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:



Yup.

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.


You're welcome.


22 comments:

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    1. I'll take that as a round of applause, lol.

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  2. And I got shit for Cat in the Hat hahaha! Very interesting choices although I haven't seen either so I can't really judge.

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    1. No sense in doing it half-assed, might as well go straight to the bottom of the barrel.

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  3. Wow... I think maybe it's something to do with the fact I'm British but I've never even heard of It's Pat, but my goodness I don't think you could have chosen a more interesting film. In terms of The Tree Of Life, I can't comment. Not that I haven't seen the film, I have, I just can't remember a single damn thing about it apart from the fact I think Brad Pitt had a Texan accent and stood in his garden at some point. Make of that what you will.

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    1. And that might be the most interesting thing that happens in The Tree of Life.

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  4. "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." -LOL. YES. The film blogger's manifesto!

    I'm also LOL-ing at everything you said about Tree of Life because my partner at the time, who I basically dragged with me to see it, said the exact same things. I don't completely disagree, but I still really loved it. Yes it's ponderous, occasionally boring mock-spiritual/philosophical bullshit, but it's EXCEEDINGLY GORGEOUS mock-spiritual/philosophical bullshit, and it also contains Brad Pitt's best performance of the '00s, bar none. I don't hate it, but I definitely see where people who do are coming from.

    It's Pat I've only seen parts of - is it even available to view any more? - but I recall it having the same problems that most movies based on SNL sketches in the 90s had: they didn't really know how to turn something that worked as a five-to-ten-minute sketch into a full-length film, mostly just hitting a one-note joke on the head with an anvil over and over again. This works in the context of SNL, but not so much as a film. I'd definitely be interested in seeing the whole thing, though, especially through today's eyes.

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    1. Your ex-partner has it right. Exceedingly gorgeous BS is still BS. I wouldn't say you're wrong about It's Pat. It is a one joke movie. It just so happens that I enjoy the hell out of that joke.

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  5. I've never heard of It's Pat, but THANK YOU for saying that about Tree of Life. I felt like I was watching a Windows screen saver that was idling for hours. It was weird, it didn't make much sense, and it was boring. I don't love Malick films like others do, but I was kind of hoping that film would've turned it around for me. Nope. lol

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    1. No problem. Windows screen saver is a perfect way to describe it.

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  6. Love it!
    I haven't ever seen It's Pat so I've put it on my list and will be back later this thing, whether I have good things to say or not!
    Will be posting the first of our responses to this blogathon later today. I think we have a common element! ;)

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    1. Looking forward to your post and to you seeing It's Pat.

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  7. I'm...speechless...not because I disagree but because...of that movie...that I've never heard of...and now feel compelled to watch.

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    1. I'm surprised so many have never heard of it. I mean, it wasn't a smash, but the SNL skit it's based on was fairly popular.

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  8. I love the Tree of Life, but I see why didn't like because Terrence Malick films are not for everybody at all. Anyways, It's Pat seems interesting, so I might give it watch based on your recommendation.

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    1. Thanks. And yeah, Malick isn't for everyone.

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  9. Oh Dell I haven't seen either of these although I've heard of both. I've looked at Tree of Life I don't know how many times and always been leery because of my less than overwhelming love of other Malick films I've seen. I enjoyed Badlands, Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line but they were all leisurely paced and I know that's a trait of his that has only gotten worse. Maybe someday, when it's raining and it's on some station I don't have to pay to see I'll breakdown and watch.

    I couldn't stand Pat on SNL so It's Pat was easily risible but I have a friend who feels the same way about it that you do, and owns it. She's tried to get me to watch it a couple of times perhaps next time I'll give it a go.

    Oh by the way I wasn't sure where to put my entry so I put it up over on the original post.

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    1. Leisurely paced is putting it nicely. Sounds like you have a wise friend, lol.

      Thanks, I'll head over to that post and get to work on it.

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  10. I particularly enjoyed the visuals of The Tree of Life, but only to some points. I couldn't even finish the movie in a single viewing.
    But... the second movie is absolutely unknown for me, but it kinda got my nerve...

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    1. I reached that pount wit The Tree of Life about halfway through, but I soldiered all the way to the end. Going to be interesting seeing the comments and reviews of It's Pat if a bunch actually watch it.

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  11. Ahah, now I won't feel bad for ripping a classic that gets 96% RT score AND is regarded as one of the best films ever. I don't think Tree Of Life is as profound as they made it to be but it's not a terrible film. Malick's films are an acquired taste but I totally get why it could be considered a snooze fest.

    Ha! You got me a bit curious about It's Pat now.

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