Monday Morning Quarterback Part II

By BOP Staff

June 17, 2008

Should I make the putt, or should I build up false hope by missing it?

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M. Night Shyamalan totally thinks that his next movie will be the best thing you've ever seen.

Kim Hollis: Is M. Night Shyamalan ever coming back from the career slump he is in or do you believe he is permanently damaged goods?

Shane Jenkins: I suspect this may be the last movie for awhile where they try to use his name to sell tickets. When word of mouth gets out about The Happening, his name is going to be the e. coli of suspense movies.

I think Night's best bet is to follow the Woody Allen model. Allen was stuck in a rut for a decade or so, and couldn't drum up any interest in his projects. He finally stepped out of his comfort zone with Match Point, and the trailers barely mentioned his name at all. That movie made many reconsider what Allen was capable of. I think Night needs his own Match Point - low on hype and outsized promises, but with a sneaky curveball to the gut. His P.T. Barnum act ain't cutting it anymore.

Tim Briody: His next project is apparently an adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender, which is a hit Nickelodon animated program. This is absolutely perfect for him, because as far as his original projects go, it's becoming pretty clear that he was a one-trick-pony who then got lucky two more times (or three, depending on how you felt about The Village).

Max Braden: He's only damaged himself by directing his own stories. His ability to repeatedly hook audiences with his stories demonstrates a crucial awareness of what appeals to audiences, and he's obviously the type of person who wants to keep trying even without studio support. He will hit and miss in the future, but I wouldn't apply the word permanent to his career either way.




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Reagen Sulewski: Shyamalan is damaged goods until he learns that he is not the be all and end all of cinema.

Kim Hollis: He's Uwe Boll-like to me at this point, exhibiting no comprehension of what it is that people are criticizing about his films. His next film, Airbender, will target a completely different audience. If the studio is smart, they won't be marketing it as an M. Night Shyamalan film (see: the Wachowskis and Speed Racer). Of course, it's not helping matters any that he's going around yapping about how Airbender is going to be his Star Wars.

David Mumpower: Oh, I fully believe they will be his Star Wars...prequels. All of us at BOP have carped on how incongruous Shyamalan's behavior has been regarding The Happening. He would talk as if he were about to present Citizen Kane then he would show clips whose cinematic ancestor appeared to be Plan 9 from Outer Space. I fail to see how he overcomes his current circumstances if he is that far gone. You cannot fix a problem until you acknowledge its existence. The odd analogy I would make is that a few pro wrestlers develop a self-delusion where they become their fake characters. Goldberg was notorious for this. At some point, reality blurred for him to the point that he forgot what he was doing was make-believe. Shyamalan has become that sort of mark for his own skills, thereby causing him to miss the unmistakable fact that they are in dramatic decline.


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