Tuesday, September 2, 2008

wherein our heroine presents the detritus that is her meta-critical irrelevancy

Usually, I'm fairly excited for the release of extremely bad movies, because it means I get to read reviews of extremely bad movies, which are usually themselves pretty entertaining. Movie reviewers are generally an eloquent bunch, and they show off their skills best when, unencumbered by any sort of merit to which they might have to pay any amount of tedious respect, they are allowed to roundly savage a movie that is nearly universally regarded as awful.

So you can imagine how excited I was for the release of DISASTER MOVIE, a movie whose trailer failed to elicit from the audience even a knowing groan, moving well into the territory of "huh?" Sadly, it appears as though DISASTER MOVIE is so bad that critics can't even write a good bad review of it. A cursory survey of Rotten Tomatoes reveals a group of skilled writers so paralyzed with disgust, so resolutely defeated by having to take this movie seriously enough waste the calories required to put pen to paper, that they just gave up. Imagine a movie so qualitatively uninspiring that it fails to even inspire quality derision from people paid, largely, to deride?

And then I found this. Apparently, the lack of anything resembling a narrative left most critics with no jumping off point, no discernable skeleton on which to hang their well-deserved scorn. It would be like asking extraterrestrial, interdimensional beings made entirely of energy how the cake tastes. What makes this a bad movie? Who can tell, given how little resemblance it bears to the proverbial movie in the mind of God? Peter Sobczynski neatly gets around this problem by grafting the movie onto his own narrative of hope and despair, weaving together a tale in which a sense of historic purpose and childlike hope is nearly crushed under the weight of a supposed millenial self-awareness gone horribly, horribly wrong. He then bravely and thoroughly dissects the pure suckitude of this movie, like Edward Norton's pathologist in THE PAINTED VEIL, wading around in the crap on the dim hope that the rest of us won't have to suffer in the future. In the process, he reminds us that good writing can lift us up, that good satire does so under the guise of tearing us down, and why we all liked JUNO so much in the first place.

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