I've seen Young Adult twice now (because I love it) but neither of those times was in a cinema in England, the rightful place, I think we'll all agree for doing things like watching films. But no: across the three major cinema chains in England, I think Young Adult was showing on about 30 locations, when combined they must have at least 350 locations in the UK. And this pisses me off SO much, because hey, what do you need to do to get your film widely distributed? Win an Oscar for your screenplay writing skills? Have an Oscar winning actress in the leading role? Direct Oscar-nomiated performances? Nope, none of that thanks, you just have to be in 3D, and, I have to assume, really really crap (I'm looking at you, Ghost Rider 2 *shakes fist at Nicholas Cage*).
This isn't even the first time I've been deprived of Diablo Cody-ness! United States of Tara (RIP) was never shown in the UK, for no discernable reason I can think of, other than some kind of strange vendetta against Cody. I think it might have been Cody herself who said that there's a lot less trust when women are involved in filmmaking, in that they're checked up on a lot more, and a lot less is invested in them (I may be getting that confused with Drew Barrymore, when she directed Whip It, another film that wasn't released anywhere, and where it was released it was out for about a week) and I guess that's something that's reflected in a limited release- if there's no guarantee that screens are going to be full, then no one wants to take the risk of putting out films that are slightly edgy/about anything interesting at all. I understand that a lot of movies that I would classify as being like this are also indie movies, and so they have all sorts of other problems with finances, but Young Adult was financed, at least in part, by Paramount. Who have plenty of money. Hmm.
Anyway, it's such a shame because Young Adult is a great movie that so many people aren't going to be bothered to seek out and watch, and so are going to miss out on it. It's funny, it's sad, it's disturbing, but above all else, it's real. I know I've waxed lyrical before about how much better indie films are than (most) big studio productions, because they reveal so much more about life and about ourselves; and Young Adult is no exception. Charlize Theron is brilliant and hilarious as Mavis Gary, a YA writer who does, herself, refuse to grow up and move on with her life. Upon hearing that her high school boyfriend has just had a baby, she decides to go back to her tiny hometown (for which she has plenty of contempt) in an attempt to win him back and so to get the life that she thinks she deserves.
Nothing about this decision strikes Mavis as slightly insane, and it takes a really great Patton Oswalt (as Matt, a guy who Mavis went to high school with who was crippled after some jocks beat him up because they thought he was gay) to attempt to reason with her, and make her see that her actions are unhinged/foolish/vindictive/not very well thought through. Not that he ever really gets this through to her, but he tries, and because he is the only person paying the kind of attention she wants to her, Mavis ends up hanging out with him more and more, as Buddy (her ex, played by the oh-so-loveable Patrick Wilson) repeatedly shows her how much he loves his wife and new baby.
All the characters are so real, and nothing about their actions is even that predictable or cliched. I've seen some criticism of this film where reviewers have said that it's kind of lame because Mavis doesn't grow or change as a result of the things that happen in the film. This has annoyed me considerably because 1) that's not really true, and although I can't really explain why because it's kind of a thing at the end that would be a bummer if I gave it away, 2) it's not the kind of film where the woman has to be a reformed character at the end because she's been less-than-perfect throughout- I mean, Mavis is genuinely unlikeable, but there's nothing to say that unlikeable characters suddenly have to turn likeable because a film is ending, and 3) in real life, she wouldn't change. She just wouldn't. Hence, a reinforcement of the 'real' thing, and really just another reason why I like this film.
At least, I'm pretty sure I do. Crappy audio, and fuzzy visuals do not exactly make for the best film watching experience, so ask me again when it comes out on DVD. Or better yet, ask the cinemas why they didn't give it a wider release. Because here's what I think. Sometimes people don't know what's good for them, and so will just go and see Ghost Rider 2 because, hey, you get to wear those fun glasses, and Nicholas Cage isn't the most annoying human being ever or anything! Why make that easier for them by not even giving them the option of seeing something that's a lot more real, but still entertaining and engaging? Films like Young Adult are never going to make money when there's no confidence in them, and there isn't going to be any confidence in films like Young Adult while they're not making any money. It's a vicious, and kind of ridiculous cycle, and one that I'd like to stop, right now, please.
The problem is that people vote with their wallet, and when films like Transformers come out with as much advertising and promotion as they do, people choose to see them. It's a catch-22 really, because an indie film will never make as much money as a blockbuster, so even if everyone rates it 5/5 the fact that it made $100 million less at the box office (even though it made a 200% profit on its budget) means that those of us who get the film release later (i.e. the UK, Australia, elsewhere in Europe) are even less likely to be given the chance to vote with our wallets.ReplyDelete
In a business sense I do get it, but it sucks because movies are supposed to be a creative enterprise and the fact that decent films are held back because of their (lack of) money making potential really pisses me off.
I'm not sure about where you are, but there are a few independent cinemas in my town which make a real effort to get the rights to show these films rather than the blockbusters. Sometimes it means we don't get to see them for several months after they premièred in the states, but it's better than nothing!
I definitely get it as a business thing, but I hate that creative things have to be *all* about money, like basically everything else is. It's SO annoying that just because a film doesn't have an accompanying happy meal toy and you know, ALL that other crap that you basically can't see it anywhere.Delete
The nearest independent cinemas to me are in London, which isn't too far, but at the same time, you have to add the cost of a train ticket onto the cost of the cinema and then you have no money! So it's much easier to just watch a dodgy version online and wait for the DVD, even though it sucks, both morally and qualitywise. Grrr.
Yeah, like I said I get it, but it sucks completely! When I lived up in Cairns we only had 3 cinemas (after the drive-in closed) and they were all from the same chain so we only ever got the biggest of the big films (they were all pretty small in size) and there was no nearby towns with cinemas of any size. So I feel your pain!Delete
They wonder why piracy is such a big issue, but seriously, what do they expect? It's like TV shows here in Aus. Most of the good US shows only come to cable here (or 2 years later on reg tv), and the DVDs are released really far behind. Season two of Sons of Anarchy came out on DVD here at the same that season 4 wrapped up. I mean, that's insane, who wouldn't download it?!
I have tried and tried to find this film in a cinema near me but unless I travel into central London it aint gonna happen. I will catch it on DVD though. My local cinema wasnt showing it and yet it was showing FIVE showings per day of Jack and Jill.ReplyDelete
I hear ya! It sucks BIG TIME. It's well worth getting the DVD of though! :)Delete
If it makes you feel any better (or worse), this was limited release even here in L.A., mecca of indie cinema. It's just one of those things. One of my favorite movies of all time, The Fall, was barely marketed and barely shown in theaters and STILL doesn't get much notice even though it took 18 years and a bundle of money to make and was headed by an acclaimed director. Damned if I know what happened there.ReplyDelete
But PATRICK WILSON. That is all.
It makes me feel pretty much the same, i.e. pissed off! I just want to watch it in good quality, with the sound matching the actors' mouths! Is that too much to ask?! *Swoons dramatically*.Delete
Patrick Wilson is the yummiest yum of all yummy yums. Or something. Whatever, I love him :)
I was totally ranting about this very same thing to some friends not long ago. I live in the US, and as Megs said, we have the same issue. I think it's gonna take people to finally stop watching crappy movies (*cough* Transformers 3 *cough*) to get some of the indies a wider release. The common excuse that I here is: why see films that aren't special effects heavy in a theater...just wait until it comes out on video. Blargh!ReplyDelete
Also, in the States, it didn't help that Young Adult received pretty bad reviews (similar to what you discussed above). Before that, there was much more excitement surrounding the film. :(
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