Tuesday, May 29, 2007

How Many Times Can I Compare a Film to Feces? Let Me Count the Ways.

Last night, Jeff and I had our eyes seared out by the suckiest movie we have ever seen. Until this moment in time I would have claimed that “Basic Instinct 2” was the worst piece of crap I’d ever paid money to waste precious hours of my life viewing, but now I have a new champion. Normally I wouldn’t bother to rant on my blog about a shitty movie, but this particular movie had a number of qualities that distinguish it from your average hot mess:

1. The New York Times called it “One of the 10 best movies of the year (2002).”
2. It was made by an acclaimed director.
3. It is about genocide.

The movie in question is “Ararat”, Atom Egoyan’s rambling, ponderous, thoroughly confusing and terribly-acted film about – kind of – the Armenian genocide of 1915. Jeff got it because he is Armenian and wanted to school me in the trials and tribulations of, as he put it, his “peeps”. I was expecting a downer, but I wasn’t prepared for the astounding lack of quality. First of all, the writing is just bad, and, on top of that, the story is preposterous. The film starts with a guy sleeping with his step-sister, who hates his mother because she thinks the mother pushed her father off of a cliff. Oh, and the family is Armenian, which has nothing to do with anything, except that an Armenian filmmaker is making a movie about the genocide, and he decides to include a famous painter, Arshile Gorky, as a character, and the aforementioned cliff-pushing mother happens to be a scholar who has written a book on Gorky, which – in the universe of this film – allows her and her “I only have one expression, and that is that I am concentrating hard, or maybe constipated” son to hang out on set and harass the half-Turkish actor who doesn’t think the genocide actually happened. Christopher Plummer (what?) is also there as a kindly, yet homophobic, customs agent who indulges the son in a long, boring, and didactic conversation that might as well go like so:

Christopher Plummer: So, son, I bet the audience doesn’t know a lot about the Armenian genocide, because this movie doesn’t actually address it except for some crappy movie-within-a-movie scenes. So why don’t you just tell me all of the facts in an incredibly monotonous way?

Boy: I’d love to. (Begins reading from a textbook).

After it was (blessedly) over, but not before there was lots of bad acting and crying and, as I learned in kindergarten, “telling” but not “showing”, Jeff and I Googled “Ararat sucks” but came up with nothing. Even “Ararat bad” didn’t turn up much. It seems EVERYONE – even the New York Times – liked, or, at least, didn’t hate, this film. I tend to agree with popular opinion where movies are concerned, so I cannot believe that I am the first to think that “Ararat” completely blows. Jeff described it quite vividly, using the word “diarrhea”, but apart from him it seems I have no Ararat-loathing brethren. Why is this? Is it because of the genocide thing? Can we not call a spade a spade?

I challenge you, if you are a masochist, to watch Ararat and I dare you to not think it is a slow-moving bolus (I just learned that word, look at me!) festering in the colon of film history.

I double dog dare you.
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