Love and Other Drugs is actually based on a memoir called Hard Sell: the Evolution of a Viagra Salesman. (Hard Sell! Do you get it?! Penises.) Now, as we have all learned from writers like David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs and James Frey, people often exaggerate their actual experiences in order to make their memoirs more entertaining. Fair enough! Who wants to read a book about some dude the end? Narratives, even memoirs, need to have some kind of dramatic engagement or else what is the point of telling them? (One might argue that there is no point, and that memoirs are simply an off-shoot of our current culture’s lack of imagination and its climate of self-entitlement, self-obsession, and micro-celebrity, but that is for another time and another blog.) The point is: Love and Other Drugs, to some extent or another, is loosely based on a true story, so the fact that it gets everything so impossibly weird and wrong when it had a pretty simple blueprint to follow means that it gets double strikes against it. DOUBLE STRIKES! You’re outta here!

When the movie begins, before we are even introduced to any of the characters, the song “Two Princes” by the Spin Doctors kicks in. OH YEAH, HERE WE GO! This is gonna be a fun ride. “Two Princes”? Luv that song. Any movie that starts with “Two Princes” by the Spin Doctors is gonna be a cool movie. (P.S. I am being sarcastic, but also how much do you want to bet that the reason they chose this song is because the band had the word “Doctors” in their name? That is even more what this movie is like than just the fact that they used a terrible song. Oh brother. Get ready!) We learn that the year is 1996. Huh. OK. I mean, this movie came out in 2010, so a period piece about 1996 seems kind of…lame? Boring? Something between lame and boring and/or a combination of the two. But here is where things start to fall apart: you see, our hero, Jake Gyllenhaal, is a salesman at an electronics store and boy oh boy what a salesman he is. He’s selling things left and right, he’s dancing with the customers, everyone loves him. He’s good at his job! (All the while, the Spin Doctors are IN.) But everything he is selling is NOT FROM 1996. Like, OK, he sells a boombox. That’s fine. But then he is selling FLAT SCREEN TVs! And he is selling A CELL PHONE TO AN OLD WOMAN! 1996 is when some people first started having cell phones, sure, but it was not particularly widespread yet, and old women DEFINITELY were not buying them. Oof. So, already this movie is just upside down and stupid and wrong and not even about the things that are important, like HUMAN BEHAVIOR or HOW MANY PEOPLE IT IS REALISTIC TO BELIEVE KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT THE PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY and don’t get me started on the PLAYBOY MANSION ORGY PARTY THAT SUPPOSEDLY TAKES PLACE IN THE MIDDLE OF OHIO. (Get me started on that in a few minutes.)

So, Jake Gyllenhaal gets fired from his job at the electronics store for fucking his boss’s girlfriend in the stock room. It turns out he is almost as good at fucking everyone as he is at selling electronics that don’t exist yet! (Very good.) He needs a new job, and his INTERNET MILLIONAIRE (1996) younger brother has a lead (?!) on becoming a pharmaceutical rep for Pfizer, so he does that, and in the meantime, he fucks the woman who trains all the new pharmaceutical reps. After becoming an official drug rep he gets his assignment: Ohio. OH NO, OHIO IS SO LAME! The dream, he learns, is to become the drug rep for Chicago. Ooh la la, I’m sure. Can you just imagine? Being a salesman in Chicago? IT IS CALLED THE DREAM AND WE ALL HAVE IT. (I’m not knocking hard work or anyone’s attempts to climb the corporate ladder. It is important to put food on our families, and there’s nothing better than the pride of a hard day’s work and the security of a real career. But we also all know what work is like, and it can be very hard in a MOVIE-TYPE-SITUATION to really get on board with a highly-paid corporate cog’s desire to be an even more highly-paid corporate cog in a somewhat bigger city.)

One day, in his attempt to sell more drugs than the Evil Pharmaceutical Rep (I am not joking, this movie has a villain who is basically just another pharmaceutical rep? And his name, obviously, is Trey Hannigan) Jake Gyllenhaal gives Hank Azaria a thousand dollars to let him walk around his office with him wearing a doctor’s coat.

That seems mildly unethical to say the least! Oh, speaking of unethical, there is also this mini-plot in which Jake Gyllenhaal keeps stealing his competitor’s medical samples from the drug closet and throwing them in the dumpster, which is, like, FUCKING INSANE and probably A FEDERAL CRIME, but the weirdest part is that they keep showing this homeless person stealing the anti-depressants out of the dumpster and slowly over the course of the movie HIS LIFE GETS BETTER AND HE IS NOT HOMELESS ANYMORE. Well, that’s just fucking offensive.

But, so, Jake Gyllenhaal ends up seeing Anne Hathaway’s tits because Hank Azaria lets him be in the examining room with him while he’s treating a patient, which, again: NO. And fast forward two seconds and now they are fucking.

(Previously, Jake Gyllenhaal was fucking Hank Azaria’s secretary. I think the only person he doesn’t fuck in this movie is Hank Azaria, although there are a lot of vague and weird time-insensitive edits during the PLAYBOY MANSION ORGY PARTY IN THE MIDDLE OF OHIO scene, so who knows.)

Anne Hathaway greatly enjoys fucking Jake Gyllenhaal but she does not let him stay over and she does not want a relationship. Sounds fine to me! And before I forget: SHE HAS PARKINSON’S DISEASE. I’m not saying this is impossible, but even Doctor Hank Azaria, right before we are introduced to Anne Hathaway, says “this chart can’t be right, why does a 26-year-old need Parkinson’s medication?” Like, even THE MOVIE ITSELF sets this up as NOT A PARTICULARLY BELIEVABLE SITUATION. Haha. Way to go, movie. Actually, though, the thing that is far less believable than Anne Hathaway having Parkinson’s is the fact that SHE HAS A HISTORY OF DATING PHARMACEUTICAL REPS (?!?!?!?!) and also SHE APPARENTLY HAS A PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY OF THE PILL BOOK. She also goes on a regular bus trip with senior citizens to Canada to get cheaper prescriptions because God forbid for two seconds we forget that this movie is about DIFFERENT MEDICINES. What? Huh? What?

Blah blah blah they fall in love.

Meanwhile, Jake Gyllenhaal is tired of selling anti-depressant medication, he wants a shot at selling this new boner drug called Viagra. And this, of course, is why the movie is set in 1996: because that is when Viagra came out. Except, WHY IS IT SET IN 1996 AND WHY IS THERE A MOVIE ABOUT WHAT IT WAS LIKE WHEN VIAGRA CAME OUT? That sort of seems like a tautological argument. “We made a movie about Viagra coming out because one time Viagra came out.” Not a good enough reason! Also, uh, I am pretty sure it was never like this.

There is this insane montage where Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway are cheering, CHEERING, when Viagra gets mentioned by Dave Letterman in his late night monologue. UH, WHAT? And Jake Gyllenhaal starts using Viagra samples to BRIBE PEOPLE and there is a scene at a bar where he is surrounded by a dozen women BREATHLESSLY ASKING HIM QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW A NEW PHARMACEUTICAL DRUG WORKS and ending with all of the women chanting “WE WANT MORE VIAGRA!” Right. I guess since none of us has ever been to a bar before we can never know whether or not bars are exactly like that for sure and that they definitely nailed it.

So, Anne Hathaway’s Parkinson’s gets worse, and Jake Gyllenhaal starts getting nervous about what a long-term relationship with a very sick woman would be like, and he starts using his connections in the medical community to try and “cure” her even though there is no cure and he does this by doling out Viagra samples but nevertheless. Anne Hathaway breaks up with him.

He is sad. I’m not sure why. I mean, no offense to anyone with almost-impossibly-early-onset Parkinson’s but that just sounds horrible and I’m not saying it’s not worth toughing it out when you really love someone, but their relationship didn’t seem that great to begin with so maybe he should just move on. He doesn’t, though. Well, he sort of does. He goes with Hank Azaria to a PLAYBOY MANSION ORGY PARTY IN WHAT IS SUPPOSED TO BE THE MIDDLE OF OHIO. You should have been there, when the Viagra was flowing and Ohio was nothing but wall-to-wall lingerie models and architecturally avant garde mansions. This scene, which is already great, obviously, and includes the actual line of dialogue spoken by an actual actress without breaking into barf-filled laughter: “She’s Thai. And I’m THAICURIOUS,” ends with a 10 minute “comedy” sequence about Jake Gyllenhaal having a boner that won’t go away. It is almost as if this movie is TOO good, you know?

Jake Gyllenhaal lands the Chicago job. Congratulations. But instead, he drives his Porsche alongside Anne Hathaway’s Drug Bus to Canada and tells her that he wants to carry her when she can’t walk anymore, which in a normal movie like this would be a charming way for someone to tell another person that they will never let them go, but in this movie it LITERALLY MEANS he will CARRY HER because she cannot walk anymore because PARKINSON’S. In his closing voice over, he explains that he quit his Pfizer job and is applying to medical school (at the age of 30? He will be a doctor by the time his grandkids are born!) and that you meet a lot of people in your life without knowing them and then you meet one person and it changes your life which is so vague and trite and boring that it is almost hard to believe that’s the last thing that happens before the credits roll but thank God they do because SHEESH.

One of the biggest problems with Love and Other Drugs is that it is bi-polar. (I thought I would honor this movie by using big, clunky, metaphors that in some lazy way reference the medical industry.) It wants to be a comedy and it wants to be a drama. A dramedy if you will. That is an acceptable goal! Comedies sometimes rely way too much on getting laughs at the expense of their humanity, and dramas are often melodramatically serious to the point of absurdity and/or emotional exhaustion. Besides, LIFE can be funny and serious often at the same time! So, sure. A dramedy! The problem, though, is that this movie isn’t very funny, so it fails as a comedy. And its details are so off, and the characters’ motivations so flimsy and unrealistic, that it fails as a drama, too. So it just fails.

In preparing for the film, Hathaway credits the work of Kate Winslet and Penelope Cruz, two actresses “whose work [she] returned to a lot in preparation” for Love and Other Drugs; she believes both have “done nudity with a tremendous amount of sensitivity and dignity.”

Ha. Sensitivity and dignity were kind of the theme of the movie:

And if you can’t get the time period right for the inventory at an electronics store (see above) when it is pretty well-documented AND pretty well-remembered what was and was not for sale in 1996, then how are you going to get the complexities and vagaries of actual life correct? You are not. And this movie doesn’t. Here are a few of the ways in which this movie makes no sense:

-When Jake Gyllenhaal first starts trying to sell drugs to doctors the movie pretends like Pfizer is some kind of start-up company that no one has ever heard of, as opposed to one of the largest and richest pan-national corporations in the world.
-Hank Azaria gives Anne Hathaway a prescription for Parkinson’s medication immediately based on a three minute preliminary meeting and a wad of cash.
-Hank Azaria goes out for drinks on a very regular basis with the same pharmaceutical rep.
-Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway document their blossoming love with a video camera, which is fine, except that the video camera they use is a very specific type of camera made by Fisher Price in the 1980s called the PXL-2000 that recorded grainy black and white video on audio cassettes. These cameras were no longer in production in the 1990s.
-At one point, Anne Hathaway starts shaking very badly and goes to the medicine cabinet only to discover that she is out of Parkinson’s medication. Considering the seriousness of the disease, don’t you think she would know when she was out of medicine? Especially since her every waking moment seems to revolve around an obsession with pills of all kinds?
-Right before Jake Gyllenhaal tells Anne Hathaway that he loves her he has an actual panic attack because it’s so hard to say. Acting!
- Anne Hathaway is constantly picking fights because she doesn’t want anyone to take care of her, which actually is probably kind of realistic, but what is also realistic is that those people end up alone because if you so vehemently don’t want to let anyone help you to the point that you will be kind of abusive with them then they probably won’t.
-For most of the movie, Jake Gyllenhaal’s brother is sleeping on his couch, but after Jake breaks up with Anne Hathaway, they share the bed for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
-Even though Anne Hathaway breaks up with Jake Gyllenhaal, at first when he tries to win her back SHE is mad at HIM? Oh no! Doctor! She overdosed on upside down medicine!
-One million other reasons, I’m sure.

There is one scene in particular (besides the PLAYBOY MANSION ORGY PARTY IN THE MIDDLE OF OHIO) that really seems to encapsulate all of the ways in which Love and Other Drugs gets everything wrong. Jake Gyllenhaal brings Anne Hathway with him to a medical conference in Chicago, and while he is busy chatting up some doctors or whatever, she leaves to go get a cup of tea. Her hand is shaking and an old woman approaches. “Stage 1?” she asks. “If you’re tired of all the bullshit, you should come across the street and find out what’s really going on.” Huh? So Anne Hathway goes across the street to what is purportedly an alternate medical conference, but really it is just a support group (in the middle of the day) for people with Parkinson’s. Fair enough, but what does this have to do with “all the bullshit.” What then happens is a montage of about a dozen people sharing tales of hope and courage, except really all we see is them cracking jokes about their illness.

Now again, fair enough, except: HOW LONG IS THIS SUPPORT GROUP THAT A DOZEN PEOPLE CAN JUST GET UP AND DO THEIR PARKINSON’S STAND UP ROUTINE? Anne Hathaway, of course, laughs and cries. Anyway, she pages Jake Gyllenhaal to come meet her, which he does. After the comedy show ends, Jake is in the reception area getting some snacks and meets a middle-aged man. The middle-aged man asks what stage of the disease Jake’s wife has. “Oh,” he says, “she’s my girlfriend. She’s got stage 1.” The man nods. “Lots of ups and downs,” he says, “good days and bad days.” Jake smiles. “Yeah, mostly good days, though.” The man tells Jake that his wife has stage 4 Parkinson’s. “Any advice to give me?” Jake asks. “Yeah,” the man says, “pack your bags and get the hell out of there.” He then goes on a five minute monologue rant about how horrible it is and how much he hates it, describing a living nightmare. Then he just goes “I love my wife but I wouldn’t do it over again. I’m sorry, I’m out of line.” UH, YEAH, YOU FUCKING ARE OUT OF LINE. This scene is INSANE. Like, I have no doubt that the amount of sacrifice it takes to support and love someone with an illness like Parkinson’s is draining and exhausting and at times makes you doubtful, but also there is no fucking HUSBAND of a Parkinson’s sufferer who is going to bitch about it to a complete stranger IN THE MIDDLE OF A PARKINSON’S SUPPORT GROUP. Ugh. No. Nope.

But also mostly just the PLAYBOY MANSION ORGY PARTY IN THE MIDDLE OF OHIO.

I wish my doctor would give ME a prescription no questions asked for FORGETTING THIS STUPID MOVIE PILLS!

Next week: Synechdoche, New York. 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 (92)
  1. What the what?! Was this planned? I was just talking about this movie about a week ago and how I wanted it to be WMOAT’d. Bam! Manifested.

  2. This is not how the world of pharmaceutical reps works. Also, a realistic portrayal of the life of a pharma rep is everyone’s biggest concern with the awfulness that is this movie, and not just mine.. – OMGeorge, employee of the advertising agency that has made all rep materials for Viagra since launch.

  3. Here’s the biggest leap of faith this movie asks the audience to make:

    These two are supposed to be brothers:

    Clearly, the only way to explain this is that Jake G’s parents moved next to power lines before having the younger brother.

    • I would very much like to know the story beat about Josh Gad having sex with that girl in the screenshot. Is he a very suave person that also brings girls over to bang? Are the brothers just sex Casanovas? Did he bribe a girl into sex with his brother’s Viagra medicine? Because the logistics of this apartment being Fuck Town sounds absurd.

  4. My favorite period piece of 1996 is “Meek’s Cutoff Jeans.”

  5. i need to rewatch Synechdoche, New York. I only watched it once and i felt like i understood it too much.

    • I hope Gabe rips Synechdoche, New York a new plot hole.

      • Out of any WMOAT since The Fountain, this is the one that I hope Gabe has no choice but to gush about. It’s certainly not for everyone, I know that. Still, it speaks to me as if it’s a language I don’t understand yet still feel. That fade to white gets me every time.

        There are certain movies I’m not ready to feel cynical about. S,NY is one of them.

        • I KNEW Synecdoche would come up exactly when I leave for vacation, pretty much off the grid. When it was nominated, I had watched it twice like the jacket copy told me to, and my position was that it was half-great, half-bad. (So, no one in their right mind would nominate it for WMOAT, which is for movies that are all bad.) But, hearing it disparaged so made me think even more about it, and I came up with an interpretation that I really like.

          I already blew my wad back on that thread

          http://videogum.com/305631/the-hunt-for-the-worst-movie-of-all-time-summer-series/franchises/the-hunt-for-the-worst-movie-of-all-time/

          and the thing I said at the end? Totally true. Caden is Kaufman, once removed. The play within the movie is a big joke about the movie itself, which is intentionally as arbitrarily constructed as the play is. Once you watch it this way the whole thing is pretty damn funny, it goes from half good to just plain good.

          PreEMPTed, motherfucker. Thanks to Videogum for provoking me into re-evaluating this movie.

          • I will save my best writing rage for next week, but until then…I got that it was meta. I got that, and it was still agonising and crap and went on for a million years, and life and aging is not circuitous and futile like that, at least not to me (opinions are arbitrary too, I concede). No drafty weirdo-filled corridors within playsets within cities, not yet at least, thank God.

          • Also I am cranky because I have a giant hand (allergy to mosquito bites). I apologise for any harshness. I’m actually looking forward to a thoughtful analysis (or evisceration) of this film, and then the interplay of contrariness from the monster gallery.

        • Synechdoche definitely has it’s flaws. That is without question. But there are these moments in it that seem to strike something wonderful within me every now and again. For example, the below ‘funeral’ scene gets me everytime…

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9PzSNy3xj0

  6. They should call this movie “Love and Other Ughs”

    For the record, I have taken all the comedy pills, and there are none left for anyone.

  7. If Gyllenhaal’s character had only shadowed Dr. Birdie around work….

  8. Ohmygod I thought that book title was one you made up because how could that be real. Ohmygod what is this world.

  9. “Oh my gosh, I keep mistaking your Viagra-infused boner that won’t go away with the stick shift! Big dicks are funny! Off to the hospital!”

  10. “Say this gives me an idea…”

  11. ‘”We made a movie about Viagra coming out because one time Viagra came out.’ Not a good enough reason!”

    This is a seemingly random quote to comment on, but it’s a point which I feel is not made often enough. There are obvious swipes to be taken at something like the Candyland movie, but that lazy mentality of “It exists, so there must already be a story” has infected so many other scripts. I would put money down that there’s at least some studio interest in a Rebecca Black film right now. Because.

  12. “They’re on to us. Make some hot actors fuck a bunch.” #HollywoodPostIt

  13. Isn’t this movie basically that episode of Scrubs where it turns out that the girl JD was dating was stealing drugs from him? Because I have seen that before and that was better.

  14. No please not Synechdoche, New York! I really like that movie *little voice*

  15. I turned this movie off after 20 minutes. (Can’t believe it even took that long.) Boy am I sorry I missed the Ohio mansion orgy scene… Not! (Get it? Because people said “Not!” a lot in the ’90s?)

  16. I always enjoy The Hunt, but I especially enjoy it when you just completely eviscerate a terrible movie. I really have nothing to add except ‘Bravo.’

  17. “Chicago…a somewhat bigger city”

    LOL, something a Michigander would say. Go to bed Gabe. I’ll call Mr. Chi City on you. Second City is all over this piece.

  18. I nominate Redline for the WMOAT. It has long been regarded in my mind as the worst movie I have ever seen, but thought it was ineligible because of there not being any A or B List celebrities in it. However today I saw on its IMDB page that Eddie Griffin was in this awful piece of shit movie, and while he might be borderline B list, I will say that he be considered GOOD ENOUGH because this is truly the worst movie I have ever seen by a reeeeeaaaallllyyyy long shot, and I have seen Transformers 2, The Wicker Man, various other Nicolas Cage movies, Garden State, Juno, the list of crap goes on but I am becoming sad thinking of the amount of time I have wasted in my life with these movies.

    So, Gabe, PLEASE consider REDLINE for the Hunt. I will be here every week to nominate this, and will even consider going as far as creating another account to nominate it twice. I would tell you what its about but I am not entirely sure other than theres some car racing and a lot of spontaneous, unprovoked fight scenes.

  19. Gabe this was fucking brilliant and hilarious. You are killing it.

  20. This movie was the worst.

    I wish I could nominate the entire Farrelly Brothers’ oeuvre for WMOAT,
    but I would be more than happy with There’s Something About Mary.
    That movie is insanely overrated.

    • Yeah I agree, except with the whole Brett Favre thing. I didn’t see that coming and got a decent laugh out of it. But other than that I just kept waiting for the funny and it never really showed up. Also, Johnny Drama’s real life brother is a really bad actor.

  21. Something I just thought of, after nominating what truly believe to be the worst movie of all time for The Hunt (Redline) and thinking of all the crappy movies I have watched, and then thinking that Gabe has to basically sit through his own personal Redline every week pretty much, and then thinking about how lately people have been nominating more and more movies they like just to see what Gabe’s take on them will be that we should maybe balance out the crap with like The Hunt for the Best Movie of All Time? It wouldn’t be nearly as funny as the worst movie, but it could be cool to see a bunch of everyone’s favorite movies get dissected. I know I would like to see one of my personal favorites, Children of Men, get dissected by Gabe, and I know a lot of everyone else would like to see their favorites get the same treatment. Gabe obviously doesn’t have to like them, but it would make for a more positive, if less hilarious, weekly event.

    TL:DR Anybody think The Hunt for the Best Movie of all Time alongside The Hunt for the Worst would be interesting?

  22. Wow, Kelly. Great job on this WMOAT!

  23. Breaking terrible movie news: Skyline and The Last Airbender are streaming on Netflix right now.

    Stop what you’re doing and avoid them as soon as possible. But if you must see them, you’ll agree with me, they would be amazing Hunt fodder. Apologies to anyone who attempts to view them. I myself am a glutton for punishment, so I look forward to enduring, hating and mocking them all over again.

    • can we lift the ban on kids movies on the grounds that the airbender cartoon was appealing to adults? or at least as well made as any adult television show? therefore, the movie should have been very good but was instead so awful that not even assif mandvi could save it.

      • Avatar the Last Airbender was a magnificent series on Nickelodeon. I was pissed when Shyamalan screwed it up on the big screen.

    • I cancelled my Netflix Instant subscription the second I read this comment, and I also got a lawyer and began the arduous process of suing Netflix and also the United States government and what the hell, why not, the Canadian government as well, I am sure they are somehow involved, right? They are always involved. However, I still do not believe I have done quite enough to avoid these two movies. Any tips?

  24. We should not try to make movies about the 90s for another 20 years at least. Did anyone see Definitely, Maybe? Besides being very boring, it was supposed to be set during the first Clinton campaign and it just WASN’T. It was not set in the 90s in any way except that they said it was.

    Hollywood just can’t get this right.

  25. How did this movie get so much wrong about 1996?? Maybe no one who worked on it was alive yet.

    Srsly: flat screens and cell phones is kind of hilarious. In ’96 I was sure cell phones would never be more than the province of rich jerks and gadget nerds. I was making mix tapes on my awesome dual-cassette stereo and watching ER (doctors reference!) on a TV that weighed 400 pounds and had a purple spot in one corner. There may have been Zima in the icebox (which even by then was a nostalgia drink?)… And though we had loved Two Princes initially, we were hella sick of it by summer ’93 and by ’96 we would have murdered you for smiling during it.

    The only accurate thing is that in the 90s Ohio was not a destination state.

  26. NEVER watch this movie with your grandma.

  27. not to be a jerk, but young people do get parkinsons. or, at least michael j fox got parkinsons when he was like 30. so at least that part of the movie wasn’t ridiculous.

    well, it was a little.

  28. The Spin Doctors’ ears must be ringing, because they were mentioned twice in one day here. That hasn’t happened since 1996.

    Oh, and let’s not forget, VALENTINE’S DAY is still my #1 choice for the Hunt.

  29. Can someone tell me exactly which combination of trash medicine the hobo took? I want to help combat poverty.

  30. http://www.benzlogo.com

    I tide fashion
    Good-looking,
    not expensive
    Free transport

  31. I just really enjoyed this WMOAT . I do think I remember the WOMAT’s were what got me started on videogum lurkage and fanage. I read them all at once and forced everyone around me to read them, especially City of Angels, that was my original the best/worst. Not everyone got it (‘why are you making me read this blog? Can I stop reading this blog? Its very funny, but now I don’t want to read this any more. It is very long. Another one?’) but I just remember that feeling of being so delighted I wanted to experience it with everyone else.

  32. I hope he loves it, mostly because Synecdoche was filmed partly in Schenectady, NY, the town next to mine.

  33. I watched this in a Central Ohio movie theatre. Lots of knowing glances during the orgy scene.

  34. Also: He’s a scientist, and I’m Nye-Curious.

  35. When I saw this in the theater I just assumed the reason I didn’t remember flatscreens and cell phones was because we didn’t have a lot of money when I was a kid. Now, thanks to you rich kids with your name brand tomagotchis I know that it was just crappy research.

  36. You can’t all possibly be that young (or old with Alzheimer’s) can you?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorola_StarTAC

    • I remember being in a West Hollywood gay bar in 1997, and seeing, for the first time, a guy talking on a tiny little flip phone, and I clearly remember laughing at him and saying “it looks like he’s talking into a Zippo lighter! Har har!” So.

  37. Jake depicted my cousin in a movie (not Brokeback Mountain.) Since then he’s pretty much box office poison. Mostly.

  38. I can’t believe you left out his own brother masturbating to jake gylenhall and anne hathway’s sex tape!!!

  39. I got the pxl-2000 fisher price video camera for christmas in 1987. I know that cause I still have audio cassette tapes labeled “Christmas 1987.” I still have the camera. It doesn’t really work anymore, but you can still watch the old tapes, and a couple years ago I did. My 12 year old big sister did an awesome Michael Jackson impression, except her moonwalk kind of sucked.

  40. Wait one minute! I remember 1996. And I remember Gabe in 1996. And I remember that Gabe owned a PXL-2000 camera in 1996 that he goofed around with on a regular basis. In fact, buried somewhere in a shoebox in my closet is Gabe’s senior picture–from 1996–in which he can be seen posing with a PXL. Just sayin.

  41. I must nominate The Sweetest Thing for WMOAT.

    For many, many, many, many reasons, not the least of which:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxXfwodWChg

  42. I nominate “Hard Ticket to Hawaii.”

    This movie has it all: helicopters, karate, explosions, razor blade-covered-frisbee battles. Watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCM6HCTJeRU

    And, one of the pivotal scenes from the movie here, where “the thrower” (as in frisbee thrower) avenges “the Molokai cops” by killing an Uzi toting Brooks Brothers model with a very special frisbee: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dd_X-C5g29o

  43. i just realized that i enjoy these WMOAT posts immensely despite the fact that i never, ever watch these movies. would the true blood reviews have the same effect? CAN I STOP WATCHING TRUE BLOOD NOW?

  44. I watched this movie on an airplane. I believe that airplane time should be specially reserved for watching movies that you know will be terrible, but you have a secret desire to watch. I felt very awkward because of all of the nudity. I kept looking around to see if I was caught watching this movie by other passengers.

    Also, this movie sucked.

  45. I zealously nominate “Hitch”

  46. I nominate the New “Alice in Wonderland” worst movie ever!

    • I have tried watching this film thrice and failed.

      For some reason, I just can’t tolerate Jack Gyllenhall ‘duding it up’! The opening montage, hence, was for me cringe worthy enough to just not watch this. (Please, be gay Jack!) Also I completely blame Tom Cruise for these kind of roles.. Also, when I got to know that Hathway has some awful disease I totally gave up. Seems like I made the right decision!

      I would also like to nominate When In Rome, all films starring Katharine Hegell, The Kids Are Alright (it was kind of okay but would love to read Gabe’s take on it) and Gulliver’s Travels (Jack Black).

  47. THANK YOU!! I was flabbergasted at the beginning when there were FLAT SCREEN TV’s in 1996!! And Spin Doctors? Aaaah FUCK! I almost turned it off right then, and would’ve if I hadn’t worked so hard convincing my boyfriend that this would be a good movie & we should rent it. Once again, thanks a lot Fresh Air on NPR for giving me SHITTY movie advice!

  48. First of all, I was really disappointed by this film which I had hoped would be good… but wasn’t. Now a few critiques of this critique:

    1) Yes, the PXL-2000 was out of production in the 90′s, but became a sought-after product for many artists who combed tag sales and flea markets trying to find them. The film did NOT show Hathaway or Gyllenhaal buying the camera, just using it. I think it was clear in the film that it belonged to Hathaway who was an artist frustrated by the fact that she could no longer “hold a brush in my hand” so she turned to photography and videography to create her art. She also used an old Polaroid camera. Just because things aren’t new and shiny doesn’t mean that they aren’t still around and being used!

    2) I just re-watched the opening scene of the movie, and there are no shots that show the large television sets from the side or back. I don’t think that what you interpreted as “FLAT SCREEN TVs” actually were. They were just large screen TV’s with, yes, relatively flat screens, but not thin cases, such as we now have that can be mounted to a wall (there are none shone hanging on a wall, for example). 1996 was the year of the first HI-Def broadcasts. Therefore, there were Hi-Def televisions. If you watch the scene again, you can tell that these weren’t circa 2010 sets.

    3) Cell phones were getting real traction by 1996. A lot of companies were giving them away in exchange for outrageous contracts. The Motorola StarTAC was introduced in January, 1996, and that is the phone he is trying to sell to his customer. Many “ordinary” people were starting to buy cellphones, and there was a lot of marketing to people telling them they should have one “in case of emergencies”. It is perfectly reasonable that an older woman would be interested in buying one to have in case her car broke down and she need to call for assistance. Which brings me to…

    4) You need to evaluate your immature response to “old women”. The woman who was looking to buy a cellphone was interested in new technology, and was having fun dancing with Gyllenhaal. As usual in this movie her appearance was for comic effect in a typical ageist stereotype (elderly people are supposedly asexual, so seeing them dancing, flirting, or swearing seems anachronistic ). The woman who approached Hathaway at the Chicago convention looked as though she might be in her early 50′s. She was not elderly or feeble (although again the lame stereotype was used that it is funny to hear a mature woman swear). If a man that age had approached her, would you have described him as an “old man”? There is a huge double standard in the way people view aging in women as opposed to men. Older men are most often viewed as sharp, often powerful figures, who command respect while women of the same age are viewed as powerless – which this character, who was pro-active and sharp, was not. By referring to her as an “old lady” you show immense lack of insight and immaturity.

    5) The “Un Convention” was not an extended support group. It was an organized, day long protest against the drug companies. A main theme in the movie (which failed to come across in a coherent manner just like everything else they tried to do) was the discrepancy between the modern healthcare system with Big Pharm out to sell their products with little regard for the plight of actual patients, as well as the doctors are hindered from actually helping patients by things like HMO’s, insurance companies, and malpractice suits, and expanding bureaucracy (as described by Azaria in his speech about “treating 50 patients a day…”). The movie failed to explain why the “UnConvention” organized across the street seemed to be strictly Parkinson’s patients. It would have made more sense if they had added something about Pzizer putting all of this research and marketing money into Viagra and not into medications for Parkinson’s. The flyer that the woman handed to Hathaway actually did lay out that the UnConvention was for people with chronic, degenerative diseases who were sick of being marginalized by Big Pharm (which also makes billions in profit on things like Viagra while charing prices for drugs that very ill people desperately need so high that the patients can’t afford them). Unfortunately, the flyer was only shown for about half a second – to fast to read unless one paused the film. Rather than thinking of the UnConvention as a “support group”, it makes more sense to realize that it was a kind of convention where many groups banded together to protest Big Pharm and empower patients and their families. It seemed to be set up to go on all day, just as the drug convention was, so sure there was time for many people to get up and speak.

    You made some great points about the movie. I am however, a bit disappointed that you could not come up with a single good thing to say about the film. I thought Gyllenhaal’s performance was good and Hathaway’s performance was excellent and there were some really good scenes between the two of them. This movie could have been a very good film, but the script was a mess. I guess I just find this column to be fuel for the hater mentality that has permeated the web. This film does not deserve so much time and energy. I feel bad that I let myself get dragged into this conversation. Why spend so much effort on the negative when there are so many positive things in the world?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post, reply to, or rate a comment.