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Directed by Ridley Scott
Released in 2015
Starring Matt Damon as Mark Watney, Jessica Chastain as Melissa Lewis, Jeff Daniels as Teddy Sanders, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Vincent Kapoor, Benedict Wong as Bruce Ng and Michael Peña as Rick Martinez

The real rescue mission going on with The Martian involves the movie trying to save ITSELF from being totally awful, because I kinda hated the first 40 minutes of it. I can understand why some people are saying they didn't like this movie. It started off with a pretty exciting, fast moving opening sequence involving a crew on Mars hastily trying to get off the planet to avoid a monstrous storm -- and they leave behind Matt Damon's character after he gets hit by something kinda huge, and when he doesn't reappear -- and they have no time to wait -- they leave him for dead.

But, of course, as you should know -- he's not dead.

And now he's stranded on Mars.

And then the movie starts to seem INCREDIBLY upsetting. At least it did for me. I expected to experience some really emotional drama going on with Damon's character, where he would probably lose it when he realizes everyone's left him stranded on F'ING MARS.

INSTEAD.... he geeks out. It instantly becomes a How To manual on how to grow crops on Mars (apparently he used his own crap as fertilizer?) He doesn't lose it... he merely starts getting right to work. Pretty soon, he's basically almost HAPPY to be stranded on Mars and he's grooving to some loud disco music (which he claims he hates). This felt terribly, terribly wrong. While I can understand that in order to survive, you need to get to work -- YOU'RE STRANDED ON MARS. At LEAST breakdown momentarily.

The Martian, I felt -- and it still really feels like this even later on -- it felt like it was trying really hard to be hip. It has a "badass" sort of "science can solve all of your problems" approach to the story. It was a movie for hipsters who like to watch TED talk videos. You know, those videos of all these different people talking about something scientific. And with Jeff Daniels in it, it's almost a weird continuation of Dumb and Dumber To when he and Jim Carrey attended their movie's version of a TED convention.

Somehow miraculously, the movie starts to grow on you -- but it took me about 45 minutes. By the end of the movie, I was riveted, moderately, and not feeling like I had wasted money getting this movie -- something I was feeling much earlier. So the movie saved itself from being truly, truly awful. I was at one point thinking it was going to be one of the worst movies I had ever seen.

What saved it from being a huge mess? Hard to say exactly. Back on Earth, NASA struggles desperately to send out a rescue ship before Matt Damon runs out of food. Matt figures out how to communicate with everyone by finding some old 1996 Pathfinder space camera/rover/satellite thing that was left on Mars years before (I'm not even sure WHAT year it's supposed to be in The Martian presently, though it looks like now, kind of). Once he starts communicating with NASA, everything just gets going. I remember I actually told myself after I started thinking the movie was awful.... "Okay... it sucks. It sucks. Accept that it sucks and go along with it." From there, I guess I just kinda relaxed into it and let go. I went all Zen with this piece of sh*t Martian movie and suddenly I experienced happiness and enlightenment, sort of.

I won't say what all happens later in the movie -- find out yourselves -- and frankly, I always hate typing up details about the plot of a movie anyway. But I'll say this -- as I've told other people I've talked with about the movie -- I felt like I was watching Alien in a way. It was like a non-horror movie version of Alien. Especially THE END. I loved the ending.

WEIRDLY, I also felt like I was watching The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert! They have practically THE SAME SOUNDTRACK. Disco music! Abba! Freakin' "Waterloo" plays during this movie while on Mars. The end credits play "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor. And the whole freakin' Martian landscape looks like Australia. You EXPECT drag queen Martians to show up any minute. Pink UFOs and everything!

This movie was like Alien, The Adventures of Priscilla, Dumb and Dumber To and Good Will Hunting all rolled up into one.

And Saw when he has to take a metal object out of his abs (or whatever) and it gets all bloody.

And all you documentary lovers might like Matt Damon's instructions on how to grow crops on Mars and all that.

You even see him nude.

I think it might get better the more you rewatch it. I might be a little generous here with my rating, but even though this movie's kinda stupid, it's still memorable in an interesting way. I won't be disappointed if it wins Best Picture.