Join 3,558 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


The Moment Where It Started Going Wrong for M. Night Shyamalan
June 2, 2013 1:34 PM   Subscribe

Cinematic historians trying to pinpoint the place where Shyamalan's hubris outgrew his oeuvre would be well advised to hit up YouTube; there, they'll find a weird, misbegotten 2004 Sci-Fi channel pseudo-documentary titled The Buried Secret of M. Night Shyamalan that hints at the problems to come. Built to lead up to the heavily hyped release of Shyamalan's film The Village, this bizarre special follows documentarian Nathaniel Kahn as he begins to profile Shyamalan for what’s ostensibly an authorized puff piece ...

In this version of his life, everyone is in awe of him. Throughout the doc, fans and friends of Shyamalan (most of whom are played by actors) speak of the filmmaker in the sort of hushed, reverent tones that suggest the whispery register inhabited by Shyamalan's own characters. [...] When Kahn drives by the front gate of Shyamalan's mansion, he finds starstruck groupies loitering outside. "Everyone knows ... M. Night's connected to the other side," one says gravely.

Where is Mr. Shyamalan now? Directing Will Smith (and son) on a film that smells to some like a love letter to the Church of Scientology.
posted by philip-random (229 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
M. Night Shyamalan: He Who Must Not Be Named
posted by mph at 1:41 PM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wait what? Signs was a terrible movie. Nobody liked Signs, did they?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:42 PM on June 2, 2013 [18 favorites]


What a twist!
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:44 PM on June 2, 2013 [18 favorites]


Wait what? Signs was a terrible movie. Nobody liked Signs, did they?

The market disagrees, friend!

Signs has received mixed to positive reviews from film critics. Rotten Tomatoes reported that 74% gave positive appraisals, based on 225 reviews, ranking it "Certified Fresh".

Roger Ebert gave the film four stars, writing "M. Night Shyamalan's Signs is the work of a born filmmaker, able to summon apprehension out of thin air. When it is over, we think not how little has been decided, but how much has been experienced ... At the end of the film, I had to smile, recognizing how Shyamalan has essentially ditched a payoff. He knows, as we all sense, that payoffs have grown boring."

posted by Apocryphon at 1:44 PM on June 2, 2013


Signs had its moments, and there were definitely aspects to the Village that you could like. The fact that the films themselves fall apart is a bit tragic because you can see some awesome raw material there.
posted by fatbird at 1:45 PM on June 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


I liked the atmosphere of Signs. I hated the treacly ending of Signs.
posted by Existential Dread at 1:45 PM on June 2, 2013 [43 favorites]


Throughout Buried Secret, it’s implied that some sort of childhood accident left him with a connection to the supernatural; his best-known characters, it seems, are just avatars for the possibly superheroic Shyamalan.

Throughout the doc, fans and friends of Shyamalan (most of whom are played by actors)

When Kahn first tries to film Shyamalan, the camera and sound begin malfunctioning as though Shyamalan is surrounded by a ghostly, tech-disrupting force field.

"The most important thing is not to make eye contact with Night


What a nutcase. At least he decided to become a mediocre movie director and not a guru because I can totally see him leading a cult.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:47 PM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yes, M. Night Shyamalan's career is so far down the tubes that he continues to find work. It's horrible for him!

This is not me defending his films; he's not made a genuinely good film since Sixth Sense (although I liked Signs just fine up until its ridiculous ending). Merely noting for a dude who keeps getting dumped on, he manages to continue to find work just fine.
posted by jscalzi at 1:48 PM on June 2, 2013 [7 favorites]


A direct link to Ebert's review of Signs. I have to agree with it 100%.
posted by sbutler at 1:48 PM on June 2, 2013


I mean, I love The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable; they are as good as it gets when it comes to filmmaking. But the rest just seem sloppy to me. I didn't realize that After Earth was a Shyamalan picture until this thread, but it's not really my type of movie.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:51 PM on June 2, 2013


Profitability of Shyamalan films, with a claim that even if his ratings go down his profitability is on the rebound. (Note: movie accounting is notoriously obfuscated.) The man certainly does seem to be able to keep finding work. Like David Lynch, I wish he'd try directing someone else's script every once in awhile.
posted by Nelson at 1:55 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


My favorite thing about Signs was the feeling that the movie with the heroes battling the aliens was happening somewhere else, and we were watching a movie about the guy you see one closeup of in the first half-hour of that other movie that's happening over there.
But yeah, the idea that their whole lives were waiting for that weekend was trash.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 1:55 PM on June 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


I loved Signs. It was absolutely hilarious and I couldn't stop laughing.
posted by ODiV at 1:57 PM on June 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


The Scientology connection is a bit tenuous.
posted by smidgen at 2:01 PM on June 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Signs has received mixed to positive reviews from film critics

Film critics are stupid. The Village has a twist you can guess from the first seconds of the trailer, if not the poster, but is competent and enjoyable compared with Signs. Now, if you want something REALLY awful there's Lady in the Water.

Is he a Scientologist yet?
posted by Artw at 2:02 PM on June 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


As for M. Night's dubious new collaboration with the artist formerly known as the Fresh Prince, there are definitely Scientological themes everywhere in it if one knows where to look. Although the director has promoted anti-rational themes in his films before, Will Smith has apparently kept him as far away from the marketing campaign as possible, even as he and his son give borderline whacko interviews.

Thankfully, this piece of stealth propaganda is bombing at the box office. It remains to be seen how this will affect M. Night's career trajectory, but can an unnecessary sequel to Unbreakable be far behind?
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:02 PM on June 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


I loved The Happening. Everyone claiming to be a fan of b-movies would find it in his or her best interest to watch this ridiculously expensive yet highly entertaining film. Such such such a blast.
posted by item at 2:03 PM on June 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


can an unnecessary sequel to Unbreakable be far behind?

To be fair, the the bulk of the action in Unbreakable occurs in a title card at the end.
posted by Artw at 2:04 PM on June 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


No One Likes M. Night Shyamalan [CollegeHumor video]
posted by webmutant at 2:05 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


The link with supposed proof of the Scientology underpinnings for this movie is pretty weak:

“Fear is a choice.”
Will Smith’s character, Cypher Raige, tells his son, Kitai: “Fear is not real. It is a product of thoughts you create. Now do not misunderstand me: Danger is very real. But fear is a choice”
L. Ron Hubbard’s teachings insist that emotions and fear are triggers and are part of the reactive mind. Through Scientology, one is supposed to “rid oneself of your fears.”


This is also very much a zetgiest of the generation the Hubbard was part of. What is pain? Pain is just weakness leaving your body. Also see Dune and Star Wars.


“Be in the present moment.”
Through Scientology training, one learns how to be in “present time,” or PT as it is commonly referred to by insiders. In order to operate as a higher being and be in control over one’s environment, it is considered key that a person exist in present time and not react to the past.


Some might also call that mindfulness.


“What do you touch, see, feel, smell?”
While undergoing certain types of Scientology counseling, you are asked to recall what you see, hear, touch and smell. This is part of putting yourself in the moment and observing the moment with “full perceptions.”


Again, this is common a meditation mindfulness line of thought.

Scientology? Not so much.
posted by Brent Parker at 2:06 PM on June 2, 2013 [9 favorites]


I always wonder what happens after the end of Signs -- "Our whole lives were building up to last March.". Do you seek treatment for the water glass OCD kid?
posted by benzenedream at 2:07 PM on June 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't watch movies out very often, but I remember seeing a trailer for on of his movies before Scott Pilgrim, and the whole audience burst out in laughter when the words, "An M. Night Shymalan Film" appeared on screen.
posted by bzbb at 2:07 PM on June 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


Was it the moment he ghostwrote She's All That?
posted by acidic at 2:09 PM on June 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


What is probably going on with the Scientology angle is that Shyamalan exploited the usual collage of Golden Ghetto of SF tropes, and it was hack Golden Ghetto SF writer L. Ron Hubbard who used the same tropes to form up his religion.
posted by localroger at 2:11 PM on June 2, 2013 [9 favorites]


What annoys me about the "But at least Sixth Sense is good" exception that many make: I guessed the twist as soon as Willis' character died. And that one twist is all there was to it. (Isn't that the basic problem with all his movies?)
posted by NorthernLite at 2:11 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


They straight up shoot him dead right there on screen. Still, I found it enjoyable enough with the knowledge he was dead, not really mindblowing or anything.
posted by Artw at 2:14 PM on June 2, 2013


Film critics are stupid.

And general audiences are any smarter?
posted by Apocryphon at 2:14 PM on June 2, 2013


And I also enjoyed Signs, maybe for all the wrong reasons, but still. M'knight is like if Ed Wood had been born 45 years late bequeathed with an endless supply of Hollywood's cold, hard funds.

I became friends with one of the producers of The Village while it was filming, thanks in part to our mutual love of the inimitable band The Fall. This led to dinner at a mediocre Philly Mexican joint with a select group of the film's cast and crew, including the Knight of M. himself, though admittedly the famously iconic actors present were both more interesting to look at *and* converse with.
posted by item at 2:15 PM on June 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Unbreakable is one of the best superhero movies. I don't really know how to square that with the rest of what he's done; fluke, I guess.
posted by curious nu at 2:16 PM on June 2, 2013 [11 favorites]


The movie Signs in four easy steps!
posted by Hairy Lobster at 2:16 PM on June 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


When I worked in a video store I learned that many people who enjoy movies, yet aren't movie buffs, know the name of one lesser known hot new director.

Back in my day, it was John Woo then it was Tarantino. People were always coming in and asking for John Woo movies, or just coming in to talk about Reservoir Dogs, because they were proud that they had seen the Pulp Fiction guy's early work. These people would have seen anything Tarantino put out, because he was the director whose name they knew.

This is M Night's true genius, he has been a lesser known hot young director for like 15 years, he hasn't had any major success, yet he has not totally faded from the scene. I don't know how he has pulled it off.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:19 PM on June 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


If your story can be spoiled with one sentence, it's not actually a very good story.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:20 PM on June 2, 2013 [7 favorites]


After Earth will probably be a success--even a hit--when you take into account the global box office. I read that The Last Airbender tanked in the states but did really really well overseas. In other countries no one is going to be talking about its Scientology connections or care one way or the other. Nor care about the track record of the director. After Earth will fade after a month or so in the U.S. but it'll take a good six months or so for the overseas money to roll in. Not to mention DVD and Bluray revenue.

M. Night Shayamalan has talent, maybe even still. He's good at creating a brooding sense of quiet tension, and he's got a solid visual style. He gets some good performances from his actors, The Happening notwithstanding. But like a lot of directors (I'm looking at you, James Cameron), he really really needs to let the good writers handle the screenplays. I liked the Sixth Sense and think it holds up pretty well. I liked The Village and was even surprised by the first, minor twist. But the ending twist was so preposterous that it was hard not to laugh--and I think that's when the cinematic twist ending, with The Village, jumped the shark.

Anyway, Shyamalan will be just fine. No longer the auteur, more on the anonymous, workmanlike, hack side of directors, but his movies make money. That's what Hollywood cares about.
posted by zardoz at 2:21 PM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Signs: aliens allergic to water decide to invade Earth. A water planet. Oy.
posted by dbiedny at 2:24 PM on June 2, 2013 [12 favorites]


Will Smith’s character, Cypher Raige

Really?? Wow.
posted by JHarris at 2:28 PM on June 2, 2013 [16 favorites]


I don't watch movies out very often, but I remember seeing a trailer for on of his movies before Scott Pilgrim, and the whole audience burst out in laughter when the words, "An M. Night Shymalan Film" appeared on screen.

I'm having trouble believing that this really happened, but if it did then the movie-going crowd in your area must be made up of insufferable buffoons and I can totally understand why you don't find yourself watching movies out very often.
posted by item at 2:28 PM on June 2, 2013


Will Smith’s character, Cypher Raige

Really?? Wow.


I know!
posted by Artw at 2:29 PM on June 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


He doesn't do the hyperactive pacing thing, I'll give him that.
posted by Artw at 2:30 PM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm having trouble believing that this really happened, but if it did then the movie-going crowd in your area must be made up of insufferable buffoons and I can totally understand why you don't find yourself watching movies out very often.

What, why? The exact same thing happened to me. As in, at Scott Pilgrim.

The movie trailer was for 'Devil'. The trailer was proposterous, and everyone in the audience was wondering what the hell we were being shown, and then we all saw 'M Night Shyamalan' and everything was clear, and everyone laughed. And then we got to watch Scott Pilgrim, which, seeing as this was opening night in Toronto, was one of the best theatre going experiences I've yet to have.

Good times. What were we talking about? Oh yah. M Night. Ahahaha.
posted by Alex404 at 2:37 PM on June 2, 2013 [21 favorites]


Ah, I figured it was the trailer for "The Last Airbender" because I laughed too when I saw his name attached to that.
posted by the_artificer at 2:41 PM on June 2, 2013


Yep, same delightful experience with the Devil trailer at Scott Pilgrim for me, too!
posted by troika at 2:42 PM on June 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


Signs: aliens allergic to water decide to invade Earth. A water planet. Oy.

I dunno, if they came from a planet where there was no water and they'd never had any contact with water before, maybe they had no reason to think Earth would present a problem. Just because they were able to navigate millions of miles of space it doesn't necessarily mean they were smart. But yeah, M. Knight was trying too hard to do a wee bit of an homage to The Wizard of Oz.
posted by fuse theorem at 2:42 PM on June 2, 2013


I actually remember watching this documentary. Weird.

I seem to like the MNS movies others don't (The Village, Lady in the Water, and yes, The Happening is great campy fun) and yet was bored to death by The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable. Curiously excited about After Earth.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:45 PM on June 2, 2013


Fuse THoerem: Except these are super-advanced aliens with the means to traverse the cosmos. I'm sure they never considered what happens when you bond two Hs with an O.
posted by basicchannel at 2:47 PM on June 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


People laugh at anything in the theatre. I believe there is some kind of pack psychology at work. You go to see a movie like pineapple express and laugh for like 2 hours straight and think "oh man that was the funniest shit since knocked up" but then you watch it at home and sit there straight faced and bored for 2 hours, wondering why you ever thought any of that guy's movies were ever funny. Only thing worse is seeing some kind of arthouse movie and having people laugh at pedophilia like when I saw Happiness.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:48 PM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm sure they never considered what happens when you bond two Hs with an O.

In Hal Clement's minor SF classic Iceworld it does not occur to the high temperature (by our standards) sulfur-based aliens that the Earth's "flatlands" are pools of liquid hydrogen oxide until quite late -- and nearly disastrously for them -- into the story.
posted by localroger at 2:50 PM on June 2, 2013


Hating on Knight says more about the hater than about Knight.

Some people like to hate on Knight because the dude keeps getting paid millions of dollars to keep making terrible movies. He's like a one-man refutation of the Just World hypothesis, and man do some people like to believe in justice.

Some people like to hate on Knight because Sixth Sense was really good and being willing to make terrible movies again and again reads to them as some kind of sell-out or betrayal, or perhaps an admission that he never really loved you anyway.

My view is that he had a distinctly modest basket of talents in the late 1990s that came together with freakish luck in Sixth Sense. That luck went from good to bad because the success enabled him never to learn the technical skills of story and direction that every filmmaker needs to keep learning (and re-learning). He ended up in the worst kind of rut : the one where you can stay for as long as you want and no one is able to tell you that you need to get out. Now more than a decade later, when he's been clearly surpassed as a genre director by people like Len Wiseman and Paul W.S. Anderson, there's really no helping it.
posted by MattD at 2:53 PM on June 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


I dunno, the birthday party scene in Signs was one of the scariest things I've seen. I've seen the movie several times and that part still makes me jump.
posted by desjardins at 2:53 PM on June 2, 2013 [8 favorites]


One of my old student employees was one of his personal assistants before she left to go back to school. The impression I got from her is that he Means Well, but is so far in a bubble of hangers on and assorted family that he's pretty disconnected from reality. He was unaware of "What A Twist!" for years.

Maybe this has changed in recent years (she left pre-Airbender) and he's now understood his place as a dude who gets other names on screens, not his own.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:02 PM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


I liked his first three movies, at least until the ending of Signs. I think that Unbreakable is incredibly fun in a quiet thoughtful way.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 3:03 PM on June 2, 2013


Wait, Scott Pilgrim is somehow a better film than anything M. Night has done? You've seen other films, right?
posted by Brocktoon at 3:04 PM on June 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Except these are super-advanced aliens with the means to traverse the cosmos. I'm sure they never considered what happens when you bond two Hs with an O.

Why assume that Hs and Os have any meaning wherever they came from? Maybe their planet had everything but Hydrogen or Oxygen.

I agree that it seemed like a ridiculous plot hole but if you're going to except that these bipedal alien things came here in gigantic flying machines from who knows where, then their being allergic to water isn't a big deal. The whole premise is flaky.
posted by fuse theorem at 3:14 PM on June 2, 2013


I, Robot 2; Hancock 2; Bad Boys 3; I Am Legend 2; After Earth 2.

It seems Will Smith needs money.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:18 PM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


It seems Will Smith needs money.

I think it would be more accurate to say that Will Smith likes money.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:20 PM on June 2, 2013 [25 favorites]


I didn't like Signs, but I don;t know how much of that is the movie itself and how much is not being able to stomach more than a few minutes of Serious Mel Gibson.

I loved The Village, though. I don't care if you can see the twist coming a mile away, it's still a great journey.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:21 PM on June 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


The allergic-to-albums land in a cornfield in the early morning. It's a wonder they don't die from dew before they get to the house.
posted by Artw at 3:22 PM on June 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


what I liked about SIGNS was the intense tightness of the frame throughout. It was just this one family's experience of something. In many respects, it could have been a stage play.

what I didn't like about SIGNS was the ending ... and to a lesser extent, Mel.
posted by philip-random at 3:25 PM on June 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


"Pah," M. Night Shyamalan said, tossing DVD after DVD into the garbage. Soon it would be filled with the entire Criterion Collection. "These so-called filmmakers knew nothing. 'Auteurs'. Fools, rather."

"How do you mean?" I asked.

"Anyone can make a film that critiques society. But doing so is useless. Navel-gazing. Film has become a lens turned on itself, a weeping monster devouring its own children. I will be different. My films will not make my comment. My career itself will."

"I don't understand."

"Of course you don't." The look he gave me was almost pitying. "Society is dying. The world is dying. Film is dying. That means it is useless for film to say anything at all. A cancer cell complaining about metastasis. One must step back. Into another context."

He turned to throw more DVDs into the garbage. I tugged on the shackles holding my wrists to the wall while he was distracted, but it was no use. "How?" I finally asked, mostly because I knew he wanted me too.

"The first Hollywood film I direct will be both a critical darling and a box-office success," he began.

"Surely you can't predict -"

He waved a hand airily. "Of course I can. I am M. Night Shyamalan."

"If you say so," I replied dubiously.

"My next film will be decent. Reasonably good, but with flaws. It will be less popular. I will say I am disappointed. A few fans will argue that the critics are fools, and that it is better than my first. Such is taste. But they will be wrong. It will be exactly half as good."

"Why -"

"My third film will have its advocates, but it will have a weak ending and the plot will make little sense. It will, once again, be precisely half as good as the one before it. I will add to its weaknesses as I continue. The next will once more have an anticlimactic ending and a laughable premise, but this time it will unfold with a solemnity that leaches all enjoyment from it. Half as good. EXACTLY half as good."

"You're mad."

"I am a visionary. In the next movie, the bar will be so low that I can dispense with sense altogether. After that, as I approach the perfect asymptote of nihilism, anything is open to me. Perhaps I will make trees the villain in the movie that follows. Or make ludicrous casting choices in the next. By then my plotting will be incomprehensible, my cinematography murky, my films without joy or point."

"Please let me go."

"My films are not my art. My film CAREER is my art. A film career spanning years, a decade, more, with each film exactly half as bad as the one that came before. As society decays, so will my directing. A the world drowns in its own putrescence, so shall my reviews. No one will be able to stop me, for I am M. Night Shyamalan. I will never be out of work, even if no one ever understands why. It will be the greatest performance piece of all time. It shall never be equaled."

"Never?" I asked, momentarily caught up in his insanity, his mad nihilistic vision, my shackles for the moment forgotten.

"It cannot," he replied, his burning eyes looking directly into my own. "For at some point - perhaps my ninth film, perhaps my tenth - the movie itself will be so terrible that the world will not be able to sustain it."

"You can't mean -"

"It shall be worse than Plan 9 From Outer Space," he said, caught up in his deranged vision. "Far worse. It shall be worse than Manos. It shall be worse than anything. It will cause riots. Madness. The end of all things."

"Please, please, I swear I won't tell anyone -"

"My films will not end when the world dies," he continued, ignoring me completely. "The world will die with my last film."
posted by kyrademon at 3:26 PM on June 2, 2013 [178 favorites]


He didn't make a good film.
posted by mani at 3:28 PM on June 2, 2013


Signs kinda works if you pretend the aliens are actually demons, and the water works on them because Mel Gibson's priest character has been inadvertently blessing the glasses of water and transforming it into Holy Water. There's some minor details in the text to support this wild fan theory, too - the course of the invasion first turning in Jerusalem/the holy land.

That being said, I laughed may way through the movie when I saw it in theaters and completely alienated my blind date, who thought it was utterly terrifying. So, at least some good came of the movie!
posted by Benjy at 3:29 PM on June 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


I remember reading the "aliens are allergic to water" trope in a list of science fiction clichés for writers to avoid back in the early eighties. Amazing that he could get away with using it thirty years later.
posted by octothorpe at 3:30 PM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


There's a line in the After Earth official trailers that's already ruined the movie for me:
"Everything on this planet has evolved to kill humans."

Ugh. Hello? In this story, humans have been absent for 1,000 years! Evolution does not work that way! You can't evolve against an absent threat! Do we really need another strawman mis-characterization of evolution in pop culture?
posted by ceribus peribus at 3:32 PM on June 2, 2013 [23 favorites]


"No-one will believe you!" he cackled as he threw me out of a car into a ditch on the side of the road.

"The only way to stop me would be to make a series of adventure films more hilarious and enjoyable than the last--an evolution of sorts that matches my devolution, culminating in a film so brilliant and fun that it balances out mine, maybe something involving drinking, aliens, ice cream, who cares? You'll never pull that off...you're just a teenage kid from Somerset. Ha ha ha ha ha ha..."

As he drove away I swore through bloody lips he would live to rue the day he left me alive. I stumbled down the street to the newsagents, and purchased the first food I'd had in weeks, three beautiful flavors of Cornetto ice cream cone.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:36 PM on June 2, 2013 [28 favorites]


I don't care for M. Night Shitsalot because he uncannily reminds me of my brother in-law, if he was allowed to film all his shitbbrainideas. They both have the same amount of talent. The difference is somebody tells one of them no.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 3:37 PM on June 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


I prefer calling him M. Night Shymalamadingdong.
posted by ceribus peribus at 3:38 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Please don't, it's kinda racist.

Also he named himself "Night", for fucks sake, you're going to insult his family name?
posted by Artw at 3:40 PM on June 2, 2013 [23 favorites]


I prefer calling him M. Night Shymalamadingdong.

Because you're a 12-year-old posting comments on Ain't It Cool News, and it's 2002.
posted by Strange Interlude at 3:41 PM on June 2, 2013 [21 favorites]


Yeah, you're right. Mea culpa.
posted by ceribus peribus at 3:42 PM on June 2, 2013 [15 favorites]


Wait, Scott Pilgrim is somehow a better film than anything M. Night has done? You've seen other films, right?

Scott Pilgrim is not a better film than anything M. Night has done. Oh, no. You see, Scott Pilgrim is a better film than everything M. Night has done.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:43 PM on June 2, 2013 [20 favorites]


I'm having trouble believing that this really happened, but if it did then the movie-going crowd in your area must be made up of insufferable buffoons and I can totally understand why you don't find yourself watching movies out very often.
How is laughing at the fact that M. Night Shymalan was the director of "Devil" after seeing the trailer make you an 'insufferable buffoon'? I remember seeing the trailer at some point and finding it funny that M. Night was the director. That was like at the height of his name being a punchline, and I would imagine people going to see Scott Pilgim would be among the more pop-culturally aware.
Please don't, it's kinda racist.
Oh come on. People need to stop calling things that aren't racist 'racist'. Was it 'racist' to call w. bush 'shrub'?
posted by delmoi at 3:48 PM on June 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


I generally enjoy his movies, but the only two that really impressed me with The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable. Signs kind of works as an homage to the horror movies of the early '50's, but that's a terribly self-indulgent thing to do. And that trend toward increasing self-indulgence seems evident in his later movies, all of which have some very good aspects, but end up being fatally flawed by poor plotting. I think his early success led to degree of overconfidence.
posted by trrll at 3:50 PM on June 2, 2013


It is racist to make fun of the Indian guy's Indian name by changing it to some nonsense that is some racists idea of what Indian names might sound like, yes.
posted by Artw at 3:52 PM on June 2, 2013 [40 favorites]


Because I'm not sure which reason takes the top spot for thinking After Earth will suck without even seeing the trailer, I will give them in order of finding out about them:

1. Will Smith
2. Jaden Smith
3. M. Night Shayamalan
4. Adapted from a story by Will Smith
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 3:56 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


As long as we're hating on Smith:

Will Smith lassoes lead role in The Wild Bunch remake

OK, probably ruining a classic, but hey, he was interested in Django at least a little, maybe...

Actor confirmed for update of Sam Peckinpah's iconic film, reportedly featuring DEA agent on tail of Mexican drug baron

The film fans in the audience may die of brain explosions.
posted by Artw at 4:01 PM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


You guys - if a Smith child does not top the opening weekend gross they're put BACK IN THE TUBES
posted by The Whelk at 4:02 PM on June 2, 2013 [12 favorites]


I'm fine with making fun of his decision to call himself "Night," which would be considered over-the-top by a fifteen-year-old goth in the '80s. Making fun of his surname, not so much. Again, I stress the making fun of him should continue apace.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:03 PM on June 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Be more scientific, douchebag!

(oh The Happening. You have some amazingly disturbing visuals, but you are so so awful.)

I knew I wasn't going to see After Earth once I heard "Will Smith" and "postapocalyptic" in the same sentence. I have been burnt by I Am Legend, and never again. Never again. I was unaware that Mr. Shayamalan was directing, but, after the travesty that was The Last Airbender, I am not remotely surprised they hid that information, since the PR machine has learned to hold whitewashing casting a little closer to their chest as well.

(Also? He did not direct Devil, just produced it. Which made it moderately enjoyable, but nowhere near as great as it could have been.)
posted by Katemonkey at 4:03 PM on June 2, 2013


Oh come on. People need to stop calling things that aren't racist 'racist'. Was it 'racist' to call w. bush 'shrub'?

No it wasn't, because "Bush" is an easy to pronounce one-syllable American name, and the "Shrub" epithet came about because he was widely seen as a lesser version of his father, not because of his race or ethnicity.

On the other hand, "Shyamalamadingdong" came about because foreign-looking names with more than two syllables make a certain segment of white Americans uncomfortable, and so they decided to make a lame joke out of it.
posted by Strange Interlude at 4:04 PM on June 2, 2013 [18 favorites]


You guys - if a Smith child does not top the opening weekend gross they're put BACK IN THE TUBES

Fear is a choice.
posted by Artw at 4:05 PM on June 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


It was very ill considered and not even funny. Apologies again for derailing the movie discussion.
posted by ceribus peribus at 4:12 PM on June 2, 2013 [22 favorites]


However, it's not clear at this stage how the new Wild Bunch would connect to its celebrated predecessor, other than via the title.

Considering that is exactly what happens whenever Smith does a remake, that sounds about right.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 4:16 PM on June 2, 2013


Tell people to stop remaking Peckinpah movies.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:16 PM on June 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Craig Kilborn spoiled The Sixth Sense for me before I saw it. I saw it anyway and really liked it. Maybe because of this I never got caught up in the twists and thus was not bothered when they were dumb/simple/etc. I like his films for the amazingly set up human interaction scenes.

The Village is probably my favorite, though I wish it were longer. I could have watched another hour or two of the townspeople's interactions before Ivy went on her quest.

The next two were much more troublesome but they still had great scenes. The Last Airbender was a huge disappointment, especially given how good the cartoon was.

The trailers for this one look really dumb. I suppose I may watch it on in some low effort way eventually but I don't expect much out of it.
posted by mountmccabe at 4:17 PM on June 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


roomthreeseventeen: "I mean, I love The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable; they are as good as it gets when it comes to filmmaking. But the rest just seem sloppy to me. I didn't realize that After Earth was a Shyamalan picture until this thread, but it's not really my type of movie."

Truthfully, I can miss out on Sixth Sense but Unbreakable is a must watch around here (along with my other favorite superhero movie.....Darkman.
posted by Samizdata at 4:22 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Tell people to stop remaking Peckinpah movies.

Everything must be remade, sequel used or rebooted! Everything! All must suffer! Soon Bladerunner will fall, the hack who wrote Green Lantern grinning at your pain. Your beloved Kubricks, they are next!
posted by Artw at 4:23 PM on June 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


Zack Snyder's Clockwork Orange! Script by Damon Lindelof! It shall be so! Prophecy has spoken!
posted by Artw at 4:25 PM on June 2, 2013 [21 favorites]


Just wanted so say:

Unbreakable is so terrible it makes me want to slaughter puppies.
posted by Windopaene at 4:28 PM on June 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


McG's The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:31 PM on June 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


Last Year At Madienbad...with zombies
posted by The Whelk at 4:32 PM on June 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


BEN STILLER * DOCTOR STRANGELOVE * SUMMER 2014
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 4:32 PM on June 2, 2013 [10 favorites]


Lolita 3D
posted by The Whelk at 4:34 PM on June 2, 2013 [9 favorites]


Your beloved Kubricks, they are next!

They've already done remakes of Sparacus, Lolita and the Shining.
posted by octothorpe at 4:35 PM on June 2, 2013


Seth Rogen is Madame du...
posted by shakespeherian at 4:35 PM on June 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


Keep going guys, I'm writing these down.
posted by incessant at 4:35 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


3001, a Space Odessey - Tom Cruise as Bowman, Patton Oswald as the villainous computer hologram Hal.
posted by Artw at 4:37 PM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Whelk: "Lolita 3D"

All depends on the Lolita and the Quilty.
posted by Samizdata at 4:38 PM on June 2, 2013


Barry Lyndon done entirely on greenscreen.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:38 PM on June 2, 2013 [20 favorites]


Oh, Scott isn't done ruining his fans goodwill yet? Oh, maybe he could use Behold A Pale Horse as source material for the new Blade Runner. And bring back Lindelof to write in a scene with a giant illuminati tortoise shell rolling down the middle of the street while our intrepid detective simply can't figure out a way to dodge it. BOOYA! That well will never run dry, Lindelof!
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 4:39 PM on June 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


To be fair, the bulk of Scott's career is kind of rubbish to begin with.
posted by Artw at 4:41 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


OUTLAWWWWW
posted by fleacircus at 4:42 PM on June 2, 2013


Harmony Korine's Barry Lyndon:

A dude comes down off bathsalts in a garbage bag.
posted by Divine_Wino at 4:44 PM on June 2, 2013 [23 favorites]


I was actually kinda outraged at how terrible Lady in the Water was, and when I found out that it was made from bedtime stories he made up for his kids I was...well, basically outraged/insulted. I rarely go to movies, but I'd actually paid for that one, don't ask me why. I think that if I am going to pay for a movie (even by, say, watching commercials...which I don't actually watch...but still...*he doesn't know that*) *I am owed an actually story/screenplay actually written by someone.*

I will say, though, that some of the shots of the grass blowing in the apartment complex in the evening were actually beautiful, though.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 4:47 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


You are a bad person and will be eaten by a wolf!
posted by Artw at 4:48 PM on June 2, 2013


This summer, get ready for Michael Bay's Eyelids Wide Open 3D! Starring Jason Statham with his shirt off, jumping sideways, shooting guns!
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 4:49 PM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


All depends on the Lolita and the Quilty.

This is the role Adam Sandler has been preparing for his whole life.
posted by fleacircus at 4:51 PM on June 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


This summer, get ready for Michael Bay's Eyelids Wide Open 3D! Starring Jason Statham with his shirt off, jumping sideways, shooting guns!

You'd have to tell Bay the source material was a toy. Not really a great problem.
posted by Artw at 4:54 PM on June 2, 2013


I can't hear or read of M. Night Shyamalan without thinking of Jason Mantzoukas's observation that, based on the reaction Shyamalan's name got during the opening of Avatar: The Last Airbender, that he really should be known as "Boo, Fuck You."
posted by The Notorious SRD at 4:55 PM on June 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


Of the ones I've seen, Unbreakable is really the only one I have (willingly) seen more than once. Up until the recent, good spate of Marvel movies, and the Nolan Batman films, I thought Unbreakable was the best super hero film out there.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:56 PM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Some of these fake remakes would be better than 99% of the Bronze Age comic book crap that we're actually getting this summer. I'd watch the shit out of Ben Stiller as, perhaps, a Bush-style terror-hating torture-loving Strangelove.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:56 PM on June 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


The moment it started going wrong for M. Night Shyamalan was when he used the most pointless and laughable postscript I've ever seen at the end of Unbreakable.
posted by smithsmith at 5:07 PM on June 2, 2013


Existential Dread: I liked the atmosphere of Signs. I hated the treacly ending of Signs.

Ditto. I absolutely hated the way Signs' plot is setup with the two "twists" (both of them incredibly lazy) but the atmosphere totally destroyed me. As someone who has been afraid of aliens since a kid the very first scenes were intensely nerve wracking. The music used was perfect and did such an amazing job creating suspense. By the time of the famed Brazilian birthday party I was so strung up with tension that when that scene hit I, as a kid seeing it opening day in theaters, had such an incredible anxiety attack that I was forced to leave the theater, and I didn't see the ending until years later.

Then, as a 23-year-old, watched it again at 4 PM with my now-girlfriend. I barely slept that night and had nightmares for weeks afterward. It makes me wish for a really, really solid alien movie with a great plot, amazing sound design and terrifying imagery. I've seen Fire In The Sky and though the imagery involved is good, it's a bit cheesy and the acting isn't there for me. I haven't seen or read Communion, and I tried to watch The Fourth Kind once and although it really scared me, the plot is stupid. There's a 2013 movie out called Dark Skies, but judging from the trailers it looks really cheesy too. I wish there was a director that'd tackle a movie with the same ideas of Signs: alien invasion, being alone and isolated on a farm somewhere in a little community. You know, the things alien abduction stories are made of. The imagery of aliens (mostly grays) and alien spacecraft really, utterly terrifies me. I use to have a book on aliens and the front cover was of a flying saucer beaming somebody up. The image scared me so much, even as I grew up, that I kept it covered up on a bookshelf until I finally gave the book to someone.

I guess I'm just being too stubborn.

As for M. Night Shyamalan, I really liked The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable was okay. The Village was extremely stupid. The Happening looked like it could have been good from the trailers, as the imagery involved seemed solid (the construction workers falling off the building was great, I thought) but it was there for only a few moments until the characters moved forward and the movie got really dumb.

I think he has a good taste in specific images, but he doesn't do a great job keeping the feelings those images invoke throughout a full movie. Signs had wonderful images and sound, such as the rustling of the corn stalks and the alien's leg moving, or the footsteps on the roof in the beginning, and the dog barking. If he could somehow refine himself to getting those feelings throughout a coherent plot I think he'd be a great director.
posted by gucci mane at 5:08 PM on June 2, 2013 [7 favorites]


Of the ones I've seen, Unbreakable is really the only one I have (willingly) seen more than once. Up until the recent, good spate of Marvel movies, and the Nolan Batman films, I thought Unbreakable was the best super hero film out there.

I think that is because no one knew it was a superhero movie until the final reel. In the wake of The Sixth Sense, every third movie had to have some massive revelation late in the story that Changes Everything. Unbreakable was notable for doing it skillfully. MNS has some considerable skills at the tactical level, and can create tension better than 90% of the directors working today. He has a few other problems, though.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:09 PM on June 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Perhaps The Gimmick Of My Father And Me Starring In A Movie Is Actually More Annoying Than Appealing.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:09 PM on June 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


Oh please. Scott Pilgrim would be GREAT. If it was 1/2 an hour on Adult Swim.
posted by Brocktoon at 5:13 PM on June 2, 2013


Wait. People didn't like Scott Pilgrim?
posted by octothorpe at 5:20 PM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Define "people".
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:22 PM on June 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


I thought the problem was that people didn't actually go and see Scott Pilgrim, and instead chose to spend actual hard-earned American currency in support of Sly Stallone's retirement fund.
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:28 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like to think of Signs as the thriller sequel to the Charlie Sheen movie The Arrival.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 5:29 PM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


After Earth Is Just a Shitty Movie, Not Scientology Propaganda
posted by homunculus at 5:36 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Never mind The Expendables, but Rambo 4 was a much better film that Scott Pilgrim.
posted by item at 5:38 PM on June 2, 2013


1. Signs. Ugh. Boring and terrible. I watched it because of my continuous state of curious surprise that it was the Sixth Sense guy.
2. I am sad Will Smith is a scientologist. He seems otherwise very cool.
posted by Glinn at 6:05 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I saw an interview with M. Night in which he stated that he makes feature-length Twilight Zone episodes. Explains a lot.
posted by nerdler at 6:16 PM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


unless there is something negative and specific about that Grease nonsense word that I don't know.

only that it's a reference from one of the most abominably sadistic cultural experiences I've ever had to endure (ie: being a half-way cool teenager when Grease hit in 1978). I never even saw the movie, just despised the soundtrack, the trailers, the posters, EVERYTHING about how it impacted the culture. I can still smell it.

Seriously, nobody that you would have wanted to know liked it when it was new. Unless you wanted to know cute teenage girls, which I did, and thus I was conflicted, torn in two it seems.
posted by philip-random at 6:35 PM on June 2, 2013


He should have gone to medical school. Now he gets no respect. SMH.
posted by discopolo at 6:36 PM on June 2, 2013


The best thing about the Twilight Zone was the episode length. Even Serling couldn't make the hour long episodes good.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 6:36 PM on June 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


The ONION scores again ...

But I can’t help but think that maybe, somewhere along the line, when my wealthy, A-list celebrity parents began developing projects solely as vehicles to build my career and make the Smith family hundreds of millions of dollars richer than it already was, the concept of my father using his clout to shoehorn me into co-starring film roles might possibly have started rubbing people the wrong way. I can certainly see, for instance, how my dad contriving a $130-million Hollywood science-fiction film in an attempt to promote me to his level of fame and fortune could maybe come across as a tad self-serving.

In fact, maybe—just maybe—people might view the movie as less of a great film starring an actor they love and his lovable son, and more of a soulless vanity project. Or go so far as to say such blatant nepotism and hunger for fame is the biggest problem in Hollywood today, and in the United States of America as a whole.

posted by philip-random at 6:39 PM on June 2, 2013


I like a couple of MNS movies and Scott Pilgrim too, so apparently I'm a terrible person with no taste. Which explains a lot, I suppose. And I guess you won't want to come over for dinner. Which is a shame, because I'm an excellent cook, and guess what's on TV for a double feature?
posted by davejay at 6:43 PM on June 2, 2013


I like a couple of MNS movies and Scott Pilgrim too, so apparently I'm a terrible person with no taste.

Oh, I don't know. Maybe, maybe not. Do you wear hats?
posted by mph at 6:52 PM on June 2, 2013


Signs was awful. The characters' actions make no sense without the ridiculous soundtrack. Try watching it again - they react to the soundtrack rather than sounds or movements around them.

However, The Village gave me one of my favorite moments in a movie theater. Spoilers, obviously, follow.

The girls is in the woods, escaping, and she lures the monster into the trap. As it falls and things slow down so you can be sad that the boy is dying, somewhere in the audience someone let out a laugh like Nelson from the Simpsons:

"Ha-hah!"

The entire theater cracked up laughing, and from then on, though we didn't speak to each other, we all knew we were united in being completely emotionally disengaged from the movie we were watching. It was a beautiful moment.

It was a really shitty movie.
posted by 23 at 6:54 PM on June 2, 2013 [21 favorites]


Aaaaaah, Shyamalan. Could I, I would shake his hand and say "thank you."

Shyamalan is to Rifftrax as G.W. Bush is to The Daily Show.

But, you know, without the thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of corpses.
The Happening was one of the most joyous experiences of my life.
posted by GoingToShopping at 6:55 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


The only Shymalan movie I've seen is The Sixth Sense, which kind of bored me, but I'm curious about Unbreakable so I'm gonna try and go see it.

Scott Pilgrim is 5/7ths one of the best-made and most entertaining films of recent years, and 2/7ths a collection of unnecessary sequences that both drag the plot out unnecessarily for the sake of the comic and remind people who have read the comic about all the plot that still didn't make it into the film. But when I think about it I remember the 5/7ths and think about what a perfect theatre experience it was, and how well it's subsequently held up on DVD. I've watched it with various groups of friends at least a dozen times.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:02 PM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


I fucking love Scott Pilgrim.
posted by Artw at 7:14 PM on June 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


I liked The Lady In The Water. Now you know my terrible secret.

Also, I was in a theatre when the trailer for Devil came on, and people laughed at the "From the mind of M Night ...... It seems to have happened around the world.
I was one of those people laughing, haven suffered The Happening and The Villiage.
posted by Mezentian at 7:17 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rambo 4 was a much better film that Scott Pilgrim.

Wait the one where he uses a minigun to turn a guy into hamburger at point-blank range and you're supposed to not find it horrific somehow?
posted by shakespeherian at 7:27 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


You're tempting me. Bet it doesn't live up to that.
posted by Artw at 7:29 PM on June 2, 2013


Artw, I assume you're talking about shakespherian's comment on Rambo?

It most certainly does. Hamburger. Fine red mist. Chunks. And it goes on and on, for several minutes, with almost every gruesome hit shown in brutal slow motion. And yeah, it's supposed to be a "FUCK YEAH, GO RAMBO!" moment.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:54 PM on June 2, 2013


Hmmm.

/Adds it to list.
posted by Artw at 8:00 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Rambo is pretty great stuff. He at one point takes an enormous mounted machine gun, like, off its mount and uses it to clear out trees. It's like something out of Axe Cop.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:14 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


It is racist to make fun of the Indian guy's Indian name by changing it to some nonsense that is some racists idea of what Indian names might sound like, yes.

So in our humorless little world, Stephen Colbert riffing on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's name is racist? WTF?
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:35 PM on June 2, 2013


It is racist to make fun of the Indian guy's Indian name by changing it to some nonsense that is some racists idea of what Indian names might sound like, yes.

So in our humorless little world, Stephen Colbert riffing on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's name is racist? WTF?
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:35 PM on June 3 [+] [!]


Given that literally THE ENTIRE PURPOSE of that schtick is mockery of the sort of person who would actually say such a thing, thinking it's actually a joke, methinks you missed the point a little. Colbert is playing a character largely meant to be laughed AT, rather than WITH.
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:38 PM on June 2, 2013 [9 favorites]


Yeah. For the record. It's not cool to laugh at people's names or the accents. We're supposed to be past that by the time we hit Grade Five.
posted by philip-random at 8:47 PM on June 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


I never even saw the movie, just despised the soundtrack, the trailers, the posters, EVERYTHING about how it impacted the culture

I remember this kid in school who would shout, whenever Grease came up, "Grease! It's more like crank-case oil!" At 12 going on 13 that shit was pretty funny.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:48 PM on June 2, 2013


Knew a guy who told me his mom was the duty doctor when Shyamalan was born (or had actually delivered him).

It is true, there is a worldwide desi cabal and everyone knows each other.
posted by the cydonian at 8:57 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I felt a bit like Lady in the Water was a bad adaptation of an interesting novel. It felt like there was something there, but the way it was presented wasn't right.

Reading that Will and James interview up thread made me really sad. There is some crazy going on I apparently missed. Will says he's a physicist? I do not think that word means what you think it means.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 9:08 PM on June 2, 2013


Thanks to this thread I learned there actually was a Shyamalan-written movie that I didn't think fell apart immediately after I left the theater. Of course, that movie was She's All That, so my opinion on film might not hold water with some.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:15 PM on June 2, 2013


She's All That, when watched with the POV of an functioning adult, features nothing but horribe people acting in increasingly bizzare ways.
posted by The Whelk at 9:19 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


What I want to know is: why does Will Smith keep making so many science-fiction movies, when so many of them are such dire crap? Is it just a potential-box-office calculation that gets him into these vehicles? Does he actually like the genre and seek out sf stuff (and if so, why sign on to movies that are so often so insultingly awful with the banging and the whizzing and the whooshing and the shithouse CGI)?

I don't really want to know, but it is something that I have idly wondered.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:24 PM on June 2, 2013


Yeah, that's what YOU say Mr. Fill-Tip Condom!

Sigh... that's all I've got :-)
posted by smidgen at 9:38 PM on June 2, 2013


Possible future meet-up: Oblivion/After Earth/Enders Game triple bill.
posted by Artw at 9:42 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I liked Unbreakable when I saw it in the theater. Then I saw Signs. I know that shouldn't matter, but it does.

Remember when you were a teenager, and some other kid on the fringes of your peer group seemed amazingly cool and interesting, and then you learn that they're actually kind of dumb, and just really pretentious? And then maybe their awesome stories just seem awful in retrospect? That's Unbreakable. A good movie at the time, bad in retrospect.

Interestingly, The Sixth Sense fares better in this regard, and here's why. 1. It was fresh and unexpected. That much is obvious. More importantly, however, is 2. That The Sixth Sense never presented itself as anything other than a ghost story. While it hid a key piece of information from the audience (and barely at that, which was clever) it still did everything within the beats and tropes of a ghost story, and even the ending was within that framework - ghost stories are inherently mysteries, after all. In other words, The Sixth Sense was truly just a straight-up masterful genre picture, and there ain't nuthin' wrong with that.

But with Unbreakable (and everything else) he's continued on the super-plodding, super-serious tone but with less justification for it. And he's continued on the labored twists, in genres that don't work nearly as well with twists.

Basically, he hit a home run his first time up at bat, and good for him. The problem is that he's been trying to hit a home run ever since then, but in sports that aren't baseball. It just doesn't work.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:47 PM on June 2, 2013


Artw: "Zack Snyder's Clockwork Orange! Script by Damon Lindelof! It shall be so! Prophecy has spoken"

To be fair, Zack Snyder has made exactly one remake, Dawn of the Dead and I actually kind of prefer his version to the original. To me, it's about as good as zombie movies get.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 10:06 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hssssssssss.
posted by Artw at 10:11 PM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


stavrosthewonderchicken: "What I want to know is: why does Will Smith keep making so many science-fiction movies, when so many of them are such dire crap? Is it just a potential-box-office calculation that gets him into these vehicles? Does he actually like the genre and seek out sf stuff (and if so, why sign on to movies that are so often so insultingly awful with the banging and the whizzing and the whooshing and the shithouse CGI)? "

When you're on board with a religion that's basically made the shittiest strains of SF canon, that might be a natural way to go.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 10:24 PM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


To be fair, Zack Snyder has made exactly one remake, Dawn of the Dead and I actually kind of prefer his version to the original. To me, it's about as good as zombie movies get.

This sounds like something a terrible person on The Critic would say.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:32 PM on June 2, 2013


why does Will Smith keep making so many science-fiction movies

There's some story somewhere about how Smith sat down with a manager and went through the biggest, most successful movies and looked at their common factors. Essentially, he hasn't been in a movie since that didn't meet two thirds of those requirements. I'm not sure where I saw that though.
posted by Ghidorah at 10:39 PM on June 2, 2013



"What I want to know is: why does Will Smith keep making so many science-fiction movies, [...]

When you're on board with a religion that's basically made the shittiest strains of SF canon, that might be a natural way to go.
posted by Joakim Ziegler


I was working on a very long answer that ultimately was going to say less than this.
posted by philip-random at 10:40 PM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Artw: "The Village has a twist you can guess from the first seconds of the trailer, if not the poster, but is competent and enjoyable compared with Signs."

It's rare that I predict twists -- it's just not how my brain works -- but I guessed the ending of The Village from the trailer. That was the last Shyamalan film I've seen.
posted by brundlefly at 10:44 PM on June 2, 2013


Will Smith also apparently has a rule which forbids him from playing a character who dies, but I've heard that has to do with not wanting his kids to see that.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:46 PM on June 2, 2013


It is racist to make fun of the Indian guy's Indian name by changing it to some nonsense that is some racists idea of what Indian names might sound like, yes. -- Artw
"Shyamalamadingdong" does not sound anything like an Indian name to me.
No it wasn't, because "Bush" is an easy to pronounce one-syllable American name, and the "Shrub" epithet came about because he was widely seen as a lesser version of his father, not because of his race or ethnicity.

On the other hand, "Shyamalamadingdong" came about because foreign-looking names with more than two syllables make a certain segment of white Americans uncomfortable, and so they decided to make a lame joke out of it.
-- Strange Interlude
Both are examples of making fun of someone's last name. According to this rule supposedly you are a racist if you make fun of a foreign sounding name, but not an anglo-saxon sounding name. Which is ridiculous.

(Also aren't you the real racist for assuming all non-whites can pronounce eachother's names? (note: sarcasm))

It's the kind of nonsense that makes people dismiss the whole concept of racism and ultimately ignore real examples of it. The whole boy-who-cried-wolf kind of thing.
I fucking love Scott Pilgrim. -- Artw
What, even though it's Totally. Friggin'. Racist. [4, 5 ]? totally hypocritical much?

(Oh, and I thought it was awesome but since I'm apparently already an unrepentant racist for thinking 'shyamalamadingdong' us funny it's OK for me.)
He should have gone to medical school. Now he gets no respect. SMH.
See, now that's racist. :P
2. I am sad Will Smith is a scientologist. He seems otherwise very cool.
Well, he seems to have terrible taste in roles (He turned down both Django and Neo from the Matrix). Anyway, he says he's not a scientologist. Even if he uses some of the tropes from scientologist theory they are hardly unique to scientology.
posted by delmoi at 10:54 PM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry your joke is shit and racist. But it is.
posted by Artw at 11:11 PM on June 2, 2013 [7 favorites]


OK, I looked up the Signs birthday party scene, having never seen that film, thinking that "OK, maybe M. Night was capable of scaring people at one point". There's some kids at a birthday party. An extremely corny looking alien walks by and doesn't do anything. Some asshole is watching it on TV and speaking Spanish at the Brazilian and thus presumably Portuguese speaking kids. The kids scream. Then the corny alien walks by again and it freeze frames. Are you fucking kidding me? I've seen scarier shit on Discovery Channel Bigfoot hunter shows.
posted by DecemberBoy at 11:13 PM on June 2, 2013



(Also aren't you the real racist for assuming all non-whites can pronounce eachother's names? (note: sarcasm))

It's the kind of nonsense that makes people dismiss the whole concept of racism and ultimately ignore real examples of it. The whole boy-who-cried-wolf kind of thing.


relevant stuff, wrong thread. Please let's not go down this road any further.
posted by philip-random at 11:13 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anyway, he says he's not a scientologist.

I don't believe him. There are plenty of people who claim not to be Scientologists, but scratch the surface and you find involvement in "Management Tech" or "Study Tech" or Narconon or CCHR or some other Scientology front. Maybe he doesn't even believe himself to be one, thinking that it doesn't count if you just take a few courses and are publicly sympathetic to it. It does.
posted by DecemberBoy at 11:17 PM on June 2, 2013


Are you fucking kidding me?

Well, for one I would say you would have had to watched the movie from the beginning, because tension gets built. I mean Jaws is a fakey plastic looking shark, but if someone fast forwarded to the middle when it first appears and starts sneering about how fake and not scary it is then I would simply congratulate them on ruining the experience for themselves.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 11:24 PM on June 2, 2013 [8 favorites]


Very little shark in this sequence.
posted by philip-random at 11:32 PM on June 2, 2013


I'm sorry your joke is shit and racist. But it is.
Which joke? The "Shymalamadingdong" one?

If so, it wasn't my joke brah, that was from ceribus peribus.

Also, do you disagree that Scott Pilgrim was racist? Having the one Indian character in the movie burst out into a bollywood number, having the Katayanagi Twins shoot dragons out of their turntables, or having Knives Chau inexplicably know kung fu seems more... 'racially-problematic', or at least based on racial stereotype then 'shymalamadingdong'

My point was not that the joke wasn't 'racist' but rather using your definition of the word 'racist' the movie Scott Pilgrim, which you like, would also be racist.
Given that literally THE ENTIRE PURPOSE of that schtick is mockery of the sort of person who would actually say such a thing, thinking it's actually a joke, methinks you missed the point a little. Colbert is playing a character largely meant to be laughed AT, rather than WITH.
Colbert is an interesting situation because since he is 'in character' he can make any joke he wants and 'get away with it'. His ching chong ding dong thing is obviously intended to mock racists, but the problem is that if you do a racist joke 'ironically' without enough context some people are just going to laugh at the joke itself. Of course the joke isn't really racist so... whatever.

Anyway, like I said. Calling tiny meaningless crap 'racist' it devalues the word, it makes some people think all claims of racism are over tiny meaningless crap and gives fuel to the people who say "Political Correctness" has gone awry and that people really are being oppressed by the PC police.
posted by delmoi at 11:52 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


And you don't get to see the alien in the cornfield either. Look, I'm not saying Signs is a masterpiece, but the one thing it actually did well was to keep you engaged. Granted the ending gives you a reason to hate the whole film, but the ride there was pretty fun.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 11:52 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't believe him. There are plenty of people who claim not to be Scientologists,
Anything is possible. It's also possible he's telling the truth, that some of his friends are scientologists and he doesn't say mean things about the religion because he doesn't want to hurt his friends (or lose his friends, like what happened to Southpark guys and Isaac Hayes. Maybe he's a closet scientologist, maybe he's just a typical annoying hollywood 'spiritual' woo person.
posted by delmoi at 11:57 PM on June 2, 2013


Navelgazer: "Will Smith also apparently has a rule which forbids him from playing a character who dies, but I've heard that has to do with not wanting his kids to see that"

Not to spoil anything, but, uh, I Am Legend.

Though the way he died in that movie bugged the hell out of me. There was no reason he couldn't survive along with the other characters, he just kind of sacrificed himself, because self-sacrifice made sense for his character arc.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:59 PM on June 2, 2013


Nobody gives a shit, Delmoi, just don't make that joke.
posted by Artw at 12:06 AM on June 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


There's also no reason to call it I Am Legend either. The ending to the book makes it explicitly clear the reason for that title. Smith made a random post-apocalyptic monster movie and slapped that name on it, without heeding any of the source material whatsoever.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 12:06 AM on June 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Anyway, like I said.

heard you the first time.
posted by philip-random at 12:06 AM on June 3, 2013


right idea. wrong thread.
posted by philip-random at 12:07 AM on June 3, 2013


[You guys need to take this to email at this point.]
posted by taz at 12:10 AM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Joakim Ziegler: Right on. Heard this rumor before I Am Legend was a thing and I haven't seen it (largely because of the press on how it totally missed Matheson's point - or rather, discarded it, as the original ending was faithful to the source material from what I've heard.)
posted by Navelgazer at 12:15 AM on June 3, 2013


They have a second ending included on the DVD but it still has nothing to do with the ending in the book.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 12:19 AM on June 3, 2013


Also, they would have to redo about half that movie if they wanted to try to get close to what happened in the book.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 12:32 AM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I heard Night's next movie is about sentient pot-holes. Simultaneously, they take out all the cyclists. And that's just for starters.
posted by dobbs at 1:21 AM on June 3, 2013


Like a lot of other people, I really liked Sixth Sense and thought M. Night went off the rails after. But there was something about the trailers of all his other movies that made me want to avoid them. They all sort of looked interesting at first, but even in the short clips in the trailers it was obvious his movies were disappointing. Like, I always got the sense that the trailers captured whatever was intriguing about his movies, and the crap was what you got when you paid your price to see the whole thing, particularly given his reliance on the predictable plot twist. I saw most of them eventually on cable, and turns out my instinct was right. His directing is not bad. He probably wouldn't get so much crap if he would just hire a decent screenwriter.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:46 AM on June 3, 2013


dobbs: "I heard Night's next movie is about sentient pot-holes."

I read that as "sentient plot-holes", and was scared for a moment.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 4:05 AM on June 3, 2013 [13 favorites]


I read that The Last Airbender tanked in the states but did really really well overseas.

$320M total (US + overseas) isn't "really really well" these days. Not when movies like Alice in Wonderland and the last Pirates of the Caribbean make $1B+. Note that there's been less than zero talk about an Airbender sequel. (Thank Aang.)

Starring Jason Statham with his shirt off, jumping sideways, shooting guns!

I'm just gonna put this out there. Forget Scott Pilgrim. The Fast and Furious franchise is better directed and way more fun than M. Night's movies.
posted by kmz at 5:28 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's an interview with Shyamalan out there (memory fails as to where and when exactly) where he sneers that people didn't "get" Signs, and that if you pay super-close attention, it's not really an alien invasion at all -- the "aliens" are demons, and it's a religious story. Having not seen the movie, I can't say much about that, but he was extraordinarily unpleasant in that interview. He went on to brag about his ability to put his own unique and awesome stamp on old ideas, and went on a tangent about hypothetically making a werewolf movie, and because of his own brilliant sensibilities, it would be so damn different and great. He then suggested a boring, well-trod idea for his newfangled hypothetical werewolf project. It was hilarious.

The derail about Scott Pilgrim: the movie doesn't work for me for a single reason, the casting of the lead. Scott stokes the romantic interest of a collection of very striking young women (Knives, Ramona, Envy, Kim) despite having very little going for him and being kind of a selfish, clueless dick. Once or twice it could happen -- Knives as a young girl becoming smitten with him isn't too much of a stretch -- but over and over?

The only way Scott makes sense as a character, rather than a fantasy fulfillment projection of a certain kind of dweeb, is if he's either insanely handsome or powerfully charming. Cera's not a bad looking guy, but come the hell on. Either get a much prettier man or cast women who are more at his level of attractiveness. As it is, the movie's just too much nerd-dweeb wish fulfillment, cloaked in videogame nostalgia and too-late, ham-fisted attempts at character growth. Which sucks, because yeah, about 5/7ths of the movie is great fun. But I can't get past the sense of nerd self-pity/self-love/wish fulfillment.

NOW THAT'S A DERAIL, DAMMIT!
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 6:55 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


The whole thing about Scott Pilgrim is that Scott's an annoying asshole who only thinks about himself. There's a whole thing in the books where (spoiler, I guess?) Stephen Stills introduces Scott to his boyfriend and Scott goes 'Wait, you're gay?' and Stephen says 'Yeah I came out in the fifth book, everyone was really supportive. You had some other stuff going on I guess.'
posted by shakespeherian at 8:03 AM on June 3, 2013 [8 favorites]


I say "Signs" is a masterpiece, for a lot of small, quiet reasons. The asthma attack scene? That dinner scene where the dad INSISTS that everybody will be happy? So real and raw. And the whole feel of the thing, like you're eavesdropping on these people rather than watching a movie. I might disagree with the fundamental notion at the core of it, that everything happens for a reason, but I don't have to think pigs can talk in order to love "Babe."

"The Lady in the Water," though ... ugh.
posted by jbickers at 8:07 AM on June 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable; they are as good as it gets when it comes to filmmaking.

Unbreakable had some good filmmaking, but I just couldn't set aside the ridiculous premise that Bruce Willis had lived his entire life without noticing that he was invulnerable, never mind the utter ludicrousness of Samuel Jackson's evil plan. (SPOILERS: Out of all the potentially-lethal accidents that happen every day in the world, it just happens to be the one caused by Jackson that happens to catch Willis?)
posted by straight at 8:17 AM on June 3, 2013


He didn't make a good film.

Oh come on, his last movie was at least twice as good as this one!
posted by grog at 9:10 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


The movie trailer was for 'Devil'. The trailer was proposterous, and everyone in the audience was wondering what the hell we were being shown,

I saw this movie on one of the movie channels not expecting much--weird thing is, it wasn't as terrible as you'd think, in a X-Files monster-of-the-week sorta way. I wouldn't have paid to see it though.
posted by Hoopo at 9:16 AM on June 3, 2013


The only way Scott makes sense as a character, rather than a fantasy fulfillment projection of a certain kind of dweeb ...

I thought that fantasy fulfillment projection was the whole point of it.
posted by octothorpe at 9:32 AM on June 3, 2013


The derail about Scott Pilgrim: the movie doesn't work for me for a single reason, the casting of the lead.

Yeah, Michael Cera has got a lot going for him as a comic actor (in particular, very good timing), but he can't carry a film the way Scott Pilgrim needed to carry that film. No doubt, Cera got the part on the strength of Superbad's box office success, but that was very much an ensemble piece. I actually found him quite grating after while in Scott Pilgrim.

A better lead would have been Kieran Culkin, who played the roommate. But of course, not enough people paid to see Igby Goes Down.
posted by philip-random at 9:55 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


He is supposed to be an asshole dweeb having totally implausible and not-real romances. He's self-centered and has bad ideas about love that are romantic and pathetic at the same time. In other words he's young, but so is Knives, and Ramona too though Scott doesn't see it.

I think it works. I could appreciate the movie, and it was often fun, but at the same time overall it wasn't enjoyable for me. Part of that is yeah, Scott is such an asshole and it's kind of gross that he 'wins' even though that's the conclusion the movie definitely should have had. It's a good movie I don't like.

I think Cera fit the part, though, so I don't blame him. If it had been a more handsome or charming actor then the parts where it's underlined what a dipshit Scott is might have seemed weird.
posted by fleacircus at 10:36 AM on June 3, 2013


"From the mind of M Night ..."

Oh yeah. I remember being in the theatre when people laughed at that. I think that was an important part of why. It wasn't "Written and Produced by M. Night Shyamalan" it was from his mind.
posted by RobotHero at 10:49 AM on June 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


Which is like where that creepy dude hangs out in Phantom.
posted by Artw at 10:50 AM on June 3, 2013


I really really really really disliked Scott Pilgrim for the reasons people have brought up. also, the whole video game aesthetic stopped being interesting/clever by 30 minutes in.
posted by Windigo at 12:59 PM on June 3, 2013


the ridiculous premise that Bruce Willis had lived his entire life without noticing that he was invulnerable, never mind the utter ludicrousness of Samuel Jackson's evil plan.

That wasn't the premise, Willis was aware he was invulnerable, but Jackson was unaware he was totally coocoo. Think of it in these terms- does having invulnerability make you unbreakable or is it the person's will to carry through on their intentions? What did each of those men sacrifice for what they wanted and how did that shape or strengthen them?

I think people get to caught up with what they don't like about Shyamalan and his films, and somehow that is supposed to discount everything else about them.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 1:00 PM on June 3, 2013


Willis was aware he was invulnerable

Wasn't there a scene where he asked his wife how many sick days he'd taken in the last year?
posted by shakespeherian at 1:09 PM on June 3, 2013


I call him M. Night Shamalamadingdong because of the Otis Day and the Knights song from Animal House and because he is a ding dong.
posted by mike_bling at 1:21 PM on June 3, 2013


mike_bling: "because he is a ding dong."

the fortune cookie was just this FURIOUS lookin' drawing of a ding dong
posted by this reminds me of an achewood strip at 1:58 PM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Evolution of an M. Night Shyamalan fan
posted by Zed at 2:13 PM on June 3, 2013


Okay, I'm watching the documentary now. I don't quite see "the beginning of the end" here, it's just the Hollywood publicity machine demanded something about The Village but M. Night didn't want anything that would spoil The Village for anyone. So they couldn't do the "straight-ahead behind-the-scenes doc" as the one documentarian foreshadows like a hammer to the head.

And if you compare it to those more straight-ahead publicity spiels, it's not really any more fawning than average. It just seems like a lot when some guys hired by the Sci Fi channel try to merge it with this fictional documentary layer.
posted by RobotHero at 2:39 PM on June 3, 2013


No the strangest thing about Scott Pilgrim is how many people commented on the similarities between myself and the Wallace character, who in the movie begins stalking Lucas Lee, played by Chris Evans, in foreshadowing of my own steadily growing obsession with Mr. Evans later that year.
posted by The Whelk at 2:40 PM on June 3, 2013


fleacircus: "All depends on the Lolita and the Quilty.

This is the role Adam Sandler has been preparing for his whole life.
"

Urp.

Sorry, just threw up in my mouth a little.
posted by Samizdata at 2:57 PM on June 3, 2013


octothorpe: "Wait. People didn't like Scott Pilgrim?"

I liked Scott Pilgrim, despite having read all the comics.
posted by Samizdata at 2:59 PM on June 3, 2013


delmoi: "
It is racist to make fun of the Indian guy's Indian name by changing it to some nonsense that is some racists idea of what Indian names might sound like, yes. -- Artw
"Shyamalamadingdong" does not sound anything like an Indian name to me.
No it wasn't, because "Bush" is an easy to pronounce one-syllable American name, and the "Shrub" epithet came about because he was widely seen as a lesser version of his father, not because of his race or ethnicity.

On the other hand, "Shyamalamadingdong" came about because foreign-looking names with more than two syllables make a certain segment of white Americans uncomfortable, and so they decided to make a lame joke out of it.
-- Strange Interlude
Both are examples of making fun of someone's last name. According to this rule supposedly you are a racist if you make fun of a foreign sounding name, but not an anglo-saxon sounding name. Which is ridiculous.

(Also aren't you the real racist for assuming all non-whites can pronounce eachother's names? (note: sarcasm))

It's the kind of nonsense that makes people dismiss the whole concept of racism and ultimately ignore real examples of it. The whole boy-who-cried-wolf kind of thing.
I fucking love Scott Pilgrim. -- Artw
What, even though it's Totally. Friggin'. Racist. [4, 5 ]? totally hypocritical much?

(Oh, and I thought it was awesome but since I'm apparently already an unrepentant racist for thinking 'shyamalamadingdong' us funny it's OK for me.)
He should have gone to medical school. Now he gets no respect. SMH.
See, now that's racist. :P
2. I am sad Will Smith is a scientologist. He seems otherwise very cool.
Well, he seems to have terrible taste in roles (He turned down both Django and Neo from the Matrix). Anyway, he says he's not a scientologist. Even if he uses some of the tropes from scientologist theory they are hardly unique to scientology.
"

Truthfully, I read the poor Asian/Indian presentation in Scott Pilgrim as more of a indictment of otaku culture than anything else, which does tie in nicely with Scott's immaturity.

And Will Smith is a Scientologist, regardless of what he says. I suspect he is just hiding his head from most of the incoming flak. If you do some research, there are just too many things tying him to the LRH-inspired cabal.
posted by Samizdata at 3:12 PM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Joakim Ziegler: "Navelgazer: "Will Smith also apparently has a rule which forbids him from playing a character who dies, but I've heard that has to do with not wanting his kids to see that"

Not to spoil anything, but, uh, I Am Legend.

Though the way he died in that movie bugged the hell out of me. There was no reason he couldn't survive along with the other characters, he just kind of sacrificed himself, because self-sacrifice made sense for his character arc.
"

Look, that movie was BROKEN. Badly. Does not count.
posted by Samizdata at 3:15 PM on June 3, 2013


The Whelk: "No the strangest thing about Scott Pilgrim is how many people commented on the similarities between myself and the Wallace character, who in the movie begins stalking Lucas Lee, played by Chris Evans, in foreshadowing of my own steadily growing obsession with Mr. Evans later that year."

You and me both. Captain America did not help much.
posted by Samizdata at 3:18 PM on June 3, 2013


jbickers: And the whole feel of the thing, like you're eavesdropping on these people rather than watching a movie.

As if the audience is the alien scout!!!
posted by gucci mane at 4:23 PM on June 3, 2013


They've managed to make three film versions of I am Legend and screwed it up all three times.
posted by octothorpe at 4:37 PM on June 3, 2013


I'm afraid M. Night is the Bobby Jindal of Hollywood
posted by Renoroc at 5:07 PM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


We're this far into the thread and nobody has bitched about his irresistible urge to cast himself in a minor role that gets just a little too much screen time to qualify as a cameo?
posted by murphy slaw at 6:36 PM on June 3, 2013


just a little too much screen time to qualify as a cameo?

Because just a cameo is so 1950's. Today we have better film, better projectors, better lighting, better FX, and BETTER FUCKING CAMEOS. So nobody will ever miss the trivia question "Who is the only actor who appeared in every single movie directed by M. Night Shyamalan," as so many fools do when the same question is asked about that primitive poseur Alfred Hitchcock.
posted by localroger at 7:23 PM on June 3, 2013


Trick question, M. Night can't act.
posted by benzenedream at 11:32 PM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


But Hitchcock didn't have a cameo in every one of his films.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:38 PM on June 4, 2013


But Hitchcock didn't have a cameo in every one of his films.

Actually he did. I won the only game of Trivial Pursuit I have ever played because I knew that.
posted by localroger at 3:11 PM on June 4, 2013


Hmmm, the interwebs seem to confirm it was only nearly all of his movies. Looks like the researchers have been busy siince the late 1980's clarifying this.
posted by localroger at 3:14 PM on June 4, 2013


In Truffaut's booklength interview with Hitchcock he corrects Truffaut by saying he hasn't been in every one.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:55 PM on June 4, 2013


Haha I won the only game of Trivial Pursuit I ever played because the answer card was wrong. I will now have another beer.
posted by localroger at 7:08 PM on June 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


FANTASTIC PLANET


answer that won me the most intense game of Trivial Pursuit I ever played.
posted by philip-random at 9:09 PM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


For the original Trivial Pursuit, there seem to be an astounding number of questions involving Sky King and his family of barnstorming aerial acrobats.

In other words, if you land on the pink square, and have no idea what the question is talking about, just say Sky King. You have an absurdly high chance of being right.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:31 AM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


As I recall, the question I got (it would've been around 1983), was what 1950s science fiction film was based on Shakespeare's The Tempest? Now I knew nothing of the Tempest but I had seen Fantastic Planet when I was maybe twelve (more than a decade previous), and recalled basically three things about it:

1. it had Robbie The Robot in it
2. it had a very weird (very cool) soundtrack
3. it seemed to be about important stuff that was way over my head

Somehow, point #3 said Shakespeare. Still does, often as not.
posted by philip-random at 11:14 AM on June 5, 2013


philip-random: "Now I knew nothing of the Tempest but I had seen Fantastic Planet when I was maybe twelve..."

You're thinking of Forbidden Planet. This is Fantastic Planet.
posted by brundlefly at 12:46 PM on June 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


well, I was right then, wrong now.
posted by philip-random at 4:31 PM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


both great movies by the way.
posted by philip-random at 6:00 PM on June 5, 2013


Yep, same delightful experience with the Devil trailer at Scott Pilgrim for me, too! - troika

I was there with troika for that, and I just reminded her that it was actually worse than she'd remembered...The film got screwed up just as Scott Pilgrim was starting, so it stopped and we sat in the dark with nothing playing for 5 or 10 minutes...Then the Devil trailer played again.

Imagine how hilarious the entire theater thought the Devil trailer was the second time, knowing from the start that it was a From The Mind of M. Night Shyamalan joint.
posted by doctornecessiter at 8:53 AM on June 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, found this from last year - http://mlkshk.com/p/3LK8
posted by Samizdata at 4:44 PM on June 6, 2013


This is Fantastic Planet.

Previously.
posted by homunculus at 5:13 PM on June 6, 2013


Will Smith's 'After Earth' Apocalypse: Who Loses Most?
posted by philip-random at 12:42 AM on June 7, 2013


philip-random: "FANTASTIC PLANET


answer that won me the most intense game of Trivial Pursuit I ever played.
"

It really is a fantastic planet, isn't it?
posted by krinklyfig at 10:22 AM on June 7, 2013


krinklyfig: "philip-random: "FANTASTIC PLANET


answer that won me the most intense game of Trivial Pursuit I ever played.
"

It really is a fantastic planet, isn't it?
"

Because, you know, it's a beautiful world we live on, a sweet romantic place, with beautiful people everywhere. The way they comb their hair makes me want to say, it's a beautiful world...
posted by Samizdata at 1:40 AM on June 8, 2013


You know, I was momentarily confused why philip-random was posting about After Earth in the Fantastic Planet thread.
posted by RobotHero at 9:13 AM on June 8, 2013


« Older On a gloomy Veterans Day in 1998, Janice Pottker a...  |  Hexagonal Grids. For when you ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments