Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Who wants to be... a mill-a-nare?

FINALLY it is relevant for me to whine about Slumdog Millionaire, the most overrated movie of all time, again. I wrote most of this about a month ago, when I was so filled with anger towards Slumdog I just needed to vent.

Today is the DVD and blu-ray release of the film that won Best Picture at the Oscars this year. And I’m pretty sure it’s still playing in many movie theaters. Don’t ask me how that works, but if you know please feel free to educate me.

Has a more mediocre film ever won Best Picture? The answer is most likely yes, but this one really stuck in my craw. People scoff at me when I refer to Slumdog as the worst movie ever, but it is simply an equal and opposite reactionary exaggeration to calling it the “Best Picture of the Year”. Although when I looked back on the list of Best Picture winners for the past 10 years, I’ve only seen half of them, so I’m probably not the most informed critic. Don’t care.

The Slumdog effect is very similar to the Little Miss Sunshine effect. Yeah, it was a good film. Yeah, it was entertaining enough. Yeah, it was different than the movies we usually see. But Best Picture? Are you mad? Do NOT call me the second you get out of the theater saying Slumdog the best movie you’ve ever seen and everyone you know has to go see it immediately, because that’s retarded. And I got no less than three of those phone calls. But at least Little Miss Sunshine didn’t win Best Picture.

The only time I’ve chosen the correct winner for Best Picture was for The Departed. But seriously, if you didn’t like the departed you should probably question your status as a human being. Because that movie was absolutely mind blowing.

I like a good underdog story as much as, if not more than, anyone/everyone. And although the content of Slumdog was a seriously mediocre underdog story with such unrealistic twists and turns, paired with a completely underdeveloped romantic relationship, the actual movie, because of it’s non-mainstream content, is also an underdog in itself. But to really be an underdog you have to at least be better than the competition to win. And Slumdog just wasn’t.

Both Milk and Benjamin Button were FAR superior to Slumdog. I didn’t even like The Wrestler that much but if I was on the Acadamy, and for some reason there were only two films nominated for Best Pitcure, and they were The Wrestler and Slumdog, I would have chosen The Wrestler, just to stick it to Slumdog.

Seriously though. Lets do a quick recap of the general plot. Jamal won a million dollars on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire because he coincidentally knew the answer to every question because of an event in his interesting/tough/slummy life. And then he was in love with this girl, who he basically hasn’t known or had any communication with since he was like six years old. Nothing chaps my ass like an underdeveloped romantic relationship in a film. Nothing (this second “Nothing” is for you, Notting Hill). Half of the meaningful shit he experienced he didn’t even go through with her. And now she’s one in a band of skanks that belong to some drug lord or gangster or whatever. I did like how she finally escaped, but please. I’m just not buying it (and I’ll buy some pretty cheesy shit when it comes to movies).

Something I do, when I watch movies and TV, is constantly predict what is going to happen next. When I’m right I get really excited, and when I’m not, the surprise of what happens instead is how I decide if I like something or not. Slumdog was completely off of my prediction path and the surprise of what happened instead was disappointment after disappointment. First of all, with all of those kids running around in the beginning, I was sure there was going to be some sort of sexual molestation going on. But no — just gauging out some eyes with a hot spoon. I usually expect/look forward to sexual molestation in the plot of a movie because I watch A LOT of Law & Order: SVU. A. Lot.

The other main thing I saw happening, which did not, was an in depth look at the corrupt government in India in which the POLICE were torturing Jamal to find out how he was cheating on a fucking television game show. COME ON! Slumdog is a poor man’s Quiz Show — another far superior film, but this one is from the 90’s, directed by Robert Redford, also nominated for Best Picture, and about the TV game show scandals of the 1950s. I’ve seen it about 30 times, no biggie. And coincidentally Quiz Show hinges on a contestant taking a dive on an easy question about which film won Best Picture that year! Feels good to come full circle, doesn’t it?

And my final gripe about Slumdog — if the Oscar winning song had been played at all before they rolled the freaking end credits, that would have been nice. Don’t save a gem like that ‘til the end. I knew the song before I saw the movie and was waiting for it patiently (or not patiently at all) the entire time. Introduce it at some point during the film and then bring it back for the end credits! Jai ho, bitches.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Reasons I don’t watch videos that people send me online

When I worked in an office that had actual people in it, I didn’t like watching videos that people sent me because when your computer is making noise, it’s pretty blatant to everyone around you that you’re not doing work. And I liked to keep a low profile about how much time I spent not doing work, because it was a shit load. But that excuse was also just very convenient since most of the stuff I did end up watching didn’t come close to approximating what I consider to be funny or interesting (and that is a super low bar, since I laugh at almost anything).

I don’t know though, it’s something about videos that don’t capture me or entertain me, which is weird because I watch more TV than most people I know. But I usually watch episodes of Seinfeld or Will & Grace that I’ve already seen 10 times, or a show I already know I like. Something like a youtube video is usually pretty risky. There are some old-school youtube videos that I look back on fondly, like “Shoes” and “Let me borrow that top”. And then there was like that really serene rocking chair that you stare at and then something loud and scary happens and everyone who is huddled around the computer screen together gasps and twitches in reactionary terror. That’s a classic.

But that was in college, when everything was light-hearted and fun and I had more free time (did I, though?) to fuck around. If you work in a cube, even if you have facebook and gchat up all day everyday (which I always did/do and used to get scolded about it every once in a while) I still think playing a video is taking things a little too far. And that is coming from someone who had a TV on their desk and would shamelessly watch tennis during major tournaments. But for some reason I think videos on the computer are slap in the face to the higher ups (who do usually deserve a slap in the face, but let’s be cordial), “Yeah, I don’t care that you pay me to do something here, I’m going to spend 3 minutes watching a clip from the today show about a man that hasn’t left his house in 8 years because he’s too fat. So HA! "

I’m trying to think of the last video link I clicked that I was really upset about. I have a feeling it was like a clip from a spelling bee or something. Not interested. If I was the kind of person who watched Spelling Bee’s on ESPN2 or something, maybe I’d like it, but I don’t. And I didn’t. Either way I remember going off on my friend for sending me the link, “Why the fuck would I ever want to watch that. Never send me anything this stupid or uninteresting ever again. I can not believe you dared to waste my time like this.” Obviously from my reaction, you can tell I have a very high-powered position and cannot be wasted with such trivial nonsense. Psych. It just rubbed me the wrong way, as mediocre online videos always do.

Don’t even get me started on how I treated my friend who sent me some sort of puppy cam. Which I clicked on when all of the puppies were fast asleep and not even moving. Really? That’s what you’re doing to procrastinate the work you have to do? You must actually hate your job more than I do, because that is seriously depressing. Speaking of dogs, I don’t hate the video of that dog speed running in his sleep, because it’s mildly amusing and it’s only like 38 seconds long. But if you send me a video and I get past the one-minute mark and I haven’t laughed out loud, prepare to receive a totally unwarranted wrath of hatred that is lousy with expletives.