Directed by: Sofia Coppola. I resisted this one for a while because, even though I’m generally a fan of Sofia and I’m curious to see everything she does, this one just looked like it was stewing in a world—materialistic, gossipy, pop-cultured, teenage girls in California—that I had kind of an aversion to stewing in, even for 2 hours. But curiosity prevailed, and I guess I’m glad I saw it. I guess? This was technically a pretty good movie, Sofia and all the actors involved did a great job immersing us into this world, and honestly, this film has some truly inscrutable and subtle characterization for this subject matter, as perhaps only Sofia can provide. And I love anything that can give more fuel to the perennially perplexing question of “likability” and audience identification in Hollywood film, which this film does. But again, this world is utterly repellant to me, as are all of these people, and I’m too judgmental to see this as an “exposé” that shines light on a part of modern society that we don’t want to talk about but it’s within all of us, because I can’t stand to even give this subculture the legitimacy that comes with a feature film. And I’m sure it speaks volumes about me that I get more irritated by a bunch of ephemeral, narcissistic teenagers than the violent antics of, say, any batch of violent Scorsese characters. Fair enough. One angle about this film that I really enjoyed was seeing Bush singer Gavin Rossdale in a small role as a greasy nightclub owner. Good to see he’s keeping busy! Emma Watson probably got the most praise in this thing, but to be fair, this is a movie with Hermoine from Harry Potter and a bunch of other people. But again, those other people did a great job, and the two leads—Katie Chang and Israel Broussard—absolutely hit the nail on the head with their performances, by which I mean, they didn’t overshoot anything, because they didn’t hold back, they didn’t go for “sympathetic”, they just went for materialistic, narcissistic teenagers, and in doing so they made it believable. You never get the impression that these kids really see anything wrong with any of this, they just want to be liked, they want to party, they want all of the glamour of this social strata because they buy into all of the glamour, they haven’t thought that much about it, and they kind of do so in the face of people like me, scratching my beard and thinking “But what’s going on there????”. There’s nothing going on there, and that’s what makes this film true to its source material, and a good story. Still, it remains a pretty repugnant social strata, and it really bums me out how common and not that unusual these kids and their worldview are. I sure hope they grow out of it by the time they’re old enough to be my doctor when I eventually have a heart attack one day thinking about movies like this too much.