Todd Solondz, you might have heard of him. He directed a movie a couple of decades ago called ‘Happiness’, which garnered an NC-17 rating due to its subject matter until it was given a home video release (all of this knowledge is easily accessible through not-so-hard-to-do research). He also directed a few other movies that might not be as messed up as Happiness. I’m not here to rag on him or the people who have more than one good reason for disliking any one or more of his films. What I am here to do, however, is rag on people that only have ONLY one good reason for not liking a specific film of his. Can you guess what that reason is?
DOGS ARE INNOCENT, ANY DARK HUMOR INVOLVING THEM IS AWFUL!!!!
Of course, this isn’t the only thing people have a problem with when it comes to this movie… but those who have been vocal about this one point and almost nothing more are so vocal that any other point is buried under the pile of people who hate this film for this reason alone. I get it, dark humor involving animals (and not humans) clearly isn’t for everyone, but it takes some real convincing to tell yourself that a movie has no redeemable qualities because you can’t handle its twisted sense of humor. What about the cinematography? What about the writing that DOESN’T involve the things you dislike so much? Performances? Music? Lighting? Anything else I’m missing here? Fuck it, dogs are awesome and any actual redeeming factors can go fuck themselves!
It makes sense to me that the Amazon page for this is flooded with one-star reviews, considering Amazon has never been the place for intelligent, quality reviews (the fact that Norm of the North and Nine Lives, two inexcusably bad kids films, have 4 stars – individually – on average – should tip you off to this immediately). The only really really good reviews on there are funny reviews that always get featured on the obligatory Best-of/Worst-of Amazon review(s) videos. To those who have more than one good reason for hating this film, congratulations! You have more dignity than most of the people who wrote 1-star reviews for this film on Amazon. Nevermind that the film has an R-Rating that CLEARLY serves as a warning of the type of content that’s going to be found in this film.
And all of this ties into the point I’m trying to make with this article: REAL criticism is not giving something a score and then vaguely describing why it deserves that score. Even if you have only one reason to hate something, your opinion comes off as agreeable if you take more than just a few short minutes to write a review and then claim your opinion is something that people will look at and say you did a good job of conveying. In short time, the IMDb page for Wiener-Dog gained people who could actually criticize the film without waggling their finger and stating a (sometimes hypocritical, like in this case where dark humor with humans is a-okay, but the same exact gags with animals instead is wrong and cruel) belief that’s meant to be taken as serious criticism. Thankfully, despite its flaws, IMDb doesn’t list this film as one of the worst there are – despite its 5/10 average. Too bad Amazon does, though.
Maybe I take this too seriously… scratch that, I wrote an article about internet comments that’s over 600 words long – I DO take this way too seriously. Regardless, I think Weiner-Dog’s Amazon Page (alone) is a great case study on how to not be a critic, even if the people who leave negative reviews on it for only one reason aren’t trying to be a serious critic.
And now I sound silly for writing an article about fucking internet comments…
INTERNET COMMENTS. Clearly, I’m going to need to be reevaluated after writing this.
For those wondering about the supposed 'hiatus': I've changed my status to 'I write when I want to write'. The main reason for the hiatus in the first place is that I'm doing a job for the summer that makes it so I don't have all the time in the world to write... but I still have time regardless and I was niave to think otherwise.