* all the spoilers. So many spoilers. I have seen the movie, so if you haven’t then stop reading right about now *
I’ve been with Veronica Mars since it first premiered in Australia on Network Ten. I was there through the thick and the thin, the move from UPN to The CW and my heart shattered when CW President, Dawn Ostroff, announced the show wouldn’t be coming back after its third season. It’s perhaps the only TV series I loved so much that I still, to this day, get angry over the fact that it got canned before entering into double-digit seasons (that’s saying something, since I’m also a fan of other prematurely cancelled shows ‘Wonderfalls’ and ‘Firefly’). Nothing else has filled that TV void of offering a smart, flawed and funny female heroine with a fast mouth, quit-wit and life-or-death storylines … that targeted a young audience. Seeing VM appear on lists of ‘shows that should never have been cancelled’ only pours salt in the wound.
And then Kristen Bell and show creator Rob Thomas put a call out to Marshmallows everywhere. Like its fans, the show’s cast and creators were clearly missing their tiny blonde one as much as we were – and they had a plan to do something about it.
Spanning years and continents. Lives ruined, bloodshed. EPIC … and now here we are. A show that debuted ten years ago and has been (criminally) off the air for seven finally made it to the big screen – thanks to:
I gave them money. Of course I did, and I never had any doubts that once the Marshmallow-signal went out, the movie would get made on the strength of the show's cult-status and the still burning injustice of it ever having been cancelled in the first place.
Now it’s here and I’ve watched it, twice (more viewings to come) and I loved it. LOVED it. Let me count the ways…
• Old Veronica. Our first introduction to Veronica Mars on the big screen after a seven-year hiatus from the small is her pulling out a middle-finger lipstick on a douche interviewee and deadpanning “do I look ruffled?” during her interview. YES. Twenty-eight-years-old or not, she’s still got it (was there ever any doubt?)
• Great music. I love that ‘You'll Never Find Another Love’ by Lou Rawls was playing during the climactic action scene. It was a hark back to when ‘Right Here, Right Now’ by Fatboy Slim played during the heart-thumping moment in Spit & Eggs.
• Keith Mars - Enrico Colantoni brings it, and reminds me that Veronica’s relationship with her dad gave the show real heart that translates beautifully nine-years-later when she’s starting to buckle under the weight of his pride.
• The references. Veronica riffs on Dante’s Inferno one moment, likens Piz to a “sexual sharknado” the next and fan-girls over ‘This American Life’ radio host Ira Glass (who has since fan-girled right back)
• Swearing. Yes, TV Veronica was just as quip-witted without having the F-bomb in her back pocket, but it was nice to hear her deadpan a “fuck off” for once.
• LoVe. Revisiting this relationship that I ship so hard was bittersweet. On the one hand – SWOON: “What’s 180 days to us?” – on the other, it pisses me off that we only got 3 seasons of this couple that had so much potential to indeed be EPIC. Admittedly Thomas, Bell and Dohring all made slipping back in love with this coupling super easy, but the relationship brilliance of Logan and Veronica made me angry all over again that what should have been a long-running, complex romance didn’t get its proper TV lifetime … which is even more reason why this can’t be the end. I need more Logan and Veronica beyond this movie … also, ‘A Few Good Men’.
• Vinnie Van Lowe and Cliff McCormack - standing ovation for those two.
• Mr. Clemmons – admitting he’s missed Veronica. Be still my beating heart.
• Lovely Leo. I’m pretty sure Max Greenfield could have chemistry with a potted-plant. I was a big Deputy Leo fan, and until the LoVe revelation I was actually really rooting for Leo and Veronica. The scene they shared in the movie was electric with sparkage, and there’s a real part of me that thinks (epic as Logan and Veronica undoubtedly are) I’d quite like it if Veronica/Leo was explored again (or at least the idea flirted with). I also loved that in this scene Rob Thomas addresses the slight awkwardness of Veronica/Leo: “We used to make out... which was sketchy because you worked for the sheriff’s department and I was still in high school...”
• James Franco. If only because he knows about the injustice of being cancelled before your time (*cough* ‘Freaks & Geeks’ *cough*)
• Madison Sinclair – still a bitch, Amanda Noret still killing it in this role.
• Gaby Hoffmann as Ruby Jetson. She plays crazy so damn well (as you’d know if you saw her as Adam’s sister on ‘Girls’) I love that one of the favourite actresses from my childhood (‘Now and Then’ RULES) is making a serious comeback in all these cool pop-culture places. Love. Her. Also: “dance better,” ← probably my new comeback to everything.
• Krysten Ritter as Gia Goodman. Seriously, I don’t understand why ‘Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23’ was cancelled almost as much as I cannot fathom why ‘Veronica Mars’ was ever taken off the air. She’s amazing, and should be in more things.
• Deputy Sacks (played by Brandon Hillock) referencing this Mitchell and Webb skit.
• Familiar faces. I love that Rob Thomas drew on minor characters from one-off episodes to populate this film’s storyline. The plot pivots around the death of Carrie Bishop (turned pop-star Bonnie Deville) who was played by Leighton Meester in the season one episode ‘Mars vs. Mars’ and Andrea Estella in the film (…but, actually, I do wonder if Rob Thomas wrote the script with Meester in mind and hoping she’d be in the film? She is a singer after all, and it’s sort of harmonious that after appearing in a one-off episode in VM, Meester went on to star in her own TV show ‘Gossip Girl’ – a success story much like Bonnie Deville’s) Susan Knight (played by Christine Lakin) also appeared in ‘Mars vs. Mars’ and the ramifications of that brief episodic storyline go a ways to explaining her in the VM movie. I also liked that Luke Haldeman (Sam Huntington) and Sean Friedrich (Kevin Sheridan) came back. Their being in the movie, even though they only appeared in a couple of TV episodes, adds to the feeling that these Neptune rich kids stick together and it’s a rather incestuous little community.
• The second storyline. Yes, Rob Thomas did a midseason TV-storyline equivalent by throwing out a subplot in the middle of the film’s main ARC. Maybe it’s not the done thing in movies, but I saw this as Thomas revelling in the multi-platform future of the VM franchise. There’s big potential for this unfinished storyline to be explored further in spin-offs (whether they be the books, webisodes, a new life on TV or the Bond-esque movie franchise Thomas would love for Veronica). In fact, the book spin-off is already coming; ‘The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line’ (terrible title, I know) is written by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham, and is being released on March 25. The book will pick up where the film left off, following 28-year-old Veronica and featuring fan-favourites Logan, Mac, Wallace, and Dick. Perhaps Rob Thomas should have stuck to movie-plot conventions and not tried to bring a bit of the TV show’s rhythm to the big screen, but this is a movie that was crowd-funded after the TV show became a cult classic and kicked up a social media resurrecting storm – if anyone can play around with cross-pollination, it’s the movie that broke Kickstarter records.
• Weevil. This line especially: “Please get this case dismissed before anyone believes the words ‘time to party’ came out of my mouth.”
• Cinematography. Revelling in the cool, dark tones of noir – it’s a contrast to the ironic bubblegum colours of Veronica’s high school days and signifies a new maturity. Also, wardrobe department – I want everything that Bell wore, all the Helmut Lang jackets especially … but I also love that she pulled out her old PI bag once she committed to the case.
• Wallace, Veronica and Mac. The ‘Blazing Saddles’ inside-joke greeting (“Candygram for Mongo”) let me know these three have strengthened their bond over the last three years, distance be damned. I love that Wallace became a high school teacher, and Mac a confident, kick-ass successful-geek. I would have liked more scenes with the Wallace/Mac/Veronica threesome, because those were pure magic.
• The voiceovers. From likening Neptune to a Bruce Springsteen song to Veronica musing over a fridge magnet encouraging her to ‘accept the things you cannot change’ with little success.
• The End. Yes, it’s open-ended (there’s that head-nod to multi-platforms again, and future spinoffs). I actually like that Veronica has seemingly regressed by the end of the movie and is back to a square one that even closely resembles her teenage years. I like this because it’s the beginning of a new character ARC for our girl Veronica – and I can see leeway’s to more storylines from this end point. She has indeed thrown away her career, established an old-new relationship with a somewhat destructive individual and will be receiving ire from Keith who hoped and expected more for his little girl. There is so much room for exploration with this end, whereas there wouldn’t be if Veronica had just resumed her New York life and taken advantage of the opportunities thrown her way.
Was it perfect? No. A few niggling little things – like why Lily Kane not being mentioned during the memorial slideshow at the High School reunion? To wishing that the film had expanded on Veronica admitting the reason she hasn’t worked a PI case is that; “The price was too high. It ruined friendships and relationships. It cost me some opportunities along the way...” that, didn’t really translate to me (what friendships? She still has Wallace and Mac) if the relationship she’s alluding to is Logan, then I wish we’d seen that. This epic couple have not seen each other for nine years, and Logan seemed totally chill about that? I think if this back-story had been explored a little more, then we could have had at least one scene of real heat between Logan and Veronica – they were still sizzling in this movie, but Logan came across a bit sedate in a few scenes, and I actually think it needed him blowing up at Veronica and what they lost to feel like the old LoVe.
But my overriding thought as the credits rolled was: MORE. And I hope that’s a reaction the film ignites in everyone – that Veronica still has plenty of life left, whether it be on the big screen or small (or, heck, webisodes) and this cannot be the end.