I watched Twilight
“I’m writing a book about vampires.”
“Sweet! Classic rules, right? Burn in the sun, can’t enter your home uninvited, cast no reflection… ”
“No, I said VAMPIRES! Go where they want, walk around in the daytime, love mirrors. Do it with other dudes at the gas station. Teen girls and frustrated middle-aged secretaries alike will all love these tales.”
“You’re a genius! People hate things that make sense! Your nonsense book will sell millions!”
And here we are. Let’s not mince words here, people: Twilight is terrible. Terrible.
Terrible like having a blister on your inner thigh pop open while you’re at work terrible. Terrible like getting your favorite sandwich from that place you like and biting into a corn pad, terrible.
But it was fun. As any film fan will attest, there is something magical about a certain type of film that is terrible yet sincerely blind to its own awfulness. This is why people love Ed Wood’s films. Ed Wood could have directed Twilight. In fact, it would have made sense. This would have been just the project he’d have been given.
“Ed! There’s a bunch of books about vampires that aren’t really vampires. Dames love ‘em! See what you can do with them, will ya!?”
Yup. The movie we got feels like someone trying to make sense out of a mess. Twilight is the result of that mess.
No, I haven’t read the book. People keep asking if I have, and my response is the same every time: Of course not! People have assured me that the book is better than the film. I doubt this with all of my heart, but I’ll never know. I take my reading seriously, so I’ll never let any pre-fab pop-crap teeny-bopper fan fiction trash like Twilight into my head. But that’s the book. When it comes to movies, I’ll watch almost anything!
So, let’s get to it.
Saturday night and a cute girl arrived with her personal copy of Twilight so I could finally see it and share my thoughts. She warned me that it would be dumb and that I wouldn’t like it, which is like warning — (Wow. So many inappropriate jokes spring to mind here. Sigh. Since people actually read these things, I’ll go light) — which is like warning a Dane Cook audience that the jokes may be slightly unfunny.
The movie begins, and I’m already laughing: There is a guy in jeans and a leather jacket chasing a deer though the woods. I guess this is proper hunting attire, though. I mean, even The Fonz wore a leather jacket when he jumped the shark!
There’s a new girl in town! It’s not Alice, though — this girl moves AWAY from Arizona and to Forks, Wash., to live with her father. Her name is Bella and she has the personality of a Kmart bag filled with potatoes. Her old man is The Sheriff, but he never really does anything Sherriffy outside of sporting the proper “law enforcement” mustache.
When Bella arrives for her first day of school, every ducky in the joint falls for her immediately. I don’t know, I too, have a thing for pale girls sometimes, so I can sort of see it. I mean, if Bella had rolled up on Woodlawn High in her previously-owned Sanford and Son pick-up, I would have probably taken a run at her.
Anyway, one of the first things they tell you is how unbelievably small this town is — a population of about 3,000. Two thousand of them must go to this school. The place is packed! And so racially diverse for Washington state! As a matter of fact, Bella immediately makes nice with an Asian guy and the black and the indiscriminate mixed-race girl!
Twilight: the Barack Obama of shitty vampire movies!
Bella isn’t interested in any of these people once she arrives at her first class and spies Edward.
Bela Legosi, Frank Langella, Christopher Lee — you guys were only “OK” as vampires, so you can suck it! Edward the Vampire is the perfect undead combination of Michael Jackson and Jimmy Fallon that the young girls need to bring them into womanhood!
I should note that there is no subtlety in this film AT ALL. NONE. IN FACT, THE SCRIPT WAS PROBABLY WRITTEN ALL IN CAPS JUST LIKE THIS. Whenever someone hates another person or knows something or feels ways about stuff, you are completely aware of it. This is because that person is given time to glare in slow motion at whatever or whoever needs to be glared at so you don’t miss an important plot point.
Bella walks past an oscillating fan in class, and her scent drives Edward crazy. Again, not in a subtle manner but in a squirming, nose-covering way that we can all notice and identify with. I would not have been surprised if he’d put a clothes pin on his nose and fanned away her stink while foppishly singing “Peeyew!”
The next day, Edward is not in class and Bella is intrigued — thus proving my point, fellas. Be nice to a girl and she will ignore you. Tell her she stinks, and she will never leave you.
OK, I’m going to have to skip around here to effectively rip this crap apart.
So, Edward tries to keep Bella away from himself at first because he really wants to eat her ass, and not in a good way. But she won’t listen. So he keeps showing up out of the blue to tell her to stay away from him. Brilliant.
Edward is, of course, a vampire. It takes about an hour for this secret realization to surface. This hour is spent with Bella and Edward sharing montage after montage lying in the forest and talking. We don’t know what they’re talking about, though, because these montages are always covered by the soul stirring sounds of bands you’ve never heard of. So, to recap — we are forced to watch an hour of people talking but we don’t what they’re saying. At least this is countered by a prom dress montage that mentions Bella’s friends plump teen bosom. Can’t go wrong there.
The rest of Edward’s family goes to the same school. They are, as I understand it, supposed to keep a low profile since they are a family of vampires. The way they do this is by arriving late and in slow motion to school in their Benzs and jeeps all dressed in white and bling. Also, they pair off with each other even though they’re supposed to be brothers and sisters. Did I mention that this was written by a Mormon chick? How do vampires fit into God’s plan?
There are evil vampires as well, though, all vampires by their nature as the offspring of Lilith are evil. But Twilight decides to present it is this way: If you eat only animals, you’re a vegetarian, and if you eat people, you are evil. Also, these vampires don’t burst into flames in the sunlight. They sparkle… like diamonds. They don’t turn into a mist of bats, but with the use of terrible, terrible special effects they can “run” really fast and “climb” trees. They can also see the future and, sometimes, the present(?).
Basically, these guys make Lestat look like Jason Statham.
Wait, it gets better. They love baseball. Thing is, they’re so good at it that they can only play during thunderstorms lest the locals hear the vampowered crack of Louisville pine and get suspicious.
“You hear that, honey? That was a super-powered flyball if ever I heard one! That’s a goddammed vampire playing baseball!”
During the baseball game, the evil vampires show up to play whoever wins, I guess. One of them smells Bella and shit gets real.
Rather than nip this in the bud and destroy the hell out of the evil vamp right then and there, the good vampires decide to think outside the box. Half the clan drives Bella back to Arizona while the other half wipes her clothing all over local trees to throw evil guy off of her trail. Edward even goes so far as to paint a decoy tunnel entrance on the side of a mountain. You can imagine his dismay when evil vamp runs right through as if it were an actual tunnel!
Here comes the thrilling conclusion! Evil vamp runs all the way to Arizona and tricks Bella into a ballet studio. As any of you that have taken ballet know, this would mean a room surrounded in mirrors. The evil vampire is visible to everyone! Wait, what!?
Only after Bella has had her stupid leg broken and has been bitten does the family think, “Hey, perhaps we should kill this guy.”
That’s right, Bella is bitten by a vampire, but that’s OK because they manage to suck out the vampire poison. Wait, let me type that again in bold, all caps, and italics — THEY MANAGE TO SUCK OUT THE VAMPIRE POISON.
A full two minutes and 22 seconds after the bite (yes, I counted) Edward sucks out the poison from the wound, and all is well.
“Oh, and did I tell you? In my book, you can suck out the vampire poison from the wound!”
“You are a top-heavy Einstein of vampire writing, bitch. We’re gonna be rich!”
And that’s the movie. Bella goes to the prom with Edward and begs him to make her a vampire. People walk past and glare at Edward because they know the truth. Edward glares back because he knows that they know, and someone that no one in the cast sees glaring at them, glares at them in order to set up the sequel.
My rule for movies is that they have to be engaging enough to overcome their shortcomings. Twilight didn’t do this.
All in all, though, not the worst film I have ever seen. The fact that so many people loved it is sad, but people like what they like.
The cute girl I watched it with liked it, but at least she agreed with most of the ripping I did on it as we watched. A good sign and hope for the future…
Stories by J’Mel Davidson appear in every issue of Birmingham Weekly. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org