Tuesday, December 05, 2006

American Film Critic.

American Psycho
2000, USA
Mary Harron

Everyone likes American Psycho, but not usually for the right reasons. Most people just think it's a damning criticism of the dehumanizing materialism and selfishness of the cocaine-fueled 80s, which revolves around the inability of even a vicious serial killer to make an impression in his world. Most call it the very definition of a mordant satire, a comedy so black it abandons its moral center to make the humor all the more biting. But most people are missing the higher point of the film, the true meaning behind the superficial incisive social commentary and formal experimentation, which is that I get an erection when women die. You may have missed this subtle nuance in the film, because you didn't go to film school for five years, but you can trust me on this. I'm a film critic, and I know way better than you unwashed masses.

Not only did American Psycho set the standard for all serial killer films to come, with its shameless acceptance of the killer as anti-hero and morbid black humor, but it also set the standard for all serial killers to come. No longer can I hope to distinguish myself by stuffing a young co-ed's vagina with dirt and twigs and leaving her by the highway, or sodomizing a toddler with a scalpel. I'll have to come up with something new and inventive to set my self apart from the pack, maybe involving boiling water and a turkey baster. I don't know. It's kind of depressing, actually, that I will never kill anyone as well as Patrick Bateman can. But regardless, it's the subtle touches, probably lost on simpler film viewers, that really make the film, like the gracefulness with which Bateman, played by Christian Bale channeling only a touch of Jim Carrey, selects a coat hanger for a hooker lobotomy, or the hint of a sparkle in his smile as he bites a chunk out of a live woman's leg. You really have to be trained to pick up on that kind of subtlety, and that kind of training you can only get in a 17th or 18th nationally-ranked film studies program.

My graduation photo.

That's why you need people like me. Because, on your own, you won't pick up all the intricacies of the more complicated films like American Psycho, which rely on sub-text and subtlety to make their points. If it weren't for perceptive critics like myself, the lumpen-proletariat would have no idea that Natural Born Killers was a media critique, or that Mission Impossible 3 was the thrill ride of the summer. It's our job to ignore the obvious, to peel back the layers and reveal the essential truths beneath; buried so deep only our uniquely perspicacious and intuitive abilities can sniff them out. It's our job to point out the nuances that inform graceful, complicated meditations on society like American Psycho, xXx: State of the Union, and The Librarian and the Spear of Destiny. It's our job to point out how smart we are by finding the homoerotic subtext in Brokeback Mountain, and the Christian overtones of The Passion of the Christ. It's our job to justify our existence with patronizing attitudes and overly intellectual analyses regarding the most simplistic and obvious of cinematic statements. After all, if we don't find the core of meaning, of deep, inviolable truth at the heart of the American Psycho s, the Original Gangstas , and the King Kong Versus Godzillas, how are we going to justify five years of sleeping through Tarkovsky movies? You should be thankful for the service we provide, lest be forced to pick up all the intricacies of American Psycho all by yourself. In a time when film critics are being fired and re-assigned left, right, and center in favor of wire reviews from the major markets, it's time for all you film fans to rally together and support your local pretentious, whiny, maggot-pale film critic, so you can be told why you should like a movie, and all about my erection.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow...toddler? With a scalpel? Seriously...man, you need help.

If I didn't live so far away from you, and if organizing an intervention or phoning the police didn't seem like so, so much work, well...I'd do something to put your mad reighn to an end before you hurt someone and do something that you'll eventually regret and get you put in jail.

But, I have to go watch Transformers DVD bonus features. That seems easier than giving a damaged fellow human being a helping hand.

12:02 a.m.  
Anonymous Michael Korvac said...

"It's our job to justify our existence with patronizing attitudes and overly intellectual analyses regarding the most simplistic and obvious of cinematic statements."

Yep. Communications student.

12:03 a.m.  
Blogger nijaz said...

American Psycho.

Didn't watch it. Fact already established. Bush re-elected and Simpson walking free and richer.

1:21 a.m.  
Blogger Jerk Of All Trades 2.0 said...



SOMEBODY got a thesaurus early from Santa.

Never seen this one. Too many people I consider idiots LOVED it.

12:53 p.m.  
Anonymous Whitro said...

I LOVED this movie. My favorite part is when Stiffler drinks the semen!

1:53 p.m.  
Anonymous Paul said...

I think i'm the bigger snob coz i say the book is much better, anyhow Bale is the perfect Bateman (and Batman hehe).

6:38 p.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

My favorite part about this adaptation is that in the book, Bateman is a serial killer, desperately attempting to make himself stand out from the pack, but no one cares.
In the movie, it turns out that he isn't even a serial killer, that his desperate attempts to distinguish himself were not only futile, they were all in his imagination. And also, fuck you, Machine God.

8:05 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are among the most entertaining bloggers I've found. Pause. The violent pedophilia jokes are only good if they actually make you burst out laughing involuntarily. If not they're an icky distraction. I'm only saying this as a fan.

1:53 a.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

They're not meant to be funny, or a distraction. They're meant to get me off.

3:07 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ash, I find your thoughtful essays to be derivative of Jim Goad. Keep trying, though. Really.

8:17 p.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

I will as long as you promise to keep patronizing anonymously on websites no one reads.

8:29 p.m.  
Anonymous THE SNEERING (homo-phobic) POPINJAY said...

but mr. karreau, i read this site and i am most impressed, because, like me, you are the man of the future, because you know for instance, (among other things) that 30 years from now, (or perhaps less), the word "pedophilia" will have as much reasonance and meaning within society as the word "warlock" does in our time, and that our (overall) negative attitude to the the idea of adults having sex with children will be the primary reason why this time that we`re living in will be remembered by future historians as "THE TIME OF SEXUAL REPRESSION". anyone who disagrees with me is a bloody fucking silly bastard who is afraid of the future.

10:59 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations! This article qualifies you as one of the top 100 most arrogant bloggers of the web.
"You never lived in the streets though you wish you had
Not enough talent to play a guitar
You failed as an artist 'cause you lacked in the confidence
Now you're a critic and you're at the top ...
You're just a critic, we know why you drink so much
Jealousy slowly consuming your gut
The streets that you never knew are just where they've always been
Your head is firmly lodged way up your butt (where it belongs) "

2:38 p.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

Congratulations, your comment qualifies you as one of the top 100 000 internet morons unable to detect sarcasm!

2:43 p.m.  
Anonymous the irritating little tick said...

i want to bugger every 8 year old girl in the world !!!

6:28 p.m.  

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