So Bad It’s Good: Pitching Love and Catching Faith
Heather throws at Tyler while the extras watch on. You’ll get him next time, H-Dawg.
This wide shot cracks me up. They’re all standing around kinda watching, or staring into the camera. And who did these people’s outfits? Did they just tell them to wear whatever? One dude is in jeans and a polo, another has a Batman shirt and cargo shorts. Tyler’s bff is wearing basketball shorts that almost reach his long socks. The filmmakers’ first thought must have been “good enough”, but this is exactly why costuming exists.
Speaking of costuming, you can see Tyler in the first of many SLCC shirts. I wonder if they required it, or if they donated a bunch of gear so they could have “realistic” costumes.
So Tyler walks up to the game, is a dick, and then up hits a home run to show that he’s the superior athlete. Extras flop all over each other trying to catch the ball, the women are fanning themselves and trying to keep their lips from attaching themselves to his leathery face, and ultimately Tyler has shown up Heather. He goes over to her to gloat, but the timing between the two of them is terrible – it feels like they stitched several awkward improvisations together instead of having anything for these two to actually say to one another. He’s desperately trying to get Heather to tell him how hot and good at baseball he is, but she’s “playing hard to get”. This is important to note because the movie will forget about this and act like their relationship is based on her chasing him because she wants to break off a piece of his kit-kat bar.
So Heather goes home after this backyard softball game, takes a big swig of Powerade Zero, and then she starts cleaning. Does this character have OCD? It’s so strange watching her wipe down a counter and vacuum her room in a montage set to a keyboard with a string orchestra mode. She never does it later in the movie – this whole sequence is baffling; why not just show her crumpling up and tossing out the newspaper article that says, “Heather Thompson on Fire” which is obviously an allusion to the fact that she’s destined to burn in hell if she doesn’t repent from her lustful ways? It’s really the only important part of the scene, though it’s desperately unclear why she’s doing it. Usually an athlete trashes a symbol for accomplishment because they’re depressed after destroying their knees, or out of shame/regret because they didn’t achieve what they wanted to achieve. It’s also something more meaningful than a newspaper article that she has in multiple rooms of her house. If you’re going to use a trope in your movie, at least know why it’s there. Do things purposefully.
She’s also wearing a different uniform from earlier. Maybe Home v Away uniforms? But why didn’t they ever wear this in the montage?
Then it cuts to an establishing shot of a Chili’s that no characters are in. Why show this? If the answer is money, why not actually have the character be inside? Why don’t we get to see interaction?
The scene fades from Chili’s to an exterior shot of a moving car, which then fades to an interior shot of a car that is not moving. This is such an absurd series of edits – how could no one come up with a better way to show that Heather is on a date with a guy we don’t know? He also won’t matter, but he still gets a name: Seth. Why is he being introduced this way? Or at all? Heather is seemingly telling her boyfriend – who goes on to imply that they’ve been together a long time – her life story, which can be summed up with “softball”. Don’t worry, we’ll hear this story again later if you’re worried you missed vital characterization by only catching the end of the conversation. Lala is actually fine in this scene, she’s doing what was asked of her, and I see a lot of her real self in this particular performance. Often she’s acting, but there are definitely parts where her real reactions and feelings peak out. The guy she’s talking to, on the other hand, has a blank stare like he dropped a ton of acid at Chili’s and it’s just now kicking in…
Is he okay?
He really must be drugged up because he goes on to break up with Heather because he needs someone in his life who believes what he believes in. Now I know this is code for “he’s Christian and she is not”, but no one would know that without knowledge outside of the film’s text, and understanding that Heather is a heathen. It’s not clear at all what he actually means because we don’t know what he believes in, we don’t know what Heather believes in, and we don’t know how different those beliefs are. We don’t understand the conflict it has caused between these characters. He couldn’t even say something like, “You’re skipping church for softball”.
Ultimately, why bother putting this scene in the movie?
Something that could have fixed this moment while staying true to the film’s terrible view of women would be to have Heather try and get physical with this guy. She could lean in for a kiss and he could react with, “No, I can’t keep doing this”. Instead, he talks about how long he’s been thinking about needing to tell Heather that it’s not her, it’s him… in a non-specific way.
Heather has no response to any of this because she has no motivation, agency or thoughts that aren’t about balls.
Apparently Heather is sad, so she goes to cry to her roommates. She complains about how she can never stay with a guy, how she’s always “someone’s project”, and how she can’t seem to find someone who loves her for her. Again, what does any of this mean? We are aware of one of her boyfriends so far, and we don’t know anything about him except that he believed differently from her. This is the kind of point where it’s important to have personal conflict underneath the inability to keep a man, and “kissing” versus “not kissing” does not address the issue.
What’s her motivation for even wanting to date? What is she looking for?
And do these women do anything besides sit around talking about men? Especially when the guy talk is mostly about one character’s brother. The only other media where siblings are this involved in each other’s sex lives is Game of Thrones. What do these other two women do? What are their names? Why does one of them do a sexy thumb bite after failing to console Heather? Can’t they at least discuss softball, or religious beliefs? It’s tough for your character drama to be interesting when your characters don’t feel like real people and when they are actively working against the themes of the story.
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Wow!! 10 page critique by Mr Jacobs? We enjoyed the very unique and sensitive handling of the subject matter of the movie! It was very interesting and novel! Thank you so much! Interested in watching more of your movies! Thank you!