By staff writer Harold Longfellow, Ph.D.
February 11, 2007
Welcome to the first installment of The YouTube Critic. I am, of course, The YouTube Critic, Harold Bobbinsworth Longfellow XIV, Ph.D. That cockslobber Ebert (or is it Siskel? I don’t remember which one’s still alive) and I had a spat years ago, and since it happened that he made it big first, he’s kept me blackballed in Hollywood. So here I sit, confined to the underground that is the internet, writing for you heathens and mongrels. My colleagues have suggested that I keep my topic selection at a level you can understand, and so it is that I will debase myself by writing about the dimwitted displays of bad judgment you post on YouTube.com. For the sake of clarification, I would like to point out that this is nothing but a temporary stop as I make my way back into the limelight.
Frankly, I think YouTube is a waste of time and money, and Mark Cuban (who I respect quite highly, except for his ownership of one of those barbaric sports teams) was certainly correct when he declared its inevitable failure. In fact, I henceforth dedicate this writing to him and others far more intelligent and farseeing than the rest of you ne’er-do-wells. It’s unfortunate that they will never have a reason to visit the backwaters of the internet and find my brilliance.
Anyway, on to the writing. I couldn’t get through writing this first section listening to the tripe people record about their lives in YouTube diaries for the world to see, and because art films would obviously be over your heads, the topic of the day is “Punched in the Face.” Let’s get this over with.
I was immediately unimpressed when the first punch sounded like a prepubescent girl’s slap. As it turns out, the director was only seeking to juxtapose this against the next scene to make the latter that much more exciting. Before the disappointment can fully sink in, the audience notices the dull glint of aluminum. Everyone knows what’s going to happen, and yet the sound of metal on face still makes you gasp. Points for the drama, but we’ll be taking some off for the poor quality of the video and the fact that you’re both 11. You shouldn’t be using a computer. Go outside.
Mark Cubans: 3 (of 4)
As dramatic buildups go, this is one of the worst I’ve ever encountered. As it built up, I had time to make myself a cup of herb tea, take a nap, and feed my cat. Also, it usually helps when the dramatic buildup actually builds up to something. If the whole film is about a punch in the face, it ought to at least leave a nice bruise in the morning.
Also, everyone in and out of Hollywood knows that sex sells, and Tina honestly just isn’t that attractive. If she had a tight little body in a bikini, then she’d be worth punching. Because when I’m a famous film critic, I’m going to have a fetish for beating women as an expression of the inferiority complex they gave me when I was still living in my mom’s basement blogging.
Mark Cubans: 1.5 (of 4)
This is the kind of thoughtless comedy that you can sit in front of for a half hour watching over and over, because it just seems to make the universe better. It’s the perfectly constructed video. As soon as this troglodyte’s hideous voice pronounces that he’s got a new webcam, you instantly want bodily harm to befall him, and it’s as if the hand of God descends from the heavens to make the world perfect for a split second. A good square punch, the kid’s face is out of frame, and a well deserved thumbs up. That’s what those of us with a basic level of filmic competency call “brilliant use of mise-en-scène.” Simply a great film.
Mark Cubans: 4 (of 4)
A passable attempt at cinema, at best. The quality of video is appalling, and there’s nothing that resembles a plot. A few points for the fact that the fist was swift and surprising, but that’s about the only thing keeping this film from falling to an abysmal level.
Mark Cubans: 2 (of 4)
These rapscallions are eight years old and they’re already putting out high quality films. The camerawork, though not extraordinary, was at least steady, and the initial calm certainly allows the viewer just enough time to ponder what may follow.
The acting, however, is what brings this piece into the spotlight. Our poor victim, who is undoubtedly not acting, gets punched in the face by our porky, yet iniquitous antagonist. When this masked villain stands triumphant, we cannot help but share in the triumph for a brief second, though we loathe ourselves for it.
Powerful characters make this film one that will not be omitted from the annals of history.
Mark Cubans: 3.5 (of 4)
This just looks like the work of children.
Mark Cubans: 1 (of 4)
And so you have it—the first act of our little drama comes to a close. Please, try not to bathe in your own filth, and for the love of God don’t stalk me. Or punch me in the face. Hoodlums.