It was a warm September afternoon and one young blogger and a few friends headed to the movie theater to see One Direction: This Is Us in 3D. “Hey, I’m going to get some popcorn, you guys go ahead and get seats” said the blogger, waving her friends away. Just an average trip to the movies. As she was paying for the popcorn and wondering why movie theaters don’t serve alcohol, she heard a beautiful voice behind her — “Ello, Kelly!” Whaaat? Who was it? “Ello mate, it’s me, Harry Styles from One Direction.” OMG. It was Harry Styles. Kelly– I mean, the blogger knew it was Harry Styles because he was wearing his signature “suit jacket with a t-shirt underneath” and his hair was perfect. Harry Styles knew it was Kelly, ugh, the blogger, because he was a secret big fan of hers. “I knew you were perfect at blogging,” Harry said, “but I didn’t know you were the most beautiful woman I would ever see in my life.” What?! OMG. “You can blog from anywhere, right?” he asked. “Pretty much yes, as long as there is a steady Internet connection — which rules out my apartment! Hahah. Just kidding, but I have a lot of problems with my Internet at home. Time Warner is the worst, you have no idea I bet” said the blogger. Harry liked how weird and not fun she was to talk to. “Would you like to come on tour with me and the lads?” Uh, YES SHE WOULD! “Yes!! — Wait” The blogger quickly googled “Harry Styles age.” Ugh. 19. “You’re 19,” she said. “So? Aren’t you 19?” he asked. “No, I’m 26.” “Oh…” Dang. Maybe he didn’t think she was so perfect at blogging after all– Wait, what? Ahh-hah! Whooooops! Wrong window! Eeeeek. This is embarrassing. That one should have gone here. This one’s for the review! LOL. Whoops. Anyway, let’s talk about the movie!

For those of you who opted out of our family trip to see a movie about children for children, This Is Us is a half concert/half behind-the-scenes documentary, directed by Morgan Spurlock, about One Direction’s rise from losers on The X Factor to the most beautiful and popular group of boys on Earth. Kind of. It’s less about the rise and more about the part where they are risen. I mean, nothing happens in it. Hahah. I don’t know why Morgan Spurlock directed it? It is exactly like any of the boy band documentaries I loved and thought were so funny, oh my god, they are so funny and cute, when I was young: Scenes of the boys palling around, doing things like riding on grocery carts while they’re handlers are like “don’t ride on the grocery cart, Niall, come on!”, never drinking or smoking or cursing, talking about how great their fans are, and being almost exclusively happy and adorable.

There are a few moments where the boy’s humanity creeps in — at one point Harry says that he doesn’t like his life 100% of the time, and at another point Liam wonders if anyone will love Liam for Liam. (Just give it a few years, Liam!) Oh, and there is also another moment when the group is gathered around a fire and one of the other not-Harry ones mentions that in a few years they’ll probably just have a normal life, and that they’re lives are kind of backwards given the fact that they’re enjoying professional success as children but it will be over by the time they are adults. That was interesting! Can you imagine?! I can’t imagine, I would like them to tell us more about it! But they don’t! Which would make sense, as it is a documentary about the boy band One Direction, if it were not directed by Morgan Spurlock. Didn’t you have something you wanted to tell us, Morgan? You almost never don’t!

So, what you end up with is a movie for fans to coo over and excitedly recount with their friends, which is not a bad thing. It was very fun! The concert footage? Give me a break. The accents? Could listen to them all day. Zayn talking about how he bought his own graffiti room or whatever because his mum wouldn’t let him spray paint on the walls in her house, obviously? Love it. The lads talking about how they would probably be working in factories if they weren’t insanely famous pop stars, because almost all of their dads work in factories? Yes. Good. Harry? COME ON! It was a fun movie made up of fun parts that I would’ve gone nuts over if I were a young One Direction fan. #factsonly

There is also fun wink to the adults in the crowd, when we get to see some short interviews some of the boys’ parents. Some speak about how it’s like their sons left for an audition when they were 16 and never came back. Some speak about how sad it is to know that, as a working-class parent, there’s nothing left for them to teach their child — they are already living beyond what their parents can even comprehend. Some speak about the lost moments that come with achieving incredible success that takes you away from your family at age 16. It’s like, yeah, all of this seems fun and great, but life is STILL incredibly sad! We get it. #WINK (This made up a combined, probably, two minutes of the documentary, but was 100% the most interesting part.) (There is probably a lot of sadness Morgan could’ve focused on, in all parts of One Direction’s life!) (WHY DIDN’T YOU MAKE THE MOVIE SADDER, MORGAN?)

But whatever, it was fun and boring and then fun again, and ALWAYS handsome. On a scale of 1 to The Katy Perry Documentary, I give it an “almost as good, but definitely not as good.” Did you love it? Is this you?:

Hahaha. Jesus. Are you sure you don’t like your life 100% of the time, Harry?

Comments (67)
  1. I wish there had been a Backstreet Boys documentary. I watched the All Access Video like a thousand times when I was 11. But I’ll always have the beautiful memory of the time I went to their concert and AJ pointed at me and my friends and said “I see you jumping” into the microphone!

    As a young One Direction fan, I did love a lot of this, but I agree with the general idea that it was heavy on the concert and not as heavy on the documentary/drama/sorrow/crying manboys. Perhaps the extended cut will remedy this.
    Since I already know a bunch about them (Niall’s bday’s in 4 days), I already knew who they were and what to expect in their interactions with each other. And seeing them interact and be the themselves I have grown to love was VERY nice. But for the uninitiated? It had to have been a slog. This is truly a movie 4 teh fanz. And this fan luuuved it.

    • Also, I’d like to give a shout-out to my girl Artdork, who came with me to see the film. And also to my boy Manners, who begrudgingly volunteered to see it, but who I mercifully let off the hook.

      Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to familiarize myself with the collected works of Benny Cumby for Artdork.

      • you’re much nicer than me, I totally made my 28-year old male cousin see it with me and my older sister. To be fair though, they were allowed to bring in a bottle of wine (that they drank the entirety of) and the only rule was that they had to say 5 nice things about it at the end. I feel like they got a pretty sweet deal.

  3. First of all Kelly, your fanfic is perfect. In fact, it makes me wonder if you really haven’t been part of this fandom for a lot longer than you are letting on….

    I saw the movie for the second time yesterday because I am a grown-up and that’s what grown-ups do and I can’t help it, I love every second of it. There’s something about One Direction that fills me with barely contained joy because everything they do is just so happy and delightful and they all don’t seem like horrible people *cough*JustinBieber*cough* and sighhhhhhhhhh

    However, I will agree with you that the movie could have been a lot more interesting if they hadn’t just gone for the bubble-gum happy surface stuff and done a tiny bit more digging. It was definitely made for the fans in the sense that they just want to see happiness and joy and perfection and don’t really notice stuff like substance. But as you said, it’s a movie made for a younger crowd, so I can’t really begrudge them that too much.

    Also, Zayn in his graffiti room makes me swoon because he’s just so dreamy. Like, how is one person that beautiful? It’s not fair.

    • I haven’t even read the review yet because I’m too busy getting psyched for reading more 1D fic. … I mean, giggling over Kelly’s. Yeah. That’s what I’m doing.

  4. Also, I saw this with my sister who knows nothing about them and she compared it to watching an episode of Toddlers and Tiaras, especially the part where Harry wouldn’t stand still to let the wardrobe ladies take his picture. It is probably not an inaccurate comparison.

  5. So I went with Flanny for moral support and I can say I agree with what you all have said. I wish they talked to the guys and their families a bit more. I mean, did we even really see Louis family? I don’t think so. Also, knowing only what my VG ladies have taught me about 1D, I could really see them staring in a sort of “Hard Day’s Night”/”Help” type of movie and that it would be fun.

    Also, I went because Flanny said she’d go see 3 Benedict Cumberbatch movies with me. I feel like I’m a winner!

    • I just realized I put two thoughts in a sentence and didn’t complete either of them. Basically, what I knew of them came from you all and I feel like you have much more interesting info than the movie provided. Also, they could totally pull off a fun movie.

    • I thought this was a Hard Day’s Night type movie.

      Okay, I just listened to them for the first time since the Olympics closing ceremony and I have some honest questions:

      1. Is their music written by committee like the 90s boy bands/Britney/anyone born from Mauschwitz?
      2. How many more power chords from 60s and 70s Brit bands do they use to open their songs? So far I have heard The Clash and The Who… are there more?
      2a. Is that done to keep the parents/grown ups placated or to help segue teens into liking proper rock music?
      3. Which one is which — The shy one? The clown? The 35-year-old? The bad boy? The gay one? The Milhouse?
      4. Is there music scripted with subconscious messages to get me to buy new stuff or to join the navy? I’m not really feeling that orange is the new pink, but blue could be the new red. #RIPDUJOUR

      • Well, I cannot necessarily answer 1 and 2 because I don’t really know anything about music. Which is why I listen to 1D. Hahaha! But! I can help out with #3.
        Harry is the stud.
        Louis is the troublemaker.
        Liam is the sensible one.
        Zayn is the mysterious one.
        And Niall is Irish. Hahah, he’s great. He’s probably actually the fun one. Or the talented one, since he plays the guitar.
        And as for #5, please consider the fact that I own quite a bit of 1D merch and was just on amazon looking at more. So yes.

        • Sensible not sensitive? Liam is the cute one that isn’t Harry, right? And Harry is the one that had an affair with a 34-year-old married lady and got stalked by Taylor Swift?

          BTW Flanny, I had the theme song to “I want to marry Ryan Banks” in my head for the past two days. It is infectious!

          And for those who care, THE GREATEST MADE-FOR-TV movie is on the Hallmark Channel tomorrow at 8pm. Bradley Cooper + Anya + Brandon Walsh + Joe (Donna’s boyfriend who was a virgin quarterback with a hole in his heart) are in a movie that’s like the Bachelor meets Cyrano Bergerac with a totally unexpected twist. Consume it with wine.

          • It’s hard to say who is “the cute one besides Harry.” The two most often confused for each otehr are Liam and Louis. Liam has the short hair and the straight eyebrows. He’s “handsome.” Louis often has his hair in a swoop. He’s “cute.” Zayn is vaguely ethnic, and Niall is Irish. Does that help? And yes, sensible. He is Daddy Direction AND DEAR GOD WHY AM I STILL COMMENTING ON THIS THREAD???

            Prepare to have that theme stuck in your head for the next ten and counting years.

          • Harry is probably the sensitive one. If you watch the videos of them in Ghana, he’s pretty much in tears the whole time. And yes, Harry is the one who allegedly had an affair with a 34-year old ( I don’t believe this story) and definitely got stalked by Taylor Swift (this one is definitely true).

            It’s hard to say which is the cute one that isn’t Harry because they are all way too good-looking. It’s crazy, because Simon Cowell found them when they were all like 16/17 and they looked like typical teenage boys but now…goddamn. I suspect he has a secret underground lab that is made to perfect the human image and requires a weekly sacrifice of the blood of a 100 virgins, but its totes worth it.

            However, this is Liam if he’s the one you’re thinking of:

          • also, if anyone has any more questions about them, you will be getting answers from both Flanny and I. We just can’t help ourselves.

          • Well Harry is the one that looks kind of like Mick Jagger and probably already has had more sexual partners than all of us put together. Not sure if that makes him the bad boy or not.

            Louis *is* cute and by looking him up, I came across this soccer player. He is not in One Direction, but I would like to point out that he is very handsome and kind of looks like the hot sheriff from Once Upon a Time and also kind of like Alcide… like if they had a baby that was an age-appropriate sports player and extra handsome.

            Sorry… what was everyone talking about?

          • Also, that’s Louis right behind Liam in the picture! And that soccer player might be the one that knocked Louis over during a charity match yesterday and then Louis threw up which made Flanny’s little heart melt into a a gooey mess.

          • Louis is the one that I think is handsome and not Harry, though Zayn is really good-looking as well. He’s the one that got engaged, right?

            Boy band archetypes make me giggle a lot so I looked it up and found a TON of angry teen girls on Tumblr making .gif reactions to the idea that 1D may be reduced to archetypes. Oh teen girls, keep on being you.

          • Aaah, Gnidrah and I both have Louis at the top of our lists, too! He is a roller coaster, though. Very emotional in the best way. And if you think tumblr is bad now, just wait until you get into the wild world of shipping. OH BOY.

          • PRO TIP – if you’re having trouble telling Louis and Liam apart at first (don’t worry, it happened to me too) just remember that Liam is the one with the birthmark on his neck.

            Harry did a recent interview where he said that he’s only ever slept with 2 people, so all those tabloid stories are probably overblown. Even if he is fudging it a bit, it’s probably closer to 2 than 410 as some tabloids would have you believe.

            Also, when I look at that soccer player, I totally see Keanu Reeves.

          • It’s going to be unseasonably warm this week so maybe I will go see this film and learn the beauty that is 1D. Or I can keep Googling this handsome soccer player because *wow*.

          • One of us, badideajeans. One of us. (We’re very fun.)

          • mauhahahahaha….and badideajeans was the next to fall…..

            Flanny, I think our work here is done.

          • It is not showing in not 3D and I get super motion sick from 3D so I can’t go. :(

          • Right so. That’s Jamie Redknapp. He doesn’t play any more, and he didn’t knock over dearest LT, but he is generally believed to be a bloody nice bloke.

        • I loled at “and Niall is Irish.”

      • 1. Most of their first stuff was written by professional songwriters, but they said for their new album boys are more involved in it, specifically Louis and Liam. They also have songs written by Kelly Clarkson, Ed Sheeran and some other pretty famous songwriters.
        2. Not that I can think of off the top of my head, but maybe? They had a really subtle Pink Floyd reference in their new video that I really liked because I love Pink Floyd.
        2a. I think they do it to give their songs an edge. They also covered Forever Young and did One Way or Another as a charity single. But a lot of them are also really into classic rock, so I think they do it just because they like it.
        3. Niall is the baby, Louis is the clown (and probably the gay one), Liam is the practical one, Zayn is the bad-boy/mysterious one, and Harry is the charismatic “lady’s man”.
        4. Their music has a very conscious message that if you are a girl, you should love yourself. It doesn’t get much deeper than that, it’s pretty typical pop music.

  6. Waaait, also can we talk about the 3D video game graphics that came out of nowhere? Because that was amazing. Way to use the technology, Spurlock!

  7. Can I just say that I am watching Season 5 of Breaking Bad while commenting on this so I am half barely contained glee and half tense and horrified. IT IS SO CONFLICTING.

    • I LOL’d at that gif. The best thing (or worst thing for those who are Not Us on this thread) is that there is a gif for every emotion featuring every member. Here is Louis’s laugh-and-then-quickly-stop-laughing gif. Ugg, we’re terrible!

  8. I read this whole post and I still don’t know which direction we’re talking about. I’m gonna guess south.

  9. OK SO. I went to sleep because TIME DIFFERENCE. And a lot of what I wanted to say has been covered by my 1D homegurlz up above.

    I wrote an elegant defence of the film, and even though it’s pretty much superfluous now, I feel like it’d be a waste not to post:

    This film isn’t for everyone, and I don’t think it pretends to be. Like, I really don’t think fans of Morgan Spurlock’s previous work are gonna be like, well this is going to be just like Supersize Me, GET ME IN THERE!

    But if you like pop music, and pretty boys, and marvelling at the crazy world of fandom, then it’s great. It’s FUN, and we need a bit more of that.

    Us Brits are kind of proud that five of our lads are so loved round the world. We watched them from day one (OK, I did) and it’s unbelievable that they got so big.

    HAHAHA – that’s the serious bit. But I know that’s not what you wanted from us. So what I’m really going to say is: I love them.

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