Monday, August 23, 2010

Genre Battle 1: American Satire

Lately I've been taking my enjoyment of movies more seriously, mainly by simply watching a lot more of them (good ones, of course). Today I tried something that I didn't really plan on: watching two movies that had been recommended to me in the past that are more or less in the same genre. It sort of just happened, but it ended up being pretty fun, so I think I'll start doing that intentionally from now on. If the two of you out there who read this blog are in the mood for a certain genre and can't decide which prominent movie in said genre is worth watching, I'll be here to give my two cents. Plus this is just a nice activity for me; as always, in the end all of this nonsense is for my own enjoyment.

This week's genre: American Satire

"Thank You for Smoking" vs. "Idiocracy"

"Thank You for Smoking" was the clear winner in this battle. I had no idea what they were going for in "Idiocracy." It couldn't have been aiming to be an intelligent satire, because there was nothing original or insightful about this film. All it really did was beat the audience over the head with its same boring message over and over that the human population will grow stupider at the rate it's going. It didn't even provide much of a basis for this prediction, so the film ended up being a vacuous waste of time. So then was it aiming to be a comedy? Though the film had its moments, it never got more than a mild chuckle out of me. The only "joke" the film ever makes is showing people in the future acting stupid, and that isn't even funny the first time it happens on screen. One of these stupid future people you see quite often is played by a blubbering Dax Shepard, who, if you google image him, you'll recognize as an annoying look-a-like Zach Braff. Sad to say, I would have actually preferred Zach Braff. Luke Wilson plays the same character he plays in every film, so no talent from the lead helped, and this film even manages to make Terry Crews seem boring, and that guy's fucking awesome!

On the other hand, "Thank You for Smoking" was pretty damn good. It was clever, insightful, had good acting, and it was funny; basically, it was everything "Idiocracy" half-assedly attempted to be. I like Aaron Eckhart more than ever now! He did an amazing job of getting the audience's sympathy, even though clearly his character bullshits for a living and has no true values or motivation for what he does. It's a movie about a morally polarized issue like smoking, yet somehow tells a story that's morally gray, and that's awesome.

See you kids next time. What genre should I do next?


Kevin Lam..? said...

This is cool. How... about... gangster films!

Thomas Chun said...

aaron eckhart is great...

M.B. said...

I say,

Film Noir
Classic Horror
Miyazaki Films
French Films

...and you can watch them with me! :D

Karthik said...

Wow that's a brutal evaluation of Idiocracy. I like that movie, man. Maybe it's funnier with friends?