Cast: Michael Angarano, Uma Thurman, Lee Pace
Director: Max Winkler
Fordham University '15
"I am Ozymandias, king of kings: look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!" -Percy Bysshe Shelley
Review By: Kieran Newton
So, allow me to set the stage: it’s Tuesday night. My family is sitting down to a movie. The night before, I put on Beginners, and they were so captivated that they watched the whole thing with me. They were genuinely moved by it, and thanked me for bringing it home to watch with them. Hoping to repeat the success of that night, I popped in The Ceremony. I like Uma Thurman, so I thought this might be a fun little film.
26 minutes and 54 seconds later, I had removed the Blu-Ray from the player, and the only thing keeping me from throwing it against the wall and shattering it into a thousand pieces (which, by the way, my parents were rooting for) was the knowledge that I didn’t technically own it.
Now, I’m not going to lie: I only watched those first 27 minutes. I saw a couple of the special features, but I couldn’t continue watching that god-awful film. “But Kieran,” some of you more pesky readers might say, “how can you say that you are submitting an accurate review of a movie if you didn’t watch it all the way through?” Well, let me put it this way: if the first 27 minutes of a film are so horrendously bad that I don’t want to give the rest a chance, not only is it not likely to improve much, but I couldn’t care if the rest of the film is Citizen bloody Kane! If it doesn’t interest me enough, it doesn’t deserve a full review.
So, from what I gather from the 27 minutes I watched and the blurb on the back of the box, Sam Davis (Michael Angarano) is in love with Zoe (Uma Thurman), who is marrying Whit Coutell (Lee Pace), a documentary filmmaker. I’m guessing that Sam attempts to break up the wedding. I don’t care if he’s successful. I hope he isn’t.
Most of the time, when I see a film, even if the story’s sub-par, the actors still give it their all. The Ceremony is the exception to that rule. Michael Angarano is downright awful. Like, seriously. He’s a really, really bad actor. His adorable counterpart, Reece Thompson as the lovable, impressionable Marshall Schmidt, is a little better, but not much. Lee Pace really isn’t much better, and to be honest, Uma, you’re letting me down, girl. Good lord. The only person I actually believed was Jake M. Johnson, as Zoe’s drunkard brother Teddy. I immediately recognized him from Steel Train’s music video for their song “Turnpike Ghost.” If that seems off-topic, it is—I’m really trying not to talk about this film. I do like the song, though.
This film, like many that I’ve seen recently, is yet another example of how being a writer/director is a very “hit or miss” affair. In short, Max Winkler has absolutely no idea what
So, my recommendation is a definite “no.” And no, the special features, while better than the actual film, are not enough to justify purchasing this Blu-Ray. There are some good features, though. The outtakes were enjoyable, because people knowingly screwing up and laughing about it is much more enjoyable than watching them make unwitting fools of themselves. There’s also a little short that is supposedly a clip from the documentary that won Lee Pace’s character his Academy Award, that is actually pretty great, because it’s so ridiculous. It’s not well-acted, but then again, is anything on this disc?
The answer is “no.” To everything. Run. Run far away from this film.