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Reviews Comments: Re-Written Review — This Time, It's Serious. Confused Matthew whole series review by Tannhaeuser

Confused Matthew takes on works that he considers over-rated, approaching them with an Aristotelian demand for plot-logic. In doing so, he antagonizes many viewers, who depend more on suggestiveness and emotional effect. Matthew wants movies that make one think; most people seem to prefer movies that make them feel. His zeal for promoting logic in films makes him routinely overstate and exaggerate to make his points, amusing some and enraging others.

The main criticisms offered of Matthew's reviews are 1) unnecessary vehemence and 2) medium ignorance. The first is purely a matter of taste: some find his violence amusing, some do not. The latter is more arguable, and depends on fundamental assumptions about the nature of drama itself. Matthew asserts that all the works he reviews present themselves as "films" and should be judged as such. His opponents insist that they belong to different categories from "Traditional Drama," and must be judged on their own terms.

His attacks on Spirited Away and 2001 have inflamed opinions primarily for this reason. Matthew demands that both fit into a category of drama with a strict succession of events depending on causation; their fans insist that they must be judged under different criteria and by different rules, just as one would judge Titian's "Assumption" differently from Pollack's "Blue Poles." The fact that Matthew admits to a bias does not excuse his reviewing such works; rather, it aggravates it — an arguable position.

Matthew's position vis--vis The Lion King is more straightforward: it is a "traditional film." Here his attackers clearly are exalting feeling over logic. Matthew might well have expanded his case against this film to include more technical considerations. He does take into account its moral dimension; he feels the film offers the wrong lessons to its viewers.

This moral attack forms his main objection to The Incredibles. As George Bernard Shaw attacked Macbeth, so he attacks this film for its unnecessarily dark philosophy. Whether one accepts this critique will depend to an extent on one's own Weltanschauung.


  • gibberingtroper
  • 5th Jan 10
Great moment from the Lion King review. "Lets see, you've been on screen for 45 minutes. Here's a girlfriend." Spot on. Even at 14 when I saw this movie, I rolled my eyes. I'd been a big fan of Aladdin, and like Matthew I immediately found myself comparing that romance to this one.
  • FigmentJedi
  • 28th Feb 10
Yeah. Confused Matthew's a viewer and he's a moron.
  • 3rd Mar 10
You just said Lion King is a bad movie.

... ...

I'll let you have your own crazy opinion, crazy person. :)
  • SpongebobSquarepants
  • 7th Jun 10
TLK is awesome and CM can hate if he wants to but he's reasons make no sense!!
  • Jumpingzombie
  • 11th Jun 10
As you obviously stated with your disagreement on The Incredibles, it's very much a YMMV case. People will react strongly to criticism or praise to something, because that happens a lot. Your review is very vague and comes across as "people are idiots if they like something that SUCKS, because Confused Matthew said it SUCKS"
  • BigT
  • 2nd Aug 10
^I don't see how it does. He's just doing the NPOV thing, trying to explain why some people like it and some people don't, rather than just putting his opinion.

It's just a different type of review—in fact, the type of review a lot of people seem to want from Matthew.
  • maninahat
  • 2nd Aug 10
Well, I had to reach for a dictionary a couple of times, but I think I understood this review. I don't want to come across as cretinous but in general, writers should use the simplist possible words when they can.
  • depaderico
  • 3rd Aug 10
I enjoyed reading this review. A few points of contention I want to raise:
  • Matthew does occasionally take on works he considers over-rated, some of which you mentioned, but he also takes on movies in the mediocre and shitty categories. Knowing and Lost In Space are two such examples. So you're really only addressing a handful of his oevre.  *
  • Your statement "Matthew wants movies that make one think; most people seem to prefer movies that make them feel" is inaccurate. For Matthew, the problem with a lot of movies is that either they force the viewer to think ''too much'' in order to figure out how event Y should actually follow from event X or once you actually do think about them, their plot structures don't really add up. And while you're correct in saying that most people like films that make them feel, you should realize too that Matthew is also in this category of viewer. What Matthew resents is a movie that tries to pull all your emotional strings without making any goddamn sense at the end of the day. He isn't the first film critic to assert this "zeal" either: in her 1965 review of The Sound Of Music, Pauline Kael stated, "We have been turned into emotional and aesthetic imbeciles when we hear ourselves humming the sickly, goody-goody songs."
  • Not all of Matthew's criticisms of 2001: A Space Odyssey focused on a logical progression of events. He stated that a lot of parts were just plain dull and boring. Also, he explicitly attempts to approach the movie without bias, which this troper took to mean something like, "Suppose I went into a theater today and watched 2001 without knowing a thing about it in advance — this is what my impression would be."
    • In the case of Spirited Away however, he did confess to a bias, and I would concede that this weakened the force of his review.
UPDATED: No preview feature here, so I'm having to go back and forth. Edits are indicated with strike-through, expandable "hot-tip" text, and colored text (for additions).
  • DracoDracul
  • 13th Feb 11
How does Spirited Away not follow a logical progression of events (based on the world in which it is set)?
  • Phrederic
  • 14th Feb 11
Spirited Away is a Fairy Tale, but that doesn't mean it doesn't make sense. It doesn't break the rules established in the world.
  • maninahat
  • 17th Feb 11
Matthew's problem was that though Spirited Away meant to be about a bratty, spoilt girl learning to be mature and responsible, that progression doesn't work, when from the beginning Chihiro demonstrates herself to be already more responsible than her own parents (wanting to go back to the car, not wanting to eat the food etc).

This review isn't so good. The problem is the choice of language, which is excessively complex and high falutin'. Before anyone criticises me for being ignorant or for demanding the dumbing down of literature, I should mention that most people don't know what "Weltanschauung" means and they shouldn't even need to know. Why couldn't "World View" be used instead? Why should Vis-a-vis be used in the place of "regarding"? They mean the exact same thing in context and they don't trip the reader up. Good vocabulary is about improving communication, not about using esoteric* terms which make things unnecessarily hard to read. Use the simplist term whenever you can. Same should probably be the case for the use of similes and analogies. The purpose of a simile is to use a straight foward example in such a way as to make something easier to undetstand. Most people are unaware of the specifics of Shaw's criticisms of Shakespeare; they are not suitable for the purpose of analogy.

Also, this review doesn't actually conclude much about the website beyond saying "Your Milage May Vary". That isn't very helpful. Ideally, you could weigh up your observations about Matthew's reviews and use that to suggest whether it is worth the reader's time.

note* Yes not enough people know that word either. But at least that is a useful word that doesn't have a straight foward alternative.

  • marcellX
  • 8th Jun 11
On the subject of Spirited Away - "In the case of Spirited Away however, he did confess to a bias, and I would concede that this weakened the force of his review" - yeah to me that was part only part of the problem, he's suppose to be a critic, the creators of movies travel and collect information to make their movies, it was a little annoying that the only research he did was read the back of the cover, it was like someone watching hercules, or any other greek movie (or nordic if you want) and saying all the winged horses, small suns, weird monsters etc. were just made up randomness that was never explained.
  • gibberingtroper
  • 9th Jun 11
Why won't you Anime fans just let other people not like what you like? I've never heard any critic say "I hate this genre and I personally felt this movie sucked, but objectively I can't deny that its a well crafted masterpiece."

The closest they get is "I'm not the right audience for this but it seems like the target audience will probably enjoy this."

Someone asked him to comment on the movie so he did. He led off saying that this isn't what he normally likes to watch. Do you expect him to immerse himself in the genre for this one review? He has a day job. He does this on the side and this was an extra review he did in addition to his normal reviews for a fan because the fan donated money to him. And it doesn't matter if Matthew is not familiar with all the cultural background and history, the trope and so forth of Anime. They brought this movie over here and released it in mainstream theaters. Theres a trust that when you're going to see an original movie in a mainstream theater, they are going to give you enough information to figure out whats going on.

I'm a comic book fan, but I don't expect you to have to read all the comic books I read or to have a deep rich understanding of comic books before going to see a comic book movie. And if you don't like a story about characters in colorful costumes with ridiculous powers, I don't expect you to say "But I still have to admit Spiderman 2 was an excellent movie even though I didn't like it and thought it was stupid because I don't like superheroes."

  • marcellX
  • 14th Jun 11
(sigh)just shut up already, I'm tired of writting Completely Missing The Point so much every time you say something, again I never said he should research anime, just the movie, don't know where the hell you got that from. Just like they didn't explain hell, heaven and other things in the movie Constantine and to someone who has never heard of Judeo-Christian religion the whole Archangel Michel and Lucifer at the end would had been downright asspulling to them. My complain has never been that he didn't like the movie, he could had done the research and still not like the movie, in fact he could had done the research and hated it even more, but again I say, not doing the research is what makes it a rant instead of a review. So let me try to make you understand again (though I'm pretty sure I'll fail again).~This has NEVER been about him liking the movie or not, this has always been about him complaining about things he Did Not Do The Research on~.
  • marcellX
  • 5th Jul 11
"Lets see, you've been on screen for 45 minutes. Here's a girlfriend." Spot on. spot on? didn't they already introduced the character at the start of the movie, and they said a couple of times that they were best childhood friends, engaged, etc. etc. This is the scene by scene problem and goldfish memmory that mahiamat was talking about, it's weird how you agree with this things when you're on a site that even mentions and categorizes them. Behold Childhood Friend Romance. Even the lines at the beggining are none other than Simba and Nala.
  • silver2195
  • 7th Jul 11
Why won't you Anime fans just let other people not like what you like? I've never heard any critic say "I hate this genre and I personally felt this movie sucked, but objectively I can't deny that its a well crafted masterpiece."

Actually, Jesu Otaku (an anime fan, obviously) said exactly that in her review of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
  • kay4today
  • 15th Jul 11

I think gibberingtroper made some very good points and your offensive behaviour is a bit unnecessary, although I agree that he as a reviewer should have researched a bit more on Spirited Away (but he made some good points, like Chihiro behaving mature from the start).

I like CM and find him highly entertaining. I do think that he is the best and funniest reviewer on Youtube and his Star Wars reviews entertained me more than everything from TGWTG together.
  • marcellX
  • 17th Jul 11
My reaction to gibberingtroper is that s/he keeps on complaining and making statements of things I have never said anything about, things that maybe other anime fans have said, but not me. S/he said "I'm a comic book fan, but I don't expect you to have to read all the comic books I read or to have a deep rich understanding of comic books before going to see a comic book movie" which is a good point, a great point in fact....except that I've never said that he needed to do that, in fact I don't think he needed to watch or read a single anime or manga. S/he said "Why won't you Anime fans just let other people not like what you like" which like I said I've never complained about him not liking it. I can admit I'm wrong about things and even change my mind, in fact I promote everyone to challenge what I say, but that's it, what I say.
  • eveil
  • 17th Jul 11
^You know, when someone says something that has nothing to do with what you said, you're generally supposed to think "Hey, maybe he wasn't responding to me."
  • marcellX
  • 18th Jul 11
I said it from experience.
  • Tomwithnonumbers
  • 16th Oct 11
I have to admit, I don't understand gibberingtropers criticism of the Lion King at all either. I think compared to the vast majority of films ever and even relationships in the real world Simba/Nala is a about as long term as it gets. Their parents knew each other, they were born at similar times, grew up as friends with each other, had wacky adventures, were dependent on each other from the word go and practically at the "when we grow up we're going to get married right?" childy innocence. Then they grow up meet each other, reveal important things about the other has changed, remind one about who he really is and the realisation makes him reassess the co-dependent relationship in the light of their maturer perspective after she has saved him from a pit of sloth and then they hook up, reflecting the the relationship of Simbas parents bookending the film with the theme that also bookends the film and is the consistent theme throughout (circle of life, one generations love gives rise to the next).

Wbat the heck do you want from a movie romance line? More screentime than has actually taken place so far? A detailed genetic analysis before their birth to show why the demonstrated psychological analysis of their entire life (the psychological analysis which actually IS in the film) occurs? Heck Pride and Prejudice had a more insubstantial "and give her a boyfriend" than the Lion King. I get there are other things to critcise but that's actually just ignoring the film to criticise something that isn't there
  • HandyHandel
  • 29th Dec 11
I just want to point out that Aristotle probably didn't care too much about plot logic. It's difficult to take seriously any reviewer trying to make themselves seem more eloquent than they actually are...

I avoid reading professional reviews because often times critics seem to want to raise their own self-importance. It's kind of annoying that amateur reviewers pick up the same bad habits journalists have.

But seriously, comparing Aristotle to Confused Matthew? That's like comparing Sartre to the Nostalgia Critic... Y U NO MAKE SENSE?

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