I Call Them “Homework Movies”

I recently watched a movie called Southland Tales. Here’s the IMDB page for it: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0405336/

I didn’t like it. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t like it. I think one of the biggest issues I have with this movie is an issue I originally had with Donnie Darko. Back in the day I watched Donnie Darko and I loved it. I only really understood half of what was going on, but I still loved it. Shortly thereafter I discovered that you could read Roberta Sparrow’s book online (and on some of the DVDs etc.) and it explained what the hell was going on in the movie. I was a little annoyed with that because when I watch a movie I want to enjoy it as it is presented to me. I don’t want to have to do homework afterward. I don’t want to have to read some external source prior to seeing a movie in order to understand what is going on. However, Roberta Sparrow’s book was a very short read, so I viewed this as a minor issue. 

For this movie, I would have had to have read 3 graphic novels in order to only partially figure out WTF was happening in this movie. That’s a bit excessive. That was my biggest issue. Other things I didn’t like were the constant footage of multiple TV screens showing different things going on. I found it rather repetitive and unnecessary. I really didn’t like any of the characters. I wanted to like Sarah Michelle Geller’s character, but I really didn’t. Some of the dialogue was just… I can’t even find a word to describe it, I was just rolling my eyes. The part where the neo-Marxists were going on and on about poop… I was just like “GET ON WITH IT!”. When Justin Timberlake starts doing that musical number in the store I couldn’t help thinking “Is this movie trying to be The Big Lebowski?” Many movie critics and movie buffs say that narration in a movie is a sign of a weak writer. I personally don’t mind some narration, but this movie had a lot. 

I just wanted to point out something else. When I watched Inception I understood the plot and the mechanics behind it right away. I know a bunch of people didn’t get it, but I got it and I loved it. Inception actually has a graphic novel which details the events that happen prior to the movie (i.e. how they got the job to extract info from Saito). My point here is that you don’t need to read this graphic novel in order to understand what’s happening in Inception, and that’s a good thing. The movie can stand on its own. Southland Tales, and to a lesser extent Donnie Darko, cannot. And that makes me sad T_T