It’s been a while since we last checked in with Armond White, everyone’s favorite vociferant contemptularian, and three-time exalted cyclops of the Bull Moose Moving Picture Society of the 1934 World’s Fair. On the A-Dubz docket today, IFC Films’ Room 237, a documentary about Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining told through interviews with the most outspoken Kubrick lovers. As is so often the case, Armond actually has a valid point to make, about how the middlebrow has come to worship ambiguity for its own sake, because middlebrow critics aren’t smart enough for critical thinking. And as always, A-Dubz’ valid points are almost completely upstaged by his own verbidinous thesaurification and intense desire to keep his lawn clear of pre-pubescent whippersnappers.
Which is to say, he uses the word “nerd” seven times. Seven. And that’s not counting uses of the term “geek.” And let’s keep in mind, he’s an Ivy League-educated film critic.
Room 237 lets the nerds loose
Comprised of theories spoken by five different Kubrick nerds over an assemblage of movie clips and diagrams by director Rodney Ascher, Room 237 pretends to dissect Kubrick’s 1980 movie The Shining. Ascher’s film—a true mockumentary if ever there was one—is named after the Overlook Hotel suite where little Danny sees Kubrick’s most disturbing visions due to his gift for “shining.” Every nerd wants to shine.
Three times. He used “nerd” three times. And we’re still in the first paragraph, people.
Fans seem unable to recognize the film’s failings and so try to make virtues of its mistakes. “Kubrick often in many of his movies would end them with a puzzle so he’d force you to go out of his movies saying ‘What was that about?’” So claims one zealot who responds to cinema the way a child reacts to a video game, trusting that the manufacturer cares about his response.
“who responds to cinema the way a child reacts to a video game.” So… joyfully? By calling the other viewers “fag” on a headset? I love the phrase, I’m just not sure what it means. “…trusting that the manufacturer cares about his response.” Again, this is coming from a guy who writes about movies for a living.
Another nerd says “[Kubrick] is like a megabrain for the planet who is boiling down, with all of this extensive research, all of these patterns of our world and giving them back to us in this dream of a movie.”
NERDS! NERDS! NERDS! God, what I wouldn’t give to see Armond White giving some Christopher Nolan fanboy a swirly. I’d like to think Armond could do it without even mussing his cravat.
Sorry to say but this inanity redounds to the global reach of Roger Ebert’s TV reviewing.
According to Armond White, Roger Ebert is the root of all the world’s evil, a ruthless thumb pimp, the pied piper of Philistinism. In FilmDrunk parlance, Roger Ebert is Armond White’s Danny Masterson.
It is Ebert’s pretense of “criticism” that inspires these nerds to insist that The Shining must be important because it is more than just a horror movie. Their theories concentrate on gaffes and continuity errors which is exactly the sort of “criticism” that Ebert made available to couch potato/laptop cineastes.
“Laptop cineastes” is the most gloriously fogie-ish esoteric insult of all time. I also like to think Armond White refers to a film critic who sells out for mass appeal as an “Uncle Rog.”
Lost in a maze, one cheerleader cheers “Its contradictions pile up in your subconscience.”
Wait, are they nerds or cheerleaders? That seems like a mixed metaphor. But then, maybe I’ve just seen one too many John Hughes movies, like some beef-headed iPad Richard Roeper.
Reverence for Stanley Kubrick overwhelms any understanding of The Shining. It is symptomatic of today’s celebrity veneration—the flip-side of the feeling of nothingness that makes nerds bow down to the likes of Nolan, Fincher, Soderbergh and Kubrick.
F*CK YOU I WON’T DO WHATCHA TELL ME! F*CK YOU I WON’T DO WHATCHA TELL ME!
They fantasize about The Shining’s supposed profundity as when one professes, “We all know from postmodern film criticism that the meanings are there whether or not the filmmaker is aware of them.” This is the mess that criticism has come to. Fake erudition causes another to muse, “Why would Kubrick make the movie so complicated? Yeah, why did Joyce write Finnegan’s Wake?” This goofy comparison shows they don’t know the difference between literary and cinematic erudition.
Okay, well he’s got a point there. A valid point that he immediately follows with…
These Shining geeks don’t even know the hotel story of Alain Resnais’ Last Year at Marienbad, a truly profound expression of memory and desire.
Hahahaha. I assume this is a callback to my all-time favorite Wire episode, where D’Angelo Barksdale just keeps shouting “WHERE ALAIN RESNAIS AT? WHERE ALAIN RESNAIS AT, STRING! WHYNCHA TAKE YOUR ASS BACK DOWN TO MARIENBAD!”
They ignore the human significance of Jack (played by Nicholson) telling his son Danny “I would never hurt you.” In this warped cathexis, the cynical gotcha coincidences carry hidden importance that means more than any clear, apparent behavior and imagery.
“Cynical Gotcha Coincidences” is easily my favorite Warped Cathexis album.
The ultimate nerd testimony says “In your own life, your point of view is being altered by your study.” But this isn’t study which means to examine, this is mere mania. Room 237 is another confirmation of the end of cinephilia.
“This is the end… my only friend, the end…”
I like to imagine Armond singing it sweetly to his life-sized standee of Paul WS Anderson.