Movie commercials offer us a great service; they not only show us which upcoming movies look good, but also which upcoming movies look like Hitler Turds (turds that waste no energy being anywhere except directly beneath your nose). In honor of this profound art, which I partake in from time to time, I give you TRAILER TRACKS, a weekly examination of upcoming movie commercials: what they say, what they don’t say, and what they say accidentally about the product being sold to you, the excited chump.
This week’s entry:
The Time Traveler’s Wife
(Warner Brothers/New Line; Dir. Robert Schwentke)
In my humble opinion, there are no such things as books. I’m not convinced they exist. So if you’re heartbroken that a movie adaptation didn’t do some novel justice, don’t come crying to me, cause I’ll just think you’re a wacky conspiracy theorist. Conversely, I think people who want to defend the shittyness of a film by defending the greatness of its book should be made fun of by the older George Carlin. I bring this up because I’m told this week’s trailer is based on a book which is likely liked by people I don’t like.
The Set Up:
So it looks like Benjamin Button kicked-off a whole new genre where horribly negligent men get romanticized by science fiction tropes. I just don’t think Nora Ephron or Cameron Crowe saw this one coming. These movies are like the polar opposites of Groundhog Day, and that is always a bad thing.
The Time Traveler’s Wife stars Eric Bana-nana-fo-fana as The Time Traveler and some lady I’ve never heard of as, ‘s Wife. The premise, as the trailer gives it, is that he experiences time in a non-linear fashion like S. House in that movie, Slaughterhouse V. This means that at any given moment he randomly moves to a different point on his timeline. Or maybe not so randomly since in the trailer he admits that he’s magnetically drawn to certain times based on how awesome they were. Either way, he’s a guy with a cosmic excuse for everything. Anytime she wants to cuddle, anytime she wants him to watch her favorite movie (Somewhere in Time, The Lake House, Harold & Maude), anytime she wants him to babysit the kid so she can get a haircut, he’s magnetically drawn back to a time when all she wanted was self esteem.
Problem #1 is present from the get go, and it’s sort of OUR problem. Bana talks to his future wife while she’s a little girl. He even uses that kiddy voice people usually reserve for dogs and deaf kids. Basically, he’s interjecting himself into her life as a mystical being at an age when she still believes in God and Santa Clause. It’s really unfair. The guy’s just laying track so he can lay pipe. I bet he even takes her virginity at age twelve and justifies with a little, “I’ve seen the future and we’re soulmates baby, so this is just a matter of inevitability.”
Well, she falls for it and gets pregnant. He pops in and out whenever it’s convenient and rubs it in how well he knows their unborn child. Pretty soon she’s old, and her boobs are weird, and he shows up less and less because he’s magnetically drawn to a time when she was more Angelina Jolie and less John and Kate Plus Eight Minus John and the Eight Plus Two Clones of Kate. It’s hard on her heart, and she can’t really break up with him because at any time he could be having sex with her in the past or the future. Can you call it rape if thinking about it gives you a migraine?
The time travel thing has to be resolved somehow. I see this going down two ways depending on which part of The Time Traveler’s Wife’s genre-smashing dichotomy is predominant.
If it’s a romantic film with science fiction elements, some deeply personal event or declaration will be the catalyst that finally ends his “miserable” time travel problem. The two lovers will live together in the same when, and she’ll be real happy, and the film will end before he shoots her and himself.
But if it’s more of a science fiction film with romantic elements, I think we’ll have a scene where she’s an old woman and she actually finds him as a child. After blowing his mind by listing a bunch of stuff only a wife would know, she tells him everything about her past with him and his future with her, thus planting the seed that sends him to her in the first place. It’s like Planet of the Apes but with roses and mixtapes and lots of teary kissing.
I’m not going to see this film, but I’d like to defend it if only because it has an angle most Severely Romantic pictures lack. Some people are blindly devoted to horror films, some love raunchy comedies about college, some like movies where all cops are fat except the one who knows kung-fu, and some like movies where really handsome dudes fall for really hot ladies and after a little rough-spot get married forever. For whatever sub-genre, there is a top tier of actually good films with potential to cross-over. Just underneath that is that 2nd tier: the films trying to do something a tiny bit different even if they aren’t really great films. Underneath that is all the shit that only devotees enjoy. The Time Traveler’s Wife feels like it’s in the 2nd tier, which is better than nothing.
Still, I find it hard to believe that women would be attracted to a guy who disappears like Marty McFly’s hefty sister any time the going gets rough. I mean, Eric Bana is hot, but he doesn’t even get to keep his awesome accent in this one. I would say that I just don’t understand women, but I’m beginning to wonder if even women understand women. Maybe my next movie should be about a girl whose new boyfriend is a vampire who won’t fuck her but constantly leaves her alone for months at a time because he wants to fuck her so bad. I’d have him glitter in the sunlight, but that might be taking my sarcasm too far.