A Candid Conversation On The Dubious Merits Of Interstellar 

As on many Monday mornings, my co-workers and I were exchanging tales of weekend gallivants when I happened to mention, eyes rolling, that I watched Interstellar last night. Amid my rantings of, "Seriously, I don't even know what the hell I just watched" and "maybe I could use their spaceship to get back those three hours of my precious life" . . . my co-worker Giana announced that she had seen it, too, and thought it was a fine fine film.

Honestly, I was almost nauseous by the film's end, and while my less-than-ideal seats four rows back from the front didn't help matters, it was the script, acting and dubious science that really turned my stomach. As it so happens, my incredulity—and palpable dislike for the film—has landed me decidedly in the minority.

America's favorite scientist—Neil deGrasse Tyson—has given the film, if not resounding praise about its scientific merit, something pretty damn close. In addition to tweeting his head off about it—pointing out that one of the executive producers of the film, Kip Thorn, is in fact a professor of physics at Cal Tech—he insists much of the albeit-theoretical science (this is science fiction, after all) is extremely well-rendered.

But even if I throw up my hands and allow myself to be convinced that their depiction of wormholes and Einstein's theory of relativity is dead-on, at least in layman's terms, I had a whole host of other problems with this film. (As did my compatriots that accompanied me.)

Giana and I decided to take our conversation to the interwebs; gloves are off, y'all.

Katie: OK. Sooo we can start with the plot?

Giana: Oh, you mean the beautiful storyline about a fascinating team of scientists and engineers? Absolutely. 

Katie: Riiiight. OK for real though. The premise (correct me if I'm wrong, because I may have been too busy laughing) is that the world has come up against a food shortage—as opposed to, ya know, nuclear decimation or climate change—and then in response to this crisis . . . everyone has to be a farmer and grow corn!?

Giana: I don't think it's corn specifically, but food in general. If you notice in the film, you never see them eating meat, nor do we see any animals. Here's a helpful guide for you: 


Katie: I dunno man. That still just says it's a blight that's slowly terraforming the earth. But fine. Let's move on. I can't look at those rainbow-ed pipes, it's giving me another headache. So let's just assume I took the time to read through that whole damn thing and that it indeed made sense (which would be nice)—the continuity of the space-time continuum is far from what bothered me the most about this film.

What about Matthew McConaughey's character, which just for the record, felt like some bastardization of his role on True Detective? As my pal pointed out in so articulate a fashion: "Can't he just, like, talk normally?" And don't you feel like his decision to abandon his family felt like, "Sorry! Tra la! I've always wanted to see space so sorry guys, I know your mom is already dead and you're choking on dust but I'm gonna go ahead and save the planet!"

Or the whole, "Oh! you found us in our impossible-to-find NASA location. Now you've got to pilot the entire mission, Matthew, even though five minutes ago the entire project was transpiring without you and we never had any intention of including you!"

Giana: To be fair, the scientist in charge of the experiment used a fair amount of manipulation to coerce MM. Initially, he left thinking he'd return in under two decades. While that's a substantial amount of time, he was also led to believe that he could communicate with his kids on the video thingy on a regular basis. Let's also remember that the planet was suffering immensely.

The excessive dirt proved to be a death sentence, and humans were forced to live uncomfortably. It's very logical to think, "Well, there's a solid chance my kids will die regardless. If I make this sacrifice, I could save them and my future grandkids." When someone's ego is stroked to the extent that MM's was, rationalizations will follow. 

They also note that MM is an engineer, but was never given the opportunity to utilize all his skills. 

Katie: Right. right. I hear you. But c'mon! We're just supposed to believe that even after, what, a decade of being a farmer, MM knows exactly how to fly a spacecraft for NASA with no training? There's not even a montage!

Giana: A montage would have made the movie longer, and I already had a full bladder 3/4 of the way through. It's all about sacrifices. Isn't America about sacrifices? What are you saying about our great nation, Katie??

Katie: I'm saying that while I agree the movie didn't need one more MINUTE, and thus I'm happy to forgo a montage, they could have, like, at least mentioned that MM got, ya know, a crash course on the latest technology, since he's poised to save the human race. I felt like it was just such sloppy ridiculous writing.

Giana: Maybe the real problem is that you don't have enough faith in Matthew McConaughey. Is it because his shirt was on the whole time?

Katie: Yeah, I can't lie. That didn't help. Speaking of. There wasn't one little fuck in the whole movie. I had to watch Anne Hathaway's face thisclose to mine like 900 times with her big-ass puffer-fish lips and her snotting up the silver screen for three hours. And not one little nipple. Nada. Nothing!

Giana: I like her face! She's a beauty. Honestly, I was just stoked to see a woman taking on such a badass role. Her character was fierce. She was adamant about collecting data from the water planet, even though doing so wasted time. And really, do we need to see a lady's nipple to appreciate her time on screen? Creepily, I would have been stoked to see some boobage—but I'm not sad that it didn't happen. 

Katie: I will say that yes, it was nice to have not one but two badass, albeit fictional, science bitches . . . but c'mon! Anne's badassery gets completely undermined in her, "Love is the fifth dimension that transcends space and time" speech. It was like a Care Bears episode. 

Giana: You know, Anne would probably do well in Care-A-Lot. They're not keen on nipple slips either. Really though, I gobble up maudlin speeches like that chubby freckly kid on the cake in Matilda. I'm already designing Valentine's Day cards showcasing that monologue for my men's harem (gotta make them all feel special). 

Katie: I mean, yeah. I guess I'm in the minority and morbidly cynical, but if I had to look at one more crumpled up teary face I was going to puke. It's like, get it together people! There's no crying in space! And then the introduction of Matt Damon?! MORE crying. And his fat head swimming in his spacesuit. "Do you see your children Matt?? Do you see them??"

Giana: It's not your fault. It's not your fault. It's not your fault, Matt. 

Katie: Definitely his fault. OK. Also. For real though. You have the opportunity to depict different planets and all we get is a tsunami water planet—no freaky octupi, no nothing!—and then a freaking ice planet. So snoozle! I felt like it lacked imagination. Just like, get weird! Why not?! You know, the budget was probably astronomical. They should have used less LSD-inspired (Kubrick-inspired) "time travel" effects and made a monster or two instead. Just saying is all.

Giana: See, I actually liked that it wasn't ultra weird in that sense. Though I think it's short-sighted to assume that our planet is the only one that houses "life," the monster/alien RAWWWWR trope is sooooo been-there-done-that. I can only see so many giant alien jaws rip a human body in half. Yawn. This, on the flip side, was a more aesthetically intriguing question. If you watch the Neil deGrasse Tyson interview, you'll hear him say that this tidal stuff does happen—though the waves wouldn't be as symmetrical. 

Katie: Fine. What about the scene when they're like, Damn we can't go down to that planet because for every minute down there it's seven years on earth. And we also gotta avoid the gravitational pull of Gargantua (which as a side note, REALLY, Gargantua?!) And MM is all like, Oh, lemme just whip out this white board and show you how we're gonna slingshot around it easy peesy and Anne is all like wooooow, that just might work! I didn't think of that MM. He drew like three circles with an arrow.

Giana: Maybe she was trying to build up his precious ego since he kept his shirt on.

Katie: Probably. OK what about the ending?! So ridiculous.

Giana: It made me sad that MM didn't get to watch his kids grow up. That was awful. However, I loved the moment when he woke up and thought the station was named after him. The doctors laugh, try to hide it, then explain that it was named for his daughter. I don't have kids, but from everything I've heard, I can imagine that would be a parent's dream come true. His son didn't fare as well in life, but I saw that coming early on (hellllo, how many dudes from your high school were like him?). 

Katie: Ugh, god. I thought that was like, way too touching. And I didn't give a shit what happened to his son, they barely gave the kid any screen time. As my pal said, "You think McConaughey had a favorite kid??" It was all about Murph, which, oh my god, really?! Naming your child after Murphy's Law? C'mon.

Giana: LOL, right? What a traumatic name to give a child. I thought he was calling her "Mer" at first—like "Meredith," which is a totally normal name. 

Katie: I feel like his entire fucking being is dedicated to saving his damn daughter, and then when he finally gets to see her after traversing wormholes and 5th dimensions, it's like, Oh hi wrinkle-faced, ancient Murph. I'm just gonna go ahead and leave ya to it. Off I go to kick it with Dr. Fish-face Brandt in space again.

Giana: With the whole Murphy thing, I get it. Though her father's influence guided her, he was gone most of her life. She started a family of her own, and moved forward. Though I think it would have been cool if he stuck around to meet them, I agree with the point that parents don't need to see their kids dying—even in that situation. 

Katie: I don't know man. It all felt so anticlimactic after three hours of trying to make me sit on the edge of my seat but just making my ass fall asleep. Are you telling me you'd see it again?

Giana: Yeah! It was super fun to see in theaters, and I thought some of the ideas presented were interesting.

OK. This is where I'm going to go ahead and let our devoted Ravishers know that Giana was imbibing wine from a leopard-print pouch during the film's duration. Perhaps if I had some fermented berries in my belly I could have stomached this overwrought, self-indulgent, saccharine, boring space-smoosh. Honestly I'd rather watch 2001 Space Odyssey, Moon or Solaris any day of the damn week.

And there aren't any nipple slips in those films either.


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