About Time

What genre of movie do you get for the man who’s got everything?


Slightly less interesting than a time travel movie without consequences for the über‑privileged might otherwise be.  
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Reported on 22nd of December, 2013

I, like you, only experience emotions at films. I’m not ashamed of this fact, but this is only because shame is an emotion, and I’m not currently at a cinema. And since this website is less about films getting it wrong as it is about critics getting it wrong, I was a little surprised that I did not cry at the end to About Time. The critics were divided about the film: either it was good, and it made me cry or it was crap but it made me cry. Look, I cried at the end of R.I.P.D. (which is an unquestionably much better film); I am a sap. That I would avoid them in real life is besides the point: I paid for tears, godammit – upset me!

About Time

19 September 2013 @ The Dukes @ Komedia


-$9.00 or, if one must be prosaic, and one must... 
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

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To make matters worse, it failed on a subject that I hold personally dear, to wit, holding every moment sacred and living each day and so on. I have a little ritual like this every few months or so, when I pretend that this finally, will be the last day of my life. And when I do, I generally eat a cake, and play hose with the dachshund, ride my bike and, naturally enough, see a movie. It can even make something like Pandorum seem meaningful; in fact, it did. Some people would, I don’t know, tell their family they love them or something. I’m gratefully mundane. If it’s the stuff I do every day, why wouldn’t I do it on my last day? It doesn’t make sense. Also, why would I call my family? The phone’s, like, in the other room, and I’m playing Arkham City.

I said it was my last day on earth.

All my neighbors have mansions; the only people I know are my neighbors; therefore Socrates is my neighbor.

And so, at the end of the film, we are presented with such a scenario, where the character says that as a time traveller, he won’t repeat even the days he didn’t like as he sees the small details in it as wonderful. The problem is the small (I didn’t bring my notepad, so no details) details don’t ring true, and I think I know why.

It begins with a very large house. That house was bugging me. Now, I’m all in favor of massive estates with lots of acreage and private beaches. Everyone should have one. Certainly everyone in a movie should have one. In fact, this is why I’m so anti-baby. Okay, one of the reasons. The problem with the anti-overpopulation crowd is that they’re so end of the world-y, which is something which we not so secretly desire anyway. No, the real reason to TAFKIIA is that with less people, everyone gets their own beach house.

I am 100% sure that’s how it works.

I somehow lost the snack notes as well.

I somehow lost the snack notes as well.

So, big house, Devon coast, and in an English audience no less. Now an English audience happily looks at the spacious New York loft and says, well, she’s a dog walker, of course she could afford it – there’s no separate bedroom! But watching something homegrown, they would know to argue whether the garden being attached to a paddock made it worth £12.4 million or £12.5 million. Look, there’s going to be some suspended disbelief in Rockford having a trailer in a place where the membership fee alone is $2000 a month. Fine. But what you don’t do, what you don’t do after owning such a house is have the father character explain to his son that making money is an empty, soulless life. In other words, don’t make money with your powers; there’s oodles of it lying around!

It’s this combination of entitlement and lack of awareness sets the tone of the film. Now I love privilege. It’s the reason I’m seeing movies in the middle of the day. But I do have the sense not to make a movie about it. I don’t have the sense not to be writing a blog about it, but there’s no way for you to tell that I’m right now laughing at the plight of those who cannot soak their feet in caviar genetically engineered to be even more expensive than regular caviar (the price is largely due to all the genetic engineering). Unless you correctly interpret my choice of font, of course.

One thing I certainly wouldn’t do is make a time travel movie about it, and that’s where I’m asking for a little bit of self-awareness that goes beyond ‘all my neighbors have mansions, the only people I know are my neighbors therefore Socrates is my neighbor’ logic displayed here. In a time travel movie, a character is given a lot of power, the choice of doing whatever he likes. And what this guy likes is to is be a dick. To wit, having spent a year with the perfect girl, he bumps into The Vapid Blonde, and moves time around to sleep with her. When he doesn’t go through with it, he returns home and proposes.

This is the ‘aww’ moment. You know, for all the people who like guilt proposals from people who feel no shame about cheating.

Awwwwwww.

Now all this jumping around it time, Hitler never comes back as zombie to save us from the butterfly, or causes our hero to cross paths with Christian Bale as John Connor (not to get his ass kicked, just to be shown up as way less sympathetic). There are no rips in the space time continuum. It is a world without consequences, except….

Babies. The consequences involve babies. Come on, you say. Scott hates babies, but this is gone far enough. He can’t see that hurting or killing a child is a real and awful consequence?

Yeah.

That’s not quite how it works.

According to the film, you can’t start World War III, or bankrupt google by over-investing in it in the 1980s (no one ever thinks about that), or even slightly inconvenience a toddler. But travel too far back, and what you will do is change the genetic makeup of your child. It’ll still be your child, but maybe a different sex, or a less cute nose, and so on. This leads to two problematic choices, one where he lets his sister suffer a horrible car accident, and the other where he can either visit his father every day through time travel, or have a third child. Obviously he chooses Family over family, but while adults don’t come out so good in this formula, the babies are a close second. Loving my child no matter what? What am I, a parent?

Look, all this is fine, since I generally like creeps, but there’s that disconnection between the house and the middle income retired professor again. The film should have known that all this behavior doesn’t seem cute, or even fallibly human, but weird and gross, like Blue Jasmine pretending to be Crimes and Misdemeanors or Spiderman pretending to be R.I.P.D. Now I’ve liked Mr. Curtis’ past efforts, unashamedly both Four Weddings and the unfortunately titled Love, Actually. Even within this film, the bits between Ms. McAdams and Mr. Gleeson are pretty decent, light and vulnerable.

Funnily, but in no way funny, there was no need to bring in time travel, and in fact a mistake to do so. Thing is, the only thing time travel movies are about is the idea, as unfashionable as it is, of consequences. And either from the perspective of a man whose beautiful beachfront view doesn’t include Crawley social housing, or from one that can’t remember when it did, these consequences don’t exist. Can’t see it from a cottage that backs onto the South Downs either, but at least I drive to the Cineworld 14 once in a while. Where the hell else am I going to see Pandorum?

Profits!

They made a cute couple. I’m not a robot…when I see movies.
$4.00
Total Profits
$4.00

Losses!

No notes, but here’s but I’ll remember: How nice I was supposed to think everyone was, and how mean they actually were.
$13.00
Wealth is wasted on the rich.
Total Losses
$13.00

-$9.00

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