Monday, August 17, 2015
Against the Crowd Blogathon 2015: Substance Over Style
Like any other blogger, I start a blogathon because I think I have something good to contribute. After all, I'm just like you. From time to time I'll watch some critically acclaimed movie and be bored to tears. Other times, I'll have a great time watching something only to find out that everyone else in the world hates it. In either case, I'm frustrated because it's painfully obvious that the world is seeing it wrong. It's up to me to set them all straight. Thus, the Against the Crowd Blogathon was born.
I have two movies to set you straight about. Seriously, I'm pretty sure you all watched a different movie with the same title because you're not even close to being right about either of them. After this is over, just thank me and wait patiently for my opinion on all movies going forward. It's just far better to trust me than your lying eyes.
Let's start here...
From time to time, I will come across comments or be drawn into conversation about this film. Inevitably, someone will tell me how beautiful it is. How it's such a triumph of film-making. And my response is generally, "Are we talking about that movie where the first 5 billion years of existence is crammed into the most boring 45 minutes possible, people whisper a lot, Jessica Chastain looks sad, and Sean Penn wanders around confused?" By the way, those boring 45 minutes are followed by a bunch more boring minutes. You know what the most disappointing part of this is. WALL-E had a wordless 30 or so minutes that was by far the best part of that movie and would have been of most movies. A freakin' cartoon! This was just...I'm looking for some great adjective here, but I'll just say it sucks. Yet, I keep seeing stuff like this, everywhere:
Really? Is that what this is? All that says to me is that it's something people have elevated to the realm of high art to explain it because it's both pretty to look at and totally cryptic. You all went 'Ooh, pretty pictures and whispering to God. It's so deep." No, it's not. It's a freakin' slide show that I fell asleep on in science class many years ago. I fought to keep my eyes open because I thought my old teacher was going to come around and tap my desk. Luckily for everyone in my family, they weren't actually watching this with me. I'm pretty certain that if they had been, I'd have resorted to flicking boogers at them just to keep myself awake. Or spitballs. Or both. Probably both.
I know, I know, it's so profound. Except, its not. It just takes creationism and evolution and smashes them together into an incoherent snooze-fest. All the damn whispering didn't help. Half of it was unintelligible. I had to strain to pick up the other half. I mean, aren't I supposed to be able to hear what's being said? By the end of it all, I really could've killed someone, preferably myself, if only to avoid heaven. Why would I want to do that? Isn't heaven the place of everlasting happiness? Not exactly. Spoiler Alert, by the way. It's a bunch of people, fully dressed in street-clothes, aimlessly wandering around a beach. I'll pass.
You wanna think it's all beautiful, it's some deep meditative commentary on the human race, it's a "mind-blowing trip through the cosmos," go right ahead. I'll watch something else instead. The film I watch will use mystery to hold my intrigue, give us socially relevant commentary, and wrap it all in a hilarious package. I will watch this:
For the uninitiated, the story is about Pat, a person in search of love. The catch is that we don't know Pat's gender. Soon, Pat falls in love with Chris. We don't know Chris' gender, either. A love story while everyone around them tries to find out Pat's gender ensues. It's a movie built from a Saturday Night Live skit and translates beautifully to the cinematic form. The insanely dry humor lands perfectly. For instance, when a thug asks Pat "are you a brotha or a sista?" Pat's response is classic. "Well, I'm an only child."
Screw you, I laugh. Hard.
As for that socially relevant commentary, it's got it in spades. It's all about self-acceptance and not having that acceptance based on gender. This movie is over twenty years old and teaches us that lesson far better than the whole Caitlyn Jenner saga. And what does it get for actually being profound rather than pretending to be like that overly-atmospheric Terrence Malik bullshit? It gets your undying hatred. Every stinking one of you hates this film. Look back at the pic above. You see that critic score? 0%. The field next to it says there's no critic's consensus on it. That's a lie. There is one. Out of 11 critics, all 11 slammed the damn thing. You know why? Because they obviously don't know socially relevant art when they see it. This is the deeper "examination of human existence." Sorry, Terrence. Just because you give me glossy moving photos and play dialogue that sounds like a Tibetan Monk Chant doesn't make your movie deep. It makes it pompous. It's Pat approaches each person where they stand. It doles out its wisdom in a way we can all understand. It's simplicity is it's genius. Critics are the ones we trust to see films for what they really. All of them failed back when the movie came out in 1994. The 11 of them brave enough to put their thoughts on rottentomatoes.com failed. That failure cannot be rewarded with anonymity. So here are those unable to see brilliance:
Don't be one of those fooled. The denigration of this film means that humanity has been wronged. Luckily, I am here to help you make the correct choice. These naysayers and others like them are forever blinded by the shiny objects Mr. Malick, and those like him throw up on our screens. Don't be fooled. Choose substance over style. Choose It's Pat.