A Collection of Thoughts (featuring “What We Do In The Shadows”)

So…sorry for the wait. I wouldn’t say that life has been in the way, I have just been busy with things. Not big things or even small things. Simply existing can take a toll on a person, you know? Here I am with a job, ambitions, and some recognition for what I do. Except that doesn’t really make a person, does it? All of those elements of “yourself”, arranged into a form that makes you think you’re something you’re not…and you’re not. To quote Ned Rorem, “I am less sure of myself than most, but I admit what others hide.”

Also, I apologize for the excess of links (provided they’re still alive by the time you read this). I know ya’ll know how to web search this shit on your own. Click on them anyway so you can see what I’m talking about.

So…“What We Do In The Shadows”. Pretty good, plenty of laughs. Dates itself with pop-culture references, but hey, so does the movie “Airplane!” and that movie is hilarious. This movie, however…I kind of wish it was more loose and fun than it was. Don’t get me wrong, the movie has no pretenses of being more than it really is: a comedy that just happens to have lycanthropes, vampires, zombies, witches and demons, all done in a style popularized by Christopher Guest and shows like Arrested Development. All neat, provided it’s done right (counterpoint: remember the movie “Goliath”? I mean, I can see what the movie was going for, and it has quite a unique way of doing it…but it lands with a dull thud when trying to be dark and funny at once. Just me, though).

However, it unfortunately goes for the typical plot threads during it’s moments of fun and games. Failed romance here, along with an, “Oh no, somebody dies” moment there (To be fair, the way it executes said plot threads is goddamn hilarious). Thing is, the movie is at its best when it’s just the vampires and the camera crew fucking around with their setting. I’m not asking for the movie to be as loose and fancy-free as “Only Lovers Left Alive”, but given how good the comedy is, it’s a shame that it has to be compromised just so it can fit the category of “movie”.

It’s kind of amazing to me…moviemaking has granted us the works of Stan Brakhage, Kenneth Anger, Luis Bunel and the like, yet audiences (or, at least, the corporate machines marketing towards their idea of an audience) demand that things fit a stereotypical story structure, whether it works for the art or not. I’m no Terrance Malick fan, but at least the dude sees the value of coloring outside the lines. And it’s not like the 3-act structure can’t be done well: lots of movies I like have that structure and are fucking great (“Looper” and “Mousehunt”, just to pick a few). But the movie world needs more shit like “Dead Leaves”, “Rat Fink a Boo Boo”, or even “Under The Skin”…stuff that just thrives on it’s own terms, with not a single fuck given about “structure” or bullshit tropes as an imitation of actual artistic work.

I mean, really: does the world NEED one more tightly-constructed action movie with a fistfight that we KNOW will end with the protagonist winning, or a romance that tries to simulate moments of sadness, failure and doubt, but ultimately has the two (cis-heterosexual) peeps fucking in the end anyway? Or a movie whose comedy is about Punching Down and seems edgy on the outside, but when one examines it, it’s like a hallow tree in that godforsaken metaphor from Atlas Shrugged? Why not just watch, “Die Hard” or “Pretty Woman” again if you need that? Hell, why not be adventurous, go for the stuff where that is NOT guaranteed, like, “Sleepless Night” or “Waitress”?

I’m just saying, moviemakers (and other artists, too): fuck the templates. You have most likely polished the most important parts of your skills to a degree that you can’t even perceive…because you’re not allowing yourself to (not to blame you if you’re struggling with depression and doubt. I sympathize). It’s not that you are beyond critique just because you do something “different”, it’s that when everyone else is already occupying the same train to the same destination, barely fitting in as a result of everyone else doing the same thing…does it really make sense to jump in anyway?

I really need to stop reading imageboards. Or lurking on websites that document all kinds of “drama” (a term that has become condescending at worst towards meaningful situations, I’ve found). For some reason, I have an addiction to people watching. I don’t mean the kind where one sits in a park and eventually gets a restraining order. I mean the kind where you subject yourself to ounces and ounces of horrible shit on the internet, all of it produced by mere conversations between people…yet as long as you keep lurking and don’t post, you’re out of the line of fire (unless the site tries to shove viruses into your system, in which case just stay the fuck away). It’s just…it’s an amateur sociological experiment, basically. There’s no real structure to it, I just browse…and browse…and browse. In other words, Atrocity Toruism.

Remember Portal of Evil? Remember Crush, Yiff, Destroy? Those were the days…now with the advent of imageboards, every fucking person on the web thinks they know how to be a character from “South Park” or “Family Guy”. And they all suck at it. Which isn’t to say that there weren’t tryhards back in the day. I mean, let’s be real: Chris Chan may be an asshole but it’s not like we’re innocent, either (no, I am not linking to that…you know what I’m talking about. It’s stupid bullshit by shitty people on almost all sides, anyway).

Hence why Portal of Evil specifically had guidelines against doing that shit. Hell, Something Awful tries to have policies against that, too. But imageboards? Hey, man, we may be a bunch of assholes who don’t really care about anything, but when you piss us off for whatever reason, you’re going down with…sustained campaigns that are annoying at best, toxic at worst. Not that the Church of Scientology didn’t deserve that.

To clarify: #NotAllImageboards (speaking of pop culture references that date a work). There are some that I actually like to browse…but I’m afraid of linking them for fear of ruining them. Plus, the people in those places would probably say, “What’s this dickbag trying to do, kissing our asses? I bet he doesn’t even know how to flash his mobile device with Replicant.” But…yeah. Atrocity Toruism. It used to be quite fun, even educational to varying degrees…now I’m just like, “Fuck, I don’t have time for this. Let me just subject myself to a slideshow of hentai and dick pics so I can go to sleep.”

But I keep fucking doing it. I guess this is how the protagonist of the movie, “Shame” feels.

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