On a snowy Sunday afternoon, Jay and I found ourselves alone in a theatre watching Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. Having just been reminded on the way to the theatre that this was two time Oscar-winning director Ang Lee’s latest, I thought it was particularly odd for the theatre to be empty, even accounting for the fact that Fantastic Beasts was playing simultaneously on four or five other screens at the multiplex. But by the end of the film I got it. This is just a terrible movie. We shouldn’t have been there either.
I can’t even begin to list all the things that are wrong with this movie. Well, okay, since you asked, I can start:
- The extreme facial closeups are horrible. You will hate every single one and they make up at least 25% of the movie’s run time. I’m not sure whether Vin Diesel or Steve Martin had more facetime but I didn’t ask to see up either one’s nostrils. The closeups detract from the movie to the point that Jay and I were compelled to imitate the viewpoint over and over, while the movie was still running. Naturally, it’s hilarious when we do it but it’s not at all funny on the screen. Okay, maybe a little but I don’t think the humour was intended.
- The characters are lame. They are completely flat and consistently struggle with dialogue that is almost Herzogian in its ridiculousness. The only positive was we got another catchphrase from it. Now when I tell Jay I love her, she says, “Roger that”. Thanks, Ang Lee!
- The story is pointless. The movie has nothing interesting to say about war. Which is really too bad because they almost had a moment during the Destiny’s Child halftime show to show how insensitive our society is to PTSD, but then the film just dropped that idea without any payoff whatsoever. Billy is then given the option to be taken to a doctor to get treated for his PTSD but instead he chooses to return to Iraq, in order to impress a cheerleader. Hooah!
- And then there’s the stadium security team that picks several fights with the soldiers for no discernible reason. Was there a point to that? Was there a point to any of it? Because there should have been, but the writers couldn’t put a complete thought together in the movie’s two hour runtime. There’s no meaning to be found anywhere.
By the way, this movie does not feature any actual members of Destiny’s Child so don’t get your hopes up, Beyhive. They couldn’t even get Michelle. But since the real Destiny’s Child 2004 Thanksgiving halftime show doesn’t feature Billy Lynn, I guess that’s only fitting. I watched all 6:22 of that clip looking for him. Just one more letdown. This whole experience was a bigger disappointment than Ang Lee’s Hulk. Sean sad.