movie monday #1: young adult


MOVIE MONDAY! The gf (CRYSTAL. I think y’all can probs remember that by now.) will be going to/deliberately watching a movie every week so that I can write about it! 31 Days of Festive-Ass Flicks (Don’t worry! There are fascinating wrap up posts in the works still.) just wasn’t enough and I have to keep doing it. Every week. All year.

We saw Young Adult today at the resident crappy theater (It was an Edwards and is now a Regal and we don’t even GO there, but my aunt gave me a Fandango gift card… two or three years ago? And I figured we should probably finally use it. Only to get there and have them be like… “You have to use this on the website,” which it doesn’t even SAY ON THE CARD. [Seriously, it was like, USE AT ANY REGAL, EDWARDS BLALLRGAJDJKF ETC.] And so we had to download the app and order the tickets and then shove the phone at the cashier. And they are SO LUCKY I always show up 45 minutes early, I SWEAR I WOULD’VE JUMPED SOMEONE.)

Uh, spoilers. BIG ONES.

SO OKAY. The thing is: I like Diablo Cody. I liked Juno! I willingly watch it when it comes on the TV. I saw it twice in the theaters! It was something different-ish when it came out and that was nice. There are things that are terrible/annoying about it, duh, but it’s still an enjoyable movie. I am particularly fond of the family dynamics and the friendship between Juno and that girl that isn’t Anna Kendrick but probably would have been if the timing had been different. And I sort of liked Jennifer’s Body! And I loved the first season of United States of Tara. But I know that she isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and that she can be SO IRRITATING and grating and stuff.

But that’s not her problem. Diablo Cody’s problem is that it always has to be SOMETHING. There has to be something that makes it not what she sees as a “typical” movie. And that something is usually irritating. In Juno it was the cutesy/unrealistic/”whimsical” language in the dialogue. In Jennifer’s Body it was… well, it was kind of everything. BUT. In Young Adult it was that fucking HEINOUS ending.

I’m not going to break down this whole movie, but Crystal and I were FULLY, 100% invested in the path of this character. We were excited! We wanted things to get better for her! We wanted her to figure out what she wanted and then get it! And the entire, ENTIRE movie points toward her getting there. That she is going to fuck up and fuck up and fuck up and hurt people and hurt herself, but in the end, she is going to figure out what she NEEDS to do with herself to find peace/joy/contentment/WHATEVER.

And then. That something. That Something. That SOMETHING.

Diablo Cody decides that, NO NO, THIS MOVIE MUSTN’T BE LIKE OTHER MOVIES! IT MUSN’T! Instead of having sex with the best character in the movie and then figuring out her alcoholism and her pain and her misery, she sits down for a three minute conversation in which Patton Oswalt’s sad, pathetic sister says, “Everyone here is fat and dumb. You’re great. Don’t change.” And then asks Charlize Theron to take her away to Minneapolis. And Charlize Theron is like, LOL NO. And leaves. And finishes her book about how that character AKA SHE is great and better than everyone in her small town and how she has so many better things to do.

And it’s like…

Dude, I don’t need redemption. I didn’t need a ten minute montage of MAVIS GARY THE SAINT, crying and apologizing and throwing away bottles of alcohol etc etc. I don’t need her to fall in love with the Nerdy Awesome Disabled Guy and talk to a therapist about compulsively pulling her hair out. But when you spend an ENTIRE movie showing how wrong and how fucked up and how cruel and shitty a character is and setting them up for their self-realization, DON’T LET THEM FUCKING WALK AWAY THINKING THEY’RE JUST GREAT AND FINE AND WONDERFUL.

I loved this movie up until then. I loved the characterization of Mavis and Matt and Buddy and Beth. I loved it. Seriously. I loved Mavis’s meltdown at the naming ceremony. I loved the palpable pain on her face through almost every minute of the entire movie. I loved how complex she was and how easy it was to read her unhappiness, even when she was playing perfect. I LOVED the sex scene between Mavis and Matt! I LOVED THE WHOLE MOVIE until those last few minutes. I was already writing my thoughts in my head about how seriously perfectly Diablo Cody understands and articulates writing and trying to be a writer and completely inexplicable and crushing misery and how I like that this isn’t a romantic comedy and that Mavis isn’t a heroine that falls down and cries and how we NEED those women in movies and how wonderful she is for being SO COMPLEX.

And then that god damn Something.

And I’m bummed. Because it ruined the movie. Letting your unlikable character off the hook isn’t clever or new or skillful. It’s fine! If the rest of the movie dictates that kind of ending. But this one didn’t. And sadly, it isn’t a case of “SURPRISE, HE WAS DEAD THE WHOLE TIME.” but instead just one of failed follow-through.

Mavis doesn’t deserve to be let off the hook. And it would’ve taken so little to fix it. She could’ve walked away like that at the end! She could’ve thought she was perfect! All of that could’ve happened in a way that was true to the story if the conversation with Sandra had just been a little different. If Mavis had realized that Sandra was just telling her what she wanted to hear and accepted it or if it had been a matter of “Who cares if you’re fucked up?” or “Is anyone happy?” or ” Who knows what happy is?” or ANYTHING. It could’ve worked. But no.

God damn it, Diablo Cody. I thought we were FRIENDS. I DEFEND YOU TO PEOPLE SO MUCH. I love you! I admire you! I sometimes hope to be like you! And you do this to me?