I’m about to spare you about 460 minutes of your life. And you are welcome. But in exchange I am asking you to make me a promise.
But before I save you those precious minutes and request of you a promise, allow me to teach you something about movies.
If you EVER see a commercial touting a movie as wholesome, charming, heartwarming, feel-good, chicken soup or any other Lifetime channel phrase…
RUN!!! RUN AWAY and for the love of humanity DO NOT EVER look back. Save yourself, IT’S A TRAP!!
It’s a scam as old as Hollywood itself. It’s how they snooker you into watching movies about drama that you really do not need to spend time on. And they typically use these words during times in which the American lifestyle sucks the hardest. It’s useless drama.
And when I say drama, I don’t mean drama with an explanation as in “Oh no, Timmy’s down a well, where’s Lassie??” no, I mean redundant drama, such as the movie opens and not 15 minutes in, the main couple is arguing over something ridiculous. Usually it’s either the woman making up something that she bases on a magazine her girlfriend read or the man is too lazy to wash the dishes and is able to magically bring in work into the argument, and he somehow equates dishes and work to “THIS IS YOUR FAULT, WOMAN!!” and if neither of those scenarios make any sense to you, congratulations, you are healthy.
You may have seen the ads for “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” which is being touted as “the feel good movie of the year”.
“Of the year” is a term used by a movie studio when even the cast is reluctant to see it.
Also, the term “feel-good” usually implies that the few characters you will care about either die horribly, become disfigured, sick or just have life take a monumental dump on them. Most of these characters are either super old, or like in the cases of the below films, tweens.
Ah tweenhood. If you ask a Hollywood executive, the tween years are the most awkward, death prone years in an adolescent's life, filled with spoiled, self centered parents going through a mid-life crisis, vicious bullying, puberty and of course, unsolicited and creepy first love. These are also the spunky youngsters, whose lives are totally and forever ruined, with a barely explained life lesson thrown in somewhere before the credits roll.
Take for example Pollyanna. Right off the bat, the sickeningly sweet tween Pollyanna, has parents that die mysteriously and horridly, and she is sent to live with her town bully of an aunt, ironically named Polly. The townspeople are fed up with Polly running their lives into the dirt, so they hold a bizarre. Pollyanna goes in secret, but when she tries to climb a tree leading into her room, she falls, breaks her legs into a million pieces, is rendered a cripple and is forced to leave to some unknown, seedy city in an attempt to get them repaired. There, that’s 134 minutes I just saved you. Oh and by the way, in the book, she eventually does get full use of her legs back, but Disney thought the movie was better off ending on a cliffhanger. Way to go, real family friendly.
When I was four, a movie called “My Girl” came out. I didn’t see it until I was almost 6, when HBO picked it up. It too was touted as a “feel good, heartwarming” yadda yadda, and it starred Macaulay Culkin, a popular child actor of the day whose star could only be challenged by Bart Simpson ~ who is a cartoon. Why you would punish an innocent child with a name like Macaulay Culkin is beyond me, but I digress. I had already seen Home Alone, which was deceptively mentioned in the ads for My Girl as “from the same acting genius behind America’s favorite” so how bad could it be?
Long story short, the movie centers around a morbid child named Vada Sultenfuss, I remember because that name is just too terrifying to forget. Sultenfuss has to be the 5th prissiest last names you could be punished with. I digress. Vada is convinced that because her first parent died during childbirth, it’s clearly her fault and she was a murderer. Not helping is her dimwit father who owns a funeral parlor, in fact, I’m pretty sure they LIVE in it too. Eww.
He’s hell-bent on marrying this homely and self-centered bitch named Shelly, and we have our typical “I HAVE NEEEEEEEDS you don’t understand because you’re a CHILD” spoiled-brat arguments from the father.
If you are a parent, and you try to push your sexual frustrations off on your kids, asking them to accept whatever bad life decision you’re about to make, please, do us all a favor and kick yourself in the taint right now. It builds character.
So on top of this, Vada is bullied at school, and nobody wants to lift a finger to help. And there’s her grandmother, dying of Alzheimer’s and a ton of WEIRD adults in her life that the newspaper reviews only label as “an eclectic cast”. That is a very nice way of saying “they be creepy, smelly and severely crazy, and not in the fun, party type of way”. Vada makes a friend, Timothy, played by Mr. Culkin. Timothy is the only sane person in Vada’s life and to push the point that these two are soulmates (an evil word, don’t you EVER let me catch you using this abomination of a word) there’s a kissing scene. WHY?? They are 11 years old! Kids at that age should be playing with toys not playing with.. GRR anyway, we have a weird scene where Vada has her first period and screams, thinking she’s dying, because nobody in her life has ever explained puberty to her.
Then Timothy runs into the forest to retrieve a ring she dropped, and dies horribly of a bee attack. Thanks to this film I am now permanently scarred for life, to this day, I can’t even look at bees without flinching or screaming and if I ever find the people responsible for writing this crap, I am going to sue.
So at Timothy’s funeral, Vada and her father have an argument over… I don’t remember and it probably wasn’t that important. And then somehow seeing Timothy about to rot away in his casket, Vada realizes that she wasn’t the cause of her other parent’s death, and sometimes life is just a piece of crap, and realizing that life sucks brings her closer to her father. And that is 102 minutes I just spared you.
And WHY was there a sequel to this garbage?? In My Girl 2, Vada’s father has married stupid bitch Shelly, and oh goody they’re going to have a really horrible baby. Nice. So Vada wants to do a school project on the parent that died when she was born, and oh by the way, her grandmother has died too now, so Vada goes to live with her Uncle, who’s girlfriend’s son sort of babysits her… even though they’re the same age. (What?) At first they hate each other, Vada won’t take off the ring from Timothy, but then she and this monkey’s ass of a boy starts to fall for Vada, and the (now 13 year olds) kiss and have their first love. And I threw up, realizing that if her uncle and the boy’s mother do actually get married as they intend to do, Vada will be in a relationship with her step-cousin. And that’s another 99 minutes you have been spared.
And speaking of death prone kissing tweens, I’m about to spare you an unreasonable, 125 minutes.
Timothy Green starts off with the main, argument prone couple being told that they are infertile.
Let me stop right there. This is a Disney drama. Disney, the family friendly, Snow White and the seven Dwarfs Mickey Mouse uses as sled dogs company, that was planning on selling products from this movie to the 2-6 year old demographic, and yet also gave us Pollyanna... which has been aired on the Disney channel in years past and aimed at children. Please do work the word Disney into your memory of the commercial. Ok?
Anyway. Timothy Green opens with the main couple learning that they are hopelessly infertile. So they make a wish for a son. Knocking at the door comes 10 year old Timothy Green, a sickeningly sweet boy with leaves growing out from his flesh. Everytime he does something nice, or helps someone make a life discovery, one of the leaves turns brown and falls off. Along the way, Timothy helps a dying old man, some random people matching the “eclectic cast” description, and then he befriends a tween girl with whom he experiences friendship and first love. (What is it with tween lust in these films? EWW!!)
Then Timothy also has to deal with school bullies, bullies that kick girls in the face, bullies that attack Timothy and oh... fantastic, their parents are bullies too. And soon the town tries to rip away Timothy from his family.
But then everyone learns a valuable life lesson, and Timothy loses his last leaf. Despite his parents’ pleas, Timothy “goes away”. That’s creepy. He doesn’t die traditionally, he just fades away, and someone in the town notes that Timothy is light-years older than 10 and has appeared to people before in the same manner, leaving the movie goer to wonder if he was even alive in the first place. I hope he was, otherwise that other tween has to be told “Dudette, you were crushing on a zombie.” The movie ends with his parents now having the courage to fight for their right to adopt… because… you know… it’s illegal for straight people to adopt or something. This is a Disney film??
A drunk woman at a diner once told me (obviously mistaking me for someone she knew in her head) that people go to dramas when they’re already depressed, so they can see how much worse off their lives could have been, and thus this ideology makes them cry and then feel better.
We have a terrible economy, the last Bush administration sent us into a resurgence of the Great Depression. We have people unable to get government assistance, decent healthcare or even a job offering a living wage. We have a rising death toll among children under the age of 12, a massive unemployment rate, the highest foreclosure rate since Uncle Tom’s Cabin had it’s second Hollywood revival, and a drought large enough to trigger another dust bowl. And right now, people ages 0-69 are trying to find ways to cope with decades worth of poisoning, thanks to faulty (and yet government approved) vaccines from the Gulf War on back, lead coated bootlegs and American made foods, loaded with Bisephenol toxins and pink slime. How much more depressed to you REALLY want to be??
These movies should never have been made. I have yet to watch one of these films and have a “feel good” moment. I don’t even have the luxury of laughing. Not once, not even a chuckle. I always end up feeling either depressed or angry that I just blew a good chunk of my day on a film that could not be bothered to live up to it’s hype.
If you are planning on spending any time at all on a movie billed as “heartwarming” please don’t. We need to tell the studios to quit depressing us, and sadly, the only way you can do that is to hit ‘em where it hurts. The pocketbook. Do yourself a favor and avoid these “chicken soup” movies like the plague.
And now the promise you must make me.
And if by some chance you know me personally, as in I’ve seen you in real life or have let you had a phone conversation with my mother…
DON’T ~ and I am NOT kidding here ~ DON’T YOU EVER take me to see one of these films.
Even if there is a bet involved. Even if the world stops spinning. Only if the sun is about to crash land onto the planet, and the only way to send it back to it’s proper orbit is to strap me down and force me to see the feel good movie of the year will I EVER even think about entertaining your request.
So help me, unless you have a really valid excuse (such as the ads lied, there’s no explosions here and why does the Death Star look like a windowless van near a hair salon??) I will hurt you. I will grant you a scar in an embarrassing and unavoidable to notice place.
You will spend your days with your friends endlessly ribbing you, and when you are old and feeble, neighborhood children will walk up to you and ask “Yo GRAMPS, what’s with the burn mark on yo’ forehead in the shape of Hello Kitty?” and you won’t be able to look them in the face.
All you will be able to do is just stare up at the ceiling as you grip the arms of your chair, digging your fingernails in, gritting your teeth and hissing “I took that woman to see the feel good movie of the year…”