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C'MON HOLLYWOOD: Don't give up on Shyamalan yet!

02.09.2010

...don't give up on Shyamalan yet!
by J.A. Hamilton

Drinking at The Blue Door with co-workers the other night, the topic of movies came up (as it always does) and my buddy Adam started listing what he felt were the best movie twists of all time. It was by no means a long list, but was summed up with his favorite being Edward Norton’s character turn in PRIMAL FEAR and then second favorite being that Bruce Willis was actually dead in THE SIXTH SENSE. I agreed with both choices and it got me thinking about M. Night Shyamalan. Shyamalan is now a household name, but his genius when it comes to films is split down the middle for most people (and in some cases resting more on the negative side). With a slew of films on the horizon, I’m hoping he can turn that around.


"The f*ck you mean I'M DEAD, kid!?"

In all fairness, they can’t all be gems. THE SIXTH SENSE was a phenomenal flick and after discovering the “secret”, going back through a second and third time was all the better as you picked up on the telltale signs you originally missed. UNBREAKABLE was fun for what it was, giving the world of comic book super heroes and villains an original new outlet to roll with. And then there was SIGNS, a clever and well written approach to alien invasions. Sure, I still think the aliens should kill their scouts as the whole water issue should have been addressed long before they decided to invade, but the overall idea behind it was ironically entertaining.


"Like my Joker suit, got it for fifty bucks on eBay last week."

Now for the other side of the coin. THE VILLAGE started out cool enough, I was totally digging the idea of monsters in the woods keeping them cut off from society, but alas, the second half of the film fell flat as the supposed “slow” kid turned villain and exposed the whole plot for shit. LADY IN THE WATER also had a promising premise but confused itself (and the audience) somewhere along the line taking the film in a totally different direction. I enjoyed THE HAPPENING, but before you start throwing tomatoes let me elaborate by saying I liked the idea behind it (Mother Nature deciding to roflstomp us in the junk), and although the R rating helped the cause, it was overshadowed by a poor story, awful writing and ridiculous characters. I still feel the idea was sound, just poorly executed.


Trees are funny.

With those films in mind (and this is simply my opinion), Shyamalan is three hits and three misses or again, walking that split line down the middle. THE LAST AIRBENDER looks interesting enough, though we’ve only gotten a teaser and a short Super Bowl add to wet our lips with to date. I’ve heard mixed theories behind it, but from what I can see, this flick not only seems out of the norm for Shyamalan but also seems like the perfect vehicle for a comeback if done properly. Shyamalan is good at combining intrigue, action, fantasy and thrills so it’s not a question of his ability to direct or write per say as he’s clearly shown he can do so, but my belief is that he’s lost his edge (like so many people in this business do once they’re established) and needs to start carrying the fire once again.


Looks like The Golden Child with cooler magic and a staff.

If there’s one thing I can honestly say about Hollywood it’s that there is always opportunity for reinvention. Countless actors have done it, as have many directors. There’s no reason to count Shyamalan out at this point as three out of six ain’t bad. If we want to look past THE LAST AIRBENDER, he’s also slated for UNBREAKABLE 2, which in all honesty could go either way depending on the story and cast, and he’s got another thriller/horror flick called DEVIL about a group of peeps stuck in an elevator who eventually realize Satan’s kicking it in there with them. Shyamalan hit the scene when originality was starting to wane, and I for one hope he turns things around in the coming months as we could use his unique story telling abilities now more than ever.
Extra Tidbit: THE SIXTH SENSE was based upon an “ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK?” episode where a brother discovers that only his sister can see him and then eventually she shows him his obituary.
Source: JoBlo.com

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8:29AM on 02/09/2010

Unbreakable

I only saw it once, but I remember there's a quote on-screen at the start that totally gave away what the film was about. I really enjoyed the film, but I thought that spoiled it a little, because I knew what was coming. Anyone else have the same experience?
I only saw it once, but I remember there's a quote on-screen at the start that totally gave away what the film was about. I really enjoyed the film, but I thought that spoiled it a little, because I knew what was coming. Anyone else have the same experience?
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8:40AM on 02/09/2010

tidbit

I remember that episode! Great show.
I remember that episode! Great show.
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9:20AM on 02/09/2010

Hey!

The Happening wasn't _that_ bad.
The Happening wasn't _that_ bad.
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9:37AM on 02/09/2010

I agree with the sentiment of not giving up on Shyamalan.


I really disliked both LADY IN THE WATER and THE HAPPENING, the criticisms for both those films are entirely justified. LADY IN THE WATER especially is self-indulgent to the point of absurdity. However, it's very difficult to deny the fact that Shymalan knows how to create atmosphere.

For example, I realise how ridiculous it is for aliens to harvest food from a planet where 70% of the surface is covered in a hazardous substance (not to mention the food source itself also containing this

I really disliked both LADY IN THE WATER and THE HAPPENING, the criticisms for both those films are entirely justified. LADY IN THE WATER especially is self-indulgent to the point of absurdity. However, it's very difficult to deny the fact that Shymalan knows how to create atmosphere.

For example, I realise how ridiculous it is for aliens to harvest food from a planet where 70% of the surface is covered in a hazardous substance (not to mention the food source itself also containing this hazardous substance). This would be like humans going to the home world of the Xenomorphs from the ALIEN franchise to harvest them for food... it's a terrible idea and chances are your face will burn off while chowing down your rib buffet. However, I was so absorbed by the tense atmosphere and the visuals - the freeze frame from the birthday party comes to mind - that I completely forgave any lapse in logic.

Hence my absolutely loving SIGNS, flaws and all.

THE SIXTH SENSE and UNBREAKABLE are, in my opinion, masterpieces of storytelling.

So how could I not believe the guy has many other great films in him?

It all comes down to his ego. He needs to start choosing stories written by people other than himself. If he can do that... he'll be fine.
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10:00AM on 02/09/2010
I'm one of a dying breed of people who just plain love all his movies, no buts about it. He makes deep, thoughtful, poignant, mysterious, well-written, well-filmed, and just plain *great* movies, but unfortunately a lot of people can't (or don') see that.

Me? I never even thought of giving up on him. Good to know others are willing to give him another chance.
I'm one of a dying breed of people who just plain love all his movies, no buts about it. He makes deep, thoughtful, poignant, mysterious, well-written, well-filmed, and just plain *great* movies, but unfortunately a lot of people can't (or don') see that.

Me? I never even thought of giving up on him. Good to know others are willing to give him another chance.
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10:01AM on 02/09/2010

Unbreakable 2!!!!

I absolutely loved Unbreakable. I'm a simple creature so unlike Captain Thorpe, I was actually thrown for a loop within the first minute of the film. I was like, "comic books . . . whaaaa?" It's a little creepy that Unbreakable was released before the comic book boom of the last decade because it feels like Watchman in how it deconstructs the genre with its real world take on super heros. I should have seen the twist coming, but actually I was expecting Sam Jackson to be his Obi Wan Kenobi
I absolutely loved Unbreakable. I'm a simple creature so unlike Captain Thorpe, I was actually thrown for a loop within the first minute of the film. I was like, "comic books . . . whaaaa?" It's a little creepy that Unbreakable was released before the comic book boom of the last decade because it feels like Watchman in how it deconstructs the genre with its real world take on super heros. I should have seen the twist coming, but actually I was expecting Sam Jackson to be his Obi Wan Kenobi and not his Magneto. I'm a little bit tired of Harry Knowles hyperbole, but his original review of Unbreakable really sums up why I love that movie and why I hope Shyamalan returns to his planned trilogy. Plus it was one of Willis and Jacksons best performances.
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10:24AM on 02/09/2010
Yeah, I've often thought about how much stuff has been released since then that covers the same ground. Shyamalan doesn't get enough credit for that. When all the hype for 'Heroes' started I would say to people "whatever, just watch Unbreakable...."
Yeah, I've often thought about how much stuff has been released since then that covers the same ground. Shyamalan doesn't get enough credit for that. When all the hype for 'Heroes' started I would say to people "whatever, just watch Unbreakable...."
10:32AM on 02/09/2010

WARNING SPOILERS!!

speaking of movie twists, i love the end of THE OTHERS when nicole kidman too finds out she's dead. that really turned things around. that film was quite good and is often forgot about.
speaking of movie twists, i love the end of THE OTHERS when nicole kidman too finds out she's dead. that really turned things around. that film was quite good and is often forgot about.
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1:22PM on 02/09/2010
That's still a great movie.
That's still a great movie.
11:19AM on 02/09/2010

About time

Just when I thought I was alone. I have loved every single one of his movies. Even The Happening for how ridiculous it was, was beautifully shot. Lady in the Water is right up there with The 6th Sense and unbelievably original in the barren wasteland of reboots, remakes, and re whatevers. Even if you don't like or respect the man's movies you must respect the amount of talent this man has. It is truly gret and unprecedented in these times. Long live M. Night.
PS - Yea... he shouldnt act.
Just when I thought I was alone. I have loved every single one of his movies. Even The Happening for how ridiculous it was, was beautifully shot. Lady in the Water is right up there with The 6th Sense and unbelievably original in the barren wasteland of reboots, remakes, and re whatevers. Even if you don't like or respect the man's movies you must respect the amount of talent this man has. It is truly gret and unprecedented in these times. Long live M. Night.
PS - Yea... he shouldnt act.
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11:55AM on 02/09/2010
He's got good ideas, definitely. Hit-or-miss execution with them. I'm not giving up on him, though. Sure, I didn't like "The Happening", but a lot of directors trip up. It seems like hating M. Night is just the cool thing to do. We'll see, maybe he'll pick it up within the next few years.
He's got good ideas, definitely. Hit-or-miss execution with them. I'm not giving up on him, though. Sure, I didn't like "The Happening", but a lot of directors trip up. It seems like hating M. Night is just the cool thing to do. We'll see, maybe he'll pick it up within the next few years.
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12:29PM on 02/09/2010
I think his movies aren't too bad. His most fun has been Signs, his best Unbreakable and his worst Lady in the Water. He should stay behind the camera as well. Cameos are one thing but writing yourself into a movie is tantamount to jerking off over naked pictures of yourself.

He's got a great skill for framing, but his pace is usually languid. The Last Airbender looks like something that will stand him in good stead for his future cinematic endeavours with regards to that...looks cool...
I think his movies aren't too bad. His most fun has been Signs, his best Unbreakable and his worst Lady in the Water. He should stay behind the camera as well. Cameos are one thing but writing yourself into a movie is tantamount to jerking off over naked pictures of yourself.

He's got a great skill for framing, but his pace is usually languid. The Last Airbender looks like something that will stand him in good stead for his future cinematic endeavours with regards to that...looks cool...
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12:54PM on 02/09/2010
I'm all for him getting a second chance, he's been one of the better things to happen to movies when he's on his A game, so here's hoping his new films kick some ass.
I'm all for him getting a second chance, he's been one of the better things to happen to movies when he's on his A game, so here's hoping his new films kick some ass.
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1:21PM on 02/09/2010
Not sure about an Unbreakable sequel until I get more info, but Airbender does look good.
Not sure about an Unbreakable sequel until I get more info, but Airbender does look good.
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1:46PM on 02/09/2010

I hope he can turn it around

I have to admit, his past 3 movies WERE HORRID, BUT, I do give him another chance, because I know he has talent, I KNOW IT! So I'm hoping he does better in the future, and that Devil movie sounds interesting. But lets cross our finders for Airbender, which I must say have no interest in the cartoon whatsoever, but I'll check out the movie.
I have to admit, his past 3 movies WERE HORRID, BUT, I do give him another chance, because I know he has talent, I KNOW IT! So I'm hoping he does better in the future, and that Devil movie sounds interesting. But lets cross our finders for Airbender, which I must say have no interest in the cartoon whatsoever, but I'll check out the movie.
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3:29PM on 02/09/2010

Hack

Shamalaymading-dong is a complete hack! He had ONE good film, Sixth sens, two OKAY films, and then three I WANT TO SHOOT MYSELF IN THE FACE THIS IS SO HORRIBLE films... how does that add up to a split line?

There's a reason why Quentin Tarantino, a man with ZERO duds hates this dude... BECAUSE HE SUCKS!
Shamalaymading-dong is a complete hack! He had ONE good film, Sixth sens, two OKAY films, and then three I WANT TO SHOOT MYSELF IN THE FACE THIS IS SO HORRIBLE films... how does that add up to a split line?

There's a reason why Quentin Tarantino, a man with ZERO duds hates this dude... BECAUSE HE SUCKS!
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-2
4:06PM on 02/09/2010

He's Got Talent

His first 3 movies are among my top 10 favorite movies of all time. The Village was no where as bad as people say it is, though I do understand why it pissed off a lot of viewers. The only real "bad" movies he's made, in my opinion, is Lady in the Water and The Happening. Lady in the Water was a complete ego-trip for himself -- nothing more. The Happening was flat-out ridiculous; his first R-rated film and it failed to scare. However, even his failures have fascinating ideas behind them. I
His first 3 movies are among my top 10 favorite movies of all time. The Village was no where as bad as people say it is, though I do understand why it pissed off a lot of viewers. The only real "bad" movies he's made, in my opinion, is Lady in the Water and The Happening. Lady in the Water was a complete ego-trip for himself -- nothing more. The Happening was flat-out ridiculous; his first R-rated film and it failed to scare. However, even his failures have fascinating ideas behind them. I think Lady in the Water would have worked better if it wasn't marketed as a horror film and just included a group of kids as the main characters. I think The Happening had a very fascinating premise -- it's just the overall execution was flawed. I'm hoping he makes a come-back with Airbender. People need to feel comfortable spending money watching his movies again.
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4:51PM on 02/09/2010

EGO vs ARTISTRY

the thing that makes me question M.Night's judgement is how he always miscasts HIMSELF in movies. a country sherriff? a drug dealer? the world's greatest writer???

Stay behind the camera.

the thing that makes me question M.Night's judgement is how he always miscasts HIMSELF in movies. a country sherriff? a drug dealer? the world's greatest writer???

Stay behind the camera.

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5:19PM on 02/09/2010
Sorry. Not one penny more from me goes into his pocket until such time as Hell becomes a frozen wasteland. Too much press with the whole parting from Disney thing. Assholes will be assholes, I guess.
Sorry. Not one penny more from me goes into his pocket until such time as Hell becomes a frozen wasteland. Too much press with the whole parting from Disney thing. Assholes will be assholes, I guess.
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5:26PM on 02/09/2010

My $00.02...

1) NO MORE TWISTS!!! Just beginning, middle, end...
2) Move the sets from fucking Pennsylvania!!!
1) NO MORE TWISTS!!! Just beginning, middle, end...
2) Move the sets from fucking Pennsylvania!!!
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5:48PM on 02/09/2010
He's progressively made worse films throughout his career. Lady in the Water was horrendous and after that torture, I'll never see another one of his films.
He's progressively made worse films throughout his career. Lady in the Water was horrendous and after that torture, I'll never see another one of his films.
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6:18PM on 02/09/2010
M. Night is one of the best writer/directors working in Hollywood and I will defend that claim until the end (Although it definitely is getting harder to do) I agree that Lady in the Water and Happening were beyond horrible, but Sixth Sense, Signs and my two personal favorites Unbreakable and Village are all phenomenal films. He has some brilliant ideas, but I think he suffered from the George Lucas Syndrome(Brilliant man with crazy ideas surrounded by Yes Men) I really think that if somebody
M. Night is one of the best writer/directors working in Hollywood and I will defend that claim until the end (Although it definitely is getting harder to do) I agree that Lady in the Water and Happening were beyond horrible, but Sixth Sense, Signs and my two personal favorites Unbreakable and Village are all phenomenal films. He has some brilliant ideas, but I think he suffered from the George Lucas Syndrome(Brilliant man with crazy ideas surrounded by Yes Men) I really think that if somebody would have come out and told M NIght that some of his ideas wouldn't work then Lady and The Happening would be much better.

Regardless I believe that the man still has it in him to turn out some great movies. Perhaps he should even try directing some material that isn't his, because his skills as a director have never been in question.
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8:27PM on 02/09/2010
I'm in the boat with most of his audience.. we loved The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable.. Signs was OK at points, and The Village drifted through mediocrity. But how can we NOT give up on him after that abomination entitled The Happening? It has to be one of the worst movies ever made. It's so unintentionally funny that there's certain parts of the movie where you will actually question if it IS A COMEDY. The guy's done.
I'm in the boat with most of his audience.. we loved The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable.. Signs was OK at points, and The Village drifted through mediocrity. But how can we NOT give up on him after that abomination entitled The Happening? It has to be one of the worst movies ever made. It's so unintentionally funny that there's certain parts of the movie where you will actually question if it IS A COMEDY. The guy's done.
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7:19PM on 02/10/2010
I wouldn't say DONE dude. 2 great movies, 2 meh and 1 bad shouldnt mean done. I say give him another chance. IF Uwe Boll is allowed to keep making movies M. Should be able to try and redeem himself.
I wouldn't say DONE dude. 2 great movies, 2 meh and 1 bad shouldnt mean done. I say give him another chance. IF Uwe Boll is allowed to keep making movies M. Should be able to try and redeem himself.
8:42PM on 02/09/2010
He's a good writer/director. He just let his standard lowers a lot. He need to redeem himself with The Last Airbender to at least The Sixth Sense standard. Otherwise it's gonna be just another The Happening.
He's a good writer/director. He just let his standard lowers a lot. He need to redeem himself with The Last Airbender to at least The Sixth Sense standard. Otherwise it's gonna be just another The Happening.
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11:16PM on 02/09/2010
Agreed.
Agreed.
10:25PM on 02/09/2010
Though I agree that his ego needs checked when it comes to his cameos, if the story is good then I'm game. It's never too late.
Though I agree that his ego needs checked when it comes to his cameos, if the story is good then I'm game. It's never too late.
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11:15PM on 02/09/2010
I think you nailed the problem on the head by saying he's gotten too comfortable. Hopefully, he's learned his lesson and can get back to making good movies.
I think you nailed the problem on the head by saying he's gotten too comfortable. Hopefully, he's learned his lesson and can get back to making good movies.
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12:01AM on 02/10/2010
You can't give up on a guy who made at least three great films, hopefully he's learned from his mistakes and is ready to give us three more.
You can't give up on a guy who made at least three great films, hopefully he's learned from his mistakes and is ready to give us three more.
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1:06AM on 02/10/2010
Holy shit I remember watching that episode as a kid. THAT inspired it?
Holy shit I remember watching that episode as a kid. THAT inspired it?
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4:18AM on 02/10/2010

anyone who's watched the animated series

would agree that if this dude fcks up the last airbender,
he's a complete moron, and should forever be banned from directing/writing
would agree that if this dude fcks up the last airbender,
he's a complete moron, and should forever be banned from directing/writing
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7:54PM on 02/10/2010
I'll agree to that.
I'll agree to that.
7:13PM on 02/10/2010
I'm hoping The Last Airbender kicks ass, if not, well Mr. M Night can kiss his career down the toilet for reals.
I'm hoping The Last Airbender kicks ass, if not, well Mr. M Night can kiss his career down the toilet for reals.
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