Friday, July 30, 2010

Lostception

I saw "Inception" the other day, the hot new movie du jour starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Juno. This is a movie based on an interesting premise, that there are people who can chemically enter the dreams of a target and trick the person's subconscious into giving away crucial secrets that they would never give away if they were actually awake and consciously asked. The movie then goes on to ask, would it be possible to "plant" an idea in someone's mind that was not actually generated by them themselves, but yet is believed by the person to be their own idea, their own conclusion? Could you cause someone to make a key decision in their life at your will by getting inside their subconscious through a shared dream, and yet do it in such a way that they believe the idea was consciously generated by themself without ever recognizing the idea for the foreigner it would actually be while swimming amidst all the other original thoughts and ideas in the other person's brain?

Unfortunately, the premise was the only thing cool about this movie. "Inception", when it boils right down to it, was Chris Nolan (director of the last Batman movie, Memento and several other mediocrely-good films)'s half-assed attempt to create a big seller around nothing more than an interesting premise. Nolan and the writers really believed that nobody would pay attention to the story if they started with this interesting premise, and threw in a little Leonardo as eye candy. There is just no limit to how stupid Hollywood thinks we are. You, me, every single one of us out there right now, someone in Hollywood is scheming up about 10,000 new and inventive ways to trick you into giving them your money under false pretenses right now. And "Inception" was one of the biggest ploys so far this year.

The story in this movie was so unbelievably stupid that I heard they turned down the writers of Lost for being too focused on logical consistency. The Heroes writers were far too grounded for "Inception", believe me. The story is so full of holes it's almost like watching the "Kill Bill" movies for the first time -- you're not sure if this is intentionally trying to be comic-bookish or if it really just missed the mark. Unfortunately in the case of "Inception", they weren't trying to make a spook of a sci-fi action flick -- they were actually trying to make the sci-fi action flick itself.

But the similarities between this movie and all the problems of the last couple of seasons of Lost really are shocking in a way -- not in the story lines themselves, but in the way that logic and reason and continuity of storylines is just removed entirely as a consideration. The need for rational or even comprehensible explanations for almost anything is completely devoid in this movie. The movie never really explains how or what is actually being done when you hook a needle up to your arm and inject some chemical and some crazy machine in the middle immediately puts you all into the same shared dream. They do more or less nothing to describe or explain how on earth someone in the real world can "create" the dream which all the "extractors" and the target person are going to share. They merely posit that every fake dream has a creator, and then they go and find Juno and make it be her, and she just "creates" layer upon layer of dream. The similarity to Lost here is the way that the movie takes absolutely key plot points and simply leaves them out entirely, and acts like they aren't even doing anything out of the ordinary while they do it. What? This doesn't make even the least bit of sense? I guess you must not be smart enough to understand it then, ever think of that hmmmm? It's unreal.

But the biggest similarity of all to the last two seasons of Lost when it comes to "Inception", and ultimately the thing that will cost this movie any chance of having actual good buzz among its audience, is that the writers had such a huge ejaculation writing all the twists and turns of this movie, all the dream-within-a-dream-within-a-dream plot sequences, and all the and mind-fucks that everyone knew were coming since about 5 minutes in to the movie, that in the end what you're left with is a basically unintelligible story. And -- how do I say this while still retaining your respect -- let's just say that I'm pretty much the smartest person sitting in the theater whenever I go to the movies, so it's not like I just can't keep up or something. If I watch your movie, and 20 minutes in I don't even really know who is doing what and where and when even though I'm sitting right there watching it, then guess what? Did I suddenly turn into a legal idiot when the lights went dim? Or maybe does your movie just fucking suck balls?

There's not a person in America who wasn't thinking far before the halfway point in "Inception" that they were totally lost. And I don't mean the kind of "lost" that gets all cleared up with the big reveal at the end like in The Village or Sixth Sense or something. I mean the kind of lost like, well, like Lost, where they literally had to run a "pop up video" version of Lost on a rerun every single week for the final two seasons just so that the viewers had at least some clue of what the shuck was going on. Because the writers did that absentee of a job when it came to reeling themselves in and being sure to tell a clear, coherent story.

Ultimately, the writers of "Inception" and Lost suffered from the exact same fatal flaw: it is obvious that they themselves had no fucking clue what the shit their show was actually about. Forget us not being able to figure out what the hell was happening -- the fucking writers didn't even have any idea in the end. And the downfall of Lindlecuse (notice how already those two smug assfuckers have more or less disappeared into the limelight?) will likely go very similar now to that of Chris Nolan, who with this effort in "Inception" screamed out to everyone's face that Batman was just a lucky break where he got carried by one truly incredible performance from Heath Ledger. Just like with Lost, the hubris is just incredible of someone who actually thinks that they can fool the viewers by presenting not even a half-assed story and trying to pass it off as "arty" or "out of the box", whatever. That move has never worked, and I see no reason to believe it ever will.

Make a great movie, with a fabulous story top to bottom, and excel at all the little things, and people around the world will see it in droves for weeks and weeks and weeks as we saw recently with "Avatar". Make a shit movie and put a heartthrob fanboi star in it to sell to little girls, and people will see it for a week or two until everyone hears how truly stupid of a job you did.

Folks, "Inception" was definitely not even a 2 out of 10. I'll give it a 1.1 out of 10, without a doubt among the ten worst movies I have seen in the theater in the past decade.

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11 Comments:

Blogger The Dyer said...

so you didn't get it then.... ;-)

8:41 PM  
Blogger Julius_Goat said...

Now I must see Inception.

8:55 PM  
Blogger Micah Seymour said...

So it's a great movie then.

The Hoyazo Rule: Whatever Hoyazo says about pop culture, the opposite is objectively true.

9:40 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Micah Seymour is heterosexual.

11:07 PM  
Blogger l.e.s.ter said...

I spend all day "implanting ideas" in other peoples' heads. I don't even enter their dreams. I just make "suggestions." These Inception people never heard of that?

1:07 AM  
Blogger Riggstad said...

"The story in this movie was so unbelievably stupid that I heard they turned down the writers of Lost for being too focused on logical consistency"

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHHBLAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!! I can see goat laying in the fetal position underneath his kitchen table sucking his thumb!

1:41 AM  
Blogger NumbBono said...

Next week, Hoy's review of Star Wars, where he complains because they don't explain how spaceships work.

9:46 AM  
Blogger OES said...

you're certainly unique.

5:45 AM  
Blogger Anthony said...

"let's just say that I'm pretty much the smartest person sitting in the theater whenever I go to the movies, so it's not like I just can't keep up or something."

I don't get it. Is the movie theatre you go to near a school for special needs?

11:24 PM  
Blogger Astin said...

Having finally seen it this past weekend - you obviously stepped out to take a leak at some point. The movie made sense, was laid out clearly, and really was not that difficult to follow.

Granted, if you missed a key scene or two, you'd be lost, but if you actually sat there and watched the whole thing, Nolan et al did a great job making a complex plot easy to follow along with.

Great movie. Solid casting, perfect direction, and some of the most innovative action scenes in a while.

9:09 PM  
Blogger Julius_Goat said...

Going to have to ditto Astin here. I'm not sure what part was confusing -- in fact, I'd have to say that the biggest accomplishment of Nolan and his editor was keeping the various threads so distinct and clear. If anything, they went further in the direction of over-explaining what was happening on screen than was necessary.

I'm not sure that the comparison to "Lost" is an apt one, in that messed with the narrative contract in uncomfortable ways that may or may not have been purposeful (I've argued that they were, but I accept that this is just my opinion) -- but Inception was, for all its complexity, entirely coherent.

It was a pretty good movie, and it's one that had a few Philosophy 101 philosophical/metaphysical ideas thrown in, to boot. For that reason, it will likely be overpraised . . . but not by much. I wish most Hollywood movies had this much good in them.

10:53 PM  

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