We Are The Best!, Blue Ruin & A Long Way Down Movie Reviews

Three more quickie reviews today! I know I often do “meh” movies or the occasional movie that I HATED in this way so I decided to throw a good one in this time as well. Okay, of the other two, one is “meh” and one I HATED. πŸ™‚

Here we go!

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We Are The Best! (2013)

Directed by Lukas Moodysson

Starring: Mira Barkhammar, Mira Grosin, Liv LeMoyne

My Opinion:

I really enjoyed this Swedish film set in 1982 Stockholm in which three 13-year-old girls decide to start a punk band. In fact, I just watched the trailer again (which I’ve included at the end of this post) and it genuinely made me smile & realize just how much I liked the movie.

The movie starts with two friends who have very different personalities but share a love of punk music so are therefore not exactly “popular” at school because of their strange taste in music & their short hair. Bobo is shy & insecure while Klara is mouthy & confident. The girls one day decide to start a punk band after being picked on by some boys. Unfortunately, they’ve had no musical training. After seeing a Christian girl named Hedvig perform in a talent show at their school, the girls ask her to join their band.

What I really liked about this movie is that these girls seemed real. You never forget they’re only 13 and, even though I’m far, far, FAR away from that age now, I think every female alive remembers that age well as it’s a very tough time in life and all you want is to fit in. Klara, who has a better home life than Bobo, is pretty secure in herself but Bobo always worries that she’s not pretty enough and that boys will never like her. When they befriend Hedvig, who is very shy and has had a strict Christian upbringing that goes against Klara’s beliefs, they form such an odd trio with very different personalities that somehow end up working perfectly together. They literally bring out the Best(!) in each other.

We Are The Best! is a coming-of-age film but without all the melodrama that sometimes comes from movies in that genre, which can feel contrived at times. It just tells a believable, straightforward story of three very likeable misfits who love punk music. Or love, at least, the punk lifestyle as, other than Hedvig, they don’t have any musical talent. But, hey – that IS punk and, by the end, these girls prove that they’re more punk than the boys who originally made fun of them. It’s a great final scene & the whole movie was just fun. I also found it very interesting hearing a lot of punk music in Swedish (which sounded no different as, let’s face it, all punk sounds the same). And the song the girls write, Hate The Sport, is hilarious. That’s SO what a 13-year-old girl would write about! They write this while annoyed at having to run laps in gym class & the song talks about people dying all over the world while some people obsess over silly sports (I like the lyrics “The world is a morgue, but you’re watching BjΓΆrn Borg.” lol!).

Seriously, this is a delightful film & I can’t remember the last time I liked all the main characters in a movie so much. It’s still a bit “indie” and the story may feel like it’s not going anywhere as it’s just that style of film but I love that – it makes it feel real. Oh! And the 1982 thing felt so genuine that you kind of forget that it was made in 2013. I don’t have a bad thing to say about this movie – it’s just great to watch a simple film that leaves you with a smile on your face.

My Rating: 8/10

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Blue Ruin (2013)

Directed by Jeremy Saulnier

Starring: Macon Blair, Devin Ratray, Eve Plumb

My Opinion:

I saw a lot of reviews for this movie pop up on WordPress in the last year or so. I could tell it probably wasn’t my type of thing but, when I saw it appear on Netflix, I hit ‘Play’ against my better judgment. I should’ve gone with my gut instinct – I HATED this movie.

I do like a good revenge film (like Kill Bill!). A good revenge film. For a revenge film to work, you need a sympathetic character. This is very important & Blue Ruin doesn’t manage this. Okay, I guess you do feel kind of sorry for the main character & see why he’d want revenge but his character is so poorly developed! We learn very little about him other than the past tragedy that occurred to make him want to seek revenge. You never warm to his character, which makes it hard to care what the outcome of the movie will be. And what a load of scumbags he goes up against! I just didn’t find that realistic – no one is that horrible, are they??

I struggled to make it through this one. I watched it in three sittings as I kept getting so bored that I turned it off. It’s soooo slow! I do have quite a bit of patience when it comes to movies but, god, it felt like this one would never end. It was also far too violent for me, which is something I’m not a big fan of (unless it’s Kill Bill, I guess! lol). Umm… I don’t know. I just didn’t care. By the end, when there’s a little “twist” of sorts, I was like “So what? NOW we finally get a bit of a story to this thing? Five minutes before it ends??”. I didn’t care. Just like I don’t care enough to discuss this movie any further. Boring. Pointless. I hated it. But Jan Brady was in it so that’s kind of cool, I guess. Not as cool as if it had been Peter Brady, though!

You’re welcome for that in-depth review. πŸ˜‰

My Rating: 3/10

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A Long Way Down (2014)

Directed by Pascal Chaumeil

Based on A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Imogen Poots, Aaron Paul

My Opinion:

MEH! Sometimes I really wish they could make better British movies. They just make far too much of this sort of bland drama over here (sorry, British people. I do love 28 Days Later…!). This suffers from the same sort of problems that Starter For 10 had – I think it just tries too hard to be a some sort of “quirky” indie based-on-a-book drama.

First of all, I’m a fan of Nick Hornby’s books. I wouldn’t call him my favorite author (that’s Stephen King) but I’ve enjoyed all his books that I’ve read & High Fidelity was great. I did read A Long Way Down & it was okay but not one of his best so it was unlikely to be a really great movie. It was a long time ago that I read it so I can’t really compare it to the movie but it seemed a fairly faithful adaptation from what I remember.

The movie is about four people who meet on a London rooftop on New Year’s Eve. They’ve each come there planning to take their lives but, after meeting and forming an unusual sort of friendship, they make a pact to at least wait until Valentine’s Day to decide if they still wish to, well, kill themselves. Sounds morbid by my description. I suppose it is but instead of ending up some interesting sort of dark comedy, it’s a rather bland drama with only two likeable characters out of the four.

Toni Collette’s character is the most sympathetic by far. To avoid spoilers, I won’t go into their reasons for each wanting to commit suicide but Collette’s Maureen is the one you’ll feel for the most and she makes the other three appear shallow by comparison. Brosnan’s character is kind of the main one in the book from what I remember and, while he’s not totally unlikeable, his problem is the one that most people really won’t be able to sympathize with. I did like Aaron Paul’s character, who is the most withdrawn and seems genuinely sad. Imogen Poots, however… First of all, how much do you think she got made fun of for having the name Imogen Poots?? That name is hilarious. As for her character, she’s very hard to like. She’s rude to the others and comes across as completely selfish. She’s one of these “pretty, young, damaged girls” (okay – I’ll admit I’m probably just jealous as I’ve always wanted to be one of those). Granted, when you find out her true reason for being on that roof, you do start to care more about her but her treatment of the others, especially Aaron Paul, does get annoying at times. I think she’s a decent actress, though, with stunning eyes. I thought she was very good in 28 Weeks Later (which is a much better British movie than this one).

This movie isn’t bad, it’s just a bit “What’s the point?”. For a fairly controversial set-up, it goes a little too predictable-mainstream-Hollywood at the end. But, from what I remember of the book, that also didn’t delve too deeply into the dark subject matter. It’s worth a Sunday afternoon watch if it sounds like something you’d like, though.

My Rating: 5.5/10

Trailer for We Are The Best! – Check it out if you’re interested. I’m hoping I’ve talked some people into watching this film. πŸ™‚

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47 thoughts on “We Are The Best!, Blue Ruin & A Long Way Down Movie Reviews

  1. Gotta watch that first one. And probably the last as it’s something like romantic dramedy or something. I also think that English films in that genre are usually better than Americans or maybe I just in general like England more. πŸ˜› But I do know what you mean by “meh”, I watch A LOT of those kind of films. But “meh” is ok because for some reason it is really hard to make really good indie/romantic/character study/dramedy films. People should take lessons from Alexander Payne, he knows how to make those. πŸ™‚

    • Yes – you really should check out We Are The Best. I enjoyed that a lot! A Long Way Down is definitely a dramedy. I never really like those much but if that’s your kind of thing, I think you’d like that one okay. πŸ™‚

  2. I loved We Are The Best! It was one of my favourite films last year, and I really wish more people would watch it; it doesn’t seem to be very well known at all. Glad you liked it.
    I also liked Blue Ruin…but hey, never mind! :op

    • Yay! I finally found a fan of We Are The Best! πŸ™‚ It’s hard to recommend movies like that because I know it’s not for everyone but I really enjoyed it. Unlike Blue Ruin… Lol πŸ˜‰

  3. Yes, someone else who thinks Blue Ruin was too slow and dull. The girls in We are The Best are a delight, but never fully liked that one as much as you did. I like Punk Music, but their song was shit

    • Ugh. Finally! Someone who agrees with me on Blue Ruin! And… I think the girls’ song being shit in We Are The Best was kind of the point. πŸ˜‰ They have no musical talent (except the one girl, who didn’t write the song). Their “punkness” (is that a word?!) came from their attitude. πŸ™‚

  4. I see Vern already popped in here, I was going to mention that he was one of the only other people I saw who disliked it aside from one other reviewer who wrote such a scathing and personal-attack style review that I stopped reading his site then and there. I can get why you didn’t like it, but I really got sucked into it, the I liked the subtleties that let me read into the characters for myself and the slowness built tension, but it’s not going to work for everyone.

    Glad to see you loved We Are the Best at least, such a fun movie. I do agree with Vern that their song was crap, but it was adorable crap and it made the girls feel more real because of it.

    • Lol. Didn’t know my opinion on Blue Ruin would be so controversial but, yeah – Vern seemed to be the only one to agree with me on that one. πŸ˜‰ Ha – that other review of it sounds funny. It’s weird how some people get SO upset over a stupid movie! I only get upset if there’s something I find offensive in some way but I just found Blue Ruin boring. As for We Are The Best, I replied to Vern that I think their song being crap was kind of the point. It was going to be – they’re 13 & have no musical talent. But the punk “spirit” was in it. I loved that. Also, I hate sports too so I could relate! πŸ˜‰ Definitely a fun movie without a bunch of unnecessary drama. πŸ™‚

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  6. I’m with you on 2/3. I loved We Are Best and though Long Way Down was bearable but nothing special. I quite liked Blue Ruin though. However I don’t think it lives up to the considerable hype.

  7. I’ve heard nothing but good stuff about Blue Ruin, since before ‘everyone’ was talking about it, so this was interesting. I’m quite looking forward to it… but not enough to have actually bothered to watch it yet (story of my life). We’ll see. It sounds more my kind of thing, anyway.

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