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IN RETROSPECT…M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN

To coincide with a big film release once every month, I will try and include a career retrospective (through the magic of the TIERMAKER website) of either an actor in the film, the director of the film, or the film franchise that it is a part of.

I originally wanted to start with Channing Tatum in honor of the final Magic Mike film being released on Valentine’s Day in the second week of February. But there was a much, much, more interesting person to start this series off with…..  

M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN

For my money, there isn’t a more polarizing director over the last 30 years than m. night shyamalan. He was beloved in the beginning, then everything went to s***, and then The last Airbender happened, and things turned nuclearly negative. So negative that there’s a section of y’all who will hate this man for the rest of your days no matter what he does.

But I’m here to be fair. I’ve often defended shyamalan and feel like his lawyer at times, but it’s time we gave his career a fair shake this is…..

THE SHYAMALAN TIER LIST

(Actually…a couple of things are important to note before getting started)

  1. Because Shyamalan made his name off of twist endings, we will judge those accordingly, as well as the quality of the movie itself.
  2. I am not counting his Indie drama flick PRAYING WITH ANGER, nor am I including the family film he did in 1998 called WIDE AWAKE. These films are never mentioned in conversations about the legacy of Shyamalan, and most people don’t even know these films exist.

Okay, here it is…

🤩 – GREATNESS

Unbreakable


If we truly looked at UNBREAKABLE in the same way that we see comic book origin movies that actually have IP through real-life comic books, then we would respect this movie much more than we already do. Simply put, this is one of the greatest superhero origin movies ever made. It’s a shame that we don’t acknowledge it as such.

Movie: 10/10
TWIST ENDING RATING: 8.5/10

SIGNS

Yes, the ending is pretty silly when you think about it. However, the theatrical experience is something that I do not forget even to this very day. This is mostly a flat-out horror movie that uses the effectiveness of silence to build tension in a way that great horror movies tend to do. Many horror movies have been praised for their creativity, and half aren’t as good as this.

Movie: 8.5/10
TWIST ENDING RATING: 6/10

GREATNESS ADJACENT

GLASS

A thriller showing off the skills of Shyamalan, the director, rather than Shyamalan, the writer. Also, a comic book film that’s better than most of the mid-tier comic book films that are out there. (like watchman, v for vendetta, sin City, etc.) To truly hate this movie is to hate Shyamalan himself.

Movie 7.5/10
TWIST ENDING RATING: 7/10

THE 6TH SENSE

It’s not that this movie wasn’t good or anything like that, but the reason why it became popular, why it made money, why it was nominated for so many Oscars, and why it has its place in film history is the ending. A twist ending so good that it may have proven impossible to live up to even to this day.

Movie: 7/10
TWIST ENDING RATING: 10/10

😊 – GOOD

SPLIT

Is it ridiculous to think that this is the best performance of James Mcavoy’s career? If not, it has to be top three. There are at least five of Kevin Crumb’s identities that might be entertaining in separate films.

Movie: 7/10
TWIST ENDING RATING: 5/10

THE VISIT

Modern day Hansel and Gretel. It’s the funniest film that Shyamalan has done by far, and it also is one of his best twist endings. Again one of those movies that you can only hate if you hate the director himself.

Movie: 7/10
TWIST ENDING RATING: 7.5/10

KNOCK AT THE CABIN

(SEE REVIEW HERE)

MEH…

OLD

The film works best if your brain is completely turned off and you accept the silliness that follows. The problem is that all the silliness is treated seriously as heavy dramatic fare. Excellent performance by Thomasin McKenzie. She should be a way bigger star than she is.

Movie: 6.5/10
TWIST ENDING RATING: 6/10

THE VILLAGE

The outright Shyamalan hatred began right here. THE VILLAGE was a good story that was well-written and executed. The problem is that it was absolutely mangled by a completely bull**** ending that borderline insulted the audience’s intelligence. I get why people were angry, but let’s respect this one. It was okay. Y’all are just being mean.

Movie: 6.5/10
TWIST ENDING RATING: 4/10

LADY IN THE WATER

There was a lot to like about the film, most notably the performances of Bryce Dallas Howard and Paul Giamatti. But at the end of the day, this film is the most self-indulgent Shyamalan flick.

Hilariously, he cast himself as a writer whose writings literally go on to save the world and cast Bob Balaban as an arrogant film critic… who ends up violently dying. You have to be completely tone-deaf not to get the symbolism of it all.

Movie:6/10
TWIST ENDING RATING: 4/10

🤮 – WHAT IN THE F*** WAS THIS GARBAGE

AFTER EARTH

For a long time, I respected this movie for not necessarily having a twist ending. At this point in his career, the Shyamalan twist endings had lost all their luster.

But then, I realized something… the twist of this movie happens in the second act, and it happens to the audience and not any of the characters. You see, it is this movie is where Will Smith tried to pass the torch on to his son Jaden. Critical mistake.

Movie: 4.5/10
TWIST ENDING RATING: 2/10

THE HAPPENING

You know, rather than just giving my opinion of the film, I’ll share an actual quote from Mark Wahlberg… The guy who played the main character. He was giving an interview about how Amy Adams was supposed to play in the movie with him, and then he actually said this:

“We had actually had the luxury of having lunch before to talk about another movie, and it was a REALLY bad movie that I did. She dodged the bullet. And then I was still able to, I don’t want to tell you what movie, all right, The Happening. F— it. It is what it is. F—ing trees, man. The plants. F— it. You can’t blame me for not wanting to try to play a science teacher. At least I wasn’t playing a cop or a crook.”

YIKES.

MOVIE: 3/10
TWIST ENDING RATING: 0/10

THE LAST AIRBENDER

Sandwiched in between the releases of THE HAPPENING and AFTER EARTH was THIS S*** HERE. It is indeed quite miraculous that Shyamalan was allowed to make big-budget films after this trifecta of cinematic defecation.

There are so many bad things about this movie to talk about in detail that it’s too much to cover here. Way too much. But to say the very least… the CGI looks bad, it’s a boring story, it’s whitewashed, it’s his worst-written film by light years, and it was so poorly received upon its arrival that the trilogy that was originally planned was instantaneously canceled.

MOVIE: 0/10
TWIST ENDING RATING: N/A

Eli Brumfield

Eli Brumfield in an actor/screenwriter from Seattle Washington, living in Los Angeles.

He is the host of the RV8 Podcast.

He hates the word cinefile, but considering how many films he consumes in a week...and how many films he goes out of his way to see, no matter the genre...he kinda seems to be one.

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INSIDE 🤮

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