Aberdeen is about an angry young woman who is tasked with bringing her alcoholic father to her sick mother's bedside before the inevitable occurs and her old lady kicks the bucket. I'm sure that some people will be deeply moved by this film's exploration of what "family" really is, but I mostly found the constant back and forth bickering between the estranged duo to be dull and predictable. No, the only parts of this movie that struck a chord with me were the scenes where the father was struggling with late stage alcoholism, and that wasn't because it's depiction of addiction was particularly compelling. No, it was because watching Aberdeen made me feel like I was drinking mouthwash to get a buzz.
You see, as I discussed in this site's mission statement, I'm aware that I'm basically addicted to media consumption - it's extremely rare for me to go a full day without listening to a bunch of music and watching a movie or two, and I'm pretty sure that's psychologically unhealthy. Still, I don't do much to counteract my addiction because for the most part it seems pretty harmless. (I've never heard so many songs that I've ended up pooping my pants or watched so many movies that I lost my ability to stand up, which puts me way ahead of the drunk dad in Aberdeen.) But when I said that watching this movie made me feel like I was drinking mouthwash, I really meant it - there were several times during Aberdeen where I felt like I was trying to satiate an unhealthy urge with the worst possible material at hand just because I couldn't stop myself.
I didn't start watching Aberdeen for bad reasons. All I knew about it going in was that it starred Lena Headey and that she does a great job as Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones. That might not sound like much, but sometimes a small lead like that can help uncover a hidden gem. The problem is that early on I realized that this was the sort of miserablist drama that I have absolutely no interest in, but I kept watching it to the bitter end out of stubbornness. (Well, I did skip most of the third act, but I did make sure to watch the last ten minutes. There's a death scene as well as a prison sentence. Like I said: miserablist.) At a certain point I started to feel like I was punishing myself for no good reason, and I had to second guess my own obsessive nature.
Now, you might be asking yourself: if this film is so terrible, why is he bothering to write about it instead of sweeping it under the rug as if it never existed? The answer is two fold: 1) because I'm an OCD S.O.B. who decided he was going to write about every movie he saw and 2) because this movie made me re-evaluate my commitment to my obsessive compulsive behaviors a little bit, which made me decide that this might be a good time to break out of the review-writing mold a little bit.
As many of you already know, I wrote a webcomic for a few years, and that gave me a great outlet for my comedic impulses, but it wasn't a good fit for my more serious ideas. Now I'm in the reverse position: sometimes I will make fun of a movie, but for the most part I try to write earnestly about the films I see because I'm well aware that every film, even shitty ones, requires a lot of time and effort to get made. However, I do tend to forget that I am my own editor and that I'm actually freed to do whatever the hell I want to with my own website, so if I want to make a little space for the sort of silly ideas I used to publish as webcomics even though they don't really fit in with the overall aim of this project then I totally can. So without any further ado, I would to take a break from psychoanalyzing myself / talking about a movie that is better off being forgotten to present a completely unrelated short comedic vignette.
Today I heard a rap song where someone invoked the old adage “snitches get stitches”, and I started to think about what a weird phrase that is. For starters, there's a weird causal relationship between it's two parts: it directly implies that if someone snitches the speaker will make sure that they get medical help but it only indirectly promises that the speaker will create harm in the first place. More importantly, that phrase implies that whoever is cutting these snitches is then turning around and doing them the favor of repairing their wounds, which is pretty considerate if you think about it. Also: if snitches are getting snitches, then they are getting better medical care than about half of America, who are lucky to get any treatment at all.
At this point I started to go down a deep mental rabbit hole. What if somebody was bleeding badly but they couldn't afford to go to an emergency room... If they showed up at a police station and started singing like a bird would the cops then pick up the tab?
[Fade into the front desk of a police station. The only person on duty is a mustachioed cop who looks grumpy. Suddenly a man walks in who is hemorrhaging blood from his arm.]
COP: “AHH! You’re bleeding all over the place! Get out of here, that’s gross!”
MAN: “I can’t afford to go to the hospital!”
COP: "Tough luck, buddy, but you gotta skeedaddle! I can't help you!"
MAN: “But what if I told you that I was prepared to rat out several important criminals?”
[Cop considers this for a beat.]
COP: “Go on…”
MAN: “I know who killed Versace!”
COP: “You're going to have to do better than that, buddy. That case was closed a long time ago. In fact, I would say it was solved a full score of years ago!”
[The man, who is still bleeding everywhere, begins to shift his weight uneasily.]
MAN: “But...What if I told you the killer was Jack the Ripper?”
COP: “That is of even less helpful, as Jack the Ripper is almost certainly not American and I am not interested in going through the entire extradition rigmarole to re-open an already solved case that didn’t occur in this jurisdiction!”
MAN: “Oh, bro, I’m so sorry, it's just that... I’m bleeding so much that... I’m getting loopy... But I swear that if you fix me up I will be able to offer up some valuable snitchery in the future!”
[Cop begins to stroke his chin. He appears to think deeply about this offer.]
COP: “I will make you a deal: we can preemptively stitch you up now and then later we will ask you to go undercover with a vicious gang of meth dealing bikers while wearing a wire!”
MAN: “Actually, you can go ahead and install the wire now – just put it in under my skin while you are sewing me up! I have always wanted to be part cyborg!”
COP: “Part cyborg?! Actually you would just be a whole cyborg at that point, because the world cyborg already presupposes that someone is part human and part machine! Saying that a man is “part cyborg” is as redundant as saying “ATM machine” since the concept, by it’s very definition –"
[The man passes out. The Cop leans over his prone body.]
COP: Alright, alright, I'll take you to the hospital. But when you get done not-dying you'd better do your part in taking down a meth-ring, or I swear to God you'll learn the meaning of the common adage "bad informants get rigor mortis"....
[The cop shakes his fist in the man's face before scooping him up into his arms and carries him out to the street. Fade to black.]
... I just re-read that vignette. You know, maybe I'm better off writing the reviews, even if occasionally they make me feel like I'm a hardcore boozer drinking mouthwash to fight off the DTs. Life: it's great!
Winner: The Cat
Aberdeen on IMDB