Disclaimer: I know, I know. Cormac McCarthy has achieved sainthood in certain literary circles (i.e., Brooklyn whiskey bars). My only brush with the author occurred in 9th grade, when an English teacher had us read All The Pretty Horses. I remember hating it and also hating that she said it was assigned because it was a good way “to get boys interested in reading” (because boys HAVE TO like cowboy stories (?) and also OMG what about the mens?!?). Anyway, this review is limited to the film. I’m sure the books are great or whatever and I’ll get around to reading them eventually. So don’t email me all like, “OMG CORMAAC MCCARTHYYY PULITZER PRIZE SDFKJHSDFKJ”
Last week we watched The Road on Netflix. You might think a movie about environmental and societal collapse would be a little bit of a downer — but you’re wrong! Here’s five reasons we couldn’t take this “serious” movie seriously.
#1: Starvation Mostly Makes You Bitchy
The lead characters in The Road – a man and his son – are struggling to survive after an unnamed apocalyptic event wipes out society and, along with it, most of the food. They head south on foot, searching abandoned houses for canned goods along the way. You would think starvation would bring out some deep character development, but most of the time our lead characters just bitch at each other like a couple trying to make dinner plans after 8 o’clock. It reminded me of that series of snickers ads:
I think someone should turn The Road into a campy midnight movie phenomenon where the audience shows up dressed in dirty post-apocalyptic rags and throws Snickers bars at the screen.
#2: Charlize Theron: She’s Pretty and That’s It
I feel bad for Charlize Theron. She’s in like 3 scenes in the whole movie and she barely talks. And then she dies. Oh, and she’s in #3…
#3: Awkward Sex Scene Flashback
Throughout the movie, Viggo Mortensen experiences helpful-to-the-audience flashbacks of his cushy life before the collapse. One is a series of memories of his wife (mostly looking pretty and not talking), including this TOTALLY GROSS scene of him giving said wife a lady handjob during a classical music concert.
Gross. At least it’s dark and they’re in the back, though. People wouldn’t see them, right?
OH NO WAIT IT’S WELL LIT AND THERE’S A BUNCH OF PEOPLE SITTING RIGHT THERE.
#4: The Dad’s a Jerk
Near the end of the movie, Viggo Mortensen starts cracking under the pressure of protecting his son from roving bands of cannibals and thieves. This culminates in him completely overreacting when a fellow starving wanderer steals their food (you know, the food they rightfully stole from that person’s underground bunker). Dad steals back their food and makes the thief hand over everything — including the clothes on his back. Even the kid is all, WTH is up with you dad?
You’re not you when you’re hungry.
#5: The Happy Ending
Given that this is a movie about the end of the world as we know it, I was expecting a relatively grim ending. It’s not like you can just “resolve” societal collapse. Well, color me impressed because they totally went for a corny happy ending. After (spoiler alert!) Viggo Mortensen dies, the kid is approached by a group of scary, but apparently benevolent, fellow travelers. They offer to “adopt” him and tell him there are other children in their group (insta-siblings!). Just when the kid’s grin couldn’t get any wider, the scary/benevolent travelers reveal that they also have a dog. That they’re feeding with magical food they somehow have or something!
That’s right. They ended a movie about a cannibalistic dystopia with… “You get a puppy!”