Five Favorite Films with M. Night Shyamalan

Summary

M. Night Shyamalan's latest film, After Earth, is a movie about finding the essence of your power in the face of great adversity. My feelings about my interview with the director seemed similar to those of Jaden Smith as he exited his grounded ship in the film, not knowing what lurked outside, but not having the luxury of letting it stop him, either. Would an interview with M. Night Shyamalan require a decoder ring? An encyclopedia? A tranquilizer dart? Back to Article

Comments

Ivor Smith

Ivor Smith

I get the strongest feelings of a conspiracy by the media to besmirch the talented Shyamalan. The critics have dissed After Earth, for all the wrong reasons. It was a competent and well done movie. The critics seem to be the ones frothing at the mouth, and calling for blood. Shyamalans top five are a respectable selection, I would have enjoyed reading the next five favorites.

Jun 4 - 07:21 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Please defend The Happening, The Last Windbreaker, and Lady in the Water and then speak to me again of conspiracies and Shyamalan's talents as a director.

Jun 4 - 09:31 PM

ivor1

ivor barrie

I appreciated the Happening for what it was, a tremendous mood piece, it accurately reflected the bewildering events, it this case, a form of mass paranoia that resulted in epidemic suicides. something undefined, something terrifying, something in the wind perhaps, or in the water. It was a metaphore for times of confusion and terrorist attacks, unimaginable misdeeds wiping out civilians. The film was mostly shot in bright daylight adding to the air of aprehention, a feeling of normalcy but covering a unspoken dread. this was for me, next to sixth sense, Shyamalan's best work. Airbender was a childs movie with no other pretentions, as it was, it entertained, in a i max 3-D kind of way. did not see lady in the Water, and positively disliked Signs.

Jun 5 - 12:40 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

That's the problem for me right there M Nights metaphors are at the same time so simplistic yet weirdly obtuse and poorly executed that what results is only appreciated by 4 or 5 people in the world who try really hard to see genius in them. Since his obvious intent is to keep making movie's that's probably not the way to go. If I wanted to look that hard I could probably come up with a similar explanation for Piranha 3DD, but eventually you just have to realize the movie is a mess. Even the stars of the film didn't get it and were embarrassed with the final product. As for Airbender, claiming it's a childs movie with no pretentions is a massive cop out. If 21st Century film has taught us nothing it's that you can make great movies that appeal to adults and children simultaneously Shrek, Hugo, 90% of Pixars works. Also working against that theory is the product he was working with was a pretty great animated series that was loved by children and adults the fact that M Night couldn't match the depth, complexity and appeal of an after school cartoon is pretty damning IMO especially with the budget he was given. To give you a directorial comparison to where M Night stand in the hierarchy of popular directors Christopher Nolan took a beloved character who was down on his luck and no one expected much out of and made a beloved trilogy which completely reinvigorated him. Michael Bay took the same thing and managed to please the general populace but greatly offended fans of the source material, M Night did the same with less well known material and managed to offend almost everyone but die hard M Night apologists. Seriously it was heartbreaking to see a commenter named Matanuki's reaction to Air Bender. It almost broke him. Oh yeah and as a follow up he created a financial flop for the most financially reliable star in Hollywood...he's just lost it. Maybe he can make lifetime or DTV for the few people who still believe in him, but other than that I seriously hope he's done.

Jun 5 - 09:08 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Bigbrother, don't you understand 9/11 changed everything?

Jun 5 - 09:51 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

No no, it...changed...everything Lois!!!!

Jun 5 - 10:35 PM

Dave J

Dave J

Actually, the real reason why After Earth didn't perform well was because Will Smith had more control over this film than M Night since it was his money that was used!

Jun 6 - 01:22 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

So all M Nights successes and disasters were really the faults of his producers?

Jun 7 - 12:58 AM

Dave J

Dave J

Well, who said about "all" of M Night's films- I was only talking about this one! Movies are not all black and white! The other day, I had just learned that it was Will Smith who had complete control over the script of "After Earth" since he donates money to Scientology courses even though he's not a scientology himself and because of his status power handpicked M. Night Shyamalan to direct "After Earth" just like Cruise handpicked John Woo to direct MI 2!

Jun 7 - 01:32 PM

Tim Legg

Tim Legg

It would have been better if he shown a dvd of "Jaws", then slipped the outer cover off to reveal it was "JAWS THE REVENGE"- What a twist!!!!

Jun 4 - 08:21 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Please don't try to defend M. Night, he's more than earned the critical scorn heaped upon him. The Happening and Last Airbender along should make any director tickled they're even allowed to make films anymore.

Jun 4 - 09:22 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Yep, because everything he's done since Signs has been a great advertisement for his skill and talent. I pray he's just inept, if not that would mean he subjected us to Lady in the Water and The Happening on purpose.

Jun 4 - 09:24 PM

Alberto Balsalm

Alberto Balsalm

Okay, perhaps I went a bit overboard in terms of defending my boy Shyamalan. What I mean is, you should only criticize a movie of his if you have seen it, rather than jumping to the conclusion that it is terrible. Saying that I wasn't too impressed by the After Earth trailer.

Jun 6 - 02:44 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

I've seen enough, I wasted enough money waiting for Shaymalan to come around, now I'm more than content to ignore his movies until I hear rave reviews of one of his films which I don't expect anytime soon.

Jun 6 - 08:55 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

I think he's comparing Shyamalan post Signs to Uwe Boll which isn't that much of a stretch. It's a close thing, but I'd actually say that pap with Jason Statham, dungeon seige or whatever is a little more watchable than The Happening. Can't believe there are still this many M Night apologists out there. No wonder he gets to keep torturing us with his dwindling talents.

Jun 4 - 09:28 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Please defend The Happening, The Last Windbreaker, and Lady in the Water and then speak to me again of conspiracies and Shyamalan's talents as a director.

Jun 4 - 09:31 PM

ivor1

ivor barrie

I appreciated the Happening for what it was, a tremendous mood piece, it accurately reflected the bewildering events, it this case, a form of mass paranoia that resulted in epidemic suicides. something undefined, something terrifying, something in the wind perhaps, or in the water. It was a metaphore for times of confusion and terrorist attacks, unimaginable misdeeds wiping out civilians. The film was mostly shot in bright daylight adding to the air of aprehention, a feeling of normalcy but covering a unspoken dread. this was for me, next to sixth sense, Shyamalan's best work. Airbender was a childs movie with no other pretentions, as it was, it entertained, in a i max 3-D kind of way. did not see lady in the Water, and positively disliked Signs.

Jun 5 - 12:40 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

That's the problem for me right there M Nights metaphors are at the same time so simplistic yet weirdly obtuse and poorly executed that what results is only appreciated by 4 or 5 people in the world who try really hard to see genius in them. Since his obvious intent is to keep making movie's that's probably not the way to go. If I wanted to look that hard I could probably come up with a similar explanation for Piranha 3DD, but eventually you just have to realize the movie is a mess. Even the stars of the film didn't get it and were embarrassed with the final product. As for Airbender, claiming it's a childs movie with no pretentions is a massive cop out. If 21st Century film has taught us nothing it's that you can make great movies that appeal to adults and children simultaneously Shrek, Hugo, 90% of Pixars works. Also working against that theory is the product he was working with was a pretty great animated series that was loved by children and adults the fact that M Night couldn't match the depth, complexity and appeal of an after school cartoon is pretty damning IMO especially with the budget he was given. To give you a directorial comparison to where M Night stand in the hierarchy of popular directors Christopher Nolan took a beloved character who was down on his luck and no one expected much out of and made a beloved trilogy which completely reinvigorated him. Michael Bay took the same thing and managed to please the general populace but greatly offended fans of the source material, M Night did the same with less well known material and managed to offend almost everyone but die hard M Night apologists. Seriously it was heartbreaking to see a commenter named Matanuki's reaction to Air Bender. It almost broke him. Oh yeah and as a follow up he created a financial flop for the most financially reliable star in Hollywood...he's just lost it. Maybe he can make lifetime or DTV for the few people who still believe in him, but other than that I seriously hope he's done.

Jun 5 - 09:08 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Bigbrother, don't you understand 9/11 changed everything?

Jun 5 - 09:51 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

No no, it...changed...everything Lois!!!!

Jun 5 - 10:35 PM

VoiceOver

Vincent Lassauw

I belong to the tiny minority that loved Lady in the Water, simply because what pissed people of mostly, that he was in it himself as a kind of prophetic figure, didn't bother me so much and didn't take me out of the movie experience, but indeed The Happening was so atrocious in any conceivable way, it was hard to comprehend how anyone could expose any audience to it. It still baffles me as to what made him believe he was anywhere near the right track with that one. I didn't like Signs or The Village.
The Last Airbender I didn't even make it to the end, it was so bad.
I still consider Unbreakable to be his best and The Sixth Sense a good second.
I guess why he is so aggressively criticized, one could almost say persecuted, is because frustration is so high about a guy who showed such promise, keeps getting all the breaks as in opportunities to make the movies he wants, and has consitently been churning out bad movies (being gentle here).

Jun 5 - 03:52 AM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

We're pretty much in agreement except Lady didn't bother me for that reason. I actually like the performances in that one better than any other M Night film and I'd put Unbreakable second best because I thought it could have been revolutionary without the twist at the end. Imagine it, a the first superhero movie ever to be good without a villain. Tacking on the villain at the end just left too many questions about the movies logic and made it just another super hero story with a second rate twist.

Jun 5 - 05:13 AM

VoiceOver

Vincent Lassauw

Oh by the way, great list, no surprises there, except to choose Rebecca out of Hitch's body of work, to me is rather astonishing. Oh by the way, Being There is also based on a book (Jerzy Kozinsky), don't know why that was so significant to him though.

Jun 5 - 03:56 AM

John Tyler

John Tyler McClane

At least The Happening had dialogue less unintentionally hilarious than in any of Uwe Boll's schlockfests.

Jun 5 - 04:05 AM

John Tyler

John Tyler McClane

I made that comment to mindfuck people.

Jun 5 - 04:06 AM

MANBAT

Meh McMehson

Oh.

Well, I feel stupid now.

Jun 5 - 12:29 PM

John Dooms

John Dooms

Oh. That's why all my blood went to my head...

Jun 5 - 04:37 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Yeah, the dialog between Wahlberg and the plant had to be intentionally hilarious or M Night just has that much talent as a natural comedien.

Jun 5 - 05:08 AM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

We're pretty much in agreement except Lady didn't bother me for that reason. I actually like the performances in that one better than any other M Night film and I'd put Unbreakable second best because I thought it could have been revolutionary without the twist at the end. Imagine it, a the first superhero movie ever to be good without a villain. Tacking on the villain at the end just left too many questions about the movies logic and made it just another super hero story with a second rate twist.

Jun 5 - 05:13 AM

Liiam Cruz

Liiam Cruz

Oh dear God is this a joke? What a freakin moron...what an imbecile...as someone else said, what a pleb...there is no excusing those choices, whatsoever. Next! Good NIGHT Mr. Dark-coloured
(31 shyAmala mf(%{A})n. dark-coloured Hariv. Ka1v. &c. ; m. black (the colour) W. ;)

Jun 5 - 05:26 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

What a maroon. Out of all the perfectly legitimate things to hate on the twisty Shyster, these choices hardly qualify.

Jun 5 - 07:50 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

"We have to get to where this isn't Happening!!!"

Ed Wood quality inanity.

Jun 5 - 07:45 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

What a maroon. Out of all the perfectly legitimate things to hate on the twisty Shyster, these choices hardly qualify.

Jun 5 - 07:50 AM

MANBAT

Meh McMehson

Oh.

Well, I feel stupid now.

Jun 5 - 12:29 PM

ivor1

ivor barrie

I appreciated the Happening for what it was, a tremendous mood piece, it accurately reflected the bewildering events, it this case, a form of mass paranoia that resulted in epidemic suicides. something undefined, something terrifying, something in the wind perhaps, or in the water. It was a metaphore for times of confusion and terrorist attacks, unimaginable misdeeds wiping out civilians. The film was mostly shot in bright daylight adding to the air of aprehention, a feeling of normalcy but covering a unspoken dread. this was for me, next to sixth sense, Shyamalan's best work. Airbender was a childs movie with no other pretentions, as it was, it entertained, in a i max 3-D kind of way. did not see lady in the Water, and positively disliked Signs.

Jun 5 - 12:40 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

That's the problem for me right there M Nights metaphors are at the same time so simplistic yet weirdly obtuse and poorly executed that what results is only appreciated by 4 or 5 people in the world who try really hard to see genius in them. Since his obvious intent is to keep making movie's that's probably not the way to go. If I wanted to look that hard I could probably come up with a similar explanation for Piranha 3DD, but eventually you just have to realize the movie is a mess. Even the stars of the film didn't get it and were embarrassed with the final product. As for Airbender, claiming it's a childs movie with no pretentions is a massive cop out. If 21st Century film has taught us nothing it's that you can make great movies that appeal to adults and children simultaneously Shrek, Hugo, 90% of Pixars works. Also working against that theory is the product he was working with was a pretty great animated series that was loved by children and adults the fact that M Night couldn't match the depth, complexity and appeal of an after school cartoon is pretty damning IMO especially with the budget he was given. To give you a directorial comparison to where M Night stand in the hierarchy of popular directors Christopher Nolan took a beloved character who was down on his luck and no one expected much out of and made a beloved trilogy which completely reinvigorated him. Michael Bay took the same thing and managed to please the general populace but greatly offended fans of the source material, M Night did the same with less well known material and managed to offend almost everyone but die hard M Night apologists. Seriously it was heartbreaking to see a commenter named Matanuki's reaction to Air Bender. It almost broke him. Oh yeah and as a follow up he created a financial flop for the most financially reliable star in Hollywood...he's just lost it. Maybe he can make lifetime or DTV for the few people who still believe in him, but other than that I seriously hope he's done.

Jun 5 - 09:08 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Bigbrother, don't you understand 9/11 changed everything?

Jun 5 - 09:51 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

No no, it...changed...everything Lois!!!!

Jun 5 - 10:35 PM

John Dooms

John Dooms

It's amazing that you can read his mind like that BJ. Tell me, what am I thinking right now ace?

Jun 5 - 04:28 PM

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