First off, let me say that I think M. Night is a capable director who has produced four movies, two of which I have genuinely enjoyed. Two out of four, for a beginning director, isn't bad at all - and I think it would be even better if he wasn't so fanatically overhyped due to his insanely successful debut. I thought The Sixth Sense had a cool concept, a delightful twist at the end, and a firm grasp of the "boo!" and the "sinister-what's-that-under-my-tent?" factor that kept me interested throughout the movie.
I also adored Unbreakable. Easily my favourite Shyamalan movie, one of my favourite superhero movies, and basically one of my favourite movies of ALL TIME. At least for now. The idea of a realistic superhero, one who groans and sweats and goes red in the face as he lifts a superheroic amount of weight, one who can sense the evil that other people do, really grabbed me when I first watched it, and it held on and didn't let go until the very end. Loved it. LOVED it.
Didn't like Signs, although most of that was due to the fact that I was expecting a twist when there wasn't one, and the fact that the aliens were silly. I mean, beings allergic to water landing on a planet that is 75% poison? Where acid literally RAINS FROM THE SKY? I mean, honestly!
Didn't like The Village either, although it did have some cool visual moments. I think it's the type of movie that would benefit from people watching it a second time. The first time I watched it, I was so annoyed by the obviously-fake Puritan mode of speech the Elders adopted, but once you know the end, it's believable - but it doesn't erase the negative feelings accumulated from sitting through 90 minutes of Bad Accents For No Reason.
Anyway - back to what I hate about him. There's apparently a biography being written about Shyamalan's work on Lady in the Water (which is NOT getting good advance press, by the way). I read an excerpt in the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, and my first question was: "Seriously? Seriously? Is this guy for real?" My first reaction: This is a joke. My second reaction: M. Night Shyamalan is a pretentious self-absorbed jackass man-child artiste who has no concept of how to react to constructive criticism.
It's ironic that a piece of work that is so slavishly ass-kissing to Shyamalan would induce such negative feelings against the subject. Maybe it's intentional, *LOL*. It basically portrayed Shyamalan as this social reject who needs to be put away in a quiet little box, away from reality, in order to come up with his staggeringly brilliant films, and woe to anyone who attempts to, you know, cripple his genius with, egads, reason or logic.
It showed him giving his script to his buds at Disney, it showed how these execs read it with a critical eye and didn't get it (for good reason - they were not familiar with the mythological terminology, they figured that a main character with a constant stutter would annoy the audience, they also figured that casting Shyamalan as the SECOND BIGGEST PART in the film would also annoy the audience), how they told him so at a polite dinner, and how he basically starting bawling like a baby about how they couldn't understand his perfect vision and that by rejecting his script, they were rejecting him, boo-hoo, now he had to end his six-year partnership with Disney because of ONE conversation during ONE dinner because he's allergic to rewrites and criticism, and oh, the folks at Warner Brothers will accept him, and then he can go back to his little box and write stories about delusional ghosts and fake-Puritans with bad accents and crazy people who kill small animals only the animals aren't really dead because the crazy person isn't really crazy because he's realized that the animals are a metaphor for his mental instability and that the catharsis of killing said fake-animals provides him with closure and material for a nice fur coat. Er, a nice FAKE fur coat. Or maybe it's real and that's the twist! OOooooOOooo....
And apparently, I'm not the only one - there was a review of the book in the paper yesterday, where the reviewer mentioned that the author compared Shyamalan to Moses, and slammed a movie exec for going to her son's birthday party instead of reading Shyamalan's earth-shatteringly-good script RIGHT AWAY NO TIME TO WAIT SHYAMALAN'S INTERNAL GENIUS CLOCK IS TICKING WE DON'T WANT HIM TO GO CRAZY AND CUT OFF ONE OF HIS EARS, HIS BEAUTIFUL EARS, MY GOD WHY WON'T YOU READ THE FUCKING SCRIPT DON'T YOU KNOW HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS TO HIM HE'LL START CUTTING HIMSELF ANY MINUTE NOW YOU HEARTLESS BREEDING BITCH THE APOCALYPSE IS COMING AND WHEN SHYAMALAN COMES DOWN FROM THE SKY IN A BLAZE OF GLORY HE'S TOTALLY GONNA DISS YOU AND YOUR MOUTHBREATHING KID HOW'S THAT FOR A TWIST ENDING!!!!
Or that's the general idea, anyway. Anyhoo, it does not make Shyamalan look very good, and seems to be an embarassing judgement call. To me, as someone who's aspiring to be a screenwriter, it pisses me off when I see writers who've been given incredibly lucky breaks pissing it all away with bad behaviour. M. Night Shyamalan, how are you even going to get better if you ignore all suggestions of improvement?