You are viewing a read-only archive of the Blogs.Harvard network. Learn more.

Just Give Us the Money Shot

I forgot to mention that I saw The Day After Tomorrow this weekend. I guess it says something that I was so unmoved by it that it didn’t seem worth mentioning. Except to say that I wish Roland Emmerich would give up on trying to string together a shaky excuse for a narrative to pad his special effects. It would be better if it were just a bunch of images of disaster. That’s all we’re there to see anyway. It’s like porn directors trying to string together a narrative around the sex scenes. Waste of time. Someone who was so flabbergasted by the lameness of the narrative wanted to argue that the lameness was intentional–a comment on the lameness of Hollywood action flicks–but I don’t think that’s the case. I think it’s just half-ass. Emmerich may know it’s half-ass, but I don’t think he’s trying to make any statement with that half-ass-edness. I think that’s way too generous.

And what does that title even mean? Nonsense.

8 Responses to “Just Give Us the Money Shot”

  1. guy
    June 9th, 2004 | 6:21 pm

    there seems to be this strong commercial pull towards some movies that everyone knows will suck, but that make people who are otherwise the most intelligent and distinguishing critics go watch them. like “the matrix reloaded”.

    what is it in these movies that makes you ‘have to see them’. you know they’ll be bad, and you still feel that you can’t not see it. does marketing work that well?

  2. cynthia rockwell
    June 9th, 2004 | 6:31 pm

    i wouldn’t say anyone feels they “have to” see these films, it’s more a matter of being comfortable with discerning the difference between escapist entertainment and art. a roller coaster is a roller coaster, and if i’m in the mood for a thrill ride i’m not going to turn my nose up at it because it’s not intellectually edifying.

    that said, i never had any intention of seeing this film, but it was suggested as a group outing and i wasn’t going to refuse on the grounds that i knew the film would suck. if a film sucks you can still talk about it afterward as much as if it were great. and i haven’t seen matrix reloaded, but if a friend asked me to see it, i’d go.

  3. guy
    June 9th, 2004 | 7:18 pm

    don’t get me wrong, i’m all for cheap thrills and roller coaster rides. but was that one? sounds like a lame ride.

    friends, of course, are always reason to go out. i would go see american pie 4 if my friends asked me out.

  4. cynthia rockwell
    June 9th, 2004 | 7:22 pm

    it was a very lame ride except for the 20 minutes or so altogether of disaster special effects. that’s why i say emmerich should just cut out his half-ass attempts at narrative. the special effects were a fun spectacle, but there was too much crap in between disaster scenes.

  5. guy
    June 9th, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    alright…here’s another question, which might be worth a whole nother post:

    if a movie would advertise itself as 90 minutes of special effects with no story. just like that : 9 10-minute long extreme high-production-value effect sequences, would we go?

  6. cynthia rockwell
    June 9th, 2004 | 9:54 pm

    hmm…i wonder. i think a whole 90 minutes might be too much…but since it’s never been done i’m not sure. bruce connor made short films of nothing but disaster footage in the 1960s, but they were experimental and not mass marketed…i don’t know. i have a feeling people would indeed go to see it. but it’s probably prohibitively expensive to make such a film. $125 million for a film that has 20 minutes of special effects, how much would 90 minutes cost?

  7. snjoseph
    June 10th, 2004 | 1:24 pm

    I’m always hostile to “maybe the lameness is a comment on lameness” argument; it’s a crappy postmodern excuse for making shitty movies. I always get in arguments about this kind of thing.

    ME: God, what a shit movie.

    OTHER: I thought it was OK.

    ME: Are you mad? No it wasn’t. It was predictable, hammy, and stupid.

    OTHER: Yeah, but I think it was aware of all those things.

    ME: It certainly wasn’t a secret.

    OTHER: No, I mean, since it’s self-aware of its badness, it’s really commenting on bad movies.

    ME: What’s the comment? That it’s possible under the present socioeconomic system to make bad movies? I think I already knew that. I’d rather spend money on a bad movie that the director thought was good than get ripped off by someone who’s openly selling me crap.

  8. cynthia rockwell
    June 10th, 2004 | 4:04 pm

    well, i think it’s a point that can be made, but certainly a shallow one that needs be made no more than once…about 50 years ago by brecht or somebody like that. but it loses its effectiveness when done over and over and over and then merely becomes the new overused trope.