Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The Wire (Yes that's right, I'm back for a 3rd go.)

Look at these 'stunted minds'. They're probably trying to
destroy that chess board because they're so stupid.
And they're probably swearing while they do it too...
Way back on 31st August 2010 I wrote my first post for this fine blog. My chosen topic was the critically acclaimed cult HBO series The Wire. Since then, my love for this series has only grown and I wholeheartedly agree with those that hold David Simon's creation to be the greatest work of television to ever hit our screens. Now, I'm back again to have a further go at anyone who slags it off for stupid reasons. For those who don't yet know, The Wire follows various characters and their interactions with the many problems of the city of Baltimore, Maryland. These characters centre on those in the police force, and the drug pushers on the corners in the early seasons before expanding to the schools, politicians and the media as it progressed.

Now we're all caught up, let's get cracking on the first review:
I have watched the whole of Season 1 which was very hard going (although I was told this beforehand so it was expected) (You found it all hard going? The first few episodes are I definitely agree. But after that I started to get a feel for the characters and the storyline and it all became much easier to follow.) but was told Season 2 really picks up and is amazing, probably best thing you will ever see (Yeah, season 2 is possibly my favourite. It's between 2 and 4 for me.). 6 episodes into Season 2 I am about to give up, just don't get what the fuss is all about, very disappointing (What? How can you not yet have fallen in love with it? Although at least you've given it a fair crack, so you are already head and shoulders ahead of most people who feature here. Congratulations!). Can think of at least 5 series I have watched (24, Lost, Prison Break, Soprano's, Breaking Bad) that blow The Wire away in terms of storyline/plots, characters, tension, excitement, basically what should keep you interested in a show such as this. (You have slightly ruined it there though. 24 is a borderline fascist, insane programme that became a parody of itself pretty quickly. Lost, I feel, is incredibly overrated and maybe if the writers had spent less time patting themselves on the back and smiling smugly about all the philosophers they'd referenced they could have made the last 5 seasons as good as the first one. Prison Break was possibly more insane than 24. The last two though are excellent that more than deserve the plaudits they have received.)

The Wire is quite frankly overrated and boring in my opinion (At least you recognise it's only your opinion. Again putting you ahead of most.). All the shows I have mentioned, when you watch an episode you want to watch another straight after (Oh. Like what I do with The Wire.). Not the case with The Wire, takes a big effort to sit through a whole episode in one sitting (For you. I don't believe I've ever stopped an episode of The Wire part way through unless I've suddenly had to go somewhere. Or that one time I came down with a bad case of death... Although the latter might have been a dream...). Unless someone can convince me that its worth the effort I cannot see myself watching another minute. (If you don't watch the rest you'll have a Wire-shaped hole in your life. Will that do?)
Well that was a surprisingly soft, profanity-free opener. Let's see if I can keep that up with a second:
This was bought on the strength of all the rave reviews (There were a lot of rave reviews it's true. Still, it's nice that you think you are cleverer than pretty much all critics...). Had we not had the subtitles, we would not have understood a single word (Really? Not a single word? I mean I could understand not understanding some words but all of them? I think that you're a liar.). The biggest turn off was the constant VERY BORING use of the F word (Oh fuck off.), totally unnecessary and showing a complete lack of imagination for good dialogue (It was necessary because, and I want you to listen carefully now, that is how people speak. Corner boys haven't had elocution lessons you know. People swear. Get over it. It was entirely in keeping with the scenarios and characters depicted, to have drug dealers and the cops who try to stop them not swear would have made the whole series laughably inaccurate. Diminishing the power of the show. Also, I find your use of block capitals totally unnecessary and showing a complete lack of imagination for good writing/reviewing skills.). Anybody want the DVD, as having sat through one episode, we will definitely not watch any more of it (For fuck's sake. How many times will people do this? You can't write a proper review for something if you have watched less than a tenth of the product. Look, you bastard, if you want to write a review for something you cannot stop part way through. If you do then your review is little help to anyone.). What a total waste of money. (What a total waste of anyone who reads this' time.)
Well, it was never going to last was it? Those previous reviews were both reviews for season 1 from amazon.co.uk, these next two are for The Complete HBO Seasons 1-5, also from amazon. He's the first, short, review:
Absolutely awful!! (I see. Presumably the rest of the review will detail exactly all the things that are wrong with the programme to deserve that opening gambit.) Every other word began with 'F' (That's a damn lie and you know it. I'm tempted to get the scripts and work out the ratio of words beginning with 'f' to words that don't. I'm willing to gamble the life of my flatmate that the ratio is lower than 1:1)  - no need for such terrible language (You know, unless it was because it was necessary.). Total rubbish - no story line (What? I mean honestly. What? I realise that almost all of what I spout are my own angry opinions passed off as fact, but the idea that The Wire has no story is just downright wrong. It's a novel you can watch. The whole series is all plot.) - gutted I bought the whole series - will have to re-sell it (At least it'll go to someone who isn't too stupid to understand it.). I just cannot understand how people can give this a good rating! (Because they are much, much smarter than you.)
Well maybe the final review will be well argued and not stupid? I wouldn't hold my breath though...:
I have managed to sit through the first 3 episodes of series one and find myself bewildered as to why this is so highly rated (Because the story is strong, the acting is superb, the series has important points to make... that sort of thing). One of the reasons for watching films or reading books is to to meet interesting people (Surely then, The Wire is right up your street. There are as many interesting characters as there are, well, characters.). In this example we are presented with a collection of characters none of whom can construct a coherent sentence (Yes they can, the sentences are merely quite sweary too...). In fact there seems to be a relentless pursuit, almost a celebration of illiteracy in the interests of authenticity (Yeah, 'cause depicting things as they are definitely makes problems worse... Maybe you should be attacking the Baltimore education system for not teaching the the Queen's English.). Contact with stunted, undeveloped, unambitious, unoriginal minds is not going to create interest but simply a sense of waste (Well, like it or not, these people exist. And your plan of pretending they don't will only make the problem worse. Making these people feel further detached from society as a whole would only make conflict between the cultures worse. On the plus side, you are precisely the kind of mindless jerk who'll be first up against the wall when the revolution comes.) Watching for example the drug addicts constantly passing pills between themselves (Yeah that's not the sort of thing drug addicts do...), made me think this may be an inspired parody but I soon realised it took itself seriously (Why would it be a parody? Do you find poverty and drug addiction funny or something? What kind of monstrous cunt are you? Are you in Cameron's cabinet or something?). Everything is sacrificed to the god of authenticity (Not everything. Certainly not story or characters or anything important) - there can be no romance just sex (Well if you'd watched more than 3 episodes you'd know that romance breaks through), there can be nothing uplifting or generous just corruption (Well that's because it's corruption. It's a series with a message. It is not chewing gum for the eyes.). I am afraid I find this bleak view of life unconvincing and cheap. (Well it's real so you'd better get used to it.)
That's all folks!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Anthology of Idiocy VII

Kicking off our return to the anthologies that have thus far failed to make my name, we have The Long Goodbye. Robert Altman's 1973 update of Raymond Chandler's 1953 novel starred Elliott Gould (as in Ross and Monica's dad) as never-without-a-cigarette private eye Philip Marlowe. The plot revolves around Marlowe investigating the murder of his friend's wife, with all the evidence pointing to the husband as the culprit. This is no whodunnit though, this is an LA where no-one can be trusted (I know that's a pretty corny line, but I couldn't help it. I can only offer my humblest apologies for writing it and I hope you can forgive me). Here's what one reviewer for amazon.co.uk thought:
The opening joke takes about one tenth of the total film (It really doesn't. It takes less than ten minutes and the film is nearly two hours long.) time to set up and fails to deliver a laugh (for the simple reason that the punchline is entirely predictable and the delivery contains little else that is worth the trouble of watching (It raised a smile. And it is important in developing Altman and Gould's take on the Marlowe character.). After this, there seems no reason to continue viewing. (The fact that the story hasn't even really begun? That is surely enough? If not that how about a young, huge-armed, half-naked Arnie?) Already bored senseless, I couldn't take the insipid interrogation scene that follows. (Insipid? Where you watching a whole different film or something? A Stephanie Meyer-ish take on Raymond Chandler? Also, now please tell me I'm wrong here, but that little bit suggested that - haha you'll laugh at this - that you stopped watching at that point. But of course that would be impossible since you're writing this review of the whole thing. Ha ha. You and you're little jokes - of course you watched the whole thing. Didn't you?)

Reader, I buried this deadly dull dvd in the depths of my time capsule, only to be opened when life has lost flavour and time drags eternal (as it did for twenty minutes in front of this uncelebrated cure for insomnia). (You weren't joking were you? You really did stop watching didn't you? And now you're sitting there. Writing this twaddle. Probably beaming at how you're oh-so-clever. Well you're not clever. Though what you are does, indeed, begin with a "c". It's "cunt" by the way, if you found thinking of words beginning with "c" too tricky for you. When I'm in charge people like you who review a film without having seen it all will be sent to gulags. Gulags full of hungry crocodiles that have a particular fondness for testicles. Also, the film is not dull, it merely takes its time. Why do people so need fast-paced films all the time? Sometimes it's nice to just relax and let a slow movie just wash over you like the sea. In this moron's case I hope it is a sea full of jellyfish and sharks, but hey ho.)

I didn't come to this film for a Marlowe-in-the-flesh type experience (Then what, pray tell, were you looking for. It is a film about Marlowe directed by Robert Altman. What did you really think was going to happen? He'd have made a Michael Bay film?), but I was hoping for some sort of experience (Clearly you weren't looking for "some sort" of experience. You were looking for a particular experience. An experience that, with these people involved, was never going to happen. Because you are narrow-minded and this film was not what you wanted you never even gave it a chance.) I didn't come with an aversion for Altman, but I left feeling tired and full of no coffee (You watched twenty minutes. How is it possible to feel that after such a short time?). Advice for Chandler enthusiasts: even the hokey bemitchummed 'Farewell My Lovely' holds more charm and interest (There's nothing wrong with Robert Mitchum either.); even the enbogarted 'The Big Sleep' is not infested with ennui (There is certainly nothing wrong with Humphrey Bogart. He is absolutely one of Hollywood's greatest ever stars. And his The Big Sleep is a truly cracking film.). Advice for noir and film lovers: for dark and lovely detection in intelligent celluloid, go see Truffaut or Polanski (There are any number of directors you could have picked. Is there a reason why you picked two from the 60s/70s? The 40s/50s are by far the best years for film noir with Billy Wilder, Fritz Lang, Orson Welles, John Huston and Jacques Tourneur the directors that really put the genre on the map. The only reason I can think of is that you don't like or have never heard of these people. In either case you are certainly less knowledgeable than you would have us all believe. Also, actually using the term ennui makes you sound like the sort of pretentious prick who has no friends.) The cry goes round the terraces: anything but Altman! (Except it doesn't does it? Nobody says that. On the terraces or anywhere else. I'm willing to bet that you didn't shout it on the terraces either. You're a fucking liar that's what you are.)
Toshirō Mifune's bandit is slightly mad...
Next up we have an amazon.co.uk review of Akira Kurosawa's 1950 samurai masterpiece (one of many) Rashōmon. The movie, based on stories by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, tells the story of a court in Edo-era Japan and the different versions of the same story told by the different witnesses of a rape and murder. A study on truth and its subjectivity, the film won an honourary Academy Award in 1952 (the foreign film category was not introduced to the Oscars until 1957). Lord only knows what kind of moron could give it just one star...:
I was so disappointed (Well I was disappointed that there is a one star review, but these are our burdens to carry.), this was supposed to be a masterpiece (It isn't "supposed" to be anything. It is a masterpiece. Directors voted it the 9th best film of all time in 2002.), his other works were so amazing, like Seven Samurai and Ran (This, at least, is true. Except that this one is also amazing.)I guess every great director/writer is allowed one howler (I think most great directors have more than one howler. Francis Ford Coppola has made a load. Doesn't stop him being great. This, however, is not one of Akira Kurosawa's howlers.). Buy this if you have trouble sleeping (Yes. You may as well watch something quality whilst you can't sleep. Though this film will not cure your sleep problems I'm afraid.), the only good bit was the ending (The ending was a good bit...). It was just so lame (What does that mean? How was it "lame"?), I didn't care about the characters at all (Well you're not supposed to trust any of them, I suppose...), it was kind of predictable (Really? I found it was less predictable than many other films. But at least this is a proper point rather than just calling it "lame" so I shouldn't complain too much.) and really, really, really slow (It was slow, yes, but that is no bad thing. And since you profess to liking Seven Samurai, I really wonder how you felt that this was any more slow than that particular movie. Of the two, I find that one far slower than this. Half the three hour runtime is spent setting the scene.). One rubish sword fight (I'm beginning to suspect you like Kurosawa's other films more for their sword-fighting scenes, than the fantastic way they are put together or interesting storylines...). This one is going to gather dust on my shelf for about a decade, unlike his other movies. (Then more fool you. I hope one day you watch it again and realise what a fool you were to write this review. Well, I call it a review, but that's really rather stretching the definition of "review" as there is no insight to be found here at all.)
The visual image of the dvd and the container itself are good quality. (This much is true. The Optimum release does come in a rather splendid box and contain a rather nice booklet that includes the original Japanese story.)
Let's move on once more, this time to Philip K. Dick's novel Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said. Like pretty much all Dick stories this novel centres around the loss of identity and set in a nightmarish alternate world. The plot follows Jason Taverner, a famous singer and entertainer who wakes up to find that he has no identity and none of his old friends know who he is. In a police state where to have no identity is a fairly major problem... This is widely regarded as one of Dick's finest novels with numerous film adaptations mooted, but never begun. Here's what one amazon.co.uk reviewer thinks of the book:
I read Philip K. Dick's "The Man in the High Castle" and absolutely enjoyed it (Good. I, too, hope to read it someday. Maybe if Penguin books remember why they were set up they'll reduce it's ridiculous £10 price tag...). Then I searched for other things by the same author and read them: "Now wait for last year", "The three stigmata of Palmer Eldritch" and finally "Flow my tears, the policeman said" with increasing disappointment and impatience (I haven't heard of the first one, but I understand The Three Stigmata... is considered to be one of his better novels. From what I know of the several Dick books I have read is that they are not for the impatient. They take their time creating the worlds the characters inhabit. So maybe the problem is not with the books, but rather with you?) All three of them display some brilliant situations (Flow.. does certainly contain good situations, to go with the equally good links between the situations.), particularly at the starting point, but then in all of them the author reveals his absolute lack of command of the plot, of or its goals and rhythm(To be honest, I don't think you could write a better novel. And also, his novels work best like that. That is his style of writing leave him alone.). As you go on reading, you get more and more entangled in a confusion of facts and characters coming out of nowhere (They come out of nowhere in the sense that the character meets them. What exactly did you expect? Notices at the start of a chapter with a biography of all the characters introduced in that chapter? What a stupid thing to say.). Reality becomes a kind of nightmare, yes, but not in any enjoyable way (at least for me) (Surely you recognise that going into any world that is described as a "nightmare" is not necessarily going to be "enjoyable" in the classic sense. Like a good horror movie this has a cathartic effect.). These novels appear to me as the genuine products of an intoxicated mind (Well it's Philip K. Dick. A man who used lots of drugs and was generally pretty mad. Would you also disregard Hunter S. Thompson's work as that of an "intoxicated mind"? To do this sort of thing would be to close yourself off from some wonderfully rich works.). Art is about control, and there's nothing of it in them. (What? Are you mad? Art is so much more than control. Art is whatever people make of it. Dick is a master of his art. A personal art. A paranoid art, perhaps, but art nonetheless. Your idea of "art" is so conservative as to be ridiculous. Let's be honest here. You liked The Man in the High Castle because it is widely held to be a classic piece of fiction. You dislike his other work because it is "mere" SF.)
That's enough for now I feel. Till next time faithful readers!
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