Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Post In Which Jason Talks About His Writing

The other day I got to thinking about my writing style and how I'm considered a "movie reviewer". The thing is, I don't really "review" movies, I more or less summarize them, in a rather hilarious fashion. And there's not many people with websites who just sum up an entire movie. The guy who runs "The Agony Booth" USE to do it before he turned into nothing but video reviews. (No offense, Albert.) But maybe this is why I'm not as popular as a lot of other folks are.

The main reason I don't really "review" a movie, in terms of talking about what the writer, director, or actor was trying to say is because I really can't pick out things like that. I guess I have some disorder where I just see things at face value. I never was too good on symbolism, which is probably why "Southland Tales" damn near broke my brain. I'm sure Richard Kelly THOUGHT he was doing and/or saying something but all I got out of it was "blah blah blah Jesus Revelations the end of the world The Rock Justin Timberlake lip syncs The Killers and what the fuck is Jon Lovitz AND Kevin Smith doing here?! blah blah blah." Like really, a guy dying on a giant toilet probably meant SOMETHING. But what, fuck if I know.

Ok, here's another example. A long time ago, my friend Adam told me to watch this movie called "Greaser's Palace". It's a film by Robert Downey SENIOR and it's suppose to all be symbolism about Jesus or whatever. The only thing I really got was the main guy was suppose to be Jesus. And that was it. The movie is about two hours long and I didn't understand one fucking thing. I remember some guy couldn't shit throughout the entire movie and he had an outhouse on the second floor for some reason. I remember some other guy shooting at some chick in the desert but he was using his fingers as a gun. And I remember some guy named Homo dying a lot. Again, no fucking clue. I'm sure someone read all of that and said "Well, duh! The dude shitting represents-" whatever.

I should watch "Greaser's Palace" again soon.

The point is, I can't expound on a film if I can't read too closely into it. I think I just enjoy what I do because I get to talk about shitty horror movies where stupid things happen and make stupid jokes about them and you come here to laugh at it. I guess shitty horror movie doesn't have a lot of depth to them, which is the point of a shitty horror movie. But there are times where this problem I have kinda aggravates me.

Like a few weeks ago, I was on a LAMBcast were we talked about "Scott Pilgrim vs The World". The idea was some guy actually hates that movie and me and 6 other people had to tell this guy how big of a fucking asshole he is for not liking that movie. And of course I went first and...I had no idea what to say. Didn't help the fact it was a Sunday morning, when I was drinking the night before. The only thing this guy needed to know was "Scott Pilgrim" is an awesome movie, but he had to ask WHY it's awesome. And me saying "PFFT! Dude! C'mon!" didn't really sway his opinion. Thankfully, I was quiet throughout the rest of the episode. In fact, I think I fell asleep a couple of times.

The way I write about movies probably isn't the best way to go because I give full details on what happens and this poses a problem for two reasons: 1-if you already seen the movie, you know what happens and you just want to know what I thought about shit and 2-if you HAVEN'T seen the movie, you don't read my posts because I spoil the movie for you. So really, what the hell am I doing? I guess just writing things and seeing who responds to what.

So what's the point of this post? Well, all of this was just inside my head and since I live with someone who doesn't understand movie geekdom and what I do here, I didn't have any one else to talk do, so I just let it out on everybody reading this. I'm sure there are people who love what I do, even though I rarely hear about it, and winning Best Horror Blog four years in a row is probably some kind of sign, but at times I just feel kinda blah about the whole thing and get down on myself for not being a better writer. In fact, if I was a better writer, I'd know how to end this post. Instead, I just have...this.

Boy, Justin Timberlake loves to waste beer, don't he?


Nick said...

I apologize. I know this is because of me.

Bubbawheat said...

I have to say that while I haven't read too many of your reviews - I'm not that big of a horror fan - I have enjoyed what I've come across. And on top of that, I've actually seen many "reviews" that are exactly what you talked about - essentially following the movie scene by scene and trying to make jokes about it, or at least complain that what they did was stupid. I really dislike those kinds of reviews. And if I like what you've done, there must be at least something more to what you do.

As long as you write what you want to write, that should be good enough.

Jason Soto said...

Nick: Nah, it was a culmination of a bunch of different things, not just you.
Bubbawheat: Funny, you're not a horror fan but you got nominated for Best Horror Blog :P

Nolahn said...

And if I had boobies, I’d be one ugly lady.

We all have such times of doubt. So, my friend, allow me to give you a good kick in the pants:

-- You ARE a movie reviewer. Your approach -- a full, wisecrack-filled recap of the film with your overall thoughts at the end -- is unique, and “unique” is extremely hard to find out here in the Wild Wild Web.

-- You’re confusing a review with a critique. Movie critics get into the symbolism and what the filmmakers are really trying to say and all that stuff. If you want to incorporate more of that kind of stuff into your reviews, or want to strengthen that aspect of your writing, do so. But if you really don’t care, then screw it.

[Side note: Could the reason why SOUTHLAND TALES and GREASER’S PALACE seemed incomprehensible to you be because they’re incomprehensible messes? Something to consider.]

-- Don’t lose sight of this: Review or critique, at the end of the day, these are all simply OPINION PIECES. I know some writers, like Roger Ebert, have claimed that their opinion is more educated than most. Fair enough -- still just an opinion piece. I haven’t listened to that episode of the LAMBcast, and with all due respect, it sounds kinda insufferable. I loved SCOTT PILGRIM, but would much rather listen to why that one guy hated it than listen to everyone pig-pile on him. And did you really think anyone was going to bust out with an argument that’d make that guy say, “Gee, you’re right! I no longer hate that movie”?

-- Here’s what I imagine the audience for an Invasion of the B-Movies review consists of:
1) People who have already seen the movie and want your take on it
2) People who haven’t seen the movie but love bad movies, don’t mind if it’s spoiled cuz they‘ll probably check it out anyway, and want your take on it
3) People who haven’t seen the movie, can’t believe the movie exists, will never ever ever see the movie (and therefore don’t care if it’s spoiled), and want your take on it

Notice a trend? It’s almost as if your readers don’t care that you’re spoiling the movies you cover, because they just want to hear what you have to say. Perhaps your voice is the strength of your writing. Your voice is the strength of your writing. Sorry, I must’ve hiccuped while typing. Say, are you doing that “So You Think You Can Review” thing at the LAMB? Just asking because your voice is the strength of your writing.

-- “and winning Best Horror Blog four years in a row is probably some kind of sign.” Ass.

You’re just going to have to live with being really good at what you do.

SJHoneywell said...

Well. Jeez, Jason, if I had a dollar for every time I had a similar dark midnight of the soul...

I'd love to just say "Haters gonna hate" and leave it at that, but I won't. There's no need for review envy, though. I come here because what you write entertains me. I go to Nolahn's site for the same reason. I listen to The Lair for the same reason. It's funny. It makes me happy.

Really, a lot of the films you review are, well, bad. You know that. There's no vision and auteur theory hardly applies. No one is discussing mise-en-scene between the sixth and seventh mutilated teen. Your approach to these films is, I think, the only legitimate way you can approach these films. And you make it funny. That's a skill, my friend. Be happy you have it. Plenty of people don't, and a lot of them think they do.