This movie pulls a bait and switch and it is really too bad. When the documentary starts it is fast and funny before turning into a very sad therapy session and then a tasteless mess. I really really enjoyed the first part though. When ‘Heckler’ actually deals with the act of heckling it provides a fascinating look into comedic performers, their philosophies and their quick tempers.
Many comedians hate hecklers, with vicious language and fire in their eyes. There are clips provided of how different comedians handle heckling. The great ones seem to turn it around, to light up at the chance to battle with words. These people, I thought to myself, really get it. The act of standing in front of a dark room of people and trying to make them laugh is so bold and brave, and self absorbed too, that ‘only’ being heckled should probably be seen as a gift.
The film’s host is Jamie Kennedy, a silly actor and comedian who I generally do not have any strong feelings for, and he doth protest too much. Kennedy made this film, with director Michael Addis, to find out why his terrible film ‘The Son of The Mask’ was so poorly received. This is when the movie loses itself completely.
The mask comes off (or goes on?). ’Heckler’ becomes anger therapy for sad clowns. Famous, and ex-famous, faces pop in and out to talk about how unfair it is to criticize them. How all they do is work hard to try and make people laugh. How all they need is a little positive reinforcement. It is unbelievably annoying for a great bit of the film.
Bill Maher says at one point “You can’t be thick skinned. You have to be sensitive to do this.” I wish the movie had dove deeper into that concept. Hell, I wish the movie had stuck with the heckler theme. Those stories where often hilarious and provided a unique look into human nature from the stage, instead of at it.
The movie ends on quite a sour note. Kennedy, after multiple scenes of confronting critics, both professional movie critics and audience members, about why they think he sucks, gives a mea culpa of sorts. He says how he appreciates the critics but it comes across as indulgent and dumb. This sense is only exacerbated by the fat jokes and failed meta-ness that follows. He invites viewers to dismiss something that started so full of humor and promise.
My favorite video game of all time is in no danger of losing it’s “one name” status. I sincerely believe that director Joseph Kosinski is a talent and I also genuinely like Tom Cruise as an actor and in movie star mode. He can carry a movie, but here he shouldn’t. ’Oblivion’ got Tom Cruise all over it.
The man is a movie star, of this there is no doubt. But being movie star Cruise is has become it’s own cliche. I don’t see any joy in his performance in ‘Oblivion’. Without knowing anything about the back story of the production itself I was left with the impression of a film torn between a movie star’s persona machine and a young, but talented director who lacks the Hollywood gravitas to balance Cruise. He runs, He fights, He shows off His own stunts and spends much time on wires being tossed around. I wanted ‘Oblivion’ to be big and bold, I got a bloated, empty movie instead.
The film opens with a plot 101 layout. Cruise tells you all about this movie’s apocalyptic event and how blah blah blah. I’ve never seen a movie before with such seeming contempt for words and which uselessly floods the soundtrack with talking. Mostly rehashing the plot. Repeatedly. The same plot the movie opens with, explaining and explaining. Being reminded of ‘Dune’ is not a good start.
I hoped that the explosion of semantics would lead to a rapid assault of imagery and cool shit, once the blah blah blah was done. Alas….’Oblivion’ is really stupid and the acting is exactly the word terrible. I laughed out loud at some of it’s melodrama and genuinely felt bad for the director. His ‘Tron-Legacy’ was a very special surprise. A big, bold parable of god and creation and visual spectacle. ’Oblivion’ can’t get it’s own movie head out of a dozen other movie assess and it’s star seems only to care about maintaining Tom Cruisiness.
Perhaps I’m not being entirely fair. I was entertained and I greatly enjoyed the look of the film. ”Jack” Cruise’s penis and testies ship is totes rad, the costumes are sleek and one twist had potential to be fertile storytelling grounds. Andrea Riseborough is the only member of the small cast to find anything interesting to bring the the human part of the film. She finds a dark sadness while everyone else goes through the motions. The film is 20-30 minutes too long and you can pull about 40% of the dialogue and make a much more interesting film. There are maybe even ideas to be explored in this setting. Nothing really here…..I just got why they called it ‘Oblivion’. They meant brain dead.
*For a different take on the film check out http://almost-kael.com/post/47958052731/oblivion a fine tumblr blog*
I feel spoiled, and to be fair it was bound to happen, but GoT stumbled this week into “meh” territory. Sure the episode opens with a bang as The Hound and Baeric had an awesome “Star Wars”-eque sword fight, in a very small space filled with quick footed spectators. To Arya’s raging dismay The Hound ‘proves’ his innocence and wins the battle, though not without a huge surprise from Baeric. Her futile leap at an exhausted Hound, with dagger in hand, was a nice touch…and Baeric’s great line “I have been killed by two Cleganes”.
Sadly, with one brilliant scene exception, the episode was all down hill from there. Jon and Ygritte’s romance tragically turns to Skinimax level cheese. Not for one second did I by their romantic heat/chemistry, nor he immediate decent into mushy romantic, nor his mastery of sex. A rare complete and total miss by the show’s creative control. Stannis visits his wife, and this too leads to some cheese, capped by some babies in jars right out of “Alien: Resurrection”, minus the terror. Finally, putting the sad cherry on top was Rob Stark becoming a ham. The only thing missing from his over the top foreshadowing was a “duh duh duhhhhhhhhhnnnnnnnnnn” on the soundtrack.
I really dislike picking at this show, which is usually both a wonder of technical skill, plot juggling and brilliant writing and acting. So to end, I would like to give huge thumbs up to Nikolaj Coster-Waldua. The bath scene between Jaime and Brienne was a personal favorite section of the books and is a huge key to the long, slow reveal that the Kingslayer is not simply heartless killer with great hair. Coster-Waldua delivers the near monologue with his chin nearly buried into his own chest, his long simmering anger finally boiling over. A decade of misconceptions being pierced by the truth. The way he snarls the name “Ned Stark” is a perfect microcosm for what makes this universe so engaging, so worthy of obsession. Even the honorable and heroic Ned Stark has demon’s in his past. Bravo.