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Confused Matthew: The Only Sane Man of Caustic Criticism.
Confused Matthew is a web critic. He delivers his reviews in a slide show format. This minimalistic format may be boring, but it is practical as it not only ties into the "Talk is cheap, art is priceless" motto all reviewers should take to heart, but his anti masturbatory fluff motif with his vendetta against movies that get greenlit when they should not have.

Confession time.

I thought The Matrix trilogy as a whole was deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep. Matthew, who is an actual Philosophy major, gave a crash course in "obscurantism."

I thought Saw was scary and deep. I thought Jigsaw as a well intentioned extremist type anti villain. I even bought into the "he's not technically a killer" statement. Matthew gave me a crash course in law.

I'm an anime fan. Being a fan of classic 16 bit-32 bit era video games, I'm all over those over the top tropes. I was also led to believe that Miyazaki was an animation god. Matthew deconstructed Spirited Away as obscurantist trash with zero plot and weak characters with stilted dialogue in a world not well defined. "Like all other anime ever made." Matthew gives a simple reason for his detesting of anime. "It's stupid, it's stupid. I hate it I hate it." Which is not far off. Most anime is misogynistic in its unrealistic portrayals of women. And Giant robots can be brought down with Square Cube Law. There is only one anime Matthew likes... Ironically, it's Lucky Star. Either it is the shining beacon of world building and deep characterization in an obscurantist, fan pandering cesspool... Or girlfriend(I'll explain in the comments.)

I thought Minority Report was an intelligent film. Matthew made Ebert and Speilberg his bitches.

Confused Matthew isn't perfect. He's not the best comedian, and sometimes his logic falters... *Avatar* *Cough* He is also slow on updates, but he is always insightful and knows his tropes.

If you want to laugh at bad movies that you are already pre-conditioned into hating, watch the TGWTG circle jerk. If you want to be challenged with critical thinking, watch Confused Matthew. Definately check out earlier youtube reviews. Those are the best and are very short and to the point. He is not egotistical as these other tropers are painting him. He is very humble, and shy. His beef is with the movies, not the fans.
His Kill Bill review hasn't come out yet. I'm anxiously awaiting it. He is just so slow at times. This is one of the things I would have put in the review if I wasn't restricted to 400 words...

"Being a weaboo, of course I dug Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2. The review hasn't come out yet, but I'm already getting the picture that "you can't bring a sword on a plane.""
comment #8678 Chickenzhit 16th Jul 11 (edited by: Chickenzhit)
...It takes critical thinking to realize things like "Jigsaw is a killer" or "anime is unrealistic"?

I've already realized that most of the things I like suck. I've also learned to like them anyways.
comment #8681 eveil 16th Jul 11
I can kind of see Chickenzhit's thinking on this. Before I started watching a lot of these critics, I didn't question too much what was happening on screen, or if I did, I'd let a statement like "he's not technically a killer" pass because now something else is happening and I'd be mainly focused on the conflict and the action. Now? A statement like that would not pass. I don't trust the writers anymore like I used to. Having been exposed to the behind the scenes stuff of hollywood has put it front and center that movies are created by artists that don't always have the greatest grasp of things like logic, or math, or science, or any of a number of more concrete subjects. So now when they start talking about something like law in a movie, I sit and wait for them to screw it up.

But that's now. Before, I trusted that they did their research unless they were flatly and blatantly wrong.
comment #8689 gibberingtroper 17th Jul 11
@gibberingtroper

That's exactly my point. As Penn & Teller would usually point out, the things these Hollywood producers, writers, and directors do is the common magician's trick of misdirection. To be able to properly criticize movies we need to have an analytical mind, which uses logic, and of course, logic conflicts with emotion. Because of that, movies can emotionally manipulate people into accepting things that should have broken our willing suspension of disbelief.

"It's not bad... Not as long as you don't think about it too hard." That, is the usual excuse to not analyze and deconstruct a movie for what it is, and there by, letting these movies pass.

I have found this misdirection very harmful to me and other audiences over the years. It turns audiences into "Deer" and movies into "headlights." Twenty minutes into the future, and our next Oscar winner will be, "A Sparkly Crystal That We Are Going To Put in Front of Your Face For an Hour In 3D."

And even worse, sometimes movies will claim to offering you philosophical conundrums when they really aren't. Enter Matthew's crash course in obscurantism: "To ask what this means, is to miss the point. The point is to hit you over the head with useless jargon until you accept that you are in the presence of a deep and intellectual mind."

In other words, movies like The Matrix sequels will act like they know philosophy when they really don't, but dangerously, they'll make audiences think they do. Other movies like this are "Waking Life" (which Matthew has reviewed) and "What the Bleep Do We Know?" (which Matthew hasn't reviewed... yet).

And this is also why I'm upset that certain requester demanded Matthew not to review "Ghost in the Shell." Now, I liked Ghost in the Shell, likewise, I thought it looked cool and the soundtrack was euphoric. However, I never really understood the plot from what I remember from it, and surprise, surprise! None of the other people I talked to got it either. Same with Akira. I suspect it was one of those obscurantist movies. Yet, it was and still is being heralded as the pinnacle of Japanese animation along with Akira. If it was obscurantist, than indeed, it was another one of those movies that did not deserve the endless praise it got. It would have been another lesson to us anime fans that we need to get priorities straight and not just believe a movie to be intelligent just because it didn't make sense to us.

Like you said, I don't trust writers anymore, I don't trust producers anymore, I don't mainstream critics anymore, and I definitely don't trust the Oscars anymore.

That is also why I defend Matthew's "cheap production values/slide show project format."

In the same way Maddox's plain, black, web 1.0 page is a take that against all the glossed up bullshit in the world. Matthew's stylistic suck is a deliberate attack against movies that hide their weak writing with all star casts, mesmerizing soundtracks, quality animation, and/or special fx. It is blunt, honest, and "pure" criticism.

@eveil

That's the spirit! Welp, as long as you know they are bad. I still think the fights in the Matrix were pretty tight. As for Saw, well, at least comes to morbid curiosity, but nowadays I mostly just watch clips of it.

I'm still an anime fan. Still love girls in sailor fuku and giant mechs. Miyazaki is indeed a great animator, but I'm beginning to doubt his storytelling capabilities. Spirited Away's animation and soundtrack makes me cry, but the movie makes me cry for a different reasoning considering how little movie makers think of the audience.

Closing this long arduous comment, I'll say before I found Confused Matthew, I was a fool.

Now, I still am a fool, but at least I'm more self aware.

By the way, did I mention George Carlin was my favorite comedian? http://www.myspace.com/confusedmatthew/blog

Another score for Matthew!
comment #8712 Chickenzhit 18th Jul 11 (edited by: Chickenzhit)
To be able to properly criticize movies we need to have an analytical mind, which uses logic, and of course, logic conflicts with emotion. Because of that, movies can emotionally manipulate people into accepting things that should have broken our willing suspension of disbelief.

There is no specific way to "properly criticize" a movie. If you are deliberately ignoring your emotional response to look from purely logical standpoint, then you are being dishonest with yourself. Rule Of Cool and Rule Of Funny, both rely on emotional responses to distract the viewer from the implausibility of the scene, so if you deliberately choose to ignore that coolness or the funniness of a scene, you are denying yourself an essential part of the experience. I don't think Matthew denies himself those emotional reactions at all. When he complains, it is because the cool/funny fails to disguise the implausibility.

In other words, don't turn off your brain, but also don't turn off your sense of humour either. If you find something funny, run with it. Don't pretend you don't find it funny, just so you can analyse it better. If you genuinely find it unfunny, then you can start the analysis. There is a difference between noticing problems, and looking for problems to complain about.
comment #8717 maninahat 18th Jul 11 (edited by: maninahat)
I agree with this review for the most part. Confused Matthew has been a rather big inspiration for me when it comes to writing because before I saw his works, I never gave a terrible amount of thought into the works that I've seen. After seeing his reviews, I did feel like I did have a perspective change in how plot works. Not to say I'm exactly looking at everything the way he does nor do I always agree with him, but I did entertain the thought. I began to look at movies and the like a little differently and paid attention to the craft of narrative, more or less a writers point of view at the whole thing. And thanks to this I've learned alot about the general structure, which no other critic before then (though Redlettermedia also did this for me, but that was after I saw CM's reviews) had done.

As much as I like TGWTG occasionally, Doug seemed to be more of a comedian than a reviewer. The reviewing kinda got drowned out after a while and I wasn't getting anything from it. Also he rarely gave a minority opinion so I never really had another point of view to look from. A think having a point of view that I may not agree on but I feel is valid is important to me because its not on occasion that I normally get these (though I typically have a great deal of my own minority opinions).

As for the emotion thing, Matthew himself doesn't say that it should be free of emotion or anything. Art is an artist portraying emotions and ideas through a medium. He just tries to put that aside in this reviews as best as possible to give what he thinks is the best argument for what he believes. Afterall, I wouldn't go to a critic just to hear him say "Its good" or "its bad" without explaining or demonstrating why they think this.

Though on anime, he never really said it was obscurantist nor does he want you to change your opinion just because he said it. I don't think Matthew knows terribly much about it. Anime isn't a genre as much as an art style and I honestly think Matthew was just exposed to a bunch of bad anime in his lifetime (He's only liked Lucky Star if you must know).

There is a reason for this. Shonen manga with its weekly schedule with no real breaks being translated to a TV show. These people never really get the chance to really work on their ideas because a weekly schedule is far too demanding to come up with good ideas or a consistent plot. This is why these kinds of shows go on for so long, tend to have flash backs out the butt and make some bad plot mistakes. On the other side of the coin are the mecha anime that have been shown here with the True Art is Incomprehensible rule to them.

It's natural that Matthew wouldn't like them for this but Matthew, if you are indeed reading this, I hope you reconsider with some shows that don't have these general problems that I can tell you about. Not all anime is like what you've been lead to be believe. This is a 13 episode show (for the first "season", the second one is also 13 episodes) based on a light novel called Spice and Wolf. It won't take too much of your time and it won't contain those problems you tend to have. Anime isn't terribly different from other shows, just that factor.
comment #8770 knightofthecolossus 20th Jul 11 (edited by: knightofthecolossus)
I think TGWTG was always about comedy. He primarily reviews shit which you will have already seen decades ago, or the crap you would never ever want to see. Hence the title "nostalgia critic". He isn't trying to be particularly insightful, he is just having a laugh with is at the sort of stuff we used to watch but would likely forget about.
comment #8771 maninahat 20th Jul 11
@maninahat @knightofthecolossus

Thank you for pointing out that thing about emotions vs. logic.

I should have noted that we still need emotions anyway. Not just because you'd be denying yourself a part of the movie, but because we wouldn't be as "human" without them.

A world without emotions, would be a cold and cruel place, and if you think that this world is already cold and cruel... Well, you should really think about how cruel a world without emotions is. In fact, part of the reason this world is so cold and cruel, is because of a lack of emotions.

Let's go back to Aristotle in views on playwrighting, which contrasted Plato, because Plato did not believe in theater or any kind of fiction. "No lies in my perfect world!" says Plato.

Aristotle believed that art and theater should mimic life as closely as possible. Which, of course, rules out all fantasy, and any science fiction that doesn't rate a 10 on the mohs scale of hardness.

However, the point of playwrighting, as Aristotle dictated, was to make the audience experience a catharsis. All so that they feel emotions. However there is a balance you see? It must be completely real so that the emotions felt are genuine.

Now of course, we have willing suspension of disbelief in regards to things in fiction that don't match up with the laws of our world. Such as "visible lasers and 180 degree turns and sounds in space" and "fire breathing monsters." Indeed everyone has a varying scale of it. For those that accept such nonsense have the good excuse that the fictional world has different laws from us. But if there is a movie that breaks its own established rules that tries to get emotion out of you, it is not being genuine and it can be argued that the writer is treating you like a dog, a sucker that way.

So you see, emotion is important to us, but it is also a weakness. Emotions make us weak, yet we need them otherwise we are monsters without them. Yet, emotions make us vulnerable to emotionless monsters, so we need to hide our emotions and build upon our logic to combat such monsters, yet we still need to retain our emotions.

"With films like Disaster Movie and Baby Geniuses 2, you "know" what you are getting into... But a film like this lies to you."- Matthew, on Minority Report

Note that Matthew's main complaint on Minority Report is that "it lies to you." He made a point on how Minority Report breaks so much willing suspension of disbelief. There are so many points in the film where the character is given the idiot ball, so many points where outcomes are illogical in regards to the situation, that whatever emotions that the movie was trying to get from the audience, it got with dishonesty. Yet people took Minority Report as a brilliant work of science fiction.

The same can be applied to the other films.

The Lion King dramatized the death of Mufasa to make us overlook and forget about Simba's misdeeds, and more importantly, the first half of the film. And the whole fun Haakuna Matata song was made to distract us from what Timon and Pumbaa are doing to Simba, which is corrupting him. When Simba grew up, he was practically a new character with nothing to write about, a blank slate. Yet, we are supposed to feel the romance between him and Nala during the song "Can You Feel The Love Tonight". If the Oscars are to be trusted, we fell for it, hook, line, and sinker.

The over abundance of special FX and epic space battles in the Star Wars prequels distract us enough to sit through all three of them. And the hopes everyone had of "it'll get better" led to the praise the third one got... Even so it was just as bad as the first two.

The fights in the Matrix distract us enough to sit through them as well. The pseudo-philisophical speak confuses us enough to let it pass until a philosophy major like Matthew corrects us. In addition, awesomeness of a giant mech wielding two gattling guns is "cool" enough to make sheep-like audiences forget that such a weapon would be totally impractical in that situation.

The animation and soundtrack in Spirited Away was apparently good enough to make us forget that zero character development was being made and that the process of story writing was thrown out the window. Yet we cried, and felt emotion. But those emotions were not genuine because "what" were we crying about? Well,we were sad, because the music was sad. That's my guess.

See a pattern here? It is a pattern of dishonesty.

To give an example of a scene that brings out genuine emotions, I'm going to bring up a scene from Watchmen. Namely, Rorschach's psychoanalysis from chapter VI.

Now Rorschach, is a well written character. He has a personality. Not a pleasant one, but a personality non the less. Basically, he is an angry, beige prose speaking, resourceful, violent, asexual, misanthropic, ultra nationalistic Objectivist who doesn't like taking the easy road.

The characterization does not stop there. We learn about Rorschach's entire life during his psychoanalysis. We learn the origin of every single aspect of his identity. Like the fact that he was a bastard child of a whore who admitted to regretting having him right in his face. We learn about his fear of sex and his need to cover up. We learn how his mask was originally a piece of dress that was intended for Kitty Genovese, the subject of a real life murder case. We learn his need to always be in action because he was disgusted by how every one in the apartment buildings "watched and did nothing", a theme in the book that is played about. We learn that he wears the mask, because he is disgusted to be human being. Then we learn about his breaking point... The Blair Roche case, in where his self loathing, his misanthropy, and his call to action, culminated to such an all time high, it changed him into the faceless terror that devotes every second of his life to prowling the streets, and stalking and torturing criminals. Now, you see how that works? There was not a single jump to anything in regards to personality. Nothing in that chapter was there to distract you into the emotions it was aiming for. The emotions came naturally.

Now knightofthecolossus, on your request.

Matthew does do requests... but only for 25 dollars because it keeps the site running and it pays for the movie in question. He isn't accepting requests right now at the moment because he already has a bunch of them to do, and he wants to get bunch of them done before he accepts any more requests. And this will be a long time because like I said, he is a slooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow updater.

Spice and Wolf doesn't seem like a bad choice...

Personally I'd suggest "Serial Experiments Lain" or "Millenium Actress". Both are praised for their "intellect", but I do wonder if they really are as good as people say they are, or just obscurantist trash. I might need to watch Millenium Actress a second time, I did not quite follow it the first time. I don't think my choices are any better, but if he proves them obscurantist, it will still be fun, nonetheless to see him nerdrage on obscurantism! :D

comment #8820 Chickenzhit 22nd Jul 11
@emeriin @maninahat

Don't take my little take that toward TGWTG too seriously. I'm a fan of them. Yes, sometimes I do enjoy a clown prancing around the screen and ranting about how much a bad nostalgic movie sucks. Rule of funny. Doug and the others don't have to be insightful too much, because most of the things they review were mass requested by us. The thing is we know the work in question sucks, and we just want them to rant and joke about everything we hated about the work already. Sometimes there is a "he panned it, now it sucks" Confused Matthew effect when Doug review terrible movies we actually enjoyed as kids, but were considered bad even back then.

In short, Matthew is more critic than comic. Doug is more comic than critic.

comment #8821 Chickenzhit 22nd Jul 11
@Chickenzhit

Well, I think Serial Experiments Lain would be a bad choice for Matthew. Since... well I have no idea what that was about and I doubt he will as well. I think something more structured would be best for him, which is why I suggest Spice and Wolf for its rather solid and interesting story, which seems to be something I think he'd like.
comment #8825 knightofthecolossus 22nd Jul 11 (edited by: knightofthecolossus)
I'm finally back, and I'm here to respond some more.

@knightofthecolossus

I wasn't suggesting Serial Experiments Lain and Millennium Actress because I "thought it was good for Matthew", I just want to send them in for him to critique them. I don't know whether SEL would be surprisingly good to him, or if it was like all pictures "2001" or if it was pure obscurantist bullcrap like "No Country For Old Men." I wasn't caring about what anime he would like, but rather the anime in question viewed through a lens of a logical standpoint. Although Matthew is a pretty acute reviewer in terms of logic, he is extremely unpredictable in regards to what he likes and what he doesn't like. For instance, he likes Lucky Star. No. He LOVES it.

"The only anime show I have ever liked was Lucky Star. I down right loved that show."

That quote was referenced from the forums here: http://www.confusedmatthew.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=37&t=1908

Now the interesting thing about that choice, is the hit or miss nature of Lucky Star, especially considering that is the most controversial show of past decade.

For starters, it's a show about nothing, with schoolgirls who talk and talk. "Seinfeld with Schoolgirls." The show is also divisive amongst anime fans because of its slow paced nature despite its high octane opening. There are even people who decry it as the "shit that's killing anime" because of its fan pandering, voyeuristic, "moe" nature. After all, there are many real life otaku who wish that "Konata was their waifu." However, since it's has that schoolgirl, Konata, in it who is an otaku, who talks about otaku things, it has been recommended for Otakus only.

Now when we usually recommend anime for noobies, we would usually suggest Cowboy Bebop or any Hayao Miyazaki flick. Lucky Star would be the last thing on the list of anime to suggest for people who are new to, or don't like anime. Yet, it is Matthew's pick.

Yet Matthew is the very opposite of an Otaku in many ways. He doesn't like anime, he has a life, he has a girlfriend, etc. And yet he dislikes the Miyazaki flick, but thoroughly enjoys Lucky Star.

However, when Matthew has an opinion, on whether he liked it or not, he always backs it up with logic, facts, and reasoning.

Lucky Star may very well be a shining beacon of characterization. It may not have a story, but it has characters. I mean you have four girls, and they each have separate, and distinguished personality to them. You've got "Mary-Sue" (Konata), "Scaredy Twin" (Tsukasa), "Scary Twin" (Kagami), and "Moe-Chan" (Miyuki). Or at least as Vampire Buddha put in his scathing review of the show.

Or maybe it's just my crackpot WMG theory that his girlfriend is causing his logic to falter. (I almost forgot to explain that hole in my review I promised to explain in the comments. More on that in the next comment.)

Welp, as said before, Spice & Wolf would be a good choice. Any anime you'd think would be worthy, you can send it in once he gets finished with his requests.

Now if you were to ask me what anime I'd think he would "like", then I would go with Azumanga Daioh, because it's practically Lucky Star, but with even more schoolgirls with distinguished personalities who talk about things. K-On would also be a good candidate.

comment #9156 Chickenzhit 8th Aug 11
No offense, Chickzhit, but you're full of it.
comment #16477 BewareTheWorlock 14th Oct 12
Chickzhit don't get me wrong when I say this: But you make it sound like Matthew's opinion is the only right one, (a problem he himself took awhile to get over) and that anybody else is wrong. Really that is how it comes off, and the review makes you sound like your easily swayed in your opinions with very little evidence. Keep in mind, I enjoy his reviews and they have made me think more about movies even if they don't change my opinion but your review comes across as "Matthew said this sucks. I guess I can't like it anymore."

I almost certain I know what your actual intention was,(Matthew is a great critical thinker and even if you disagree with him he leaves you with something to think about. Correct me if I am wrong.) with this review but it really does not come across that way.
comment #16485 Wildcard 14th Oct 12
Or maybe Chickzhit really is just that easily led by an angry Man Child?
comment #16493 BewareTheWorlock 15th Oct 12
Or maybe Chickzhit really is just that easily led by an angry Man Child?
comment #16494 BewareTheWorlock 15th Oct 12
Chickenzhit: My major problem with his review of Minority Report was that I didn't go into it expecting to have my mind bended or otherwise to have some profound philosophical experience. He did and so was disappointed, but I didn't and didn't much like it but wasn't much expecting to. It seemed the review was only appropriate for people like him with false expectations. The movie itself didn't lie and tell you it was supposed to be deep. It was a simple high-concept future cop chase flick.

Aside from it being adapted from a Dick story I don't know why he was expecting more. Except that Evert gave it a thumbs up, which Matthew endlessly harps on, as if it could be nothing but professional misconduct. This based on the fact that no right thinking person could possibly say they liked Minority Report without knowingly lying. Except it didn't seem that bad to me, and I could see his some people liked it. Which makes his anti-Ebert tirade look like a ploy to get hits.

Oh, and there us a massive analytical failure about future crime being nothing more than attempted murder. Firstly knowing someone will commit murder in the future is different than catching them attempting to commit murder. It is closer to them actually having committed murder. More importantly, it is only like attempted murder in the couple if instances we see because they catch people just before they do it. Thus happens because the evidence they have to go on is a picture of the future murder, time is limited, and their best chance is to figure out where it happens and go there to stop it.

But what if they were able to figure out who the killer is and nab him before he's attempting the murder? Thus is what they almost do with Tom Cruise. He ends up escaping and making it to the scene if the crime. Had he nit escaped or been caught earlier, though, he couldn't possibly be guilty of attempting murder. Would they let him go? No, because he's still guilty of the future crime, so far as they understand precognition.

Therefore future murder does not equal attempted murder.
comment #16719 tublecane 31st Oct 12
Please excuse my vowel errors. Damn pad.
comment #16720 tublecane 31st Oct 12
Oh, and I should add that the Oscar is for Best Song, not "Song Which Is Best Justified By the Character and Plot Development Leading Up to It." "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" could be a great song if you plopped it into Minority Report. I do realize there are unwritten rules about winning songs having to be integral to the story or all things being equal rewarding the better movie. But I think overall they still like to honor the best song as a song.

The relationship between Simba and Nala is not so unfounded as Matthew says. Also, can we assume that as crown prince he was limited in who he could choose to marry, and that even out in the wild after years of hakuna matataing thus informed his feelings? That being said, far too many fairy tale-like stories move too briskly from childhood friends to lifetime lovers. That hardly ever happens in real life, and though I can accept it as a trope I need to build up to it a bit slower. You would naturally assume going into it that Simba would end up with Nala, but they could have taken our assent a little less for granted.
comment #16721 tublecane 31st Oct 12
If it took Confused Matthew for you to see how Saw was stupid, that says more about you than it does about him or the film.
comment #23462 Pannic 13th Mar 14
Maybe it's just me, but I never saw Matthew as particularly 'normal' compared to the more zany TGWTG antics. While NC's main goal is to make viewers laugh, lately he's been putting more thought into it, and if one thing is clear from his reviews, it's that he respects people's opinions, even if there's someone who likes Garbage Pail Kids. Matthew, on the other hand, states from the beginning that he's confused how people could like these movies, and has stated several times that people are wrong for liking a movie. I don't think that should be his call to make. Also, he's missed the point of several films, particularly The Incredibles. He kept saying that it was too dark for a kid's movie, when that's not what The Incredibles was in the first place, it was a family movie, and there have been plenty of darker family movies. To me, he comes across as arrogant, and so assured of his own beliefs, that he refuses to consider other viewpoints. But if you like him, that's fine, it's your opinion, and I respect it.
comment #23464 JamesPicard 14th Mar 14
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