For one reason and another, including car trouble, I haven't seen any movies on the big screen this year. Today I said, dammit, come hell or high water, I am going to the movies (also, there's a $2 special on Wednesdays). So I took a bus and a taxi across town to the V&A Waterfront.

I always read the reviews before seeing a movie. "Rachel Getting Married" had got very good reviews. This, plus Anne Hathaway, plus her Oscar nomination, plus a passing familiarity with recovery from addiction, plus a convenient show time, plus the fact this was its last week on circuit, meant "Rachel Getting Married" was the chosen one.

I hated every dreadful minute of it.
From before the beginning, when there's just a black screen and horriblescreechy music, to the I can't call it an "end" point where it sort of peters out, it was awful.

For starters, most of the people were ugly. Even Anne Hathaway looked ordinary with little makeup and plain straight hair. She obviously needs crimson lipstick smeared on with a putty knife and masses of hair extensions to look her best. Her father had one of those Burt Reynolds-like facial jobs where you stare at him in horrified fascination at how someone can look so nearly normal, yet so clearly abnormal. Her mother was nice-looking, and had a mean right jab, bless her heart, but the rest were so-so to damned ugly (don't want to name names).
The cast was multi-cultural to the point of absurdity. About the only ethnic group not represented were the arabs (but the momentum from "Kingdom of Heaven" will keep them going for a while yet). To mix things up even more they had a black dude in uniform by the name of Gonzalez. Don't know what that was all about.
The music was multicultural too screechy mid-east violins, indifferent bouzoukis, some urban, some jazz, a Jimi Hendrix garage-band wannabe doing the wedding march (don't know if it was intentionally ghastly), even some folky stuff from from some old white guy sounding like a 12-yr-old had dubbed his voice. And all of it was horrible. If they ever issue the sound track, do a random act of kindness buy it and destroy it before anyone hears it.
Okay, the father was a Bachman, presumably Ashkenazi Jew hence the mid-east thing, and the bridegroom was a black musician, hence the various manifestations of schwartze music, but how the other ethnicities fitted in was never explained. Possibly they were Hawaiian friends of the groom, but I for one failed to see the need for such variety apart from some politically-correct statement, "Ooh, look how multi-cultural we are." I spit on their political correctness.
The sound was bad. It was hard to make out what was said. I don't know if it's because the theatre had turned the volume down, or because the soundtrack wasn't clear. Fortunately I had read about a third of the script in advance, so I could still follow it.
As for the story, well, Anne Hathaway comes out of rehab for her sister Rachel's wedding, some stuff happens, and she goes back. In other words, not much happens. In fact, for many minutes of screen time, nothing at all happens. People stand up and make speeches which reveal nothing about themselves or anyone else. People dance, but they are just going through the motions, not getting closer or drawing further apart. People bicker, but apart from one big revelation, it's nothing particulaly dramatic. One big drama was supposed to be where Anne Hathaway confronts her mother, but it was totally false. I just did not believe that real people would behave like that. And there is one big reveal in a scene with a hairdresser that was so blatantly expository it would have been laughed out of Screenwriting
101.

The only thing stopping me from walking out was I had to climb over other people to get to the aisle, something I hate doing.

As the final credits rolled, I wondered why on earth they had made the movie. Presumably, someone had been so excited by the central idea, she had laboured for many months and given birth to the screenplay, but for the life of me I cannot figure out what that exciting central idea must have been. It's just so, well, 'ordinary' is the word that comes to mind. A slice of someone else's not-very-exciting life. No questions asked or answered, no difficulties overcome, no obstructions raised and battered to the ground, no characters tested to the utmost, no faith, no forgiveness, no redemption; nothing that lifts it from the realm of common gossip to uncommon story-telling.
How Anne Hathaway got an Oscar nomination, I have no idea. Mostly she looked like she realised she was in a complete turkey and was hoping to escape. The rest of the time she was sticking a cigarette in her mouth. (And her cigarettes were always just-lit. Never half-burned. Continuity, tsk tsk.)
Seeing a bad movie literally makes me feel slightly ill. Luckily I was at the Waterfront (if you saw "Blood Diamond" you saw a bit of it near the end it's where Jennifer Connelly phoned Leonardo DiCaprio from, with Table Mountain in the background), so I was able to go and stand on the floating dock for a while and gently bob up and down until I felt calmer and the bile had settled. Then it was two taxis home again.

If you've never taken one of our minibus taxis, let me explain the procedure. The driver's assistant stands with the door open calling out the destination. He packs the passengers in according to their width and where they get off until they are jammed tighter than sardines. He then calls out, "All right, driver," and jumps in himself on top of the passengers, slides the door closed, and off we go. I was lucky today only one driver tried to outdo Ben Hur, and all the sound systems were set to less than ear-splitting.
When I finally squeezed my way out of the taxi like a cork being eased out of a bottle neck, I stood in the fresh air and freedom of the pavement, and thought, "Do I do the same for 'Vicky Christina Barcelona,' or do I hope the DVD turns up at my rental shop?"

Martin B
1 2
For one reason and another, including car trouble, I haven't seen any movies on the big screen this year. Today ... its last week on circuit, meant "Rachel Getting Married" was the chosen one. I hated every dreadful minute of it.

From before the beginning, when there's just a black screen and horrible

screechy music, to the I can't call it an "end" point where it sort of peters out, it ... same for 'Vicky Christina Barcelona,' or do I hope the DVD turns up at my rental shop?" Martin B

You really want to know how the script for this thing came to be a movie?
I can give you the secret in two words.
The writer's name.
Jenny *Lumet.*
Because if you happen to be Jenny Lumet you can show the script you've just written to your Dad. Sidney. And Sidney can show the script to some of his friends, like, for instance, a director like Jonathan Demme, who can show it to a star like Anne Hathaway and the thing about stars like Anne Hathaway, who've made lots of movies playing sweet pretty girls is they love the idea of doing a hard-edged indie "acting" sort of role.
In fact, they love it so much that they all do these things for next to nothing.
For guys like Jonathan Demme, who can spend years in development hell trying to get a major hollywood movie made, it means he gets to actually make a movie.
For someone like Anne Hathaway, it's a great career move.

The same way it was a great career movie for Charlize Theron to star in "Monster".
It gives an actress like that "street cred" it makes Hollywood think of them as "real actors" everyone says how "brave" they are because they're not pretty girl roles.
It tends to net them Oscar nominations.
And what it also does is it gets a script that, under normal circumstances wouldn't otherwise have a chance in hell of being made financed and produced and into theatres and getting oscar nominations.
Because the brutal fact is the script isn't very good.

Now, I've read plenty worse but it has all the flaws that you indicate. I think there are a few effective moments, but I found some of it to be just wincingly bad.
The reality is, if it had been written by Jenny Lipsky from East Islip whose Dad was in the furniture business there is no way that this movie would ever had been made.
NMS
The cast was multi-cultural to the point of absurdity. About the only ethnic group not represented were the arabs (but ... more they had a black dude in uniform by the name of Gonzalez. Don't know what that was all about.

Guess you're not familiar with Baseball, huh? Most of the Hispanic- monikered players are black.
But, I'm sorry "Rachel Getting Married" didn't work out for you. Can you read at rottentomates.com or imdb.com? Maybe these sites, among others, would've determined if this flick was for you, or not.

The Peripatetic Samurai Robot

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"nmstevens"
You really want to know how the script for this thing came to be a movie? I can give you ... Dad was in the furniture business there is no way that this movie would ever had been made. NMS

Ah. All is revealed.
I saw the name Jenny Lumet, but I didn't realise she was connected to Sidney Lumet.
And the rest of the story, well, that's the way it works in Hollywood sometimes.

Martin B
"Jeri Jo Thomas"
Guess you're not familiar with Baseball, huh? Most of the Hispanic- monikered players are black.

I didn't know that. I thought they were making some self-consciously interracial point. My bad.
One thing I meant to add: The wedding cake. It was the best part of the whole movie. I've never seen one like it. It was an Indian elephant on a square base, covered in a blue-green hard icing, and decorated with white beads and designs like an Indian elephant in its festival best. It was really magnificent.
But an Indian elephant would imply a Hindu-type ceremony. But the ceremony was... well, I don't know. It was all mixed up. The guy who married them looked like a twinkly little Rabbi with a big white beard, but he didn't wear a skull cap and they didn't crush a glass, it was more hippiefied, like, "Do you, Rachel, take this guy?" "Yes" "Well, go for it then. By the powers vested in me by the State of Connecticut and by Neil Young..." The guests chanted their names, "Rachel... Sidney" over and over, like they were at a football match. The whole thing was weird.

The point here is, if meaningful stuff is going on, you have to have a standard wedding style we all understand, where the roles are well defined. Then we the audience can easily spot any departures from the norm and realise, hullo, here's a development to keep an eye on. But when it's so unfamiliar, you are using all your thinking power to figure out what's going on.
But, I'm sorry "Rachel Getting Married" didn't work out for you. Can you read at rottentomates.com or imdb.com? Maybe these sites, among others, would've determined if this flick was for you, or not.

The local online movie gude publishes a selection of local and overseas ratings. Usually they average out in the 50-60% range. "Rachel Getting Married" averaged 78%. That's must-see territory.
Ratings Scale (Max) 20
International Media
Chicago Sunday Times Roger Ebert 20
eye Weekly (Canada) Adam Nayman 15
ReelViews (USA) James Berardinelli 15
ScreenIt (USA) C. Fuchs 12
Metacritic.com 36 critics 16
RottenTomatoes.com 172 critics 15
RottenTomatoes.com Tomatometer 17
Internet (IMDB) 7700 Netizens 14
Average .. 78% 15
Our local version of Roger Ebert, Barry Ronge, who I listen to every Sunday morning, along with a half hour live discussion with Alan Silverman in LA, also raved about it.

Martin B
For one reason and another, including car trouble, I haven't seen any movies on the big screen this year. Today ... its last week on circuit, meant "Rachel Getting Married" was the chosen one. I hated every dreadful minute of it.

From before the beginning, when there's just a black screen and horrible

screechy music, to the I can't call it an "end" point where it sort of peters out, it ... same for 'Vicky Christina Barcelona,' or do I hope the DVD turns up at my rental shop?" Martin B

Well, I don't think Demme and Lumet had ignorant, decrepit foreigners in mind as their target audience.
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Guess you're not familiar with Baseball, huh? Most of the Hispanic- monikered players are black.

No, they're not. A lot are, but not most.

RonB
"There's a story there...somewhere"
"odocoileus"
Well, I don't think Demme and Lumet had ignorant, decrepit foreigners in mind as their target audience.

That would explain why no ignorant, decrepit foreigners watched this movie. Only the smart, internet-savvy foreigners who trusted the American film critics, who turned out to be the ignorant, decrepit term in the equation.

Martin B
Okay, the father was a Bachman, presumably Ashkenazi Jew hence the mid-east thing, and the bridegroom was a black musician, hence the various manifestations of schwartze music

You probably didn't mean this in a bad way, but from what I understand (maybe Neal or Phil can correct me) the term you use above is actually a racist epithet.
but how the other ethnicities fitted in was never explained. Possibly they were Hawaiian friends of the groom, but I ... for such variety apart from some politically-correct statement, "Ooh, look how multi-cultural we are." I spit on their political correctness.

Maybe the racial variety in the film was a reflection of the filmmakers' real-life experiences.
Here in America, we recently elected a president who had an Asian stepfather, a white mother and an African father.
My former roommate is a black woman who married a white guy whose adopted sister is Philipino. Her niece, who's biracial (black and white) married a Latino guy.
Seems like half the people I meet these days are in a biracial relationship. It's gotten to the point where our school system is finally offering parents the choice of identifying their kids as "biracial" on the official forms; at one school it's estimated that 50 percent of the kids fall into that category.
As far as I know, none of these folks formed romantic relationships with someone from another race as a political stunt.
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