Archive for the 'Flicks' Category

17
Jul
09

On Heckler, Hecklers, and Critics

I was watching Jamie Kennedy’s movie Heckler last night, something I still think is a brilliant response to the savage critiques he received after Malibu’s Most Wanted and Son of the Mask. I think it’s a great bit of revenge to, in the face of cruel and inhuman criticism, show a comedian (and interview many others) ingesting said criticism, wincing at personal slights, and looking hurt at the extent of the savagery.

And, yes, I absolutely agree that, if you don’t like a movie or comedy show, you should just leave. Change the channel. I let Carlos Mencia be Carlos Mencia, and I just go have a cocktail at the bar. Done.

It was when the documentary got into savaging critics and bloggers that I (predictably) began to lose some of my sympathy for the characters. I concede that I also yearn for the days of serious film/dramatic criticism (where are today’s Dorothy Parkers, who are knowledgeable and empathetic enough to the performers and writers to know just how to slice them up, without actually breaking them down?). Gene Shalit, Leonard Maltin, the staff of the NY Times these days…feh. And, yes, I think they should all be replaced by people who actually make movies for a living, much as the book reviews that are always the most spot-on and interesting are essayed by fellow writers.

And yet…well, the thing is…I couldn’t help but think of that line from Godfather II: “This is the business [you’ve] chosen.” It’s not like you made this movie, then released it, only to find that the entire world of film criticism had changed from an erudite circle of polite former screenwriters, into a gaggle of snarling beasts. And, in order to put up with said snarling beasts, you got paid. Well. Better than said snarling beasts, and sure as shit better than most of the country.

And, as far as mean “fans” go, while I think it’s rude that people go up to celebrities and tell them their movies suck when the poor people are just trying to enjoy a meal, I also think it’s enormously arrogant to think that people will never have unfavorable opinions about your work, and will instead just sit in slack-jawed wonderment at the talking pictures proferred for their enjoyment. Unfortunately, it’s a fact that the most likely response you will get will be the most negative, with the most positive following behind. It’s just how our psyches work; many studies have confirmed that we humans like to bitch about things we hate more than admire things we love.

As for the blogosphere: Yes, the internet is home to the meannest of the mean, in both senses of the word. However, it is written by the general public, and these are all people who, unlike “real critics,” paid to see your movie. If you don’t want to listen to their opinions, fine: Don’t log on and Google yourself. But don’t bitch because they have opinions that are contrary to your own, and say so.

As far as the language of online reviews goes, it has indeed gotten more and more violent and crude, especially when writing reviews of things and/or celebrities. Why, you wonder, the animosity? The answer is: It has nothing to do with animosity, and everything to do with anonymity. The internet is huge, and the blogosphere is chock-a-block with people who like to write their opinions. In order to differentiate yourself, you have to make something in your headline or tags stand out. For whatever reason, I’ve noticed that any headline of mine that includes cursing and/or references to various sorts of perversions gets TONS of hits; those that are more thoughtful get almost none.

I don’t blame readers for this. There are myriad ways to get news and information these days, and civil discourses can get lost in the shuffle. Take the awesome postings at synthesis: They are well-thought-out, highly intellectual, and, above all, well-written. That blog, along with other similar ones, consistently gets rated among the top of the internet. And yet, I will bet all my savings that Gawker beats them in page hits and ad sales. So, there’s that: Blame human nature and its love of watching brutality, but don’t blame the people trying to be heard.

And, while I’m on the subject, there is absolutely no difference between a blogger cruelly mocking a movie, and said movie star saying that the blogger is some basement-dwelling fatass who’s never held a job or gotten laid. Except the amount of people who get to see/hear the movie star say that, versus the small number of people who read the snarky blog. That balances out the comparative anonymity (and security) bloggers feel, yes? And when they lose said anonymity (like Andrew Sullivan, or others), they get well compensated for it. Just like other public figures. So they can buy bigger pillows to cushion the blows of public criticism.

So, in conclusion, here’s my advice to Jamie Kennedy:

1. Just as you say to hecklers in comedy clubs: If you don’t like what you read on the Internet about yourself, don’t look.
2. Buck up, buttercup. Those meanies out there don’t really hate you; they just love colorful language and page views.
3. Go take a look around your nice house, cuddle up to your pretty girlfriend, and remind yourself that you’re doing alright, regardless.

Thus endeth the lesson. Dick jokes soon!

04
Jun
09

Bill Killed

This makes me genuinely sad.

David Carradine has been found dead in a Bangkok hotel room. Thai police told the BBC the 72-year-old was found dead in his hotel room with a rope around his neck.

Jesus God, man, this is shockingly tragic. And seemingly inexplicable. Was it because of the confluence of two of his quotations?

“I don’t need to convince anybody that I know kung fu, but maybe somebody needs to know that I really can act, without doing a Chinese accent or a funny walk.”
“If you cannot be a poet, be the poem.”

Regardless of why, it seems we have to say goodbye to the poetry.

02
Jun
09

Maybe The Coolest Thing I’ve Ever Seen

I think…no, wait, I’m fairly sure this clip is so goddamned awesome that I am sexually aroused.

(courtesy of this awesome blog)

08
May
09

Best. Casting. Ever.

Keanu Reeves is starring in a new remake of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

That’s right, he’s playing the title character/s.

The man who can’t even claim, to paraphrase Dorothy Parker, to exhibit a range of emotions from A to B is going to play Dr. Jekyll AND Mr. Hyde. This guy.

One word: Awesome.

01
May
09

Michele Bachmann Is No Smalley Hoot

Happy Friday, all! I may just designate this day Michele Bachmann Hilarity day every week, but…she’s really too much gift for only one day. Regardless, here’s some more herstory (shout out to the Feminazis in the house) to get you ready for the weekend.

For each historical inaccuracy now, drink!

In case you didn’t spot ’em, here they are:

1. It’s Smoot-Hawley.

2. It was passed in 1930. FDR hadn’t been elected yet.

3. It was repealed by FDR in 1934.

4. It was written by Republicans. It’s actually quite famous. Really, it’s one of the cornerstones of conservative thinking from that era, and is a frequent example in any Economics 101 class (although I’m betting Olbermann joins me in first hearing about it from Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off).

Go back again now and watch. And drink. And again. And again.

23
Apr
09

Mia Farrow Goes On A Hunger Strike For Publicity Darfur

Mia Farrow has just announced she will go on a hunger strike to show solidarity with the people of Darfur.

“I’m just an actress,” Farrow said Wednesday by phone from her home in rural Connecticut. “I’m not presuming anybody will care whether I starve to death or whether I go on a long hunger strike or what. But it’s a personal matter. I can’t be among those that watch _ and I honestly couldn’t think of anything else to do.”

‘Kay, let me start off by saying I think Mia Farrow is probably a very nice person, and it certainly seems her heart is in the right place. I also have no doubt she feels enormously strongly about the cause, and that I appreciate that she has long been a reasonably effective activist (the previous generation’s Angelina Jolie, if you will).

That said, I must say I’m surprised she can’t think of anything else to do but fast for 21 days (just long enough to get some attention, but not long enough to do any damage). That’s really all you could come up with? Did David Blaine give her the notion this was a bonafide way to get the public on your side?

The point of hunger strikes is to force a government to choose between letting somebody starve to death out of cruel obstinance to their demands. If you’re already showing your hand (i.e. that you’ll be just fine), this kind of sounds like you were meaning to lose some weight anyway, and, hey, why not remind people about Darfur while you’re at it.

Plus, you’re just doing this for you, so you can sleep at night? Erm…then…is the press conference just to sell some extra Sham Wows you had lying around?

Lastly, she just seems to not have thought this through exactly. Like I said before, hunger strikes are an enormously effective and powerful way to force the hand of policy-makers in extreme cases. But, you have to (a) admit you want the publicity (otherwise, it really is just a diet), and, more importantly, (b) STATE YOUR DEMANDS. What do you hope to accomplish? What social justice will sate your empty belly? What the hell are you fighting FOR?

17
Apr
09

Ann Coulter Rejects Sean Penn’s Request For Epic Hate Fuck Cameo In Plame Movie

Yup, Sean Penn wanted Ann Coulter to be in his new movie about Valerie Plame. Good call, Ann. You wouldn’t have been two steps in the door before you were chained to a radiator, an apple in your mouth, hippie propaganda filling your ears, and God knows what happening to the rest of your openings.

Besides, now Sean Penn can get back to the single silliest Hollywood affair in history: the one he’s having with Lindsay Lohan.