Sunday, June 10, 2007

Reviews of the Ignorant: Citizen Kane

Ok, so the plan to review a current film was a rip-roaring flop, leading to an increase of over 300 times the 0 viewers who had previously stopped by. First and last time I ever listen to my wife. So, for today's unqualified, uneducated film review, I figured I would turn to the true film historians in the audience, those who appreciate a classic when someone else tells them it is, the autuers out there (or, as the French would say, l'autuers). Figuring that, within my rich and full life, I have seen maybe 4 films made prior to 1975, I expected I would have a bounty of choices for review, enough to cause a mutiny of true film lovers visiting this site. And, as usual, I was right. But I didn't want to just choose any classic film that I had never seen to review. Nooooooo, I mean, I've never seen "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls", but, just typing the title, I actually kinda want to. And I've never seen "Spartacus", but we used to act it out on the playground. In college. And I've never seen "The Ice Follies of 1939", but, really, we can ask ourselves, has ANYONE really seen "The Ice Follies of 1939"? No, I needed a bigger target, an institution, a film known far and wide among people who do nothing but watch movies and talk about watching movies as the greatest, the most meaningful, the most powerful film ever made. But then, sadly, I realized I had seen "Cabin Boy" starring Chris Elliott, so, technically, it wasn't eligible to be ignorantly reviewed. But just as I was about to commit the ultimate sin and tell a lie on the Internets, another film that I had never seen exploded into my head like a watermelon dropped from a five-storey building. And that film, for those who skipped the title (and, honestly, that orange title font is kinda hideous), is:

Citizen Kane

Now, in the interest of truth and justice, I must admit that I truly, honestly, no-crosses-count have no idea what this film is about. In fact, I had to look up the title just to spell it correctly. I was first calling it "Citizen Canine", but that, I think, was something on "The Muppet Show". Then I tried "Citizen Cane", which does have a nice Christmas-y kinda vibe, but didn't seem right either. So, finally, I broke one of my cardinal rules of life (right after "It's better to have them in the tent pissing out than out of the tent pissing in", which was passed on to me by the wisest of wise sages, Captain Kangaroo), which is "Never do research when you can just make it up", and I actually keyed the name of this flick into the search engine provided by the good folks at Google, and was kindly asked if I meant, "Citizen Kane", which I thought was the name of either a wrestler or a rapper, but I guess is the correct spelling for this movie. So there. Don't let it be said I don't care about the education of today's youths.

Anyhow, now that I actually know the name of this film, let me provide a brief synopsis. First, Orson Wells is a guy named Citizen Kane, who sets fire to some newspaper and then starts screaming out "Rosebud! Rosebud! Let down your hair!" while the whole place burns down. Now, for those who actually may be out to watch this snooze-fest, before I let it be known that Rosebud is the name of his pet sled when he was a kid (and I thought the pet slipper I had as a child was bad!), I will warn you that there are possible spoilers in this review. Wait a minute, I did that backwards. Sorry. Ok, let me try again. So there are spoilers coming, meaning that the big surprise of the movie is that Rosebud is the name of Citizen's pet sled. That's it. There you go. Now, you tell me, if you had watched all seven hours of this black-and-white insomnia cure to find out the big surprise is that the guy had a pet sled he was apparently in love with , that you wouldn't feel you had been hit in the mouth with the bumper of a '68 Volkswagen Beetle. I mean, this movie was made in dog-time, where every minute is multiplied by seven, just to get to the big surprise that the guy loves a sled. Of all the big surprises in filmdom, that really has to be one of the lamest. My advice to all good people of the Earth (unless you live somewhere where there is a civil war, or not enough sanitary water to avoid dysentery, or in a place that the United States has just invaded; in these cases, you probably have better things to do. Get back when you have electricity enough to run a DVD player) to rally their best scientific minds (you, too, Iran) and create a time machine so we can go back and petition the studio to change the ending to something truly surprising. I mean, what if Mrs. Kane pulled down her pants to reveal that she was really a man? Or Citizen Kane realized at the end of the movie that he had been murdered and was haunting the place the whole time? Or that he discoverd that Darth Vader was his father AND that Soylent Green is people! Now those, those would be some classy, thrilling surprises, all of which are examples of true surprise endings from, respectively, "The Crying Game", "The Sixth Sense", "The Empire Strikes Back", and "The Ice Follies of 1939", but, if you haven't seen any of the above and you don't want to spoil the flicks, be aware that this sentence contains spoilers. Wait. I did that backwards again.

Yeah, well, surprise ending aside, since this movie is such a giant stinking pile of chiaroscuro (or, as the French say, le chiaroscuro), why is it considered such a classic? I mean, reread the above. Go ahead, I'll wait. Seriously. Why are you still reading this? I said, read the above! Ok, now I see that you don't take me seriously and refuse to listen to anything I say. That, I don't appreciate. You can leave the blog so I can go on with the people who listen. That's right, go ahead, leave. See if I care. It didn't mean anything to me anyhow. Yeah, I'm talking to you. I've had enough a thousand times over. Leave. Leave. Just LEAVE, jeez!

Alright, now that they are gone, for those of you who reread the above, you will notice that this blog is not particularly well written or, for that matter, interesting. In fact, maybe if it was interesting, I could increase my traffic. Hmmmmm... In addition, you probably noticed that "Citizen Kane" is a boring and pointless mess. And that brings to mind two questions: Question A- Why do I continue to write this? And, Question 2- Why is "Citizen Kane" considered one of the greatest, if not THE greatest, film of all times. I can't say that I can answer either of those, but I do have a supposition to the second. Years ago (and, as soon as we get that time machine, we can verify this) the studio that produced "Citizen Kane" realized that they had a bomb of Hiroshimic (Hiroshimisan? Hiroshimation?) proportions on it's figurative hands, and it decided to pay some hack to start saying that it was the greatest film ever made. And this guy called two friends and offered them some nude pix of Greta Garbo or something to say the same thing. And then they called two friends and then they called two friends, and, before they knew it, something great came into their lives, like a new lover or a large some of money. In addition, their "greatest film ever made" spiel started to reach actual film critics, who took one look at the title and said, "Oh, balderdash! (or whatever curses old time film critics used) If this thing is the greatest film ever made, I may actually have to watch it!" But, considering that it would be more exciting to watch turtle races than this sleep-inducing waste, the old time (or, as the Old English would say, "old-tyme") film critics put on their best hats and spats and exclaimed in unison with the studio hacks, "Why, yes! Although no one actually witnessed us watching this, we also feel it is the best film of all time!" And the claim was passed on from generation to generation of film critics; each one taking one look at the film, cringing at the thought of sitting through it, and then saying, in a faux-English accented voice, "Why, I bloody also think this is the bloody greatest film of all bloody time! In fact, it may be the greatest film of all space as well!" And each generation struggled to outdo the previous with their acclaim for "Citizen Kane", all to avoid actually watching the thing, until we come to today, when it is a little-known but frequently whispered fact that- no one alive today has actually seen "Citizen Kane"! In fact, no copies of it exist at this point, because no one saw interest in making copies. Oh, sure, you could go to Amazon and find copies for sale, but that doesn't mean that the film is actually there. No, if you were fool enough to BUY one of these copies and actually tempt fate by putting it in your DVD or VCR or Betamax, you would find it is totally blank! And that, my friends, is the TRUE surprise of "Citizen Kane". Of course, the powers that be know there is no one who would actually check to see if there are any copies of it. So the film critics just keep going on about "greatest film of all time" and the public just politely nods its figurative head and buys another ticket for the "Transformers" movie.

As if this review was not already almost as coma-causing as the film itself, there is one more thing to note about "Citizen Kane". It stars and was directed by the great (or, as the French would say, le grand) Orson Welles. This film, however, was not what made Orson Welles great. Nor was it his appearances on the "Tonight Show", where Johnny Carson demonstrated his understated and refined wit by calling him fat, or even his drunken commercials for Paul Masson wine. And, believe it or not, it was not even for his award-winning performance in "History of the World, Part I". No, Orson Welles, of course, is best known for the final performance of his career, the astounding role of "Unicron", in the classic animated smash (in fact, the #1 animated robot changing into cars movie of all time) "Transformers: The Movie" (as opposed to, apparently, "Transformers: The Toys" or "Transformers: The TV Cartoon Commercial" or "Transformers: The Breakfast Cereal"). It is widely understood that, after only Marlon Brando in "The Godfather" and Chris Elliott in "Cabin Boy", Orson Welles work as Unicron is the third best performance of all space and time! Based on long-standing scientific study, the only way this performance could even be improved is if the part of Unicron was instead played by the raven-haired goddess Jennifer Connelly, who would, of course, be appearing in a tasteful white T-shirt.

That said, I must admit I have never seen "Transformers: The Movie" because, well, I was not a pimply, four-eyed freak who was afraid of girls back in the day when the thing came out. Therefore, this review comes full circle, as I exalt a performance I've never seen in the second "Transformers" reference in a single post. And now that I have provided a pitch-perfect simulation of watching "Citizen Kane" by putting you all asleep, I will provide you with my rating.

My Rating: for this epic dull-fest of overblown accolades, I offer the only honest rating ever given of this film with (drum roll, please!): 0 stars of Orson Welles proportions, although just typing the review makes me feel really sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

(sound of soft snoring)

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