worst_movie_elizabethtown

After Roger Ebert died, Terry Gross replayed some of their old interviews on Fresh Air. In one of them he talked about how he would rewatch Fellini’s La Dolce Vita every 10 years, and how his perception of the movie evolves with his own life experience:

When I saw it in 1960, there was this 30-year-old journalist in Rome leading this unbelievably glamorous life with all these celebrities and staying up all night and going to orgies and having all of his philosophical friends around him and his wives and his mistresses and miracles and stories to cover.

When I saw it again – and I’ve seen it every 10 years – in 1970, it was somebody about my age, only he was leading a more interesting life than I was, I thought. And when I saw it again in 1980, it was somebody 10 years younger than I was, and he had a lot of problems that I had outgrown.

I thought that was a really beautiful and poignant observation about the way in which our subjective experience and prism of our own lives affects how we relate to art, and it was with that in mind that I decided for this final installment of The Hunt for the Worst Movie of All Time to revisit the reigning champion. Would it be was as bad as I remembered, or perhaps, with the benefit of hard-earned wisdom and the shifting perspective that comes with age, would it be even worse?

It’s fitting that the very first line of Elizabethtown, delivered by Orlando Bloom in voice over, is a line about collosal failure. The actual line is “As somebody once said, there’s a difference between a failure, and a fiasco.” Of course, we never learn who coined this famous quote because no one did. (Lie #1.) It’s also never made clear what the proposed difference is between a failure and a fiasco, so for the sake of argument, let’s just say that Elizabethtown encapsulates both.

In it, Drew Baylor (Orlando Bloom) is a celerity shoe designer (Lie #2, there is no such thing. We are 30 seconds into the movie at this point) who we learn is responsible for the design of a shoe called SPASMOTICA (!!!!) for a company that is clearly supposed to be Nike but in the world of the movie is called Mercury Worldwide Shoes. Really? Virtually all of the world’s leading brands of athletic shoes have a single, enigmatic name: Nike, Adidas, Asics, Reebok, Puma, Saucony, and the best you could come up with is Mercury Worldwide Shoes? For a movie that wants so badly to be about what life is really like, it sure doesn’t seem to have the first clue. Anyway, everyone thought Spasmotica was going to be the next Air Jordan, which makes sense since they sound equally cool, but for a reason that is never given to us, despite the fact that it is the engine that drives our main character for the next two hours, the shoes have all been recalled. Perhaps the reason we never learn why the shoes get recalled is that shoes don’t get recalled. (Lie #3). As a result, Mercury Worldwide Shoes (LOL) has suffered a net loss of almost one billion dollars, and all of the blame and responsibility, we are told, falls onto the shoulders of Orlando Bloom, despite the fact that he is a mid-level designer who works in a cubicle at a mulit-national corporation full of executives in charge of making decisions. (Lie #4.) We are now just 45 seconds into the movie.

Depressed and despondent, Drew goes home with the intention of killing himself. This is a professional, high-level industrial designer who despite his setback was only recently considered a genius, but the best he can come up with for his own suicide is duct-taping a chef’s knife to the handlebars of his exercise bike.

A knife, incidentally, that he finds in a drawer filled with loose knives.

Have you ever been to a designer’s house? There are no drawers filled with loose knives. Everything is in its perfect, efficient, beautiful place. Two seconds later, the tape holding the knife to the exercise bike, which again, he is going to use to commit suicide, comes loose and the knife falls out. No wonder he lost his job at Mercury Worldwide Shoes! He is terrible at his job! Knife back in place, Drew is ready to bike-stab himself to death when his cell phone rings, which is when we learn that Drew, the forward-thinking wunderkind designer, has a 100-year-old flip phone with a Motown ringtone. Between the bike-knife as a concept, the failed bike knife construction, the loose knife drawer, the phone, and the ringtone, we are looking at Lies #5, #6, #7, #8, and #9. We are five minutes into the movie. I’m going to stop counting now, but I will continue to describe some of the lies as they occur.

Drew’s father, Mitch, has died while on a trip home to visit his family in Kentucky, so Drew puts off his suicide for the weekend while he goes to retrieve his father’s body. That is actually his plan: that he will go to Kentucky, cremate his father, fly back with his ashes, and then get back on the knife-bike. It’s a goal that he reiterates right up until the movie’s final 10 minutes. As such, it’s unclear why someone with such intense and determined suicidal ideation would care in the least about accomplishing goals, however short-term. Perhaps this can only make sense in a world where the most successful athletics company on the planet is called Mercury Worldwide Shoes.

On his flight to Kentucky, which is completely empty, like, completely, a thing that has never occurred in the history of air travel and which, if it did occur, would result in the cancellation of Drew’s flight, he meets a flight attendant, Claire (Kirsten Dunst), who will become his love interest. She is a woman in a movie, and therefore she is supposed to be quirky and charming and maybe a little bit crazy, all of which seems to really annoy Drew. Again, if Drew is intent on killing himself, it is hard to understand why he bothers engaging with life long enough to be “annoyed” with people. Whatever. Fuck Drew.

He gets to Kentucky and meets his father’s “wacky” family, who he has supposedly never really gotten to know, despite the fact that we are told throughout the movie how much Mitch loved Kentucky and how much Kentucky loved Mitch right back. I guess you never do know how other people’s families operate, but this still seems off. There is supposedly some festering animosity because Drew’s mother (Susan Sarandon, who can basically do no wrong, but who also reminds us, with this movie and her weird New York ping pong bar that she bought for her 23-year-old boyfriend or whatever, that no one is perfect not even Susan Sarandon) “made” Mitch and the family move to California, but that doesn’t explain why the family never at least went back to visit Kentucky WITH Mitch who would obviously still go back there, since that is where he died? But, OK, if we accept that it’s true that Drew hasn’t been to Kentucky since he was a kid despite his father’s overwhelming attachment to it, and that Drew doesn’t have a relationship with anyone there, and also that he gets lost for hours on the way from the Louisville airport, then why did the entire town organize a hero’s welcome and how did they know when to throw it?

P.S. Drew’s aunt is Paula Deen.

This movie is perfect.

That night at the hotel, Drew calls his mother and his sister and his ex-girlfriend, but no one answers the phone. Desperate, he calls Claire and they end up talking for hours. AGAIN: why does someone who plans on killing himself feel like chatting on the phone with anyone who will have him? It would be one thing if these calls were a desperate cry for help, but they’re just inane small talk. (Then again, everyone Drew talks to on the phone is equally insane about it. Like, his sister calls to beg him to come home even though she’s going to be in Kentucky two days later, and his ex-girlfriend calls him to tell him that she doesn’t have time to talk but so why did she call him if she didn’t have time and also was breaking up with him? What a movie about space aliens.) Here are actual quotes from his supposed all-night phone call with Claire (during which he wears three different pairs of socks for some reason?):

Claire: Did you ever just think, I’m fooling everybody?
Drew: You have no idea.

AND:

Claire: I think I’ve been asleep most of my life.
Drew: Me too.

AND:

Drew: That’s what they say, at least.
Claire: I’ve always wondered this, who are “they”?
Drew: And who says we have to listen to “them”?!
Claire: “They” do!

It’s two very inane people having a very trite conversation composed entirely of very lazy cliches suddenly realizing that they are made for each other, which is itself an inanely trite cliche. They talk for so long that Claire, who is in Nashville, suggests they meet halfway to watch the sunrise. “You’re only 45 minutes away,” she says.

NOPE! Click to enlarge Lie #1,098,982.

Now they are in love. They flirt and court and spout nonsense and go shopping for urns and eventually they fall into bed together as a movie couple should. The whole thing is supposed to be very romantic. And it is, if you are not paying attention to the actual movie. The morning after they sleep together, Claire keeps trying to wake Drew up to say goodbye, but he is a deep sleeper, so she just sneaks out of the room. Uh, you can wake someone up if you want. It’s doable. But, so, everything is hitting all the right rom-com buttons when he runs out of the hotel in his bare feet to catch her before she leaves and she turns around and says “Why don’t you just admit that you love me?” Except, here’s the thing: when they slept together, Claire was cheating on her boyfriend. And instead of Drew telling her that he loves her, he goes into this long, self-indulgent speech about shoes and money that ends with him admitting that he for sure still (STILL!) plans on killing himself at the end of the weekend. To which she responds that he’s “an artist” (!!!!). So, you know, fuck Drew AND Claire.

By all accounts, this was a very “personal” movie for Cameron Crowe, or at least that is what he told everyone when he made it. From The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“I always thought I’d write about my dad, at some point,” said Crowe, whose late father was from Kentucky. “I didn’t think it would be like this, but it arrived like this. I’d been listening to a lot of Garrison Keillor at the time. I love that simple story that ends on a grace note and you go, ‘Wow, I’m just happy to be alive right now.’ That was the feeling I was chasing.”

OK. That’s a perfectly reasonable feeling to chase as a filmmaker. Everybody loves that feeling! And the thing about Elizabethtown is that there is actually, buried somewhere deep inside of it, a good movie about family and love and loss and moving forward. It’s just buried under so many recalled pairs of SPASMOTICAS. If Cameron Crowe wanted to write about his dad, why didn’t he? There are two moments in Elizabethtown where Drew gets lost in memories of his father: the first memory is the two of them dancing around an empty house on moving day, and the second is his dad buckling his seatbelt. REALLY?! That’s the BEST either Drew or Cameron Crowe could come up with? For a personal movie ABOUT a dad? Good grief. And it’s this combination of this bland, completely generalized and cliche depiction of the human emotional experience, combined with the myriad lies thrown in for “color” that makes this such a failure. Or is it fiasco?

The movie’s climactic moment is a memorial service that features all of the characters we have met in the movie giving some kind of their-character-appropriate tribute to Mitch. This ends with Susan Sarandon giving a rousing speech about what her life is like now without her husband. She talks about how she went temporarily crazy. She talks about how she’d always wanted to learn how to tap dance, so she took lessons. OK. She talks about how she’d always wanted to learn how to “cook organically,” whatever that even means, and so she learned how to do that. Sure. And then she explains that the loss of Mitch made her realize that she needed to learn how to laugh again, and so she took stand up comedy classes. Fine. And in her defense, the movie does get kind of fuzzy on timelines and chronology, but from what I can tell that is three separate classes and MITCH HAS BEEN DEAD FOR LESS THAN A WEEK.

She ends the speech with a story about boners that CRUSHES, and then rounds out her performance with a tap-dance to “Moon River” that receives a standing ovation.

Perhaps we are all dead, and this is hell.

What happens next I remember as being a source of particular contention in my original viewing of the movie. Kirsten Dunst, ever the coy imp, gives Orlando Bloom a map for his journey home because in their first all-night conversation she told him he simply must take a cross-country road trip. (She adds, “You really haven’t traveled, have you?” which you would kind of think that a high-paid celebrity wunderkind shoe designer from Oregon-based Mercury Worldwide Shoes would have traveled at least a little bit, but guys, let’s just get through this fucking thing.) Sure! OK! Romantic! Except, this map that she supposedly made for him the night before would literally take 100 production assistants 100 years of scrappbooking in 100 scrapbooks to complete.

It’s 1,000,000 pages long, filled with hand-drawn art, personalized photographs, collages, and mix tapes that she has supposedly timed to the minute. Fine, whatever. In an impossible world of inane cliches and empty airplanes where time has no meaning, this manic pixie dream map is the least of our problems. Because, and perhaps this is where the aforementioned vantage point of age and experience comes in, this time around re-watching Elizabethtown was when I noticed that Claire’s impossible scrapbook was not nearly as bizarre as the actual road trip she sends him on. Holy smokes, WHAT IS THIS ROAD TRIP?

First, her itinerary takes him to Memphis, where she tells him to visit Sun Records. At no point in the entire movie has he ever expressed any interest in music, much less 1950s rock and roll. (Unless we are supposed to get all of that from his flip phone ring tone, in which case, still no.) Next, still in Memphis, she tells him to go to some bar where the old bartender regales him with stories about blues men. Again: he’s never even mentioned the blues, much less expressed the highly detailed knowledge of blues history one would need to make sense of an old Memphis bartender’s deep cut stories. Finally, still in Memphis, he visits the motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. And he SCATTERS SOME OF HIS DAD’S ASHES THERE.

And that’s the whole trip. Three places in Memphis of virtually no relevance to his character and then he hits the road again. GUYS. THIS MOVIE.

When Drew is back on the road, he begins manically talking to his father’s urn because Claire’s itinerary does not seem to make any allowances for stopping to sleep (seriously, she says the trip will take 41 hours, and apparently they must be contiguous) and at one point in his babbling he tells his father that his impending suicide is not his father’s fault. So he’s still planning on that, by the way. After having all of this time with his family, a memorial service for his father, falling in love, and visiting Sun Studios, he is still suicidal? Fine. Please, Drew, please please please for the love of God: KILL YOURSELF. But he can’t kill himself yet because the mix CD tells him that in the next town he will find “The World’s 2nd Largest Farmer’s Market.” Trying to figure out why a person who is STILL determined to kill himself would bother stopping to see the World’s 2nd Largest Farmer’s Market is only slightly more annoying than the fact that Cameron Crowe admits in that same article quoted above that the World’s 2nd Largest Farmer’s Market doesn’t exist. (Lie #3,303,493,208,047*.)

Then the mix CD tells him to follow a series of scavenger hunt clues that will lead him to “a girl wearing a red hat,” which is Claire, and the long and meaningful life of love and happiness that she promises. Classic stuff. One must assume, of course, that she dumped her boyfriend at this point, and that although he JUST said he was still suicidal 45 seconds earlier, that Drew has finally found his will to live. BUT: if you’re willing to accept those things, AND if it doesn’t bother you too much to consider the logistical complication of what it actually means for Claire to have arranged this meet cute in the first place, which is that she would have had to have RACED from Elizabethtown where they both were the day before to get to this World’s 2nd Largest Non-Existent Farmer’s Market early enough to then place her scavenger hunt clues, AND if you don’t also wonder, after all of this effort–the impossible scrapbook, the impeccably-timed narrated CDs, the scavenger hunt clues planted in the nick of time–why Claire didn’t bother to make the ultimate goal of actually finding her in the market easier and more straight-forward than Drew just being told to “find a girl in a red hat,” and therefore leaving him to wander around like an asshole in what magically turns out to be A SEA of girls in red hats—-as long as none of that stuff gets in the way, or any of the rest of the movie, like if you ignore the whole movie, then you might even consider it a happy ending. Or as Cameron Crowe would refer to a suicidal space alien and a cheater kissing at a make believe novelty farmer’s market, a “grace note.”

In conclusion, Elizabethtown is The Worst Movie Of All Time.

I keep using the word “lie” to describe a detail in a fictional movie, which doesn’t seem QUITE right since in theory everything in a fictional movie is some sort of lie. But what I am getting at is the deep un-truth of Elizabethtown, its inherent disconnect from the world in which actual human beings live and love and experience genuine emotions. So, for lack of a more precise term: lie.
Comments (101)
  1. Thanks Gabe. You’re the best.

  2. Thank you for this going away gift, Gabe. You will be missed!

  3. You know how in AI, the little robot kid asks for one perfect day with his birth mom as a final wish before he explodes (I kind of don’t remember that movie that well). Anyway, I kind of feel like this last bittersweet WMOAT is that perfect day and I guess I’m the robot kid and Gabe is…my…mom? Hooooookay, that got off the rails, but you get where I’m going with this I think.

  4. Ah, but can the Worst Movie of all Time actually be the worst movie of all time since it has provided all of us with such endless happiness? I would suggest it cannot, therefore Gabe must continue searching and never leave us.

  5. Thank you, Gabe. We’ll always have Elizabethtown.

  6. I’m going to miss this.

  7. Did you guys read the O. Henry story “The Last Leaf”? This is Gabe’s final masterpiece, painted to last us a lifetime. R.I.P. Gabe.

  8. Sigh. Oh Gabe…it’s the end of an era.

  9. Elizabethtown I love you
    Love is forever fan love you

  10. Hey guys. I’ve been here for a little while (ever since I read the sentence “I really thought that Don was not going to get the tickets and that Sally was going to masturbate herself off a bridge.”) but I haven’t said anything. I just laughed at posts and comments and thought to myself how much I love this place and was afraid to jump in. Anyway, I’ve been having kind of a terrible July! It was recently discovered that my roommate and I, along with my boyfriend, his roommate, and his roommate’s girlfriend have bed bugs, I have to throw out almost everything I own, my bike was just stolen and my best friend is moving away to law school, and NOW GABE IS LEAVING!

    But this is redux is nice. You have to appreciate the small things in life I guess.

  11. RIP*, Gabe.

    *Recap in Perpetuity

  12. Very good. The Hunt was the greatest.

  13. The only words I have is that i have no words

  14. Samuel J. Valdes Lopez  |   Posted on Jul 29th, 2013 +12

    I actually have a very soft spot for this film, but both write ups made my day. This section was my fave of videogum’s. Will miss ya, Gabe!


  15. “You had me at Nope. Now pack your blog and marry me.”

  16. this is fucking bittersweet.

  17. I have been clamoring for a new WMOAT for months, but at what cost?

  18. R.I.P. Gabriel. You’re in Heaven now, racing cars with Frankie Muniz.

  19. i miss the wmoat’s because of the constant suicidal encouragements and the idea of murdering your eyeballs. thank you for this gabe. i will most likely never see this movie, but i will always love reading (and re-reading and re-reading) your posts in the wmoat and in the you can’t make it up. damnit. this sucks.

  20. I hate to nitpick Gabe’s last WMOAT, but I grew up in Elizabethtown, and almost everyone wore Worldwides. I also went to college in Nashville and frequently made the trip home in 45 minutes flat, but I was young and reckless and drove upwards of 75 m.p.h.

    • Also, if they’re meeting each other halfway and the total one-way trip is an hour and a half, then Drew IS 45 minutes from where their meeting point would be (Bowling Green?).

      Anyway, this makes me sad.

      • The total one-way trip is 2 hours, so even if what she meant was that they would split the difference, it still wouldn’t be 45 minutes it would be one hour. But pretending for a moment that the driver is going much too fast, this would still require her to say, “It is only a 45 minute drive for us to meet halfway,” but what she says is, “you’re only 45 minutes away.” All in all: nope.

    • I get the impression that you do not hate to nitpick.

  21. One day, our children will see a Gabe Delahaye retrospective on hover-tv, and we’ll say “I was there when it was just us, the internet, and Topher Grace.” And they will laugh and roll their eyes, but we’ll remember what it was like, at the beginning, on videogum dot com.

  22. Thank you Gabe.

  23. The first time I read the original Elizabethtown WOMAT I was upset. I enjoy this movie. I don’t feel the need to defend it, but I felt like that WOMAT was a tiny rift between me and Videogum.

    I laughed the entire time while reading this. So maybe instead of rewatching a movie to see how I’ve changed, I just needed to read a WOMAT to see how I’ve changed.

    • it’s wmoat, isn’t it. shit.

    • A handful of movies that I like have made it onto the WMOAT, and one that I love (but it’s Southland Tales, and lots of people love that movie but nobody can explain why). So I know where you’re coming from here.

      • Southland Tales deserves the title of Best Worst Movie of All Time.

        • Absolutely nothing Gabe says about that movie is wrong. Nothing anybody has ever said about that movie has been wrong. But it’s still one of the only movies I could watch on repeat forever.

          • I feel this way about 500 Days of Summer…I agree with everything Gabe says (and most things people say about the film) but I love it anyway. I could point to reasons why but the truth is that it doesn’t matter, I just like it even though it’s flawed. Like most of the people in my life. Movies are like friends…they’re not perfect but they’re mine!

          • Yes to truckasaurus on 500 Days of Summer. Totally

          • I was mad when Greenberg came under fire. I watched it again recently, and…yeah, it’s not that good. I still enjoy parts of it, though, especially that unsolicited cheeseburger.

      • I must’ve missed that one, because I hadn’t heard of it. I just watched the trailer and was pleased to see it’s from the creator of Donna Darko.

        • It’s so, SO bad. But wonderful. Honestly, I’ve read interviews where a few different castmembers, on separate occasions, basically admitted that they had no idea what was happening in that movie but they loved it anyway.

      • I love Southland Tales because it’s insane and has all of my favorites — The Rock, Buffy, Wallace Shawn, Sean William Scott, JT, 60 percent of SNL cast members from 1989 to 2005 — and the dialogue seems stilted and terrible on purpose. And it’s super weird.

        Plus I have a weakness for dystopic futurism.

  24. On the topic of this movie, I had not seen it when I read the original WMOAT post about it, but I have seen it since and it made reading this even better. My biggest problem with the movie is of course that they dared to use my name for the Kirsten Dunst character, in a long tradition of cinematic Claires being ridic. My second biggest problem with it is the whole thing.

  25. I feel like this is going to be the start of a great and sad week. So far the posts have been A+, would read again.

  26. 1) Called it.

    2) Since I won’t be around for Gabe’s last post on Friday because my stupid brother is getting stupid married, I will have to put my sappy and sentimental goodbye here. It seems appropriate. Like a lot of people here, I started reading Videogum for the Lost recaps, probably linked from the FourFour ANTM recaps, and stayed for all the same reasons everyone else did: The hilarious posts, the sardonic worldview, the ridiculously amazing commenting community, and the general way in which this blog has filled a need in my life to talk with thoughtful people about things that matter to me, even if they don’t matter in the grand scheme of things (e.g., TV shows and bad movies).

    While it did seem, especially in the post-Lindsay, pre-Kelly days, that Gabe had been waning on his enthusiasm for Videogum, he was always here for us. And when he wasn’t here for us, he looked out by giving monsters like me opportunities to guest blog. Amazing! And during that time, the Monster community exploded, establishing chat and MOBFD and a nationwide Meetup Series, thanks primarily to Chris Trash and Werttrew and the NYC Monsters. But ultimately it comes back to Gabe and his constant inclusion of the community in the blog. This is as much our place as it has been his, which was by design and which will make it possible for this place to exist in a Time After Gabe.

    So this is all to say that, while Gabe is the backbone and the original voice of this blog, what he (and Scott and Amrit and Lindsay) started here is special, and he deserves to move on to something bigger and better. Blogging professionally isn’t necessarily the best terminal career choice, and we all knew this day would come eventually (Friday), and we will grieve and move on. It’s been real, and it will continue to be real. And of course I have no real information about what Gabe is off to do, but I imagine it will be something that will expose more people to his very special brand of humor. That’s exciting!

    Anyway, while I am sad, I am excited for Gabe. However, as a form of alimony, I demand joint custody of Birdie, or at least a Doctor Birdie episode before the week is through.

    Farewell Gabe,
    XOXO,
    See you at the crossroads,
    Superglue

  27. Pretty sure the O.G. “Elizabethtown” WMOAT was what led me to Videogum in the first place.
    And the “Amelia” GIFs kept me here.

  28. One of my AAAALLLL time favorite lines Gabe has deliverd in his pain staking task in viewing garbage for our amusement, came from a review of the Freddie Prinze Jr and Julia Stile crapfest Down to You.
    Speaking about a reaction Prizes’ character had of Stiles characters “stunning outfit”:

    “But even when it is not trying to be clever, and is just sticking to the most rudimentary of romantic cliches, even then it makes no sense. Take for example this classic moment:

    Wow? Wow what? I know you are not saying wow about her JC Penny outfit. I know you are not saying wow because of her resemblance to a 47-year-old lesbian heading down to city hall to take part in the public city planning committee meeting to determine whether or not a Whole Foods will be approved for a land grant and zoning clearances. WOW.”

    Uggggghhhh don’t go Gabbbe!!

  29. Well, I have my damn conference all this week, so I honestly don’t know what my commenting capabilities are going to be. So I’m going to be medium sappy now. I know I just started commenting in December, but this site and Gabe’s awesome writing have got me through many a long day at a job I mostly hated for years before I grew some balls. It was nice to have my eyes filling up with tears of laughter (esp at the August Rush WMOAT) instead of frustration. And thanks for fostering such a great community, and allowing me to express my feelings through gifs, the way God intended. You’re great, Gabe!
    http://youtu.be/V6I13UFSVXc

  30. i used to read stereogum daily, and started reading videogum when it first spun off, but fell out of the habit after a few months. wmoat brought me back, and i every day i would work my way through a few of the archived posts at a time, and they remain some of the funniest things i’ve ever read. i’m really going to miss this. r.i.p. gabe, he’s recapping the walking dead for the angels now.

  31. This post… is a grace note.

  32. Oh, Gabe.
    Thank you for the music.

    • And because I’m already getting emotional (oh fuck), here’s a bit of an overshare:

      My childhood best friend was wildly in love with Orlando Bloom. After the LOTR films, she watched everything he was ever in and bought all of his movies. She loved Elizabethtown and talked about it so much that one day I decided to watch it with her. It was the end of high school and we were sort of drifting apart because how long can a kindergarten friendship really be expected to last? So, by the time we watched Elizabethtown together, I was treading really lightly on her feelings because I just wasn’t that comfortable around her anymore.

      So, we watched it and I was shocked at how terrible it was. So shocked that after it finished and she asked what I thought of it I said it was horrible and I hated it. Said that even though I knew it held a special place in her heart. Couldn’t hold it in. And I couldn’t stop talking about how bad it was. And my vitriol and hate for it made her laugh and then we both laughed about that and then a few months later before we left for college, we watched it together again and it became a new sort of pillar in our friendship. And and and…I don’t know, it feels so incredibly special and personal to know that this is it. This is the WMOAT. (because it’s all about me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) It’s also so bittersweet knowing that we’ve reached the conclusion. Man oh man.

      TL;DR – the beginning makes it sound like my friend is dead but actually r.i.p gabe and this is actually a pretty self-centered comment but idk i just really love what you’ve done with the place, gabe! I like it here. thanks.

      • beatrice, to preface this: wonderful avatar. Dilbert is one of the best cancelled cartoon sitcoms of all time. “The Shroud of Wally” may be my favorite episode of all time. But this story is incredible. All I can think now (to quote you, “because it’s all about me!!!!!!!!!!!”) is how I wish I had a film or anything for the matter, change my perception of a friendship I had when I was younger. Having moved around so often I lost many a-friendship and this just really made me happy.

        Who knew an internet blogger can make us all emotional. ANYWAYS!

  33. Wonderful.
    *insert that jif of Charles Foster Kane applauding*

  34. I feel like I can hear Sarah McLachlan’s I Will Remember You playing and I’ll continue to hear it playing all week over all the posts!!

    My favorites of all the WMOATs were Eat Pray Love (more like Barf, Barf, Barf!) and American Beauty. The first one for obvious reasons and the second because I loved that movie when I was in high school and I hadn’t watched it since and reading Gabe’s complete evisceration of the film in ways that I kept agreeing with left and right just made me happy to get to read great stuff, happy to learn what was so awful about the film, and happy to have grown enough in my life to have my views about it changed so much.

    What I’m trying to say is that we’re all lucky we got to be a part of Gabe’s audience while we could because he taught us all a lot about ourselves, each other, and how best to avoid trampoine accidents.

    • Gabe has never encouraged anyone to avoid a trampoline accident, and you know it!

      • “When there was only one set of footprints, that’s when I was having a trampoline accident.” – Jesus

        • To this day I still laugh at Dr. Feelgood’s addition to the “Stathamprints in the Sand” poem.

          “‘But Lord,’ the boy asked.
          ‘Why are there no footprints,
          where you and Jason walked?’

          The Lord Replied,
          ‘That’s because,
          we we’re grinding down railings,
          on waiter trays,
          while shooting bad guys in the face.’”

          Can we get a book of poems from Dr. Feelgood already?!?!

    • Truck, we are clicking on the WMOATs. American Beauty and (500) Days of Summer were wonderful to me when I first saw them. Having Gabe tear them apart made me realize what a weird world we’ve been living in where these common things, these movies, are sometimes just terribly bad. I believe before I started reading this website I didn’t care if a movie was bad. Now it’s all I can do to point out its flaws and absurdities. And having the stamp of “Best Picture” still doesn’t make it a good film. I think that’s what I learned most, that the critics are not always right. Sometimes they look strictly for watchability and that’s what American Beauty had in spades. But man did it make you scratch your head with its terrible plots and reasons for doing anything in a life of ennui.

      Joseph Gordon Levitt is wonderful, but looking back on (500) Days of Summer, I think I was blinded by JGL and the prettiness of Zooey Deschanel that I didn’t notice a bad movie underneath.

      I guess to reiterate the whole of this comment: way to open my eyes, Gabe. I’ll continue to keep them open for the next WMOAT of my own. (Ugh, sorry for the sappiness.)

      • Yes totally – plus all the stuff that’s wrong with American Beauty is in the realm of “evil” (to varying degrees, the worst of which being the whole child molester stuff) and 500 Days of Summer is more in the realm of “unoriginal” and I guess that’s why I feel okay defending it – when I first saw that movie, I identified with so much of it and in fact the scene where he says “I love you” and she doesn’t say it back basically happened with the guy I was dating at the time like 2 days before (not mr. truck, obv!) and so much of it felt like stuff I had gone through over and over and that’s why it worked for me – because my love life at the time was unoriginal and relatable and filled with cliches. And yes, it’s filled with hipster garbage and MPDG garbage and I SHOULD hate all of that, but it just hit me the right way at the right time.

        I guess what I’m trying to say is that everything that’s wrong with it is harmless, and everything that’s wrong with Eat Pray Love and American Beauty is that the main characters are childish, selfish, and made of garbage and we’re all supposed to love them and get the most out of our lives and “look closer” when all any of us have time to do is go to work and pay the bills and make dinner for our families and if we’re lucky we can make real connections with people in our lives (on the internet) and sometimes that’s enough.

    • hahahaha thank you for mentioning the Eat Pray Love poster redesign, because that was the hilight of, like, my entire summer when it happened

  35. As I’m relatively new to VG, this is the only WMOAT I’ve ever read, but what a perfect movie to select. No controversy here, just straight up garbage.

    Elizabethtown is my Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

  36. This is breakup sex, is what this is. Amazing, amazing breakup sex.

  37. I first discovered Videogum through the Wicker Man WMOAT. It was freshman year of college, and Mondays were generally a pain due to having a lot of classes scheduled, but the WMOAT was something I could always look forward to. I have sorely missed it since its hiatus, and this final entry is a truly amazing, if bittersweet, way of ending The Hunt. Thank you Gabe, the Hunt for the Worst Movie of All Time has truly been a hilarious and endlessly entertaining journey.

  38. “Dear WMOAT hopefuls,


    Sincerely,

    -Gabe”

  39. This was very nice. I hope at one point during the remaining week there is Comedy Central Roast of Gabe where Lindsay and Kelly talk about Gabe’s foibles while master of ceremonies Gwyneth Paltrow really gives it to him.

  40. Elizabethtown may be the best at being the worst but Mr. Brooks will always be my favorite at being the worst. But this was the best. And the worst. Closure!

  41. Fun fact about Elizabethtown: locals call it E-town. Does anyone call it that in the movie? I like it because it sounds like some kind of virtual city misguidedly founded as a new utopia in the Internet boom.

  42. Oh HftWMoAT, I’ll miss you most of all. And as a parting gift, I’ll allow this to be the WWMOAT, even though the true answer is the Notebook mashedup with City of Angels.

  43. i first started reading vg for the gossip girl recaps, and i’ll never forget gabe writing about a “garbage baby”

  44. The WMOAT feature is what got me to make an account and join the ‘Gum community.

    I remember years ago when I first discovered the section. I spent my entire Sunday at work reading the posts (God said rest!) and literally laughed til tears ran down my eyes. I was so happy that there were SO MANY and they were all equally the best.

    So to come here and see a “Redux” and enjoy the hell out of it, I now find tears are welling up not from teh joeks, but because Gabe is leaving Videogum.

    Gabe, you’re a phenomenal writer. I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing you nothing but success, glory, great friends, big laughs and the incredible satisfaction knowing that something YOU DID affected many people positively miles and miles away.

    Godspeed!

  45. I still think The Lake House was worse, but this WMOAT redux hilarious. Lets agree to disagree?

  46. Was anyone else humming “I Will Remember You” while reading this? Just me? Okay then.

  47. Bye Gabe, you’ve been the greatest blogger the internet has ever known. I know Bert Cooper said people your age are dead in the grave shortly after they retire but I hope you and Birdie enjoy a long peaceful retirement on some island somewhere not worried at all about what Topher Grace is up to

  48. Forget it Gabe, it’s Elizabethtown.

  49. So what got me here in the first place was a pre-gum Gabe project. And then I stayed because of you people, and because of Gabe and Kelly and so forth. I’m just so glad to hear that after all these years of e-blogging, Gabe can finally turn his attention back to his long-neglected business. I just hope my first 3 (or 9) emails are still free…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPsUmhqncAg

  50. I’ve also read Videogum for many years, but after reading this WMOAT and finding out that Gabe is moving on, it warranted me remembering my login for the first time in a year.

    Gabe, thank you, sincerely! All the best, and always remember you made strangers like myself laugh hysterically. I’m sure there is a Butterfly Kisses reference to insert here, but I can’t come up with it…SOOOOoooooo I’ll just paste a link to Losing My Edge since it seems somehow fitting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xG4oFny2Pk
    I WAS THERE!

    In addition, this redux post painfully reminded me of the time that I saw Elizabethtown in the movie theater and it *potentially* could have been the reason why I started getting a cluster headache (google that one for some fun). Because I had paid good money to sit through that shit, I continued to watch Elizabethtown while simultaneously enduring immense physical pain (the headache) and emotional trauma (the movie). To me, this will forever and always be THE WORST MOVIE OF ALL TIME.

  51. My life is now complete.

  52. Just for the record I was on a flight from LA to dallas that was practically empty. Emphasis on practically. We could fold the arms up in the seats and lay across the aisles but there were probably a dozen people there. I watched this movie the whole way through but I am house bound dying of a horrible wasting disease.

  53. And while I have your attention I would much rather bang Judy Greer than Kristen Dunst any day of the week.

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