The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Saturday, 13 June 2009


Watched 'Southland Tales' last night. I thoroughly recommend it. It’s the most badly-made film in the history of cinema and you’ll be left with a greater appreciation of every other movie ever made. Because no matter how bad they may get they’ll still be better than ‘Southland Tales’.

I won’t both going into too much detail about the plot, because the writer of ‘Southland Tales’ certainly didn’t, and I don’t think any description I can give would really do it justice.

Actually, what it really feels like is the work of somebody who isn’t particularly bright and who isn’t particularly well-read trying to be pretentious – the result being they only expose the paucity of their intellect and the painful limits of their knowledge. The writer of ‘Southland Tales’ has read maybe one poem, read maybe two books, and seen no more than half a dozen films; but in order to show us how clever he is, he’s going to quote from them endlessly.

You know who I really blame, though? The audience. This film is made by the same guy who did ‘Donnie Darko’. A film which, to be fair, isn’t quite as awful as ‘Southland Tales’ but which was a similar adolescent incoherent mess.

But a certain section of the audience enjoyed that aspect of it. They thought the fact that the story didn’t make sense made it more interesting. It’s the same reason why some people think the last episode of The Prisoner is profound; they can’t tell the difference between textual complexity and self-indulgence.

It’s the ‘hey, it can mean whatever you want it to mean’ death-of-the-author nonsense that I loathe. There is no virtue in shoddy or confused storytelling. You want that? Then you’ll end up paying for more movies like ‘Southland Tales’.


  1. I feel like this about The Owl Service, which a few learned mates love but I thought was spectacularly bad. The second episode begins with a recap telling you loads of stuff that wasn't even in episode one.

  2. Ooh, sorry, must have missed this at the time but just followed a link. The thing is,

    (a) I couldn't possibly even countenance watching "Donnie Darko" or anything made in its proximity, due to the presence of a cover version of "Mad World" which shows such a skewed sense of taste that I could not beging to trust a single artistic decision made by anyone concerned, and

    (b) even when I was younger and thought I was interested in either fantasy or SF - I eventually realised that I wasn't - I couldn't tolerate Alan Garner. Balls, the lot of it.

    D x