Jeremy Scott, the primary narrator at CinemaSins about whom I have written in another post created the persona of someone who enjoys finding every possible trivia sin and piccadillo in every movie he reviews. The videos are primarily for fun, occasionally somewhat bawdy, often profane, frequently very funny, but the result is always insightful.   He spends 15 or so minutes showing video clips which point out clichés, newspaper text which has nothing to do with the headlines being used for exposition, wildly incorrect timers, continuity goofs, historical anachronisms, just plain bad acting or terrible CGI, and his two FAVORITE sins – too many opening credit logos and narration which substitutes for plot. And he rarely condemns politely, which is part of his humor schtick. This is a site for older mature teens and up, certainly. But his commentary, while biting, is usually both quite accurate and mostly played for laughs

However, during his “Everything Wrong With A Star is Born” send up video, after he does his usual nit picky comic but precise routine, he calls out the movie’s plot for its attempts to paint the lead male character’s suicide “…as almost chivalrous, and I’m just never getting on board with that.”

Well, Jeremy, neither am I. And good for you. As I pointed out in my post: “A Star is Born: Masterful Variation on an Inherently Dissonant Theme” I make a similar argument against lionizing this behavior.

Jeremy THEN does something that in the hundreds of his videos he has never done before, he breaks the “Fourth Wall” – that barrier between the audience and himself which maintains the suspension of disbelief. Jeremy Scott posts a great big notice for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and their phone number.

This was an admirable and bold move in a culture of death which has even rationalized the wholesale savage slaughter of unborn infants. He has opened himself up to criticism but it will certainly not come from me.

Thank you Jeremy.

Your instincts are good and this is one of the many things on the list of what I would call Everything Right with CinemaSins.

Interstellar – Too Much Empty Space and Not Just Between Planets

  Space Interstellar Water planet InterstellarInterstellar is an interesting movie. Faint praise, perhaps, but it had so many ups and downs that reviewing it I feel like Tevya in Fiddler on the Roof – on the one hand —, but on the other hand —, but then on the other hand —. To start with the basics, the acting is – if not stellar (sorry, couldn’t resist) then excellent.

Farm InterstellarMatthew McConaughey (a name along with Rhys Ifans I can never get right off the top of my head) plays Cooper, a once pilot now farmer on an ecologically dying planet Earth.

Now – you see here, right at the start I have an issue with this. They never explain WHY Earth is supposedly dying. Plus the fact that, contrary to the goof balls in the Flat Earth Global Warming cult, there’s not a blessed thing we could do to destroy Earth permanently even if we all tried — real — hard. I wish we COULD influence the meteorological balance that much because had we that much power we could stop the many MANY hurricanes I have lived through.

ANYway – taking a deep breath and accepting the dumb premise (which my brother always calls a McGuffin – the “thing” that propels the story but which isn’t in and of itself necessarily very important and could be substituted for something else – as here it could have been diseased humans, alien invasion or a zombie apocalypse and the story COULD have played out about the same) I note the acting is quite good — and even distracts you from the ridiculous McGuffin.

Hathaway InterstellarAnne Hathaway, whose acting skill rocketed in my esteem exponentially having been blown away by her Fantine in Les Mis, plays Amelia, lady astronaut and daughter of one Professor Brand, played by Michael Caine (whose presence would have made this movie palatable even WERE the McGuffin about a zombie apocalypse). Brand thinks there is a way to save Earth BUT, given the time it will take and the risks of failure involved and what is at stake (the future of all humanity and its culture, blah, blah) he sends Amelia, Cooper, some fertilized eggs, the summation of culture of Earth and a variety of red shirts (Star Trek fans will know what I mean) TO INFINITY AND BEYO—- oh wait wrong movie.

OK now I have to stop being so snarky.

If you access Everything Wrong with Interstellar on Youtube you will get a hilarious verbal map of plot holes large enough to fly the Starship Enterprise throughBlack hole Interstellar – but you will ALSO get some scientific points on gravity and its effects which Interstellar got RIGHT. Now – be advised Jeremy Scott has a habit of using very salty adjectives. Many are pointlessly asterisked and bleeped out – pointless because it is quite obvious what that word is supposed to be. And frankly I wish he would use more family friendly and creative alternatives (there is a book available of Shakespearean insults, for example AND the movies dating back before the 60’s usually managed quite well without MOST of what we hear now as expletives) because it is this one unfortunate attribute that prevents me from recommending these Youtube videos more often.

For  Everything Wrong with Interstellar Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson does a guest spot-co-host for this Youtube video and points out what they DID do correctly. Which brings me to the positives. The visuals are absolutely stunning. They feature both a frozen planet and a planet “near” a black hole and what those worlds might be like. Both planets are shown as shocking and terrifying and gorgeous all at once. (Great places to visit maybe but ——-) There are also some visuals concerning a fifth dimension which is dumb in concept, completely and illogically paradoxical and really cool looking all at the same time.

As for the language in Interstellar itself there is one use of each of the two worst of the profanities and a very small sprinkling of the lesser offenders. For more detail check out Screen-it on Interstellar. (You have to be a member to access all the info but it is definitely worth the $7.95/month OR $47/year. There are dozens of times a year I am quite happy to have had the subscription – they give good reviews and almost agonizing detail on everything from “jump scene” content to scary music, profanity and issues to discuss after.) No sex, but some very disturbing family issues appropriate enough to an end-of-world cataclysm movie. So who you think appropriate for this movie should be considered carefully.

BUT ———

I have seen the world and it is hollow (apologies to Star Trek for this rough paraphrase*):

While the science is fun, the visuals outstanding, the acting quite good and the overall idea of the story make it quite entertaining, I have one really big problem with the movie. In all the catastrophe going on, no one seeks any comfort in religion. This is both religiously biased and extremely unlikely. Personally I’d be heading for the nearest priest, but even for the agnostics and atheists – well, as my Dad used to say, there are NO atheists in fox holes and the whole world in this movie is IN one big fox hole. And while it is reasonable to believe that there could be some hold outs, I would say that inasmuch as the vast majority of the Earth’s population believes in a Supreme Being, that there would be SOME theological expressions. But – nope – their god is science. If you have enough of it we can: save the world, or at least save humanity, or seed the cosmos with our genes or—- whatever. That as long as our fertilized eggs are still around with a copy of the Mona Lisa then all’s right with the — Universe.

This made an otherwise, at least INTERESTING movie, to me feel quite hollow and empty as —- as —- as well, what is in Interstellar space.Black hole Interstellar 2

And HEY – I think I wrote this one without a single important spoiler!!

  • I was referencing the title of the eighth episode of the third season of the original series: “For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky”    —–OK, OK, it seemed like a close paraphrase to me at the time!!!