Thursday, August 4, 2011

Miranda July Is Fucking Terrible

If yesterday you were given a magic lamp and forced to conjure Miranda July into existence, you would have asked the genie for a Diablo Cody who tries ten times as hard to say something even shallower than her current body of work. July, like Cody (who also shares the distinction of having a fake name that immediately makes you think, "Holy shit, what an obviously contrived name"), is one of few nationally recognized creative types to offer a nearly 1:1 ratio between your finding out who she is, and finding that you already loathe her.

I could try to get you to take my word for it and trust in my artistic judgment, but I don't have time to build up your goodwill. Just take the incredible Nathan Rabin's word for it:
Considering the countless ways a film can be ruined at any step of the process, it's always a minor miracle when one perfectly realizes its creator's unique and uncompromising vision. The transcendent new Me And You And Everyone We Know is one such anomaly. It's a touching, poignant comedy about the alienation of contemporary life and the universal need for meaningful connections, and it announces writer-director-star Miranda July as a major new voice.
It's like someone took a normal, fawningly asinine critical opinion and ran it through the Stupid Shit Mad-Libs generator. It's a minor miracle that the word "plangent" and a troika of Bunuel, Herzog and Fellini references didn't wind up in there just because that's the way these things work.

More often than not, finding out that Nathan Rabin likes something of this ilk sends a reflex-arc signal to your muscles to punch yourself in the dick. Of course he likes Miranda July. That he used the word "transcendent" to describe the process of selling fey and socially insignificant alienation to the Gen Y set just tells you that the product reached the right market. Nathan Rabin likes a terrible thing engineered to appeal perfectly to Nathan Rabin's conditioning of feeling alone because he thinks about stupid shit and can't quite get other people to understand what that means. He's the #1 fan of the treacle they give the subjects at the lab. You know who always thinks that government cheese tastes awesome? Rats.

I'm sure there's an interesting discussion to be had about the sexual politics of July (and Cody as well—OMG, she used to strip!!!) and semi-pretty women dispensing Godawful art into the welcoming hands of the sorts of critics who'd likely decry it from male filmmakers, but I don't really care about that at the moment. What interests me about July is how almost everything I've read in praise of her is something that, if read verbatim in a different tone of voice, would just as effectively condemn it. Everything that's good about Miranda July is indistinct from everything that would make another person want to throw her off a gorge and into the path of an oncoming train rolling down a track surrounded by water and sharks.

Case in point: another fucking chatlog, this time sent to me by a friend.


Even with people you know, it's possible to interpret a comment on July to equally effectively support two opposite conclusions. But that's what happens when someone like her goes to work in the irony mines everyday to search for the high-clarity gems of humanness. You know, they're the most treasured creations of the natural world, born from the rock with unaffected pure selfness, devoid of any artifice — apart from the water pumps and the workers and the mine cars and the dynamite and the shovels and the sieves.

That's what works so well about self-consciously unselfconsciously trying to create works about being totally sincere with every heartstring visible on the marionettes. This is what people really mean when they're merely themselves; look how artfully unartful their construction. Only an ironist has to work so hard to be so affectedly sincere, because sincere people would be so much themselves that they might fuck up and say something withering or sarcastic, like normal people.

Maybe we're all buying what's shoveled and sold because it sucks — like, hahaha, it authentically sucks. Or maybe we really want it. Anything can mean anything, because everything means nothing. And don't you care about that? Of course you don't.

P.S. — I love chatlogs.

12 comments:

  1. If you and your young friends would just sit still long enough to watch L'Avventura all the way through, then nobody would need to have this tedious argument.

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  2. She'll probably be best remembered for crafting a type-based representation of two butts shitting into each other. I wish I could travel back to when she was making videos of herself talking to herself and tell her that.

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  3. I'm 90% sure Miranda July was the script doctor for the infamous 2Girls1Cup scene... 10% doubt for lack of 2g1c emoticons.

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  4. You want to know the best part though? Most people have no idea who the f**** she is. And I am one of them. And I am too busy to bother figuring it out, because by the time I do (15 minutes from now) everyone will have forgotten she existed. Yay!

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  5. Bravo! Your hatred for Ms. July has now caused me to hate her without previously knowing she even existed. However, as being the only non-rat that literally likes the taste of government cheese, I would appreciate if you stopped the cheese bashing.

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  6. I won't say that government cheese is good, but having legitimately relied upon it at one point in the past (and possibly the future) I want to give it a shout-out. Big-ups fo' Gov't Chee$e!!

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  7. Government cheese is best eaten while gazing at a sunset from the veranda of one's crappy trailer, under that bridge by the river.

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  8. ))<3

    Just watched the film last night so I welcome the illusion of serendipity this post lends. I love that she made the curator anal. I know MJ as a fairly lousy artist, so the fact she could pull together a reasonably amusing feature at all is a mark in her favor. I would welcome a few suggestions about which semi-recent films are worth watching as I am entirely impressionable this season. Thank you in advance.

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  9. The trailer's smellodrama made me want cope by seeing the trailer from Visioneers again.

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  10. I don't read blogs... and I didnt know who the fuck this twat was until I got an invite to her LA screening--by a friend, no less--who either produced her film or is sleeping her producer... anyway there was an LA Weekly cover story on her which I haven't read because the write is a shill... and so I just scrolled to leave a comment there saying 'this blog is much better' and now they're moderating their comments because so many people write in to say the paper sux...

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  11. I ended up here because I need comfort after watching The Future. Torture. A phony bologna, half-assedly-contrived, melodramatic, masturbatory, negative and un-insightful mouth full of chalk. I am just as upset that some people like Miranda July movies as I am that some people like rape porn. How does anyone on earth besides Miranda July actually think that it is adorable to act schizophrenic??? The worst part is that several people have told me they think I would love Miranda July, that her movies made them think of me. Do I constantly pretend to be having an existential crisis? Did I do too many Whip-Its in high school and freeze my face in a deer-in-headlights expression? Do I refuse to laugh? NONONO!!! Anyway, I am really comforted to read your article, and to see that I'm not the only one who might hate myself when someone says Miranda July's movies make them think of me.

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Et tu, Mr. Destructo? is a politics, sports and media blog whose purpose is to tell jokes or be really right about things. All of us have real jobs and don't need the hassle that telling jokes here might occasion, which is why some contributors find it more tasteful to pretend to be dead mass murderers.