Holy cow! I’m flabbergasted; speechless; at loss for words. My mind is frozen in a traffic jam of disbelief. The smirk across my face feels permanent and the feeling in my guy wants it to last. Was The Happening just about the darn silliest movie I have ever seen, or am I dreaming? Maybe I’m in some sugar coated, soda pop flavored coma. Yet I believe it as reality. The Happening was a truly goofy, goofy movie. Most of the time I had to suppress my uncontrolled, unadulterated laughter, out of respect for other movie patrons of course, but at some points it was near impossible. The Happening was just downright dopey, silly, and impossibly odd. It was wacky. It was zany. It was unpredictably insane at times. For just reasons, it might have been the best time I’ve had at the movies this summer. It was just that damn funny.
What I can’t understand is the film communities collective gasps of shock and awe at how wacky a movie M. Night has delivered. In fact, I don’t overall really understand the critical response to any film M. Night has delivered. Yeah, The Sixth Sense was a hoot in a “fantastic episode of Night Gallery” sorta way. Bruce Willis being all dour and quiet was a strange change of pace and emotional lynch pin to the film. The film itself, while moody, wasn’t anything that original or fascinating in any way. Then Unbreakable was fun, but a little too angry. Again Bruce Willis carries the movie, albeit a heavier one, on his back. It was a year or two too early on the whole Superhero thing. The rain thing was a little dumb. But these were things we could over look
Yet as his popularity rose a dopiness began to appear in all his films. The paint-by-numbers aspect of his movies became a laughable schlocky gimmick. The “twists” in his films became a satirical point of reference when talking about dumb movies. M. Night even attempted to sneak into the publics eye, with an apparent Alfred Hitchcock influenced persona. He went as far as to make an even stupider pseudo-mockumentary on himself in which we study the influence on all his movies (which in a laughable turn, reveals to be himself. He is his own muse.) I mean, jeez, since Signs, I haven’t gone to an M. Night movie expecting anything, but a good laugh. Anyone who says otherwise is an unbelievable idiot or a faker here only to make you laugh.
My problem is everyone is quick to point the finger and blame Uwe Bowl as an our generations Ed Woodian savant; a man who sincerely believes the garbage he produces is art. I call shenanigans on that, right here, right now! Bowl knows he sucks and his relishes in that fact. Somewhere between Heart of America and Bloodrayne he tricked people into believing he has an ounce of sincerity in his body. He has purposely committed his atrocities believing it is possible to make crap. He is trying to prove wrong the age old fact, enjoyable garbage is born not made, and some people are willing to let him do it. Media stunt (boxing critics) after media stunt (calling Micheal Bay a dummy) does not a savant make.
With The Happening, Shyamalan has delivered his masterpiece. He has solidified his space in Hollywood. He will forever be known as the man who made “that killer plant movie” or “that movie where the guy feeds himself to lions on an i-phone” or “that shitty Marky-Mark movie”. He has broken the shackles of expectation. No longer should the public wait in humble anticipation for his next summer release. They shall care not and for the first time M. Night will have the artistic freedom he so desperately needs. His films should be seen as nothing more than the cinematic equivalent of screaming for help. He needs us, the movie viewing public, to turn away and let him be. The spotlight has wayed heavy on his shoulders, the pressure has proven too much, and his knees have buckled and cracked. And now that the money will be gone, the fans will be gone, and the pressure will be gone… Well… We’ll just have to wait, on waves of elation, to see.
I plan to go see The Happening again. In fact I plan on multiple viewings while I still have a chance to see it on the silver screen. I’m gonna study the one liners. I’m going to find all the good cues for all the good jokes. I’m going to figure out the props that go with the character quirks. I’m going to be silently preparing. Then, ten or fifteen years from now, when The Happening begins popping up in midnight theaters across America, I will be ready.
Holy cow, The Happening is silly.
(It would be a hilarious double-feature if paired with Mr.Brooks)