Friday, November 08, 2013

Opinions: The New Facts

So, the latest announcements went like this: JJ Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan are going to take over as writers on Star Wars. The reaction: Michael Arndt's script was GENIUS and JJ hated it so much that he threatened to walk off the project. He is a hack. Kasdan hasn't written anything worthwhile in years. The verdict: IT WILL SUCK.

The new Jack Ryan reboot, which I didn't even know existed until about a month ago and am DELIGHTED because Hunt For Red October is one of the best action/thrillers in modern times AND this one is being directed by Kenneth Branagh WHO is in it AND plays the Russian bad guy, has been delayed from its Christmas release date to sometime in January. The reaction: It just looks like a dumb old-fashioned, stodgy movie for your parents and who wants to see something that's just like some dumb thriller with action in it? Some guy in the comments section "heard" that it wasn't tracking well, or the studio was confused by it, or whatever. The verdict: IT MUST SUCK.

Almost Human, the new show from J.H. Wyman (Fringe, YOU ARE WELCOME), has been moved two weeks from November 4th. The reaction: It's just derivative anyway and Fringe sucked and Star Trek vomit and then it will have an ending like Lost. The verdict: IT MUST SUCK.

Now, it would be one thing if that was all just in the comments of media blogs, but no. There must be a syndrome, as yet unnamed, where a blogger who gets paid to write shit goes, "Hmm. I write about this stuff, therefore I thoroughly understand how it works." Because otherwise, I don't get it. The funny thing about Star Wars is how furious people are that JJ Abrams took the script away from Michael Arndt (and yes, I understand that a lot of this has to do with the fact that JJ Abrams is the DEVIL, because scripts are taken away all the time). Which is what happens when a director comes in after the writer has been hired. Furthermore, Abrams attempted to clarify his reasons, which anyone who's ever been on staff would understand: We simply don't have time to give notes. We're at the point where we need to cut out the middle step of giving the writer another draft. Nobody's being treated poorly here. This is how the business works. And moving release dates is how the business works. Good grief, people. Everything isn't a conspiracy to cover up how bad something is. Also a little known fact: Nobody even released movies from January through March until Hunt For Red October made a shitload of money in an early March release. There IS no wasteland anymore, just like there aren't television seasons anymore. The world is on all the time now.

The psychology of the Internet, of course, means that if your default is "That thing is bad," then you don't have to defend that. So I get why they all start from the "That thing is bad" premise. Criticism means being CRITICAL, not being specific and smart about why something worked. But there are actual media critics and TV critics who balance their opinion of a thing with a bigger global point of view. While I don't think these folks are always, or frequently, successful at this, at least they know enough to make the effort. And sometimes, they write really terrific stuff. But these media blogs are just some person's opinion, couched in journalism. So sometimes I think that THEY think they are doing hard-hitting news, when they're just being dicks.
While it's one thing to be a dick and do that BEFORE a thing is out, it's a whole other bizarre step to do it when something IS out, which happened with my Least Favorite Media Critic, who will not be named but writes for io9, and Beware the Batman.

Cartoon Network decided to pull the show and hold it for sometime next year. Which, apparently, is something they have done many times before. Which, also apparently, one could find out if one wanted to. But if one is only interested in getting people to add a hearty "HELL'S YEAH, MATEY!" to one's completely uninformed pile of crap, then why bother? So this particular fellow wondered exactly how bad a show had to be to get pulled from the schedule, and then somewhat proudly admitted that he hadn't seen an episode. So why, exactly, is someone writing about something he hasn't seen? Who runs this Goddam nuthouse? I don't know how things work at io9, so I won't presume to know if there's an editor or someone along those lines (although given how fast and furious the inferences are flying, I may as well), but shouldn't SOMEONE say, "Um, dude? SEE THE GODDAM THING BEFORE YOU CALL IT AWFUL."

I suppose part of this involves the fact that there is so much information out there, and when one can gather information, one feels that one is knowledgeable about said information. Which simply isn't true. Seeing a casting breakdown, for example, doesn't make you a casting director or a TV producer. Being a casting director or a TV producer does.

See how that works?

Incidentally, I want to say one thing about Star Wars. What I personally like about JJ Abrams making this movie is that seeing Star Wars in the theater was a huge inspiration for him. That's back in 1977, children, before anybody truly knew what it was. And for all the film snobs rolling eyes and drawing breath to blather on about how much Star Wars sucks and if you were inspired by it then you have no business making movies, go away. I'm not talking to you. So don't even say a thing.

I don't think you can understand the film's impact on kids unless you were one of those kids who saw the movie in 1977. Abrams isn't only inspired by the film, but by what surrounded it. Seeing Star Wars in 1977 was an experience that simply hadn't existed prior to that. There are precious few people anymore who really, truly grok what it's like when the lights go down in a theater and the movie starts. No seriously, it's a completely different experience now. But it wasn't back then. And if you want, you can gladly slot in any filmmaker who was inspired by Star Wars in that way. I really don't care who. The identity of said filmmaker isn't the point, so stop with your lens flare bullshit, okay? For the first time, we have somebody making a Star Wars movie who was a kid seeing it in 1977. I can't wait to see what he does with it.

There's a whole other nuclear screed about fandom that I almost included here but will instead make its own post, because that one might be a bit on the long side.

How fun that this was a short post though, right?


Albert Muller said...

I regret to inform you that you are wrong, Miss Kay -- a short post is fun?!? Boo! Some of us have been waiting over a MONTH for another post! Of course, I forgive you...after all, you do have a life, and a career doing what some of us only aspire to. I guess I am merely cranky at being made to wait for my digital crack. :)

In the usual, you make some fine, honest points. I'm not sure how you feel about Devin Faraci -- he seems to love movies, but personally I feel that he's a smarmy prick about it* -- but I saw a retweet of his when the SW news broke. It said Arndt had been replaced for "the guy who wrote REGARDING HENRY and the guy who wrote DREAMCATCHER." Cherry-picking resumes like that, well...I'M sure inspired! I imagine when he's feeling sore about John Huston maybe he refers to him as "that fucking hack who directed ANNIE." What an ass.

Anyway, looking forward to your long post soon!

* I have had no need for Mr. Faraci since this last summer when he wrote the STID was a stupid movie, and if you liked it, you are a moron. Not liking a movie is okay. Hell, hate it -- doesn't bother me. But call me stupid because I like it? From that point on, you can kiss my ass. Sigh. And he's generally regarded as one of the GOOD ones. Whatever.

Ian Tregillis said...

Also a little known fact: Nobody even released movies from January through March until Hunt For Red October made a shitload of money in an early March release.

Fascinating! I vividly remember seeing HFRO in the theater, but I don't remember how it used to be back then.

Brian said...

It seems to me that those on the internet who behave as you describe simply don't have the capacity to assess art & entertainment in a smart & knowledgeable way. All they know how to do is tear something down and this is probably how they treat everything in their respective lives, i.e. "my job sucks", "my boss is an asshole", "my girlfriend is a nag", "everything everywhere just sucks and everyone is stupid except me". etc etc.

Our culture currently thrives on this and most of our comedy is derived from it as well. Many, at least those who don't actually create anything themselves, seem to find it much more funny to simply poke holes in every creative endeavor. They think it makes them appear clever and unaffected by it all, as if they can always see past The Wizard to The Man Behind The Curtain and are never fooled. In reality, I think it stems from severe insecurities and anger - maybe at the world, maybe their own perceived shortcomings, but it always manifests itself by knocking down someone else's achievement.