The Hunt For The Worst Movie Of All Time: The Lake House

A couple of weeks ago, I watched the movie Jumper for some reason. Oh man! That is the best movie. I mean, that is a terrible movie, but it is also ridiculous and hilarious and a lot of fun. Like, I enjoyed Jumper so much that I felt angry at the end of Jumper that I didn’t see Jumper a year ago when it came out, because that’s an entire year of amazing Jumper jokes that I have missed out on. Welcome to the war, you guys. Palladins stink! “You’re not a hero, you’re a Jumper!” “He tried to jump a whole building, and it killed him.” Fact: the best way to kill a Jumper is to electric wire him to a tree in the jungle and hand-eviscerate him with a hunting knife. Fact: at one point they Jumper to Chechnya. Fact: I am so excited for Jumper 2: Jumpgement Day.

I was sort of looking forward to watching The Lake House because I thought maybe it was going to be like Jumper: a wealth of stupid but incredible gems buried in a poorly imagined romance. Nope! Poorly imagined romance and stupidity, yes, but buried in a boring, incredibly predictable plot and starring two middle-aged Robots with incomplete Facial Expression Technology.

The Lake House is about an architect turned condominium developer, Keanu Reeves, who moves into an old lake house that looks like something out of Dr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.

Did Doozer’s build that thing?

Anyway, when he arrives at his new home he finds a letter in the mailbox from the previous tenant explaining some of the quirks about the place (paw prints on the front walkway, a box in the attic, you know, important things a new tenant should know about) and hoping that whoever is moving in enjoys the house as much as she did. But there aren’t any paw prints on the front walkway, and there is no box in the attic. And besides, no one has lived in that lake house for years!


Keanu Reeves writes back, explaining that he doesn’t understand what she is talking about, and blah blah blah, let’s cut to the point: THE MAILBOX IS A MAGICAL TIME MACHINE MAILBOX THAT TRANSPORTS LETTERS AND SCARVES FORWARD AND BACKWARD EXACTLY TWO YEARS THROUGH TIME. And so naturally, Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock fall in love (when they should be mailing themselves to Germany, and KILLING HITLER). They write each other magical time travel letters back and forth, each of them more boring and insipid than the next. “I love long walks on the beach.” “No way, I love long walks on the beach. Fate is crazy.” One day, Sandra Bullock sees a man get hit by a bus and she tries to resuscitate him but he dies. Well that was weird. I’m sure that won’t show up later in the movie as a plot point.

Meanwhile, Keanu Reeves’s dad is a famous architect who refers to himself in the third person, and also he built the lake house, and later he dies. Because it’s life, jump into life.

Eventually they make a date for two years in the future, and “the best restaurant in the city,” but Keanu Reeves stands Sandra Bullock up, and she writes a like “I can’t do this ridiculous thing anymore that I’ve been doing for a really long time without any problem because no one stands up baby in the corner,” and she asks Keanu Reeves to stop past/future magic writing her. It never crosses her mind that maybe he didn’t show up because in two years he would be dead. Who knows how. People die all the time. They get hit by buses, or just whatever. Could be anything. That was just a random example. So, Keanu Reeves puts his letters in a box in the attic (WHOA!). And he rents the lake house to Sandra Bullock’s boyfriend. And he gives Sandra Bullock his dog (huh?). Meanwhile, in 2006, or maybe it is 2008 now? I have no idea. It’s 1992. Who cares. Sandra Bullock is going to finally go ahead and marry this guy that she has been stringing along for years and obviously doesn’t like and who we, the audience, just know is SO WRONG for her, but when she goes to a really fancy architectural firm to discuss renovation plans for a giant house she is going to buy, she sees a drawing Keanu Reeves did of the lake house and she starts rubbing the edge of the frame like she wants to have sex with the drawing and Keanu Reeves brother is like “he died, exactly one year ago today, in a bus accident.” And then he quietly whispers “you idiot.” Sandra Bullock runs out of the building and she races to the lake house and she quickly puts a letter into the time travel mail box that says “DO NOT GET HIT BY A BUS” and Keanu Reeves walks out of some wheat in whatever the fuck year it even is now, dressed like Professor Turtleneck, and they get married.

One thing that I guess is a saving grace of this movie is that they never even bother explaining where that goddamned mail box comes from. Or why Sandra Bullock didn’t give Keanu Reeves some information on the World Series so that he could open Biff’s.

I mean, when it comes to time travel, always go full retard.

They also never bother explaining the classic time travel plot hole that goes something like this: On Valentine’s Day, 2006, Keanu Reeves gets hit by a bus in Daly Plaza and dies in Sandra Bullock’s arms. Later that year, in a letter to past Keanu Reeves back in 2004, Sandra Bullock talks about how a man got hit by a bus and died in her arms on Valentine’s Day, 2006. Later, back in past-future 2006, when Keanu Reeves wants to find Sandra Bullock, he remembers from her letter that she is in Daly Plaza on Valentine’s Day, so he goes there and gets hit by a bus (again). Then, in 2007 (I think?), Sandra Bullock finds out that Keanu Reeves got hit by a bus on Valentine’s Day, 2006, and she races to the lake house and writes a letter to Keanu Reeves (in 2005?) that says “Careful around buses next year, please,” and Keanu Reeves is careful around buses and doesn’t get hit by a bus and walks out of some wheat wearing America’s Favorite Turtleneck, and they get married. Sure. EXCEPT, if Sandra Bullock writes a letter to Keanu Reeves telling him not to get hit by a bus and it stops him from getting hit by a bus, then she will never write the first letter telling him about the bus accident, and he wouldn’t bother trying to get hit by a bus in the first place, so she wouldn’t know to write him this letter. An entire sequence of events would take place that would basically Butterfly Effect everything else, and who even knows if Keanu Reeves would ever buy that turtleneck.

Forget it, Gabe, it’s Time Travel Town.

But there are some other things that they could probably have explained. Like, if in 2006, Sandra Bullock sends the first letter back to 2004 as she is leaving the lake house to go live in an apartment in Chicago, then how does she get Keanu Reeves’s response letter? Does she occasionally go back to the lake house in the middle of nowhere, where she does not live–and where she fully expects there to be new tenants, thus the letter to the new tenants–in order to check for any mail? That seems inconvenient. Of course, that’s not even close to as inconvenient as it must become when she enters into this frantic time travel pen pal relationship and is going back out to the lake house where she continues to not live multiple times a day in order to exchange magical letters with her ancient lover. She has more free time for magic letter writing and magic letter sending than any doctor I have ever known. “Dear Keanu Reeves, all of my patients are dead. Whoops! Well, I better get going now so that I can drive an hour and a half to the magic mailbox and send this to you.” And Keanu Reeves lives in the lake house for, like, a year and a half before leaving, so that puts us at, like, mid 2005, and by winter 2006 Sandra Bullock is already moved out, so she ended up living in the lake house for six months? If I lived somewhere for six months I would not bother leaving a letter for the new tenants, regardless of whether the letter was a time travel letter. “What’s this? Oh, a letter from a short-term subletter. I am sure this will be important. Pass me the garbage can, please.”

Speaking of letter writing, this is supposedly how the two of them write letters to each other:

I don’t care if you have a magical time travel mailbox that delivers your letters FOUR YEARS INTO THE PAST, you can’t interrupt each other via letter.

But perhaps the greatest mystery of The Lake House is why anyone would love either of these jerks.

They are the most humorless Botox faces on Earth. And if I were Keanu Reeves, I would be pretty wary of someone who basically cheats on her boyfriend with the first man who sits down next to her on the porch, even if he is secretly from the future (or he’s from the past? AY-AY-AY) and she doesn’t realize it. (On the other hand, she is dating someone who invites a complete stranger to his girlfriend’s birthday party just because the stranger happened to chase his dog onto the lawn. SIDENOTE: is the dog also magic? We will have to wait for The Lake House 2: In Tha Dog House: Full Throttle to find out, but I believe the answer is yes.)

Of course, The Lake House is actually a remake of a Korean film of the same basic plot called Il Mare. So blame it on Korea, I guess. Although, in Korea’s defense, this movie would have been nuts if Keanu Reeves was in 1998 and Sandra Bullock was in the year 2000. Future apples and past oranges.

Next week: The Road to Wellville. 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.