I would rather re-watch The Counselor ten times over so many tepid things out there - tepid it ain't - but I don't quite think the "It's actually secretly brilliant!" reevaluation it's getting right now in the immediate wake of its initial critical and collective bombing is quite due it either. I did go into it fully aware that certain factions were calling it "The Worst Movie Ever Made!" but I resisted, as I try to insist upon, actively gunning for a devil's advocate stance all the same. As best as I can, I want to take the movie on its own merit and not have too much of a position beforehand.
Oh I was curious, and I was totally hoping at best for camp. I'm no giant Ridley Scott fan, at least not anymore - I liked Prometheus, and I think it earns the right to its sometimes-silliness by climbing up on the table and jumping for the moon, but before that he hadn't made anything I'd really liked for a good twenty years. I don't feel any need to elevate this movie because of him and his supposed infallibility - I know there are people out there who bow before the throne of Gladiator; I am not one of them.
But this movie is so strange, in every way, I was really finding myself put into its cheering section for long patches. I couldn't help but find myself wondering why so many people had their knickers twisted over it - I can't quite say that I have seen anything like it, and I cherish that feeling inside a movie theater. Even if it's sometimes bumbling and inexplicable - it's never not totally captivating.
It's not the camp movie I wanted it to be either, which at first I kept finding frustrating - it's as if the possibility of camp was actively thumbed out, time and again. Cameron Diaz's character, created in a lab by mad scientists to be the essence of over-the-top ridiculousness, is played by Diaz as if she's terrified of every line she's about to speak - instead of chewing up the scenery and spitting it out, relishing the clusterfuck, she speaks McCarthy's dialogue as if she's reading it off a teleprompter at half-speed, and maybe might not have a clue what it is she's saying at all. It's weird, and terrible in its own way, but it's the exact opposite of the easy and obvious way and somehow fascinating and memorable because of it. I was initially angry about it, I wanted it bigger and broader, and I couldn't even begin to tell you what's intentional and what's just total implosion, but... well, it's never not captivating.
So like I said up front, this is a movie I'm not going to forget any time soon. Is it good, is it bad, I feel like that's besides the point. It's something. It's ten times of something. Would that everything could be this much of something.