The Girl from the Naked Eye
(My First "F")
A Written Reflection in the Form of the 7 Stages of Grief
1. Shock & Denial
When I began this site, I made a promise with myself that I would never write a failing review. No matter the quality of the film, I would always find at least one factor which would redeem the abysmal film in some slight way. Two times I came incredibly close to giving the dreaded grade, but was pulled away at the very last second for finding the slightest form of redemption. For the 2011 anti-romantic comedy Something Borrowed, I reasoned that despite it being easily the worst film of the year, John Krasinski was decent enough in a supporting role to not fail it, though even he was mediocre. For this year's French arthouse-turned-absolutely-intoleratible-self-indulgence Pater debacle, I decided that Alain Cavalier, the director, had an ambitious enough premise that absolute failure was mildly understandable. I was also briefly tempted with the beyond abysmal sequel Piranha 3DD, but the quick tangents with Paul Scheer and Vhing Rhames were entertaining enough; in comparison with comedy legends such as Mel Brooks and the Marx Brothers in comparison to the film surrounding it.
2. Pain & Guilt
However, I realize a little over a year later that this was a promise I could never keep. At some point in time, I would finally watch a film with absolutely no redemptive qualities; the bottom of the bottom of the bottom of the barrel, and I can only be grateful it took so long to reach this point. With great sadness and great disappointment, let me bring you to the subject of this admittedly downright depressing review. From director David Yen, the man who just crushed my dreams, comes the neo-noir The Girl from the Naked Eye; the worst film ever reviewed on the site, and a serious contender for the worst film I've ever seen. One reason why movies such as Something Borrowed and Pater were relieved of their failing marks, was because of their, no matter how slight, ambition and creativity. In fact, as mentioned before, Pater's ambition was its only redeeming value. However, Ren's film has none. Homage is something that can work for a film's advantage, but cannot be the only driving force for a film.
3. Anger & Bargaining
That's the remark I would like to use to explain the film's endless spree of massacring both iconic and lesser known action sequences, and even plot points, by creating an ugly collage of awful recreations. The film functions as if Robert Rodriguez was given permanent brain trauma, and was then immediately abducted by the North Korean government and forced to remake Sin City with a cast of non-actor locals for an audience that didn't understand the concept of human interaction. In fact, if Rodriguez revealed in an interview that he had been struck in the head with a blunt object and couldn't remember anything for two weeks, I'd call up David Ren and thank the brave man for taking the brutal blow in his career to keep Rodriguez's good name afloat. Bizarre tangent aside, Yen's film is nothing more than a crudely shot, crudely directed mess of crudely scripted scenes acting crudely like crude characters. Why I possibly chose to watch this terrible movie, I can't remember. If I write this sprawling essay, will my memories of the film disappear? Will they?
4. Depression, Reflection, and Loneliness
The very fact that I chose to watch this movie; what does that say about myself? Despite the multiple excellent films playing at our local movie theater right now, I chose to spend my $11.95 on a film with the title The Girl from the Naked Eye. I knew going in, just with the awful title alone, that this was going to be a terrible film, but why see it anyway? Prometheus, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Bernie: All acclaimed films playing around the same time at the same exact movie theater. It's my own fault my self-made promise was broken; not David Ren, not the actors, not Robert Rodriguez for inspiring David Ren. Also, why even review this terrible movie if I didn't want any F's to be on the site. I just watched the new Pixar movie Brave yesterday, why wouldn't I review that instead. Why wouldn't I review That's My Boy instead; it was mediocre, but better than this. I was probably the only person in America idiotic enough to watch this over anything else. I'm the only one who feels the pain of viewing The Girl from the Naked Eye in an empty theater. I'm completely alone...
5. The Upward Turn
Or maybe I'm not. Maybe others, like me, watched the film hoping it would give cheesy popcorn entertainment like I did. Maybe there's someone out there who paid $11.95 for it too. It played on 200 screens on the weekend of its release, so just maybe I'm not alone.
Let me apologize for going off on a couple of offbeat tangents, and return to the main review. The problems aren't only due to director David Ren, but also the script itself. Written by lead actor Jason Yee and Larry Madill, it's admittedly difficult for a director of any pedigree to turn a script as much as a frog as this into a prince of a screenplay. The script frequently calls for bizarre tonal shifts, unnecessary narration, and the previously mentioned ripoffs from superior films. The film itself is a complete mess, but only because the script itself is most likely far worse. Ren probably did his best with the material that was given, which sadly, wasn't really anything special, and was actually downright horrible. More so, it's Yee and Madill who sabotaged the film; Ren was the unlucky schmuck who got stuck with it.
7. Acceptance & Hope
After writing this far more through examination than the film itself probably deserved, I've realized something very important: Failure is inevitable. Whether you're a director who understands he signed onto the wrong project, and maybe should've fine tuned his skills before directing in the first place, or a film blogger who desires to find redemption in everything; failure is inevitable. Sometimes in life, we're just going to drop the ball on a project, or stumble into the wrong theater. But, what's important is how we react to that failure. I'm positive David Ren is going to go pick up a video camera as soon as possible to try again, and I'll be the first one at the screening to watch his improvement before my eyes. And I'm going to make a greater effort not to watch anymore terrible movies for the site, and have the next set of reviews be only A's and B's. We shouldn't grief about failure, only learn from our mistakes, and continue living.
Grade: A Very Special "F"