Wednesday, April 4, 2012

PukeFace, FartFace, & Abby Abs Do Boring Stuff: AKA, Twilight 3

Ah, love. Isn’t it a wonderful thing? Something worth living and dying for, right? People write poems and songs and sitcoms about it! You meet someone and brighten up every time that person enters a room or holds your hand. You smile just THINKING about him or her. Sure, you’re sad and occasionally achy when he or she is out of reach, but more than anything, that ache is powered by the thrill you know you’ll feel when you’re reunited. You LIKE being with this person that you have chosen, you treasure your time together because it’s the greatest feeling there is in this world.

My point in this post-Valentine’s Day linguistic cupcake is that love is a wonderful thing--nay, a many splendored thing, it lifts us up where we belong, all you need is love!


Actually, according to the Twilight universe, love is a horrible horrible situation filled with constant face squishing, broodiness, squinting, being really cold, not having sex, and putting a whole lot of people and/or supernatural beings in danger.

In other words, love stinks.

Several years ago, I vowed to never say a bad word about the Twilight series (saga? Nobody called Donna Martin’s journey from rich Beverly Hills virgin to married redhead a saga, hrumph hrumph) until I actually experienced it for myself. Loyal readers will know that on April 28, 2010, I did.

And now have full license to say EVERYTHING about them.

I had no plan on watching Twilight: Eclipse or Twilight 3 or The One Where Bella Keeps Complaining And Jacob Doesn’t Even Bother To Put On a Shirt To Rip Off. As much as I enjoyed mocking the first two, I also found them painfully dull film watching experiences. The worst part of taking the plunge into Eclipse was knowing that I’d have to see an inevitably awful film by a promising and exciting filmmaker. Hard Candy and 30 Days of Night weren’t cinematic game changers, but they were unique, challenging genre films that took risks. 

The Twilight series is risky...if you’re a feminist looking to pick a fight with 14 year old girls and their mothers. Those chicks have CLAWS and will not hesitate to use them should you even THINK of pointing out the following:

Bella Swan is a worthless human being whose only positive attribute is having a nice head of hair.  

Jacob is a creepily obsessive teenager with an unhealthy fixation on a worthless human being with nice hair.

Edward has been alive for centuries, and yet the most interesting thing about him is…um…um…

Wait! I know this one. Um…

Yeah no, I got nothing.

David Slade is a good director with a nice hold on style. Sadly, like a vampire eating vegetarian (sorta), most of that is muted here in order to service the requirement that all Twilight films be atrocious. That being said, Slade does manage to bring more life into his take than previous helmers Catherine Hardwicke and Chris Weitz, spinning a little more horror into an opening rainy murder and occasionally almost badass fight scenes between the undead and wolfish. Visually, Eclipse has a little more going for it than the interminable dullness of Twilight and weirdly paced New Moon.

But even Scorsese couldn’t do anything about the sparkling elephant in the room and the unbelievably awful love triangle he birthed. I know, I know: I’m just not in the age or taste demographic to care, but…but…SERIOUSLY! Have you SEEN Eclipse?

Let me do my best teenage girl style recap of this relationship:

So like, Bella and Edward are totally in lovesies but Charlie (that’s Bella’s dad; she’s so cool that she calls him by his first name! Isn’t that COOL?) isn’t hip to that so he’s all like “Bella, I won’t ground you if you call your friend Jacob” which is sorta weird but whatever, she does but Jacob’s all like “you don’t love me! But you DO love me!” and like, she sorta does but not, you know, like how she loves Edward and Edward’s like “hey, don’t go see Jacob” and because HE LOVES HER SO MUCH he breaks her car so she can’t. I mean, that’s like REAL LOVE.

I hope some day I meet a man who will cut the wires in my car so that I don’t go visit my best friend.

But stuff happens and eventually Bella gets to see Jacob and HELLO STUD! He’s totally not wearing a shirt—like, EVER—and it’s amazing. But you know, Bella loves Edward but then Edward and Jacob fight over her but Bella’s all like “Don’t fight guys!” and she does that a lot and finally is like “I’m Switzerland!” which Wikipedia eventually told me means she’s neutral and stuff.

Bella’s so cool and smart like that. No wonder why Edward and Jacob are always fighting over her.

And like, showering her in gifts. Jacob gives her a wolf charm bracelet—I wonder if they sell that at Forever 21?—and like, Edward tops it by giving a prettier charm bracelet AND giant engagement ring!

Because OMG! They’re engaged! And like, not just to be married, but to be VAMPIRES TOGETHER FOREVER! I can’t think of anything more romantic, and I’ve seen every Channing Tatum movie ever (side note: Haywire was stupid).

And like—

Okay, I can’t do it anymore. I can’t stand by and, I don’t know, BE SWITZERLAND when the most popular entertainment for the world’s tweenage population involves a SEVENTEEN YEAR OLD GIRL declaring to her boyfriend “I want to tie myself to you in every way humanly possible.” This is not healthy. This is not good. I don’t care how romantic  it comes across or how pretty her wedding dress will eventually be: we should not be holding this character up as a role model.

Remember when you were 17? Remember how confident you were about certain things in life not ever changing? You would always be BFFs with your high school BFFs. Your prom date was The One. You would always consider Gladiator your favorite film of the year because you would never waiver in your crush of that handsome, manly slab of Aussie meat known as Russell Crowe. You might as well just BE FROZEN IN TIME FOREVER since just because you’re too young to vote, smoke, or rent a car does not in any way mean you’re not ready to make a commitment that will require the eternal alteration of YOUR SOUL.

Seriously, EVERYONE thought he was hot in 1999...right?
My point being, Bella is, wouldn’t you agree? a kid. “I’ve always felt out of step, like literally stumbling through my life,” she argues, using typical teen awkwardness to justify making a major SOUL decision that will determine the rest of her days. Look kid, you can transfer colleges. You can change jobs. Heck, you can even get divorced (as Bella so pointedly points out, the majority of people now do) but  surrendering your SOUL is a little more final. Apparently doing so also means no more vacations to Florida to hang out with her equally sullen mom while her not-overbearing-at-all boyfriend eavesdrops on every word of their conversation. Nope, dripping sparkles (which I swore was just sweat this go around) with your emo fella is clearly worth EVERYTHING to a woman too young to ever really experience ANYTHING.

Shake it off Emily, shake it off.

We know going into this saga that this is what we get: tireless arguments for a boring girl’s heart, a herd of tanned Native American teenagers hanging out in cutoffs and talking about girls (giggle giggle), a cuddling pillowtalk scene in which I can’t understand anything the leads are mumbling about, great haircuts from everybody. Let’s focus on the positives, i.e., really amusingly stupid flashbacks that attempt to flesh out the history of the vampire clan. 

Because you know, these vamps and wolfies are HISTORICAL! One was a Confederate soldier who zzzzzzzzzzz. Another was a classy upper class ‘30s dame who got gang raped and zzzzzzzzzzzz. Then there was a Native American a few centuries ago who zzzzzzzzz

Wait what? Did I just snore through gang rape in a PG13 blockbuster? Yeah, no seriously, because it happens in the kind of ZzzzzzZzzzzzzZzzzzzz manner that puts hyperactive children on a strict diet of coffee protein shakes to sleep.

So that’s that. The campy stuff is dull, the action scenes decent (way to run out that infield hit Slade), and the romance painful, offensive, and dangerous to young women everywhere. Because sorry girls, but falling asleep as your two boyfriends--one of whom is underage, the other who's got centuries over you--creepily discuss which one is a better LIFE MATCH is NOT awesome or liberating. I guess she’s not a victim though, since a few scenes after Bella has accepted Throwup Face’s proposal and begged Jacob to let her go, she calms down the sulky shirtless wonder by kissing him. Because THAT’S the way you cool things down when a guy is dangerously in love with you, right? You just play mind games with his poor unsatisfied libido?

Ah, the innocence and stupidity of youth.
Practical Fashion Police
Hey world: remember those famous mittens Kristen Stewart popularized a few years ago? All the kids wanted them, blogs taught you how to knit them, and in total unrestrained truth, even I kind of liked them? I bet they would have been REALLY USEFUL when Bella nearly freezes to death when camping in the subzero snowiness of the Seattle mountains (no, seriously) when wearing a light button down

Minor Rays of Light
Whether it’s Melissa Rosenberg’s script or (dare I say it) Stephanie Meyers’ original source, Eclipse does find a few moments of meta commentary in its dialogue, from the admittedly chuckleworthy Edward’s question about Jacob owning a shirt to the latter’s double-sided comment that he’s hotter

Lessons Learned
Survival 101: you warm up faster if you take your clothes off
Seattle gets an awful lot of snow in June

After a hard day at the office, nothing will put a laugh in your walk quite like watching vampire decapitations. They are HILARIOUS

Watch/Kill/Watch Me When I Kill All Associated With This Film
In total honesty, I think Eclipse *might* be the “best” of the Twilight films thus far, which is incredibly sad for all involved. Taylor Launtner still has abs of steel, yet his speaking voice has the strength and control of a newborn inbred baby opossum. Pattinson continues to wear his “I just ate some really rank alfredo sauce” expression with the amount of energy I summon to turn off my alarm clock, and Stewart seems determined to keep Bella a bland “every girl” waste of space solely defined by having nice hair and being carried around forests by handsome young men. If that's what you like, then hey! I've got a movie for you! Otherwise, leave it to the sadly doomed iPhone Generation, their Scarily Enthusiastic Moms, and these three wastes of spaces:

Because the above picture is pretty much what happens for 75% of this film's running length


  1. I saw all 4 movies and read the first book within the same month, and this was probably my least fave movie, I guess because of all the flashbacks (although I'm splitting hairs). I'm probably the only person that wants to see a movie of Kristen Stewart moping around and worrying about boys, so that is pretty much the only thing I liked about the movies, and that's more prevalent in the 1st 2.

    Also, aren't the werewolves made out of plaster? Cause there's the fight scene at the end and one of them gets decapitated and he's plaster inside. I thought that was quite strange. Remember TOP SECRET when the guy falls off the roof and shatter into plaster chunks as a joke? They did that shit for real.

  2. Man, I forgot how funny it was when anything died! I almost wonder if it was their way of NOT doing the Buffy dusting, but even so, it just looks so darn stupid. And kind of great in a stupid way.

    And no Thomas, you're not the only one that wants to see Kristen Stewart moping about boys. You might just be the only intelligent one of millions...and millions...and millions...

  3. I meant moping in a vacuum with no actual boys (Edward and Jacob) around. Do people want to see that? I'm not so sure. The Bella character just seems like an empty vessel for a fantasy.

    Also, I'm pretty sure "moping in a vacuum" is the name of a Smith's song. If not, it should be!

  4. It's hard to say. I clearly am not in touch with today's tweens, so for all I know, kids watch the movies for the Seattle cinematography.

    And yes, it SHOULD BE!

  5. Did you catch the scene where 'Charlie' decides to un-ground Bella when he reads in the paper that there's a serial killer on the loose? Good ol Billy Burke wants Bella just as dead as we do! haha!

  6. I didn't make the connection but EFF YEAH! If I were her parent, I couldn't point her towards a serial killer quick enough!

  7. I bet wolf boy can only get off by having his anal glands expressed. Not that I think about such things... (backs away slowly pretending to check his phone)

  8. Emily! How could you make fun of my favorite series like this? I'm sooo disappointed in you.

    Okay, not really. I agree with you that this one was probably the best of the series so far, but I didn't care for it much either. I have yet to watch the latest one. I'm no real hurry to get around to it though.

  9. Oh Tim, you just reminded me of the day I spent working at a dog grooming shop where I was told to try the ah, anal excursion. Naturally me being me, it squirted just above my eyelid. Which now I'll forever associate with WolfBoy...

    You know Heather, the only reason I watched this one was because I'm so morbidly curious about the fourth one. Vampire baby? More wolf talk? At this point, I'm all in.

  10. Call me a sucker...but I like the Twilight series. I read the books and watched the movies but of course the books are better! For one thing, Bella has an identity and Edward isn't lame...

  11. I have friends who have said they're Team Edward in the books but Team Jacob in the films, so I guess it really might be Pattinson's lack of charisma than the character itself.

  12. Fun, fun read. You're a better woman than me, Emily. I'm not quite sure I can muster the courage to relinquish the last vestiges of my sanity to watch the rest of these films.

    Honest question: how different are the follow-ups to the first film? Really.

  13. Well, anything not concerning the love triangle of blah is almost interesting. I do think this is the best directed of the first three, and David Slade's horror cred does help some things. But you know, there's still 70% of the movie dedicated to watching really awful teenagers be awful, so proceed with caution.