Sunday, August 9, 2015

Twilight - The Movie Part 1

Moss-draped. Shadow-drenched. Tortured tree trunks twist upward, reaching for rare sunlight.

Damn, even the trees in this movie are emo and hate the only temperate rainforest in the WORLD.

Also, I'm looking at the actual opening shot, and while there IS a lot of moss, there's nothing tortured about the trees. Overgrown, yes. But not tortured or twisted. You want tortured and twisted? Find trees right next to a beach! Nothing like wind and salt spray to make a plant twisted and tortured!

I'd never given much thought to how I would die.

"... because I'm a Mary Sue in a vampire story. That means I'm immortal!"

So we zoom in on an innocent deer who is WHOA rather ratty-looking and greenish. Was this the best deer they could hire? Did they scrape somebody's hunting trophy off a wall and put it on a deer-shaped robot?!

"I'm an innocent helpless animal in a vampire film. I'm sure nothing bad will happen to me."

But dying in the place of someone I love seems like a good way to go.

"Are you liking me yet? How about now? Are you liking me now? Am I seeming heroic yet?"

Suddenly, every creature in the forest is deadly silent. Neither bird, beast nor insect make a noise. A predator is near.

Nope, I just see a deer snacking casually while cicadas chirp.

Trees start whipping past us at a dizzying speed, branches are dodged with preternatural agility.

For a whole FIVE FEET! I AM SHOCKED by how fast we're moving! Five whole feet in JUST SECONDS!

And we're speeding up, chasing something. It's exhilarating. Terrifying.

Mildly nauseating because this is a movie, and nothing makes people ill like too much shakycam. To this day, I still can't force myself to sit through the second Bourne movie.

Finally, up ahead, we get the first glimpse of our prey -

Nope, I already saw the deer.

And so the deer runs. And runs. And runs. Yes, this is why I come to vampires movies - so I can see a deer running through the woods. Is the next movie going to open with beavers chewing wood? Also isn't that deer a DOE? Shouldn't the Cullens try to avoid killing pregnant animals if they're so touchy-feely?

"Oh shit! I just realized I'm in Twilight! RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!"

There's actually a mildly cool shot after this where the deer Free-Willies between two trees, and suddenly some guy Matrixes out to grab it. But in these movies, something interesting is always replaced by something soulless and bland. Speaking of soulless and bland:

So I can't bring myself to regret the decision to leave home.

You're BORING ME! Bring back the deer! It had personality.

And for that matter... what the hell? So, she doesn't regret the decision to leave home because she gets to die in someone's else place? Uh, Bawla, neither one of you would be IN DANGER if you hadn't left home. This makes no sense!

Eyes closed against the sunlight, absorbing its rays.

But no tanning! Tanned people can't talk to vampires! Tanned people radiate secondary sun which means that vampires only talk to pale, whiny people. She has to be the color of toilet paper!

"I am SO high right now. Peyote rocks!"

Long, dark hair frames alabaster skin. She's a vulnerable, introverted, imperfect beauty.

... except apparently all the vulnerable, introverted imperfect beauties were busy that week, so they got Kristen Stewart instead. I don't mean to be mean, but Stewart is ANYTHING but beautiful. At her best, she's average. The rest of the time, she suffers from ferret-face... meaning that all her facial features look like somebody shoved them towards the middle of her face. Also she has no expression.

Also "dark" does not equal mouse-brown, and "alabaster" does not equal pasty.

So she's standing out in the sunlight looking constipated and holding a cactus. Yeah, I'm pretty sure they won't let you through the airport with a cactus, just in case this pasty ineffectual white girl might be a terrorist and plans to menace people with her teeny-tiny potted plant.

I would miss Phoenix. I'd miss the heat.

"I would miss the painful sunburns. I would miss the smell of sweat. I would miss getting lost all the time and ending up a shriveled raisin in the desert."

Also, did she just switch narratives? I mean, at first she's rambling about how she's going to die and how she can't regret the decision to leave "home" (I'm assuming Phoenix), and suddenly she's talking about leaving Phoenix in the FUTURE TENSE.

Additionally, take a shot. She just licked her lips.

I would miss my loving, erratic, hairbrained mother.

"... and I'm saying this in the blandest, most unemotional tone ever, while avoiding eye contact. See? See how much I'll miss her?"

Also, don't tell us that she's erratic or hairbrained. SHOW US. That's one of the first rules of storytelling!

And her new husband.

Wow, afterthought much? You can see how much she'll miss him right here.

So we see Renee, a nice blonde lady in a cowboy hat who gives Bella a kiss. Bella, of course, just stands there looking long-suffering, like she can't wait to get away from her. And her husband is a nice if slightly douchebaggy-looking guy who's loading up a... station wagon. Does anyone still drive station wagons? I haven't seen one in years.

"Yo yo, I'm pointin' at my head!"

Guys, come on. I love you, but we've got a plane to catch.

"I'm a younger man, which you can tell by my trucker hat and stupid-looking shorts!"

But they wanted to go on the road.

"And the idea of being trapped with ME in a small fast-moving space with no way to escape was just too horrifying."

Plus, on the road doing WHAT? I know that the BOOK tells us what they're going to do, but the movie just sort of leaves it up in the air. Do they take random road trips for no reason?

So I'm going to spend some time with my dad.

Whom I barely know and care even less about.

We also get our first real taste of Stewart's acting here. I think she's trying to look fake-happy and sad, as if this is a bittersweet experience for Bella. Instead, she looks at the ground, her mouth twitches randomly, and she sort of flounces away. I honestly don't know why they cast this girl in this movie - most of the cast was unknown before it, so why did they hire STEWART instead of someone... pretty, talented and interesting?

Seriously. Actresses of above-average looks and at least average talent aren't THAT hard to come by. And it's not like it even really mattered who played the role of Bella. The Twilight books are sexual fantasy fodder, so all they could have cast a couple of body pillows and women would STILL have come to watch.

I know that I rag a lot on the fact that Bawla is a boring, bland, plain-Jane character who really doesn't have any appeal, so in terms of fidelity to the original text, Stewart is actually perfect. But honestly, if a book's heroine is that awful, wouldn't you expect the people making the movie to want to make her MORE appealing? If Frodo Baggins had been originally written as a charisma-free emo douchebag, would you really want him to succeed in Lord of the Rings? Or would you expect Peter Jackson to make a slightly more endearing hero?

And... this will be a good thing... I think.

"The court-appointed child psychologist keeps telling me so."

So they pull the station wagon away from a little brick ranch house, and we get a rather generic glimpse of the Arizona desert from the POV of bland suburbia. Bland music with a twangy guitar and a whiny-sounding singer starts playing.

Then we see Bella pawing at her hair. Take another shot. This is one of those annoying tics that Kristen Stewart has a million of, and for some reason the directors apparently never yell at her, "LEAVE YOUR HAIR ALONE! STOP BITING YOUR LIP!"

"I'll miss being the only paste-colored person in the whole city!"

And then we see a plane taking off. Yeah, don't waste time on a real farewell scene with audio. We might need that film for yet another close-up of Edward's face later in the movie.

And then the credits roll over a bunch of mesas and what appears to be the Grand Canyon. We pan off into the clouds and end up emerging into...

... a cutesy-looking title and about four milion coniferous trees. Also lots of snow and mist. It's actually very pretty compared to the washed-out desertscapes we've seen thus far, which really haven't gotten much attention other than "Here's a giant red rock! Here's another giant red rock! Here's a big change - a giant red canyon surrounded by giant red rocks!" Considering that the heroine whines all the time about how she misses Phoenix and how much better it is than Forks, they really did Phoenix a disservice by making it look so bland and colorless.

Then we see a car going over a bridge and HOLY SHIT I'm bored already! Two minutes, a massive plane journey, a broken-up family, and the only remotely interesting thing that's happened yet is that a deer got hugged!

Bella (V.O.)
In the state of Washington, underneath constant rain, there's a small town named Forks.

It's right between Knives and Spoons, and there's a tiny village nearby called Sporks.

So we're seeing Bella sitting in a police cruiser with a guy that I assume is her father. Either that, or they really did arrest her for carrying a deadly cactus. They both look bored, unemotional and slightly constipated. I see the family resemblance already.

Ah, the golden sound of awkward silence.

Population, 3,120 people.

"And I'm smarter than ALL of them."

This is where I'm moving.

Uh, why MOVING? I mean, her mother and stepfather obviously aren't leaving for good - his "on the road" trip will probably last a matter of months. Why not just spend the time with her dad, then move back?

So they pull into a painfully bland small town with nothing to really distinguish it from dozens of other bland small towns, except that the light is really terrible. Everything looks gray and washed-out. Bella still has no facial expression at ALL - she just stares around with empty, soulless eyes like a dead person.

My dad's Charlie. He's the chief of police.

And he's pretty obviously thinking, "She's on drugs. Nobody is that emotionless and bland naturally!"

They pass by a bunch of life-sized carved bear statues being sold on the sidewalks. I'm not sure why, because prior to Twilight I imagine there wasn't a huge amount of tourism in this little town, and the locals can only buy so many life-sized carved bears.

And I'm not being snarky about the town of Forks, so please don't kill me. According to its wiki page, its previous claim to fame was being the birthplace of a soap opera actress I never heard of, sport fishing, a very old train engine, being in the Olympic rainforest, and having a TIMBER museum. Aside from its Twilight connection, it's really not that unique or interesting.

Your hair's longer.

This is going to be soul-killingly boring, isn't it?

Stewart takes a really long time to react, like she was nodding off in the middle of the scene. Then she paws at her hair again. Take a shot.

Hmm. Cut it since the last time I saw you.

Guess it grew out again.

This was a wonderfully necessary and important scene. Seriously, jump ship while you still can. Save your brains from melting!

"Ah, here we are at the house that's almost as bland and generic as we are!"

So for some bizarre reason Charlie drives ACROSS his lawn and parks on it. Apparently he hasn't figured out what that concrete strip just slightly wider than his car is for. In fact, why doesn't he have a garage? If I lived in a freaking RAINFOREST, I would get a garage because it would keep my car from rusting away. That's why cars in Southern California survive for so long.

Bella gets out of the car, twitches her eyes and flashes her front teeth at us. Her expression: constipation!

"Holy crow, I left my Ex-lax in Phoenix!"

I used to spend two weeks here almost every summer. But it's been years.

"And no, I'm not going to tell you why I haven't come here in years. I'm just going to break all the rules of adapting a book for the screen and leave you to wonder about this. Read the book if you want answers! This is just a moving cartoon to accompany the book."

So Charlie gets her bags and they go into the house. There's... nothing really noteworthy about the house, except it's just as washed out as everything else in this movie.

I've cleared some shelves off in the bathroom.

Oh right. One bathroom.

Oh shut up, bitch. Until I was eleven I shared ONE BATHROOM with four other people, and then I shared TWO with FIVE people. I think you can tolerate brushing your teeth in the same room as someone else.

So Bella walks into her bedroom and... doesn't emote. Seriously, I can't tell what the character is supposed to be feeling at ALL. Stewart just sort of twitches and glances around like she's figuring out how facial muscles work. It's like watching a puppet being manipulated by tiny little aliens like in Men in Black, except that alien did a good job pretending to be human!

It's a pretty good work lamp. The sales lady picked out the bed stuff. You like purple, right?

Fool! Don't you know that Bella likes nothing in this world but Phoenix and herself?!

BELLA: Purple's cool. Thanks.

This brings me to another pet peeve: We are almost four minutes into the movie, and Bella hasn't shut up since LITERALLY the first shot. Yet we've only actually HEARD her say three fricking lines, all of them banal and instantly forgettable. I'M BORED, DAMMIT!

So both characters just stand there and... look around. It's like the director took a bathroom break in the middle of the scene, and left the actors to improvise.


It's a travesty that this movie didn't win an Oscar for dialogue like this. A travesty, I say.

Charlie walks out of Bella's room, and Bella just stands there... not doing anything. Doesn't she have some suitcases to unpack or something like that? Why is she just standing there looking around blankly?

One of the best things about Charlie: he doesn't hover.

Seriously, enough with the voiceovers already. I feel like I'm trapped in an Anita Blake comic, except Bella apparently doesn't have a gun and nobody's having public sex with anyone else.

So Bella utters a very loud sigh (take a shot) and sits down on the bed. Then she... gets up and looks out the window and OH LOOK:

Ancient American Indian wisdom: you park cars in DRIVEWAYS.

So as you can see, there's a big red pickup in front of the house. Thankfully, whoever parked it knew that lawns are theoretically supposed to have GRASS, so you don't drive on it. And that guy in the wheelchair is Billy Black, an Indian werewolf... no, I don't know how a wolf can comfortably sit in a wheelchair, but just assume he's worked something out. And the dark-haired kid behind him is Jacob, his son, who won't really be of any real importance until the second movie. In this one, he's basically there to infodump Bella and have the nicest hair in the whole cast.

So Bella goes outside while still being completely expressionless. I don't know WHY she goes outside, but at least SOMETHING is happening... right?

Hey Bella, here's a parent and child who are way more interesting than we are!

Dear God in heaven, please let the rest of this movie be about the Black family. I know absolutely nothing about them except that they have great hair, but there is NO WAY they could be as boring as Bella and Charlie. I'm not even five minutes into this movie and already I want to shoot myself in the head. It's just so BANAL.

Bella, you remember Billy Black?


"He's that guy who always disappeared at the full moon and bought stock in Nair."

Hey, you're looking good.

I'd like to point out that this is one instance of how they had to change Bella's personality for the movie, because the screenwriters probably looked at the book and said, "Holy crap, Bella is a huge bitch, and nothing will highlight this like making a movie out of it!" Seriously, Smeyers might be able to get away with having her FIRST-PERSON NARRATIVE be whiny and bitchy, but the same behavior viewed from outside won't be nearly as tolerable.

In the book, Bella makes a point of mentioning that she doesn't remember Billy because, I do a good job of blocking painful, unnecessary things from my memory. Yep, the main character is such a selfish whiny bitch that they actually had to change her personality so that people wouldn't be repulsed by her.

And really, Billy is kind of a DILF.

A facial expression! TAKE IT AWAY! TAKE IT AWAY!

Well, I'm still dancin'.

"I have a sense of humor and I actually move my face. Clearly I should be written into a much cooler movie."

Well, I'm glad you're finally here. Charlie hasn't shut up about it since you told him you were coming.

Somehow this seems more plausible to me than "you're so awesome that everyone is dying to meet you!"

Oh well, at least this movie doesn't buy into the stereotyped notion of Indians as being stone-faced and stoic at all times... the Indians are the only ones who actually move their faces! Everyone else is like a poster child for Botox!

Keep exaggerating, I'll wheel you into the mud.

Right after I ram you in the ankles.

Billy takes several rolls at Charlie, who dodges. Jacob shakes his head at their two fathers as he shyly approaches Bella.

Wow. Is Bella some kind of personality black hole? A sort of Tapioca Borg? The further they get from her, the more personality, humor and dynamism they have. The closer they come, the more like her they get!

I'm Jacob.

"... and I'll be the designated third angle in your unconvincing love triangle."

We made mud pies together when we were little kids.

"And then you smashed my face into one because I was prettier than you."

Yeah... I think I remember..
(re: the dads)
Are they always like this?

It's getting worse with old age.

"Yeah, that weird "personality" thing keeps getting stronger and stronger. By the time they're sixty, we might have to put them in a home for interesting characters."

By the way, this is another big change from the book, where Bella had never met Jacob before, and on her first meeting with him she flirted with him to get what she wanted from him.

Also, Bella again doesn't show any emotion. Jacob makes a joke, he smiles, he laughs, and she just... stares blandly at him and mumbles something incoherent. You can almost hear Jacob thinking, "What the hell is with this chick? No sense of humor? High? Brain damage?"

So anyway, Charlie and Billy finish slow-dancing and Charlie pats the truck.

So what do you think?

It's not Phoenix or something from it, ergo it sucks.


Your homecoming present.


At last, some sign of emotion! And by that, I mean slightly widened eyes!

"My homecoming present is a hot guy? SWEET!"

Just bought it off Billy, here.

I totally rebuilt the engine and -

Oghaw, oh om, oh my gosh! This is perfect! Inging joking!

I'm not making up that incoherent babble. I've heard people with their jaws wired shut who spoke more coherently than Stewart, and I really can't understand some of what she says.

7. She beams. It's the first genuine smile we've seen on her.
She rushes to the truck. Jacob eagerly joins her.

Yeah, Bella shows her phenomenal clumsiness by... hitting Jacob with the door. Apparently they had to tone down Bella's absurdly over-the-top clumsiness, which in the book was insane that making toast involved mortal peril. So they get inside the truck, while the dads watch with... no real emotion, really.

I told ya she'd love it. I'm down with the kids!

And he makes this gesture:

Oh yeah, dude. You're da bomb.

... okay, I admit that was kinda funny. And it comes from Bella's oft-neglected father and the dad of a peripheral character... who we barely even see in this movie.... sobs... this movie is going to suck ass royally, isn't it?

Okay, so you gotta double pump the clutch when you shift, but - besides that you should be good.

That's this one? All right.

So Bella starts the car, and gets a REALLY WEIRD look on her face. It's like she's plotting world domination or something. Seriously, look at it:

What is that expression supposed to indicate? Seriously, the last time I saw an expression like that, it was from somebody whom I had just caught spitting in my Coke.

Do ya want to ride to school or summin?

I go to school on the reservation.

"Which means I'm safe until New Moon."

Right, right Too bad. Would've been nice to know at least one person.

That sound you hear is my favorite tiny little violin playing. Seriously, MAKE FRIENDS. Plenty of newly-moved people manage it.

Meanwhile, Jacob is giving her the once-over. I guess there must be a shortage of hot girls on the rez, or he might have gone after a girl with lips. Bella, of course, is blithely unaware of this. EPIC FORESHADOW.

So a brief aside: Apparently the movie people realized that Bella is basically a sullen selfish bitch, and while Smeyer can get away with this in her book (except with me), the moviegoing public wouldn't respond well to a girl who doesn't do anything except whine and sneer, and whose response to the whole "I bought you a pickup" revelation was to start demanding info on it, lest it be unworthy of her. What's more, Smeyers gave her traits that were too over-the-top for the Looney Toons - seriously, a character who falls down walking in a straight line for no explicable reason? A character who entrances EVERYONE in the whole town? Even a crappy movie couldn't bullshit enough people into believing this.

The problem is, that nastiness was all the personality Bella had, which wasn't much to begin with. So what do we get instead of Bella's whining, selfishness and bitchiness?


Seriously, no characteristics at ALL are put in the place of Bella's rotten ones. And since Bella was really bland and boring to begin with, we' end up with a character who is even blander, duller and more nondescript than the book character! And when the author says she deliberately made the book character bland, dull and nondescript so readers could pretend to be her, you know that you're destined for suckitude.


Loud, belching and turning heads as Bella parks, mortified.

Actually, all it does is backfire. And since the backdrop is so gray and bland that it could be ANYTIME, Bella has to update the viewers:

My first day at a new school, It's March. Middle of the semester. Great.

I think we've figured out that this is your first day at a new school. Nobody assumed you would be going back to Phoenix every day.

So she parks her truck and it backfires, and to show that she's a Shunned Outsider everybody snickers and one guy yells, "Nice ride." I don't know which annoys me more: the undercurrent of "Look at how the others treat her!" scenes in this movie, or the fact that nobody cares or notices the truck in the book because BELLA IS SO AWESOME.

-- Bella (never without her IPOD) makes her way thru kids who stare openly; a few brave ones say hi. They're all talking about her. This is her hell.

... which, of course, Stewart conveys by blankly staring at a piece of paper.

Seriously, we get it: the world revolves around sexless Anita-Blake-Lite's ass and everyone is incredibly impressed and interested in some girl who transferred into their school. Which, BTW, is NOT a one-room schoolhouse, and Phoenix is not an exotic location. Also, WHY IS THIS "HER HELL"? Show us! Tell us! Do SOMETHING.

Oh, and the actual movie gives no real indication that anyone gives a damn about Bella in this scene.

-- Bella wanders the walkways looking for room numbers, lost.

"I wonder where they have an empty classroom I can hide in?"

-- Constant stares at Bella, the outsider.

Because obviously people in high school have nothing better to do than skulk around the corridors looking for anyone who doesn't musical sting BELONG!!!!! Yes, nobody in this ENTIRE school has enough of a life to focus on the head cheerleader getting knocked up, the quarterback getting nabbed for a DUI, Mr. Thompson and Mrs. Hamilton having sex in the boys' locker room, the science teacher being possessed by the demon Pazuzu and spewing green goo all over his students... you know, interesting stuff.

No, Bella is the only interesting person... which is funny when you consider that we're several scenes in and she hasn't done ANYTHING even remotely interesting. Seriously, we're... SIX MINUTES IN? Six minutes?!?!?!?! What the hell? It's only six minutes in?!??!?!! I want to cry now.

So then some guy bounces out in front of her:

You're Isabella Swan, the new girl. Hi. I'm Eric.

... and despite being a stereotypical nerd, I'm still way prettier than you, despite my hilarious hair.

The eyes and ears of this place. Anything you need. Tour guide, lunch date, shoulder to cry on.

Bella just looks at him. Is he for real?

I mean, some guy being FRIENDLY? How freaky is THAT? Like, EW. He should be treating her like crap, y'know!

Seriously Stewart just twitches her head around and stays blank-faced. There is no indication as to how Bella is feeling!

I'm kind of the “suffer in silence” type.

"... and by "silence" I mean a constant droning narrative inside my skull about how everyplace and everyone sucks except Phoenix and me."

Seriously, this is a really weird response. A normal response would be, "Yeah, thanks, but I'm fine" or "Thanks, I'll keep that in mind." Bella's response has three notable things about it:

  1. It seems calculated to make people pay attention to her. "Oh, don't notice me... I'm SUFFERING, but I'm doing it SILENTLY."
  2. She seems to assume that other people would automatically get why she's claiming to be suffering. Which brings me to...
  3. The question of why we, the audience, should assume that she's suffering. I mean, most of the stuff she's said has been factual - we haven't been told if they hates this place, feels indifference to it, or what.

NOTE TO ALL ASPIRING MOVIEMAKERS: if you adapt a book into cinematic form, DO NOT assume that your audience has read the book, and thus knows all about the main characters' Deep Inner Sorrow about living in Washington. Assume they have NOT read the book, and will be totally lost if you don't somehow communicate their feelings to them.

And don't depend on actors like THIS...

... to communicate those emotions for you, okay?

Good headline for your feature - I'm on the paper, and you're news, baby, front page.

"We've been running the same story about the head coach caught having sex with a silicone sheep for six weeks now, and frankly I think the novelty has worn off. The story we had planned was about the librarian spilling Coke on a book, but you're MUCH more interesting."

No I'm not. You - oaugh hmpimph - please don't have any kind of...

Seriously, would it kill you to occasionally ENUNCIATE?! There are people with ball gags who can enunciate better than you can! Those gurgling noises are not words!

Whoa, chillax. No feature.

What is this, the early 2000s? I haven't heard anyone say "chillax" in YEARS, and definitely no teenagers.

Bella mumbles some thanks while remaining totally blank-eyed and smiling insincerely. Wow, this entire scene was utterly pointless, except to point out that Bella is awesome and everybody at school is interested in her.

The boys' basketball team runs drills on half the basketball court. A girls' volleyball game occupies the other half.

Wow, I wonder if any of the boys will rush over and notice Bella! I am filled with suspenseful wonder at this idea. See my fascinated face?

Bella, in gym clothes, avoids the volleyball like it's radioactive. An energetic, athletic team captain, JESSICA, motivates the players.

Yeah, there's no real indication why she avoids the ball. She's not even trying, she just sort of stands there looking like she's horrified at actually being in a gym class. Yeah, I know she's supposed to be pathetically clumsy and all that, but IF YOU DON'T TELL US, WE CANNOT KNOW. We are not psychic. We cannot know your intentions just by watching the damn movie.

If Bella is clumsy, indicate this somehow. Just having her stand there awkwardly looking awkward and blinking a lot TELLS US NOTHING. It does not scream, "She's so endearingly clumsy and accident-prone!" I'd be more inclined to think, "She's lazy" or "She's trying to avoid this class."

Unfortunately, the volleyball heads toward Bella. She closes
her eyes and flails at it, SMACKING it. It flies off court
Oh no! A volleyball being sent my way during a volleyball game! Whoever could have guessed that this would ever happen?!

Oh no! A plot is coming this way! Must dodge!

Seriously, I'm a total sports spaz and I don't act like this! I mean, are we supposed to assume that the entire state of Arizona has no sports or gym class? I know I'm supposed to assume that this means Bawla is clumsy, but... swatting the ball ineffectually to get it to go away doesn't exactly say "clumsy"!

-- and beans a basketball player in the head. He is MIKE NEWTON, good looking, affable, with blond spiky hair.

Oh hell, they're including this poor guy in the story? He's basically an all-American Mr. Nice Guy who treats women well, is athletic, sweet, earnest and generally a great guy. So what does Bella do? Treats him like he's got herpes.


"I feel the sting of a Mary Sue's presence!"

(hurries to him, embarrassed)

"Hey, want to be the epic buttmonkey of this story? I'll sit around sneering at you, and you keep coming back for more!"

Are you alright? I warned them not to make me play.

I'm endearingly clumsy, which means I can't do anything right. I just need a big strong man to drag me around by the hair.

Oh, and pity this guy:

Why? Because despite his many virtues, he's about to be upstaged by a giant mass of hair gel, body glitter and skin foundation. I am not joking, people. That is going to happen.

You're Isabella, right?

Just Bella.

Yeah, hi, I'm Mike. Newton.

"And for some reason I'm falling instantly in love with you, even though I'm surrounded by prettier girls AND guys AND you have the charisma of a mashed potato."

Oh, and Bella does the dead-fish handshake, as if she's never actually done that before. I'm starting to think Stewart IS an alien mecha piloted by tiny socially awkward aliens! I mean, she can't even convincingly do a HANDSHAKE, which is the most basic and common greeting in American society. Even that guy in Warriors of Virtue wasn't this bad, and he was TRYING to be bad.

Uh, nice to meet you.

Even though your presence is completely superfluous to what little plot there is.

He looks at her a second too long, clearly taken by her --
Suddenly, Jessica appears, stepping between them. Subtle, but possessive as she nudges Mike.

Remember, if a boy looks at you it means that he must LOVE you.

As for Jessica, she's an ordinary girl, sort of like Stewart with a rounder face and bigger boobs. They downplayed her attractiveness in a big way in the movie compared to the book, presumably because Bella is so boring and unattractive that the hot class queen would overshadow her instantly. Plus, it would look ridiculous to have guys ignoring a hottie in favor of Bella... because it IS ridiculous.

Jessica also jitters all the time like she's just finished up a sugar, caffeine and speed cocktail, and I'm not sure why.

"I have no actual function in this story!"

She's got a great spike, doesn't she?

Haha, it's funny because Bella sucks at volleyball.

(to Bella)
I'm Jessica, by the way. Hey, you're from Arizona, right?


Aren't people from Arizona supposed to be really tan?

Ha! Doesn't this idiot know that tan people aren't allowed to talk to vampires? And bookish people are ALWAYS pale because they never go outside and do sporty things? Bella takes pride in being the color of Elmer's glue.

And she also apparently responds to offhand comments like this by flicking her eyes around and then staring at the floor.

Yeah... hmmmpphh... maybe... that's why they kicked me out.

HA. HA. Not funny. No, very not funny.

Mike laughs, and because he does, Jessica does. Bella just feels uncomfortable with the attention.

That's so funny.

No it's not. And because Jessica clearly doesn't mean her comment, it just highlights the lack of humor.

And... that's the end of the scene. Basically it introduced Mike and Jessica, two characters who really don't impact ANYTHING in the actual story except being annoyances to Bella, and.... established that Bella is as funny as eczema. Clearly this scene was vitally necessary to the plot. KILL ME!

Oh, and as usual Bella doesn't look uncomfortable. She just looks blank and awkward.



FOLLOW Bella, Mike and Jessica as they carry their trays to a table. Eric appears, and squishes into a seat next to Bella.

They decided to make Eric slightly less pathetic in the actual movie by having BELLA come to HIS table. Apparently we are now firmly lodged at the Losers' Table. Captivating, isn't it? In fact, Eric is having some sort of weird conversation about pyramids when Bella arrives. And since Mike is actually an all-around awesome guy in the books, they have to loser him up so Bella won't look like a bitch for ignoring him - he's buzzing around her and pulling out her chair for her. LOOOOOOSEERRRRR.

Hey Mikey, you met my home girl Bella.

... did he seriously just say "home girl"? I need a drink. Even the token Asian guy is oppressively white in this.

Oh, oh, she's your home girl?

Catfight ensue!

Or rat fight. That works too.

Then some black dude swoops out of nowhere and kisses Bella. Yeah, we've never seen this guy before, and we will never see him again. I guess this is all to clumsily try to cram in our faces that Bella is attractive to all the guys, but without showing us WHY.

MY girl!

"Because I have a penis, therefore Bella Swan is attractive to me! That's how it works!"

And then Mike FALLS OFF HIS CHAIR, presumably to establish that he's a loserish spaz who can't even sit on a chair without falling off... even though we saw him playing basketball quite well only one scene ago. Then he runs after the Random Black Guy, presumably to defend Bawla's honor against... cheek kisses. I am so BORED.

Bella reacts to this by looking... constipated. She looks a tiny bit unhappy, but not exactly the soul-crushing embarrassment that we're apparently supposed to see. She also scratches at her hairline.

(to Bella)
It's first grade all over again, and you're the shiny new toy.

Yes, because entire high schools are thrown into hormonal uproars over a single transfer student. That's how it works.

And in case you wonder, Jessica is saying this in an insecure, Secretly Jellus voice. Remember kids, in the Twilight universe all human females are either sexless nonentities, whores, or jealous bitches who envy Bella's tapioca attractiveness and scintillating personality. Jessica falls into the last category, which is why they had to make her much plainer and less popular. And she's STILL way more attractive than this dour lump.

For one thing, she has boobs. That counts for a lot with teenage guys.

Suddenly, a FLASHBULB blinds Bella.

Yes, even though the camera was right in front of her face and she was looking right at it. FAIL.

She looks up at the photographer, ANGELA, Jessica's sweet, low key, insecure friend.

Right, because insecure low-key people run around setting off flashbulbs in the faces of total strangers, thus opening themselves to those people being angry and nasty to them. Did the screenwriter even know what those words MEANT?

Bella does what she does best in response: she blinks and looks down with no expression whatsoever, then rubs at her hairline. If she bit her lip and sighed through her prominent front teeth, we would have a full six out of six!

Sorry, needed a candid for the feature -

Feature's dead, Angela. Don't bring it up again.

Bella Swan: she inspires men to be total assholes to other women! Clearly we should all admire her for this.

Sorry, I just -

(to Bella)
I got your back, baby.

"Haha, I actually think I have a chance with the Sullen Queen of Phoenix! We can have hot crazy monkey sex, with you never changing expression once!"

I'd also like to note Angela's appearance:

My ugly glasses mean that I'm supposed to be unattractive!

Seriously, this chick is being ignored in favor of Bawla's paste-colored face and blank eyes? I assume those ridiculous "nerd" glasses are meant to indicate that she's supposed to be a dork who can't even compare to Bella's Sullen Goddesshood, but even with the glasses this chick is way more attractive. For one thing, she has actual LIPS. Her face actually moves. Her eyes convey emotion. She has nice features that don't all go in the middle of her face. But she's not paste-colored, so clearly she's not pretty.

Guess we'll just run another editorial on teen drinking.

I have a better idea: run an editorial on READER drinking. If I had a bottle of vodka here, I would be chugging from it to numb the soul-crushing boredom I am feeling right now. We are ten minutes in, and the only thing we've established is that Bella is awkward and expressionless, and for some reason ALL boys are attracted to her despite her total lack of attractiveness. I suspect a Satanic pact is involved somewhere, because ignoring girls like Angela in favor of a pasty corpse just doesn't happen.

Sorry. I guess you could always go fer... eating disorders, Speedo padding on the swim team.

Or maybe HUH people who SUHHHH sigh between every HUUHHHH few words. She's like the William Shatner of inappropriate exhalation - except where he pauses and emphasizes the wrong words, she huffs and puffs and doesn't emphasize any words.

Actually, that's a good one.

... yeah, I'm sure no school paper has ever run an editorial on eating disorders. I mean, eating disorders in a building full of teenagers? Pshaw, does not happen! So unrealistic! And as for speedo padding... what if there's no padding? Then there's no story. Kind of precarious to pronounce them "good" stories, huh?

So to reinforce that Bawla is the coolest of the Loser Crowd, Angela and Jessica start orgasming over what great ideas Bella has, while Bella sits there strangling innocent vegetables.

But then... insert dramatic music here... Bella sees PEOPLE WALKING OUTSIDE THE SCHOOL. Imagine that! People actually on the sidewalks that people are supposed to walk on! Outside the window! Shocking! She can't even see them clearly because there are giant ugly blinds in the way, but a Sue recognizes another Sue!

Maybe it's just me, but I don't think anybody seen through blinds looks particularly attractive. Also, why are the Cullens just walking in from the OUTSIDE? Isn't the whole point of a cafeteria that it's an IN-BUILDING dining facility? So why didn't they just walk into the room like everyone else? I guess that since they are the Great And Awesome Cullens, they can't enter the building with the common sheep - they must leave the building just so they can dramatically enter it again.

Also, it's weird how the Cullens walk toward the door. Not only do they apparently walk in order of outward age, but they walk staring straight ahead and not speaking. Who walks around like that?

Who are they?

Wow... that interested comment sounded totally uninterested.

The Cullens.

Why is Angela smiling? Are the Cullens supposed to be so awesome that everyone's day is brightened just by mentioning them?

Jessica leans in, swinging into gossip mode.

Yes, gossip is something only jellus bitches do. But LISTENING to gossip is just fine.

They're Doctor and Mrs. Cullen's foster kids. They all moved down here from Alaska like, a few years ago.

"And they're almost as boring and antisocial as you are! Therefore they are awesome!"

They kinda keep to themselves.

Because they're all together. Like, together together. The blonde girl, Rosalie, and the big dark-haired guy, Emmett...

So apparently if you're "together together", you wouldn't have any friends, acquaintances or buddies.

ON ROSALIE, 18, long blonde hair, model beautiful, knows it. Alongside her is EMMETT, 17, big, brawny, like a weight lifter, but a playful glint in his eye.

And in case you haven't figured out that they are Super Speshul, all of them are wearing at least one blindingly white piece of clothing, unlike the poor schmucks around them. And yeah, from the way they're strutting and smirking, they're pretty obviously there just to get more attention.

Yes, I can see the playful glint in Emmett's eyes. It's not being blotted out by that Big Dumb Guy smirk on his face

Also, I love the bitchy undertone of Rosalie "knowing" she's attractive, as if only an arrogant bitch would ever actually be aware of her attractiveness to men. No, we're supposed to admire sweet humble Bella for not knowing that she's far more attractive than Rosalie.

... they're a thing. I'm not even sure that's legal.

... why wouldn't it be?

Jess, they're not actually related.

But they live together. It's weird.

Yes, because people only live together if they're related. Are we on another planet?

And the little dark haired girl, Alice, she's really weird.

I can clearly see that.

See, Alice is showing how quirky she is by coming into the cafeteria and randomly dancing with her boyfriend. Because that is what quirky people do. They dance at inappropriate times with no reason to. This movie is like the antithesis of coolness.

ON ALICE, 17, pixie-like, rail thin, light on her feet with short, black hair going in every direction. She hovers over, JASPER, 18, honey-blond hair, tall, lean, slightly tortured.

How can you be SLIGHTLY tortured? That's like being a tiny bit crippled or a smidge unconscious!

... she's with Jasper, the blonde who looks like he's in pain.

He looks like that because he's a male who just realized that he's in a Twilight movie, and will be haunted by this affront to his manhood for the rest of his miserable life.

Also, does this look like pain to you?

I mean, that doesn't look like pain at all! It looks like... MAYBE mild distraction, possibly because there's a hot girl looking at him. But pain? No! Maybe it's pain Kristen-Stewart-style, where you express pain by... staying blank-faced and looking around. Where was the director during this scene? Isn't the whole point of having a director so they can avoid basic errors like this by telling an actor, "Pretend you're in pain!"? Or cutting and redubbing that line in postproduction?

I mean, Dr. Cullen's like this foster dad slash match maker.

Yes, I did read that as "slash match maker," since there's almost as many unintentionally homoerotic moments in these books as in the Eragon series.

Maybe he'll adopt me.

Sorry, Angela, but they only accept people about a thousand times more annoying than you.

Bella laughs, liking her... then sees the last Cullen to enter -

Then she stops liking her, because Troo Luv means never caring or paying attention to anyone but your Troo Luv. Angela would spend the rest of her life a lonely miserable outcast, for Bella Swan had cast her from her heavenly inner circle.

Okay, in the movie she doesn't laugh, presumably because Stewart's face would crack and fall off if she moved it that much. But I really wanted to include that comment.

Who's he?

EDWARD, 17. Lanky, with untidy, bronze colored hair. He seems inwardly turned, mysterious. More boyish than the others. But the most striking of all. Bella can't take her eyes off him.

  1. And by bronze they mean... brown.
  2. And by untidy they mean... carefully styled with a lot of hair gel.
  3. And by "more boyish than the others," they mean... a man in his early twenties.
  4. Uh, are they saying he's more boyish than the girls, or the boys? Because all jokes about his effeminate self aside, the fact that he IS technically male obviously means he's more boyish than Alice or Rosalie, especially since both are super-feminine.
  5. Sooooooooo.... apparently "striking" means wearing a lot of foundation, eyebrow pencil and lip gloss.

That's Edward Cullen.

"The only person at this school more Sparkly Speshul Snowflakey than you, and more inexplicably attractive. He likes to sit in the corner breaking pencils, muttering about how dangerous he is and how he could kill us all."

He's totally gorgeous, obviously. But apparently, no one here is good enough for him. Like I care, you know.

Yeah, I guess we're supposed to assume that this is sour grapes. But the thing is... nobody there IS good enough for him, in his humble opinion of himself.

Suddenly, Edward looks over, as if he heard Jessica from across the room.

See? Subtle foreshadowing that he can read minds, even though he just walked by and Jessica is not exactly whispering these lines!

He also smirks while she's talking because haha, someone as awesome as him would never date someone like Jessica! EW! He's waiting for a DIFFERENT bland, boring, plain girl... one who doesn't move her face! THAT is his dream girl!

So Bawla stares at him with... no expression at all. WHY DID THEY HIRE STEWART? She never moves her face, just stares around with half-lidded dead eyes, front teeth on display, and absolutely no expression! She just stands there with a totally blank face! Why was she cast in this movie when she obviously has no talent? Why isn't the director even TRYING to get her to act?

And here is my reaction to this crappy ten minutes being OVER at last:

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