Thursday, July 14, 2011

30 Day Film Challenge: Day 12: A Film By Your Least Favorite Director

Day 12: A Film By Your Least Favorite Director: Signs
There are directors who consistently make bad movies, but more often than not those movies aren't striving for greatness.  It's one thing to be a money making director who churns out cheap horror flicks or comedies for the paycheck.  It's quite another to be a director whose name is a brand and who seriously seems to believe that everything he does carries tremendous gravity.  We really should ask: who keeps letting M. Night Shyamalan behind a camera?  Is it you?  Ok, don't do that anymore.

There are a lot of like-minded folks out there, but all the criticism can't seem to stop the machine that is M. Night: hack director extraordinaire.  The Sixth Sense was a decent enough movie, it's true, but ever since its sleeper success, Shyamalan seems to have found his winning formula, stuck with it, and not bothered to make room for improvement.  Oh! Look at me!  I'm M. Night Shyamalan!  I made a movie with a twist ending!  Can you guess the twist?  Here's a hint: it's lamer and more obvious than last time!  If you were paying attention, you probably saw it coming!  Also: I don't know how to write dialogue that conveys any sort of emotion!  Also: I misuse any actor who dares to work with me!  Also:  you can tell this movie is mine because the advertisements are inappropriately overdramatic!  Also:  I seem oblivious to genre conventions, but I think everything I touch is terrifying!  And so on.  As mentioned in the last post, there are times when repetition does a director good.  Wes Anderson has a milieu and he milks it.  Waspy anachronisms and wry family dramedies are what he knows and what he's good at.  Shyamalan's repetition is something else seems to be almost a form of mental illness.  He crashes into a wall in one spectacular manner, then he crashes into it again without putting the brakes on or reaching for a helmet.  He's made a career on cheap manipulation of the audience, and I happen to believe the folks who keep going back for more are almost as insane as the man running the show.  Signs may not be the worst, but it was the one that enraged me the most.  I can't think of many movies that I've hated quite as much as I hated Signs.  Water?  Seriously?  Showing the alien?  Seriously?  Going full blown Christian faith?  Seriously?  There are signs in the film, yes.  They're most notably signs of a dying career or signs that we're dealing with incompetency, but they're also signs that this is a director who believes that his audience will buy anything he's selling.  Weak!  So weak!  

1 comment:

  1. I think we can all agree that M.Night isn't exactly a director's films we're anticipating for.

    But then again, someone must do, 'cos they make a butt-load of money.


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