The International Writers Magazine: Film & Opinion
hate critics. Its not so much that I hate people criticizing
my work as it is that I despise being criticized by someone unqualified
to do so. For example, theres a certain morbidly obese redhead
living in a basement who is a shining example of what Im talking
about. People who arent in the same league as you creatively
shouldnt bother criticizing your work, It doesnt mean
anything coming from someone who hasnt worked as hard, put
up with as much bullshit as you have.
I believe very strongly.
Im a screenwriter and filmmaker and in all likelihood, you will
never hear of me. But, I have worked hard, I write well, and Ive
put up with my fair share of bullshit, if there is one thing I know,
its movies. And that is why I can write this article.
Recently, a co-worker told me that he loved Shyamalans films because
he was a Hitchcock fan, and M. Nights films really "keep
the tradition alive". After I picked up my eyeballs off the floor
and placed them firmly back inside their sockets, I tried to argue that
Shyamalans films are cheap and pathetic attempts to homage some
of Hitchcocks most basic principles. For instance, in SIGNS, he
really goes for the What you dont see is scarier idea.
Hitchcock pulled this off by writing intense and smart scripts, In SIGNS
the effect is tiresome, annoying and most importantly not scary (I find
this to be a common thread in all of Shyamalans films). But no
matter how much I tried to debate this with him, he would have none
I had to accept the fact that this is the world we live in now. Its
a world where "Everybody Loves Raymond" is a hit sit-com,
Fred Durst is a rock star, and M. Night Shyamalan is the "next
Spielberg" as TIME magazine once headlined. At the risk of sounding
vague, I would like now to examine some of Shyamalans films.
Bruce and Haley
THE SIXTH SENSE:
Is it just me or does this film have no story? The kid sees ghosts,
he helps some random dead girl whos mother was poisoning her.
Oh, and Bruce Willis is dead. Wow. Other than that, what else is
it about? Amazingly this film pulled in nearly three hundred million
dollars domestically, and even more amazing still, it is M. Night
Shyamalans best film. I personally believe that when he realized
the "twist" in the film was such a huge hit he made sure
that the rest of his movies followed suit. If you look into his
past films, they have nothing to do with the supernatural. His first
film, PRAYING WITH ANGER is the story of a young Indian man who
comes to America. Afterwards, Mr. Shyamalan was apparently out of
work for six years before writing WIDE AWAKE, a story about a young
boy looking for God. Suspiciously, neither of these stories involves
ghosts or water-allergic aliens.
What an Unbelievable piece of crap. Bruce Willis never got sick,
and has never been hurt, except for that one time he nearly drowned.
Hes Unbreakable. But why? I swear on my mothers soul,
thats the fucking plot. When I first saw the film, one thing
I did like was the scene with Bruce Willis son pointing the
gun at him. I thought that was funny until I found out that the
scene was intended to be dramatic. The ending is absurd. The freeze-framing
with character epilogues at the end was ridiculous and lazy, and
the writing was almost as insipid as SIGNS
almost. One thing
that I found interesting about UNBREAKABLE was the fact that Shyamalan
sacrifices the realism and integrity of his character "Elijah
Price" in exchange for his stupid twist ending. Think about
this, M. Night Shyamalan actually wants us to believe that Samuel
L. Jacksons character killed hundreds of people just to make
sure hes an asshole. One thing that blows my mind about this
film is that there are quite a few number of people who when describing
UNBREAKABLE use words such as "Brilliant" and "Amazing".
One of these people happens to be Harry Knowles. Just thought Id
My favorite Shyamalan film, by far the most ridiculous piece of
garbage hes ever written, Now, Im going to keep this
short, because when I talk about SIGNS too much I start to get very
agitated and usually end up drinking myself to sleep, mumbling like
a hobo. First off, we have the pastor who has lost faith because
his wife died. This has been done before, and its always such
a silly concept. Just because your wife dies you do not usually
renounce your faith in God, unless she was tortured to death by
Richard Simmons or something, but otherwise, what kind of immature
baby would you have to be in order to lose faith over the death
of a loved one? Next, aliens start fucking with the whole family,
and then they figure out that these aliens, believe it or not, cant
deal with water. Its just too goddamn much for them. They
landed on a planet that is three quarters water, and even though
they have are able to build spaceships, they are apparently unable
to make a suit that would be waterproof. Water. Fucking water. The
most abundant and accessible resource on the entire planet, it shoots
out of hoses in peoples front yards, not to mention our genitalia.
But Mr. Shyamalan honestly thought people would go for that. And
the sad part is that mostly, they did.
the problem. When its this easy, why should he make himself work
a little harder to make a good story? The money keeps rolling in, the
green lights will keep flashing, and Harry Knowles thighs will
keep rubbing together. The guy isnt ruining film or anything like
that, but for those of you out there who are writers or filmmakers,
I think you should be angry that M. Night Shyamalan is cooking his Tandoori
Chicken with an oven fueled by 100 dollar bills, while you struggle
to pay your bills.
I know, I know, all this bitterness. But what does it matter? Who am
I? Youll probably never hear of me again, but you can be damn
sure youll be hearing more of M. Night Shyamalan.
© Andrew Stuart May 2004
*Hate to point this out Stu but The Village is coming to a cinema
complex near you July 30th 2004
Why are the creatures
of the forest so angry?
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