There was a great South Park episode (Season 15 episode 7 – ‘You’re Getting Old’) where one of the characters growing cynicism for everyone and everything around him saw him being alienated by his friends becuase he thought everything was ‘shit’. It was nice to see something that I could relate to so accurately.
The music everyone was listening to, the movies they had to watch, the computer games they were playing and even the ice cream they were eating was ‘shitty’. Eventually, the doctor diagnosed him with being ‘a cynical asshole’.
I couldn’t figure out if Trey Parker and Matt Stone were trying to make a statement that the music the kids, specifically the “tweens,” are listening to today is crap, or if those who don’t like it and condemn it are just a bunch of cynical old fools. I guess that’s what the creators of South Park do best. Make some biting cultural comments, some of it subtle, but most of it in an ‘in your face’ kinda way, crass, crude, thought-provoking and most of all – funny.
I just love the biting cynicism of the show and everyone they make fun of. Of course, I understand that some people will think it’s just adolescent toilet humour, produced by guys who’ve not grow up yet and they’d probably be right. But that’s just the point.
If you’ve ever had the misfortune to sit through a Rob Schneider movie (there are plenty more examples) then you’ll know just how unbelievably bad they are? Shitty is just the tip of the iceberg.
Here’s a round-up of a few movies that I’ve seen of late. Well, the past couple of months at least. Cynicism and all…
Black Swan – The first of a 3-in-a-row movie nights at home with the Mrs and it wasn’t worth any of the hype. In fact, I’d go as far to say that it bored me from the begining to the end. I couldn’t work out if I was to feel scared, sympathetic, worried or whatever else about the characters. With the exception of Vincent Cassel as the sleazy ballet company director, the rest of the characters left me feeling empty. It was billed as a psychological thriller and I’m still waiting on either of those genres to show up. For all the hype and expectation ( I didn’t really know what to expect before watching) I felt it was 2 hours of pretentious navel-gazing. Definately non-thrilling, really annoying and another example of style over substance. Redeeming features? It was nicely shot.
We’d ordered these movies through the pay-per-view option on our TV, and I thought this would be the one that I’d really hate. How wrong can you be? Well, in my case – a lot. Not being a huge fan of the monarchy, I had this vision of Chumley-Warner types, plummy-voiced, in-bred Germanic stereotypes talking down to the common man. Hey, I was right! But the film really was entertaining, quite touching and Geoffrey Rush was excellent as speech therapist. It wasn’t so much that the stereotypical portrayal of the Royal Family was a bit OTT (Guy Pearce really should be in pantomime with a performance like that – the King who abdicates), but I felt that the film showed some nice human touches in the relationship between the two leading characters. A surprise hit…
I’m a big Clint Eastwood fan, and some of the films he’s made in the last few years have been up there with the the best of his career (Gran Torino, Flags Of Our Fathers/Letters From Iwojima, Changeling) in my opinion. However, Hereafter, despite a realistic opening sequence fails to deliver. It’s a really disappointing film, despite an interesting premise it just fails to deliver on any fronts. If you’re struggling to sleep it would definately help you on the way.
Inside Job, or sometimes also known as “what those corrupt bastards did with YOUR money”, is an interesting, thought-provoking, in-depth documentary detailing financial corruption in the United States by the banking industry. It’s a bit long, but it’s incredibly detailed, as a lot of complex facts are explained in a simple yet straight-forward manner, but if you stick with it ’til the end then be rewarded with an in intelligent, analysis of the banking crisis and all that ensued. Matt Damon narrates.
Sword and Sandals
The Eagle (based on the historical novel ‘The Eagle of The Ninth’) is not a bad film despite having the dull, insipid and wooden lead provided by Channing Tatum (which sounds like something you’d order a case of in a health food store), but Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot) is very good as the Pict slave Esca, ordered to serve his master Marcus Flavius Aquila as they hunt for the lost eagle standard of the ninth legion. A lot of the movie was filmed in Scotland, giving it a very grey, green, grainy, damp feel to it, but the movie does very well not to resort to the over-excessive use of CGI that we see so often these days. There are lots of scary Scottish types in it too.
Another movie with the same subject as the previous entry. This time it’s a bit more brutal, violent, gory and we see just how many ways there are to die at the hands of the Picts. It’s directed by Neil Marshall (who directed the excellently scary The Descent and features a bit more of an all-star cast, but it still falls a bit short of the mark. It’s all a bit run-of-the-mill, you don’t get to empathize or relate to the characters, and it’s all a bit rushed.
When I see Matthew Mahogany’s name next to a movie I instinctively think “shitty”. He’s synonymous for making shit films of all shapes and sizes. I remember seeing the eye-bleedingly dreadful Failure To Launch on a long distance flight and wondering who thought it would be a good idea to make this pile of shit, and when you see how much it took at the box office ($128 Million), it beggars belief.
Thankfully, TLL is a decent thriller and Mahogany provides a likable lead character. It’s not going to rip up any trees, but it’s quite well acted and provides decent entertainment for your 2 hours. Just stop making those shitty romantic comedies, OK?
Which takes us nicely back to some cynicism. If you go to see this, give them your heard-earned cash (or in some cases maybe not so hard-earned?), then we’re all doomed. Al Pacino? Come on! No doubt it’ll rake in fortunes at the box office. Tell me it’s not shitty.
I’m a bit ambivalent about the new ‘rise of The Planet of The Apes’ movie. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t…You could say it’s all been done before, but that would be cynical of me.