Monday, April 21, 2014

Can We Talk? - All About Steve Edition

When it comes to movies these days, I mostly just want to have a laugh. With this mindset, there seemed like no better time than to catch up on some critically panned disasters.

Chuckling through the How Did This Get Made? podcast canon was also a motivating factor. Those hosts have such a blast laughing about crazy flicks that it makes you want to stop everything just to watch a big Hollywood mess.

Let's go back in time - the year was 2010 and Sandra Bullock became the first actress to win both the Best Actress and "the Worst Actress" (aka a Razzie) in the same year. (Not for the same movie, but wouldn't that be great?)

While she seemed mighty proud accepting her best actress Oscar for The Blind Side, she seemed just as delighted strolling into the Razzies. Come on guys, we all know that's just Sandy being Sandy, and she's all classy like that.

When a movie is as notably bashed as All About Steve, you can definitely count me in. It had been prominently placed in the middle of my nearly 300 title long Netflix queue for going on four years.

Over the weekend I finally checked out the bad of Bullock's half good, partially terrible year.

Get ready to be obsessed with All About Steve - I didn't want it to end. For some it will be the cringe-worthy, sarcastic, ironic, kind of love. Others will bask in Bullock's solid comedic timing, and dare I say, the positive message that unrolls in the end. Who knew?

 Oh, don't get me wrong, it's also entirely insane.

For the first fifteen minutes of the movie, the commentary in your head will explode with questions like, "Why Sandra, why? Why are you a producer of this movie? Why are you the star of this movie? Why are you playing a character whose only apparent friend is a hamster?"

One single movie has never caused such a spiral of emotions. You cover your eyes in embarrassment one minute, let out an honest to god laugh the next second, audibly gasp at one of the many detestable male characters, and then you just want to give clueless stalker Mary Horowitz (Bullock's character) a hug and tell her she'll be okay. In all honestly, Mary is one of the nicest characters I've seen in a movie in years, so I actually feel bad referring to her that way. Mary, I'm sorry, we can still be best friends, and don't you dare burn those bright red boots.

Sweet characters aside, the actual story has holes larger than the one all those hearing impaired children fall into (Spoiler alert: that is a plot twist that ACTUALLY happens) - who knew you could drive from Texas to Colorado in an afternoon?  Movie magic or terrible writing?

At first it seemed implausible that this film found funding, but nearing the end it all became clear - it is really not as terrible as those Razzie judges claim.

This kind of wacky movie in the past has always been made starring dudes - All About Steve instantly reminded me of something Adam Sandler would have made in the 90s. Bullock decided that she too should have the chance to throw herself into a somewhat bizarre, yet completely physically demanding comedic role. She completely commits to this character AND she's funny even while spending nearly half the movie in a mine shaft (also entirely true). Worst actress caliber this is not.

Through all the madness, the plot veers and a theme missing from the typical bro comedy arises. The selling point to all involved, besides the zany comedy, had to be that at its heart, it's a movie celebrating being an individual. Shocked? I slowly realized that had been the whole point from the beginning, and I had to stop myself from standing up and initiating a slow clap.

The fact that this tale chose to cheer on an actual unique character, not just the typical "cutesy quirky" girl, makes me elated.Could this point have been written into a better script? Of course! For now I will triumph that this type of story was attempted at all. Next time, do it better.

Mary Horowtiz doesn't mind that IMDB users currently have this movie rated at 4.5 stars out of 10. She will just go back to being creative and building her Leprechaun shaped crossword puzzles, all while being herself. 

There is another surprising treat - the entire cast got together to film the commentary for the DVD. After this discovery, I turned around and watched the first 15 minutes again, thoroughly enjoying  Bullock and Bradley Cooper recalling insights into the filming process of this cinematic gem.

Just from the little bit of commentary I listened to it is obvious that the cast and director are proud of their production, it was just the rest of the country that didn't get their vision. They are right to some degree, but might be a little blind to some of the faults (See: children falling in a hole).

Someone has to stop me, because I  could talk about this movie all day. Go watch it now. I'm already anticipating a second viewing.

Was there ever a widely hated film that you ended up loving? I've experienced this many times (all those haters of The Village are still oh-so-wrong.)

Until next time.

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