26 July 2008

movies and shakers

I don't really like films. Normally when I say this someone (most likely Tiptoe or Ringo) interrupts me and starts arguing the point. I'm pretty sure that Tiptoe is safely back in the UK (somewhere in Cambridgeshire in fact) working at the bar of the Secret Garden Party after roaming around Europe, and that Ringo is sitting comfortably in London. Nonetheless I still wouldn't be that surprised if one of them came bursting in here to prise my fingers away from the keys so that I can't explain that I don't really like films. I've bolted the door though, so I think I might just get away with it.

Obviously I do like some films, love them even. My favourite films list isn't exactly empty. However, overall I just don't see myself as a filmic person- I think that it's partly because it wasn't really a huge part of my childhood. I haven't seen most 'classic' films, whether they're the ones you see in your childhood or just the ones "everyone" has seen like the original Star Wars films or Jaws. The ones that I have gotten around to seeing, such as Edward Scissorhands or Hallowe'en, I saw aeons later than everyone else in the world, and often involuntarily. Movies just haven't been a large part of my life, and it isn't that surprising when you consider how crappy so many of them are, and that when I was a child I had awful hearing a lot of the time, and there weren't a lot of subtitles floating about.

I'd also like to add that I prefer TV shows (and books). Obviously there are a hell of a lot of terrible shows, but since I don't own a TV I only end up picking and choosing the things that I really want to watch, and I get to enjoy watching real character development and intricate, evolving story arcs- in a way that you don't really get in a film.

As an older person I have given way a little. My hearing is better anyway, and there's a greater abundance of subtitles. I'm able to pick and chose what I want to watch a lot more thanks to the glory of the internet and the ease of access to international cinema (so there's a bit more choice between rubbish Hollywood blockbusters # 1, 2 and 3). Still, I'm not a film person- even if I do get watch-y a lot more than I used to. There's so many films that I do want to get around to watching (crap, I forgot to pack Cool Hand Luke after I went to all the trouble to copy it before I left, maybe someone can find it and post it to me?), but they're going to have to take a back seat to all the books and shows on my list.

Having said all that you might be almost as confused as me as to why I thought that watching Hancock would be a good plan.

Redeeming features of Hancock:

1) It had Will Smith in it. As a child of the 90s (the 1990s in point of fact) that's almost enough for me. I have an unabashed love of Will Smith (and of course I know every word to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air rap). I've sat through some fairly craptastic films for him: the Men in Black sequel; the Bad Boys sequel; the unforgivably bad Wild Wild West (at least it did have Selma in it too). Hancock did at least have him being grouchy and drunk, which was fun.

2) It had Charlize Theron in it being pretty. I especially loved how she got all vamped up to go confront Hancock in his trailer.

3) Korean adverts are awesome, especially on the big screen! An advert for soju inexplicably involved a load of girls in silver dancing around to Baby Got Back. I think I laughed more at that than at the film...

Seriously, not a very good film. The transition between scenes was sloppy, the dialogue wasn't very good and Jason Bateman's character was incredibly annoying. It was a simplistic plot (a superhero who nobody likes) that could have been executed well but wasn't. On top of that, for some inexplicable reason, there was another, unnecessary, layer of plot- which could have worked if it had been properly explained. It transpired that Hancock and Mary were actually gods of some kind who had been 'made' for each other, but couldn't exist as superheroes together. You can't just throw a completely random mythology into a film about two thirds of the way through and fail to explain it properly! Mary also tells Hancock that "they" kept attacking her to get at him, but doesn't ever explain who "they" are! It was completely ludicrous.

The ending was completely unsatisfactory and stupid as well. Plus the basic plot of the film seemed to have a Grease tinged feel: if people don't like you, you should change yourself. I ask you, what kind of message is that to give to perfectly nice alcoholic superheroes? It's despicable!

Hancock did at least make me laugh, if only at how bad it was. It also made me re-evaluate my whinging about the last couple of films I watched back in London (before my filmic forays on the planes), Southland Tales and Innocence. Although I felt that both of these were flawed, in comparison to trashy Hollywood tripe they suddenly seemed brilliant!

Southland Tales was Richard Kelly's follow up to Donnie Darko, a film which I liked but wasn't raving over with the rest of the world (although I did like the physics geekery). Southland Tales had a lot of good ideas (including some more physics geekery in fact, and an absolutely fantastic sequence involving Justin Timberlake singing All These Things That I've Done), but it was a sprawling mess. I think it had a lot of production issues, but still I think that it's something that has to be watched to be believed, it's just so random. I also don't understand how Kelly thought his film would be taken seriously with The Rock in one of the lead roles. In fact having Sean William Scott, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Justin Timberlake, Mandy Moore and Bai Ling in other leading roles doesn't exactly help, even if I personally have nothing but love for SMG, JT and MM. What I really don't get though, is having Janeane Garofalo in your film for about half a second, without any dialogue. Why would you do that? I believe that her role had to be cut from the film for some reason or other, but I'm really not happy about it!

Innocence, on the other hand, was a tight, controlled film but it was also incredibly slow, slower than an episode of Days of Our Lives, something which I really can't stand in a film. It certainly was beautifully shot, but then again so was Brokeback Mountain, and that wasn't exactly all that and a packet of kettle chips. It was certainly an interesting film, but the slow pace coupled with the fact that there was no actual resolution irritated me. I don't think I would have minded the ambiguity so much if I hadn't had the sense throughout the film that there was an eventual conclusion to come to. However, I'd certainly be interested to read the novella that inspired it and I have a sort of grudging appreciation of the ambiguity (even if I didn't actually like it myself) because it neatly leaves several different interpretations open.

Here's something which suits my attention span better, and happily combines my love of Avenue Q, Supernatural, the internet and porn. Sadly there's no actual porn, but should you want to find some, the internet is for porn (especially in China and South Korea apparently).


Naomi Penn said...

I too was left cold by Hancock. I thought the premise sounded really intriguing, and the Deputy Reviews editor I worked under at Heat personally recommended it. She seemed to be rather picky about films (not wanting to watch Sex and the City and Wall-E for example), so I thought that was quite a good sign. I agree with all your points -- it was simply ludicrous. It really could have been great though, if they'd put a bit more thought into it. Why why why with all that money did they end up with that.

Go watch Wall-E -- I can promise you'll like it better than Hancock! Hehe.

Miss Anne Throp'ist said...

I can't believe that someone who thinks they have even a modicum of taste in films recommended Hancock. It's just so bad! Silly film squandering the stars and its potential...

I don't think Wall-E is out here yet, but I might try to check it out when it is...

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