Sunday, August 30, 2015

Paper Towns features too many self-absorbed teens

Movie:    Paper Towns

PG-13, 1 hour 49 minutes

Grade:    C for Couldn’t stand the self-absorbed teenage angst  
OR           D for Don't waste your time or money on this

In a Nutshell:    Critics love this coming-of-age movie, but I found the self-centered adolescent drama extremely annoying.

Nat Wolff (whose parents hold the titles of famous writer, director, actor, and musician) plays a nerd who will do anything to be with the girl of his dreams, played by model Cara Delevingne.

Written by John Green, the paper thin characters don’t have the depth that his characters in his book The Fault In Our Stars do.  Read my movie review of Fault in Our Stars here.

On the other hand, teens who long for an epic road trip and are on their own journey to discover who they really are will  probably really like this flick.

Uplifting Theme:
·         Quentin says “I feel my heart beating in my chest.”  Margo explains “That’s how you know you’re having fun.”  
·         Enjoy the moment.  You only get one shot at life, so make every minute count.

Things I liked:
·        The beautiful Cara Delevingne reminds me of a young Merriel Hemmingway.
·         Who doesn’t fantasize about disappearing and having an adventure?
·         I was happy to hear Quentin’s speech at the end about the lessons he had learned about life and the truths he ultimately discovered for himself.  At least there was some growth throughout the nonsense.
-    It was interesting to see the clues Margo left and then watch how Quentin figured them out.

Things I didn’t like:
·         Margo is a total vandal.  Aw, how sweet.  Seriously, I really hated her character. She’s such a terrible role model for your kids who want to see the movie.  I'd be furious if one of my sons chased after such a stupid girl, especially if he ditched high school to do it.  I'm such a mom.
·         Margo says “It’s a paper town.  I mean, look at it: the paper houses, paper streets…and the people too.  I’ve never met anyone who cares about anything that matters.”   - This is such an egotistical, ignorant comment.  If she actually looked in her community, she would find countless examples of people serving one another.  Instead of spending her energy getting revenge on people she considers to be less-than-perfect (as if she is without flaws), she should try serving others and thinking outside herself.  She reveals that she doesn't know who she really is, but she has no forgiveness or patience for others who are trying to figure it out for themselves too.
·         Margo asks Quentin “There’s going to be a time in your life when you ask yourself ‘what do you regret more: removing his eyebrow or not?’”  How stupid.  You know, I have to say that I’ve never regretted my decisions to choose kindness over revenge. 
·         The teenagers in my audience giggled at the disrespectful, rebellious behavior of the teens in the movie. 
·         There’s a totally dumb scene where Lacey (Halston Sage)  sits in a bathtub during a party and invites Quentin to get in with her.  She asks him “what’s the first word you think when you see me? When he responds, “beautiful”, she gets mad and whines that no one ever sees her as smart.  She insists “I’m not a slut.”
·         Margo has a history of running away when her life doesn’t go the way she wants it to.  That’s a horrible defense mechanism.  She also doesn’t consider the feelings of others or the consequences of her actions.  Girls, she may be pretty, but she has terrible qualities that you don’t want to emulate.

Funny lines:
·         “Eyebrows grow back.  Lame is forever.” – the note Margo writes to a guy who did something mean way back when they were in middle school.   Wait a second, isn’t she the lame one for holding a grudge for so long?  I guess she never watched Frozen and learned to "let it go."
·         “Who’s the kid?” – Gus, the security guard
“I’m 6 months older than her.” – Quentin
·         “I’m a big believer in random Capitalization.” – Lacey
·         “Look at us!  We’re ninjas!” – Margo
“I’m not a ninja.” – Quentin
“You are a ninja….just a really awkward ninja.” - Margo

Interesting lines:
·         “Margo loved mysteries so much.  I was thinking, maybe she loved them so much, she became one.” – Quentin
·         “We’re going to right some wrongs.  And then we’re going to wrong some rights.  Basically, this is going to be the best night of your life.” – Margo
·         “We bring the rain and not the scattered showers.” – Margo   (She acts deep, but she is extremely shallow)
·         “Here’s a tip: you’re cute when you’re confident….less when you’re not.” – Margo    (great tip for everyone)
·         “What a treacherous thing it is to believe that a person is more than a person.” - Quentin

Tips for Parents:
·         One of Quentin's friends is obsessed with Quentin's mom and constantly makes inappropriate jokes about getting together with her.
·         Some profanity.
-     Talk of sex, venereal diseases.  The worst part of that is the teens' flippant, casual attitude about sex, as if there are no consequences.
·         The worst thing about this movie is the behavior and attitudes of the teenagers.  As a mom, I really hated this movie.

Loved the movie?   Here's the book, and another one from the same author:

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