After a career spanning multiple decades and bringing us some of the finest classics ever to be filmed, Tennessee Williams choked to death on an eyedropper cap, supposedly while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. If they had found him facedown and pantsless in a hotel room with a pink-frosted wedding cake splattered in and around his anus and a preteen Thai boy sleeping off the effects of mild sedatives in the crook of William’s arm, it wouldn’t be a less auspicious act of humiliating the great playwright’s memory than what Jodie Markell has done by unearthing this travesty of a “lost” screenplay and forcing us to watch her inept attempts at directing. I am embarrassed that no drama-geeks have donned wifebeaters and floor-length evening gowns and dragged Markell screaming into the streets to rend her to shreds. I have seen a number of ham-fisted productions of Williams’ works, but never have they been tarted up with such mediocrity. From start to a finish that I had to have described to me because I was unable to endure the entirety of this odious abomination, the film is devoid of purpose except to exact revenge against a drama coach who failed Markell for doing a monologue from Suddenly, Last Summer. In fact, rather than one of Williams’ carefully crafted works, Teardrop feels like a D- student’s explanation of stuff that might have happened. I have seen far worse movies in my brief tenure as a film critic, but nothing that was so pointless or dreadful.
I’d give you a plot assessment, but frankly there’s no point. Supposedly this script was written around 1952, which is well before Williams penned Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Suddenly, Last Summer, or Night of the Iguana. He easily could have had it made if he so desired. HE COULD NOT HAVE DESIRED THIS. There’s all the maudlin archetypes: women in mental institutions, dire dowagers, drunken fathers, wild rich gals who expect the world, angry blue collar saps, and horrible family skeletons dragged out of closets. Only they’re slapdashed in the story like someone painting a room by dipping cats in paint and releasing them. Fisher Willow (Bryce Dallas Howard) is one of the most odious and least likable Williams’ heroines since Brick in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. (High fives to the four kids who get that joke.) She’s self-absorbed, annoying, and high pitched. While normally you’d find any number of scintillating jibes and jousting in the dialogue of his other works, in Teardrop, the characters don’t so much speak platitudes and bon mots as swing them at each other like two blindfolded children simultaneously attacking a pinata.
I don’t know about you, but when I first witnessed the trailer for this atrocity, I was convinced this was a parody leftover from the beginning of Tropic Thunder. Surely, nobody in their right mind would cast Chris Evans as a lantern-jawed southern laborer. But much like Keanu Reeves doing Shakespeare, it actually fucking happened. Mayhaps it was the elderly woman behind me who felt he reminded her of a young Johnny Weissmueller. I’ll say this for Markell, she’s proven you don’t need CGI to create completely wooden and unaffected performances. Bryce Dallas Howard looks like a less-appealing Melanie Lynskey from Beautiful Creatures. Chris Evans and she spend the entirety (of the first 30 minutes) of the movie trying to outdo each other with progressively poorer imitations of Blanche DuBois doing James Van Der Beek’s lines from Varsity Blues. And I don’t know whose cruel joke it was to sneak film Ellen Burstyn on her deathbed, but for shame.
As I said, this was the first movie as a critic I’ve ever walked out on. I didn’t want to waste another moment of my life sitting through this garbled and misguided tripe. Even the elderly woman thought it was bunk and hooey. And I won’t waste anymore of my life discussing this. I thought it would be worth a laugh — maybe a few potshots and snark. But this isn’t worth the peat moss brushfire to burn the script. If Jodie Markell starts digging up more “classic and forgotten masterpieces” I’m gonna club that bitch in the head with a shovel and bury her in the hole she dug.