WEIRDLAND: Puzzled By Success

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Puzzled By Success

"The Godfather" has fallen to the #3 spot, after nearly a decade at the top of the Internet Movie Database’s listing of the Top 250 Movies of All Time. As we reported a couple weeks ago, The Dark Knight overtook The Godfather’s throne, but this latest development is really interesting because it might show evidence of a fanboy mob at work. Could it be that Dark Knight fans are intentionally voting down Godfather in hopes of keeping The Dark Knight at the top spot? Why else would The Shawshank Redemption have overtaken The Godfather in a time when neither film is in the public forefront? The percentage of users who gave Godfather a 1 out of 10 (the lowest rating possible) grew from 6.1% to 6.4%, just enough to push Shawshank ahead, while the percentage of participating users who loved the film, giving it a 10 out of 10, remained the same (57%). It’s also worth noting that while any IMDb user can vote and effect a movie’s overall rating, only regular IMDb users can influence the film’s top 250 placement".

"The Dark Knight" director Christopher Nolan has told reporters in Tokyo that he has no idea why his Batman movie is breaking box-office records. "I would not be able to point to exactly what it is," he said. "If I knew that all my films would have been successful." Final weekend figures confirmed Monday that the movie has broken yet another record -- best second-week performance of any film. The movie earned $75.2 million, which brought its 10-day total to more than $300 million, according to box-office trackers Media by Numbers. (The results somewhat diminished the achievement of Sony's Hancock, starring Will Smith, which crossed the $200-million mark after four weeks.) The film is now taking aim at Titanic's record of $600.8 million in ticket sales -- by far the top money maker of all time".

"The Dark Knight epitomizes the problem specifically not by simply being a Caped Crusader trifle masquerading as Paradise Lost, but because it failed to do the simplest things movies have always done: tell a fucking story. The film is quite literally one violent set-piece followed by a 20-second snatch of exposition, to explain what significance the set-piece is supposed to have, repeated again and again and again, for over 2.5 interminable hours. Stories require character and incidents that happen to those characters and decisions those characters have to make, and us watching them make those decisions, and then the tragic/triumphant/ironic result of those decisions. The Dark Knight runs along literally like a series of disconnected cabaret acts, with what passes for narrative happening off-screen most of the time, and the ample screentime remaining filled up with chases and fights so haphazardly shot and cut you can’t tell where anybody is or what’s going on. We hardly see Bruce Wayne, the Joker (yes, Heath Ledger was fascinating) has no backstory or motivation, plot holes loomed like event horizons (sure, you evacuated that hospital), dialogue scenes never lasted more than a few seconds – in other words, anything that might substantiate the film as dramatic material fit for adults was almost completely elided. I’ll tell you the two moments I appreciated, both missable in the melee: Christian Bale’s dry, almost imperceptible chuckle at Michael Caine’s I-told-you-so mini-punchline as they walked away from the camera, and the way the hulking gangbanging convict played by Tommy Lister went back to his seat after tossing the detonator overboard, brooding over perhaps having sealed his own death by doing the right thing. You can see why: these tiny instances involved humans, reacting and revealing their history. That’s about it for the whole film.The much-lamented infantilization of the mass populace continues, and at what cost? How much public effort and energy and time is spent consuming this attenuated nonsense – watching it, watching PR stuff about it, ‘Net-surfing for it, blogging about it, texting about it, pursuing gossip about it, rewatching it, YouTubing it, ad infinitum – and not attending instead to a government that eats tax monies like a Moloch and kills people by the thousands? Movies can be art, and can connect us with human verities and empathies and experiences that might help us deal with the real world. That’s what stories have always been for. But instead we’re using film as the walls of a bubble we’re constructing around ourselves like the disturbed children of abusive parents. Old Hollywood movies have always had their fair share of bullshit, but they were about people, always (or until Star Wars). Not anymore". Source:


Xenia said...

TDK is not a masterpiece IMO, but Heath, well, he is unforgettable...

Kendra said...

Have you already watched TDK, Xenia? In Spain it will be released on 13th August, I can't wait!

Xenia said...

Sort of Kendra, it was in a dubbed version...:/

Kendra said...

I also prefer the original English version (with subtitles).
I like your new avatar, xenia, who is she?

Xenia said...

That is a photo from an American photographer, Francesca Woodman, who died in 1981 at only 22 years old. An ardent and hungry spirit. Just my type. :)

Learn more about her Here. It's worth it! :)

Kendra said...

thank you for this info of Francesca Woodman, Xenia!
I think her photography is very interesting.