By Cory Haggart

Mailed on July 06, 2012

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Dear Blake Lively

Dear Blake,

I'm a forgiving type of guy, especially of pretty girls. I was ready to overlook your introduction at the beginning of Savages _as a spacey, possibly unreliable narrator because I was ready for things get _weird; this is an Oliver Stone movie, after all. I kept waiting for that dramatic turnaround, or masterful embrace of at least one of the many available plot points. I felt sure something would make your awkward role fall into place. But no. You stayed pretty but awkward, and so did the whole movie.

I didn't have high expectations, really. Maybe you could call them big. I expected big Oliver Stoney violence and sex and drugs and all those fun summer things that could make this a sort of more mature version of Natural Born Killers_. _I didn't know anything about you, but the rest of the cast looked so promising. And for the most part, they brought it. Benicio del Toro as a psychopath and John Travolta as a crooked DEA agent are great! The leading dudes, Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson certainly looked ripped and rarin' to be awesome. Salma Hayek was game to be an evil drug kingpin with a secret soft side. Even you come across as a plausibly laid-back centre - the lover, the victim, the confidante - to what should be a whirling nexus of ass-kicking and mind-blowing. All the people were in place.

So one of two things failed: the Script, or the Stone. It could have been the script: the narration - your narration - was such a constant and heavy presence, introducing everyone, establishing distracting details and even undoing the whole climax of the first act. Maybe there was no coming back from that. Or, it could have been the fault of director Oliver Stone, who probably gets free reign on the movies he's making, and he hasn't made a good one recently. The things he seems interested in are not the things the characters or the audience really care about. So maybe he just fit the story elements together in a compelling way, and no one felt they could point that out to him. A quick look for a review of Don Winslow's original novel tells me that it was probably the director's fault.

We have an ongoing discussion here at DCAC about how it is hard to make a truly bad big budget movie nowadays. There are enough professionals on hand for each one, that most of the time the worst they get are "meh". You have to go to small movies to see the spectacular messes like The Room. _Yet in _The Savages there were a few moments where the audience laughed that were not supposed to be funny. And a few lines that were supposed to be funny (I thinkā€¦again, _awkward) _made about a dozen strangers groan out loud. But that balances with some pretty exciting action sequences and some pretty fun performances.

Don't be too mad. This isn't a bad movie at all. It just should have been much, much better, or at least more fun. Maybe you should be mad. You're so pretty when you're mad.

Ready and forgiving,


P.S. I also wonder how you felt when you saw the term "wargasm" among your opening lines. Just. Ugh right?

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