Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Netflix Movie Review: +1

Everyone Wants One?
After Toad Road I needed to see a more mainstream movie. The movie +1 seemed like the perfect antidote.

            It was late after Toad Road (my wife and I watched an episode of An Idiot Abroad after Toad Road as a palate cleanser). I had work the next day but as old habit, I needed to watch something in bed before going to sleep so I retired to the bedroom while my wife stayed with the living room TV.

            Headphones and the Vita, and roughly a midnight hour showing was all the preparation I needed to be asleep in under ten minutes.

            I should have chosen another movie, because this one did not put me to sleep.

            I can see how this movie did not do well because it is not mainstream – at least, it doesn’t stay mainstream for long. I thought that was a good thing, it meant the people making the movie had guts to go out on their own and do their own thing.

            How you know you need a new marketing department: Look at the top of the movie’s poster, the quote that starts with how original this movie is, then lists three movies that +1 is similar to; the first one, Project X, an entertainingly bad movie that was a flop from 2012, the second, Can’t Hardly Wait, a high school “big party” movie 15 years old now and not good enough that those who it was geared towards at the time would recall it with fond memories of what good movies used to be like, and then they go even further back with Invasion of the Body Snatchers circa 1978? Seriously, someone explain to me what exactly the fuck, huh? It almost takes away from the picture on the poster, which does a lot better of summing up the movie than any part  of that quote does.

          I would call this experimental more than Toad Road. Toad Road had nothing interesting. Experimental shouldn't mean dirty greasy kids doing drugs and talking about being disenchanted. If I wanted that I'd hang out with those kinds of people. +1 mashes genres together in a way that is entertaining because the story is good and original, the acting is good, and the work put into the movie shows. Certainly not a big budget special effects blitz, time was spent on style, and though style can be bad (Suckerpunch suffers from its own style, as does Mars Attacks! to just name a few) in a small movie like this, with nothing more to carry it, style means a lot.
            I really had no idea where this movie was gonna go once it got going. It starts off setting up the main plot of the boy and girl and will they or won’ t they get back together (the weakest part of the movie by far, they clearly should not be together (a side note to explain the kind of movie this is – the boy meets a complete stranger, a girl, who instantly kisses the boy and his girlfriend catches them and that’s their turmoil. Now I can suspend disbelief with the best of them, but when that’s one of the hardest parts to believe in a movie involving time travel, well, if you can’t see past that part then you ain’t gonna “get” this movie.)), a brief tease of sci-fi and then to the party (which is a character all on its own. The party fluctuates from a house full of yelling drinking kids one moment, to only a handful when the plot requires it), which is like any other house party in the movies, completely unbelievable, but again, there’s gonna be time travel (and plenty of nudity), so bear with me.

            Something falls from the sky.

            Take a cue from this movie when writing your next script. Want to introduce time travel – or just anything sci-fi into your rom-com of a movie set against the back drop of “the biggest party” of the year, but you don’t know how? Just have something fall from the sky.

            There’s never an explanation as to why the three main characters are not affected by the time travel as the others are (or maybe they’re more affected than the others), but without that bit we wouldn’t have the movie I guess so suspend that disbelief for a moment if you please.

            Sure thing, anything for a good time travel storyline.
            I never knew where the movie was going, even when / especially when the time travel started really kicking in.

            I don’t want to give things away as I saw the movie with no real idea of what was to come. I will say that there is a paranoia that is understandable, a suspense that is well paced and the sense of impending doom was interesting.

            It’s a generic “big party” movie that has a generic “boy loses girl, boy tries to get girl back” with an original take on a “time travel” movie that climaxes with well paced suspense that build the feeling of impending doom and growing paranoia for those in the movie.

            I loved the movie and would like to see more like it, a movie that was made to be a movie and not the beginning of a series, nor was it trying to be more high brow or artsy than it really is. This movie stand as it is, a genre mashing movie that succeeds more than it fails.

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