October 28, 2010

Bicentennial Crap

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[Note appended Jan. 24, 2011]

A few days ago, I received the following Facebook message:

heyy! so i just wanted to let you know that your column is hilarious and u seem like a catch…lemme know if you want to grab a coffee or something?

I was a bit disappointed that she said nothing about my sculpted jaw but I immediately messaged her to accept. I then got a message saying she was busy with prelims, so we would have to wait until next week. I can’t wait to actually hang out with my new girlfriend.

What is your least favorite movie?

It is a question my friends and I debate all the time. We all seem to have the same taste in favorite movies but our views on the worst movies are all over the spectrum. There are thousands of reasons as to why a movie can be bad, but most of the time they revolve around bad plot (Boondock Saints), script (Gigli) or Keanu Reeves is in it (acting).

The point is that bad movies cause heated and endless debates. My best friend and I still argue about the merits of Legally Blonde. He thinks that it’s a terrible movie, I think that he doesn’t go to an Ivy League school so he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Legally Blonde launched Reese Witherspoon’s career, explored an entirely unknown territory for blondes in movies (that they can be taken seriously) and catapulted Harvard Law School up the rankings. If you don’t believe that last point, let me ask you, do you know more about Harvard Law today compared to when you first saw the movie? BOOM! Mind=Blown.

Most of all, the movie accomplished all that it aspired to be — a quirky but mainstream rom-com with a solid lesson. When dealing with heartbreak, it is best to go through life looking forward. Before you know it you’ll meet someone even better, albeit as long as you go to Harvard Law and look like Reese Witherspoon.

Where Legally Blond succeeds, Bicentennial Man, my least favorite movie, fails in every conceivable way. Here is a brief synopsis for you to judge on your own:

Set in the future (2005), a family buys a robot to do chores and take the kids to the beach, because this is the future and there is no need for human labor. At first, the robot is bad at his job and the kids don’t like him because he breaks their crystal pony, but he replaces it by carving a new horse out of wood. WTF, a robot is showing compassion and might possibly be displaying some human tendencies!? What a ground-breaking scene that’s never been done before ever! (A.I., Terminator, Wizard of Oz, Betty from Mad Men) Mr. Smith notices this human quality and makes the next logical step in developing the robot by making it build grandfather clocks for 20 years.

In the future, grandfather clocks are really popular for some reason and the robot makes a lot of money because robots need money for food, shelter and buying Sony Bravias. (I think the writers put this grandfather clock bit in the plot to make the rest of the movie seem plausible as the robot uses this fortune to fund the rest of his exploits for the next 200 years. lolz).

Blah blah blah, Mr. Smith dies, there’s sad music and he says something nice to the robot because death puts things into perspective. The robot then travels around the country and looks for another robot like him and writes letters back to his family cause in the future, robots aren’t savvy with e-mail. More boring shit happens until the robot meets a scientist who makes robots look like humans. The robot opts to do this and can pick any face he wants. They settle on Robin Williams *shudders*. Literally 150 years go by and nothing happens until the robot then appeals to some Intergalactic UN thing that he should be considered a human. The conversation goes like this:

Intergalactic UN: You cannot be a human.

Robin Williams: Why not?

Intergalactic UN: Because you are a robot.

Robin Williams: But I had sex with a woman!

Intergalactic UN: Eww gross.

To prove them wrong the robot gets this robot-to-humany-blood transfusion thing (I can just picture the screenwriter in his first draft writing something like “sciency stuff happens and he becomes a man”). But, before he is declared human he dies. Also, he marries his owner’s great-great granddaughter.

Does anyone else see the irony in Robin Williams playing a robot?  This man became a parody of himself long ago, and other than One Hour Photo and World’s Greatest Dad, the guy is now casted in the role of “Hey, what if Robin Williams was a President/Genie/Doctor etc?”

Another reason why this movie sucks: I was in sixth grade and was seeing this movie with a date. When it ended we both walked out of the theater in a state of dismay. As we waited for our parents, she mumbled something about needing to take care of her Furby more often. I never saw her again.

When a director creates a bad movie, does he or she know that it’s bad? I’m sure this thought must have crossed the director of White Chicks when he was thinking: “Wow this is a terrible movie but we’re halfway through shooting. I guess we’ll just go with it.” If so, that is sad.

Other than various plot holes and awkward robot-human love triangles, the only way for this movie to work is if the moviegoer symphatizes with a robot, which is something I cannot do. I have experienced too many crashed hard drives to have any sympathy for technology.

I’m sure many people haven’t seen this movie and may be inclined to withstand three hours of hell to see what I’m talking about. For you people, I have devised a simple test as to whether or not you’ll like the movie.

Did you cry the last time you replaced a broken toaster?


Well then chances are you’ll probably hate this movie.

Amyn Bandali is a senior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He may be contacted at [email protected]. Ramblings appears alternate Fridays this semester.

[Ed. note: In January 2011, this columnist was revealed to have used passages that were identical or nearly identical to passages found in Andrew Webb’s ’08 column, Confessions of a Mental Patient. For a full explanation of the situation and the reactions from Sun editors, click here.]

Original Author: Amyn Bandali