Well here we are in the last week of December, coming up on another 365 days of anger at the entertainment industry. In 52 installments, I’ve been upset about a wide range of topics, criticized directors, defended 3D, argued with my peers and said the f-word a whole lot, much to the disappointment of my mother.
As a way of saying so long to 2011 and hello to the End of the World as We Know It (aka 2012), I wanted to take a brief look back at the previous year and pull the heaviest themes from Boiling Point and take a look at the recipients of my rage. So take off your shoes, grab a warm cup of cocoa and let’s take this journey together, provided you’re nowhere near me. If by some strange miracle you are near me, put your shoes on, put down my coffee cup and get the fuck out of my house.
The Frailty of the Human Condition
In 2011 I turned my rage on the portrayal of human tolerance towards injury and death on several occasions. I pointed out how people in films died with alarming speed from things like gunshots and stab wounds, even when those were applied to areas that should have resulted in long, slow painful deaths. Though I guess dying too fast from a lethal injury was better than one of my other anger issues, dying from things that wouldn’t kill you, like ninja stars and throwing knives that don’t penetrate far enough. If you’re a henchman, you are apparently rather frail and easily killed.
Then again, many characters out there proved to be over-resilient to many types of injuries. They casually got thrown dozens of feet by explosions and rather than doing the sensible thing and dying because their internal organs ruptured, they got right back up and kept on running. Dozens of heroes where choked unconscious or knocked out with great regularity and one can only assume they skipped their MRIs and CAT scans, otherwise they would have found irreversible brain damage and death on the schedule. A few fellows in horror movies also decided to spill their blood by cutting the palms of their hands. Luckily they had speedy recoveries that took only hours, rather than suffering through the extended healing time of a frequently moving area that would most likely require immobilization and constant care to maintain the proper elasticity. Oh well!
The Sad State of Horror
As a huge horror fan, I have suffered the slings and arrows of horrible films over and over again. In 2011 I lamented the absence of monsters in horror movies. What did we get? The tiny little cretins of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark and a lame alien ripping off another (maybe) alien in Super 8? Gone are the days of big monsters, or hell, even regular sized monsters. What we need are the return of werewolves and other epic beasts to terrorize and tear up teenagers.
I also shed a tear in October as I’ve done almost every year for the lack of horror movies surrounding Halloween. The past few years have given us nothing but Paranormal Activity and Saw movies in major, wide releases. I still maintain that any half-way decent horror movie will give you a god damn landslide of cash if you release it close to Halloween. Guarantee it!
When Movie Makers Miss the Point
While I actually enjoyed The Thing (2011) quite a bit, that didn’t stop me from pointing out the obvious flaw in the film – no, not a plot hole, but rather a lack of practical special effects. A HUGE part of the magic in the original are the special effects. It’s impossible to fathom how a movie made nearly 30 years ago can have amazing practical effects and a movie made now can’t. Apparently they started with practical effects and then covered them up digitally. So much for 30 years of progress, right?
Sometimes my anger comes on early, too early really to judge a project, and that was the case with the Evil Dead remake announcements. My dislike of Diablo Cody’s dialog has been well documented, so clearly I was no fan of her addition to the film, nor was I glad to hear that Fede Alvarez won the job based on the ‘strength’ of his short film, a few minutes of storyless, plotless, characterless CGI. Much like The Thing, Evil Dead did wonders with limited technology. Sam Raimi’s classic was all about corn syrup and red food coloring, not digital animation. Sorry but I don’t get excited over some computer whiz kid taking over a blood and guts horror movie.
Worst of all, though, was when the official announcement described the production as using new film making techniques that weren’t available 30 years ago, basically a forewarning that CGI was coming. No. Fucking. Thanks.
The Theater Experience
I had some strange times in 2011 at the movies and some frustrating ones as well. My experience with Insidious was marred by talkers, while my enjoyment of Attack the Block was stifled by some assholes who thought they were heroes by being really loud in their attempt to make others be quiet. Seriously. The Hushers where making a bigger disturbance than the Hushees. It’s perfectly all right to tell someone to shut the fuck up if they’re being noisy, but don’t make a bigger scene by doing it.
2011 was also my breaking point with theater slobs, many of whom were my fellow critics. If you take it into the theater with you, bring it out. Your soda cup, your popcorn, your milkduds, your napkins. Clean your fucking area up. Don’t be a slob. Don’t be an asshole. If you want to use that sorry excuse that it’s “someones job” to clean up after you – fuck you. That’s like saying it’s okay to start fires because it’s a firefighters job to put them out. If you leave your trash in the theater, you’re an asshole.
The Walking Dead
The last quarter of the year was perhaps mostly a time for me airing out my dislike of AMC’s The Walking Dead. As a huge fan of the comics, I’ll simply say it one more time: the TV show went off course immediately by not following the comics. With writer changes and show runner changes frequently, this show has had a troubled past and will most likely have a troubled future. It’s an overly dramatic melodrama that gets a lot of slack just for featuring zombies, but not from me. This show is shit.
So there it is, the greatest hits, err, misses, of 2011. What will I fucking hate in 2012? There’s only one way to find out – seeya next year.