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A certified bro’s perspective on Beautiful Creatures (2013)

January 12, 2014

 Beautiful-Creatures-UK-Poster

MY CALLCarrie meets Titanic in this angsty supernatural high school love story.  There’s just something about teenagers talking about destiny that makes me angry.  MORE FROM “a certified bro”:  Try some mommy issues, poor communication and dangerous travel in the spirit of girly independence with Blue Crush 2 (2011).

DISCLAIMER FROM A CERTIFIED BRO:  Not sure how the teenage girl target audience felt about this.  But I’m a 32 year old certified bro and a Jersey Italian and this bored me to tears.  I live for bench pressing, Jean-Claude Van Damme movies, bicep tattoos and high-fiving alcohol-based accomplishments.  Maybe if you grew up on Hannah Montana, this film could be for you.  Me?  I happened not to read the book by Kami Garcia.  I think I was busy hocking loogies, thinking up new dick jokes or doing push-ups or something.

I was becoming wary of channel-surfing for fear that I’d stumble across some lovesick glittery bloodsucking Edward loaded with teen angst (despite being WAY older than any teenager) and in need of some bored looking Kristin Stewart to fill the void in his eternal life.  Five movies that franchise lasted…FIVE!  Is it just me, or is that a lot of screen time to devote to a group of anemic high schoolers who haven’t showered the glitter off since their last trip to the champagne room?  Well, thankfully the Twilight Saga (2008-2012) has come to an end.  But just when I thought I was done with sparkly vampires and it was safe to let women pick the movies again, this shit happens!

rOLsS

Ushering in more testosterone-depleting pain is a one-horse town southern boy and his true love: a pale, angsty high school witch!  This is basically Twilight all over again except that the mortal star is a harshly accented Forrest Gump of a southern boy instead of Kristen Stewart and we get a pale magical antisocial girl instead of a pale supernatural antisocial Edward.  Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich; Stoker) is our lovesick male lead and, get this, he’s been dreaming about the same girl (Lena) almost every night.  He’s fallen in love with someone he’s never even met and has made dozens of sketches of her.  So, in sum, like Leo DiCaprio in Titanic (1997) he’s an artist who has been sketching the literal girl of his dreams who he’s never met.  LAME!  Hey, Ethan, there’s a word for someone who’s in love with someone they’ve never met: STALKER!  At least the writers knew what they were doing.  Later in the film they actually sneak in a joke comparing these star-crossed lovers to Kate and Leo.

When Lena (Alice Englert) strolls into his classroom at the beginning of the school year, he sees the girl of his dreams.  All bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, Ethan tries so hard to be charming only to be shunned thinking he’s like the other haters.  But not everyone is so polite.  Her family has a reputation for being witches.  Now I’m no witch expert nor did I grow up in 1692 Salem, but I can imagine this is not a stigma that is well-received by the general public–especially not in the God-fearing oft-ill-educated “bless your heart” South.  But Lena doesn’t let the local Mean Girls get her down.  And of course, to best capture that Cruel Intentions dichotomy, one of them is pining for Ethan–Emily (Zoey Deutch; Vampire Academy).

Of course Lena’s uncle and guardian Macon Ravenwood (Jeremy Irons) is furious over her eventual connection to Ethan, which of course, just drives her into his arms.  Ugh!  “Loving this boy puts you in terrible danger!”  Way to basically guarantee they get married, Macon!  She’ll be smoking Kools and pregnant with a tattoo of his name over her breast by senior year.

Okay, let’s play a game. What do all these have in common?  Everyone calls Lena a witch, Lena has a Carrie moment and scares the whole class, EVERYBODY hates Lena, Macon compels Ethan to divine his own depressing small-town future, Lena is cursed to be overtaken by evil right after their high school Winter Dance, Ethan gets assaulted by Macon’s shrubbery, Lena admits practicing sorcery…

I’ll take “one red flag after another that this idiot Ethan ignores” for $100, Alex.

Now, I’ll make a few exceptions when faced with perhaps one red flag…

She has three cats?  Fine.  She’s probably fun in bed.  Just don’t let her know where you live. 

She’s a little crazy?  Whatever, she’ll be a little clingy but she’ll never cheat you.

She performs magic?  Like…bro, right in front of you?  GET OUT NOW!!!

Amma (Viola Davis; Ender’s Game, Prisoners) is a seer who secretly watches over Ethan’s family and knows Macon all too well.  She performs a topless divination in this PG-13 movie.  Let me just pause for a sec right here.  What a waste of naked witchcraft!  True Blood, The Kiss (1988), those Witchcraft movies… all embrace naked magic.  I’m pretty sure it makes the magic work better or something.  But, and I’ll have to check on this, if I don’t actually get to see the boobs then it doesn’t count!  Both Macon and Amma fear Sarafine (Emma Thompson; Brave, Men in Black 3), who’s been shadowing Lena for years as she approaches her sweet 16 birthday, which also happens to be when her soul is claimed for good or evil!

ABOVE: Claimed by “the dark” in 1996’s The Craft.
BELOW: Claimed by “the dark” in 1990’s The Witches.

Naturally, to make this process sound important and dramatic to all of you viewers still shopping in the Young Adult aisle, they gave this a special name.  The Hunger Games (2012) had The Reaping ripping off the famous short story The Lottery, Harry Potter (2001) had that grumpy The Sorting Hat, and here we have The ClaimingThe Claiming identifies witches as representative of the light or the dark, based on their destiny.  Her way hot cousin Ridley and her megabitch mother want her for the dark side.  How Mistress Vader and Darth Bitcheus of them.  What gets me about all this is that never in the movie do they explain WHY it’s important that she not go to the dark side.  Macon was chosen for the dark and just “decided” to live for the light.  Doesn’t seem like a big deal to me.  He doesn’t come off as evil.  So why is Lena so afraid that she’ll like chop off Ethan’s head or something if she’s claimed by the dark?  And why does her mother care?  Is there some plan like the Sith overtaking the Jedi?  Sarafine is clearly malevolent, but we don’t know how she’d benefit from Lena’s “darkness.”  And to all you readers out there, you better count your teeth before you mouth off to me about how “the book tells it way better.”  I’m sick of this book-to-movie comparison nonsense.  They’re not comparable media!  Stop thinking you’re clever by listing differences between two tellings of the same story!

So what does “the dark” make you do.  That saucy redheaded Ridley (Emmy Rossum; Dragonball: Evolution, Poseidon) is out driving her sports car and kills a cop to avoid a speeding ticket.  Evil, right!?!  Guess what, jerks and sociopaths exist already without being “claimed” by some special force to justify their actions.  I mean, they may have schizophrenia and be dangerous, but that “claiming” was in their DNA.  This is why Ethan better get out of this relationship while he still can.  But nope.  Instead, Ethan equates this moment with Lena as the critical defining moment that they should run away together.

You don’t have to be claimed by “the dark” to be evil.
You might just be a soulless, life-hating ginger.

What about Sarafine?  How evil is she?  So evil that she bakes brownies for Ethan and when he doesn’t accept them she…WAIT FOR IT…leaves.  That’s it.  She just leaves.  No raining Hellfire or witch curses.  She just storms off over how rude he is for not accepting her Southern hospitality.  Okay, she does try to get someone killed later.  But her evil is pretty minor as far as evil witches go.  Contrary to the accusations during the Salem Witch Trials The Witches of Eastwick (1987) actually literally slept with the Devil, the Wicked Witch enslaved a city of midgets and threatened to steal a little girl’s dog, the voodoo witch from The Kiss (1988) was straight up killing all over the place!  Sarafine just tried (and failed) to kill one person and give away some brownies.  In fact, the most evil thing Sarafine does is when she’s pretending to be “good” and she refers to Liberals, homosexuals, Democrats and Green Peace as unnatural abominations.

Yeah. “They” are the unnatural abominations.

Is that all that’s dumb about this movie?  NOT AT ALL!  There’s some curse that no caster may love a mortal.  And yes, I just said “caster.”  That’s the edgy, chic word the writers came up with to try to fool us into thinking that witches are cool.  There’s also this magical amulet that let Lena and Ethan see their ancestors, but only when they hold hands.  LAME!  I should make Ethan give up his bro card just for participating in that nonsense.

“Wait!  They have to hold hands for it to work?  FML!!!  Can we get some biceps or explosions to try to salvage this movie?”

This movie tries to be so ovulatingly “sweet.”  Ethan professes how much he cares for Lena over and over again.  I feel obligated to reminder viewers that he’s 16 and she’s 15.  While everyone probably feels this way about someone at that age, who still felt like that a few years later about that same person?  Reality check.  Not many.  I’ll bet that if Sleepless in Seattle (1993) was just an hour longer Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan would break up over something minor…basically what happens whenever there’s too much hype before actually beginning the relationship.  Whereas Edward showed Bella the world in a way she never imagined, Lena made it snow in South Carolina for Ethan.  BARF!

This is cuter than a puppy made out of kittens…NAUSEATING!!!  Really, just give me one explosion and a Schwarzenegger one-liner and I’ll call it even!

Despite all of this estrogen-driven nonsense, I did enjoy when a dinner scene turns into a Witchnado with all of the classlessness of an Addams Family farce.  But, as a jaded bro, I must say that the ending of this teen love story was appropriately realistic while still being satisfying to a love-hungry young audience of X chromosomes.  It should come as no surprise at all that this hot menstrual mess was directed by Richard LaGravenese, who directed other such sappy, explosionless features as P. S. I Love You and Freedom Writers15-Dinner

 Before.

After.

The movie actually wasn’t entirely awful.  Ethan’s buddy Link (Thomas Mann; Project X, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters) brings some invited comic relief.  And, even as a bro, I approve of a few scenes:

1)  When mega-hot Ridley introduces herself to Ethan and interrupts his push-up session with a big wet long kiss.  That redhead gets around!  I know no woman can resist me when I’m sweaty and my pecs are all swoll!

BRO…MY…GOD!

2) When Ridley compels Link to make out with her.  Good man, Link.  I would have just manned up and done that without the magic, but whatever.  It still counts.  High five, bruh!

I’ve never wanted to be a lollipop so badly in my life.

3) On their first movie date Ethan takes Lena to see Final Destination 6.  That’s right!  No sparkly vampires for Ethan!  Way to take charge and bro up.

4)  Ethan turned down Sarafine’s offering of fresh brownies.  Now, ladies, I realize that this doesn’t sound like much to you.  But bros need carbs!  Muscles don’t just grow from protein and prayers.  So believe me, turning down any form of free food–especially baked goods–is huge for Ethan to prove he’s worthy and “get it in” Jersey Shore style!

In summary, I cannot give this incredibly unrealistic movie my Bro-Stamp of Approval.  All bros should avoid this movie at all cost unless it’s date night and “she” picked the movie.  In which case I’d advise you to just agree that it’s so sweet how Ethan helped Lena change her destiny or some nonsense line like that will ensure that you get laid tonight.

Ugh. Ever since Notebook I’ve been stuck seeing scenes of wet women!  This is how I felt by the end of this movie…just hopeless.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. January 12, 2014 8:54 pm

    I’ll be honest, I didn’t hate this movie as much as everybody else has. It was a tad bit better and more spirited than any of those other Twilight flicks and for that, I enjoyed myself. Good review.

  2. January 13, 2014 12:53 am

    This is an awful movie from a girl’s perspective, too. I wished I’d stuck with the books.

    • johnleavengood permalink
      January 13, 2014 6:24 am

      I would not have guessed that.

  3. February 7, 2014 11:39 am

    Reblogged this on fandombook and commented:
    Great Poster!

    • John Leavengood permalink
      February 19, 2015 11:32 am

      Can’t believe I didn’t reply a year ago. LOL. Thanks for your support!

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