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Saturday, June 14, 2008

M. Night Flick is Happening

Today my son and I took a Father/Son trip to the movies to take in “The Happening.”

We are huge M. Night fans. We get angered by the critics of M.Night tearing his movies to shreds. Most critics believe he should stick to directing (which he kicks booty at) and stay away from screenwriting.

I believe these people will never be happy with M. Night. His biggest mistake was . . . he made the best scary movie of all time (The Sixth Sense) and every movie he has made after it is compared to it.

M. Night is king of preying on people’s paranoia. This is one of the things that make him so appealing. His plots lie just outside of “that could probably happen.” Until this movie.

The New Zealand Herald quoted M. Night as saying, "I think everybody's fear comes from the same place. That is the fear of being alone. Feeling alone. When you're a baby it's in your genetics. You wake up and you don't see anyone, you cry and comfort comes in the shape of your mother or father. As an adult, you get the job offer in Minnesota and you're scared that you're going to be alone, not physically, but emotionally. You won't relate to anyone, no one will be feeling what you're feeling, so you'll be isolated. You'll feel fear."

M. Night Shyamalan is one of the only original storytellers in Hollywood if you ask me. He almost seems to be driven by telling the story that has yet to be told. He doesn’t follow a template—at least not a template that has been imposed upon him by “what sells movies.”

M. Night is the Steve Jobs of Horror. Design and experience are key. Ignore the critics. Create suspense leading up to your product. Never give it all away. Keep them guessing.

How often do you find yourself going to the theatre to see a movie because you love the director? Because you love the brand? Shyamalan has created his own brand. He finds himself in the company of only a few directors who get us to drop 10 or 15 bucks because we are intrigued by “them.”

In one sense (no pun intended), I would think it would be a huge honor to have the kind of status where your product is judged based on the high expectations everyone has of your brand. In another sense, it’s a shame.

If Apple created crappy things half as cool as what they create, they would be slaughtered by critics but they would still make things twice as cool as the competition. If Disney opened another theme park right now, the critics would destroy them because nothing compares to Disney World/Land. But, their theme park would still bury any other theme park in existence.

This is M. Night’s fate.

When you see an M. Night movie do yourself a few favors : : :

• Don’t read the reviews
• Don’t “expect” a twist
• Enjoy the story
• Invest in the experience
• Don’t come with a preconceived notion of how it should play out

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