Random Movies: Worst to Worst

Philomena

I went into this totally blind, not knowing anything except that it was supposed to be good, and I was not prepared for it to be a downer about a woman whose gay son was stolen from her by evil nuns because she had him out of wedlock. (Um… spoilers if you didn’t know this was a downer about a woman whose gay son was stolen from her by evil nuns because she had him out of wedlock.)

It is, in fact, a surprisingly safe downer about a woman whose gay son was stolen from her by evil nuns because she had him out of wedlock. There’s a preciousness about it that reminds me of The King’s Speech – you know, where you can tell that somebody behind the scenes was like, “Oh, we’ll have a hearty chuckle about how this woman has bad taste in literature before we cry because they stole her baby. And then the cynical, upper-middleclass reporter will Learn A Lesson about what’s really important in life.”

Yes, I know it’s based on a true story. But this telling of the true story derives all of its conflict from an idea that everyone can agree with – it’s wrong to steal someone’s baby. The fact that he grows up to be gay and has to hide that from people when he starts working in politics is not really investigated in any way, and we’re not really encouraged to draw a link between the backwards religious beliefs that oppress LGBT people and the backwards religious beliefs that oppress women and get their babies stolen by evil nuns. Instead, we’re just doggedly focussed on how it’s wrong to steal someone’s baby, because that will allow the greatest number of people to enjoy the movie without feeling uncomfortable.

August: Osage County

One hundred percent, I watched this so that I could hear Benedict Cumberbatch layer random hillbilly sounds on top of his regular accent in an attempt to sound southern. It was just as amazing as it sounds.

August:Osage County is one of those play movies that loses all of the immediacy and intimacy out of theatre without adding anything to help the story live on screen. There’s one good scene, which is the scene where all of the characters are on stage – sorry, screen – at the same time, yelling at each other about child abuse and incest and divorce. There’s another okay scene where Meryl Streep’s character tells a mood-killing story about her abusive mother. In both cases, the thing that makes those scenes good is the script rather than the film-making.

Honestly, the only reason to watch this is if you enjoy making fun of some English dude’s fake southern accent (which, clearly, is what I enjoy).

Se7en

I don’t care what the internet says. The ending of Se7en does not make sense.

No it doesn’t! Don’t try to explain it to me.

Vampire Academy

Zoey Deutch was the only thing I really liked on Ringer, and she is the only thing I like in Vampire Academy. She has so much charisma and looks so natural on screen – I really hope I see her in something good one day.

In the meantime – Gabriel Byrne is, for some reason, a vampire, and most of the other characters are vampires, and there are good vampires and bad vampires and half vampires, and I didn’t care about any of that, but the one thing that was sort of legitimately interesting is that I’m pretty sure this is a lesbian movie dressed up as not a lesbian movie, and that feels kind of quaint.

Because, see, the whole premise is that the two main characters (who are girls) are best friends, and they ran away together before the story started and the vampire one drank the blood of the half vampire one, and this is, like, a super taboo secret that they can’t tell anyone because people “wouldn’t understand.” And then, during the big battle at the end, which I didn’t really pay attention to, there is this moment where the same thing happens again and it’s, like, this whole big deal about how they’re not ashamed for people to see because, like, this is how they’re going to save the world or whatever. And that was very interesting. But it was the only thing that was.

Image: Philomena; The Weinstein Company |December 5, 2014