Friday, August 14, 2015

Against the Crowd Blogathon!


Alright.  So...I'm pretty swamped, but my buddy Wendell is hosting his Against the Crowd Blogathon for the second year in a row, and since I really wanted to participate last year but wound up missing deadline, I decided I NEEDED to give it a go this year, despite my schedule.  

Also, I get to have one of my favorite debates: the whole 'why is Forrest Gump considered a good film?' debate!

Oh, this is going to be fun.

So, here are the official rules straight from the Wendell's mouth:
1. Pick one movie that "everyone" loves (the more iconic, the better). That movie must have a score of at least 75% on rottentomatoes.com. Tell us why you hate it. 
2. Pick one movie that "everyone" hates (the more notorious, the better). That movie must have a score of less than 35% on rottentomatoes.com. Tell us why you love it. 
3. Include the tomato meter scores of both movies. 
4. Use one of the banners in this post, or feel free to create your own.
Pretty simple, right?

Let's kick things off with your good, my bad:



Well, I thought I was going to take a dump all over Forrest Gump...but I just saw that the Rotten Tomatoes score has dropped to a 72% and that is below the 75% cut off point so...

Another day, friends...another day.

So, where do we go from here?  That is the question I was facing.  I was not expecting this conundrum because I was so convinced that I had a very solid film to trash, but apparently the world is slowly wising up to the fact that Forrest Gump is glorified mediocrity and needs to be brought down a notch.  And then it dawned on me.

I kind of hate Rear Window.

Now before you get all bitchy, remember:


Apparently, I'm the only person with this opinion because:


So here's my problem with Rear Window.  It's boring.  Like, it's incredibly, ridiculously boring.  There is no intensity here, not outside of the final, final frames, but the lead up is so elongated and stretched so thin that it creates this film that ultimately fails to be anything worth paying attention to.  I check out rather quickly.  The performances are uniformly fine, with Stewart tapping into paranoia rather well, but he did it better in 1958's Vertigo (now that is a Hitchcock film worthy of passionate fans).  I blame Hitchcock for this.  This is an example of a director who is so wrapped up in his technical bravado that he forgets to remember what he's doing here.

I'm sorry, but after the first twenty minutes (exaggerated, I know) of staring at the people across the street, I lost interest.

A film like Rear Window relies on the fear it conjures up to propel it forward.  You need to feel that crawling under the skin.  You need to feel uneasy, nervous...but unfortunately I felt nothing but disengaged and uninterested.  The five minute payoff at the end wasn't enough to validate staying awake for the rest of the film.

Next time, make it a short film.

Hitchcock was a master filmmaker.  There is no denying that.  He used so many incredible techniques to create such stunning pieces of work.  Praise him for films like The Birds and Vertigo and Psycho and Rope and Saboteur and Lifeboat and The Man Who Knew Too Much and North by Northwest and MY GOD ANYTHING BUT THIS BLOATED BORE OF A FILM.

And yes, I preferred Disturbia.

You know what else I preferred?


Again, I'm like the only person who feels this way, because:


Now, note that this is not a defense of the latest Blart escapade, since Mall Cop 2 is not worthy of defense (that was uncomfortable), but I happen to kind of adore Kevin James and I find his first adventure as Paul Blart to be kind of hilarious.

Ok, not 'kind of'.

Mall Cop takes Die Hard and makes it a family gag flick, and in less capable hands this would have been a complete failure, but Kevin James is just tailor made for this kind of stuff.  His physical comedy sells every scene, but more than that, he has a great way of facial expression that adds depth to his comedy and 'goes there' without feeling uncomfortable.  He is a fearless comedian in many respects, but he understands that just merely 'acting foolish' isn't enough to sell us on a concept.  He knows he has to back it up with a character, with development, and while Paul Blart doesn't have the human depth he brought to Albert in Hitch, there is a fully developed man behind those eyes, and he's someone we want to root for.

And I literally sang this song for months afterwards:


Some films know they are stupid fun and exploit themselves in the right way to be just that, stupid fun, but perfect examples of that very 'genre'.  This is that kind of film.  It makes no sense, but it doesn't have to because it's not pretending that it does.  It is giving us exactly what we expect from the trailer, and if I'm laughing then it's doing something right.

Much like Die Hard 2, Paul Blart 2 sucks, but that doesn't mean that the first isn't a classic.

Ok, so it's not a classic, but you get my point.

Right?

36 comments:

  1. I need to see all of Rear Window. Is it bad I haven't finished it, yet I actually own Disturbia on DVD? lol

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    1. You don't need to see all of Rear Window. Watch Disturbia instead again instead. Or Paul Blart.

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  2. What? Die Hard 2 is great! :P
    Don't hate Rear Window but I agree it lacks the tension and intensity of Hitchcock's best films.

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    1. LOL, eww...Die Hard lost all steam after it's first outing.

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  3. I totally disagree with you on both counts, which is kind of the point. :-) Great post!

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    1. LOL, I wholly expect pretty much everyone to :-D

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  4. I actually haven't seen either of those *hides* But I cannot imagine anything worse than Disturbia!

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    1. LOL, at least something happened in Disturbia. Like, Rear Window is two hours of Zzzzzzzzzzzzz...

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  5. Wow. During the 4 Ways project, one thing we learned about each other is that we both enjoy a good movie debate with someone who disagrees with us. That makes this a perfect entry because I really enjoy Rear Window. In short, it pulls me in as the movie goes along while Disturbia pushes me away. But, you've defended your position well, my friend. This was a joy to read.

    I don't hate the first Mall Cop. It had its moments. Better than Rear Window? Um....no. Might have been if Hitchcock directed it. ;)

    Thank you so much for finding time to do this. I appreciate it a great deal!

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    1. Film debate is what gives blogging it's lifeblood! I'm glad I was able to find time for this too. And I'm glad I was able to defend my position well enough here. I was really afraid that I was going to get slaughtered for this one.

      :-P

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  6. I love Paul Blart. Kevin James is great and the film is really underrated (though I wouldn't listen to myself because I have shit taste for comedy). I love Psycho and Vertigo. Two of the best movies ever made. Rear Window may be a bit overrated. It's great but maybe not a milestone film. Though I watch a movie twice even if it's boring to convince myself it's bad. I fucking hate Lost în Translation for years till I gave it another shot. I needed to watch it five times and now it's one of my favorite films ever.
    I would try an Against the Crowd post if my computer would work. Like I would fucking do something radical (Grown Ups or Ace Ventura or Batman Forever or Basic Instinct or Gravity or Inglorious Basterds or The Dark Knight Rises or one that I hated for years that I don't think I have the guts to tell you about).

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    1. Well now I need to know what movie you've hated for years but don't have the guts to tell me about?!?!?!

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    2. I'm guessing it's Jules et Jim, since that's really the only film aside from Mommy (which hasn't been around for years) that I've lavished heaps of praise on.

      Or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

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    3. Eternal Sunshine, sadly. Jim Carrey is my all-time fav actor but after that film I threw up. I recently tried to watch it again but I'm now more devide between the worst film ever or an masterpiece but every time I try to think about it I feel vomit in my throat. But I blame the failure on Gondry who never made an decent film, Kaufman is a genius.

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    4. Does not compute.

      LOL, it's a masterpiece, bro. I promise you that. It's one of the most perfect movies ever.

      But...it's ok that you don't love it. Now, throwing up because of it is not acceptable :-P

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  7. I'm still going to see Rear Window (hopefully in October for horror month) as I do like Paul Blart: Mall Cop which the late Roger Ebert actually liked and was right about.

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    1. If you watch Rear Window for horror...you'll be sorely disappointed.

      Roger Ebert was a very smart man.

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  8. I hang my head low and wonder what dimension you are from:) I LOVE Rear Window because it shows us how we are all voyeurs watching what people do and we are not in any wheelchair. OK moving on-seriously-Mallcop?? OK I shall let this pass since 1. I have not seen it nor have any desire to and B-I like the Elvira movie. Now for films I hate-1997's Titanic-great effects but take that away and you got...not much. 3rd class passenger would never have been invited up. After going down into the ship..again, in the ice cold water, those 2 idiots would have died of hyperthermia long before actually ending in the water. Don't get me started on her throwing away the sapphire necklace since it was not anything between her and the kid that croaked but more between her and the ass she was going to marry. She should have given it to her daughter or granddaughter. As for a bad movie--probably any Naked Gun film has less tomatoes and I like them all-crass and silly-how can you not love it. My favourite is when he wakes up the people by reading a sentence from a romance book.."He thrust his purple headed warrier into her quivering love pudding" What's not to love?

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    1. LOL...I'm from the Fisti Dimension, right?

      I now want to watch these Naked Gun movies...

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  9. I think 'Rear Window,' just like 'Psycho,' is difficult to compare to modern movies. I didn't find 'Psycho' to be that interesting because so many films have emulated it. So much so that the original doesn't have the potency it once did. But there is something to be said about being first.

    Hey buddy-- aren't you supposed to be on hiatus? :)

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    1. LOL, supposed to be. I keep getting pulled back in! But, I am slowing down...and it'll get progressively slower here as the year continues.

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  10. Rear Window, huh? Wow.

    It's definitely not one of Hitchcock's tenser thrillers, but that's by design. It's a film about the act of watching, and it's a purposefully slow buildup. But the more it goes along, the more it reels you in by giving you these great characters and moments. Stewart, Kelly, and Ritter are so much fun to watch in this, and then when the danger comes, there's a real connection to the characters here. It's not my favorite Hitchcock (Psycho), nor the one I've watched the most (To Catch a Thief/North By Northwest), but I still love it.

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    1. I just have never warmed to this. I agree that the acting is well done, but I never really felt pulled into these characters at all.

      North by Northwest is VERY good Hitch!

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  11. Veeeeery interesting. Let me get this out of the way. I adore Rear Window - my favorite Hitchcock. But I do agree with you about Paul Blart. It's a perfectly fine innocuous family comedy. I just don't get the hate. I don't love it but I had fun watching it with the kids.

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    1. I know I'm way in my own corner when it comes to Rear Window, but I'm happy to see I'm not alone in my feelings on Blart!

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  12. Ahah, no worries Drew, I'm gonna pick a very well-loved movie in my 'hate' category too, it's got 96% on RT. I enjoyed love Rear Window but I think it wasn't as brilliant as people made it out to be. Mall Cop has its charm I'm sure, I actually find Kevin James hilarious even just looking at him!

    Anyhoo, hope to see you around FC sometime ;-)

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    1. I can't wait to read what you put together...and you know I'm always around FC!

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  13. I don't hate Rear Window, but it's not among my top 5 Hitch movies. The style of the film (voyeuristic camera work) seems to always be brought up when people defend its merits, yet I can think of other movies that did this later which I prefer(Blue Velvet, A Short Film About Love). I agree Vertigo is the better film, which I have rewatched countless times.

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    1. A Short Film About Love nailed the voyeuristic aspects of the 'nature of the film' and delivered something truly engrossing. Rear Window should have been that film.

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  14. BOO!!! LOL, I totally get your reaction to Rear Window, though I've always thoroughly enjoyed it. Granted, it might not terrify me, but it does entertain me. And I love the gradual suspense. The film takes its time, but I can see why it might be too slow and too tame for others.

    I...didn't hate Paul Blart. Though, I haven't seen it since it was in theaters. I'm probably at a C+, but I'd have to rewatch it. ;)

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    1. BOO! LOL, I'd probably give Rear Window a C...and Paul Blart an A!!!

      But I have a very soft spot for Kevin James.

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  15. Well unfortunately I'm not going to agree about Rear Window. I've always liked it but I will say that it moved up in my estimation when I saw if on a re-release, the same thing happened when I saw the Doris Day/James Stewart version of Hitch's The Man Who Knew Too Much. The big screen, the audience and the focus of a darkened theatre helped pull me into the story more making the slow build less noticeable.

    I love the three main performances, I don't quite understand how Oscar darling Thelma Ritter missed a nomination for her sharp work here and got a nod for a lesser role in Birdman of Alcatraz but such is the quixotic nature of nominations. Speaking of that, not that it would be the right choice either way but, if the academy was going to cheat Judy Garland out of her Oscar and give it to Grace Kelly they could have at least handed to her for her far superior work here to the flat Country Girl.

    It's not my favorite Hitchcock (that's Saboteur) but it's in my top 5, I have to admit that I'm not that wild about Vertigo. I don't hate it at all but it wouldn't crack my top 10 of his films.

    The commercials for Paul Blart annoyed me no end so I've avoided it like the plague. I don't mind Kevin James in small doses but a little of him goes a long way.

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    1. LOL, I'm obviously WAY in the minority here. I just couldn't love this one, even on a repeat viewing, and I often relish in all things Hitchcock.

      I will agree that the three main performers here are very good, but in this case it was always Hitch who dropped the ball for me.

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  16. You're hilarious, man. Great post! I honestly never found Rear Window boring at all. I love it. I also loved Disturbia, which is actually a solid homage to Hitchcock's work. As for Paul Blart: Mall Cop, I just can't see myself ever wanting to watch that, like, at all.

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    1. Oh, you want to watch Paul Blart. You really, really do.

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