thinking big: feminism, media, and pop culture

Veronica Mars: The Movie!

In Veronica Mars Movie on March 23, 2014 at 9:46 am

Phoebe B. and Melissa S.

MV5BMTQ4MDc0Mjg4OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODk3NjYyMTE@._V1_SX214_Since lady sleuths are the coolest and both of us have been waiting for the Veronica Mars movie with serious anticipation, we thought we would take a moment–or a post–to reflect on the revival of the most badass lady sleuth. We find Veronica, nine years later, living with Piz (who works at This American Life! And there was a special guest appearance by Ira Glass) in New York on the verge of becoming a high payed corporate attorney. As Veronica’s new boss (Jamie Lee Curtiss) suggests that Veronica’s job will be to defend powerful corporations against frivolous lawsuits, we get the impression that this is perhaps a bad fit. Even though Veronica has made it to the realms of the wealthy, it’s hard to imagine her sifting through papers behind a desk and defending the likes of Kane Software. After all, in Veronica’s words: she is addicted to mystery-solving and helping out those in need. And so it begins as she swoops into a still-corrupt Neptune to save Logan from a murder charge, attend a high school reunion, and find her true (job) calling.

Alert! some spoilers ahead …

What is your favorite part of the Veronica Mars movie?

Melissa S: I had too many. I had to make a list. My top 3 favorite parts included: 1) the fact that there is a club in Neptune called “the 09er,” introduced thus: “When you’re too old the exclude the undesirables from your lunch table, open a club, charge $22 for a vodka tonic, and put up a velvet rope. Make ’em think this must  be heaven.” That right there perfectly captured the inelegant slide from high school dreams of making it to adult lies to yourself. 2) Mr. Clemens’s brief appearance!!! 3) The moment where Veronica calls Wallace (now a basketball coach at Neptune High!) and asks him to get a student’s permanent file.

Phoebe B: I think you nailed it. The description of the “09er” club was perfect and amazing. I also loved every scene with Dick … and especially his flask belt.

10 years later, which characters did they get perfect and which ones seemed wrong? 

Melissa S: I thought Madison Sinclair was pretty perfect, though she felt a bit predictable and thin. I totally buy Piz  on This American Lifeworking the hip charm. I can see Wallace as a basketball coach and Mac as a software programmer. I was down with Weevil’s transition to family man (though I don’t think he would go right back to the biker gang because of an ever-corrupt sheriff’s department. Weevil has been set up like every day of his life. He must be used to it). Luke as a closeted gay congressman wanna-be – mmmmm, okay, yeah, that could be. OH, and Corny – Corny who makes duct tape wallets and sells them on Etsy!!!! I thought that was perfect. And I totally loved Vinnie as a dirty paparazzi. That is exactly what a washed up PI would become in the digital age. I didn’t buy Carrie Bishop as a pop star AT ALL, nor did I buy Sean Friedrich as a washed-up, cokehead whatever. Gia seemed like a caricature of a movie villain. I guess I thought all the villains fell a bit flat in this future, while the main characters remained interesting to me. I wish we had seen a bit more of the Kane family.

Phoebe B: Agreed on all counts! Corny was my fave cameo. I was secretly hoping he would helps solve the murder mystery. I totally bought Wallace and Mac and Piz adults. And, I desperately wanted to A) see more of Wallace and Mac and B) wished they were a couple (and briefly thought they were). But, I think Dick was actually the most spot on for me. Like, I totally believed he grew up to be a rich, not really doing anything, surfer dude. Everyone else (like all the people involved in the mystery), I was less inclined to be believe and/or care about.

What do you make of the film’s undercurrent of class commentary?

Phoebe B: I felt great about the class commentary in Seasons 1 & 2 of Veronica Mars. I felt a lot less great about it in the movie. Here’s why (I think): I felt like it was really secondary and not woven into the plot in the same way. Like the class commentary came in weird moments: when Celeste Kane shot Weevil and the police framed him for it or with the social climbing the murdered guy, Cobb. Like both murders seem to have everything to do with class struggle and wanting to violently join the upper echelons of Neptune. But, then, the rich people become the victims (including Logan) rather than the perpetrators of criminal activity and so I feel like the class commentary wasn’t really there in the same way..

Plus, Keith seemed now comfortably middle class in that adorable bungalow house, a sharp change from their series apartment. That is, Veronica is still be an outsider but it no longer seemed framed through class difference and or rooted in class conflict. What do you think, Meliss?

Melissa S: I had mixed feelings about the film’s class commentary. At times it seemed like it was trying a bit too hard – like with the seemingly menacing sheriff’s department. When Keith warns Veronica about the dangerous “bunch of cops with swimming pools and sports cars,” I found it hard to be scared. The Neptune Sheriff’s department always seemed more lazy and indifferent than menacing – I mean, corrupt or not, this isn’t the world of The Departed, right? That said, where the class issues got interesting for me involved the choices characters made as they progressed to adulthood.  While I agree that Keith seems (quite abruptly) to be comfortably middle class, his desire for Veronica to take the lawyer fast-track out of Neptune interested me. We got threads of that longing throughout the show, always tempered with wit, but now he seems to really want her to take any opportunity to get out. But look how uncomfortable he and Veronica each get about Mac’s decision to work for (gasp) Kane Software! It’s interesting to see characters that were forcibly excluded from the social/economic elite in high school suddenly having the opportunity to break into that world. Totally unrelatedly…I HATED the Celeste Kane/Weevil scene, because that just seemed like a crappy cameo shoehorned into the plot.

Phoebe B: YES! I too HATED the Weevil/Celeste Kane situation. I totally did not understand the purpose of that plot. It seemed so ridiculous. In addition, I do not understand how that interaction meant that Weevil would ditch his awesome wife and kid for the biker gang that he had worked so hard to leave. It just seemed absurd. And, then Celeste doesn’t get punished or even show up again. So confusing and so frustrating not to let Weevil grow up as a character.

The New Sheriff Lam: did he work for you or too much of a stretch?

Melissa S: I feel like I’m repeating myself now – but he just was too unbelievable. Sheriff Lam was always so believably menacing to me because he seemed fueled by indifference and ego. He wasn’t actively evil – he was just content to kind of float along on the things that came along in life. Plus, his most menacing feature was a totally believable loathing for the Mars family, fueled by a very specific incident. Where the heck did this brother of his come from and why in the world would he take his dead brother’s former job and why we he so sleazy and corrupt?

Phoebe B: Just agreed. So agreed. I also was so bummed that Sacks got killed off. Ugh.

Piz vs. Logan. Go.

Melissa S: As Mac said about Piz, “I will say this for him: he almost never gets charged with murder.” That said, I have been and will always be completely and inexplicably Team Logan. OK, Season 2 I couldn’t stand his whole thing with Kendall (ewwww) and Season 3, I thought he was an asshole for about 13 seconds or maybe a whole episode or two…but even in Season 3, I was dying for them to get back together by the end and I always thought Piz was kinda…dull. I thought that Rob Thomas explained it pretty well in this video: we want Piz for ourselves or our daughters, but there’s something so epic about the energy between Veronica and Logan. I still cheer every time I re-watch Season 1 and they first kiss.

Phoebe B: I’ve been on team Piz since season 3, but I realized as I watched the movie … That I’m team Piz for me and team Logan for Veronica. Like, I think Piz is adorable and sweet and reliable. He also works for “This American Life,” which I clearly find cute. But, that is not Veronica’s style and their relationship was always uneven, with him liking and loving her more and her ruling the show. Differently with Logan, she is always all in. So, I was pumped that her and grown-up Navy guy, Logan, who seems much less destructive than young Logan, got together. Also, they have such great banter and chemistry. As Logan, perhaps says best, they are epic. So, for Veronica: Logan!

Melissa S: And I cheered when he spent the night in the movie! Also, I really like older, military Logan – he looks a little haggard and sad and smoking all at the same time. Leaning against that sports car…yeah….

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