So it’s been a little bit since I had a real post. And it will be even longer than that.
Through no fault of their own, movie critics have a shelf life and eventually become horribly gnarled little cynics who are useless, because they hate movies. They can’t enjoy enjoyable films, they can only enjoy the most startlingly original works or the weirdest shit they can find…why? It’s really quite simple: Movie Critic should not be a job. One shouldn’t take something one likes and O.D. on it, and then tell people your opinions about the normal experience of said thing. Reading a movie critic’s opinion of a movie is like force-feeding a fat man mountains of every type and quality level of food for YEARS, and then asking him how his hamburger is. It’s awful. Of course it’s awful. You know how many hamburgers he’s eaten? You know how many ways there are to make hamburger? Like 5. He’s eaten like a million burgers, and eventually, they all just suck. Eventually, the only thing you can stand is “different” — the monkey brain patte in a light trouffle oil on a bed of llama cheese grits will be amazing, if only because it’s not a hamburger or pizza or a bag of chips.
There’s a review I read awhile back that was reposted for the DVD market recently that upsets me to no end that I must address.
It amazes me how blind to themselves critics can be, although, when I think about it, I suppose that’s the main reason they aren’t simply writers. One has to be painfully honest, particulary to oneself about oneself. Critics do not appear self-aware, so much as self-deceitful, which only produces art that doesn’t know why it isn’t worthwhile, like Hitler’s dog. It looks like a dog, so he’s good at drawing. But who wants to see a drawing of a dog, Adolf?
Repo is not a good movie. It is not Slumdog Millionaire, it is not There Will Be Blood, it’s not even 28 Days Later or Boogie Nights. It’s an awesome movie, like Rocky Horror Picture Show or Big Trouble in Little China or Hudson Hawk or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It’s not meant for mass consumption; it’s meant for one specific audience to find and love the shit out of it, and I hope that it does.
I say critics aren’t self-aware, because they like to bring up Rocky Horror in their scathing reviews of Repo, saying it doesn’t even match up to the cult classic way of Rocky Horror, which is like saying “Repo doesn’t have a specific audience that a general audience knows about.” Repo has an audience, it just isn’t 30-something blog critics. It’s actually pretty obvious from the trailer, the soundtrack, the title, the cast, and the subject matter, all of which were available before entering the theater. This is for people who like wearing black. This is for people who like Buffy, specifically Once More, with Feeling. This is for people who love Jesus Christ Superstar even though they aren’t Christian. This is for Rocky Horror fans.
Rocky Horror Picture Show was a disaster when released. Critics panned it and people who walked in expecting something broad received something specific and walked out. Now that it’s a cult classic, critics, particularly younger ones, have it as a part of their movie-going background noise. Rocky has accumulated respect over the years, so now it isn’t horrible, because we were raised on it. But all those things can be said of Repo. I honestly believe there will be a generation brought up that will recognize Repo‘s orginality and postmodernism accurately. Cults are built over time, and if you don’t like the movie, then you’re not part of the club. That’s all I wanted you to get when you write a review. But people who aren’t allowed into clubs tend to get a little snippy when they talk about said club, even if it was a bunch of people they wouldn’t hang out with usually. I get that. Also, I get how no one wants to like a movie with the Hilton in it, and if you walk in with prejudice, it is very, very easy to hate this movie. But if you let it in, you will be loved by it.
Cult is just that — it doesn’t find you, you find it. But in return, you don’t have to get it. It gets you, it got you before you walked in, and is giving you what you want. Repo does that — it gives people who love WTF casting, musicals, Industrial music, and humorous horror movies with tons of fake blood exactly what they’ve been waiting for. And some who only like a couple of those things.
There have been many bad reviews, and you don’t need me to tell you that any critic who says the words, “Worst movie ever made,” doesn’t deserve his job, simply because it implies he did not see Plan 9 from Outer Space or Ishtar, or possibly thinks those movies were good and not in that awesome way. Plus, he actually thinks there’s a “worst movie ever made.”
Here’s what I don’t understand, and what is actually the patently stupid part of the review I was telling you about. Paraphrasing: Repo touts itself as daring and original, but all of its parts, all of them (he then lists “rock opera (Tommy), horror musical (Sweeney Todd), gory slash-fest (Dead Alive), killer surgeons (Dr. Giggles), even dystopian future (Blade Runner)” as examples) have been done before. Of course they have, jackass. But they haven’t been done together, asshole. I dare you to name a gorefest dystopian slasher metal opera with killer surgeons. Go on, I’ll wait.
You do understand that ideas don’t just come from thin air, right? Tell me you understand this. You do get that “originality” comes from combining pre-existing ideas, tropes, archetypes, plot elements, in ways that we haven’t seen before. Let’s go into a couple of these examples, shall we? dystopian future (1984), rebelling robots who may be developing human traits (any robot movie ever), film noir (Maltese Falcon). Does this mean that Blade Runner had been done before? No. No one had done a dystopian future noir with all the tropes of a Bogart movie (including the voice over which, despite Scott’s objections, reinforces the detective story by simply existing) and all of the tropes of a robot movie. Original. Samurai movies and space movies and movies about farmkids getting into adventures and The Odyssey and Lord of the Rings had all been done, but Star Wars was original because it was something we’d never seen before — all of those things put together.
So, Westerworld is an alternate world in an independently published children’s series, and out of respect for the author (not fear of legal ramification), I’m changing the name to Underland, an Underworld/Wonderland pun.
It’s coming along nicely, if slowly. Two Rabbits and Allison are great foils for one another, and I’ve come up with some Gaimanish ideas already. Law of Ironies is an immeasurable source of material.
“I Was a Teen-age Prom Queen!” RealmsCon rough cut is online on Veoh.com on my Channel 23. It got a very good reaction at the Con, according to Matt and Des.
It’s The Teen Age Waste Land, it’s pretty much finished. It’ll be here, and on Amazon.com when I’m done proofreading it. The same goes for The Divine Apathy.
Production on I Was a Teenage Prom Queen! (or: The Girl Who Ate Prom!) begins in the end of January. I’m dotting my fingers and crossing my eyes that the people I have surrounded myself with on this project are reliable and that I can get this done in a quick manner, in time for the next festival circuit.
I love you all, and remember, suicide rates are highest during the holiday season, but that’s because this is solstice, and you want to die and rise again three days later, like the sun does from the 23rd-25th or so, so just ignore those pesky messianic thoughts. You’re not that important.