I really don’t know why someone would bother with fiction. There have been so many weird things that have happened in real life that no one could have ever imagined.
Ever have one of those days when things just flowed together? I don’t mean that in the sense of having a really good day. I mean a day when things just seem to follow a theme. Whatever comes to you on that day seems to be linked together. Or contains answers to questions that you have been puzzling over for months. Or perhaps that you haven’t thought about for years. A moments thought leads one to consider the probability of such things all happening at the same time and the math looks rather daunting. The events of your day have been a near mathematical impossibility.
For instance you were just thinking about an old friend that you haven’t talked to in years when all of a sudden they call you. In the new age community this phenomena is referred to as synchronistic events. Personally I don’t subscribe to such ideas as they are usually presented. Treating the universe, or the fabric of existence or the great will of the macrocosm as your own personal genie is laughable at best. However I don’t completely discount such thoughts because I have seen entirely too many things in life which seem to be beyond the realm of coincidence.
Case in point. On the seventh of this month I had a pile of films that I had been meaning to see. It took awhile to get through the whole catalog but when I was done my brain was half melted. For whatever reason every single thing I watched wound up being more surreal than the last. Culminating in a brain melting disaster of a movie which just might be the worst film I have ever seen in my life.
Which is not this for the record
But we will get to that soon enough. This marathon session started off with the latest movie from Terry Gilliam, The Zero Theorem. Perhaps this should have been a sign that things were going to get a bit odd. Mr Gilliam has a certain directorial style that should be familiar to anyone with even a casual knowledge of his work. However he also has a bad habit of never knowing when to say when. The Zero Theorem is a glaring example of this. I didn’t even know that mr Gilliam was still making movies until I stumbled upon this at the local library. It just felt like a rejiggering of Brazil with different actors and slightly different technology.
While watching this movie I had a sudden moment of clarity. I have two major issues with this guys films. First I am a big believer that a major purpose of life is to find more efficient ways of doing things. Maximum result for minimum effort. It’s one of the things that turned me off of involuntary government. Which has an annoying habit of inducing inefficiencies in ways that many can’t even imagine. Terry Gilliam emphasizes impracticality, ludicrousness, bureaucracy, creating a fantasy world where the iron law of all things is minimum result for maximum effort. His movies are usually the ultimate nightmare of statism run amok. (Yet there is never as much mass murder in his movies as I think there should be.) Which brings me to the second, bigger problem I have with his movies. There is a lack of motivation to the major characters. Love, the desire for freedom or the wish to go on living in the face of homocidal whack jobs are themes that you often find in his work. But they seem superfluous to the films environment which dominates everything. This environment being a reflection of old style English bureaucracy run completely amok. If I could press a button and erase the curse of English style bureaucracy off of the face of the planet. Along with all the resulting cultural influences of this thought process like the Harry Potter stories, I would. Especially if it meant getting rid of this nonsense in the various commonwealth countries that still suffer under the yoke of wig wearing tyrants.
The best for instance I can give is the trailer. It conveys the theme of a person trying to achieve something. That did not come across in the film which seemed like a colossal waste of time. Which is too bad, as I have said in the past I am a fan of the work of Christoph Waltz. I rate The Zero Theorem as a bloated, over complicated two out of five.
The next thing I watched was the last few episodes of a series that I have been binge watching for awhile. A little while ago I stumbled upon an interesting YouTube channel. Bennett the sage. Said channel rekindled a casual interest in anime. The host made a reference to a show which looked utterly insane called the Excel Saga. While I am a big fan of efficiency I am also a fan of wacky stories. But only when done properly. What does done properly mean in this context? It’s simple really. If you are going to make a story with lots of random nonsense and plot holes big enough to drive a battleship through don’t do it in a serious manner! When nonsense occurs the characters in the story should be aware of the nonsense and act accordingly. That simple thing is something that entirely too many writers fail to acknowledge.
A salad of utter nonsense. But coherent enough to follow. Well, just barely. Loaded down with lots of jokes at the expense of various governments and militaries. I Hesperus do hereby give my permission to rate the Excel Saga a 5 out of 5.
Before I got to the end I had one last detour. I wanted to see the latest video by Don Shipley. His phony seal of the week videos are usually good for a giggle and I was quite curious as to why he was ending his YouTube series. The video is linked below. As you can see this leaned pretty heavily towards the rather surreal side of things.
Now we come to the end of this car crash of crazy. I have completed most of the recommended viewing section at the end of Boston’s Gun Bible. Some of the things he mentions at the end of that book are really hard to find. I still can’t find video of operation cooperative nugget for example. But I was able to find this.
If you watched the trailer you might think that this is an exciting movie. It is not, there is a mildly interesting chase scene. A curious, brief moment involving a laboratory, a chimpanzee and a mass murderer and an um, brainwashing scene, I guess? That’s about it in terms of interesting elements of this movie. It’s poorly acted, slow paced and an incoherent mess of overly long scenes of people doing nothing. In rooms as dark as the inside of a coffin on a moonless night. With the occasional random lurch into an action scene with almost no explanation of anything. Moreover it comes across as a film that was made as cheaply as humanly possible. You get to see one explosion, and it looks kind of neat but all it does is bring up more questions and you don’t get to see any more explosions. Though they are implied. I know this movie was a product of its time but I have seen entertaining movies that were made in the seventies. This movie couldn’t feel more seventies, and reflective of the general atmosphere of ennui of that time if it smacked me upside the head with a Ford Pinto’s exploding gas tank. It tries to be weird, but it just comes across as sloppy and cheap.
I thus cast The Parallax View to the dark netherworld of a one out of five. Don’t watch this unless you are some kind of Boston T Party completionist. Overly obsessed fan of conspiracy theories or Warren Beatty. Or plan to watch it in the fashion of Mystery Science Theater 3000 with a bunch of friends.
I suppose that is what upset me the most. The subject matter could make for an utterly fascinating and engrossing movie. I really liked the original Manchurian Candidate. But when you make a movie about an interesting subject matter and it comes out as a steaming pile of garbage it seems to do as much to get people away from a subject matter as a good movie gets people interested in subject matter. The best reflection of this I can think of is superhero movies with a female protagonist. After the disastrous hairball of a film that was Catwoman there was, and seems to remain no interest whatsoever in making a movie about a super heroine. Despite the fact that superhero movies are quite popular at the moment and if such a movie was half decent there would be significant interest in such a film.
Or perhaps if such a movie was made it would wind up looking like a pile of either feminist or misogynist claptrap. Which brings me to my final point. Over the course of a day I watched the strangest movies and TV shows that I could easily find. As weird as all this was, and it was weird I couldn’t help but think that I have seen weirder things in my life. All this fiction was attempting to out-crazy each other. But in my opinion none of this comes across as bizarre as what the real world can throw at you.