This is Jeff Bayer, and I don't update this site very often. If you'd like to listen to my current movie podcast you can find it at MovieBS.com.

He Said - She Said ... 'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse'

In this installment of "He Said - She Said ..." we get a little mellow. No, we're not distraught about Bella's predicament. It's not even the fact that we know we can never be vampires or werewolves, or even be romanced by one. It's something else ... it's just ... well, you'll just have to read on to find out. Just as it was a New Moon ago, the "He" is myself, and the "She" is Morrow McLaughlin. For the record, she has read the books; I have not. She gave The Twilight Saga: New Moon an 8/10, and I gave it a 4/10.

PLOT: While vying for the same girl (Stewart), a werewolf (Lautner) and a vampire (Pattinson) attempt to create an understanding between their species so that they may squash an uprising of rogue vampires led by a speedy redhead named Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard). As always, we recommend that you see the movie first before reading, as spoilers are fair game. However, there are not many spoilers in this round, and I'm sure many of you have already seen it (twice). Either way, I'll go grab the Smiths CDs. CLICK HERE for our complete Eclipse coverage, which includes two full reviews, exclusive interviews with Lautner, Pattinson, and Stewart, and more

He Said

Even though I got to the theater purposefully early to immerse myself in the fascinating aura of Twilight mania, I'd say my entire experience was tame. With an exception, actually of a guest appearance from young actor Booboo Stewart, who popped in randomly at the beginning to tell us that we'll enjoy this movie. Thanks for the heads up, Booboo. But sadly, that unfortunately-named young man had lied to me.

Before we even get into the meat of this conversation, I would like to know what your experience was like watching this movie. Especially when talking about Robin Hood, it seems like you have more animated screenings in Portland than we do in Chicago. Was anyone wearing a wolf-tail, or was there an entire mob of Twilight fans wearing the same shirt? Did someone bite a person? Also, what were your expectations for the movie before going in? Were you a fan of David Slade's 30 Days of Night?

She Said

Let me tell you something Nick: I don't know what the hell is wrong with me. Maybe the judgy-pants tweenies sitting behind me set me off after they all snickered at the girl with the awesome white/blue/purple hair; maybe I'm sleep deprived. All I can say is, I didn't enjoy The Twilight Saga: Eclipse nearly as much as I enjoyed The Twilight Saga: New Moon, and that's not even the most confusing part! New Moon was my LEAST favorite of all the books and Eclipse was my MOST favorite! And the movie-makers did a good job following the plot line...so what? WHAT? What is my problem? Why did I keep fantasizing about vomiting all over the people sitting in front of me every time the swoony music started up? Why, Nick, WHY?

I like romantic movies and I think Robert Pattison is dreamy! I think Kristen Stewart is the perfect Bella! I'm all for cheesy star-crossed lovers gazing into each other's eyes and saying things like, "I want to love you for every second of every day forever." So, why did I just gag a little even recreating that line?

Okay, so "Eclipse," the book, held me spellbound. I was honest-to-god worried about the characters and I read the entire thing on edge. The movie didn't make me feel ANY of that. It was just pretty to look at. It lacked...something...I can't put my finger exactly on it. New Moon had a phenomenal soundtrack and the Eclipse soundtrack oscillated between sub-par and irritating. Maybe that's it. Jeez.

As to your questions: No one was wearing a wolf-tail, which is a bummer. It did liven up Robin Hood to have the bow and arrow fetish guy fantasizing out loud about shooting arrows into the audience; Yes there was a huge mob of twihards wearing their "Team Edward" "Team Jacob" t-shirts; no one bit anyone, and that's too bad. Maybe I'll bite someone next time; If you're talking about the graphic novel 30 Days of Night, I've never read it but I've heard good things - if you're talking about the movie version, don't be redonculous.

Now I have an urgent question for you: who the heck is Booboo Stewart?

He Said

Usually, I like to help you make sense of your paralyzing confusion. But this time, I have no answers for you. I don't even know who Booboo Stewart really is (he only had a small part in this movie as a wolf named Seth. He's the one that Lautner teases briefly.) I can't explain your vomit dreams, your gagging, or how this movie did not seem to sit well with you, if at all. But, but ... I will try.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse was more than a movie with a bad soundtrack. It doesn't seem to matter whether the movie "did a good job following the plot line" or not. The improvement upon New Moon is only slight. A lot of people I have talked to ask me if it's any better, or if it's even the best. And I tell them something along the lines of, "Is a 'C-' any better than a 'D+'?"

The acting is still not very good, (especially Lautner), the story is still moves slower than it should, and even though this one isn't as mopey, it has its moments of cheese. At least this movie is less "high school" than New Moon, but it's something possibly even worse: now that the full-length arguments have been made for Edward (Twilight) and Jacob (New Moon), this is the film version of the "Team Edward or Jacob?" debate.

Of course, there's more to it than that, but I want to hear your own take on these various critical areas. Also, how was Lautner for you this round, shirtless wise?

She Said

Lautner is pretty-looking, but just this side of terrible when it comes to actually selling a line. I have to admit I don't mind watching him prance around like an underwear model and I wish Pattison would follow suit. Everyone in that movie should just be naked at all times with no explanation - it's just a naked, alternate universe.

So I was wracking my brain to understand why this movie bothered me so much, when I really liked New Moon and I think I've come to the semblance of a theory. It took me a long, looonnngg time to realize that real life love is nothing like love in the movies and until I figured that out, I was miserable almost all of the time. Life should be like it is in the movies, where everyone always looks amazing and all you have to do is go to the grocery store to run into the man of your dreams, who is, coincidentally, tortured by his profound emotions and devastatingly gorgeous. Everything will be very dramatic, but safely resolve itself in the end, and nothing will ever be messy and no one ever farts or looks scruffy or has an off-day. And if it isn't that, he's not THE ONE.

And once I figured out that real love is much messier and much more flawed, I actually understood that it was far superior to movie love, because it's something you have to work for and earn. The love scenes in Eclipse made me feel like I was being sucked back into that mindset, because it's obsessive without any good reason other than everyone looks really good. Honestly, I worry about the young girls watching that and thinking that it's a model for how life really is, because it's the most insidious kind of fantasy. And it's not as much fun as the real world. Movies never are.

Obviously, I'm not suggesting we stop making these types of movies, like humans can only learn by absolute deprivation. I'm not sure what I'm suggesting. It just bothers me, I guess. I feel badly for all those adolescents, because it's going to take them decades and decades to figure it out and there's going to be a lot of hurt and maybe even - worst case scenario - physical or mental abuse. If I felt like the majority of twihards had a good grasp on actual reality, it wouldn't bother me; I really, really get the impression that a lot of the girls in the theater would've killed to leave their own lives behind and walk into the screen.

What do you think?

He Said

Wow. While I have thought many times about the difference between movie "reality" and reality itself, I have never thought about it in that form. A remarkable point, and, one that is not easy to accept. I'm still pulling for the Woody Allen-esque book store bump-into, but that probably won't happen. Maybe because I don't actually go to bookstores enough.

Regardless, I think that just as you had movies that put you into the "movie love is the best" mindset, so will the people who watch Twilight. However, just as yourself, perhaps they will see some sort of light, and realize, as you brilliantly put it, "[real love is] far superior to movie love, because it's something you have to work for and earn." Until then, they'll have to deal with their baseless crushes on wolves and vampires that can only love them back by providing more merchandising.

However, I have my own two cents to add onto your idea. It is starting to bother me when I don't believe in "romantic" chemistry between on-screen couples. More and more I am noticing a lack of true companionship in two on-screen characters that are supposedly in love. For a lot of these characters, we see them talk about themselves, either as individuals or a couple. But jesus, what does Bella have in common with either Edward or Jacob? I am not singling out Twilight in this occasion, but providing it as an example as being one "romance" that seems to lack credit to me, because they do not function like honest in-love couples. In my heart, I see Bella say "Yes" to Edward's marriage proposition, and my mind goes, "Mmm girl, you know you just saying that cause you think he's hot. Get over yourself." Most people think that watching those two clowns sit in a field of grass, talking about vampries is romantic. I'd much prefer just ONE scene where they have actual interest in each other. Or do something that couples that love each other do. Like go to a coffee shop or something. Instead they constantly look like they're appealed by the mystery of the other, which is something you should get over well into a relationship. Again, this happens with a lot of other "couples" on screen, and I am starting to buy it less.

This reminds me. Has Edward ever made Bella laugh? I am struggling to think of an example. What a depressing dude.

Any other thoughts before we put this sucker into a coffin? Puns away!

She Said

I agree completely. Being pretty together without joking or light conversation is fun for about 6 months. And I suppose the argument would be that Edward and Bella are always in so much peril, that there's no time for fun banter. Except, there IS time for fun banter. Just develop their relationship instead of moving from one dangerous situation to the next. We can take a few minutes for something besides pining and dark glances, otherwise, what's the point of living an eternal life together?

I know that movies are supposed to be an escape for people, but I get the freaky feeling that the bedlam surrounding the Twilight films is that people would rather just exist purely in that world. Like if they could plug themselves into the story Matrix-style, they would happily denounce their own lives and identities. When Jeff removed New Moon from his annual movie awards, the site was bombarded with very angry blogs. (A few of the bloggers compared Jeff to Hitler, which is the go-to comparison for the spoiled and illiterate. Just saying.) You don't get THAT angry about a movie unless it's threatening to have that reality challenged.

My hope is that people watch the Twilight movies and after they're over, they get into their cars, and go home to their families, and they don't waste another moment of precious life debating Edward versus Jacob or desperately wishing they were Bella. I hope they are genuinely happy, healthy people who don't obsess over these characters.

I guess that's all I'm trying to say.

He Said

I am glad that you and I are taking a different route in discussing Eclipse, as we have hardly gotten to the basics of it. At the same time, I feel like a lot of what you just said, and maybe something I wrote above, covers how this movie feels to us. Like a plastic heart.

Let It Rain (Parlez-moi de la pluie)

Box Office Preview - July 2 - 'Twilight: Eclipse' and 'Last Airbender' tackle 4th of July