DROWN THE LADY IN THE WATER…

DROWN THE LADY IN THE WATER…

Granted, I love M. Night Shyamalan’s films so far.

I thought his previous films were all excellent pieces of work. And I really anxiously anticipated the release of “Lady in the Water.”

But when I was done with it, I really wanted to throw him through a fucking window.

A week previous to the film’s release, “Entertainment Weekly” released an excerpt of Shyamalan’s newest book which chronicles his tug of war with executives at Dreamworks who anxiously wanted him to retool “Lady,” and like every other writer, Shyamalan paints himself as the artist fighting for his work.

But then again, this is Shyamalan fighting for a really terrible piece of filmmaking. One that would have benefitted from retooling.

I was disappointed with “Lady in the Water.” Not only was it boring, one-dimensional, and bland, but it’s also Shyamalan’s most self-congratulatory piece of work to date.

Whether it’s the jabbing at film critics, or placing himself in the movie, the film just comes off as self-defeating, ridiculous, and the excerpts from the book come off as a bad omen. Shyamalan constantly muses about how he fought with these executives for the integrity of his film, and on how they never really understood what he was going for.

I’ve loved all of what he’s directed so far, but with “Lady” I could see what the executives were saying.

“Lady” is pretty bad, and that’s because Shyamalan is so obsessed with patting himself on the back, and he’s so in love with his own imagination, his film never binds together. So obsessed is he with creating lore and magic, that he never bothers to include engaging characters and an exciting climax. The film is pointless, even with all the talent in it.

Two of the biggest and most laughable caveats involve characters.

One of which is played by Bob Balaban, who is a tight knit obnoxious movie critic who always manages to point out a moment in his time compared to a movie. He’s not well liked and ignored in the building of oddities, and has no taste for them, either. Shyamalan, like Rob Zombie, anxiously tries to spoof the movie critic, and both fail miserably.

Zombie’s depiction of the movie critic was as this mustachioed spaz citing movie knowledge like a weapon, an irony since Zombie happens to also be a movie geek. Shyamalan’s own depiction of the movie critic is much more unbearable.

Balaban, a purposely unlikable character, dies so quickly and abruptly that no one ever draws notice to his sudden lack of presence. Shyamalan’s statement “One movie critic dies, and no one cares, because there are so many others to come,” is toppled by Shyamalan’s fall into the horror movie lapse of logic. A character dies, and suddenly he escapes the consciousness of everyone else.

Worst of all, before he’s killed by the grass beast, he turns around to the door, and points out how he’ll manage to escape only seconds before the beast runs after him, and he then proceeds to die a horrible death.

If this is the best Shyamalan can do to spoof his critics, well then he’s perhaps not as talented as I gave him credit for.

Because the message here is so obvious, so obligatory and so utterly forced, I literally wanted to know what his thought process was during this characters construction.

And worst of all, perhaps the most insane addition, is his own casting as an author.

There’s nothing wrong with directors casting themselves. Almost every director from geniuses like Hitchcock, to ass munchers like Eli Roth, practice this method for sheer novelty, and because they can.

But, you see, this author lives in the building with his wife, who is about to have a baby. He’s trying to write two books, and is constantly looked to for guidance. Before Howard’s character leaves, she explains to this man that the history book he writes will have a change on the world, be the most important piece ever written, re-shape history, and cause his son to seek an important role in politics. And just to add to the martyrdom, he will die before ever seeing this happen.

If there’s ever been such a case of a writer putting himself on the pedestal as a martyr, then this has to be the most blatant and irritating of them all. His character, even though only featured as a supporting player, is the most important character of them all, because he will help shape the world.

No one else.

Not even Giamatti’s character.

You know, Mr. Shyamalan, perhaps the executives at Dreamworks were on to something. Every once in a while these producers can be right. It can happen. Did you actually see “Lady in the Water” beyond your veil of delusions of grandeur and egomania? I really don’t think you did.

Because if you had, you’d have seen a boring, dull, bland, and pompous piece of fantasy garbage that ever graced the screen since “Dungeons and Dragons.”

I expect better from you.




Posted on September 28, 2006 in Blogs by
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14 Comments on "DROWN THE LADY IN THE WATER…"

  1. Don Lewis on Thu, 28th Sep 2006 9:10 am 

    Sooo….in one sentence you say of the Balaban character “He’s not well liked and ignored in the building of oddities, and has no taste for them, either.”

    Yet below that his death (which you just spoiled for people) you write “A character dies, and suddenly he escapes the consciousness of everyone else.” Uhh….huh? Which is it?

    Come on dude, this movie had flaws but it’s just the movie everyone likes to gang up on from the summer. It wasn’t nearly as bad as everyone said. While I agree Night’s role should’ve been played by someone else, do you really think 80% of the general movie going public gave a shit? I bet they didn’t even know who he really was.

    However…
    The subtext of this film deals with artists and creative people who feel shunned by the world and feel like their work isn’t worthy. Night’s character has written a book which will change the world but his own insecurities prevent him from sharing it. As far as the book that’s out there, it seems perfectly clear to me that, given the premise and subtext of LADY IN THE WATER that Night didn’t feel artistically supported and was pissed. Is he right or wrong? I dunno, I didn’t read the book. But I dug that aspect of the movie that dealt with where the artist fits in society and hell, I dug the movie. It was far-fetched but if you let yourself give in to a suspension of disbelief, it’s a good flick.

    Furthermore, if you don’t like a movie, hey, I’m all for your right to express it. But disliking it because you have insider info seems weird. Did you actually read the Shyamalan book? Plus your complaints of the Balaban character being a not-so-veiled attack of film critics and the casting of Night have been bitched about ad nauseum on the net. I mean seriously, I read that stuff in like, 12 other places.


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  2. Felix Vasquez Jr. on Thu, 28th Sep 2006 12:04 pm 

    Sooo….in one sentence you say of the Balaban character “He’s not well liked and ignored in the building of oddities, and has no taste for them, either.”

    Yet below that his death (which you just spoiled for people) you write “A character dies, and suddenly he escapes the consciousness of everyone else.” Uhh….huh? Which is it?

    Well, he’s a basic tenant, and even in horror films, if the heel dies it still becomes a matter of lapses in logic. He’s ignored by the people, but he’s still a tenant who is known by a few others. And how he’s suddenly forgotten was lazy and rather sloppy. You mean to tell me a tenant in such a SMALL community would go missing, and no one would even ask why? Not even Giamatti’s character who has spoken with him a few times?

    Come on dude, this movie had flaws but it’s just the movie everyone likes to gang up on from the summer.

    That’s assumption. If you read the entry, I actually was looking forward to it. I even boasted about it for months prior to its release. I had no intention to gang up on it with everyone, but sheesh, it wasn’t good.

    It wasn’t nearly as bad as everyone said.

    Yeah, it was.

    While I agree Night’s role should’ve been played by someone else, do you really think 80% of the general movie going public gave a shit?

    How is that relevant? This entry was in reference to MY thoughts on including himself, and why I thought this brought down the film. I never speak in terms of the general public.

    I bet they didn’t even know who he really was.

    It’s very possible, but I refering to my thoughts. I really don’t speak for everyone else.

    However…
    The subtext of this film deals with artists and creative people who feel shunned by the world and feel like their work isn’t worthy. Night’s character has written a book which will change the world but his own insecurities prevent him from sharing it. As far as the book that’s out there, it seems perfectly clear to me that, given the premise and subtext of LADY IN THE WATER that Night didn’t feel artistically supported and was pissed.

    And by the excerpt of the book I read, it’s clear he paints himself as a martyr in the film and in general because of that.

    Is he right or wrong? I dunno, I didn’t read the book. But I dug that aspect of the movie that dealt with where the artist fits in society and hell, I dug the movie.

    Well, it’s good you dug it. I was very disappointed, especially since I loved the first few films Shyamalan gave us. Even “The Village.”

    It was far-fetched but if you let yourself give in to a suspension of disbelief, it’s a good flick.

    The entire film was about suspension of disbelief. I have no quarrels with suspending disbelief, if there’s an actual good story I can become involved in.

    Furthermore, if you don’t like a movie, hey, I’m all for your right to express it. But disliking it because you have insider info seems weird.

    Insider Info? I read an excerpt on “Entertainment Weekly.” I can’t be called an insider for that.

    Did you actually read the Shyamalan book?

    I never claim to. I said judging by the excerpt and his complaints of the producers explaining that they should change the book, it came off as a bad omen.

    Plus your complaints of the Balaban character being a not-so-veiled attack of film critics and the casting of Night have been bitched about ad nauseum on the net.

    Really? Well, now there’s one more observation. Go figure. So just for my own verification, by your logic, if I posted an entry about comedy movies and–for the sake of argument, mind you–praised Rob Schneider, and you said “I fucking Hate Rob Schneider,” it’d basically be sentiment I’ve heard a thousand times ad nauseum.

    I don’t know, I’m trying to find the reason behind that. If it’s something you’ve heard a few times before, does the opinion automatically not matter? Many people said Superman came off as a glorified stalker, and gay on many places including some areas of the site, so does that mean they’re opinion is any less relevant? Are you assuming I’m jumping on the band wagon?

    I don’t know man, it would be pretty idiotic if I jumped on the bandwagon, months after a film’s been released. And I’m not one to usually jump on a bandwagon, or any type of wagon for that matter. I can’t even ride on a wagon.

    Currently there’s an article on the hooplah, and racial hooplah about “The DaVinci Code” on the front page. No disrespect to Mr. Brunell whatsoever, but what would be your opinion on an article that explores a topic that’s been dissected and scrutinized a thousand times over, ad nauseum? I’m curious.

    I mean seriously, I read that stuff in like, 12 other places.

    Lucky number 13! Woot!


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  3. DonLewis on Thu, 28th Sep 2006 1:15 pm 

    The whole thing just seems like petty net geek regurgitation to me, Felix. You didn’t really bring up anything new and/or insightful. But to each his own…it is just blogging, after all.

    And Shaymalan was in THE VILLAGE, UNBREAKABLE and SIGNS too…so it’s not like he suddenly threw himself into the mix.


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  4. Felix Vasquez Jr. on Thu, 28th Sep 2006 1:38 pm 

    The whole thing just seems like petty net geek regurgitation to me, Felix.

    Oh, so the gripe lies not within the writing, but the writer. I see. Well, take umbrage with the writing, as you’ve done, because you raised a good argument, but by all means, I ask you leave the opinions of the writer (“Petty Net Geek”) for other places.

    And FYI, regurgitated? Come on, now. I just saw the movie a few months ago. Seems like nitpicking for no discernable reason.

    But hey, it’s just blogging.

    You didn’t really bring up anything new and/or insightful.

    Do YOU bring up poetry with every review? Not really, because that’s unrealistic. My aim for the blogs are not to particularly change the world, but to gripe and praise things I’ve seen.

    I take the blogging seriously, because it’s not JUST blogging. Anything I do on this site is serious to me, but it’s not realistic for a writer to spout insight on EVERY single entry they write here.

    Do you place my writing to a standard, or are you placing the blogs to a higher standard of my writing? If it’s the second one, it harks of elitism, no offense.

    I mean last week we had TWO funny entries on Steve Irwin, why is my blog suddenly so regurgitated to you?

    My writing is just fine, thanks. Tuesday’s and Thursday’s are when I’ll blog about what I think, even if it’s not something that helps to cure cancer.

    And Shaymalan was in THE VILLAGE, UNBREAKABLE and SIGNS too…so it’s not like he suddenly threw himself into the mix.

    He was in The Village briefly and we never saw his face, and Unbreakable for a VERY, VERY short moment where he played a suspect, and in “Signs” he had a considerable importance, but wasn’t the martyr, so that particular argument doesn’t entirely contradict what I wrote.


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  5. Don Lewis on Thu, 28th Sep 2006 5:39 pm 

    Dude…I was NOT getting down on your “writing,” I just didn’t like what you “wrote.” Big difference.


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  6. Felix Vasquez Jr. on Thu, 28th Sep 2006 7:43 pm 

    Dude…I was NOT getting down on your “writing,” I just didn’t like what you “wrote.” Big difference.

    Oh, my mistake.

    Well, thanks for replying either way! Haha.

    Hey, I saw the film a few months ago, so what do you want? I can’t reserve my opinions, so I’m given a chance to post my thoughts on the blogs and it’s what I did.

    At least you raised a good argument. Unlike SOME people.


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  7. Don Lewis on Thu, 28th Sep 2006 8:16 pm 

    Indeed…go get em Felix!


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  8. Felix Vasquez Jr. on Thu, 28th Sep 2006 8:20 pm 

    Indeed…go get em Felix!

    Don’t patronize me you festigio.


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  9. Don Lewis on Fri, 29th Sep 2006 9:08 am 

    Everybody FELIX! It’s FELIX’S BIRTHDAY! Everybody !!!

    $5.00 for anyone who knows and saw what movie that’s from….


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  10. Felix Vasquez Jr. on Fri, 29th Sep 2006 9:59 am 

    For five dollars, I’m not even guessing your shoe size.


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  11. DonLewis on Fri, 29th Sep 2006 1:12 pm 

    How about I give you $4.50 and you go get a life. Yeaaah! WOoo hooo!


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  12. Felix Vasquez Jr. on Fri, 29th Sep 2006 1:56 pm 

    I’ll take that 4.50 and buy you some originality!

    SCORE!


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  13. DonLewis on Fri, 29th Sep 2006 4:07 pm 

    You’re dumb!


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  14. Felix Vasquez Jr. on Fri, 29th Sep 2006 8:33 pm 

    Good comeback! My five year old nephew called he wants his reply back!

    SHOOT and SCORE!


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