I just turned off the movie “In Time” acutely aware that I can never get back those 36 minutes. Seriously, I never abandon movies. I just watched “Dream House” all the way through, for instance.
Let’s start with the way Justin Timberlake pauses whenever he says the word “time.” And actually, to prove to myself the movie did teach me something, I’m not even going to bother dissecting it further. Just watch five minutes of it and you’ll see what I mean. It’s like it was written by a freshman comp student who just had a unit on metaphor and also Benjamin Franklin.
I’m thinking about bad writing because I just showed my students the charming documentary “Bad Writing.” In the film, the narrator and bad writer Vernon Lott interviews writers and writer-teachers about his own bad writing and the bad writing of others. He interviews Daniel Waters, for instance, who wrote the very good “Heathers” and the universally reviled “Hudson Hawk.” I remember “Hudson Hawk.” It was very stupid and very entertaining, and Dan Waters is clearly a talented writer. For instance, the movie never sounds like it was written by someone who is still in the process of becoming fully literate. Who writes movies now? Because they are getting worse and worse, and particularly the writing is just god-awful. Take, for instance, the aforementioned “Dream House.” If M. Night Shyamalan had a retarded brother, he would have written “Dream House.” (That’s assuming Shyamalan is not already his own retarded brother.) That piece of Oscar junk starring the adorable lad from “Third Rock From the Sun,” you know the one where he has cancer and gets angry at the world? Even that felt insincere and cliched, and that was supposed to be good.
I feel like we didn’t even know how good we had it when “Hudson Hawk” came out and was declared bad. It’s like when Charlotte Bronte called Jane Austen a boring faker but then, 150 years later: Twilight. You would take it back now if you could, wouldn’t you CB?
It’s regrettable because it isn’t such a great movie itself, but more and more I’m reminded of “Idiocracy.” One of these days, we’re all going to be sitting around watching, “Ow, My Balls!” and laughing until we fart and then laughing some more.