Thursday, June 28, 2012

Random Review (The Butterfly Effect)

I always assumed I was in the minority of people who enjoyed The Butterfly Effect.  I know a lot of people will scoff at it simply because Ashton Kutcher is the lead actor and people refuse to take him seriously.  For one reason or another, I've always been a fan of Kutcher and him excelling in a more serious role is a joy to see in this movie.  I was pretty surprised to see that on IMDb the movie has a 7.7 rating, which is actually pretty damn good for that site.  Maybe people don't hate it as much as I thought.  Spoilers, of course, although this movie came out in 2004, so if you wanted to see it by now, you would have.

If this is your first "Random Review" and you're wondering what the fuck I'm doing, I just randomized my DVD collection and decided for shits and giggles, I would watch each one and review it.

I've always been drawn to the whole time travel thing and I have no issues with admitting that The Butterfly Effect is probably my favorite story of them all.  It's a movie that takes place in different stages of the main character, Evan's (played mainly by Ashton Kutcher) life.  You're introduced to Evan at three different stages of his life.  There's the 20-year-old "current" version of him who is a student living in a dorm at a university, the teenage version of Evan from the past, and the child version of him from even further in the past.  The movie has flashbacks, usually triggered by Evan's own memory throughout.  Evan had memory issues as a child, a disorder brought down to him by his "crazy" father, so he began keeping a journal to try and jog his memory.  He has nearly two decades worth of journals at his disposal and they act as a sort of trigger for him.  Whenever he reads an entry, he is then sent back in time to that moment and is allowed to do whatever he wants to alter things.  He tries to use it for good, attempting to change the horrific things that happened to him and his friends while they were growing up.

The movie is pretty fucked up, I'm not going to lie.  Evan's dog is burned alive by his so-called friend Tommy after he is caught kissing Tommy's sister Kayleigh (played by Amy Smart) whom he is in love with.  There's a horrendous scene where the three of them and their other friend Lenny are looking to play a neighborhood prank.  They take a stick of dynamite from Tommy and Kayleigh's dad's basement and place it in a mailbox.  They make Lenny put it in the mailbox and it doesn't initially detonate.  At that moment, the mother of that house comes home with her baby and opens the mailbox, blowing the both of them up.  So yes, if you're keeping count, this movie has a brutal dog death and a brutal baby death to its credit.  You think the uncomfortable moments stopped there?  Hardly.  It is revealed that Evan suppressed many of his memories, losing them whenever he blacked out during them.  One of the memories he sparks up is when he goes back to realize that Tommy and Kayleigh's dad forced Kayleigh and Evan to perform sexual acts on each other and filmed it while they were children.  His son Tommy was forced to watch from the stairs.  This movie has a dark side to it that is more prominent than you would initially suspect.

It's hard to really condense this story down to a few plot points because there's so many interchanging parts.  Evan travels back in time to try and fix things, but something changes drastically in his current life.  He goes from being best friends and roommates with a goth known as Thumper to dating Kayleigh and being a frat boy.  Something always goes wrong though, something always needs to be fixed.  Evan ends up in prison at one point and a thrilling escape plan is concocted where he stabs a guy in the dick to buy some time so he can read through his journal entries and get away.  Oh yeah!  Evan ends up being crippled with no arms or legs at one point as well.  It all sounds very silly and ridiculous on paper, I'm sure, but it is actually done in a pretty decent way.  Kudos to the makers of this film for making it all work.

My Rating - 7/10

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