Inside My Head

If Art is Truth, Why Do We Lie to Creative Artists

by on Nov.09, 2008, under Movies

This past Thursday I went to a preview showing of the film, The Alphabet Killer.  It was based on an unsolved serial murder case that took place in Rochester during the early 1970’s.  Much of the filming was done here as well.  I was interested in going because I wanted to support the local film industry, some local folks were cast, and the director, writer, producer and some of the actors were going to be there for Q&A after the movie.

Let me say right up front (to alleviate the suspense), that the creators of this movie owe me $8, 30 IQ points and 2 hours that I’ll never get back.

In summary, it opened well, but quickly deteriorated into a cheesefest of poor plotting, bad writing and worse acting. 

Eliza Dushku went “full retard” playing a schizophrenic.  As an actress she has everything that’s required for success except talent.

Cary Elwes, Michael Ironside and Timothy Hutton were (in order): puffy & lifeless (CE), angry & lifeless (MI), and crazy & lifeless (TH – except for his legs).

The audience laughed at inappropriate moments.

The creative team felt that the kidnapping and murder of 11 year old girls wasn’t terrifying enough, so the focus was on Eliza as a nutjob detective who has visions of the decomposing girls and other hallucinations.

Weird camera angles were used to no purpose other than they were weird.  The pacing was deadly (no pun intended).  The writing was …

The ending was a set up for sequels.  Which I hope NEVER happen.

Then it was over.  There was applause (not as much as they expected).  Many people got up and left, not waiting for the Q&A.

And that brings us to the title of this piece – here was my opportunity to ask the hard questions, give them a thoughtful critique, point out opportunities for improvement, but …

They were sooooooooooooo pleased with what they did.  They thought it was awesome, amazing and wonderful.  The 3 little girls that played the victims were there and they were just soooooooo happy.  The writer and director were soooooooooooo excited about their accomplishment.

I just couldn’t crap on their watermelon. 

So I didn’t say anything.  And no one else did either.  All the comments and questions were generic, gentle and supportive.

Why? Why couldn’t I ask someone who spent millions of dollars on this: What were you thinking?  Why did I treat them like children at a 5th grade talent show?

I don’t know.  Maybe it’s because we have become a society that praises the effort over the outcome.  Growing up, we learn that everyone plays, everyone get a chance – regardless of ability.  Trying is just as important as getting the right answer.  Criticism is bad.  Everyone needs positive reinforcement.

Just wait until they grow up.  Was everyone OK with the fact that FEMA tried?  Do you want a surgeon that tries or is actually good at his/her job?

Maybe I should have spoke up and damn the disapproving looks.  Maybe I underestimated the grit of artists.  Or maybe I was just chicken.

1 comment for this entry:
  1. James Coughlin and Liam Holleran

    Your review is soooooooooo true and hystericl. Please write more of them.

    James and Liam

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