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Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
Serenity Now!
As my partner has already related, our experience of watching Serenity was one of many disappointments today. I'm more inclined to give both the science-fiction genre and television shows a pass than she is, but I didn't protest when she suggested that we leave the film at halfway point. I'm glad we watched some of it, though, because the combination of stilted language and stilted delivery made for some memorable lines worthy of enshrinement in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 hall of fame. My favorite moment was when the female mechanic -- my type, if you're interested -- who announced to the rest of the spaceship's crew that it had been over a year since she'd had anything not powered by batteries inside her. Except she phrased that revelation a little differently, the key phrase being, "twixt my nethers." I think this will become my new password to pleasure.
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slanderous From: slanderous Date: October 8th, 2005 07:55 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Oh good, I'm so glad someone else finds Whedon's style contrived and predictable!
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 8th, 2005 04:20 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
It just didn't work for me. As I wrote in another comment, I never went for Buffy either. I could understand why my friends did, but never got attached myself. Then again, I really like Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, so who am I to judge anything!
From: pants007 Date: October 8th, 2005 02:53 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I don't know how good the movie is but I'd see something with the phrase "twixt my nethers" in it about a billion times before I got tired! What if there was something even better in the second half?
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 8th, 2005 04:21 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
As one of my commenters wrote, the second half may actually have been better. I might have stayed, had I been in a more ironic mood. But I'm purging caffeine right now and therefore headache-ridden and grim.
nos4a2no9 From: nos4a2no9 Date: October 8th, 2005 03:04 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I really enjoyed Serenity, but I can understand how someone who isn't familiar with the TV show (or Joss Whedon's stuff in general) would find the movie difficult to handle. The offbeat dialogue was, for me, one of the film's charms; it's nice to see a writer trying to be creative with his dialogue instead of the perfunctory expositional phrasing of most sci-fi scripts (and I'm looking at you, Mr. Lucas).

I might suggest you try the TV series on DVD, if only because it moves at a slower pace and focuses more on characterization than plot. I think the film got a lot better in its second half when the political worldview came into focus and the action picked up. Sci-fi fusion with the Western genre was one of the more interesting elements of both the TV show and the movie for me, and the end is a interesting twist on how things between heroes and villians often get settled in those genres. I'm sorry you didn't like the film, as I do value your opinions on such things, but I hope you'll give the Firefly series a try sometime.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 8th, 2005 04:18 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Maybe I will. It's the sort of thing that my partner is guaranteed never to like. I was really put off by the acting, even though I'm pretty good at overlooking it. The guy playing Malcome drove me crazy. Unlike Kim, I did watch Buffy from time to time. I could understand why my friends were into it. I could understand why it was important and cool in many ways. But I never reached the point of being into it myself. As for Serenity the film, I might have stayed for the whole thing if I'd been in a different mood. Thanks for making a pitch not to give up on it and for understanding that taste is a tricky thing. Sometimes we love books or films or records that others can't stand and it doesn't mean that we're right or they're right, just that people are different.
masoo From: masoo Date: October 8th, 2005 04:57 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I came to Nathan Fillion, the actor who plays Mal, in a backwards fashion. I did not watch Firefly in its original run. When it was canceled, Joss Whedon found work for a couple of the actors. Fillion ended up in a five-episode arc during the last season of Buffy, and he was simply terrifying. When I later watched Firefly on DVD, I could barely believe it was the same guy. So my pitch for "not giving up" is to suggest you give Nathan Fillion another chance down the line.

As for taste being a tricky thing, you said it, bro. My favorite part of Serenity was the dialogue and the way it was delivered by the actors. Apparently not everyone shares my taste preference :-).
slanderous From: slanderous Date: October 8th, 2005 05:59 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I hated Season 7 of BtVS, and I found Nathan Fillon's anvilicious character absolutely laughable and unconvincing (but I thought the same thing about that entire premise of that season's arc, so everyone was tainted except for the girl who played Millie on Freaks & Geeks, I liked her even in the midst of that terrible, half-assed Potentials story). And I used to love BtVS! I think a part of my recent distaste for Whedon's work is that after a while, the inconsistencies and habitual tricks became glaringly obvious. When I watched Firefly on DVD, I totally knew when a character's definitive statement ("We'll be fine! There's no way such and such will happen!") would be spectacularly contradicted in the next cutaway (ship blows up).
masoo From: masoo Date: October 8th, 2005 08:39 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
slanderous From: slanderous Date: October 9th, 2005 12:24 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Poor Xander! He became such a punching bag for the series!
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 8th, 2005 06:12 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Thanks for the input. Maybe the dialogue plus delivery was just too much for me. I started watching Deadwood, which does something similar with dialogue, and liked the move better in that context. I know lots of people think Star Wars is lamer than Serenity, but I kept thinking how much better I like Star Wars even episodes I and II, which get slagged by so many. I also think, as Kim did, that Serenity would have looked better on television. The effects and overall look didn't translate well to the big screen in our estimation. There were times when I thought, "That looks like Six Million Dollar Man, which means, I think, that special effects in Serenity that looked wrong all blown up looked wrong the way the ones in that 70s series looked on the small screen, which is also kind of terrifying. . . :-)
masoo From: masoo Date: October 8th, 2005 06:16 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Well, speaking as a "teevee" guy, and understanding others would disagree, I'd say there have been v.few shows in television history that compare well to Deadwood. And if we're talking dialogue and delivery, Deadwood compares well to anything I've ever seen, TV, movies, stage, anything. So it's no shame if Serenity isn't up to that standard.

But I'm not as big a Firefly fan as some, so others will of course differ.
flw From: flw Date: October 8th, 2005 08:24 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

amusing reaction...

I loved the tv series. I thought it was some of the best sci-fi I've ever seen on television, and I thought it was the best thing Joss Whedon ever did. The movie I didn't like so much. It was too fast-paced, with too little character development. They had to introduce ten main characters... it just didn't work, because, all ten of those characters had interactions with the other nine, and... It was too much work for one movie. What was left was confusing for people who hadn't seen the tv show, and unsatisfying for people who had. They aimed for the middle and hit mud.

I hate when every single laugh line in a movie is spoiled in the commercials for that movie. I am not joking about this either, every single punchline was spoiled, and I am not someone who goes out searching for previews, I just saw the occasional commercial.

And things are a little denser and more complicated if you are familiar with the TV show. For instance, the scene where the bad guy says, "I am alone and unarmed..."

and Mal says, "Good..." and shoots him.

That sort of contradicted a minor premise of Mal's character (from the TV show)... a speech in which he promised the Doctor, "if I ever shoot you, you will be awake, facing me, and armed." It was to suggest that he had an old west morality. But later on it proves... well, the morality is real, but it is shifting and complicated. The guy is capable of anything, but he's still "good" in a certain sense.

Anyway, that was ruined by being spoiled in all the commercials.

What I wanted to mention was the amusing reaction from_ashes got when she posted some minor criticisms as talking points in some board somewhere. She was attacked. It is so amusing how everyone now feels like their opinion is so important and they all have to be part of some imaginary marketing team for whatever entertainment choices they make. And that someone who contradicts them is BETRAYING them. I guess we all had our "How could anyone not LOVE the Violent Femmes (or whatever)?" phase, but seriously! It has actually come to pass that some people's entire identity is a nexus of entertainment choices.

Who are you?

I am:

Joss Whedon is Love!
Buffy is Love!
Firefly is Love!
Yogimuku is Love!
Sailor Moon is Love!
Weezer is Love!
Gay Marriage is Love!

(imagine all the appropriate banners or whatever the hell those annoying things are)
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 8th, 2005 09:47 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: amusing reaction...

Thanks for the thoughtful response. I think watching television shows takes practice like anything else. I used to do it all the time, easy as can be. Now I have a hard time with the best ones. But I can certainly see how what seemed random or awkward in the film version of Serenity would make sense give more time to unfold. As for taste preferences, I'm with you 100%. I had a number of students beg me to see Serenity so that the numbers would go up and there would be sequels. And I'm just one person!
slanderous From: slanderous Date: October 9th, 2005 12:28 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: amusing reaction...

I've seen that happen on boards all over, from IMDB to TWoP. Fans penning spam to all their friends and family berating them to go see the film, and attacking those who have no desire to see it, or who didn't like it, as tasteless and stupid. The investment in Whedon/Firefly is fascinating, but also a bit scary, annoying, and at some points condescending, i.e., "The masses don't get the Whedon genius!" sneeringly.
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