Thursday, May 3, 2012

Triumph of the Fanboys

Pauline Kael awaits buried in a mountain
and will come back to us in our time of
greatest need. We'll forgive her what
she said about Shoah
When a film like The Avengers gets a 97% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes you know the culture has effectively surrendered. And surrendered to the worst people in the world: 13 year old boys. The Avengers is a terrible movie: clunky and unfunny and oh so dull but Empire loves it, Peter Travers raves about it and even dear old Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian is afraid to speak against it, lest they think he's a fuddy duddy or something. The only major critic who (I've found) is brave enough to appear unhip and castigate the thing as a childish mess is Karina Longworth who is fighting the good fight over at The Village Voice. Here's a typical review from The Boston Globe, money quote "there is nothing to dislike in this movie".
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The thing is I'm a geek too. I know my Star Wars and my Marvel heroes. I can debate Alan Moore or 2000AD or Sandman with the best of them. I've watched the 2 hour review of Phantom Menace on Redlettermedia and I think the best sitcom of the last decade was Spaced. A non geek can read Blood Meridian and think of John Ford, a geek will obsess over the scene where the Judge makes gunpowder just like Kirk does in the classic Trek ep. Arena; so I'll match my nerd credentials against anyone, but crucially I don't think nerdom is all there is. I'm excited by a movie like Fish Tank or a play like Jerusalem or a book like The Art of Fielding. You know, grown up stuff. 
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I predict that when the final Christian Bale Batman film comes out the critics will lie supine before Christopher Nolan's "genius", but you shouldn't listen to them and get taken in by another awful, boring low IQ comic book movie. The reviewers are either too emotionally retarded and cinematically illiterate to know what a good film consists of or too cowardly to tell the truth about what they're seeing. After believeing the reviews of The Avengers and walking out of that shitefest on toast all I can do is to urge you not to listen to the slavish, boot licking reviews for the flick. The Avengers is not a film for adults. It's a film for teenage boys and those unaccustomed to wit or the deep end of the swimming pool. Joss Whedon is not a good director, and you know what, while we're at it, Christopher Nolan is not a good director either.
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Will the adults ever revolt and demand grown up fare in the multiplexes as well as in the arthouses? I doubt it. It's socially acceptable to be a 45 year old 13 year old. Look at the trajectory of Quentin Tarantino's career. After he made Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown everyone thought he was going to make grown up films from then on, but since then he has gone back to making flicks for 13 year olds and of course they have been hugely profitable. 
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A few critics still look back to the early 70's and say hey how come we don't make movies like that anymore, but they are lone voices crying in the wilderness and no doubt soon they too will be coopted by the 13 year old boy bodysnatchers.