An unasked for review of...
"Lady in the Water"
(Spoiler warning: Don't read this if you plan to throw away two hours of your life watching this piece of crap that was washed up from the bottom of the ocean.)
You see, once upon a time, M. Night Shyamalan wrote and directed a really interesting movie called The Sixth Sense. I remember the night I first saw that film. It made me feel so creative and energized that I went for a walk that night and mapped out four pivotal chapters of Amelia.
Okay, I know that it's difficult...probably impossible..to capture lightning in a bottle like that ever again. However, the only thing that Lady in the Water inspired me to want to do was sit down and write a really nasty review of Lady in the Water.
I knew that we were in trouble about five minutes in the movie when I realized that Paul Giamatti was going to talk through the entire movie with a stutter that seemed to be borrowed from Porky Pig. "Oh great," I thought to myself. "Sitting next to Corb was bad enough during Sidewayzzzzzzz. He's REALLY going to be even worse seeing Giamatti try to act in slow motion. Genius!"
So, see, what happens is that Giamatti (who for some reason is beginning to remind me of Richard Dreyfuss) lives in an apartment complex is so run down that they'll let anybody in, including, it seems, M. Night Shyamalan before he became famous. Oh, and also, a mermaid. Oops! I mean, a sea nymph. I only thought she was a mermaid because she looks a bit like Daryll Hannah in the movie Mermaid, and collects human artifacts, just like the Little Mermaid did, in her shack in the sea. Things like snorfblatts...er, I mean, forks.
Anyway, apparently the sea nymph was doing her best "Part of Your World" impersonation one night, and wakes Giamatti up from a sound sleep. He walks out of his swinging stuttering bachelor guy's pad and sees her there in the water, and spends the rest of the movie trying to figure out how to get her picked up by a giant eagle (I am not making this up). God only knows what the giant eagle is going to do with her once he gets her. Maybe she'll spend the rest of her days living in his nest, I don't know. What I do know is that she has trouble getting picked up by said eagle because there's this huge green evil swamp wolfie that's looking to eat her legs. On a positive note, at the least--the very least--M. Night spent a few bucks on special effects this time around, unlike Signs. Although, to be honest, when the big bad green swamp wolfie ended up being eaten by three giant green flying swamp monkeys (no, I swear, I am not making this up), things got a little bit silly, if you ask me.
So, to save the sea nympho, Paul Giamatti starts to get all of his apartment friends to help him out. It sort of reminded me of a multicultural version of those old Irwin Allen disaster movies. Okay, here's a nice old lady playing the Shelly Winters role. Oh, and look, here's a Chinese lady who sort of looks like the Chinese lady in the laundrymat who used to say, "Ancient Chinese secret!" Oh, and there's an old wise coot who sort of could bve played by Dean Martin. Oh, and here are five guys who seem to have this gay circle jerk thing going on in their apartment, only none of them are that cute, except for this one surfer dude with blond dreds (I liked looking at him).
And did I mention, one of the neighbors is M. Night Shamalamadingdong himself? Oh yes, I guess I did. But get this, just in case you didn't pick up on the amazing subtleness of this role: M. Night plays a "writer" who the sea nympho prophesizes will one day write a really famous "book" that will influence millions, and make the world such a better place and make such an impact that people everywhere will be inspired and amazed by it, including the *gasp* future President of the United States, who will use the ideas he learned from this writer to change the world. The writer, sadly, will not live to see these amazing changes come into being.
The sea nympho doesn't mention whether said President was George W. Bush. That wouldn't be so impressive.
Now, I ask you, is it possible that Mr. Shamalamadingdong is getting just a little bit of an ego, here? I mean, it isn't enough that he plasters his name all over the beginning and end of these things? Now he has to do Hitchcock one better and write himself into roles where sea nymphos make predictions about how great a writer he is? Does that help convince people more? "See? I'm a good, profound writer, really I am. The sea nympho even said so!"
Sigh. Here's what I wish she had really said. "Can I tell you what your future's going to be, Vick? You're going to write and direct a really interesting film that's actually going to feature Bruce Willis without a smirk (which is in itself amazing and groundbeaking). It's going to do really well and inspire M. Ted Shamalamadingdong to write four chapters of Amelia. And then, after that, you're going to write and direct four absolute pieces of utter crap. Each one is going to be worse than the other. Each one is going to take itself way too seriously. Each one is going to end up making for really good jokes in the Scary Movie series!"
Oh, and, as if our man Night's writing isn't subtle enough with that "brilliant writer" thing, he even manages to sneak in a REALLY subtle jab at movie critics! Get this...see if you can pick up on the incredibly subtle message. I may have to spell it out, because it's just so understated that you probably missed it. There's this guy in the movie who is a movie critic, okay? Only, he's really nasty and really hyper-critical, doesn't like anything, and is clearly bored and biter, and guess what? He ends up getting gobbled up by the big bad green swamp wolfie! Hmmm, you think a point was trying to be made here?
Then again, I think there's supposed to be a point to this entire story, but you know what? Typical silly human that I am, I just wasn't listening.
I will say one thing, however: telling your kids a story at night is one thing, and a very good one, at that. I give him all the credit in the world on that front. However, I take that credit back and then some when the day came that he thought it'd be a good idea to inflict this story on the public. Bedtime stories don't have to have an internal logic, you see, but feature films kinda sorta have to. After watching this, I don't care if M. Night Shyamalan makes another movie on the level of the "Sixth Sense"...however, I do sort of wish he'd try his hand at a movie that actually MADE sense.