Saturday, April 06, 2013

The Perks of Being A Wallflower

I just finished watching The Perks of Being a Wallflower. And it is a humongous snoozefest.

I used to be big on high-school/teen angst/coming of age books and movies. I've grown out of it, though. The only reason I watched The Perks was because I wanted to see Emma Watson playing anything other than a budding witch. She's cute as a button, but sucked big time as an actor in Harry Potter. Every time she delivered a line it would seem like she didn't know how to feel about it, hence she always ended up looking like she just poopfarted and was waiting for the smell to arise.

In The Perks, her acting has improved by leaps and bounds. To be fair, her acting talent was dismal so the room for improvement was enormous and she could only get better, which she did. Unfortunately, her casting was a huge miscast. She didn't have any gritty edge needed to portray a girl who has a slutty and rebellious reputation. She was just too prim and proper for her role. And the fake American accent didn't help. She just came off as a sweet girl next door with a confused exotic accent and a made up reputation peddled by bitter dudes who tried hitting on her but got turned down. Well maybe that's the effect the producers were going for, maybe not. Either way, I didn't buy any of it.

I am also getting tired of the recycled theme of there being 4 types of American high school kids: the jocks (or jerks) , the bitches, the nerds and the misfits. And heaven forbid that any of them downplay their role. According to Hollywood, jerks are first-class bullies who trip you at the cafeteria for fun when you're holding a full lunch tray. This, of course, followed by a douchey evil laugh and all-around high fives and the whole cafeteria laughing and pointing at the fallen victim (nerd/misfit) and the bully's hot cheerleader girlfriend (the bitch) just jumping on the bully's laps for a full-fledged impromptu make-out session. I've never seen this happened in real life, ever. No one trips anyone with a tray full of food just for the hell of it.

The bitches are always the prettiest and the sluttiest, and the nerds are always bespectacled fashionably-challenged kids with big crooked teeth who are so smart they can build a spaceship just with whatever they find in the high school science lab. And the misfits are those who don't really belong to any of the other groups, but they all have seem to have one thing in common: superior taste in music and literature that others just don't get. If I had a euro for every time a high school movie starts out with a "great 60's song" with an awkward misfit walking to school holding a book by Salinger/Fitzgerald/Steinbeck/Rand or any of the famed English authors...

One of the supposedly obscure great songs used in The Perks to further alleviate this whole "great taste" agenda was David Bowie's Heroes. Okay, since when is David Bowie obscure? Heroes is one of his most famous songs so it doesn't make sense to use it as a song "only appreciated by those in the know". In fact, some of the songs used in the film were chart-toppers like Come On Eileen and Temptation, so the whole hipster act didn't really pan out well for the characters now did it?

I don't really know who the target audience for this movie is (I'm guessing the Harry Potter fans given the fact that they chose to put Emma Watson in a role she's the worst fit for), but I'm pretty certain I'm in the overly-critical demographic group this movie is not suitable for. Seeing that it got a rating of 8.1/10 on IMDb, it seems like I'm beaten by an overwhelming majority, so this movie must have a certain appeal unbeknownst to only myself.

I hope the book is better than the movie because I've heard great things about the book and that incited me to see the film adaptation. If the book is just as bad, then I seriously have to reevaluate the whole paperback industry and its purpose.


WP said...

I hate those American high school stereotypes too. You'd think that all American kids are shallow, which I hardly believe is true.

As for the movie, I remember hearing about it but didn't think much about watching it.

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