I generally stay away from commenting on things that I don't like. Rants can be very tiresome and there's no end of things to deprecate, whereas there's so little that approaches sublimity. One should be more selective. However, having subjected myself to a weekend of UTTER crap, I feel compelled to flush it out of my system. I wanted to call this post On Bullshit, but it's been taken, of course.
I'll start with the movie Beowulf, starring a high-profile cast of actors who might have thought they would be less embarrassed as CGI "enhanced" versions of themselves in this stinker. My husband called it, jokingly, clay-mation. Other than stealing some of the same names and general setting, this Beowulf bears more resemblance to the Grand Theft Auto video franchise than the epic, Old English poem. Why not just make your movie without attempting to reference the original, if nothing about it suits you? It's as if the screenwriters were still so ticked about having to read it for their British Lit survey, they decided to give it a good, old-fashioned Hollywood fucking-over just for spite. Please! Blame the teachers, not the poetry.
The movie was both gross and inappropriately funny as when nude, faux-Beowulf's manly bits kept getting the Austin Powers sight-gag treatment. Helmets, chandeliers, roof beams all kept getting in the way of the "camera." Naked Beowulf slithering all over Grendel's mucousy backside was just inspired...but by what I don't know and don't wish to know. And instead of a shaggy, swamp beast, insert Angelina Jolie with weird, barefoot stilletto-heels. Now that's some monster! Oh, it was just so very awful and juvenile in it's presentation that it seemed downright mean-spirited. My husband had the good sense to fall asleep -- at least until I poked him and made him sit up.
Sadly, a moody, artistic, elegiac movie version of Beowulf could be made with the right spirit and creative people involved. I thought of something like Julie Taymor's Titus, which also starred Anthony Hopkins (the unfortunate Hrothgar here). A throbbing score, beautiful Scandinavian vistas, and dialogue studded with that wonderful Old English cadence would be something to see. But instead, crap. Utter crap, even.
Thankfully, I was reading War and Peace while this was going on, which is kind of like viewing an eclipse through a pinhole -- you won't risk permanent blindness. It was one trainwreck performance after another, with only a few exceptions. Strangely, everyone seemed better dressed than usual. You should at least be able to count on the Grammy's for some really tacky getups.
The benighted idea of pairing classic acts with newcomers served neither well. The greats seemed desperate and sad, while the newbies were just plain bad in comparison. Stevie Wonder with the Jonas Brothers? Ouch. And what about trotting out the only surviving member of the Four Tops? More pain. Which brings me to a few points about Katy Perry, bless her. Some of it really wasn't her fault, because I assume she wasn't responsible for the "production" components.
First, if one is going to be vamping while surrounded by giant fruit, at least go with the sexy kind -- pomegranates, figs, juicy mangoes. At any moment I expected to see the Fruit of the Loom guys popping out from behind an apple. And they might have busted better moves than Perry, which leads me to the second point. Sign that girl up for Madonna's dance camp! Of course, she probably felt justifiably ridiculous having just descended from a giant banana. And from all the hoopla about this song, you would think she invented lesbians, or lipstick lesbians, or even lipstick. I'm bemused since Jill Sobule was the first woman to sing a song titled -- gasp!-- "I kissed a girl" way back in the pre-Twitter era of 1995, while Perry was still going to Vacation Bible School. All of which is not really a knock on Katy Perry herself, who seems clever and is trying to make the most out of what may only turn out to be 15 minutes of fame.
So, there's really no moral here, other than that I find crap disturbing. I just needed to get that out of my system.