It's Time To Rant About "Prometheus" Being A Con Job And Damon Lindelof Being A Con Artist
A Crabbie Editorial:
Why the fuck was I ever stupid enough to let myself get geeked about this movie? This dumb motherfucking piece of shit summer tent-pole action/sci-fi stupidfest? Why? Have I learned nothing from my many disappointing movie experiences? Did the whole Star Wars prequel fiasco followed by the Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Alien Buttfuckers mess not provide ample evidence that I should lower my expectations if not eradicate them altogether, replacing them with a stone-faced impassivity like that of an Indian watching from a butte while the white men slaughter the buffalo upon which his people depend for their very livelihood? Am I not clued in to how the whole Hollywood thing works by now?
Evidently not, because I let this movie geek me. I let the cool-looking trailers and the neat little viral advertising stuff and just the whole "Holy Shit Ridley Scott is Returning to Sci-Fi and There's Michael Fassbender as an Android and Dragon Tattoo Girl as a Bad-Ass Chick and Charlize Theron as Another Bad-Ass Chick and Stringer Bell as The Negro In the Movie" thing get me all charged up. I bent over, in other words. I bent over and let Hollywood once again ass-rape me so deep that it ruptured the lining of my esophagus. I blame myself for this mess. I should know better. My rage is all focused inward. Against myself. My own gullibility and feeble-mindedness.
Well not ALL of it. Some of it is focused outward. Some of it is flying through the air right now like a laser-guided Cruise missile seeking out the crotch area of Damon Lindelof so it can transform into a boot and kick his nads. Kick his fucking nads right up into his chest cavity forcing doctors to cut him open and extract them. Damon Fucking Lindelof. How did I let this charlatan David Cross-looking motherfucker hoodwink me AGAIN? How was I ever naive enough to once again drop my pants and let this con artist piece of shit butt-fuck me with a cattle prod? I must be a complete idiot.
No doubt a few of you are totally confused. Well let me explain. Once upon a time there was a television show called Lost. A kind of cool television show about some endearingly goofy characters stranded on a mysterious South Pacific island after a plane crash. At first the show looked like a straight-forward survival adventure show, and it was an entertaining one. And then suddenly the show turned and became something way more than just a show about a bunch of people each lugging their own specific psychological baggage trying to survive on a deserted island. It became a show about all sorts of bizarre fucking shit including time travel, mysterious organizations possibly bent on world domination, strange monsters made of smoke, bald dudes who played backgammon with black kids and hot guys getting wasted on 30-year-old beer.
Much of the coolness of Lost was provided by Damon Lindelof, creator, writer, show-runner, overall purveyor of sci-fi/fantasy/action goodness. Heaped upon Lindelof were many laurels, especially by the geeks who built their lives around the weekly antics of Jack, Hurley, Sawyer, John Locke and the gang. Lindelof became something of a god in geek circles. Sad emo people were carving his name into their arms. Nerd chicks were lining up to let him take their nerd virginity. Everyone thought Lost was great, even stupid critics who hate everything that isn't British. And then, something happened. Lost suddenly turned from a must-watch cult-generating TV experience, like Twin Peaks times the The Twilight Zone, into a rancid pile of rat shit.
What the hell happened? How did TV's most awesomest geek-stravaganza go so wrong? Theories abounded, but only one rang true: It fell apart because the writers, especially Damon Lindelof, set up way too much stuff to ever pay off and simply lost track of it all and finally got desperate and began throwing out any bullshit that sounded good just to get the fucking thing over. In the beginning there was method to the madness, but they pushed it too far down the road of crazy and got lost and were forced to double back to the exit that took them to the safe haven of Resolutions That Don't Resolve Anything But at Least There Was a Touching Finale With All the Characters Reunited In Unitarian Heaven and Don't You Feel Warm and Fuzzy Inside?
But a funny thing happened in the midst of the Lost meltdown, and it happened to Damon Lindelof. Mr. Lindelof the hack TV writer who worked on Crossing Jordan and Nash Bridges before getting lucky and hooking up with J.J. Abrams learned a very profound and important lesson about the fine art of writing for geeks. He discovered, to his amazement, that when creating a TV show that trades on mystery and expectation and encouraging the audience to engage in all kind of creative speculation, the very things that geekdom thrives on, it doesn't really fucking matter if any of it makes sense. Because by the time people realize it doesn't make sense, the show will already be over and you won't have to answer for any of it. You will have already cashed all the paychecks and made your name for yourself in Hollywood and the geeks can kiss your lily-white ass.
The trick Damon Lindelof discovered is not that much different than what the Catholics discovered many many centuries ago when they started doing their masses in Latin even though most of the people attending mass didn't speak a word of Latin. It doesn't matter if it makes any god damn sense to the people out there, the important thing is to string along the faithful, filling them with a sense of awe and mystery, until you've gotten all their money. Damon Lindelof and the pope would have a lot to talk about if they ever met. And not just about footwear.
This discovery of Lindelof's - how to exploit the naive faith of those who've come to be ensnared in your meticulously crafted web of bullshit - would come in handy on his first big movie gig as the writer of Prometheus. In fact, this skill of Lindelof's, acquired completely by accident I believe, was the entire reason he was hired to write the movie in the first place.
I wondered about the move myself when it was first announced. Why hire Damon Lindelof to help makeover the Alien franchise? Was it about mere geek cred? Injecting a note of 21st Century hipness into a property that first appeared way back in 1979 and therefore might not resonate all that strongly in the souls of the younger set? I think those things played a part, but I think the real motive was deeper than that. I think the motive was to specifically take advantage of Lindelof's experience at manipulating fanboys. I think the whole Prometheus thing is, at its core, a massive experiment in viral marketing, geek-baiting and 21st Century Hollywood skullduggery.
We live in the age of internet marketing, which has only a little to do with traditional ad strategies, and a lot to do with unorthodox and wholly new methods of "generating buzz." The TV show Lost and the rabid fanboy culture that grew up around it provides an excellent example of how this all works. Lost became the phenomenon it did largely because of the internet - because people congregated in chat rooms and message boards and blog comment sections to argue and speculate and attempt to unravel the week-by-week mystery being laid out before them by Mr. Lindelof and his co-conspirators. And Mr. Lindelof and his co-conspirators were only too happy to fuel this massive, sometimes contentious and always passionate conversation by offering up more and more weird clues, more and more wild plot twists, more and more enigmatic characters, more and more Mysterious Stuff.
As I said before, I believe the Mysterious Stuff was all meant to add up to something at some point, but somewhere along the line it all got too tangled for the writers to handle anymore so they gave up and threw together a bunch of shit that sounded good and ended the show before anyone could get too angry. Afterward many geeks rebelled, calling Lost a shell game and Lindelof and his cohorts a bunch of nasty names, but by then it was too late. The damage was done. And for Lindelof, the lesson was learned.
But Lindelof wasn't the only one who learned the lesson. Like the mysterious Others, Hollywood was watching. And absorbing. And discovering. And hiring eggheads to crunch the data and come up with a brand new marketing strategy for the future. And what did the eggheads concoct? Nothing less than the perfect plan for tapping into geekdom, and not only tapping into geekdom, but creating a whole new geekdom with a whole new load of bullshit to converse about and speculate upon and generally obsess over. And the wizard responsible for weaving this web of geek-snaring bullshit? The grand master of Nowhere-Leading Mystery himself, Damon Fuckhole Lindelof.
This is the joke of Prometheus. All the people complaining that it doesn't make sense? Of course it doesn't make sense because it's not fucking supposed to make sense. It's supposed to trick you into thinking it will make sense somewhere down the road, possibly in movie number 2 or movie number 3. But as anyone who has studied the terrible rise of Lindelof knows, the stuff being set up all throughout Prometheus will never be paid off in any satisfactory way. The mysteries being woven will never be unraveled. The shit being shoveled out there is completely fucking arbitrary and will never ever ever resolve into anything that looks like anything except a great big brownish shit-fog like the kind that might come from the ass of a smoke monster or perhaps Damon Lindelof.
But is the joke really on us or is the joke on Damon Lindelof and his ilk? Will the con job of Prometheus actually work the way it's intended? Will geekdom gel around this movie, creating an internet-fueled monster of speculation and argument and obsession as happened with Lost? Or, is this movie so fucking stupid and obvious and lame that in the end not enough people will care for its ridiculous plan to work?
Time will tell. All I know is, Prometheus made my brain sad as I watched it. It made me sad because it's stupid in a typical summer action movie way. Because the characters act like brain dead idiots whenever it's convenient for the plot. Because any tension that's generated is quickly stifled by the need to move the story along lest the audience get bored and start playing Angry Birds. Because so much of it so fucking clumsy, like it needed to be re-written by a professional screenwriter with a sense of story discipline. WHAT THE FUCK IS WITH THE OLD MAN??? What does any of this have to do with anything?
Oh right, I finally realized. It's Damon Lindelof being Damon Lindelof. He's throwing out Big Ideas and delving into Deep Mysteries. Except he doesn't really care about his Big Ideas and Deep Mysteries, he's just using them the same way Adam Sandler uses dick jokes. But because it looks really good and seems really mysterious, we're supposed to get sucked in by it and after the open-ended finale be all filled with breathless anticipation. Well fuck that. I don't care what happens to Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender's head when they arrive at the other alien world (I should've said SPOILER ALERT but fuck it). Maybe Hurley will be there cooking pork chops. Maybe Jack will jump out of the bushes and do a naked dance and then slap a bus driver. Maybe Sawyer will take his shirt off and...that's all, I got stuck on Sawyer taking his shirt off.
It's stupid to get angry about, I realize, but I can't help myself. This movie is so cynical and manipulative. And Damon Lindelof is such a snake-oil salesman and Ridley Scott is so tired and old now and he just goes along with this shit like he doesn't have a single storytelling instinct in his body. The Ridley Scott who made the original Alien would've laughed at this convoluted nonsensical bullshit and ordered a rewrite. But even Ridley's been snookered. Well I say making a commodity of mystery is an insult to true mystery. Sorry Damon Lindelof but you can't fool me. Lost was a sham in the end and so is this. And you are a bad, bad person.