The Royale With Cheese Movie Club: “Twilight”

A few months ago, I blogged about finally watching Pulp Fiction for the first time. “First time” being this year.  Yeah, I know I’m nearly 20 years behind everybody else, but these things happen.

So, as part of a brand new feature I’m test-driving on this blog today, I welcome you to the “Royale With Cheese Movie Club.”  This feature will honor films that, although everyone and his cousin have already seen them about ten gazillion times, I am actually watching for the first time.  I’ll watch the film, then I’ll blog about it.  And then you readers can give me your thoughts either about the film itself, or why it took so freakin’ long for me to sit through the picture.  And yes, the Movie Club is named the “Royale With Cheese Movie Club,” in honor of the famous conversation between John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction.

So what’s the first film on on the Royale With Cheese Movie Club?

Yep, it’s that wildly successful vampire movie based on the wildly successful vampire novel, Twilight.

That’s right, readers o’ mine, I know that everyone and his cousin has watched this “vampire chick flick” film, but today, Chuck is actually going to sit in his bright blue recliner, chips and diet cola at the ready, to watch a vampire love story.

Pray for my soul. 🙂

Okay, so the Reader’s Digest version of this – Kristen Stewart’s character, a high school girl named Bella Swan (hopefully not named after Bela Lugosi), moves to the Washington State forests to be with her father, who is the Chief of Police in the small forest town.  While there, she makes some friends in high school, including becoming friends with one moody guy named Edward Cullen – a guy with big bushy eyebrows and an Eraserhead hairstyle.  With that in mind…

Bella discovers that Edward – and the rest of his family – are nosferatu, the walking undead, vampires.  Edward falls hard for Bella, Bella falls hard for Edward.  Edward’s family invites her for a game of thunderstorm baseball – I think the Mets could draft some of these guys – and then some other vampires show up and a fight ensues, with the visiting vampires wanting Bella for a tasty snack.  In the end, Edward rescues Bella, Bella almost becomes a vampire herself, and the two have a tender moment at a gazebo outside of the school prom.

But there’s something else here, something I might not have caught before.

What I saw was not a story of star-crossed lovers.  I saw a story of trying to be accepted, trying to fit in in a world where what you are isn’t as important as what you are perceived to be.  What’s the initial reaction when someone is a vampire?  Dracula?  Bela Lugosi?  Someone getting speared with a wooden stick by Sarah Michelle Gellar?

Fine.  But now replace the word “vampire” with another word.  Muslim.  Jewish.  Hispanic.  Handicapped.  Asian.  LGBT.  The perceptions – and denigrations – can immediately appear.  “Oh, you don’t want to hang out with the Cullens, they are the walking dead, they’ll suck your blood.”  Now change that to, “Oh, you don’t want to hang out with the _____________, they are ________ and they’ll ___________.”   And from their perspective, how do they perceive those who try to meet them?  Do they believe that we hold those stereotypes when we meet?  Do they believe that we would think that all _______ are __________________?

If I watch it that way – as a story of acceptance of different cultures and races and lifestyles – then Twilight makes sense for me.

Don’t know how I’d feel about the rest of the movie series… but let’s start from there.  It’s a good choice for the Royale With Cheese Movie Club.