Wherever the Road Leads

Sliver Linings Playbook

Or, good-bye Hollywood.

Yes, the title is misspelled on purpose, to make the title more resemble the movie’s content. And yes, it is punctuated as is the movie title and the book title, however, there should be an apostrophe in there… “Sliver Lining’s Playbook”. But punctuation is least of what’s wrong.

Once upon a time there was a man who had a friend who, each Saturday afternoon, would peruse the Newly Released DVD’s at Yahoo.com then download what seemed like an entertaining movie, free gratis, from a torrent site. A few times per year, the friend would receive a Notice of Copyright Infringement Notice from his ISP (Internet Service Provider), asking him to remove a particular movie from his computer.

Usually, compliance was done almost gleefully as the movie, deemed “uproariously funny” by someone in the press either paid to do so, or with a simpleton’s sense of humor, had been tedious and unfunny. However receiving too many of these notices might result in the loss of Internet Service, so action had to be taken.

In the computer world, that does not mean cease and desist, that means find a way to not get caught. So my friend added a program that filtered all the incoming I.P. addresses – www.peerblock.com – blocking the ones known to be Hollywood ‘snoops’, thereby avoiding detection. His downloading continued but his enjoyment continued to falter. Week after week, “uproariously funny” produced a groan or two and “action packed” had one man with a handgun, never running out of ammunition, taking on a squadron of Uzi-armed sharpshooters, all of whom must have forgotten to wear their glasses.

About a year or so ago, my friend decided that these Hollywood offerings simply weren’t worth “infringing” and found a site that featured French and Italian movies. Movie-watching enjoyment has improved immensely.

Somehow, I stumbled across a trailer for Sliver Linings and added to all the Academy Award hoopla, it appeared interesting enough to watch. The movie scores very high on IMDB.com – 7.9/10 – and has grossed $121 million in North America alone. It’s got to be good, right?

Wrong.

My souring of Hollywood movies and, I guess, by extension, Hollywood’s audiences, started with the film “Napoleon Dynamite”. It was quite a popular film among younger people as it featured a rather nerdy mis-fit in high school, his mis-fit friend Pedro, and Napoleon’s quirky (mis-fit) uncle and family. I viewed the film, probably with mouth agape, wondering how such a mess could have gotten turned into a film, and a relatively popular film at that.

Napoleon Dynamite

I asked a (mis-fit) co-worker why he found it so funny. His answer was that because the characters were so weird, you could laugh at them. But to me, that’s not humor… that’s a fat man laughing at someone fatter. Perhaps it’s because I was somewhat of a mis-fit in high school, after moving to a new city, that I want to sympathize with these characters, not mock them.

But also, laughing AT someone is not humor – “something that is or is designed to be comical or amusing”. To me, “wit” is humor, and wit is seldom at someone else’s expense.

For example: Two guys went ice fishing.

They caught twelve pounds of ice.

Their wives nearly drowned trying to fry it up.

Here’s Hollywood’s version: Two guys went ice fishing.

One guy had a stutter.

Their wives were sisters from a trailer park in North Carolina.

Hahahahahahaha. No wonder they insert laugh tracks into TV shows.

Maybe it’s just me and my personal sense of humor. I’ve never thought the Three Stooges bopping each other in the head with a hammer or a poke in the eye was funny, nor Soupy Sales’ pie-in-the-face nor Jerry Lewis making facial distortions but mostly a complete buffoon of himself, particularly funny.

Perhaps that’s why I enjoy puns; they require wit, not stupidity. If you pronounce it correctly, “She was only the innkeeper’s daughter but all the horseman knew her”, becomes, “She was only the innkeeper’s daughter but all the horse manure.”

Or…

Three old ladies met on the street on a very stormy day. The wind was so loud that they had difficulty in hearing each other.

“It’s windy,” said one.

“No, it’s Thursday,” said the next.

“So am I,” said the third. “Let’s go and have a drink.”

I have to confess to a guilty pleasure of – in certain instances – not finding the “F” word offensive, particularly when used by the Scots or the Irish. “Mrs. Brown’s Boys” is a Scottish/Irish sitcom that I find hilarious. A male comedian dresses up as an elderly mother to a family of grown children. Here is one clean example…

If interested, do a YouTube search on “iPhone Scotland” to find a rather ‘salty’ parody on Scottish voice recognition software.

However, one of my favorites to tell comes across best when spoken, not written. Click on the “O’Shaughnessy’s Wake” button below.

O’Shaughnessy’s Wake

Now THAT’s funny. I don’t care who you are, to quote Larry the Cable Guy. What comes out of Hollywood is not.

So going forward, unless it says “BBC” or “Canal+” (French cinema) in the opening credits, thanks, but no thanks, even for free.

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Comments

  1. Mike  May 21, 2013

    Well Gordon, you have a good voice to do audio books. 🙂

    I watched that Apple Scotland video at work…with my headphones on of course. I actually laughed out loud. So i sent the link to everyone who wanted to watch it since the iphone seems to be the IT phone around it.
    I am still laughing about it now while typing this.

    reply

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