Morning Report March 5,2012
Lets take a look around the film blog-o-sphere and see what is passing for news this morning.
Some mild buzz is stirring over the new Men In Black 3 trailer.
Nothing really of note here. The bloggers for the most part are indifferent to the trailer, citing its overall blandness and flashy but hollow appeal. In their defense, the trailer really doesn’t really make me wanna go see “Men in Black 3”. Sadly, it still looks like the sly sharp humor of the first film has been replaced by an overload of ridiculous camp and overused special effects. Basically, the film looks like it was directed by George Lucas, with a dash of irony. The one thing that is kind of interesting, concerning the film bloggers response to the trailer, is how the public perception of Will Smiths acting ability has shifted. If you remember when the Fresh Prince first made his foray onto the big screen, there was nobody, bigger, more charismatic, more likable, and more bankable than Mr. Smith. People were in love with his style and swagger, his irreverence, good looks, and undeniable comedic ability. Such attributes made his roles in shows and movies like “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”, “Six Degree’s of Separation”, “Made in America”, “Bad Boys”, “Independence Day”, “Men in Black”, “Enemy of the State”, and “Hitch” a success. Now however, the very things that people used to admire about a Will Smith performance, seems to have become irksome to the general movie watching public. At least as far as the film bloggers are concerned. AICN correspondent The Kidd writes in his review of the new trailer that “it’s a lot of the usual Will Smith playing Will Smith playing his character, in this case Agent J”. Katey Rich of Cinemablend also comments, in reference to an exchange in the trailer between Andy Warhol and Smith’s Agent J character that its “jarring nonsense Smith saying he will “slap the shiznit out of Andy Warhol. She wonders “when did Agent Jay start speaking in dated mid-90s slang?” Renn Brown over at C.H.U.D also comments on the exchange saying that “perhaps there is some context for the painfully out of date reference to a piece of slang that was never actually funny, but still… ew”
Think back a little over a decade ago to how in love everybody was with Will Smith and his comedic sensibilities. Now the films bloggers seemed to have summoned their vast knowledge of urban slang and comedic stylings to condemn Will Smiths newest performance based on the staleness of his jokes. I would argue first that the use of shiznit is not entirely that dated seeing as the use of the term first rose to prominence in the early to mid aughts (as popularized by the rapper Snoop Dogg) and not the mid 90’s. Secondly, I understand the argument of a joke being stale, but I don’t see how that applies to this movie being good or not. Isn’t that just you arguing your own comedic taste over whether or not the performer was able to pull the joke off. The art of the comedic performance has a more timeless quality than the current topic that is being lampooned or parodied. This is why films by Harold Lloyd, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, The Marx Brothers, and The Three Stooges have stayed around so long. This is why the Fresh Prince of Bel Air is still on the air 16 years after the show ended. Its because the comedic performances on the show are such a joy and pleasure to behold. There is so much talent and comedic skill on display that people could care less if the slang that was used is no longer around.
So if you didn’t like the trailer, then that is fine, but don’t blame it on Will Smith’s inability to tickle your funny bone. Believe me, this film looks like it has a lot more bigger problems than that.
By the way the whole Will Smith playing Will Smith comment is really a hollow criticism. Did we ever say something like that about Cary Grant, or Clint Eastwood. I understand someone not finding his work as appealing as they used to, but don’t blame a movie’s failure on the stars natural display of personality. I won’t begrudge a person some tokens their own identity in a performance, because when I go to a movie, I go to see the artistry that a person can bring to a particular role, both through and in-spite of their own personal nature. I don’t go to judge who they are as a person, and then use that judgement to condemn a film.