Saturday, October 4, 2014

"Gone Girl" and Nancy Grace

This is a bit off topic, but readers here do often watch The Nancy Grace Show, and I use the transcripts from the program for statement analysis, and the movie, "Gone Girl" opened last night to rave reviews.  No movie critic, I impose upon you my most intellectually fueled conclusion that I can muster at this early hour:

It was a stinker.

The premise promised interest, as it could have been a good story line, and the reviews convinced me to do what I have not done in years:  go to a movie theater.  Perhaps the reviews 'set me up' for the disappointment, or, perhaps more so, it was the "GWTW Night" we had with the kids recently, where intermission, fun snacks, and the art of cinematic beauty and thespian artistry was on full display in all its glory.

A woman goes missing and her husband is the obvious suspect with transparent 'acting' (like watching wood move and talk) was met with transparent writing. The shortened sentences ("one liners") included body parts just enough to satisfy junior high need for imbecilic yet embarrassed chuckle. (This is worse than 50 Shades of Humiliation imposed upon American teenagers who will, for a season,  think billionaires in private helicopters are going to pick them up for first dates, and use pain to derive pleasure).

 The Scott Peterson underline met with the Nancy Grace cartoonish caricature was rivaled by the gratuitous sex scenes that are demanded by today's dumbed down audience. Even the most hardened of Hollywood critics recognize that the post "code era" of Hollywood, in the 30's, forced writers (and actors) to become suggestive, deepening the weight of artistic value, as the actor (and the camera!) is forced to greater heights of influence.  (I do like the short, pre-code movies of the early 30's,  even the B status still holds some charm).  Without gratuitous camera angles, filmmakers were forced to rely upon talent. Today, as immorality is the main star, with all others just a supporting cast, we don't have the same dramatic impact as we did in the Golden era (though who came up with married people in double beds, I do not know). Clara Bow has everything on anyone who calls herself "GaGa."

2 hours and 25 minutes later, having used the iPhone to read news stories and stay awake, the audience stood up, looked around, and had a palpable feel of disappointment.

For those of you who are fascinated by true crime, and tune in to the Nancy Grace Show, save your hard earned money.  Nancy Grace won't take any hits for this one.  There was nothing subtle about the portrayal, which, again, is a shame.

Perhaps someone in Hollywood will give us credit for being able to enjoy a moment of quiet understatement.

For those of you who want to see the movie, I'll not spoil it for you.  An overabundance of greasy popcorn and Ben Affleck will accomplish that for you.

For those of you who have not had the pleasure of introducing 12-14 year olds to "Gone With the Wind", you're missing a fascinating eye-opening moment in the lives of your youngsters, who are well trained to not think, process, or carefully consider far past LOL.

There was one character that I thought had some cleverness to her:  it was the 'billie jean groupie' type, who sought to get a "selfie" from Ben Affleck.  Sadly, missing person cases also attack these types of social misfits who seek purpose and 'limelight' even if by the clinging to an infamous person.

The premise was good, the delivery was not.

At least now you know why I stick to Statement Analysis and not movie criticism.

It would be nice if Hollywood could produce a movie that doesn't insult the intelligence. 

34 comments:

Buckley said...

The book was awesome! I could not put it down. It had twists and turns throughout- and actually the last 20 pages are the weakest. I think readers here who who are fans of mystery and true crime will absolutely love it. Not surprised the movie couldn't deliver.

john said...

O/T I had some chips 🍟.

GeekRad said...

I am reading the book and using statement analysis. The author does have him refer to his wife in past tense and catch himself doing it. Perhaps the author is familiar with the concept of statement analysis

Anonymous said...

Peter, I appreciate you! Here's an interesting read...check out WarMachine's jailhouse letter posted on TMZ.http://tmz.vo.llnwd.net/o28/newsdesk/tmz_documents/1003-war-machine-docs.pdf

Anonymous said...

glad you hated it, I read the script and found it entirely offensive. going to a screening tonight w/ fincher, like to see what he has to say for himself.

nice when I agree w/ this blog on something.

Anonymous said...

to me the script insinuated that domestic violence was just a sex game fantasy played out between adults, minimizing the fact that that's often what true abusers try to insinuate to the outside community while true abuse and sometimes murder is going on behind closed doors, - I really found it reprehensable

Jen Ow said...

I just bought the eBook, so I'm glad to see Buckley say that it is actually pretty good.

Watching the trailer, I told my husband that it sounds exactly like Scott Peterson.

I didn't plan to go see it at the theater, especially at nearly 3hrs long, so I'm glad to know I'm not missing anything!

Anonymous said...

Professional reviewers have largely given it a thumbs up. Can't wait to see it. The book was awesome and a lot of fun to read. Sorry you didn't appreciate the sex scenes, but since you seem to mostly be interested in child porn on your blog, (IMO) they probably didn't whet your very questionable appetite.

LC said...

I had no plans to see the movie or read the book, but I thoroughly enjoyed your review, Peter.
I've convinced myself it was all the entertainment I needed on the subject.....

Anonymous said...

Off Topic: I wish Peter or someone here would do statement analysis on the quotes coming out in the past couple hours about the suspected ebola case in Newark NJ. It seems pretty shady what they are saying that he does not have ebola (when the time period has not been long enough to get ebola test results back) but rather a "much less serious very treatable illness" yet not naming the illness or even saying if it is a virus or what not. Cnn is not allowing any comments on any of their ebola articles, just checked to see if anyone had commented. Also UK Mail online cut off comments about 5 hours ago on their ebola story right when the CDC had declared the man to be mysteriously cleared of any suspected ebola. Just saying something seems very fishy. Using statement analysis I think that they are lying because of the overemphasis on MUCH LESS serious and VERY TREATABLE illness.

Anonymous said...

The movie was terrible. Aside from the awful acting, there was no character development. I have not read the book, however in the movie both characters are one dimensional.
The woman is intelligent, evil and calculating. I did not care about her. I wanted her character to develop in some way, but it did not--her character remained stagnant throughout the movie. The man himself seemed sociopathic minus the violence and intelligence, and there was nothing likeable about him, and he did very much remind me of Scott Peterson. There were subtle tones of misogny throughout the film which added to it's weakness.
Also, the scenes where they first meet each other and fall in love were very cheesy and lacked any depth. The unraveling of the marriage was never explained like we were supposed to fill in the blanks only why would anyone bother since the movie made sure you didn't care about either character. Just my take on it!

Anonymous said...

Peter I agree about the movie but the book was a lot better. I recommend you try the book.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:28 one reason I didn't like it despite loving the book was it offered no twists different than the book and a lot of the acting was kinda flat. The actress who played Go did the best job.

Peter Hyatt said...

Thanks. You're the second who recommended the book.

Delilah said...

Had a stake in reading some of the reviews and comments about the movie. The post on Time's Up (right after yours!) was about the movie Gone Girl. Written by someone whose sister was a victim of intimate partner homicide (although not proven yet) she states it was offensive to her to see the trailer. Do you or your readers feel it was insensitive, or manipulative, to release this movie at the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month?

Read her post here: http://timesupblog.blogspot.com/2014/10/gone-girl-fiction-or-dangerous-reality.html

And Peter's post here:http://timesupblog.blogspot.com/2014/10/domestic-violence-how-to-spot-lie.html

Thanks for your opinions!

Anonymous said...

I wonder why/ how reese Witherspoon produced it, she strikes me as somebody who wouldn't work to promote mysogny.

Anonymous said...

maybe Adam Levine and David Fincher had a private meeting in some back room not long back and one of them was like - hey let's give those demostic violence awareness proponents something to show them it's not over yet, -- and the other one was like -- ooh awesome idea -- yes -- let's do it!!

Big Russian said...

I loved Gone With The Wind, both the book and the movie. I don't like most movies because they are so bad. I agree with your whole assessment of the industry. Sad, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Delilah,

Yes, I think the movie was offensive. The movie was very manipulative. The only "explanation" provided by the movie for the vicious sociopathic behavior of the woman was when she was driving in her car and expressing distress about having to submit to a man (attempting to manipulate the audience into thinking that this refusal to submit to a man's abuse would naturally create an "evil" woman). The movie also attempted to manipulate the audience (unfortunately most people are not too smart) into accepting that the woman's intelligence was an undesirable quality as it was quickly associated with her being a "bitch" and in a sense, because her behavior was so repugnant, it whitewashed the sociopathic deeply offensive behavior of Ben Affleck (the husband). The movie attempted to slickly justify domestic violence, even creating confusion and buying into the "myth" that most women are "exaggerating" by showing the viewers a violent scene where Affleck shoves her very hard causing her to fall and hit her head very hard into a railing, HOWEVER the sickening irony is that we are not allowed to be sure if this event actually happened or if the wife "made it up" as part of her evil plot to falsely villainize Affleck's character. However, later on in the movie we do know for certain that Affleck's character DOES violently attack his wife in a life-threatening attack and calling her a c--t. However the director feels confident at this point that the audience will feel she deserves it.
The movie is profoundly misogynistic. The movie would absolutely feed into an abusive mindset as the typical abuser would love to view this film where the initial VERY abusive attack on the wife is blurred into a realm where we are not allowed to ever know whether the wife "imagined" it or it really happened. However, judging from Affleck's character's later attack on the wife, I see no reason why we as the audience should doubt the initial attack. Also the sickening scene where Affleck "uses" his wife for sex is one of the most degrading scenes I can recall between a married couple in all of film. Most of the woman's anger seems to arise from this being used for sex, but because the wife is such a calculating sociopath it is as if the audience is not supposed to consider that she is in an abusive relationship. Anyone who is used in that way (the way it was shown on film) for sex would certainly be in an abusive relationship. The movie was profoundly manipulative, however luckily it was not that clever of a movie, and unlike the wife, was not calculating enough to make the manipulations very convincing to a thoughtful intelligent audience, but to some who view the movie it would absolutely feed them very degrading thoughts about women and what makes a "good" woman (accepting abuse) as the opposite of this would be the intelligent woman who, the movie seems to imply, would be susceptible to using that intelligence to ruthlessly and calculatedly punish her man for using and abusing her. The movie was awful, but this is the kind of stuff Hollywood churns out.

Anonymous said...

To summarize what I wrote above, the movie is as manipulative towards the audience as the wife was towards her husband and LE during her revenge. One of the other things that I found very unsettling intellectually (and Peter is absolutely right that one of the primary things the movie does is insult the intelligence of the viewers and I will add to that that the movie expects the viewer to surrender his or her intelligence when it is obvious they are not being told the full truth) but anyway one of the things I found to be unsettling is that we are not allowed to know whether the wife attempted to buy a gun as part of her plan to "set up" the husband or whether she attempted to buy it out of legitimate fears her life was in danger. The reason for this confusion is that we are not allowed to know if the husband's initial life-threatening attack really happens or not. In short I feel that violent crime victims as well as rape victims would be very disturbed by some of the techniques of blurring reality and refusal to tell us whether the husband actually committed violence initially along with the very degrading and dehumanizing portrayal of the husband using his wife as a dehumanized and degraded sex object.

Anonymous said...

12:03 I AGREE With you. just went to a screening. it is all meant to make us wish affleck really did or will kill her. it was one giant step backfor understanding of victims of domestic abuse. she did lots of unrralistic movie type stuff while he did real normal awful abuse to her. but because she like a fictitious villian were like well he can knock her around a lil why not. its just awful.

Anonymous said...

Its basically the scott and lacy peterson story but retold so audiences feel she should have been murdered.

Anonymous said...

I want to say hollywood has a lot of awseome potential. and it does. but this movie is a reminder how entetainment can trul damaging to people.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:03 I disagree. Amy's problems were portrayed as stemming from her parents, their invasion of her privacy in creating Amazing Amy and her need to compete with Amazing Amy for their love and always falling short. It was a stunning picture of psychological maladaptation.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 10:38,

I agree that Amy's parents created what seemed to be a borderline/sociopathic personality in Amy through the Amazing Amy narcissistic parenting. With all due respect, this fact does not alter the fact that the film was full of misogyny as well as slickly encouraging a deeply disturbing abusive mindset where the truth of what happens to the woman is not significant, what matters most is whether she was a big enough "b---ch". Also, with the Amazing Amy thing. I thought the director did a poor job linking the narcissistic parenting with Amy's psychopathology (which was very severe!) It wasn't enough to explain the sociopathic aspects of her personality. I ended up feeling that the director felt that Amy's high intelligence itsef was a malignancy in a female which could cause serious psychological problems in a woman. (Kind of like the old saying "oh don't worry your pretty little head about it"). I could give at least 8 examples of the director linking intelligence with "badness" in a woman. Of course, Amy is a one-dimensional monster, so we are not allowed to question any of the film's manipulations, because Amy is really really bad.

Anonymous said...

if the "abuse" she suffered explains murder…. most people suffer worse abuse i'd say. she had it pretty good even with the books.

also maybe maybe not relevant -- the director is a gay man. so it's possible he doesn't have intimate emotional knowledge of what women arereally like in relationships,

it's possible he's more unaware than mysogonystic, tho making a major movie on this topic that's no excuse.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 4:17,

I agree with you. The movie contained uncanny similarities to the Scott and Lacy Peterson story even the part where the wife's parents lament publically they viewed the husband as their son but have come to believe that their son-in-law was involved in their daughter's disappearance. The sick twist is, as you said, seeing as how it is so similar to the Lacy Peterson murder, that the audience is supposed to recall that story and view it in a very disturbing way. I wonder if the book contained as many similarities to the lacy Peterson story including some of the things the parents say publically??

Anonymous said...

Anon at 4:05, Maybe, but maybe he just hates women.

Anonymous said...

yeah - -it's possible he just hates women. I suppose even likely.

the press conference photo of amy in the movie is manipulated to look just like the famous image of lacey. it's all very intentional by filmmaker.

if the movie wasn't a retelling of a real story with a real victim - but now framing the victim as a terrible person who made it all up - I might have more openness to it.

our culture just isn's sentivie enough - we are not attuned to what is not ok when it comes to abuse of women. for example if somebody made a movie about the holocaust but the special twist was the the jews were really framing the nazis and the nazis were the victims and the jews diobolical villians, -- there would be an uproar. but because it's about women, middle class wives specifically -- the country is like - hey that was really entertaining and clever!!

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:54,

Perfectly stated!!! Exactly! If someone made a movie claiming the Jews made up their persecution (even if it was for example a small group of Jews who just happened to be bad people) it would receive an uproar. It was so depressing to go on facebook and see people raving about the movie and clapping like trained seals at how awesome it was!
Another thing I found disturbing was how the director seemed to contrast Affleck and his twin who he portrayed as "the salt of the earth" with the educated evil woman. The first real glimpse we get of her is seeing her Harvard degree and this is after affleck and his twin sister have been bashing her for probably 20 minutes (for reasons which we are not allowed to know at that time) in their bar. So, it is like the director is saying, oh I have my audience in suspense wondering why Affleck and his sister hate Amy, well let me introduce you to her, first clue I'll show you is the Harvard degree. You starting to get the picture this lady might have been a real pain in the ass?!"

Anonymous said...

I watched the promo clip with Ben Affleck (about 3 minutes). That was sufficient to convince me the acting is pathetic. Boring.

I'm convinced that many gay fashion designer don't design with women's best interest in mind, hence, I have often wondered how many are misogynists. I've had great gay guy friends, one is dead, the other lives on the other side of the country. They are the kind of men who listen to women, and were tender towards women (sisters, mothers, friends). However, I'm sure many gay men are not that way towards women.

Anonymous said...

10:38 we are just going to have to disagree I thought Robinson's generalizations were preposterous. This movie in no way suggests Amy is typical of missing women and that missing women aren't worth looking for because they're probably faking an abduction to set something up. I thought the movie mostly did an ok job of making people wonder whether she was abused or not, was it all a set up or was in a set up with some foundation in reality? The only criticism I have of it in that regard is it seemed to minimize her husban's shoving her to the ground on the one occasion the movie seem to treat dv by her husband as fact.

Anonymous said...

yeh see i would have killed amy too. but it is all circumstantial. this bullshit of destroying lives based on circumstantial suspicions has got to stop. nancy graces CARD team has not solved one damn case in ten years of its fail run. the tactics they use are deemed unconstitutional by our forefathers for a reason.
i thought you would have liked this movie peter, but then i can see that your involvement with destroying lives is only a small part and you have no idea about how the rest of the machine works.

Anonymous said...

The book started out interesting and held your interest for a little while. Then it suddenly makes a wrong turn and the characters become despicable and non-dimensionable. You end up not caring for either one of them, in fact, you wish they would kill each other off in the end. Hated this ill written book.