Saturday, January 21, 2012

Annoying Things Local Films Like to Do #1

Making a good movie isn't easy, I'm very well aware of that fact. So spare me the lecture on how I should just be thankful, how I should support homemade films, and the ever-so-popular I-don't-see-you-making-any-movie or the more famous variation of it; kalau-power-sangat-buat-la-sendiri. If you're going to throw one at me, I will have to assume that you're still in school or you never grew past it. Or you're a big fat stupid dumb idiot.

I'm just putting this up because I think it's funny. Picture obtained from
I'll tell you why. Show business is an industry and movies (among other things) are its product. If I go see it, that will make me a paying customer. Don't customers have rights? They have the right to charge me to see the movie, but I don't have the right to say that I don't like it? That's about as stupid as being told off by a restaurateur to "cook for yourself if you don't like our food" when you comment that your dinner is unsatisfactory.

You just don't do that. You just have to live and let live, and accept the fact that not everybody appreciate the same things. When it comes to these things, not only I don't appreciate them, I plainly loathe them altogether.

Thinly-veiled allusions, or lack of it altogether
Just to refresh your memory, allusion in storytelling is something like a subtle clue on what's going to happen at the end through events that happened earlier in the movie. For example, in the movie Of Mice and Men [1992], slow-witted Lennie's fondness for soft things seemed so insignificant, you might be inclined to think of it as nothing more than a minor little detail you can afford to throw away. But in turned out to be his ultimate undoing.

Of course, that's just one example. Truth is, almost every good movie out there has at least one. It's just that they're not always obvious and they can be really obscure. You could argue that it's not crucial and not every movie needs one to be considered 'good', and I'd agree. But it's always a treat when it's part of the storytelling because it's one of those things that make you go, "Why didn't I see it before?!"

Needless to say it's not an unknown concept over here, especially since local productions tend to adhere to this unwritten rule where every story must be chock-full of moral values, and must always be about "menuju kearah kebaikan yang sesuai dengan budaya ketimuran". I gave up on translating that because I couldn't stop rolling my eyes.

The point I'm trying to make here is, there's this propensity for local movies and television shows to end up with thinly-veiled allusions, or the outright lack of it. I'm not pointing fingers here, because I have this feeling that local productions like to spend more on movie stars while screenwriters work for peanuts. Perhaps someone can prove me wrong? I genuinely would like to know.

Are they as overworked and as underpaid as I think they are?
Anyway, here's one exchange from a made-for-TV movie I overheard the other day, and it was the sort of an allusion that annoys the hell out of me because it was so ham-handedly delivered;
Moron: "Kau tengok dia tu. Masjid pun tak pernah pegi, ada hati nak dapat tanah kubur kat sini."
Generic Good Guy: "Eh, kau tak baik cakap camtu. Silap-silap dia masuk syurga dulu dari kau. Mana la tau..."
Moron: "Takdenye... Hey, aku ni sembahyang tau, rajin ibadat, jaga-"
I couldn't remember the rest of the exchange because it was at that point when I switched to another channel. Look, I get the message, but that was like the stupidest way of trying to get it across for three reasons; One, they were preaching to the choir. Two, it rendered the characters unbelievable. Three, it was lazy screenwriting. You might as well had "I'm the villain!" tattooed on that moron's forehead.

That was a terrible allusion, because you can guess straightaway what was gonna happen to that guy. Now, I didn't see the ending, but I'm guessing that moron up there had trouble passing away, and the whole scene played out like something straight out of the Mastika magazine?

Does the URTV editor moonlight as a casting director?
Is it just me, or there are many people out there who think that Aaron Aziz is that versatile an actor? Now let me clarify that I have nothing against the guy or his acting. I have only seen him in Pisau Cukur [2009] and KL Gangster [2011] and even though I hated the latter, I think he did good with the material given to him. What I'm trying to say here is that he's not Johnny Depp, he's not Russell Crowe and he's not Robert De Niro.

He *might* be able to kick my ass, but that won't prove me wrong...
So why is there such a great demand for him to be in every movie ever? Maybe I'm exaggerating here, but at the back of my psychotic mind I can't help thinking that casting directors here are all related to people working in tabloid magazines.

"We need someone who can play a gangster."
"I got two words for you; Aaron Aziz!"

"We're looking for someone to play a nelayan."
"Look no further, Aaron Aziz is available!"

"We need a guy who can play an experienced laywer."
"Order! Order! Aaron Aziz in the house! Just sprinkle some baby powder in his hair."

"What about a football coach?"
"Give me an A! Give me another A! You know what those two As stand for?"

"You know what, I'm going to need a rapist too."

Aaaaaand the list goes on. Of course, I'm not insinuating that actors should be typecast. My point here is, people like Rosyam Nor, Faizal Hussein and Shaheizy Sam can pass for a variety of roles because they all look like regular Malaysian guys, and they can be believable playing everything from businessmen to assassins (can't wait for Bunohan, by the way) because there's a sense of realism in there.

I may outweigh the guy, but if he says he's an assassin, I sure as hell would run...
But if you put a strikingly handsome and musclebound person like Aaron Aziz in a role as a fishmonger at a night market - it's not wrong - it's just awkward and it takes me out of the experience. What I will be seeing instead is Aaron Aziz chopping off fish heads instead of whatever character he's supposed to play. Heck, it doesn't have to be that drastic, even as a businessman it still wouldn't be too believable.

Not because he lacks talent, he just doesn't look the part. You see, I'm under the impression that your average, run-of-the-mill businessman all resemble Datuk K. Simply put, it's the same reason why you wouldn't want to see the likes of Harun Salim Bachik as the lead of a romantic movie. Don't you think so?


Adib "Rexxarro" Zaini said...

ke hadapan encik mamu. semua orang sedang mencari anda. telefon tidak berjawab. twitter tiada balas. what crappened?

Anonymous said...

haha...try Datin Ghairah.even Aaron Aziz couldn't sell that cheap movie!

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