M. Night fans, cross your fingers: "The Happening"

A check on his imdb page shows he is in production on The Happening, which he wrote. I’m surprised by this; I was sure the suits in Hollywood wouldn’t greenlight another one of his scripts, but by god they did. And he managed to get a real cast as well. Sweet!
After having finally seen Lady in the Water a couple weeks ago, I just now read all the old threads on it. (And surprisingly, I participated in one of them.) I agree with the complaints from the M. Night fans: wtf is up with “narf” and “scrunt”? Those names were so beyond stupid that it really hurt my appreciation for what little redeeming value that movie had. (But I loves me some Bryce Dallas Howard, so I’ll probably watch it again.)

In the interest of full disclosure, I loved The Village, Signs, and Sixth Sense, (in that order,) liked Unbreakable, and thought Lady in the Water was watchable. (Mostly for Howard.) I know, I’m crazy. All you artistic snobs can smugly look down your nose at me; I’m comfortable with how much enjoyment I get out of M. Night’s work. The fact that The Village is by far my favorite of his movies means even the most ardent M. Night fans can look down their nose at me.

So after being very disappointed with LitW, and reading the scathing reviews both posted and linked to in the various threads on here, I started bumming out about how M. Night was almost certainly done in the movie business. Not so…

A check on his imdb page shows he is in production on The Happening, which he wrote. I’m surprised by this; I was sure the suits in Hollywood wouldn’t greenlight another one of his scripts, but by god they did. And he managed to get a real cast as well. Sweet!

I’ve not heard a peep about this project other than what I sought out just now. Here is an article noting that John Leguizamo just joined the cast which includes Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel. As a big fan of both Deschanel sisters, I’m psyched.

The plot synopsis from moviefone:

Sounds like it could be good. Is anybody else willing to give this a look, or am I the only person on the face of the planet who hasn’t completely given up on our boy from Pennsylvania?

I liked The Village best as well, though I felt that the secret about the village was unnecesary and detracted from the film by setting up a big sideloop for little purpose than to satisfy Night’s ego.

That it was set in modern day.

Mark Wahlberg is one of my favorite young actors, so that is encouraging to me. And, like you, I’m a bit impressed that he got the green light, so that might be an indication that the script was impressive.

Is Rerun in this one, or is it just Rog and Dwayne?

I like him. I haven’t given up on him. LITW was my least-favorite of his so far, but like you, it was worth watching for Bryce Dallas Howard. My list would be The Sixth Sense (still his masterpiece, IMO), Unbreakable, The Village/Signs (I like them both the same) and LITW.

Most directors have dodgy films on their resume. He’s allowed a couple too. I think when he’s good, he’s very very good. He generates a lot of ire but I don’t even read those posts anymore. They don’t change how I feel about him. I think that, even when he falters (or fails), he’s interesting, and I’m always going to be wanting to see what he does next.

I like both Wahlberg brothers, but I think it’s a stretch to call Mark a “young” actor considering he was born in 1971.

Come to think of it, Wahlberg seems to have pulled a Brad Pitt on me. Rifling through his credits, I like an awful lot of the movies he’s been in, and also his performances in each. Funny how with some actors it takes a bunch of projects you liked them in to realize you’re a fan. (At least for me.)

I’ve said the same thing in other M. Night threads - I think he’s an extremely tallented director. The way he builds suspense, the editing, cinematography, all wonderful. As a screenwriter, he blew he wad with 6th sense.

For those following Doctor Who and know what Steven Moffat is capable of, imagiine one of his stories directed by Night.

Hm. Hadn’t realised. Personally, I’d have assumed he was in his upper 20s.

Unbreakable was the only one I really didn’t like too much.

As far as I’m concerned, he’s batting .800.

His curse is that he made his best movie first, but at the very least, I think he’s going to give you something original when you see his movies. That’s more than you can say for a lot of film makers.

I largely agree. Sixth Sense and most of Unbreakable show he can write, it’s just not his strongest talent. I’d love to see him try an adaptation. Something where he already had a strong story and characters to work with, but that he still had enough freedom to make it in his own style (Stuart Little doesn’t count).

I’ve heard others say this as well, and I don’t really understand. If not for the “secret”, what would the point of the movie have been?

After it was mercilessly panned, here and by pro reviewers, I didn’t see Lady in the Water. But I generally like his stuff. The Sixth Sense is and always will be a masterpiece. Great cast, script, plot, twist, etc. Unbreakable and The Village were both pretty good, I thought. Signs was just silly (I know it’s a parable and all, but I still can’t get over an alien race capable of interstellar travel invading a world with so much, you know, water).

I’m hopeful that M. Night can do something good with The Happening (from the title, it sounds like it’s going to be about a hippy party, though).

What a twist!

I love M. Night movies. Lady in the Water is my least favorite, but it was still watchable, especially to see Howard and Giamatti. I like the atmosphere of his movies so much that it doesn’t bother me at all when the plot doesn’t make a lick of sense, such as in Signs.

The big twist in The Happening:

nothing happens.

Jesus Christ that was funny.

He needs to do 2 things,

  1. Don’t show up in the movie
  2. Don’t have his name associated with the movie.

1: Well, because he’s not much of an actor, he’s okay but much like Stan Lee, having him in the movie sort of brings you out of it.

2: I think a lot of the reason people are dissatisfied with his films is that they ARE expecting a twist and they do compare it to the experience of the first time they saw the Sixth Sense. And when they do, they go, “wow that wasn’t at all like when we saw the Sixth Sense.”

Not knowing he has anything to do with the film, will give you a genuine surprise and you won’t be waiting to find out what whacky plan M. Night has come up with this time.

oh and 3: Come up with a different kind of ending. No more, twist! Couple of minutes of useless, then The End.

I think that is the biggie. The twists seem forced. It worked perfectly in the Sixth Sense. Not so much in others. Every movie doesn’t need a twist. Just make a good movie.

By my count, he put a twist ending in Sixth Sense and The Village. I don’t recall any signature M. Night twist from Unbreakable, Signs, or Lady in the Water.

The fact that Samuel L. Jackson was the bad guy in Unbreakable isn’t a twist; that’s the standard formula in comic book stories. Does Smallville have a twist because Clark’s good buddy Lex turns out to be his archenemy? Or Peter Parker’s roommate in the Spiderman movies?

Even if you want to argue that Unbreakable had a twist, that’s still only three of five. What were the twists in Signs and Lady in the Water?

Didn’t see LiTW. Signs twist of course came at the end and it followed his formula including flashbacks. Two words, swing away. I agree it’s not much of a twist. I thought that it would wind up that the aliens were all in their head. Would have made more sense than aliens that can be defeated by a spring shower. Smart enough to cross the cosmos, too stupid to avoid a world thats mostly covered in water.

For me the Sixth Sense worked perfectly. I went into the theater knowing there was a twist but I managed to avoid hearing what it was. I was determined to figure it out. Maybe I would have except I became so engrossed in the film that I forgot to look for the twist. None of his other films have done that for me. I’m always looking for the hook.

“Swing away” isn’t a twist, it’s foreshadowing. And a Chekhov’s Gun, of course. If there’s something there in an M. Night script, it WILL be important before the end of the movie even if it feels like fluffy filler at the time. He’s just a very economical writer that way.

Ellis Dee, my list is The Village tied with Sixth Sense, then Signs; *Unbreakable *was great until the last two minutes, when it became only okay, and *Lady *was sweet but ultimately unmemorable. I’ve got my fingers crossed for The Happening as well; I just plan to stay out of the naysaying threads so they don’t harsh my buzz before I can see it. I don’t NEED a twist, I don’t WANT a twist, and I have no bloody idea how M. Night got this reputation as a Twist Director after a single (very good) movie.