Let me start off by saying: I do not go into movies wanting to hate them. I wish that all things produced and sold could have something in them for me to take and enjoy, learn from, or be enlightened by. I like to like things. I like fun. And while writing scathing reviews can be fun to write and read, I would much rather be the person who draws attention to something I feel is being overlooked by the general public (like "The Boxtrolls") than to try and tear down something people seem to be heralding as some masterpiece. That being said... This movie has already won a Golden Globe for "Best Picture".
Worst Movie of the Year
For the life of me I cannot understand the appeal of this thing. I hesitate to refer to it as a movie. In an era in which dozens of television shows have run for a decade with casts evolving and each episode presenting a plot with developments and interesting dialogue... What is special about this?
Hell, forget TV shows, you want to look back at the last decade? Look at the internet. You can at any time call up any number of videos of history, news, or even someone's home movies which they freely share. The world has become a big community posting their family photo albums online for each other to see and empathize with. So the whole conceit of the movie, that it was filmed in sections over 12 years is meaningless.
The acting in this is bad. Just bad. Ethan Hawke (whom I like as an actor) and Patricia Arquette, are the only people who seem to be trying, and they suck. Hawke seems to be playing to the back rows which is distracting when he is paired with the kid actors who have no ability at all and are visibly uncomfortable in many scenes. Patricia by contrast is sleep walking as a sheepish to the point of cowering woman who... gets abused. The titular boy is so irredeemably dull and mumbling that I actually hated him as a character, though being silent means he can dodge saying the dialogue, which is bizarrely out of touch, as no one seems to talk like a human. Voids of wit or insight.
I wonder how much "movie" was left on the cutting room floor. Because there are scenes in which Hawke spouts the typical know-it-all bullshit that free spirit fuck-wits like his character often spout... But since his character is supposed to be seen as wise by the audience does that mean that they shot scenes with multiple possible insights?
I imagine you are saying, "Wha?..." What I mean to say is that Hawke bitches about President Bush. Now in the present, to the general public, President Bush is seen as a fool who was tricked into invading a country by the military industrial complex, we "know" that. But they could not have known that at the time they were filming the movie. So did they film scenes with Hawke's character cheering the invasion? With Hawke saying that he is worried but hopes that things will be alright? So that no matter what the ultimate outcome of the Iraq invasion they could have cut the movie together to make him look like the wise father? The reason I ask is because the movie feels about as artificial and sentiment baiting as it gets and I wonder how much of this was written before hand and how much was weaseled together to give comforting sentiment from the 20/20 hindsight of the audience.
|Somewhere in one of these parallel universes, Richard Linklater made a movie about the son of a TEA party activist. And the effort he went to to make them sympathetic stretched him creatively, and won him no awards.|
Beyond all of that I fell like this could have worked... as a series. Take each segment that is a year in the life and make it an episode, 12 episodes, each with a story that builds toward the character growing and serving as a snap shot of the time. Sure you wouldn't get Oscars, you would have to settle for Emmys but the story would have been complete... and an actual story with an arc... rather than: NOTHING.
I just kept thinking thru the whole thing back to a particular scene in the movie "Adaptation" which gives a brutal criticism of script writing and the necessity of structure and conflict (Watch the video), things "Boyhood" lacks because of its meandering bullshit style over substance Gimmick (there is that word again) of banking on filming a time rather than filming a story.
Worst Movie I have ever seen
If you felt this movie touched you somehow, please comment. Please share this with those who are able to explain their opinions. Because every review I have read emphasizes "the ambition" or "the time capsule nature" of this rather than themes, story, or production which I think of as the key components of a movie rather than what we got. I welcome someone to tell me I am wrong, but try to avoid the "it was filmed over 12 years" because I know that, and I do not care about that.
It is strange that 2014 had me find three films that I liked so much that one of them is my favorite film ever now, and another is my favorite super hero movie (of which there are many to choose in a genre I am very found of). But I also feel that "Boyhood" is the movie I hate the most of any movie I have ever seen (and this is in a year in which I watched 3 movies that I gave 1/10). I wrote a blog back in May 2011, about the movie I thought was the worst, "Phantasm". And again that shows how much I have changed as a person. While I still regard it as crap because by today's standards it looks like it was made in two weeks for 40 dollars with the staff of a failed sitcom and a local Golden Apple diner theater, I "get it" now. "Phantasm" was about nightmares and dream logic and the loss of control of one's life in the wake of tragedy. It has themes and weirdness that takes you out of reality and into a story full of... maybe 'imagination' is the best word for it. It tries.
|I am citing this as a positive example of effort. What? (Poster)|
"Boyhood" is not really a movie to me. I used to think one of the worst things a movie could be is stupid, but now... Boring is the worst thing by wide strides. And "Boyhood" is boring. It's boring faux profundity is so dense that it bends light and time. When my friends and I watched it I thought we had been watching the god damn thing for 6 days. We wandered thru a desert and nearly died of thirst.
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