XIPHOS ORBITS NEPTUNE WITH VERONICA MARS

veronica-mars

On Saturday 15 March 2014, I decided to plop myself down on the couch and watch the Veronica Mars movie on VOD. This was the proper way to watch the movie since the couch/hospital bed was how I got sucked into the wonderfully realized world of Veronica Mars in the first place so it was only right that I watch the movie that way. It was a good thing I did since the movie was essentially an extended episode of the series and believe you me that isn’t a bad thing.

I am all over this web site, and the internet for that matter, as a big proponent of the series. To me this was one of the best shows of the the last 15 years in terms of quality, structure, acting, the issues it tackled and basically in every way. Veronica Mars was better than most of the highly lauded crap out there like LOST, BSG, Games of Nerd Wankery and Boredom and, wait for it, this will make many a geeks head explode… Breaking Bad. OH NO HE D’INT! Oh I most certainly did. To be fair, while BB is much, much better than the other shows I listed, it still isn’t as good as the lowly UPN/CW teen detective show Veronica Mars. Countdown to nerd rage in 3…2…1…

Keep the above paragraph in mind as you read the next sentence. I was never one clamoring for more VM. I thought the show ended on the right dark depressing down note of Veronica walking off, alone, into the rare rainy SoCal weather leaving behind the strewn wreckage of her personal life and the lives of her friends and family. This last part has a direct bearing on the movie.

155902_310265332454077_1763507777_nThe Veronica Mars movie starts out with a voiceover to bring all the non VM fans up to date on the story. Interestingly, it acknowledges the sheer stupidity of the concept, a teen detective, and moves on to the first of many fanservice moments and references. I am mostly okay with the vast amount of fanservice that goes on in the movie since it was mostly financed by the fans although with the large number of blatant plugs for the Samsung Galaxy line of phones and tablets I bet they threw in more than a few drachmas towards production costs.

From there we move onto Ronnie interviewing at some big deal white shoe corporate law firm in Manhattan where we learn over the previous nine years Ronnie went to Hearst college, then transferred to Stanford (Go CARDINAL!) where she graduated at the top of her class and got a BS in Psychology then onto Columbia Law School, top of her class again. However the one thing she stopped doing was being a shamus for hire. She went cold turkey on investigations due to all the damage she inflicted on herself, her friends and family. During this scene is the first of the many references to sobriety and addiction peppered throughout the movie but more on that insight a bit later.

ASS CLOWN

ASS CLOWN

After that we unfortunately find out that Ronnie hooked up with again, about a year before, with that ultimate douche canoe beta male Piz, who I guess has to be in the flick so he can be a foil to Logan Echolls, Ronnie’s true mate for life. Piz has the most beta male job somebody as weak as that can have, he works for some fruity show on National Public Radio where only beta males and shrill feminists congregate. Apparently Nancy boy Piz works for a real NPR show called This American Life which I’ve neither heard off before nor ever listened to but since its on NPR it can’t be good and would get crushed into powder in the harsh crucible of real life ratings. That is if it had to compete for them and not get nursed at the bosom of the Federal government. But hey, competition is bad isn’t that true elitist-east coast-lefty/communist/Barry loving-NPR stooges? Good thing you losers can gravy boat on my taxes so you don’t ever have to worry about being, you know, good at your jobs to survive. Anyway while visiting beta boy to tell him about the interview Ronnie see a news report saying her former boyfriend, Logan Echolls who she has not seen or spoken to in nine years, was charged with the murder of his singer girlfriend Bonnie DeVille who was also a former classmate of Veronica’s and Logan’s named Carrie Bishop. The murder happened to coincide with the 10th reunion of Veronica and Logan’s graduation which was a genius way to shoehorn in just about every minor and mid level character from the show, except Jake and Duncan Kane, into the movie. So that’s the set up but what if any is the payoff?

Self, I say, I am glad you asked that question because there was a truck load of payoff and set up for a potential sequel if that ever comes to pass. It will  involve Weevil, who got sucked back into the bad side of life after going legit, getting married and having a kid, and Celeste Kane who shot Weevil. Veronica and Logan’s relationship is settled and so is that clown shoe asshat Piz. We learn that Ronnie’s formerly self conscious nerdy computer friend Mac is now a self confident kick ass highly paid computer chick working at Kane Software. Wallace is working at Neptune High and is the JV basketball coach. Logan has settled down and got on track and is a Naval Aviator flying F18 Hornets over The Stan. I do need to give Jason Dohring credit. That guy can still play the duel light/dark nature of Logan Echolls perfectly.  Dick Casablancas is still awesome sauce squared. Man I love that dude. Don’t EVER change Dick!

dohring2

It’s Navy dress whites
not a Glad Trash bag costume folks

The most important thing we learn though is that the relationship between Veronica and her father Keith is still rock solid. In the years since the show went off the air Kristen Bell (Veronica) and Enrico Colantoni (Keith Mars) have not forgotten how to act out the best father daughter relationship in TV history. If Bell and Colantoni couldn’t replicate the evolved more mature version of their TV show dynamic, then the movie would have been a complete failure since that was the true bedrock of the show. Those two went all in together and no matter what they were an unshakable team. It was, is and will always be Keith and Ronnie versus the world.

what-works-36-serenity_prayer-large

As far as the mystery goes, it’s not that hard to figure out. It’s merely the catalyst to get to the deeper complex issues in Veronica’s head. Remember before how I mentioned that the movie was really about addiction? Well this part explains what I meant. As the movie started we see a calmer less headstrong more sedate, more trusting, less one track minded justice seeking Ronnie. Yet as the mystery presents itself and she is drawn back into the pull of a harder darker Neptune, the one she left Ronnie can’t help but go back to her old familiar ways, like a Junkie going back on the smack. Throughout the movie references are made to 12 step sayings, allusions to sobriety chips, addiction, recovery and the like.  Ronnie’s addictions are Logan Echolls and rolling around in the mud. Veronica is happiest when things are at their darkest and most compelling. She has the need to solve the tough mysteries of life. Corporate law and punk ass weak beta male Piz aren’t for her and she says as much at the end voice over with her feet up in the classic PI pose while sitting at Keith’s desk at Mars Investigations. Veronica is home, working in the shadows and rolling around in the mud.

Xiphos

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , ,

31 responses to “XIPHOS ORBITS NEPTUNE WITH VERONICA MARS”

  1. Xiphos0311 says :

    There are two further points I want to make that I took out of the article because i couldn’t make them work in it they slowed it down I thought. So here they are.

    1. Bells post pregnancy weight did a great deal to sell how much time has gone by and allowed them to make jokes about how much she has changed since graduation.

    2. They recycled(directly lifted) a lot of scenes from the TV show. for instance there is a scene in the Club 09 that is a direct copy of the season 2 scene at Hearst with Veronica at a college party. Also at the end when the killer is chasing veronica its more less a copy of when Mercer Hayes the was chasing veronica. I don’t blame them for this they had a tight and limited budget.

  2. Jarv says :

    Brilliant review.

    Totally stealing this:

    “Self, I say, I am glad you asked that question”

  3. Jarv says :

    I’m mildly curious about this, mostly because it was Fan-financed on kickstarter and that strikes me as a far better use of money than giving it to enormous douchebag Braff to make a sequel to the piss poor exercise in naval gazing that was The Orange County.

    Having said that, I never really dug the TV Show that much. I thought it was OK, don’t get me wrong, but my interest in it tailed off and I seem to recall the last series being a bit of a mess.

    Have you watched any Vikings Series 2, Xi? It’s not great so far, but still totally bumrapes Game of Yawns.

    • Xiphos0311 says :

      Yeah they managed to make good use of the Kickstarter money, which frankly I was worried about but they di good with it.

      The third season the first 1/3 to 1/2 was a mess becasue the network put the screws to them but the latter part they manged to right the ship and cleverly subvert the network interference for their own purposes.

      Yeah I’m watching Vikings but so far this season has been a bit of a let down in my opinion but you’re right it’s miles better then Games of Nerd Wankery.

    • Judge Droid says :

      I don’t think his movie’s a sequel. Especially to one he wasn’t in. I think his movie was at Sundance, and it got good reviews.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        Droid speaking for Jarv here that was a reference to the funding mechanism not the movie itself I believe. Good reviews at Sundance mean nothing. fuck loads of pure shit got good reviews at Sundance especially if it’s movie about gay cowboys eating pudding.

      • Jarv says :

        You’re right. I got the wrong film. Meant The garden state.

  4. Judge Droid says :

    As a reunion show for the fans so they can see their favourite characters again, no matter who they are because they’ve managed to stuff 90% of them in, it’s decent enough. As an actual motion picture, it’s pretty weak.

  5. Just Pillow Talk says :

    I never saw the show, so I have no real interest in it really. Having said that, because of the way it was funded, I would probably give it a look at some point.

    • Xiphos0311 says :

      You don’t need to know anything about the back story pillow to watch the movie. You’ll just miss all the fan servicing moments. The movie itself moves right along.

  6. Continentalop says :

    First off, great review.

    Second off, I agree with you and would put Veronica Mars on the short list for best TV show of the aughts. Is it as good as the Wire or the Sopranos? No, but it is better than a lot of other shows that make everyones top 10 list, and I would add that it is one of the few shows that figured out how to play on broadcast/network tv and not lose anything in terms of quality or sophistication.

    And tertiary, I am going to disagree with you about Piz. Oh yes, he is a putz and a wimp and beta male, and I originally hated the character, but I think within the context of the show he works. For a girl surrounded and constantly seeing sleazy and horrible behavior, Piz is unquestionably a good guy. A wimp yes. Boring as hell, true. But he is also without a doubt decent person and someone who will always be there (emotionally and all those girly things) for VM. I can see how she would want that after all the roller coaster stuff that’s happened in her life. I mean, yes Logan is exciting, but he is hardly stable.

    God, this show makes you sound like a sixteen year old girl when you talk about it.

    • Just Pillow Talk says :

      Heh…now that is not exactly selling it for me.

      • Continentalop says :

        It makes you sound like a sixteen year old girl, but it is as the closest thing to a Ross Macdonald novel to ever be put on TV.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        It really isn’t anywhere near as bad as it sounds Pillows. Not even close Veronica isn’t exactly a girly girl goo goo eyed type.

    • Xiphos0311 says :

      technically that post Conti made you sound like 14 year old girl.

      I would make the point that Logan was actually better for her and even in College he wa mostly the stable on in their relationship Now he is by far the most changed character on the show. he’s grounded and steady and good dude. In fact his change reinforces my point about the movie being about addiction and recovery. Logan at referred to himself near the end of Carrie Bishops life not as her BF but as her sponsor. Then laughed and said who would have thought that 10 years ago I would be the stable giving person or something to that effect.

      And fuck PIZ he’s a pussy I dislike the character so much that I can’t stand the actor either since I firmly believe he is a Piz pussy in real life. Nobody could like that much of a weak ass douche nozzle unless they had the ability in them to begin with.

  7. Echo the Bunnyman says :

    Good review Xi. I agree on the quality of Veronica Mars as a tv show, and I’d also go so far as to say it’s better than Breaking Bad. I don’t suspect I’ll ever rewatch BB, but I’ve revisited VM at least once all the way through since its cancellation.

    Your review hits many of the same points I had, including the fact Dohring does a great job playing Echolls this go-round; in the past it was pivoting back and forth between light and dark, and here he’s got to both get across his changed character while providing some push-back to keep us guessing. The Keith and Veronica father/daughter stuff was always the backbone of the show and I was so glad they focused on that here too.

    You nailed it regarding the mystery and emphasis of the movie. It’s not a great case in terms of technical details, but many of the one-off cases in the show weren’t; the long season-spanning mysteries were complex and well-written but Thomas knew he didn’t have time for something like that here. But, as you point out, the mystery works because of the inroads it gives to Veronica’s character and the addiction dynamic was well-handled. I also liked the further exploration of the fact she’s someone who’s a true good guy but that often means putting herself and her closest through hell to get there.

    Of course its better for fans than non-fans, but you can find the seasons pretty easy and catch-up rather quickly, and you’ll have three great seasons of a fantastic show and one pretty darn good follow-up movie to go through. Strangely, I thought its refusal to try and play like a theatrical feature length movie was one of its strengths, and I think it kept it from coming off like a desperate, grasping callback like Serenity or X-Files or something.

    Piz’s problem is that his character is designed to be the disposable powder-puff patsy. I thought the actor did what he could with it.

  8. ThereWolf says :

    Nice one, Xi.

    I’ll have a look at this at some point. Think I’d prefer to see the telly series first though – even if it isn’t necessary to watch the movie – just to get a grip of the characters. I mean, watching Serenity sans series didn’t hurt but seeing the show first would’ve helped.

    Not that keen on Bell either…

    • Xiphos0311 says :

      VM is by FAR the best work Bell has done and probably will ever do.

      • Continentalop says :

        I’m stunned she hasn’t had a better film career. VM proves she has screen presence, charisma and acting chops, yet no film role has been able to tap into any of those.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        She’s alright in House of Lies on showtime where she basically plays a slutty consultant version of Ronnie.

  9. Toadkillerdog says :

    Xi, really nice write-up.
    I confess to having no interest in the show, and Conti’s post really drove that home, but I am glad the movie satisfied its fans.

    • Continentalop says :

      My post did the show a disservice. It looks like a teen soap, like the OC or Dawson Creek, or a kid detective show ala Nancy Drew or Encyclopedia Brown, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The high school stuff is just a front, like how old Sci-Fi movies used to tackle issues like communism behind stories about aliens and monsters.

      VM is incredibly subversive and deep, and while people get caught up on the teen detective angle I’d say that it’s closer in spirit to the works of Hammett, Chandler and especially Ross Macdonald.

    • Xiphos0311 says :

      Toad you’ll have to forgive Conti he gets all ferlklempt over relationships he’s a shipper. The show isn’t nearly as girly as he makes it out to be.

      • Continentalop says :

        But I just want her to be happy, damn it!

        But I think the show is all about relationships – not cartoon high school relationships you see in soaps like the OC and Dawson’s Creek, but the idea of what is an actual relationship and the ideas of trust and dependability. It is very much a modern version of a Bogart film, like the stuff from CASABLANCA, THE BIG SLEEP, THE MALTESE FALCON and even IN A LONELY PLACE.

        I am tempted to do a write up on the first season.

      • Echo the Bunnyman says :

        It’s easy to think VM is a hot teen thing girl-centric show, seeing as how it played on the CW in the wake of Buffy and similar stuff, and on a surface level even looked a bit like Buffy.

        It really is a first-rate detective mystery with a top-notch character that isn’t defined by who’s she dating or what she’s wearing, The setting plays with class and race dynamics and the storylines could take place anywhere, but the high school/college setting actually works in the show’s favor. It makes the microcosm of criminal activity much easier to introduce and explain.

        Remember everyone who raved about that movie Brick? VM actually accomplishes the sort of thing Brick thought it was doing, minus the pretension and with much more heart and character.

        Anyone even marginally interested should check the first few episodes and you’ll know pretty quickly whether it’s for you or not. Unlike most shows, VM hits the ground running.

  10. Toadkillerdog says :

    that cracke me up xi, ill gicve vm a shot when it hits cable

  11. Toadkillerdog says :

    rufus is a greedy moitherfickeur!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: