Friday, July 3, 2009

you have bad taste and your movie is terrible...

So, I've been feeling a bit of inertia when it comes to writing lately, a little ennui, a little summertime blues, or whatever. I blame myself, writing being like most things, it's easier and better the more you do it. Well, maybe not most thing, but a lot of things. Anyway, I guess this is my first step in the bid to remedy that, and I guess there's nothing better to get the ball rolling than a really, really bad movie. Like, really, really bad.

The film in question is FANBOYS. This was genuinely one of the worst movies I've ever seen. That it's long delayed release somewhat hightened my expectations for it only served to accentuate for me what an awful movie it really was. Though I'm generally not a big admirer of the Weinstein brothers, I do kind of have to applaud their decision to nearly suppress this film from public exposure, and in this case wouldn't have mind if they'd shelved it indefinitely. For real.

Addmittedly, I'm not the biggest Star Wars fan in the world. Like a lot of people my age, I really enjoyed the series growing up. STAR WARS was the first movie I ever saw on home video, and going to see EMPIRE STRIKES BACK in the theatre was definitely a big event for little me. After RETURN OF THE JEDI, my interest started to fade, though, and the series became just another thing from my childhood that I looked back on with some fondness but no particular urgency. In the late 1990s, when the series was re-released, I didn't have any particular interest, although some friends dragged me to EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and I enjoyed it. I haven't seen any of the newer films in the series, or any of the new cartoons, or any of that stuff. They just don't do it for me.

Because of this it should have occurred to me that FANBOYS was going to be a chore, since my lack of interest in new Star Wars product has as much to do with a distaste for the slavish fandom that has emerged around the series as the actual assumed lack of quality of the new films themselves. Star Wars isn't like Star Trek, or comics, or horror films, it isn't especially subcultural, it doesn't appeal to outcasts and smart, misunderstood nerds. I think the characters in FANBOYS are a fair representation of the average Star Wars fanatic. They're assholes. They're loud and crude and boring and obvious.

And that's the main problem with FANBOYS, at the core of the film are a group of characters who the film assumes are sympathetic, but really aren't. They're kind of disgusting. They go out of their way to torment people who like different things than they do, in this case, Star Trek fans, in an overused running gag that makes no sense and does nothing for the film. Why would we sympathize with the aggressors? It's not like Star Trek fans are really in-your-face about it, they just sort of do their thing, they're not roaming the street in packs looking for Space: 1999 fans to beat up. And FANBOYS is deeply homophobic, not just the characters, but the film itself. It's really overt and pervasive and disturbing.

The obvious reference point here is Kevin Smith movies, for what it's worth (Kevin Smith even has a cameo, replete with gay jokes). But even though I mostly don't like Kevin Smith's movies, there is something comparatively kind of sweet about them that's lacking here, they do possess a degree of warmth and humanity. When FANBOYS gets serious, it's more maudlin than anything else, dragging the whole thing down even further, since there's few things less irritating than a rauccous, vulgar comedy that sudden demands you feel some kind of emotion in relation to it, without really providing anything with a sincere resonance. It completely undermines whatever continuity, however unpleasant, the film has already established for itself.

Oh, and FANBOYS also casts the obviously beautiful Kristen Bell from VERONICA MARS as a character who isn't supposed the immediately recognizable as attractive. Why? Because she has BROWN HAIR. Seriously, that's just idiotic.

If FANBOYS were just bad or unfunny, that would be one thing, it might even give it a little charm, but ultimately it's just kind of hateful and unpleasant. The whole conceit of the movie is that the main characters are supposed to be lovable underdogs, but they're too aggressive to really be underdogs, and one gets the impression that whatever outcast status they attained would realistically not come from their obsessive love of STAR WARS, but because any reasonable human being would almost all of these characters unbearable to spend time around. Liking STAR WARS just makes them assholes with unimaginative taste...

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