. Ok, before you all pounce on me, I have not read the books or seen the movie yet. I'm a late comer to this fad because the last fad I embraced open-mindedly that was garnering a lot of attention from teens and adults alike was Twilight. Yes, Twilight and being burned so badly with that crapfest of a wet dream turned four part "novel" I was not keen to jump on the bandwagon for this new teen drama which promised ever more love triangles. Again I have not read the book or seen the movie yet.

However, it has been getting a lot of praise and people whose opinions I trust have had nothing but good things to say about it that it has worn down my defenses. I am going to go see this thing Tuesday night with a friend.

Will this thing meet my expectations or will it fail in Twilight-like proportions? I don't know but stay tuned and I'll let you know what I think after I view it. It will be an opinion by a complete newbie with no knowledge of the books, so I may not "get" things that seasoned readers will, you have been warned.

To all of my friends who recommended this to me, you'd better not let me down.