Sunday, October 25, 2015

I've been sorry a long time.

You know that feeling when you get to the end of a chapter, Hell, sometimes even just the end of a page, and you have no idea what you've just read? You saw the words, sure, maybe even considered some of them, but nothing quite adds up. It's right there on the page, but beyond that? Nothing.

For me, this is an all-too familiar occurrence, as I'm routinely finding myself slightly unfocused, as my body's natural state seems to be somewhere between f--king exhausted and HE'S GOT NO PULSE! Luckily, I'm paid to read for the last twenty-five minutes of my workday, so I give it a go five days a week, but as I'm up watching movies the night's not going so well. I tell myself they were only closed for a second, but in reality? I haven't a f--king clue. 

Good thing no one's paying attention.

Which, in my opinion, is the only way a novel like Dark Places gets turned into such a boring film. Spawned from Gillian Flynn's page-turning nightmare, and starring the supremely talented Charlize Theron, director Gilles Paquet-Banner adaptation of the 2009 novel is a resounding misfire. Even with a shotgun of a premise, this motherf--ker missed by a mile.

Theron plays Libby Day, a thoroughly detached woman, aimlessly drifting through what's left of her shitty life. She's not suicidal or anything, just the sole survivor of the grizzly murder of her family decades prior. When we meet her, she's at the end of line, penniless and alone.

Well, that's not entirely accurate, as her older brother Ben survived, too. Turns out, however, that Ben's the one that killed the family, or at least he's the one who has been fingered for it. And who pointed that damning digit? Libby, of course, even if she was too young to really know. 

While all this seems like certainly enough bullshit to deal with (and enough drama to create an interesting film), it's the arrival of the marginally creepy Lyle Wirth (my main man Nicholas Hoult) that really knocks Libby on her ass. Lyle's the frontman for an underground group of murder enthusiasts. And they've got some questions, and cash, for Libby.

Full disclosure? I know I fell asleep. Not out cold by any stretch, but there were certainly some gaps along the way as my blinking became f--king epic (think Ryan Gosling in Only God Forgives [review] level of eye-shuttery). But, being that I finished the novel this August, I was never truly lost, just begging for the credits to ultimately roll. Yes, I was tired, but most of that was due to the fact that no one on screen seemed interested in much of anything. Shit, not to mention that this movie itself was hard as f--k to see. 

Ha ha, I get it - Dark Places, but suck a bag of dicks to anyone who thinks that indecipherable frames make a film better. They don't. But maybe if I turned a great book into something that would feel at home minutes before Lifetime switches to infomercials, maybe I too would want to throw a (wet) blanket over the entire project. But this is a solid cast and a great what the f--k, right? Exactly.

Speaking of incoherent nonsense and needless profanity, here are the f--king Yays and Boos. Clearly, there ain't much to say, as it's hard to take notes when the entire room is pitch black. Even the f--king television screen.

Hey, Miss. Can you help me with this load? *rimshot*
  • All aboard the Hogwart's Express. No, wait. Sorry. With Theron and Christina Hendricks? This train's only stop is Boner Town.
  • Um, yeah...what else did I like? I mentioned Hoult, right? He made Lyle a little more likable than he was in the book. On the page, I just felt bad for him...
  • Corey Stoll plays Ben, and I actually liked him here. I feel like this guy has made a career of playing assholes, but it might just be his role in Ant-Man [review] that I'm thinking of. Hmm.
  • And finally, the sweet release of going the f--k to bed. Even if I passed out on the couch and woke up wondering where the f--k I was, my living room, at the time, was the perfect dark place.
Man, I really didn't put up enough band posters as a kid.
Really let the team down on that one.
  • Ah, Michelle. I forgot what a little bitch you were.
  • What's with the role-playing f--kery of the Kill Club? F those guys (and that one lady...yikes).
  • Krissi Cates, you skank. She was a little more sympathetic in the book, as she was a fleshed-out character...but still. I hate her. And that scene at her house? Ew.
  • Oh, and speaking of little girls I hate. Chloe Grace-Moretz' Diondra was the worst as Diondra. Yes, Diondra is a deplorable human being in the book, but Grace-Moretz basically boiled her down to annoyed the mall is closed, instead of murderous slut using her tits to ruin Ben's life.
  • Was this made exclusively for DirecTV? If that's the case, somebody put a bullet into the back of high-pitched Peyton Manning for this one.
  • Trey Teepano? F--k that guy. The actor, too.
  • Hey, Dad! I'm having a kid! Make sure it's yours. Er...thanks, Pops. Good tip.
  • Not that I was pulling for a graphic portrayal of cow murder, but holy shit was that scene tame compared to the book. I've been more disgusted watching someone order food at McDonald's.
  • Was the necklace in the book? I don't remember it.
  • And finally, I feel as if this entire film was entirely void of nuance. Every line, every action, even the creepier scenes just seemed (unintentionally) lifeless and forced. Yes, I get it. These are rotten people living rotten lives, but for f--k's sake, let's have some fun with it.
I honestly feel like whoever adapted this screenplay really wasn't paying attention to the novel at all. Many of the little things were glossed over or ignored entirely, resulting in a film simply going through the mo- wait. Are you just-? Were, um, were you just...asleep? I thought I heard you snoring. What the f--k? I was just talking to you. That's not cool. At all. Shit. If I had known you were going to go to sleep in the middle of this?

I totally would have joined you.


  1. This wasn't so bad from what I remember. I've read the book before watching this so the twist weren't so surprising, but it could have gone to a much darker place (more drama, more intense scenes).

    1. It's probably not as bad I think it is, but being that it was the thing keeping me awake I think I was arbitrarily furious at it. But, also possible, was the fact that it could have been so much better. Flynn's novel was pretty badass, and this was at best, not f--king awful. Faint praise, I realize.

  2. "as my blinking became f--king epic (think Ryan Gosling in Only God Forgives " - haha :) Well i liked it for what it was but they really butchered it. The director and the budget were nails to its coffin but for what it was Theron was very impressive in it.

    1. I think you're being far too kind on this, but I suppose if I consider budgetary constraints...I guess...well..nope. F--k it. This should have been way better.

      And if we're going to change so much from the book, how about a steamy dream sequence where present-day Libby showers with the mother that she remembers from her childhood. They could scrub each other's dark places.

      No, it's okay. I'll show myself out.

  3. Never heard of the book or the movie. Glad I hadn't. I mean, my crush on Theron would have led me to do something crazy, like watch it.

    1. I would recommend the book enthusiastically, but the movie? Eh, not so much. Even if I was a Theron mega-fan, I'd still suggest you just watch Mad Max again.

      This one, though I was nearly lifeless with exhaustion, was not very well done. Pass.