Zack & Nick's Culture Cast

Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!

Tag Archives: rachel mcadams

ANCC: Doctor Strange

By the wondrous winds of watoomb!  In our epic 75th episode, Nick and the Gorehound are joined by Cousin Charles to discuss the 2016 film, Doctor Strange, starring Bennybutton Cumbersnitch! Check out the episode to see what they thought!

To listen to the episode, click here or on the image below.

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25 Days of Christmas: ‘The Family Stone’

Day 12stone

I despise The Family Stone.  I truly do.  It is incredibly shallow and manipulative.  Most of the characters are completely obnoxious and almost everyone acts or says something for no reason other to movie the story along.  I get that that the central premise concerns itself with the outsider meeting her boyfriend’s wacky family and hijinks ensue.  I get it.  I really do.  It is a solid formula to follow for a holiday film.  However, everything in this movie just makes me incredibly angry as I watched it.

I guess part of venom I have for this movie has a lot to do with me being incredibly let down.  When I first saw The Family Stone, I was kind of psyched to see it.  I really liked the cast, and everyone seemed well-suited for their roles.  I like Dian Keaton, Craig T. Nelson, Rachel McAdams, and Sarah Jessica Parker.  Even supporting role actors such as Claire Danes and Like Wilson are usually great to see on screen.  And, I will give the film credit, the actors do have a fairly strong chemistry and all seem committed to their roles.  I had no problems there.

The major problem, as I suggested above, is with the writing.  These characters are just awful human beings, and you cannot sympathize with them even though the movie forces the idea that you should.  In particular, we are shown that Keaton’s matriarchal Sybil needlessly forces an argument after Meredith (Parker) asks a somewhat ignorant, yet understandable question concerning nature versus nurture.  It is obvious Meredith was not attempting to be insulting, and a rational mind would not have viciously attacked the way Sybil does.  Then again, Meredith continues to press the issue even after the feeling of discomfort permeates the room.  Why would she do this?!?!?!

Again, it is a case of the story leading the actors.  It is just lazy writing when a movie does this.  I know the filmmakers want to tell a specific story, but make the characters fit into that story.  Do not develop a character, and then force them to act out-of-character to push the story along.  Shouldn’t that be Screenwriting 101?

Finally, the thing that gets me the angriest about this movie is how manipulative it is to get the audience to care and make it feel deep and meaningful.  And, they do it in the cheapest way possible: cancer.  Hateful witch Sybil has breast cancer.  She keeps it a secret until the end, because, you know, the film needed some way to resolve all the conflicts.  It is utterly sickening.  And, it does not stop there.  Throughout the movie, Sybil and her bitch daughter Amy (McAdams, who perfected the unlikeable character) hate Meredith for no real legitimate reason.  Good thing Meredith just happened to bring along a framed photo of when mother was pregnant with daughter as a gift.

So, what have we learned here, kids?  Cancer and deus ex machina gifts will solve all of our problems.

Oh lord, how I hate this movie.  I hate it.  I hate it.  I hate it.  Just writing this review has made my blood boil a little bit.  It wants the audience to care, but does so in the lowest way possible.  Eff this movie!

~N

Why I Don’t Like ‘The Notebook’

I don’t hate romance movies.  Often referred to as “chick flicks”, many can be fun and enjoyable.  Like any genre, there are good ones and there are stupid ones.  I don’t subscribe to the societal stereotype that guys (or girls, for that matter) shouldn’t like a particular type of movie.  Sure, many romance movies are formulaic, but as long as the characters are interesting and the story isn’t too clichéd, then I’ll probably enjoy it on some level.

2004’s The Notebook is an example of a film that has a lot of likeable elements and can be enjoyed by a wide audience.  Anecdotally, I know many males who like (and some who love) this movie.  I can see why.  The characters are well-developed, the performances are solid, and the story has a unique twist to it.  And, for the most part, I found The Notebook to be a pretty solid film.

Yet, I don’t like it.

Here is why: Rachel McAdams.  Normally, I love Rachel McAdams, and she is probably one of my favorite actresses.  Celebrity crush?  Quite possibly.  She does a good job in the movie and preforms her character well.  Her character, on the other hand, is, well, not all that likable.

Here is my problem, and this really ruined the movie for me: McAdams and Ryan Gosling’s characters were teen lovers and were separated.  They go their separate ways, and McAdams’s Allie eventually becomes engaged to another man (James Marsden, who constantly plays “the other guy” type roles).  Now, of course, McAdams is going to reconnect with Gosling and ditch Marsden.  That is obvious, because of the nature of the movie.

Many movies of this kind want the audience to root for the main couple, in this case McAdams/Gosling.  We don’t want her to end up with Marsden.  The problem I had was that the movie never gives us a reason to not want her to be with “the other guy”.  Marsden’s character is presented as a completely stand-up, level-head gentleman.  At every turn, he is supportive and respectful of McAdams.  She wants to paint again; he tells her to go for it.  She mysteriously decides to disappear for a week or so; he doesn’t question it.  She admits she cheated on him with an old flame; he acts incredibly rational.

The movie gives us no reason to not like this guy.  We don’t need it to be over-the-top where we don’t know why she was with the guy in the first place.  Just one thing would have been enough (telling her “no” when she wants to paint for example).  Instead, Marsden is a great guy who McAdams somewhat screws over.  I’ve had this discussion with others, and they’ve suggested that, while it sucks for that guy, it’s more realistic.  That is probably true, but I don’t want realistic when I go to see a movie like this.

It made McAdams’s character completely unlikable, and I became disinterested in their romance after that (granted, that was at the end of the movie, but still).  Up to that point, I really liked the movie.  However, when movie character assassinates one of its two leads whom I am supposed to root for, it is tough for me to get behind it.

~N

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