Wednesday, August 27, 2014

From the creator of Mad Men: one of the worst movies ever.

I know it isn't necessarily fair to criticize movies that are complete failures. Stuff like that happens all the time. Most movies suck, so what else really is new here? It happens, so we as audience members just have to deal with it.

One of these bad movies, "Are You Here" was written and directed by Matthew Weiner, who is best known for being the creator of Mad Men from television (check the advertising line on the poster).

The problem with "Are You Here" is that not only it is a bad movie but it's a genuinely awful film. Currently it stands only 8% fresh at That is an extraordinary low number and begs for an explanation.

How can a supposedly talented person write and direct a movie so bad? Let's not forget that for example the movie Expendables 3 has a 32% fresh rating on the site. Even super turkeys like 'Catwoman' and 'Deuce Bigalow 2' that premiered years ago had 9% fresh ratings. 

Some have said that the movie failed because Weiner had previously done only television.  Tv and film are two different mediums after all. Just because you're supposedly a good television writer doesn't mean that you're automatically a great movie writer. 

Now, I can't say that I categorically disagree with this notion. For example, my favorite television writer, David E. Kelley, hasn't really found success with his movie scripts. Most of the movies he has written haven't been that good. So it can definitely happen.

But how do you explain a meltdown like "Are You Here". It is apparently so bad that you have to start wondering whether you can explain this all by just blaming Weiner's inexperience with movies. Perhaps Matthew Weiner just isn't that good of a writer per se.

To be honest, unlike many others and despite the praise, I never found his Mad Men to be a particularly well written show. Not much happened on it, the storylines went nowhere and the characters weren't that relatable, fascinating or likable. (Same thing happened with the Sopranos)

Even though in my opinion his show was fundamentally flawed, critics and advertisers loved the show and people in the industry fell for the series too. Plenty of awards were given to Weiner, so no wonder that he started to believe the apparent hype about his abilities.

With "Are You Here" Weiner stepped out of his comfort zone and decided to put his neck on the line without knowing what might happen. Unfortunately things didn't go well and the chickens came home to roost. The honeymoon was over - everyone hates his movie.

In any case, this whole thing should teach us all a lesson. This is what might happen when you think you're better than you really are - thinking that you can't screw it up. This is pretty much why such a big boo boo happened with this particular project.

In my opinion we should very rarely take anything for granted when it comes to writing. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and writing good scripts isn't easy at all. Honest feedback is almost always needed and obviously something went horribly, horribly wrong with "Are You Here". 

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