Mamo #245: Two Guys, A Girl and a Cabin in the Woods

Mamo has seen Cabin in the Woods, the three-years’-delayed Joss Whedon / Drew Goddard extravaganza that delivers on every conceivable level. We’re joined by fellow Whedonite Sasha James for a roundtable discussion of the Ascension of Joss.

Note: this conversation was, to whatever degree possible, spoiler-free.

To download this episode, use this URL: http://rowthree.com/audio/mamo/mamo245.mp3

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Kurt
Guest

A co-worker of mine, watching Buffy with his teenage daughters, used to joke (but not really) when he called the show the 21st century “Little House on the Prairie.” (insofar as it was one of the few shows that the whole family could sit down and enjoy together, fireside-like.)

Gomez
Guest

As a horror nut its been very painful the last few years that two most anticipated horror films Cabin and Trick R Treat have been delayed so many times.

Sean Patrick Kelly
Guest

My rough history with Joss Whedon:
– I watched a few episodes of Buffy during its second or third season. Never got super into it. Hope to watch it from the start someday.

– Never watched either Angel or Firefly during their original runs.

– I actually watched Dollhouse for its entire run. I actually quite liked the show. It probably helps that I’ve been a fan of Eliza Dushku since I first saw her on Buffy (I actually got her autograph last year at FanExpo).

– Just finished watching the entire series of Firefly (plus the film Serenity) on Netflix. I quite liked it (though I thought the show was overall better than the film).

I’m quite looking foward to Cabin in the Woods, which has been a curiosity of mine since I saw first saw it in the IMDB release schedule. The film opens mere days after my (30th) birthday, so seeing the film will be a bit of a present to myself.

BTW, there are TWO Whedon alumni in the cast: Franz Kranz (as already mentioned) and Amy Acker (who was in both Angel and Dollhouse).

Goon
Guest

I guess I will continue to be flabbergasted at how such a mediocre writer has earned so much nerd cred.

rot
Guest

What limited amount of Whedon I have been exposed to, not much of a fan. If Cabin in the Woods is just high concept clever attempt at subverting a genre while winking at the audience, I will pass. I avoided Rubber for the same reason.

Goon
Guest

Good call. If I could go back in time and not have seen CITW I could go on living without it.

I didn’t need a bunch of spoiler warnings protecting me from the oh-so-big-surprise of Joss making constant snarky asides on boring horror tropes so he can then use those boring tropes unquestioned.

We need more Raimi’s and less Whedon’s.

Goon
Guest

Where’s Jericho Slim? I know JS liked it even less than I did, and am calling him out so I can take a mild bit of comfort knowing I’m not the only asshole who didn’t like it.

Matt Gamble
Guest

You can always band with Rex Reed. Of course, he’s a homosexual bigot (what a combo!) who thinks the movie was written while tweaking on crystal meth and also seems convinced the whole thing is a video game, which might be a bit more of a hardlined stance than you are taking. Though the review is a real hoot to read.

http://www.observer.com/2012/04/cabin-in-the-woods-rex-reed-richard-jenkins-bradley-whitford/

Goon
Guest

I promised Jay Sherman I would never read Rex Reed.

David Brook
Admin

I enjoyed Cabin in the Woods, but it still had a lot of problems, so I’ll semi-stand up for your hate of the film.

For me it was the ‘Whedon-esque’ banter that I really didn’t like, which has me very worried about The Avengers (not that I was THAT psyched about it anyway). I just didn’t find it funny at all. I’d go as far to say I thought the first third of Cabin in the Woods was pretty crap. The ideas were interesting and fun, but the delivery was forced and clunky.

The finale totally won me over though and left me with an overall positive reaction to the film, but whenever I think about the opening half an hour or forty minutes I wasn’t getting into it at all.

So I can see your frustration at all the blind love for the film that seems to be blanketing the blogging community.

David Brook
Admin

A group of us who all had a similar reaction to the film have a good long chat about it on our podcast: http://blueprintreview.co.uk/2012/04/blueprint-review-podcast-episode-25/

Goon
Guest

Hadn’t listened to your show before. Good discussion.

David Brook
Admin

Thanks, yeah I don’t think many people have listened to it before 🙂

Jericho Slim
Guest

Cabin is at 92% on RT?! Are you effing kidding me?! I got your back, goon. I haven’t read any of the dialogue on the site yet, but I am blown away at the reception this is getting.

I guess I’m just in a different universe than everyone else. I’m going to read through and see if I can discover what I missed.

I’m sure this has been brought up already, but Tucker and Dale and all 4 scream movies did the whole meta thing much better.

Matthew Fabb
Guest

Whedon never really breaks that fourth wall and winks at the audience. He just plays with the horror cliches, poking fun at them.

However, afterwards I was talking to my wife about the movie and while it went completely with the flow of the movie, there were scenes when looking back on them in isolation I can’t believe Whedon gets away with it and makes it work.

Personally, I absolutely LOVE this movie. Unless Ridley Scott really knocks it out of the park with Prometheus, or anything else that isn’t on my radar yet, this is going to be my favorite movie of the year. That said, I’m a big fan of Whedon so I’m a bit biased that way. It’s also really quite funny at times and is really up there with movies like Army of Darkness and Shawn of the Dead.

Goon complains that he needed more Raimi and less Whedon, but it felt very Raimi-like at times.

Goon
Guest

Does Whedon have to pull a Heneke and directly talk to the audience for it to be considered a wink? His entire style is winky the same way most Canadian TV is, everyone reads their lines with ironic distance from the material, and the whole point of the control room is to break the fourth wall and directly comment on everything. Whedon has said pretty much explicitly his control room peeps are stand-ins for himself and Goddard.

Might as well copy/paste the Letterboxd review at this point

SPOILERS
SPOILERS
SPOILERS

Seeing as we’re not supposed to be spoiler-y on this thing lest we offend the horde, I will use this space mostly to work out my feelings on Joss Whedon.

I’m not a fan. I’ve seen a lot of Buffy, just a bit of Angel, just a bit of Firefly (apathetic), Serenity (just cause), Dr Horrible (apathetic). I like Alien 4 for Jeunet mostly.

I heard it opined once that theres a couple kinds of male nerds. One is the manboy who likes metal, hard sci fi, robots… he’s still a nerd but he likes his swords and his boobs. Then there’s the more effeminate wussy nerd who likes cutesy Nintendo stuff, and anime, Death Cab for Cutie, and loves him some Joss Whedon. This is an offensive simplification but if there is any truth to be had here, I’m surely in the former camp.

I feel like Whedon is the Ryan Murphy of nerd culture. Catty, campy, with an obnoxious LA sheen over everything. He’s too concerned with switcheroos and obvious callbacks. Even his jocks and sluts are catty. For me his characters run together more than Kevin Smith’s can, always speaking in the authors voice, but unlike Smith, reeking of an overabundance of effort, and overacting instead of not acting. And like Murphy, the quality of his writing from episode to episode, project to project, varies VERY widely. I can’t connect with his characters, his casting gravitating to plastic people he can toss in whatever clothes supposedly fit the broad character archetype he is aiming for. Their line readings are almost always overrehearsed, the dialogue is decidedly mass appeal but never hit my sweet spot, as I always see the wink, and always see how much better they could be if he brought in naturally funny people to elevate them, rather than hope against hope that his models will be funny.

Even his skeevy loser stoner is a model dreamboat he’s just shoved into the right clothes, tossing a joint in his mouth and saying “Yep, done!” – This guy – http://www.lostinthemultiplex.com/images/fran-kranz.jpg – Doesn’t he just scream skeevy stoner you guys? Right? People complain about Michael Bay’s Maxim model casting, but don’t speak up about Whedon. Why? Because his models are sensitive?

SPOILER STUFF STARTS NOW:

And Cabin in the Woods is packed with these jokes, undermining any tension or frightening elements, just barely elevating itself over the usual witless horror movie bullshit. Being a subversive horror movie should not come at the price of the horror no longer being horrific. Scream managed to pull it off, but this fails hard. For all the mystery of what is being concealed in the cabin, it’s just another meta-horror-comedy. After 4 Scream films,New Nightmare, Behind the Mask, Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland, Rubber, Tucker and Dale, countless Simpsons Halloween specials, and more… it’s getting tired, and CITW offers nothing new other than attaching it to the increasingly stale Truman Show/reality show format. (In horror specifically apparently this has been done in 2002’s My Little Eye and the late 00s show “Persons Unknown”, but I have not watched either and can’t properly compare)

Through the first 2 acts, CITW doesn’t make comedic associations to the tropes through seemingly unrelated events (as in Shaun of the Dead), it just bluntly lets its characters point out the cliches as they happen. Once it has smarmed its way through yet another zombie spoof (with uncreative kills and bad looking zombies), Whedon and Goddard up the ante by turning it into EVERY horror movie. I got some mild amusement here by the sheer excess of it all, but at the same time, through the Whedon filter it still comes across as much more tame than warranted, and is really just Whedon playing out the horror version of South Park’s Imaginationland episode. About the only thing I found truly funny were references to Japanese horror, where I suppose he was required to cast outside the American Apparel rolodex.

And in the end of course like other Whedon stuff this localized hellmouth of a cabin is really an OMG WORLD CONSPIRACY with everything at stake that climaxes with a really shitty cameo that is even more offensive if you were one of the dozen people who saw a certain meta-alien-comedy last year.

What’s weird through all of this is that sometimes the characters matter, and sometimes they are clearly 2nd banana to genre nerd inside jokes and subversion. Whedon and Goddard can’t make up their mind about if we should be caring for any of these people. At one point our main character is brutally assaulted on a video screen while the control room parties away. The character’s journey becomes a joke. This kind of stuff is probably the biggest problem with the movie. I don’t feel like I was given a fair shake at being invested in anyone. When it comes to character, Cabin in the Woods isn’t really about anything. Shaun of the Dead wasn’t just about zombie tropes, it was about modern routine, growing up. and taking charge. Cabin in the Woods is about congratulating yourself for noticing already-observed and obvious cliches, and eventually tossing them all into a gimmick battle royale. That’s not a game-changer, that’s just fantasy football.

So yeah yeah yeah, I’m outside the majority here, again, but come on folks. If this is progressive horror filmmaking, then modern horror really is in the shitter. Everything has to be found footage or a meta commentary on its cliches. I’m sure by Paranormal Activity 6 we’ll have our meta-commentary on that too… or did Scream 4 already cover that? I don’t know, I skipped that for good reasons. Cabin in the Woods is not offensively bad, it’s just so safe, and so typically Whedon, and that’s offensive enough for my taste.

WATCH THIS INSTEAD: Community season 2 episode 6 “Epidemiology” (The zombie episode)

Marcus
Guest

Big surprise Goon hates something that a lot of people like. Dude your getting really predicable. If a movie is getting praise you’ll hate it, if a movie is getting shit on you’ll love it.

Matthew Fabb
Guest

Yeah, I think I disagree with just about every single point that you made.

That said, trying to label and attack part of the audience doesn’t help the review and comes off a bit childish.

“…offensive simplification but if there is any truth to be had here…”
Sorry, I don’t see any truth in there. I’m a big geek, I work in the web and mobile industry so a lot of the people I know and are friends with are big geeks. No one that I know fits into your 2 boxes of male nerds. I’m also a big Joss Whedon fan and read the Whedon fan site Whedonesque regularly and so I think I have a good idea of this fan base and the cross over of say “…cutesy Nintendo stuff, and anime, Death Cab for Cutie” is quite small.

I get that you don’t like his work, to each their own but think in the future you should try to not take a shot at the audience. I think it’s no different than Rex Reed’s review complaining about fanboys who he saw enjoying this movie and compared it to a video game.

Andrew James
Admin

I think Buffy was awesome. But I also think it was a product of its time and where I was as a person. I think if I tried to go in fresh right now as a 30 something I would think it’s stupid and probably pretty boring. But at the time, I never missed an episode.

Firefly and Serenity still work on all cylinders for me though.

Can’t wait for Cabin in the Woods. All of the reviews on LetterBoxd are really really positive.

Matthew Fabb
Guest

My wife watches Buffy now and again (we have all the seasons on DVD) and I catch bits and pieces of it and still enjoy it.

Right now Buffy Season 9 comic feels like it’s firing on all cylinders. Season 8 went a bit off the rails mid-way through the 40+ issues. I thought it had a good ending but was just a bit weak in the middle. Thankfully, it seems that Whedon realized this mistakes, that without constraints of a tv budget he was going too big in the comic book and has been bringing it back in for a so far amazing Season 9.

Andrew James
Admin

Oh – and loving your guys’ new Mamo logo/photo. Pretty awesome indeed!

Gomez
Guest

Agree. Now the Cinecast needs to step up it’s logo game.

Matthew Price
Guest

logo shot ironically taken at a real cabin in the woods.

Matthew Fabb
Guest

I had heard about the Toronto showing too late and I was unable to get tickets. However, I wondered if one of the guys of Mamo were going to be there.

Despite this episode being spoiler free, I think I will wait until I’ve seen the movie to listen to this episode of Mamo. Because right now I know nothing about the movie beyond the title & cast.

2012 is certainly shaping up to be “year of the Whedon”:

– Buffy Season 9 and Angel & Faith comics all year round
– Comic-Con Episode Four: A Fan’s Hope- April 6
– Avengers – May 4
– Cabin In The Woods – April 13
– Much Ado About Nothing – 2012 film festivals (TIFF?)
– For Your Eyes Only – 2012 film festivals (TIFF?)
– Wastelanders with Warren Ellis – possibly later half of 2012 -Whedon wants to start work on it after the Avengers is out
– Doctor Horrible 2 – possibly later half of 2012 – Whedon has been quoted saying a number of songs are done and he wants to try to get it done over the summer, when Neil Patrick Harris & Nathan Fillion have a break from their tv show schedules.

So possibly 5 movies, 2 web series and 2 comics all in a year.

David Brook
Admin

I’ve got free tickets to a screening of Cabin in the Woods on Friday with Drew Goddard and Jesse Williams doing a Q & A afterwards. What’s really strange is that it’s not a festival screening and it’s not a London premiere. It’s just a one-off preview screening in a tiny independent cinema in rural Lincolnshire!

I actually think the only reason they got talked into going is because the cinema itself is called The Kinema in the Woods.

Regardless of why they’re going I’m still really excited though, it’s been getting some great reviews.

David Brook
Admin

Caught Cabin in the Woods last night. I won’t get into too much detail as I don’t want to spoil anything and I might pop a review up if I find time early next week (I’m crazily busy though).

I really enjoyed it, although it took me quite a bit of getting into. It’s really goofy, especially in the first half and I struggled with it’s tone – I love Firefly and Serenity, but never got into Buffy and the humour here reminded me more of that. I just found the characters really annoying and not very funny, especially the stoner guy.

However, the central concept and mystery kept me gripped and my God does the ending pay off. The finale is mind-blowing.

I won’t say more than that.

David Brook
Admin

Oh and I filmed the Q&A with Drew Goddard and Jesse Williams and whacked it on YouTube 🙂

DO NOT watch it until you’ve seen the film though, it spoils the crap out of it. The second part will follow later – it was on someone else’s phone.

http://youtu.be/ChJpvAn5FAU

Matt Gamble
Guest

Goddard is touring with the film at promo screenings. It’s usually him and another star from the film at the screenings.

Antho42
Guest

Fucking love this film. It is so funny. Goon– read Devin Faraci’a analysis.

antho42
Guest

Goon — the film is arguing against deconstruction.

antho42
Guest

Horror does not necessarily have to equate with being scary. I love comedic, horror film.

antho42
Guest

Horror films do not necessarily have to equate with being scary. I love comedic, horror films.

Goon
Guest

Arguing against deconstruction antho? Can you make your case please, because the vast majority of positive reviews are praising it as deconstruction.

Goon
Guest

Marcus: fuck that noise. I did my count of Rotten Tomatoes of the past several years and Im with the critical concensus between 80% – 90% of the time.

antho42
Guest

It does use deconstruction, but it uses it for reconstruction.
From Film Critic Hulk:
THERE THIS THEORY OF MODES OF CONSTRUCTION/DECONSTRUCTION THAT WORK LIKE THIS:

1. GOLDEN AGE – CONSTRUCTING THE BASIC TROPES FROM THE DAWN OF TIME (HERO’S JOURNEY / BEOWULF / STAR WARS / LOVE STORIES / ETC)
2. SILVER AGE – TEXTURING THE BASIC TROPES IN A MORE ACCESSIBLE HUMANITY (READ: HUMANIZING / MAKING CURRENT… THINK WHAT SPIDER-MAN DID FOR COMICS )
3. BRONZE AGE – TEARING DOWN THE BASIC TROPES IN NAME OF TEXTURED HUMANITY (ITALIAN NEO REALISM, AMERICAN CINEMA OF THE 70’S, WOODY ALLEN)
4. LEAD AGE – TOTAL DECONSTRUCTION/DESTRUCTION OF ALL TROPES IN NAME OF TRUTH – (MARX BROTHERS / SEINFELD)
5. NEW MYTH – HULK’S FAVORITE, TEARING DOWN THE CONSTRUCTS IN ORDER TO REBUILD THEM (ETERNAL SUNSHINE / CABIN / COMMUNITY)

IF YOU EVER SEE FELLINI’S “AND THE SHIP SAILS ON” HE MAKES A MOVIE THAT EVOLVES ALONG THESE 5 LINES AS IT GOES. IT’S BRILLIANT.

antho42
Guest

So the film is nothing like Scream. Scream is hipster, nihilistic film.

antho42
Guest

In many ways, this film reminds me of Hitoshi Matsumoto’s Symbol.

Cringe
Guest

I absolutely loved Cabin, I can’t remember the last time I had that much fun in a theater. Also it was a first time in a long time that I actually heard everyone who was leaving the theater talking about the movie.

On the Whedon/Goddard front, I’ve never watched any of Joss’s shows, none of them seem to catch my interest. And honestly his shows kind of seemed corny/cheesy. But after seeing this and Cloverfield I’ll pretty much watch anything Goddard puts out movie-wise.

Really like the dialogue so I’m pretty pumped for The Avengers.

antho42
Guest

Before this film I was not a fan of Whedon. Now, I am pump for The Avengers.

antho42
Guest

Before this film I was not a fan of Whedon. I am pumped for The Avengers.
Kurt would fucking love this film .

Goon
Guest

Its not an attack. I am just repeating that I recently read an essay on masculine meathead nerds vs feminine or effeminate nerds. Of course there is overlap but If I’m insulting the latter I’m surely insulting the former, and myself as well. Were you looking for a personal slight to attack instead of the argument? I think there’s something interesting to be said about grrr rage nerdism vs the far less aggressive sides of nerd culture, because both extremes certainly exist just as one can be an introvert, an exrtrovert, or something in between based on the situation.

Im sorry if I offended you but I’m not putting that out there to write off Nintendo, Death Cab For Cutie, or my supposed enemy Joss Whedon. I don’t even hate Whedon, but I think he’s more entrenched on one side of nerd culture that I’m not interested in. That’s what I was writung about.

Matthew Fabb
Guest

No, I didn’t see it as a personal attack, but I did see it like Reed Rex who saw people liking Cabin In The Woods, so tried to put these people into a group to dismiss. Also you didn’t try to frame your argument as masculine vs. feminine or effeminate but guys who like boobs on one side and wusses. I’m sorry but comes off to me as immature.

That said, I haven’t read this essay, but I really don’t see a masculine vs. feminine or effeminate divide in geek culture. I’ve seen big jocks proclaim their love for pokeman and feminine or effeminate guys love hard sci-fi and robots. However, the way I see it, geek culture is such a huge giant group of people with all sorts of niches and pockets that it’s hard for anyone to get an overview.

Anyways, while Whedon’s work is definitely in the feminist camp and I can see saw Buffy the musical and Doctor Horrible playing more to say an feminine or effeminate audience, but then something like Firefly definitely playing to a more masculine audience.

To me, it seems that Cabin In The Woods is playing better to more hard core horror fans than it is to most Whedon fans. Despite Buffy & Angel tv show playing around with the horror genre, there was only a few episodes that were genuinely scary. Both were more action shows, where the enemies/villains were not human.

Goon
Guest

Antho: I just don’t see Cabin rebuilding anything as it is destroying. If it were rebuilding as it destroyed, maybe it would be… scary? IMO the best way to rebuild would be to make a strong straight up horror movie, even if its part of or spurs a bunch of new cliches. Im not a huge horror guy, but I think of Drag Me To Hell, REC, Blair Witch Project, and The Descent of examples of the kind of quality I’m desperately wanting more of.

Matt Gamble
Guest

I think the real problem is Goon hates joy.

Goon
Guest

Yeah that explains my Mirror Mirror, Speed Racer, John Carter, etc, grandstanding.

Come on. How bout someone address my arguments about the film instead of the ad hominems, kay? I feel like you’re trying to push me/paint me into a position where it looks like I absolutely hated this film, when I merely didn’t like it, and am trying to explain why and get a discussion going. I think I went to enough detail about the writing, casting, freshness of self aware horror, and character focus to deserve better than Armand White kinda crap. That’s so cheap.

Stuff I liked:SOME SPOILERS:

The Japanese horror stuff. That shit is still ripe for parody for me, just because I haven’t seen it really done yet.

Hemworth’s death. It’s an effective audio/visual setup and payoff.

And as I already said, I enjoyed the excess of the final act, simply for excesses sake. I’ll stop far short of saying it is brilliant or genius, it’s just fun.

Gord
Guest

And anything that’s popular.

Goon
Guest

Cabin in the Woods is on track to be #3 this weekend, behind Three Stooges. So are we talking ‘popular popular’ or ‘internet popular’

http://letterboxd.com/coreypierce/

Here’s my voting record, over 1500 movies rated. Go to work backing up your perception of my taste.

antho42
Guest

Can we have both Goon and Matt Gamble in this week Cinecast?
I want Goon to receive the full Gamble-treatment.

Goon
Guest

He’s doing a good enough job trolling me for a reaction already.

Andrew James
Admin

We’re shooting for a Tuesday night love fest… unless of course Kurt sees the whole movie as pandering.
😉

Sean Patrick Kelly
Guest

I think debate about a film is healthy and I have in fact posted a few comments to Goon’s Cabin in the Woods review on Letterboxd.

However, I don’t really like the “I’m Right, He’s Wrong” tone of many of these comments.

Accept the fact that he wasn’t too crazy about this film.

David Brook
Admin

Well put.

Matt Gamble
Guest

I really just like getting him worked up.

That all being said it does just come down to taste. I don’t think Goon is arguing that the film isn’t well made, just that this type of construction doesn’t appeal to him.

I read one review that said writers would absolutely love Cabin and I fully agree. The level of craftsmanship and skill in the writing and story construction is pretty much unmatched in most most and television today. Just witnessing that is enough for me to give the movie a big thumbs up.

Plus, when I see multitudes of my teenage employees asking questions about the movie, examining it and wanting to know where the references come from over the past 4 or 5 days it really is hard for me to have anything but a huge soft spot for the film. It makes people think and examine and it does it in a fun and entertaining way. Movies like Cabin are why I fell in love with the medium in the first place. Art and entertainment can go hand in hand, no matter how much some people would prefer they don’t.

And no Goon, I’m not saying you’re one of those people.

Goon
Guest

I got food poisoning late Saturday night and the only positive thing about that is it pulled me away from the thread for the day.

But just to go back and summarize. I don’t think the film is horrible, and I don’t hate it. Wasn’t hard to sit through. It’s mostly a matter of taste in humor/casting, with a bit of the stuff Jericho Slim is going after mixed in.

Andrew James
Admin

Pretty much loved this movie from start to finish. I have one minor detail of a nitpick that I can think of, otherwise, this movie was some of the most fun I’ve had in a theater in a long time.

Andrew James
Admin

Oh yeah, and the send up of J-Horror was hilarious… or at least I thought so. I was the only one in the theater (of about 50 people) laughing out loud. So either I’m just reading into it too much or no one in the theater has watched much j-horror.

Matthew Fabb
Guest

I’ve heard from people who said Friday night when they said the majority of people were laughing away as these and other jokes. Then they saw it again later in Matinée screening with different crowd where many of these jokes were just flying over people’s heads.

Overall this movie seems to be getting a mixed reaction from audiences, where I’m seeing people who were expecting more of a straight up horror and were upset at the movie trying to be funny. A lot of people still seem to dislike too much comedy in horror movies.

antho42
Guest

The Jhorror scene is amazing. The unicorn scene is also fucking amazing.

Sean Patrick Kelly
Guest

That gag would’ve been funnier if I didn’t already see it this season on the TV show Supernatural: http://youtu.be/kQOXInU4MCI

(Yep, two unicorn horror gags from two different sources)

antho42
Guest

Andrew — Are you going to watch The Avengers?

Jericho Slim
Guest

I just can’t believe that a glorified (gore-ified?) episode of Scooby Doo is getting such universal appraise. I don’t hate the movie (I hope it does well) and I don’t hate Whedon (I’ve only seen Toy Story and Alien 4), but this is a horror comedy that isn’t scary or funny. These are my thoughts off the top of my head. SPOILERS ABOUND!!!

1. There is no moment in the movie where I felt a genuine sense of dread or suspense. If you’re doing the whole ‘sending up/paying homage’ thing, there should at least be some genuine moments of the genre that you’re critiquing. I mean – whatever you think of kick-ass – at least there were some genuine action beats.

2. The whole thing reminded me of an episode of Scooby-Doo, only instead of scaring the kids away they are trying to kill them. So you have the bad guys manipulating the kids in order to scare them or get them to act a certain way. Instead of dry ice to make fog, you have pheremone spray to make a girl horny in the woods. Instead of eyes looking out from a person in a picture frame, you have cameras. Wow, this is really groundbreaking stuff.

3. “But everything’s meta. You’re supposed to feel that way.” Basically, people use the meta argument to whitewash everything that’s wrong with these type of films, and in particular, this film. Bad performance or acting? That’s the point! Not scary? That’s the point! Not funny? Yes it was, it was just the complex and subtle jabs that was taken at the genre that you can’t appreciate.

4. A film – especially a horror film – doesn’t get props merely because it’s meta. All of the Scream films are meta. All of the Platinum Dune remakes are meta. Tucker and Dale is meta. Piranha 3D is meta. The Innkeepers is meta. The House of the Devil is meta. Trick ‘r Treat is meta. Shark Night 3D is meta. “Night of the Demons” and a slew of other b-movie and direct-to-dvd horror is meta. “Drag me to Hell” is meta. Scary Movie 1 – 5 is meta. I’d say any franchise that gets past 3 installments is meta – Final Destination, Chucky, Hellraiser.

5. I didn’t find the film funny at all. I guess that goes to personal taste.

6. The whole third act of the film isn’t a horror film, it’s an action film that uses monsters. This may be a nitpick and redundant, but if you’re making a horror, how about some horror at least in the climax? Cabin becomes a classic action flick, with action beats, in the last third. The mere presence of a monster doesn’t make a movie a horror film.

Jericho Slim
Guest

Cabin = Hunger Games. Cabin isn’t even an original concept for this month at the movies. Here we go:

SPOILERS!!

Sacrifice kids for the greater good? Check.

Manipulate environment via a control room to expedite death? The people in the control room banter with each other as they devise ways to trip up the kids? Check and Check.

Meta? Check.

Betting on the outcome? Check

Constant camera surveillance? Check

All of the action occurs in a specified arena, and if you try to go to the edges of that arena, you will be hurt? Check.

Crazy ass monsters at the end to amp up the “stakes”? Check

The head of the control room is being challenged by the big boss, who is closely monitoring their every move? He eventually dies? Check and Check.

A boy and a girl surviving at the end, even though there’s only supposed to be one survivor? Check

The boy and the girl challenging the status quo of the long-standing ceremony because they both survive, thereby upsetting the balance of the world? Check.

Matt Gamble
Guest

So it took what, 30 comments before someone uses the Farrington Fallacy in an attempt to discredit the film?

Jericho Slim
Guest

I personally don’t think that not being original is a fault – all films are derivative. If any film is original to you, then you just haven’t seen the right films before.

The issue is that people are acting like this is original, or even fresh, or even a subject that hasn’t been mined to death in recent years.

I’m just pointing out that it’s not true.

Matt Gamble
Guest

No, people are acting as if this is something crafted really well, not that it is original. It seems to be the detractors that immediately fall on the “But it isn’t new!” argument, which frankly, isn’t an argument at all.

Jericho Slim
Guest

Matt, to your credit, you are not claiming that it’s new. A lot of other people across the interwebs are calling it fresh and new.

And of course, I would argue that it’s not particularly well crafted.

Matt Gamble
Guest

The creators are certainly not arguing that the movie is anything new or fresh, and openly admit to it. Though, I can fully get behind any argument for hating the fans of a movie and not the movie itself, I know I do it on plenty of occasions.

I would argue heavily that this will easily be one of the best written movies to come out this year. Pacing, development, timing and plotting are simply outstanding and unmatched in most genre films. I can understand why people may not like Whedon’s style or tone, but the craftsmanship is impeccable.

Jericho Slim
Guest

Matt, I respect your opinion on movies, so I’ll wait to hear what you have to say on the podcast. But I will say that I thought “The Last Exorcism” was head and shoulders above this film in every category that you just mentioned, and accomplished the same basic aims as Cabin as well.

Also, I remember your spirited defense of Kick-Ass and how it was a good example of the genre it skewered.

Matt Gamble
Guest

I’m a big fan of The Last Exorcism as well, but I think we’d be in the minority there. I think that certainly is trying to deconstruct genre conventions but I really don’t think that is at the heart the aim of Cabim. Deconstruction occurs, to be sure, and it is meta as all get out, but to me Cabin has a different goal, and one that isn’t as high minded as people seem to be thinking it is trying to be.

David Brook
Admin

If you listen to them talking about the film ( http://youtu.be/ChJpvAn5FAU ) they frequently call it ‘unique’ and ‘not like many other films out there’, so I’m not sure you’re quite right in saying they don’t think they’re making something new or fresh.

They do admit they’re homaging a lot of other films and wanted to make something outright fun, so you’re right in that they don’t have lofty ambitions about the film’s ‘depth’ or whatever, but I do think they were trying to do something ‘new’ with the genre.

Matt Gamble
Guest

Drew also hosted a Q&A at my theatre and when someone directly asked him what horror films he was influenced by he responded, “Did you watch the movie? I pulled from pretty much every horror film I’ve ever watched. This was the easiest research I’ve ever done as I was a fan of these films and grew up on them and simply took what I loved and put it on screen, just all at one time.”

The only “new” concept would potentially be the mash-up style of the film, not that it is meta of commentating or playing on conventions. They wanted to make an entertaining horror mash-up, and I think they succeeded wildly. I think people are taking any statements of “new” and applying it wholesale to the film and I don’t think that is the director’s intent at all.

antho42
Guest

I agree with Matt Gamble. Cabin in the Woods is closer to being a reconstruction than a deconstruction of the horror films — which is why is way better than Scream.

David Brook
Admin

OK, yeah I’d agree with that Matt – it’s not out and out ‘new’, but they were trying to do something different by creating this kind of mash-up.

And yes I’d agree that it was going for entertainment value first and foremost. I just didn’t get into the tone of the humour until the finale. I imagine a second watch would help. I wasn’t expecting it to be so goofy beforehand.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

This was exactly my problem with Cabin in the Woods. I more or less got the ideas they were aiming for in the film, it is just that the film in no way entertained me. Which, considering this is pop-entertainment, makes the film an overall failure for me. I wish I did love it, it is certainly up my alley, but I simply did not.

Matt Gamble
Guest

I’m sure if it was Canadian and they cranked up the color palette you’d still be jerking off over the film, Kurt.

No worries, we’ll keep the rag fresh for you for next time.

Andrew James
Admin

Well I’m sure there are many comparisons to be made here. But like someone above mentioned, it ain’t what’s being said, it’s how it goes about saying it.

It sounds like your gripes are essentially four-fold Jericho:
Not funny.
Not scary.
Derivative.
Meta = big fucking deal.

I think those are all valid points. If you don’t find it funny, that’s fine. Not all humor is everyone’s cup of tea.

Not scary. Fair enough. Though I’m not sure the intent of the film was to be truly scary – yeah there are a couple of creepy moments and some jump scares, but there are too many cross edits into immediate comedy to make this at all suspenseful or scary. It would be kind of – kind of – like being upset with “Ghostbusters” for not being scary. Making out with the wolf (which was awesome), the cuts to the guys in the control room partying it up or bickering with each other, etc. undermines any sort of scariness to the whole thing – which personally I enjoyed. But this goes back to the comedy – if it ain’t working for you, all of these scenes (which is pretty much the whole movie) is just going to be eye-rollingly frustrating.

Originality. I don’t know, for the most part this was fairly original I think. “Truman Show” meets “Cabin Fever” using villains that we’re well aware of and puppeteers who are funny because of how they treat their job. It’s weird, “Hunger Games” was the furthest thing from my mind while watching. All of your comparisons are interesting, but I still don’t see these two movies as comparable in any way. And it all comes down to tone I think in this case. HG is deadly serious and trying to be a spectacular showcase. CitW is (despite the blood and gore) is a complete lark and it knows it. The two control rooms are NOTHING alike other than there are people with monitors in them. The idea that this is an international affair and they’re all competing like corporations is kind of fun too. I can’t think of any movie I’ve seen that’s quite like it. Sure I can make lots of comparisons in some of the details with several other movies here and there, but as a whole, nothing compares (in my experience granted).

I’m sick of the term “meta”. It’s just a concept movie with monsters and puppeteers. It uses horror movie tropes because that’s what we know and that’s what makes it fun to an educated viewer. If it was a bunch of made up monsters that we’d never seen before, no matter how cool they look, it wouldn’t be as entertaining.

Andrew James
Admin

Oh, and the opening title card happens at a pretty great moment. I was kind of sold from that point on.

Matthew Fabb
Guest

Apparently, that title card wasn’t there in the first cut of the film, but much later on. Only they realized that it really wasn’t a horror movie opening and were concerned with people thinking that perhaps they were in the wrong movie and pushed it forward to that point.

Sean Patrick Kelly
Guest

Despite how neat the Rubik’s cube poster for the film looks, there’s a certain simple charm about the original 2009 teaser posters (which now make a lot more sense after seeing the film).

http://collider.com/three-great-teaser-posters-for-joss-whedons-the-cabin-in-the-woods/4519/

Andrew James
Admin

The “we should split up” thing was my only major beef with the movie. More of a nitpick really, but it was really lazy.

Jericho Slim
Guest

But wait, that was really funny because that is what you were expecting! Of course it’s lazy, but horror movies are lazy and formulaic and this was just playing on that! get it! get it! man, that’s freakin’ hilarious! I bet that went right over all those mouth breathers’ heads! It’s not funny on the first or second layer, but that third layer is where the joke is really at!

Kurt
Guest

Oh, lord, I hope that is sarcasm. I really wish that filmmakers would celebrate the genre by making a GOOD entry into it, rather than editorializing why we love the genre or where it is right now. One without the other (especially the unbalanced nature of CitW) is just lame.

Andrew James
Admin

**Spoilers I guess**

No I think it was just lazy. All the other stuff (pheromones, turning up the heat, drugging the hair dye, lacing the pot/booze, etc.) all made sense – whether you found it entertaining or fun or whatever is another matter. This was just some random magical potion that made him change his mind. I didn’t get that and thought it was stupid.

Jericho Slim
Guest

I was being sarcastic. I think you guys know that, but I’m just making sure.

Sean Patrick Kelly
Guest

Though, I could really use some of that mind-control mist (or, at the very least, the pheremone mist :P)

Matthew Fabb
Guest

The mist was lazy compared to everything else they had been doing up to that point, but I thought the joke was funny. 🙂

(To each their own.)

Matthew Fabb
Guest

I like this commentary on the movie front Aint It Cool News, despite not agreeing with every point.

SPOILERS ABOUT THE END OF THE MOVIE!!

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/54997

“You know we’re the villain in THE CABIN IN THE WOODS, right?

Us. Horror fans, or just genre fans, or just movie geeks in general. We are the Old Gods who demand our sacrifices be just so, and when we don’t get them, well, we metaphorically destroy the world. We require our servants to manipulate the scenes to our liking, and we insist that the resolution go how we want it to go.”

Matt Gamble
Guest

That’s probably the closest I’ve seen to my feelings on the film. Its not about deconstructing horror, its about celebrating it and preparing to move forward.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

To me, it was the MEN IN BLACK of horror films, just, you know, not ever funny or anything. I suppose I’ll give it to you that it is a “STATE OF THE NATION” in mainstream studio horror, but really, what a strange format/execution for an editorial; which I’d forgive it the film was fun, or engaging, or hell, even INTERESTING beyond it’s pastiche-ness.

Matthew Fabb
Guest

A friend of mine mentioned that the 3rd act that they almost died of glee with everything that was happening on screen. First two acts were all poking fun at the horror format and the last bit was everything and the kitchen sink and in my opinion was so incredible.

Perhaps, with some of that Avengers movie, Joss Whedon will buy the script back to his movie Goners. That’s the horror movie that he sold to Universal Studios after Serenity that Mary Parent was exclusive producer. Unfortunately, Marry Parent left Universal and that script went no where. He often mentioned with Buffy that they rarely went into the really scary side of things and wanted to do something really scary and dark with Goners.

Who knows if it was something really different and original, but it sounded at least more of an attempt for Whedon do some straight up horror.

Also I can’t help but wonder overall editorial inside of Cabin In The Woods on how hard is is to make original horror movies in the studio system, is partly a reaction to Goners not getting made.

Andrew James
Admin

This is EXACTLY what I got out of it too. Comparing this to something like “Scream” or “Behind the Mask” doesn’t seem like a lateral move.

I’m almost compelled to compare it much more to something like Ghostbusters or Gremlins 2. It’s just having fun with the tropes of horror – I don’t think it’s trying to be something ground breaking or deconstruct anything.

Andrew James
Admin

**Spoilers****Spoilers****Spoilers****Spoilers**
**Spoilers****Spoilers****Spoilers****Spoilers****Spoilers**
**Spoilers****Spoilers****Spoilers****Spoilers****Spoilers**

Sigourney Weaver’s line regarding the use of a virgin was pretty great and explains the movie in a nutshell: “we work with what we’ve got”. Exactly. The film makers are simply saying we don’t give a shit about the conventions of horror. We’re not even trying to break them down, it’s just that they don’t matter and they’re kind of stupid actually. This story is about awesome monsters coming at you. End of story.

Matt Gamble
Guest

It is The ‘burbs of the post-modern age.

The Hell Lord has got a gun!

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Heh. The ‘Burbs is a bit apropos, but I actually cared about Tom Hanks and his suburban posse of oddballs. Not so much here. This movie most definitely lacked a Rumsfeld.

Sean Patrick Kelly
Guest

I have to sudden urge to finally get around and watch The Burbs. Must be all the mentions of it on this site.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Well, the ‘Burbs is a bonafide classic in my book. It might be because I’ve watched it over 50 times. It’s like The Big Lebowski or Ghostbusters, one of those films that never gets old.

Sean Patrick Kelly
Guest

Just finished watching it on Netflix. I’d say I enjoyed it.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Ok I’ll say it then. Drew Goddard is no Fuckin’ JOE DANTE. But I get where you are coming from with the comparison. I don’t think Dante tries so hard to wear his brains (or his puzzlebox-wankery) on his sleeve

Matt Gamble
Guest

I don’t think Goddard is trying very hard either, he just is a smarter writer than Dante who relishes mayhem just as much as him. Cabin is definitely in the Looney Tunes style of filmmaking. Would you prefer I compare it to Rango? Which tries even harder to be smart, introspective and deep with its storytelling than Cabin does? Is Rango an insult to Dante?

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

No, Rango is awesome, and I cared about the lizard’s quest for identity.

Thor, a couple of cute girls and lazily generic Hillbilly Zombies, not so much.

Sean Patrick Kelly
Guest

That makes sense, though I was secretly hoping for Cthulhu to show up.

Kurt
Guest

So, perhaps accurately, then CABIN IN THE WOODS is the SUCKER PUNCH of the genre then?

Jericho Slim
Guest

This is a good review, which of course shows that the erudite and observant film reviewer and film watcher can pat themselves on the back for realizing the deconstruction of the destruction of horror films. Wow, that’s deep. We are the old gods; we need to do heavy lifting to see through the layers of meaning to find the truth.

Fine – so the movie is deep – it’s good on the third level. How about being good on the first level. Celebrate the genre by having a good horror movie, then we can move on to deeper meaning.

There is no way you can say that this movie is scary, so it fails on the most basic level.

Goon
Guest

Seeing so many sites break down every other one liner of this movie into several layers of meaning about horror and genre and who they represent, makes me want to not want to talk about this movie anymore. You’d think Whedon just wrote The Tree of Life.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Yes, my complete and utter disengagement from this film due to there being not a scrap of humanity in it, severely hamstrung my ability to enjoy it.

rot
Guest

“its good on the third level. How about being good on the first level”

Ha! Yeah, my major grievance is with how uninteresting the first level group are.

Matt Gamble
Guest

And I’d argue the first level characters are interesting, and the film’s take of having to dumb them down to fit the constraints of the “ritual” is a pretty interesting twist on genre conventions.

Rick Vance
Guest

I have a HUGE problem with that line of reasoning. It has an air of laziness and entitlement from the filmmakers all over it. We think this genre is broken so instead of SHOWING you all how to make a better version of it we will TELL you all what you are doing wrong.

That line of thought makes me angry.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Amen Brother. This comes up on the cinecast.

Matt Gamble
Guest

I really don’t think they think the genre is broken, I think they are just being honest that contemporary American horror filmmaking has a tendency of being incredibly derivative and ridiculous and riffing on that.

Its pretty clear that while they are mocking American horror, they are also unabashed fans of it. This isn’t Haneke scolding people and condescending, this is horror nerds going we can do better, but dammit I’m going to have some fun while I’m stuck here.

Rick Vance
Guest

They are only ‘stuck’ there out of choice.

Matt Gamble
Guest

I’d argue that in the studio system you don’t have much choice.

Kurt
Guest

I know a lot of people – for whom I really respect their opinions – that really loved Cabin in the Woods and I generally dig anything Joss; hell I very, very much wanted to be on board with this.

Yet.

The proof is in the pudding: I cannot imagine watching a movie in 2012 that I was or likely will be more indifferent towards. Sure, there is a lot more money and glossy cinematography on display here, but really, is this much better than Monster Brawl or Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer?

Cabin in the Woods is like this trend of teasers for trailers: Do we really need a film that deconstructs meta-horror films? No thanks. This isn’t clever, it’s a cruel soulless joke. All flourish, no fun. The thing is so bloody shallow, with ZERO stakes in anything whatsoever, and that, my friends, is a deal-breaker for me. “The world needs to crumble to get out of its rut?” What are we, 15 years old? The way to re-write the system is to make a great movie, not one that wags its finger.

If you need me, I’ll be watching Drag Me To Hell (or Cabin Fever), which is how you make this kind of thing in the 21st century. Sam Raimi would be rolling over in his grave, you know, if he were dead.

Better luck next time, Joss. We still have Serenity.

Peace. Love.

Goon
Guest

Video response (begins 0:10)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUiXYZvSHGs

Sean Patrick Kelly
Guest

Translation: YES!

On a semi-related note, I just watched WWE for the first time since like November. While the character’s have gotten weirder, it has still stayed the same.

Matt Gamble
Guest

I’d like to point out, it is incredibly amusing that Kurt claims that Sam Raimi, the unabashed fan of The Three Stooges, would hate this movie because Kurt states it is childish.

Yes Kurt, the existance of Cabin has tainted Evil Dead. How dare they.

How. Dare. They.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

You put words in my mouth, sir. Words. In. My. Mouth. Your rhetorical tricks are growing stale.

That said, I (personally, me!) will take the goofery of Evil Dead (and EDII) over the holier-than-thou ironic-posturing (whether intended or not, but I’m guessing the former) of Cabin in the Woods.

Matt Gamble
Guest

And Army of Darkness, which is an absolutely infantile take on horror, and the best Three Stooges movie ever made?

You can make a pretty fair argument that Army of Darkness is dripping with a holier than thou attitude about horror films. And of course infer Deadite is riffing on Luddite, which in turn makes Raimi’s constant remaking of Evil Dead, and the steady decrease in intelligence in the films, a statement that horror should be mindless entertainment and progress should never get in the way of entertainment.

But Rami would hate Cabin because Halfyard said so.

And that’s the bottom line.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

I never said that Raimi whould hate Cabin in the woods. Please stop putting words in my mouth, Matthew.

I look at EDIII as playful, Cabin in the Woods is poisonously ironic. Nothing in EDIII is ever taken seriously, I find this quasi-mythological seriousness in the work of Goddard/Whedon and ironic commentary to be offputting in Cabin. I do not feel you could say the same for EDIII.

Oh, and for the record, EDIII is my least favourite of the three Evil Dead films, my ordering is 2>1>3. But sure, I love the one liners and the S-Mart framing story.

And there is a tonne more heart and soul in Drag Me To Hell than in Cabin in the Woods.

It’s not that I’m saying that Raimi would hate Cabin in the Woods, I’m saying that Raimi’s genre-riffing-goofery runs circles around Drew Godard’s.

Evil Dead movies feel like movies. Cabin in the Woods feels like a network TV show. (I guess for the record, the Scream movies also feel like TV, but I’m not a very large fan of that franchise either…)

Matt Gamble
Guest

You said he’d be rolling over in his grave. Do you understand the meaning of the words you write?

Also, their is no heart in Drag Me to Hell, its an incredibly cynical film that takes delight in the misery of its protagonist. It wouldn’t be hard to make an argument that the sadism that runs rampant throughout it is every bit as disgusting and amoral as what happends in standard slasher fare. Possibly even worse, as that film is actively cheering along with the audience in delight at the protagonist’s downfall, as well as providing the fuel to satiate the audiences fervor.

I can do this all day, Halfyard!

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

That was my (apparently lame) attempt at humour. The level of goofy detachment of what Raimi and company essentially turned into a (*ahem*) joyously loopy cottage horror-comedy industry in the early 80s is now 100% snark-detachment and clever-for-clevers sake, it is the bleeding of all the fun and character out of the film what I was referring to in that it is like kicking Raimi, the man is not dead yet, and the actual filmmaking in DmtH is 1000x times better than this lame-zombie shiat in Cabin in the Woods. In an attempt to pay homage to his stuff, it felt to me like they were doing it poorly enough so as to be an insult.

So, yea, maybe you’ve got me there, but I’m still seeing in shades of grey, not Black & White.

In Drag Me To Hell (which also features Richard Jenkins) the film is about personal responsibility, and when the lead actress has completely lost her own moral compass she pays for it. Kinda a genre-ish A Serious Man? Job and all that. Perhaps.

Andrew James
Admin

“the holier-than-thou ironic-posturing (whether intended or not, but I’m guessing the former) of Cabin in the Woods.”

You’re of course entitled to your opinion since that’s the vibe you got, but in no way, shape or form did I ever feel this movie was talking down to me or being “holier-than-thou”. At. All.

It was simply bringing me the tracks of its fun-house ride. It’s not the hall of mirrors that some claim it to be, but it is a fun house nonetheless.

rot
Guest

pretty much everything with Jenkins and the other guy is ironic posturing (speakerphone anyone)

I do find it strange that Kurt did not like this film, he finally met a meta he didn’t like.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

“he finally met a meta he didn’t like.”

I love this sentence. And yes. It was bound to happen eventually but I’m kind of surprised that it was a Whedon-script that did it. I tend to like his balance of good-genre-character stuff and ironic posturing, but ironic posturing is the name of the game here, the only game in town.

Goon
Guest

Oh man, next Cinecast is gonna be EPIC

Sean Patrick Kelly
Guest

In length or discussion? Probably both.

Kurt
Guest

It seems so rare that we are on the same page about a film, Corey, so both CABIN IN THE WOODS and MIRROR, MIRROR is an aberration to almost big enough to tear the fabric of space-time.

I’m sure there will be words on the Cinecast.

Sean Patrick Kelly
Guest

If the fabric of space-time is tearing, that means we are probably now in a tangent universe that is due to collapse within a matter of days.

Quick, we must locate the living receiver and manipulate him to guide the artifact into position for its journey back to the primary universe, but first we have to figure out what exactly the artifact is!

Rick Vance
Guest

I love/hate all of you right now.

I knew from the people involved to the style of this film that it would be something not for me (Joss Whedon hits 10% of the time for me). Yet this discussion makes me almost want to see a film I have convinced myself I will not like.

Cringe
Guest

Gamble, your ass better be on this week’s Cinecast!

Jim Laczkowski
Guest

What Cringe said.

I wanna hear some Daybreakers-esque rants about Cabin in the Woods guys 🙂

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Have no fears. Gamble is on the show, and in Gamble-Mode, often.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

I also must say that fighting about Cabin in the Woods is more fun that actually watching Cabin in the Woods.

rot
Guest

it has inspired me to finally return to Firefly, stopped after three episodes, but I think I am ready for it now

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Firefly has that ironic detachment and genre-reconfiguration cleverness (which, for the record, I do like,!) but it also has some really really great character stuff. In short, Firefly is FUN!

Matthew Fabb
Guest

Going back to the show (remember the show? MAMO?), Matthew Price mentions he thinks Whedon is doing Avengers just so “that they can stop fucking with him”. That he’s not really interested in making that kind of movie. I wanted to bring this up as Whedon has mentioned in interviews about wanting to make huge giant movies. In one of the many, many interviews going around right now he talks about going to see Close Encounters of the Third Kind as a kid and compares it to almost a religious experience. Before Christopher Nolan got the Batman franchise, Whedon pitched WB his idea, despite the fact that he was incredibly busy with Buffy, Angel & Firefly at the time (and just about to lose that last one). They or anyone else didn’t ask him to pitch his story, he just knew they were looking for someone to restart the Batman franchise and pulled some strings in order to get a quick meeting to pitch his idea. It’s why he wanted to work with the Aliens franchise (despite it going horribly wrong for him). It’s also why he joked about buying the Terminator series, as while he couldn’t ever afford that, that is another franchise he would love to work with. Instead Joss Whedon’s brother recently a series of Terminator comics.

That said, he has talked about wanting to go back and making things he owns completely, after playing with other people’s toys as he’s called it. If Avengers proves to be a big hit, I imagine he will continue to do his own self-produced shows and movies, along with bigger movies when he gets the chance to do so.

Matthew Fabb
Guest

Also going back to the show, Dollhouse, if anyone wants to see where Whedon wanted to go with that show check out the un-aired pilot on the DVD’s. It’s basically the plot of the first 6 episodes of season one, all wrapped into one. The problem was FOX said he was covering too many plot elements too fast and it would be too confusing to views. So small scenes from that pilot became whole episodes and it really didn’t work. As Whedon has continued to talk recently about the things he wanted to do in Dollhouse that FOX didn’t want him to do, it’s clear to me that it was more of an cable show for say HBO or AMC, which unfortunately was sold to FOX, only because Eliza Dushku had a deal with FOX and was then really badly messed up.

I thought the latter part of Season 1 isn’t half bad and then season 2 is pretty good until the point Whedon finds out that they are cancelled and then has to wrap up all the major plot points in just a few episodes and then in my opinion it becomes quite the mess.

Sean Patrick Kelly
Guest

Yeah, the sudden reveal about one of the characters in the final episodes was a little confusing (and there was not enough time to process it).

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