The Lilac Pilgrim – Yet Another Blog

Archive for the ‘Movie Reviews’ Category

When you look at reviews for anything – movies, books, video games and the like – you expect them to be helpful. You want to make a decision whether or not to bother with the subject of the review, and hope to be guided by the reviewer into making a good decision either way. Many reviewers do this pretty well, giving the pros and cons and their reasons for liking or disliking the subject.

Other reviewers? Not exactly.

Unfortunately, a bad reviewing culture is rampant, even worse with the ever spreading reaches of the internet, though that’s not to say that people aren’t allowed to give their opinions. Still, when your review is less of a review and more of an actor-bashing, director-insulting storm of anger, there might be a problem.

Naturally, IMDb is brilliant for these. So today I’m going to showcase a selection of reviews and explain why they are unhelpful or just plain wrong. Yes; again I am reviewing reviews.

Movie: Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure
This movie about the love between a man-child and his bike and the road-trip he has to embark on to retrieve it after it gets stolen received heaps of mixed criticism. Some people felt it was a fun trip through the real word guided by a small child, others felt (secret word of the day, by the way) it was a terrible, poor excuse for a kids’ movie. Being directed by Tim Burton doesn’t save it even watching it after the director’s great success.

I felt it was a really good film, not exactly mindless as such but definitely fun. Naturally I’m going to disagree with negative reviews. However, I tend to disagree with positive reviews as well if they are not helpful in any way whatsoever, so forgive me if I look a bit biased here; many of the rubbish reviews came from those who hated this film.

IMDb user glistonosz did not like the film, and I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt since they’re Polish and I don’t really follow the argument well, but I’m not sure there’s any excuse for this snippet:

“Firstly, I’m not gay, but I have a lot of friends who are. I frankly don’t care who is doin’ what in the bedroom, but the truth is some of my friends are annoying. When I saw first ten minutes of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure I knew that it’s going to be long movie to watch.”

I’m having a hard time trying to figure out what “gay” has to do with Pee-Wee here. Maybe the cultural divide is so great that “behaves like a small child” translates overseas to “gay as a sparkly rainbow-coloured maypole”. Pee-Wee is a little flamboyant on occasion but that’s not really any reason to be uncomfortable. And yes I’m aware that some people in his country of origin tend to equate Pee-Wee with gay culture but this commentary seems awfully insensitive. And I’d bet glistonosz’s gay friends wouldn’t be too happy to see it either.

Moving on to user Amadeusrye’s review. In its entirety:

“This movie is just plain dumb. Tim Burton is my favorite director and most of his other films are excellent. He really needed practice when he did this one, though. There are a handful of funny scenes, but eventually Pee-Wee becomes too irritating to laugh at. My advice would be to skip this one and watch “Beetlejuice”, “Edward Scissorhands”, “Ed Wood”, or “Sleepy Hollow” instead.”

Let’s be honest; there’s nothing wrong with people saying “I didn’t like this movie”. Amadeusrye thought the movie was stupid, and that’s fine. Let’s hope we’re all mature enough to handle differing opinions. However, this review is just plain bad. Okay, the reviewer did not like Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. They thought it was “dumb”. But why? There is no explanation offered, other than that they found the Pee-Wee character to be irritating. That alone wouldn’t make it a terrible movie, surely? Plenty of movies I adore have irritating characters in them; their presence doesn’t destroy everything else. It doesn’t give the reader an idea of what the movie is about, nor does it tell them why the character is irritating. If I hadn’t seen the movie yet, this review wouldn’t guide me towards a decision, because I don’t know why the movie is apparently so “dumb”.

User loufalce’s review is not only unhelpful, however, it’s needlessly offensive. Entitled “Defines ‘Retarded'”, it goes thusly:

“A movie that I would never have watched on my own. I’m taking a history class of contemporary America-the 1970s to the 1990s, and part of the class is a discussion of cultural and entertainment trends of that timeline. My professor recommended this, so I had to go out and rent it. I’ll forgive him for that since I’m such a nice guy, but, that being said, I found this movie-and the Pee Wee character not only to be intelligence insulting and completely brain dead,but absolutely pathetically painful to watch. In a nutshell, Herman is the man-child living in his own fantasy world. When his bike gets stolen, he embarks on a cross country journey to find it- with utterly predictable results. Duh! I really can’t understand why Burton is considered to be a great director. Personally I find his films to be too self-indulgent and I can’t for the life of me understand why they are considered to be “art”. Anyway, if you get your jollies watching a grown man with a rubbery face in a gray suit and a bow-tie uttering inanities that a 6 year old would find to be lame, this movie is for you. Totally retarded in every sense of the word, this movie has absolutely nothing to recommend itself, but, if you do want to get a look of what very bad American film-making from a good era looked like, by all means go for it.I read somewhere that Paul Rubens intends to revive the Pee Wee character. PS this movie was relased some years before the Florida porn theater-masturbation incident that finished Ruben’s career. Nice character, huh?”

There’s so much wrong with it that I scarcely know where to begin. Fine, loufalce didn’t like it. He felt that Pee-Wee was “painful to watch”. Again, however, there’s very little explanation as to why he feels this way. Sure, there’s a word limit on IMDB, but more than enough space to actually talk about the damned movie. He makes an attack on the artistic integrity of Tim Burton without explaining that either. Then he arrogantly belittles the main character and any viewer who liked the movie in one line. He finishes the whole thing off with a startling insistence that Reubens is clearly Pee-Wee. Because when the actor is arrested, it means the character totally did the crime, too. This is the sort of review that is very difficult to take seriously unless you were already determined to hate the movie – and even then the end is far too loosely related to the character to justify hating the movie.

One can only hope that he didn’t include this in the discussion for his class. I’m not sure what “Reubens was arrested; that makes him evil” has to do with culture.

I think I’m done with this one for now; feel free to look around IMDb for the other bad reviews (or the good ones if you prefer). Next time I’ll post bad reviews about The Marvellous Misadventures of Flapjack. I’m sure my handful of occasional readers are so excited for that.

Advertisements

First off, let me just say that I’m a massive fan of Walter Koenig; his acting and writing. So I was very excited to hear about the film InAlienable, a story written by Koenig and starring him, too.

InAlienable is a bizarre sounding idea, kind of sounding like a weird Mpreg fanfiction. It’s about a man name Eric Norris (Richard Hatch) who, after losing his family in an accident, is overcome with guilt and pain, not helped by his sarcastic, twisted boss Dr Shilling (Walter Koenig) who insists upon fuelling the loss and grieving with every cutting insult and manipulative word.

However, along comes a meteor, the favoured plot device of sci-fi writers looking to create a story based on Earth involving creatures not-of-this-world. The meteor brought with it what is described as a tentacled, gooey thing which somehow becomes a black rock (possibly an egg form), which is given to Norris. After a fling with his colleague Dr Mayfield, he finds himself invaded by an alien parasite which hooks itself up to the entire organ system in order to survive.

After a time, Dr Norris “gives birth” to a weird-looking baby; a sort of humanoid with strong tentacles (think Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2) and without a nose (think Lord Voldemort). At first he’s a little fearful of it, but slowly, he grows attached to it, and gives it a name. It’s called Benjamin. Dr Norris believes it’s his son.

However, the FBI are called in by Shilling (who else?), who accompanies them every step of the way and tries to make sure the alien dies. In a very cruel way throughtout the film, he continually attempts to cause psychological damage to Norris, in an attempt at revenge. Revenge for what? you might ask. Well, I don’t really want to spoil the movie but I’m sure you get the picture.

InAlienable is actually not as bad as it sounds. It’s very easy to follow, the acting is impeccable and there are plenty of laughs to complement the gripping scenes. Koenig’s talent as both a writer and an actor really shines through and Richard Hatch is impressive as Norris.

Eric Norris is a brilliant character; the perfect broken man who just wants a family, his family. His state causes him to love the alien baby, his “child”, and tries to protect it, and the way in which this is portrayed had me on the edge of my computer chair. However, the end of the movie, while a logical conclusion, could have used more transition, and more of Norris’ healing process.

Shilling is likewise a wonderful character, though one whose neck was just begging to be snapped. Malice drips off of him; that neurotic, borderline psychotic way in which he took the utmost pleasure in his employee’s pain caused my jaw to drop open, and I silently wished the alien baby would turn around and cause his end. Once again, we could have used a little more insight into the psychology of Shilling.

If you do decide to watch InAlienable, don’t expect too much from the CGI. It’s good to a degree, but Renegade Studios have really just started out, and so some of the special effects appear very “Doctor Who.” However, they work well and the alien props are beautifully done.

All in all, I thought InAlienable was a well-thought out and interesting film which I thoroughly enjoyed. I give it 9/10, with the point removed due to its shortness and lack of storytelling near the end. For the most part though, the storytelling is quite good, nd if you like intelligent sci-fi, this may be the movie for you.

 

InAlienable is available to watch through www.renegade-studios.com for $2.99 per 72-hour viewing period.



  • None
  • HoistTheColours: Dear author, I full-heartedly and absolutely agree with your above statements. I just thought I would let you know, since I don't quite understand w
  • richclark: I covered this in my blog too. Found your post on one of Wordpress' random (associated posts). Has Ask really made the impact it needed to from
  • The Lilac Pilgrim: I couldn't go anywhere without someone mentioning it. It was incredibly obvious and yet people were still arguing about it. Absolutely ridiculous.