Tuesday, 18 September 2012

An Idiot Realises The World Is The Fool And Why It's All Judge Dredd And Louis C.K's Fault

“You just don't get it”. Damn the person who invented this argument. It cuts as deep into a conversation as a sharp ballpoint pen pushed harshly into soft white paper, stabbing at any preceding sentence with its bitter finality. It's a killer of conversations. It shares its place as cutting statements with “I find that quite offensive”, “What? I'm not pregnant” and “My husband actually died quite recently”. The really grating thing about all these responses is that there's nothing particularly wrong with any of them. They all have gravity for a reason. The latter ones I now realize in my attempt to find any sentences which can end a conversation in a funny and recognizable way all have one problem, that they can only be spoken when you've done something wrong in some way. You made a poor call of judgement.

So what's the worst thing about the claim that “you just didn't get it”. Well it shifts the blame. You may dislike something for completely fair reasons, the thing you're talking about may be boring or unintelligible or poorly constructed. Regardless of this however, this sentence can be cracked out not only to defend any piece of work, but irritatingly, shift all the problems being laid on the work, off of the work itself and back on to you. For instance I love the Garry Marshall Rom Com 'The Other Sister'. For those of you who recognize none of those words, then it's a film from the director of 'Pretty Woman' that just watches the pointless relationship between two young mentally handicapped adults. It's offensive, never even attempts to explain what condition either have aside from occasional bouts of kookiness and there are literally no consequences or anything of meaning that occurs in its two hour running time, which is way too long for what it is. Yet, I've seen that film about 20 times and it never gets old for me.

The Diagnosis: Bad Acting

During exam time ever since my GCSEs I will put that film on and I'll watch it most nights during the exam period, and without fail on the night before each exam. It's the most relaxing, simple film imaginable and without fail it'll make me cry at two parts of it, one of which is due to Ronan Keating's rendition of 'Nothing at all'. I hate a lot of things, but this film, melts all that away. I have no idea why. But as much as I love this film, if someone ever sees it and tells me that it was the worst film experience of their lives, I can only agree. It's a dreadful film for all the reasons stated earlier. I just like it for arbitrary chemical reasons which I will never understand. What I will never claim in its defence is that they don't get it. They get it, and what it was, was shit.

This Is What No Research Looks Like

But on to what annoyed me this week, because I have no suitable coping mechanism, meaning that I have to write stuff down and then post it on the internet. This week I ended up watching two mildly current things both from TV and film. My film of the week was 'Dredd 3D', which has the added shit stain of having 3D in the actual title and not just being a viewing option. The TV show was the hit FX show helmed by Louis C.K, 'Louie'. Two things I noticed about both of these things, which I will expand and defend later on, but for now this is gonna be bullet point stuff. Firstly, they were both pretty bad. Secondly, every other person on Earth seems to disagree with me on both these counts. Now I'm trying not to pose both of these problems in a “I'm the only sane person left on the planet” stance,but it kind of feels like it's gotten there. My concern is whether or not these things are just terrible and I'm right, or I must face the reality that like a moth struggles to understand why the squealing giant swipes at it so furiously, maybe it is beyond my ability to understand these films. Now I know I'm not a genius, hell, I may not even be smart, but I hope that if I can function in society on the most basic of levels, without killing anyone by accident or soiling myself, and maybe can even manage to read a book and not drown in the bath, then maybe I too can join the intellectual elite in understanding why Dredd 3D and Louie are so liked.

So lets assume that I'm not retarded for the sake of this whole thing. To narrow down what I mean by not liking these things, what I mean is that they seem to be the polar opposite of what everyone else seems to like them for. While watching Dredd, and I will admit I had been up for a day while watching it, what I saw was an action film that failed to entertain me. First off, the action was really boring for the most part, just people being dropped from a height, Dredd shooting bullets and aside from an explosion here and there or quite a colourful slo-mo section, there was really no excitement to the film. It just seemed to plod along, the normal action sequences only broken up by clunky dialogue, until it finally got to its ending, which is still one of the most boring and anticlimactic finales I've ever seen in an action film. The dialogue confused me in the sense that it was hilarious, but not because it was packed with great one liners, nor because it was basic and simple and this was really funny when compared to the situation of the characters, but just because it was mundane as hell. The situation the characters was in wasn't ridiculous enough to make the dialogue ironically funny and so it all just came off as just really pointless short conversations, with a sidekick just spouting exposition and then Judge Dredd simply replying “yes”. It just didn't come off as funny, but more rushed, with the crew wanting to film everything as quickly as they could. There were some segments where there was some good ultra violence: a crushed oesophagus and a smashed in face here and there, which were extreme and so enjoyable because the rest of the film sure as hell wasn't. But I appreciated that they'd gone for an 18 certificate with courage.

For any Game Of Thrones Fans, Hey Look It's Cersei
Those Scars On Her Face Seem To Have Been An Operation To Carve Out All Of Her Interesting Character Traits.
It Was A Success

The Dredd 3D reviews however are insane. And I mean insane. Remember that scene in 'Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull', when the bad Ukrainian lady has all the knowledge of the aliens pumped into her brain, and her inability to comprehend causes her to break down to an atomic level. I now know how she feels. But it didn't take all the secrets of the universe to cause that breakdown for me, it only took one simple fact to destroy my world; Dredd's rotten tomatoes rating is 90%. And the praise is monumental. From praising the action to how hilarious it is, on purpose, and generally seeing it as the second coming. I still stand that this is just an average action film, and although I don't know much about the comic book, if the comic book is a similarly mundane collection of gun fights then it may be a close adaptation, but it sure as hell isn't a good film.

Then there's Louie, a show which I've been watching from season 1, but only tonight decided to crack on and get through season 3, which I haven't been keeping up with. I'm up to episode 9 now and there just seems to be something missing. The first season was a great, mostly ignored gem of a sketch show, which had a take it or leave it attitude to episode and series arcs, leaving it as not completely a sitcom, but a strange hybrid between that and sketch comedy. Each segment or episode was just a slice of Louie's life as he deals with his failing, flabby body, his divorce, annoyed at his children and life in general. It was all classic Louis C.K material from his stand ups, but delivered through a laid back sketch comedy that was so easy to watch you could blast through a whole series no problem without even noticing the time fly by. That quality still remains, but what I have noticed is more drama seeping it's way into the show. This isn't a bad thing at all and the show has had and continues to have some incredibly poignant dramatic scenes that highlight the bitter-sweetness that is Louie's life, but there is certainly a change in the amount of comedy. I'm not sure if the comedy is just disappearing or getting more subtle but there are now incredibly long and pointless segments that only come across as completely self indulgent, but also end on literally nothing. 

What seems to have started out as a small sketch comedy, Louis now sees as a springboard to launch any random observation or half finished idea that he had that week and just cram it into that week's episode. The episode named 'Dad' is a particularly strange one (warning spoilers) as Louie meets his ridiculous, upper class uncle X to discuss why he hasn't seen his father. Louis then goes to see his father, but when he knocks the door of his father's house, he runs away in a scene where he just drives a lot of different vehicles from a three wheeled bike to a speed boat, with the episode ending with him watching a sunset while laughing to himself. Moments like this just seem like filler and a way for Louis to do something stupid instead of writing about something interesting. The whole sequence was overly long, self indulgent, but still seemed to be trying to make a point and seem dramatic, even though it just looked ham fisted and stupid.

 But check the critical reviews and the people love it. “I'm laughing before I even hear the punchline” says one critic, which I don't really get since there are no jokes, so either he's never laughing or just laughing all the time, which implies he's mental. Critics are praising it as hilarious and insightful, but there really isn't that much here other than just being very watchable. Louie is being treated like mind bending art when a lot of the time it really does just appear to be nothing. The show has become self indulgent, Louis seems to have gotten lazy in his story telling and generally just seems to fill air time with the show. The problem is that the show is very relaxing to watch, so maybe people are mistaking contentedness with actual content.

Both of these things have something in common though and that is that they are critically acclaimed releases for attributes which they don't seem to have. I understand that there is artistic licence and interpretation, but whatever happened to just being stupid. Whatever happened to people just being retarded and liking bad stuff. Must all opinions, even if they're the masses, be appreciated by default?

My overall point then is not one which I'll sum up because based on the fact I even wrote the article demonstrates what my point of view was anyway, but if anyone cares to have read all the way through this article, which is as shoddy and drawn out as a season 3 episode of Louie; is there a point where the argument of “just not getting it” is valid anymore? I can't believe that I'm so inhuman that I can't be entertained by gunfights or action now, nor can I recognize when something is being poignant or funny. I mean I dislike 'Big Bang Theory', but I still understand that there are jokes in that and understand why people watch it for that reason.

The two things I have selected today are different because I'm not debating their quality within the genre which they're a part of, but that I just don't even recognize that they even have the qualities that they're being credited for. I haven't felt this confused about the praise of the genius of art since '2001: A Space Odyssey' and hell, maybe that was one step too far. Maybe I've just shot myself with that last comment, but if there any others out there who are confused and concerned by terrible things being defended under the veil that “you're an idiot”, and have a suspicion that the rest of the world is mad, but it just keeps calling you a paranoid maniac for thinking like that, then please think about it or maybe even have a discussion with someone else about the whole thing. Maybe even a comment as that section is so very lonely.

Can some things just be devoid of all merit?

Most Definitely


  1. One thing springs immediately to mind - Little Britain. The critics loved it and i was badgered to watch it and 'tears of laughter would roll down my cheeks'. I found it boring, unfunny and fatuous. I 'didnt get it'. Didnt get why a cow pickled in formaldahyde was art either. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder - lke the film you love to watch.

    1. At least you had the pleasure of being able to watch David Walliams and Matt Lucas fall into steady obscurity and have no chance of ever getting anything on tv again. It seems Louis and whoever made Dredd are here to stay for a long time.

    2. Fair point, although David Walliams has turned up in the English Channel a few times. Better than turning up on a BBC channel i suppose.

    3. Did he ever successfully swim the channel?

    4. He did, but it doesn't really count because he took a break half way through and someone took over for him for abit. So no. The answer is no as of yet David Walliams has only swum in the channel for charity.

  2. Here's my issue with your argument: no one has called you an idiot or said you 'just don't get it' about either of these things. You just disagree with the majority of critics and that bothers you for some reason. So you've constructed this straw man argument where everyone's spitting at you in the street and shitting on your doorstep because you don't like Louie season 3. What they're actually doing is innocently enjoying the program, just as you enjoy The Other Sister. You can try and convince them not to like it, but in the end the reason for liking it might be just as indescribable to them as your feelings for Gary Marshall's classic.