Monday, April 18, 2011
I Wish I Knew How to Quit You: Abandon
Sure, he's had his missteps (I never even attempted Wasteland because of how awful I heard it was, and Vampire Diaries looks positively poopy), but Dawson's Creek provided a gigantic bonding experience for me and my roommates freshman and sophomore year of college. And seeing Scream 4 at 12:01 last Friday, surrounded by a raucous crowd who wasn't above yelling at the screen, I was reminded how much FUN horror can be. Much as I enjoyed the morality-play aspect of the first Saw film--and to an extent, the second--I hate how quickly it denigrated into straight-up torture porn. RiffTrax notwithstanding, where's the entertainment in that?
Of course, Kevin Williamson isn't perfect. He is also largely responsible for introducing the world to Mrs. Tom Cruise, or as she was known pre-couch jump, Katie Holmes.
Because I am a nerd, after seeing Scream 4, I immediately visited IMDb for the film's trivia/fun facts. This led me to look up the original Scream trilogy, which I haven't seen in ages. And for some reason, I remembered a suspense-y piece of tripe I encountered on the university movie channel back in my law-school days.
Anyone else remember Abandon?
Kevin Williamson's not involved at all, but Katie Holmes sure as hell is. This KH vehicle was unleashed in 2002 when the Creek was still running and Hollywood's powers that be were trying to translate her little-girl voice and rolling eyes into full-fledged stardom.
Didn't really work.
Let me just say I'm a little prejudiced. I never liked Joey Potter. Yeah, she was from the wrong side of the tracks and her sister had the audacity to get knocked up by a non-white guy (one of the many, many things Joey bitched about), but my God, the girl never stopped whining. Also, honey, your best friend/boyfriend/whatever's name is DAW-son, not DAH-son. In contrast, Michelle Williams' Jen Lindley was just as misguided, but way more interesting. I mean, she liked 70's rock and her best friends were her grandma and a gay guy. WINNING.
Also, who has the more successful acting career now? I rest my case.
So Katie Holmes is Katie Burke, a senior at an unnamed super-chichi East Coast-looking school. We know it is for smart people because a boy in Katie/Katie's group of friends wears glasses. Katie/Katie's other pals include resident African-American and Bring It On alum Gabrielle Union, and Zooey Deschanel in her pre-hipster goddess days when she was typecast as the wacky friend. Katie/Katie is NOT friends with the weird girl in the library, played by Melanie Lynskey in the lean post-Heavenly Creatures years before she had much of a career.
Katie/Katie has everyone drooling over her: she's one of two students on campus being pursued by the exclusive i-banking firm McKinsey. Even the thesis she's struggling to finish sounds impressive.
But much like with Elizabeth Wakefield, I don't really see the appeal. You see, Katie/Katie is sort of a robot. A very pretty, apparently smart robot, but a robot nonetheless. She has what I like to call Bella Swan Syndrome: where a young character is totally popular despite having practically no personality. I have no idea what McKinsey sees in her--then again, I'm not an i-banker.
Anyway, this little robot has a secret. When she was a sophomore she fell in love with senior Embry Larkin (Charlie Hunnam, who is now on Sons of Anarchy, which everyone says I should check out). Shown in flashback form, Embry is a picture-perfect, spot-on trust fund brat desperate for street cred crossed with theatrical pretentious douchebag. In other words, I would totally have wanted to do him in college.
At the end of Katie/Katie's sophomore year, Embry staged an elaborate theatre production which he introduced by essentially telling the audience to fuck off, and disappeared into a waiting vehicle, never to be seen again.
Two years later, Embry has no family to speak of, but his attorneys want him declared legally dead so they can donate all his riches to the family foundation or something, and recovering alcoholic cop Benjamin Bratt (when Hollywood was trying to make HIM happen because I think he was doing Julia Roberts at the time) is digging out his notepad and most serious expression to find out what happened.
Meanwhile, Katie/Katie is having a very boring nervous breakdown: she can't sleep, can't finish her thesis, and despite the McKinsey guy showing up at her dorm room (which I'm imagining breaks all sorts of rules and codes of appropriateness) and Detective Bratt creaming his jeans over her, she's seeing Embry everywhere she goes.
What is Katie/Katie hiding? Is Embry really back? Will Det. Bratt start drinking again?
All I know is Zooey's wisecracking all the way!
I don't get it. Why did I gravitate towards this film? And by "gravitate" I mean "stalk relentlessly." Back in 2006, when I couldn't catch the whole damn thing on the university movie channel, I went to no less than 2 or 3 video stores trying to track it down. And yesterday, I looked at my local video place and at the library, plus Netflix streaming and Amazon, before I may or may not have illegally streamed it from some Japanese website where I think they're trying to sell me sex shoes made of chicken.
In other words, it's a big ole case of This Movie Sucks And I Can't Stop Watching And I Totally Hate Myself.
I think in the old days, I could relate to Katie/Katie's general stress and weirdness surrounding her upcoming graduation, job interviews, and remembering an ex best left un-remembered. The end of school is a strange time and I thought the film actually did an okay job of conveying that (would have done a better job with a more convincing actress, just saying). In the now...hm, I dunno. Maybe it's nostalgia. Maybe I really like it when Zooey plays the wacky friend (aw hell, I love her as the hipster goddess too). Maybe I find Embry totally hot and who am I kidding, I'd probably still hit that. I'd just tape his mouth shut first.
Either way...I might still buy the DVD.
Or one of my readers could buy it for me (hint, hint). I'd even take it as a present from Katie, if Tom lets her out of the Scientology basement.
Do you have any inexplicable favorites? Along the same lines, what movie do you think desperately needs a RiffTrax?
'Cause for me, the answer to both those questions starts with A and ends with -bandon.
Son of a bitch.