As a rule, I love my job. It's fucking sweet. I wouldn't trade it for the world. As someone who spent many of his formative years mopping floors, dusting shelves and cleaning toilets at a Blockbuster on the North Side of Chicago I realize that even a bad day at the movies is better than a good day just about anywhere else.
But there are times when reviewing the Daddy Day Camps of the world does not seem like a particularly dignified thing for an adult to do with his life. There are times when I trudge wearily out of theaters seething with contempt for the abomination I'd just witnessed.
Not only do these films fail to engender laughter or enjoyment within me: they actually cause the opposite of joy, a sort of angry, bitter, sour emptiness in the pit of my stomach, a fist-sized ball of pure hatred at the core of my being.
These are the movies I reserve the dreaded and incredibly rare "F" for. I honestly wish I could turn in a four-word review for Daddy Day Camp that reads "The horror, the horror" accompanied by a big, fat, wholly deserved "F". In the late year or so the following films have all filled me with murderous rage: Epic Movie, Let's Go To Prison, Doogal and Employee Of The Month. For me there's nothing more soul-crushing or dispiriting than a terrible comedy, especially ones that ooze contempt for their audiences and limply recycle stale pop-culture references.
That's part of the reason I enjoy doing Commentary Tracks of the Damned. It's a chance for the monsters responsible for these films to take responsibility for their actions. And by "monsters" I mean "perfectly nice, reasonable human beings who probably read to their kids every night and, unlike me, don't pretend not to speaka de English when their alma matter calls looking for a handout." I can imagine exactly how director Fred Savage will defend his film on the inevitable Daddy Day Camp commentary: he'll talk about what a trooper Cuba Gooding Jr. was, and how it was both fun and challenging working with so many kids but that being a former child actor himself made it a little easier, and what was improvised and what parts got big laughs at test screenings.
I want to shout at the screen during these moments "No! There are no laughs! There is no joy or humanity! You're selling nothing but Soul-Death in ninety-minute increments!"
At this point people generally tell me to calm the fuck down and realize that it's only a movie, and a comedy or kid film at that. That argument never carried much weight for me. If we subject children to an endless diet of condescending, insulting horseshit how can we ever expect them to demand more? I can't see the logic behind grading mercenary, soulless Hollywood drivel on an insanely lenient curve just because it doesn't aspire to greatness. I don't expect a hundred-and-fifty-million-dollar movie about giant robots fighting to be art. But I don't think it's asking too much for it to be at least a little bit fun, and I'm not just saying that because I overheard a conversation at lunch today where some dude was saying, in an utterly unironic way, that Transformers was one of the best films he'd seen in years, that it made him proud to be an American and that it was particularly awesome cause Megan Fox is hot "in a totally attainable way, like her face isn't perfect or nothin'".
Am I humorless scold who needs to chill the fuck out, take a Xanax and lower my standards or do other people feel the same way after a particularly abysmal movie (particularly a comedy)? What was the last movie that angried up your blood something awful?