Bella & Edward to Ben: "Dude, we thought you liked us. WTF?"
Ben Lyons arrived as the host of At the Movies with incredibly low expectations. Somehow, he found a way to meet them in one of his earliest episodes by including the trailer for the movie Twilight in his list of "3 to See". That is, he could only bring himself to list two movies to see and wasted the third by recommending the trailer to an as yet unreleased movie which is the most over-hyped of the year even though he could not vouch for the film's quality.
Alas, we come to the long awaited episode of At the Movies where the Bens review Twilight, in which we cannot help but expect some gushingly Lyons-tacular praise to come out of his mouth. But it seems that our young Ben has painted himself into a corner. By jumping onto the coattails of the Twilight hype bandwagon, Lyons is now put in the unenviable position of defending a movie that has a mere 44% rating on the Tomatometer and was called a "girly version of the Lost Boys" by his predecessor. The alternative would be to compensate for his earlier silliness by slamming the movie after it is released.
Lyons seems to have chosen the latter option. "I'm the one who told you about the trailer," he admits, although with far too little embarrassment. I mean, really--who recommends a trailer? But he cannot recommend Twilight. Further attempting to redeem himself, he says "Maybe it works on the page and I'm not the intended audience. I know 15 year old girls will see it five times but I felt left out." This from the guy who disliked High School Musical 3 but could not bring himself to say "Skip it".
So, Ben now finds himself forced to disassociate himself from having the cultural level of a teenage girl. But not the kind of cool teenage girl who smokes and swears and watches Truffaut movies at the local university art-house theater--they have already abandoned At the Movies--but the kind that watches E! because it has a real "film expert" AND Keeping Up with the Kardashians (OMG! What more could you want?). You know, the kind of teenager who would get a daily verbal ass-kicking by Juno and not even realize what happened.
Twilight was fine, Ben continued, but "I don't like fine. I want great, I want to see what this book is all about." Suddenly, he veers into hyper-critical territory--fine isn't even good enough for a "Rent it". All this seemed more like redemption than movie criticism. "Hey everybody, I really didn't like Twilight! See, I am a good critic," he seems to be saying. But that would have been more convincing had he not recommended the trailer in the first place.
Or, for that matter, returned to his regular approach during the rest of the show. Responding to Mank's critical review of Special, Lyons replies, "I think you are being too harsh on this movie . . . I just though it was a cool indie film starring an actor who doesn't get a leading role that often." That is, not great but fine. So "See it!"
As for the rest . . .
On Lake City, he says that "It's good to see Dave Matthews like this". If Matthews wants to act, fine, I hope he does well. But I am not exactly banging down his door demanding that he fill the Dave Matthews void of recent years.
On Milk--which both liked--I thought the most interesting comment was from Mank, who said, "I am always trying to avoid hyperbole on this show . . ." Read: "I am always trying to distance myself from this fool sitting over here." A bit more subtle than telling Lyons to "Calm down," but we get the picture.
Finally, Mank gave his "3 to See," where a new pattern is emerging--after Mank gives his recommendations, Lyons talks about his famous friends. This time, Mank recommends Role Models, after which Lyons cannot help himself. "I love seeing Christopher Mintz-Plasse who played McLovin' in Superbad who's totally evolving in only his second role." Those of us who read Erik Childress's Criticwatch Ben Lyons Quote of the Week a few weeks ago will remember that McLovin' and Lyons are BFF and that Ben just cannot avoid gushing over his friends. So, expect Role Models to be on Lyons's "3 to See" for the foreseeable future.