Videogum

The Hunt For The Worst Movie Of All Time: Amelia

Let me just say first of all that sometimes it is more fun to want something than to actually get/have it. The pleasure is in the anticipation! (Of course, sometimes you want something and then you get it and it’s the best to finally have that thing you wanted.) (And thus begins and ends Gabe’s Big Bathroom Book of Condescending Truisms.) And now let me go on to say that Amelia, a biopic about the life of Amelia Earhart, starring Hilary Swank and the finest set of fake teeth $50 can buy, and Richard Gere doing an Academy Award-winning Mr. Magoo impersonation if the Academy gave out an award specifically for people’s Mr. Magoo impersonations, is a terrible movie! THE HUNT, IT IS CLEAR, IS BACK ON. It is worth pointing out that biopics always suck and are always the worst. The complications and messiness of an actual human life without any discernible narrative arc reduced to plot points and swelling music against an historical (but malleable) backdrop featuring actors doing funny voices, all towards a falsely redemptive or emotive outcome is insulting to anyone who actually takes an interest in the genuine histories of historical figures, but should really just be gross to anyone who has, you know, been a human being alive on Earth.

But Amelia sucks and is the worst for specific reasons in addition to the general ones listed above. So let’s talk about those:

Amelia Earhart used to run through the corn and dream of flying or some shit. So then one day she went to Richard Gere’s office and was like “I want to fly across the ocean,” and he was like, “But you’re a lady,” and she’s like, “yeah,” and he’s like, “OK.” So actually, that was pretty easy. She overcame all the hurtles of telling someone she definitely wanted to do something and waiting for them to tell her she could do it two seconds later. (I’m teasing, I’m sure Amelia Earhart overcame lots of obstacles, which would be just the kind of dramatic thing to put into a movie about her life, but oh well, maybe they’re saving all of that stuff for Amelia 2: Full Throttle. And then the rest of the movie is basically about stuff that happens in her life. She definitely did a bunch of stuff (flying stuff, mostly) that women had never done before, and was a huge inspiration to the ladiez. She also cheated on her husband. And talked A LOT about not wanting to be tied down and wanting freedom in a way that you might think a lesbian might talk about not wanting to be tied down and wanting freedom, JUST SAYING. Eventually, after being the first lady to fly across the ocean as a passenger, and then being the first lady to fly across the ocean as a solo pilot, she decides that she’s going to be the first woman to fly around the world, and then she dies. R.I.P. OR DOES SHE?! She does.

There’s a really funny moment at the very beginning of the movie when Amelia Earhart first walks into Richard Gere’s office, which, incidentally, he’s a publisher? But somehow he is also in the business of organizing airplane rides for daring women? It’s a little confusing. Anyway: Amelia Earhart says that she wants to be the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean, and Richard Gere asks her why she wants to fly, to which she responds, “why do men ride horses?” BOOM! In your face, Richard Gere! I think we’re supposed to recognize her as a very brassy lady who won’t take no for an answer, but wouldn’t a better question be “why do men fly?” Maybe it’s just a generation gap thing, but I’m not sure I see the correlation between women flying in airplanes and men riding horses. That’s like telling someone you want a cup of coffee and when they ask why you want a cup of coffee you ask them why men ride horses. Also: WOMEN BE SHOPPIN!

Speaking of funny, this makes me laugh to no end whatsoever:

Of course, as with any biopic, the whole thing is just so HEAVY, as if somehow a felt flapper hat actually MEANS something. And also BORING. Every time Amelia sets off on a new airplane ride, there is a graphic that pops up on the screen with a countdown of how many miles she has left. You know. Until she DIES. LOL. “1946 miles left.” Hahahha. It should read “1946 miles of napping and half-paying attention left,” because it’s already bad enough when you know how the story ends without a graphic telling you how long you have to wait for the thing you already know about. And what drama they might have cooked up just disappears without mention, for example when Richard Gere bribes a young woman to lose an airplane race so as not to make Amelia look bad when her younger rival overtakes her celebrity, but Amelia just throws the race anyway to empower all the ladies (fair enough) and then the young rival is never heard from again. Huh. She probably crashed into a mountain. Of boredom.

But perhaps the most incredible anti-climax of this movie occurs on two separate occasions when Amelia is trying to take off and it is unclear whether or not she will take off. Just to clarify: we are supposed to be on the edge of our seats on more than one occasion wondering whether or not an airplane will TAKE OFF much less GO ANYWHERE. Hint: sometimes it does take off and sometimes it does not take off! In neither case does it seem to matter EITHER WAY. (Also, again, we know that Amelia dies in the ocean, not in a take off accident. So, whatever? This movie might as well be Valkyrie, where we keep wondering whether or not Amelia will be the first woman to MURDER HITLER. Sometimes she does, sometimes she doesn’t. Then she cheats on her husband.)

I will say that I learned something from this movie. Did you know that Amelia Earhart had her own line of jumpsuits?

Neat!

Next week: Bride Wars. As always, please leave your suggestions in the comments or in an email. And if you haven’t done so already, please consult the Official Rules.