Gerry review by Rosie


Hi, are you Mr. Van Sant? I’m Dr. Rose. Unfortunately there is never an easy way to do this, but I’m afraid I have some bad news. Please, have a seat. We’ve run all the tests we can and it appears that your film is suffering from an infection of mystery meningitis. It’s quite a rare condition, but there is no doubt from what I’ve seen here that this is what we’re looking at with Gerry. Let me give you a little background on the disease so you might have a better idea of what we’re dealing with here.

Mystery meningitis, or MM, is a viral infection of the celluloid reel that attacks the film’s ability to live up to the expectations surrounding it, expectations that are most commonly caused by the attachment of some type of highly anticipated “dream team” ensemble or pairing. Common symptoms often include actor-actor, actor-director, or ensemble cast combinations that might be mistaken for “can’t miss pairings” by the casual observer. In fact, the disease itself is named after the first officially diagnosed case on record, 1999’s Mystery Men. At the time no one was yet trained to recognize this potentially fatal infection and, as such, the film was repeatedly misdiagnosed with expectations such as, “Ben Stiller, William H. Macy, Hank Azaria, Geoffrey Rush, Eddie Izzard! How can you go wrong?”, or “A superhero comedy starring Stiller, Garafalo, Macy, Kinnear and Pee-Wee Herman? That’s can’t miss, right?” Well, of course, you know what happened next. In the autopsy following its release, medical examiners first identified the expectation-raising virus that was the cause of Mystery Men’s unexpected death. From there, researchers were quickly able to begin linking it to several unexplained deaths in similar cases, such as Dick Tracy and I Heart Huckabee's. Fortunately, we know enough now about it now to promote early detection, even if we still haven’t found a complete cure.

I suspected your film might have MM when I first saw the marquee headlining Matt Damon and the wildly underutilized Casey Affleck. When further tests revealed that it was directed by you, Mr. Van Sant, and that the three of you had actually written the script together as well…. Well, let’s just say I could have single-handedly reconsolidated the U.S.S.R. with the number of the red flags that set off. As is always the case when dealing with a potential case of MM, a final confirmatory analysis was ordered which consisted of a comprehensive visual and auditory screening of your film by one of our resident clinical satisfactologists to eliminate the possibility of a false positive initial result. Though it is rare, some films actually do live up to the expectations set by the combined previous efforts of their notable cast or crew, and we certainly want to be sure to exhaust all other options before proceeding with any type of aggressive MM treatment plan. Unfortunately, Gerry’s initial diagnosis appears to be accurate. I’m looking at the satisfactology report right here and Gerry’s disappointagen levels are just off the charts.

Pardon? Yes, that’s correct, there are treatment options. While there is currently no cure for MM, there are several effective measures that can be taken to minimize the effects in the short term and give Gerry the best possible chance for as normal a life as possible. The first thing we need to do is get it scheduled for a series of progressive scenectomies, targeting several of the most pretentiously unnecessary transition shots. In Gerry’s case these consist primarily of a number of insufferably long, wide-angle desert landscape inserts. If we can remove about 75% of these within the next year, we can have Gerry down to a running time of somewhere in the thirty minute range and give it a chance to live more comfortably as a mildly interesting short, rather than a painfully overwrought feature.

The second step in the treatment are some exercises that you can begin practicing with Gerry at home to help improve its overall enjoyability. One of the first things we noticed in screening your film was that the sound quality in several of the dialogue scenes was so feeble that we had to keep turning the volume all the way up and sitting by our speakers to be sure we could hear what they were talking about. After falling for this a few times, we quickly began to realize that we couldn’t care less what these two one-dimensional, stage character rejects might possibly be talking about and were actually somewhat relieved to not have to hear them. This is where the home strengthening exercises come in. The truth, as difficult as it may be for a director to accept, is that Gerry’s dialogue is completely unlistenable and will not get better with age. But that does not mean Gerry has to be a useless film. Next time you’re at home watching it, try just leaving the sound off and inserting your own dialogue into the scenes whenever you see the characters speaking. Since you did actually write the original dialogue, I would suggest you not try to do this on your own the first time but look into hiring a specialist to help you with inserting new dialogue to make Gerry watchable again. Here’s an example of one that I practiced with it this morning to help you get started tonight:

(Scene: Gerry and Gerry stop to sit on a small log, resting)
Gerry: Hey, Matt. So are you, uh, you guys thinkin’ about maybe doing an Ocean’s Fourteen?
Gerry: No. I mean, no, I don’t think so.
Gerry: Oh. ‘Cause I was thinking the other day and I had this sweet idea for one, and I thought maybe if you could give me George’s number I cou-
Gerry: No.
Gerry: But you didn’t even …
Gerry: No, Case, I mean, uh, I wish I could. I mean it sounds great. I just, uh, don’t have George’s number. I mean, I did, but I think, you know, he had to change it or something so I don’t, uh, you know I don’t know what’s the best, uh, how to reach him right now or anything.
Gerry: Oh. Yeah, well, ok. Well, if you see him maybe …
Gerry: Yeah, definitely. Definitely.
Gerry: Hey, have you talked to my brother lately? I’m trying to see if I can get his Red Sox seats next weekend but I keep getting his voicemail. I guess he just never checks it, but the games are coming up and I’ve been trying for like a week. Do you hav–
Gerry: No.

See? Not too hard, try it out a few times tonight. Once you start getting the feel for it you can begin to try some of your own lines. Just remember that the goal is to make it enjoyable, so don’t get all caught up again in the philosophical non-sequiters that aggravated the condition begin with. The third and final step in the treatment plan right now is the pharmaceutical component. Since post-production is long-since wrapped, there is no way we can rid Gerry of all of it’s hollow, lazily pseudo-artistic cinematography without destroying it entirely. But if we can remove enough of it through the targeted scenectomies, I am confident that we can adjust the perceptions of what is left from boring and unnecessary to fascinating and insightful with the right dosage of psychotropic stimulants. I’d like to start you on an initial combination of apple wine and mescaline, taken once a day prior to viewings, and we can gradually increase the dosage from there until Gerry becomes watchable and, hopefully, even interesting.

Listen, I know this can be difficult at first but I promise you that we have some of the best MM experts in the world on our staff and things will get better. If you’d like to see Gerry for a few minutes right now, I think it would be alright. No? Well, I can’t say I blame you. It can be difficult to look at, even for just a few minutes. Maybe you can go get that prescription filled and think about easing into it tomorrow. Good luck, Mr. Van Sant, don’t forget to stop by the office and schedule a follow up for about a month or so from now to see how the treatment is going, and feel free to call my office anytime between now and then if you don’t start to see any improvement in Gerry’s watchability over the next few weeks from the exercises or meds. My scheduler will give you a card. Oh, and, here’s a copy of the test results for your records. Let me know if you have any questions and, remember, we're all here to help.

3 out of 10 Jackasses
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