Recklesley and I decided to see Across the Universe today at the Park Slope Pavilion. We thought to ourselves “Hey, we like the Beatles and Julie Taymour, this should be fun.”
Be warned. It is not fun. It is in fact the worst movie ever made.
The “story” concerns an English lad named Jude. Get it? Like the song! He leaves Liverpool (where, according to the film, everyone is an alcoholic or looks like Oliver Twist) for America. He’s in search of his dad, an American veteran who impregnated his mother during World War II, before leaving her behind. While here he meets Max and his little sister Lucy (again, like the song! So inventive!). They all wind up in New York City. Max goes to Vietnam, Lucy becomes a freedom fighter and Jude is a struggling artist. That is basically the plot. The rest of the films consists of the following cliches:
– Inarticulate bohemians
– Disapproving, “square” parents
– Hippie gurus (played, much to recklesley’s disbelief, by Bono, who seems to be channeling Sam Elliott and Jerry Garcia’s lovechild)
– Displaced, angsty lesbians
– Idealistic revolutionaries who become as violent as those against whom they are reacting
– Wounded veterans who become addicted to painkillers
– And many, many more
Writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais apparently decided to conduct research for the film by renting Forrest Gump and Born on the Fourth of July. Sadly it seems that they dozed off for long periods throughout. From this they learned that the sixties consisted of good music, people saying “peace” a lot, and cheesy drug hallucinations. Oh, and apparently during the sixties, no one ever talked about anything aside from how they were living in the sixties and it was all “revolution-y.”
Oh, and did I mention that it was all set to Beatles songs? Because it was. Poorly. Characters like Prudence (the aforementioned angsty lesbian) seem to have been created merely as excuses to incorporate songs (Dear Prudence). Given that fact, and the creators lack of knowledge about both the Beatles and the sixties, I’m surprised there wasn’t a cartoon hallucination racoon named Rocky who traveled with the group on their psychadelic journeys, just so the song could be performed.
By the end of the film, where a Janis Joplin rip off and her band perform All You Need is Love while on a rooftop (!), I was about ready to vomit a field’s worth of strawberries. Several times during the movie, Recklesley turned to me and asked if we should leave. I’m not one to leave films very often, but I have before. I couldn’t leave this one, however. I had to stay. I remained in my seat out of sheer, morbid curiousity.
I have never hated hippies so much in my life.