I didn’t finish ‘Dude’. I’ll admit it, I’m one of those people. I don’t finish a movie or series just because I’ve started one – if I think there might be something worthwhile on the other side, I might push on through, but otherwise, unless there’s a reason to be in, I’m out. It’s that simple.
Sure, if I’m in the cinema I’ll likely stick with the film because them’s the rules of the land. When in attendance at the cinema, I must have given my time to that film in an exclusive choice. In my home, that’s my time. And I follow the film as far as it’s worth of my time to do so. This is the trade in rules that you make between releasing and viewing a film through cinema or VOD.
You’re probably thinking that I’m being unfair to ‘Dude’, that I didn’t give it the fullest chance, but I agree that every movie deserves to be approached with an open mind. Every movie deserves the chance to wow or spark my intrigue and catch my attention, whatever it is a film does to me, film is the medium that can make all of these feel intuitive and inspiring. It billows the flames that become an exciting spark of a new idea.
‘Dude’ barely has enough spark to light a matchstick.
To say that I disliked or hated it would be untrue, rather, I felt absolutely nothing – which is a far worse pain. If given a hate-able movie and one that is this monotonous, I’d say it’d be easier to sit through the one that you hate. The momentum of hatred, that passionate fury, can fuel and carry you through to the end of even the worst movies. Even if it’s negative, your mind is engaged in thought. Watching ‘Dude’, I only thought about the pain of my boredom.
There’s something about the total disengagement of my emotion that I just can’t bear to sit through. It took no effort to turn this off, and that’s a sadder truth.
Films are like people, you want to stick with the interesting ones, you don’t go out of your way to talk to the boring ones.
‘Dude’ focuses on four high-school stoner girls. There’s a bossy type, there’s one who is in a lingering state of mourning, and then there’s two others (a tom-boyish one and I don’t remember the last one). We know this about them only because if it wasn’t for the side characters being so declarative about their character traits, we wouldn’t truly know much about them at all or what truly defines their personalities.
In fact, the bossy one isn’t that bossy. She makes plans and she’s somewhat commanding but she’s not that far out of the ordinary head strong organizer. Mostly, she’s pretty nice and honest about her bossiness. What’s left of her character is that she’s in denial about the possibility of leaving her friend behind for college but that’s nothing special.
Mourning girl (bossy’s best friend) is typical. She’s just two dimensionally sad. She’s nothing else; not angry or fragile or destructive or anything. Coping with loss never seemed so plain. So let me posit this: if these were real people, at your high-school, would you be thinking “why did they even bother filming them?”. You probably would because they’re almost routine caricatures of the teens with grown up problems.
Their gimmick is that they smoke a lot of pot and talk like dudes. They smoke so much that their car is less a vehicle and more like a moving hotbox. They even roll up to school freshly baked. Though, strangely, no one ever smells the fumes of weed that they would undoubtedly be exuding. I’m hardly a Cheech nor a Chong but I’m aware that weed has a potent smell that sticks to those who smoke it.
Stranger still, characters both acknowledge and neglect this sensory awareness as the film pleases. No one on the school grounds mentions that they must reek of pot, but when a side character smokes a typical tobacco cigarette in her own garden, she now needs to hide the smell from her child.
Perhaps the people of this world have an alarming and unique debilitating sense of smell that worsens in the inverse ratio to its potency. Perhaps we have a sleeper prequel to the forgotten film ‘Perfect Sense’. Perhaps I’m giving this more thought than was actually put into the script itself.
This is about as interesting as this review can get. Honestly, there’s nothing to grapple onto here. There’s no notable character or performances; the script is overwritten but that’s as much uniqueness it has; the concept of the film is fine – yeah, girls can be stoners too; the camerawork is ordinary and the colours are a basic eyesore… As complimentary as I can get, I can say that everything is in focus.
I’m really not sure what more I’m supposed to write. I suggest that you don’t bother with this film. It’s transparent, a hologram, a vape of cinema which only reminds you of drama and that it itself is a superficial, temporary cloud. It has already disappeared.
I didn’t bother continuing after twenty minutes and I’m surviving just fine. And I don’t appear to have lost out given the here today gone tomorrow release it had before sinking into the heaping mass of mediocre Netflix Originals.
As a final point, I can’t see the intent in funding something this confused about what it’s trying to appeal to. Is it a drama on mourning, a stoner comedy, a day in the life flick, or a coming of age/to terms with adulthood dramedy? The painful thought is that it’s purely made to be passable enough to exploit the passivity of the disinterested viewer as they kill time between Netflix’s bigger release dates. Which begs the question, is that really something that you want to watch?
Actually, it begs a second question. Does this film do justice to its subject and the broader conversation on female identity in cinema? It might have.
However, in the end, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the last seventy minutes is a phenomenal work of art and raw emotion. But again, perhaps it isn’t. Perhaps I am right. Sometimes, maybe it’s best that we walk away from the things we could do without. Probably.
Written by Joseph McFarlane
Rating – 3/10
Question: What movies have you not been able to finish watching?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
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