Most of the time, the Hollywood Excuse should be taken with a grain of sand – like Charlie Sheen’s assertion that threatening a prostitute and destroying a suite in 2010 was just a bad reaction to medication – because the offending person has to protect their interests, and justify their enormous pay-check rather than admitting they just plain made a stinker. But sometimes it’s hard to sit back and listen to a film-maker plainly lie about their stinker of a film, showing zero self-awareness in protecting themselves, and even their work and blaming just about everyone and everything else.
But then I suppose they made their way in the industry by selling their own image and being very creative, so why should that end when it comes to covering their own backs.
Sometimes, even more bafflingly, the excuses come from external sources’ from reviewers who stand firm against the tide of abuse and proclaim films to be great, or misunderstood, and that their perceived awfulness is actually just a trick of the light, and someone has pulled off a grand deception in convincing everyone else that the film just plain sucked. These people are a bad director’s best friend.
Anyway, here we are celebrating some of the most rificulous excuses used to defend or explain the awfulness of terrible movies. Prepare to spit your coffee out in disbelief, and if you haven’t got one, go and make one for that very purpose…
1. Sucker Punch - “It’s Hard To Sell Women”
The Excuse: “We have female characters in this situation that’s mostly the terrain of men. It’s a challenge economically to find who is the audience for the movie. Our hope is that the movie is transcendent, that it becomes something no one’s seen before and exists outside the models [studios] use to track potential economic gains” – Zack Snyder
As if pre-empting the critical panning of his silly, overblown and misogynist “rock opera,” Snyder actually got his excuses in early, ahead of the film’s 2011 release, suggesting that his film, with its clever, feminist message and its attempt to redress the gender imbalance of Hollywood. Snyder effectively made his film a martyr of the bias and sexism, accusing everyone of not wanting to see female action leads as the reasons why his film might fail.
But that missed the point – Snyder wasn’t trying to be feminist in his fetishism of the female form, he was trying to be provocative (or he has a very strange idea about gender activism) – and the only message that emerged was a lurid one of sexual desire. We weren’t being invited to explore why we felt how we did about the characters, we were being invited to enjoy them by the camera and the film’s devices.
And regardless of that, the film was just a great big mess. It was over-balanced towards special effects, compromising on character development and it was about as deep as a music video with added muscle.
This article was first posted on November 7, 2012