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Veronica Mars: Sassy Teen Detective

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  • It's a high, you know? We made something happen that wouldn't have happened without us, and there is a sense of ownership there which changes the dialogue tremendously. The high will subside eventually, and then we'll start to take things apart.
    Well this answers my original response of "are you high?" to the last two pages of this thread. Yes, yes you are. Ha. Fair enough.
    I guess I'm genuinely (no snark) confused by bringing over industry commentary if said commentary is going to be dismissed outright. Why not just make this thread gifs and character discussion?

    The movie was partially independently financed. That is literally the only fundamental of an independent film. It is being evaluated as a movie because they made a movie.


    • I am not high.

      I have a degree in film studies. It sure seemed like a feature-length movie to me. It had a cast and a plot and decent lighting and I'm not sure what else it was supposed to have to be impressive for being a low-budget TV show-turned-movie. It's not Star Trek or even Dark Shadows. And it wasn't an indie IMO because it was an existing franchise that was rebooted by fan demand. I love the term "boutique" when it comes to this kind of thing. It encapsulates what it is nicely.

      Was it the best movie I ever saw? Nope. It was not Chinatown, but then what is? I've sat through more "important" and "serious" movies than the average person (OMB the shit I had to watch in film school--some of it was mind-blowing and some of it was just pretentious nonsense) and more than my fair share of "indies" and this was more entertaining than the average movie I've seen in the last few years that was not a special effects extravaganza partly because it was greatly tailored to me and my specific interest in these characters.

      It was a great reboot of a small, beloved franchise paid for in part by the fans. Beyond that I don't see what it needed to be. If this was the very end of VMars? I'd be pretty happy with it. I got my money's worth (and I still have a blu-ray coming). I regularly pay $30 for Blu Rays that I didn't enjoy half as much as this movie. GTFO Wolverine in 3D, you sucked and were not worth the money.

      Maybe I'm missing something but I don't understand how anything related to the VMars movie affects indie movies at all.
      It’s just really honestly so tiring and emotionally draining to have to get upset over reality constantly.


      • Also, I think it's totally fair to discuss the discussion about the movie. What are we all if not long-term armchair critics?
        It’s just really honestly so tiring and emotionally draining to have to get upset over reality constantly.


        • Yeah, I'm a dolt when it comes to what a 'movie' is obviously, because my heart belongs forever and always to tv and I think everything should just be tv . . .

          All I can say is that I don't care what it gets labelled as, or what film people end up saying about it in film studies classes someday. Whether this came to me as a 'movie project' or as an extra long tv episode released only on Netflix would have changed nothing in how I viewed it. It was intensely personal to me, like Rob and crew had reached straight into my brain and somehow made my most fanficc-y thoughts a REALITY ( and yes, I am totally high on that). It's so personal to me that even trying to step outside the fannish bubble to compare it to anything else in the film world is a weird disconnect and I can't do it with any intellectual rigor (yet?). Listening to the critics trying to box up my intensely personal experience is interesting, but ultimately has no connection to my own experience at all.

          Which is pretty much the surreality that happens whenever a group is passionate about what they consider a particularly satisfactory fannish artifact, and can't grasp why everyone else is not equally as passionate and satisfied.


          • I could care less what critics, non fans or even fans think about the movie. I was happy and satisfied with it and felt that my hard earned dollars were put to excellent use. So to me that is all that counts. Do I hope it is popular/gets great box office numbers so there can be a sequel? Well of course because I will always be greedy for more VM. But if there isn't that would be ok too. I have received the closure that has always been missing. I am 100% happy. So I don't care about others. It has been such an intensely personal thing to me which is why I gave money in the first place.
            Also, I do have to admit I was worried after seeing the trailer the first time. My expectations were lowered a lot.
            Last edited by SW1237; 03-16-2014, 10:30 PM.


            • I don't think anybody has to love it. If em has a reason she liked it as a fan but disliked it based on her indie movie credentials then she's welcome to weigh in. But ophy is also welcome to dissect and dismiss anything she finds and wants to bring to the party. I'm just not understanding what em's quibbles with it are and she's welcome to come in and tear it up as much as she'd like.

              There is no raining on my parade. I love dissecting shit no matter.
              It’s just really honestly so tiring and emotionally draining to have to get upset over reality constantly.


              • Finally got to see it last night through Amazon, but wanted time to process it all before commenting. And then I watched it one more time this morning before we watched at the theater tonight so basically I've been in Neptune for like six out of the last 20 hours.

                I don't know that it felt like a regular movie to me but that's because it was so familiar. I tried to compare my experience with watching this to watching something like the X Files movies or even something like Potter or THG, both of which I'm super familiar with in a totally different way and I just can't compare it to those experiences at all. I think I'd have to see The Creek or BtVS on the big screen in order to have a fair comparison.

                I loved it and never wanted it to end the first time we watched it. I just wanted to spend as much time with all the characters as possible. Like, I wanted to go home with Weevil and see his wife boss him around, I wanted to go to work with Mac and see her be a super BAMF at Kane, I wanted to watch Wallace coach, and obvs, I wanted to watch those two missing weeks with LoVe that we just got told about at the end. I don't know that I even paid much attention to the story the first time because I was too busy recognizing old peeps and then briefly going into my memory bank to figure out why I loved or hated them.

                The second time I watched it, I was by myself and it did feel like a long episode of show. But I mean, that's what I wanted so I don't have any complaints about that. I could recognize that newcomers would probably have trouble connecting to the characters and that the movie felt like a very long inside joke among the makers and the old school fans. But that's pretty much what I expected it would be so I didn't really find that problematic either. I was also better able to appreciate how the characters had changed and grown up, especially Logan. If he hadn't evolved at all from the last time Veronica saw him, I don't think she'd have been as attracted to him. If he was still all hot headed and impulsive and reactionary, she probably would have felt sad for him, but it would have confirmed her choice to leave him behind ten years ago. The fact that he was more mature, more settled, and seemed like an equal probs turned Veronica's interest from a solid 8 to like eleventy billion, lbr. I did wish for more Keith/Veronica time on second viewing, but eh, small nitpick. I also wanted more LoVe sexy time, but I will always want that between those two.

                By the time we watched it at the theater, I was kinda over the mystery aspect. But I still laughed at the jokes and probably caught a couple new ones I'd been too distracted to get earlier. My fave line was Keith's "Noooooo....Logan" when he realized she wasn't home for the reunion. Close second was Dick's "I wish Logan could quit you." I could also better understand the criticism upon watching it in the theaters. This is probs a little mean, but these actors are just better suited for TV, you know? If I had not been a fan of the show and had to watch this movie on the big screen for my job, I'd probably be confused about why so many people found them so captivating.


                • My "are you* high" question was in response to listing a debate amongst critics and then dismissing said debate because they "don't get it." They were sent a feature length film by a studio to evaluate for the purposes of press in advance of that film's release. What else is there to get? Why read the debate? If this is extremely personal and you were totally satisfied with your experience, why have an opinion on how the industry is responding and why is that opinion GTFO? Why not be satisfied with your experience without dismissing the evaluation by those who have totally different, not personal but just as valid, associations with the film.

                  Everyone wants this to be a gamechanger (or maybe doesn't, I'll admit at this point I'm totally confused on how much of the celebrating is yay! for this seminal format vs yay! the movie) but won't acknowledge all the ways in which it *played* the game. It had a lot of money behind it for what it is, it had an average length shoot for the kind of film it is (especially considering there were no locations), it had a strategic, studio-based marketing plan, it had a festival premiere, it had a studio-sponsored film premiere, and it had a mothereffing theatrical release. It was positioned in every possible way as a movie so when it's then evaluated as a movie for the response to be, you can't think of it as a movie. Um WHAT? How am I supposed to think of it? Because yes, for the fans it's an all-encompassing love letter that satisfied hopes and dreams and that's fine, great even, but that's not what it is for the studio, the critics, the pundits, or even Rob et al. If one wants to talk about the space this film occupies in the industry, at least acknowledge that you see that industry and its evaluation as legitimate.

                  I'm on record in other places at this board as saying that I don't see studio blockbusters. It's not a huge concession on my part as that kind of storytelling doesn't appeal to me but even if there was something I really wanted to see, a budget in excess of $100 m would give me pause. Anything exceeding $200 m grosses me out. Brilliant, exceptional, action-packed movies are made for under 2. My favorite film of late was probably about $750,000.

                  VMars could've been made for under a million dollars. There was nothing cast-wise or sequence-wise that prevents that. It was a small story told on a small scale by people who made me think they were paying us to be involved they wanted to do it so badly so it couldn't be their rates that jacked up the budget, right? Studios don't make movies for under a million dollars because they easily could but they don't have to. They budgeted it at 5 (likely) because they could and then asked private investors to pay it. Private investors can do whatever they want with their money but the studios already have everything they need and then some. They have $250 m to allocate to *one* project. When studio films start occupying the independent space, independent films are edged out. When WB puts Veronica Mars out through a day and date for the *novelty* of it, that's an actual independent film that lost that space. Indies don't get theatrical as a given, they don't get marketing machines, they don't get the luxury of failing and getting to do it again in six months. Those filmmakers and producers and private investors sometimes put everything they have (literally) into making that one movie and the methods of independent distribution are going away fast. DVD is dead; VOD is what's left.** Movies that you've never heard of (which is about 90% of all independent films) can actually make a little bit of money via digital platforms. If studios look at Veronica Mars and think wow, it worked, let's all do that, let's use our fuck you billions to bring in a little extra on our smaller titles- where do those indies go? Independent film is already dying. The pool of distributors shrinks more and more every year, their successes are fewer and smaller so buyers are afraid to acquire because they can't predict what's going to work and they're running out of outlets and like the indie filmmakers, indie distributors don't have the luxury of a series of failures either. The public has become conditioned to think that independent film is Silver Linings Playbook (or literally, any other Weinstein film) or 12 Years a Slave. The mini-majors like Harvey and Lionsgate are acting as cannibals and killing the very projects they would've championed themselves 10-15 years ago because they're making studio fare under the guise of independent cinema.

                  Now, one can totally say, well that's what the marketplace dictates and if audiences want to spend their money on studio pictures, so be it. But since I live and breathe the independent world, I'm going to say it's not a fair fight; since I pay the bills through it, I'm going to be irate and a little scared by anything that further threatens it and since I love the spirit of it and the storytelling it yields, I'm going to be heartbroken.

                  The Veronica Mars movie got made through a hybrid of independent and studio models and the studio reaped all the benefits. Despite my extreme misgivings about that, I was a genuine fan of the series so I watched the movie and gave my 5 bucks to the WB. And I found the film engaging and mentioned things I liked about it up thread. But since I did watch the movie, I'm going to point out the ways in which all the elements combined fell short for me. I'm going to talk about it as an independent film and a studio film because it's both. It wanted to be both so it's both and for me, the film was not so transcendent an experience that it superseded my original contextualization, a distaste for that hybridity. But I'm also not being harsher on Veronica Mars than I would be otherwise and to suggest that I can't think of it like a movie because it's its own thing, well actually, it's not. For me, it was a flawed movie as a movie. There were things that didn't work for me. That is my opinion and it's not because I didn't get it or can't recognize what it is or am too angry about how it came to be, that I can't evaluate it on its own merit.

                  That said, I do still have concerns with how it came to be because of my own personal investment and its qualified success this weekend actually exacerbates those concerns because the studio-indie model doesn't mean anything good for the future of independent film.

                  *all my 'you's are universal 'yous'/even though I'm referencing some of ophy's posts, my reply is to the collective response, not her

                  **I could get into the specifics of digital distribution and how those deals sometimes screw filmmakers but I imagine it'd be boring (not that the rest of this isn't boring).


                  ETA: Yeah, it took a while to compose that and (hopefully) eradicate the snotty bitch tone so if it reads angry, I'm really not angry about any of it.
                  Last edited by emmaleigh; 03-17-2014, 01:32 AM.


                  • It did feel like a long episode to me, and perhaps that was one of its flaws (I think the main one was all the exposition, which, unless RT went ahead and made it 100% insular, couldn't be avoided). Maybe it's not an entirely different animal (I did not see Firefly or Serenity, or the X-Files movie, so I have no frame of ref. about a TV show to movie other than freakin' SatC). But my beef was with the critics who are kinda disregarding the different platforms on which it was doled out to backers at the same time as the theatrical release while judging the movie's success based on asses in seats. It's like when Nielsen refused to acknowledge and adjust for DVR and the interwebz is what I was getting at.

                    Maybe RT is Scrooge McDucking in all our Kickstarter monies, but we revived Veronica together, and the movie is a true springboard for more adventures in Neptune/some CW show people barely saw, so that's probably why I, a non-industry movie-goer, don't mourn the fledgling indies that could have been made in its place. The "Little Movie That Could" vibe RT wants to give off may not be accurate, but the way everything went down still feels underdoggy to me. That with the wish fulfillment was a combo platter of yay.
                    Last edited by LaaLaa; 03-17-2014, 07:40 AM.


                    • Thanks for exploring your concerns in greater detail, em! Very interesting take and I appreciate that you put it together.

                      I have a slightly different take on all this (as a total outsider who has a lifelong interest/fascination with the industry and fame). And please don't take it as a rebuttal because I think you made solid points all around.

                      I think Vmars did explore some new ground but it doesn't dictate anything going forward. Small-minded and narrow executives (of which there are many) will try and fail to replicate it without understanding the fans and other essential ingredients. But executives do that in every industry I've ever been a part of. Few are visionaries.

                      I think the movie market is primed for a major shake-up and the beginnings of that are happening right now (IMO). A few of these overblown megamovies with megabudgets will fail and take down a studio or two and shift the playing field in the near-ish future, I'd bet.

                      I also think the (even the indie) playing field is due for a shake-up. For one, creative styles come in waves. This is the era of the mega-blockbuster but it's already waning in quality (The Avengers movie was probably the creative peak of that style) and something else will come along to replace it. I often note to anyone who will listen (but nobody ever does) that I can NOT believe with the rise of high quality digital that we haven't seen a flood of great truly indie no-budget movies (that breakthrough to the mainstream). SURELY there are people out there making them? WHERE ARE THEY? I blame the millennials for having all the tech and none of the ideas (because I'm a surly GenXer). I probably just haven't seen them because I'm not looking but I'm close enough to pop culture that I'd like to think I'd notice.

                      The real action in terms of storytelling and character is in TV right now and has been for several years. But that will change. It will just take a couple of brilliant, talented people to break through and drive the creative action in a different direction (though it will never have the break-through aspects of earlier achievements because the media landscape is irrevocably fragmented).
                      Last edited by isadora; 03-17-2014, 10:55 AM.
                      It’s just really honestly so tiring and emotionally draining to have to get upset over reality constantly.


                      • I like the way the Superhero Batman-esque comparison is taking hold:

                        Enter Veronica. Beautiful, brilliant, and initially popular with a wealthy boyfriend, she seemed to have it all. But when her best friend was murdered and she had to choose between closing ranks with her rich friends or siding with her father, a sheriff investigating a powerful and wealthy suspect, she sacrificed it all for something even more important: the truth.

                        It’s the same choice we’ve seen her make over and over again, no matter the personal cost. Both incorruptible and incapable of turning a blind eye, Veronica became a pure instrument of justice, a tiny blonde Batman with a stun gun instead of a batarang. As often as Keith tried to convince Veronica to act like a normal teenager, he knew what we knew: that she was something different now, a preternaturally smart and savvy young woman who had been transformed by trauma into something more, a driven, slightly tragic hero come to save us all.

                        “Veronica’s superpower is that she just doesn’t give a shit what people think about her,” said creator Rob Thomas at the movie’s recent premiere. In a time when retweets and favorites of our peers have become the new gauge of popularity, that’s a formidable power indeed. She may have slightly preceded the age of social media, but Veronica was rejecting crowd-sourced self-worth long before it had an app. It’s fitting that Veronica mentions that she’s not even on Facebook; rather than genuflecting at an altar of Likes, Veronica always looked inward rather than outward to define what mattered.

                        But unlike Batman, Veronica didn’t have a wealthy alter ego or a mansion to retreat to, just a a tight-knit group of true friends and a father she worshipped—and, to his chagrin, emulated. Fighting the power comes with a cost, and at the end of the television series her pursuit of the truth ended up costing her father his career. It was the one price she wasn’t ready to pay, and Veronica has been trying to make different choices ever since— the kinds her father wants her to make, ones that seem “smarter.”

                        So there she is in New York, telling a prospective law firm that she’s abandoned her old ways because “the price was too high.” That’s true, in a way: There’s a very real cost to fighting the system, and as Veronica contemplates a potential six-figure salary, she’s also learned that there’s also a very real benefit to playing its game. But when she tells the interviewer “that’s not me anymore,” it sounds like a story, not because the movie is telling one but because she is.

                        So what happens when you type “Veronica Mars” into a Facebook search and press return all these years later? You get the same Veronica you’ve always gotten: the woman who did what she needed to do, whether you liked it or not.

                        If the addendum this movie offers tells us anything, it’s that Veronica wasn’t a “teen detective” any more than Batman was just some guy in a suit. Veronica Mars was simply her Batman: Year One, the early years of a hero who was always—just like her father said—destined for greatness. He may have wanted a different, less painful sort of greatness for her, but this was the mantle she was destined to wear, the costume that feels more authentic to the superhero than his own skin.

                        Is Veronica Mars an exercise in nostalgia? On one level, sure. Does it feels more like a two-hour television finale than a movie? Definitely. Will people who didn’t watch the show like the movie? Who knows? Who cares, really? Much like Veronica herself, this film wasn’t designed for popularity and is unentirely uninterested in smoothing out the intelligence or the edges of its hero to win the hearts of the masses. And in the eyes of the people who matter, the ones who loved it all along, it will succeed wildly. Veronica Mars would be proud.
                        This is probably my fave exploration of Veronica's character to date.


                        • Love that last paragraph because that is exactly how I feel.
                          I actually detest all those high budget action packed movies. They are so boring to me. Something has to have a compelling story for me to watch. I rarely watch movies. I read a ton of books and watch tv but I have probably only watched 10 movies in the last two years. And that includes one night marathoning 3 or 4 Chris Messina movies lol. I just find tv to be better because of the length.


                          • The Washington Post examines the way the VMars movie tackles topics of social justice:

                            There is an extent to which the story of Carrie’s murder feels like a soapy diversion from the racialized policing tactics Veronica has seen practiced in plain sight since she returned home to Neptune. That’s especially true after Deputy Sacks is murdered to prevent him from becoming a whistleblower about his department’s corruption, and an attempt is made on Keith Mars’ life to prevent him from passing along the information he’s learned.

                            But just as Veronica’s smart enough to tell 911 that “A cop has been shot,” knowing they’ll respond faster to a crime scene for a police officer than for a civilian, “Veronica Mars” recognizes that sometimes, the only way to force even minor reform is to acknowledge that power and money mean more than appeals to justice or racial equality. At the end of the movie, Sheriff Lamb is vulnerable to an electoral challenge. But it’s not because he planted a gun on Weevil. It’s because he told Logan that he intended to railroad him into a conviction, an event Veronica recorded from a camera concealed in a truly awful trucker hat, and then released to TMZ.

                            And while it’s great that Veronica has managed to make it possible for someone–maybe even herself–to mount a credible campaign against Lamb, the means by which she achieved that victory leaves plenty of people out. Most prominent among them is Weevil. At the end of the movie, Veronica still hasn’t managed to vindicate him against Celeste Kane’s charges. And with his reputation as a family man and a business owner in tatters, Weevil’s gone back to riding with his old motorcycle gang.

                            The end of the movie raises another question: Veronica sees herself as a reformer, but is she really so different from the cops she looks down on? Her training as a private investigator has made her awfully comfortable breaking into houses, spying on the people she suspects, and threatening to expose people who have done the wrong thing.

                            “I don’t know if Veronica will ever have a self-reflective moment about the lengths she goes to in her quest for justice or vengeance. It’s the part of her I like writing,” Thomas says. “It’s a slippery slope, I know. I’m certainly on the political left, but I do think of Veronica sometimes when I think of the Obama administration. I voted for the guy. I like him. I catch myself having faith that warrantless wiretapping or drone strikes are all done with our best interests at heart. I have to force myself to remember it won’t always be someone I trust sitting in that office.”

                            “Veronica Mars” ends on a triumphant note, with Veronica determined to clean up the home town she ultimately can’t leave behind. But there’s a real note of uncertainty there, too.

                            “Dad always said this town could wreck a person,” Veronica reflects sadly, musing on Weevil’s fate. “It’s what happens when you’re playing a rigged game.” But however much Veronica sees herself as capable of resisting the town’s traps and the corrupting effect of taking power, Thomas acknowledges that his beloved heroine is walking a fine line. “I show cops casually tasing people in order to show that these cops are not worthy of our respect; Veronica is, of course, pretty cavalier about tasing people,” he acknowledges. “I recognize the hypocrisy in that.” And the risks, as well.

                            It’s a testament to “Veronica Mars” that the movie isn’t just an exercise in fan service and nostalgia for a television show long gone. Instead, it’s a sad, sharp statement on what happens when income inequality, police misconduct and racism compound each other, and how hard it is to win even limited change.
                            Bolding Rob's comments. I don't think I have seen these anywhere before. That's a very interesting way of looking at Veronica . . . her tactics being close to those used by the ones causing the injustice, and how that is also a potentially corrupting power.

                            If anyone wants a list of music used in the movie itself, and what scenes they play during:

                            Prosthetic Love already makes me FEEL ALL THE THINGS. (it plays during the um . . . wall scene, let's say.)


                            • Thanks for exploring your concerns in greater detail, em! Very interesting take and I appreciate that you put it together.
                              No prob. Thanks for listening. I honestly probably should've done it earlier but I really didn't want to harsh everyone's buzz because I know my association with the project is unique to this thread and not relevant to everyone's enjoyment of the movie.

                              I do agree that there may be a special alchemy to this property and this fanbase that won't be easily replicated. But for me, it's more about the precedent than it is Veronica Mars. It could be any series and I'd have the same reaction. And while there's something particularly distasteful about a studio using this financing model, I'm also totally opposed to people like Zach Braff and Spike Lee who have had immense success and $$$$$ in this industry using kickstarter for funding too. It feels tone-deaf and greedy.

                              One of the most interesting recent developments in the indie world to me is the mainstreaming of Mumblecore. The Duplass Brothers, Lena Dunham, Greta Gerwig, and Joe Swanberg have all become Hollywood staples and the former two, household names. They're filmmakers (sans Gerwig) who made teeny tiny navel-gazing movies with nothing and no cast and garnered enough attention for their style that bigger actors wanted to work with them or in the case of Dunham, Judd Apatow wanted to produce whatever she did next. Mumblecore hardly has mass appeal but we've accepted these people and their work as desirable to a general audience.
                              Swanberg and Duplass seem to alternate between bigger Hollywood fare and making films that hearken back to their roots; I've heard Gerwig is a total c u next tuesday who denies her humble(core) beginnings and Dunham is blowing up which I .

                              The other thing, and this is an omnipresent discussion in the indie world, is that the technology for digital hasn't yet caught up enough to overcome the stigma of non-theatrical release. People still associate quality and legitimacy of a project with seeing it in theaters though I really don't think that's true anymore. But the Flixster snafu is a perfect example of how people still feel like they can't and shouldn't trust digital completely. It will happen eventually but we aren't there yet.

                              See, I think that was true of TV 5 to 10 years ago but I actually feel the pendulum has swung back the other way and there's a dearth of exceptional storytelling on TV right now whereas I've been more impressed with film overall recently than I had been in years. I feel like the early oughts were a wasteland of cinema (with a few exceptions) after so much groundbreaking and rulebreaking in the nineties (especially with regard to independent film). I hate nearly every Best Picture winner from 2000 on.
                              Last edited by emmaleigh; 03-18-2014, 12:03 AM.


                              • I finally got a chance to watch it last night - I guess I didn't donate enough to get the download, so I rented it on Amazon Instant video. I liked it a lot! I agree that Logan should ONLY wear that. Swoon, when he picked her up from the airport, I died.

                                I did have some quibbles - I think if they couldn't get Leighton to come back, they should've changed the character who died. It was super jarring to me that there were all these other familiar faces and then Carrie was not right. Even though I understand why they didn't do it (they wanted all those ties to the old 09ers), I didn't like it. However, I was trying to think last night who might have had the same impact and unless it was Gia herself who was murdered, I couldn't think of someone. I thought it was really strange that they included Sean Friedrichs but then didn't really have him do anything! Would've loved to see Casey, as he was one of the few 09ers she actually had a connection with (before he left the cult anyway!)

                                I also wish maybe that she hadn't come back for Logan but for Mac or Wallace but maybe that's because I just wanted more of both of them! I would love a yearly check in with these characters!