Films Critics Hated but Itchy Loved
Why all the negativity?
One of the biggest criticisms aimed at this film if for its poor acting. True, there is a great scene where Mark Wahlberg has a terrified conversation with a houseplant, but what’s not to love about that? Of course the view is that if the acting’s bad, then viewers will not empathise with the characters or care about their plight. We’re sorry, but here at Itchy we just don’t buy that. Sure, at times Wahlberg speaks his lines as if straining to spot a distant heron on a park bench, but does that really matter? What we have, essentially, is a creepy idea (mystery suicide epidemic) portrayed in real locations by real human beings. Is our suspension of disbelief really that bad? Is our compassion really at such a low ebb, that we’ll only give a toss if Zooey Deschanel sticks a knitting needle through her neck if she’s said all her previous lines in the exact inflection that pleases us? Come on people!
Dare we say it, that if you don’t like a film because of sub-standard acting, then maybe it might be your fault? Because maybe you didn’t try hard enough? M. Night Shyamalan goes to the trouble of hanging dozens of fake corpses from trees, and all you can do is shrug and ponder aloud when he’s going to make another Sixth Sense (boring, pedestrian, irritating when you really think about it properly.) If you can’t get on board with a mystery-suicide chiller where the murderer is frequently played by a tree, then frankly you deserve to have ninety-one minutes of your life wasted. Shape up!
Another one that grumpy critics love to hate, and as we all know that's because they were never children, they hatch under heat-lamps in laboratories at the BFI. The reasons usually given for loathing these films are their barely coherent plots, consisting of nothing but lurid explosions and up-skirt shots of whichever underwear model they've tricked into pretending to be Shia Labeouf's girlfriend this year. I don't know about you, but when I played with my Transformers as a kid the plots were way shitter than anything Michael Bay has committed to screen. They were just a violent mish-mash of screeching metal noises, explosions, and the odd two second break to wipe my nose on the arm of the sofa. Nothing as genius as the ridiculously quoteable Optimus Prime would come up with:
"Megatron: Who would you be without me, Prime?
Optimus Prime: Time to find out!"
I defy you not to shiver with child-like joy at that line. Transformers is a movie that truly understands young boys playing with robots, in all their explosion loving, simplistic, psychopathic glory. What Bay has done is bring a child’s sensibility into the cinema, tapping into a rich source of nostalgia as he does so. Moaning about a film like this is like calling all children idiots. We all know it's true, but it's sociopathic to point it out.
Batman and Robin
"Ooo, he's a complex brooding character, with thoughts and emotions, and it's all about terrorism and...I don't know, the economy or something." Thanks a lot Christopher Nolan. At some point in the last ten years, people started taking literally everything seriously, even a billionaire dressing up as a bat and talking like a gravel gargling obscene caller. Not so in Joel Schumacher's masterful Batman and Robin.
Critics have for years derided its snazzy, neon aesthetic; nipple-clad bat-suits; and Alicia Silverstone's (“Oxbridge University educated") Batgirl. I'm sorry, but when did colourful costumes, anatomical accuracy, and equal opportunity superhero-ing become a bad thing? What's wrong with a future Governor of California speaking entirely in ice puns? Why not have Uma Thurman ham it up whilst dressed as a cabbage patch kid? Why not? Tell us critics, what's the problem? Not everything in life has to be lashed to the grim, shoddy reality we find ourselves in. Batman obviously knows that, that's why he spends most of his time PRETENDING TO BE A BAT.
There we are; as usual, an ocean of joy in a sea of grumpiness and bile. The point is that there aren’t any prizes for not enjoying this stuff. Josie Long says something great in an old stand-up show of hers, that nobody’s going to come up to you at the end of your life and say “Well done! You didn’t enjoy any of it!” It’s true, if you can take something positive out of even the most pathetic of offerings, then in some small way you’ve won. It even works on ludicrous, meandering collections of words on websites. Congratulations.