The Buttercream Gang, the Penultimate Part

Now that I am no longer sick, I hope for this to be a nice long post. So, here we go.  I wanna try to get this done soon cuz I did want to move on to other movies. Too bad that pesky thing called real life keeps getting in the way.

We last left Scotty Boy debating whether or not he would fight Pete. He then had a heart to heart with his coach on the subject, so, even though the writers might have been going for tension, we all know what is really going to happen. Or at least, I did, at the tender age of 11.

Scene change! It’s the old settlers picnic!

No, I have no idea why they are having a picnic, or what it’s all about. They didn’t tell us. Usually this kind of thing is explained beforehand, but whatever. The only reason I know it is the old settlers picnic is because there is a great big banner saying so.

Pete stops Scott on his bike. In the woods on his way to the picnic, I presume. I’m really glad Pete is around, because this movie is no fun without him. He tells Scott never to talk to him that way or threaten him again. He beats Scott up, which is seriously what I’ve been rooting for for half the movie.

On a more serious note, even though I wanted it to happen… this is not ok. I think this is the first time I sympathize with Scott. This is also the first time we have seen Pete act toward Scott in a way that was actually threatening. I’m not saying verbal threats can’t be scary, but the target audience is children, and unless one is dealing with verbal and emotional abuse, it’s unlikely to come across on the screen as anything Scott should care about. Now that Pete really has beat up Scotty boy, the threats are more real and finally we are beginning to get the idea that gangs can be dangerous, like Scott’s dad said.

Scenes of happy picnic goers…. I don’t care.

Scott shows up with a black eye. His friends are upset. Well, jee, YA THINK?! Scott tells them it’s all no big deal, then he tells the guys to take his paper route.

Pete also ditches his new “gang” to go meet Scott.

They’re going to meet so…. so Pete can finish beating him up? I honestly have no idea. The storyline kind of stops making sense here. It’s like the writers just thought up every cliché about gang members they could think of and stuck ’em in there. Because so far this whole long, dragged out fight shit is kind of out of character. And rushed. And so obviously just stuck in the movie for filler.

Pete: you gotta prepare to accept what you dish out, that’s how it is in the real world!

So, I get it: in Chicago, you talk like Scott did at the game, you get beat up. Not sure how true this is, but this is the Buttercreamverse, where Chicago is a bad bad place full of bad bad gangs. And they’re all Hispanic, don’t forget that. I can kinda see where Pete is coming from, if that’s truly how he thinks the real world works. And no, small town life in Elkridge is not the real world.

But…. Scott has not shown up to fight. He has shown up to preach. “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, Pete.” and walks away.

Pete screams after him that he’s a coward and things will get worse for him. But he doesn’t run after him and continue beating him up, so, points?

Scott was soooo self righteous about it too…. oh my gosh if someone said that to me, I would be tempted to give them a beating as well.

Scott is now at his house talking to his parents. HEY LOOK, IT’S HIS MOMMY HI SCOTT’S MOMMY! It’s seriously the first time we’ve seen Scott confide in her at all. Actually it’s the first time we have seen her in a role that doesn’t involve The Happy Housewife.

What is Scott’s mother’s name, again? Do we ever get to find out?

I kinda wish it was just his mom rather than his dad, but apparently the male parent has to be there, yanno, can’t have the son confiding in his mamma, then he might turn out to be a SISSY.

Seriously, are there no black people in this movie? And why are all the female characters supporting characters, at best? Seriously, this movie fails.

Scott: I felt sorry for Pete

Scott’s parents are proud of him. But Scott thinks doing what’s right should change something, so he feels this is pointless.

Scott, it’s been what, 2 hours since you walked away? Change doesn’t happen that fast, douchebag.

Let me get one thing clear, I feel sorry for Pete too. But Scott doesn’t feel sorry for Pete for the same reasons I do. Scott feels sorry for Pete because Pete is “going down the wrong path.” That’s it. Scott doesn’t care that Pete has no one who really loves him; he merely has people who put up with him. Scott doesn’t care that Pete might not actually be guilty for all that he’s supposed to ahve done in Chicago, but that his reputation, once broken, can be impossible to fix.

No, Scott doesn’t care about any of that. Scott only feels sorry for Pete because he’s no longer a golden boy goody two shoes.

I don’t blame Pete for getting mad at Scott’s preaching… he really did come across as a goody goody.

Our hero, folks. See how much he cares about PETE. It would honestly have been better if he did not show up to the meeting with him at all.

I am nearly done with this movie. I need a drink.

I wonder if Pete’s new friends care about him more than Scott does? Because for me, this movie does not have a happy ending. The happy ending to this movie would be if Pete found someone who really cares about him, and accepts him the way he is. Loves him unconditionally. And then maybe Pete can go back to doing nice things for others. Or something.

Spoiler alert: that’s not happening.

So far we’ve only seen Scott berate Pete for the choices he’s making. I admit, some of them are bad choices, BUT he never sits down to really listen to why Pete is doing this. He does a little bit of that, but not without arguing back at Pete, which, as we all know, isn’t really listening. One of the big reasons I left Christianity, actually, is because I couldn’t find anyone to do this. Everyone I talked to about things just argued with me and started to preach at me. When I called them out on it, they’d say they weren’t preaching, they were “sharing.” I gave up trying to tell them it was the same damn thing, and ended up walking away. If I’d had someone to love me like that, to really talk to…

No, I still would’ve lost my faith, it just would’ve taken me longer.

Scott’s dad starts talking about the Vietnam war. He tells about his war buddy who always introduced himself by saying, “hi, my name is Scott Paulsen, and I’m a Christian.”

Gee, can’t see why THAT would rub people the wrong way. Even the most conservative people I know are more tactful than that. Even the CAMPUS people don’t do that. I mean, they’re not going to lie if you ask about their religion, but they’re not going to go around all, “Eye iz uh Krist-chen!11!!!!111!!1!!1”

Scott’s dad: needless to say

THEN WHY SAY IT?!

Scott’s dad: we made his life miserable because of what he believed

Ummm no, no you didn’t. You didn’t make his life miserable because he was a christian, you made his life miserable because he was obnoxious about it.

But Goody Good Christian(tm) never got angry about it. He was always very helpful… bla bla…. wait, what? Scott’s dad tried to talk to Goody Goody Christian about his religion one night and…he wouldn’t say much? WHAT? WHAT KIND OF A CHRISTIAN IS THIS!

Seriously, when a guy comes to you and asks about your faith… I don’t want to say that one is obligated to talk about it, because that’s not the case. However, most Christians I know of want to be asked about their faith because they want to share it with others.

Here we have a guy (Scott’s dad… yay! I learn his name! It’s Tom! I have a name for his dad! Finally, jeez!) coming to Goody Goody and asking him about his faith and…he doesn’t say much?

After putting it out there on display for all the world to see and being all obnoxious about it, when asked he doesn’t…. say…

What? I don’t… I don’t even….

And this was his last chance too, because Goody Goody was killed a couple nights later. But he died saving a soldier who absolutely hated him. Tom never understood why he would do such a thing.

It’s called basic human decency you twatwaffle. When you’re in the army, you don’t just let your fellow soldiers die. It doesn’t matter that they hate you or not, it’s your duty to save your fellow man.

And hey, newsflash: there are people who are not christian who have died for people who don’t like them.

Novel concept, right?

Turns out Scott is named after goody goody. You’d think Scott would’ve heard this story before, if it is the story of his namesake?

Tom: when I held you in my arms the first time, I finally understood why Scott Paulsen did what he did…

Wait… is Tom saying that…when Scott was first born he… hated him?

I mean, the thing is, he didn’t understand why Private Scott would die for someone who hated him. Now he’s saying that when he held Scott, he understood?

Damn, maybe this is why Scott is such a prick. His father doesn’t love him either. Or…. didn’t when he was born, I guess?

Ok, seriously, why does Scott’s father get a whole monologue, but his mother just sits there in silence? Does she not have anything to contribute?

Scott doesn’t pick up his father possibly hating him. Instead he says: Do you think if I love Pete, he’ll change?

Well, I dunno, why don’t you try it sometime, ass wipe?

Tom: I think if you love Pete to try and change him you’re loving him for the wrong reasons.

Yes! Right on!

Tom: the person with the most impact on others is the person who can love people without having the people love him back.

Erm.. so, Tom is saying that Scott should love Pete, even if Pete doesn’t love him back, because otherwise he won’t have an impact on Pete.

Sigh. Right reasoning, wrong conclusion.

Tom’s final word of advice is for Scott to overlook what Pete does and see Pete for who he is, “like you did today.”

Um, sorry, Scott did not do that today, but, whatever.

And then, FINALLY Scott does what he should have done at the beginning of the movie: he goes to Mr. Graff’s store to confess that he ate stolen Beggin’ Strips.

Mr. Graff asks Scott “where are your two bookends?”

Hahahahaha

Scott: I need to talk to you about something by myself.

Actually, Scott… no, you don’t. See, the other 2 boys ate the stolen Beggin’ Strips too, so, you really all should be going to talk to Mr. Graff together. I can forgive Elton and Lanny for not knowing the treats were stolen, but Scott could easily tell them. They have a right to know. And if they knew, they’d probably make it up to Mr. Graff, too.

Scott: I know I should’ve told you sooner, but…

then proceeds to rat out Pete. Asswipe. Pete said he was going to do that himself. Has it been established that Scott knows Pete has not done so? We’ve seen that that’s not the case, but has Scott?

Scott(continuing): he had the nerve to say that you owed it to him for all the stuff he’s done for you.

Mr. Graff:  you’re right, you should have told me sooner.

Finally, someone calls out something Scott does as wrong!

Mr. Graff: but if it helps, I already knew.

Of course. Because we can’t have one of the adults fooled by a kid now, can we? Really screenwriters? You’re making Mr. Graff look bad here for not doing anything.

Scott: well, why haven’t you done anything about it?

Mr. Graff: well, I thought about it… I decided a little love and patience is more important than few pennies.

So, he’s waiting for Pete to come to him on his own because he trusts that Pete eventually will? I actually think this would be a good idea, however, even Mr. Graff can see it hasn’t been working. But I respect him for trying anyway. In fact, Mr. Graff is the only adult I respect in this movie.

Scott: but you shouldn’t let him do that to you!

Oh Scott, you cleraly don’t get it, do you? It’s not about the money Mr. Graff is losing, because Mr. Graff cares more about Pete than he does about money. And really, that is what a Christian should be about. I’m not saying Mr. Graff shouldn’t have put a stop to Pete’s stealing long before now, I’m saying that, as a Christian, what Mr. Graff is saying is consistent with the values preached by Christianity.

Mr. Graff: you’re absolutely right. From now on, I’m just going to give him the treats, in appreciation for all the help he gave me.

Can I just say right now how much I love Mr. Graff? I’ve seen it argued (in an Amazon review) that Pete needs for Mr. Graff to call the police, but honestly, what good would that do? Pete already has an arrest record. He doesn’t need to have a longer one. Ultimately, that’s just going to make things worse for Pete. It’ll make it harder for him to get a job and if he goes to prison, horrible things will happen to him and then he’ll never have a hope of getting out of the cycle.

Mr. Graff cares about Pete, and he figures that Pete has helped him out a lot, and understands that maybe he is beginning to resent always helping others but never being helped in return. Christ I know the feeling.

Also, what Mr. Graff does next is brilliant.

But first we have to watch Pete and his friends smashing glass bottles on the railroad tracks. That actually looks like fun, and not gang related activity and all. I realize this is a kids movie, but they could at least involve beer and cigarettes. Also, I have seen kids’ movies done about drugs. This was the 90s, ok? Scare tactics about drugs abounded, even in kids’ movies. It could easily have been done.

Along comes Scott on his bike. I knew this scene was going to get boring.

Scott: Pete, you’re my friend. You’ll always be my friend… no matter what you do.

Right. Because you’ve been such a good friend to him throughout the movie…oh, wait. See, this speech would mean a helluva lot more if we’d seen Scott actually being a caring friend instead of, well, a prick.

And if he didn’t sound so… insincere… also, this would’ve gone a lot better if he’d waited till Pete was away from his gang members. He is clearly going to felt the need to act tough around them. The one time we saw Pete opening up to Scott was when the two were alone. And Scott was the one who walked away from the encounter, not Pete. To point that out: Scott was the one who walked away, not Pete.

Pete: So, what are you gonna do if I take that bike away from you?

Scott: you can have it.

This… is the first friendly thing I’ve seen Scott do. Pete clearly is resentful over the loss of his bike, and now he has one.

Granted I don’t like Scott’s attitude of “I’m clearly better than you because I’m giving the bike away instead of fighting you for it.” (no, he doesn’t say that out loud, but you know he’s thinking it.) but this is a step in the right direction. I think.

Pete is so much taller than Scott…. I’m not honestly sure that bike will fit him.

Next scene, Pete and his friends walk into Mr. Graff’s store… and walk right back out again.

Mr. Graff has brought out cokes (product placement!) for everyone! And he’s all, “hi boys, how are you? I bet your thirsty, why don’t you sit down!”

Pete’s gang members start to sit down, but Pete stops them. They stand around and chat awkwardly with Mr. Graff.

Mr. Graff is brilliant. I’m sure the writers aren’t thinking about it like this, BUT…

Frankly, if I had been robbing a place, and then one day I came in and the owner started taking an interest in me like that, and started giving me free drinks, I’d feel… well, embarrassed.  I’d never rob the place again. One, I’d feel too guilty, and two… maybe I don’t want Mr. Graff taking an interest in me, so if he’s going to continue, I’d want to stay away from there.

Mr. Graff is a genius. He’s not only taken steps to guarantee that Pete and his gang will never rob the store again, he’s also decided to start caring about Pete as a person. He doesn’t wait until Pete changes to start talking to him like he used to, he just… starts to show that he loves Pete.

Mr. Graff isn’t being a doormat here, he’s being smart. And he’s the only one in this whole entire movie who I think might actually love Pete for who he is rather than who he was.

Sorry this took so long to post. Real life kinda gets in the way sometimes, along with computer problems.

Tune in next week to watch Scott stalking Pete in an attempt to bring him back to the side of goodness and light. And then in the next post, we should be done, and can move on to other (creepier) things 🙂

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