Sunday, March 23, 2014

Veronica Mars (2014): And We Thought She Was Out

I'm a Marshmallow, and I'm an addict.

Directed by:  Rob Thomas
Screenplay by:  Rob Thomas, Diane Ruggiero
Music by:  Josh Kramon
Cinematography by:  Ben Kutchins
Editing by:  Daniel Gabbe
Running Time:  107 mins
Budget:  $6 million (Kickstarter
Box Office:  over $2 million (already considered a success)

There are spoilers in this post, but rest assured you'll be warned.

It's been 7 years since the series ended, 9 years after the events of season 3. I never thought (imagined, yes) I would see this gang again. Hearing "We Used To Be Friends" sung by some street performer a few minutes into the film, goosebumps crawled all over me, and I can't help but scream "Oh my god, oh my god, the feels, the feeeeeelssssss!" repeatedly. That part alone makes the wait so worth it. 

Pure happiness, is what I'm feeling. I watched VM twice in one week.

So did this movie deliver?  

As a fan of the show who has mourned for the abrupt ending of what I consider to be one of the wittiest detective tv shows, like ever, seeing this after years of wondering what ever happened to VMars and to Neptune, yes, this has more than delivered. It truly catered to the fans of the show, after all, they paid for this. My bestfriend, who hasn't seen the show before, said that she totally enjoyed the movie. She said that the wit, the mystery, the characters, the story were engaging but she thought that Logan was boring, Gia seemed unnatural & obviously "acting", and Sheriff Lamb was blah. All three a miscast, according to her. 

It took unbelievable self-control not to grab my keyboard and smash it against her non-Marshmallow face. Like Keith Mars, I wanted to say "You don't wanna go there" in a serious, threatening voice. First of all, I thought Jerry O'Connell as the obnoxious, self-absorbed Sheriff Dan Lamb did a good job playing a character you would love to hate. Krysten Ritter as Gia Goodman, for me did great. Of course she looked so unnatural, of course she looked like she's acting, because that's what she has been doing all these 9 years. Her life is a big facade. She's a socialite who's SPOILERS: engaged to be married to a gay guy, has been a sexual puppet to weirdo junkie, and has been carrying this big secret for years. Of course she's acting. For years, she has been pretending. The only time you'll see the real Gia is when she was telling the story to Veronica (also that snapshot of her texting Logan using Carrie's tablet) - and that's exactly the point. That's the real Gia, no pretenses, just someone baring her soul to another human being. And to me, that was handled really well by Ritter. I'll talk about Logan in the next paragraph, I just want to say that I do appreciate my friend's opinion (esp. since she hadn't seen the show) - it was just the fan in me that made me protective of anything the show touches. And of course I was just kidding about the keyboard. I'm not a violent person. lol. And she eventually agreed with me when I told her about my opinion of Gia. But she still hates Jerry O'Connell. LOL.

So now we see a surprisingly reformed Logan Echolls played by Jason Dohring. I adore Logan despite of his bad boy antics and I have unfalteringly backed up the LoVe loveteam the moment they kissed the first time, but when I saw Dohring in the movie I thought he looked a bit haggard or sickly. He hasn't aged well. And when he spoke, I was like where was the Logan that matched Veronica's feisty attitude? He just seem too soft. But then again, consider that he's accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend who he obviously cared about, and now he's relying on his great love - who he hasn't talked to for 9 years - to help him clear his name. So I partly agree with my friend. I initially thought that he's a bit boring. But after my second viewing, I realize that of course they have grown up. Like how we grow up and become more mellow. It's real life. Logan tried to change his life, but you can still see the old Logan in some ways.  One thing that hasn't changed is the way Logan looks at Veronica, and vice-versa. That despite of not seeing each other for a long time, living their own lives, growing up individually, even falling in love with other people, you know that they still have that special places in their hearts for each other. That they can still rely on each other to believe and trust what they say. One look says it all. 
Oh how they look so contented. 
They will forever have that. They will eventually find each other, the difference is that they are now both grown ups, and not destructively dependent on each other as how they were before. And thank god for that! 

LoVe years back.

I have nothing much to say about Kristen Bell other than she's perfect. If there's one thing I can say that I truly love about Rob Thomas is that he knows his characters so well that even 9 years later, he still hasn't forgotten the essence of the show. I love Veronica Mars, not only because of her wit and snarky lines, but also because she's basically "Nancy Drew with an attitude" and that's just so cool.

Watching this movie and seeing all these characters pop in and out of the screen is such a sublime feeling. Some of my favorite appearances are as follows: 

Enrico Colantoni as Keith Mars. The playful father-daughter banter still works. His non-verbals are even more powerful than his snappy lines. I love this relationship.

Kristen Bell's husband, Dax Shepard, as the hilarious overconfident club boy.. And VMars' reaction. LOL

And Dick Casablanca, played by Ryan Hansen, is my favorite character in the film (aside from Veronica). He's hilarious. And it's interesting to note that he's probably the only person who hasn't grown up/changed and yet he's the only one who has no baggage or drama (except for his "chronic depression" hahaha)
He's also the dancing gorilla that Vinnie's making fun of.

I also enjoyed Justin Long's scene, and of course, James Franco, c'mon!. I also thought there was more to Jamie Lee Curtis' character, but knowing how Rob Thomas is with his twists & unresolved plots, hey maybe.. or maybe not. 

And I definitely missed Ken Marino's Vinnie Van Lowe!

And while Mac & Wallace's future are a bit of a headscratcher, I'm still glad to see them looking good!

Chris Lowell's Piz is cute, but I don't like him for Mars. He's too much of a softie. I hate softies. I thought that the way SPOILERS: he broke up with Veronica was a bit abrupt. He didn't even fight for her. Before going back to Neptune, they were living a normal life. They were happy. I thought that he should have been more understanding with the fact that Veronica was trying to help Logan with a false murder charge. 

Then again, he probably knew before Veronica even admitted to herself that she is bound to stay in Neptune. A drama-magnet as Wallace said. Looking at his face when he took that Neptune cab, back to New York, without Veronica, he knew that it's probably the end of their relationship. He probably felt that this is where Veronica belongs. He knows it, but he's trying to ignore that nagging feeling in his heart as much as he can. Until he got that call from Veronica cancelling their date (with Piz' parents).
That's probably what convinced him that while he may be in a relationship with her, he will never have her heart. Her heart will always be with Logan, being a detective, and trying to clean up Neptune. And that's what Logan sees as well when he said "You should only wear this" upon seeing Veronica in her usual detective garb. Not only because she looks good in it, but he knows she's in her element as the old VMars, not as a lawyer.
In conclusion, Veronica Mars is far from perfect (you can only do so much with $6 million, and less than a month of shooting). It feels more like a TV movie with story arcs (and unresolved plotlines) and characters that could be better developed if it was a new season or at least a mini-series. For a new audience, this could be off-putting. But for a hard core fan like me, who felt like I've been jilted by a lover when season 3 ended without the story really ending, this movie is perfect in its imperfections. It's more than we could ever ask for. I won't dissect the mystery because that's only a side dish. As a fan, I really don't care about the plot, because all I'm looking for is the dynamics of Veronica with the other characters. I was satisfied with that. The ending gave me conflicting emotions. SPOILERS: It's obvious that it's a set up for a possible sequel and it made me so happy. But on the other hand, seeing Veronica & her friends go back to that same place they were in years ago, which they fought so hard to leave behind (and successfully may I add!), is kind of tragic. Like Gia enduring that life all these years. I felt that it's a waste of talent and potential to leave behind a world full of opportunities and bigger prospects and come back to Neptune where it will only bring you down. Rob Thomas could still make a sequel without him bringing everyone back to where they started, couldn't he? But then again, this is Veronica finally realizing her true self. This is what makes her happy. This is her home. So I guess I'm happy too.

Wishing it was longer, sensing that it's the end, all I can say when I saw the credits roll was 

Too much feels. This movie.

My Rating:  3.5/5 when I first saw it. 4.5/5 on second viewing. I can't wait for the sequel (movie, new series, mini-series. Whatever. I want more of Kristen Bell & the other casts!)

YOUR POINT OF VIEW: This may be a pointless question, but are you Team Logan or Team Piz? I'm just wondering if there's one person out there who was rooting for Piz. 

Let me know what you think, LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW, let's talk!  
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  1. I loved the review. I felt that V was brilliant in her dedication to Logan. It clearly showed that she had always loved him, expecially after she flew to his rescue and remained with him there. She kept finding excuses to stay by his side. What really impressed me was, ( unlike many would have not done) she totally ignored her fame with her new offered career to stay where she knew she belonged.. To me that showed a great courage in herselrf and made the statement that she was not for sale, but more at peace with herself as a human being that chose her own path.. I admired that so much.. Great review! I related to it ! :)

  2. thank you! Though I wish that she could have at least tried to pursue her career. I guess I just think it's a waste of potential. But I sure want to see this tv show reborn! LOL

  3. Excellent review, fellow Marshmallow. All I could say after watching the movie was "I'm emotionally unavailable. My heart and brain are still in Neptune.." thanks for writing this!

    1. thank you fellow marshmallow! heheh.. me too sigh.. i want the show to return -_-

      also, regarding the movie, i wish they could at least have shown pix of Leighton Meester as Carrie Bishop.

  4. I LoVed the review, just one thing, Dick does have baggage and drama if we consider what happened with his brother. I think that what he meant with chronic depression, but, just like back then, Dick won't really face it, cracking a joke and rolling one up just cause he can.
    And was Leighton too busy to play Carrie? I mean, what's she doing lately besides kissing Seth Cohen?

    1. thanks! hahaha right, well Dick is a complicated being come to think of it. You really don't know if he drinks alcohol & smoke weed just for fun or maybe because he has deeper personal issues. At some point you can see that he can be serious, like when Veronica asks him about the boat incident at the party

      I wish Leighton was a part of the movie. I read that she was doing a shoot/taping on the other side of the country (or something) , but maybe she just didnt think this movie will do anything for her career. well...

  5. Wonderful review. I can't wait to see it.



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