Outside of the In-Crowd – A review of Twilight by someone who hasn’t seen Twilight
Twilight, like Hannah Montana before it, is one of those sensations that just sort of appeared. No one had ever heard of it, then literally all of the sudden there were three books, armies of crazed twelve year olds and t-shirts saying things like “Edward Cullen is real.” This sudden uber popularity frightens and confuses me. Please, join me on my journey of healing.
I am not someone who gets swept up into worldwide fads. I’ve only read (skimmed) the first two Harry Potters, I believe Crocs are footwear designed by Satan to rule the world by making us all look like idiots and I think the South Beach Diet was designed completely as a front cocaine abuse the nation over. Additionally, I am now part of the age demographic that is too old for teen idols and too young to have kids through whom to vicariously enjoy said teen idols, so I am still uncertain as to what a “Jonas Brother” or a “High School Musical” are. But not so long ago, I was joyously forcing my mother to buy me baby-blue piped Backstreet Boys t-shirts (dear Christ I wish I still had that) and weeping when Kelly dumped Zack for her older manager at The Max (harlot). So I’ve been there. I understand the youthful obsession and infatuation with the unattainable.
But sparkly vampires are another goddamn story.
According to my Cliff’s Notes on this voyage (Wikipedia), Twilight is the story of a young girl named Bella. And you’ve already lost me, Meyer, but I’ll go on. Bella is new in town and used to be an outcast but now people want to be her friend and boys find her super-dreamy-the-most. She meets Edward Cullen and he’s all “ew, bitch” and she’s all “I’m intrigued” and then she finds out he’s a vegetarian vampire. Some non-veggie vamps come into town and one’s like “I shall hunt her” and the Cullen family are like “oh hell naw” and they try to save her, but dude bites Bella. Edward cures her with his sparkle-suck and saves the day. She wants to become a vampire too and he bitch slaps her or something and then the book ends.
Okay, just saying, no one in real life is ever named Bella. EVER. Only female heroines of bad semi-goth dark prose written by fourteen year olds are named Bella, and I should know because I wrote several of them.
On a kinder note, this totally would have been the best book I’d ever read when I was nine (I was very advanced when it came to reading. Cower at my childhood brainyness.) But now, years later, art school jadedness has set in and I see right through it all. It’s every sad tween’s dream. No one likes her at school, so she switches schools to a place where somehow everyone loves her. And of course the boy seemingly repulsed by her is the one she desperately wants, and sure enough, he was repulsed because he wanted her so much. JUST LIKE EVERY BOY WHO’S EVER BEEN MEAN TO YOU, chunky girl with the Muse t-shirt and thick eyeliner, JUST. LIKE. THEM. And when the two of you accept and embrace the sweet kiss of love (which as terribly written as that phrase was, it genuinely isn’t all that different from the lines of the book I’m seeing on Wikiquote), something terrible happens and he must step up and risk his life for you BECAUSE YOU ARE SO SPECIAL, gawky girl with the stringy hair who knows that Paramore’s music is totally speaking to her.
I understand this because these are the things I would tell myself in 7th grade when Joe Shenk (not his real name, but completely transparent if you went to grade school with me, because I’m still in a post-turkey daze and too tired to be creative) found out I liked him and was grossed out and everyone at the party found out and I had to nurse my broken heart with Doritos and Surge. “He thinks you’re beautiful,” my mind told me. “So beautiful that he can’t even deal with it and that’s why he has to go out with the generically pretty girls with straight teeth and two separate eyebrows. You’re unique and amazing.”
But, friends, I was lying to myself. I was in denial, which is fine and good, because it got me through junior high to the further male rejection in high school, and I continued lying to myself merrily for years to come. And that’s okay, because I didn’t write an entire series of books detailing the lies I told myself, inflicting these lies upon millions of other pre-teen girls who will now spend the rest of their lives convinced that their Edward Cullen is out there. I only lied to me. Stephanie Meyer, your emotional body count shall be high and plentiful.
These girls, these impressionable “rebels” with their Hot Topic and Spencers Gifts (those still exist right?), these are people I understand because I was there. I was that girl going to the Hot Topic at White Oaks Mall, purchasing Lloyd Dobbler pins and Strawberry Shortcake stickers, because fiction was easier to believe in than reality and childhood was just easier than the present. But I was fourteen. Stephanie Meyer is thirty-four, and frankly, it’s reckless. We had it bad enough with “I gave her my heart and she gave me a pen.” How are today’s tweens supposed to cope with “For almost ninety years I’ve walked among my kind, and yours … all the time thinking I was complete in myself, not realizing what I was seeking. And not finding anything, because you weren’t alive yet” (assuming she survives the uncontrollable gagging)?
And yet, my words are meaningless. Twilight opened at $70mil to crying girls wearing white pancake and fake blood on their necks (and real blood too from what I’ve read, fucking wackos). An entire generation is now spoiled by Edward Cullen and his “you are the most important thing to me ever” after two weeks of broody awkwardness.
Ugh. Angel and Spike at their cheesiest never made me gaggy.
Anyway, to sum up my completely unsubstantiated review: Twilight is probably really dumb. That said, I’m totally seeing it. Robert Pattinson and his hair of fury deserve it. 6/10.
Courtney Enlow is a writer living in Chicago and working as a corporate shill to pay the bills. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have not read Twilight, but I feel qualified to speak about it because of cultural osmosis. What makes it different from a classic like Say Anything is that there’s no character for a dude like me to emulate and admire. As much as girls fawn over Lloyd Dobler, guys love Diane Court just as much. Hell, guys want to be buddies with Lloyd Dobler. He’s awesome, and not as much of a giant dick as any of your real-life friends. Edward the Daywalking Vampire? Yeah, not so much. Teen romances avoid gag-worthiness only when both parties are interesting, and not one dimensional fantastic caricatures. It looks as if Ms. Meyer failed massively.
Oh, and it doesn’t have Peter Gabriel. Much as I can stand Paramore, a lot of Say Anything’s success can be attributed to Peter Gabriel.
Agreed. This movie came out of nowhere and I just don’t understand the obsession with it. I read a lot and I had never heard of that book before now. Also sick of: Edward Cullen Facebook bumperstickers. The amount of them for crazed teens to choose from is ridamndiculous.
One of your funnier articles Court. I must admit to laughing my way through most of it. I’m not sure the Tribune will be knocking on your door to be their next movie critic but that was really funny stuff.
I’m sure that you’ll redeem yourself in the eyes of all the tweens that you lambasted and the author once you actually see the movie. Of course you may lambast them further if you really don’t like it after you see it. Oh well, you could always consider a career in stand-up.
Your blog pretty much just made my day. You have to go see Twilight. It’s the most unintentionally funny movie that I’ve seen in a long time. The books aren’t much better. Kind of like trashy romance novels for tweens. I had to read the series because I work at a bookstore and was in charge of planning a party for the release of the 4th book. If you’re into really bad plot lines with barely disguised religious undertones I highly suggest you read them. Ps. I had a girl come into the store a couple of weeks ago looking for a copy because it was (wait for it)….assigned by her teacher. Take a minute to absorb that. A little piece of me, the one that had any hope for next generation, died that day.
Pretty much spot on. I knew it was out there through my little sister, but I’d paid it no mind. In a post-Thanksgiving stupor, I allowed myself to go see it with family. Good lord. A plot without compelling plot points, vampires with no cajones, and “we don’t come out in the sun cause we’re sparkly” logic. It was painful. I didn’t think vampires got more emo than Brad Pitt’s moody “I’m a monster and I hate myself”, but I was apparently, tragically, irrevocably wrong.
A pile of wasted celluloid if ever there was one. And I still remember the Blair Witch Project.
I don’t understand the vampire obsession people have. I don’t know what is cool about drinking people’s blood, but I most certainly don’t see it. Fricking losers. Now excuse me, I must go blast some NSYNC “This Christmas”.
P.S. You article fits perfect next to all the Google ads for Twilight 🙂
This was the best blind movie review I’ve EVER READ.
Sooooooooooooooooo…Twilight date?! Just an idea.
Very nice review. It makes me feel vindicated for not knowing anything about this movie.
One thing I do know that I find interesting is the fact that Stephenie Meyer is Mormon. I feel like normally the Mormons are out there protesting the Harry Potter books because they glorify the occult, so it’s interesting that one of their own has written a series of books about blood-sucking vampires. I know it’s just a backdrop for a cheesy, cookie-cutter teen romance, but I find it fascinating nonetheless.
Yes, but Joel, the main vampire in question was a virgin for nearly 100 years before he finally had sex with his bride, whom he married right after high school graduation, and then she got wicked preggers and nearly died while giving birth to her crazy vampire spawn child. The goriest scene in the books was the childbirth. Now if that’s not Mormon, I don’t know what is.
Note: I don’t actually know anything about Mormons.
Note also that I laughed my ass off through the whole movie. Sparkly vampires, indeed. There’s no way you can make that look cool.
Hey Courtney – followed you over here from BWE… spot on review, i must say. though i must admit, i am a 24 year old professional who unwittingly became sucked into the black hole that is twilight when i hastily grabbed a cheap book to occupy myself on a 6 hour flight. i read that thing front to back, and then wanted to stab myself for loving it. it’s a sick, slippery slope, that Twilight series. ugh.
This column is awesome. Hilarious. Enjoyed myself.
The best part of this series though is that it is a metaphor for teen sex. He wants to bite her neck (stick it in), but resists because he’d kill her (virginity). Vampire = horny teenage boy. ABSTINENCE = SURVIVAL.
Absolutely hilarious, Courtney!
Unfortunately, I HAD to see this movie (work purposes). I saw it without ever reading the books and I could not believe how hilarious it was. That Bella, though,ANNOYING.
I almost thought about reading the book, until a friend of mine told me it just got worse and worse. The only reason she continued to read was because she got started and yadda yadda…
Sounds like a cult to me.
These kids today with their vampire love and reading…ugh