Two widely watched movies from the early 2010s join Netflix this week with the additions of the Julia Roberts-starring “Eat Pray Love” and the animated “Turbo.” Neither earned much critical love, with the former even inspiring derision for its lack of nuance on subjects of wealth and class. Roberts’ character self-indulges for the sake of self-indulging to a legendary scale, but perhaps such a feat has made this watchable in a rubbernecking sort of way.
Netflix also adds an Original with the teen-centric “Tall Girl.” You can read more about all three movies below.
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“Eat Pray Love” ― Sept. 10
Details: This adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert’s 2006 memoir of the same name tells the story of a recently divorced woman who leaves her New York City life to travel to Italy, India and Indonesia in search of a renewed lust for life. Through caring less about the American dream of success and opening her heart to carbs, spirituality and unexpected romance, this woman feels as if she can transform into a happier person.
Julia Roberts stars as the eater, prayer and lover. The cast also includes Javier Bardem, Billy Crudup, Viola Davis, James Franco and Richard Jenkins. Ryan Murphy co-wrote and directed the movie.
“Eat Pray Love” runs 2 hours, 13 minutes.
Read on: Critics didn’t like this movie, and backlash to the plot put somewhat of an end to the storytelling trope of having rich white people travel to “exotic” locales to find themselves through personal indulgence. (See also Wes Anderson’s “The Darjeeling Limited” from a few years earlier.) Here’s how critic David Denby began his review of “Eat Pray Love” in The New Yorker:
“Eat Pray Love,” in which Julia Roberts plays the writer Elizabeth Gilbert — a divorcée looking for truth in highly photogenic locales — dribbles on for an eternity, sometimes intelligently and companionably, sometimes vacuously.
“Turbo” ― Sept. 12
Details: A snail living in Los Angeles dreams of being fast, despite the limitations of his mollusk body. A moment of extreme wish fulfillment occurs as a Chevy Camaro sucks the snail into its nitrous oxide tank, which fuses the car with the snail’s DNA. And so, obviously, the snail becomes super fast. But this new speed also brings new problems.
Ryan Reynolds voices the titular racing snail. The large voice cast also includes Snoop Dogg, Paul Giamatti, Bill Hader, Samuel L. Jackson, Ken Jeong, Michael Peña, Michelle Rodriguez, Maya Rudolph and Ben Schwartz.
“Turbo” runs 1 hour, 36 minutes.
Read on: DreamWorks Animation had to make a $13.5 million write-down on the movie despite “Turbo” earning around $280 million in the global box office. This snail movie almost created an existential catastrophe for DreamWorks, as the movie’s monetary failure contributed to a class-action lawsuit. Here’s how Bomb Report described the incident:
The box office failure of “Turbo” triggered a class action lawsuit from DreamWorks Animation shareholders against the company in 2013. During the 2013 second quarter earnings call CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said “based on the data that we have to date, we do believe that ‘Turbo’ will be a profitable film.”
In the 2013 fourth quarter filing, DreamWorks animation posted the write-down and the lawsuit quickly followed. Shareholders claimed that DreamWorks delayed the write-down to artificially inflate the stock price by announcing “Turbo” would be profitable, knowing it would never get out of the red — even after ancillary sales. This led to an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and a year later the court sided with DreamWorks. Shareholders appealed three years later in February 2017 and the court upheld the ruling.
Much ado about a snail that goes fast voiced by Ryan Reynolds.
“Tall Girl” (Netflix Film) ― Sept. 13
Details: Jodi is a 16-year-old high school girl who has already grown to a height of 6 feet, 1.5 inches, making her the “tall girl” in school. Classmates call her “tall girl” to tease her, while friends try to convince Jodi to embrace her uniqueness. Jodi wants to date someone taller than her, so when a hot and tall boy arrives as a new student, Jodi has a reason to figure out how to use what she has to get what she wants. As expected, this quixotic journey of love helps her mature and question the desire to date someone taller than herself in the first place.
This stars mostly up-and-coming actors. Angela Kinsey (from “The Office”) and Steve Zahn (from many movies) also appear.
“Tall Girl” runs 1 hour, 41 minutes.
Read on: Madeleine Aggeler recently wrote a story for The Cut titled “It Was a Tall Girl Summer” ― a play on Megan Thee Stallion’s hit song “Hot Girl Summer.” Tied to the trailer debut of “Tall Girl,” the piece celebrated various “tall girls” from this summer including Megan Thee Stallion, Lizzo, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Brienne of Tarth. The piece repeatedly refers to the protagonist of the Netflix movie as “Jordi” in either a mistake or a joke that’s beyond me, but here’s an excerpt from the otherwise wonderful piece:
Although Labor Day marks the unofficial end of the season, Tall Girl Summer isn’t technically over yet. There are still a few weeks to embrace one’s tallness, regardless of your height — to literally or figuratively look down on those around you, to go to concerts and be like, “Ahh, sorry, can you see?”
The Full List of Movies Joining Netflix
- “Norm of the North: King Sized Adventure”
- “Head Count”
- “Tall Girl” (Netflix Film)
- “We Have Always Lived in the Castle”