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Saturday, October 16, 2010

How I Met Your Mother (2005 - )

On First attempt, I watched three episodes of the first season. I’ve seen films as long as 4 hours (Once upon a time in America) and I can’t remember myself feel time move slower than it did for each episode of “How I met your mother”. If you take an IQ test before and after watching an episode, and plot a graph, it would result in a downward slope. Its objective is to burn your brain cells and it is successful at doing so. Well done. Its setting has some random guy whom you don’t see on screen (Thank the creators for that, we have enough imbeciles on one show) telling his kids how he met their mother. They feel like they’re being punished. Unfortunately, they’re not alone. We, the audience, feel more punishment than any of them. (For those of you who’re fans of the series, I feel I’d be being rude if I didn’t put it in imbecile-friendly words-I don’t mean it’s because we empathize with them but because the show is excruciating (Oh, forgive me, I mean painful))

People around didn’t take my criticism lightly and urged me to watch it again, this time with the suspension of disbelief. I didn’t want to be a contrarian, so I gave it a second chance with episodes “Swarley” and “Stuff” from Season 2. It was a laugh riot. The series' creators, the joke. A horrible, mind numbing experience is what it was. It’s no surprise though, that its acquired a huge fan following, a majority of which, probably includes lonely women who’re willing to go to the extent of spending time with a charismatic (effeminate in my opinion) supporting TV character to make up for their insipid life, and guys who’re trying to learn one-night-stand moves from the same, Barney Stinson. Sure, he’s a funny character but what’s new? We’ve seen so many of them. On the contrary, there is something that’s sincerely funny- Neil Patrick Harris while being a homosexual in real life plays a straight guy here. And fans are thinking “Wow, what a daring actor.” He disappears into a character that’s defined to the T by one word, womanizer. Alas! How could I forget the pitch perfect dialogue delivery of larger-than-life dialogues such as “Suit up.” Each time Harris says that, it’s his dignity he’s suiting down.

Everyone involved in this is trying so hard to sell. Slow down, there’re enough whores in the industry. There’s not an ounce of sense, realism, subtlety or creativity. ‘The Simpsons’ is more realistic and its characters despite being more improbable are believable. I know. I know. You’re probably going to say, so what “it’s fun!” Fun? Only if the rest of your day involves staring at the hour hand of a clock.

In a season where Martin Scorsese has stepped into the television scene and directed the pilot of “Boardwalk Empire”, there’re actually people waiting for the next season of “How I met your mother.” Just what the hell? If you watch and enjoy this drivel so much, let me let you in on a little secret, the creators have no respect for the intelligence of the viewers and hence the excessive use of canned laughter. They don’t believe you’ll get the jokes unless they prompt it with previously recorded laughter. And You? You think they’re AMAZING. Please, have a little self-respect.

Rating - 3/10, for a culturally fitting opening theme.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Dry White Season(1989)

The story takes place in 1976 in South Africa, around the Soweto riots, during the Apartheid system that lasted from 1948 until 1994. Students of African origin are protesting against education in a vernacular medium. They don’t want to end up working as messengers, mine workers and gardeners. One of them in the rally, Jonathon is caught and whipped. His father, Gordon, a gardener is worried that his police record would ruin his future and so he approaches Ben(Donald Sutherland), his white boss for help. Turning a blind eye to the unjust practices of the government, he just says they must’ve had a reason.

The boys refuse to quit protesting and strike again. This time, however, it turns out really ugly. The cops open fire and many children are killed. Jonathon is taken to prison and beat up unto death. A troubled Gordon tries to take it up with the court with the help of a witness inside, but in vain. He’s arrested and tortured until he gives up the witness but enduringly, succumbs to his injuries. Ben, on the other hand, tormented being by his own conscience refuses to look the other way this time. He takes the matter into is own hands and approaches a Human Rights lawyer, McKenzie who suggests that he “chuck the lot”. He replies saying “That’s what I said to Gordon when his son was whipped, that’s what I said when his son was killed and now they’re both dead because of my neglect. I cannot give it up.”

There’re a few memorable courtroom scenes displaying blatant corruption and second class treatment by the legal system of the blacks. Unfortunately, that’s all there is, from the director, Euzhan Palcy. If you’re moved by anything in the film, it is its subject. It is a sensitive subject and anyone who’s intolerant to injustice will have some feeling evoked. The film simply has no tone and there is some safri duo kind of music played repeatedly in the background which is completely unnecessary. We’ve been told enough that it takes place in South Africa we don’t need the score to tell us that just as many times. Furthermore, there’re some unforgivable technical flaws in many aspects. She’s had a clear vision but been very negligent with respect to the small details. She just wanted the story told and she does it with little consistency.

All in all, I’ll have to call this a bad film that could’ve been worse if not for its on the mark acting. The real standout of the film is Donald Sutherland who turns in a terrific performance personifying perfectly the lead character’s political awakening.


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