The Courier: 30 days of film - day 12

Our writers reflect on the movies that, despite belonging to their favourite genres, did not connect with them as expected. Downsizing (2017) Like the most of us, I love a good drama. Especially when it’s mixed with a bit of sci-fi. So 2017’s Downsizing seemed like the perfect choice, right? The drama of living in […]

multiple writers
26th April 2020
Our writers reflect on the movies that, despite belonging to their favourite genres, did not connect with them as expected.

Downsizing (2017)

Like the most of us, I love a good drama. Especially when it’s mixed with a bit of sci-fi. So 2017’s Downsizing seemed like the perfect choice, right? The drama of living in a completely different society and the sci-fi/fantasy of that society consisting of tiny people sounds great on paper. In reality, it's probably one of the most boring films I've seen and when I watch a new Matt Damon film now, I'm haunted by the memory of watching Downsizing instead.

The obvious attempts at humour didn’t hit at all, there were too many sub-plots that didn’t add up and the 2hours and 15minutes just dragged. Downsizing just isn't worth your lockdown time. Join the Facebook group where we all pretend to be ants in an ant colony. I guarantee it’s much more fun than whatever the hell Alexander Payne was going for here.

Harriet Metcalfe

The Perfect Date (2019)

Whenever choosing a film to watch I'm always torn between a classic horror film such as Halloween or a funny rom-com off Netflix. Being my two favourite genres it's hard to pick which one I'm in the mood for. I've seen many horror films and many rom-coms, so picking out a film I didn't enjoy is hard. However, one always comes to mind. The Perfect Date.

So I was a huge fan of the film To All The Boys I've Loved Before (2018) starring Noah Centineo, thus I assumed I'd really enjoy his new Netflix romantic comedy The Perfect Date. Oh, how I was wrong! That was an hour and a half of my time wasted, and I'm never going to get that time back. The film was predictable and boring, It has a nice story but the protagonist is shallow and it just follows the usual rom-com formula that has been done before. It was just another teen romantic comedy to be cast out of the Netflix machine.

The film begins with high school student Brooks Rattigan creating an app to offer his services as a fake date or boyfriend, in order to get some extra money and save up for college. However, his plans get complicated when he develops feelings for someone. As you can tell from the storyline, it's a predictable rom-com where he falls for the girl, they argue or something "complicated" happens and then, in the end, end up together. It offered nothing new to someone like me who has seen most rom-coms.

Amy Harris

The Kissing Booth (2018)

I have many favourite film genres - action, sci-fi and horror being some of my favourites. However, nothing quite hits the spot as a good romantic comedy. Especially when you're down and lonely and need to live vicariously through someone else's love life. Now I am aware that there are MANY bad rom-coms out there. Especially Netflix originals as they just don't make them as they used to. But one of the WORST ones I've ever watched is The Kissing Booth.

All I wanted when I watched this movie was a good old cheesy rom-com but all I got was a pile of rubbish. I wasted 105 minutes of my life on this movie. Every person is unattractive - literally every single person. If I took a shot for every time I had to pause this movie to walk away cringing in embarrassment, I would be dead. Romantic comedies are meant to make you feel invested in the love story, in the characters futures together. I gave 0 shits watching this movie.

This movie is also incredibly predictable. Now, I know, romantic comedies tend to be predictable but not to the extent that I saw everything that happened in this movie coming from the offset and that's truly how you know it's a pile of trash. On top of that, do the people who write these movies about high school ever go to high school? This ain't it. How did the main character get into harvard? I literally saw him read a book once.

I know rom-coms can be dumb but The Kissing Booth is the dumbest shit I've ever watched and my faith in rom-coms has really gone out the window alongside my sanity and this film.

Lucy Lillystone

Blue Is the Warmest Colour (2013)

Two of my favourite films are Lady Bird (2017) and But I’m A Cheerleader (1999), which makes my favourite genre very specifically some kind of queer girl coming-of-age. The synopsis of Blue Is The Warmest Colour makes it seem hand-tailored to my interests; art! lesbians! growing up! cool French girls! And that is where any semblance of praise for this film abruptly stops.

The inexcusable layers of straight male gaze, gross sexual fetishization of lesbians, and abusive actions of the director all come to the forefront here, completing marring the strong emotional performances of Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos. Any real exploration of the central relationship seems replaced by an (unrealistic, straight-man pandering) sex scene, so even the whole grand ‘love of my life, I’ll never forget you’ story becomes dull and unnecessarily dramatic. I will cry at anything; this just made me feel extremely uncomfortable and bored.

Three whole hours of my life that I should have spent just rewatching But I’m A Cheerleader again.

Leonie Bellini

Jupiter Ascending (2015)

Sean Bean. Elf ears. Rings.

Sounds like the recipe for a brilliant Lord of the Rings movie, right? WRONG. Turns out it’s a recipe for the meal deal of despair that is Jupiter Ascending.

 I’ve never experienced such trauma from a film in my life, so much so that I wish had a much worse glasses prescription than I do now just so I wouldn’t have to see it. Science Fiction is one of my favourite genres thanks to cool use of practical and special effects, fun and interesting looks at what the future could be, and maybe the occasional cool piece of technology.  Films like The Matrix (1999), Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991) and Star Wars were a huge part of my childhood and greatly influence my current taste in movies. Jupiter Ascending made me question that taste. Most sci-fi films use CGI for fantastical images you couldn’t make in real life like epic space battles or otherworldly settings but this film failed with that spectacularly. While there was the occasional space battle in the movie, it was almost as if the special effects team were kids in a sweet shop and used an overabundance of it. Any cool action scenes are ruined by a ridiculous number of particle effects and explosions making you wonder what you are actually seeing and give you a massive headache. And if that doesn’t give you a headache, the plot sure will as it makes no sense from start to finish. You’ll have no idea, at all, what you just watched. You might think with Eddie Redmayne in it, there are hopes he will carry the film like in other masterful performances. Nope, his performance was like trying to put out a fire by pouring gasoline on it. It is certainly his worst performance to date so much so that even he regrets taking the role.

In short, I hate this film. I hate Channing Tatum’s dumb pointy ears. I just hate everything about it.

At least they didn’t kill Sean Bean for once though.

George Bell

The Gambler (2014)

It’s not like I had high hopes for this film, however it had all the ingredients of a film that one paper I would love. I’m obsessed with character studies and this character had the potential to be fascinating. This however was not the film I got, with the basic storyline and characters that were as hollow as a drum. Wahlberg stumbled through every line clumsily with no consistency or precision at all (I mean I know he was meant to be playing a drunk gambling addict but maybe he went too method). He fully butchered the role and when he was done he ruined any chemistry that could have been had with any other characters too. While I wasn’t too gutted, I was disappointed at the film that could have been and the potential in the story I was shown.

Eve Ducker

Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018)

Ok so I don't think animated films are technically a genre, but I love them. I love how much creativity the design team can have, and I love being transported to a new world. However, sometimes they horrendously miss the mark, and Wreck-It Ralph 2 is one of them.

I love the original Wreck-It Ralph (2012). I love its soundtrack and 'When Can I See You Again?' is stuck in my head every other month, which is impressive considering that I haven't seen the film in a couple of years. I love how much fun they had with animating the different games, and I really enjoyed the plot. King Candy? Genuinely a Disney plot-twist villain that made me go OH! I guess this was before the complete oversaturation of them though.

So take all these nice elements from the first film, and made them x1000 worse. That's Ralph Breaks the Internet. The soundtrack? Forgettable. The creativity? Lost. Literally, they could not have made a more visually boring film if they tried. Oh, and the side characters that you learnt to love, and were arguably better than Ralph himself? Literally cast aside. Instead of utilising the setting, they completely missed the mark on this one. It's just brand advertisement after brand advertisement, and they replaced the upbeat humour and quirk of the first film with already-outdated internet challenges and Youtubers that are even more terrifying when animated.

The thing I hate the most is that they seemed to completely forget the plot of the first film. So they ultimately learnt that everyone is important in their own games, and they all depend on each other. So, what does the sequel do? Well, what if Venelope wants to leave her game and find the internet? Isn't this just a worse repeat of the first film? It just ignores everything learnt from the first film, and it makes me so mad. Oh, and they ruined Ralph. Completely ruined him. Instead of a friend, he becomes this possessive figure in Venelope's life and I genuinely disliked him throughout the entire movie.

This film is bad and Disney should feel bad. The fact that this was Oscar-nominated next to Spider-Verse just shows that Disney needs to step up their game because it's literally a joke. Fair to say, Spider-Verse won the Oscar and literally all of the awards. Wreck-It Ralph 2 has an abomination of a plot, is a sequel that does nothing of merit, and is also just visually boring to look at. Disney really wrecked it.

Sophie Hicks

Bandersnatch (2018)

Hate is a strong word, but sometimes it's necessary.

I've taken this brief a bit more specifically, in that I have chosen a film I hate not only within a genre that I love, but within a particular franchise/series (idk which is the best word) I love, that being Black Mirror.

When I heard that Black Mirror (sorry idk how to format it when I'm talking about the franchise in general) was releasing a long-form interactive film, I was excited. I remember very well watching the Waldo Moment when it first aired with my dad back before Netflix took ownership, and I've been hooked on the show ever since. After the release of spectacular episodes including Shut Up and Dance, Black Museum and Crocodile, I was intrigued to see what the new standalone film would bring. Instead, I was left disappointed.

I have no problem with the fact that it's an interactive film. I was an avid reader of the Goosebumps books as a child, some of which follow a similar format where you make a decision at the end of a chapter and determine the protagonist's fate. The interactive element was utilised well in Bandersnatch, with the options usually being limited to just two so a quick decision can be made and the plot remember past decisions made many scenes ago, and this interactivity does make the film much more engaging to the viewer who is immediately immersed in this world of 1980s video gaming. Acting as Stefan, the viewer starts off making somewhat mundane decisions like which cereal to choose and which CD to play, but after approximately 15 minutes the plot ramps up. And it is the plot, unfortunately, that ultimately let things down.

What started off as an intriguing story of the video games industry, strained family relationships and hallucinogens soon before convoluted as layer after layer of plot was added. What makes this all the more confusing is that sometimes when you choose the wrong outcome the game restarts, and sometimes it just takes you back to an earlier decision, leaving you muddled as to what has actually happened and what has been reversed. There's Stefan's therapist, his mother's death, his bunny teddy, his father, drugs, jumping off a balcony, a strange symbol, a train crash, a password - and then suddenly the horrifying message "kill dad" pops up on screen. It's all too much to take in.

I found myself simply unable to keep up with the plot, with so many strange elements edging their way in. The final straw for me was the mystery with the locked safe and the concept of Stefan being controlled - both of these, alongside scenes which seemed like not just flashbacks but actually time travel, were unnecessary elements to the plot.

Maybe, as a one-way film, this plot could in some way work, but as an interactive film it just becomes too confusing and left me deeply dissatisfied. This is disappointing, as thanks to the rise of Netflix the interactive film genre has so much potential, yet I expect this will remain Black Mirror's only foray into this format.

Grace Dean

All Images Credit: IMDB

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