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AeireI have this whole...thing to say
posted by Aeire

About Jersey Girl (and before any Kevin Smith fans jump on me - I loved the film. Or rather...I loved one of them, and it wasn't the one I saw in theatres, so bear with me and hold off on breathing fire in my general direction), but it is going to have to wait until I'm not getting ready to run out the door - ie, later tonight.

AeireOkay so let's talk about Jersey Girl.
posted by Aeire

I am a Kevin Smith fan. I like his movies, I see his panel at Comicon every year because he's just a hoot, I think he's a brilliant writer, and I haven't got a problem with the dude at all. I'm just sayin, before I go into the following, okay? Okay. Also let me note there will be spoilers for this film, so if you haven't for some reason seen it, and want to see it, you might not want to read on. OKAY!

So about...I think it was a full year before Jersey Girl hit the theatres, my friend Amy (who is an author of some note) says 'Hey I've got tickets to a screening of the new Kevin Smith movie, you wanna go', and my response is a Freakazoid-esque 'DO I!' followed by the two of us heading to said theatre. We just missed out on the whole feedback panel after, apparently our little...card thingies they made us fill out were too positive or some shit. Whatever, it's all good.

But this is really less about Amy and I, and more about the film itself. I am not ashamed to say we bawled like little bitches through a lot of this movie (I'm a girl, I am allowed to bawl like a little bitch at movies, although it's very rare that I DO bawl like a little bitch at movies. Have I said bawl like a little bitch enough? Let's repeat it again just to be sure - bawled like little bitches. There we go.), because it was just that good. The acting performances were all just fantastic, the story was really moving, and you really felt for Ben Affleck's character and his loss, and felt for the little girl and her loss, and the whole movie was just unbearably sweet and so, so good. Not in that cloying, sugary too sweet to be true annoying way, but in that honest, truthful, this is life sweetness that so many films try really hard to capture, but never manage to do.

Amy and I both wrote good things about the movie, and we didn't really have a lot of bad things to say about it, because it was a damn fine piece of film - it wasn't Oscar worthy material or anything, but it was one of those movies that just left you feeling warm and fuzzy and thinking about shit when you left the theatre, which is just...how it should be, right? Right. So we didn't get picked to stay after for the panel, which is a pity because that would have been fun, but it was all right because we saw this movie well in advance of when it was supposed to come out, and it was a really good movie and I recommended it to my friends, and told them that they should really go see the thing when it hit theatres because it was just fucking good, and a really sharp contrast to what Smith was usually known for in movies, and it was a really refreshing change.

I have never eaten so many of my words in my life. Movie hits the theaters, my friends tell me they don't understand why I recommended it because it was corny and dumb. Confused by this, I went to see the movie, and saw for myself what they were complaining about.

Unfortunately, a movie goes through a lot of evolution between when the director says 'cut' that final time, and when you actually pay money to go see it on the big screen. You have these screener sessions with test audiences to see what needs to be refined and cut, and edit the movie accordingly until you've got the best possible product to stick out there, right? This is how I understand it anyway.

Sadly, this movie had come out called 'Gigli', and it was a complete flop, dismal failure, wreck of a movie that starred Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck - who were also playing the couple in Jersey Girl. I can only surmise that people at the screeners were terribly negative about Lopez's presence in the film, because nearly all of the back-and-forth interaction between her and Affleck was shredded out of the film. All the parts that showed them falling in love, and that they were really in love, and those moments where you realized just how much they meant to each other were suddenly gone.

When this occurs, it shouldn't be a big deal, but in this film it was - because Lopez's character dies suddenly in childbirth, leaving Affleck to raise this little girl all by himself, sans his true love, and in the screener it was absolutely heartbreaking - when he cried, it was that heartbroken sobbing of someone who's lost the one person that makes life worth living. In...the theatrical release, with all of the cut shit, suddenly you have Affleck carrying on and crying dramatically over his loss but you just...don't...feel the loss. So instead of being heartbreaking, it's...funny - we had people laughing at him in the theatres, at a point where Amy and I were crying our little hearts out (like little bitches) in the screener because we just felt so HORRIBLE for this character.

Everything else in the film hinges on the fact that this dude really, really loved his wife, and that he's dealing with that loss, and with raising this little girl that was left, and dealing with the fact that mom is not there, wife is not there, love of his life is not there. In the screener, this was a really good film about love and loss, and trying to get back on your feet after experiencing a loss like that, and about getting on with your life. In the theatrical release, the movie was just...a shambles of some dude who lost this chick he married and had hysterics over it which was kinda funny and then took care of a little girl and funny shit happened. The emotions came across as contrived, trite, and utterly cheesy, unrealistic and dumb. Like the actors were gingerly stepping around each other and then suddenly exploding into emotion, and being awkwardly apologetic about it afterwards. The motivation for these emotions was never really made clear, and it just made for an astoundingly awkward movie, which really pissed me off, because I LOVED that movie that I saw when Amy and I got those free tickets. I really, really loved it. That other movie? That other movie was just a shitty piece of film and I felt bad for recommending it to my friends.

I don't really blame Smith for this. I know he can write a damn good piece of film, I WATCHED a really fucking good piece of film, and then I saw what happened after it went through the shredder. I bought the DVD when it came out, hoping I'd see those scenes that I fell in love with at the screening, but no such luck. I still have the DVD, can't really bear to part with it, but I haven't really watched it since the first time I popped it in the player and wistfully remembered that really awesome movie I saw once upon a time that was kinda like the one I was watching on my TV only a million times better.

The moral of this story? There's not really a moral, except that maybe I shouldn't go see screenings, if I'm going to be that disappointed by the final product, you know?

Also, Kevin Smith doesn't suck. Unless he was the one responsible for all of those edits. In which case - dude, god damn. Why the hell did you do that, fuckin christ man, seriously.

And that is all.

Punch an' Pie is 2015 Aeire and Chris Daily