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(Salon)   Transcendence, the horrible remake of Lawnmower Man, shows Hollywood's continued idiocy about science, technology, and the belief Johnny Depp isn't box office poison   (salon.com ) divider line
    More: Interesting, Johnny Depp, Hollywood, Lawnmower Man, mainline protestants, Spike Jonze, gender roles, animal experiments, Ford Motor Co.  
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1923 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 21 Apr 2014 at 8:30 AM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-04-21 08:38:09 AM  
A movie that asks a question it can't answer
 
2014-04-21 08:45:12 AM  
I'm not sure he's box office poison, but you're bound to be involved with some stinkers when you star in 84.1% of movies that are released in a given year.

Dude... come on, You've got lots of money. Take a 3 or 4 month vacation.
 
2014-04-21 08:51:54 AM  
He could have said what he wanted to say in a lot less words had he simply said that Hollywood was trotting out the tired Frankenstein trope of science and technology going too far instead of saying something original.

[caveman-SciFi.jpg]
 
2014-04-21 09:01:22 AM  
You know, in watching that horrible first lawnmower man, I never could decide what the slutty chick was 'into' that he knew about and made her all coma-y.
 
2014-04-21 09:18:09 AM  
Depp can act. He has proven it before.

So while I have yet to see transcendence I doubt he is remotely responsible if it is bad.
 
2014-04-21 09:19:07 AM  
Save yourself some money and go down to your local library and borrow a William Gibson novel or 2....
 
2014-04-21 09:24:10 AM  
Haven't seen the movie, so can't comment, but this critique caught my eye:

"Do Pfister and screenwriter Jack Paglen actually believe that there's some constituency of DIY cord-cutter radical-skeptic types with funny hair who are dead set against medical technology? I'm pretty sure the answer is no"

That rhetorical question actually has an answer... Anti-Vaxxers
 
2014-04-21 09:26:30 AM  
He's been in some stinkers I have seen recently: Secret Window, Lone Ranger, Dark Shadows. He throws in a few more terrible movies, he'll be tossed into the M Night Shamaladingdong as "Wettner's Can't See" list.
 
2014-04-21 09:29:25 AM  
Sorry, by many accounts Mr. Depp is a helluva nice guy, but I can't help but see a weirdo doing schtick when I see him cast in anything.
 
2014-04-21 09:33:50 AM  

EJ25T: I'm not sure he's box office poison, but you're bound to be involved with some stinkers when you star in 84.1% of movies that are released in a given year.

Dude... come on, You've got lots of money. Take a 3 or 4 month vacation.


He's got an ex-wife and kids to support and a new girlfriend with expensive tastes.

Also: it takes a while on the nasty downslope of a career before the studios realize you're not the draw they thought you were (or that you once were) so it takes some time before the checks start getting smaller.  He's probably still in the $30 million+ bracket for his next few films, so he might as well make them, even if they're crap.

If you look at old-school Hollywood actors, they kept working as much as they could in their 40-50s, even when they knew the projects weren't good, as they knew one day the money would dry up.
 
2014-04-21 09:34:45 AM  

You Are All Sheep: You know, in watching that horrible first lawnmower man, I never could decide what the slutty chick was 'into' that he knew about and made her all coma-y.


I liked that movie.

The sequel, however.....
 
2014-04-21 09:39:48 AM  

RyansPrivates: Save yourself some money and go down to your local library and borrow a William Gibson novel or 2....


Or if you're into manga/anime, Ghost in the Shell (I actually think the tv shows were a bit more developed than the comics).
 
2014-04-21 09:41:12 AM  

Crotchrocket Slim: RyansPrivates: Save yourself some money and go down to your local library and borrow a William Gibson novel or 2....

Or if you're into manga/anime, Ghost in the Shell (I actually think the tv shows were a bit more developed than the comics).


Point taken.  Good stuff all around.  Ghost in the Shell was my gateway drug to anime....
 
2014-04-21 09:53:52 AM  

Wettner: He's been in some stinkers I have seen recently: Secret Window, Lone Ranger, Dark Shadows. He throws in a few more terrible movies, he'll be tossed into the M Night Shamaladingdong as "Wettner's Can't See" list.


Meh, Lone Ranger wasn't a "stinker', but it was a western and a little bit of a spoof.  It wasn't supposed to be some lofty work of art.

Westerns, after having had 40 thousand of them, are more beating a dead horse than any of the other genre's combined.(ie they way people complain zombies are over done)  People are simply farking tired of them.

IMO, it wasn't a "bad" movie, objectively.  You can't deride it's plot or acting when the movie is somewhat of a comedy/cheesy/tropy dialogue.  I think they achieved their goal, the movie was well performed, looked fine....it's just that they chose a bad goal at all.  Most of the hate for it is subjective, because it's not what people wanted or hoped for, not because of any technical failure or lack of skill.
 
2014-04-21 10:07:42 AM  
How some of these science fiction movies feel to me sometimes:
dresdencodak.com
 
2014-04-21 10:32:56 AM  

Wolf892: I watched the movie and I enjoyed it.

Spoilers ahead

I really thought that it was interesting that Depp as a machine had not actually harmed anyone or anything by the end of the movie. Instead, he was healing the sick, raising the dead and returning the Earth to a more balanced and harmonious state. It was the humans who saw someone wielding this power and freaked out because it wasn't them in control of it. So their solution was to destroy it.

The message I took away was that even if God existed we would fear him and if it were within our power we would destroy him even though his existence was directly benefiting us.

In the end, we had to destroy all technology to purge ourselves of this "God" which left us as a race literally/figuratively back in the stone age.


-The movie asks a question in can't answer.
-A movie about a Liberal God's Paradise, ruined by the nasty Morgan Freeman Republican
-Man placing himself into a machine isn't even the most implausible part of the movie! I'm supposed to believe that 20 hicks from a small town build a solar powered, nano-tech bunker?
 
2014-04-21 10:59:55 AM  

Bslim: Sorry, by many accounts Mr. Depp is a helluva nice guy, but I can't help but see a weirdo doing schtick when I see him cast in anything.


He's really gotten to be typecast in the last few years. Dude should spend a couple years just doing drugs and plowing his wife and then come back and take on the sort of roles he would have never considered before, and this is from a guy who actually enjoyed him in  The Lone Ranger (that movie had issues but it was a lot better than many seem to imply online).
 
2014-04-21 11:02:10 AM  

RyansPrivates: Crotchrocket Slim: RyansPrivates: Save yourself some money and go down to your local library and borrow a William Gibson novel or 2....

Or if you're into manga/anime, Ghost in the Shell (I actually think the tv shows were a bit more developed than the comics).

Point taken.  Good stuff all around.  Ghost in the Shell was my gateway drug to anime....


One of mine too. I'm really sad most anime is shying away from at least playing with hard scifi ideas and are sliding more into fantasy action in space (there's a place for it but it doesn't have to be everything), if it's not boring high school kid melodrama.
 
2014-04-21 11:02:22 AM  

omeganuepsilon: Wettner: He's been in some stinkers I have seen recently: Secret Window, Lone Ranger, Dark Shadows. He throws in a few more terrible movies, he'll be tossed into the M Night Shamaladingdong as "Wettner's Can't See" list.

Meh, Lone Ranger wasn't a "stinker', but it was a western and a little bit of a spoof.  It wasn't supposed to be some lofty work of art.

Westerns, after having had 40 thousand of them, are more beating a dead horse than any of the other genre's combined.(ie they way people complain zombies are over done)  People are simply farking tired of them.

IMO, it wasn't a "bad" movie, objectively.  You can't deride it's plot or acting when the movie is somewhat of a comedy/cheesy/tropy dialogue.  I think they achieved their goal, the movie was well performed, looked fine....it's just that they chose a bad goal at all.  Most of the hate for it is subjective, because it's not what people wanted or hoped for, not because of any technical failure or lack of skill.


They DID not know how to market that flick. It was an enjoyable experience, gotta admit. Hudson Hawk comes to mind. Will become an underground classic.
 
2014-04-21 11:03:19 AM  

Crotchrocket Slim: Bslim: Sorry, by many accounts Mr. Depp is a helluva nice guy, but I can't help but see a weirdo doing schtick when I see him cast in anything.

He's really gotten to be typecast in the last few years. Dude should spend a couple years just doing drugs and plowing his wife and then come back and take on the sort of roles he would have never considered before, and this is from a guy who actually enjoyed him in  The Lone Ranger (that movie had issues but it was a lot better than many seem to imply online).


Agreed. 100%
 
2014-04-21 11:15:46 AM  
Box office poison is now defined by who brings in the big bucks? Or is Subby just mad that Johnny Depp gets to be Johnny Depp and Subby doesn't?
 
2014-04-21 11:40:15 AM  

Wettner: He's been in some stinkers I have seen recently: Secret Window, Lone Ranger, Dark Shadows. He throws in a few more terrible movies, he'll be tossed into the M Night Shamaladingdong as "Wettner's Can't See" list.


I actually really liked Dark Shadows, but I was a fan of the soap opera.

It was different a bit off and irreverent, but a fun dark comedy none the less.

I think the best part was that everyone was playing it pretty straight throughout, and it just seemed to work.
 
2014-04-21 11:54:28 AM  

Mjeck: Wolf892: I watched the movie and I enjoyed it.

Spoilers ahead

I really thought that it was interesting that Depp as a machine had not actually harmed anyone or anything by the end of the movie. Instead, he was healing the sick, raising the dead and returning the Earth to a more balanced and harmonious state. It was the humans who saw someone wielding this power and freaked out because it wasn't them in control of it. So their solution was to destroy it.

The message I took away was that even if God existed we would fear him and if it were within our power we would destroy him even though his existence was directly benefiting us.

In the end, we had to destroy all technology to purge ourselves of this "God" which left us as a race literally/figuratively back in the stone age.

-The movie asks a question in can't answer.
-A movie about a Liberal God's Paradise, ruined by the nasty Morgan Freeman Republican
-Man placing himself into a machine isn't even the most implausible part of the movie! I'm supposed to believe that 20 hicks from a small town build a solar powered, nano-tech bunker?


It insists upon itself.
 
2014-04-21 12:00:20 PM  
Saw Dark Shadows and Lone Ranger in theaters, both were fine movies. I won't be seeing this one, though, the premise isn't even remotely interesting.

It is a shame that his movies aren't grossing, but it happens. Not every movie can be POTC.
 
2014-04-21 12:02:58 PM  
Damn. I didn't intend to see this movie but because it's Sci-Fi I hoped it would do well.
Prove to hollywood there's a market etc etc
 
2014-04-21 12:31:38 PM  
Sumbiatch owes me two hours of my life for 'Rango'.
 
2014-04-21 12:41:23 PM  
How can the star of those terrible, hugely successful Jack Sparrow movies be considered box office poison? The audience came to see Depp!
 
2014-04-21 12:44:02 PM  

Mad_Radhu: He could have said what he wanted to say in a lot less words had he simply said that Hollywood was trotting out the tired Frankenstein trope of science and technology going too far instead of saying something original.

[caveman-SciFi.jpg]


I personally hate the Science is Bad trope. It's overdone and stupid.
It's always "oh noes, science is evil and has gone to fars!! We need to burn the science devilry! Burn it!!!!"
The trope goes back centuries, but I think it really took off in modern pop culture in the 60s and 70s counter-culture.
 
2014-04-21 01:23:39 PM  
It's a shame about this turd being the directorial debut of Wally Pfister (Chris Nolan's cinematographer, won an Oscar for Inception). I thought it looked dumb and derivative just from the trailer.
 
2014-04-21 01:47:22 PM  
This morning Glenn Beck came up with the phrase "Kiss of Depp". Had anyone else coined that first?
 
2014-04-21 02:20:05 PM  
Wolf892:
In the end, we had to destroy all technology to purge ourselves of this "God" which left us as a race literally/figuratively back in the stone age.

Why is it always "back to the Stone Age"?
Why not the Middle Ages?
Renaissance, tops?
 
2014-04-21 02:49:22 PM  

Wolf892: I watched the movie and I enjoyed it.

Spoilers ahead

I really thought that it was interesting that Depp as a machine had not actually harmed anyone or anything by the end of the movie. Instead, he was healing the sick, raising the dead and returning the Earth to a more balanced and harmonious state. It was the humans who saw someone wielding this power and freaked out because it wasn't them in control of it. So their solution was to destroy it.

The message I took away was that even if God existed we would fear him and if it were within our power we would destroy him even though his existence was directly benefiting us.

In the end, we had to destroy all technology to purge ourselves of this "God" which left us as a race literally/figuratively back in the stone age.


now you know how lex luthor feels EVERY DAY.
 
2014-04-21 03:22:22 PM  
yep he'll star in anything for money

he's like the opposite of actors who choose roles carefully
like jody foster, ryan gosling, jack nicholson
 
2014-04-21 05:05:19 PM  
mrEdude: I think you are referring to Nick Cage.
 
2014-04-21 06:05:24 PM  
I love a good sci-fi movie so checked out the trailer.....and.....not paying good money for that

Went to a small theatre to see the excellent "Calvery" instead. Irish film with Brendan Gleason. I'm in UK - may not be on release in the US.
 
2014-04-21 09:50:23 PM  

Smackledorfer: Depp can act. He has proven it before.

So while I have yet to see transcendence I doubt he is remotely responsible if it is bad.


Yeah, I'll give the guy a pass. Everyone has a bad day at work every now and then.

//then again I really liked Dark Shadows
///havn't seen The Lone Ranger or Transcendence and probably won't
 
2014-04-21 10:13:20 PM  

acad1228: This morning Glenn Beck came up with the phrase "Kiss of Depp". Had anyone else coined that first?


It's not worth 'coining'. Because it's not true, not clever, obvious, inaccurate, and, well, that's probably enough for now. I get it though, for sure.
 
2014-04-22 08:35:52 AM  
If there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that articles with too many rambling paragraphs have no chance of getting read all the way through.
 
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