Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Starting the year off with an unpopular opinion

UPDATE:  I stole this image from a friend's facebook status, I think it should  right at the top of this post.

If you are a Les Miserables fan be prepared to hate me now.

I did not like the latest film adaptation of this book/play/musical.

Yes, it is a classic.  Yes, it is a stirring story of hope and redemption.  Yes, the score is powerful and moving.  Yes, it was chuck full of talented actors who were busting their butts singing and crying at the same time.  But I walked out of the theatre feeling a lot like I did after suffering through watching Alexander.

It wasn't bad, it just didn't reach out and touch me.  I realize that 99% of you have stopped reading by now and are busy typing me hate mail in your righteous anger, but I'm going to attempt to explain why I didn't love this movie, even though I went in wanting to enjoy it.
  1. HYPE!!!  "OhMyGosh, did you see they are making Les Mis into a movie...again?!?!"  "Like it is going to be totally awesome, I LOVE it SO much!!!" "HUGH JACKMAN! CAT WOMAN! RUSSELL CROWE! OSCARS!!!!"  And every other capitalized/shouted/exclamation point laced statement, whether verbal or typed.  Nothing puts me off a movie more than the Hollywood machine manipulating fans and trying to desperately build Oscar buzz.  If I'm at a theatre and I see a line full of hyper women bouncing up and down in excitement, or a line full of dudes mimicking explosions, you can be damn sure I'm not in line for those movies.  Those movies are what I rent and then give the MST3000 treatment at home with like minded friends.
  2. The live sound recording.  Here's the thing about movies, we love them because they are fake!  We expect perfection in cinema even in portrayals of imperfect characters we want them perfectly imperfect.  The whole point of recording something is so they can do take after take to get it perfect.  Unlike live theatre, where anything can happen.  It had all the musical drawbacks of live theatre without any of the spontaneity that makes live theatre entertaining.  People in the crowd that was shuffling out of the showing were muttering things like "Yeah you could really tell it was recorded live, that's cool...it was, um, good, yeah it was mostly good, OK kind of good, well Cat Woman rocked it, everyone else was just OK".
  3. Amanda Seyfried...warbling.  She's so freaking adorable.  Really, she is as sweet as a bowl full of sugar covered in maple syrup.  You just want to scoop her up and put her in a castle full of kittens and unicorns and glitter.  She also sounds like sugar shock feels.  She sings like one of the magical woodland critters from a Disney cartoon.  Actually she sounded a lot like the Disney Snow White character.  If I wanted to listen to precious people trying to attempt vibrato I'd go to a high school musical.
  4. Never get involved in a land war in Asia.  The real moral of the story here is that street barricades suck and almost never work (Unless of course you are in Mogadishu, but that's a whole other movie).  Kids, pay close attention to this piece of advice: grapeshot kills!  Dying on a barricade because your 20, have a big red flag, are hopelessly unprepared, out gunned, and have more anger than common sense and/or supplies and weaponry is not noble, it is stupid.  Even if you've never read the book or seen the play, you could predict how their little military maneuver was going to end.  You don't have to be Sun Tzu to figure out that when a few civilians with some furniture and a small cache of gun powder go up against a heavily armed professional military battalion, the civilians are going to get smeared. 
  5. Melodrama.  If I wanted to watch a melodrama I'd have gone to Pickleville Playhouse where you can boo and hiss at the villain and cheer out loud for the hero.  Love at first sight!  Unrequited love!  Dastardly antagonist doggedly chasing down our poor picked on hero!  Thrilling death scenes on a barricade (see previous paragraph)!  Everyone happily reunited in glory (even though most of them are dead) at the end for one last rousing sing-song!  There was so much cheese in this film I think I have become lactose intolerant.
  6. EXTREME CLOSE UP!  "Arlight Mr. Demille, I'm ready for my closeup" even Gloria Swanson would have found the close up shots in this film extreme and excessive.  If I enjoyed seeing every little detail on a person's face (such as: pores, scars, beads of sweat, gums, pock marks, nose hair, split bubbles, and glistening tongues) I would have become an esthetician or dental hygienist. 
This thing is going to win so many awards that the cast and production team are going to have to get special wagons to haul all their statuettes around in, and maybe that herding dog (you know the one that literally has a monkey on his back) to pull them around.  It didn't suck, but as a cinematic experience it did absolutely nothing for me.  So maybe the suck is all in me, in which case I would like to say:  Dear Les Miserable, it's not you, it's me.  Dear Everyone Who Loved It, see previous sentence, can we still be friends?


Pache said...

I still haven't seen it. I still plan to. I feel like I am not looking forward to it as much as I am "supposed to". I really don't want to watch another disappointing movie after The Hobbit. What was the last good movie you saw? I think The Avengers (just fun) and The Words were the best movies I saw in 2012. I'm having a hard time thinking of others that were great. This is sad. Maybe I am just forgetting....

The Suzzzz said...

Les Mis was good, just not the great thrilling ride that everyone was making it out to be.

The last good movie I saw was probably Lincoln, although if you are looking for a Civil War era movie I didn't like it as much as I liked The Conspirator.

Honestly I don't remember the last time I walked out of a movie and had to tell everyone how good it was. I really like Moonrise Kingdom and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, but they weren't for everyone.

I really liked Argo (probably going to get a lot of Oscar noms too) but again that wasn't for everyone (Rate R for language). I didn't see The Words because I don't really remember it coming out here in Logan.

The Suzzzz said...

There are a couple films coming out in 2013 that I really want to see, but it kind of looks like another average year so far.

I REALLY want to go see Hansel & Gretel Witch Hunters because it looks truly awful but in a fun and campy way. Like Van Helsing but worse.

Pache said...

I am super excited to see Hansel & Gretel, but mostly for Jeremy Renner. I'll give a movie a lot of slack for awfulness if it has someone that hot in it.

The Words was only out for about 3 weeks even in SF, so it wouldn't surprise me if it didn't make it to Logan at all. Redbox it. It is interesting.

I'll have to try Lincoln when it hits video. I'm looking forward to the Star Trek movie, but that's about the best thing I see coming. This may be why I watch a lot more TV than I used to.

Pache said...

Wow. I never realized how unattractive and unnatural looking singing people are up close. I generally liked it better when I closed my eyes.

When the DVD comes out and everyone we know buys it, we need to borrow it from them and have a movie night watching the commentary. I would love to hear the makers of this movie defend... errr... explain their decisions.

The Suzzzz said...

Ok DVD commentary of Les Mis and virtual movie night, I'm up for that.