Thursday, October 05, 2017

Dissenting Views

I suppose it's really the 'Emperor's new clothes' syndrome, really.  You know, when there's some film or TV series everyone is raving about but you just don't get it.  You can't see what all the fuss is about.  I'm like that with Blade Runner.  One of the most overrated films ever made, in my opinion.  Central miscasting, confused story telling and weak dialogue, all image, no substance - clearly the studio agreed with me, as it was extensively re-edited and had an explanatory voice over added before release.  So did audiences, as it was a flop on release.  Over the years, the blame for its failure has been put down to studio interference, but no number of subsequent re-edits and director's cuts have improved the film.  It's current reputation is the result of a confidence trick: decades of a tiny number of pretentious film critics have brainwashed people into believing that Blade Runner is some kind of unfairly maligned classic.  Sadly, the film has rather defined how people think Philip K Dick adaptations should look (never mind that it is a travesty of his source novel): grungy.  Certainly, it seems to have informed the look of the first couple of episodes of the current, woefully misguided, Philip K Dick anthology series Electric Dreams, which is currently showing on Channel 4.  

So what has set me off on this rant of dissenting opinion?  Is it the release of a completely unnecessary Blade Runner sequel that nobody asked for, (it is notable that Philip K Dick never felt it necessary to write a sequel to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?)?  Partly, perhaps.  But mainly it derives from a newspaper article I read which effectively derided Liam Gallagher because he claimed never to have seen Game of Thrones.  Make no mistake, I think that Liam Gallagher is a twat, but not because he hasn't watched an over hyped TV series.  This is the kind of media snobbery I hate, the idea that people can be judged on the basis of whether or not they watch whatever the current 'in'TV show is.  The problem is that the people who come out with this crap are living a bubble - a bubble much smaller than they think - where everybody they know has Netflix or Sky or Amazon Prime or Virgin or whatever and watches all of these shows.  But they are atypical,  They'd probably be shocked to discover that, like me and Liam Gallagher, a majority of people in the UK have never seen Game of Thrones.  They don't grasp that these are niche programmes, appealing to a relatively small audience.

And the appeal of a lot of this stuff is lost on me.  My reaction is simply to shrug and say 'Meh'.  Even if I did have one of the steaming services or pay TV, I still wouldn't watch them as they just don't interest me.  I watched most of season one of History Channel's Vikings when it was repeated on Blaze.  Whilst it was undoubtedly very well made, it was historically questionable and slow moving.  There's only so much moodily shot scenery I an stand without anything actually happening.  To be honest, I preferred the 1958 Kirk Douglas film The Vikings: it was just as inaccurate historically and told much the same story, but things happened in it and it only took a couple of hours of my time.  And there's another problem with a lot of these series: like Vikings, they often seem to over extended episodic retreads of old films - Westworld, I'm looking at you here.  Where will this end?  an epic thirteen part 'reimagining' of They Saved Hitler's Brain?  OT a TV series based on The Blood Beast Terror, but telling the story from the perspective of the moth woman, thereby giving it a 'feminist' twist?

Anyway, we seem to have strayed from the original intent of this post: pop culture stuff I 'don't get'.  Let's start with another Ridley Scott film: Alien.  Totally derivative tn every department other, perhaps, than its art direction.  Otherwise, it doesn't contain a single original idea, it just retreads a dozen old science fiction stories and films. Yet they built an entire franchise upon it.  Lord of the Rings - a trilogy of utter boredom.Characters with silly names running around just about the dullest fantasy world ever thought up.  As I could never get past the half way point in the books, I thought it pointless to ever try watching the films.  How about TV series?  The Young Ones - reactionary faux zany wank perpetuating and reinforcing establishment stereotypes of students and the working class.  Absolutely Fabulous? Absolutely Shite.  That's another thing I don't get: French ans Saunders.  Is there no start to their talents?  The same goes for Mel and Sue - what are they about?  THey certainly aren't funny.  Ant and DEc - bever understood the appeal, even when they were on kids TV.  Talking of kids TV: Tiswas.  What a load of self indulgent wank.  I'm sure Chris Tarrant and his pals had a great time making it but, as a kid it left me cold.  It never seemed aimed at real children, just Tarrant and his adult mates.  As for the adults who are still fan boys of Tiswas and keep arranging re-enactments of it - for God's sake grow up.



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