Must. Resist. Watchmen.

Amazon Prime has made Zack Snyder’s Watchmen available in both regular size and jumbo Director’s cut size, and it’s tempting to give it a re-watch.  So why does this post show an image of the Farrelley Brothers’ Something About Mary?

Because they are the same kind of movie.

Wipe the furrow from your brow, and I’ll explain.

The Farrelley Brothers made big money back in the late 90s-early aughts with a string of successful raunchy comedies that consisted of, as some wag more clever than I put it, “a whole lot of filler to sit through to get to four big belly laughs that will put you on the floor hoping your heart doesn’t give out.”  That’s an exaggeration, but not by much.  Films such as Me, Myself, and Irene, Dumb and Dumber, and KingPin, are like power hitters – their jokes strike out most of the time, but when they connect, the ball goes sailing out of the stadium.  That’s a smart plan, as audiences left their films remembering the high points rather than the long strings of dead air filled by flat and uninspired humor.

Which is exactly what happened with Watchman.  That film contains some of the most impressive moments of dread and anticipation ever put into a superhero movie.  Those imminently meme-worthy moments linger in your mind when you scroll through Amazon’s otherwise weak collection of films on offer, but Alan Moore’s dreary tale of miserable protagonists and mean-spirited philosophies – and Rorshach! – only parcels those morsels of goodness out to those willing to filter through the muck of his nihilism.

So it turns out, Alan Moore is the Farrelly Brothers of the comic book world.

And every time I’m tempted to give Watchmen a second chance, I remind myself that I’d rather have a line-up of guys with consistently high on-base percentages than one filled with power hitters.  The highs and lows might not be as high and low, but it’s a strategy that leads to a lot more consistent runs on the board, and one that delivers a lot more fun and a lot less disappointment.

About Jon Mollison

Jon Mollison was weaned at the literary knee of Tolkein, Howard, Moore, and Burroughs. He spent decades wandering in the wilderness of modern genre fiction, wondering when the magic and wonder went out of the world of dragons and space ships. In his darkest hour, he encountered a wise man who handed him the open secrets to crafting works that emulate the stories of the great authors who built the genre. They are easily summarized in but two words: Regress Harder. Now one of the twelve champions of the Pulp Revolution, his self-published works represent a more direct lineage to the tales of action, mystery, romance, virtue, and pure unalloyed adventure than the bland imitations churned out by New York City publishing houses in recent decades.
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