Wednesday, December 25, 2013

What's Wrong With Movie Criticism

Critics go fuck yourselves.

It's 1:11 AM on Christmas day, but burden on me for browsing to get a grasp on the movie zeitgeist for this year and enraging myself.

I had to see what fresh hell made the list.

 Jeremy on predigested Hollywood crap

I did the impossible this year. I achieved my lifelong goal. I did something the ages have echoed only in mythology and fantasy. I changed someone's opinion on a piece of art. Yep, that's right. I enjoyed and defended Man of Steel against a friend and movie fanatic. He's really into movies, otherwise I would've said only fan. He gave the movie a 3/10. The breaking point of the argument came when I said, Dude, me in a doctor's waiting room is a 3 out 10. He said Fine, 5/10.

This is not a matter of what you like or what you don't like. It's called Rotten Tomatoes for a reason. Notice it's not called Ripe or Rotten Tomatoes. Art criticism has become the art of being a cunt. Man of Steel is at 55%, well lower than the latest Fast and Furious franchise entry. It's not a matter of good or bad, it's a matter of what's hip to hate, and it's hip to hate the maker of the celluloid atrocities that are Suckerpunch and 300. You could've billed Man of Steel as a directorial debut from Chris Nolan's brother and the hype from his blood-relation alone would've driven that score up 20 points.

This could be a well thought out, convincing piece, but the truth is simple. Eloquence is difficult, and those smoke and mirrors sell. Example, even as a huge McQueen fan, 12 Years a Slave has the most top ten lists and the most top spots by far. There is no glimmer of hope anywhere in that movie. It's pain tourism. It's Oscar-bait. Just because it actually happened, and it's photographed beautifully and designed realistically, it isn't be-all end-all. What does it say? This guy led a shitty life, people he met led a shitty life, and every slave master was 100% hateful with not a single shade of grey. The best parts of his story were just title cards at the end of the movie saying, "He went on to help other slaves 'n' shit."

Two hours of torture for only $12? Sold.

Good movies are often confused with movies that are good at getting a feeling out of you. Wow, I felt so depressed, four stars! Take Prisoners for example. It's a 2.5 hour misery tour. It's Beautifully Shot and Acted fucking relentless depression. Almost as if to agree, in the last 20 minutes of the movie they tie up as many loose ends of the plot with poor acting, because motive isn't important in this movie, only evoking miserable feeling. Is our collective self-esteem so low we'd rather jerk off to misery than take a chance and praise something fun for fear we might not look smart?

Let me tell you my movie of 2013. Homefuckin'front:

Nebraska is a black and white movie that critics treated like an abused puppy. Let me sum it up. Dad is an aloof drinking guy. Son is a practical modern man. They go on a road trip and the movie is basically, Oh look! This intellectual director actually loves those cutesy small-town types who just live for beer and football and trucks! Oh yeah? No, he likes the attention from other pompous eggheads. Nobody depicted in Nebraska would actually enjoy the movie Nebraska. You know what they would love? The fucking movie Homefront. So who loves the little people more? Jason Statham and company, not fucking Alexander Payne. Make another Sideways man, this one's pretty flat.

This is how you look watching Nebraska

Yet in the end, the critics will win the war of influence.

To The Wonder might be one of the worst movies I've ever seen. And this is from a director, Terence Malick, who made two of the best movies I've ever seen. His first two. Even the critics agreed this movie is a series of vignettes of turds strung together for a feature running length. Yet it still made 35 top 10 lists. I almost want to recommend more people see this movie, so we wax poetic and get nostalgic and reminisce on how bad it was, and how happy we are to no longer be at that point in our lives where we're watching it. If Tree of Life was mediocre and undercooked, this is a snapshot into the mind of a schizophrenic.

Line up the 35 critics who liked this movie. Shoot them.

Speaking of undercooked movies made by schizophrenics, Upstream Color made about 100 top ten lists. Pretty, but pure tedium with an overreaching, daft story. You know how boring you'd have to be to (pretend to) like this movie? Well, boring enough to create a Top 10 of the year movie list.

And I just saw American Hustle. I can't be surprised when a movie about fakers and hustlers is equally shallow. Its praise reminded me of the laughable scenario where Argo actually won best picture for its entirely fabricated story where Hollywood saves the day. That's like masturbating to a video of you masturbating. And then recording it and giving yourself an Oscar.

That's the sum of this stuff. Go down the Best Picture list and you'll find nothing fun. Here's some advice: solemnity does not a great movie make. The ability to make an audience cringe or cry is a useless skill if you can't also evoke joy, hope or laughter. And lastly, don't love me by pointing out wrongs and depicting torture. That's a defensive measure. Love me by doing right by being entertaining and depicting self-righteous men that snap the necks of anyone opposing morality.

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