Feeling: CRITICAL (perhaps ridiculously so)
Last night the old mother Deb, our gal pal Lisa and I went to the movies.
Love the Coopers was the to be the flick of viewing. Deb had avidly watched the trailer a few days beforehand and had txt me an array of times we could possibly go to. “It looks feel good and funny,” she said.
I was in, though a little bit wary. You see, a few weeks ago her and I had gone to see The Intern, a film that also looked bloody jovial in the shorts with a killer cast (Anne Hathaway, Robert De Niro, the witty “manny” from Modern Family). As we nestled in our plush couch cushions (Cambridge Tivoli Cinema makes Lido appear as mere Event) and attempted to lose ourselves in the storyline, I realised HMS (Horrendous Movie Syndrome) was occurring.
I never used to be so critical. Before I went to Uni, there wasn’t a single movie I didn’t enjoy. Plotlines were always sound, embedded jokes always jolly, character depictions always one hundred per cent believable.
I don’t know if it was a semester of Image and Sound and having to dissect my ultimate fav film of all time (Juno) or purely the fact that as I’ve reached my mid 20s I’ve become a little (well, a lot) more cynical. Either way, I was picking holes ten mins in.
“As if there’d be a table everyone was dumping crap on” -clothing attire and what not, not literal faeces – “in the dead centre of an open spick and span office,” I whispered fervently to Deb.
“I thought the movie was about an old man on an internship, why has the plot skewed to the hubby havingn an affair and being centred on simply that?” (Apologies, should have disclaimed this would be a spoiler. But I’m truly doing you a favour; I wouldn’t put you through it).
“She left the office when the clock on the wall behind her said 9.15pm, why is her three-year-old daughter up eating dinner upon her return home?”
And, the regular wail:
“Whyyyyy did old Rob Dog put his name to this shit?”
Even Deb got on board and piped up with a, “Oh as if she’d be riding round the office on a bike. Health and Safety would have a field day.”
Halfway in I was extremely tempted to leave but being the determined Dutchy I am, I was stubborn to see it through to the end and make the absolute most of the $17 ticket (that Deb paid for, I must admit). When it was finally over and we walked back blinking into sunlight (well, street lamp light; it was gone 9pm) I heartily declared, “What an absolute crock of shit”.
So, I feel my caution at sitting through 90-odd minutes of the fictional Cooper family Christmas was justified. But having gone in with my hackles up, I was picking holes from the get go.
Aside from the procuring-a-titter Aunt Fishy, all the funny material had most definitely been in the previews. I’ll admit there were a few insightful moments, a few deep details that did hook me in, but they worked extremely briefly and momentarily.
And the holes, oh the holes! With the amount, you’d assume it had been a film about Christ Almighty (get it? “Holy”?) (Oh fuck, I’m on par with The Intern‘s scriptwriter).
Like, when the little girl shat herself and her grandfather changed her into yet another festive tutu in the second floor hospital building toilets, how did he know to have a spare outfit? Had she forgone to faeces before leaving the house, whereupon he grabbed a change as they walked out the door? But why would he make the six-year-old sit in soiled undies on route to the hosp? Wouldn’t he have taken two mins to change her before hustling to A&E? (Grandpa had had a stroke at the dinner table, so as per all American movies the whole family and extra friends proceeded to the hospital to frolick around in the waiting room before eating a merry meal of Jell-o in the cafeteria. I mean, come on). (Oh, and did I mention the dancing? The entire extended fam of thirteen-or-so thick cavorting about the cafeteria completely oblivious to grandpa standing a mere few feet away attached to his IV? Hand he just had a stroke? How had he tottered off unseen down two floors without being seen by an orderly?). (And how convenient there was a dance floor of space of the cafe!).
The stories were intercutting each other as you followed each brother and sister on their journey home. So why was it that eight hours passed with the younger sis getting in coohoots with the army officer at the airport, yet it took the same time lapse for the aunty to be taken to the station in the cop car? May just be me, but surely there would be a precinct within a few kilometre radius of the metropolis and not a 480 minute cruise away?
What were the casters thinking? Diane Keaton, babe that she is, appeared far older than her younger sister. Autumn leaf, I deduced. But no, a flashback to their youth had them four-years-tops apart in age. She was more on level with her “father” in age believability. How was this not picked up upon?
And agreeing in the heat of an emotional filled moment to go to Africa, when being adamant she wouldn’t for more than thirty years? Thus saving the marriage that had apparently been down the gurgler for a good double decade and halting her husband from moving out as he had planned to do straight after Xmas pud? Mate, I hope he didn’t unpack his suitcase because in the real world the woman would wake up in the morning with an apologetic, “Sorry! Changed my mind again. Toodle-oo! Have fun on safari”.
And my word, the perhaps biggest disappointment of all. The voice over throughout the film? None other than old Steve Martin, who you found out literally a minute before credits was actually the family dog. Why then had he been referring to himself in third person the whole way through to suddenly turn to “I”?
I mean, I get it. A feel good movie does have the odd injection of old hocus pocus; the audience must depart on a high hearted buzz. But to pair the erratic lost affair-in late-twenties girl with the uptight Republian with whom no common ground par a penchant for a beer and a pash in the hospital hallway stood with? Just no. And to have the 16-year-old grandson gropping (well, I’d go so far as to say fornicating) with his gf as the family all fondly watched on and cooed? Mate, if that was the case I’d get a clip around the ear and a curt, “Anneke! What the fuck, stop it!”
As we left I laid out all the gaping chams to Deb and Lisa, the most of which had passed them by purely because they hadn’t actively searched for them.
As we walked past the payment counter, the manager called out, “Did you like it? Was it funny?”
“It was ok,” I replied. “Don’t go in with high hopes.”
Then I realised the last three films I’ve gone to see there has had her ask me of their rating and every time I’ve ripped them to shreds. It struck me she probably rolls her eyes as soon as I leave, turning to her staff and reporting, “Surprise surprise, the snob finds fault once again”.
Have I become that person, the one that complains and nit picks away to find the negative in a bloody jolly-hockey-sticks movie?
What happened to fifteen-year-old Pop, who gushed about every book she read or movie she saw? The one who lost herself in storylines and overlooked minimal flaws, not listed them mentally for a moan later? The one who sad gobsmacked at the ending of Stupid Crazy Love, declaring it the best movie ever? (Too scared to rewatch now as am terrified I shall seek out the most minimal of blemishes).
A friend messaged me later. “How was the movie?” She enquired.
“Fab,” I replied. “Funny. You should go see it.”
Because when you overlook the tiny plot punctures, it really was.
(But don’t go and see The Intern; that shit was truly terrible).