Sunday, June 26, 2016

Lazy Movie Weekend Double Feature, Part 1: A Shark Tried to Eat Gossip Girl

I have a love/hate relationship with summer movies. Back in the day (which I'm allowed to say because I'm over 25), I used to go to every summer movie regardless of how terrible it might end up being. I feel like summer movie season was a simpler time back then too; Michael Bay didn't spew crap versions of cherished childhood favorites and there wasn't the same horror movie every summer with a rotating cast of the latest teen movie sensations. I like action movies, love a sappy romance (or five), enjoy animated movies every now and then, and can even get into a well made horror movie but I've been sorely disappointed the last few summers by movies. So I go to the movies less and I watch my favorites at home more. Life goes on. Hollywood is not broken because I don't go to the movies.

This summer I vowed to try a bit more to go to the movies; there are at least eleven movies that I want to see (I've seen two of them as of today; most are not out yet) and have enjoyed them in my way. I thought we'd focus this Lazy Movie Weekend on two movies that have nothing to do with one another except that I saw them within a few days of each other. Originally, I was going to combine them into one post but it's too much so you get two LMW posts this week! Consider it my birthday present to America.

Let's dive into our first feature The Shallows (pun absolutely intended). Spoilers ahead - just an FYI although I legit don't care if I ruin it for you because seriously this is a movie about a shark and a woman trying to survive. You know exactly what's going to happen.

Sharks are not my thing. I've seen the first Jaws movie since it's a requirement as a fan of movies and I've watched all three of the Sharknado movies so you don't have to (part four will be here very soon). I don't watch "Shark Week" and I've never seen any of the other well regarded movies involving a sharks vs. man plot (I'm told Deep Blue Sea and Open Water are both very good). However, the previews The Shallows intrigued me; Gossip Girl surfs and then battles a Great White. Totally plausible and obviously means someone made some excellent life choices. What could be better than that combination?

It's not a bad movie at all. The scenery is beautiful; as a non-beach person watching Gossip Girl (as I will refer to Blake Lively's character, Nancy, because that's how I think of her; she's not a Nancy) take in the secret beach for the first time, I had an overwhelming desire to go to the beach, just not a secret one. Where there are sharks. Additionally, there is a wonderful version of the Lou Reed classic "Walk on the Wild Side" playing as Gossip Girl and Carlos drive out to the beach. After he leaves her on the beach with some warnings about not staying out too late, we meet Gossip Girl's family who want her to go back to med school, realize she's come to the beach to commune with her dead mother, and watch her get ready to surf. She joins two dudes in the water and we're treated to a great sequence of them all catching waves and enjoying the thrill of the secret beach.

Then Gossip Girl ignores all of the smarts we know she has and decides to try for one more wave despite the fact that she's now alone, it's past 5 pm, and all of the other sea creatures are going away from her. Oh and there's a dead whale just chilling in the ocean not that far from her. How did any of them miss a rotting whale? Then the shark arrives. Gossip Girl is in the middle of his feeding area (or whatever one calls it) and now she is a target. The remainder of the 87 minute movie is a test of wills between Gossip Girl and the shark, who I'll refer to as Barry. She makes it to a rock and uses earrings in a way they were never meant to be used (this is the only part of the movie I had to look away during), befriends an injured seagull, watches three people get eaten by Barry, and devises a plan to make it to the buoy once high tide comes in. Barry, who has already taken a chunk out of Gossip Girl's leg, circles between her and the dead whale, with occasional forays into partially eating the other two surfers and a random guy on the beach (who sort of deserves what he gets for being a terrible human). I won't tell you how it all ends, although I'm sure you can guess, but I will say that Barry doesn't fair well and Gossip Girl shows us all what moxie really means.

The Shallows does raise a lot of questions:
  • Why does no one ever say the name of the beach? Is it because it's Spanish name translates to Shark Beach or You Will Die If You Stay Past 5 pm Beach? Suspicious.
  • Did anyone else want more Carlos in this movie? I really enjoyed him and was sad to see that he only has a little bit of screen time at the start and end of the movie. 
  • Wouldn't it have been better if Gossip Girl wore a full wet suit? I know nothing about surfing or water sports but I feel like she would have been better served if she'd had a full suit on.
  • Why didn't Gossip Girl leave with the other surfers? How was she planning on getting back from the secret beach? Did she not have an exit strategy? How did Gossip Girl all of the sudden become my cat when she jumps on top of the refrigerator and can't figure out how to get down?
  • We're all aware that Great Whites are not native to or ever seen in Mexico right? How did Barry even get there?
  • Isn't Barry stuffed? By the middle of the movie he's eaten part of a dead whale, probably some seagulls and other fish, and portions of at least three grown men. I wonder if Barry has an eating disorder or something.
  • If he's not hungry, what did Gossip Girl do to Barry to provoke such hatred? Was it because she's married to Deadpool and they have an impossibly adorable child and seem really happy? Is Barry all of our collective dislike of her because of this? (Aside: I like Blake Lively.)
  • Or maybe Barry is a metaphor for poor life choices - is that what we're being told? Gossip Girl shouldn't be on that beach in the first place; she's supposed to be in medical school. She's supposed to be teaching her younger sister how to surf. She's not supposed to be on this secret beach communing with her dead mom. 
  • Where did the oil come from? I won't say why this is important but where's the source? Is it the dead whale or is this also a treatise on pollution and our rape of the environment?
  • Is anyone else thinking that if this happened to them the arm of their wet suit would not fit around their leg? 
  • Who else wears that much jewelry when surfing? Obviously this helped Gossip Girl immensely, probably more than the flare gun but not as much as the Go Pro camera, but is that normal? 
  • How did she finish medical school so quickly? The epilogue of this movie troubles me more than any of what transpired in the previous 80 minutes.
Should you go see The Shallows? If you like sun while also being stressed when movie watching, enjoy pretty landscapes that are eventually marred by Barry's appearance, and like seeing improbable things happen to bring about the conclusion of this caper, then yes, you should see The Shallows. If you hate fun and summer and seagulls, go ahead and skip this one.

Shark image
Gossip Girl on the buoy
Steven Seagull

Lazy Movie Weekend Double Feature, Part 2: And Then There Were Aliens coming at you on Friday. Don't miss it!

No comments:

Post a Comment