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.
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.
16th Jul 11
(edited by: Chickenzhit)
16th Jul 11
17th Jul 11
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.
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!
18th Jul 11
(edited by: Chickenzhit)
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.
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.
20th Jul 11
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
22nd Jul 11
22nd Jul 11
22nd Jul 11
(edited by: knightofthecolossus)
I'm finally back, and I'm here to respond some more.
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:
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.
8th Aug 11
No offense, Chickzhit, but you're full of it.
14th Oct 12
14th Oct 12
15th Oct 12
15th Oct 12
31st Oct 12
Please excuse my vowel errors. Damn pad.
31st Oct 12
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.
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.
14th Mar 14
A reviewer I happen to really like is SF Debris. He is well researched, humble in his approach, and welcome to any opinion outside of his own. The problem I got watching Confused Matthew was he had none of these qualities that endeared me to Chuck. What you and Matthew share is your ability to kind of miss the point and you don't have a great understanding of art. While there should be logic in whatever piece of art you create, film is a medium of art and all art is emotionally driven. If I feel nothing about your film, then you have failed to produce a piece of art. It is far worse for me to feel apathetic about your art than anger or outrage, because it means I'm bored and not entertained in the slightest. Even the greats like Mozart, Shakespeare, and Hitchcock, relied on emotional appeal in order to get across the points of their works. After reading all of your comments, you come off as rather pretentious, unable to form an opinion on your own, and completely missing the point of art as not a science.
1st Aug 14
2nd Aug 14
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