Dear Rachael B.,
Hi, Rachael. How are you, today? I hope you had a good day between the hours of 13.47 and 17.47 today. I hope you had a fantastic day. Because I saw Battle Los Angeles. You’re probably aware that we were supposed to hang out today, meeting downtown at Jackson Square at 13.30. Knowing that for some strange reason, my friends (including you, Melissa and Ailish) have this habit of being late or standing me up due to irresponsibility the night prior to when we’re supposed to meet up, I was totally prepared for the news that you slept in until 13.30 after going to bed “around 5”. I’d invited you to hang out with me downtown. Because you are, as you say it, “broke”, I even said we could hit up the library, true exploring-the-city-for-free style. It’s a big library and we could have found something to talk about. We could have gone to the comics section and read classic Batman comics and discussed Marvel vs DC–the perennial debate. We could have hit up the sci-fi/fantasy section and talked about how science fiction and fantasy differ. We could have talked about Tolkien or Ellison or any number of things. Instead, you slept in and I saw Battle Los Angeles.
Remember, Rachael, when I said I wasn’t mad at you for sleeping in? That I’d actually seen that coming? It was probably why I told you to get to sleep at a sensible hour last night. Now, I know that really wouldn’t do anything because I know your sleep schedule is fixed. It’s as fixed as mine, and it’s something you can’t really change at the drop of a hat. But if one small thing had been different between the hours of 23.30 and 06.00 last night, then maybe I wouldn’t have seen Battle Los Angeles. Maybe if one of the Adjustment Bureau agents assigned to my life (or yours, let’s not get egotistical) had set your alarm clock back an hour because you hadn’t changed it for daylight savings time. Maybe if your sister had run into your room to tell you she’d eaten your breakfast or something. And maybe if I’d called instead of texting you at 12.46, like I did. If any of these things had gone differently, if any of these things had happened–if the proverbial butterfly had flapped its wings–I would not have seen Battle Los Angeles. I would not have spent two hours of my life imagining more productive uses for my time and money, along with the time and money of everyone involved in the production of Battle Los Angeles.
Wanna hear a funny story about the production of Battle Los Angeles? It’s a true life Social Network story! See, the Winklevosses were making a movie called Battle Los Angeles and hired Mark Zuckerberg to do the special effects for them. But naughty naughty Mark Zuckerberg looked at their version of an aliens invade Los Angeles movie and said “Hey, I can do that better!” Only, unlike in The Social Network, this time, the Zuckerberg character was two people and their movie was called Skyline, and without seeing it, I feel like I can safely say it blew goats. So does Battle Los Angeles, but by comparing trailers, at least Skyline has good CGI. So, true to life, I’m pretty sure the people who made Battle Los Angeles sued the people who made Skyline. The question being why anyone would ever want to be associated with either of these movies, but hey–it’s Hollywood. People will fight over a turd on the sidewalk if someone’s claiming it’s theirs.
Around ninety minutes into this movie, Rachael, I realized that if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t even bus to your house directly after work. I wouldn’t tell you to set an alarm to wake up in time to meet me downtown today. No, I’d go all the way back to the box office, look at the ten dollar bill in my hand, go across the hall and buy a strip of Hamilton Street Railway bus tickets. Because those bus tickets would give me a more meaningful and memorable and significant experience than seeing Battle Los Angeles anywhere from once to as the only movie I see until I die. This movie is so devoid of creativity, meaning or quality that I nearly turned on my DS and played Pokémon White in the theater just to risk getting kicked out. Just to risk having an experience that would be more thrilling and more meaningful and more affecting than having seen Battle Los Angeles.
This is the first movie I have ever seen by paying with my own money that I have ever considered walking out of and demanding a refund. I do not know how any man, woman or child on this pale blue dot we call home could enjoy this movie. There were people who saw Avatar and rooted for the humans. Whether they did it ironically or honestly, they’re probably the same kind of people to cheer for the humans in Battle Los Angeles. They said of the Na’vi in Avatar that they should have just given us their precious resources or been killed. Well, somehow, a group of aliens has come up with a way to use water to make space travel possible. Faster-than-light space travel, too. Plain ocean water. And you know what? The humans in this movie should have died. They deserved to be blown to pieces for standing in the way of these aliens. They deserved to be killed without honor or dignity. They were guilty of living on the wrong planet at the wrong time, and should have paid for it with their lives. Instead, a ragtag band of marines bands together to save the day.
Why. Why did the Marines have to save the day? Why couldn’t a movie so devoid of creativity or meaning or anything resembling an artistic impulse end on a note as bleak as its assumptions about its audience? After all of this, all I can ask is why.
Why did you have to sleep in, Rachael? I’m writing this to you because you were the last person to have direct contact with me before I saw Battle Los Angeles. And now, it’s simply too much. Tell Dan he can have my stereo.
Your friend and the person whose death you could have prevented,
— Joe Criger.
PS: ZERO STARS
PPS: I want to bone you. Call me or text me or something.