Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 9
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

One Direction Documentary Lacks Direction

Illustration by Emma Rust.

Either I’m a glutton for punishment or –– more truthfully –– every new movie at the Walla Walla cinema looked AWFUL, but for my first week back reviewing movies, I decided to go see “One Direction: This Is Us.” Yes, that One Direction: the British boy band phenom with perfectly tousled hair and candy-pop fame. To ease my suffering, I insisted that my editor, Aleida Fernandez, come alongside me and watch the documentary (which somehow had a 64 percent “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.) And yes, we did suffer…

Admittedly, I am not a One Direction fan, and know nothing about the band except for recalling a semi-catchy beat in their song “Kiss You” and that one of the boys is named Henry, or was it Harry? Didn’t he date Taylor Swift for, like, five minutes? And why does he wear such tight pants? Morgan Spurlock, the movie’s director, has a decent reputation with prior documentaries such as “Supersize Me,” but for whatever reason doesn’t seem to get beyond delivering a love letter/promo video to the typical screaming tween girl 1-D fan.

The movie can be summarized in a couple of lines: Five teenager-ish boys individually try out for British television show, “The X Factor” in 2010. Each are rejected, but Simon Cowell puts the losers together as a band. Girls LOVE the boys so the boys keep singing together. The boys leave their families to play for screaming girls. Did I mention that the boys sing and the girls scream? Because that alone is the majority of the movie.

These boys don’t dance, don’t play instruments (okay, maybe that one does), and are apparently saints. Come on, a documentary should dig up and share some type of dirt or scandal. Not even a brief cameo by Martin Scorsese (he didn’t look too happy about being there, but his daughter sure did!) could save this docu-promo. Each band member gives a brief personal spiel that is bland and seems scripted. We briefly hear about the hardships of being on the road, but the movie quickly cuts back to the concerts with cheesy 3-D added animation (would anyone even consider shelling out extra cash for 3-D?).

Apparently the Brits’ lives do offer something of interest beyond the bland, cookie-cutter lovefest, but I guess we need to find out the scoop from the nearest teenage girl. In the end, I was not impressed with “One Direction: This Is Us” because it pandered solely to the tweenage fans and simply played it safe. If you are roped in to going to the movie on a date night, be careful not to see the extended version with an extra 20 minutes of boy band footage –– no one warned me!

Unfortunately, now I can’t get the damn 1D’s melodies (they all sound the same) and lyrics (which can be surprisingly dirty) out of my head. But until then, “Baby you light up my world like nobody else!”

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