A Misanthrope’s Guide To The Movies: The Judge, Gone Girl, and Men, Women & Children

Fall break is gone, taking with it any and all fleeting excuses to pretend midterms don’t exist. Reality is back and it feels an awful lot like midnight cramming for a stats exam that you’re hard-pressed to care about. In the meantime, you’ll have to look elsewhere to find the enjoyment and excitement of life. For some of you, this may mean a virtual reality, for others, the hallowed halls of your local movie theatre. Or any movie theatre. Luckily, there happen to be several highly anticipated, star-studded films on the silver screen right now, and even luckier, I happened to have seen almost all of them. Here are the movies I saw over Fall Break (in between important dinners and being really popular), and how I felt about them:

Men, Women and Children

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Men, Women & Children was the first movie I saw this weekend, and perhaps the one for which I had the highest hopes. Despite the bad reviews, I didn’t really believe that the man (Jason Reitman) who brought us JunoUp in the Air, and Thank You For Smoking could make a movie that was all that bad. [Ed.: Did you read the reviews for January’s Labor Day?] I was wrong. Men, Women & Children is possibly worse than all that bad. The movie features strange, overwrought narration from Emma Thompson, who is not an actual character in the movie and seems to think that she is back on the set of Love Actually and has switched roles with Hugh Grant. Her narration is set to images of the Challenger shuttle hurtling through space, which does precious little for the actual plot of the film except to remind us that even if we’re just small specks on Earth, irrelevant in the course of time and space, our life can’t possibly be any more pointless than is Men, Women, and Children.

Featuring a cast led by Adam Sandler (you know him from Blended fame), Jennifer Garner, Dean Norris (you actually know him as Hank from Breaking Bad), and Judy Greer, Men, Women & Children aims to tackle the dangerous role of technology in modern society and how it negatively impacts our relationships. Unfortunately, for a movie trying to uncover a societal truth with which we can all relate, very little of the movie feeels grounded in truth, and the characters and circumstances are wholly unrelatable. The teens don’t talk like teens, but rather caricatures of high schoolers ruined by the Internet and created by a middle-aged parent writing a script. The adults in the movie behave perhaps even less realistically. One mom sells illegal, risque pictures of her underage daughter online, her neighbors both engage in virtual, technology-driven affairs on a nightly basis, and the mom down the block treats the Internet like the devil incarnate and her daughter like an inmate.

All in all, I would obviously not recommend seeing Men, Women & Children, though if you need firsthand experience to confirm that the newest Reitman film is nowhere near Juno, I understand. But be warned, by the end of the movie you’ll be wishing Ellen Page and Michael Cera were there to save you.

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