OK, this is something of a rant on a rant... it doesn't serve much purpose except catharsis, but that seems to be enough. The joy of the Internet is that every snappy comeback we might imagine to every editorial, TV show, or overheard conversation can now be shouted to the world, not that the world is actually listening.
So, anyway, I was linked to a review of Transformers 3, which was written by someone who is apparently shocked, shocked I tell you, to find that a Michael Bay movie is over two hours of noise and fury, signifying huge box office receipts. Naturally, he can't just say that, so he goes on for paragraph after tedious paragraph enumerating the supposed instances of racism, sexism, xenophobia, and all the other things one is supposed to look for in any movie in order to demonstrate one's bona-fides as a member of the People Who Care Very Deeply About Hurtful Things. (I think Mr. Chaw and Ms. Zacharias could team up to write a column called 'This Column Couldn't Be Written Because I Was Crying Too Hard And You're All Big Meanies For Laughing At Me')
Now, I haven't seen this movie yet (my wife suggested we go see it Saturday. I have the best wife in the universe.), but I have no reason to doubt it's any worse than any of Mr. Bay's other films, and if there's a better example of damning with faint praise, I can't think of it offhand. I'm going to see it because it's got FRAKKIN' BIG GIANT ROBOTS BEATING THE FRAKKIN' CRAP OUT OF EACH OTHER, and that's all I demand from a movie. (Also, I need to participate in debates with all my old-school Transformers fan friends, so we can one-up each other in either a)locating shout-outs to the classic Transformer mythos, or, b)complaining about how Michael Bay is ruining said mythos.)
Obviously, using the word "mythos" to describe a tissue-thin storyline hastily scrambled together in 1983 to sell plastic toys is pretentious, but compared to Mr. Chaw, I'm, uhm, what's a non pretentious thing? Captain Totally Not Pretentious! Yeah!
Generally, one way to tell if you should heed the opinion of a reviewer is to read his other reviews. While sobbing on his keyboard over the sad state of movie-making in America, where the evil capitalist corporations keep making movies people want to see, instead of movies they should be compelled to see, he points to some film no one other than Mr. Chaw has ever heard of, called "Tree Of Life", and I read the review of that.
Oh. My. Lack. Of. God. (I'm an atheist, see, so... never mind.)
It reads like an Onion parody of pretentious academic drivel, except there's no punchline and it seems Mr. Chaw is dead serious. If he had been paid a million dollars to write a review that would guarantee no one would see the film, this is the review he would have written, and he would have earned ten times that amount. A hundred times.
I mean, the film tries "to explain the ways of God to men and, more, to further define God as something created in the heart of Man"? Wow, that's a summer blockbuster right there! It's about "the unreliability of memory and the simultaneous quality of memory that carries with it absolute truth. " Huh? It's "filtered through Malick's naturalism, which, far from the chaos of Antonioni's relationship with nature, reflects a more harmonious, metaphorical kinship"? The frak? I mean, what the frakkin' frak? Sorry, there's nothing I can use beyond mock sci-fi profanity to express my slack-jawed amazement at the depths of self important, self-indulgent, utter and total claptrap expressed in this review. Of course Mr. Chaw didn't like "Transformers 3" -- it was actually about something, namely, giant robots beating each other up. What's this film about? From the review, as far as I can tell, absolutely nothing. People standing around, apparently with dinosaurs thrown in the middle for no reason, which would be cool if they, I dunno, killed people or something, but the dinosaurs in this film "feel pain, loneliness, and senses of betrayal and abandonment", or that might be "our desire to project our emptiness onto the emptiness of these digital phantoms".
Project. Our. Emptiness. Onto. The. Emptiness. Of. These. Digital. Phantoms.
I repeat: The FRAK?