Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I'm weird or something...

I've been trying to get into "Firefly"...and I just can't. I've gone through half a dozen episodes and the bad acting and poor direction are killing me. Nathan Fillion is good, but the other actors are flat or wooden, at best, most of them seemingly having reached the peak of their abilities in grade school. And the directing and editing are just ludicrous. I watched a duel by swords that didn't even rise to the level of beginning stage combat. "Buffy" quality, this is not.

But that's what happens when you buy into hype, I guess. I've had this happen before. A woman I worked with raved about Russell Banks' Continental Drift so I picked up a copy...and after 100 pages I chucked it. I could see the ending a mile away and everything was going to be just that way and I didn't need the depression that came with the moral lesson behind the book or whatever it was supposed to be. What's funny is, when I told her how I felt, she freaked out and all but stopped talking to me.

I don't feel that way when somebody doesn't like something I recommend. I love "The 400 Blows" but I know people who only think it's nice. I think "Grand Illusion"'s third act is what makes it a great movie, but others have argued it's not even necessary. I once lent my copy of Ozu's "Late Spring" to someone who loved Japanese movies, and got it back with a big shrug of, "It was okay, I guess; kind of slow."

I do get miffed when so-called film buffs and critics complain about the pace of a Japanese film, completely ignoring the whole rhythm of Japanese culture. It's like whining about the repetition in Opera Lyrics -- most of the time they're there more for the musical continuity and dramatic emphasis, and if you don't like it, you're not paying real attention.

However...with "Firefly" my main complaints are -- hell, everything about it. Barely adequate special effects. Derivative storylines. Actors who sound like actors when they're acting even as they aren't supposed to be acting. A hero who's always going to do good, even though he's a bit shady. It was sad to watch, and I love Joss Whedon's work.

Maybe I'm spoiled by the kick-ass perfection of the "Battlestar Galactica" reboot. But if I'm going to spend my time watching a space opera, it better keep me interested...even if I AM ironing at the same time.

Make me happy or go find yourself a black hole.


Michael said...

Joss Whedon's shows generally start out weak. I shudder to think what someone would think of Buffy or Angel if they judged them by the first six episodes of either series. Many of them were seriously cringe-worthy. Firefly gets much better at episode eight and the remainder of the season and the film that followed are excellent.

Joss Whedon is all about the big emotional payoffs that come once characters are establish and the stakes have been raised (no pun intended). He's brilliant at that point but often has an awkward time getting there.

JamTheCat said...

I guess I'll keep going.

Funny, but I don't remember having this trouble with "Buffy..." But that was so eclectically cast with actors who could at least do a good job, I may not have noticed.

Michael said...

In fairness to Buffy, it was ALWAYS fun even when it wasn't very good. Remember Buffy fighting the ventriloquist dummy, Xander's sexy praying-mantis teacher wanting to eat him, or Willow's internet demon? Angel, on the other hand, had some really lame episodes in its first season that weren't even fun.

I hope you end up appreciating Firefly. One of the last episodes, "War Stories", is a favorite and the movie was a perfect ending for the series.

JamTheCat said...

Okay, based on that...I will finish the series and the movie.

But if I see one more lame-assed swordfight or dance bit...I will not be held responsible for my actions...