At this point, I’m kind of hoping for the sweet embrace of death before agreeing, or suggesting (this one is on me, man) that Hawk Ripjaw and I co-review another Fifty Shades, Darker, Freed, or other related sexually repressed soccer mom/grandmom content. Or, at the very least, that one of the meteors that keeps missing earth take a hard U-turn and extinction-level humanity before some fuckface greenlights another geriatric, Bengay-infused rom-com designed to haunt your soul with dusty vagina jokes and Craig T. Nelson’s crotch. Welcome to another Felix-Ripjaw Debate Review with yours truly, Felix Felicis (Celebrity Spirit Animal Control Officer) and Hawk Ripjaw (Wedgie Wrangler To The Stars), who will once again make their signature swan dive into the cinematic sewage that is the Fifty Shades bondage-verse so that you, dearest, most booziest, readery readers won’t have to in a very special Felix-Ripjaw Debate Presents: Book Club. So far this year we’ve mocked harder, died inside faster, and came out the other side covered in questionable amounts of buttered popcorn and salty self-loathing.
Book Club barely (thankfully?) registers a blip on the Shades-O-Meter for content related to Fifty Shades but that also takes away some of the possibly-so-bad-it’s-hilarious draw for Hawk and I leaving us old-lady-vagina’d (high and dry-I’M SO SORRY FOR THAT JOKE AND SUBSEQUENT MENTAL IMAGE) with nothing more to watch than actors who are better than this cinematic shit-stick they beat us over the heads with to make rent. I get it Don Johnson, we’ve all been there BUT YOU COULD’VE AT LEAST PASSED ON A MOVIE ABOUT A BOOK CLUB ABOUT A MOVIE YOUR DAUGHTER GOT BANGED THREE WAYS FROM SUNDAY IN. Yeah. Take a think on that one. I’ll wait.
She Said: This flick follows a group of privileged old white ladies (seriously not a Wal-Mart Greeter or Mediocre Avon Lady among them) as they try and recapture the magic of sex, love, and dinner after 4 p.m. Nope. Sorry. Can’t do it. Throwing up inside my brain again. Hawk, if you have more to add to that plot synopsis, TAKE IT AWAY. If not, please pass me another sick bag and let’s just muscle through this one before our usual post-review cry sesh.
He Said: So, these four women talk more about sex in an entire week than I have in my entire cumulative life, and decide for not really any specific reason to introduce ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ to their longtime book club. Each of them suddenly has a sexual awakening that reminds them that all the money, wine, and awful jokes in the world can’t fill the hole left by loneliness and the creeping dread of mortality.
She Said: This may be the post-traumatic Stockholm Syndrome or frozen wine coolers kicking in, but the tap dance set to Meatloaf at the end was kind of cute.
He Said: Mary Steenburgen, it must be said, is a consistently adorable human being.
She Said: Right up until Craig T. Nelson and his crotch showed up to turn a tap solo into a super lame couples dance slow-mo. Seriously. Craig. More Family Stone and less Family Bone, thanks.
He Said: I had a weird instance in my theater where the person about ten seats down from me had a four or five second delay on the jokes, so she’d rip into screeching, leg-kicking hysteria a few moments after each joke, including the shots of Nelson and his boner pants.
She Said: I’m also looking at you, Diane Keaton. Andy Garcia was maybe the most charming of the actors who were all, I’m assuming, blackmailed into appearing in Book Club and (considering the especially low bar I set for this super old ho-deo that it failed to flop over) that’s saying something.
He Said: Garcia is constantly either a) looking offscreen like someone’s about to reveal he’s been pranked, b) looking amused at how much money he’s making to act as himself, or c) looking slightly hung over.
She Said: I’m not really sure where to start picking this Frankensteined bitch apart considering that this narrative was barely stitched together to begin with. By Jason Statham. After ripping off his other arm. Then putting it back on using his original arm.
He Said: One hundred percent to both my new name, Susan, and the fact that this was absolutely cobbled together from five different script ideas drunkenly conceived after a disastrous first date. This movie’s attitude towards love, while not entirely wrong, is ironically even more toxic than that of the actual ‘Fifty Shades’ stories. It’s also nowhere near an actual fully-formed narrative.
She Said: Seriously, because this shit was written by stoned meerkats rolled in Crisco and hurled to bounce off of a wall full of keyboards that only copy and paste ideas from previously written senior citizen rom-coms when the meerkats hit them HAWK THIS IS A GENRE THIS A WHOLE GENRE NOW.
He Said: [Stands in front of keyboard wall to gently catch and protect Crisco meerkats for all the nuzzles]
She Said: Please note that no meerkats were harmed during the writing of this review. I can’t say the same of my long term memory that is, at this moment, currently working to reject that two-hour train wreck from my brain like a rejected organ transplant or dealer’s choice Jersey Shore: Reunion episode.
He Said: Holy shit that was only two hours?!
She Said: No [shudders] no it was not. But I won’t lie though, “emergency book club” sounds LIKE A SUPER REAL AND VERY REAL THING THAT IS A THING. *wink* *side whisper* Good one, meerkats, it totally plays legit.
He Said: The meerkats used this flick as a foundation to form their own emergency book club after having to help make this. The first book chosen was Harry Mongoose and the Prisoner of Botswana.
She Said: Horrific credit where horrific credit’s due, Book Club’s target audience was basically a group of tumbleweeds rolling by dusty uteri and stale boners and it NAILED IT. Pun surprisingly not intended. This means, however, anyone NOT eligible for AARP or retirement was basically locked in a mental prison, forced to endure HOURS of agonizing, painfully perpetual, BRUTALLY stale humor in a theater filled with hysterically howling old people.
He Said: It’s pretty much “Facebook Posts Your Mother Finds Funny and Tags You In: The Movie.”
She Said: It was like an ancient apocalypse and IT. HAUNTS. ME. Illustrated by the fact that they make a terrible joke (one among many terrible jokes) about Candace Bergen looking like a Lane Bryant model while trying on a body slimming onesie (HAHAHAHA FAT SHAMING IT’S THE NEW SKINNY JEANS) that I couldn’t even fully confirm because the audience was madly cackling. Hawk couldn’t confirm it at his showing either because OF THE SAME PROBLEM.
He Said: Yep, you got to me with 30 minutes to spare but the scene was drowned out by middle-aged couples screeching with laughter like high schoolers at a Will Ferrell movie.
She Said: So I guess olds will be olds wherever you are. But I swear to Cthulhu, Hawk, if I ever get old enough where having sex fully clothed is totally normal (this is also a thing in Book Club), or when making fun of your millennial, stereotypical children who almost gleefully attempt to smother you with love and shove you in a basement to die a sexless death makes you ROFL, or laugh at shit only privileged white men and women find hilarious YOU STICK AN ICE PICK IN MY EYE DUDE.
He Said: Ice picks and eyes has to be one of my least favorite combinations of all time–worse than strawberries and hot dogs–but you make a compelling argument.
She Said: Pinky Swear.
He Said: Pinky Swear.
She Said: I have some follow-up questions about that strawberry-hotdog combo example that seems to be very very specific but first, please also end me if you ever catch me chuckling over Craig T. Nelson’s boner. I’m just now realizing exactly how much I hated Craig T. Nelson in this. It’s a lot. The answer is a lot.
He Said: Probably not as much as he hates himself (and I’ll never tell you what happened on that very awkward Memorial Day barbecue last year… Drat, I’ve already said too much) because Craig T. Nelson barely moves a degree away from looking distracted and frustrated through the entire film. I think his speech at the end of the movie about watching his life pass him by and feeling lost and confused isn’t a character moment, it was genuine method acting in reference to starring in this movie.
Narrator: But no one was fine. No one was fine ever again.
She Said: Speaking of offensive stereotypes (anything involving their adult children) and shallow characters (literally every character), Book Club was a smorgasbord of WTF. This is a stereotype that goes both ways and neither one is right. There are countless movies filled with stereotypical old people and it’s equally as unfunny as Book Club was filled with the stereotypical adult millennial children who smother, control, overreact, patronize aaaaand slightly bully Diane Keaton’s (admittedly whiny and contrived character) into moving into their basement “for her own good” basically providing the extreeeemly offensive foil to offset her sexual revolution as a widower who falls in love with a sexy and understanding AND FRANKLY WAY TOO GOOD FOR HER, Andy Garcia (commercial airline pilot who has patent money, his own McMansion, and a penchant for sexually repressed grandmas).
He Said: Also a comically oversized pilot’s hat and not-so-comically oversized tolerance for sexual harassment that suggests his character just exists in this pocket of time in the script waiting for Keaton to come to him. God, this movie encourages more casual nihilism the more I think about it.
She Said: No character in this Cocoon revival had more than a basic motivation, character arc, and/or minimally required depth. A functionally brain dead cucumber on an iron lung could tell you the plot after listening to that five minute narrative window Diane Keaton droned on during the opening credits. You know, that mind-numbing voiceover is probably how the cucumber entered the coma. It’s anyone’s guess on the iron lung, though.
He Said: The iron lung was for the panic-hyperventilating the cucumber started doing when realizing what it had gotten itself into. I know I did.
She Said: The screenplay for Book Club was so stale it’s even odds whether it, or a calcified Kylie Jenner lip kit, would outlast the eventual zombie apocalypse. Just kidding. It’ll be my mother and five angry cockroaches. But I digress. Here are a few thoughts, and quotes, I noted during the screening to illustrate my endless torment:
*The dry, fusty, endlessly cringeworthy menopausal humor happening here somehow allowed a group of privileged white women TO GET EVEN WHITER HOW I ASK YOU HOW.
He Said: I’ve seen Pokemon evolve with more subtlety than the white girlness on display here.
*WHO READS DURING A MONTAGE?!
*Don Johnson saying “true dat” is my ninth circle of hell.
He Said: Given that Johnson constantly acts like a John Hughes teenager trapped in the body of Don Johnson, there’s probably a lot more fucked-upness happening than we can even imagine.
*Judge/Butter/”Join Tom and Cheryl as they copulate in a coconut tree.” -Candace Bergen
(don’t ask me about the butter, I don’t remember why it’s in there BUT HOW RIVETING IS THAT DIALOGUE MY GOOD MAN)
He Said: One of the joys of writing reviews with you is the reminder of my relatively strong mental resilience–I don’t remember the butter, and I shudder to think what I’m spared from.
*”I hate my life.” -Millennial Park Guard On A Segway
Me too, man, me too.
*A white lady arguing that she knows better than a trained professional is PEAK WHITE LADY. All they need now is a Kate Gosselin cut and the words ‘I’d like to speak to a manager’ tattooed on their foreheads.
*Nope here’s another dry pussy joke at the vet’s office CANDACE BERGEN YOU ARE BETTER THAN THAT.
He Said: Bergen, like Nelson, looks irritated. Like the other three ladies peer pressured her into doing this and every time someone talks about the cat her eye twitches a bit.
*The pilot ignoring an alarm on a plane to ask Diane Keaton out is totes legit, the FAA loves shit like that, lulz.
He Said: That’s just bordering on psychological abuse. Ladies, have you had a guy indirectly threaten to crash a plane if you didn’t agree to go on a date with him?
“A pilot just asked me out!”
“Your husband just died.”
*THIS IS WORSE THAN FIFTY SHADES SO MUCH WORSE PUT THAT ON MY TOMBSTONE BECAUSE I AM DEAD.
He Said: SOMEONE’S GONNA HAVE TO PUT THAT HAMMER AND CHISEL IN MY COLD HANDS BECAUSE I JUST DIED TOO.
[Diane Keaton wears a poncho]
“I can take that to Goodwill for you.”
“Oh don’t do that, those people have enough troubles.”
HAHAHA GOOD ONE OLD WHITE LADIES POOR PEOPLE ARE HILARBALLS.
*More footage of the dog with its head out of a car, plz.
*Real subtle soft focus lens work there, guys.
*”We’re all gonna die someday, I just feel like it’s worth living while we still can.” -Diane Keaton
“Calm down, you’re being hormonal”-Man to his pregnant wife. HAHAHA GOOD ONE BUD, HAVE YOU HEARD OF MANAPAUSE? ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE YOU.
Nothing like the refreshing smell of misogyny in the morning, I always say.
*Wow, this woman just tossed two uncrushed Viagra in her husband’s beer. I can’t decide whether the eventual boner is gonna kill him or if he’s just gonna choke right the-oh they’re driving in a car, so, boner it is.
He Said: Wow, the only thing this movie is missing is casual racism, and I’m 90% sure they hid that somewhere.
*WHO WEARS A HAT IN ARIZONA AT NIGHT DIANE KEATON WHO.
*The selfish narcissism of elderly white women is BREATH. TAKING.
*Ladies, stop telling each other to put on sexy outfits for your men, holy shit this movie NOSEDIVES under the bar that would pass the Bechdel Test.
He Said: ‘The Human Centipede’ passes the Bechdel Test better than this does.
*I honestly thought they were gonna try and squeak in an E.L. James cameo as “Nancy” there at the end of the movie there but they didn’t so there might be a god.
He Said: They almost definitely tried, but E.L. James will try to sue anytime laughter comes within 200 miles of her books so they had to back off.
She Said: You know, for a movie called Book Club, this shit barely involves a book club and I can’t decide if that’s just lazy, or merciful or both. Probably both. But kudos, I guess, to the dating app Bumble (who I can only assume is rebranding for the elderly bangable crowd in a yuuuuuuuge marketing/product placement push here) and driving app Waze (barely a mention compared to Bumble but it’s in there) for getting in the octogenarian demographic game. Nothing will ever dethrone Michael Bay as King of Bud Light and bankable box office promo bucks, but Book Club gives it a go. A mentally barfy, casual-sex-in-the-back-seat-of-a-car-with-a-bald-rando go.
He Said: Is there any danger that they’ll make a sequel? HAVE WE SPOKEN TOO SOON?!?
She Said: Book Club was worse than Fifty Shades. FIGHT ME I WILL DIE ON THIS HILL.
He Said: I won’t fight you, but I will fight WITH you BECAUSE I AGREE, I WOULD RATHER WATCH THE ENTIRE ‘FIFTY SHADES’ TRILOGY IN ONE CONTINUOUS SCREENING WITH NO BATHROOM BREAKS than watch this shit again.
She Said: I take it back this shitsicle is Rotten Tomatoes “fresh” there is no god.
Book Club (2018) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for any age-related and/or boner jokes.
Take a Drink: for every time a character is clearly setting up another character for a punchline
Do a Shot: whenever the Judge stumbles on Bumble (something goes terribly awry).
Take a Sip: for every “reading the book” shot and voiceover.
Shotgun Your Beer: when Meatloaf gets a little jazzier than usual.