(Where else are you gonna see a kids movie do this kinda shit.)
I don’t often heap praise on things, nor do I often discuss animated stuff. In fact, Paranorman may be the only animated thing I’ve ever discussed (I actually think I reviewed 9 too, but whatever), and it’s not because I’m not interested in animation, because I am-very-but because frankly there’s just not a lot of animated stuff that’s stuck with me over the years. But as old as I am now, I figure I can go back and look at a movie I loved as a kid and pick it apart as an adult, so that’s what I’m going to do. The movie is the incredibly underrated and absolutely phenomenal Warner Brothers animated semi musical “Cats Don’t Dance”.
I saw this film as a kid and still love it to this day, which says a lot because a lot of stuff-especially animated I’ve noticed-hasn’t held up as well as my nostalgia has led me to believe. However, some due stand the test of time. I think a lot of it goes into my personal interests. A lot of cartoons don’t stand up to my age now frankly because my interests have changed, not because the cartoon is bad; but some things like Cats Don’t Dance still holds up for me because I’m still an enormous fan of musicals and period pieces (well, recent fan of period pieces) so it’s still good. Cats Don’t Dance first off gets an A+ for premise ALONE. We have all these movies about the fights in Hollywood for african americans to be able to act, or more recently, films like The Artist about the changing of the times and people who don’t want to adapt to it and how it affects them but never has anyone-until this film-stopped as asked, “Hey, what about the animals in movies?” and that’s basically what this film is. It’s an animal take on those types of films on hollywood racial movements. Animals are in almost every movie we see ever, so how do THEY feel about the way they’re portrayed?
Just….god that’s a fucking brilliant premise.
Then on top of the already brilliant premise, they put in some of the-I think-catchiest tunes I’ve EVER HEARD, especially from a kids film. I still sing these to myself to this day. Especially the last 2 songs in the movie. They’re jazzy, they’re gospel, they’re rock and they’re incredible. And the animation just puts it over the top. Fluid, colorful, gorgeous. The tap dancing in this film-or any dancing at all-is just as good as real life dancing, and the colors are so bright and vibrant that everything stands out and is an utter joy to look at. The voice cast is excellent, the script is well written and the film overall is just fantastic. Plus Jasmine Guy (who played Roxy in Dead Like Me) is the voice of Sawyer, who-and this is creepy given she was a cat-one of my first crushes as a kid and still holds all the traits I find attractive in girls these days. Artistic, creative, smart, strong, confident and overall sweet. So, with all these things going for it? Why has it been so poorly received?
It’s got a 69% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 71% audience rating, so it’s clearly gained something in the years since its release, but I remember when it was just panned and nobody liked it, and it still boggles me to this day WHY.
There’s nothing in this movie that you CAN’T like. I can understand if it’s just a preference thing. You don’t like animation, or musicals or you don’t like kids movie or you don’t like movies about animals. All totally justifiable and understandable reasons not to enjoy something, but you can’t call it BAD. A bad movie is something that’s terrible on every front, and whether you liked it or not, Cats Don’t Dance is NOT bad on ANY front, and that’s my critic self talking, not my obviously biased fan self. I’m saying this as a “professional” internet reviewer that this thing is 100% fantastic through and through. A lot of animated movies get flack just because they aren’t the brand names we know, like Disney.
Happened to Don Bluth in the 80s. His movies are significantly darker in tone and overall more mature, but they’re a billion times better than anything Disney has put out in over 20 years (give or take a few like Lilo & Stitch or The Lion King). We know Disney and we know Pixar, but there’s competing animated companies we all know but don’t associate with good movies, even though these companies more often than not do turn out good films. Dreamworks is usually a hit or a miss, but they’ve been more on the ball than off I’d venture to say. Megamind is one of the best movies I saw that year, and I enjoyed all 3 Shreks (never saw the 4th). Warner Brothers is another. Warner Brothers are more misses than hits I’d say but when they hit the mark, THEY HIT THE MARK. And even Nickelodeon movies are pretty great, like Jimmy Neutron and even the Spongebob Movie for what it was was downright entertaining.
Cats Don’t Dance still is as good as it was 10 years ago, and I don’t think time will EVER change that. It’s so vastly underappreciated, especially as a kids movie, and I think that needs to change (and according to RT it seems to be, which is nice to see) because I’d much rather have my kid watch this movie than watch anything on Disney Channel. As much as I praised the songwriting in general, I want to touch on the animation aspect of this once more. This video of the Jam in the alley is just….god it’s wonderful. It’s wonderful all over. The colors, the music, the flow of the animation. This movie was even STORYBOARDED correctly because they cut to feet when dancing, and who-outside of real live movies-DOES THAT!? The people who made this thing really cared about the product that they were producing and it shows. Check it out:
If that thing doesn’t make you smile or even tap your foot, then you’re dead inside. (Ok that was a bit harsh, I’ll admit. I’m sorry.) But the fact remains that this thing is just so well done, and it’s not just one scene. The ENTIRE MOVIE is of this quality.
I really recommend this thing to kids and adults alike, and I hope you come away with a new appreciate of a movie that everyone otherwise panned originally. Please give it a try, you won’t regret it. Judging from the ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, it seems they’ve “clawed” their way to the top it seems now, and nothings gonna stop them now.
I’ve said it before, but this time I’m doing a whole article based on it: The Hangover was NOT funny.
But it’s not necessarily the movie itselfs fault. Any premise-no matter how cliche or overdone or unoriginal-can be hilarious if done correctly and well. The problem is more that comedy these days is almost like being in front of someone holding their script and screaming “IT’S FUNNY! LAUGH AT IT! HAHAHAHA!” as they devolve into a crying fit. These “yuk” flicks (or “yuck” flicks as I call them) that try so hard to PROVE they’re funny that they forget to BE funny. And it isn’t just movies that suffer from this, but that’s we’re focusing on this time. The Hangover is definitely in that majority, as are a LOT of popular “comedies” these days. Zombieland sucked, 21 Jump Street (or really ANYTHING based off something), The 3 Stooges and even something I liked-The Dictator-go out of their way to prove they’re funny and therefore forget to put in actual jokes and comedy.
The secret to the film industry is something I can sum up in one single word; familiarity. People hate change and they hate adapting, therefore, the key to success is to just do what you’ve already done and do it well enough that people want more of it. As many say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. But that’s the problem. The film industry IS broke, at least from a creative, artistic standpoint. While yes, these movies make billions of dollars (unfortunately) and spawn dozens of sequels (unfortunately), what they AREN’T doing is giving anyone else a chance to make something ACTUALLY good. Every now and then an actually good comedy sneaks in like Bridesmaids or even Tower Heist, but it’s rare. And comedy-unlike horror or drama-is fleeting. A lot of what you find funny today you won’t find funny 10 years from now, and a lot of talking about comedy is being able to relate to other people who find it funny. Peoples tastes often change and so you will lose that connection, whereas other genres like horror and drama are more personal. You might not always find farts funny, but you will 99% of the time ALWAYS be scared of what you were scared of as a kid or what made you cry in a drama as an adult.
Farts? Possibly lose their humor.
Demons from hell who want your soul? Always terrifying.
Someone you love dying from cancer? Always heart wrenching.
The problem isn’t necessarily just the film industries either, or peoples sense of humor; it’s comedy in general. Comedy is flawed in that it has one sole purpose which is to make you laugh and that’s ALL you remember it for which is why a lot of “classic comedies” don’t hold up as years go by because tastes are always changing. A lot of what people in the 50s found funny people in 2013 find hard to watch. It isn’t necessarily that it’s not funny or is funny but that the only thing it’s offering is laughs, and if you only offer 1 thing, it’s hard to connect to especially from a different generation. Dramas however offer up a myriad of different emotions. A drama can make you cry, make you laugh, make you feel. It gives you so many opportunities to remember it, and that’s why dramas DO often hold up. Horror unfortunately is in the same vein as comedy in the sense that what we find scary today isn’t what we found scary 50 years ago. It gets away with it better than comedy does, but it still has that one track mind.
But this goes far beyond terrible “comedies” like The Hangover. This goes to the core of comedy itself. At some point, we came up with the idea that there’s something called “low brow” and “high brow” when really there should just be COMEDY. Comedy is so fractured as an idea that it’s breaking apart within itself. The idea that just because something tells fart jokes more than higher class jokes with wordplay doesn’t mean one is better than the other, it just means one knows how to do one thing well and the other knows how to do the other well. And some can do both extremely well. I’m not saying that I hate comedies because I don’t, but I do feel there’s a problem here; a disconnect if you will, that is making us try and push the boundaries of comedy further when really the further we push the more we risk losing sight of what’s actually funny. Anything CAN be funny-as I said at the start-but it takes the right kind of context to MAKE it funny. And that’s the biggest problem with the film comedies today; their context is entirely off. A lot of what is in The Hangover isn’t funny because it’s not set up, it’s just TOLD. It’s brash, in your face humor with none of the substance of a joke. You’re just supposed to think, “Hey that was funny!” when what you SHOULD be thinking is, “WHY was that funny?”
And The Hangover is the perfect example of badly contextual humor. In The Hangover they steal Mike Tysons tiger. Why? Why would you do that? And if you say “because” that’s not an answer, that’s a copout. Some things CAN get away with that, but comedy borders on believability and we need to know WHY someone would do what they do. That’s why Seinfeld works so well, because we understand why George would do the things he does, because we know who he is as a person. Comedies not only fail to set up their characters well, but they also fail to give any payoff to why these characters do half the shit they’re doing other than “Because it’s supposed to be funny” but you can’t just SAY that. You have to SHOW ME why it’s supposed to be funny, not just TELL ME it is. That’s not an answer, that’s an EXCUSE.
Comedies are inherently flawed and probably always will be, but in the end it just matters what makes YOU laugh personally. I’m looking at it through my reviewer glasses, so that’s why I’m breaking it down the way I am, but really what comedy comes down to is how it affects the person watching it. I hated The Hangover, but tons of other people didn’t. Does that make it a good comedy? To my reviewer self, no, because of the issues I’ve pointed out. But it was sure as hell successful, because it knew what it was doing. I’ll say that much at least. It was confident, and even if what you’re doing is bad, if you’re confident enough in it, you will almost always succeed, so I have to give them SOME credit. THEY believed they were funny.
I still don’t.
Ever since I was as young as I can remember, I’ve loved comic books and video games. Growing up playing the Sega Genesis and the Atari and the Playstation and basically every console ever, I have been a “nerd” my entire life. But that’s all changed as of tonight.
10 years ago I was getting beaten up for liking these things.
These days my “interests” are fucking celebrated.
I’m done. The worst part of the console wars and gaming is the community itself, and the idea that these companies have to be constantly at odds with eachother, and after watching Sony bask in their smug ass glory of defeating Microsoft at E3 2013-and don’t get me wrong, the Xbox One is a fucking joke, but this isn’t about that-I am OFFICIALLY turning in my nerd card. No longer will I debate my favorite theories in TV shows, and no longer will I loudly proclaim my love for certain things and no longer will I partake in a community that exists to basically tear one another down. I’m. Done.
And this isn’t the first time I’ve brought up faux nerdom, as you’ll see here, but this time it’s really about me personally. Last time I was defending actual nerdy people, but this time I am stating that I am done. You guys can have this shallow life that you’ve created from faux interests. Shitty nerdy TV shows like Big Bang Theory, Game Of Thrones, Dr. Who or The Walking Dead-the first of which isn’t funny and is kind of insulting, the second of which is just fucking BOOOORRRRIIING, the third is actually slightly entertaining but the fandom has killed my interest entirely and the 4th is one of the worst written most overhyped things ever created on the face of television-have infiltrated the mainstream as some sort of acceptance to the nerd culture, but all that’s actually done is bought in a whole lot of assholes and people who pretend to be interested to look cool.
This is no different than god damned high school, but this time, nerds are the ones being exclusionary.
I’ve been slowly losing my interests in gaming over the last 2 years anyway, but as of the 360 it’s nice to know I am DONE altogether and don’t have to defend the correct arguments anymore. Those arguments, by the way, are as follows:
- Graphics are only interesting for the first 15 minutes
- Gameplay is all that matters
- ENDINGS AND STORY ARE NOT GAMING
- The majority of this shit is fucking terrible, and if I say anything to go against the beloved game, I get verbally raped, as opposed to just having an opinion
And it’s nice to know that this hasn’t penetrated comics entirely yet. Sure, Marvel churns out shitty movie after shitty movie ever year of two, forcing Joss Whedon to make a fucking retarded film like The Avengers when he should in fact be working on GOD DAMNED DR. HORRIBLE 2 after all the times he’s promised he WOULD, but that doesn’t-thankfully-bleed over into the comics scene all that much yet.
Shows like Adventure Time-which isn’t all that great to be honest, it’s ok, but it’s nothing special-and My Little Pony are now considered nerd culture; not necessarily because of what they are but because of the fanbase that follows them. I enjoy both of those things to the extent of I watch them and that’s it, but they are NOT nerdy. Adventure Time at it’s best (and the comic is eons better) is a mediocre cartoon that’s mildly amusing at times and My Little Pony is, yes, excellently written and slick flash and the songs are great and it reminds me of cartoons from the 90s…but it’s MY LITTLE FUCKING PONY. THERE IS NOTHING NERDY ABOUT CANDY COLORED CARTOON PONIES.
But the context they’ve been put into, THAT’S what is nerdy. And that’s what nerdism seems to be now. Context. Memes and whatnot have changed what a thing actually is. Now, instead of just being a pretty entertaining show about ponies, My Little Pony is put into things like LOTR and video game fan creations like Fallout or Portal. The ponies themselves are not nerdy, but the CONTEXT the fanbase puts them in, THAT’S nerdy. And that’s what nerdism is now. A joke. Ragecomics & Memes being made by people who don’t know how to do it or just plain aren’t funny, and horrible websites like Tumblr (ironic that I’m writing this here, isn’t it?) and Twitter have allowed us to form a community that’s become just as hateful, spiteful and cruel as the ones that made fun of the real nerds back in the day, and that’s fucking HORRIBLE.
And it depresses me. It feels like I’ve had my identity completely ripped from me and violently manhandled inappropriately by a billion people who either don’t know what they’re doing or don’t know what they actually enjoy. I hold onto this hope that maybe the nerd culture will be a fad that soon dies out, much like the emo one was, but the difference is now it seems the nerd culture has bled out from the dumb teenager and onto the stupid adult, and it’s just going to continue to get worse. So here we sit, in a stranglehold, and me holding onto the last shred of this identity I’ve had forever, and therein kind of lies the problem, as Daria put it so well (and which I’m gonna paraphrase the shit out of here):
“What do you do when you have an identity you always hated, but then someone else comes along and takes that identity from you. It’s not like you wanted this identity, but it’s all you have, so if they take it away…you’ll have NOTHING. What do you do?”
But there we are. I think I’m ready to just keep what little nerdy interests I have left to myself and let you vultures take the rest, and find some new better hobbies to partake in. It sounds so hipster of me (hipster, I have concluded, being a term coined by faux nerds to insult actual nerdy people) but that’s where this goes.
So go ahead, take what I once thought was my cool, special interests and hobbies. Take them and destroy them like you have everything else. I’ll be over here, actually growing up.
I love the band Everclear.
I love their sound, their lyrical content, and what they sing about (and I love the singers voice), but I have one problem with the band. While I do think they are one of the best rocks band-possibly in my opinion, EVER-they have one very distinct problem that I see a LOT of good bands run into:
They don’t sound too similar to other bands; they sound too similar to themselves.
You know what I mean? All of their songs kind of sound the same as the last song, and while they have a great sound, I feel they don’t utilize it to their full advantage, which makes everything they do just kind of run together musically and sound the same. It’s what a lot of bands with distinct sounds run into, ranging from Eve 6 to Maroon 5. Both also phenomenal bands, but they have the same damn problem in that so much of their work just sounds EXACTLY the same. Now I get that a band wants to have a sound, and that sound is what sets them apart and makes them memorable…
…HOWEVER, if every song you make sounds exactly like the last song I heard by you, I’m not ever going to really know any of your music as singular songs, I’m going to know it as a full on collection of work. Maybe not me personally, because I have really good memory for things like that (a bit, OCD, if you will), but I could see a LOT of people having that exact problem. You want to stand out-that’s what the sound is for-but you also want your SONGS to stand out. The sound can’t be what you’re remembered for. Take The Beatles, for instance, their sound isn’t what they’re remembered for. People know the names of their songs and specifically who wrote what song. The sound is a very crucial part to your success, but it can’t be the crutch to your success.
And I don’t want to sound like I’m attacking Everclear, because they are absolutely wildly talented people and I did just call them one of the best rock bands ever, but I do find it curious that a lot of people know the BAND and not the MUSIC. Now there’s that dedicated hardcore group of fans who DO know everything, but I’m taking as a whole population. You really do want success. Sure, you’ll be happy with ANY kind of fan recognition you can get but everybody in the entertainment business wants success (or that’s what people keep telling me anyway, I still believe a lot of these people are just in it for the sake of the creation) and so if you want success you have to know that people know your songs and everything. You have to be more mainstream and commercial and “sell out”.
Now, there’s that buzzword. Sell out. Sell out basically has become a term for people who wanted to do creative things but weren’t good enough at it or didn’t have enough belief in themselves and their craft and refuse to “sell out to the man”, but let me tell you something about “selling out” that you may not know. It doesn’t mean what these people think it means. Selling out just means making money. It just means being successful. You have to make money in order to survive. There’s no shame in that. As I said, I’m sure there’s artists out there-filmmakers, musicians and what have you-who just do it for the love of the art, and while that’s why I do what I do, I’m not necessarily against being successful at it. I currently write for websites and I get paid well for it and I’m happy about it. That’s not selling out. That’s called making a living. That’s called being a supportive part of society.
And I’m not saying Everclear “sold out” or anything-as I don’t even believe selling out exists-I’m just saying you want a bigger audience. You ALWAYS want a bigger audience, especially if you’re trying to be successful. I also don’t believe money determines how good you are at something, AT ALL. Michael Bays Transformers made a metric shit ton of money, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good movie by any means or that he’s a good filmmaker. That just means he’s good at getting people to see shit. Success CAN be valued and determined in many different ways. Even if you’re just happy with what you made, or you have a few good close friends who enjoyed it, that could technically be success. Success does NOT have to equal purely monetary gain, though that is how the majority of the world gages it.
So what am I saying here?
Bands that are popular aren’t necessarily bad-especially at what they do because they’re obviously doing something right if they’re popular, although there IS a lot of bands, movies and whatever that are popular and ALSO suck-they just know how to market themselves, and marketing yourself is important, because it leads to being more popular. Selling out isn’t “evil” or “lame”, no, it’s just called making a living and contributing to society. In this day and age, you don’t need to “sell out” (find a real manager or producer or agent) to become famous-hell look at ANY popular bandcamp page or popular webseries/youtube icons-but you’re still making money at it, and just because you DO have help managing your career does not mean you sold out, it means you were smart enough to have someone by your side giving you good advice that you either take or don’t, depending on what you think is best for you. You can have a manager/producer/agent and still not listen to them, it’s just good to know they’re there if you want to use them, and a lot of them-contrary to popular belief-will NOT screw you over.
Everclear is a great band who’s probably happy with the success they’ve achieved and seem to be happy just to be making music, and I hope they continue to for years to come.
Also, stop saying “sell out”, because I WILL find you and I WILL punch you mercilessly.
In 1999, a movie came out with an INCREDIBLE cast, and a premise that really deserves the credit so many other movies are given now. Honestly, without Mystery Men, the argument could be made that films like Megamind, Kick-Ass and Dr. Horrible would never have been as acceptable, or even been made.
With an anti-gun message that doesn’t make you wanna gouge your eyes out (because their logic is true, superheroes DON’T use guns, how is that a power?) and only one real flaw (not enough material to support it’s length), Mystery Men opened the door everywhere for super hero parodies and anti super hero movies. Now I’m not saying these other films would’ve never been made, but I think the public was more open to the idea of parody superhero (or “spooferhero” as I call them) flicks thanks to the memory of this film.
I hadn’t seen Mystery Men since MAYBE it came out. I saw it a few times on VHS back in the day, but it’d been a good 10 years I’d say, and given that the movie is 14 years old, that’s a while. But it’s a film that really does hold up-give or take some effects issues here and there-and is just as entertaining as I remembered it being. And while Mystery Men isn’t the best spooferhero movie out there, it’s certainly got to get the credit it deserves for what it started. Not to mention that it shares some eerily similarities with some of the other things it no doubt inspired.
Take for example, Captain Amazing, who is absolutely on par with Captain Hammer, and even more on par with Metro Man for a self indulgent but actually useful superhero. Especially the similarity in plot wise with how in Mega Mind they make you think Metro Man dies, but then turns out he’s alive and faked his death, but in Mystery Men Captain Amazing literally gets fried to death. Not that he didn’t deserve it, he wasn’t that good a person, but the similarity is there nonetheless. Mystery Men is dark. I recently told someone it was Kick-Ass before there was Kick-Ass, which is absolutely accurate I’d say. But as much as I like the movie and as well as it stands up and as much as an impact I think it made…it’s not without its flaws.
And the real flaw here is the underutilized plot. The premise is there, the cast is phenomenal and the filmmaking aspect is pretty good given this was made in 1999, but the premise can’t BE your plot. That’s the problem a lot of movies take these days. They come up with a great idea and that great idea is there movie. Transformers, robots turn into things. That’s the whole movie. There’s no “plot” there. And Mystery Men sadly kind of does the same thing. It’s a premise that tries to have a plot but ultimately kind of fails. The movie is over 2 hours long and I’m sad to say there’s just not enough material to support it’s lengthy runtime. I really lost interest this time around the 1 hour 40 mark or so, right after Captain Amazing was fried to death. I wish they had done some other stuff with these characters other than this singular linear plotline. I like the twist they threw in with Captain Amazings death-and who caused it-and the subplot with The Bowler and her fathers murder, but there’s not enough of that kind of stuff.
I’d be very interested in seeing a version of this film that was more filled with little character arcs like that, and in fact I’d go so far as to say this is a movie that could benefit from being a TV show. This is a film that would definitely be better as a television series. There’s just too many characters here and you can’t give yourself enough time in a film to become too involved in each one of them. That’s why so many, like Invisible Boy and The Sphinx are kind of bland. I’m not knocking any points off for this by the way, I’m just saying that I think they could’ve shortened the length about 20 minutes or so and had a perfectly tightened, well made flick as opposed to this kind of dragging on ending we’re given.
There IS such a thing as “too much of a good thing” and Mystery Men proves that.
I think the setup is far too long, it takes them way too long to get the team together, and find Captain Amazing and get a plan. There’s just a lot of time wasted I feel with meandering things that really bog this movie down and make it a bit less better than it could’ve been. That being said, I still love it and recommend it.
And I also still stand by my statement about it being important. I really do think that this movie had a lot to do with our spooferhero films of lates success and that it should be given the credit it so rightfully deserves. Much like Austin Powers made spoofing spy flicks good, Mystery Men made light of the superhero realm in a way that needed it, and REALLY needs it badly today. Thankfully today we have Kick-Ass doing that. Todays superhero movies are so dark and gritty and-honestly-flat out STUPID that we need more movies like Mystery Men to remind us that comics and superheroes are supposed to be FUN, not disturbing.
Mystery Men may be dark, but it’s dark only in tone, and comedic in everything else.
So go ahead and check it out if you’ve never seen it before, as it’s finally on Netflix Streaming, and maybe you’ll be surprised.
I’m giving Mystery Men a rating of 3 and 1/2 stars, or a light 4.
I watched Ugly Betty from the moment of the premiere, to the middle of season 3, and then dropped it. Why? Because of the writers strike. Had that never happened, I would’ve easily continued watching straight through to the end, and as of tonight-having FINALLY finished rewatching all of the series including what I missed-I’m very sad I didn’t.
Ugly Betty is one of those shows that falls into a few categories:
- Gets you looks if you admit to liking/watching it, ESPECIALLY if you’re a man
- Has the campy Desperate Housewives appeal, thus once again making it seem like bad television to a lot of people
- Very very VERY underrated
And I stand by all of that even today. When I mention that I like Ugly Betty or Desperate Housewives, people give me weird looks, but these shows are both drastically dark and in some cases-especially Desperate Housewives-VERY violent. They’re NOT the soap opera show our Grandmas used to watch. That being said, I understand WHY people are standoffish, but I don’t think it’s right. I mean, sure, Desperate Housewives is definitely an acquired taste and I don’t necessarily consider it a show that everyone HAS to see in their lifetime. I love it, but I’ll admit that.
Ugly Betty though has a different reception from me.
People definitely should watch it. Outside of the fact that it’s only 85 episodes long (spanning 4 fantastic seasons), it did a number of things right:
- It didn’t overstay its welcome
- It kept its decent tone the whole series through
- It was HUGELY groundbreaking in terms of the GLBT community EONS before Glee, AND did it better
I’d like to discuss these bulletpoints. First off, it didn’t overstay its welcome. I actually am glad the show ended at season 4, though I would’ve easily watched more, because it felt more like a story had been told. We saw the transformation of a timid but hopeful young girl grow into this beautiful and extremely brave-and inspirational-young woman. Ugly Bettys biggest pro is its overly positive attitude. There may be scheming and plotting and ridiculous soap opera type plotlines at times, but in the end, Ugly Betty has such a positive upbeat nature about it that it’s pretty friggin hard NOT to love her and the show itself.
Secondly, much like Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty (possibly BECAUSE it didn’t overstay its welcome) it kept the quality of its program up essentially the entire 85 shows. The middle of season 3 and the beginning of season 4 are pretty damn dark and a bit slow, but the rest of the show are just fantastic, and it’s one of the FEW shows that had a phenomenal 1st season and didn’t falter in its 2nd. THAT’S a feat. The entire time I never felt-even at the shows worst-that it compromised its quality, or it wasn’t good enough. I always thought it was fantastic, and if you read my blog often, you know I don’t heap praise like this lightly.
And finally, the possibly most controversial bulletpoint on the list, the gay one. Ugly Betty is a series that welcomed homosexuality into open arms, and in 2005, when the only thing we really had before this was Will & Grace which I don’t see as “welcoming”, but rather as “one long gay joke reinforcing terrible stereotypes”. I don’t consider that groundbreaking. I consider Ugly Bettys handling of the homosexuality community and its acceptance groundbreaking. Not only did Ugly Betty have men-and teenage boys-kissing before Glee was this faux homosexual activist poster boy, but it actively made you CARE about them. It really proved that your sexuality or gender doesn’t matter and what matters is how good a person you are. Love is love. These characters were good people, funny people, nice people and overall I saw no difference in the way they and their relationships were handled as opposed to how a straight character was. It was beautiful, it was the first and it really needs to be given that credit above all else. It really, truly deserves it.
Not only did Ugly Betty teach me to respect fashion as an art, but it tells you to chase your dreams, which is something I don’t think I’ve seen a lot of shows say. No other show has ever had a more positive message (except perhaps Wilfred) than Ugly Betty, and it really should be noted how inspirational Betty and the show itself can be. For a show called Ugly Betty, it certainly was so much more beautiful than any other show.
Some shows end and it doesn’t matter even if the experience was enjoyable, other shows end and I do miss them because of how much I connected with the characters and then there’s that rare show that ends and I realize how much it really impacted me and how less bright my world would be now without its presence. Thank god for Netflix & DVDs.
So I salute you, Ugly Betty, Betty Suarez and America Ferrera. You really made a difference, and I hope one day people recognize your show for the truly beautiful story it is; one about chasing your dreams, about being a good person and how much beauty there is in the world.
UGLY BETTY FINAL RATING:
Warning: This review WILL contain spoilers.
I know this is going to sound like the start of a joke, but…5 kids go to a cabin in the woods and…well, what unfolds unfortunately is a film that has somehow obtained a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Let it be known right off the bat that I’m an enormous horror movie fan, and I’m a middle of the road fan of Joss Whedon, and as for Drew Goddard, I love his LOST work and I liked Cloverfield purely for the technical stuff they did in it. So what’s the biggest problem Cabin in the Woods has?
It’s pretentious. Or, that’s one problem. But it’s BIG problem is that it not only is it pretentious but it KNOWS it’s pretentious.
People likened Cabin in the Woods to Scream, in the sense of satirizing and then rebuilding from the ground up a genre that’s so bogged down with tropes and cliches that it needs to be fixed. In actuality, it’s kind of what Marty in the film says about humanity: It’s time to give someone else a chance. And he’s right, it is time to give someone else a chance.
To make horror movies.
The difference between this film and Scream however is that Scream actually accomplished what it set out to do, whereas this film goes so far out of its way to prove its intelligence and parodies that its entire purpose gets lost somewhere in a plot that’s honestly not that engaging to begin with. It’s a truly cool premise that was squandered by a watered down co-written Joss Whedon script. A watered down co-written Whedon script that’s SO co-written it’s almost like they co-wrote Whedons stuff OUT of the script altogether.
Listen, just because you CAN make comments on a genre doesn’t mean you SHOULD, especially if you can’t stay on track with what you’re trying to do. At one point it wants to be this incredibly smart film that says there’s something wrong with horror movies, but at the same time it wants to BE a horror movie, and you can’t do both successfully when you can’t do either one to begin with.
In the end, you realize that each country has to abide by their rules of the game. That’s why Japan has the schoolgirls. It’s the cliche of the japanese horror genre. That’s why americans get the 5 cliche archetypes that we’ve come to know and hate over the years of horror films. But it doesn’t work. At the end of it all, the “twist” is they have to die to appease the ancient gods so they do not end the world. We are told this by a Sigourney Weaver character at the climax of the film. I actually would’ve preferred this ending if the gods they were trying to appease had just been the actress Sigourney Weaver. At least THAT would’ve been amusing.
Instead what we’re given is a film that thinks that it’s smart, goes out of its way to say it’s smart and then prove itself wrong by also trying to cram in as much blood and crappy CGI horror at the end to dismantle its entire point.
Your point is lost if you go against the idea of satirization. Point OUT the cliches. Don’t BECOME the cliches. When you satirize something, you’re not supposed to BECOME the satirization. Had the film instead been a statement about horror movies and moral choices-do you help your friend, or do you go in the cellar when you know you shouldn’t-then it might’ve been worth the time it took to watch it. It would’ve been saying, “Hey, here’s the problems, we’re fixing them now, we’re forcing you to look at the way you watch horror movies and the way people write them”, much like the “Would you Kindly” moment in Bioshock did for video games. It woke people up to the fact that just because a character on a game asks you to do something, you do it, even though you never think twice. That’s what this movie should’ve gone for. Not this ancient gods malarky. Whoever thought THAT was the right direction should’ve been released from the project right from the get-go.
All in all, the film is a complete and utter waste of time, unless you want to watch a trainwreck. I’ll give it that. It’s at least hilariously entertaining because of all the missteps it makes. Get some friends together, maybe a few drinks in you and just laugh yourselves silly at a movie that’s too stupid for even the MST3K crew to rip apart.
Every now and then, a show comes along that really truly helps me.
I don’t usually discuss my personal life on this blog, because it’s not anyones interest as this blog is purely for reviews and ranting and whatnot, but considering my personal life this time is linked to something in media, I’ve decided to do it. I have suffered with severe depression for years among other issues, but that’s as deep into my psyche I will go for your strangers. But every now and then a show has come along and helped me through a difficult emotional time.
When my grandmother died, I had just really gotten into Dead Like Me, and it not only helped me cope with her death but also get rid of my own fear of dying, or at the very least make me not as scared with it and since then I’ve loved everything that Bryan Fuller has made to this day with a passion, including his recent NBC outing “Hannibal”. LOST was another great example, but in a much stranger sense. I started watching it on DVD in 2009 or so when I moved and after my parents had just gotten a divorce after 12 years, and I felt extremely…well…lost. But it was ok because here were other people were extremely lost and in a much worse sense than I was, but I could relate to them, especially John Locke and Jack in the sense of having father issues.
Then there’s shows like Home Movies/Daria that literally helped me survive high school and just sort of feel ok about myself.
And then there’s Wilfred. Oh Wilfred. Wilfred has helped me with a number of things. The overall eternal message I get from it is just to be happy with who you are, and that’s one of the things that I struggle with the absolute most in my life, as I think a lot of us do. We always feel bad about ourselves at points and want to be better, cooler, smarter or happier than we think we are. Ryan (Elijah Wood) suffers from depression to the point of almost suicide, much like myself at a point, and he’s the one character I’ve ever been able to truly relate to in every sense because of it. When each season of Wilfred ends-and granted there’s only been 2 so far-it almost feels like I’m losing a friend. I miss Wilfred as much as I miss my real dog when I’m away from her.
Wilfreds beautiful simplicity disguised as deeply emotional psychological insight is what makes it so perfect. It stands as not just a television show but really a solid, strong and positive message. Be happy. No matter what happens, just keep on going and try to be happy as much as you can; with yourself, or the world around you. It says that yes, depression IS a problem, but it’s not a problem you HAVE to live with, it’s a problem you ultimately CHOOSE to live with. You can fight it if you really want to, and that’s why Wilfred has helped me so much in the short 26 episodes it’s had.
It’s heartfelt, it’s funny, it’s original in every way and it really can help people if they just listen to it’s overall tone. And in todays television world, a world filled with brutal murders, rapes, homicides and suicides and shootouts and terrible pain, I think “be happy” is a message we really need. Wilfred is a shining light of dramatic positivity carefully masked as a cynical sitcom. It’s brilliant, and it’s helpful.
So thank you Jason Gann and Elijah Wood. Thank you for helping me, and hopefully other people as well.
And on a related note, I just tonight discovered that the season 1 finale of “Hannibal” airs June 20th at 10 on Thursday. The season 3 premiere of Wilfred is ALSO on June 20th at 10 on Thursday. I didn’t even have to think about which one I’d have to decide to watch that night. As much as I love Fullers work and have rallied behind his genius over the years, it’s no contest.
I’m sorry Fuller, but if you ask me to choose between Hannibal or Wilfred, you’re going to lose to a man in a dog suit.
That’s just how it is.
When the trailers first hit, I lumped Paranorman in the same category as Coraline or Monster House. These Tim Burton-sesque inspired stop motion kiddie “horror” films (and granted Coraline was based on a book) that promised much more than they delivered. Neither of those films were bad, for the record. Coraline actually was entertaining, but it never reached the peak of “this is fantastic” that I thought it would, and just felt a little…flat, to say the least. Monster House-a movie with the greatest premise-was freaking phenomenal for the first 45 minutes or so, and then they added in the whole “the house is the guys wife!” plot element and the movie just FELL APART, If they’d left it out and made it a bit like 1408, Monster House would easily net a A+ from me but because it crashes and burns by the end, it nets a solid C. Still good, but fell FAR underneath it’s potential, and is underwhelming to say the least.
But, having now watched Paranorman TWICE before reviewing this, it was not only better than I originally thought it’d be, it blows the other two away entirely. In every sense too. The writing is spectacular and hilarious, while being very realistically heartfelt at times, the visuals are VERY interesting for a stop motion film (and I will forever want to know how they accomplished the look on Aggie when she’s fighting Norman as a ghost, that was just…incredible to look at) and the music has to be my favorite OST in filmmaking since Kick-Ass, way back in 2010. But the thing I like the most about this film is that it didn’t let itself fall apart like Monster House did, or just not deliver like Coraline did. This film decided “We are a horror movie, first and foremost” and they made it especially dark and twisted, to the point where I read kids had to leave the theater because they couldn’t handle it. That’s what I want. Not for kids not to have a good time at the movies, but I want a darker animated film like this. It’s what I wanted the others to be. Coraline was darker, yes, it just wasn’t all that GOOD. Paranorman delivers a very unsettling vibe, and surprisingly some swear words in a kids flick AND a homosexual character, which they gained a LOT of feedback for, and I’m happy to say it seemed like mostly positive feedback.
But the movie also is good for kids because it teaches a lesson, much like older animated kids stuff did. Before kids cartoons just became stupid, they used to teach you life lessons, and Paranorman does this in a very good way with a VERY good lesson that frankly kids really NEED in this day and age, which essentially boils down to; “Just be nice”.
A lot of people say the film championed “anti-bullying”, and I don’t think that’s really true at ALL. Especially because Neil said in the beginning, “You can’t stop bullying, it’s human nature” and he’s right. It’s gonna happen, no matter how many stupid laws you pass or dumb protests you create, it’s never going to stop. But what you CAN gain from this is how to DEAL with mean people, without making yourself seem weak in the process. I didn’t see an anti-bully message as much as I saw an overall “Just have hope in the world and be nice to people” message, which is WAY better. I was bullied throughout school, and nobody helped me, and it made me the person I am today. I know everyone handles things differently, but it will make you a stronger person in the end if you just go “I’m not going to follow your example, I’m going to be a good, hopeful person”.
And besides the “be a good person” message, I like the “be hopeful and have faith in people” message even more. In a day and age when people are overly cynical and depressed, we need more messages like “have faith in people and be hopeful of the future” for kids, because the world will never get better if we don’t TEACH THEM TO MAKE IT BETTER. And all of this from an animated flick about a kid who talks to ghosts. Imagine that.
Sometimes the most inspirational messages come from the most weird places.
PARANORMAN FINAL RATING:
I’m not a person who hates on other things people like just because people like it. Take Dr. Who for example. I don’t like the show, I don’t watch the show, and I think their fanbase takes it WAY too far at times but I won’t attack someone BECAUSE they like it and say that their taste in television is bad. Why? Because I’m not an arrogant, elitist snob.
However, there’s a difference between garbage and television. I will defend Dr. Who-even though I don’t like it-because it is television, but I will NOT defend garbage like most reality shows. Dr. Who at least has artistic merit, and has creativity put into it, whereas something such as “Bad Girls Club”…I don’t even know how or why that’s on television to begin with. There’s nothing creative going on. I’ve seen the show. It’s a bunch of faux hot (meaning “made to look attractive to a ridiculous american stereotypical standard caked with makeup”) chicks who just scream and beat one another, and then sometimes get along, or at least sort of get along.
I may not like Dr. Who but it’s at least artistic. Bad Girls Club isn’t artistic. It’s watching a house full of self important, ego inflated dumb bitches scream 95% of the time. It’s another show in a long line of shows that has people on it who are only famous BECAUSE they’re on it. Reality stars are the new Andy Dicks of the world. Andy Dick is famous just for being Andy Dick. That’s it. That is his claim to fame. It’s a shame Hollywood Squares doesn’t exist anymore as a safe haven for these dumb fucks to go after their time has expired.
Because this is where they end up. And if you think I’m kidding, watch one of those VH1’s “Greatest Hits of the 1790’s” or whatever the fuck they’re called. That’s the new Hollywood Squares for this generation because it packs celebrities into the show to talk about the songs and the majority of these celebrities are celebrities who are famous for having been famous. Dumb fucks like Snooki. I don’t care what you have to say about Sugar Rays music Snooki. You probably think Sugar Ray is a new string of cocaine.
But…this aside, I’m not attacking ALL reality shows. Things out there like Intervention or even American Pickers (I would say Storage Wars but even that-while it has “history” peppered in throughout it about the items-is for a more flashy crowd who doesn’t watch American Pickers) are great because both show you something REAL. With Intervention, you’re experiencing a persons actual addiction and battle with that addiction, and how it affects the people around them. That’s a real situation. AND, it’s not made purely for monetary purposes; these are people who clearly need help and now will-hopefully-get it. And American Pickers is great because you learn a lot about history, not to mention the fact that Mike and Frank are just likable people, unlike the majority of trashy reality shows. Even shit like Swamp People is decent because it’s watching a person preform an actual career, and it’s a dangerous career at that, or perhaps Project Runway because it’s an art form that takes a whole LOTTA skill to pull off.
I’m sick of these pseudo celebrities who think they have a right to a claim of fame just because they’ve sold a bunch of t-shirts with their face on it, or because people know their names, purely because their names are plastered on tabloids. Being on a tabloid isn’t necessarily a GOOD thing, folks. They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity-which is technically true, because it makes people talk about you-but there’s a difference between bad publicity and bad people in public places. That’s what these people are. These Jershey Shore, Bad Girls Club fucks who think they’re the hottest thing since sliced bread just because people know who they are. But the good news is, thats the END of their career and we only have to suffer it for a little while, while the show is popular. Eventually, the show WILL go away and these people WILL disappear into the obliviousness of post celebrity obscurity, occasionally popping up on VH1’s “I was a teenage werewolf who listened to 70s music”.
It sucks to be us, the public, who has to endure them…but it sucks to be them…who has to BE THEM.
Every single time a film gets a sequel, people come out of the woodworks railing against the idea. Now, if it’s a movie that REALLY doesn’t need one-like Napoleon Dynamite-then sure, it’s understandable, but for the most part, movies (especially comedies) can have a sequel and be totally fine. And that’s what people lose track of. Not ALL sequels are bad. Shit, some are better than the original film.
Shrek 2 is way better than Shrek, Terminator 3-while not being better than the previous installments-is still a fantastic movie on its own, and even Back To The Future 2 (and 3, for what it is) are awesome. So not every sequel is bad.
But people being annoyed by sequels makes sense, sure. For the small amount of great sequels there are, they certainly are overshadowed by the enormous amount of truly horrendous sequels. So yes, it does make sense for people to be skeptical, but they should also be open minded. What actually bothers me about the “no more sequels” mindset is the fact that they always come out with the question, “Does Hollywood just have no more original ideas?!”
But then when an original movie finally comes out, NOBODY GOES TO FUCKING SEE IT.
We say we value originality and creativity, but more people flocked to The Hangover 2 than to Hugo. And sure, while Hugo isn’t technically “original” because it’s based off a book, it’s still something we hadn’t seen, and it was PHENOMENAL. The Hangover-all of it-is a steaming piece of shit. It’s not funny, it’s not well written, it’s not well shot, it’s downright terrible. However, The Hangover 2-which even Hangover fans seemed to hate and not want-is even worse. But then you look at the box office tallies.
Hugo reigned in $185,770,160 while The Hangover 2 (by the way, a movie that DIDN’T need a sequel) reigned in $581,464,305.
But let’s put this against a movie that was original and not based on something. The Artist. Against The Hangover 2’s cash intake, The Artist-a truly original film that’s amazingly well made with fantastic actors and a wonderful premise (and soundtrack to boot!) only took in $133,432,856!
So why is it that people ask “Where is the originality in Hollywood these days?” when they know damn full well they aren’t going to see anything original as it is if it comes out? Is it because “originality” is subjective? Could that be it? People whine wanting something original but then that thing that’s original doesn’t fit their interest? I guess, and that’s a legitimate reason to not see something whether it’s original or not, sure. Why waste money on something you’re just not into? I get that. But the argument stands. There’s originality out there, you’re just not going to see it. There’s actually a very simple solution to this problem.
You want more originality?
Stop going to movie sequels.
The more money they LOSE, the less sequels they’ll MAKE. It’s economics when it boils down to it, really. If something doesn’t appear to be marketable, it won’t be on the market. Simple as that, folks. So a lot of the blame honestly lays on you, the viewing public.
You want more originality?
DEMAND IT. Vote with your wallet. That, or just stop complaining altogether.
I was very excited for Hemlock Grove. As far as Netflix original series goes (and none of them except LilyHammer are even “original” as Hemlock Grove is based on a book and House of Cards was a british show), I couldn’t be less interested in House of Cards right now-I’ll watch it when the fever dies down-mostly because I love Eli Roth’s work. But this show is having the same issue Hannibal is, except that Hannibal is enjoyable.
Both are based on source material and so the people running these things-Eli Roth or Bryan Fuller-aren’t making it their own original characters and whatnot. They’re building off a base model. However, Hannibal is excellent. Hemlock Grove is excellent for an ENTIRELY different reason. The show is beautiful to look at at times, but it feels very much like Netflixs answer to Twilight in some ways. A lot of teenage drama. But, here’s the worst part; it’s another thing that has a great opportunity to be fantastic with what they have and yet they’re squandering it’s potential because they don’t seem to know what the hell to do with it. As far as writing goes, it’s disjointed, jarring and almost hard to follow at times. Continuity wise, continuity almost doesn’t exist sometimes, and that shouldn’t bother me because I love stuff like LOST but here it doesn’t work.
This is the kind of show that needs to be straight forward and on track, not jumping around as often as it is. They show too much backstory in the first episode alone, and they’re leaving almost nothing to reveal later on. But I can’t stop watching it. It’s very much like The Walking Dead. It’s great looking, the cast is pretty excellent but the writing is like a group of 8th grade girls wrote it (for Hemlock Grove anyway. Walking Dead is more like a 2nd grader. A special 2nd grader) and it just doesn’t FLOW. At one point it just became a chore to continue to be interested. I found myself fighting to care. But I’m still watching it, just like I did for The Walking Dead. It’s so bad I can’t look away. Maybe by the end of the season, it’ll redeem itself, but right now, I don’t have much to say positively as far as writing goes.
Enjoyable? Kind of.
Watchable? For sure.
Good? Well THAT’S the question.
I’m hoping Hemlock Grove gets it together and starts to flow better and be overall more decent quality wise, because right now I feel like I’m watching a bad version of Teen Wolf. And at least Teen Wolf is good.
But all that aside, I still love you and your work, Eli. I just want you to know that.
Since I was a kid, I’ve loved movies. I could memorize entire film scripts and recite them at a heartbeat. I don’t often promote this about myself as it’s pretty dorky, but today I’m saying these things because they’re important to me. And ever since I could watch movies, I’ve wanted to make one. My dream started to come true when my family got a video camera, and I started making random things filmed around my house with friends; things that would later influence and define my style of work. In 2008 I made a student film and started a cult webseries that had a pretty decent following until 2010 when it ended abruptly, and since then my video work has been almost non existent give or take a few small videos here and there like “Bathroom”.
But it doesn’t mean my interest in film stopped. Even as I started to let my writing speak for itself on websites like www.gotgame.com and www.getminecraftforfree.org, I still liked to write my own stuff, and I still loved movies. That’s why this blog was created. Granted, I’ve started to just discuss stuff in media in general, but my film reviews are my favorite things to do. I love to analyze things; books, video games, television. But movies…movies are the best to analyze. That’s why it hurt really bad learning that Roger Ebert died. Few people I cry about when they die if they’re “celebrities” or just public figures, but Ebert was on a whole other level, even as a person. As a critic, he said what he felt and always stuck to his guns, never apologizing. It’s refreshing to see.
Which brings me to the whole problem with reviewers, or rather peoples representations of reviewers. Sure, there’s those out there who get paid to write a good review. Let’s face it, every job has its scabs. But in the world of entertainment that we live in, especially today, we need reviewers. Not because you should believe what they feel, because entertainment is subjective. Everyones tastes are different and not everyone will like the same things. But you should listen to reviewers for one simple reason: They aren’t afraid to say what they feel.
In a world filled with people who make a living off of looking like everyone else and believing in things to get others to like them, reviewers often stand alone. I would include artists (musicians, filmmakers and writers and whatnot in this group) too, but this is specifically about reviewers, so don’t get offended. We live in a society where the most popular thing is usually the worst:
- One Direction
- Justin Bieber
- The Walking Dead
- The Big Bang Theory
Especially with teenagers-who really do run a lot of the media companies in terms of deciding what becomes pop culture now-who, outside of the occasional exception, are really just copies of one another with no real identity or thoughts of their own. Not because they’re dumb, but because they haven’t lived long enough to develop what they actually enjoy, and be brave enough to say it, without being afraid of being alienated by their peers. Adults sadly are often the same way, actually, but it’s why reviewers are so brave. They often times stand behind what they think and it’s why I don’t understand why people hate them.
“You were totally wrong, this movie is great!”
Well, yes, it’s great to YOU. That’s the thing about art, as I said, earlier, it’s SUBJECTIVE. Not everyones tastes are the same. If they were, the world would be an incredibly dull and unimaginative place with no creativity. It’s good that we have artistic conflict. I think some people take it too far of course, calling others “idiots”, when they should just respect the opinions of other people for liking something they don’t like themselves, but that’s just me I guess. Sorry for believing people should be nice to one another. But reviewers are biased. It’s based on taste. They aren’t telling you if something is good or bad, they’re telling you if THEY think something is good or bad. It’s an OPINION. Not a FACT. As much as I dislike all those things I listed above, I recognize that there are people who love them and I respect that, or I try to anyway. But I will NOT live in fear of saying what I want about them. I recognize The Walking Dead has artistic merit. I recognize Twilight carries a form of entertainment that people enjoy, so who am I to say it’s “bad”? It’s not “bad”. It’s just not for ME. It’s not what I personally enjoy. I can’t state a fact like that because it’s not a fact. It’s how I feel. A fact is “the sky is blue”. That’s a fact, not an opinion.
As a reviewer, I try to look at both sides of a fence when reviewing anything. I actually do this with politics too. I think the middle of the road is the way to go, seeing both sides of something, because it gives you a better more unbiased perspective. Yes, I liked Scott Pilgrim, but it has issues. EVERYTHING does. NOTHING is perfect, just like NOTHING is unbearable. It all matters on how YOU feel. That’s why reviewers are important, that’s why people like Roger Ebert are important, because they remind us to just say what we feel instead of going along with a crowd, never forming an opinion of our own. It’s why his loss is enormous, not just to the movie industry but to people in general. People always like to bring up the “Roger Ebert doesn’t think video games are art!” argument, but who cares what he thinks about it as long as YOU think it’s art. Art is art. Roger Ebert isn’t right or wrong, he’s Roger Ebert, just like you are you.
There is no good and bad; there’s just taste. Reviewers are brave people because they say what they feel and stand by it, and I wish other people would do the same.
We need to start being braver.
We need to start being honest.
We need to start standing by what we believe.
We need to be more like Roger Ebert.
I have to say, watching MTV go down the drain has been one of the hardest things in my life. Cartoon Network even more so, but I get the feeling lately that they’re both actually trying to go back to the glory they had once and are succeeding in spades.
I was a big viewer of BOTH channels back in the day, and loved most of their content. MTV had pop up video (which they’ve now revived), Jackass, Daria, Beavis & Butthead and just a slew of really great content directed towards a generation that was angry and misunderstood. That’s why they succeeded. Cartoon Networks lineup was absolutely phenomenal and I’m sure I loved every one of their cartoons:
- Grim Adventures-brilliant
- Courage The Cowardly Dog-brilliant (at the time it was horrifying, but it hasn’t aged that well and is actually just sort of weird now, but I’m also not 12 anymore)
- Powerpuff Girls-brilliant
- Sheep In The Big City-fucking genius but way too short lived
- Samurai Jack-brilliant
- Ed, Edd ‘n Eddy-one of the most brilliant things ever
And more that I can’t even throw on the list without turning this is into Nostalgia Avenue. But then a new generation hit and both networks fell into this idea that everyone falls into that “new generation needs new content”. That’s not true in the least. If the content is good enough, people from ANY generation will watch it. Simple fact. So both networks switched their shit up and started churning out just a CRAP FACTORY of bad programming. Cartoon Network didn’t hit as rock bottom as MTV did. CN actually still had some good stuff every now and then (Misadventures of Flapjack is the most unsettling thing this side of Invader Zim), but they also put live action shows on a network for cartoons. IT’S CARTOON NETWORK for fuck sake. Live action shows? Get the fuck outta here with that. MTV however, man…they just bombed.
But now I’ve noticed the Jersey Shore is gone, and I’m pretty sure Teen Mom is over, and MTV has been doing something where they’re trying to put more original narrative content back into their network, and it seems to be working in spades to their advantage. Awkward is phenomenal, RJ Berger was great but unfortunately short lived, the new Bo Burnham show is going to be awesome and the revival-even if only 1 season-of Beavis & Butthead was EXCELLENT. CN also added some great new stuff like Regular Show which is amazing and Adventure Time, which…I have tried to watch on so many occasions and I’ve seen so many episodes and…I STILL don’t get the appeal. I love the art style for sure, but…it just…I don’t get it. I really, truly don’t. But to each their own, I guess.
I’m happy to see these networks coming back and coming back STRONG, too. I was very afraid that their day in the sun was gone, but it seems like (and granted CN still has a way to go to reach the level MTV is back at) they’ll still be around and have good stuff for a while once more. Now if only Nick could do the same, but I don’t EVER see that happening.
Welcome back, guys, and I’m glad to see you’re here to stay for a bit.