Monday, August 6, 2012

"The Watch": Training Executives and Misbehaving Dogs

       The Watch is the kind of mediocre Hollywood corporate crap that is a symptom of creative bankruptcy.  When I saw the preview, I thought it looked like a remake of Ghostbusters.  If only.  Four guys in suburban Ohio – not like the Ohio in which we live, but some overdressed, over-accessorized, soft core consumerist porn version of the ‘burbs (actually The ‘Burbs starring Tom Hanks was a better version of this story) –
form a neighborhood watch to solve a friend’s murder and come to believe that aliens are among them and decide to take action.  It’s raunchy, foul-mouthed for no reason, and features middle-aged male castration panic as its theme.

Looking for Aliens in The Watch
Spoiler alert:  I couldn’t tell if it was reactionary, cutely hip, or just ugly that the black English character turns out to be an alien.  I’ve already made it sound more interesting than it is.

      Really, don’t studio executives even read the numbers?  (I realize most have minimal taste, no passion, but even greed seems to have deserted their decisions.  Pauline Kael addressed that greed in 1980 to articulate why studio movies were so bad then.  I’m not going to seriously try except to say I don’t think they care for very long.  It’s another symptom of our Casino paradigm economy, i.e. get in get rich and get out fast).  Kids and families want to see animated movies (and not necessarily the over-hyped and over-priced 3-D that gets shoved at us as ‘the latest technological breakthrough’ aka snake oil for today), tweens and many adults like superhero movies (‘they blow things up real good’ as Bob and Doug McKenzie used to say on SCTV, plus it’s like watching news we never get about the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars without actually having to deal with the political, ethical, and moral complexities or ramifications), intellectuals both real and pseudo and oddballs like indies (the foreign, the off-beat, and even the drab and dull), and women like Meryl Streep (the great, the good, and the goopy one step up from Lifetime movies).  Hope Springs will be a huge hit because it’s the only studio movie aimed at women and studio executives and marketing directors – they’re the two weavers from “The Emperor’s New Clothes” – will be stunned by its success.

Blowing Up the StayPuft Marshmallow Man in Ghostbusters
      Skip The Watch and, in a positive display of national discernment, most moviegoers did so in the past week.  See Ghostbusters again for its loose fun, Ben Stiller’s hilarious and edgy Zoolander (the first movie we saw after the September 11 attacks), Swingers or The Wedding Crashers to see Vince Vaughn’s over-confident, motor-mouth desperation at its best (he’s our generation’s Bob Hope, at least in the movies), Moneyball or 21 Jump Street to see two terrific studio movies starring Jonah Hill, who’s like Woody Allen in 1973 (i.e. brilliant, passionate, and hardwired into his generation’s concerns).  By the way, my Mother who’s in the “I can’t wait to see Meryl in anything” demographic enjoyed and/or loved all the movies in this paragraph.  Take that, Hollywood executives.  Quality counts!

I guess I’ll have to update my NetFlix que.

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