I saw Looper on Friday and I'm only getting around to writing about it now. As some of you know, this is a movie I've been waiting for for years. I'm a weak person and I did a bad, naughty thing when I downloaded the script when it leaked a few years ago. I couldn't help it. It was like someone put a pint of Ben & Jerry's in front of me and said, "But don't touch this." It's just not going to happen. The day I read it, I couldn't put it down. And then I went back and read it again.
I'm not going to necessarily get into the timey wimey time travel parts of it in this post, because I'm actually gonna do that in a HitRECord video. (Well, maybe I'll get a LITTLE into it.) But, this post will have SPOILERS, so if you don't want LOOPER SPOILERS, then don't read this post full of LOOPER SPOILERS.
Okay, first, because I have to get it away, yes, of course there were some problems and issues with the script. Nothing is perfect. And I am a big believer in thinking critically about things that I love the most. Especially about things I love the most.
So yeah, the first thing Imma talk about here is the role of women in the movie. I might not even be going into it as much if Rian Johnson hadn't made a snarky comment about the Bechdel test on Twitter. I know that the test isn't always a great litmus for good representation of women in media (because some really good, pro-female works don't even pass it,) but at least take it seriously when someone brings it up. :/ I love Rian Johnson and he is currently my favorite director, so I always get eye-rolly when people I really respect have those human failings.
Anyway, the biggest problem with this script was that, like Brick, the women characters skirted the whole "whore/madonna" trope. Either they are whores who aren't emotionally available for the main character (JGL in both cases,) or they are his savior. Well, not so much with the "savior" in Brick. But definitely in this movie. One woman is literally a prostitute who breaks his heart, the other is a typical, virtuous wife who saves his soul. Old Joe actually even says this. Moreso, she has absolutely no lines at all. She's just there for him and nothing else.
FORTUNATELY, the movie is saved by Sara, who's tough as hell, has her own agenda, and could take or leave Joe. She decides on "take." Which is great, because it's her decision. She's the one who initiates the affair, basically just because she feels like it. He doesn't change her and turn her into "wife material," nor does she change him. They don't fall in love. She keeps her own agenda, which is looking out for her son. Young Joe does change, but it's not for her. His sacrifice is more meaningful than that.
I mean let's face it, it's a movie by a dude, about a dude, with some women in the story. That's just the way these things are. Movies centered on women are usually called "chick flicks" and movies centered on men are just called "movies." I'm not saying that it should stay that way, or that we shouldn't try to have a more even set of films – WE TOTALLY SHOULD. Movie writers should write movies with women characters doing all the normal (or abnormal) things, and have it just be a damn movie. But that is rare, and in the mean time, we have movies about dudes. They can still be good movies. And this was beyond good.
And by the way, Emily Blunt was fantastic.
Just because I knew I was going to love the movie way in advance, doesn't mean I didn't find new things to appreciate. So much of the movie was just how I pictured it. Of course, Joe looked different, wince he was in Bruce Willis makeup, but I got used to that quickly enough. After the first two minutes, it didn't seem so much like "JGL being Bruce Willis" rather than just two guys playing the same character.
There are a few things that Rian does in all of his films, one of which is the whole Tormented Hero thing. He even hung a lampshade on that in The Brothers Bloom. Which, I mean, I LOVE. That is actually my biggest fangirl button; I've said that so many times. Rian Johnson just has a sensibility about characters that really melds with my own. He knows how to write heroes that I pretty much have to enjoy.
And in both of his movies that feature Joe as the lead, he's definitely got this thing for breaking him up into tiny, bite-sized, heartbroken little Joe-bits and then throwing him into bed with The Bad Girl. I wonder why that is. Also, using Noah Segan as the Buttmonkey.
Props, by the way, to Noah Segan. His character Kid Blue had to go from being badass, to ridiculous, to pathetic, to sympathetic, sometimes all in one scene. Talk about whiplash. One second you loved him, the next he was the bad guy. One second he's awesome, the next second he's stupidly hilarious, the next second you feel profoundly sorry for him. Well played. That must have been hard.
Bruce Willis was Bruce Willis, which is to say, really badass, obviously. I saw him in some interviews and he seems really softspoken and nice.
Lemme talk for a second about the major difference between the (ILL-GOTTEN) script* and the movie.
( SPOILERS )
Okay, aside from that. The scene with Seth, oh my god. That was creepy as hell in the script, but in the movie, it turned into HIGH OCTANE NIGHTMARE FUEL, wtf. I almost couldn't look, it was so horrifying. Extremely effective, just subtle enough that you didn't have to see everything. Any more would have been overkill. Oh man, body horror.
So there's a lot of Timey-wimey mindscrewing in this movie, but, for as much as I love the concept of time travel and could discuss it all day, (and have,) that's really not what the film is about. It's really just about making a huge sacrifice in order to break a cycle of destruction. I know there are some people who are taking a cynical standpoint and saying "I still think nothing changed," but to me that's pointless. To me, it's not that kind of nihilistic movie. It means something. That was the whole idea of it, I think: to do something with meaning. Otherwise, why bother?
Oh, and Joe was perfect for the role, since, duh, it was written for him. Still, there would have been ways to screw this role up, but he just gets better and better. It was hard to realize that I was even watching him, and that's not really because the makeup, either.
So, problems aside, not only was this my favorite movie of the year, but I think it's actually my favorite movie. I think it knocked The Usual Suspects out of its top spot, goddamnit. Which pisses me off, because that movie has been there for years.
On a side note, I knew there was going to be a HitRECord collab to put stuff on the Looper DVD when it came out. I got crazy excited and did a crapload of stuff about Time Travel. Because I mean, what a huge concept, time travel, there's so much you could say about it. And it's a time travel movie. How tremendous! But, no. They made the collab about LOOPS. Man, STFU and get out my face, both of you. I'm just full of piss and vinegar over that, I mean really, "loops," wtf even. >_< Now I have to do all new stuff and I don't feel like it. Dang.
But anyway, it's a great movie, and people, if you haven't seen it, do. You won't be sorry.
*Don't ask me for it. It was years ago, and now Rian is going to release the licensed version to the public soon. So if you want it, you'll get it soon enough. :D