The Hulk Smashes ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ in Brutal 7,000-Word Essay
It was only because of a recent twist of fate that the Hulk found himself watching Eat, Pray, Love the other night, prompting the green goliath to pen a furious yet uncommonly thorough 7,000-word analysis of the Julia Roberts film that has laid waste to so many before him. Writing on FILM CRIT HULK! HULK BLOG!, in a piece entitled, "HULK WATCH EAT, PRAY, LOVE FOR YOU A**HOLES," the Hulk said he felt that author/main character Elizabeth Gilbert was "LARGELY CRITICIZED FOR WRONG AND ODDLY SEXIST REASONS," and that he was compelled to articulate, insofar as the incredible Hulk can articulate anything, why Eat, Pray, Love is so awful and why its creator seems to suffer from "CRIPPLING SELF-CENTERED-NESS."Based on the memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert and directed by Ryan Murphy, Eat, Pray, Love is the story of a 30-something American woman who initiates a divorce from her husband before taking a year-long journey around the world to complain about everything in a breathtaking expression of so-called "white people problems." At least, that is how the Hulk characterizes the film.
Horribly disfigured and cursed with endless rage as a consequence of a gamma radiation explosion, the Hulk began his treatise by noting that he is not against "chick flicks."
HULK NOT AGAINST "CHICK FLICKS." HULK EVEN FIND THAT TERM REASONABLY OFFENSIVE. MANY PEOPLE CONFUSE THE LOW QUALITY AND PANDERING NATURE OF RECENT HOLLYWOOD ENTRIES WITH THE ACTUAL POTENTIAL QUALITY OF THE GENRE. THAT BIG MISTAKE. IN HULK'S VIEW, THERE SIMPLY GOOD MOVIES AND BAD MOVIES. HULK NOT CARE ABOUT GENRE OR INTENDED AUDIENCE. SO EAT PRAY LOVE = MOVIE ABOUT FEMININITY AND PERSONAL ENLIGHTENMENT? SURE, PERFECT! IT TOPIC NOT EXPLORED ENOUGH IN MOVIES, SO SIGN HULK UP! BUT HULK'S EVENTUAL PROBLEM WITH EAT, PRAY, LOVE THE ACTUAL CONVEYING OF SAID MESSAGE/SOLUTIONS/THEME AND NOT MESSAGE/SOLUTIONS/THEME ITSELF.
The crux of the Hulk's distaste for Eat, Pray, Love -- and by extension, Elizabeth Gilbert herself -- is that throughout the narrative (which the Hulk describes as "ACTUALLY ABSENT"), Gilbert is framed as a sympathetic victim despite the fact that unlike many people, she is lucky enough to define the nature of her existence and make choices and affect changes as she sees fit. Among those choices, deliberately betraying the ones who love her and being a generally rotten individual.
LOOK, THERE PLENTY OF GREAT LEGIT STORIES ABOUT THE SUBJECT OF LOVE COMING UNDONE AND HOW WE BUILD SELVES BACK UP. RELATIONSHIPS INCREDIBLY UNIQUE AND INFINITELY COMPLEX, AND HULK NEVER BEGRUDGE IT WITH OVER-SIMPLIFICATION... BUT GILBERT GIVE AN ODDLY SELF-CENTERED AND DOWNRIGHT STRANGE ACCOUNT OF HER STORY. AGAIN, SHE FRAME IT LIKE SHE THE VICTIM WHEN A) THE SOURCE OF DEPRESSION SELF-CREATED AND B) SHE THE ONE DOING SERIOUS DAMAGE TO PEOPLE. LATER ON SHE SORT OF ADMIT TO "HURTING PEOPLE" BUT THAT REALLY AS DEEP AS IT GO. SHE COMPLETELY GLOSS OVER HER OBVIOUS AFFAIR (HULK MEAN, REALLY, HUSBAND GETTING ALL THE SETTLEMENT IN DIVORCE? IT TAKE MAJOR THINGS FOR MAN TO GET THE SETTLEMENT... HULK NOT ARGUING MERITS OF THIS AND PLEASE NO THINK THIS MEANT AS SEXIST STATEMENT WHATSOEVER, JUST IN HULK'S RESEARCH IT JUST THE COMMON REALITY OF HOW THESE THINGS TEND GO. AND THEN THERE HER MEAN-SPIRITED "I HAVE TO SPEND MONEY SO MY INCREDIBLY HURT HUSBAND NOT GET IT THING. WHICH, AGAIN, SHE TREAT LIKE SHE THE VICTIM... F*CKING BIZARRE.
DEEP DOWN, THERE SOME PART OF GILBERT THAT TERRIBLY AWARE OF WHAT SHE DOING. SHE MAKE ALL THESE VAGUE ATTEMPTS WHERE SHE TRYING SAY SHE A JERK WHO NEED TO FIX HERSELF, THAT SHE DO HORRIBLE THINGS TO PEOPLE AND SHOULD ACKNOWLEDGE THAT... BUT SHE NEVER GET THERE... EVER. IT FEEL ALL SO AIMLESS. WHICH MEAN HER CHARACTER JOURNEY, NO MATTER WHICH WISE OLD MAN IMPARTED HER WITH WISDOM, OR GREAT FRIEND SHE MAKE (OFTEN TEMPORARILY), AND NO MATTER WHICH "TRUE-FEELING" CONCLUSIONS SHE MAKE... IT INEVITABLY AND EQUALLY AIMLESS.
The Hulk observes that because Eat, Pray, Love is a memoir, all of his complaints about the story and its protagonist must necessarily come back to the author, Elizabeth Gilbert. A journalist who some may remember as the journalist who popularized the "Coyote Ugly" phenomenon in a 1997 article for GQ, Gilbert's work, it can be argued, crosses the line between insightful observation and personal reflection. The Hulk demonstrates as much with an excerpt of her profile of Eustace Conway, an American man who chooses to live in the woods rather than society.
"I didn't mind the hard work, and I appreciated the beauty of Turtle Island, but my thoughts strayed-not to my family, not to hot running water, but to the really gorgeous and expensive Calvin Klein suit I'd purchased recently. While I was up there plowing that field, while Eustace was teaching me how to handle that draft horse, my thoughts were constantly wandering to that Calvin Klein suit, which is the nicest thing I've ever owned. I'd picture it hanging in my closet. I'd wonder how it was doing. And, I'm sorry to confess, I'd sigh with deep longing."
Based on Gilbert's unorthodox approach to telling the story about something other than herself by talking mainly about herself, and the portrait of herself painted in the Eat, Pray, Love memoir and book, the Hulk made the following conclusion:
"ELIZABETH GILBERT", BOTH THE CHARACTER AND THE PERSON, SEEM BE A HORRIBLY SELF-CENTERED PERSON. THIS SELF-CENTERED-NESS CRIPPLING. SHE HAVE NO REAL UNDERSTANDING OF HOW NOT BE SELF-CENTERED DESPITE IT BEING HER VERY GOAL. SHE A WOMAN WHO TOOK COMPLICATED-YET-FAIRLY-COMMON RELATIONSHIP PROBLEMS AND DECIDE BEST COURSE OF ACTION = CHEAT, GLOSS OVER SAID CHEATING, AND THEN ACT LIKE SHE THE ONE WHO BEEN RUINED WITHOUT EVEN ACKNOWLEDGING HER OWN BADNESS OR WHAT SHE DONE. AND IN TRYING TO DIG DEEP IN SPIRITUAL JOURNEY, SHE NEVER ACTUALLY DIG DEEP AND ADDRESS COMPLETELY OBVIOUS ISSUES AT PLAY AND INSTEAD OFFER ONE-NOTE, OBVIOUS, AND WHOLLY CLASSIST WAYS TO MERELY SIDE-STEP ISSUES THAT EVERYONE FACE INSTEAD OF ACTUALLY BEING F*CKING USEFUL.
For more on the Hulk's scholarly analysis of Eat, Pray, Love (there are 7,000 words in all), please visit the FILM CRIT HULK! HULK BLOG!, where you can also find writings on the James Bond films, Charlie Sheen, Blue Valentine and much more.