[excerpts from a post-screening discussion of Avatar between two All Fired Up in the Big Smoke contributors at a local watering hole as heard by an interested observer. Joined in progress.]
Cityslikr: … I’m not saying James Cameron is, uh, Orson Welles or anything.
Urban Sophisticat: Good.
CS: Will you let me finish?
US: Just trying to stop you from saying anything even more stupid.
[Undecipherable, garbled back and forth.]
CS: But the man’s clearly tapped into something. This thing is spectacularly successful! Like, we’re talking over the top popular, right?
US: So you’re equating popularity with excellence then.
CS: No, not—
US: Because Hitler was popular for awhile back there. Or how about smoking? Smoking was very popular a few decades ago. Are you going to tell me that because 50% of people smoked in the 60s that it was good?
US: So why does being so popular make Avatar a good movie?
CS: That’s not what I’m saying and since you brought it up, shall we go out for a butt?
[The two finish up their drinks and exit the bar to have a cigarette outside which is the law as mandated by local authorities. During their absence, allow me to put my 2 cents in here about Avatar since, having seen it 5 times already, I am obviously more well versed in the subject matter at hand than these 2 dilettantes. Avatar transcends the normal movie going experience. It is a spectacle. It overwhelms the viewer’s sensory perceptions, thereby rendering the usual critical faculties null and void. Watch. Listen. Do not think. Just bathe in the glorious magic of advanced technology. But sshh. They’re returning from their cigarette break. Let’s listen.]
US: … I just think that with the half billion dollars or so they spent making and marketing this thing a little bit of the dough could’ve been thrown towards developing a script that wasn’t working purely on a 12 year-old’s level. I mean, who’dve thunk that in less than a year, someone could out dumb Transformers 2?
CS: Hey. Never discount the purchasing power of the dumb. It’s the underpinning of our entire economic system.
US: I’m not asking for War and Peace or Cormac Mc-fucking-Carthy! But what about the thoughtfulness of, I don’t know, Harry Potter or, heaven forbid, Charlotte’s Web. Instead, we get a warmed over version of Disney’s Pocahontas. And I’m not the first person to say that.*
[*No he’s not. See here for example.]
CS: Yeah, Pocahontas. The Lion King. The guy even stole from his own movie, for chrissakes. Aliens. Substitute Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley and Paul Reiser’s Carter Burke for Sigourney Weaver’s Grace Augustine and Giovanni Ribisi’s Parker Selfridge and you got a direct match. I bet he even lifted some of the dialogue directly.
US: And this doesn’t bother you?
CS: Dude, there’s so much more in the world to get truly bothered about. You should’ve just settled back and enjoyed the ride.
US: Hey. I did. For the first hour and a half. At about the two hour mark, I would’ve paid another $17 just to make it stop.
CS: Why didn’t you just walk out then?
US: I don’t know. I was right in the middle of the row. I didn’t want to bother everyone by leaving. The idiots seemed to be enjoying their pablum.
CS: You are such a pompous c**t.
US: I know. I can’t help it. It’s the curse of elevated expectations.
[And so it went on until deep into the night and early morning hours, not ending even with the publican’s cry of: last orders, gentlemen! In all likelihood the conversation continues still, somewhere in the Big Smoke.]
– secretly submitted by Acaphelgmic