A Cinecle View – Luminous shmoo-minous

Tony Marion

Tony Marion

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. That’s what makes this the U.S. of A. the greatest country in the entire world – very serious warts and all.

Could we do better with any number of things? Sure, but the fact of the matter is that just getting to make that statement, let alone discussing the actual issues, without federal agents kicking down your door and disappearing you to a cell next to John Mason makes our country still easily the bestest overall. But that’s an argument for another column.

Instead, let’s talk about a reviewer from The Hollywood Reporter named Tim Goodman and how his review of the Lethal Weapon TV reboot on the Fox network is a microcosm of why we can’t fix the actual problems in our country. Not the show, Goodman’s review of it.

Lethal Weapon stars Damon Wayans as Roger Murtaugh (portrayed by Danny Glover in feature film franchise) and one of my man crushes, Clayne Crawford, as Martin Riggs (originally played on the big screen by a pre-drunken-racist-sexist meltdown Mel Gibson) in a reimagining of the ultimate mismatched buddy cop franchise.

According to Tim:

Lethal Weapon is ridiculous and predictable, a super familiar story with new leads reminding you of old leads, and modern personalities that are really dated personalities. It’s a copy of copy of a copy and praying for something fresh out of that is, well, pretty ridiculous. So what you get is what you expected …

Fair enough. I watched the pilot and so far, he’s not wrong.

… and the question then is: Are you okay with that, and if so, why? …if you’re willing to watch it — every week — what does that say about both your available time and your standards?

Uhhhhh … what now?

… if you’re excited about that, something is really off with you.

Wait, did someone named “Good-man” just accuse the entire audience of this show of having some sort of mental defect? Did he actually switch from criticizing a show to criticizing its audience mid-review?

… know this – Crawford is an excellent actor who did phenomenal work on a series called Rectify that you really should watch, but only if you really hate Lethal Weapon. Because if this is your kind of show, you shouldn’t go anywhere near Rectify.

I love sushi. Also quarter pounders with cheese. And Korean BBQ. Chipotle. Carpaccio. The BK Big Fish sandwich. Foie gras. Chicken cheese steaks. The Wire. Chicago PD. Breaking Bad. Sons of Anarchy (up until the finale). Rectify … and Lethal Weapon.

Okay, “love” is a strong word for my feelings toward Lethal Weapon, but I enjoyed it enough to watch a few more episodes. For me, all of its problems can be summed up in three words – Executive Producer McG. But if the tone of his ridiculous big screen adaptations of the ‘70s TV classic Charlie’s Angels is your thing, than Lethal Weapon the TV show should be a good watch. And, unlike Tim Goodman, I won’t profile you as suffering from a TBI for enjoying it.

Who the fuck do you think you are, Tim Goodman?

That was a rhetorical question; your elitist, condescending review tells the world exactly who: one of the self-anointed intellectually luminous beings that are superior to the rest of us because of their taste in (fill in the blank).

You know who I’m talking about. The type that stops listening to their favorite indie band before the ink is dry on their first major label contract. The type that will only drink beer that is aged for at least five years with the blue flower from the eastern slope of Ra’s Al Ghul’s mountain in wooden barrels handmade from the hull of a salvaged Spanish galleon. The type that can only enjoy a television show if it features a talented, but relatively unknown cast scowling contemplatively over weighty issues for forty-two minutes to an hour. Or anything with Fred Armisen, David Cross or Kate Micucci.

To paraphrase a selection of dialogue from The West Wing: The thing that makes people like Tim Goodman flaming assholes is not the fact that he hates shows like Lethal Weapon, it’s that he clearly hates the people that like them. He hates the people.

His distaste for “accessible” programming makes him a snob, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I would never watch any show with the words “Kardashian”, “Real Housewives of” or “… and Pregnant” in the title, but I would also never make a blanket judgment of all of those who do watch them. There’s a thin line between discerning and narrow-minded, and Goodman pole vaulted right over it into douche-nozzlery.

Disagreeing with someone’s taste in clothing, books, music, movie or TV; their solution to a problem, their religion, their sexuality, doesn’t necessarily constitute “hate” in either direction. At least not until there’s a body count. But when we immediately dismiss ANY group of people as inferior or even evil because our opinions or beliefs differ from theirs, we lose a chance to learn. And when we stop learning, we’ve given up on truly solving any of our problems.

With Clayne already out Riggs-ing Gibson in the pilot, I believe that Lethal Weapon may indeed get better. And my mind is open and illuminated enough to invite Crawford, Wayans and (sigh) McG, into my home to continue the dialogue that we began with a not stellar, but not terrible, pilot.

Oh, luminous shmoo-minous, I just want to watch Crawford crack-wise while kicking ass and blowin’ shit up!


Tony Marion is a writer and filmmaker who splits time between Lancaster, PA and Baltimore, MD. He lives for the work of Descendents (the band), Chuck Palahniuk and Rian Johnson. Check out the digital embodiment of procrastination he calls his website here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *