One Week: I hated this fucking movie. A greengeekgirl rant®.

Don't let the door hit you in the ass.

Every now and then, I see a movie that fills me with so much rage that my rage just keeps increasing after the end of the movie.  Movies that enrage me are generally well-meaning indie flicks where the writer tried to insert some deeper message for humanity, but, as I watch more, I find out that the writer is completely full of shit and doesn’t understand how humanity works, making the message awkward, pointless, and potentially dangerous to mankind–and as if that weren’t enough, he started freaking out about halfway through the script and incorporated every indie cliche known to man to make sure to beat us over the head with his poorly-interpreted message from the universe.  The only redeeming thing about this particular movie, when the tally is added up, is that it ended.

Fuck you, Joshua Jackson, for being in this movie–and for not being on Twitter so that I could angry tweet you.

Yep, that's how I felt about this movie, too.

The sneaky and insidious part about this film is that it actually seemed promising when it started.  The premise is the age-old question, what would you do if you only had a short time to live and you knew it?  What if you only had a week to live?  Ben, Joshua Jackson’s character, is diagnosed with late-stage cancer.  After a bit of cancer humor (“You have stage four cancer.” “Well, how many stages are there?” “…….. four.”), Ben is given a prognosis of about two years if the treatment doesn’t cure him.

Wait, I thought this movie was about what if you only had a week–well, whatever, maybe he dies at the end of the week.

There’s some blather about how Ben has basically failed at everything in his life because he didn’t try.  He failed at singing because he didn’t try.  He failed at getting published because, even though he sent his crappy book out to a zillion publishers, he didn’t send it to the ONE publisher who would have published it because he thought they were too big.  He failed at baseball because of… something, I don’t really remember or care.  He ends up being a teacher trying to read poetry to a bunch of really young kids and getting frustrated when they don’t get it.  Here’s a pro tip, Ben: the kids you’re teaching looked more Hardy Boys than Thomas Hardy, if you catch my drift.

"Can't we read some fucking Twilight or something? Poetry sucks."

Ben does the cliche thing and impulsively buys a motorcycle from a creepy old guy when he just happens to walk by and see it for sale.  He then stops and gets some coffee to prepare him for a long night of fucking lovemaking, and the cup tells him, “Go West Young Man.”  (The cup doesn’t talk, it’s a hidden message rolled up in the rim of the cup.)  So, instead of listening to his doctor, who recommended immediate cancer treatment, he listens to a coffee cup and decides to go on a little trip.

Meet the only person in this movie who looks happy.

Ben is engaged to marry this girl who turns out to be kind of a bitch.  He paints her at first as being the sweetest girl ever–she even becomes a golf fan just because he likes golf, which takes more love and dedication than agreeing to play along with your partner’s golden shower fetish.  She leaves him quirky little notes in his lunch box.  She’s thin and pretty, just like Hollywood says women should be, even in fucking indie movies where stereotypes are supposed to be turned onto their heads.  But apparently, her understanding and sweetness has its limits–a guy finds out he’s dying and wants to go away for a couple of days and that’s just totally fucking unacceptable.  Never mind that he might want just a little time to himself to get his head straight, or to go do that motorcycle-across-the-country thing before he’s losing all of his hair to chemo, because, miraculously, right now he has almost no symptoms for a stage four cancer patient.  This is the perfect time for him to take a little trip, and she throws a bitch fit about it even though he promises to be home in two days.  Honey, if he’s going to keel over in two days, that treatment you’re whining for him to start isn’t going to do a damn thing.

From zero to bitch in one cancer diagnosis.

Ben sets out on his trip anyway–because, hey, he’s fucking dying, he’s gonna do what he wants to do.  There’s a shitload of gratuitous “I’m riding across Canada on my motorcycle” footage; however long this movie is, they could have cut it in half with even a student editor.  Ben encounters a few people who suddenly have some incredible luck after meeting him–finding their dream mates, stuff like that.  This is never really explained in the movie, especially since Ben’s life turns out to be so unlucky.  This is typical indie-flick finding yourself bullshit; my first moment of being truly perturbed was the flashback that Ben has regarding the planning of their wedding.  The fiancee is apparently religious, and they’re meeting with the priest; the priest asks Ben, who is presumably not Catholic, if Ben objects to a religious wedding.  Ben shrugs good-naturedly–”Nope!”  The priest asks if Ben wants to incorporate anything into the wedding.  “Nope!”  So, then the priest asks if Ben has any religious beliefs.

Whaaaat.

How is that any part of a normal wedding-planning conversation?  I guess if the priest was trying to convert him to Catholicism, which I guess could be common, it would be normal–but is that really the time?  (Note: I don’t really know if they’re Catholic, I just assume they’re Catholic because it was a priest.)  That gave me pause, but the thing that really irked me was the scene afterward–Ben and his woman, walking side by side, talking about his lack of belief.  She started the conversation with, “How can you not believe in anything?”  She went on to express her disbelief that they’d had every conversation but the religious conversation, but her question is telling–it isn’t, “How did we not have this conversation?” but “How can you not believe in anything?”  That wasn’t what really bugged me though.  When he said to her, in a very reasonable tone, “You can’t honestly be that upset about this, can you?” she replied to him, tersely for maximum indie dramaz, “I’m marrying a nihilist.”  I guess in order to make her happy, Ben then set off on a brief search for God, but came up empty despite looking at a Bible AND seeing a Chinese Buddha on some cabby’s dashboard.  How much more spiritual can you fucking get?  Jesus.

So, okay–Mr. Writer and Director Michael McGowan? There’s a term for someone who doesn’t have any religious beliefs–that person is called an atheist.  A nihilist is someone who doesn’t see any intrinsic and objective value or purpose in life.  These words are not interchangeable, fucktard.  Yeah, I don’t usually stoop to name-calling, but I’m calling you a fucktard, Michael McGowan.  I’m calling you a fucktard because you set up this film for this “nihilist” to go on this adventure and have some fucking revelation, and he’s not even a nihilist.  And now, anybody who actually thinks that this movie is good will think that atheists are all nihilists.  Way to fucking go.

The one good thing that came out of the whole religious scene was the moment that Ben, in the church talking to the priest, looks up after the priest asks about his religious beliefs and sees this:

Win.

I’m not actually sure what the point of the religious stuff is supposed to be.  McGowan is clearly not super conservative religious, or the picture of Jesus flipping Ben off would never have been conceived, much less put into the movie. (By the way, I’m kind of stoked that someone got paid to desecrate that Jesus by giving it a new arm.  You can see that the arm was hacked off and a new arm was attached.)  Yet, Ben is the one who stands to grow most in this film, and by grow, I mean change–during his trip, he abandons rationality in order to go in search of, and I’m not kidding here, some imaginary creature that he knows is imaginary that his dad used to tell him was real.  Ben even asks himself, via the narrative voice-over (someone is a fan of Arrested Development), when rationality took over.  Uh, I dunno, asshole, maybe when you grew up and stopped believing in Santa?  So if he’s abandoning rationality and is moving away from his “no beliefs” status, what is McGowan trying to say about not having beliefs, besides the fact that you’ll get flipped off by Jesus and accused of being a nihilist by your fiancee?  Oh, and that you’ll get cancer.

The whole thing that bugs me about the relationship with the girlfriend is that it swings between two totally opposite realities.  She loves him very much, she has a nice family, she takes an interest in his stupid interests, and his first instinct when he finds out he has cancer is to go home and have a lot of sex with her.  She even forgives him when the son of a bitch cheats on her later in the film.  On the other hand, he apparently can’t stand her and she does get a little bitchy when her fiancee is dying.  It’s a tough situation.

This is about the point in the movie that it starts to degrade into nothing but cliches.  He splurges on a nice hotel room, because hey, he doesn’t have to save for retirement, right? Har har har.  He keeps checking his voice mail and hearing tearful pleas from his family to come home and start treatment.  At one point, he chucks his phone into a field.  He has a motorcycle accident, but walks away totally unhurt.  He meets some random chick in the woods and they have sex by a campfire.  He figures out he never really loved the bitch girlfriend and ends his little journey sitting on a surfboard in the ocean while a whale majestically rises out of the water like ten feet away.  Then he goes home and goes into treatment and finally gets published when he writes a book called One Week [dawwww working the movie title into the film].  And I sat and watched, getting more and more infuriated as I realized two things: this movie wasn’t going to get any better, and the movie wasn’t ever going to develop a goddamn point.  It was a waste of money, time, and my life.

I may or may not have flown into a Twitter rage for the last quarter of the movie:

This movie seemed to have one message, and it was ham-handedly delivered in a sloppy, confused way.  The movie meant to convey that you’ll never have happiness if you don’t believe in stuff.  Ben didn’t believe in himself, he didn’t believe in God, and look what happened–ended up in a nice teaching job with a fiancee who loved him very much (despite being kind of an overreacting bitch) and whose family liked him, with a nice family himself, and he had no idea how miserable he was until he got cancer and was almost going to die–and even then, he apparently had enough extra cash to take off for a week without any trouble.  Man, what a shitty life.  The movie never really said if he started to believe in anything, though.  He didn’t find God, unless that random whale was a metaphor for God.  There was no real reason at all to bring religion into it, really, since you can do awesome things and have an awesome life without believing in some imaginary sky-friend.  I guess he started believing in himself, since he got published and left that bitch he kept having flashbacks and crying over.  Honestly, the guy ended up being a pretty big douche at the end–he hurt everyone in his family and hurt a woman who genuinely loves him, even if she’s not perfect (and kind of a bitch), so he can go look at the World’s Largest Roadside Penis and have sex with a granola freak.  To tell you the truth, I was too pissed off to really pay attention to the end of the movie, so I should probably just go ahead and end this review.  Who needs a drink?

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4 Comments on “One Week: I hated this fucking movie. A greengeekgirl rant®.”

  1. I haven’t seen the movie but I thoroughly enjoy the writing of anyone who can use the word ‘Fucktard’ so well in discussion.

  2. scandalousmuffin says:

    Netflix recommended this to me. It was streamable so I gave it a shot. And ugh, I can’t agree more with this review. The only way they could make this movie better is if they made a sequel where he got cancer again.


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