Monday, July 7, 2014

Against the Crowd Blogathon: The Kubrick Klassick Worse Than a Michael Bay Flick


Last week, I decided to start a blogathon in which we bloggers get to rant against the popular opinion. The rules are simple:

1. Pick one movie that "everyone" loves (the more iconic, the better). That movie must have a score of at least 80% on rottentomatoes.com. Tell us why you hate it.

2. Pick one movie that "everyone" hates (the more notorious, the better). That movie must have a score of less than 30% on rottentomatoes.com. Tell us why you love it.

3. Include the tomato meter scores of both movies.

Easy-peasy, right?

Like some have expressed, it was easy picking out a movie I hated that most people loved. I can instantly name dozens of them. My first thought was to go with the movie that inspired the idea for this blogathon, Dallas Buyers Club. It didn't quite work for me. I figured that would be lazy since I just reviewed it a couple weeks ago. Besides,  I don't actually hate it. My next thought was The Tree of Life, which I did flat out hate, but I've also reviewed that. I decided to go with the movie The Tree of Life most reminds me of...

2001: A Space Odyssey

95%


I know. It's a classic. I know. It's one of the most influential movies of all time. I know. It's a groundbreaking cinematic achievement. I know. I know all that and there is lots more you want to tell me about this movie. Yawn.

I hate this movie.

More accurately, I don't think I've ingested enough mind-altering substances to fully appreciate it. To me, it was an excruciatingly boring experience. Five minute long shots of objects floating around are snore inducing and scream pretentious to me. Sure its got great visuals but do we have to dawdle on each one, forever? Put bluntly, there is no good reason this movie is nearly two and a half hours long.

None.

I understand fully what Stanley Kubrick was trying to do with this movie. Unfortunately, it just became a self-indulgent exercise in film technique. I cannot deny that the man gave us a number of iconic shots and even a much ballyhooed finale, it just should have gotten to the point a hell of a lot quicker. I mean like 90 minutes quicker. That's approximately how much time he spends in a circle jerk with the cinematographer and the composer. Again, these are beautiful pictures. I don't stare at pictures for longer than a few seconds no matter how great they are. It only takes a couple moments to figure out that it looks like the Mona Lisa's eyes are following you. No need to keep ogling the damn thing. If these shots are limited to a reasonable amount of time, you get the same story playing out in much less time and it is unquestionably the greatest short film ever produced. As it is, it's us watching a few guys practice making a movie.

Yup, I mentioned the composer. The score is a breathtaking piece of music. When paired with objects floating hypnotically about for what seems like hours it adds to the unbearable pretentiousness of it all. The sounds emanating from the speakers seem to be screaming "Look at this, it's some important shit!" It also becomes part of the giant sleeping pill that is this movie. I'm not even joking about this. It took me several attempts to get through this as it just dragged my eyelids toward the ground. I made my last attempt only after a very long and fulfilling nap. Even this was a struggle. Try this at home: put on any piece of classical music (no offense to classical music fans), grab any picture in your house, and stare intently at it for the duration of the piece you're listening to. Zzzzzz....

zzzzzz...cmmmp cmmmp... ...Ahem...where was I?

Oh yeah, watching 2001 was a thankless chore I'll make every effort to not repeat.

On the other hand, this is a movie I have and will watch repeatedly...

Bad Boys II
 23%


Yup, it's a Michael Bay movie. It's not just any old Michael Bay movie, either. It's pretty much everything us critics hate him for all rolled up into one noisy package. Everything and then some goes boom, the humor is crass, Gabrielle Union's supposedly seasoned vet FBI agent is reduced to a beautiful, but helpless damsel in distress, and yes there are a good deal of unnecessary slow motion shots.

You know what?

It works.

I enjoy the ridiculous shoot out with the Jamaican drug dealers. I have fun watching a truck full of cars being dumped all over the freeway as our heroes chase them down. I laugh hysterically when Martin Lawrence accidentally takes some Ecstasy. For two hours and change I forget Michael Bay subjected me to Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, and far too many Transformers movies.

The biggest reason for how enjoyable I find this movie is the chemistry between our heroes: Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. It was very good and helped carry the first Bad Boys. Here, it's taken to a few notches higher. Their back and forths are plain hilarious. Their ad libbing elevates Bay's juvenile humor to rib tickling art.

Now, I have to speak about my favorite scene.

Martin Lawrence's daughter is about to go out on her first date. When the lucky young man knocks on the door, he is greeted by an angry Lawrence and a liquor swilling, gun waving Smith. They scare the poor boy to death. Damn your meditative journey through mankind, your iconic score, and the sci-fi masterpiece they created. This shit is cinematic gold. My brother and I both have daughters that just became teenagers. We've vowed to re enact this scene at each others' houses.

Call us stupid.

Fear for our daughters' love lives.

Just don't tell me 2001 is better than Bad Boys II.

22 comments:

  1. Great choices Dell :) This is shaping up to be a fantastic Blogathon so thanks for hosting!
    -Allie

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    1. No, thank you. I'm anxious to see what you two have cooked up.

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  2. No, no. You did not just insult one of my all-time favorite movies and... blimey what am I saying I had the exact same problem with Tarkovsky's Solaris except that didn't even have the cool visuals to get me through the first hour..

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    1. Lots of folks have 2001 on their lists of all times so I'M figured I'd rankle a few feathers. It just nothing for me. Been meaning to get around to Tarkovsky's Solaris, but haven't yet. Whenever I do I'll watch that and the remake. I have seen the Clooney version but it's been so long I don't remember much about it.

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  3. I don't really love 2001 as a film, but the influential nature of Kubrick's direction is so impeccable that I don't understand not appreciating that.

    Solaris is a better film ;-)

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    1. Did we see the same movie? I tried watching the Tarkovsky version and it was incredibly slow. 2001 at least had the incredible visuals to get you through the drawn out scenes, Solaris had a bunch of guys sitting around talking about a planet I'd rather be seeing and a 15 minute series of POV shots of automobiles driving down roads that added nothing to the story.

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    2. I do appreciate what 2001 has meant to film history...still don't have to like it, though. Besides, taking the unpopular stance is what this is all about.

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  4. You make me sad. Michael Bay over Stanley Kubrick... GOODBYE!

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    1. If it makes you feel any better, Full Metal Jacket, A Clockwork Orange, and The Shining are among my favorite films of all time. I'm just not a fan of this one.

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    2. What about Paths of Glory?

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    3. That one is excellent, but I wouldn't call it one of my all time faves (unless we're just talking war films). I have it in that next tier of Kubrick movies with Spartacus and The Killing. I'm not so big on Eyes Wide Shut, or Dr. Strangelove (I know, another classic). I don't think I've seen any of the others, though I keep telling myself I'm going to watch Barry Lyndon and Lolita.

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  5. Omg, yes. I agree with this so much. 2001 was such a borefest. I'm not even sure if I made it through the entire thing, and the Bad Boys films are a good time.

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    1. Thank you for joining me on this island. It was getting kind of lonely.

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    2. I have found this film boring as well the last two times I have tried to watch it, but I would love to give it another chance since I was not that familiar with some of Stanley Kubrick films like I am right now.

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    3. Good luck with that.

      Honestly, for all the crap I give it, it is a movie people with any interest in film history and technique should see at least once. That said, I've done my duty and refuse to go back.

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  6. 2001: A Space Odyssey is a feast for the eyes and ears, but I agree, it's much too stretched. I would love for someone to make a special version that cuts out chunks of the film that could be shortened. If someone could make an 1 hr and 45 min version, It'd potentially be a favorite of mine.

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  7. To hell with that. I'm holding out for the 45 minute version. Ha! Seriously though, thanks for reading and commenting on my silly little rant.

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  8. I'm glad to know I'm not the only movie buff who didn't appreciate 2001: A Space Odyssey. I had kind of the same reaction you did -- I thought it might not be appropriate for sober viewing. Back in my misspent youth, when I occasionally indulged in mind altering drugs, I'm sure this movie would've been quite an experience. :-)

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    1. Exactly. Then again, it was released during the sixties so maybe it really wasn't meant for sober viewing. Hmmm....

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  9. I haven't seen both..so I can't comment much....but I'll keep in mind about Space Odyssey

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    1. Lots of people love it. That's all I'll say.

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  10. I haven't seen Bad Boys II so I can't comment on that, but all the drugs of this world wouldn't be enough to make me fully appreciate Space Odyssey. I like classical music, but the only thought of listening to Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 and staring at the same photo for the whole time makes me sleepy! And that's exactly what happens with the movie. I'm sure some of those who claim to love this film just can't admit how boring it is and don't want to go against the crowd.

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