Today is the tenth anniversary of what I can somewhat objectively say is the worst American movie ever made: Elizabethtown. If that seems overambitious, I can at least confidently say that Elizabethtown the worst movie I ever paid the full price of admission to see.
I was reminded of this utter waste of my time by the film’s writer and director, Cameron Crowe, who, for some reason, wants to remind us that had anything to do with a film that includes the line, “I’m going to miss your lips. And everything attached to them.”
Oh, you wanna hear my thoughts, Cameron? My thoughts are that I was DUPED. DUPED, YA HEARD?
Elizabethtown stars Kirsten Dunst and Orlando Bloom. By 2005, Dunst had already starred in the untouchable classic Bring It On, the confusing but still satisfying Crazy/Beautiful and, of course, played Mary Jane in the only necessary Spider-Man films ever made. Orlando Bloom was wildly famous: he was coming off of the first Pirates of the Caribbean and the Lord of the Rings installments, for god’s sake.
In addition to Dunst and Bloom, Elizabethtown also features Alec Baldwin, Susan Sarandon, and Jessica Biel. Tom motherfucking Cruise is inexplicably credited as a producer. All those people thought this was a good idea. I mean, just look at that list of people who were presumably not suffering from traumatic brain injuries when they willingly attached their names to this project.
What were they thinking?
In the film, Orlando Bloom plays Drew Baylor, a shoe designer who has just designed what is supposed to the most amazing shoe in the history of shoes. Still, you totally knew was doomed when he said, “A shoe is not just a shoe. It connects us to the earth.”
And then you saw that it was the most fugtrocious shoe imaginable.
Apparently the shoe of the future is an old pair of Reeboks with a piece of leather wrapped around it.
His boss is a man named Phil, played by Alec Baldwin. Do you get it? They’re making sneakers, so they’re like Nike, so, Phil Knight. DO YA GET IT?
Anyway, the shoe sucks and has some fatal design flaw that will somehow cost the company almost ONE BILLION DOLLARS to fix. They fire Drew.
Drew goes home and crafts this really zany way to kill himself involving a large knife duct tapped to an exercise bike (because he’s like a creative, free-sprit kinda dude—get it?), but then learns that his father has died.
Now this becomes a story about reconnecting with family during times of loss, which is not at all how this movie was marketed. Drew flies to Elizabethtown, Kentucky, and on the way meets a flight attendant named Claire Colburn (Dunst). Claire Colburn is perhaps the most textbook iteration of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl ever portrayed on film. Claire is also a cute-as-a-button psychopath who pretends to take pictures of people.
Claire says shit like, “I’m one of a kind,” and, “I want you to get into the deep beautiful melancholy of everything that’s happened,” AND, “Sadness is easier because it’s surrender. I say make time to dance alone with one hand waving free.”
Like, these people run around saying gooblegobble like that and the audience is just expected to go, Yeah, ok. That’s a thing that makes sense.
Claire stalks Drew and then they hang out and kiss and drive around Kentucky musing on love, loss, and mixtapes. Drew deals with his family, who are all wacky and dysfunctional but really love each other at the end of the day and isn’t that profound? After the funeral, Claire sends Drew on a road trip by himself.
Like, that’s the whole movie.
Elizaebthtown is a very bad movie. It cost $45 million to make and grossed $52 million at the box office. Clearly, America agreed with me.
So Mr. Crowe, although you seem to be bragging about writing and directing this sham of a film, I would employ to get a fucking grip and start getting to work administering refunds to all us good people who paid actual American dollars to see goddamn Elizabethtown. If that seems unreasonable, 40 free bags of popcorn and a lobotomy will do.
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Screenshots via Paramount.