“Couldn’t pay me to sit through that.”
The haters of American Idol are legion and the above comment came from a friend when I told him I was going to the final performance night. And this is one of the nicer comments I’ve heard regarding A.I., a favorite topic of mine. The show, to recap for those who could possibly be unfamiliar with, was originally conceived and produced by Satan. (Regular ‘lopers already know that Satan also created DRM, cable TV, and Microsoft.) Critics of the show have noted that this blight on the rich tapestry of human accomplishment—following thousands of years of progress in the arts and technology—is surely proof of the impending apocalypse. That this over-hyped, overplayed and played out excuse for reality television is still being massaged into the network lineup year after year by the evil overlords at Fox is proof that the dumbed-down masses, who get product placement so blatant as to be shameless shoved willingly in their faces, are also in league with Satan. How else can you explain why 25 million Americans fawn over these wannabe singers, these “pitchy” middle-of-the-road hacks seeking quick fame and fortune?
It’s the big sci-fi movie of my childhood, the one against which all others are judged. Watching it still gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve seen it, but it’s a whole hell of a lot, and I can quote lines or do entire scenes. I recognize that it’s a highly flawed movie, and for the most part I liked the rejiggered effects in the “Director’s Edition.” At least they didn’t try to shoehorn in bathroom jokes like the later, much suckier movies in the series.
Even if you haven’t already read the title or seen the accompanying picture, in this post-ironic age you’ve probably figured by now that I’m not talking about Star Wars. Instead, I refer without irony to Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
I can hear the witty rejoinders already: “You mean Star Trek: The Motionless Picture, don’t you?”
Yeah. That one.
Thanks to my family having remarkable taste (which also resulted in a lifelong love of The Beatles and Dylan), I’ve been a Star Trek fan from a very young age. Most of my fellow Generation X’ers hate the movie, though. As do Boomers. I haven’t asked any Millennials, but I’d gather that for them, Star Trek movies start with the Khan one, and they all kinda suck anyway. Story of my life, loving something everyone else hates.
Actually, I don’t know anyone who actively hates Star Trek: The Motion Picture. (Though I imagine a few haters will chime in in the comments section. Hello, haters!) Most people just dismiss it as “the slow and boring first movie,” even if they haven’t seen it in a decade or three. It doesn’t raise the well-deserved ire of the underbudgeted, poorly written and incompetently directed Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, or the overbudgeted, poorly written and incompetently directed Star Trek Nemesis, the latter being the one Trek movie I cannot sit through. Gods, Nemesis was horrible, so talky and unwatchable. (Irony alert: many people feel that way about The Motion Picture.) At least The Final Frontier has a certain ramshackle charm to its badness. Watching it can be like a parlor game: there’s something wrong with practically every scene, every shot, every line of dialogue. See if you can spot them all! Just be sure it isn’t a drinking game, lest you have alcohol poisoning by the time Spock plays “Row Your Boat” on his lyre. It’s like the Turkish Star Trek with a thirty million dollar budget, and I mean that as the highest praise.