Thursday, February 22, 2007

Revisiting Little Miss Sunshine

Ace, who obviously doesn't read this cutting-edge blog, talked about the boring Indy movie tripe that passes for sophisticated, smarter, funnier-than-thou fare put forth by boring supposedly sophisticated, definitely dumber, and sometimes mildly amusing artistes. He says:

Maybe that's what grates -- that it's comedy for those who look down scornfully on actual comedy, and what annoys me is the posturing as being above comedy grunts while, in fact, delivering fewer, and shallower, laughs than "regular" comics.

As Cartman observed, there's really no point in watching any indie movie, because they're all about "gay cowboys eating pudding." And they really all are. Quirky people acting kookie. Pretty much says it all.

The amateur leftist webzine Slate wonders why there's so much backlash against Little Miss Sunshine, and focuses on the public's -- even the indie-lovin', art-house-supportin' public's -- growing tedium with the increasingly formulaic and predictable variations of quirkiness. The article as a whole defends indie-quirk, and wonders where the hate is coming from.

He's responding to this hit on indie-quirk by Time's Richard Corliss:

The kind of indie film nurtured by Sundance has become the dominant non-Hollywood movie form for smart people. They're the ones who made Little Miss Sunshine a hit, and Ryan Gosling's turn in Half Nelson a must-see. The moguls have taken note too. In terms of product and talent, Sundance has become the crucial farm system for the major studios.
Ace then talks about "road trips" and I snickered. Ah, the car memories.... Sideways (good movie, best full frontal, car), Thelma and Louise (average movie, nice Brad abs and undies, car), Road Trip (hilarious movie, lots of boobies, big underwear, car), The World's Fastest Indian (good movie, prostate problem, surprise old people sex, oops! motorcycle). Big Hollywood, Little Hollywood...what's the difference? They're all a bunch of pretentious snobs. Some are just bigger, big pretenders.

This is what I said originally about Little Miss Sunshine that beloved little Hollywood gem:
Change the subject of the movies. Good grief! Can't we even have a kid's penguin movie without Hollywood moralizing? They talk about the Religious Right's strident dogma, Hollywood mass produces their feel-good/cynical/anti-American pap and are surprised no one is buying. Nearly every movie is like a bad Steven Seagal film now. For example? I watched the Little Miss Sunshine movie--a supposedly feel-good American family movie. But.... the parents were fighting non-stop, the grandpa was a swearing drug-addict, the kid took a vow of silence and the Little Miss Sunshine did a stripper routine in front of a pedophile. All-American family, indeed. I don't know one family like that. To me, the movie just spoke of more contempt for the American family. The fact that Hollywood can't see this demonstrates their own bias. Personally, when I see movies like Little Miss Sunshine, it makes me think that the writers and actors and producers are so happy to be out of the little, psycho "hell-hole" they grew up in where they were an outcast because they were weird. Their disgust and anger comes through in their product loud and clear. Just 'cause you couldn't make it in the small-time, Hollywood, doesn't mean you have to be a hater when you make the big-time. (As an aside, the acting was incredible in this movie. Greg Kinnear should have gotten an Academy Award for As Good As It Gets. He is consistently great. Toni Collette, Alan Arkin, Steve Catrell and the kids made for perhaps the greatest ensemble movie last year, acting-wise. There were moments of incredible poignancy but the overall message was Americans are messed up, dude.)
Hollywood wearies me. Preach. Preach. Preach. Chide. Chide. Chide. Tsk! Tsk! Tsk! I've got one mother nagging me. I don't need to pay, a lot, for another one.

So, to answer the question "Is Indy formulaic?" The answer is "Yes". Is it wrong? As wrong as Hollywood, which is to say, predictably wrong.

P.S. If it sounds like I'm overly hard on pretentious Hollywood, please know I'm a big fan of pretentious musicians with vacuous politics. What can I say? I'm not pure in thought. Still, I dislike the Dixie Chicks and this gives me an opportunity to tell the music industry that they are as cliquish and silly as Hollywood when it comes to honoring marginal musicians with lock-step politics. How daring! Way to stick to the man!


Chalmers said...

Dude, seriously. All award shows are self serving and self congratulatory. It is not like the Grammys or the Oscars are somehow new and different. From awards at the end of summer camp to the Academy Awards, awards are almost always given to the politically expedient recipient. Hollywood does not have the corner on the pretentiousness, they just get the most air time.

Melissa Clouthier said...

Is a little diversity to much to ask for?

Anonymous said...

But they DO have Diversity (TM), Doc!

They remind you about it all the time, wagging fingers and all.

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