The following is a blog (of sorts) where I discuss movie-related and site-related thoughts that I can't express within the confines of a normal review.  Some of them may be responses to e-mail I've received, trailers I've seen, or just an overall theme not specific to a movie.  Most of these writings are meant strictly for me, but I do consider them of potential interest to those of you that love movies or are just interested in the running of the site in general.  I welcome any feedback you might have on any of the subjects listed in this (or any other) section of my site.

3/22/2006 -- Disgusting equals genius

It seems that all it takes nowadays in order to become a great filmmaker is to come up with something to gross out the audiences.  Whether this be in terms of sexuality, potty humor, or excessive gore, if you push the envelope of good taste as far as you can, there is going to be someone out there that will think this is a sign of filmmaking genius.  Take the case of the following e-mail I've received from a reader Down Under named Sebastian Moon (a pseudonym?  Probably).

Yo Qwipster,

Dude, you gotta lighten up 'The Long Weekend' starring Chris Klein has
been by far the funniest movie and the most fantastic comedy I have
seen in a long time. The sexual innuendo and especially the scene where
the cum runs down the girl's thigh, is pure brilliance!

I'm definenly going to buy this on DVD, and being a filmmaker myself it
has been an inspiration!- The more sexual depravity and debauchery the
better!!

If this film was promoted or advertised even slightly more then what it
had, it would be a massive hit!!-- I'm 23yrs old- just letting you know

Cheers,
Sebastian.

 

For those that haven't seen it (this constitutes about 99.9999% of the world population), The Long Weekend is a gross-out comedy that truly features some of the most stomach-retching moments ever put to celluloid.  There are actual home video clips of animals with erections, peeing and pooping, people setting themselves on fire, and other such tasteless shots interspersed throughout the movie.  However, just as disgusting is the actual narrative, which has a level of humor in keeping with the juvenile nature of these clips.  Sebastian's "cum scene" depicts a woman just emerging from a sexual liaison with one of the characters with his semen still dripping down from her thigh.  If memory serves correctly, one of the characters scoops it up with his finger.

Sebastian, if this scene is "pure brilliance", you've just cheapened that phrase considerably. 

I've concluded that there is no level of bad taste excessive enough for some people in this world.  I also know that there are people out there that enjoy the smell of someone else's rancid undergarments.  However, just because there are people that fart for aromatic pleasure, does that mean I have to like it as well?

I've always maintained that the key to a good book, film, or any other narrative medium lies primarily in the storytelling elements.  Almost every great work of fiction starts off with a central story to tell, and it is up to the author, director, or whomever is in charge of turning ideas to a form that others can see, to craft something that we can relate to on some level, whether personal, intellectual, artistic, or just curiosity.  A great writer or director makes us feel through his/her storytelling capabilities, capturing our emotions or provoking our thoughts, challenging our intellect. 

By praising a film as "fantastic", "pure brilliance", and "an inspiration" for merely being funny because of its level of "sexual innuendo", you have subverted every measure I use in order to determine the relative quality of a movie.  The Long Weekend is far from good storytelling.  It is an excuse to show gross-out home video clips for easy laughs, contriving a very flimsy filmmaking storyline to package around them that is neither plausible nor interesting.  Just by seeing that Vin Di Bona, the man responsible for "America's Funniest Home Videos"  is the executive producer should tell you where the inspiration for this movie came from.  He has plenty of archival home video footage that he couldn't show on television, so to get them out there in a commercial vehicle meant contriving an insipid plot to wrap them around.  Swingers and American Pie cover all of the ground that The Long Weekend does in terms of its plotting, so all you have left to praise it for is for its crudeness factor.

So, really, just because you can come up with something that would make someone else queasy, does that make you a great filmmaker?  Do you point at a baby's soiled diapers and think, "This boy's going to inspire the world with his prodigious creation!"?  Does the mere act of taking a video camera to the local park and filming dogs in the midst of defecating put you on the same level as Hitchcock, Kurosawa, Bergman, or Kubrick?

Sebastian, I could "lighten up" on puerile and juvenile garbage like The Long Weekend, but that would mean a lowering of the standards of what it takes to be a great film.  As an aspiring filmmaker yourself, I can only hope that you always keep in mind that it is in the storytelling ability that is the measure of your true worth, and not in how much excrement, blood, bile and semen you can showcase within the course of your movie.

2006 Vince Leo