Twilight: How To Impress The Secret Cool Girl


Where to begin?

I have to first be forthcoming in saying that I did not read any of these books
by Stefenie Meyer.

And now, I have to add the disclaimer that I did sort of read the first book up until the part where Bella tells Edward that she’s figured out that he’s undead. And then I stopped.

Oh, it was good, don’t get me wrong: The Intelligent, Slightly Geeky, and Unknowingly Attractive Everygirl (Just like me! And probably like you!) meets the Hunky Teen Guy Monster. He loves her, but he wants to eat her; she gets strung along in a series of increasingly sexually tense moments, and he's all like “I love you so much I don't want to touch you."; he drives a cool car and can run fast; she drives an awesome truck and likes salads. Will Edward ask her to the prom, or will she have her jugular bitten through first?

I got the gist about somewhere near half-way through the book. It's Judy Blume for Cure fans. Or whoever the new Cure is these days.

So, if I didn’t actually read the book, and if I’m more or less lukewarm and a little bit snarky about teen vampire love stories in general, then why did I just spend $9.00 to sit through two hours of gore and hair gel. (Mostly hair gel.)

Two words.

Kristen Stewart!


Alright, alright.

Here he is.

Robert Pattinson.

What a nice looking young man he is.

Why, he’s just the type of young man a hormonally complex 42-year-old woman would love to have for a…son.

Because, get real....the Demi Moore/Ashton Kutcher thing only works once every 125 years. And by the way, Ashton Kutcher is really 150 years old and a vampire.

Anyway, back to the movie.

I’m not sure what Kristen Stewart’s direction was throughout the movie, but if I had to guess, I’d say that on the first day on set, she stuttered through some lines and tried to hide her distaste for the character by shrugging often and restricting her vocal range to three notes lest she branch out willy-nilly into some emotion other than bored curiosity or occasional forced interest, and the director said, “That’s great, Kristen! Keep the stuttering and shrugging!” and she went with that character reading for the remainder of the shoot.

I don’t know. Maybe I was expecting too much. After all, I did only read about a third of the book. Did I really get to know this character? Was there ever anything more required than she mumble a lot, look fetching in her post-grunge wardrobe and studiously high-and-low-lighted hair coloring, and engage in all those teen attitudes that cause parents to shake their heads in stupefied wonder while other teens grumble in “you just don’t understand me” solidarity?

If this character is Everygirl - that is, if she is meant to pitch empathy with every girl who is bookish and brainy, tomboyish but ripe to become Cinderella at the prom (that she really doesn’t/does/doesn’t/does want to go to) with one foot in a Converse Chuck Taylor high-top and the other in a kitten pump; the quiet girl with the razor sharp wit; the gentle soul with the kind heart and the bitchin’ taste in music; the secret coolest girl in the school who only gets noticed by the guys who think Whoopie cushions are the height of romantic interlude; the girl who sits behind the quiet, intelligent guy who is oddly handsome and who has a similar sharp wit and who would be a perfect match for her but who never asks her to the prom because for all his smarts, he never once considered the diamond-in-the-flannel-shirt girl sitting behind him in English class and instead of waiting for fifth period when this secret cool girl was going to get up the nerve to ask him to the prom, he accepts an invitation to the prom with some other in-crowd girl as a “just friend” date and I missed my senior prom and went out to eat Italian food with my friend Joanne instead.


Anyway…this role was crying out for a young Ally Sheedy. Or young Diane Lane. Heck, even Anna Paquin. Someone who could pull off teen “gravitas” and get more mileage out of the shrugs. Instead, we got a warmed over Scarlet Johanssen with, okay, fewer pouts.

Edward, of course, was dreamy.

He acted all strong and good-looking and brooding and handsome and tortured and So Cute and passionate and hawt and misunderstood and muscular and intense and oh my gawd his hair was so thick and excellent - inhale! - and he asked Bella what she was thinking all the time but then he just wanted to look into her eyes and listen to her go on and on talking, and even though he wanted to devour her, he was perfectly fine with just snuggling and cuddling up in a grassy field with her forever and just holding her hand and none of that messy penis stuff.


Can you see why teen girls are going ape poop over Edward?

That said, I don’t think the movie could decide what it wanted to be as it was unreeling. Serious teen two-hearts-bleed-as-one romance? Horror film? Slightly campy B movie? Abercrombie and Fitch advertisement?

I liked the bit where we learned about the (rainy) day-to (rainy) day lifestyle of vampires. Did you know that vampires enjoy playing baseball? Also, vampires tend to drive very fast and have no remorse over wasteful use of fossil fuels. Some vampires are vegetarians. Still others have impeccable taste in architecture and interior design. And although vampires must absolutely devour V Magazine in their practiced attempt to appear human, they evidently can’t figure out that Bare Minerals makes a fantastic cream foundation in many life-like hues.

What was with all the powdery white makeup and purple lipstick, anyway? Good lord, it’s a wonder vampires don’t all walk bow-legged from rickets.

Well, except for the dark-skinned black vampire. That was the one moment in the movie where I had to suspend my disbelief and just go with it that - along with their mind-reading and the ability to play moody Windham Hill music on the piano - some vampires have super melanin powers while others don't.

The ending of the movie was surprisingly but finally gorey. Listen, if you’re going to talk about spilling human blood in the first act, you had better pull that trigger before the curtain goes down in act three. And pull it they did.

First! There was the cut hand.

Then! There was a sliced thigh.

Finally! Someone got a boo boo head.

Okay, there may have actually been more blood in the movie There Will Be Blood (although there wasn’t so much blood there, either), but you know how a cut head bleeds even if it’s just a little cut? Like a small fountain! Whew!

I especially liked how after the climactic scene of the vampire battle in the ballet studio - yes, I said ballet studio - the Doctor vampire instructed the other vampires on the importance of femoral arteries and how to tie tourniquets above the pressure point. You just didn’t get that level of commitment to verisimilitude in, say, Phantasm or Basket Case.

Ah well.

All in all, I had a great time. The movie is what it is and it ain’t no more. However, it was enough.

I predict hair gel sales to go through the roof in the next few weeks.

And you hear that teen boys? Try to be the strong silent type and use more hair gel. All those teen girls at the movie theater gushing over Edward…? That’s low hanging fruit, men.

So, to recap:

Say less.

Hands to yourself.

Feast on live animals.

Hair gel.

The secret cool girl will be yours.

P.S. Ebert's review was just about spot on.

If there were no vampires in "Twilight," it would be a thin-blooded teenage romance, about two good-looking kids who want each other so much because they want each other so much. Sometimes that's all it's about, isn't it?...

The movie, based on the Stephenie Meyer novel, was directed by Catherine Hardwicke. She uses her great discovery, Nikki Reed, in the role of the beautiful Rosalie Hale. Reed wrote Hardwick's "Thirteen" (2003) when she was only 14. That was a movie that knew a lot more about teenage girls. The girl played by Reed in that movie would make mincemeat of Edward. But I understand who "Twilight" appeals to, and it sure will.

Pasty white dudes are hawt.

P.P.S. This pre-teen vampire movie looks promising. Evidently getting rave reviews.


Blog Antagonist said...

I tend to avoid books and media that are the subject of a lot of hype and hysteria. And that is exactly why. And that "R. Patz" guy? Totally don't get the appeal. I guess the fact that I find Dr. Drew more attractive is a little telling, eh?

lemony said...

I have a teenager who went ape poop over these books, so I said, hmm...let me read them and see what all the hoopla is about.

I found Bella to be THE most annoying and least believable girl ever. Seriously. She's all "i love you i'll die without you the only thing I care about is you" co-dependent, needy, whiny (but when will I seeeeeee you?), and just plain milquetoast-y.

She is not even remotely interesting. One-dimensional. BORING.

I ended up having a rather long conversation with my almost 18-year-old daughter about women who don't need a man to be whole. Fall in love, sure, but fall in love without falling away.

Obviously she thinks I'm insane.

Marinka said...

Finally! The mystery of why Rosalie, who is described as the most beautiful girl on earth, was cast with the actress, who looks like the most common teen at the outlet mall.

I'm sorry that I have to disagree with the Edward hotness assessment. I like my vampires less metrosexual and preferably wearing less makeup than the female lead. And less Elvis hairdo.

Karen said...

Your review was hilarious, although I'm more than a little glad my girls aren't old enough to force me to go to this movie.

Your description of the secret cool girl who didn't get to go to prom? Coulda been me, too. Even if the secret about my coolness was a secret even to me at the time.

And Ashton Kutcher=vampire. Totally makes sense now.

Nili said...

I just finished the first book and am near the end of the second....don't really know why I keep reading they are way too predictable and I agree with Lemony's assessment of Bella...and I've read b/c some how my friends are all gaga over these books and I was wondering what the hype was all about. I guess if you want quick predictable entertainment they are for you (maybe if I was a teen they would be less predictable?). I will probably see the movie soon...girl's night out is coming up and everyone in the group wants to see I need to see what this fuss is all about over R. P. said...

"I like my vampires less metrosexual and preferably wearing less makeup than the female lead."

lol...yes. That.

I'm hoping that in the next movie, Bella gets her wits about her and goes for Jacob. But I'm guessing...not?

Kristabella said...

I have read all the books and fell in love with Edward. I want an Edward all to myself!

I actually didn't think that Robert Pattinson was Edward. Until he walked on the screen. And I melted into a puddle on the floor of the theatre.

And now I may be a wee bit obsessed because Robert Pattinson is cute! And SO FUNNY! And charming! And who cares that he's 22?

Anonymous said...

I admit to being on Team Jacob.


But I like YOUR pasty white dude.


Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I didn't care for the book and neither did my teenage daughter--no mother/daughter bonding over Twilight for us.

Kath said...

Still LOL! And I caught my 13 year old son jotting down your tips for success on his arm. He also put "hair gel" on my shopping list.

Having read the books, I must agree with Lemony about Bella - and I was even more annoyed with Edward's excessive doting and overprotection of her. Of course, he was raised in the 1800s.. said...

"Of course, he was raised in the 1800s..."

This, in fact, is a very good point. But don't dwell on it too long. You'll make me forget that I'm not in a 400-level English Lit. Class.

Karen Jensen said...

Sounds lovely. I have a 17 year-old friend who waiting in line to see it the opening night. I imagine she was happy with the results. Gotta love them pasty boys.

Chicky Chicky Baby said...

Loved the books (okay, the first one), loved Edward (in the books), liked Robert Pattinson, HATED Kristen Stewart. I can not stress that enough. HATED. HER.

But again, like Robert Pattinson. Enough to have naughty dreams about him. Ahem.

Julie Marsh said...

What BA said. I guess I take pleasure in being contrary. That's why I refuse to read Harry Potter and root against the Broncos.

preTzel said...

Wanna know a secret? My 13yo and *all* of his buddies are HOOKED on Twilight. HOOKED! Some even went to the midnight premiere! Like, Oh My Gawd! Totally. And then they were, like, tired the next day but they, like, came to school and told all the friends about it. So, like, my teen begged to go the next day and I, like, let him because I'm, like, totally tubular that way.

PS: Glad I'm not the only Mrs. Robinson in the bunch. *wink*

Anissa Mayhew said...

I just wanted to wrap up Edward and keep him in my teeny little pocket. Which would have been awful because every time I reached in to pull him out i would have ended up with a handful of white pancake makeup and hair gel which would congeal and probably suffocate him and then I'd have asphyxiated vampire all over my pocket. YUCK.

The rest? YOU're spot on!

You and me and some karaoke, it's ON!


Anonymous said...

I was gonna leave a lengthy, impressively astute and funny comment, but I got hung up when the verification string was "guess" and I've been entering guesses for an hour.

Katie Alender said...

Eek, that Swedish movie looks so freaky!!

MommyTime said...

I am outing myself and the uncoolest of the uncool (sort of like the undeadest of the undead, but with less dead) in saying this: but I don't really know anything at all about these Twilight books of which you speak (except that everyone's all gaga over the hawt vampire guy or something). There. I said it. It's the truth. I hope I don't wake up being bitten in the jugular for saying that I'm not that interested in books (or movies, I guess) about sexy teenaged vampires.

PS The Captcha word is "divans" which is what my grandmother used to call couches, and what I think of when I think of fainting young girls reclining under the sexy steely power of vampire men. Weird, huh?

MommyTime said...

Also, I just reread my comment and now am worried that it sounds like I'm all bitchy and "I don't really care about your experience at the movie" when what I really meant is "I'm such a pop culture idiot that I unfortunately barely understand this post, except that I can tell it would be really funny if I had half a brain about the Twilight series." It was supposed to be all about how I am lame. Just to clarify. said...

Mommytime -

You're such a bitch.

Heh heh heh.

No, I mean, I didn't finish the book myself. And I get the feeling that most of us adults read or saw the movie as a bit of junk food.

While some of those among us closer to menarche read the books as the sequel to Romeo and Juliet.

BTW, I hear that in the last book SPOILER ALERT

there is a half-vampire baby. A half-vampire baby! Think of the possibilities! Now that sounds downright twisted enough to get my attention. For instance, what is the parenting methodology to get a half-vampire toddler to stop biting kids at playgroup? Does tabasco on the tongue work? And breastfeeding must be a heck-of-hurt.

Amy said...

Check out my current post to see the girl who could have nailed Bella, where I agree with you, Kristin Whatsherface was just all wrong in both looks and acting skills.

Pattinson was not the Edward that I had in my head, but I didn't complain much. Cause - wow.

Sabrina said...

The movie sucked, the books rawk. And Bella? In the movie? totally annoying. And Edward? In the movie? Where the eff did the *strong self confident protective awesome* Edward from the books go? ~sigh~

KRISTIN. Finish. A. Sentence; Quit being suck a PUSS.

Really, you must read the books. They get better and better!

OK I'm done now.

Haasiegirl said...

Dont worry, I am 30ish and i find teenage boys attractive too....i mean, if they are EIGHTEEN.

OMG, i am such a couger.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Your review is so spot on. I am a pathetic 40 year old mom of five who have read all the books (bought for her 13 year old of course) and while i love the books, the way the characters were played could have been sooo much better or at least less annoying. What's with the mumbling , Bella and what's with the bug eyed expression, Edward??? Am however slightly obsessed with Rob Pattinson- because he comes across as such a - geek. gorgeous lovable geek.

Oh well, they say books are always better than the movies!

Anonymous said...

I tried to steer clear because of all the hype, but now my daughter has seen the movie (and pronounced it "pretty good"), and now she's thinking she wants to read the books. I'm still conflicted, possibly because I've never been a huge fan of vampires...

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