Usually I write these about movies I love or at least was intrigued enough by that I want to think about them and see them again. This movie was no such thing. This movie was so horrible, the only way I can think to expel its awfulness from my mind is through typed words.
As many of you probably know because I mention it in almost every post, when I go to the movies I usually see three or four. This is primarily because I enjoy watching movies, but also because it is too expensive to see them all individually. Now, sometimes when I go I am very organized, I look up all the movies I want to see, their runtimes & showtimes, and I make a little schedule for myself ensuring that I’ll see everything I want to see, even picking out an order that I like.
Other times I just drive to the movie theatre and wander around all day. Last Sunday was such a day. I saw the Lego Movie (which was AWESOME) the last half of Winter’s Tale (good, despite not knowing what was going on at ALL), Frozen (good not great) and this movie. Angels in Stardust. Now, Angels in Stardust, for those of you who don’t know (hopefully everyone) is about a small trailer park called “Tardust.” In Tardust, there is a girl who is smart. That’s kind of the whole movie, but I’ll explain more.
The girl in question, Valley-Sue, is played by AJ Michalka. If you’re not me you probably don’t recognize her name, but she is one half of the early 2000’s Disney sister pop duo Aly & AJ. They had classic hits like, “Rush,” “Like Whoa,” “Chemicals React,” and my personal favorite, “Potential Breakup Song.” They also were on an episode of My Super Sweet 16. They also acted in a bunch of different Disney channel original movies, that I’m not wasting any energy googling.
But basically they were doing things. If we’re being honest, I always kind of felt bad for AJ because Aly is more exotically beautiful/interesting looking (I thought) and she seems to have more lead roles, in songs and movies. (She was in Phil of the Future? I think?) But years later, it seems that AJ has found a shitty spotlight of her own.
This movie, starring AJ Michalka, is one of the weirdest but also boring movies I have ever seen. Okay so also it must be said that AJ’s mom is played by ALICIA SILVERSTONE and in case you don’t speak pop culture, CHER HORAWITZ from CLUELESS one of the best movies of all time. This isn’t my opinion, this is just a fact of the universe, like all the laws of Thermodynamics. Any physicist will back me up. Now, Alicia hasn’t been doing too much (that I’ve seen) so when I saw her in the role of the aging kind of slutty trailer park mom, I was simply elated. If you’ve seen Winona Ryder in Black Swan or Kate Bosworth in Homefront, you know what I’m talking about. When beautiful women embrace their age they start to take grittier/realer roles where you can really see how good they are. (Kate Bosworth isn’t old, she’s just had undiagnosed anorexia for 6 years and it’s clearly taking a toll).
So I was PUMPED to see Alicia get real af in this odd little film. And she does have some good scenes. Some. For the most part though I was disappointed in her. She’s basically the same character as she was in Clueless, selfish and blind to how that selfishness hurts others. Literally the same character just poor and 31 instead of rich and 16. Or however old she is in Clueless.
Next disappointment: this script. Oh lord, this script. Jesus God in heaven, this script. I can’t think of a single original line of dialogue or meaningful exchange. I mean if I tried I probably could but why would I do that? I just need to point out that symbolism in this movie took the form of a statue of Jesus in cowboy boots. That’s not me making a joke, I literally mean that in the places that movies usually linger visually on something that’s supposed to be meaningful and it keeps coming up at pivotal points and teaches characters lessons, that thing in this movie was a stone statue of Jesus in a cemetery wearing a pair of cowboy boots.
Oh, also Valley-Sue talks to this imaginary cowboy. There’s an abandoned drive-in and Valley-Sue goes there in her spare time and talks to a man she imagines dressed as a cowboy, projected onto the dilapidated screen. He talks back, he seems to know her and her family and asks to be introduced to people. It was like trailer park magical realism.
There’s also a subplot of racism because there’s an Indian guy (Tenkill) who lives in the trailer park too, and everyone has something to say about that. Especially Valley-Sue’s mom, but we find out later he’s the father of her son. Spoiler. Whoops. Nobody Cares. But!! In the best scene of the movie, Tenkill saves Valley-Sue from being raped (of course she was going to be raped. Can’t have a movie about a smart girl in a small town without the obligatory rape scene) by these two drunken assholes who might or might not have killed this other girl? And been running a nude photo ring out of their trailer? I don’t know or care honestly.
At the end of the movie, she dyes her hair black and pretends to be part Indian (they never say Native American, maybe it’s a reflexive political correctness thing) and gets a ride to the bus station (to go to a boarding school for smart people) from this dude she’s loved from afar for absolutely no reason. He literally looks exactly like one of the other assholes in the movie who cheats on his wife (they are all 17) with Valley-Sue’s best friend in the town make out spot, the cemetery. Romance isn’t dead! (Didja catch that pun? It’s still there if you didn’t!)
Her mom abandons them to live with this guy she’s marrying who doesn’t like kids, her little brother is going to live with Tenkill (his real dad) and newly brunette Valley-Sue escapes. But I didn’t like this message because it made it seem like you can only expect to get out of a bad situation if you’re an amazing writer or a genius. Anyone can move. Obviously yes, money is a thing, but people escape their circumstances all the time, this was kind of a dumb limitation this movie seemed to support. Also there was a weird slut-shaming thing happening as there often is in small towns. Like, just because a girl is pretty and sexual doesn’t mean she can’t have a dream and leave her trailer park too.
Idk, this whole thing was pretty bad. At one point Valley-Sue’s brother (whose name was Pleasant. why.) was given a white kitten that the asshole drunken potential murderers ran over with their truck trying to scare Valley-Sue (it’s painful for me to write this out because not one part of me cares) but the cat’s name was Spirit. They killed Spirit. I mean, how bad of a writer do you have to be? I just can’t. I’m sure this guy (or lady) isn’t a terrible writer, just made an awful 60 page mistake that they’ll never repeat.
Ugh. So awful. Please never see this movie. Even if it’s on TV, even if you’re high, even if you love movies about smart girls trying to escape the lives they were born into. It’s really not worth it.