Archive for X-Files

Trivia

Posted in Television with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2008 by gothicusmaximus

In the process of haunting websites devoted to discussion of The X-Files in order to assess the extent which fans of the show share my austerely negative opinion of the franchise’s recent feature film installment, I came across seriousxfilestrivia.com, an online game of a nature made obvious by its name. Initially, my exceptional performance in this contest excited me, and I was pleased to observe my gradual ascent of the leader board, but this contentment was swiftly stifled by the realization that my aptitude for X-Files trivia games was not a source from which I should derive pride so much as it was a tragedy. That I was more knowledgeable of inconsequential minutae relating to the X-Files than the majority of others did not indicate that I was in any way superior to those others, but rather that I had most probably devoted a greater portion of my years on earth to watching a particular television show than they had, and that therefore I had likely lead a life most would consider to be less fulfilling than theirs. Trivia games are a genuinely sad occupation, and we who are proficient at them are a piteous lot. 

– Gothicus Maximus

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Review of a film about which only I and a number of fat lonely fangirls care, and about which no one should care: The X-Files: I Want To Believe

Posted in Films, Television with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2008 by gothicusmaximus

I have, in at least two prior posts, professed my passionate hatred for the Francis Ford Coppola film Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and though that hatred broils within me now as fiercely as ever, I find that I can in no way  describe my feelings upon viewing The X-Files: I Want To Believe more effectively than I can through allusion to that object of my unadulterated revilement, particularly to the prologue sequence wherein Dracula returns from waging war in the name of the church to discover that his wife has committed suicide and thus been deemed condemned to damnation by ecclesiastical authority, this revelation prompting him to fly into a frenzy, scream “IS THIS MY REWARD FOR DEFENDING GOD’S CHURCH”, plunge his sword into a stone cross, and become a vampire. 

Chris Carter, is this my reward for 17 years of unflinching dedication to the franchise you created? I renounce The X-Files! I will rise from my death to avenge this disappointment with all the powers of darkness!

The subtitle of the New X-Files is resonates with a new poignancy in retrospect. The attitude I maintained in anticipation of this movie is most succinctly conveyed thusly: I wanted to believe it would be good. I wanted to believe that a script penned by some of the series’ most accomplished writers would contain compelling dialogue and engaging characters. I wanted to believe that Chris Carter would learn from the mistakes he rendered in his first effort to translate the show’s atmosphere to a feature film. I wanted to believe that production team would valiantly resist the compulsion to retread the very path that lead to the show’s decline in order to appease chubby, lonely fan girls. Even as negative reviews poured in like a torrent of truth surging forth from out there, I wanted to believe I could find some way to enjoy it. As Agent Mulder said once, “I wanted to believe, but the tools had been taken away. The X-Files had been shut down. They closed our eyes… our voices have been silenced…. our ears now deaf to the realms of extreme possibilities”. 

The question as to how this project went so horribly wrong is one that utterly baffles me. I feel as though any pubescent boy instructed to write a movie script about ‘two FBI agents who work together to solve cases judged unexplained by bureau proper- an eccentric whose sister’s abduction by mysterious forces when he was eight years old provokes him to obsessively pursue supernatural phenomena, and uncompromising skeptic who doggedly challenges her partner’s beliefs’ would produce a composition superior to The X-Files: I Want To Believe. Every component that made the television series fantastic was somehow excised from this installment in the saga. Mulder and Scully don’t investigate a crime but rather are dragged along, blathering about “the darkness in their lives” as other people do so. The case itself is barely even paranormal in its nature, to the extent that when Mulder demonstrates a belief that forces beyond mortal comprehension are at work, he isn’t chastised for ‘spookiness’ but rather respected for his legitimate opinion. Scully is too entrenched in an inane, trite, lifetime movie of the week worthy subplot involving a boy with a terminal illness to actually serve as her former partner’s foil. The convoluted mystery, involving a pederast who experiences psychic visions of his former victim’s attempts to perform illegal head transplants, is unraveled not by intuition or cunning on the part of any character, but rather by happenstance as Scully stumbles upon the seminal clue after conducting a google search on Stem Cell Research in hopes of aiding the ailing young man in whom she has become emotionally invested.  Even Mulder and Scully’s simmering sexual tension has vanished. With what does Chris Carter seek to fill the empty husk that remains once these elements are stripped away? A fuck-ton of fanservice and rapper-turned actor Xzibit.

I know that a number of people will enjoy this movie, and I know just what sort of people will comprise that number. Lonely, socially maladjusted, most probably obese women who only value the legacy of The X-Files insofar as they want its two central characters to fuck, who squeal rather than choke back vomit when Scully grumbles cutely about Mulder’s ‘scratchy beard’ on her face. These individuals don’t care that cuddling in bed and exchanging “I Love You”s mutilates the chemistry these characters previously shared, they care only about projecting their own sexual frustration onto fictional personages. When confronted with my perspective on the matter, people of this kind will likely allege that I’m opposed to ‘evolution of the characters’. That idea isn’t entirely wrong, especially if the characters evolve into shitty boring people whose show would have never been picked up in the first place. 

What would I have done were I at the helm of the new X-Files movie? I would have taken a page from mainstream American comic books and implemented a major fucking retcon, that is to say, for those unfamiliar with the term, I would have reorganized continuity entirely. Perhaps Chris Carter is so tremendously deluded as to believe that sensible people want his show’s last three seasons to be anything but entirely erased from history, but I am not so misguided. I would have put Mulder and Scully back in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in their cramped basement office, solving unexplained cases. One such case presents itself, Mulder thinks the supernatural is involved, Scully doesn’t. Maybe the perpetrator of the crimes turns out to be Satan, or a werewolf, or a genetic mutant who needs to extract livers in order to survive, or all three, I’m flexible as long as it actually possesses some of the palpable menace that head transplanters distinctly lack. Somehow, the simplicity of the formula I’ve just delineated alluded screenwriter Frank Spotnitz.

Don’t misunderstand me, this movie isn’t entirely without merit. It facilitates some excellent Xzibit jokes. At one point, Mulder asks Agent Xzibit to “get a car ready”. You couldn’t do better if you tried. 

-Gothicus Maximus