Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Perfect Storm of Stupid

It's always weird when one comes into contact with the way a rabid right-winger views the world; they just don't see things the way the rest of the world sees them. At all. It's often breathtaking and creates cognitive dissonance as on the one hand, one tries to formulate arguments against their clearly ludicrous positions, but on the other, one realizes that none of it will work in the slightest.

Case in point: Ben Shapiro's list of the ten most overrated directors in history. Ben Shapiro is one of those people who thinks that every single thing under the sun needs to be examined for its conservativeness (or lack thereof), often with laughable results. Like this article. Here are some of his more laughable assertions (and most of them are terribly laughable):

On Ridley Scott:

Ridley Scott has, for some odd reason, received accolades that far outpace his actual accomplishments. He’s made one entertaining film, Gladiator, and a host of second rate films masquerading as masterpieces. Blade Runner is a bizarre and massively overpraised mess. Thelma and Louise is liberal tripe, although it does provide the best imagistic summary of modern feminism: two irritating “independent” women driving themselves off a cliff...Then there’s Kingdom of Heaven, which is an homage to the “religion of peace” and a slap at Christianity through and through. Alien is slow. GI Jane is hysterically terrible. Plus, it’s got Orlando Bloom, who has about as much charisma and credibility as Al Gore.

Nice editing there; Orlando Bloom isn't in GI Jane but Kingdom of Heaven, which Ben disses two films previously on grounds that make clear, if you've actually seen KoH, that the only way Ben would approve would be if it depicted Muslims as murderous without exception and Christians as holy without exception. And thank God we have the Al Gore reference! Hoo-boy!!

On Michael Mann:

All style, no substance.

That's always a pretty useless complaint, but it certainly indicates something about Ben that he couldn't find any substance in Heat.

On David Lean

Everything Lean made is too long by at least half an hour. I know it’s mortal sin to suggest that Laurence of Arabia, Dr. Zhivago, The Bridge on the River Kwai, and Ryan’s Daughter are anything less than masterpieces, but … they’re all less than masterpieces.

It's not a mortal sin. It's just stupid. Kind of like saying Hamlet is "less than a masterpiece".

On Quentin Tarantino:

I recently watched Inglourious Basterds and marveled at Tarantino’s skill. But he is a gifted high school child given a camera for his birthday, and entranced with his knowledge of cinema. Which means, in simple terms, he doesn’t know how to tell a story.

Given Ben's all-too-obvious inability to read or watch a story, it certainly seems odd that he would quibble with Tarantino's ability to tell one. But Pulp Fiction is pure story, brilliantly told. Ben's babblings about plot make clear what's happened: he's failed to understand the movies he's watching.

On Martin Scorsese:

Goodfellas is similarly disgusting – you feel the need to take a shower after watching. Why anyone would want to spend several hours of his/her life with coke-snorting Ray Liotta and Co. is beyond me. The Last Temptation of Christ is baffling.

Umm...no, it's really not baffling at all. Unless you're stupid, that is. As for Ben's take on Goodfellas, well, I suspect there aren't enough trees in the world to yield sufficient paper to contain a list of items that make Ben want to take a shower afterwards.

But his Number One choice for Overrated Directors is an utter hoot:


...wait for it...

...oh my...


He never made a great film. He was the Stephen King of the silver screen: he made films with great premises, but he never knew where to go from there...North by Northwest relies on the tried-and-true random helpful coincidence to save our hero, time and again. It brings to mind one of Twain’s rules of writing, directed toward Fenimore Cooper: “the personages of a tale shall confine themselves to possibilities and let miracles alone; or, if they venture a miracle, the author must so plausibly set it forth as to make it look possible and reasonable.” Not so much for Hitchcock...Rear Window makes one reach for the fast-forward button.

So many assertions! Stephen King never knows where to go with his stories! North by Northwest relies too much on coincidence for an established fan of 24 like Ben Shapiro to follow! Rear Window taxes his ability to pay attention! Although, I suspect that last isn't out of boredom; rather, I suspect that looking upon Grace Kelly gives Ben the urge to take one of those showers of his.

1 comment:

Erin said...

I admit to sort of agreeing that Quentin Tarantino is overrated...but yeah, the rest of it is hilarious. ;)