Count me as one of those who dislikes the TV show Girls.
I’ve tried watching it, albeit sporadically. The verdict: Yuck.
Creator Lena Dunham has talent; there’s no doubt about that. I don’t always care for her work; Tiny Furniture was, in my opinion, tedious and unconvincing. But she does have a certain style and, well, je ne sais quoi. She can write.
If only Girls used her talents better.
There’s something about the program that seems off-the-cuff, in a bad way. It feels forced, uninvolving. I’m not invested in the characters, who generally aren’t compelling. And the whole thing smacks of navel-gazing, to the extent that it’s hard to watch. I may be in the minority on this, but I strongly believe in what I say. Girls, to me, is artificial, plastic. I bounce off it, as a viewer, rather than get absorbed by it.
So why am I watching it? Well, it’s a not-so-long story. My wife enjoys it greatly, and when it’s on, I tune in. Then tune out just as fast. Without an engaging storyline, it doesn’t drive me to stick with it. I invariably end up checking out clips of wacky animals on my cell phone.
A good TV show won’t give you the chance to do that. A good TV show will force you to watch and avoid those charming YouTube videos.
I need a good TV show in my life. I don’t need Girls.
When you’re watching a movie and start thinking that a Robert Bresson film is faster than what you’re currently viewing, you know that’s not a good sign.
That’s what I thought about Boyhood, Richard Linklater’s tedious, overly praised exercise in navel-gazing that takes us through 12 years of a young man’s life. And oh, what a long, uninteresting ride it is, lasting approximately three hours … at least one of which could’ve ended up on the cutting-room floor. Plus, it has two of my least-favorite performers in it: Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke. All of these ingredients add up to a pretentious whole, which is reflected in the flick’s general, all-encompassing title.
There’s a difference between something that’s deliberately paced and something that’s just plain slow. Boyhood is slow, and the dialogue doesn’t drive it; instead, it cuts the flow, makes it wallow in narcissistic pseudo-introspection. The characters aren’t intriguing. The plot isn’t involving. Yes, the concept is unusual, but in practice, it doesn’t work … at least, not in this movie. And it’s not like it hasn’t been done before; Michael Apted’s Seven Up! series followed the lives of people from childhood to adulthood, and so Linklater’s conceit isn’t unique or, for that matter, so innovative.
I’ve watched longer films that felt like they took no time at all. Never one of my favorite directors, Linklater has shown with Boyhood that if a simple subject is extended over the period of a decade in movie time, it can feel like a millennium for the filmgoer. Not an exciting prospect from a cinematic perspective … and certainly one that I don’t want to repeat.
If I live that long.
Ever see part of a movie so you never have to see any more of it again?
That’s what I did with Someone to Love, Henry Jaglom’s very, very (and I mean very) bad film about, basically, nothing and starring, of all people, Orson Welles and Sally Kellerman in poorly used roles. The story in part seemed to concern Jaglom’s character filming people talking about loneliness while contemplating their lives in an old Los Angeles theater, but instead of providing astute insights, it became a trying bore after only about 30 minutes. Poorly edited, too, with Welles interrupting the proceedings with strange reflections on the sexual revolution and the camera often focusing on irrelevant subjects before whisking itself away all too quickly and filming someone else.
Needless to say, it didn’t take me long to turn it off.
I was wondering what Jaglom’s point was with all of this navel-gazing. There probably were interesting things to say, but they got swallowed up in a tempest of tedious talking. I’d never seen any of Jaglom’s other films, so perhaps I should’ve come prepared, but I still think a good movie should be accessible no matter where it falls in a director’s canon. And Someone to Love wasn’t.
This would definitely be in the “So Bad It’s Funny” category if I believed we should watch bad movies for laughs.