As we come to the end of Holmes and Watson's first week in theaters, I'm going to call it: This, truly, is the most hated Sherlock Holmes movie of all time. Can you think of any that can compete? I can't. Even Adolph Hitler's favorite Sherlock Holmes movie hasn't gotten as much hate as Holmes and Watson and it was Hitler's favorite Sherlock Holmes movie.
I mean, I love the movie (Holmes and Watson, not Hitler's). So why would I want to acknowledge its place as "Most Hated Sherlock Holmes Movie Of All Time?"
Because something has to hold that title. It's still an accomplishment. And, if it truly isn't that bad a movie, one that will inevitably surprise some viewers as actually having very funny moments, well, being the worst may attract some of those viewers out of sheer curiosity.
Yet one still has to wonder, why the hate? Why the social media mobs turned up and against it, even when the larger share of those folks won't even watch it to begin with? It's not like there aren't dozens and dozens of really bad movies released every year. REALLY bad, in ways you can't even imagine if you're not an every-week sort of movie-goer.
So why this one?
Well, there are a lot of reasons, and I've hit a few of them in past blogs. But I think that most of it was simply the timing of the movie's release, which garnered it most of the attention. Christmas day is not not a normal time for a movie release.
Much of the political hate going on these days took a break during the holidays, and I can't help but wonder if all those habitual haters were also looking for fresh social media targets on Christmas, which ramped up the visibility of this single movie's unpopularity. So many people with no intention of ever seeing the movie jumped on the bandwagon of hating on it. Some of them were just Will Ferrell haters ("I said he wasn't funny in 1994, and here is finally the movie that proves me right!"). Some just had to fill their Tweet-thread with some proof they were awake and aware. ("A Rotten Tomatoes score of zero! That movie is trash!") Haters be hating.
But let's start with those who actually saw the movie. Holmes and Watson is a nonsense comedy. Random weirdnesses dropping like hail in a hailstorm. When Rob Nunn asked me what I specifically liked about it, I had a hard time choosing a specific thing. Once it had me tickled, I stayed tickled. So much nonsense. Non-sense. No rhyme or reason, kind of a Zen thing. What is the sound of one hand clapping? Contemplating why Holmes and Watson is funny could be the Zen koan that offers you enlightenment at long last.
And critics, along with holiday movie crowds, do like things to make a little more sense. You know who also doesn't care if things make sense?
I have a feeling that forty years from now, Holmes and Watson will be hailed as a Sherlockian classic, just because the now-thirteen-year-old boys will be established Sherlockians remembering a Holmes that broke them up laughing when they were young. But after our latest live-action Sherlock Holmes theatrical outing was Mr. Holmes, which definitely targeted a very different demographic . . . well, any big Mr. Holmes fans that walked into Holmes and Watson were probably definite walk-outs. (Not saying you can't like both, of course. But not everyone is as special as you, right?)
Whatever the perfect storm of reasons for Holmes and Watson's surge of notoriety, we've all got something to talk about for a while. Not sure at what point people will stop listening, of course, but since when has that ever stopped a devoted Sherlockian?