Sunday, May 31, 2009

Please, Make Them Stop

So, Buffy-less Buffy sounds like a terrible idea, but it'll probably never happen. And Heathers 2 is utterly superfluous, but what else are Winona Ryder and Christian Slater going to do? But now we have an Alien prequel on the horizon, because apparently neither Alien: Resurrection nor the two Alien vs. Predator movies were bad enough, and at this point I just have to wonder: if I take a ten year break from contemporary blockbusters, will there actually be enough decent original material at its end to fill up a weekend?

Oh well, at least the Toy Story 3 teaser looks promising.

14 comments:

Jakob Schmidt said...

Marx was certainly right on that one: history keeps repeating itself as farce.

Lazygal said...

I'm waiting for Grease 5 v. HSM 10. After which, the spaceships land...

Seriously, this is exactly why I rarely go to the movies. Why waste $10+ on crap that either came from crap (Buffy-the-movie) or shouldn't be a sequel (Heathers) or is a retread of an original (Fame)?

Anonymous said...

Well at least the Alien prequel has Ridley Scott on board so it may not be that bad.

Abigail Nussbaum said...

I'm not so sure. Scott hasn't made a genuinely good film since Blade Runner 27 years ago. Plus, according to his IMDb page, he's producing more than a dozen films, so who knows what his influence on any one of them will amount to.

Andrew Stevens said...

He has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director three times since Blade Runner. Perhaps you don't care for Thelma and Louise, Gladiator, and Black Hawk Down (and I don't care for any of them either), but I would be hesitant to say they weren't genuinely good films even if they weren't to my taste.

Fair point about how much effect he'll have on the film, though.

Abigail Nussbaum said...

The academy having bestowed its highest honor on A Beautiful Mind, I feel perfectly justified in ignoring its judgement on what is or is not genuinely good.

(Thelma & Louise: energetic and anchored by charismatic actresses, but profoundly silly and only feminist in a way that makes me want to bang my head against the wall. Gladiator: as Skip the demon said, didn't love it. Lots of good parts - Connie Nielsen's earrings were absolutely gorgeous - making up a thoroughly unimpressive whole. Black Hawk Down: never saw it, don't want to.)

Raz Greenberg said...

It should be noted that Scott's last genre movie (as of now), the 1985 fantasy "Legend", turned out to be a beautifully accomplished film on its director's cut (released seven years ago, and still available on DVD). The full version really makes the characters compelling, gives the plot strong inner-logic and pacing, and with the help of Jerry Goldsmith's score really enhances the atmosphere of a dark fairy-tale the film was intended to be. Worth checking out.

Andrew Stevens said...

A Beautiful Mind seems a strange choice, unless you're mostly complaining that Fellowship should have won instead (I agree). Virtually every Oscar winner of the '90s bar Schindler's List and Silence of the Lambs (and maybe Unforgiven) was worse than A Beautiful Mind.

It's a highly flawed look at schizophrenia and it wasn't nearly as good as it should have been since Ron Howard is mediocre at best, but the scene of Nash's wife walking into his office full of newspaper clippings and post-it notes and arrows drawing connections is alone worth the price of admission.

Abigail Nussbaum said...

There are certainly worse and less deserving Oscar winners than A Beautiful Mind, but to my mind it represents the nadir of the academy's taste (at least for as long as I've been paying attention) because of its complete, all-encompassing mediocrity. There is no aspect of this film that is remarkable, original, or exceptionally well done (even the scene you mention is so familiar as to be trite). Every part of it is just good enough to pass muster, and buffed up to a deceptive shine with lots of money and prestigious names. And that piece of nothing won an Oscar, thus cementing the award's fundamental silliness.

Kyle said...

I stopped paying attention to the Academy Awards when they nominated Ghost. Ghost! One of the worst films ever produced. Ever!

An Alien prequel is unnecessary. Though the AvP movies have made money, they weren't worth the film they were printed on, and as big a fan of Ridley Scott as I am, it doesn't mean the movie will be any good. I dunno, maybe I'm just getting old.

Buffy without Joss, may as well be called Esmeralda the Vampire Slayer, just as silly sounding. All you have to do is put an axe in some young actresses hand, that's all they're looking for. I'll go back to the DVD, I don't think I could stand to see Vanessa Hudgens as a vampire slayer.

Besides, doesn't it just seem like they're trying to capitalize on the new current vampire craze?

But that's Hollywood for you.

Matt said...

Oh sure, there'll be plenty... Ah, who am I kidding? Even if they make one surprise original hit a year - at the end of 10 years you'll have time to watch them all in a weekend and still get some decent sleep.

Andrew Stevens said...

There is no aspect of this film that is remarkable, original, or exceptionally well done (even the scene you mention is so familiar as to be trite).

There are certainly similar scenes in film history - e.g., it's obviously inspired by The Shining's famous "All work and no play" scene. But if you're going to rip somebody off, Kubrick's the guy to rip off. I'm sure it had more resonance for me because my father's schizophrenia also manifested itself as graphomania and seeing patterns and conspiracies in everything. From the ages of six to ten, I grew up in a house decorated very similarly to Nash's office in that scene.

I largely agree with your assessment of the film, but I still think it's a curious choice. Does it really compare to Oliver! defeating The Lion in Winter and the un-nominated 2001, Greatest Show on Earth beating High Noon, Dances with Wolves beating Goodfellas, Forrest Gump beating Pulp Fiction, The English Patient beating Fargo, or for that matter How Green Was My Valley beating Citizen Kane and The Maltese Falcon?

The worst was 1979-1983 when the Academy gave successive awards to Kramer vs. Kramer over Apocalypse Now, Ordinary People over Raging Bull, Chariots of Fire (yes, the score was great) over Raiders of the Lost Ark, the oh-so-worthy Gandhi over E.T., and Terms of Endearment over The Right Stuff. It finally got one right in 1984 when Amadeus won, but was back to its old tricks in '85 when the dreadfully dull Out of Africa won.

Far be it for me to defend the Academy. The problem with the Academy is that its voting is dominated by actors. The Academy generally wouldn't know a good script if it bit them on the nose, but they generally are good judges of performance. What almost all of the aforementioned films have in common is good performances of fantastically dull or just plain terrible scripts.

Abigail Nussbaum said...

As I said, A Beautiful Mind is the worst choice since I've been paying attention, which I'm sorry to say is much later than any of the examples you give. I think the first Oscar ceremony I can remember watching or at least being aware of was the one that gave the prize to Schindler's List, possibly because that was the first time I'd seen a nominated film.

That said, I think A Beautiful Mind overshadows your examples because it isn't an unworthy win for triumphing over a better film (Fellowship should have won, of course, but that's not what aggravates me) but unworthy in and of itself. Had it been the strongest film in its category, it still would have been a poor choice.

stu willis said...

The film industry has been recycling material since its inception. Sometimes it results in good movies (Heat), sometimes it results in awful movies (King Kong).

But its not going to stop.

Why should it?

Cultural amnesia exists, so why not capitalise on it? Retelling stories to fit the contemporary milieu?

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