Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I Think James Bond Misses That Touch So Much That He Crashes His Aston Martin Just So He Can Feel Something

Just when you think it's safe to say a movie looks awesome, someone goes and tells you Paul Haggis had a hand in writing it.

Well, maybe if Casino Royale is good, Haggis can redeem himself for Crash in my eyes. I enjoyed Million Dollar Baby well enough, before the ponderous self-seriousness of Crash sullied it in hindsight. And Haggis created Walker, Texas Ranger, so surely he's got a solid action movie in him, right?

On the other hand, after The Last Kiss, Haggis has a lot more to answer for. Inexplicably, it's picked up some good reviews, but the trailer suggests a movie that's thoroughly intolerable. Why do the girls Zach Braff is torn between have to look practically the same? And why does one of them have to look like Rachel Weiss, which adds to the confusion even more? Why does Braff's voice-over tease us by mentioning a Scrubs-esque fantasy featuring Hulk Hogan if we're not going to cut to that very fantasy, Scrubs-style?

But these are minor annoyances. The biggest piece of bullshit in the trailer is when the girl from The O.C. says something like, "Nowadays life moves so fast, we freak out way before our parents did... because we don't have time to feel." Has a movie ever offered a supposedly profound line that was so obviously wrong in so many ways? The problem experienced by Zack Braff's character, as well as any angsty thirty year old who might relate to him, is precisely that life moves so slowly that there is too much time to feel. You have option paralysis because of your crushing freedom and surfeit of opportunity. Don't compare yourselves to your parents, you thirty-year-old whiners. They were on their third kid by the time they were your age, probably paying down a mortgage and juggling way too much responsibility to mope around wondering how they really feel about feelings. Only the current generation, with its celebration of prolonged adolescence, helped along by enablers like this movie, has the luxury of spending so much time feeling that the self-absorbed anxiety of the teen years can last forever. Shut the fuck up, Girl From The O.C. Maybe that line would be okay if it were in a comedy trailer, and right afterwards we saw a reaction where Zach Braff looks at her like she's a retard, but the soulful music here suggests we ought to take her observation seriously.

The only line in the trailer that makes any sense is when Tom Wilkinson is telling someone, presumably Braff again, that his feelings don't matter to anyone and he should get over himself and treat people right. I don't know whose side the movie takes, but I do know Tom Wilkinson always plays a jerk, so there is that to consider. Even if these views are treated with equal validity, that is giving way too much credit to O.C. Girl.

Now, I'm not saying I'm not a pathetic overgrown child who's terrified of growing up myself. Such is the curse of our generation, and there are other, legitimate reasons why being "an adult" is a scary idea for us. But I'm not going to ask for your pity over it, and I'm sure as hell not going to blame it on life moving too fast for me to feel.

Paul Haggis, Casino Royale better be every bit as awesome as its trailer. I'm just saying.


Zembla said...

I like reviews where Kenny rails against young people and sounds like he's fifty years old.

Technically, isn't Paul Haggis the whiner, not OC girl? I hate Paul Haggis.

Zack said...

Crash can't "sully something in hindsight" without the assistance of a flux capacitor. It's not Paul's fault that you and I have dumb, wet, associative monkey brains.

Mollynonymous said...

Seriously, though, this was awesome.

Kenny said...

Zack's comment is interesting but meaningless. We do live in a world where our brains process connections between things and factor that into judgments. Saying that's not Haggis' fault is like saying it's not a bad painter's fault that people can see. No, Crash didn't go back in time and change Million Dollar Baby, but hindsight is subjective and shaped by later experiences, which means things can indeed be sullied in hindsight.

crystal said...

i will assume that my post yesterday inspired you.

Anonymous said...

It sucked. I was checking my watch the first half hour. I couldn't buy that two girls would fight over Zach Braff, or why he was so upset about his life. He had an awesome job, hot wife, and a nice house. He had a life. And he goes around being stupid trying to fuck it up by hanging out at frat parties. Boo. The O.C. girl got on my nerves because I think she's pretty, but she's not sexy. She kept trying to be sexy and Haggis' dialogue, "My roommate is gone. I can make love to you the whole night," didn't do anything for her. Also, after calling him five hundred times and having him hang up on her, you know what she does? She makes him a mix CD! Stupid bitch idiot.

The only feeling I got from it was that I wasn't having enough sex or any sex at all these days. The characters were bumping uglies like crazy.


lyan! said...

I dislike the new bond because he looks like my asshole predecessor who robbed me of my precious money when I first came to Japan. He's a dick.
Also I think the new bond acts like a thug. I couldn't bare to wait through the entire trailer, but I couldn't find any redeeming wit. Now sure, Brosnan slew the series and made it horribly campy in the bad way, but you don't need to get rid of sharp wit to revamp the series.

Zack said...

We are all better off if we don't treat artists like sports teams or brand names. Is Paul Haggis really selling HAGGIS BRAND movies, or are you going out of your way looking for patterns that aren't there?

I don't think I've seen any of this guy's stuff.

Anyhow, this is the part of your brain that plays Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Let it atrophy. The last thing we want to encourage is artists more concerned with their legacy than with giving me an emotional boner.

matt said...

I agree with Kenny regarding retroactive spoliation. An artist's work is best evaluated in context of the artist's other work.

Also, not having seen any Paul Haggis movies, I'm still incredibly suspicious about Last Kiss. After Garden State I'm avoiding all navel-gazing Zach Braff vehicles.

tammy said...

i hadn't heard of this movie until i read this.. my only comment is that they used my favorite snow patrol song in the trailor. maybe ill pick it up when they start selling it on the street in front of building for .5USD

miss you kenny! come visit me!

Kenny said...

Zack's argument is so completely unsupported and pointlessly contrarian to the entire history of art criticism and appreciation that I wasn't going to argue it any further. But I will say this:

When a movie's trailer bills it as "from the writer of Million Dollar Baby and the co-writer of Crash" then, yes, Paul Haggis is absolutely selling a PAUL HAGGIS BRAND movie.

Zack said...

The studo is selling a Haggis Brand Movie. What control does the writer have over the trailer? Never mind.

Second, Bullshit.

Okay, I did not major in art history. I don't really know if what you said about The History of Art Criticism is bullshit or not.

But the importance of the artist is a myth. It's good or it's not, and fuck the guys who made it. It makes you feel something or it doesn't. Else you get wrapped up in somebody else's ego, you confuse a van Meegeren for a Vermeer, and then you get pissed off at a stranger for making you realize that you're letting a signature or a marquee make your critical judgments for you.

Well, not you. Art critics of the 1930s. Whatever.

I understand deciding whether to see the new Bond based on Crash. Here, you are making an reasonable educated guess.

But in saying that Million Dollar Baby becomes a worse movie in the aftermath of seeing Crash? No, sorry, you and Matt are both bonkers. I love you both. You're nuts.

Anonymous said...

Blog a new blog, oh mighty blog boy. I'm tired of checking this site and being disappointed!
- Kel