Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A discussion on Welcome to the Rileys ******spoilers******

I felt some further discussion was warranted on Welcome to the Rileys as my post on it last week was very brief. If you haven't seen the movie and do not wish to be spoiled, then do not read beyond this paragraph. If you have to wait for the DVD, and many of you have no other choice, then come back then. This post will still exist.

I live in Austin and we were in that second group of cities to get the movie on November 12th. Austin is allot smaller than Chicago and they didn't get the film? WTF?

After I saw the movie on 11/16, I emailed my friend, fanfic author "the shrew", AKA @edmett


Just saw it.   Just walked in the door. You told me you would be curious as to my reaction to the "nudity"

I do not see how anyone of a mature mind can take anything sexual from this movie. They did a good job of making her perfect skin look oily, on the verge of a acne breakout. I wasn't turned on by her dirty mouth, either, not in this setting. I would have been had I heard Bella talk that way LOL

I felt paternal towards Mallory most of the time.   It broke my heart that she didn't go home with Doug and Lois.   The ending only gave the slightest glimmer of hope.

Are people making an issue of the 1.5 seconds, split between two different shots, that we see Kristen's bare ass?  This movie certainly didn't encourage the "in the gutter" part of my brain. 

This email goes on to my ramblings of how Kristen really seems to be turning Bella into a sex symbol after seeing some pictures from Brazil
@edmett replies to me

Okay, so more thoughts on WTTR -- yeah, people that haven't seen the movie, some of them still think that she looks "hot" in the movie, and that she is sexy in it.  No, that really isn't the point, as you know from having seen the film.  That paternal feeling is exactly what they were trying to invoke in the audience -- well, paternal or maternal.  You are supposed to care for the girl and want to take care OF her.  Her life is tragic, and we are supposed to want to make everything better for Mallory.  Just like we are supposed to want to help Doug and Lois.  Their pain is so palpable and engrossing.  My heart broke for both of them as well.  Lois for feeling responsible for her daughter's death.  Doug for losing his daughter and blaming his wife. 

BUT, the point of the film is that all three of the characters go through such a journey.  They are all essentially the waking dead.  Dead to the world.  Dead to the good in life.  Dead to human connections.  Doug tried first to recapture that in his relationship with Vivian, but when she ACTUALLY died, well, I think that showed him the difference.  As he tells Lois, "he isn't dead."  He wanted to live.  Which then set everything else into motion.

I think Doug and Lois got some closure about their daughter's death through their interactions with Mallory.  I know that sounds obvious, but I just mean, I think that it helped them both to realize that with teens, there can be little control.  I think it helped them see that they weren't "responsible," and in a way, they got to say a better goodbye to their daughter through Mallory.

The time that the three characters were together allowed them all to reach out again.  The fact that Mallory calls Doug at the very end tells me that she still wants that human connection.  She wants to have him be part of her life. She needs him as a friend. She needs him as a grown up that she can run to in times of serious need.  In a way, Doug allowed her to recapture a small part of her stolen childhood.  She had to learn about letting people help her, accepting it.

What do you think?
my reply to @edmett

I think your analysis is freaking awesome and I wish could have said it so gracefully.

I didn't feel enough hope, at the end.  It was only upon further reflection and finally this email from you to put it in the right perspective.

Clearly, anyone thinking there was anything sexy about it got it wrong.  Did they even see it? Yes, she has a nice butt (correction an amazing bodacious butt) however those scenes weren't racy and I do not think Jake Scott intended them to be.   I am glad my paternal reaction was what they were trying to accomplish.

The scene at the end, the one that was trying to say "there is hope" is the one time they didn't alter Kristen's naturally stunning face.  She was very pretty in that scene and it must have been for cinematic effect to contrast the mood with the rest of the movie.

My pessimistic side is what dominated my feelings in the theater at the end.  Yes, she was calling Doug, but she was on the way to Las Vegas to continue working in the sex trade.   I wanted her to say to Doug "so, I have never been to Indiana" thus deciding to live with the Riley's and let them all continue to heal each other.   But that may have been too unbelievable, IDK.

2nd reply from @edmett

I had the good fortune to read the draft of the script that had a more "rosy" ending.  People thought it was too unbelievable, and not realistic enough.  Perhaps my view of the end is still with the impression that it reaches that first ending -- in which she IS living with Doug and Lois.  I think they DO get there, it just takes longer.  And without showing MORE of their transition and growth, then it might not have played out well on film.  Reading it, it totally worked for me.

That is always what I have said, that those people who thought it sexy got it wrong.  No, Jake Scott NEVER intended to sensationalize or sexualize the story.  He de-emphasized that so strongly.  WTTR got down to the deeper issues at play.  Sure, she is a stripper and prostitute, but what does that mean?  This movie delves into answering that question.

You are right about that last scene.  The natural beauty of her face, it came through.  She is more natural.  She may be going to be a stripper, who knows? Perhaps she is only going to dance from then on?  I like to think that when she leaves, she is more in control of her life, and is able to make more decisions to get out of that life. 

I have been thinking about writing a fanfic about WTTR that picks up where the movie left off.

Now, what did you think about the movie? Even if it's February and you just watched on DVD, give us your thoughts below.

***just added****
One more thing. I pieced this together last night and I needed @edmett's OK before publishing. I had not even thought about contributing to the WTTR fund before this morning. I hope some of you will contribute $5 or whatever you are comfortable with. I know its not a charity. I send plenty of money to good causes. This is more of an indulgence, but I think its worth the effort.


  1. I haven't seen WTTR but I don't mind spoilers. I love your exchange with @edmett. Yeah, @edmett did say it gracefully.

    Kristen will never take a role which is merely "sexy". So, there must be something human and emotionally complicated underneath. WTTR is a story about broken people afterall. If anyone thinks there's any sexiness about the film, they are just misled by some salacious tabloid stories.

    Monica from Asia

  2. Negative comments are not welcome. Anon from 1:59 -- FU and don't bother. All that writing you did and it's gone with a click.

  3. So haters start to come to your site, Opytaylor? Those bastards are fucking everywhere!!~

  4. Yes Monica. Night before last, someone wrote about seven paragraphs of hate. Not only did she blame Kristen for everything wrong with WTTR, but she got deeply personal as well. If you remember my post about "blogger X" it was like that, but much worse. I don't like the setting where I have to approve a comment before it's posted, but I won't tolerate those type of comments here.

  5. Love your blog!
    I wrote a very thought-out comment about the movie here. Unfortunately I was uncertain about the choices for the profile, and it went to some sign-in page, and I lost all my comment. I don't have the stamina to re-write the whole thing.
    That's happened here before to me, don't know if you know that could be an issue for people-- and if you can make it more obvious how to sign in to post a comment without losing it? I'm sure I'm not the only one.
    Sorry, maybe it's me.

  6. I can relate, but it's blogger, not me. Best way to do it is to write your comment in notepad or some other txt editor. Then deal with the sign in stuff, then copy and paste your comment. Sorry that happened to you.

  7. I don't really like to be "Anonymous" but that seems the safest choice here! Maybe I'll figure out the profile thing some day!

    I do really want to say a little about WTTR. The gist is that there are three brilliant, beautiful performances from the main actors, combined with an understated but powerful plot and great direction. This could have been an utterly cliché movie about the prostitute with a heart of gold, molded into a "normal" girl by a well-meaning guy, who ultimately just wants to fulfill his own little fantasy. Instead we get real snapshots of broken people, who are made a little more whole by their time together, and have a little more hope in their lives. This is more like real life.

    I was squicked out by the scene where the plumbing guys at the convention are laughing about visiting the strip club, because you see the other side of that from Mallory's perspective: older guys exploiting a teenage girl. The movie's "messages" are like that--you "get" it on an emotional level.

    OK, I'm being long-winded now, but I just want to say I'm baffled by the marketing and distribution of this movie, as I was by The Runaways. Maybe I'm just naive about the movie industry, but why hype an actress and a movie on JAY LENO and all kinds of other talk shows and entertainment sites, and then withhold it from theaters just when the public's interest is at its height? With a movie this size, you have five seconds of the public's attention, so why squander it? Everywhere I go on internet sites, people are saying "I really want to see this movie, why isn't it playing in my city?" Yet you look at the movie listings and you have Harry Potter or Jackass 3D showing in half of the screens simultaneously in all of the theaters in town. Couldn't they free up one little screen to show something different?

    I know Kristen chooses the small independent movies because she can connect with the characters and feel like she's giving an honest performance on a worthwhile film, but I do hope that she gets some recognition and respect not just on gossip sites which focus on her private life, but by the public and the industry, because it's frankly depressing that it hasn't happened yet.

    Rant over!

  8. I am also frustrated with the lack of promotion. I don't recall the exact reason, but the original distributors bailed for some reason, which set the whole thing back. It's frustrating because the people that have seen it have been really impressed. I have read also that if not for Kristen, it would have gone straight to DVD. As for the award factor, I am far from an expert, but i have seen winners of Best Supporting Actress who were far less impressive than Kristen was here.