Saturday, July 12, 2008

Three Rants

Not being in a very spritely mood recently, for reasons that will become obvious in one of the anecdotes below, I’ve decided to bring you three shameless rants for the price of one. Though the films are unrelated, the ravings go nicely together because they are shorter, more personal and more experimental than my usual negative reviews. The first two didn’t even start out as intentional rants.

I don’t like to dwell on the negative too often, but it can be quite therapeutic. You might say a threefer seems a bit excessive for a mere cleansing vent, but today I don’t just want to whine; I want to wallow.

Rant #1: “Three Brothers” (1981) by Francesco Rosi

Sometimes I like to pretend that I get to write the plot summaries on the back of DVDs. It took me several tries to mentally prepare a complete description of “Three Brothers,” fully articulating the contemplative tone and deep themes that theoretically sell indie-foreign titles. I was dissatisfied with my final draft. Eventually it struck me that an unedited transcript of my first attempt was more succinct and would actually be more helpful to anyone who was considering purchasing the film. Here it is:

“Three Italian brothers who have led symbolically divergent lives attempt to reunite at their ancestral home after the death of their mother. Familial bonds and politics mix freely in this – zzzzz… zzzzZZZZzzz…”

Rant #2: “Sense and Sensibility” (1995) by Ang Lee

Like many film bloggers who take their hobby too far, I often scribble notes during viewings to help jog my memory when I get around to writing the review. Typically I mark down the exact time of screenshots I want to go back and capture later on my PC, the names of characters (which I forget instantly otherwise) and all the styles, themes and interesting scenes that I might want to bring up. My notes while watching “Sense and Sensibility” look a little different than usual:

Rant #3: “Transformers” (2007) by Michael Bay

Last week, as part of my still-ongoing spell of sci-fi gluttony, I made the mistake of renting “Transformers” from the library. The film sent me into sputtering conniption fits of the magnitude I usually reserve for road rage homicide or the news that UPS accidently delivered a package of fire to my house instead of “Burn!” (1969), like I ordered.

While sinking into the type of minor existential crisis I am fond of, I managed to turn myself towards the silent heavens and ask, “Could there be any experience worse than watching Transformers?” “Could a more excruciating piece of crap even be made?”

No one particularly celestial was listening, but Satan’s ears must have been straining in my direction because he rose to my inadvertent challenge. With his typical flair for dramatic irony and intentional misinterpretation, he (along with a genetic proclivity and a mediocre diet) arranged that I should be the very creator of the more excruciating piece of crap, in the form of four simultaneous kidney stones.

On Wednesday Katie and I hired a team of assassin-urologists to smoke out the offenders with a barrage of ultrasonic waves, but a cadre of vengeance-bent survivors arranged an ambush for me where the pass narrows. A few hours after leaving the hospital I was vomiting with pain, a state I stayed in for several hours while the ER took their sweet time procuring morphine. Work and recreation plans for the week evaporated while I moaned and flopped around on a lumpy hospital bed, until a stent could be rammed up my ureter a few days later.

Which brings us to today. I guess you could say the devil won this round, punishing me in fine Greek-tragedy style for the crime of rash hyperbole in film criticism. And yet, as I piss yet another liter of blood through my stinging genitals, I can’t help thinking that “Transformers” is still worse.


Mad Dog said...

Oh god. D:

Well, don't worry, I'm sure even Tim secretly knows that Transformers is a gigantic pile of crap.

Patti said...


Unknown said...

I'm glad we agreed about these three.

The Stones of Doom are quite the exhausting trial, even for those not passing them (or, I should say, not NOT passing them).

At least Forty Guns and The House on Haunted Hill were pretty great.

Elaine said...

Ouch. Well, I was amused by your rants...

Sorry about life pouring on the pain though. :(

Elaine said...

Also, Alex would like you to know that Indy 4 was an even bigger piece of crap than Transformers. So hyperbolize accordingly.

FilmWalrus said...

Thanks everyone for the condolances. I'm sure I'll soon get over these films. Oh... and also the kidney stones.


Good to hear from you! We need to email and/or phone and catch up on recent history. As for Indy 4, my friends at the Grump Factory agree with Alex that it deserves our ire, but Katie has been defending it. I'll likely see it eventually and make up my own mind, but I'm not holding out for much. Anyway, thanks for stopping by!

Unknown said...

Indy 4 was fun. Adventure movies, yay. It was no Last Crusade, but then, WHAT COULD BE.