(This is the conclusion of TwiShards, an ongoing series.)
I’m happy to say that the Twilight franchise is pretty much over as of today. In conclusion I’d like remind people that for all the loathing I’ve had for this series there was some good that came out of it. After all, I’m an optimist.
That’s right, not even something as terrible as Twilight could beat that out of me.
With that in mind, I want to conclude TwiShards on a happy, somewhat celebratory note. Here are ten surprising, funny, creative, insightful and self-revealing things I gained from this. Enjoy.
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10) The Twilight Franchise Employed A Lot Of People
Perhaps this is a stretch, but think about it. In 2008 the economy collapsed and the importance of getting a job- any job- became paramount. Although the four Twilight films spit out over the next four years were consistently awful, they employed hundreds, possibly thousands of people.
I’m not talking about the main players. I’m talking about everyone whose name you don’t know and never care to read in the credits: grips, gaffers, boom operators, production assistants, extras and countless others. These people were given work. That’s important because- like everybody else- they have to put bread on the table.
Of course working on a Twilight movie doesn’t mean you’re devoted to the material. For most people it was what it was: a job. New Moon‘s production designer, David Brisbin, was quite candid about his involvement during an interview. His concern was creating what the director and actors are “trying to assemble in front of the lens- that that is cradled in an environment that’s perfect for what they’re doing.”
But what about beyond that? His reply:
For the record, Brisbin did an excellent job on a film that wasn’t worthy of his talents. I feel that way about a lot of the people who were involved with the series, but hey- at least they got paid.
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9) Doctor Octoroc Turns Twilight Into 8-Bit Goodness
The plot of Eclipse is infuriating, but you know what isn’t? Instant nostalgia, which Doctor Octoroc supplies with a splendid mash-up of the 8-bit video games of our childhood and the Choose Your Own Adventure series.
The result is his Twilight: Eclipse Interactive game.
Now there’s good news and there’s bad news. The bad news is that if you make every inane, stupid decision Bella makes you play out the plot of the book/movie. The good news? If you play it any other way, PEOPLE DIE. Sometimes EVERYONE DIES. It’s as hilarious as it is satisfying.
An unexpected bonus is that the entire 8-bit soundtrack is available for free. Also, Ocotoroc has recreated Dr. Horrible, Mad Men, Harry Potter, Game Of Thrones, Breaking Bad and many more. His site is definitely worth a look.
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8) Jackson Rathbone & Family
To be honest, I had no intention of paying attention to anyone involved in these movies. However I couldn’t help noticing Jackson Rathbone, who plays the eternally constipated, blood-thirsty Jasper Hale. I got the impression he thought his character was a joke and was more interested in playing ditties on his guitar between takes.
Out of curiosity I ended up subscribing to his Twitter feed because he posts things like this:
It paid dividends. Here is a guy who doesn’t take much seriously. Also, he has no interest in talking about Twilight. His main concerns are being ridiculous and communicating with his immediate family. He also has a Twitter set up for his cat, which is splendidly weird.
But what I discovered through Rathbone is the most unexpected find I’ve encountered through this terrible series. He occasionally posts about his younger sister, Kelly Garrett Rathbone, a sculptor based in Texas.
Here is a picture of Kelly at work:
One day I decided, “Hey, I’ll take a look,” mostly because I was bored.
Now I don’t like sculpture. Most of the time I’m like, “Blah” or “I don’t get it,” then run off to look at something else. But Kelly’s stuff… wow. I ended up looking at her pieces for a long time. They’re feminine, beautifully detailed, intriguing and full of tension all at once.
So… inadvertently Twilight led me to the only sculptor I’d consider buying something from. Who thought that would happen? I mean, really?
I’d post more images of Kelly’s work but there are too many I like. There are more available at her official site, so that’s where I’d start. Right now her latest work is an homage to Jackson’s band, 100 Monkeys.
A shout-out to a fellow family member. Not surprising. Very sweet.
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7) Twilight Made Us Creative… Really Creative
The Twilight-related endeavors my friends and I undertook seem countless. Seriously, there are too many to list here and I can’t remember them all.
It started with the iRiffs then grew from there. Adam did Photoshop projects related to the film. Ilana made collages and digital art. Andy and Michelle wrote reviews. I made videos. David created fireworks with Ilana’s assistance (see above).
Working on these things are tied to some amazing memories. I’m proud of what we did and how we made each other laugh. In the end that was all we were aiming for. It was also an opportunity to try things we had never done before then put it out into the world.
At one point we ended up blowing up a recreation of Bella’s house in the middle of a field. We took footage of this happening and turned it into a music video.
Thinking back on it, I wonder, “Why?” Then the answer comes: Twilight made us get creative. That counts for something.
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6) Stephenie Meyer Doing It Wrong
As strange as it sounds, I am indebted to Stephenie Meyer. She provided material I responded to in many ways, both positively (laughter) and negatively (disappointment in the human race).
When you encounter something you don’t like you have a choice. Either you can hurtle insults at it and bitch about how it’s wrong, or you can actually think about why it bothers you so much. So I did that. Basically I learned what I “don’t want to do” from her as well as “who I never want to be”- not only as someone who makes things but as a human being. That doesn’t necessarily mean I despise her or anything, only that she has had a surprising influence.
(Needless to say, I’ve never been impressed with Meyer as a person. See here for starters.)
Meyer is also not that great of a writer, but I don’t care to go into detail about how or why. All I’ll say is that you can learn from someone you don’t like as much as someone you admire. Besides, Meyer’s shortcomings have been heavily documented. A lot of them are painstakingly detailed at Reasoning With Vampires, which provides visual aids for her mistakes, as well as her tendency to rely on melodrama and repeating herself.
At times this elevates Meyer’s clichés into an unintentional typographic art form:
To say the least, my writer friends love these (that means you, Bonnie). Also, the “mumble/murmur/mutter” posts have to been seen to be believed. I’m not kidding. They’re absolutely terrifying. These characters need to speak up or Meyer needs to find another word.
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5) Twilight-Related Art
This kind of goes without saying. Twilight has prompted artists to make some pretty striking visuals (like what you see above, Down For The Count, courtesy of illustrator Jonathan Hoffman). It’s kind of amazing when you think of the source material.
Here are some pieces that impressed me:
Hop On Spider Monkey (2012) by Keith P. Rein
Moviebarcode is a site that devotes itself to taking films, digitizing them, compressing each frame into a single line then creating prints you can hang in your house. They’ve only done one “joke” barcode. Guess which film it was.
Joking Edward (2010) by Questorama
Finally, my favorite:
MOPE (2010) by Winter
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4) The Soundtracks For New Moon and Eclipse. Seriously. What The Fuck.
Somehow Twilight didn’t ruin Radiohead’s “15 Step” for me (it did, however, ruin Muse’s “Supermassive Black Hole” for Cary). Then the soundtrack for New Moon came along. The artists involved in it were completely out of that movie’s league. Not only that, these weren’t songs pulled out of nowhere, they were actually commissioning these artists to write for it.
No, I’m not joking.
And they did. And man… there is some unbelievably beautiful stuff. Thom Yorke’s “Hearing Damage,” Bon Iver & St. Vincent’s “Roslyn” as well as Grizzly Bear & Victoria Legrand’s “Slow Life” were standouts, among others. Lykke Li’s “Possibility” has been made fun of a lot, but let’s reconsider. If it hadn’t been played over a montage of Kristen Stewart screaming and going catatonic it might have had a chance. Also, check out the lyrics. I think “Possibility” may be one of the best death dirges to come along since Euston Jones’ “A Prayer.”
I have to mention the score by Alexandre Desplat as well. What a tragedy that wasn’t used for another film. Fortunately he moved on to franchises that don’t suck.
The soundtrack of Eclipse continued to impress, with contributions from some of my favorite bands like The Black Keys and The Dead Weather, which kind of made me want to scream. However, it turned out that these tracks were outtakes from their current albums. Other than that the Beck and Bat For Lashes track was new and became a particular favorite among my family and friends (we’re fans of both artists). The only fault we could find with it was that it was too short.
I’m happy to report that since then the soundtracks have run out of steam. The soundtrack for Breaking Dawn- Part 1 sucked. Part 2 scored some artists I respected (St. Vincent, whyyyy?) but not enough to annoy me. Either way it doesn’t make sense that such talented people are providing background music for these films.
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3) Mushtache Dad
Charlie Swan is the only truly likable character in the film series (unfortunately in the books he’s a complete asshole, just like everybody else). While working on our iRiffs we began to affectionately refer to him as “Mushtache Dad” and enjoyed it when the guys at Rifftrax followed suit with their riffs on Eclipse and Breaking Dawn – Part 1.
Eventually the phrase “Mustache Dad” culminated with this, which unexpectedly popped up in my Tumblr feed one day:
I suppose this is the closest I’ll ever get to being responsible for coining a nickname or creating a meme.
Since the first movie my friends and I have firmly been “Team Mushtache Dad/Charlie,” as in “Team Logic” or “Team I-Empathize-With-This-Guy.” It seems that the filmmakers, Billy Burke and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg have caught on to this factor, making him the voice of reason time and time again. In Part 1 he gets close to standing in for the audience, voicing an overwhelming need to get drunk during the sappiest wedding of all time.
In conclusion, Mushtache Dad is awesome simply for keeping us sane. He has made it onto t-shirts, both homemade or official (see above, see here) as well as into Ilana’s kickass MS Paint art:
(via Singing Fish)
He has also popped up in the most unlikely places, like this Twitter feed or an impromptu digital Father’s Day gift Lisa sent me:
After receiving this we began to refer to Charlie as the “Christ” (with a soft “ch” of course). The image came with the text: “All Hail The Long Suffering.”
And lastly, Damara and Jamin gave Ilana the Twilight and New Moon board games, which are the worst board games of all time. Except for this playing card:
Chances are that Charlie and Billy Black will be finishing that six-pack. Which they deserve to do, undisturbed by their stupid children.
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2) Robert Pattinson
Robert Pattinson’s rise to fame has been an interesting one. Here’s a guy who was unemployed, about to give up on acting and sleeping on people’s couches. Then he was offered a shot at a film based on a book series he knew nothing about. So what did he decide to do? He popped a bunch of valium before his audition. This could have been due to nervousness or an uncontrollable crush on who he was auditioning with.
Long story short: he nailed it, mostly because Edward Cullen behaves like a guy under the influence of heavy sedatives. A reluctant star was born.
I’ve heartily enjoyed Pattinson over the past four years. He behaves like someone who has recently been shot full of truth serum, saying whatever the hell comes to mind. His audio commentaries on Twilight and Eclipse were hilarious because he keeps questioning, criticizing and basically trolling the movies, no matter who tells him to shut up. He also has a tendency to do this in print and in all of his public appearances. It’s spectacular.
So here’s a trip down memory lane, highlighting some (oh yes, only some) of my favorite Pattinson moments.
Enjoy. I sure did.
And lastly, here is Pattinson’s reaction about this “end of an era”:
(via HP Facts)
If you don’t get it, “them” = TwiHards.
I follow 18 blogs on Tumblr but Pattinson is currently king. If you look at this Pattinson archive you’ll see why. It’s an unending smorgasbord of unadulterated nonsense. Like this:
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1) The Power Of Memes
The internet reacts to everything these days, mostly animals and people being stupid. Then there’s Twilight, which is magical. It kind of includes both.
In conclusion, I’ll leave you with some of the best internet reactions/memes that have been sent my way. Or you could just subscribe to George Takei‘s Facebook feed. Seriously, people would not stop sending me his Twilight posts.
From Molly Ringwald’s Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything):
(via Bors Blog)
(via Made Of Fail)
I suppose the torch is being handed over to The Hunger Games. Which is fine.
With that, I’m out. (drops microphone)