30 Day Film Challenge – Day 9

Posted: June 18, 2021 in Uncategorized

I’m going to make this one quick because, for the first time since February 2020, pre-pandemic, I am going to the movies tonight. I’m going to eat popcorn, and drink a beer, and possibly get annoyed by my fellow patrons who are talking. It’s going to be great.

Onward…

I actually thought this one would be more fun. A movie that I hated that everyone else liked. I used to be kind of known for that. I would sometimes attribute it to working in a movie theater, and then a video store, but it probably started before that. My brother, the same one who ridiculed me for renting the same movies over and over, used to think I was some kind of freak for not liking Forrest Gump, thinking that I was literally the only person in the world who didn’t like that movie. And yeah, it does have a 95% Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes, but who listens to that? And for the record, I still hate that movie. I just don’t feel like writing about it.

I had a lot to choose form here. I remember after I saw The Hunger Games going into work and discussing it with some of my subordinates, who were mostly young women, since I was working at a University at the time. They all liked it, but when I started to point out its flaws, they said that I should read the book. I countered that the movie should stand on its own, and continued to point out its foibles (for example, why was any of that happening? Why didn’t everyone simply not send their kids to die in these games?) Finally, one of the students just told me to shut up, because she liked it and wanted to like it and she didn’t want me changing her mind. I respected that, and promptly shut up. Obviously, I wasn’t trying to make her not like it. I just had questions.

The truth is, I want to like movies, too. I want to enjoy every movie I see. I just want to be impressed. For me, it’s not enough to be entertained for a couple hours. I want to be blown away. For what these things cost, and the time and energy that go into making them, I want to have my socks blown off, not just kill some time. I think we should all want that. The problem is too many really terrible movies make a ton of money, so studios think we like them. I’m talking about something like I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, which has a very low 15% on the Tomatomater, but a 69% audience score, and $119 million at the box office. I honestly never saw it, because that would have been a lot more than killing time. That would have probably made me want to kill myself.

A lot of movies fall into that category, so I actually don’t waste my time on them very often. I actually haven’t seen as many bad movies as I used to in my movie theater/video store days, because I have a very discerning eye. But when I go to see a movie like Mad Max: Fury Road, which is getting a lot of positive reviews, and “buzz,” as they say in the business, I feel like it’s a safe bet I will like it. I would have lost that bet.

But, going again by good ol’ Rotten Tomatoes, a Certified Fresh Tomato at 97%, with an 86% audience score.

What did I miss?

I don’t know, but I’m not seeing it again to see if I’ll change my mind.

Once again, here’s my take on it, from back in the days when this blog was called Fidgeting & Sighing, a term my friends came up with for my reactions as I sit in a movie theater and can’t keep my opinions of the movie I’m watching to myself. Come back tomorrow for more fun and excrement… I mean, excitement! And check out my linktree here.

And now, Fidgeting and Sighing presents, Mad Max: Fury Road

I should begin by saying I never saw any of the previous Mad Max films, so maybe my opinion is uninformed, at best. However, I feel that every movie should stand on its own and not have to rely on its predecessors to be good. Or at least make sense. In this age of re-boots, re-imaginings, adaptations, prequels, sequels, and generally no original ideas at all, I feel like the pat answer to the statement, “That movie sucked,” is almost always, “Well, you should (see the first one, read the book/comic, watch the TV show, see the original, etc.) The only thing I remember hearing about the original Mad Max franchise was from my beloved grandmother, who saw it, oddly enough, and told me that Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome was “all about pig-shit.” I was 9 at the time.

Thirty years later, I saw my first Mad Max movie, the much-bally-hooed Mad Max: Fury Road, and it left me with many, many questions. Perhaps the most important one was “What the Hell was up with this guy?”

It’s Still Rock n’ Roll To Me!

I went in to this movie hearing a lot about what a giant leap it is for feminism or whatever, because Charlize Theron’s character is basically gender-less (or something. That may not be the real reason people were lauding it, but a movie that features a crazy, masked warlord taking several brides and keeping them in chains doesn’t seem to have many other good things to say on the subject of feminism.), so maybe I was expecting something a tad more cerebral. Basically, it is one long, pointless car chase. And I mean “pointless” in the most literal, direct sense. No point at all. And yet, I can’t in all honesty say that I disliked it because I found myself constantly laughing at the sheer absurdity that was taking place before me. This movie is almost literally a live-action version of a child playing with his toys in his backyard. If the child had a weird thing for suspended guitarists.

I have no problem with action movies that are light on story and heavy on destruction. I love Die Hard. I really like Predator. I even have a soft spot in my heart for the John Travolta/Nicholas Cage blow-’em-up-fest Face/Off. But as silly as it was, even Face/Off had a premise: Cop steals criminal’s face to infiltrate his empire. Needing a face, the criminal then steals the cop’s face and infiltrates his wife. Silly as it is, it is at least something to wrap your head around.

Here’s what IMDB wrote for the premise of Fury Road:

“A woman rebels against a tyrannical ruler in post apocalyptic Australia in search for her homeland with the help of a group of female prisoners, a psychotic worshiper, and a drifter named Max.” 

Wow. That actually makes it sound a lot better. I didn’t get most of that out of watching it. I really and truly just got that they drove a long way and then decided to turn around and drive back. And then dumped water on everybody. Spoiler warning.

Of course, the premise is just the premise, and it doesn’t get into the details, like why they spray-painted each other’s mouths silver, or why Max was even there and imprisoned. or who any of these people were, and why we should care. But hey, it had some cool-looking cars.

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I saw Fury Road with my friend and his girlfriend, and being a fan of Mad Max movies, she told me that’s just what they are about. When I said that movie was essentially about nothing, she agreed, and said that’s what they are all like. Bless her heart, she loved it And I envy that. Part of me wishes I could simply immerse myself in a movie for a couple hours and enjoy it. But there’s another part of me. There’s the part that enjoys movies so much that it hurts to see ones that are as bad as this. A cynical part that would find Fury Road appalling if it weren’t so unintentionally hilarious.

But the question that really will keep me up at night: was it “unintentional,” after all?

And what the Hell was up with this guy?

mad-max-fury-road-awesome-guitar-guy-1431710473

The world may never know.

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