The Perks of Being a Wallflower

"We Are Infinite"

Hello everyone, happy Thursday from The Tagline! Today I'm going to talk about a film I wasn't really interested in, watched with disinterest, and didn't enjoy in any way shape or form. The internet made a big enough noise about this film that I thought "hey, it's a shortish movie, I can spare the time to watch it. Maybe it'll be charming right?" Well I found myself thoroughly un-charmed. Let's see if I can piece this together for you in a way that might make some sense. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a film based of the best-selling novel of the same name. I have not read that book, but having seen this movie I am not inspired to go pick it up. The film stars Logan Lerman (or as I like to think of him, Percy Jackson) as Charlie, an incoming high school freshman introvert, who thinks that no one sees him and gets picked on and is sensitive and intelligent BLA BLA BLA. Gosh that's the most original premise for fiction EVER, I'm sure I've never heard that exact story a million times. Now I'll grant you, that isn't an instant mark against the movie. If it shows us something interesting, does something novel, then a rote premise can be fine. Sadly this story isn't that. Charlie is taken in by two outcast seniors, who let him into their little misfit club, they all have wacky adventures and make precious high school memories, that's about then end of the story. Drama happens, Logan has SERIOUS HIGH SCHOOL problems, and then he learns that he's not okay, they're not okay, and that's okay. Or something. Charlie's guiding lights are Sam (Emma Watson, or her true identity, Hermione Granger) and Patrick (Ezra Miller). Supporting cast includes Nina Dobrev as Charlie's sister (She being best known as Elena Gilbert on the CW television show The Vampire Diaries).

EMOTIONS. I'm going to the college now! Life is great!
Everyone turns in a believable, sincere performance it this film, and they're all talented young actors and actresses. My problem here is that I don't especially care about anything that is going on in this movie. At the risk of sounding like the people I'm always ragging on, there isn't much that's special or interesting happening in this movie. Sure Logan has a tough life, growing up as a sort of outcast in the rough and tumble of the high school jungle, but as far as I can see, he seems to be living a pretty charmed life otherwise. He has a modest sized group of close friends, two parents and a sister who care about his well being, and the movie is a sort of montage of him coasting through high school on his own momentum, through parties and dating and casual drug experimentation. Maybe I'm embittered by my life experiences, but it doesn't seem like Charlie's life is so hard to begin with.

Careful Emma. Meg Ryan did that and then died.
Except I guess his aunt died and he feels responsible? Then I find out that he was sexually abused by his aunt? This little sideshow sort of jumps out of the movie right towards the end, with not a lot of foreshadowing (it's alluded to about ten minutes before it happens in the movie, which just seems like sloppy "what a twist!" type of plot development). It's a last act surprise that left me with a "that was sudden" feeling. I wasn't any more impressed by that than by the rest of the film. My feeling was that I was supposed to ingest this movie as some sort of new era Breakfast Club or something, but frankly I didn't like that movie much either. I liked this one even less.

Watch the road tough guy! 
Of course critics ate this shit up. Throw a movie at them about the power of friendship in a coming of age story about a bunch of likable photogenic white upper class kids, and the crowd will just go wild! Oh man, they like the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and put on their own wacky performances, how different and alternative of them! One of the characters is gay, that makes this movie progressive! Let's all pat ourselves on the back for being so open minded in our acceptance of this pleasing, neat and tidy movie, that could not be less like life for most any person in the world. Reviews are replete with talk of how "compassionate" "charming" "genuine"and "accurate" this movie's portrayal of adolescence is, but I'd say maybe they have spent too much time looking at the world backwards through their rose sunglasses.

In conclusion, there's nothing to see here, move along. This has all been done before, and I find it so cliched and pleased with itself that it almost makes me want to go all Holden Caulfield on it and call them all phonies. but I won't because that would be stupid. Join me on Saturday, as I explore my favorite 5 movies of a SURPRISE ACTOR.

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