Joshwa vs. The Biggest Douche in the Universe
Below is a post made on the myspace blog of a guy in a University class of mine, after a discussion I had with him and a couple of others, most of whom were on his side. Following that is the response I made. It’s all pretty funny.
I’m sorry that I’m not continuing on with my all-time top five, but there is a new issue that must be addressed!
Today I met a force darker than the devil. Darker than the Sith and sure as shit blacker than Walt Disney and Charlton Heston’s COLD DEAD HEARTS COMBINED!His name… well, I didn’t bother to ask. Put simply – he’s a fucking douche.
As I sat in Performing for Screen with my group I overheard a conversation going on behind me. A conversation about Australian cinema. An issue all my readers, and indeed all my friends know I’m quite outspoken about.
The conversation was between some guy – the douche – and Piotr Wasilewski, one of my partners in crime.
So Piotr was getting all, “nah, I think we should make more action movies and stuff.” And so this guy got a little… shirty.
I jumped in. I thought the guy… well… I assumed the guy was defending Australian cinema and I thought Piotr could do with an ally.
He wasn’t. He was just speaking out against action movies and thrillers.
And then sci-fi.
And then comedy.
I’m going to take a step back before I flame this guy completely online, because I think I need to try as hard as I can to recount what happened in between the beginning of the arguement and the moment that he said the greatest saga of all time was terrible.
He was going on about how films shouldn’t be for escapism. How they shouldn’t be for entertainment. How they shouldn’t be anything other than art.
Well, fuck you, buh-dee. And no, I am not your buh-dee, fwend. Not even your guy.
He spoke out of turn. I don’t know much about art but I sure as shit know more than this guy and I;ll tell you one thing – if you don’t have a grasp on the topic, don’t try and define the thing.
He was saying how cinema is art and art needs a purpose. It always has purpose, he says. It always has meaning.
“What about Fountain?… What about… what about fucking DaDa?!”, I responded. To which he responded, to my surprise, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
If anything lacks purpose its those very things.
We went on. I don’t recall precisely the order of the conversation, but it did involve a venture into Michael Bay territory. This is very dangerous terrain for anyone discussing film.
“What movie in the last year has been good?!”, he asks me.
And so I decided, based entirely on entertainment value, with Transformers. I don’t give a flying fuck about anyone elses opinion of that film at thise stage. Not in that class and not now. I loved it, end of story.
“Man. That’s not a movie!”, he replies, “its a toy turned into a TV show turned into a movie!”
“And its fucking awesome!”
“Look, Jerry Bruckheimer…”
“What’s he got to do with Transformers?”
“He produced it.”
“No… he didn’t…”, I said looking at my peers in utter disbelief. How could my opponent come into battle so poorly armed?!
“Steven Spielberg produced it. Dreamworks. Not Bruckheimer.”
“Well, Michael Bay…”
What the fuck has Michael Bay got to do with Jerry Bruckhiemer?! Yes they have an extensive relationship, but I think you’ll find that they’ve moved on to bigger things…
He blathers on about Michael Bay – a man accused of destroying cinema – for a bit.
Then he goes on about Jerry Bruckhiemer…
“Jerry Bruckheimer once said, ‘cinema isn’t about art, its about getting butts in seats.'”
Fuckin’ a, man. He’s a producer. That’s his job. You think the producer of any of your so-called awesome favourite films wouldn’t be thinking the exact same thing?! Its all producers think about! Thank god for that too, I might add.
So I add, “Look, man… Michael Bay is a continuation of the great tradition of cinema, dating back to the golden age of the 1930s when people went to see movie for one purpose. To be entertained. They has shit lives in the depression and so they went to the movies to get away from it all for a bit.”
“Cinema should be about art, not escape.”
“How the fuck do you ever have a good time?!”
I went on about how movie-goers want to be entertained. They don’t always want to be lectured and how they, we, want to escape. How cinema makes our dreams come true.
“Fuck you, buddy, Spielberg made my dreams come true the week of my seventh birthday when I saw dinosaurs come to life.”
Then it went on a bit again… by this time another three fine young women had joined in, one of them saying – and I have to say this gave me hope as a film maker…
“You’re tearing down our favourite movies, and you don’t realize they’re something we love.”
Something we care about. She set in concrete my want to be a film maker. My want to entertain. My want to be entertained.
So I asked him, “what is your desert-island film? What would you take to watch for the rest of your life on a desert island?”
“We’re not on a desert island.”
Girl up the back chimes in again…
“Robin Hood: Men in Tights!”
“You see, man?! She’s going to have an awesome rest of her life, because she’s going to be watching Men in fucking Tights!”
Mine’s The Rock, for anyone wondering. It provides all the entertainment I’ll ever need. I know its not my all-time favourite movie, but to be honest if I really wanted I could watch Empire at the cinema in my head any time I like.
So back to the Star Wars bit. Do you want to know how I reacted? Put it in context; the argument had gone for a fair while by this point and I was frustrated by a few things. Those things being:
How the fuck did this guy get into a media course?
Why the fuck is this guy in a media course?
How the fuck could I not sense the spawn of Satan sitting right next to me?
How, in the name of whoever you like to think of as the chief balls around here, does this guy ever manage to feel happy?
How can someone live life without being entertained?!
DID THIS GUY SERIOUSLY SAY THAT ABOUT STAR WARS?!
He really, really did.
I was already red in the face at this point, but that was the last straw. I did a walk out.
“You did not go there, dude. You did no fucking go to Star Wars.”
The people around me understood. They knew it was a crime. You can diss anything all you want, but as god is my witness, you CANNOT DISS STAR WARS.
Not like he did anyway, but we’ll get back to that.
So up I got. As I began walking out I hear Matt call from the other side of the class, “Did I just hear what I thought I heard?”
He had just heard what he thought he heard. He really had.
So I walked out of the class to cool off, “fucking ignoramus.”
I went downstairs, hugged DANI and told he my troubles. She sympathized. I put on a brave face and went back in.
There was a lot of discussion afterward about how anyone could be… could be… such a douche. How?!
The man crossed a line. The way he dissed everything was the key. He never said “I think that…” he said “it is”. Don’t do that, man. Not fucking ever.
YOU think Star Wars sucks. YOU don’t like X movie. YOU don’t like Y movie. YOU don’t like Z movie.
That shit I can handle. I can. I have to – I’m a dedicated Star Wars fan. I’m a Star Wars nerd. I’m to be branded a geek for the rest of my days. I need to be able to not be annoyed by these things and I’m usually not.
But this all came from a guy who said, “Citizen Kane is overrated.”
We schooled him on how he should properly critique such things. How he should be subjective, not impose subjective, opinionated – and might I add, unfounded bullshit – over an allegedly objective frame.
So that’s it. That was my battle. I consider myself as having emerged victorious, with an army of four in my stead. They fought hard and weren’t too hard on the eyes, either. Together this man will come to realize he’s not an intellectual, but that he’s equally as ignorant as he is offensive.
That’s all, folks.
Ok so big debate here. I’ll just pick a few random points:
First off I didn’t realise you got so cut about it. Sorry about that. I don’t say “In my opinion Star Wars is a crap film” because I take it for granted that everything that comes out of my mouth is my opinion. I think it’s important to remember that a persons opinion on a movie, though it may offend you, doesn’t actually mean he’s a douche. I don’t think I’m better than other people who don’t like the same movies as me, even though I may crush their childhood dreams. So like, I’m not a douche, guy.
Ok so here it is: Star Wars is a not-great film. I stand by this statement forever. I understand why it’s enjoyed so much, and it’s got alot of nostalgia for alot of people. But go ahead and watch “The Phantom Menace”, and write down everything that’s crap about that movie: Poor acting, annoying sidekick characters, lame story about not much at all, all hidden behind some impressive visual effects. These are all valid criticisms of the original trilogy. Right? I mean, what is Star Wars really about? Really good guy fights a really bad guy. Really good guys win. The end. Yes it’s fun to watch. I know I’m an out-of-touch elitist, but films can do more than just entertain, they SHOULD do more. Otherwise they’re just out to take your money.
If I’m stuck on a desert island. I can’t imagine anything worse than “Men in Tights”. Think about it, you’re stuck on a desert island, you’re never going to see your family again, can you imagine anything more depressing than watching a comedy where everyone’s just laughing and having a great time? That’s not to say I want a depressing movie to make me feel like shit either. If I’m stuck on a desert island, I want a movie called “How to Survive on a Desert Island.”
But like I said in our original debate, I’m NOT stuck on a desert island, and I probably never will be. I live in a world where I’ve got a bunch of my own issues, and I have to deal with other people who’ve got there own issues. I want movies that can help me survive in THIS world. I don’t want to escape, because in two hours the films going to be over and I’m going to be right where I was before. I’m more interested in films that try and change my perceptions. Maybe they confuse and upset me, but life confuses and upsets me. By working through films and other arts, it’s like a training ground for real life. Hmm, did that make sense?
This all might seem like a pretty dumb way to look at movies, but there are a lot of great ones out there that can change you, not just kill time.
A word about entertainment: I do like being entertained, but the problem with mainstream film is that it’s ALL entertainment, ALL the time. Transformers keeps you entertained, but (cliche warning) ten minutes after it’s over you’ve forgotten about it. There are better films out there that are entertaining, but in a much deeper way. And man, when one of these films click it’s just THE BOMB. Here are a couple:
– Jean Renoir’s Rules of the Game. Watch it and admit quietly to yourself that it’s better than Citizen Kane.
– John Cassavetes’ Husbands, Minnie and Moskowitz. Anything by Cassavetes is good, these two are probably his most accessible.
– Harmony Korine’s Gummo and julien donkey-boy. He’s got a new film out too.
– Tom Noonan’s What Happened Was. A guy and a girl in the girls apartment. They just talk to each other. That’s the whole movie. But the shifts in tone, the way they react to each other is just so real and so brilliant, it’s entertainment TO THE MAX!!!
Most of these films are pretty hard to find, and it’s a real shame. We live in a society that just wants escape, escape, escape while the world around us slowly turns to shit. I’m not saying the other movies are going to change the world, but Hollywood films just aim to keep people stupid so they can keep people spending.
Oh can I ramble for just a bit longer? Maybe I’ll have to wait to next semester! 😉