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"It felt like a book that shouldn't have been published."
November 16, 2012 11:16 AM   Subscribe


 
See also his recent interview w/Jimmy Fallon, the link to which I am too lazy to find, wherein Jimmy asks him "Millions of Twilight fans, they cannot wait to see this, it’s almost heartbreaking because they don’t want it to be over. It’s a little bittersweet, isn’t it?"

his response
posted by elizardbits at 11:20 AM on November 16, 2012 [22 favorites]


The final Twilight movie is like a porn film with action figures

Mustache Dad and Werewolf Porn
Bella's dad Charlie (who is now classing up the place as the lead in the new series Revolution) is a high point in Breaking Dawn Part 2. As ever, he's the only person who seems at all perturbed by what's going on. He's so upset that Jacob decides to come out to Charlie, to help him understand. To do this, Jacob visits Charlie, and tells him something like "This may be hard to understand but bear with me." Then he strips off his shirt. As Charlie reacts, Jacob says, "No really I have to tell you this, please let me," and takes off his jeans and underwear.

posted by ninjew at 11:23 AM on November 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


Seeing and laughing at -- and being frustrated by -- the bullshit aspects of his insane adulation and rise to fame seems healthier than some of the alternative responses that come to mind.
posted by eugenen at 11:24 AM on November 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


That Fallon interview clip/response is the last bit of this video. And I enjoy Pattinson's honesty. It must be strange to be at the center of a phenomenon like that.
posted by flex at 11:28 AM on November 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


Robert Pattinson reportedly signed up for the series without reading the book. I always kind of suspected that what happened is that his agent wanted to capitalize on him having just been in one of the Harry Potter films, and pitched it as "hey, here's another big teen-fantasy-adventure series to get in on, kind of the way Daniel Radcliffe did, it'd be a good move. It's about something like, a girl and a vampire who fall in love." And so he got talked into it, or bought it on that. And then he read the book and was all "oh my god this was a huge mistake", but didn't want to break the contract, and so he's been audibly and voluably complaining about the process the whole time in some effort to get himself fired.

Still, his career didn't seem to do too bad, and he seems to be making his way to non-Twilight films, so there's that. But his snark has been delicious to watch.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:31 AM on November 16, 2012 [36 favorites]


I don't know. I dislike Twilight as much as the next guy, and I think the fans often take it too far, but I will never condone dumping on the people who made you famous in any form. It's distasteful. If not for his legions of adoring fans, this guy would still just be "that corpse in that one Harry Potter movie".
posted by adamdschneider at 11:32 AM on November 16, 2012 [15 favorites]


You would change your mind if you had to chew a creepy baby out of your girlfriend's uterus.
posted by elizardbits at 11:33 AM on November 16, 2012 [63 favorites]


The only thing I like about Twilight is Robert Pattinson's attitude towards it. He seems like a pretty awesome guy.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:33 AM on November 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


Honestly, I think his attitude towards all this has become very deliberate. Because it doesn't impact movie ticket sales, and people who hate Twilight LOVE it. Hell, I love it. This is the best PR move he could possibly have made.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:36 AM on November 16, 2012 [13 favorites]


I mean, it's really difficult to know how to behave when 01) you are starring in a movie that is 100% admittedly a woman's masturbation fantasy and then 02) you find out that she asked for you personally to star in it. If the genders were reversed, everyone would celebrate Roberta Pattinson's personal strength and good humor in the face of creepy, entitled objectification from Steve Meyers.
posted by elizardbits at 11:36 AM on November 16, 2012 [92 favorites]


I honestly think that EmpressCallipygos might be right. I mean, he's surely been well paid for the role and it's generally considered bad form to shit on the movie you're in (if you don't like it, you usually simply refuse to actively promote it, or promote it as little as possible if you are contractually obligated to do so). There aren't a lot of explanations for his behaviour other than Empress's suggestion or that he's just a giant asshole.
posted by asnider at 11:36 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


But his snark has been delicious to watch.

It may be disrespectful to fans but man it's interesting to see someone just flat out refuse to behave on script for the press junkets.


He's the snarky, sullen ying to Jennifer Lawerence's bubbly, off-topic yang.
posted by The Whelk at 11:36 AM on November 16, 2012 [16 favorites]


Oh dear god this is enjoyable, not merely watching Pattinson laugh en route to the vault with his bulging sacks of dollars while refusing to be a PR flack for this happy horseshit, but just as a general antidote to Actors' Studio-esque gasbaggery about one's craft and motivation and listening to the still, small voice of the character etc.

If the guy would only follow through and never work another freakin' day in his life or do another bit of press except to roundly mock the source of his nest egg while quietly doing anonymous charitable works all the while, I'd worship him as my pallid pompadoured god.
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:38 AM on November 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


I mean he's endeared himself to Twilight haters and agonists to the point where we're all "hey he seems interesting what other movies is he in?"

That and I find the idea of young twihards renting COSMOPOLIS hilarious
posted by The Whelk at 11:38 AM on November 16, 2012 [12 favorites]


elizardbits: "Steve Meyers"

"Stave Meyers", please.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:38 AM on November 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


Anyone who wants to snark on their crappy job is all right by me.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:38 AM on November 16, 2012 [10 favorites]


i can't find the quote - but he at one point, i think early on, said that he realized that edward was a creepy psychopath, and so that's the way he's always played him. and that's when i knew i needed to see post-twilight work from him.
posted by nadawi at 11:39 AM on November 16, 2012 [31 favorites]


I dislike Twilight as much as the next guy, and I think the fans often take it too far, but I will never condone dumping on the people who made you famous in any form. It's distasteful.

I'd usually agree with you, but on the other hand, Twilight is basically the story of a girl dropping out of high school to be with an abusive stalker. Which is also pretty distasteful. Pattinson seems to me to have a pretty fair assessment of just how creepy and wrong the dynamics at play with the characters are.
posted by mrgoat at 11:41 AM on November 16, 2012 [28 favorites]


How was he in Cosmopolis?
posted by griphus at 11:41 AM on November 16, 2012


I dislike Twilight as much as the next guy, and I think the fans often take it too far, but I will never condone dumping on the people who made you famous in any form. It's distasteful.

Yeah, but the alternative may have been even worse. Consider: Kim Basinger was all set to be in the film Boxing Helena in the early 90's, but then she read the script and said "oh HELL no" and backed out. But the producer sued her for breach of contract, and won - to the tune of $8 million. Basinger had to declare bankruptcy and her career was stalled for a while.

Of course, when the film finally got made and everyone saw what the film was like, everyone else realized, "ohhhhhh, okay, now we get it" and her fine was reduced, but it was still a really bad thing for a while. I can see someone not wanting to go that route.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:42 AM on November 16, 2012 [10 favorites]


This is why I love him. Saying the bad stuff that the sane people have been thinking.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:43 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I do cancer research, so cancer pays my paychecks. No one has once suggested to me that it's untoward for me to gripe about how much cancer sucks.
posted by gurple at 11:43 AM on November 16, 2012 [39 favorites]


Pardon the self-linkage but here is a collection of delightful things he has said and done re: twilight.

His audio commentary on the various DVDs is also utterly fucking delightful and filled with a rueful sort of amused existential darkness.
posted by elizardbits at 11:46 AM on November 16, 2012 [12 favorites]


Did you just cancer-Godwin (Armstrong?) the thread?
posted by zombieflanders at 11:48 AM on November 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Debatable. It's possible that Twilight is worse than cancer, so I actually lightened the mood up a bit.



(not really)
posted by gurple at 11:49 AM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm not a fan of Twilight, but I don't hate on people who are. And while I might empathize with Pattinson's opinions, even find some of his snarkiness funny, overall I'm left with the impression that he is an ungrateful little jerk who's biting the hand that feeds him.

Dude has made like a million billion dollars off the Twilight franchise. Seems like he could maybe be a little more gracious about it.
posted by ErikaB at 12:02 PM on November 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Pattinson seems to me to have a pretty fair assessment of just how creepy and wrong the dynamics at play with the characters are.

That's fine, and I'm not at all bagging on him for hating the material, but he doesn't always stops there and sometimes bags on the fans as well, which in my opinion is over the line.

the alternative may have been even worse

I guess I don't see the alternatives as being "breach of contract or talk total shit about it all the time." I mean, I don't fault Michael Caine for saying what he said about Jaws IV, because he never stated or implied that Jaws IV fans were weird and creepy.

My thinking is, dude, you won the lottery, so maybe just cool it re: the folks who bought you the ticket.
posted by adamdschneider at 12:03 PM on November 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


And then he read the book and was all "oh my god this was a huge mistake", but didn't want to break the contract

That's pretty much it. He went into the audition hating the character and that's apparently what made all the difference.
"When you read the book," says Pattinson, looking appropriately pallid and interesting even without makeup, "it's like, 'Edward Cullen was so beautiful I creamed myself.' I mean, every line is like that. He's the most ridiculous person who's so amazing at everything. I think a lot of actors tried to play that aspect. I just couldn't do that. And the more I read the script, the more I hated this guy, so that's how I played him, as a manic-depressive who hates himself. Plus, he's a 108-year-old virgin so he's obviously got some issues there."
posted by Spatch at 12:08 PM on November 16, 2012 [22 favorites]


How was he in Cosmopolis?

Pretty good, I think, but the film is so weird that it's hard to know how to judge his performance -- he's not really playing a character as we typically think of it.
posted by eugenen at 12:10 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't fault Michael Caine for saying what he said about Jaws IV, because he never stated or implied that Jaws IV fans were weird and creepy.
Have you experienced the Twilight fandom? They can be weird and creepy.
posted by pxe2000 at 12:11 PM on November 16, 2012


I am absolutely 100% totally good with him judging people who think it is okay to print a likeness of his face onto reusable maxi pads such that his mouth rests directly upon the user's vulva.
posted by elizardbits at 12:14 PM on November 16, 2012 [39 favorites]


Yeah, I have to respect the honesty of his contempt - because, really, what other response could one have - but biting the hand that feeds you is always a dick move.
posted by Egg Shen at 12:15 PM on November 16, 2012


some twilight fans are nuts. also, he's been bitten by middle aged women waiting for his autograph.
posted by nadawi at 12:16 PM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Pretty good, I think, but the film is so weird that it's hard to know how to judge his performance...

I have a feeling he's the sort of Leonardo DiCaprio-like actor who is really good within a really limited range, and that range happens to include "hearthrob."
posted by griphus at 12:17 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


My thinking is, dude, you won the lottery, so maybe just cool it re: the folks who bought you the ticket.

Speaking as someone who is now a dessicated old so-and-so but would as an impressionable teenager have absolutely eaten up like infinite ladlesful of brooding shitheel Edward Cullen, I say Pattinson is actually doing his young fans a ginormous favor by stomping all over their Tiger Beat delusions.

Every time I happen to catch a portion of Twilight on USA network while waiting for Burn Notice or something to come on, I'm all, "Oh thank you universe for these books and films not existing yet during my adolescent years and thereby preventing my young adulthood from being even more fucked up than it already was."
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:18 PM on November 16, 2012 [21 favorites]


I have a feeling he's the sort of Leonardo DiCaprio-like actor who is really good within a really limited range, and that range happens to include "hearthrob."

That seems correct. They're both strictly dominated by Andrew Garfield, among others.
posted by eugenen at 12:19 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]




Every time I happen to catch a portion of Twilight on USA network while waiting for Burn Notice...

SOMEBODY NEEDS YOUR HELP, EDWARD
posted by griphus at 12:20 PM on November 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


Also, Taylor Lautner's treatment by adult fans has been perhaps even more appalling, considering the fact that (iirc) he was underage for the first two films. If 50 year old men were publicly trying to grope an underage female celebrity and asking her to tell them what kind of underwear she was wearing, there would be fucking outraged mayhem.
posted by elizardbits at 12:23 PM on November 16, 2012 [28 favorites]


Every time I happen to catch a portion of Twilight on USA network while waiting for Burn Notice or something to come on, I'm all, "Oh thank you universe for these books and films not existing yet during my adolescent years and thereby preventing my young adulthood from being even more fucked up than it already was."

I don't know how old you are, but my generation had the V.C. Andrews books, and even Twilight isn't more fucked up than they were. I note that they share the characteristic of having love scenes that read as though they were written by someone who had never had sex in her life.
posted by orange swan at 12:24 PM on November 16, 2012 [22 favorites]


How To Be is actually pretty good IIRC. He did a great job with Brosnan in Remember Me but I thought the ending was contrived and ruined the movie.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:24 PM on November 16, 2012


gurple: I do cancer research, so cancer pays my paychecks. No one has once suggested to me that it's untoward for me to gripe about how much cancer sucks.
Good thing you don't do apples and oranges research.

Now, if your job was helping cancer grow...
posted by IAmBroom at 12:31 PM on November 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


I prefer this awesome shit-talking to the usual standby: actors trying (in vain) to gloss over the fact that they know they're in crap movies during late night talk show interviews.

I had a dream once that I was on the Twilight set with Robert Pattinson. We were sitting on the top deck of a double-decker bus. We commiserated over the insanity of the Twilight phenomenon, and I shared a joint with him, and he was profoundly grateful. If I ever meet him in real life, I hope I'm in a position to do the same thing.
posted by duvatney at 12:33 PM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


They're both strictly dominated by Andrew Garfield, among others.

I um, ahem nevermind.

Your fandom fact of the day: Launter being cast as Jacob lead directly to Tyler Posey being cast in Teen Wolf ( he had previously been in the lead for Jacob)
posted by The Whelk at 12:33 PM on November 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


...but my generation had the V.C. Andrews books...

Okay, so, in junior high school (~1998) I mainly hung out with girls. And the girls in my jr. high fucking loved V.C. Andrews novels. They traded them and would talk about them (although I never paid attention) and I thought it was, you know, just your run-of-the-mill "girl books." You know, like The Babysitter's Club but just a little more grown-up or something. I didn't have time for any of that. See, I was reading real grown-up literature at the time, which mainly took the form of boring epic fantasy and overly long pulp scifi novels I never finished.

Anyway, about fifteen years later, my girlfriend mentions having read those books, and I asked her what they were about. Again, I never actually listened to any of the V.C. Andrews-talk and had not a clue. And she explained to me what the books were about and, hoo boy, I sort of wish I had paid more attention to the girls' conversations back then.
posted by griphus at 12:38 PM on November 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


I don't know how old you are, but my generation had the V.C. Andrews books, and even Twilight isn't more fucked up than they were. I note that they share the characteristic of having love scenes that read as though they were written by someone who had never had sex in her life.

I'm probably older than you, because I remember when those first came out, and they weren't initially marketed as YA books aimed at underage readers or as "romance," at all. Much closer to horror-thriller. We read them, but it was similar to sneaking your mother's copy of Valley of the Dolls or something else Really Not for Teens. I can't imagine any girl of my age group fantasizing over, what was the brother's name?, Christopher? Eew.
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:41 PM on November 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


Twilight PR people could keep him from doing press junkets. That would not be unprecedented. So, the fact that he's out there being snarky about the work is probably something they're fine with, and it honestly probably brings in revenue from a segment that would never ever normally have anything to do with Twilight. I'm thinking we don't need to worry too much about whether he's biting the hand that feeds him. They're doing just fine.
posted by stoneweaver at 12:41 PM on November 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


Metafilter: appropriately pallid and interesting even without makeup
posted by jeudi at 12:49 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wonder what happened when he met S. Meyer. Did he run from the room, looking like he was going to puke, the way Edward did when he first met Bella? Did she stick in fingers in her ears and go LALALALA OMG YOU'RE SO PRETTY
posted by book 'em dano at 12:55 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


> I prefer this awesome shit-talking to the usual standby: actors trying (in vain) to gloss over the fact that they know they're in crap movies during late night talk show interviews.

Years ago I was standing in line at Blockbuster while a TV played clips of a media interview Ralph Fiennes was doing for The Avengers. He looked and sounded like a witness on the stand in a trial movie who breaks into a sweat and accidentally perjures himself while the courtroom audience erupts and the judge has to start shouting "ORDER! ORDER IN THE COURT!"
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:56 PM on November 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


On the other hand, I think Michael Sheen is having a blast.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:57 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I will never condone dumping on the people who made you famous in any form. It's distasteful.

Exactly how much money and/or fame does an employer have to provide to get to where they are immune from criticism by their employees for making them do stupid and degrading things?

The makers of Twilight paid him to act in their movies, he did, and they made obscene amounts of money. I don't see how he owes them anything. If anything, they probably owe him.
posted by straight at 12:57 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


GO HOME MICHAEL SHEEN

YOU ARE DRUNK
posted by Kitteh at 12:59 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


straight, I made it abundantly clear that I am talking about the fans. I don't give even half a shit about the studio.
posted by adamdschneider at 1:03 PM on November 16, 2012


you are starring in a movie that is 100% admittedly a woman's masturbation fantasy

that's interesting. about how much hate toward twilight can be linked to just straight up bald-faced misogyny, i wonder?
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 1:04 PM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


None of mine, because as I stated very clearly a number of times, I would be just as appalled if the genders were reversed.
posted by elizardbits at 1:05 PM on November 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


Hopefully none cause one of the biggest reasons to hate Twilight is that it's presents a situation that is Bad For Women( or you know, humans in general ) as the height of aspirational romance
posted by The Whelk at 1:07 PM on November 16, 2012 [14 favorites]


about how much hate toward twilight can be linked to just straight up bald-faced misogyny, i wonder?

Some of it, certainly, but people in general haven't ever needed additional reasons to hate on stuff that's both popular and bad. See, for example, the recent story on the AV Club about "Smooth" that was linked here.
posted by Ipsifendus at 1:08 PM on November 16, 2012


Fucking seriously, it is not misogynist to hate a piece of poorly written tripe when the author happens to be a woman. Nor is it misogynist to call out legitimately unpleasant behavior by female fans.
posted by elizardbits at 1:09 PM on November 16, 2012 [30 favorites]


elizardbits, we don't have the luxury of working with hypotheticals. in the real world, this is a thing women enjoy, and there is a man- lots of men, actually, on the internet- making fun of them. it's hard to steer around the creepy implications of that.

of course, there are also the creepy class issues, people mocking the "poorly" read for their choice in "trash" literature, but there are class issues with anything of that nature. i think the "bunch of older men angrily mocking younger women for their choice in erotic books" is creepier, though.
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 1:12 PM on November 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


(On an unrelated tangent the moisturizer he recommends is like 90 freakin dollars)
posted by The Whelk at 1:12 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


(and it's not even that good tbh)
posted by elizardbits at 1:14 PM on November 16, 2012


If we're not allowed to make fun of Twilight, what are we allowed to make fun of? :( Are we only allowed to mock things that privileged, educated white men do?
posted by duvatney at 1:15 PM on November 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


(Sorry, that was the least I've ever thought about a comment before I've posted. But not being allowed to mock Twilight gives me a sad.)
posted by duvatney at 1:16 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


wouldn't that be just terrible?
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 1:16 PM on November 16, 2012


i think the "bunch of older men angrily mocking younger women for their choice in erotic books" is creepier, though.

This seems like a weird framing of Rpattz mocking his fans.
posted by dinty_moore at 1:17 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


And meanwhile, on Conan, Kristen Stewart fidgets, looks uncomfortable, trashes Twilight and talks - quite sincerely it seems - about revolting faux girl power in the movies. It's pretty fun to see Conan glide right over this point. Via Jezebel.

(Sorry, that was the least I've ever thought about a comment before I've posted. But not being allowed to mock Twilight gives me a sad.)

Well. Here's one feminist on MeFi who will not call you out on it. Promise. Mock on.
posted by space_cookie at 1:20 PM on November 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


i think the "bunch of older men angrily mocking younger women for their choice in erotic books" is creepier, though.

Creepier than "man shaming woman mocking women's choice in erotic books"?
posted by octobersurprise at 1:20 PM on November 16, 2012 [11 favorites]


no, I meant everyone on the internet, reddit etc. mocking it

also, it's interesting how people are finding ways that men, prominent wealthy men, attacking this thing that was written by a woman and is mainly enjoyed by women is actually totally anti-misogynist
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 1:21 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just to throw as much of a sociological wrench in the works as I can: I mean, yeah, to some extent, we are mocking a woman-driven romance phenomenon. On the other hand, it's a woman-driven romance phenomenon that reflects in creepy, boldfaced ways the sociocultural patterns of dominance that have been inflicted/imprinted on women as appropriate behavior by those in power (aaaand we're right back to the white men).

I think it's very significant that these books were written by a Mormon housewife-- a woman who, in fact, married young, has never held professional jobs (other than writer), and whose faith is clearly very important to her. Now, there's nothing wrong with any of those things as individual choices, but you can't divorce them from the larger social context in which they spring: and that larger social context is, in fact, the same one that might be the genesis of a hugely popular novel series that features an unhealthy hierarchical relationship with weird expectations around womanhood/motherhood and zero personal boundaries.

So, yeah. Making fun of Twilight fans is in some ways making fun of the victims, and it's a bit sad. But making fun of Twilight? Bring it on.
posted by WidgetAlley at 1:22 PM on November 16, 2012 [31 favorites]


Everyone on the internet is still not older dudes, though. Hi.

There are some ways that twilight bashing can be misogynist, sure, but that doesn't seem to be the case here.
posted by dinty_moore at 1:23 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


we don't have the luxury of working with hypotheticals

Waving away valid concerns about the shitty messages this series is giving young girls about what constitutes a healthy relationship as "misogyny" is fucking stupid. This is not a hypothetical situation, this is a real thing that is happening.

OBVIOUSLY when men dismiss something as stupid solely because the content creator is female, this is a Bad Thing that needs examining and discussion. How is this even in question?

And on preview, no one has said that Robert Pattinson's views are somehow magically anti-misogynist. Stop making shit up.
posted by elizardbits at 1:24 PM on November 16, 2012 [12 favorites]


Oh, also, I might add that the vast majority of Twilight mockery that I see is from women directed towards other women. I do sort of cock an eyebrow at dudes who mock it-- not that it's not mockable, but, like, not cool to turn into, "IF ONLY THOSE WOMEN PEOPLE THAT I HEAR SO MUCH ABOUT WOULD READ REAL BOOKS".
posted by WidgetAlley at 1:24 PM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sometimes bad things are bad. This, I boldly proclaim, is one such time.
posted by Palindromedary at 1:25 PM on November 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


Agreed, WidgetAlley. I watched the first film with my best friend, and when we got to the scene where Edward was like "I'm a vampire, I've killed lots of people, when I'm with you I think about killing you" and Bella's like, "that's okay!" she (my best friend) said "What the hell IS THIS? I would never let my daughter watch this crap!"

When you take out "vampire" and substitute a real-life analogue, like "serial killer," "stalker" or "rapist," the scene gets even more sinister.
posted by duvatney at 1:26 PM on November 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah no one really notices Kristen Stewart* doing basically the same thing, except she usually reserves the vitriol for the commentaries which I am told are *hilarious*


* whom I've developed this weird platonic crush on ever since Adventureland cause WHOA HI THERE AUTHENTIC EXPERIENCE OF BEING A TEEN IN NEW JERSEY HOW ARE YOU?
posted by The Whelk at 1:27 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've never seen anything Twilight and don't even know much about what it's about besides vampires but I'm intrigued now and kind of love RPattz.
posted by sweetkid at 1:28 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


@WidgetAlley

yeah. i've noted this elsewhere, though, and the kind of reflexive anger i usually get when i notice that hey this could be interpreted as misogynist, what you are doing here and maybe you have a context you think makes it okay, but other people may not see that can really look a lot like the reflexive, angry defensiveness of the privileged being called out on it
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 1:28 PM on November 16, 2012


KStew might actually have it worse, since fans/reporters/random assholes on the street think that they have the right to tell her to smile more when she's off minding her own business. SMILE YOU'RE SUCH A PRETTY GIRL SMIIIILE.
posted by elizardbits at 1:30 PM on November 16, 2012 [13 favorites]


I love her growly face.
posted by The Whelk at 1:31 PM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah no one really notices Kristen Stewart* doing basically the same thing.

I love much of her work, and if someone posts a video compendium of her snarking about a) the character she plays, b) the wackiness of her job, and c) herself, which is 90% of what Pattinson seems to be mocking, I'll be happy to laugh just as loudly and commend her just as much.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:31 PM on November 16, 2012


SMILE YOU'RE SUCH A PRETTY GIRL SMIIIILE.

Sometimes I wish she were an actual vampire so she could rip those guys' heads off. I have no idea what KStew is like or whether she's a good actress but every time I see someone yell about how she always looks angry I just want to buy her a beer and be her friend (not that she needs a pity friend, but I bet she'd be really funny about her whole experience.)
posted by WidgetAlley at 1:34 PM on November 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


There are two issues here: 1) Can we make fun of mass entertainment for failing to meet artistic standards, or are we just smuggling in class prejudice? and 2) Can we criticize the gender narratives surrounding both the Twilight books and the fan subculture, or are we just indulging in misogyny?

1. Mass entertainment can be smartly written. Look at Harry Potter, for example. Saying Twilight fails as art should say nothing about our opinion on mass entertainment in general.

2. The plot of Twilight is creepy, particularly the gender dynamics. As Pattinson and others have said, Edward has "stalker" and "domestic abuser" written all over him. That the books portray his behavior in a positive light, such that Bella becomes a superhero at the end, is even creepier. As for the fan culture, I'll just say that A) female sexuality often expresses itself in disconcerting ways (e.g., Columbiners), and B) it's possible to deal with the themes in Twilight that don't portray a toxic view of gender relations--as bonkers as True Blood and The Vampire Diaries are, one can hardly accuse them of retrograde views on gender.
posted by Cash4Lead at 1:34 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


OMG ALSO there is that one group of candids from a night she spent out with Jennifer Lawrence and (iirc) Emma Watson and I just screamed and screamed with glee at the imagined hilarious conversations.

eta: i think i made the emma watson part up inside my head, oops
posted by elizardbits at 1:35 PM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also, allow me to say: when I said "making fun of Twilight fans is a bit sad", I was referring to people who do it in a drive-by way (like us). Robert Pattinson has earned the right to say whatever he wants about some of his fans being psychotic because HOLY SHIT THEY'VE BITTEN HIM!?!?!?!
posted by WidgetAlley at 1:39 PM on November 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


These are young, young women (22) with the world at their feet. Stewart told me she didn’t know what her next project was going to be. Lawrence told us she starts shooting the second “Hunger Games” movie on Tuesday.

“Tuesday? This Tuesday?” Stewart screamed. “Have you rehearsed?”
“Yep,” said Lawrence, “we’re all done and ready to go.”

The two young ladies had not met in person before, but on the internet. “The internet brought us together,” said Lawrence. “There was a fake story in one of the tabloids about a feud or something. We didn’t even know each other so we started talking by email.


via
posted by elizardbits at 1:39 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Let me add: Yes, male sexuality is often creepy and disturbing, too, and I'm happy to discuss why.
posted by Cash4Lead at 1:40 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Disclaimer: I have not read the books or seen the movies, but I have spent entirely too much time idly reading reviews of both and I have to agree with what Cash4Lead says, above. It is implicit in any criticism of a popular work as being artistically shoddy and sociopolitically problematic (as Twilight is WIDELY seen), that one is by extension criticizing that work's FANS, if only for their poor taste in books.

The fact that certain among these fans are seen behaving problematically towards the actors involved in the film can be seen to underline and amplify the broadly percieved problems w/r/t how gender and relationships are presented in the books. Further criticizing these problematic behaviors in that context is about as far from reflexive misogyny as one can get. Not all mockery of specific women is based in prejudice.
posted by BigLankyBastard at 1:47 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


When SBTB calls out various female romance novelists for normalizing and romanticizing rapey attitudes towards sex, I am pretty fucking sure no one says "oh, it's because of misogyny and hating successful women and hating things that women are fans of!"
posted by elizardbits at 1:51 PM on November 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


i understand the reaction to some mocking the book takes in other parts of the internet. i get irked about 50 shades of grey mocking for similar reasons - like, porn isn't realistic, and super problematic, and rarely shows bdsm in a responsible, healthy way - why should 50 shades be held to a higher standard? so much of the mocking is the mocking of middle aged women's sexuality and that pisses me right off. i've read part of it, it didn't grab me, but i don't want to add to the chorus of critique, because i find the critique to be overwhelming tinged with misogyny.

however - i think that twilight is sort of a different beast - here we have an adult woman writing spank lit about teenagers, marketed to teenagers, getting some actual teenagers to star in it, and then the fan base is made up of a lot of adult women who go on to do things like underwear with edward's face, and buying the movie prop with actual sex tears (as the ebay copy said), and biting the lead characters, and sending them slash that involves them.

if you see critique of twilight here that you feel is misogynist, please, call it out, tell us why. but if your reaction is about something someone elsewhere on the internet said and then you rush in here guns a'blazing, people are going to react to that in a less than favorable way.
posted by nadawi at 1:58 PM on November 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


getting some actual teenagers to star in it

Straight up TELLING HIM that he was the one she was picturing the whole time, and that's why he was solicited for the part. Not okay, regardless of gender.
posted by elizardbits at 2:02 PM on November 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


It is implicit in any criticism of a popular work as being artistically shoddy and sociopolitically problematic (as Twilight is WIDELY seen), that one is by extension criticizing that work's FANS, if only for their poor taste in books.

I don't think that necessarily follows at all. There's plenty of music, for instance, that I would call artistically shoddy and sociopolitically problematic yet still consider immensely enjoyable and appealing or otherwise worthwhile either in spite of or because of those features.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:03 PM on November 16, 2012


FelliniBlank, point taken: There's all sorts of things wrong (musically and politically) with X-Clan's album, "To the East, Blackwards" but I still pull it out occasionally. I'd hope nobody tries to paint me with that brush. So, yeah, guilty pleasures and all that. But bad fan behavior is what it is.
posted by BigLankyBastard at 2:09 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, male sexuality is often creepy and disturbing, too, and I'm happy to discuss why.

Sigh, that's what my girlfriend says when she sees me shirtless.
posted by Think_Long at 2:13 PM on November 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Prior to this thread I thought the weirdest thing about the Twilight movie was that the two people I watched it with were totally united in their love for it, they being a brawny active military dude and a practicing Zen Buddhist. Now I can't decide if its Stephanie Meyer being a Mormon housewife or Robert Pattinson being bitten by a fan.
posted by fshgrl at 2:41 PM on November 16, 2012


no, I meant everyone on the internet, reddit etc. mocking it

also, it's interesting how people are finding ways that men, prominent wealthy men, attacking this thing that was written by a woman and is mainly enjoyed by women is actually totally anti-misogynist


I'm going to do you a favor and assume you aren't being serious.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:52 PM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


My Nano this year is my version of the Twilight setup. So far, my heroine has threated grievous bodily harm via field hockey stick on the supernatural creep that's been mooning over her.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:03 PM on November 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


(On an unrelated tangent the moisturizer he recommends is like 90 freakin dollars)

Haha, I wonder how many of us googled this- I know it's the first thing I did once I watched the video. $90 for 6 packets, $125 for 10.

Also, these videos do make him way more likable, whoever said he's making a great PR move is correct- Twihards won't be deterred and he's WAY more relatable. And hot but not in a vampire-y sort of way, just in the kind of person it would be fun to have a drink with way. And isn't that ideal for a transitioning teen (film, not age) star?
posted by bquarters at 3:05 PM on November 16, 2012


By the way, guys, if you have read the books or seen the movies out of either enthusiasm OR derision, you should seriously watch this last movie, preferably with a packed theater of Twihards who know the story inside and out. Shit goes down in this movie that does NOT happen in the book, and the sound of hundreds of fans suddenly shrieking in total shock was an AMAZING experience.
posted by brookedel at 3:18 PM on November 16, 2012 [11 favorites]


I don't want to actually PAY MONEY to see it but oh my god imagine the humiliation at being caught sneaking in to see it. Immediate seppuku.
posted by elizardbits at 3:23 PM on November 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


Now I want to see it.

With elizardbits.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:28 PM on November 16, 2012 [19 favorites]


I'm wondering if it was this comment I made that came across as being a defense of Robert Pattinson as a putative "anti-misogynist" --

Me: I say Pattinson is actually doing his young fans a ginormous favor by stomping all over their Tiger Beat delusions.

If so, I'd like to apologize and clarify that I wasn't AT ALL referring to any statements he may have made about fans. If he's made any insulting statements about the readers/viewers of Twilight, I haven't ever heard them because I don't follow this stuff. I don't think he said anything bad about fans in the video clip in the FPP or in the part of the Tumblr elizardbits posted.

What I meant by "stomping all over [fans'] Tiger Beat delusions" is the way Pattinson seems to consistently de-romanticize and de-mythologize and de-mystique-ify both the Edward Cullen character and himself. I have actually never seen RP interviewed before, but I really like that he displays about the least James Dean-ish, Jim Morrison-y, Heathcliff-esque "dreamy tortured artist" persona possible. I think it would have been a good thing for me personally if there had been some similar voices/critique/mockery to counter the MASSIVE amount of Romanticized Heathcliff material I steeped myself in starting at about age 3.

I like that Pattinson emphasizes, "This character is not a nice person; this is not a healthy relationship," instead of the kind of cliche showbiz, "Well, you see, he's complicated and misunderstood and multi-layered" line that some actors normally trot out. The guy is allowed to not like the character he plays, and as a former young woman, I maintain that it'd be a good thing if young women also disliked that character. (None of which has anything to do with Meyer's talent as an author or the worth of her books. I hate pretty much every character in every Thomas Hardy novel, but I love the novels. Go figure.)

That's all I was talking about.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:31 PM on November 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


I will never condone dumping on the people who made you famous in any form. It's distasteful.

Bagging on your crappy job is always okay in my book. The fact that his crappy job pays millions of dollars and mine doesn't is nice for him, but doesn't change the fact that it's still crappy.
posted by valkyryn at 3:31 PM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


See also his recent interview with Jimmy Fallon, wherein Jimmy asks him "Millions of Twilight fans, they cannot wait to see this, it’s almost heartbreaking because they don’t want it to be over. It’s a little bittersweet, isn’t it?"

This is his response.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:42 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]




See also his recent interview w/Jimmy Fallon, the link to which I am too lazy to find, wherein Jimmy asks him "Millions of Twilight fans, they cannot wait to see this, it’s almost heartbreaking because they don’t want it to be over. It’s a little bittersweet, isn’t it?"

his response
posted by elizardbits at 11:20 on November 16


See also his recent interview with Jimmy Fallon, wherein Jimmy asks him "Millions of Twilight fans, they cannot wait to see this, it’s almost heartbreaking because they don’t want it to be over. It’s a little bittersweet, isn’t it?"

This is his response.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 15:42 on November 16



Do you guys ever wear the same outfits or play pranks on your significant others? ;D
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:48 PM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


One time our parents were divorced and we impersonated one another to make them get back together. It was quite droll.
posted by elizardbits at 3:53 PM on November 16, 2012 [20 favorites]


Ha. I know next to nothing about Twilight or Robert Pattinson (though I was vaguely embarrassed to learn that a Metric song I liked was apparently written for the movie). But I love Pattinson's honesty and sense of humor in these clips. Has he gotten in any trouble from the studio for what he's said?
posted by three_red_balloons at 3:55 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


If laughing in the face of morons who part easily with their money is wrong, i don't wanna be right.
posted by palbo at 3:56 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I never would have imagined it, but he really sparkled in those interviews.
posted by Elmore at 4:06 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]




In some media class I had once I learned that talk radio is successful because both the fans and the haters like to listen to the show.

I wonder if there's something like that going on here?
posted by hot_monster at 4:07 PM on November 16, 2012


I never would have imagined it, but he really sparkled in those interviews.

There was probably some sunlight in the area.
posted by Justinian at 4:11 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


The typical Twilight fan doesn't care about, or even want, the male lead to be the sort of guy who reads Twilight. The studio loses nothing by having Pattinson carry this wry, detached attitude towards the project.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:13 PM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


If 50 year old men were publicly trying to grope an underage female celebrity and asking her to tell them what kind of underwear she was wearing, there would be fucking outraged mayhem.

WESTERN REVERSE MOE.
posted by chrominance at 4:27 PM on November 16, 2012


I saw the first Twilight film because I want to be semi-informed about anything that is that massively popular - I at least want to know what it is. And as I was leaving the second-run theater I thought: fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

I've had lots of shame since then, but none relating to that franchise.
posted by Kiablokirk at 4:43 PM on November 16, 2012


I have avoided this whole Twilight thing for several reasons:

1) My mom attempted to read the first book and said it was CRAP CRAP CRAP CRAP CRAP CRAP.

2) Having been told a little about the relationship dynamic leads me to believe that given my own relationship history I might find it troubling. Feeling traumatized and stupid seems like an unpleasant combination so no thank you.

3) I think vampires are really stupid. Romantic vampires especially. There are notable exceptions - vampires handled with originality and wit can be great fun. But mostly they... well, they suck.


I am now convinced that the only way to experience this phenomenon and derive any joy from it is to have it narrated to me by someone who has followed the series from the beginning and has seen it because the other night a friend of a friend was doing just that and it was hilarious. I overheard her describing this part:

You would change your mind if you had to chew a creepy baby out of your girlfriend's uterus.


And after that immediately made her tell me EVERYTHING about that particular plot point, occasionally stopping her to scream because OH MY GOD THIS WAS A THING MADE BY GROWN-UPS WHO GOT PAID MONEY and wow. Just... I laughed, we all laughed, even our storyteller admitted that it was really, really awful and that yes the whole thing is like that and sometimes it is worse.



I mean, people don't hate it because it is a Thing That Women Like. They hate it because it's a great steaming heap of radioactive toxic shit.
posted by louche mustachio at 5:05 PM on November 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


You would change your mind if you had to chew a creepy baby out of your girlfriend's uterus.

You don't know me.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:25 PM on November 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


3) I think vampires are really stupid. Romantic vampires especially. There are notable exceptions - vampires handled with originality and wit can be great fun. But mostly they... well, they suck.

If you're into comics, I highly recommend American Vampire. Brilliant stuff, even if you're not into vampires. Scott Snyder has been tearing it up of late.
posted by middleclasstool at 5:42 PM on November 16, 2012


See also his recent interview w/Jimmy Fallon, wherein Jimmy asks him "Millions of Twilight fans, they cannot wait to see this, it’s almost heartbreaking because they don’t want it to be over. It’s a little bittersweet, isn’t it?"

His response.
posted by moss at 5:51 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have a TwiMom. When she came up to visit me in Washington, she went to see Forks, WA. On the side of one of the hotels, there was a sign that said "Robert Patterson did not sleep here."
posted by A Bad Catholic at 5:52 PM on November 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


I went to the (grand, majestic, breathtaking, primeval) Olympic Peninsula with an ex-boyfriend. We had lunch in Forks. EVERYTHING on the menu was Twilight themed. Jacob Blackened steak, PortoBELLA mushroom sauce and on and on. My conversation with the waitress:

Me: Hey, all this Twilight stuff has to get old for you folks.
Waitress: Gosh no. We love it. I get to meet so many interesting people. You're not here for Twilight?
Me: No. We're here for the nature.
Waitress: Oh. We have that too.
posted by space_cookie at 6:25 PM on November 16, 2012 [11 favorites]


I hate the books with an unending passion but I am absolutely fascinated by the adult soccer mom fangirl phenom. I see this at my son's elementary school. The fanmoms acknowledge that the writing is crap, that the relationship model is unhealthy and one they'd never want their daughters to emulate ... yet, they love the movies enough to have movie nights together with copious amounts of liquor being consumed. I am baffled.
posted by echolalia67 at 6:29 PM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Actually, alcohol helped me get through one of the movies just fine. well -- alcohol and Rifftrax.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:10 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


"I have no idea what KStew is like or whether she's a good actress"

I haven't seen the Twilight movies but I liked her pretty well as Joan Jett in The Runaways. I'm FASCINATED by her in interviews, though. She's so uncomfortable and she gives real answers to questions (unless they're about her personal life, in which case she doubles down on uncomfortable), which the interviewers always seem unprepared for. You don't see many really famous actresses who aren't a lot more PR-friendly and willing to play the game, because that's part of how they get that famous. It's interesting that she shot to stardom with Twilight and, like, got to "super-famous" before anyone realized she's a "terrible" interview by Hollywood starlet standards.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:59 PM on November 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Part of me is amused by Pattinson's attitude, but the other part of me knows my Bob Dylan: "You gotta serve somebody."
posted by gentian at 8:20 PM on November 16, 2012


I liked Stewart in Adventureland, FWIW.
posted by kenko at 8:45 PM on November 16, 2012


She also plays a good Joan Jett in The Runaways.
posted by P.o.B. at 9:00 PM on November 16, 2012


I liked Stewart in Adventureland, FWIW.

That totally was totally mismarketed. They tried to sell it as a zany, Zombieland-like comedy but it's more of a slice of life drama about being young and in-between HS and college and stuck in a suburban New Jersey town and being a complete basket case. Stewarts' go-to growly mannerisms really sold her as an unhappy and frustrated young adult.
posted by The Whelk at 9:07 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


In delayed response to griphius: I thought he was terrific in COSMOPOLIS. It's a profoundly weird performance in a profoundly weird movie, but he does a great job of starting as a steely master of the universe and slowly crumbling.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 9:46 PM on November 16, 2012


"bunch of older men angrily mocking younger women for their choice in erotic books"

This is pretty much my fave thing about Twilight fandom, I do find it quite weird, I wish people would get a hate-on for Piers Anthony as much as they do for Twilight, because I find them to be roughly equivalent situations. I do actually like RPattz's attitude, because I'd go fucking crazy pretending to like and appreciate the attention from something like this. A lot of geeky get-off-my-lawn types seem to dislike him because he's attractive and "ungrateful." Idk, acting is a job, maybe it's a cushy and great and ritzy job, but I don't think actors owe us the eternal posturing that has become a convention only because it ultimately serves their studios. I mean, Stars Were Made in the dawn of Hollywood because they were a wonderful marketing tool for studios. I appreciate when someone is a sweetheart to their fans, but I don't find it objectionable to be ambivalent about your job and talk about it in public.

The fanmoms acknowledge that the writing is crap, that the relationship model is unhealthy and one they'd never want their daughters to emulate ... yet, they love the movies enough to have movie nights together with copious amounts of liquor being consumed. I am baffled.

Because it's hot and they like getting off on it and it's a fantasy. Men read and watch plenty of shitty-to-borderline shitty stuff because there are hot women doing sexy things that would make them terrible and destructive life partners in it and no one curr.
posted by stoneandstar at 2:44 AM on November 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Also I get the desire to "protect" young women from abusive relationship patterns by mocking them pointing out the problematic aspects of their sexual fantasy as it would play out in the real world, but I wish more people would flock together to protect young men by roundly condemning media that will harm them by making them into abusive objectifying rapey assholes. Let's protect young men too.
posted by stoneandstar at 2:46 AM on November 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


stoneandstar: "I wish people would get a hate-on for Piers Anthony as much as they do for Twilight, because I find them to be roughly equivalent situations"

I think if Piers Anthony's books were as popular now, in the age of the Internet, as Twilight, you would see it. Think about the tremendous hate hard-on the Internet has for Dan Brown.
posted by Bugbread at 6:30 AM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Good call on the Piers Anthony connection. I used to love his books, but looking back, they were pretty demented, and not in a cute happy mutant way.

Also, hey, remember Piers Anthony's Firefly? Because it might honestly the worst book to have ever been written. It's like a ham-handed crypto-pedophile tried to be Stephen King. Tommyknockers-era Stephen King.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:59 AM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I wish people would get a hate-on for Piers Anthony as much as they do for Twilight, because I find them to be roughly equivalent situations.

They do! He's just not remembered well, thank god. I don't remember the last time he was brought up on MeFi (or anywhere else) for any reason outside of his being gross and creepy.
posted by griphus at 8:12 AM on November 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


(I just tried to read Demons Don't Dream a few months back knowing nothing about Piers Anthony except "he used to be popular" and "he likes puns" and it just got worse and worse and then I found out that it turns out I'm not being oversensitive and he's just, well, Piers Anthony.)
posted by griphus at 8:13 AM on November 17, 2012


I have yet to pick up a Piers Anthony because my only mental connection with it is "people on the internet hate him for all the pedo horse sex" and I don't need to read that.

So if you're interested in celebrity culture from a kinda academic stance and What Celebrity Does To People then Pattinson and Stewart are REALLY interesting cause they got super-famous really quickly, plucked from obscurity, and placed in a will-not-fail franchise and thus has zero incentives to give a fuck. I can't think of two stars of a mainstream movie just publicly hating their projects to this degree and also just refusing to give the PR machine the responses they want and expect. So as a result they stand out and ...become more famous despite giving every indication they really don't want to be. It's really strange and interesting and they both seem like they great senses of humor. (and yes Pattinson's visible relief that the Twilight series is over is the best thing in the world.)
posted by The Whelk at 8:43 AM on November 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


The thing that astonishes me in this video is just how expressive Robert Pattinson's face is. Having watched him sustain that one oh-god-what-are-these-contact-lenses-doing-to-my-eyes expression unchangingly through the entire Twilight saga, I had no idea he could be that animated, or that adorable.
posted by moss at 11:17 AM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dude has made like a million billion dollars off the Twilight franchise. Seems like he could maybe be a little more gracious about it.

He showed up, did his job, entertained fans, and made millions of dollars for other people. He didn’t say "people are stupid for liking this" he just makes it clear he doesn’t like it. What’s wrong with that? At what point can you no longer say "yeah, I think it’s great!"?

Disclaimer; Watching that video comprised most of my Twilight knowledge. I know one person who read and hated one of the books and one who saw and hated one of the movies. Like always, I may not know what I’m talking about.
posted by bongo_x at 12:39 PM on November 17, 2012


I think if Piers Anthony's books were as popular now, in the age of the Internet, as Twilight, you would see it. Think about the tremendous hate hard-on the Internet has for Dan Brown.

I see what you're saying, but I do have a problem with the fact that Twilight is attacked for its misogyny much more thoroughly than most "male" entertainment is-- sure, stupid movies like Suckerpunch are mocked for being straight-up sexist trash, but usually by people who would be on the feminist side anyway. It seems even guys who are pretty misogynist in their everyday life and opinions about women are still concerned about how sexist Twilight is for girls.

I hear Piers Anthony being mocked for his piggishness all the time, but usually by people who concede that his novels were an significant part of their young adult interest in sci-fi and that they're passable (even if kind of dumb) entertainment when not objectifying their female characters. There's a sense that sci-fi (even trashy sci-fi) has some outside substance, whereas a young adult book for girls (always characterized by things like coming of age and burgeoning romance, family relationships and conflicts) has no remainder once the fantasy is divided out. Twilight has apparently no redeeming facets. It seems unusual to me and I actually find it untrue when I watch the Twilight movies. Bella does have feelings and crises which feel familiar to the junior high self still somewhere inside me. I've heard in the books Bella is much more of a cipher and maybe that's the difference.

Sure, running away with a creepy abusive guy is not a great lesson to teach girls, but at least it's a fantasy for them for once, and not a fantasy for men about how to be an abusive creep and get hot chicks anyway where the girls are both ignored and told to identify with the two-dimensional hot chicks. My impression of the Twilight movies was that they were pretty slapdash, but Bella's relationship with her parents was realistically sketched (and even sometimes moving) and it made a lot of sense as a young adult fantasy. (But yeah, I haven't read the books and I'm willing to bet that they lack some of the strengths of the movies based on what I've heard.)

I actually wonder sometimes if this kind of critique of Twilight is slightly misguided. I've always felt somewhat "innately" feminist, but my fantasies as a young (young, young) girl were often about being swept away by a cool, sexy, maybe dangerous guy who really loved me as a unique individual. It wasn't just that he was dangerous, it was that I wanted danger and adventure. But I wasn't an idiot and knew in my heart of hearts it was a fantasy, just as I knew the difference between a rape fantasy and the fear of actually being raped. I think in the rush to protect women (an admirable instinct, the world being dangerous for women and all) we get paternalistic and act like the dad on the front porch with the shotgun or the people who condemn Girls for being full of "bad role models" and all the other messages that imply that girl-centric media is going a bit too far.

Maybe this will always be an issue, though-- there's always been a critique of video games and boy-centric media being too satanic and violent. Maybe it's just the degree to which "geek culture" (or whatever) legitimizes male sex fantasy trash while spitting and cursing Twilight up and down.
posted by stoneandstar at 4:00 PM on November 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Shit goes down in this movie that does NOT happen in the book,

Well, sort of. I actually thought the movie did a pretty clever job of rectifying Meyer's ridiculous anticlimax of a non-ending (as well as a couple other minor plot points along the way). It was still stupid, but a bit more satisfyingly stupid at least.

and the sound of hundreds of fans suddenly shrieking in total shock was an AMAZING experience.

I didn't really get that. The audience where I was broke into spontaneous laughter AT the movie at one dramatic moment, which I found gratifying (this was when the battle lines were being drawn up, a sequence intended to be quiet and ominous, and the theater just erupted in laughter). Also they were cheering and applauding the carnage near the end, definitely not shrieking in shock. So these fans anyway seemed to have a healthy amount of cynicism even though they were seeing the movie on opening night.
posted by torticat at 4:21 PM on November 17, 2012


I saw a lot of movies this summer, every time the Breaking Dawn trailer came on there were HOWLS of laughter from the audience.
posted by The Whelk at 4:49 PM on November 17, 2012


Twilight has apparently no redeeming facets. It seems unusual to me and I actually find it untrue when I watch the Twilight movies. Bella does have feelings and crises which feel familiar to the junior high self still somewhere inside me. I've heard in the books Bella is much more of a cipher and maybe that's the difference.

Yeah, I don't buy this "x text has no possible value" nonsense about anything, really. For example, I've only seen parts of the first movie, but one theme I saw there that seemed extremely authentic that I've heard runs throughout the books is this sense of Bella as a constrained character, with all these thwarted and frustrated desires, including sexual desire, certainly, though not only that.

I think in the rush to protect women (an admirable instinct, the world being dangerous for women and all) we get paternalistic and act like the dad on the front porch with the shotgun or the people who condemn Girls for being full of "bad role models" and all the other messages that imply that girl-centric media is going a bit too far.


That's definitely the case, but I don't think teens or adults of any gender identity need to be protected from any books/media. In my ideal world, they would have:

1. open access to whatever media they choose
2. highly developed information literacy and critical thinking skills
3. access to lots and lots and lots and lots of information about media, from as many varying perspectives as possible
4. safe spaces in which to express their views and ability to participate actively in the conversations going on in 3.

When I was in the YA demographic in the mid-70s, at least some of us kids had 1. and a halfway decent amount of 2. But there just was no 3. or 4. available. I consumed gargantuan quantities of media in my youth and teens, but the only place anyone ever talked about most of it was inside my head.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:51 PM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have heard people argue that the movies are better than the books cause

They would almost have to be

It removes the godawful prose and internal monologues

There's stuff to look at, sometimes it's attractive actors.
posted by The Whelk at 4:53 PM on November 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wait, have you read the books, The Whelk?
posted by stoneandstar at 5:17 PM on November 17, 2012


I'm curious because I do really want to know if the movies transform the books by dint of avoiding things like prose style and inner monologues, which are usually the doom of bad YA fiction. As in, they're usually 90% of the substance of bad YA and I can see how that would be prohibitive. I keep nearly reading the first book so I can talk about it with my chipper little junior high straight-A student cousin, but I'm burnt out on young adult reading right now.
posted by stoneandstar at 5:26 PM on November 17, 2012


Which, speaking of, I am burnt out after trying to read the Hunger Games trilogy because I loved the movie as a young adult movie so much and realized that sometimes movies are better than the books (though the Hunger Games books were actually OK).
posted by stoneandstar at 5:32 PM on November 17, 2012


I have not read Twilight but I have read so much detailed commentary on it that I've read it by proxy

I actually think the Hunger Games movies improved on the story by clarifiying and refining quite a bit and drawing out more themes that seemed a bit subsumed in the book ( and removing everything that made me go eeeeehhhhhh...like the dogs having people's eyes and stuff, although I do miss that a lot of Katniss' life in District 12 was scrubbed over/overly streamlined and that her supportive aesthetic team got the short stick, but I'm pretty positive on it in the general)
posted by The Whelk at 5:41 PM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Like Who Framed Roger Rabbit is one of my favorite movies ever and that book is borderline unreadable.
posted by The Whelk at 5:41 PM on November 17, 2012


Er, Hunger Games movie*
posted by The Whelk at 5:48 PM on November 17, 2012


I didn't get very far in the Hunger Games but I'm planning to try again because I got the sense that more "social commentary" like Katniss's life in District 12 and her support team were glossed over in favor of more charming character-centric moments (and just plain compression), and that seemed like one of the more interesting parts of the series to me. I was wondering if they'd develop it much more in the next two films. I'm afraid that with a new director the movies won't be quite as good, though.

Oh, and FelliniBlank, I totally agree with you re: protecting young people from media-- that's definitely my point about both Twilight and shows like Girls, where people think it's bad for young women to hear their own fantasies and moral conundrums out loud. I don't think there's really any protecting them from that, nor is it more harmful than inescapable everyday garden variety sexism. I can see where it gets dicey, like young people stumbling upon a delightful romp by R. Crumb in their local library, but I think people maybe forget a little the extent to which young people already have their own creepy shameful aggressive awkward sexual fantasies, and will be working through the intractable conflicts and dilemmas of benign consensual sexuality as it really is soon enough.
posted by stoneandstar at 6:45 PM on November 17, 2012


I'm curious because I do really want to know if the movies transform the books by dint of avoiding things like prose style and inner monologues

The books are fucking execrable for indeed this (okay one of many) reason(s). The movies, while still awful and ridiculous, are notably better.
posted by elizardbits at 9:29 PM on November 17, 2012


The movies don't have Edward wearing sweater vests or dressed all in off-white, so that's one improvement on the books (as I remember them). Also his eyes aren't onyx in the movies. Also the scenery is pretty. Also Billy Burke.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:52 PM on November 17, 2012


stoneandstar, I read the books and watched the movies and would agree with the evaluation that the movies are an improvement in that you lose Bella's monologue and the awful prose. The movies are less successful dealing with Meyer's silly, expedient plotting, which is eyeroll-inducing but at least comprehensible in the books. I think the movies could have cut and altered a lot of that to make a better story. Instead they stay mostly faithful to the books and pack plot points into expositional dialogue that is badly done and surely leaves non-readers confused anyway about what's going on.

I started reading Twilight because my teenage daughter was reading the books and I wanted to see what the fuss was about. They are a quick read; I can see the page-turner appeal even though the writing makes you want to throw the book against the wall. What I don't understand and can hardly believe is that anyone, or any grownup at least, would find the books or movies "hot." Even my daughter agrees that Bella's and Edward's romance has zero warmth in the books, and that Stewart and Pattinson do nothing to add the missing chemistry on the screen (which seems... odd, like couldn't they bring that, at least? but I think it's mostly because the screenplay is so bad).

It's possible my (target market) daughter felt more than she let on, of course, but even if this is true, I have a hard time believing that tons of women my age actually find this material romantic or erotic. Is it possible they're more just signing on to a cultural phenomenon because it's fun to have a shared experience, even if it's silly and bad and superficially entertaining and you tear it apart afterwards? I'd rather believe this than that Twilight seriously succeeds as a romance fantasy for a large part of the adult population.

I've had some great conversations with my daughter, comparing Bella as a protagonist to Katniss (and also Hermione, and Tally of Uglies, and others), so Twilight is really useful in that regard.
posted by torticat at 9:54 PM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Before this thread, I had no idea what a splendid, dorky, Roast Beef-like wonder Robert Pattinson is. Mr. Palmcorder and I are now officially fans.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 11:04 PM on November 17, 2012


My (just turned) 13 y/o granddaughter summed Twilight up for me. Here's the abridged version:

It's like Cheetos. You look at them and they're disgusting. Like orange-coated cat turds. Gross. Who would eat that? But you eat one and it tastes good and you keep eating them until the bag is empty You forget about the cat turd thing.
posted by Pudhoho at 3:41 AM on November 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


I read the books because my younger sister was into them when they were coming out (she is now a part of the backlash.) I rolled my eyes a little but plowed through them in a couple of days each, which says something about their readability given their doorstop size. I have to give Ms. Meyer's prose credit for that -- it is compulsively readable, and that is not easy to achieve. Doesn't make it beautiful, but if what Dan Brown and Stephanie Meyer do were so easy, everyone would do it.

I don't agree that Bella of the books is a cipher. She's a teenage girl, and her feelings felt very familiar to me. Especially in the first book, she's a little cynical, even a little wry. She wants to have friends but is frustrated by the shallowness of other teenagers. She loves her parents but is disappointed by their very human weakness. (I thought the relationship with her mom was especially well handled. Loving and almost protective but judging -- that's what I did as a teenager too.)

And she's both interested in and scared of boys, until the point where she falls so deeply in love with one that her whole identity becomes wrapped up in him, and she despairs utterly when she leaves. That's true to teenage emotion too, I think. I never had that kind of relationship at that age, but I knew people who were so deeply in love in high school that they risked seriously screwing up their lives. Sneaking out, going places and doing things they shouldn't, etc. And when I did eventually fall in love, I did kind of stop caring about anything else for a while.

It's also not true that the books are completely uncritical of Edward's behavior. Bella spends a lot of time, again especially in the first books, being frustrated and daunted by his control-freak moves like taking her spark plugs or sneaking into her room while she's alseep. I mean, it's a book about a romance with a vampire. He has to be kind of scary, or what's the point? But that's kind of how I felt about men in general when I was that age -- they were all a little scary. Bigger and stronger than me and wanting something from me, and how far could I trust them to keep their needs under control? Likewise, when Bella is flirting with Jacob, there's a lot of attention paid to the scarred face of the devoted girlfriend (wife? I forget) of one of the older wearwolves. He loves her and she loves him, but he hurt her anyway. Again, the theme: men are scary. Can we love them anyway? Can we ever really trust them?

By the the last book most of these themes had been more or less resolved: Bella decides to do more and more risky things when Edward is gone, and then realizes that life without him is somehow dangerous for her too. And Edward tries to kill himself, so she realizes she does have some power over him as well. But there's still the danger of sex itself, and of pregnancy, to scare us. So we get a sex scene that leaves her bruised but thrilled -- not a terrible metaphor for the emotional consequences of your First Time. And then the whole "What is this thing growing inside me" pregnancy story -- which is a classic horror trope for a reason. Pregnancy is freaking terrifying, for reals. Even if you planned it, wanted it, and are ready for it.

Okay, after the baby is born I kind of lost interest, because the big Supernatural Battle climax was cliche for me, and I couldn't relate in the same way, and I thought the baby growing up so fast and being so invulnerable while Bella also turns into a superhero was a total cop out, because motherhood is also scary, BTW. Whatever, lame ending.

But most of the books are about Bella being scared of the things she wants and wanting the things she is scared of: love, adventure, sex, men. That's pretty familiar ground for a lot of teenage girls. Actually, I thought the movie and a half that I watched did a lot less effective job than the books in showing the intensity of Bella's conflicting emotions. The movies come across more as regular old melodrama to me, less of the internal conflict, more of the external, maybe inevitably. But fans of the books can, of course, fill in the internal conflicts behind each scene for themselves. I get the feeling that most of the movie fans were book fans first... And if Pattinson got the part because he realized Edward was creepy -- well, I think that's right. Edward is supposed to be creepy. Good casting.
posted by OnceUponATime at 4:07 AM on November 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


"I don't agree that Bella of the books is a cipher. She's a teenage girl, and her feelings felt very familiar to me. Especially in the first book, she's a little cynical, even a little wry. She wants to have friends but is frustrated by the shallowness of other teenagers. She loves her parents but is disappointed by their very human weakness."

You've actually let me put my finger on my problem with the books: In most YA novels, the adult writer has a certain perspective that comes with time and distance, that lets them see what the characters are growing into as they leave adolescence, gives them sympathy for the pain and drama of adolescence (because it really IS painful compared to adult life!), helps them understand the liminal nature of the adolescent. In Twilight, it doesn't seem like Stephenie Meyer has any sense of adulthood beyond adolescence. Bella is a dull narrator because Stephenie Meyer takes Bella's life as seriously as Bella does; there's absolutely no humor. J.K. Rowling (like most adult writers of YA and children's fiction) is very sympathetic to her young characters but also sees the humor in their teenaged psychodramas and understands there is a world beyond the narrow, over-emotional world of adolescence. It makes the characters interesting and rounded and renders the books sympathetic and hopeful.

Twilight, on the other hand, falls flat and seems two-dimensional because there is nothing beyond adolescence. There's no sense that what Bella is going through with Edward is part of growing up; adolescence is literally where it stops. The vampires stop aging and become ever-more-perfect teenagers. Bella's goal is to arrest her development at the height of the worst, most over-dramatic parts of teenagerhood, and she succeeds. It's kind-of a horror story when you realize the character's goal, enthusiastically supported by the author, is to stay an underdeveloped child who is complacently convinced she's an adult.

It's hard to enjoy it as a melodrama, because it starts to dawn on you that Stephenie Meyer has NO IDEA she's writing a melodrama. It's a telenovela that thinks it's a Ken Burns documentary. Melodramas are good fun, but not when they take themselves seriously.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:52 AM on November 18, 2012 [11 favorites]


I am absolutely 100% totally good with him judging people who think it is okay to print a likeness of his face onto reusable maxi pads such that his mouth rests directly upon the user's vulva.

Oh god, I thought you were kidding, but googled just to make sure. I..I..I don't even know what to say except twitch. A lot.
posted by corb at 7:29 PM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Every Shirtless Moment from the 'Twilight' Saga: VIDEO.
posted by ericb at 11:14 AM on November 19, 2012


TWILIGHT MEANS NEVER HAVING TO SAY YOU'RE KIDDING

cleolinda ©
posted by elizardbits at 3:12 PM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]




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