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Friday, February 7, 2014

Review: Monuments Men

Dear Monuments Men,

I've been seeing previews for you for a long time. I heard you'd be in my neck of the woods before Christmas, and then I heard you'd been delayed until February to have a little bit of (ahem) work done.

When I heard of the delay, I kind of felt bad for you. February? Harsh. We all know it's the desert wasteland of movie season. Rather than enjoying the glitz and glamour of Oscar buzz, you'd been relegated to shack up next to Vampire Academy and a slew of other movies meant to do little more than pass time. Surely you didn't deserve that.

And then, oh, I saw you. And I'm not sure how to put this delicately, so let's just get down to business. What. A. Mess.

Your story is one based on historical truth, or so I've heard. Unfortunately the actual monuments men never showed up. They've been kidnapped and replaced with George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett and a series of other actors famous enough to qualify as brands. All of these actors are capable of playing more than watered down versions of previous roles in other movies. And I really like most of them, but I'm annoyed you thought I wouldn't notice when you replaced all trace of character development with brand recognition. I did.

I also thought you would have been above old-school movie cliches. Wars are terrible; they involve death, destruction, despair. I think you told me a lot of that was happening in your movie. I'm pretty sure you were trying to make me feel bad about it, too. You played all kinds of cheesy music and had lots of very serious voice overs. I definitely think I was supposed to be feeling something other than really sleepy and mildly irritated. I picked up on the cues - some emotion is coming! - but there was no substance to follow them. In all, I think you need to work on your communication skills.

And lastly, I have no idea what you actually were. I guess you were something like a war tragedy mixed with an offbeat underdog story mixed with historical nonfiction mixed with some kind of Oceans 11 heist with a little swirl of comedy and inspirational something-something. I think I see what happened to you there. It's like when you make brownies and add nuts and then add caramel and it's rich but good and then you add chocolate chips and frosting and before you know it there are Sour Patch Kids in your brownie batter and you want to throw up. We've all been there, man. We've all been there.

So, I'm going to go ahead and give you a D. Sorry about that. I hope we can still be friends?

Yours Truly,


P.S. If you found this letter annoyingly flippant, oddly vacillating between serious and cheery, I'm sorry about that. I guess now you know what it was like to sit through your stupid movie.
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