Photo: Entertainment Summit
Every few weeks for the foreseeable future, Vulture will select a movie to watch as part of our Friday Night Movie Club. This week’s selection comes from Vulture’s social media editor Wolfgang Ruth, who will begin his screening of dusk April 23 at 7 p.m. ET. Take to Vulture’s Twitter to listen to his live commentary and watch next week’s film here.
Perhaps it was the orange sheen hidden under years of rust and grime on Bella Swan’s 1953 Chevrolet pickup truck. Perhaps that was the way Bella (played by Kristen Stewart) sprinted through Rome in horrifically rendered slow motion in New Moon – through a fountain and past a wave of red-clad witnesses – to save his vampire boy toy Edward Cullen from the thirsty and wicked Volturi. Maybe it was even the fact that you could literally stay with swans dusk house through Airbnb which sold me entirely on the franchise. But, if I’m being completely honest, that was the very first line of dialogue from the first film, spoken equally of vulnerability and campy, clueless cheesy: “I never really thought about how I was going to die.“ Talk about a sudden!
Reader: I think of dusk to a disturbing degree, and has been since its film debut in 2008. With $ 408.4 million in gross sales worldwide, the film very quickly magnetized tweens and Twihards between two inevitably cursed and opposing lovers: one hot-blooded, the other cold. The first of five films, this saga starter filled with vampires, werewolves and charges Soapy drama followed our protagonists as they fell so deeply in love with each other it became (metaphorically) blinding.
Even now, 13 years later, duskit is magic is timeless. In the past year alone, the film has invaded my free brain space even more thanks to its newly-amassed cult, now forever littering the internet with TikToks, memes (tattoo “Bella, where the hell were you, loca?” On my thigh), one dedicated and unbalanced Twitter account, and heated conversations about Bella’s terrible but famous facial expressions, to say nothing endless dissections of the metal fan that carries the coveted scent of his blood to Edward’s nose (resulting in a memorable scene in which Robert Pattinson’s septum crumples and he attempts to switch science classes to escape to an inevitable obsession with smell). dusk is ridiculously silly, but at the same time, ridiculously iconic.
Internet citizens have fallen back into a half-ironic love with dusk because it has become a proven royalty. For me to settle down with dusk touches the same pleasure centers as watching a bad reality TV show, a completely neurotic, endless and oddly comfortable show in the same episode. dusk does exactly what it promises: it entertains, no matter how much you genuinely enjoy it or not. Over a decade after its original release (during a global pandemic, no less), this shimmering cotton candy flick brought me – and my mom, my co-watching confidante – such a close emotion. joy I could find, as well as a feeling of relaxation that itches the same itch as ASMR. When you say camp, most people see Death becomes her, queen of the desert, Where World of spices (please someone get this on a streaming service). When I hear camp, I think of Bella and Edward in biology class – the couple’s real first meeting – as they exchange weird and uncomfortable glimpses before winning the Today’s Homework Award: the golden onion. Edward tries (and fails) to read Bella’s empty thoughts, then, after asking Bella about the weather, they say it: “ANAPHASE! PROPHASE! … Do you mind if I check? Frankly, the cinema of this decade never could.
Where thousands of young fans lined up for midnight screenings, now duskThe lasting appeal of ‘s lies in the fact that it does not read between its lines but simply grazes its surface perfectly free of all thought. So many of her choices stand the test of time for all the wrong reasons: a bedroom without a bed but a full discography of classic 1950s movies; vampires who only play baseball (of all sports…) during a thunderstorm (practice); hang out with a boyfriend who will climb a giant tree with his bare hands in the middle of a forest in a small town called Forks calling you “Spidermonkey” (hot…?); a moment of gothic solo piano; a field trip to a compost greenhouse in the middle of nowhere; and, of course, Bella cosplaying as Nancy Drew of the Covens as she investigates Edward’s origin and characteristics (weirdly cold skin, insane speed, avoidance of sunlight) to find out that he has in fact 17 years for “quite some time” now. And let’s also not forget the legendary dinner scene of Bella Swan and her father Charlie, as she moves from Phoenix to Washington, and – in awkward silence – when she pretend squeeze ketchup on your hamburger, when, no! In the fascinating scene, she clearly does not squeeze the ketchup bottle at all! Not even Drag race could take on such a deliciously tasteless acting challenge.
Joking aside, dusk was a strange feeling to me. On screen, I saw bulky bodies and muscles and dark, passionate romances, led by two chiseled men battling demons to win the girl over. Is this my Snyder Cup? It was the question on everyone’s lips for years: Team Edward or Team Jacob? Even before revealing my homosexuality, I fantasized about the characters of the time, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner. Who would I choose? (It’s easy: both.) It helped my Catholic driving school somewhat normalize an identity that, at the time, I was afraid to admit or commit to. This film was a safe space for indulgence. Now look Dusk, I see something different: shimmering skin, pore-less faces and actors plucked for the gods that so many people, myself included, have absurdly coveted this creepy, cliché love affair featuring these two men as meat. Readers: We ate, and Jacob Black’s six pack saved me.
So, to ring in Kristen Stewart’s birthday month (vacation, don’t fight it), join me as a camp counselor, helping guide you through duskThis week’s most emotional moments from Vulture Movie Club.
dusk is available on Amazon Prime Video, Show time, Youtube, itunes, and google play.
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