For the Lovers of Bad Movies, One Thing is Clear: We’re All Going to See Knowing This Weekend

As of late this evening, the critical consensus on Knowing sits at a rather bleak 24% according to Rotten Tomatoes.  That essentially means 24 of every 100 film critics actually liked the movie, or–in monetary terms–Knowing can’t even rank as a quarter.  Then, when you check their top critics section, you get this:


The standard Rotten Tomatoes score includes plenty of online critics; it’s more democratic in one sense in that it allows any person with a domain name and a knack for film criticism can have their opinion considered in the Rotten Tomatoes score.  With enough work and effort, I could have my opinions be a part of this equation.  Given my personal tastes and predilections with film, that’s rather horrifying.  I don’t even want me suggesting what middle-America should see; they’d probably come after me with pitchforks and torches and burning effigies as they demanded my blood.  So, yeah, I take that score with a grain of salt.

But the top critics score, the score delivered by the men and women that make their careers to watch and critique movies, means professional film critics REALLY hate this movie.  These are the people that see the artistic heights and depths of the medium so that they can guide audiences towards the best that’s screening in theaters, and they think Knowing is a hot mess of crashing planes and trains.  I could piddle my pants at how excited this makes me.

Oops, too late.

I could probably blog for forever about how critics are throwing word-harpoons at this beast like it’s Captain Ahad against Moby Dick, but instead I’ll settle for the bitchisisms of A.O. Scott.  For example, on Nicolas Cage’s acting, he has this bon mot:

In “Knowing,” though, he seems to be exploring the rich vein of crazy he tapped in Neil LaBute’s train-wreck remake of “The Wicker Man.” Mr. Cage screams and yells and flails, smacks a tree with a baseball bat, waves a gun at a slender blond alien and barks “this is not a crank call” into a pay phone after calling in a breathless warning of a terrorist attack.

Sweet mercy, he just said that we get Wicker Man Nic Cage.  Spectacular, but it doesn’t stop there.  In attempting to wrap his head around this ham salad of acting, Scott says:

And why not? What would you do if you were an M.I.T.astrophysicist who discovered that the numbers written down 50 years earlier by a spooky schoolgirl and sealed in a time capsule were prophecies of subsequent catastrophes? You might also hit a tree with a Louisville Slugger and start ranting like a madman. But the odd thing about Mr. Cage in this movie is that even when he is responding to the threat of complete human extinction, you still can’t help feeling that he’s overreacting.

Oh dear, I feel so faint!  But there’s more:

Once John [Nicolas Cage’s character] starts running the numbers from the spooky girl’s spreadsheet, the tone of the movie switches from foreboding creepiness to apocalyptic hysteria, summed up less in the occasional explosion or transportation-related fireball than in Rose Byrne’s incessant shrieking. She plays Diana, daughter of the spooky schoolgirl (and mother of another one; both are played by Lara Robinson), and evolves from mysterious stranger to potential love interest to raving hysteric in record time.

Sold.  I’m sure that these words were intended to tell me to stay away, but then I read this review, which confirmed my earlier speculation.

Terrible movies are a frequent thing, but bona-fide disasterbombs of film are a rarity.  This movie MUST be seen, if only so we can laugh.

And to help find Nicolas Cage a better hair stylist.

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