(Originally posted on my Tumblr on January 26, 2013.)
A week before it’s set to close, I finally got a chance to see bare the musical.
Why did I wait this long?
I get how and why people are obsessed with this show. There’s more angst than fan fiction and the characters are the outcasts we thought we were (but probably really weren’t). In bare, high school drama is turned up to 11 as these Catholic School kids deal with love, drugs, homosexuality, bigotry and judgement within a religious setting.
Religion itself, though, was just a MacGuffin.
The students were not fearful of punishment from God… they were more afraid of their parents, society and their peers. Especially Jason.
See… Jason is a jock who happens to be with Peter. Jason and Peter are adorable together but inly when their alone. Jason is not out to himself, let alone the rest of his world. Peter wants to celebrate their relationship and be honest about it, but Jason thinks their relationship is best kept secret.
Though Peter is the protagonist of the show, I was drawn to Jason’s character because he had the most “drama” going on in his life (and I thought the actor playing him – Jason Hite – looked like a poor man’s version of Matt Damon).
Watching Jason’s internal struggle get the best of him was heart-wrenching (to say the least). I don’t emote much when watching movies/television/theater, but tears welled up and then spilled slowly down my cheeks during “Cross” – Jason’s confession scene/song to the priest. The lyrics alone were a sucker punch to the heart, but watching Jason go there was intense and moving. The boy was on his knees, trying to understand how to feel what he was feeling while still trying to adhere to what he’s been told by parents, religion and society. I wept silently for this boy as he tore at his hair and begged for answers that would never come.
Jason and Peter’s story was not the only plot line of the show (obviously), but it was the one I cared most about. However, my favorite vocals from the talented ensemble came from the girl who played Jason’s sister, Nadia (Barrett Wilbert Weed). That girl can siiiiiing.
Another highlight of the show, for me, was seeing Missi Pyle play Sister Joan. I’ve been a fan of Pyle for well over a decade and it was a real treat to see her on stage 🙂
This show was an epic combination of Peter Pan, Romeo and Juliet and most high school-based after school specials. (Teen pregnancy, jealousy, sexuality, repression, drug use, etc…) It was one of those “anything that can go wrong, does” scenarios where you know that a happy ending is not a likely outcome.
Once you embrace the angst, it’s easy to get sucked into the heightened drama and great songs bare the musical has to offer.
Oh, Glee. In an episode that was supposed to be about female empowerment, you managed to not only not do that, but degrade them with a few of your song choices. I need to look up who wrote this episode… (it was Ross Maxwell… which makes me sad b/c “Dance With Somebody” was one of my favorite episodes. And this just… wasn’t.)
The wholly ironic thing about this episode was that I liked Kurt and (most of) Blaine’s storylines even though it had them moving in seemingly opposite directions. (However, the payoff is that these diverting paths will likely also bring them back together.)
So, spoilers (and fairly heated opinions) ahead if you haven’t seen the episode.
I was glad the episode started with Blam because they are my favorite friendship on the show (besides Unique and Marley). Sam was convinced the Warblers cheated at Sectionals, but he wasn’t quite sure how yet, though he was determined to find evidence. It’s in this scene we get the first glimpse of Blaine’s crush on his recently acquired BFF. Sam asks Blaine for lip balm and when Blaine stares at his eyes and lips (oh, those trouty mouth lips), we know Blaine likes Sam. Blaine balked at Sam’s request to share lip balm, but Sam argued that they’re like brothers, so Blaine handed over the chapstick and watched while Sam coated his lips.
(Note – Even if this plot point wasn’t spoiled for us weeks ago, it was actually a very logical step to take in the Blam friendship. Of course Blaine is going to get a crush on Sam… Blaine is attracted to guys, Sam is a nice guy, Sam is nice to Blaine, and Sam is one of the only people who have been nice to Blaine unconditionally since he cheated on Kurt, ergo Blaine’s crush is warranted and not a surprise. Sam is the best character for Blaine to have a crush on because he will be able to handle it gracefully and likely in a way that won’t mortify Blaine OR ruin their friendship. This crush also would never lead to anything, leaving Blaine romantically unattached to anyone for when Klaine eventually happens again. I will speak more of Blam in a bit.)
At student council (which consists of Blaine, Sam, Tina and Sugar), Tina suggested they put on a Sadie Hawkins Dance and Blaine immediately said that he’s not sure it’s a good idea. (This is where I was like “Oh, goody! We’re FINALLY going to get some in-depth Blaine/SHD back-story this episode! Huzzah!)
The show cut from Student Council to an all-girl club called “Too Young to Be Bitter Club.” (Strike One for not empowering women this episode.) There was a sizable group of girls who are talking about how it’s demeaning to wait around for guys to ask them out. So, they came up with the idea of a Sadie Hawkins Dance so that way they can ask out whom they want, which would be empowering. (This idea *is* empowering for women. However, later it will not be executed as such… but for this fraction of a second, we can pretend Glee was trying to do the right thing.)
Cut back to Student Council and Blaine had “I have a bad feeling about this” written all over his angelic face.
Meanwhile, in New York, Kurt Hummel was now at NYADA. In his voiceover, we find that his college experience thus far was just like high school and there were a bunch of cliques and he’s gotta find somewhere to fit into. He talked about the social hierarchy of the different groups and it’s not new information for viewers, but more of a sad reminder that you can’t really ever escape how society thrusts you into groups/labels and you’re either at the top of the social pyramid, or you’re not.
After a brief run-in with Rachel (where we find out most of Brody’s involvement with anything revolves around his shirt being off… he was presently at an audition for “Magic Mike: The Musical”… which I can totally see happening Off-Broadway in a couple years), Kurt searched for some extra-curriculars and his eyes land on a poster for “Adam’s Apples.”
Back at McKinley, various girls in the hallway were staring down the boys like they are for sale. The boys almost understand how girls feel during school dance season… getting eyeballed and just waiting for someone to ask you out. (Sucks – doesn’t it?)
In the teacher’s lounge, Coach Beiste was arm wrestling other teachers (which makes sense b/c Dot Marie Jones is a badass/arm wrestling champion). She had a brief chat with Finn about empowering the glee kids and suggested that the girls sing to the guys to ask them out. She said that the Sadie Hawkins Dance is a metaphor for empowerment for everyone who is sick of the status quo. (Oh, Coach Beiste, how I’ve missed you so…)
At Kurt and Rachel’s Bushwick penthouse (b/c seriously… how the HELL do they afford to live in that space?!), Kurt was prepping himself some tea while Rachel snuck out of her own bedroom as Brody had spent the night.
The roommates had a chat about Kurt trying to get more involved at NYADA and he mentioned that he was thinking about joining their show choir. Rachel immediately threw out a red flag on the play and told him that was career and social suicide. Gee, for someone who clung to glee club like a lifeline in high school, Rachel was pretty adamant that Kurt stays away from something that could potentially be something good for him at school. (This was Rachel’s first moment of MANY instances where I wanted to smack her in her self-righteous face.)
Back at McKinley, the glee kids were sitting in the locker room for their first SHD ask-out song. First up – Tina Cohen-Chang. She told the group she was singing “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” (from Jesus Christ Superstar, for those of you not in the know…) because it was about unrequited love. Though most of us knew who she was singing to, it was funny watching the boys trying to figure it out as she sang. I nearly choked on my Pop-Tart when there was a flashback to Tina in math class watching Blaine near the chalkboard. She wrote “Blatina” in her notebook and then there was a close-up on Blaine bending over to pick something up. My Pop-Tart threatened to lodge in my throat as I coughed out “Oh. My. God.” Gratuitous Blaine ass… (That gif was all over my dashboard last night and likely will be until the end of time.) Then poor Blainers was blindsided when Tina asked him to the dance in front of everyone (Dude, she was staring at you the whole time…). He sputtered out, “I don’t know what to say… Um, no… thank you. No thank you.” (Insert that clip from The Simpsons of Ralph Wiggum’s heart breaking in the Valentine’s Day episode.)
After the commercial, Kurt was staring at the Adam’s Apples sign again when Adam himself approached Kurt. Adam knew who Kurt was (he saw his NYADA audition/performance of “Being Alive”) and started actively pursuing Kurt to be in the group. “We need you. We want you.” Adam invited Kurt to at least come see the group perform… and I wish I could unsee/unhear the Adam’s Apples rendition of “Baby Got Back.” (Strike Two for not empowering women in this episode.)
I’m not going to delve deeply into the controversy of Glee’s use of this version of the song. I hadn’t heard the cover that they used (I’m a purist and only know/love the Sir Mix-a-Lot original) and frankly, I wish I never had to hear it. I think I would have loved the Adam’s Apples if they sang any other song (or if they would have done the original version of the song). As it were, we were forced to watch/listen to the Island of Misfit Toys do this awkward song/dance of a horrible, horrible version of a classic objectification jam.
Did you notice how Adam’s Apples were presented as a mix of stereotypically social outcasts and then some random “normal” people scattered throughout (notably Adam and Joey Richter’s character). You had a Goth kid, a little person, an Asian girl who looked like she was dressed as Little Bo Peep, the pale ginger boy with glasses, a shorter and skinner brunette version of Fat Amy… just pile on those stereotypes. Is *this* why Rachel said that joining the Adam’s Apples would be social/career suicide? Was she trying to steer Kurt away from associating with a bunch of college kids who make the New Directions seem like Top Models?
Kurt seemed to dig the performance. He chuckled throughout at the ridiculousness of it all. But, I understood his appeal to the group (besides Adam being cute and nice). Though Kurt was always one who was quick to judge or be snarky, he never considered himself too good for any group of people. He was used to being excluded for one reason or another, so he didn’t react poorly to the members of the Adam’s Apples because he likely saw them as a group of “different on the outside but similar on the inside” folks who sang silly songs and had fun doing it. Whereas, Rachel would take one look at that group and turn back around as quickly as humanly possible because she changed and has been quick to “forget” where she came from. (I’ll delve more into this later… I so do not like Rachel Berry this season.)
Back at McKinley, Brittany sidled up to Marley and said she sees how when Marley looks at Jake, she looks like a sad puppy. (Ugh, I wish the show would stop trying to make Jarley happen. I like Ryder and Marley together way better… Alas.) So, Brit offered to help Marley find her power and we transitioned to the glee girls singing “Tell Him” (originally sung by The Exciters). I looooooooooooooooove this song. (Makes me want to bust out my Big Chill soundtrack and dance around.) I loved the production of this song – all the girls in those blue dresses were just adorable.
What I did not like, though, was at the end of the song when Marley dropped to her knee (putting herself physically lower than anyone else in the room, especially Jake who was sitting on a table) and asked Jake to the dance. (He said yes, and I screamed at my television for Marley to stand up.) Brit then asked Sam to the dance (yes) and Tina glared at Blaine with dagger eyes.
After the number, Kitty found Jake and asked him to the dance (even though he legit just said Yes to Marley, like, 30 seconds ago). She told Jake he won’t get past first base with Marley and that she’s offering more. Jake looked a little conflicted, but his heart usually is in the right place.
When we got back from commercial, Blaine was at his locker (he still has pictures of him and Kurt in there… aw) and Tina approached him to apologize and ask for one in return. She apologized for pushing the Sadie Hawkins dance on Blaine when she remembered he told them that he transferred to Dalton after betting bullied at a Sadie Hawkins dance. Blaine brushed her off and told her that wasn’t the reason why he didn’t want to go to the dance. (Um, excuse me?)
Blaine admitted that he had a crush on a straight guy (but assured her he’s not a “predatory gay”) and said he didn’t want to go to the dance where everyone could be romantic but him. After a lot of pressure, Tina finally broke Blaine down enough (he literally sunk to the floor) for him to reveal that his crush was on Sam. (Flashback to Sam talking to Blaine about how the Warblers probably used human growth hormones to cheat at Sectionals… and Blaine was completely smitten with Sam. It wasn’t love, though… like, Blaine wasn’t looking at Sam the way he looked at Kurt. It was more of an “aw, gee, I think you’re swell” scenario.)
Tina joined Blaine on the ground and they laughed about Blaine’s crush – she could see it too (those lips). She said she understood what it’s like to have a crush on someone who won’t like him back (*cough* she’s talking about herself, Blainers…) and told him his love is misguided because he missed Kurt. Tina decided that she and Blaine would go to the dance as best friends and would have the most fun ever. He agreed to her plan and they hold hands and walked off down the hallway.
(Note – I was dumb and initially thought the Tina/Blaine crush ended here with this scene. I thought for once the glee writers managed to write their characters out of an awkward situation and give them a real/relatable storyline that could end amicably. I thought, in this moment, Tina realized her crush on Blaine was like Blaine’s crush on Sam… never going to amount to anything because of the other person’s sexual preference, but not a huge surprise because it was a crush on a friend that took their mind/energy off of their breakup with their previous significant other. Alas – my Tina/Blaine happiness was not meant to be and would not last until the end of the episode.)
It was weird and somewhat unsettling for there to be a Lima Bean scene without Kurt or Blaine… but the Puckerman half-brothers were getting coffee and Puck was actually doling out good advice to his “little brother from another color mother.” (God, I love Puck.) He told Jake, using a ton of baseball metaphors, than Jake should not go for Kitty because he himself has had every flavor of Cheerio. Puck suggested his brother stick with Marley and takes things her pace.
Back in NYC, Rachel and Kurt were walking (as one does in this city) and she told him she hoped he finds the man of his dreams because she wants Kurt and his man and her and Brody to go on double dates. (In my notes, I actually wrote “Ugh Rachel, shut your whore mouth.”). Kurt told her that there was someone (flashback to Adam complimenting Kurt on his plie and Kurt commenting how his ex was the dancer in the relationship, but then Adam complimented Kurt again and Kurt took it). Kurt didn’t tell Rachel Adam’s name because he didn’t want to jinx it. Rachel said that Kurt was over his breakup and that he should ask this other guy out. Then Rachel pranced across the street exclaiming “There’s nothing like being in love in New York. Seize the moment.”
(Note – This was another spot in the episode where I wanted to reach through the screen and smack Rachel. Firstly, since she is so self-involved with her and Brody, I highly doubt she actually knows the extent of Kurt and Blaine’s relationship. I choose to think that she’s either not had a serious heart-to-heart with Kurt about his breakup because she’s focused on herself, or Kurt hasn’t told her that he and Blaine admitted that they still love each other. Granted, they likely aren’t in love to the extent they once were, but still… Also, I think it’s ridiculous for Rachel to be handing out relationship advice. I will state my case on this more when we discuss her scene with Brody at the end of the episode.)
Back at McKinley, Kitty asked Puck to the dance and he agreed after telling her he’s a pro not an amateur and that since she asked, she’s paying for everything. “I expect to be fed.” (Oh, Puck.)
Cut to the dance – the decorations are gorgeous (which Blaine pointed out to Tina as they walked in together, hand in hand). Up on stage, Artie started a long-winded introduction to their song. Blaine hopped up on stage, grabbed his headset and said, “This one’s for all the powerful women out there.” And then Blaine, Sam, Joe, Ryder and Artie launched into “No Scrubs” and for that couple minutes, I was a completely happy camper. Not only is “No Scrubs” (TLC) one of my epic jams from middle school, but I love when Glee goes boyband. I need more of this. Added bonus that Blaine’s pants and shirt were both extremely tight on his frame and there was so much dancing. (Four for the costume people this episode… seriously, between Blaine’s clingy clothes and the fabulous dresses word by the girls throughout the episode. Well played.)
After recovering during commercial break, we come back to Marley and Jake dancing. He said she’s safe with him and she asked him to take things slow with her. (He said he would.)
Meanwhile, a majority of the “Too Young to Be Bitter” club are sitting on the bleachers. Seriously, girls, you were the ones to come up with the idea of the dance… why didn’t you ask anyone? Luckily, Coach Beiste talked some sense into the girls – “Life’s not about waiting to be asked.” (I did not appreciate Lauren – of all people – calling herself and the girls “losers.” Lauren Zizes was one of the most confident characters on that show… I wish the writers wouldn’t take that away from her.) Then Beiste said, “The worst he can say is no.” (So, Lauren asked Joe and Sugar asked Artie and all was well again…)
On her words, we were back in New York. Kurt pulled an “I’m pretending to tie my shoe” move while he waited for Adam. Gathering some courage (Ouch. I should have chosen a different word.), Kurt asked Adam if he wanted to go out for coffee some time. Adam smiled and said yes, then entered his number in Kurt’s phone.
As much as I ship Klaine, I was beyond happy for Kurt when he was smiling as Adam walked away. This was the first time Kurt ever asked anyone out. He put himself out there and did it, knowing there was a chance for rejection. So, as much as I want Kurt and Blaine back together (eventually), I’m glad Kurt is going to experience being with someone else. And I’m glad that someone else is Adam… he seems to be nice and he already knows Kurt has an ex. It’ll be nice to see Kurt interact with someone else who likes spending time with him – it’ll show him he’s worthwhile on a social level with other guys like him. I’m very interested to see how far this goes (though based on spoilers for 4×14, it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a long-winded thing).
Back at the dance, Tina and Blaine were talking, and Tina’s had her heart eyes on again and there was an awkward camera move of Tina’s POV moving toward Blaine’s face. Thankfully their near kiss (?) was interrupted by Sam who pulled Blaine away for some glee club business.
After the commercial (I was grateful for the two minutes of not having to see Tina be more awkward than she already was), the glee girls performed “Locked Out of Heaven” (Bruno Mars – swoon). Those girls were fierce and took hold of those mic stands like they owned them. Ryder was dancing with the Cheerio in the neck brace (I could have used way more Ryder in the episode), and Puck and Kitty were dancing together. I actually didn’t hate Kitty in this one scene. She and Puck were laughing and having a good time. She complimented him on his script (he was surprised she read it) and they genuinely seemed to get along… which makes sense since she’s Quinn 2.0 and Puck/Quinn worked for me in earlier seasons.
Meanwhile, Sam, Blaine and Finn were in the locker room. Sam has video footage of a Warbler flipping out at the Lima Bean and pictorial evidence that showed how the Warblers must have used some sort of body enhancing steroid/HGH to perform how they did at Sectionals. It all seemed to make sense and Blaine turned to Sam and said, “The glee club is back. Blam!” And they high-5ed and my heart leapt because Blam is the greatest friendship to happen to this stupid show. (Also, I love every time Sam yells “FACT!”)
Finn wondered how they were going to prove the Warblers were in the wrong. Never fear – Trent Warbler’s here! Trent explained how after Blaine left, the Warblers had a shift in attitude where winning was everything (see what happened when Wes graduated? FOR SHAME!). There was some blurry footage of Warbler boys getting shots in their asses and taking in shots of various hormones and whatnot. Trent worried if he went public, the group would be ruined. Finn asked if Trent would testify against the Warblers. This question was not answered this episode, but likely will be resolved next episode (as we know who is going to Regionals…).
Back at the Bushwick penthouse, Rachel set the table with burgers (Seriously? She was a vegan at one point, right? Like, I wasn’t making that up…) and the accoutrements. Time passed and Brody showed up at the door, 45 minutes late. Rachel flipped out and complained that she’s tired of getting the scraps in her personal life. She made some comment how she’s worth more than $10million and Brody stopped her and muttered that she’s priceless and how he would be willing to wait his whole life for a train if he knew he could spend his last day with Rachel. (Or something like that… It’s hard to write down notes/dialogue when NONE OF IT MAKES SENSE.) He then asked her to dance, but there was no music… they start swaying and we cut quickly back to McKinley where Ryder was singing “I Only Have Eyes for You” (love this song too… well played).
Also at McKinley, Blaine made his way back to the dance floor to find Tina. He said he might have saved Glee club and Tina looked at him with her swoony eyes again and remarked, “Is there anything you can’t do?” To which Blaine replied, “I know I can’t leave here without having at least one slow dance with you.” So, they dance and Tina’s crush on Blaine reared its ugly head again while poor Blainers looked over at Sam and Brit dancing and he own face fell. So, neither Blaine nor Tina are over their crushes yet (even though I thought mid-episode Tina had come to her senses…).
Back in Bushwick, Brody told Rachel he wouldn’t be late again and that he’d get an apartment by her. And then she looked up at him and asked him to move in with her. (Strike Three for not empowering women this episode.)
(Note – So, what the hell is up with Rachel this season? And especially this episode? She was engaged to Finn a few months ago… then she liked Brody, but he hooked up with her teacher and then told Rachel that she doesn’t have any say over what he does. But now they two of them are talking playing house? Where was this relationship development? Did that happen during the hiatus and we’re just supposed to accept it? I can’t wait for next episode when “the old Rachel” comes back. I didn’t like her either, but maybe she could smack some sense into Season 4 Rachel. This “new” Rachel who wears heels all the time and dresses like she went crazy at a sample sale. This “new” Rachel who runs around the streets of New York like she has everything figured out simply because she’s in New York. This girl is still 18, right? Maybe 19. What about her career path? What about her friends? She was the one who said just last season that she couldn’t wait to stay friends with the New Directions for the rest of her life and how she wasn’t going to let anything get in the way of her dreams of Broadway… but lately she’s been focusing on herself and herself alone. I hope Kurt talks some sense into her next week when he finds out she asked Brody to move in with her without even consulting Kurt before she did it.)
And if that weren’t enough to set me off, the last scene really had me screaming at the television. It was the final meeting of the “To Young to Be Bitter Club” and while I was glad they were tearing down their sign, I was livid when Tina announced to the group that she found the love of her life. (Strike Four for not empowering women this episode.)
Oh Glee. Halfway through the episode when Tina saw the light for half a second and realized her crush on Blaine wasn’t going anywhere, I was a happy camper. But then… then you have her re-fall for him at the dance (and yeah, he looked dashing in his tux and was all gentlemanly because he’s Blaine and Blaine has impeccable manners), and then you go and make her say that he’s the love of her life. WHY?!
Tina and Blaine’s respective crushes this episode were warranted. But you can’t go and have Tina realize her crush isn’t going to work out, only to have her fall in love with Blaine by the end of the episode, because it just makes her seem silly and desperate. Tina was the character to admit how she knows how it is to have a crush on someone who won’t love you back. Tina was the one who had tried earlier this season to get Blaine to talk to Kurt to rekindle their relationship. Tina knows Blaine is gay. But somehow the writers want to take away Tina’s headstrong sense of self from prior seasons and make her “that girl” – you know, the one who falls for the first person who is nice to her/respects her even though he is wholly unavailable. Tina’s arc this episode (well, arc is the wrong word here… more like the path one takes during a dizzy bat contest) made me sad, then happy, then sad, then super sad. I sincerely hope this gets resolved next episode and hopefully in a way that doesn’t make Tina appear more pathetic than she seemed during the dance
Blaine’s arc this episode – with regard to his crush on Sam – was better handled and has left room for a great conversation between the two boys during the next episode. I hope they writers have allowed for them to have a scene where they can sit down and hash it out like friends. Sam is such a morally good character and the Sam/Blaine friendship is really special to this show. I hope they handle this potentially awkward situation with a gentle grace. There will probably be some lighthearted ribbing, but I can’t imagine Sam would ever put Blaine down for his feelings or not want to be friends anymore.
SPEAKING OF BLAINE…
I was so disappointed by the epic lack of Blaine/Sadie Hawkins Dance back-story. Tina brought up how Blaine told them he was bullied at a Sadie Hawkins Dance. But… let’s go back to 2.20 (“Prom”) shall we? When Blaine and Kurt were at Breadstix and Blaine confessed that three guys beat the living crap out of him and his date. We still don’t know the extent of Blaine’s injuries (physical or mental). There were enough mental injuries for him to initially balk at the idea of going to junior prom with his boyfriend. There were enough mental injuries for him to not dance with his boyfriend for the majority of said junior prom. But then, it was like all of Blaine’s school dance qualms were over. During Kurt’s senior prom, it was a ban of hair gel that almost prevented him from going. And during this Sadie Hawkins episode, Blaine was more worried about going to the dance and not being able to go with who he wanted, than being traumatized by his past experiences. Like, I’m fine with Blaine being fine about going to dances now… but maybe they shouldn’t have had him reveal how he got the shit beat out of him at one before and then never bring it up again. We don’t know a lot about Blaine’s past… it’d be nice if they addressed stuff about him, especially when they have a whole episode called Sadie Hawkins. And we know Blaine was beat up at a Sadie Hawkins dance. (I can’t be the only one who was disappointed about this.)
Ugh. This show… I just can’t.
(And yet I watch. But I literally am only watching for Darren at this point. Darren and Papa Hummel.)
So, next week is “Naked.” And the promo showed Blaine seeing a shirtless Sam, but the rest of us know we’ll be seeing shirtless everybody. (Well, all the boys… and potentially Rachel. But I hope she gets some sense knocked into her by then. Oy.)
Thoughts on the episode? Were you as disappointed as me? Did you feel the episode empowered women? Are you happy for Kurt? Sad for Tina?
Let me know!
This is a few days late, but I went to an advanced screening of Warm Bodies and I’m totally giving it a huge stamp of approval.
I saw the trailer a couple times and was eager to see the film because it stars Nicholas Hoult (that dorky kid from About a Boy who should get a gold medal for beyond successfully making it through puberty… see A Single Man and X-Men: First Class) and is about zombies.
Though I was unaware this film is based off of a YA Novel (“Warm Bodies” by Isaac Marion), it’s got YA written all over it… and I was okay with it with the exception of a 5 minute scene about ¾ of the way through the movie that completely mimics a famous scene from Romeo and Juliet. (Looking at the novel’s Wikipedia page, it says that the book makes allusions to Romeo and Juliet… well, the film definitely one-ups allusions and goes straight for “HEY LOOK – WE’RE DOING ROMEO AND JULIET NOW, OKAY?! COOL!” Plus… the characters names are R and Julie… and R’s bff’s name starts with an M. So…)
However, I thought this film was highly entertaining. It was funny (there were several laugh out loud moments – mostly care of Rob Corddry who play’s Hoult’s bff), charming (seriously, Nicholas Hoult made the most adorable and endearing zombie ever), and there was some decent action.
Without ruining the plot for you, there was an apocalypse and now are 3 sects of people (or former people)… there are people, zombies, and Bonies. Both zombies and Bonies are undead and must feed off of living people to survive, but Bonies are worse because they are too far gone to revert back to any sort of life-like being. People hunt and kill zombies and Bonies, but zombies stay away from Bonies if they can help it (as they are gross/scary and also feed off the same food source – i.e. competition).
Warm Bodies, like most (YA) movies, is a love story. So, when zombie R locks eyes on human Julie during a mini raid, you wonder to yourself how that’s going to work out. And you know what… it’s an engaging story that manages to keep your attention even though it’s completely chaste and somewhat cheesy. The plot really pushes how it’s the little things (meaningful glances, the feeling of someone’s hand sliding into your own, sharing stories and other personal aspects of your life with another person, etc…) that make separate people from Bonies. This film is about change and not counting others out because society said so.
Personally, I found this film more entertaining than Les Mis (yeah, I said it). Though it dragged in a couple spots, on a whole I was engaged the whole time and genuinely concerned with how R and Julie were going to make it out of their conundrum. I could overlook the pockets of silly plot and the epically cheesy Romeo and Juliet scene and appreciate the movie on a whole. It helped that I’m a huge fan of Hoult and that even though the lead actress (Teresa Palmer) looks like Kristen Stewart, she has a much wider range of facial expressions and emotions. Rob Corddry pretty much stole the movie, though, and John Malkovich was a welcome sight as Julie’s taskmaster of a father who was dead-set (no pun intended) on destroying the zombies – including Julie’s new friend R.
If you’re looking for a chuckle with your zombie flick, I highly recommend Warm Bodies. It’s definitely not Shaun of the Dead, but it’s a much cuter YA rom-com than something like… oh, I don’t know, those stupid Twilight movies*.
Warm Bodies. It’s a good Valentine’s Day movie… for reals.
*(I’ve seen 3 out of 5 Twilight movies, so I have earned the right to call them stupid since I sat through over half of them.)