What a crock of shit. Rocket Science
is a God damn Rival crock pot overflowing with crap. Almost
everything in this movie represents the worst instincts of phony
fucking frauds in the indie film community. The movie has no
original thoughts, no genuine characters and no emotional arc.
It's just a hackneyed plot lashed together with so much fucking
quirkiness that it dazzles the intellectually bankrupt into
confusing it for art. Good fucking God, what a shitty excuse
for a movie.
I saw this blast of piss to the eyes at the
snooty Landmark Mayan, which is where they show the artsy-fartsy
crap in Denver. In fact, I walked into the theater after waiting
for a couple of stringy-haired future auteurs working the snack
bar who were more interested discussing which of the three reggae
bands they knew the names of was their favorite than selling
me a Mr. Pibb. Walking in late meant I missed the first couple
of previews of grainy movies shot in gray European cities. Not
to worry, though, there were plenty more. Some shit about factories
closing, pasty lesbians staring each other down and stoic fat
Germans with cancer. Man, I can't wait to pay see that shit
on the big screen.
Rocket Science fit in perfectly in this
setting. It's the sort of phony, quirky horseshit that phony,
quirky assholes gobble up like iced coffees and those annoying
fucking phone earpiece things. Seriously, this turd will be
huge with guys who wear bowlers and girls who actually put flowers
in the vase in their New Beetles. And with the nails-on-chalkboard
chick in the audience with me who laughed too hard and too artificially
at quirky tidbits generously sprinkled across the movie like
rat droppings in the alley behind the Tavern.
Fuck, I hated this movie.
Hal Henfer (Reece Thompson) is a stutterer a
quirky name. He lives with his quirky mother (Lisbett Bartlett).
She has a quirky Korean boyfriend (Steve Park) with a quirky
gay son (Aaron Yoo), who also has a quirky name, Heston. Thompson
also has a quirky brother who steals stuff and rants about "agendas".
Oh yeah, he also maked a friend, who is a quirky kid with a
Kama Sutra and a bra that he likes to put on. Oh, and parents
who play quirky versions of Violent Femmes songs as chamber
music for the cello and piano.
Here is what Thompson's character doesn't have:
a personality, anything beyond his stutter to distinguish himself,
a reason for us to root for him. But, hey, there's so much unfunny
NPR-caliber silliness around him that we're not supposed to
notice. Please, you Sundance Wannabes, realize that just because
shit is odd and weird, that doesn't mean it's funny. If you
aren't a funny person, don't try making comedies.
For a reason that feels contrived and still
irrelevant, a top student (Anna Kendrick) at Thompson's high
school encourages him to join the debate team and be her teammate.
He does because, apparently, he's attracted to her or so overwhelmed
by the attention from a girl. He falls in love, but she's so
into debate that she doesn't match his obsession.
In fact, she was just using him to help herself.
She knew he'd never be a good debater.
To get even with her for breaking his heart,
he recruits her former boyfriend and legendary debater to team
with him. Yes, Rocket Science hinges on a "legendary"
debater. The movie never bothers to show us any fantastic debating,
just kids talking very fast. Why not? Well, maybe even Jeffrey
Blitz understands the incredible boringness of his central conceit.
Ultimately, the movie peters out by never having
a confrontation or a showdown. It just putters to a stop, then
drifts until it's sunk, like an Amphicar in a lake. Thompson
has a brief discussion with Kendrick that resolves nothing.
Then he wanders around a shitload and his father, who walked
out early on, says some hackneyed words about life.
The soundtrack is largely comprised of music
by the Violent Femmes, from an album more than 20 years old
and a bit of a cliche for teen angst by now. So much of a cliche,
in fact, that Wendy's uses it in a commercial. There is no music
that could better underscore what a pathetic attempt this donkey
dung is, than a soundtrack even the lamest among us know has
worn its welcome as a teen anthem.
None of it feels real or genuine. It all feels
hatched by some asshole who really just want to be on This
American Life but either isn't clever enough or hasn't had
interesting enough experiences of his own to qualify. I'll guess
that writer/director Jeffrey Blitz reads McSweeney's a lot and
isn't real good at nuance, but is real good at telling when
shit is weird. He's watched Rushmore and Election
and apes them without really getting the point. It's soulless
bullshit and I fucking hate it.
One Finger for Rocket Science.