It’s an unfortunate thing that sometimes, people misuse the English language. They say “sarcastic” when they mean “ironic.” They complain of having “issues” when they mean, “I’ve got a problem.”
Were I one of these people, I might be telling you that I got really nauseous at Cloverfield last night, but I know better, at least in this case.
“Nauseous” in fact means: “Causing Nausea or disgust.” That’s what Cloverfield was. “Nauseated” is when you want to throw up. That’s what I was, while watching Cloverfied. As you probably know, the entire film is filmed a la Blair Witch project, with an extremely shaky camera. I’m not opposed to watching New York get demolished. I even thought the scene where the girl’s eyes started bleeding was kind of thrilling. But Cloverfield’s two main vomit-inspiring elements: the home video, and the simpering, unsympathetic characters, wrecked the joy I might have felt upon gazing at the Great Lawn on a summer evening and seeing no one on it. (That’s right. Not even high school kids pretending it’s still 1972.)
I lied. The monster (sans joint or radio) eventually appears on the Great Lawn. Many people will go see Cloverfield because they want to know what this monster looks like. I’m not going to spoil it, but I will say this: Imagine I’m kind of bored, and I pick some dirt out from underneath my nails. I’m still bored, and it’s a lot of dirt, so I kind of roll it up and make shapes with it. Voila, the monster. It’s a low budget film–what did you expect?
Before I continue I’m going to say this: I loved Cloverfield. Yes, I sat outside for 30 minutes of it and talked to Mom, and threw up a little in my mouth when it was over. But on Saturday, we saw a film at MoMA that was a love story based on complications with Israel’s annexation of Lebanon. After, we talked about how many pieces of gum I chewed during the film, and whether to take the 6 or the F to dinner.
But look at me: 12 hours later and I’m still talking about Cloverfield!! Why? Probably because I’m 20 something and live in New York, and that makes me as shallow and self-obsessed as the morons video-taping their half-hearted escape from the Big Apple under attack.
I mean, ask yourself honestly: if you had slightly less of chance of living, but slightly more of a chance of posting the most popular video on uTUBE, you’d continue to videotape your friends while they ran away from unknown terror, right?
When you heard that U.S Government had plans to destroy the entire City of New York in order to quarantine the monster, you’d keep filming right? Because, if we can’t find out who killed JFK Jr., we certainly deserve to put this kickin’ clip on our MySpace page.
And if your friends asked you what the heck you were doing, surely you’d repeat, “I have to document this!” 20 times. (Note: “Document” is the most advanced vocab word used for all 90 mins of the film.)
The ultimate worst part of the movie is that the video of Cloverfield is taped over a video of the hero having a magical day in New York City with the girl he loves. For an undisclosed, unimaginable reason, the video randomly cuts back to clips of their romantic escapade to Coney Island. (Read: you thought it was sad that developers are tearing down the Cyclone Rollercoaster? Wait till you see a monster rip the head off the statue of Liberty.)
The bottom line is, the directors have re-inserted themselves, quite embarrassingly, into a low budget film with no direction. You want to make a movie with shaky camera, rotten dialogue, and a plot that, when it moves, moves in the wrong direction. Fine. But now you want me to believe there’s a profound point? That is nauseous.
I get it. One minute you think that you like eating strawberries in bed but aren’t ready to commit, the next minute you find that if the whole city is on fire, you might willingly walk up 60 flights of stairs to rescue your former one-night stand.
But really, the most (only) important thing Cloverfield teaches us is: You may hate crowds, but if you’re the only one on the Subway, something bad has happened.
*Feel free to quote me on your MySpace page.*