Saturday, December 29, 2018

Prelude to a second viewing of "Holmes and Watson"

"It's astounding. Time is . . . fleeting. Madness . . . takes its toll. But listen closely . . ."

-- Riff Raff, The Rocky Horror Picture Show

As you may have noticed, I'm in a very special place this week. As prophesied in my initial review, my particular level of enjoyment of the movie Holmes and Watson has not been shared by . . . well, most. And in typical contrarian fashion, that just adds to the piquancy of the feast.

And so, this morning, even with a touch of some virus, I shall do what few Sherlockians will dare.

I am going to see Holmes and Watson a second time. And taking notes.

Second viewings are always a good test. Do the reactions from the first time hold up? Can a movie hold your attention when you know what's coming? Is there anything in the film worth closer observation?

Due to the way Sony released Holmes and Watson, its critical appraisals might have been slightly tainted by said critics being forced to see it among Christmas Day audiences -- perhaps the worst audiences of the year in my long experience of movie-going. Kinfolk who never go to the theater are suddenly pulled in by family outings and their behavior is horrible. (And the older folks do tend to fall asleep after their Christmas dinner.) Going to see a movie that you would not normally be attracted to enough to spend ten bucks on is no way to see a movie. Which brings me to Sherlockians who would never see a Will Ferrell movie being drawn in by Sherlock Holmes and John H. Watson -- like me and CBS's Elementary, it was oil and water to begin with. Add in a touch of the Asch Conformity Paradigm to that critical lambasting and you get a movie that was doomed, doomed, I say!

Does this mean it was a bad movie? Like music, humor is a very individual taste. It might have been a bad movie for you, and I won't argue otherwise. You get to have your own opinion, just as I do with that accursed Elementary. But I do find myself in the position where I might need to explain myself, just so I don't get locked up . . . well, if we locked up madmen anymore, instead of just casting them to the curb.

It's been interesting how many social media pundits cite this as the end of Will Ferrell's career, without really considering Will Ferrell's career. Casa de mi padre was six years ago. A Deadly Adoption was three years ago. From the medium-wandering Ron Burgundy to the casual commentary of "Cord and Tish," Ferrell gets out there and takes chances that drive some people crazy in his pursuit of comedy. But it's a great comedic voice (at least for those of us that get it), and I strongly doubt this will bring him down. He might not completely have a cult following, but the seeds are there.

Which is going to be the big test in seeing Holmes and Watson again today. Is it re-watchable enough for someone going in with a positive attitude to make it a cult movie?  So many "bad" movies are still with us today after attaining cult status -- even though flawed, like Tommy Wiseau's The Room, there is an inherent watchability to them that makes going back an easy choice. Can Holmes and Watson pull off that trick? The first viewing went amazingly quickly -- I thought I'd only been in the theater an hour when the movie was done, which is a very good sign. A truly bad movie seems like an never-ending torture.

"Treasure or torture?" is a question that comes up time and again in our Sherlockian lives, whether it be a particular month-long quiz or a classic area of study like Sherlockian chronology. I'm leaning toward "treasure" this time out, but we will see what that critical second viewing brings.

Off I go! 

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