Moviegoers Want to Send M. Night Shyamalan Back to Film School
04.18.11 by Chris
For many, it's been a disappointing, downward spiral for director M. Night Shyamalan, who was billed as "the next Spielberg" following his releases of The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable. His most recent movie, The Last Airbender, disappointed followers of the popular cartoon and earned a dismal 6 percent rating on RottenTomatoes last summer. The movie went on to nearly sweep the 2010 Razzies, "winning" Worst Director, Worst Picture, Worst Screenplay, Worst Supporting Actor, and even Worst Eye-Gouging Mis-Use of 3-D.
Among those most disappointed with the director are the trio behind M. Night School, a website created to raise $150,000 to send him back to his alma mater, NYU Film School. We talked to Chris Baker to learn more.
When asked how the idea originated, here's what Baker told us.
I came up with the idea after the trailer for Devil appeared before a screening of Inception. When an art card came on screen that said, "From the mind of M. Night Shyamalan," the entire audience erupted with laughter. I sent out a tweet asking if anyone wanted to help me build a website that would crowdsource enough money to send him back to film school. Eric [Roller] replied with the name and Vanessa [Castaneda] got to designing the site.
If (or when) M. Night refuses the money, we're going to set up a scholarship fund to send a kid who can't afford NYU's tuition, but who has remarkable talent. We'll hold a film festival here in New York, and judge submissions. We think that's a great ending to this effort, which is funny because M. Night's endings are terrible.
So far, the trio has raised $600. Baker said if they don't reach their fundraising goal, they'll either refund the money or donate it to a charity, like relief help in Japan.
Someone had the idea to take the money and reshoot the endings to his movies, which would be hilarious. Again, it can always be put to the crowd to decide. But for now, we like the idea of the scholarship. Plus, if the kid who ends up going through NYU becomes famous, everyone who donates has an "in."
As for timing, they are hoping to reach the goal before Shyamalan starts principal photography on 1000 A.E., a sci-fi movie with Will Smith and his son, Jaden.
I was never a fan and I don't think Eric or Vanessa were either, but I did enjoy The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable. After that, it was like watching a very slow moving train wreck. His trailers would always pique my curiosity to the point where knowing the secret plot twist became worth ten dollars for a ticket, and then it just ended up being enough to look up the twist on an IMDB message board. Then, of course, the commercialization of it all grew into an unwieldy beast.
The site, itself, is pretty hilarious. You can download Facebook wallpaper and Twitter avatars to help spread the word. You can also buy some sweet items, including a genius Plot Twist Package, which includes a stapler that comes with its own unique plot twist storyline: Order a stapler only to find out it was a "________" the whole time!
Do you think Shyamalan needs the site's help? If so, what movie was your turning point?