Welcome to the JOE-DOWN, a back-and-forth movie review blog by two snarky newspapermen named Joe from Minnesota, Joe Froemming and Joe Brown. We will take turns selecting a movie — any movie we want — and review it here. For this installment, Froemming picked “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.”
The Movie: “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse”
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner
Director: David Slade
Plot Summary: (From IMDB) As a string of mysterious killings grips Seattle, Bella, whose high school graduation is fast approaching, is forced to choose between her love for vampire Edward and her friendship with werewolf Jacob.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 48 percent
Froemming: Last week, I nearly lost my mind dealing with history’s greatest monster, Zach Braff. To cool down, I decided we needed to hit up the breezy mountain weather of Forks, Washington, where the relationships are toxic and codependent, shirts are always optional and young Bella Swan still breathes through her mouth.
That’s right, I chose “Twilight: Eclipse,” the third movie in a franchise that raises the question: What would Hot Topic look like if it were a person.
Brown, as I try to wrack my brain over the idea of an 800-year-old vampire wanting to marry a 17-year-old, why don’t you tell us your first reactions?
Brown: Any time I pick a movie based solely on making Froemming angry/sad/etc., I know the “Twilight” franchise is the Chekov’s Gun that looms over my head at every moment.
And so, we’re back in Forks because Froemming can’t stand the quirky lead from “Scrubs.” And we get Kristen Stewart fighting her franchise-long love triangle and never-ending sinus infection.
As for initial thoughts… I mean, we’re both going to say we’re not recommending this movie so let’s just get this over with.
Froemming: The best part of these movies are that I have zero recollection of the ones that came before it. My brain just deletes them like an old file on a crappy computer, so I was lost as to who any of these people were outside of Bella’s cruel emotional abuse of Edward and Jacob.
According to Wikipedia, because again, I didn’t know why any of this was happening, the start of this movie is some dumbass wandering the alleys of Seattle, 20 years after grunge made that place unbearable. And he is attacked by a vampire. I mean, I think it could have been either a vampire or a hungry junkie, because on all the heroin going on there based on my knowledge of Alice in Chains’ “Dirt” album.
Why was he attacked? Long story short, revenge. Some vampire is mad at the one vampire who is dating a girl who is 17, which should be against the law.
Brown: Question: When this movie starts and you see the random dude, who turns out to be named Riley Biers in a plotline that is easily forgettable, run into the alley, did you think “(REDACTED) are we back in Crime Alley? Are we getting another Batman origin story?
Froemming: Yes. Victoria is basically Joe Chill here, and frankly, a name like Riley Biers made me want the character to just get killed.
Brown: I mean, he doesn’t get killed but Riley screams way more than anyone with a kinda deep cut on their hand should. Like, Mel Gibson didn’t scream that much when he was getting disemboweled in “Braveheart.”
Froemming: Great, now I want Riley Biers to call a cop “sugar tits.”
Anyway, Riley is bitten and we see two holes there in his arm, because this movie assumes we are as stupid as the writing is.
Let’s cut away to Bella and Edward frolicking in a field, talking marriage and Bella’s desire to be a blood-sucking vampire who can never die. Because everyone knows 17-year-olds know everything and she will never regret such a long-term decision in, say, five years or so.
Also, the acting and writing was so wooden here, it made this seem natural:
Brown: Yeah, we have Bella and Edward sitting in a field of flowers (which cannot be good for Bella’s allergies) and Edward still has reservations about Bella being a vampire when she graduates high school.
*Deep breath, Joe*
This movie is the dumbest (REDACTED) allegory for virginity that I’ve ever taken part in. Edward’s all about not ruining Bella’s purity or some nonsense and she… she’s a (REDACTED) teenager, dude! Women get horny, you blood-sucking freak. And he’s trying to be all prim and proper and talking about marriage with his potential teenage bride like he’s Jerry Lee Lewis.
Brown: Rightfully, Bella’s dad, Charlie, is trying to get Bella to hang out with other people, which is a healthy thing to do. But he tries pushing her toward Jacob, which is a whole ‘nother problem since Jacob is CLEARLY in love with Bella.
Now, I put in my notes that it would be easy for Bella to dismiss this request from her dad by saying “I can’t be around Jacob, he’s in love with me. It’s a real awkward situation.”
Then as this movie went along, it’s clear that Bella never put it together that Jacob loves her. Because Bella is a (REDACTED) moron.
Froemming: This movie went all-in on making me dislike every character. Jacob, I didn’t remember actively hating in that last movie. Here, he is suddenly Brock Turner and I felt gross with everyone involved with this. Jacob can’t take the hint that Bella isn’t in to him.
Brown: Would you say that Jacob is… hungry like the wolf for Bella?
Edward can’t take the hint that Bella can have friends who are men. He should know this since he is older than Yoda, but I guess he is trapped in arrested development. Making him a pretty toxic person.
Bella can’t take the hint that playing on people’s emotions for her is (REDACTED) evil and she should stop hurting people on purpose.
Brown, did we just find a more toxic group of people than Bud and Sissy in “Urban Cowboy?”
Brown: The vampires and other monsters of this movie make Kiefer Sutherland in “The Lost Boys” look like (REDACTED) Clint Eastwood, man. Like, Man with No Name Clint Eastwood, not racist, gun-toting Clint Eastwood from “Gran Torino,” which I’m still convinced is a comedy.
We also see Victoria, our revenge-seeking vampire running from the other vampires. In doing so, she is serpentining into vampire and wolf territory, causing a dispute.
All the while, I’m thinking why was the girl from “Brave” running through the woods of Endor.
Oh, before I forget, Edward pushes Bella to take a quick trip to Florida to see her mom. He also comes with, and it turns out to be a ruse for Bella to be away while the Cullens find out more about Victoria’s plan.
Two questions: A. Shouldn’t Edward, like, combust in Florida’s sun and climate? And B. Is Bella’s mom Sheryl Crow? I thought it looked like Sheryl Crow. Though to be fair, I probably couldn’t pick Sheryl Crow out of a police lineup.
Froemming: To quote Bill McNeal: Your confusing thesis has captured my attention. Tell me more.
Brown: My confusing thesis is more entertaining and thought out than this movie was.
Froemming: You’re not wrong.
Now, I never thought I would see a movie with more padding than “SLC Punk 2,” which kinda blew my mind. This movie is, like, 70 percent filler. I was shocked it was two hours long, which felt like an hour and a half too long to me, but here we are. Case-in-point: This Florida trip.
Now, adding toxic relationship goals to this dumpster fire of a scene, Edward is just lying to Bella all the time to “protect her.” He is a backward cap away from being that drunk guy at the bar who screams at his girlfriend for laughing at another person’s jokes.
But this movie is pretty equal opportunity with toxic relations, because Bella is just as bad, if not worse, than her triangle of stupid. She is willing to not only pit her boyfriend against the guy that likes her for fun, she is willing to ditch her family forever so she can, what, listen to the Cure forever?
Brown: Hell, I felt my emotions were toyed with while watching this movie. Jumping ahead briefly, when Jacob is wounded during the big battle, I felt for him and wrote in my notes “I do want Jacob to be happy.” I thought about it for a second and wrote immediately “Wait, I don’t want him to be happy at all. He’s been a dick in this movie.”
This movie fills me with so much cynicism that I’m thinking of voting Republican.
Froemming: Bella Swan: LOCK HER UP! LOCK HER UP!
So yeah, also the Cullens are investigating the ongoings in Seattle, where vampire-style murders and missing people are happening. And honestly, WTF is that? So now I am to believe they are private detectives too? I mean, maybe if they added this song, I would have been on board.
But nope, we get some nonsense from some emo punk band, because the soundtrack had to be all the worst elements of the 2000s.
And boy, do we get some origin stories in this too! From whatshername to whosethatguy, we learn the gritty origins of two characters I have zero memory of.
The first we get because of Bella’s attitude to become the undead by choice rightfully angers whatshername, and we learn that she was a happy person who was *reads notes* raped and left for dead by her boyfriend and his buddies.
What. The. (REDACTED).
Now, I like she got her revenge methodically and cruelly, and I was certainly rooting for her.
Brown: Right?! I want that movie!
I also want a spinoff comedy of this movie where Jacob tries to prolong Bella’s high-school graduation (and therefore her vampire transformation) by becoming a hacker and changing her grades like “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”
There’s also a point where Bella tells Jacob she’s not interested in him and he forces himself upon her for a kiss like he’s Joe Namath talking to Suzy Kolber. And when he does that, Bella breaks her hand by punching Jacob’s face. Even dude’s face is all muscle or something.
I also want to know if the Quileute tribe that Jacob’s family is in has a word for Never-Nudes. Because that’s what that entire clan is. There are dozens of them, after all.
Froemming: So, was the moral of that scene “don’t fight back when a guy forces himself on you?” Because it sure felt like that.
Stephanie Meyer is a horrible person if that’s in the book too. Also, she is a horrible person.
As to Jacob and his pack, I don’t get the whole not wearing a shirt thing. Even in my younger and more fit days, I wore shirts, because nobody wants to look at that. You’re not cool doing it. You’re just making everyone feel awkward.
Anyway, this stupid love triangle is going on and I am on #TeamIHateEveryone, and we learn that the woman from “Brave” is creating new vampires and is going to make an army out of them. See, new vampires are at their strongest because their human blood is magic or some sort of nonsense. This series just makes this crap up as it goes along and it seriously insults my intelligence. It gives a big old middle finger to my intelligence.
Brown: I think the idea is that “newborns” don’t know how to control their appetite for destruction or something to that effect. It’s like when a teenage boy furiously beats his meat for the first time and just wants to do it for the rest of time. Eventually, you have to be around society and hide your shame.
At least that’s how I interpreted it, which is better than how the movie explains it.
Froemming: I’d rather have seen Jacob turn into a werewolf during a basketball game, making him the most popular guy in school. Wait, that is “Teen Wolf,” and I would have rather have watched that instead.
So we have whosethatguy train the Cullens on how to fight the newborns, and we get his origin story that was not even close to being as interesting as whatshername’s. Turns out, he was a Confederate in the Civil War and trained newborns so some woman could take over land?
*rubs temple* What was the (REDACTED) point of that? I would have been perfectly fine if he just said “I have been around newborns and know how they fight” and it would have saved us all 10 minutes of our lives.
So he trains the Cullens. In a montage. Did someone say….MONTAGE?
Great, now I would have rather watched “Rocky IV.”
To speed this along, a truce is made between the vampires and werewolves to stop this army of vampires from killing Bella. Seems like a lot of work to protect a mouth-breathing yokel who manipulates the feelings of those who care for her. She also accepts Edward’s proposal, so I hope in “Twilight: Breaking Dawn” we see these two at Gilley’s, drinking Buds and falling in love with mechanical bulls.
And in what would be a shocking twist had I remembered anything from the last movie, the Volturi is kinda backing this vampire army for reasons? I feel like I am missing something and you know what? I am OK with that, because after this is posted I will not remember a damn thing that happened in this movie too.
Brown: Oh yeah, I’m not remembering a thing about these movies until the next time I upset you, you snowflake.
How weird was it that the Cullens are hosting a graduation party (or something) and it’s here where they break off the party to talk to Jacob and his family about protecting Bella like it’s a mafia-style meeting. The shiny vampires sounds like either the worst mafia, the worst gang in “The Warriors” or the worst gang in “West Side Story.” Either way, it’s the worst.
Then, when you watch these groups train for the incoming newborns, how does it not dawn on Bella that it would be WAY better to live with a pack of large, petable wolves than it would be to hang out with Sonic Youth vampires?
When the wolves were leaving this battleground in Cullen territory, I secretly hoped that Jacob would take a dump or drag his ass on the vampire territory like the wolf he is. That would have helped me see past Jacob’s incessant badgering of Bella.
Oh my god, I’m part of the problem.
Froemming: There is a moment when Bella explains why she wants to be a vampire. Her reasons? She doesn’t fit in and feels like an outsider in this world. You know who else feels like that, Bella?
EVERY GODDAMN TEENAGER IN THE HISTORY OF TIME! You are not special. Bella, let the weird guy from “American Beauty” explain it to you.
Brown: I feel like we’ve really glossed over the fact that the Cullens have a guy in their midst who fought for the Confederacy. Now it makes sense why there’s no black vampires in the Cullen clan.
Froemming: I did bring it up. It was so stupid that I didn’t want to talk more on it. Also, where is his Texas accent? You know what, I don’t care.
So, the plan is to hide Bella up in the mountains so the war can take place and nobody knows where she is. Bella is not worth all of this, and if these vampires and wolves were smart, they would just give her up instead of wasting their time saving a sociopath.
And who goes with her? Why Jacob and Edward because this movie was just begging me to break my TV.
Brown: WHY DO THE WOLVES CARE?! They see their friend getting emotionally manipulated every. Single. Time Bella comes around. I imagine Jacob is totally the type to tell them that he’ll get Bella to fall for him. But when you’re asked to risk your life because of your friend’s boner… well, I’ll let the Lord Humongous explain it.
I mean, hell, why won’t Jacob pursue Anna Kendrick’s character in this movie? She’s a cute brunette as well and she actually has a personality! I actually liked her valedictorian speech at graduation. And she breathes through her nose comfortably! And I bet she likes dogs!
Froemming: So these dingdongs are living the strangest version of this show:
And while stuck up on the mountain, Bella is freezing, so Jacob volunteers to warm her up with his body. It was at this moment I had to make sure this wasn’t one of those porn parodies. Because he gets in bed with her, warms her up and Edward has to sit there and watch.
Brown: Confirmed: Edward Cullen is a cuck.
Plus, Jacob has to drop this line: “Face it, I am hotter than you” to Edward.
After the night in the mountains, we get another lover’s quarrel between the three as Jacob finds out that Bella accepted Edward’s marriage proposal.
First, she has the audacity to ask Jacob to come to her like he’s a (REDACTED) dog. Look, I know he’s a wolf but (REDACTED) you, Bella.
Then, she tells Jacob to kiss her, which he does because the dude is downright indoctrinated by this crazy woman. I blame the Nasacort she surely abuses.
Froemming: She asks him to kiss her, while Edward is watching. Yup, your theory on Edward is adding up, Brown. He just stands there like a doofus while the love of his life makes out with some other dude. And he isn’t even mad.
I think everyone in this movie needs some therapy.
Brown: I secretly hoped that after she made out with Jacob, Bella would be like “Yep, that was WAY better” like she just had a bite of Ron Swanson’s hamburger.
Then yeah, we build up to the big vampire vs. vampire/werewolf fight which… for God’s sake, that should be awesome and it’s just a CGI mess.
While the newborns were running to the battlefield, I was really hoping this would be the soundtrack.
Alas, that wasn’t the case, because we don’t get nice things in the JOE-DOWN.
Froemming: And their ruse doesn’t even work. Riley Biers and Victoria find them right away, so again, more padding on an already bloated mess of a movie. And this fight is a CGI mess too when Riley is fighting Edward and a wolf, while Bella mouth-breathes in front of everyone.
Also, and this confused me, vampires are made out of ice or clay? When they lose a limb, it breaks off so easily they should be wearing a sign around their necks saying “You break it, you bought it.”
Brown: Remember when you had to drive a stake into a vampire’s heart to kill them? Or like in “The Lost Boys” where the head vampire was impaled by deer antlers?
This movie shows that vampires are as fragile as porcelain and can more or less be pushed over to kill them.
Look, I’m not expecting them to follow all vampire lore. Do your own thing. But don’t do this. This is just really (REDACTED) stupid, which is on brand for this entire franchise.
Froemming: Well, Riley gets dragged off by a wolf and presumably eaten after Victoria shrugs at his predicament. Then Edward goes all “Mortal Kombat” on her and rips her head from her body.
This…this is the guy you want to marry?
Brown: And before this happens, Riley breaks Jacob’s ribs, I think? So, he’s off to heal. But not before he and Bella have a conversation after Jacob had his ribs broken again to reset them properly AND put on morphine by Dr. Cullen to deal with the pain.
You know when it’s a bad time to have an in-depth conversation about love and identity? When one participant is on (REDACTED) morphine!
Oh well, Jacob is going to remember as much about this conversation as you or I will.
Froemming: And with that, we go back to the field and have Bella and Edward talk about sand, and how much they hate it. Much like you and I hate this franchise.
Let’s go to recommendations.
WOULD YOU RECOMMEND?
Brown: Soooooooo much nope.