Regular visitors to this site know that I am, uh, something of a creature of habit. I’ve written before about my habits (both beneficial and deleterious, both virtuous and shameful). In the evenings, for example, I like to go to bed early and read a bit from the various books I have going up there. Currently, it’s The Adventures of Roderick Random (Tobias Smollett), Romola (George Eliot), Twenty Years After (sequel to The Three Musketeers, by Alexander Dumas), Time Warped: Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception (Claudia Hammond), The Quick (a vampire novel by Lauren Owen ), Death Without Company (a Longmire mystery by Craig Johnson), and The Burning Room (the latest by Michael Connelly).
I don’t always read from every book every night—but, generally, at least three or four of them. Then, while waiting for Joyce to join me in bed, I usually watch a film or something else Netflixian that I know she wouldn’t really enjoy (think: The 40-Year-Old Virgin, anything with Jasons Statham or Segel—you get the picture?). The last few days I’ve been watching a Netflix DVD that is just about as bad a film as I’ve seen in a long, long time. (Link to trailer for the film.)
Just to show you my taste in films, I ordered this one because Netflix recommended it to me (fitting with my, uh, taste). And I thought it looked pretty good: Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Poehler--what could go wrong?
Although it's putatively a comedy, I did not laugh a single time. Over the three evenings I worked my way through it (and I do mean worked!) I kept asking myself: Why are you watching this? But the next evening I would pick up where I left off (stopping immediately when Joyce arrived), ending the segment with Why are you watching this? I wouldn't be surprised if Joyce were thinking the same thing--she's had a lot of experience with that over our 45 years together: Why is Danny doing that? Or ... Daniel, when she's really disgusted, disappointed, disenchanted--all those other dis- words.
Wilson plays a depraved TV weatherman; Galifianakis is his childhood buddy (who's bi-polar--surprised yet?); Poehler is G's snotty sister (definitely playing off-type in this disaster). They all live in Penn.; the father of AP and ZG dies--there's a sizable estate--sibling rivalry ... Oh, and there's another woman on the scene, Melissa Rauch (I think), who pays the hot (but principled!) young widow (very young widow) of the father. Sexy-wexy with both OW and ZG.
Oh, and there's a nearby Amish family to provide the theological gravity--the little Amish boy tells ZG that God wants ZG to take his meds to treat his bi-polarity.
The New York Times called it a "willfully messy movie" (and some other things--link to Times review). It was more than that. It was in a special category.
See, there are good Bad Films (oh, anything in the Judd Apatow vein), and there are bad Good Films (serious films--I won't name any--that I thought sucked), and there are good Good films (classics that have remained affecting), and, of course, there are bad Bad films.
Are You Here is in the final category--though I think it may have earned a category of its own: a BAD BAD film.