Friday, January 3, 2014

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane: And the Hype Monster Does Too

A long, long time ago people saw a movie called All the Boys Love Mandy Lane and talked about it a lot. They talked about it so much that people who had not seen it…..wanted to see it. There was only one problem. All the Boys Love Mandy Lane wasn't released! All the other people couldn't see it. They got sad and then mad and then forgot about it. Then on a magical day in 2013,  All the Boys Love Mandy Lane was released and people bought it and watched it. Then on an even more magical day, it was released on Netflix Instant Watch. And then we all joined hands and sung and danced and watched the movie. Here's what happened next.

It was OK.

Fact is, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is a pretty good movie. But I don't think it's anything to write home about. Such is the wrath of the hype monster. Maybe it's because it took so long to be properly released? Maybe the modern-take on the classic Slasher formula thing got overplayed in the time between when the film first came out and when the majority of the public actually saw it. That's sad. That means that all the other sucky movies that could get released took all the glory. Ah the injustice.

The film is set-up as classic Slasher movies usually are. Teens in a secluded ranch house get picked off one by one. The modern twist is that the killer is revealed/obvious fairly early on. And our 'final girl' has something so mysterious about her that we still can't figure it out by the time the credits roll. The twist in the ending is a little predictable although the film does try to do something a bit different with it, which is nice. The ultimate question though is---WHY do all the boys love Mandy Lane so much?

Admittedly there is something tantalizing about Mandy Lane. I think it's because she's so aloof all the time. She don't give a crap about how all the boys like her that's for sure. Plus, she has some weird dark past, and she lives with her Aunt and is really good at running. Her main attraction though really is her unattainableness. At the film's beginning a meathead jumps off the roof of a house into a pool right before shouting his love for Mandy Lane. Then whoops he dies.

So there we have the key factor. All the boys love Mandy Lane so much that they die trying to get her. Makes sense. I guess.

What doesn't really make sense is the motive behind the killings.

I'm still scratching my head. I'm also still scratching my head about the timeline of events. There's something to be said for things intentionally being left vague, but so much of this just feels way too vague and possibly unintentional. I just couldn't help but feel that the movie was missing a solid 20 minutes or so of….I don't know explanation? Flashbacks? I still just don't understand key elements which is bothersome. Why this group of people? Why Mandy Lane? What happened to her parents? Why is it good she make new friends? What happened to her old friends? Has this happened before? Is she secretly a lesbian? Is the movie a commentary on the social stigma of being gay in high school?

Why won't anyone tell me anything?!! DID the movie tell me this but I somehow missed it because I busy trying to make sure my cat didn't shit on the rug again?

Anyways. If you put aside all that confusion and annoyance, the movie is still just OK. The first kill is fun but the rest are mostly just shotgun parties. And what fun is that? I think unfortunately the reveal of the killer so early on kind of ruined the real fun and satisfaction that the movie could have attained if it stuck with the classic slasher motif. But it's desire to split into this new modern trickery-spin thing…kind of derailed all that satisfaction.

Oh Mandy. I just don't know about you. I'm not even sure if I liked you or not. But I want to. Someone help me. Someone who saw this long ago and sung its praises tell me why, help me understand. I want to join the circle of laughter and fun. But I'm stuck outside moping.


D said...

Sounds like this one was over-hyped. I've been looking forward to seeing it for years, too. Oh well, I guess I'll lower my expectations...

Dark Iris said...

I just finally got around to watching this film last night, so I felt way, way behind the curve. I think that there's some kind of half-baked "stop objectifying women" message attempt, but it just does not fly. Mandy is enigmatic for very little reason, and the backstories that the film compels us to create are more interesting than the film itself. Meh.