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O B L I G A T O R Y    H A T E    M A I L    #18

This is going to be a big one, friends and foes, but we’ll start off small. Even though the type of irate comments I used to receive on this site have become less frequent over the years, every once in a while there’s been something in my inbox that’s worthy of my attention. This, folks, is where today’s messages come in. Spoiler: these will mainly relate to my taste in film and how I just “don’t understand” some of the movies I’ve panned. I’m fucking stoked already.

Ironically, let’s start with a Twilight fan:

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Erin Whitmore

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what the hell! I mean just because you don’t like Twilight doesn’t mean other people don’t. You really should about what your saying before you say it because this is horrible. I think your just jealous that this is such a big hit and you can’t get your head around it because your so obsessed with bringing it down. What you need to do is be thankful that we actually have the technology to make these things and try to watch them again, but this time instead of picking out all the bad bits think about how this has changed the technology in the world and how it is good. Hope I put your mind straight and hope you get a grip and stop being so stupid to waste your time being cruel for no good reason.

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Your petulant feedback didn’t fall on deaf ears, Erin. I’ll start by addressing your point that “just because [I] don’t like Twilight doesn’t mean other people don’t”. As it happens, I have never once claimed that people “don’t” like Twilight. What I have done is elucidate the problems with the franchise and whether or not you choose to recognize it as complete shit is entirely up to you.

Also worth remarking is you pulling out the good old “you’re just jealous” drill, but this is definitely a unique usage. I’m used to people accusing me of being jealous of the fame and fangirls that popular entertainers have (I mostly don’t envy that, by that way), but to assert that I’m jealous of the fact that Twilight fans are so much smarter than me and have better taste in film? That’s definitely new! Way to think outside the box with the stock arguments there, Erin. I just wish it was as crushing or relevant as it was funny.

You see, Erin, your claim that I can’t just wrap by head around all the good parts would do a lot more damage if you were able to name them and explain them in detail; I don’t know what the flying fuck this film series has done to “change the technology in the world”, for instance. I can assure you that this movie was meant to pander to horny fangirls who won’t even notice when something’s terrible on purpose (e.g. Pattinson’s performance) – not revolutionize the entire goddamn film industry on the same level as Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Citizen Kane or the original King Kong.

But sure, you totally put my mind straight by proving nothing. I no longer see how bad the Twilight films are. I’m definitely Team Jacob.

Look at his face, this movie's so good.

Look at his face, this movie’s so good.

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Now this next one fascinates me the most, because (A) it was posted on my 5 years old review of The Lawmower Man, (B) the writer is certain that my name is Simon, and (C) he sounds like what most people probably THINK film critics sound like.

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Thomas D.

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Simon, don’t give up because You fail to understand THIS drama, OK ?😉

When even the great Roger Ebert makes total mistakes, then a videogameplayer in his twentiies shouldn’t feel so bad for missing some neurons to make intelligent judgement about this drama !
There is a Danish review at IMBD describing it for those who, like our unfortunate Swedish filmcritic, has a momentary lapse of intelligence (something the Swedish government also suffers from – though on a much heavier chronic “asylum-basis” …) :
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»»» An epic vision of mankind’s possibilities and risks …
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There are a lot of people (especially in the movie industry) who doesn’t like Brett Leonard; and his other movies like “Virtuosity” (with Russell Crowe & Denzel Washington) clearly shows he is revealing an insight beyond Stephen King (his short story has very little to do with Leonards script !) into the so-called evil . Of course Kubricks ‘Clockwork Orange’ is in remembrance , but Leonard does what Kubrick couldn’t do – probably due to Burgess novel and the “impersonal” story-points of C.O. – by letting us into the evil guy and by understanding his secret of the deepest darkest unhappiness known to man : The Luciferian state .
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And here TLM starts it’s “evil magic” , not like Fausts choice , but like a two-way-responsibility gone apart between the individual (Fahey) and the society (Brosnan , Slate etc.) resulting in tragedy on both parts . We can learn a lot , but we cannot learn how to unlock our civilized psychological prison as we ARE the prison of our mothers “milk” or symbolically in Jobe’s case , the aggression-chemical ! Yet I find there are many other themes …«««
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See, Simon, You have no idea what this guy is talking about, right ? It has to do with honesty to oneself and self-knowledge – if You don’t get these YOU will turn into theMonster/theGod that Jobe becomes with the help of modern technology, chemicals and no one to stop You but Yourself …
And for a moment near the end, the kind being Jobe once was, realises that he’s becoming the GODEVIL like Galadriel would have become at Tolkien . He saves Brosnan & the kid as a last gesture, before becoming in-human .
And ‘Transcendence’ is a continuation, the “real” ‘Lawnmower Man 2’ . However there’s the twist about an extraordinarily beloved man, used to intellectual and mental powers in contrast to poor Jobe who was – like most of us are – torn by society, science & religion …

Perhaps only You Simon, are above the rest of us; not torn apart like Jobe (remember that name from the Bible and his/our sufferings ?) and as wonderfull a human being as Johnny Depp, who both understands & accept his fast-approaching death better than even Christ (yelling that God had left him) so tell me, from which of these 2 movies do we learn most about our human nature ?

From the beautifull technology-Oblivion-experience … And imagining a Superman will save us ? Or from our repeated lack of self-knowledge; how fragile we are . WHAT is a good story, Simon ?

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I didn’t know what was more bizarre about this comment; the fact that it either addresses someone who isn’t here or just doesn’t get right the name of someone who has it plastered all over his blog, the seemingly obsessed insistence that the movie is clever because “OH SHIT RELGIOUS SYMBOLISM GUYS, PEOPLE TOTALLY MUSTA MISSED THAT” or the conviction that people who dislike a movie with this scene in it just aren’t smart enough to get it:

giphy

Asking Thomas what the smeg he was talking about yielded the following reply:

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Thomas D.

… Whooops, sorry I blew Your cover Batman, I mean Victor …😀
How do You explain that beneath the “Victror Andersens film review blog”
there’s a GoPro-picture of “Simon Allinggård, the writer of this blog” ???
Just a misleading arrangement of web-construction-elements … ?😀
Maybe You should take care of Your mess, before being stupidly funny ?

But Your’re Swedish in Your twenties (“What sort of person am I ?”) and apparently still wondering what to say against my revelation about ‘The Lawnmower Man’ since You have to resort to comedy routine-breaks, not suggesting You have more than arrogance to defend – that You will leave an obviously flawed review followed by a simple Gry :
“The review’s got no clothes on and believes he has …” Again a Danish wise policy !

Still waiting … Simon … Victor … Batman … “Whatever” …

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Ah, so it was a simple misunderstanding this whole time. Completely fair. Still, I dunno about you guys, but if I went to a webpage with the name “Victor Anderson” written in the header and several of the sidebars (plus the “About” page which Thomas explicitly states that he’s read), spotted this ONE photograph with a transluscent watermark containing the name of its photographer, and inferred that THAT must be the name of the guy who runs the entire fucking site, I’d be a little careful with whom I accuse of being a few neurons shy. It likely wouldn’t have much to do with how they feel about Lawmower Man either.

Must be that Danish wisdom I'm too simplistic and Swedish to fathom.

Must be more of that deep Danish thinking I’m too simplistic and Swedish to fathom.

Let’s be fair and ignore all of that, though. Let’s see what Danish Girl actually has to say and how it holds up under basic scrutiny.

His main thesis seems to be that in spite of its silliness, Lawmower Man is still great simply because of how meaningful it is in its symbolism, its intended commentary on technology/humanity, and the religious parallels within its story (I love how proud he is for figuring this shit out). The first question I have is an important one:

D o e s   i t   m a t t e r ?

I will refer anyone reading this to Doug Walker’s Nostalgia Critic reviews of the Matrix films by the Wachowski siblings sisters. I don’t wholly agree with him, mind you; I like the first Matrix quite a lot. However, I agree with his portrayal of many of its fanboys. They are repeatedly shown parroting the counterpoint “but it’s symbolic and means stuff”, and as Walker/Critic exemplifies, it’s not automatically enough.

True as it may be, a movie isn’t good purely because of what it symbolizes and comments on (see also the YMS review of Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac). It has to do other things right. On top of actually being well-made and less goofy than Lawnmower Man, films like Cloud Atlas (the Wachowskis again) also get their symbolism and implications across in ways that make you think and wish to rewatch it to discover more. It doesn’t just shove CG crosses in your face, say “God” a lot and call it a day.

Again, the fact that this movie contains Biblical parables is a

Again, the fact that this movie contains Biblical parables is a “revelation”. Way to read between the lines, Hans Christian.

On my review of Jupiter Ascending, an infinitely worse Wachowski film than Cloud Atlas, I recently received a comment similar to the one I’ve shown here. It went on and on about how smart and meaningful Jupiter Ascending is (it’s about temptation apparently) if you only look “deep enough”, which I can only assume means thinking about something else entirely while an aggressively shitty movie plays before you. Yet again did I have to explicate how little it matters in an ill-structured and incomprehensible movie with laughably stupid ideas, putrid performances, and incoherent CGI action-fests. And also Channing Tatum as an almost-furry with rocket shoes.

Conclusion: The messages and the metaphors don’t make the entire film. It’s like calling Batman v Superman a masterpiece solely because there might be a slightly obvious Christ allegory in there somewhere.

I'll find you yet, wherever you are!

I’ll find you yet, wherever you are!

Basically, I’m sure the creator of Lawnmower Man wanted to tell a good and thought-provoking story and that there is appeal in seeing so much of it through Jobe’s point of view (I acknowledged as much in my review). I’m sure that, as Thomas implies and is thoroughly convinced, it is a “good story”. I’d love to see it in a well-made and subtle film some day. I feel like you, Thomas, might be looking for things in the wrong places. And with that final line, I think I finally understand why you thought my name was Simon all that time.

After his initial comment, Thomas wrote me back several times more, on somewhat friendlier notes (he even revised his first comment to correct all the “Simon” parts so that I would “understand” better, the champ). He was, however, definitely still sure of himself when it comes to which one of us has it all figured out.

Numerous times, Thomas points out that I’m a Swedish 20-year-old who plays video games (?), almost as if he’s trying to prove something by naming things about me that don’t pertain to the discussion at hand. Maybe being Swedish and 21 years old just proves how dumb I am? As opposed to Thomas who is Danish, presumably old and really loves the shit out of Lawnmower Man.

"It’s not enough that a movie agree with you, in however an incoherent and murky fashion. It would help if it were like, you know, entertaining?"
- Roger Ebert, Atlas Shrugged
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