I went out to the movies last night, something I haven’t done in a long time, and I subsequently remembered why I hadn’t in a long time: movies are a rip-off. Nine dollars and fifty cents to see a friggin’ movie! I ain’t old, and I can distinctly remember when movies were 5 bucks. I suppose the reason to go out to see a movie is not only to be the first to see the latest piece of Hollywood blitz, but to enjoy the fruits of surround sound, huge visuals, annoying strangers talking throughout the movie, etc. Speaking personally, I don’t watch a movie because the effects are cool or because the sound is neat. I watch them (when I do ever watch movies, which is pretty rare in any case–although this is soon to be changed, as I just signed up for Netflix for the first time the other day and my first movie should arrive . . . today: Grizzly Man, in case you were wondering. Then Dave Chappelle’s Block Party.) because I want to gain a new perspective, because I want to see a good story that can open my mind, I want to understand the characters and relate myself to them. I could give 2 shits about the special effects, unless it is one of those Pixar films where everything is essentially a special effect.
So, in other words, why would I waste 10 fuckin bucks to go see a movie in a theater? I’m quite content to watch a movie on a tiny ass laptop screen. It’s 10 bucks per month to sign up for Netflix and get 1 movie sent to you whenever you want. As opposed to 10 bucks to blow your load on one potentially bad movie in a theater. That seems like a good deal to me.
Anyway, so the movie I saw was A Lady In The Water, a movie by M. Night Shyamalan, which was actually a pretty enjoyable flick, I thought. Not enjoyable enough for $9.50, of course, but worth sitting through. This is one of those kinds of films that critics are nearly guaranteed to dislike. It’s full of nonsense and myth, but if you are willing to suspend your disbelief (beginning with the ridiculous opening sequence), it leads you along a child-like twisting and turning imaginative thriller. The whole thing feels quite heart-felt, and perhaps this is why the writer and director himself casts himself in a central role. I think Shyamalan is trying to take us back to the very thing which I was just saying above: story-telling. This film has all the visual tricks and special effects of other Hollywood productions–except that behind it all is something extremely quirky and different. It is a children’s tale told to adults. This isn’t a slick production or a plot twisting narrative–it’s just a creative yarn, with a heart, showing off gleefully it’s holes and failures. Just when you think it’s going to collapse on itself, it touches you.
I can’t say I’m a great fan of the director or anything. I thought Sixth Sense was cool, just like everyone else. The only other movie of his I saw was The Village, which I just thought was weird. But what I think is interesting about A Lady In The Water is that there is a kind of self-consciousness from Shyamalan, like he’s trying to break free from the Hollywood whirlpool that sucks all life and freedom out of ingenuity and creativity.
So this isn’t a movie that I recommend to go see. But I would wholly recommend getting it on Netflix when it comes out on video.