The Lucky One: Not Very Lucky

I know on my manifesto on movies in the About the Squid page, I mainly complain about movies which use too much CG while sacrificing the story. However, movies that don’t use any special effects can still suck too. All that needs to happen is that the story is either non-existent or just plain horrible, the characters are flat, and the acting forced and contrived. This is exactly what happened in The Lucky One, a film directed by Scott Hicks.

I saw the Lucky One unintentionally (because honestly, you could tell from the trailers that it was a piece of crap) and under very weird circumstances when I went to catch the midnight release of the Avengers. And since the Avengers compared to it like Disney Land compares to a nondescript van with candy written on the side, I only wrote a few sentences on this movie while reviewing the Avengers. Mainly because I thought giving it anymore attention would make my head implode. However, a couple of people thought I didn’t mock it enough apparently, so I decided to give it an appropriate bashing.

In The Lucky One, Logan (Zac Effron) is a marine in Iraq whose life is saved from finding a picture of a woman. Of course when he returns to the States, he has to find that woman, Beth (Taylor Schilling) and of course ends up screwing her (My question, what if the woman on the photo was completely ugly?).

The big challenge for me with this movie was taking Zac Effron seriously. because I have seen High School Musical several times (not out of choice mind you) when he was, what? 12? So from the beginning, I felt his performance wasn’t going to have much depth (you don’t have high expectations in a made for TV Disney film). It was even worse watching him thrust a woman clearly ten years older than him on screen. I acknowledge this would have probably been a a lot better had I never seen High School Musical, but I can’t unload my personal movie baggage. Unless I shoot myself, and trust me, after having to sit through this movie that is something I have considered.

However, even if I had never seen High School Musical, I still would have torn apart Zac Effron’s performance. There is a scene when he is trying to explain to Beth why he never told her why he was really there. He says, “Finding a photo like that in a war….It’s like finding an angel in hell.” The total bitch that I am, when I heard that line I couldn’t keep myself from laughing aloud. Zac Effron just couldn’t deliver it without sounding like a pubescent boy reading his angsty cutter poetry at his first open mic night. However I’d like to acknowledge that the utter failure of that moment has more to do with the atrocious writing than Effron. But he can’t act either way. Sorry man. Go back to singing and looking pretty. No. Don’t, because you can’t do that either.

My main issue with the movie however was the climax. During a vicious rainstorm, Beth’s belligerent ex-husband confronts her and scares their son who flees into the night and even though he is 8 and apparently a genius, he still thinks crossing a rickety bridge over a raging river is a good idea. Of course, the bridge collapses, and the ex-husband ends up dead. I don’t know if this is what happens in the Nicholas Sparks book, so I will blame the screenwriter. Could you not think of a better way for the lead characters to get around their conflict? I guess what happened was the movie makers realized they only had ten minutes left, so they said, “Oh, let’s just kill him off.” Still no excuse. And I hope you all know if you do that in life you’ll need a hell of a lawyer.

 

I hope I have now legitimately explained why I feel The Lucky One deserves a 1 out of 10 and just why this film never should have been made. It is so bad, that you could pull a Clockwork Orange and strap me down to a chair and pry my eyelids open and force aversion therapy on me by making me watch The Lucky One over and over and over. Damn it, why did I put that idea in your heads?

The Avengers: Go See It!

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I’m writing on three hours of sleep, so this post could totally suck. You have been warned.

So I had an interesting night. Every now and then, the Campus Activities Board at Austin College pays for an entire room at a movie theater at a midnight release when a really popular movie comes out so the students who are willing to neglect their studies and come out early enough get a movie for free while being cramped by annoying freshman. Last night, CAB paid for tickets for The Avengers release. My roommate Neelam and I figured it was our last opportunity to take advantage of it before we graduate, so we went. Long story. For various reasons we had to sit through the Lucky One. Can you say awkward? I come out of The High School Musical generation (not proud of that). I should not have to see a MILF reaching into Zac Efron’s pants. Since this is a movie review blog, I will give this movie a score. How about, in honor of the title, I give it a 1?

However, I am writing to talk about The Avengers, which somehow was worth watching Zac Efron thrusting. I don’t love superhero movies. I’ll see them, but they’re not at the top of my list. So when I saw the trailer, I wasn’t excited. Yawn, okay, now they’re a team. Yada yada yada. Boy, was I wrong.  I am so glad I saw this movie, because it was awesome. Well written. Great cast. Action that doesn’t melt your mind. And Joss Whedon’s signature hilarious beats throughout. I liked Marc Ruffalo much better than Eric Bana as The Hulk. And when did Scarlet Johansson get to be such a bad ass? I’ve always enjoyed her acting skills, but I didn’t know she packed such a punch. More importantly, this movie is not just escapist. It brings up issues and themes very relevant to modern society. The obvious one that is in pretty much every hero movie is the question, what makes a hero? This comes up many times in the movie, especially when Captain America challenges Iron Man, saying he’s not a hero. Just a narcissist playing with toys. And quite obviously, considering the nature of the idea of The Avengers, many conflicts about the idea of teamwork are brought up. And also the ethics of creating weapons of mass destruction even if it is for defense.

My regular readers know I love complaining about bad movies, but I’m even more delighted to find good ones, especially if my expectations are completely debunked. However, the Avengers is not without its flaws. The main one that comes to mind regards the Hulk. Halfway through the movie, Bruce Banner loses control (as is inevitable with The Hulk, especially if you put him in giant hovercraft) and turns into the green mean fighting machine. In this scene, Whedon portrays the Hulk as a wild beast out of control. He does not know ally from enemy. He cannot think, cannot be controlled. Then, move to the climax of the movie when the Avengers are all fighting the bad guys together. Banner unleashes the Hulk to fight. However, suddenly, the Hulk seems to have a brain. Yes, he’s fighting savagely, but also he can discriminate between friend and foe. He listens to Captain America’s orders. What happened? This represents a huge disconnect with The Hulk’s character.

Also, towards the beginning of the film, after Loki attacks Shield, there is a scene in which he’s talking to a cloaked man. It becomes pretty clear that this ring wraith combined with Hannibal Lector is really in control and a much bigger bad ass than Loki. But we never see him later in the film. It seems like Whedon was trying to allow for a sequel set up, but if that’s true, there should be a scene after the climactic fight with Loki where the audience sees the other bad dude and is reminded, “Hey, the Avengers defeated Loki, but now they need to fight this guy,” if this movie brings in enough money, which I’m sure it will.

For a great ride and a lot of fun, I give this movie a 7.

Crap, now I have to watch all the prequels.