Nothing is sacred. Not really. There are varying levels of sensitivity, and there is certainly tastelessness, but there isn’t any single thing in the world as we know it that can be made fun of, or turned into the basis for a melodramatic romance movie for tweens, or other examples. And in the end we will all be so much dust thrown into the wind and flying back into Steve Buscemi’s face, or whatever. But just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean that you SHOULD do something. Just because nothing is off limits doesn’t necessarily mean that limits need to be tested or broken. Take a second! You’ve got time! Think about what you are doing. Ask yourself this question: would everyone in the whole world be better off if I just didn’t do the thing that I am about to do? If the answer is “yes” or even just “probably” then find something else to occupy your time. There’s so much out there. What a wonderful world filled with exciting opportunities and adventures to be had. Here, I’ll give you a more specific example: when you’ve rounded up a few million dollars to make a movie with a cast that includes Robert Pattinson from the Twilight movies and Academy Award winner Chris Cooper about a young couple finding love despite their individual emotional hardships, ask yourself this question: DOES the movie NEED to end with 9/11 as a completely unnecessary and mildly offensive subplot-point, or could we just skip that part because WHAT THE HELL WERE WE THINKING? The answer to that question in the case of Remember Me, of course, is WHOOPS, TOO LATE.
Remember Me opens on a subway platform in 1991 with the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center clearly visible in the background. Huh. I bet it’s nothing. You know, filmmakers aren’t actually very selective about what makes it into the frames of their movies, so he probably didn’t even realize it was there. When he had it CGI’ed into the background. Anyway, a mother and her daughter are on the subway platform and get mugged and then the mom gets murdered. Some cops show up and it turns out one of them (Chris Cooper) is the little girl’s father. “10 years later.” Wait, that’s it? Fair enough. 10 years after 1991 makes it….ah, who cares. Math is so hard! Now we are enjoying the story of Robert Pattinson. He is a
vampire werewolf swamp thing student at NYU who loves drinking beers and smoking cigarettes and fucking girls that he never calls back. #swag #getHAZED.
We learn that he has a very close relationship with his precocious little sister, that his older brother hung himself while working for their powerful and over-bearing father, and that Robert Pattinson hates their powerful and over-bearing father. One night he gets in a fight for no reason. He’s really out of control! The cops are going to let him go, but then he talks back to them (see what I mean about how out of control he is?!) so they arrest him and also his nerdy roommate who is so nerdy (but also gets a lot of sex action, I guess? His character contains multitudes!) Long story long: the nerdy roommate decides that they should get back at the cop who locked them up by having Robert Pattinson date his daughter. BURN! THAT COP WON’T KNOW WHAT HIT HIM! And so now Robert Pattinson and Emilie De Ravin (Claire from Lost) are dating. Neat!
Most of the rest of the movie is all about how hard it is being white. Like, Emilie De Ravin passes out drunk one night, so her widowed cop dad is super mad when she gets home, and they get in a fight and something something murdered mom he hits her, so now she lives with Robert Pattinson. And boy, Robert Pattinson sure hates his dad, who does seem like kind of a jerk, although actually he’s always very apologetic about it, he just happens to make his priorities very clear, which is that he’s a workaholic, and to be honest, fair enough, like there are way worse dads in the world than a billionaire workaholic who tells you he wishes he could have been there for the recital or whatever. But Robert Pattinson throws a fit and now THEY almost hit each other. Then something happens where Robert Pattinson’s little sister cuts her hair at a birthday party? I don’t know. Oh, and naturally Emilie De Ravin finds out that Robert Pattinson was only dating her as a bet with his nerdy roommate and she’s really upset, but eventually she stops being upset, and now they are back together. FINALLY: Robert Pattinson goes to his dad’s office one morning but his dad is running late and his little sister’s teacher writes this on the chalkboard:
EEEEEK! And that’s practically the end of the movie? I mean, there’s a lot of this:
The end. WHOA WAIT WHAT?!
Let's set aside the 9/11 stuff for a second (forever if we possibly can) and talk about the rest of the movie: it's not that great, but it's not that bad either. It's mostly just overwrought. Everyone wears these traumas on their sleeves. At one point, on their first date, Robert Pattinson tells Emilie De Ravin that he will walk her to the subway and she is like "oh no uh no I don't take the subway ever." It's very intense and awkward, which we know is because her mom was murdered on the subway, but also a long time has gone by and she still lives in New York City. I'm not saying she needs to take the subway, but you'd think she'd manage to DISCUSS the subway without her head falling off. Similarly on another early date, she sees a photo of Robert Pattinson's brother playing a guitar or something and she's like "does he play around here," and Robert Pattinson is like "not anymore." Right. Because he's dead. It's OK, you can tell Emilie De Ravin that your brother is dead. I bet she'll still fuck you.
Also there is a lot of false "charm" and "depth" in this movie that is neither charming nor deep. For example:
On the one hand, I will admit that that’s VERY 21-year-old, so if the point was to capture how annoying and stupid and self-possessed with false-intellectual-security 21-year-olds are, yes, this movie nailed it. But my guess is that this is supposed to be very charming and maybe even make people think that they should be eating dessert before their entrees because they, too, love dessert and isn’t it fun to have quirky personal philosophies? Well, no, not really. And also: eating lamb vindaloo right after eating ice cream and drinking a glass of skim milk is disgusting. I wish she had been the one who died on 9/11.
So, right, the whole 9/11 thing.
Ugh. UGH. The movie has absolutely nothing to say about 9/11, so what is this doing here? I think the idea is that the movie deals with personal loss and somehow 9/11 is like, OUR personal loss, all of us. Except that it isn’t, and also, if it was, how are you going to shoehorn in something that actually matters to so many people just because you don’t know how to end your movie. How is that suddenly our problem? Woof. Just do what Clue did! Have three separate endings! But make sure NONE of them involve a National Tragedy. This is almost worse than the season 1 finale of Fringe, and that was terrible!
Never forget. How misguided and ultimately very awful Remember Me is. Remember THAT.