Wednesday, June 11, 2008

When Did Shyamalan Jump the Shark?

My personal vote goes to the happening of the Newsweek cover, in the sense that it seemed to have been his apex, while his action to have the question mark taken off the magazine's headline ("The Next Spielberg") was one of many significant signs that his unbreakable egotistical persona belonged in the village of...

Never mind, there's no way even I at my dopiest can get Lady in the Water into this thing.

Can Shyamalan jump back? I know, I know, it's low-hanging fruit in Blogsylvania but we're almost in mid-June and it's becoming crushingly hot, and I like fruit, low-hanging and otherwise.


Evan Derrick said...

I think Shyamalan is immensely talented (Signs, I feel, displays more promise of his talent than any of his other films, even though it isn't his strongest), and somewhere deep inside I keep rooting for him. I hated The Village, and the less said about Lady the better, but I keep hoping he's going to stage a 'comeback.' He's the Britney of the film world - we're all reveling in his self-destruction even as we hope he'll pull out of it.

You're right, Alexander, that his ego lies at the heart of this. The man needs serious accountability, someone trusted to come in and kick him in the nads and say, "Lady in the Water is stupid and I don't care if it was a bedtime story for your kids. Oh, and you're not allowed to play the role of a writer who saves the world."

Shyamalan desperately wants to be an auteur when he is obviously not one.

I still have hope for the guy, but I don't believe this film is going to save him. Perhaps Airbender will be a rebirth, but he needs to break out of his self-induced mold, and The Happening isn't going to cut it (fingers crossed that I'm wrong).

Alexander Coleman said...

I haven't read the book but Shyamalan's attitude to be found in "The Man Who Heard Voices" makes one think of Orson Welles fighting the studio making cuts to Touch of Evil. The artistic temperament seems very similar. The gulf in talent, however, is almost immeasurable.

Alexander Coleman said...

Nice comparison to Britney, by the way, Evan. Ahaha... Lots of similarities, actually... (Though I don't think I've ever listened to a single Britney song all the way through...) I love it when you drop by.

Evan Derrick said...

Perhaps in 10 years we'll look back at this as Shyamalan's "dry period," but I'm not as optimistic as I wish I was. There are some striking similarities to Welles - kicks off with an enormous bang, one too big to ever live up to again, and a rampant ego. Sigh.

By the way, did you ever see his bit in Entourage? It was quite good, and he managed to be a bit self-deprecating, which is always a good sign.

Daniel G. said...

Yes, the Britney comparison is fair and funny.

I only like The Sixth Sense, but that's just me. Maybe I'll watch Signs or Unbreakable if they're on TV, but both were disappointing, so much so that I skipped The Village.

Lady in the Water is the 3rd worst movie I've ever seen.

Considering all of that, I plan to see The Happening. Go figure.

Alexander Coleman said...

Ooh, ooh, Daniel, now you've stoked my interest. What were #2 and #1 in your list of worst movies ever? Inquiring minds and all that.

And I agree, Lady in the Water was something of a cinematic abortion. I kept thinking, "What... the... f***?..."

I hope The Happening is at least that interestingly horrid. Looks pretty bland, though, especially with Wahlberg as the lead.

Daniel G. said...

Since you asked...the list I keep in my head at all times:

Worst. Ever.

1.) Monkeybone, 2001 (19% RT)
2.) The Pest, 1997 (11% RT)
3.) Lady in the Water, 2005 (24% RT)
4.) Freedomland, 2005 (23% RT)
5.) The Time Machine, 2002 (27% RT)

Alexander Coleman said...

Wow, I'm glad I skipped three of those.

The Time Machine (2002) was inexcusably terrible, though. Have you seen the original George Pal film? Very good film. Makes the '02 one look even worse, if you can believe that.

Craig Kennedy said...

I think I do a remarkable job of skipping movies that I'm going to hate. Either that or I'm a soft touch.

Daniel G. said...

Well there's somewhat of a story behind those. Monkeybone, as it turns out, was a movie I saw a trailer for in the theater. Immediately after it ended, I told my friend next to me that it was "the worst movie I've never seen." Holding myself accountable to such a statement, I watched it on cable a year later. Then, now, I can say it's the worst I've ever seen.

I saw The Time Machine on a transatlantic flight - twice.

The Pest was kind of a joke rental with one of my friends. We knew it would be bad, we just didn't know how bad.

I really have no excuse for the other two other than I thought they would be marginally watchable despite all the red flags.

I still get burned from time to time. Last year's The Invasion was a pretty painful experience. In general I avoid the worst of the worst, but sometimes just one cast member can bring you in - in that case it was D. Craig.

Alexander Coleman said...

Well, I truly detested The Happening in a way unlike any other film this year. Monotonous, not the least bit scary (the most unsettling moment in the whole thing is Wahlberg's science teacher saying, "We'll never know," blah, blah), from bottom to top terrible, lifeless performances (it's as if it were made by the stereotype of Kubrick in his later years as a guy who didn't understand human emotion, which was never true with him).

It really is worse than Lady in the Water in my opinion. For one thing, it's just thoroughly lethargic and... Just awful. It truly feels like a Twilight Zone episode padded out to 90 minutes. At least Lady in the Water had Paul Giamatti trying hard and giving it his all. There's literally nothing to even think of cheering here.