Thursday, June 16, 2005

Snars Snarkis Gratia

I'm remembering now why I hate the New Yorker.

We got it for a year when I was a kid and I decided I didn't like it then. I felt justified in mocking the girl in The Devil wears Prada because her life ambition was to write for the New Yorker. My feelings on it had been slowly warming over time. After all, Malcolm Gladwell writes for it.

And then I read a movie review of the new Star Wars movie. (Peacebang linked to it.)

Peacebang was right. It's funny It totally is.

Yet the humor is somehow empty and icky to me. Something about it makes me want to brush my teeth, He makes fun of the way the Ewan McGregor talks. He makes fun of the fact that people in Star Wars keep their rooms very clean. (Umm.. robot servents seem to be plentiful and cheap in this universe. If I had C3p0 picking up my stuff, I would not be living the the Bohemian Squalor that currently surrounds me.) He makes fun of Yoda. He makes fun of the fact that the storm trooper uniforms look "dated" which is not a shock in uniforms that had to match the ones in a movie made in the 1970's. He makes fun of the dialogue, the set design, the acting, the hairstyles, the robots, the fact that you don't see bodily functions. (????)

Hey, making fun of the movie is fine in itself. I did it.

Yet at the same time, midway through the article, I found myself saying "Dude, the Star Wars movies have been out for three decades. The complaints you make about this one mostly apply to them all. If you hate Star Wars movies so much--Don't go."

I don't know, something about the guy's tone irritates me. I want to say "OK, OK, you're smarter and hipper than every Star Wars fan that has ever lived. Whatever, just shut up..."

I'm guessing this guy watched the Star Wars movie with a notepad, ready and waiting to make fun of every little thing, sitting there in the dark delighting in every directorial misstep, no matter how slight.

And I know I'm unenlighted because I basically like the Star Wars franchise, but something about that seems more lame than even the biggest Star Wars geek.

who is still planning to go see Bewitched, but won't be carrying a notepad.

Full disclosure: I did have a notepad myself when I was at the Star Wars movie. I justify this by saying that the article I was going to write was going to be about the theology of the force. When I got home, I didn't bother because orson Scott Card had already written a better one.


Anonymous said...

Anthony Lane's not your cup of tea, eh? His review of the new Star Wars film -- which I confess I haven't yet seen -- was the best review I've read all year. But then, the New Yorker is one of my favorite magazines.

Chalicechick said...

I wasn't so crazy about it. It's the review I wrote about here.

I don't know why it bothered me as much as it did. I'm really not a huge Star Wars fan. I guess I feel like when something is as much of a cultural force as these movies have been, it earns the right to be taken a little more seriously.


Anonymous said...

What annoyed me about the review is that the writer seemed to take extra delight in ripping the movie apart, without any focus at all on why the film was successful. Joseph Campbell described Lucas as his best student in dealing with mythology and archetype. Yes, his movies have there faults, but there are still reasons he is so successful. If you are complaing about the Storm Troopers polished uniform you obviously don't get what they represent.

I think the most meaningful sentence in the review was "We get the films we deserve" which shows the true intent of the review, to mock the public that enjoyed it.

Chalicechick said...

OK, good. I was really starting to worry that it was just me, 'cuz Peacebang and Philo are usually right on the button when it comes to matters such as these.

Yeah, my sense that Anthony Lane was only interested in tearing the movie up was one of the things that bugged me.

I'm trying to justify why making fun of Nora Ephron is cool, and Anthony Lane's review bugs me. I think my deal is that Nora Ephron is generally regaded as a good writer while Star Wars is kind of a fringe thing.

Is making fun of something generally accepted as good a different deal from making fun of something a lot of people dislike already?

I don't know. Lane's review to me had a shooting-fish-in-a-barrell quality that seemed excessive.

I also took what he said about attachment leading to suffering as a willfull misunderstanding of the essentially Buddhist idea that Yoda is expressing.

But I AM sometimes accused of taking these things too seriously.


TheCSO said...

CC and I had a really good conversation about the, for lack of a better word, philosophical inconsistencies in Episode 3. I doubt I could have had anywhere near as good a conversation based on Anthony Lane's movie-watchin' notebook.

Still very interesting to me how Lucas spent the whole new trilogy - with an anti-slavery (of humans and humanoids at least, and implicitly all biological intelligent life) subplot running through all three movies - *completely* dodging the question of droid slavery. And I tend to think that was an intentional omission, since Lucas was perfectly willing to bring up other things that there was no need to. Just something I find interesting.

Episode 1 probably deserved Lane's treatment. There really wasn't anything redeeming about the whole movie. I'm not sure if Episode 2 deserved evisceration or not. Episode 3 didn't. This one read like the point was "mock the movie, because it's a Big Deal", not "mock the movie because it's so incredibly bad that it can't even be discussed seriously" like would have been reasonable for Episode 1.