Winter's Fail

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Winter's Fail

MovieBob reviews what is, absolutely, one of the worst movies he has ever seen. The things he does for you people.

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No offense, Bob... but, Magical Realism is the genre where you're left in doubt of supernatural elements even occurring. Like the first two seasons of Millennium. This sounds like your standard, mescaline soaked, YA, Urban Fantasy adaptation.

This movie sounds GLORIOUSLY bad. I must watch it... without encouraging it with finance. Good thing this will be a staple of light night "What the fuck am i watching?" sessions for decades to come as i imagine in 2 years it will be an ulta-cheap airways filler.

Forget Robocop!

Do a review on this movie!

Starke:
No offense, Bob... but, Magical Realism is the genre where you're left in doubt of supernatural elements even occurring. Like the first two seasons of Millennium. This sounds like your standard, mescaline soaked, YA, Urban Fantasy adaptation.

I don't think so. Magical realism is when there is magic (usually subtle) in an otherwise realistic setting. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was magical realism because it had somebody living backwards in what was otherwise an ordinary world.

OT: Now I kinda want to see this movie, if only for Devil-Smith.

Well, now I really, really want to see this. Oh, if only I had a girlfriend, I could totally score a home run just by making jokes through the whole thing.

To be honest i do kind of want to see it now. I always had a certain fondness of overproduced, overambitious What-were-they-even-thinking movies.

Well... at least it sounds like the entertaining kind of bad rather than the bland, formulaic kind of bad. There are certain moods where that brand of special awfulness can be just the tonic. I swear there was a time when Russell Crowe was better at picking his roles.

If Rifftrax makes a riff of this movie, that will be reason enough for me to buy them both. And I've never bought Rifftrax or seen MST3K before.

It makes me wonder whether this was originally conceived along these lines or just the victim of multiple re-writes. I mean if it's that incoherent, someone in the production team must have known it was absolute tripe.

I can't wait to see what people like Doug Walker make of this movie, although that may be a terrible thing to say - I get the feeling that they die a little inside every time they finish viewing a film like this. What a bizarre, baffling, bumbling, boggling, butt-munching production it sounds like. Boo.

Andrew Siribohdi:
Forget Robocop!

Do a review on this movie!

Um. He just did. I mean, unless you want him to go over the technical stuff in more detail, there's not much left to talk about. (Maybe he'll just spend the whole review going FUUUUUUUUUUUU)

I would so see this because it sounds interesting, but it has Colin Farrell in it and I can't stand him.

"an Earthbound former Angel who he once helped turn human"
If that role wasn't played by Nicholas Cage, I officially hate this movie.

A shame. I was going to watch it because Neil Gaiman recommended it, but if it's that bad....

Thank you, Bob, for your sacrifices. I personally appreciate it.

However...I'm going to watch this movie (with a TON of alcohol) when its out on video just to see Will Smith as the Devil. And also because it sounds like a good drinking game.

UFriday:
A shame. I was going to watch it because Neil Gaiman recommended it, but if it's that bad....

Hell, I'm willing to give it a shot just for that. And I have to say that lately Bob and I have been on the opposite ends of the enjoyment spectrum, so I think this may turn out as a winner for me. The last movies we agreed on were things like Drive, Transformers, The Great Gatsby, and Warm Bodies. If this movie turns out to be good, I may just declare Bob my new Roger Ebert and only watch the stuff he dislikes and avoid like the plague anything he raves about.

Okay... (*deep breath*)

I read the book some years ago at the prompting of my sweetie. I rather liked it. And if you've read the book, you know that the only way to make a movie out of it would be to have Peter Jackson split it up into at least three movies, each no less that 2-1/2 hours long.

Author Mark Helprin (not to be confused with right-wing hack Mark Halperin) has a way of writing about places and environments on a scale that makes words like, "vast," and, "massive," wholly inadequate. The closest imagery I can reach is in the Fritz Lang silent film Metropolis, whose shots of the city and its Babylon Tower suggest that kind of scale. Helprin writes New York City on that scale. It's the same New York you know -- there's an extended sequence in the constellation-covered ceiling of Grand Central Terminal -- but Helprin writes things so that things seem vastly larger, more ethereal, and much more wonderous than their real-world counterparts. Think of the ballroom dance scene in the movie The Fisher King. That sort of thing would be entirely at home in Helprin's New York.

As a consequence, describing Winter's Tale the book is very difficult because of that ever-present ethereal quality. Several of the characters exist "out of time" -- not exactly immortal, but not bound to exist through all the days from then until now. Perhaps a cleaner way to imagine this conceit would be as semi-cohesive spirits who de-incarnate in the late 1800's and reincarnate in the present day. I suppose doing this lets Helprin write a story whose scale matches the environments and places he's writing. It all contributes to the book's near-omnipresent other-worldly feel.

There are also a number of parallel plots running, with many more characters, and this is where the movie runs into trouble. The love story between Peter Lake and Beverly Penn is just one of several. And though it has significant impact, it is not the main story in the book. So to make the movie, they had to rip that single story out, snapping all the interconnecting threads and support structure. They apparently then filled in the mangled bits with Spackle and called it a movie.

Here's the smallest example of how bad a mismatch the movie is with the book. When I saw the previews for it in the theater, I and my sweetie (who adores the book) looked at Russell Crowe's character, and we both immediately thought to ourselves, "Pearly Soames isn't that tall." Now, what that should tell you is that Helprin conjured up some pretty powerful, lasting imagery in his book, because we both immediately spotted the mismatch. It seems the filmmakers whiffed on the rest of the book's aspects as well.

I'm guessing someone in Whollyodd optioned the book, then tried to give an elevator pitch for a film version of it, and everything in the film proceeded from that pitch -- except that such a pitch is impossible, because the book defies attempts to describe it. I've just spent the last half-hour and five paragraphs failing to do so. Winter's Tale isn't so much about story and plot points, it's about atmosphere and mood and titanic cities and tiny people against the sprawling tapestry of time trying to find their place in it all.

And a supernatural milk horse.

If you want to get a sense of Helprin's writing without plowing through the whole of Winter's Tale, go find a copy of another of Helprin's books, A City in Winter, which is ostensibly a children's book, but still has that same sense of vast scale.

I've said this on other sites, but initially this movie stuck out as an experiment to determine if it is possible to die from suffocation by Oirish.

But wow... Thank you for this, Bob. From the first time I saw the trailer on the cable VOD channel, I was curious to know just what the hell movie had resulted from the 2-3 stories stitched together. To learn there's at least 5-6 at work here is horrifying and strangely admirable.

I had a similar picture of the screenplay for this being dug out of a locker decorated with pictures of Celtic faeries. I thought 'Once Upon A Time: Neverland' was the worst bit of fan-fiction to actually be made into a Hollywood production. Clearly I miscalculated...

What in the name of Judas Rocking Priest did I just read? I think I got high and went a little more insane just from what Bob described.

Bob, you had me in stitches! I had to read the same paragraph two or three times, partly in disbelief, partly because I wanted to re-read your perfectly described experience.
Anyway, I will certainly watch this movie! You have piqued my morbid interest.
(I agree with other posters, make a review of this!)

*blinks*

I'm sorry, but could someone repeat that to me? You lost me at the part where Will Smith was a devil or something.

Thunderous Cacophony:

Starke:
No offense, Bob... but, Magical Realism is the genre where you're left in doubt of supernatural elements even occurring. Like the first two seasons of Millennium. This sounds like your standard, mescaline soaked, YA, Urban Fantasy adaptation.

I don't think so. Magical realism is when there is magic (usually subtle) in an otherwise realistic setting. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was magical realism because it had somebody living backwards in what was otherwise an ordinary world.

OT: Now I kinda want to see this movie, if only for Devil-Smith.

Benjamin Button's kind of a bad example, in that something explicitly supernatural is going on. Though, in the long term, magical realism is probably doomed to become "low fantasy in a modern setting," much the same way urban fantasy has become "modern day with elves vampires" or "Shadowrun without the cyberpunk elements." Doesn't mean we have to hasten it's demise.

Also... I should have sensed Mark Helprin's idiocy all over this. I do find it amusing that the copy printed nine years ago lists it as "now a major motion picture," meaning this film languished in hell for close to a decade. I guess now we know why.

ThunderCavalier:
*blinks*

I'm sorry, but could someone repeat that to me? You lost me at the part where Will Smith was a devil or something.

It's an adaptation of a novel by a guy who thinks Google is conspiring to destroy copyright, and by extension Western Civilization, and god, I wish I was making that up. The book's from 1983, the film's been in development hell since at least 2005, and you want it to make sense?

EDIT: I'm doing him a little bit of a disservice, he presents Google as blissfully out of touch, and seems to think that a faction on the internet is out to destroy copyright, but, you know... still...

Wow that hurt to read I have no idea how I could handle watching it. I have to say despite it's oddness the thing that turns me off is that whole red herring bit with the first girl. It just seems really cold somehow. How can you set someone up with that kind of illness and that kind of innocent personality and have her "fucked to death" letting the villain win and then ooops sorry she wasn't even the right person. Her death doesn't even matter? It was just a silly misunderstanding. Really? That's your twist? That sounds worse then an it was all a dream ending.

I thought this was just an adaptation of the Shakespeare play. You mean to tell me it has nothing to do with it? :(

That play has the greatest stage direction in history: Exit, Pursued by a Bear

Wait, the hero has a magical black friend and a magical inuit friend? Leave some magical minorities for the rest of us, you greedy so-and-so! I don't even have one magical friend helping me out...

First that was a hilarious read. But seriously bob: "The things I do for you people." Really? You watched a bad movie. A really bad movie. Of that I have no doubt. What you described might well be one of the worst things ever created by human beings. But are you really going to act like some kind of martyr because you watched an awful, horrible movie? You fell on a sword for all of us on this one?

Barbas:
I can't wait to see what people like Doug Walker make of this movie, although that may be a terrible thing to say - I get the feeling that they die a little inside every time they finish viewing a film like this. What a bizarre, baffling, bumbling, boggling, butt-munching production it sounds like. Boo.

His review of Batman and Robin was literally one of the most hilarious moments of my entire life. I was fearing for my life near the end of such. Yes I was genuinely worried that review was going to make me laugh myself to death. The part where he starts waving the gun around, shouting about "a bat credit card?!!" yeah, could barely breathe after that. So maybe this will spawn a similar video.

Probably gonna pass on this one for the time being. I'm all for bad movies, but optimally clumsy ones. Preferably with boobs and explosions. This just sounds like a big-budget PG-13 misfire for a demographic I wish didn't exist, and those deserve nothing more than to die a slow, painful death.

ewhac:
SNIP

Okay, so I'm a guy and, after reading your summary, I going to have to pick up Winter's Tale now. It actually sounds really good, or at least like the kind of thing I'd enjoy. Thanks for your post. :-)

EDIT: Oh, and I have to see this movie sometime, too. It just sounds sooo bad. That's hilarious.

Drake the Dragonheart:
"The things I do for you people." Really? You watched a bad movie. A really bad movie. Of that I have no doubt. What you described might well be one of the worst things ever created by human beings. But are you really going to act like some kind of martyr because you watched an awful, horrible movie? You fell on a sword for all of us on this one?

He was being intentionally dramatic for comedic effect.

Starke:

ThunderCavalier:
*blinks*

I'm sorry, but could someone repeat that to me? You lost me at the part where Will Smith was a devil or something.

It's an adaptation of a novel by a guy who thinks Google is conspiring to destroy copyright, and by extension Western Civilization, and god, I wish I was making that up. The book's from 1983, the film's been in development hell since at least 2005, and you want it to make sense?

EDIT: I'm doing him a little bit of a disservice, he presents Google as blissfully out of touch, and seems to think that a faction on the internet is out to destroy copyright, but, you know... still...

Admittedly, a "faction" on the internet is out to destroy copyright as we know it.

Beyond that this whole thing sounds like something you'd see if you were having fever hallucinations in a teenage girl's bedroom.

Kargathia:

Starke:

ThunderCavalier:
*blinks*

I'm sorry, but could someone repeat that to me? You lost me at the part where Will Smith was a devil or something.

It's an adaptation of a novel by a guy who thinks Google is conspiring to destroy copyright, and by extension Western Civilization, and god, I wish I was making that up. The book's from 1983, the film's been in development hell since at least 2005, and you want it to make sense?

EDIT: I'm doing him a little bit of a disservice, he presents Google as blissfully out of touch, and seems to think that a faction on the internet is out to destroy copyright, but, you know... still...

Admittedly, a "faction" on the internet is out to destroy copyright as we know it.

Beyond that this whole thing sounds like something you'd see if you were having fever hallucinations in a teenage girl's bedroom.

Not one lead by Google, though. The way he writes it, it sounds like the goddamn Illuminati is out there plotting to devour and destroy copyright. The entirety of that book is a bit like that. I can't speak for Winter's Tale obviously, but Digital Barbarism possesses a disconnection from reality that would be fantastic for a classic wardrobe fantasy novel, unfortunately, it's supposed to be a coherent discussion of intellectual property laws.

This surely doesnt exist as a movie! I must be dreaming still.
Though i havent had a drink for a few days, that could explain some things.
At least it doesnt have Richard E Grant smugging himself across the screen leaving smears of smug throughout the film. On that basis alone, i should watch it. Sounds like the batshit crazy idea that would be good for a shiggle. What were those actors thinking though?

**huge wide eyes**

I have GOT to see this movie!

It sounds so utterly awful.

Bob, I have officially taken your warnings about this film as a challenge. I now MUST see it.

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