The thing about real life and about making movies that are supposed to reflect real life is that real life is messy and lacks a cohesive narrative arc, sure, but even more problematically, real life is fucking booooooring. It’s so boring! Kill me! Make me dead, at least that would be DRAMATIC. What I’m trying to say is that there is lots of room for getting to some kind of TRUTH about WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT in a movie while also, you know, making a goddamned movie that people might actually want to watch. It’s one thing to leave an ending somewhat vague and open to interpretation, just like how life is often vague and open to interpretation, but it’s another thing (a terrible thing) entirely to show someone stuck in traffic for 45 minutes in real time. There was an interview with David O’Russell on Fresh Air recently where he was talking about The Fighter and he said something to this effect, about how it’s not enough to just make a movie about interesting characters, that the desire for story demands that something of importance actually be happening to those people to make them worth watching. I think you can take that in a lot of different directions, but for the most part I think this is correct. It’s like Bonnie Raitt said, “Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About.” (She was talking about Madea’s Big Happy Family.)

What’s particularly weird and terrible about Sofia Coppola’s movie Somewhere is that it falls into a lot of these problems (lack of compelling narrative arc, very very boring) but it doesn’t depict anything even remotely resembling anyone’s real life anywhere ever. It is, to quote someone I overheard at a screening of Hal Hartley’s Henry Fool when I was in college, “the most mega-bullshit movie I’ve ever seen.” (When I overheard this, whoever was sitting next to the guy that said it turned to him and said “SHUT UP, STEVE, YOU’RE UPSETTING MOM!”) Way to go, Steve, but you make a good point.

Somewhere is about Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff), a famous actor who lives in the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood. The end. I mean, practically? So, he has a new movie out that he has to do some publicity for and he doesn’t seem to be THAT into doing publicity but he also doesn’t seem to mind it that much. It’s part of his job and he seems to understand that. There are certainly other things he’d rather be doing, like playing Guitar Hero with Chris Pontius from Jackass or fucking every woman he sees (except personal-pan strippers, who make him fall asleep), but if you think about it, he actually seems to have plenty of time to do both of those things within the framework of his publicity schedule. Like, at no point does it seem like his publicity schedule is getting IN THE WAY of hit hang out seshes or his fuck seshes. Then he falls down some stairs and breaks his arm. No big deal! He just has a broken arm now. You can still do plenty of publicity, fucking, and Guitar Heroing with a broken arm it turns out, so in case you thought the broken arm was going to be one of the central sources of dramatic conflict, think again.

The central source of dramatic conflict–and I am using the term “dramatic conflict” as loosely as it has ever been used with the possible exception of someone claiming that they were watching paint dramatically conflict itself dry–is when Vinnie Chase’s Johnny Marco’s daughter, Chloe (Elle Fanning) comes to live with him at the hotel. They go to Italy together? And eat grilled cheese or something? I don’t think she sits quietly in a chair while he fucks everything that moves, but she might. It’s hard to tell. One morning she is very grouchy over her cafe au lait served from a silver samovar into fine China, so I guess that’s pretty intense. Johnny Drama Marco has to take care of Chloe until it is time for her to go to summer camp, which is about three weeks. They have a good time. She goes to camp. He gets in a helicopter. There are about three hours of footage of him driving his car.

The end.


Now, a story about an absentee father who is suddenly forced into caring about his child is a totally reasonable thing to make a movie about. There is plenty that is interesting and dramatic and emotionally honest about that. Theoretically. Not here! As soon as Chloe arrives everything…stays exactly the same. They get along great. She goes with him on his press junkets or whatever. There is that one morning when she is grumpy over coffee, but she gets over it very quickly on the private jet back home. All in all, they are very sweet to each other and seem to have a very loving relationship with no real signs of distress over his abandonment of his fatherly duties. It is basically a long episode of Entourage and Chloe is the weed. You know how sometimes on Entourage you’re worried that they won’t get more weed in time to smoke weed but then they totally get the weed with time to spare? It’s like that, but, you know, a child. They even go to fucking LAS VEGAS for heaven’s sake. Entourage all over the place. Anti-stakes.

The emotional climax of the movie comes when Turtle Johnny Marco is loading his daughter into a taxi to send her off to summer camp while a helicopter is waiting to take him back to the Chateau Marmont. Chloe is waving goodbye from the backseat and leans her head out the window. “Chloe!” he shouts. She strains to hear him. “I’m sorry I haven’t been around,” he shouts. But his voice is drowned out by the helicopter. Obviously, this is almost insultingly lazy. Like, I am genuinely a little insulted. But to make matters worse: IT DOESN’T MATTER. Chloe just smiles and goes to camp. And Johnny flies a helicopter home to his hotel. Powerful stuff. He does drive his fancy car (for another 60-80 minutes real time) out into the countryside and just leave it by the side of the road with the keys still in the ignition which, a) no he didn’t, and b) I think this is supposed to be a metaphor for how he used to think his car was important but now he knows that other things are important, which, I guess, but also there are way more reasonable and adult ways to deal with this knowledge and if anything the petulant move of leaving the car out in the middle of nowhere suggests that his character hasn’t changed at all and is still just sort of an aimless, pampered movie star completely disconnected from any sense of reality. So, so what?

And you KNOW your movie has problems when Chris Pontius plays himself and steals every scene that he is in.

The fundamental problem is that I think this is what Sofia Coppola thinks life is like. And maybe it is, for her. She has a very famous dad and she used to be married to Spike Jonze and there is also champagne named after. THERE IS CHAMPAGNE NAMED AFTER HER. It’s not her fault that she thinks everyone lives in a hotel. I would even go so far as to say that one movie about people living in a hotel as an expression of this unusual and completely unrelatable life experience could be interesting or worthwhile, she already made that, it was called Lost in Translation, and it was mediocre. (If you consider modern celebrities to be American Royalty and then trace it backwards to Actual Royalty, then you could also argue that Marie Antoinette was basically a movie about a girl living in a very nice hotel). Enough already, Sofia Coppola. Only boring people get bored (not actually true), but only boring rich people think that movies about bored rich people aren’t boring (think about it).

Eat the rich! If we can’t turn their lives into compelling cinema then at the very least we can turn them into delicious fuel!

Next week: Nell. As always, please leave your suggestions in the comments or in an email. And if you haven’t done so already, please consult the Official Rules.

Comments (115)
  1. The music was great, the pictures were awesome, the characters were aloof and not engaging: this is Tumblr: The Movie

    • SERIOUSLY. Sofia Coppola movies and Tumblr both have the qualities of depicting pretty things that I achingly want and making me confront their total utter MEANINGLESSNESS, and throwing me into a tailspin of What Is The Point.

      Seriously, what is the point?

  2. I can’t believe you glossed over those two ridiculous scenes with the syncronised pole dancers, dancing to “My Hero” by the Foo Fighters and another song I forgot. What the hell was that? And they show the entire song! Like, four minutes of it! And let us not forget there is actually a scene where we watch paint dry (well, sculting putty, same dif). This was not a bad movie, this was a bad collage of stuff going on.

    While I think there might have been a decent movie in the premise, my main problem is Stephen Dorff as a superstar actor. He doesn’t look like a superstar, doesn’t dress like a superstar and the promotion he does for his movie does not equate that of a moviestar. The only thing coming close was the Italian TV show, although I felt she redid a scene from Lost in Translation with that specific scene.

    • Oh, c’mon – the first scene with the dancers was pretty hilarious. It’s just so ridiculous. And the fact that they do the entirety of My Hero is ridiculous. That was one of the scenes where my total boredom transitioned unexpectedly into total laughter.

      • a movie with a lame 4 minute strip scene sounds fresh out of mst3k

      • If that was intended, then bravo to Sofia Coppola. But I think that was to show “man, this dude has seen and done it all and is so jaded now. Nothing can excite him anymore”.

        I’ve stated before on the weird side-blog MOBFD that I like Sofia Coppola, but that I share Gabe’s sentiment that she, like many other directors before her get too involved in the Hollywood system and forget how to make a compelling movie for a real audience. I call it M. Night Shyamalan disease.

        • I do think it’s intended (just as I think you’re supposed to be increasingly compelled and impressed by Fanning’s figure skating during that sequence/song, as Dorff puts away the phone and pays attention); it’s also, as you say, a reflection of how bored this dude is. It’s the equivalent of the “Lip my stockings” scene in Lost in Translation (cue: realization of how many scenes are similar-but-worse versions of Lost in Translation scenes).

          And I certainly agree that she’s not terribly adept at making compelling movies for real audiences, but I’m not sure she’s even trying to do that. She’s not supposed to be a mainstream filmmaker like Shyamalan; she just stumbled upon that with Lost in Translation.

          • I haven’t seen and probably after reading this review will never see Somewhere, but I did enjoy Lost in Translation and to a lesser degree Marie Antoinette (I did not enjoy The Virgin Suicides), but I must agree with everyone’s assertions that Somewhere sounds exactly like a poor man’s (rich boring man’s?) Lost in Translation! I mean, you’re telling me there’s a scene at the end where someone says something that the other one doesn’t hear?? And in Lost in Translation at the end Bill Murray says something to ScarJo that WE can’t hear???? And Stephen Dorff is a celeb on a press junket or whatev and he doesn’t REALLY love doing it that much…..much like Bill Murray is an aging celeb doing press stuff in Tokyo??? WTF, Sofia Coppolla!?!?

  3. BTW, I love Lost In Translation and will not apologize for it.

    • But I will definitely NOT be watching Somewhere. There is nothing worse to me than “Father/Daughter Reconnection” films because they are filled with falsehoods!

      • My whole thing with “Lost in Translation” is that it came out just after I moved away for my freshman year of college, and I remember being so excited to be in a big city with an art theater showing a grown up movie for adults. So I can’t be objective, that was like my “Mary Tyler Moore throws her hat into the air” moment, only sitting quietly in a theater.

        • It was such a let-down for me to realize that not all food in charmingly urban bistros was good and that not all films shown in tiny independent theaters deserved to be there. Still heart you, NYC.

  4. I actually really liked Lost in translation but it had to with the strength of the actors. This movie is driven by Stephen Dorf (sp?) and an 8 year old? The think is that there’s actually a really interesting story here that Sophia Copolla fails miserably to tell. She has the unique perspective of displaying what it’s like to be the daughter of that famous guy who is distant to his family, instead they focus on (like Gabe said) nothing. Horrible screenplay, horrible.

    • almost Donna Darko. (Lost In Translation fandom)

      • The thing (not think, like I wrote above) is that they are kind of the same movie. The chemistry with Murray and Scarlett is what saves the film. Murray’s success seems trivial juxtaposed his lack of connection to someone. Aside from that there’s an actual place to go with the movie. This seems like a painfully stretched out first 1/3 of a movie.

    • I hadn’t thought about that, but yeah – if this movie was about Elle Fanning instead of Stephen Dorff it’d be significantly better.

  5. I read the driving scene as a bookend with the beginning driving scene. At the beginning, he is literally going in circles, going NOWHERE. At the end, even though he/we don’t know where, he is going SOMEWHERE

  6. Gabe, tell me more about these Personal Pan strippers. Do I get a free one if I participate in the Book-It! program?

  7. The Hunt For The Worst Movie Of All Time Provided It Was Released In The Last Five Years And About Boring People In A Position Of Privilege Being Needlessly Philosophical

    Seriously, can we not think of ANY film from before 2006 Gabe can review? At least stretch the guy’s writing talent a little? “This film was pointless and about White People’s Problems. So was this. So was this.” THERE ARE LOTS OF BAD FILMS THAT ARE NOT ABOUT WHITE PEOPLE’S PROBLEMS! I cannot be the only person thinking this, surely?!

    • Well, Nell is next week. If you are suggesting that Sofia Coppola is a fish in a barrel situation, that may be true. But Gabe was truly impassioned with his white-hot hatred of this film. And I’m willing to give good faith in such seething hatred. Besides, you can respect this kind of indignation, at least judging from your flippant comment no?

    • Actually, that’s not a terrible idea. What if he were to review Metropolis? “Why did I sit through three hours of shocked looking actors and actresses and over acting worse than a Mexican soap opera.”

    • I really agree, and I don’t think it’s Gabe’s fault. Every time there’s a call for nominations, about half the comments (it seems to me) are along the lines of “Oh man this movie about white people problems from the last 5 years is terrible” or “I really like this movie, but I would like to see Gabe’s take on it,” or “I really like this movie about white people problems from the last 5 years, but I wouldl like Gabe’s take on it.”

      Can we PLEASE agree to only nominate movies for the Hunt For The Worst Movie of All Time if we ACTUALLY think the movie is one of the Worst Movies of All Time? I don’t think that’s unreasonable.
      Let’s get back to the Baby Geniuses of the world, please!

      • The reason I nominate BAD movies about white people and their problems (as opposed to good ones, see: Wes Anderson) is that they infuriate me a lot more than outright terrible movies in that they attempt to assert how “significant” and “meaningful” they are despite their shittiness. Yes, maybe Garden Sate is a better movie than Paul Blart, but the fact that Garden State, and many of its ilk, takes itself so seriously annoys me more than Paul Blart’s generic fart jokes.

        • well put, i’m in for the rug getting pulled out from under pretentious “auteurs.” My favorite last cycle was the one directed by the poor mans zach braff (ew) HIMYM guy.

      • I like when Gabe goes after movies that aim high, and fail. I mean, spoiler alert, the New Guy is a terrible movie. I know it, the movie knows it, the movie’s parents know it. Elizabethtown, however, needed to get the movie review equivalent of a swirlie.

    • I can’t think of a White People Problem more appropriate than “too many movies about White People Problems in the Hunt”

    • ok fine and I don’t mean to attack you capu flapu so apologies in advance if this seems that way because your comment is fine I just worry about the timing and I am thinking can we have a bit less constructive criticism for like 2 minutes just in view of what a grueling week its been for the editors? We asked for more WMOwhatever and a million other things and Gabe and Kelly are trying to do all we asked for as much as 400 posts can really be distilled into meaningful directions so maybe we can just enjoy the lovely review. I like the movie reviews and I like things that Gabe hates and I really don’t even dislike GIF’s or cat farts or cute things and I am worried that too much complaining really might have a deleterious effect.

      • I can’t speak for CP, but my comment was a suggestion that WE can do better. I love Gabe’s reviews, no matter what the movie – even if the movies are the sameish, he almost always comes at it from a fresh angle which is a mega-talent. I just think that we’re not being creative enough with our suggestions (I’m looking at you, everybody-who-nominated-Synecdoche).

      • “DELETERIOUS.” I love you, grapeape. Come here, puppy. Let me snuggle your vocabularious brains.

    • As a counter to the White People’s Problems movies that Gabe seems to be getting stuck with, I again offer up Tyler Perry’s DADDY’S LITTLE GIRLS. Worse than any of his Madea movies, this one is a catalog/parody of Stereotypical Black People’s Problems (Crackheads! Ex-Cons! Domestic abuse! Child abuse! Uppity women-friends! Class conflict!). Everything is so ridiculously exaggerated, I kept expecting Tyler in fat drag to show up, but no. Even Idris Elba (IDRIS ELBA, PEOPLE!) could not save this thing.

  8. Maybe that’s why the trailer was so great: it’s basically the whole movie, with the boring parts cut out.

  9. Same old lame Sofia Coppola formula:

    Boring screenplay. Mediocre directing. Excellent cinematography.

    She was fortunate with Lost in Translation to have quality acting. Take that away, and you get Somewhere, probably the most boring movie I have ever seen.

    • I’m going to get flogged for this, but that’s the patented Terrence Malick formula, too. He just doubles his runtimes with shots of grass flowing.

      (full disclosure: I’m both a Coppola and Malick fan, but I’m sorry, it’s kind of true).

      • I saw Tree of Life this weekend, and holy shit is that accurate

      • I don’t want to flog you, but I think you’re mistaken. Maybe there’s a likeness in terms of visual style and pacing, but Malick’s films are driven by actual ideas, unlike Coppola’s, which are just big gaping vacuums of unintentional emptiness. Her films are about “alienation.” And that’s pretty much as far as you can go with them.

        • Suffice it to say, I think you sell her short? I’m somewhat limited in my Malick knowledge, but The New World always struck me as a great companion piece to Lost in Translation – both about trying to make connections in foreign lands, one to a foreigner, the other to someone sharing your experience. Virgin Suicides and Marie Antoinette are both about alienation, I suppose, but at least approach the subject in completely different ways.

          Days of Heaven – the two thirds or so I’ve seen (sue me, I can’t get through it) – doesn’t have any greater “actual ideas.” It’s about an experience, the same as Thin Red Line, same as every Coppola movie. They’re not breaking the bank on plot, but they’re enveloping you in character.

          • No, you’re right, I did just sell her short. But only because the context was in a comparison to Terrence Malick, whose work I feel is significantly more meaningful (or, if you prefer, I just like it more). But don’t get me wrong, I enjoy some Lost in Translation from time to time.

          • Okay, uh. Malick is doing a whole, whole lot more than Sophia Coppola. At the least, every one of his films looks at least in some way at America’s connection to violence. The place of violence in man overall. The combat between harsh realism and spiritualism, and where concepts of existentialism fall within that. I’m lazily spit-balling here and we’ve already left Copolla in the dust..

          • ptsmith_vt:

            All fine. Coppola’s movies look at adolescent women’s place in society, the value of materiality in finding personal happiness, and the experience of being thrust into an unfamiliar culture. They deconstruct the notion of traditional American heroes (movie stars, Ivy League grads, royalty). Well-worn territory, absolutely, but no moreso (and no less valid, for me) than “America’s connection to violence.” Certainly, in my own life at least, much more relatable.

    • great art comes from adversity, or something like that.

  10. I’m glad to hear that Chris Pontius did a servicable job in this. He was always my favorite of the whole Jackass crew. I’m hoping that when Gabe says that he played himself, he was just wearing thong underwear and a bowtie everytime he was on screen.

    • That’s pretty much the first thing I pictured; Him playing guitar hero in a sequined thong and a bowtie, acting totally normal, just taking life one sequined thong at a time.

  11. I was in an actual video store this weekend, (yes, they still exist and if you have an independent one near you stop everything and go there right now to spend money) with a vague intention to maybe watch this as a lazy Saturday night heat-beater. But then I got to the box. This is the DVD art:

    Yup, that is the DVD art. I Saw the Devil was great!

    • Can we just all agree that the typography for this artwork, and the film campaign in general is kind of really great? #typographygum #gotobed

      Oh and yes, fuck this movie for days.

      • I have to agree. The fucking trailer made me really want to see this, but as soon as I read a review I realized what a bad idea a feature length Phoenix music video would be. Cool aesthetics, though.

        • I had the opposite experience. The trailer annoyed the hell out of me because it looked, to quote the first reply, “Tumblr: The Movie”.

          The movie itself turned out pretty okay.

  12. I like the Sofia Coppola champagne… it comes in cans with straws attached.

  13. Failure to Launch for the next round!

  14. i had a dream last week where i came up with the best suggestion for the hunt. i spent all of that day trying to remember what movie it was so i could post it in the comments today. i still haven’t been able to remember what it was. it’s in fact quite possible that the movie doesn’t exist and was made up in my dream world. cool story, bro.

  15. I’m confused as to how this is a WMOAT nominee – who’s the A- or B-list movie star in it? Elle Fanning? Certainly not Stephen Dorff.

  16. I dunno, there are definitely some problems with this movie (i.e. rich white people thinking their mild existential angst is very big and important), but I was pretty much fine with it? It’s made by Sofia Coppola, and I knew that before I saw it, so I adjusted my expectations. I don’t think she’s a very talented film-maker and if I didn’t know exactly what to expect I guess I might be pretty outraged, but I can deal with one pretty and vacuous movie every three years.

  17. Remember when Videogum first posted the trailer, and Gabe said something like ‘that was a good trailer, I don’t even really need to see the film’?… yeah, that pretty much sums it up. Somewhere: better as a short film than a movie.

    However, I did not hate Somewhere like other people did. I didn’t LOVE it either, and wouldn’t watch it again, but I certainly didn’t hate it. When I posted on Facebook that I was watching it, I got so many comments saying ‘I hate that movie!!!” “Worst Movie EVAAAAR!!!” “That Movie Stole My BABYYYYY!!!” (OK Not Really that last one.)

    I get it- It’s boring and not much happens. But that’s the point, isn’t it? The whole theme that I took from it was that here’s this guy who is completely numb from constant over-stimulation, and literally has no obstacles to overcome. He’s a pampered actor, surrounded by his handlers, and chicks willing to bang him, and people who don’t know him but want to leach off his fame. Then something comes along (his daughter) that actually makes him feel something. That point is driven home quite successfully, though their interactions, and his reaction at the end of the film, and the heavy-handed driving metaphor. The style of the film (the way too-long shots where nothing happens, the scenes that last too long) are completely aligned with the them of being bored to death in this pampered lifestyle.

    So I guess my point is, it’s a successful film? As in, it marries its subject matter with a style that helps it execute its intention… Or something. It’s just not very ‘fun’ to watch. It’s cinematic Xanex.

    But hateable? Not really. Hate Meet the Parents 5: Kids Farting and Adults getting whacked in the Balls. I’ll take Somewhere over that garbage any day.

    • Thank you for taking the time to write the comment that I would have otherwise written less eloquently and comprehensively.

    • The thing is, the heavy handed end is the ONLY thing that brings up that point, so there’s nothing to drive home. During the duration of the movie he doesn’t really show any sign of emotional awakening or realization. He does an adequate job of taking care of his daughter, with about the same level of passion with which he handles his other responsibilities. There’s nothing to hint that he was otherwise not like this or that he’s feverishly trying to make a penance or sees the error of his ways.

      The only way this movie can work is if it’s point was to show how perverted and detached by their pampered environment rich people are, completely divorced from their humanity so that alienation between a father and a daughter isn’t even an issue to them since they have everything, making them not care about closeness and connection.

      But that only save is ruined by the heavy handed ending.

    • I agree — it was very successful at what it was trying to do and I liked it a lot. I know that Gabe is the King of WMOAT and was bored by this movie, but simply being a slow-paced naturalistic film about someone in an not-common (but still real) lifestyle doesn’t certify it for loathing.

  18. Lost in Translation was most definitely *not* mediocre.

    That’s my comment.

  19. Sofia: Dad, do you know someone who could play Stephen Dorff’s buddy in my movie?
    Francis: Yeah, there’s this guy called James Caan. Or maybe we can call Duvall.
    Sofia: Do they know how to play Guitar Hero?
    Francis: What’s that?
    Sofia: Forget it, I’ll just get Chris Pontius.
    Francis: He’s the next Brando.

  20. How awesome would it be if this post got angry comments similar to those from the Boondock Saints entry? Example theoretical comments:

    “This is the stupidest website AND blog I have ever seen! Whoever runs this must be worse than deaf, dumb, and blind people because even THEY can see Somewhere is the AWESOMEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME. I have 8 35 MM PRINTS in my private theater. If it was a crappy movie, WHY WOULD I HAVE 8 35 MM PRINTS OF IT?! Fail of epicality. You suck, you do not deserve the air you breathe, and you CERTAINLY DO NOT HAVE A RIGHT TO AN OPINION ON THIS.”

    “This is the greatest movie ever!!!!! If you don’t like it you are a proletariat.”

  21. I liked this movie. I enjoyed Fanning and Dorf’s portrayal of catch-up father-daughter relationship and the musical bits like the strippers dancing to “One Thing” in his room and Fanning ice skating to Gwen Stefani’s “Cool.” I could understand how someone can get bored with it. Fanning and Dorf’s character relationship doesn’t really jump out of the screen and the few supporting characters outside Pontius are so-so.

    But that Lost In Translation comment just made me go, “Welp, I need to take a walk.”

  22. Here I am, at the bottom of the comments, to discuss Sofia. Perhaps it is my aversion to loud noises, but I very much enjoy her “quiet” storytelling. The Virgin Suicides* (her first movie that no one ever talks about) was a page by page adaptation of a book that was the literary equivalent of shots of waving grass (Yeah, I like Malik too) and she nailed it. Film students had a lot to say about how it was “bad” (How IS it bad? “IT JUST IS!” OH PERFECT THANK YOU.) and people had a lot to say about how this was bad. But sometimes, we’re not sitting down to watch Lawrence of Arabia, you know? Sometimes a movie comes along that is a quiet story about some people who had some parts of a life to live. I love The New World for the same reason (all time top five, easily. And yes, a far more interesting story arc but still).

    Sure, she certainly has no clue what it is to, like, go out and buy a carton of milk in the morning, but I guess I am loath to hate her for being rich.

    Speaking of White People Problems: The Kids Are Alright. How was everyone in the world not offended by that insulting piece of shit?

    *The Virgin Suicides is among my very favorite books of ever. This might say a lot about me.

    • I agree with you on every point! I also love Virgin Suicides so much (not to mention Air’s soundtrack, AMAZE) and i really loved New World too. I am also of the “quiet movies really get to me” school of film watching.

      Speaking of quiet movies that throttled me, has anyone here seen Io Sono L’Amore (I Am Love)? It is a quiet but tense film that absolutely destroys you in the end.

      And yes, as a girl who likes girls, The Kids Are Alright was one of the most infuriating movies I’ve ever seen. It was completely 1. banal, 2. stereotypical and 3. Annette Benning and Julianne Moore had absolutely NO CHEMISTRY.

    • In total agreement with The Kids Are Alright. I’m definitely nominating it in the next batch of nominations.

    • Definitely agree with you re: Sofia and The New World. I like a nice, slow film now and then. Another one I would add to the list is Last Days. Hell, I even enjoyed Gerry!

      I’ve liked all of Sofia Coppola’s movies to varying degrees. Loved the Virgin Suicides, and liked Lost in Translation and Marie Antoinette a lot. I didn’t love Somewhere, but I liked it. I had heard that it was really slow going in, so I was prepared for that. I thought the performances were good and that it was a pleasant little movie. I don’t think it aspired to be anything more than that.

    • I agree with you and yeah, I think Sofia’s use of silence is actually interesting. She portrays mundane situations decently and her style adds some grace to mainstream cinema. But I also think that this particular movie is a huge pretentious egotrip filled with current trends in indie filmmaking. I have learned absolutely nothing from watching it. It actually got me thinking about ‘I’m Still Here’.

      I think Malick is great. New World is phenomenal. We shouldn’t be putting him in the same thread as Sofia Coppola.

    • And those parts of a life to live is the mundane everyday of rich people. It’s not saying anything more than that these rich people have easy lives, and due to their wealth they don’t even really experience the consequences of estranged relationships, everything just goes swimmingly, until Sophia Coppola realizes the end is nearing and she hasn’t done anything to justify the tons of heavy handed superficial poignancy achieved through cheap cinematic tropes so she has a guy cry a single tear and dump his car, which is just as heavy handed.

    • Late comment is late, but had to mention I completely agree with you right down to Virgin Suicides being one of my favorite books ever. I like movies where nothing happens, sue me. I like long, quiet scenes, I enjoy the absence of a plot to follow. I like Sofia’s style of making film be pretty much just about the images, the very pretty images, instead of Things Happening. That says a lot about me, I know, and I understand hating that stuff, but… I’m a Sofia Coppola fan. Sorry, Videogum. I like watching paint dry.

    • Rara! I think we need to have a book/movie club together. Virgin Suicides is one of the best (books that is). And I sure do love me some Malik.

      One thing my friends and I debate sometimes (because we are annoying art people) is the difference between film and video art. The main argument is that video art doesn’t need to have a story, or follow traditional storytelling techniques of development, climax, etc. I am not a huge Sofia Coppola fan. But I think she exists somewhere between our ideas of film and video art. I kind of wish Lost in Translation hadn’t been so successful all around, because maybe she’d be pushing herself more. I think if she works to develop some more layers in her work, or just collaborates with a really kickass screenwriter, that she could really go on to do great things. Right now? She needs a bit of work and guidance.

      And The Kids Are Alright – a really surprisingly traditional story/movie for what it was supposed to be. Or maybe I am too liberal or something. I was like, “hey, that’s kind of cliche. Oh, is that it?” Meh.

      My two cents! Hope you like them.

  23. I agree with you on every point! I also love Virgin Suicides so much (not to mention Air’s soundtrack, AMAZE) and i really loved New World too. I am also of the “quiet movies really get to me” school of film watching.

    Speaking of quiet movies that throttled me, has anyone here seen Io Sono L’Amore (I Am Love)? It is a quiet but tense film that absolutely destroys you in the end.

    And yes, as a girl who likes girls, The Kids Are Alright was one of the most infuriating movies I’ve ever seen. It was completely 1. banal, 2. stereotypical and 3. Annette Benning and Julianne Moore had absolutely NO CHEMISTRY.

  24. I would love Gabe to review Nine Months starring Julianne Moore, Julianne Moore’s teeth, and Hugh Grant (and Robin Williams in a supporting role, sorry)

    This is where my hatred of Julianne Moore (and her teeth) started. Every crying scene in this movie (in any movie for that matter) makes me want to murder her. They even made a youtube video of her crying in movies cuz shes that bad you guys.

    Julianne Moore crying——–>

  25. I just saw Sarah Silverman on Conan shilling for the awful Peep World. I suggested this movie a while ago afterr seeing it at the Philly film festival, and I need to start working on a preemptive campaign for this painfully bad movie.

    I don’t hate a lot of movies. Like anyone, I have movies I prefer, but, honestly, most of the movies I see suggested here just aren’t great to me; I don’t hate them. Peep World is a carnival of terrible. It’s a great cast (Rainn Wilson, Michael C. Hall, Judy effing Greer). It’s not just white people problems, it’s spoiled rich white people problems. There is a scene where a character tries to give a presentation with a painful erection. It’s a long scene. It’s 90-odd minutes of watching people who do not like each other act hatefully towards one another. It’s plotless and without compassion.

    When this movie comes out on Netflix, and, god willing, it will, please consider it for the Hunt.


    Read this! Times critics do a good job explaining why “boring” is not a bad thing per se. There’s a kind of filmmaking that doesn’t follow the conventions of story but that is just as worthy of your time as The Fighter. Unfortunately Somewhere doesn’t work in this category either…

    • Everyone in the defense of the movie is unfairly acting like Gabe’s only point was that it’s boring and that that’s a superficial view, like Gabe is some aficionado of action blockbusters. That’s not Gabe’s only point. It’s that it’s a movie about a guy that has a great life and nothing more. Even his estranged daughter’s visit, which is the theme of the movie, doesn’t disrupt it. They get along great and have fun. It’s about rich people enjoying the high-class mundane everyday of their lives. In the end a lazy point is showed down our throats, to make it seem like something more was going on.

      Of course it’s all interlaced with a slow and quiet progression, or lack of it, that implies between the lines meaning and poignancy, which is Sophia Coppola’s constant and only gimmick. Just ask yourself what the movie would be like without such a cheap cinematic trick, and you’ll understand Gabe’s problem with it.

      • Well, my intention was not to defend Somewhere, which I personally found very bad, but the idea that boring can be a positive trait in a film. Suffice it to say that Somewhere is not the good kind of boring, at least in my view.

      • Did you really watch this movie and think: “this guy has a great life”? Maybe his life is good, but he’s not having a great time with it.

      • I think maybe we just see things differently here, because the last thing I took from this movie is that this guy has a great life. I don’t know.

  27. THE CORE! it has a-list actors (dj qualls)

  28. I always wish my parents had named my sister after an expansive territory, sweeping in its beauty, rife with rugged potential, symbolic of the American wilderness, and then named me after the 12th letter of the alphabet.

  29. I’d like to suggest THE MILLION DOLLAR HOTEL, directed by Wim Wenders, written by Bono Vox (!), starring Mel Gibson as a three-armed detective and Milla Jovovich ‘going full retarded’ (tropic thunder reference)

    Terrible, terrible piece of crap. Probably influenced Sofia.

  30. The Hunt is one of my absolute favorite threads of all time, but this post was “eh”. But I think it was “eh” because the movie is “eh”. Eh, I don’t know. I DO know that I’m now on Team Movie Club thread (what with the awesome review of X-Men: First Class). As well as on Team Dude-who-bangs-and-shatters-bedpost.

  31. As bad as that movie is, as bad as all the “Worst Movies” have been, I still live in fear of Nell. Having sat through it in a theater, even thinking about it obliquely will cause me to lose sleep. I don’t know if I can read the review of it…I just can’t live in a world where I could accidentally come across that movie while channel surfing. Oh, god, the flashbacks have started.

  32. Movie would’ve been better if at the end of it he turned into a blood god and Wesley Snipes blew him up.

  33. I was fortunate (infinity sic) enough to watch the majority of ‘Somewhere’ before realizing it was being covered for this column. The opening image of Dorff driving in circles was enough to make me realize I was in trouble. Then after about half an hour to 40 minutes of dead-eyed celebrity malaise I knew it was time to leave the room so as to avoid unwanted sleep. My friends seemed to appreciate the idea that the appearance of Fanning gave Dorff a purpose but I saw it as little more than a half-baked tripe. Robin Williams, get off that ’90s cell phone and play baseball with your kids! Watch out though, because pirates! ‘Hook’ and ‘Somewhere’ are basically the same movie, I’m saying.

  34. I had to turn this movie off because it was dreadful. I watched Drive Angry over the weekend and was going to nominate it, but it’s too bad to watch — and I LOVE Nic Cage in bad movies. (Maybe I lost a lot in the 3D to Netflix translation?) But, Gabe, don’t watch Drive Angry. It’s not worth it. Don’t even drive angry in general, because that’s kind of dangerous.

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