Hermione doesn’t get naked in this movie.
Oh wait, you wanted an actual review? Alright, fine.
In his immortal classic On Deadly Ground, the great sage Steven Seagal asked, “How much is enough? How much money is enough?” Over the course of thirty years of existence, I have learned the answer: $10.36, which is the cost of an order of chicken drunken fried rice at a local Thai place. However, some people in this country seem to want more than that. A weekly drunken fried rice indulgence or two is not enough for them. They need, in the parlance of our times, “bling”. When a group of them assemble and form a circle while snorting cocaine, smoking marijuana, and drinking alcoholic beverages, they become what is known as a “bling ring”. The one that Frodo carried around was actually a fake, for this is Sauron’s true source of power in this world: retarded rich kids acting like retarded rich kids. This country is doomed.
Everyone in this movie, from the rich teenagers burglarizing celebrity houses, to their whitebread parents, to the LAPD pigs who crash the party 60 minutes in, is a complete asshole. Even Paris Hilton’s dog is an asshole. It’s not like I really expect anything more from people who actually use Facebook (the worst site on the Internet) as intended, or who unironically reference The Secret, or just act like annoying rich people in general. But it’s difficult for me to fully articulate how uninteresting I found all of their issues. I just can’t understand the obsession with obscene wealth and fame. Why would a lack of those things cause an existential crisis? Why don’t these people try reading a book or something?
So anyway, The Bling Ring is the story of some rich teenagers in Calabasas or somewhere who decide to break in to celebrity houses and steal fancy clothes, fancy shoes, expensive jewelry, a painting, a firearm, and cold hard cash. Really, though, they just do it for the experience of hanging out in places like the “nightclub room” and pole dancing. I guess they also drink some of their booze, which is really the only actual offense committed here. I mean, are the celebrities going to miss any of this other stuff? Do they really need all of it? Who gives a damn?
In case you missed it, America has an obsession with celebrity culture and the lifestyles of the rich and famous. The new American Dream is to have more money and material possessions than you know what to do with, and then tell the lower classes to eat cake. The traditional American Dream (an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay) survives in the minds of a few but in reality is long dead. You aren’t going to get anywhere doing the right thing in this country anymore. Full-time middle class employment remains a pipe dream for many in our jobless recovery. Meanwhile, Paris Hilton has not been reconstituted into compost or anything, and thus her contributions to this world remain nonexistent. This is the reality that faces the average working American today.
But, you know, it’s not so bad. At least I can go through life knowing that I, unlike Megan Fox, have never willingly let Brian Austin Green ejaculate inside of me. America, I ask you: am I really worth less as a human being than her? Honestly, now.
Sofia Coppola apparently felt this whole topic was quite important. She unleashes 80+ minutes of this film on her audience. I know that doesn’t sound like much, and is at the lower end of a feature length runtime, but for some reason it was just agonizing. I had to watch this movie in 10-20 minute blocks, and by the end was playing Mahjongg in another window while Hermione gave her little post-arrest interviews. Yeah, I got it, Sofia. America is obsessed with fame, and isn’t it ironic that it is the children of the rich stealing from the rich? Alanis would be proud.
On and on it goes, with Hermione dressing in trashy outfits, the lead girl Rebecca becoming obsessed with pushing the ring further and further, her friend Marc realizing that they’re in too deep and apparently never consummating their relationship, and a string of hangers-on joining the fun and bragging about the burglaries at various high school parties. Cocaine is snorted, weed is smoked, and a set of Rolexes is fenced by the one and only Gavin Rossdale. I’ve fired up “Sixteen Stone” while writing this review, by the way. It’s still awesome.
God help me.
Also on display are various songs by pop culture icons such as M.I.A. and Kanye West. Two tracks from Kanye’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” (“Power” and “All of the Lights”) are featured, as well as M.I.A.’s “Bad Girls”. Yes, the “live fast, die young, bad girls do it well ” chorus is chanted as a drunk driving teenage girl runs a red light and is crashed into by another car. In the aftermath, the girl brags that her level was so high that “they didn’t even know how [she] was driving, much less still alive”. Then, after a brief complaint about her community service, the incident is never mentioned again. Whatever.
The only part that I thought was over the line (aside from the drinking of the celebrity booze) was breaking into Audrina Patridge’s house. I don’t even really know who she is, but I was housemates with her aunt about a year and a half ago. Thus, there was a part of me that was offended by proxy at the break-in. I mean, I watched Dredd in the theater with her aunt! I talked to Lynn Patridge for like two seconds at the house one day before going to my room and playing video games! Oh, it was just heartbreaking.
Anyway, rich people get some stuff stolen while people with college degrees work at Starbucks and Wall Street continues to rob Main Street blind. The LAPD watches the surveillence footage on fancy dual-screen setups and hunts down the real problems in our society. Thank God. What would Rachel Bilson do without all those clothes? Who is Rachel Bilson, anyway? I don’t pay attention.
It has occurred to me while writing this rambling, incoherent review that I may not be in the target audience for this film. I see rich kid teenagers every week at one of my jobs. For me, the feelings I had while watching this film are probably the same feelings that Vietnam vets had watching Platoon. It’s just an endlessly repeating voice in one’s mind that says, “No shit, guys”. But, at least those kids aren’t complete retards, and will actually find my discussions of calculus or trigonometry problems useful from time to time. The ones in The Bling Ring really do represent the end of American hegemony. We’re done here, folks. It’s all over.
Well, not quite. The kids get arrested by non-mutated pigcops, but we still have another 15-20 minutes of bullshit to deal with. Rebecca runs away to Vegas and has to be extradited (or whatever) back to L.A. Both she and Marc get 4 years in state prison. Hermione and friends get 1 year in county, though Hermione is out after 30 days and giving an interview to some entertainment talking head about being in county with Lindsay Lohan. I guess this is some brilliant commentary on our celebrity-obsessed culture. A criminal is interviewed because she was close to the rich and famous! Zzzzz.
Lohan is actually the white whale that brings the whole ring down, by the way. Rebecca just cannot let go of her obsession with her. It does not appear to be an obsession born from her legendary performance in I Know Who Killed Me, but instead from her shoplifting incident as well as her general public standing as a fucked-up train wreck of a celebrity. After arrest, Rebecca is more concerned with what Lindsay had to say about these events than her own impending trial. It’s all quite deep and moving. Rebecca may be Lohan’s only friend. She would certainly be a better family member than either of Lindsay’s parents. Why do I even know any of this stuff? God dammit. This country, man. This country.
There’s also a deep moment where Hermione remarks that her sister is lucky that she was not filmed by the surveillence cameras (and thus was not arrested). Isn’t it ironic? The celebrity obsessed teenagers are undone by being filmed, just like the celebrities are 24/7. Then the teenagers attempt to become celebrities by association, or at least, they have notoriety thrust upon them and commence their vapid talk show explanations of their behavior. They are no longer human beings, and are merely conduits through which an endless torrent of empty materialistic ideology is vomitted upon the rest of society. True story.
Anyway, rich white people (though I think Rebecca is Asian, or half-Asian, or something) have problems. That’s what’s important. The poor don’t matter, the working class doesn’t matter, the lower middle class doesn’t matter. The stagnant wages, rising cost of living, and difficulty in obtaining stable employment don’t matter. Rich white people are having their possessions stolen nonviolently by slightly less rich white people. That’s what’s important. That’s America. It’s everything.
Meanwhile, my generation continues to languish in a bizarre state somewhere between adolescence and adulthood due to the fact that an adult life requires an adult paycheck. Beyond all the endless chatter on television about the lives of celebrities and politicians, this is the reality that many of us live in. All we want is the ability to work for a living and have a middle class life. That’s it. That is our dream. We don’t care about the fancy handbags or shoes or whatever. We just want to live a normal life, yet that life always seems out of our reach.
And, as I said earlier, Hermione doesn’t even show her ass or anything in this movie.
What the fuck, America?
Post-Review Commentary By The Old Guy From The Legend of Zelda:
DODONGO DISLIKES SMOKE.
IT IS A FALSE DICHOTOMY TO SAY THAT ONE MAY ONLY CARE ABOUT THE RICH OR THE POOR AND NOT BOTH.
GO TO THE NEXT ROOM.
EMMA WATSON SHOWED HER ASS IN THIS MOVIE, BUT REQUESTED THAT THE SCENE BE EDITED OUT OF YOUR COPY. YOU KNOW WHY.
DRUNKEN FRIED RICE IS AWESOME. FORGET THAT GORIYA IN LEVEL 7 AND GIVE SOME TO ME.