I HATED this movie. I hated everything about it.
Oh, look at me, I’m an armchair-existentialist. I hate my crummy boring life. I hate my job. I hate my wife. I am such a pathetic loser. Gee, I’m going to lose my job. Oh woe is me! Oh, wait, here’s something interesting – a teenage girl! And what’s this? Marijuana! Hey great! Now I’m a middle-aged go-nowhere jobless pothead fantasizing about having sex with teenagers. Oh yes, THIS is the life. THIS is the epitome of “BEING ALIVE!” I have truly found the meaning of life.
Whoa, check out that piece of garbage! It’s like, totally floating in the wind. This is the greatest thing ever. Nevermind man’s great achievements – never mind the symphony. Nevermind great architecture. Nevermind medicine and technology. Nevermind invention. Nevermind conquering the land, the sea, the mountains, the valleys, the depths of the oceans, the vasts of space. What’s truly wonderful is trash in the wind.
You see, TRUE beauty is in mediocrity. Wait.. wait… no that doesn’t sound right. Instead, let’s call it “simplicity”. That’s better. Yes, worship the… *ahem* the simplicity of nature. Worship trash, not greatness. Worship drug abuse, not working. Worship laziness and prurient interests, not ambition and tenacity.
“I guess I could be pretty -expletive- off about what happened to me, but it’s hard to stay mad when there’s so much beauty in the world.” Or, in simpler terms, it’s easy to convince yourself of your own self-worth when you place value on common garbage. Why? Because when you say that garbage is beautiful, looking at yourself in comparison isn’t so bad. Yay, I feel so much better about myself now that I’m living under this bong-clouded delusion. Apathy doesn’t seem so apathetic when you’ve devalued everything! This was a story about a loser, who KNEW he was a loser, but rather than do anything about it, he instead deluded himself into believing that he was something more BY LOWERING HIS STANDARD OF JUDGMENT. No different than if he were a C student in school that made himself feel better by saying that C’s are the same thing as A’s. It’s nonsense. It’s utter nonsense.
American Beauty is horrible. It is, without a doubt, one of the single worst stories ever written. You want to know why? You want to know what is so utterly messed up about the principle it espouses? When you place value on garbage, when you find “beauty” in everything, BEAUTY LOSES ITS MEANING. When EVERYTHING is beautiful, NOTHING is. And you know what happens then? Congratulations – you’ve killed man’s sense of values. You’ve killed his capacity to recognize greatness or to achieve it.
If you set up standards of achievement open to all, to the least, to the most inept – you stop the impetus to effort in all men, great or small. You stop all incentive to improvement, to excellence, to perfection.
And that’s EXACTLY what happened to the “protaganist” (although it makes me want to spit acid to even call him that) in American Beauty. That movie worships the exact thing that it was – trash.