I am totally out of sync with my community


I went to this movie last night.

I’ve never heard such vocal unanimity from the Morris people as we left after it was over.

“Worst movie I’ve ever seen,” said one attendee.

“I would have walked out halfway through if you weren’t watching it,” said another.

“What the hell did I just see,” someone chimed in.

I loved it!

It’s all deadpan humor and cynicism, mocking the genre and subverting expectations, with a plot that meanders meaninglessly, occasionally puncturing the fourth wall and letting the actors go full-on weird. The only resolution for anyone is ultimately being eaten. It’s a bitter commentary on capitalism, America, human shortsightedness, environmentalism, and the inevitable futility of battling stupidity. It’s my kind of movie.

But then, I’m a Jarmusch fan, which puts me in a minority already — Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai and Dead Man are two of my favorite films.

P.S. See? I don’t hate every movie I see at the theater.

P.P.S. I knew the Scots are all aliens.

Comments

  1. hemidactylus says

    Ghost Dog? PZ, I never knew! Have the DVD. Have Hagakure. Even wound up getting Rashomon. Soundtrack too, and I was never into Wu Tang back in the day.

    Maybe this The Dead Don’t Die might be worth checking out eventually.

  2. remyporter says

    Last night, I was doing in improv show. Backstage, I mentioned to one of my fellow castmembers that I had just watched Coffee and Cigarettes for the first time, and loved it. I loved how each scene really breaks all the rules of comedy- avoiding pattern/game, building in loads of denials, just everyone being very disaffected and aloof about everything.

    My cast-mate replied: “Wait… that movie was supposed to be a comedy? I just thought it was a bad, pretentious movie. ‘Oh, I love coffee.’ ‘Oh, I love cigarettes.'”

    (Also, goddamn, why did it take me this long to actually get around to Coffee and Cigarettes?)

  3. PaulBC says

    Wikipedia:

    Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports an approval rating of 52% based on 193 reviews, and an average rating of 5.63/10. The site’s critical consensus reads: “The Dead Don’t Die dabbles with tones and themes to varying degrees of success, but sharp wit and a strong cast make this a zom-com with enough brains to consume.”[14] Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 54 out of 100, based on 48 critics, indicating “mixed or average reviews.”[15]

    It sounds like a love it or hate it kind of thing. Maybe the rest of the audience was looking for a more conventional zombie movie.

  4. PaulBC says

    In the mid-80s I hung out with people who were all very into Buckaroo Banzai. It was definitely something novel for its time. It pushed subculture buttons (the revelation that the War of the Worlds broadcast was an actual alien landing). It had goofy, ironic dialogue, some of it barely audible.

    Anyway, I tried to interest some friends around 1999-2000. They went as far as to watch it on DVD but were unimpressed. I think half of it was that I am kind of a weirdo to begin with. But also, quirky irony has become the standard, and the production values have gotten a lot better (consider Guardians of the Galaxy). You definitely can’t please everyone. I should track down Buckaroo Banzai one day and see if I even still like it.

  5. Scott Simmons says

    Spoof zombie movies with Bill Murray are always good, in my experience.
    OK, so that’s a really small sample size. Still, I’m sold.

  6. weylguy says

    Dr. Myers, please tell us that you did not like any of the “Sharknado” movies.

  7. vucodlak says

    @ Robert Westbrook, #6

    LOL at “zom-com.”

    Yep, it’s a whole sub-subgenre of horror that includes several dozen movies at this point. Three good ones, off the top of my head:
    Braindead aka Dead Alive: An uber-gory early Peter Jackson film, it’s incredibly gross, and quite funny as well. I never eat custard without thinking of this movie.
    Fido: a parody of the mythically wholesome USian 1950’s, as well as a satire of corporate capitalism. It’s got a bit of zom-rom-com in it, too.
    Return of the Living Dead: An early zom-com written by Dan O’Bannon (Alien, Lifeforce), it’s a parody of Romero-style zombie movie conventions and the Military-Industrial Complex.

    It’s weird, because I don’t like most zombie movies (with the exception of a couple of Romero’s) but I do enjoy a good zom-com.

  8. PaulBC says

    I caught Evil Dead II (1987) almost by accident on cable a year later and liked it. The comedy elements are clear, but it does function as a horror movie.

  9. Kip Williams says

    My favorite zom-com is SHAUN OF THE DEAD, which gets some of its humor from people acting like idiots during a zombie apocalypse, and even more from people acting somewhat intelligent during a zombie apocalypse, and much of the rest from people sorting out their relationship issues during a zombie apocalypse. Also, fart jokes.

  10. dontlikeusernames says

    Ghost Dog was amazing as a sort of ‘dumb’ movie… and like another poster I actually bought Hagakure just because I’d been introduced to it by the movie. The general depiction of women in Hagakure was really interesting to read from a western perspective. I’m not sure what the makers of Ghost Dog were going for, but I’m currently reading Sapolsky’s Behave and there’s definitely callbacks to the collective vs. individualist culture stuff in that movie.

  11. DanDare says

    Dead Man is one of my favourites. Guess I’ll have to see this too. With my daughter but without my wife, who thinks we are both weirdoes.

  12. hemidactylus says

    @9- weylguy

    At least Sharknado (a hybrid of Twister and Jaws) didn’t go to the well (and too many times) stealing horror narratives from Japan. Watching Rings on SyFy right now and am horrified that it was made. Anyone who was involved in making this crap deserves a visit from the well girl in the Japanese original. And the creepy characters in Ju-On and the Audition woman. This is terrible!

  13. says

    So back in the 80s my dad was a projectionist at a drive in theater and one really slow night when he was showing “Dead Men don’t Wear Plaid”, he decided with about 3 cars in the drive-in he skipped an entire real so he could get off early. That’s what this makes me think of.

  14. xohjoh2n says

    No, this is the absolutely worst ever movie ever made, unambiguously and objectively. No matter what you’ve heard about certain films being bad, this is worse than any of them. It is UNPOSSIBLE that a worse film could ever be made than this:

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1339191

    (Re-released in the UK under 3 different names: “Apocalyptic Evil”, “Mega Tsunami” and “Soldier of the Apocalypse”, the latter which I saw it under, just to sucker in the cheap “what shall I watch tonight” supermarket crowd. Except overpriced for that so you wouldn’t immediately suspect it of being an Asylum release. Which it wasn’t, it was even worse. None of the alternative titles nor the synopsis appear to have anything to do with the film at all, though that’s almost impossible to tell because it’s pretty much impossible to tell what the film is about after watching it.)

    Anyone who walks out of a theater saying “that’s the worst thing I ever saw” needs to be forced to what that.

  15. xohjoh2n says

    (Oh, I guess I should point out in case anyone takes that as a challenge: seriously big trigger warnings half way though.)

  16. killyosaur says

    @3 PaulBC from what I’ve read and seen, most of the critic reviews have been less “love it or hate it” and more “It’s ok” or “Jarmusch can do so much better”. From what I understand, the humor and satire is a bit too on the nose, lacking any real subtlety, and the fourth wall breaking more distracting then anything. (I haven’t seen it yet and probably will as I do enjoy his films, but it’s what I’ve read)

    @xohjoh2n I am going to challenge that assertion. As someone who has seen The Room, both Human Centipedes, a number of Uwe Bill films, Plan Nine from Outer Space, Troll 2, and A Serbian Tale, I have doubts you have found the worst film ever. Besides, to paraphrase Roger Ebert, the only crime a film can actually commit is to be boring.

  17. PaulBC says

    I didn’t find “Plan Nine from Outer Space” unusually terrible for a B-movie of its era. This was in the context of seeing the movie Ed Wood first, but I think I would have come to the same conclusion if I had ever seen it on TV in the 70s. It’s bad and low budget, but so were a lot of the others.

  18. killyosaur says

    @PaulBC yeah I agree with that position and I saw it after seeing Ed Wood first as well. It just tends to be thought of when most people think of so called “bad” movies, but like a lot of the Good Bad movies, it is entertaining…

  19. redwood says

    Going off on a slight tangent here, I’d just like to recommend the 2016 Jarmusch movie “Paterson.” It stars Adam Driver as a bus driver named Paterson living in Paterson, N.J., which is where the poet William Carlos Williams lived and the movie has a fascination with twins. You can kind of see what’s happening here. But it’s really beautiful and showcases poetry in a way few other movies do. No zom-com, I’m afraid, but a quiet, humorous, engaging movie that I really liked.

  20. xohjoh2n says

    @24

    the only crime a film can actually commit is to be boring.

    How about if it’s so badly made you can’t even figure out if it’s boring, but strongly suspect if you could, it would be.

  21. killyosaur says

    I’ve seen films like that, @xohjoh2n. If I am not comprehending the film (and it features no other redeeming qualities such as good cinematography, direction, score, etc…), I’m probably bored and thus it is a bad film (at least in my opinion) :)

  22. killyosaur says

    @redwood, that was the film one reviewer mentioned while discussing Jarmusch’s current film. Basically using it as an example of a better Jim Jarmusch film…

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