Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sports Fans are Dumb

Anyone who has ever read this blog will know that I'm a big sports fan.

Sometimes I think maybe that's a bad thing, and other times I am pretty sure I'm not nearly as big a sports fan as some people. Sometimes both of those are true at once.

And then sometimes I'm embarrassed for sports fans everywhere, and I think that maybe we should all take some stock in our lives.

I was just reading an article about how a football recruit to The University of Michigan tweeted a picture of himself setting fire to a recruiting letter sent to him by Ohio State University.

If the actions of this kid make you angry, you should just stop reading, and reevaluate what matters to you. If the actions of this kid make you want to kill him, you should stop reading, and seek help. If the actions of this kid make you not only want to kill him, but feel the need to let him know that... Please... PLEASE stop reading and turn yourself in to the institution. They're looking for you.

Sound crazy? It is crazy, absolutely. And yet... according to this article the kid is receiving death threats from enraged Ohio State fans. This is patently insane. There are so many things wrong with it that if I have to enumerate them, I'll be here all day (and really, should I need to?).

Of course Ohio State has come out and denounced the death threats. Oh wait... no they haven't. That's fairly typical for OSU who (if you'll excuse me, oh friends to the North) are not typically good about things like contrition and common sense.

I think my favorite part about the article is the OSU recruit who was all "Well... he doesn't need to have his life threatened, but... he DID post that picture, so...."


Sports fans are insane idiots most of the time.

And listen... this isn't an post designed to bash the silly OSU fans. My very own Reds have some of the craziest fans I've ever heard of. The Reds can go on a 10 game winning streak and the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd callers to the local sports radio show will be complaints.

The Reds traded for a young pitcher named Mat Latos in the off-season (a smart trade, by the way), and Mr. Latos went out and got beat up a bit in one of his first starts. First off, there are NO pitchers who haven't been hit hard on occasion. Second... Latos is a notoriously slow starter, but like.. baseball is a damned marathon, not a sprint.

So anyway, after this bad start, his wife was harassed on Twitter. His WIFE. That would be like you having a shitty day at your job, and some random person you've never met calling your wife and talking shit to her about your shitty day. There is absolutely NO logic to it. I don't give a shit if you are cousins with Yasmani Grandal (one of the Reds traded for Latos), there's no reason to talk shit to a dude's wife. Really, there's no reason to talk shit to anyone, Mat Latos included. Incidentally, Latos has been fucking NAILS the last 5 weeks, so all that hand-wringing and dick-baggery was for naught. Good job.

Oh, and this isn't a state of Ohio thing either.

One of the most interesting stories from the past couple of years in sports is about the insane person who was a big enough University of Alabama football fan to name his kid BEAR. This idiot decided to take it upon himself to ruin one of the great and long-standing traditions of Alabama's rival Auburn University.

For a hundred years, after every Auburn victory, the entire fan base on campus convened around this piece of real estate on the Auburn campus and celebrated around these two ancient and giant oak trees.

Well, this Alabama douchebag poisoned the trees.

And then he called and bragged about it on the radio.

And then, in case you were wondering how the average Alabama fan feels about him, he was a guest of honor at a dozen Bowl parties this past January while the Crimson Tide won another National Title.

I should mention he's currently getting ready to stand trial for the felony he committed (and somehow pleaded "Not Guilty" to despite his recorded, unsolicited confession on the fucking radio).

Listen... I just don't get it.

When the Reds won the World Series in 1990, it was the greatest moment of my young life to that point. It's still high on the list, despite the fact that it's essentially a foggy memory at this point.

When Kenyon Martin broke his leg, I was devastated. When the Bengals lost to the Niners in 89, I cried. I LOVE my teams. I care about my sports. Anyone who watched my Facebook posts this past March when I had several Near-Breakdowns at the hands of my UC Bearcats will know that I care about my teams.

I'd never threaten to kill a 17 year old for torching a recruiting letter. I'd never light a cop car on fire *Cough* UK fans *Cough*. I'd never kill my rivals special trees.

If you're a fan that would, I'm just gonna go ahead and tell you to maybe sit the next one out, Champ.

You make me sad.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Making of The Muchacho

Many have asked what the origin of "Beefy Muchacho" is, and I must admit...

It's not all that glamorous.

From 2003 to 2006 I worked for a "Do-it-Yourself" web design company as a tech support associate. One of the things we were tasked with as IT guys was to create our own websites in order to both familiarize ourselves with the system, and also help with troubleshooting problems.

My buddy Alan had an e-mail address that involved the name "Brawny Hombre". This is essentially an ironic self-glossing, as he's wiry (sinewy?) and very, very white. So, you know... calling himself the Brawny Hombre in an e-mail address was funny to him. Still is.

Anyway, when it came time for him to make HIS website, he thought it through for a grand total of 30 seconds and settled upon BrawnyHombre.com. This made me laugh, and we were good pals, and we thought it would be cool if there was some sort of internal consistency. I mean... nobody would ever see these websites besides us. So, I went to a thesaurus and searched for synonyms for "Brawny".

"Beefy" seemed to be the funniest choice (and less ironic for me than Brawny is for him), and I thought it just went well with "Muchacho".

BeefyMuchacho.com was born.

That's... pretty much it. I just thought it was funny, and I've sort of built it from there, and run with it far more than any truly sane person. In the meantime, I've created logos and personas and had my car personalized, and my shoes...

Alan and I were talking earlier (Still very good friends), and he brought up how funny it is how it started with his lark of an e-mail address, and it really doesn't have any hidden meaning.

It could have been him.

I then made the analogy that he's like the Winklevoss twins, and I'm Mark Zuckerberg. He maybe had the idea, but I  ran with it.

Maybe perhaps I've run with it past a sane degree... Evidence of that?

I just got my Beefy Muchacho tattoo.

I figure that being the Beefy Muchacho has been very good to me, so even if it fades into obscurity at some point, I'll be glad to remember the days of The Beefy Muchacho.

Here's a time lapse film of the tattooing itself. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

It's About People

I had a thought earlier that went a little something like this:

“Muchacho… It’s been a while since you riled folks on your blog. Why not tackle the subject of gay marriage?”

I guess I may as well start with the crux of it, right?

I am unequivocally in favor of gay marriage. I am also straight.

I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot in the past week or so, because first the state of North Carolina banned gay marriage, and then President Obama spoke out in support of it. Here’s what he said:

"I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors, when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together; when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that 'don't ask, don't tell' is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”
Really, I think this is beautifully said. I had someone say to me on Facebook that President Obama would say anything for votes, and you know… maybe that’s true, but I also think that he could find better quotes to work toward that goal. Far more people would be swayed by him coming out in support of looser gun laws, or by him stating that he’s “pro life”, or by him.. you know… turning white. (Should I delete? Naaahhhh). I’m not sure that being an advocate for gay rights has ever really been a swing issue. Overwhelmingly, the people who are FOR gay rights are already going to be voting for him. It’s actually conceivable that he LOST votes from the conservative, Christian African Americans.

All that is fine, but you know… for the life of me, I’ll never understand why people are so adamantly against Gay marriage. Or why they care. Or why people are so threatened by the very idea of it. So much that republicans made it a ballot issue in every swing state in 2004.. You see, they knew that the best way to get people to come out to vote was to cater to their most basic bigotry, and you know.. while they were there they may as well vote for the Republican.

I do try to understand. I try very hard.

Most people saying they’re against it say that it’s a religious thing. Or they’ll say that it “destroys the institute of marriage” or that “legalizing gay marriage would open the door to other deviant behavior (such as bestiality and polygamy).” or that “allowing gay people to get married will encourage people to be gay” or that “the bible condemns homosexuality” or that… well, that’s enough for now.. Let’s tackle them, yes?

“Gay Marriage Destroys the Institute of Marriage”

I actually heard a different variation on that. A guy I worked with long ago once told me that he was against gay marriage because that would make his marriage less special, somehow. That he viewed marriage as a special club, and that if they started letting more people in, it wouldn’t be as exclusive.

I see this as essentially the same argument, at least in spirit. What I’ve always failed to understand is that folks are more than happy to hurl the “wrecks the institution” bomb at just about the drop of a hat when it comes to gay people getting married, but they always seem to conveniently ignore all those straight people who constantly slap the precious institute of marriage right in its face. Like Britney Spears who’s been married twice, (Including once for just a shade over 2 days), and is engaged for a third time. Or Kim Kardashian who was married for a hair under 3 months, and essentially admitted it was a stunt for television. I’m just bringing up famous people because we all know the stories, but there are just as many people who run off and marry a stranger in Las Vegas after a night of heavy drinking, or they get married and divorced within weeks, or you know.. all kinds of real tributes to the institution of marriage.

I can understand why people would prefer those paragons of heterosexual virtue over two committed individuals who truly love each other. Totally makes sense to me.

Rush Limbaugh recently said “"We've arrived at a point where the President of the United States is going to lead a war on traditional marriage."

I can see his point, you know.. Rush is, after all, a huge supporter of traditional marriage. He’s been married four times.

“Legalizing gay marriage would open the door to other deviant behavior such as bestiality.”

To make this argument, you have to make the presumption that homosexuality is a perversion or a deviance on par with bestiality. That is… dumb. I’m sorry, but it is. The biggest difference between these two acts is, or should be obvious. It’s consent. A dog can not choose to have sex with a human. A dog is a creature of instinct. Humans have the free will to choose. That’s, essentially the reason pedophilia is illegal too. A child can’t make that decision. That’s why it’s abuse and not love. Two adult men or two adult women can choose just as easily and logically as one of each.
Secondly, to say that gay marriage is somehow some sort of gateway to perversion is completely baseless. I know gay men and women, and to my knowledge none of them have ever wanted to sleep with their dog, or marry their cat, or say naughty things to their parrot. Gay marriage presents no more a precedent for marrying a dog, than does so-called traditional marriage. It just doesn’t. Do you know why? Because we’re talking about things that aren’t connected. It would be just as logical to say that reading the obituaries every Tuesday will make it rain in Syracuse.

“Allowing gay people to get married will encourage people to be gay.”

That makes perfect sense. In fact, I can’t believe I never thought of it before, but I need to go hang out at the ballpark. I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m throwing a perfect curveball in no time. Don’t worry.. the fact that my knees aren’t any good, and the fact that I haven’t played baseball in 15 years is totally irrelevant. If I hang around some pitchers, I’m sure I’ll end up in the majors soon enough.

“The Bible Condemns Homosexuality”

Well… That’s true. The bible also features:

The Earth is created not once, but twice.
God (the omnipotent being) gets tired
Talking snakes,
Bushes that catch fire, speak, and do not burn.
Rivers turning to blood
Men of insanely old age (Noah was 500 when his sons were born)
Giants roaming the Earth.
People getting turned into salt.

That’s all in the first 2 books.

“Wait Muchacho… Wait wait wait… Those are all stories. Allegorical or metaphorical. They’re not intended to be taken literally. But the LAWS. The LAWS are clear.”

Oh… well that changes everything.

Yes, according to the Book of Leviticus, it is forbidden for a man to lie with another man.

It is also forbidden to eat the fruit from a tree that is younger than 3 years old. It is also forbidden for a man to cut his hair or shave his beard. There’s a passage that says that if you “curse your father or mother “ you should be put to death. There’s a passage that goes into detail about how if a person is a witch or wizard and sends out their spirit that they should be put to death (This particular section is the actual support of the puritan witch trials). Also it says

- Grow two different crops in the same field
- Wear clothes made of different types of fabric
- Have sex with a woman on her period
- If a priest’s daughter is a whore, she should be killed (This also presumes that priests can have children)
- People with deformities or handicaps can’t go to church.
- You can’t eat a beetle, but you CAN eat a locust.
- If a guy has a wet dream while in the army, he has to leave camp until he re-purifies himself.

My favorite- If a guy is getting beaten up, and his wife stops the fight by grabbing the other guy’s balls… you’re supposed to chop her hand off. Seems oddly specific. I wonder if Moses was in need of a bag of frozen peas.

For anyone who says they’re against gay marriage because the bible says it’s against the rules..I would urge please go to their closet and check out how many poly-blends they have hanging on the racks.

Who is the one to determine which rules are valid and which rules are old-fashioned?

This is a fairly straightforward question. If the bible is to be taken literally, as many Christians believe, I wonder why I don’t see more heavily hairy men wandering around. If it’s to be taken and then interpreted, who’s to say whose interpretation is correct?

In the end, we can argue about religion or whatever forever, and because there are a million religions with a million different views, we’ll never get anywhere. I believe what I believe, and you believe what you believe.
The question regarding why it should be YOUR religion that dictates what other people do is a valid one, and one for which you don’t have an answer. A Baptist will say the same thing as a Catholic, and they’ll say the same thing as a Jew. “Because we’re right”. Well… Prove it. There’s no unifying, official faith. People’s religions are as varied as grains of sand, and therefore governing based on religion is impossible.

If only we lived in a country founded on other principles…

Oh wait…

We live in America where there’s a very specific division of religion and government. Despite what many people believe, the USA isn’t a Christian country, at least not governmentally speaking. Some people argue that the Founding Fathers built this country upon Christian values, and they may have personally held certain beliefs, but they were very specific regarding the nature of the USA.

From The Treaty of Tripoli (Ratified in 1797, less than 10 years after the drafting of the Constitution.):

the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion”.
Thomas Jefferson was the first to overtly discuss separation of church and state when he wrote:

America shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
There’s also a section where he talks about how religion is between a person and their God, and only them. This is essentially my position regarding prayer in public schools. There’s a great distinction between being against prayer and being against public school mandated prayer. This is a distinction that is often ignored… I’m digressing. (Full disclosure… I had 12 years of Catholic school. 8 of which included multiple daily prayers.)

My point of all of this is that marriage being legal in the United States business isn’t REALLY an issue of religion, or at least it shouldn’t be. There are two kinds of marriages, and the law is only concerned about one.

If the Tofu Muchacha and I went to a Shawnee medicine man and had him “marry us”, the only folks who need to recognize that marriage are Me, The TM, and the Shawnee people. On the other hand, if the TM and I went to the courthouse and had a judge marry us, the only people who need to care are me, the TM, and the Government of the US.
Do you see the distinction?

You see… when people get all upset about gay marriage being legal or not, I don’t understand, because it has absolutely nothing to do with them. It doesn’t have to do with their religion. It doesn’t have to do with the sanctity of their religious marriage. It doesn’t have to do with them in any way. It would be like me telling my neighbor he wasn’t allowed to put up a basketball hoop in his driveway because I hate basketball.

It only has to do with those two people having the same LEGAL rights in the United States as any other 2 people. The United States is a country founded by folks who rebelled against an unjust governing body. People who were not given the same legal rights as their countrymen across the Atlantic. Oddly, I see a lot of connection.

Look… My stance Is this:

If your religion forbids gay marriage, fine. That’s on you. If you think it’s an abomination, fine. That’s also on you.

The laws of the United States are adjustable exactly because our founders had the foresight to know that times change. They knew that the people writing the laws were human, and could not possibly be expected to be exactly just at all times. They created avenues for course correction.

- Married women were not legally permitted to own property under their own names in all states until 1900.
- It wasn’t until 1975 that married women could have credit in their own name.
- Interracial marriage wasn’t allowed in many states until the 1960s. It was illegal in the state of Alabama until the year 2000.

Times change. Laws should correct to become MORE just, not less.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

My Titanic Blog

 The makings of a much more interesting film.

[Editors Note, written immediately before posting]
I haven’t seen
Titanic since December of 1997. That’s on purpose. I’ve accidentally seen random scenes here and there on TV, but other than that, my memory of the film is ENTIRELY based on my recollection from that one, single viewing. I wrote this blog over the course of a couple of weeks, and I discussed some of my points with some known Titanic fans throughout the process. I’ve come to realize that some of the details of my arguments (specifically relating to the ins and outs of the specific plot) are possibly not entirely accurate. I’ve decided to leave the points as-is, and am planning a follow-up post where I re-watch the film in its 2D entirety, and adjust my opinions as needed. I promise to be honest with my re-assessment.

Okay, so it’s no secret that I think Titanic is just about the worst. I’ve stated it on numerous occasions. I’m not trying to hide the fact.

I guess I just always assumed that I’d established my full argument as to WHY I feel that way, and looking back through the blog, I realize I never really have.
My friend Annie, who has appeared as a guest blogger here before when talking about Disney, has thrown down the gauntlet, and essentially accused me of hating it only because it’s popular.
Being a Muchacho of honor, I have decided to finally and officially break it down. I assure you that Titanic’s popularity is only a small reason I hate it.

First off… I don’t hate Justin Bieber. I don’t hate Miley Cyrus or Katy Perry or Avatar. At most, I have no real opinion at all of Bieber. I can’t name a song of his, I didn’t see his movie. My only thought about Justin Bieber is that he makes me feel old. I always have this sneaking feeling that if I were 17 I would understand his deal, and I feel like I’m so far removed from knowing his deal that it sort of depresses me.
Avatar… If I’m being honest, I have to say I don’t get it. I mean… I liked it as much as the next guy, but I don’t get why this movie earned more than any other movie ever. Despite that disconnect, I have no real negative feelings about it. If it had beaten The Hurt Locker for Best Picture, I’m fairly sure my perspective on the movie wouldn’t change. I’d certainly yell and rant that it didn’t deserve to win Best Picture, but I do that with Chicago also, and I like Chicago just fine.
I guess the heart of this first point is that I’m not anti-populist. I am no hipster who intentionally seeks out only the most obscure and off-the-beaten-path movies to like. Shit… My favorite movie of 2012 so far was The Hunger Games, which is arguably targeting the same people that Titanic targeted 15 years ago.

Titanic’s popularity isn’t what makes me hate it, and more importantly, it’s not what makes me argue that it’s actually not good. It’s part of what makes me argue that it’s the worst movie ever made, but I’ll get to that…
I guess I have two separate arguments, really… The first is that Titanic isn’t a good movie, and the second is that Titanic is the worst movie ever made.

That sounds like varying levels of the same premise, but really they’re very different, because while there are a million terrible movies made every year, there’s rarely a movie, no matter how bad it is, to merit consideration in the “Worst of All Time” race.

Let’s start off with why I think it’s a bad movie…

1) The main characters are almost entirely unlikable.

Jack Dawson is a smug little d-bag who you’d likely want to punch if you met him in real life. He’s the guy who sings “I Gave My Love a Cherry” and says all the right things, and offers to draw her. Amazingly he’s awesome at guitar and he’s awesome at drawing, but certainly that is merely coincidental to his volunteering.

The Kate Winslett version of Rose is okay I suppose. Sure, she’s flighty, but she’s young and it’s Kate Winslett, so it’s to some degree forgivable. Although, the fact that she tolerates Billy Zane for even a half a second makes her unlikable by association alone. HOWEVER… that old lady version of Rose is the absolute WORST. Think about this for a second… That old crone dragged a whole team of scientists out into the middle of the North Atlantic to search for “The Heart of the Ocean”, when she really had it the whole time. And then, once they decided it was a lost cause, she tosses it! How many millions of dollars did that damned expedition cost? Just so she could hitch a ride to say farewell to the love of her life who she knew for two whole days. Blech… I hate that old lady. Thank god Britney Spears’ astronaut boyfriend retrieved it for her, or that priceless artifact would still be at the bottom of the ocean.

Oh… and maybe it’s a personal objection, but I feel like the relationship between Jack and Rose could have existed just as easily without the existence of Billy Zane at all. They could have given her some other hoity-toity rich girl issue that Jack breaks down, but instead they just make her a girl who cheats on her fiancĂ© (odious as he may be), and that seems unnecessary and unseemly.
2) The tertiary characters aren’t much better.
The Italian guy who might as well go around the whole movie going “Thatsa bigga pizza pie!”, or Kathy Bates as Molly Brown, the most broadly painted character in history. Or the aforementioned Billy Zane, who may as well have been wearing a Snidely Whiplash mustache he was so fucking evil. There’s no grey area with any of the characters. The Italian guy is merely Italian. Molly Brown is a damned quote machine. Billy Zane is only missing the railroad tracks and rope.

3) The movie is way too long.
I’m sorry… but it is. Three hours and fourteen minutes. We’re not talking about The English Patient, a love story that spans years. We’re talking about a movie that lasts longer than the actual sinking of the ship. If the writing was good, or if the characters were super charismatic, I’d give it more leeway, but it isn’t. Don’t get me wrong… I don’t shy away from an epic. I love all three Lord of the Rings movies, and they’re all longer. Again, though… the justification for that is that the story spans months of time. It takes place in a hundred locations. The books are hundreds and hundreds of pages. What it always struck me is that Cameron was TRYING to make something big and long and epic. It was a show-off thing. It was also a lazy thing, because maybe a couple fewer loving shots of the boat (that look like matte paintings anyway) and maybe one or two fewer annoying scenes between Rose and Billy Zane… You may have yourself the start of a picture. Oh… and the framework scenes with Bill Paxton, at his absolute worst, talking to the old lying lady… terrible. I don’t care.

In the end, the only explanation for it is that Cameron is overly self-indulgent (Also potentially explaining Avatar’s GIANT run time. I mean… learn to use AVID for fuck’s sake.)

4) There are a lot of manipulative movies, none quite as overtly so.
I’ve often said that the movie is manipulative, and I stand by that. There was a counterpoint made that a lot of movies are manipulative, and yes… that’s totally true. The Pianist is a decent movie that loses points because a lot of its emotion stems from it being set during the Holocaust. That’s like hitting a ball off a tee. It’s easy to make people cry about one of the worst things to ever happen on the planet. One of my favorite movies, Saving Private Ryan, includes a scene at the end that is acutely designed to make a person weep. The primary difference is that while there are manipulative scenes in most movies, Titanic seems to be set to manipulate and steer through every scene from start to finish. One would argue that this is called “Directing” and as a theatre director myself, I can see that logic, but sometimes the better choice is to let the material do it’s own talking. Presenting something simply can be just as powerful, and not quite as overtly manipulative. I’m talking about watching Thomas Andrews setting his clock, or the old couple cuddling on the bed as the water fills the cabin, or the all of the lingering shots of the poor people drowning. I get that many of those things happened (poor people dying) or may have happened (nobody fucking knows about Andrews, besides that he went down with the ship, like most men on board, and those old people are pure fiction.)… That leads me to…

5) Something about it feels gross to me.

The Titanic was a real ship. With real people. Who really died.

“But wait, Muchacho… What about: Glory, Gettysburg, Saving Private Ryan, EVERY WAR MOVIE EVER?”

Yeah, that’s true too. Except that I kind of feel like every one of those movies is primarily about those events, or honoring those events in some way. I have always felt like Titanic was James Cameron’s project ABOUT a love story that happens to take place on The Titanic. I just feel like it’s somehow disrespectful. And when you lionize fictional (and unlikeable people) while there are real, and powerful stories to actually tell… it just feels like you’re talking out of both sides of your mouth. On the one hand, you want to show off how historically accurate you made the ship, and how much you care about deep sea archeology. On the other hand, you ignore a hundred compelling TRUE stories and completely make one up about a slick, boyish con artist and a overly privileged rich girl who also cheats on her fiancĂ©.

Maybe I’m wrong, but it just feels icky.

In fairness, I also felt that way about National Treasure when Nic Cage was tossing the Declaration of Independence around, and shooting up Liberty Hall. It just gives me the willies.

So anyway… that’s the primary thrust of part one of my argument that Titanic is not a good movie. I have other, more petty, less reasoned…um… reasons, but I don’t want to like…go on and on when I’m maybe only about halfway through.
Now, on to how I can possibly call this movie, even if we’re all accepting that it’s bad, the Worst Movie of All Time.

This is a more complicated premise, because, well… there are some horrific movies out there, and it’s very difficult to make the argument that Titanic, a movie with undeniable technical prowess, and clear talent can be worse than a movie like Manos: Hands of Fate, or Plan Nine from Outer Space. Both measurably bad movies.
In fact, almost all evidence regarding Titanic would lead me to the counter argument, that it is, in fact, the GREATEST movie ever made. It won Best Picture and Best Director. It made something like 650 million dollars at the box office. Meaning that it was both critically poplular and popularly popular, which I will grant makes my argument possibly silly. Well… it’s my argument, and I’m gonna make it.

Obviously, in order to buy into my opinion that it’s the worst ever, you have to first accept that my primary premise is correct.. that the movie is, in fact, bad. So I’ll assume we agree on that point. Or at least that I swayed you. Hooray!

As I said before, there are a ton of bad movies. My buddy Brawny Hombre would argue that Bad Movies are actually the best movies. He would also argue that movies like Armageddon are bad, and while that may be true, I don’t think he’d argue that it would be in the conversation for worst ever.

What is the difference, then?

Well… in the case of Plan Nine From Outer Space, it’s the sheer, willful, almost GLEEFUL way Ed Wood ignored every facet of the production. Writing. Continuity. Acting. Direction. These were all secondary to “Getting the movie made” and that showed in every frame. When Bela Lugosi died during filming, he merely hired his dentist to walk around with a cape over his face and simply believed nobody would notice. Scenes change from Night to Day to Night depending on what angle he’s shooting from. It’s a train wreck. It’s really, really bad.
In the case of a movie like… Showgirls, the production value was largely fine, but the writing and acting completely sunk it, as did it being fully lacking in even a modicum of self-awareness. It’s so goofy and weird and badly written and acted, but you know that they believed they were making art. It’s the obtuse self aggrandizement that makes it especially bad.

For Titanic, I believe that it boils down to 2 major things.

1) James Cameron fully believes it is the greatest movie ever made, believed it when he was making it, and made it with the intention of it ultimately being that. The mere fact that he set out to do it, and it ended up being bad (as we accepted) puts it in the conversation. I have a problem, as a director, with directors in general overstating their own importance, brilliance, talent, genius, etc… The sort of shameless self promotion turns me right off. Even 15 years later, James Cameron re-released Titanic and acted like he was gifting it on us or something.

I can just picture him saying something like : “I know you’ve been slogging your way through year after year of marginal movies by marginal directors… you know.. aside from my very own Avatar, but not to worry… I’m here to solve your boredom and lift you out of the doldrums of film watching by presenting you… with a movie you’ve already seen a million times. You’re Welcome.”

The whole attitude is off-putting. Michael Bay makes explosion vehicles. He knows it. We know it. He accepts that’s his lot, so when he makes a clunker, we laugh and it goes away, and then he makes another movie with explosions, and we either like it better or worse than the one before. Michael Bay knows who he is. James Cameron insists on telling us what kind of genius he is, and it pisses me right off. The primary vehicle for him touting his genius is Titanic, which… as I already explained, isn’t even any good.

2) The main reason I believe it’s the worst ever, is because “Worst’ is relative. And Titanic has the greatest (by a country mile) disparity between actual quality, and purported quality.

Ed Wood liked Plan Nine, but he never said it was a masterpiece. Oliver Stone would never call Alexander his best film, unless he was just being belligerent (a real possibility).

There are many movies that, in a vacuum, are far worse than Titanic, but the claims to greatness… the utter insistence from the legions of fans that it’s the BEST MOVIE EVAR, the willful ignorance of any type of disputation, the OUTRAGE and SHOCK when a person even deigns to suggest it isn’t the GREATEST movie ever made automatically makes the chasm between actual quality and purported quality so great that no other movie can match it.

So that’s my argument. Titanic is the worst strictly in terms of proportion. If Titanic had simply been presented without comment, and had lived a fairly quiet life, I may have very different feelings of it. Even if it wasn’t quiet, and still made a crapload of money, like Avatar, but didn’t hold itself out there as being so fucking fantastic…

You could say that part of this argument is that the popularity of it makes me not like it, but that’s a real oversimplification, because there are tons of movies that I love that are also popular. And books. And TV shows. I love Pirates of the Caribbean. I love DISNEY movies. I love The Hunger Games. None of those would lose a popularity contest.

I hate that Titanic is so popular because it is bad. I don’t think Titanic is bad because it is popular. So I dunno… Maybe it is exactly what it looks like.