The Shoutbox
Originally Posted by Austruck
Joel, I'm curious to know what about the "Swing away" line made you pause and rewind. That moment seemed almost too tailor made for me, if anything. (I loved SIGNS, though, so it didn't bother me in the least.)
Pretty much what you say about it. Tailor made=convenient. And it wasn't profound, no...about as profound as dropping a sack of dumplings.

I guess it bothered me because that kind of writing undermines such an otherwise mostly incredible picture, and because I remember that blunder because of the contrast between it and the rest of the film, mostly.

I figured in dailies they'd tidy it up and put more weight behind it with a re-write but I guess that just never happened.
I reviewed Signs actually here on MoFo. I liked the premise and the little details, but the ending seemed to cliched/Hollywood for me. I was going to post a link to my review but don't know how to do that in the Shoutbox.
I loved Signs world building but can't take his work seriously now because of its conclusion: I expect the unexpected now.
Joel, I'm curious to know what about the "Swing away" line made you pause and rewind. That moment seemed almost too tailor made for me, if anything. (I loved SIGNS, though, so it didn't bother me in the least.)
I agree. I would add to the technical design. Great stuff. Mood. Framing. Pacing for suspense. But to me that's as far as it goes for him. All the effort to tell a potentially great story but the payoff never aligns (mostly). I read him as a salesman, ever perfecting his craft. Unfortunately, it's the only the craft of the sale that matters and not so much the quality of product. All the effort to paint a Michelangelo but the real painting is the completely arbitrary sailboat you see miraculously floating before your eyes if you're willing to stare long enough faithfully believing it had purpose.
I agree that his movies are amazing technically, and it's interesting to hear a theory about him visualizing the film for years prior. What always catches me off guard are some of the ridiculous moments that pop up amidst all this grand cinematic art. "Swing away" comes to mind. I had to rewind and pause for a good long while when I saw that. To this day I wonder if I missed something, and my perception was off. But the trend seems to repeat in way, shape or form, and I think that is some of the critical, I know it's a big part of audience and critic reception. It's like Dario Argento..he makes these beautiful films, only to get a close up of a beating heart getting stabbed. But at least Argento uses extreme shock and bad taste to jolt ppl. Shyamalan kind of seems to be fumbling loudly without knowing it? Can't put my finger on it but it reminds me of Michealangelo painting on a McDowell's bag.
Originally Posted by Citizen Rules
I actually have a Shyamalan DVD that someone gave me, The Happening, I've never watched it...Maybe one day I'll get up my courage and just do it
It's not good, but it has some good moments. All his films have some really good moments or ideas, really. They just don't seem to get the extra 10% they used to.

The script, incidentally, was significantly better than what ended up on screen. Not good exactly, but better.
I was talking to my sisters about this the other day, and we've got lots of theories. One of the more satisfying, to me, is that he was probably making Unbreakable in his head for a decade or more (which really shows in how it's shot), and after a few films he was making things new, that didn't have the same amount of time to percolate and perfect.

Also, the dude basically achieved his lifetime goal and was on top of the cinematic world at 29. You have to have quite a drive to maintain that level of effort and quality for decades after something like that.
I'll put Signs right up there, too. Some of the writing suffers a little, but it's so well made technically (the score, the cinematography) and Gibson is tremendous in it.

Anyway, most people peg the decline right after that, including me. The Village still has a lot of technical virtuosity, but it feels like someone doing an imitation of a good Shyamalan film, and a few of his efforts since haven't even had that high technical polish, either.
Oh, I didn't realize he did, The Sixth Sense. I really liked it, the one time I seen it.
The obvious picks for his best (and closest to essential) movies are The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable. The former was a Best Picture nominee for whatever that's worth (especially in 1999).