Saturday, May 25, 2013

3 Thoughts on The Great Gatsby

1. The good stuff - This is definitely a movie that is filled with both good and bad elements, so let's start with the good: First, Baz Luhrmann knows how to throw a party.  He is the perfect person to bring Gatsby's grandiose, extravagant celebrations to life.  I didn't see it in 3D, but I imagine that this is where the 3D was used (I can't imagine it being useful for anything else in the movie), but even in 2D, it is in-your-face spectacular.  There was so much detail and depth to these scenes that I wanted my own personal pause button in order to look at every frame in detail.  Second, the biggest reasons that these party scenes worked is because of the amazing soundtrack; I've had it on repeat for weeks.  The music kept the film afloat, keeping it fresh and modern...and alive.  It was also, sometimes, very jarring (the best example of this is when when a car, from the 1920's, whizzes by blasting  "H to the izz-O...". It made me laugh for hours).  Third, Leo is absolute perfection as Gatsby.

2. The bad stuff - I usually try to convince myself that the "good" of a movie will always outweigh the "bad" of a movie, but in this case, the bad just weighs down the movie.  The worst part is Tobey Maguire, and this is coming from someone who is usually a fan.  He gets criticized a lot for being "awkward", but for me, his awkwardness is usually appropriate for the roles.  It's not, in this case. Instead, it is painful.  His narration just caused even more pain.  Second, obviously, the novel would be edited for the movie version, but I'm not sure I liked what was added (the psychiatric hospital) and I absolutely hate what they took out (Nick's relationship with Jordan - who is, by far, a more interesting female character than Daisy).  Third, like the novel, the movie just takes way too long to get to the point.  The ending is superb, but by the time it comes around, I hardly care anymore.

3. Everything in between - First, I would say that aside from Leo's fine performance and Tobey's flat-lined performance, everyone else lands in the middle.  Joel Edgerton was a little too caricature-like as Tom Buchanan, while Isla Fisher was miscast completely, but she did her best.  And, I FINALLY figured out why I am not fully on board the Carey Mulligan express train!!!  I like her, I really do...but there was always something that bothered me about her.  While watching this, I have come to realize that she is one of those girls who ALWAYS seems like she's on the verge of tears.  I picture her as one of those really annoying girls that get super emotional and attached after sex, and I have a hard time relating to girls like that (I would still totally have sex with her, I would just ensure that I had an exit strategy). This underlying sadness works with the characters that she plays - and it works here too, it's just such a repetitive character for her, at this point.  She did a fine job with the role of Daisy, but nothing spectacular. It's probably because I've never been a fan of the character to begin with - a weak, indecisive, self-important, spoiled girl that I just want to shake some sense into (this is also why I am disappointed with the cutting of Jordan's role. I love the contrast between these two women).  Second, I was really hoping for more! Much more! I wanted to be blown away and I left the theater feeling really empty.  I liked it, but I don't think I would recommend it to anyone unless they are a fan of Luhrmann. It's also not a movie I would watch on multiple viewings (unlike Romeo + Juliet, which I have seen at least 100 times).

Sunday, May 19, 2013

3 Thoughts on Mud

1. The kids - The reason this movie works so well is because of the kids.  Fantastic characters; fantastic actors.  Sure, the movie is titled "Mud" and the poster is plastered with McConaughey, but the story is told from the perspective of these two young boys.  Two young boys, Ellis and "Neckbone", who don't quite understand the way life (and love) works. Tye Sheridan, as Ellis, is one of the best young actor performances I've seen in a while.  He's everything you want him to be - tough, courageous, inquisitive, vulnerable.  While, "Neckbone", played by newcomer Jacob Lofland, is there as more of a comic relief character; he still displays layers to his character with beautiful subtlety.  I rarely like kids in movies; even though my favorite movies include Stand By Me and The Goonies.  Nowadays, kids are boring on-screen - too tech-savvy, too spoiled, too materialistic (with the exception of Super 8).  I miss the kids that go on adventures!!  They're still out there and they are far more interesting.

2. Mud - Matthew McConaughey is on a role.  A fucking role.  Why on Earth has he wasted so much time making movies like Fool's Gold??  He is perfection in this role.  You could tell he reveled in the role, I mean, he is practically shirtless, dirty and sweaty for the entire movie, which is pretty much a description of McConaughey all the time in real life. I loved that we never get any definitive information about Mud - he is a mystery and will remain that way. I was surprised by the ending of Mud's story, considering that all that we know about Mud is what the kids learn about him (plus I expected more of a Take Shelter ending); but then I thought maybe this ending is what the kids interpret his ending to be - and that makes me love the movie even more.

3. The misogyny - There are many themes of the movie - some say it's a story of love and heartbreak. Others, say it's about a loss of innocence (a coming-of-age story).  For me, the movie tackles a big question: Why do men hate women?  I actually don't think that is writer/director, Jeff Nichols', intention (and that is part of the problem), but from my perception of the story (aka a feminist perception), it's a tale of men learning to hate women at a very young age.  There are three women in the film; all three are villainous, especially from the perspective of these kids. Sure, there are actual gun-toting "villains" in the movie, but in the grand scheme of things, women are responsible for the events that unfold.  The most obvious representation of this is in Juniper, Mud's "true love".  Juniper, played by Reese Witherspoon (aka the weak link of the movie), is a troubled woman who, as told in stories, attaches herself to abusive men and then tricks poor Mud into saving her.  She's given a "manipulative" woman trait and is never given the opportunity to explain herself.  We are given one glimpse of pure emotion from her, that hints to Ellis that there is, in fact, more to her story, but does he really understand that?  From a kids point of view, she is someone who has deceived Mud instead of loving him.  Women in cyclical abusive relationships aren't in these relationships because they enjoy it; and this story is clearly placing blame on the wrong gender (as in real life).  Whether it is because of abuse, molestation, rape, etc, as a child or young adult, women are like this because a man fucked them up.  Instead of focusing on the consequences of male aggression, we teach young boys that women will destroy their lives, and the cycle begins.  Ellis is also dealing with his parents divorcing because his mother wants a better life.  For most of the movie, she has no other characteristic, other than crushing his fathers dreams.  We only get a small glimpse of her side of the story - the fact that she has spent her whole life living for him, instead of herself, and he has done nothing.  Even though we get these small glimpses of something more complicated, I don't think it's enough.  These female characters represent a clear hatred of women all disguised as "love" - you know, women are evil, but don't give up on love because you'll find one who is worth it.  To be clear, despite what it represents, I LOVE this movie.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. The Impossible - I am one of those people who are bothered by the casting of this movie.  Spanish director, Juan Antonio Bayona, made a movie about the survival of a Spanish family during the 2004 Tsunami, but cast a white family and then described the movie as an "English-language Spanish drama".  Bayona admits that the casting was for financial reasons (he claimed he could only get funding with internationally recognizable actors) and also, that it shouldn't matter what race or social class the family is because the story is about humanity.  That doesn't seem to make much sense...right?  If it doesn't matter, then why not stay true to the story?  Instead, he succumbed to the racist claim that an audience wouldn't care as much if the family aren't white (also, there are PLENTY of internationally recognizable Hispanic actors and there are PLENTY of films that succeed without "recognizable" actors).  It's a cowardly move, in my opinion.  I tried not to let that effect my viewing of the movie, but it's an underlining problem throughout the story.  When you personalize a story by focusing on one family (among thousands...over 200,000 people were killed), then we should actually get to know the family.  Instead, we know very little about them (other than, they are wealthy, white and on vacation).  The tsunami hits very quickly, which I guess is the point - to take the audience by surprise, but I think that is why I spent the film with dry eyes.  I expected to cry. I was prepared to cry. It just didn't happen.  It's not that I didn't care about this family; of course I wanted them to survive (and knowing that it is a true story, I expected that it would have a "happy ending"), but not knowing anything personal about them left me void of any tears.  There was one point, when the son begins to help other families reunite, that I felt a lump in my throat, but it disappeared pretty quickly.  Other than my problems with the story, I will say that the actual tsunami scene is breathtaking.  The amount of detail that goes into shots like those are astounding.  Naomi Watts is one of my favorite actresses and she deserves an Oscar, but certainly not for this role (she should have won 10 years ago for 21 Grams - one of my favorite female performances ever).  This role was physically demanding, but she didn't have much else to do but be "almost dead" for most of the movie.

2. Save the Date - I can't resist a movie starring both Lizzy Caplan AND Alison Brie!! Two gorgeous females who are hilarious and talented.  The movie is about two sisters; Lizzy is Sarah, the sister who is in a bit of a relationship catastrophe and Alison is Beth, the sister who is planning her wedding.  Sarah is obviously the interesting character, while Beth literally spends the entire movie talking about wedding details. She is given nothing else to do, and she is terribly uninteresting.  Plus, the amount of time and money that go into weddings is disgusting; my stomach turns just thinking about it.  Sarah, on the other hand, is a little bit of a heightened disaster.  She turns down a wedding proposal to her current boyfriend, which ultimately means a break-up.  It's impossible to stay in a relationship after someone proposes and is turned down. I've tried it. I can relate to Sarah, in the way that she doesn't see the "certainty" in a relationship that most people find.  She doesn't believe in marriage and finding a (nice) guy who feels the same, is pretty much impossible (even the ones who say they don't want to get married end up changing their minds).  I can also relate to her insights on "careers".  She works at a small bookstore, while her friends all have "real jobs".  She claims "I work in this shitty bookstore, and I sometimes feel like, perhaps, I have life figured out way more than those people do".  I would much rather work at a job that I mildly enjoy, in which I can pay the bills and enjoy my free time with family, travel and relax; instead of having a stressful career, in which I have tons of money sitting in a bank account and no free time to do anything with it.  Other than being able to relate to Sarah, I found nothing else useful about the movie.  It's a little slow-paced, not really funny and I can't really find a point.  I have a really hard time believing that Geoffrey Arend would ever get a girl like Lizzy Caplan (mean, I know), but then I have to remind myself that he is married, IN REAL LIFE, to Christina Hendricks, so there has to be something there. I just don't see it.  Also, I was confused about all of the weird shots of the cat, then realized he would become part of the story - *spoiler alert* - the cat goes missing.  This hurts the story, for me, tremendously because all I could think for the rest of the movie is "WHERE IS THE CAT!??".  I would not be able to function if one of my cats went missing.

3. Hit & Run - I was mildly entertained for most of this movie, even if it was really stupid.  I was never a fan of Dax Shepard, until the television show Parenthood came around.  He is amazing on that show (as is the rest of the cast).  He still wasn't the main draw of this movie, for me. *Cough* Bradley Cooper *Cough*.  It was a small role, but he was hilarious.  I also LOVE Ryan Hansen (from Party Down. I still laugh at this on a daily basis:  I wish he had a bigger role in this movie, but he barely has any lines.  He just sort of stands in the background of a few scenes.  I still don't really get Kristen Bell's popularity (I tried watching Veronica Mars once. Painful experience).  She's cute, but not very memorable.  Her character doesn't really make much sense; she is a non-violent conflict resolution expert, yet she is perfectly o.k with her boyfriend racing through the streets putting the lives of everyone else at risk (yes, he is a professional driver, but everyone else around him, is not).  But then again, there isn't much that makes sense about this movie.  Her ex-boyfriend protects putting her life at risk.  The main couple spend the entire movie bickering, even though there are much more important things going people shooting at them! There was very little research done about the Witness Protection Program, because everything about it was wrong.  You get the point.  Just watch it with your brain shut off and you may be mildly entertained like I was.

4. Chernobyl Diaries - Worst movie I've seen in a while.  A group of people visit the deserted town where the Chernobyl disaster took place, only to realize it's not so deserted after all.  I don't understand the point of filming it documentary style unless it's a "found footage" film, but the person recording the story isn't a character and is never referenced.  So, the shaky camera is pointless and unnecessary   The group of people have zero personality or wit.  I never knew who Jesse McCartney was, although I've heard the name before.  His face looks plastic. Is it?  The group seem really excited to visit abandoned buildings (I'm not sure why) and take tons of pictures of....nothing.  Then, they are stuck in a van that won't start and begin to hear and see creepy things outside and they say stupid things like "stay away from the windows!" (in a van...surrounded by windows).  After an hour, we still don't know what it is we are supposed to be scared of. Ghosts? Dogs? Ghost dogs?  It doesn't start to get interesting until the end. Then it's over.

5. House at the End of the Street - Elisabeth Shue!  She plays Jennifer Lawrence's mom, which is sort of sad, but it's Elisabeth Shue!!  It's actually great casting; they do sort of look alike and technically they could be mother and daughter, considering Elisabeth is my mom's age and Jennifer is (much) younger than me.  This movie was exactly the type of movie that I was in the mood to watch.  It's a fun horror movie, with a surprising twist.  It wasn't exactly scary, but I was entertained for all of it.  There are so many moments of "why are you doing that!?" that go along with horror movies (like...why are you putting the key there!), but it was all good fun. Max Thieriot is fucking sexy (He's like a younger Ryan Phillippe). He's also on Bates Motel, which everyone needs to watch - not just because of him; it's a fantastic show.  Plus, I know Jennifer Lawrence has a lot of fans, and she pretty much runs around in a tight white tank top for the last half of the movie. Enjoy!

Monday, May 6, 2013

3 Thoughts on The Place Beyond the Pines

1. Part 1 - Overall, I would say this is a solid film. However, the narrative is broken into 3 distinct parts; the first part is sublime, the second part is good, the third part is so bad it hurts.  I could watch the first part on a continuous loop for days and be perfectly happy.  It's centered on Ryan Gosling's character, Luke, a role similar to The Driver in Drive - mysterious, quiet, introspective, with little to no background information.  The catalyst of the story is Luke finding out that he has a newborn son with an ex-fling, Romina, portrayed by Eva Mendes; determined to do the right thing, he quits his job as a traveling motorcycle stunt driver and decides to stay in town to help raise his son.  There are several powerful scenes over the course of the first 40 minutes, the only thing to do is watch in complete awe.  The height of perfection is a scene that takes place at Romina's work (a diner), where she begins to question how exactly he plans to take care of them.    It's an emasculating question, and you can feel his internal struggle (as well as hers) because he doesn't actually have a solid plan.  It was at this point that I thought, "wow, this is going to be my favorite film of the year".  The momentum continues with Luke, partnering with a new friend, Robin (Ben Mendelsohn), committing local bank robberies (totally solid plan..).  These robbery scenes are perfectly intense and thrilling, because at this point, I was reminded "oh yeah, Bradley Cooper plays a cop, and will probably show up any minute".  The first part of the movie, ends boldly and abruptly (it's not exactly original, but it did surprise me) and the focus shifts to Cooper's character, Avery.  Sadly, it all goes downhill from there.

2. Part 2 - Back in 2001, we saw the release of the television show, Alias, one of my all-time favorite shows, co-starring Bradley Cooper and we had the release of the movie, The Believer, which is the film that really launched Ryan Gosling's career.  Both of these guys have been on my radar for 12 years, and when I heard the news that they were going to be in a film together, I had to remind myself to breathe.  That being said, unfortunately, after the dynamic performance from Gosling, Cooper is a bit of a letdown.  Part of it has to do with the story-line, which I won't get into details because it would spoil part 1, but mostly it has to do with his presence (or lack there of).  Why do I root for a bank robber (who let's face it - is also sort of an asshole), over a cop (who falters, but ultimately does the right thing; even if it is for selfish motivation)?? While Gosling exudes a natural charisma and coolness, Cooper gives some wonderfully emotional scenes, but lacks a personality.  The second part of the movie drags a bit and is more predictable, but it is still good (although compared to the first part, it's not even in the same league of cinematic brilliance). Then it all comes crashing down in the third act.

3. Part 3 - Let me start off by saying that I appreciate what writer/director, Derek Cianfrance, did.  The Place Beyond the Pines is an epic story, with classic Greek tragedy themes, while still feeling real and scaled back.  It's not easy to do, and again, overall, I would call the movie a success.  I just can't get behind this third part.  Nothing about it felt right; starting with the casting.  First, the absolute worst part of the movie is Emory Cohen, as AJ (Avery's son).  Everything about him didn't fit; he looks nothing like Bradley Cooper or Rose Byrne, he talks/dresses/acts like he is from the Jersey Shore and he looks like he's in his 30's (he's not; he's 23, but he is supposed to be 16 - some guys can pull this off. He can't).  Someone who is born and raised in Upstate NY would not be like this (I'm from Upstate NY and I've never encountered anyone like this, unless they came from somewhere else). I might have forgiven this odd choice, if the guy could actually act. I was so put off by this entire character, that I spent the last 30 minutes praying for the movie to end.  Second, Dane Dehaan is an excellent actor, but his character didn't really fit for me either.  He is supposed to take after characteristics from his dad, Luke, but instead of an effortless cool, he is the awkward loner.  The main theme of the movie is obviously the importance of a father in a sons life, but I'm bothered by the fact that he doesn't appreciate that he has a father-figure in his life, who clearly cares about him (therefore, I don't sympathize with the character, at all). Third, the pace of this last part was horrendously slow.  I actually began to ask myself whether I was watching the worst movie of the year.  It's just such a drastic drop in quality from the beginning, it makes me sad to think about.  Last, I recommend this movie, but maybe just leave before it gets really bad (you'll know exactly when, I promise).

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. Liberal Arts - I was surprisingly impressed with this movie.  This is only writer/director Josh Radnor's second film, and I think he did a great job at capturing a feeling - that instinctual need to hold on to the past, the paralyzing nature of trying to remain young and resisting maturity/adulthood.  It's usually not a love story that I would root for - the older man, Sam, with the younger college student, Zibby (a 16 year difference), but it ultimately works here because he is clearly interested in her mind/personality as opposed to her looks/body, plus she seems more put together than most college-aged girls.  It also works because as soon as he realizes that she might not be as mature as she appears, he backs off (i.e - he's not an asshole).  I think it was extremely clear how the movie would end (there was MAJOR foreshadowing, but it was oddly subtle), but it was interesting to watch this guy come to the realization that he is actually more of adult than he thinks he is.  The big highlight of the film is Zac Efron (this no longer surprises me, he's actually pretty good.  I've come to terms with it).  He played the typical "stoner"-type student, who seemed to step right out the the 90's (I was waiting for him to pull out a hacky sack...but it sadly didn't happen).   He's there to be Sam's conscience - and I wondered, as did Sam, as to whether the character was just a figment of his imagination.  He spouts really cheesy "inspirational" quotes like "be love", but he is hilarious, so it works.  Elizabeth Olsen is, once again, fantastic.  I think it's sort of a hard role to pull off and she nailed it.  Also, I LOVED their dialogue about the Twilight type books that she is reading.  He is horrified by her reading this GARBAGE, and her response is "talk about what you love, and keep quiet about things you don't", I agree....but really, I could never date anyone who reads and enjoys those type of books. I would just constantly question their taste in everything. Anyway, I enjoyed this movie; I will definitely be checking out Radnor's first film, HappyThankYouMorePlease really soon.

2. Hitchcock - A few excellent moments, but overall an unmemorable, bland look at Hitchcock, as he made his masterpiece Psycho.  The movie is as much about Hitchcock's wife, Alma Reville, as it is about Hitchcock.  All of the scenes featuring Alma are the "excellent moments", especially the monologue towards the end, where she puts Hitch in his place.  The movie does a fantastic job at giving Alma the credit she deserves  (if you aren't aware of her input, please look it up - and also be aware that she is "uncredited" for most of her work), yet the movie reinforces the idea that she isn't as important as her male counter-parts, by making the movie about Hitchcock!  Why not just make the movie about her???  Even though she stayed in the background of Hitch's career, I have the highest respect for her as a feminist icon.  She wasn't simply doing her "wifely duties", instead she found someone who she really believed in and she did everything in her power to make him succeed.  She truly embodies the saying "behind every great man, is a great woman", which is why the tagline for this movie is perfection ("Behind every Psycho is a great woman"). I'm a little aggravated at the implication that she was insecure around all of the notorious "Hitchcock blondes".  Personally, I don't think she gave a fuck about these women - she seems like a confident, intelligent woman; I'd like to think she was above that type of cattiness. It is very clear, from everything that I've read, that Alma is the only person that mattered in Hitchcock's mind.  Other excellent moments involved scenes that showed Hitch's humor and sarcasm - like when he visits the sensory board ("she won't be nude...she'll be wearing a shower cap!"). The rest of the movie focuses a lot on their marriage, during the production of Psycho, which Hitchcock financed, for the most part, himself, because the studio's weren't exactly enthused about certain plot-points.  For me, the marriage aspect was booooring, repetitive and littered with cheesy dialogue.  I also didn't care for Jessica Biel as Vera Miles or Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh, but that was to be expected. I will give some credit to Scarlett for her "shower scream" scene - absolutely fantastic.  Lastly, I'm not sure what Anthony Hopkins was doing, but it didn't feel like Hitch.  The prosthetics looked amazing in pictures, but in motion it looked awkward and seemed to impair his facial expressions.

3. The Intouchables - This movie is guaranteed to make you smile, at least once.  Seriously, if you don't smile during the Earth, Wind & Fire dance sequence (, then you might want to have your pulse checked. Omar Sy smashes this role, as Driss - the most charismatic guy ever to appear on screen (exaggeration are fun!).  The movie is based on a true story about a friendship that forms between a multi-millionaire quadriplegic and his new ex-con caregiver.  They obviously don't have much in common, but they form a bond based on humor and honesty. It's really just a fun, heartwarming movie (in a good way, not in a cheesy way), and very moving (I actually got a little emotional in the end...a very rare occurrence for me). I might include it in my updated "Best of 2012 list", when I get around to watching everything I want to watch.  Also, I totally want to go RIGHT NOW!  I always wanted to go skydiving, but now I don't know - that looks like more fun.

4. Les Miserables - I really thought I was going to love this movie.  I enjoy the bleakness of the story, I adore all of the music from the stage production, and I had faith that Anne Hathaway was going to blow me away.  Also, I was fascinated by the way the singing was filmed live (and often in one take), which is unusual (the actors usually sing to their own pre-recorded tracks while filming).  I missed it in the theaters, because my movie buddy went without me (how dare he!!!!) and then warned me that I was going to hate it.  I didn't hate it, but I certainly wasn't as impressed as I had hoped.  Other than the acting, and a few sublime performances, there is really nothing to gush over.  I wasn't as bothered by the directing style as most (specifically, the absurd amount of close-ups), but I definitely think it hindered the cinematic experience as a whole.  Anne Hathaway is obviously the stand-out performance - "I Dreamed a Dream" is raw, desperate and emotionally draining, which is exactly how the song should sound.  She practically has a panic attack while singing it.  Oscar, well-deserved.  The other performance that I enjoyed is "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" performed by Eddie Redmayne; up until this point, I found him pretty dull.  Samantha Barks did a fine job as Eponine, but once you hear Lea Michele sing "On My Own", no one else compares.  She was the clear front-runner for the role, and I still don't understand how she didn't get it.  I realized after watching the film, that while I love the character dynamics and relationships, I don't actually like the central love story (between Cosette and Marius) - especially after she's like "Don't worry that all your friends died, because we can be together everyday" and he's like "oh ok" (total paraphrase, but that's the fucking stupid).  Plus, it will always bother me when films/stories take place in another country (like France) but the language is English.  It's like one big, never-ending plot error.

5. This is 40 -  Obviously, at 2 hours and 14 minutes, it's far too long.  At about the 1/2 way mark, I got up and did the dishes, and I honestly don't think I missed anything as far as the plot is concerned.  The length is extremely detrimental to a comedy like this, because once boredom sets in, I find it hard to laugh at the funny parts (and some of it was genuinely funny).  I never thought I would be one to care about my age, but the older I get, the younger I tell people I am (I'm sticking with 26...FOREVER!). I love Leslie Mann; I think she is stunning.  However, it occurred to me, while watching this movie, that as much as it sucks to get older, it's much easier when you don't actually look your age. Really, if I look like her when I'm 40 (*crosses fingers**), it would be pretty hard to complain. I like the chemistry between Leslie and Paul Rudd, they seem like a believable couple that I want to root for, but I could do with less bickering. Watching people who love each other constantly bicker, is probably why I'm still single.  The thought of becoming that, is absolutely terrifying.  The strange thing is, I think the bickering was meant to be funny. It wasn't.  There were some fantastic supporting actors, like Megan Fox; she's perfect for the role and she has fantastic comedic timing. Screw the haters.  There were also some really awful supporting actors, like Charlyne Yi (the girl from Paper Heart - don't even get me started on that atrocity).  I don't understand how this girl is an actress. She looks like she was reading off of cue cards and every joke she had fell flat. The movie is supposed to be a mix of comedy and drama, but none of the drama really worked very well.  The only part that I found incredibly relatable was towards the end, there is a very dramatic scene about the meaning of "family", in which Pete says to Debbie "Your dad left. You're broken inside; it's not your fault you can't feel love".  LOW BLOW, Pete. This family dynamic could have been explored more, but we really don't get much info about Debbie's life until this scene.  It explains her characters need for acceptance more.  Also, allow me to get a bit personal, but coming from a "broken family" myself, I find that I am inherently more attracted to someone who comes from a big, close family.  I am painfully self-aware of why I am the way I am. I would have loved to see more of this self-discovery from these characters, instead it was all very self-indulgent and narcissistic.  There is a big difference.