The National Post Review of the John from Cincinnati Finale
Not too pleased with National Post's Review of John From Cincinnati's Finale. I wasn't that pleased with the finale either, to be frank.
At first the show definitely caught my attention. It lost my wife's after episode two, but I was committed at that point to see where David Milch would take me. Admittedly I would find myself coding through most episodes by virtue of having been lost in the meandering dialogue. I was pleased by some of the plot twists and symbolism that never actually twisted into anything of any consequence (the dead guy from the room, the corpse, Shawn at the bar). So at the end I felt Milch tied things together rather well. I don't think one could refer to Milch as a cop-out by ending so abruptly because to cop out one must first actually direct one's self in a particular direction, something Milch refused to do with this series. If the god-head or devil-head was the point of the show why make it so obvious that the series should have ended during the second episode? Likewise, if Milch had intended on inferring dramatic symbolism from time to time in creepy, noir scenes, why just allude to a meaning and never make a legitimate attempt to tell us the point?
Not sure I can answer those questions nor that I can admit to not being if even a teensy bit annoyed at the whole thing. But, I can say this - he kept it interesting enough to give my friends and I something to chat about with a good deal of passion and enthusiasm. That's a lot more than 99% of the "reality" television, game shows, and ridiculously depressing news programs that repeat themselves between deafening commercials every two minutes. Like, the birds. Please spare me the confusion and just tell me about the birds. Were they simply harbingers of un-death or vessels for departed souls once close to the cast members? I still want to know what in the hell was with those teddy bears. If I ever make a horror movie I swear I will find those two bears to use as cast members. I can just see them sitting in the corner rasping out choruses of "RED RUM!!! RED RUM!!!"
John also gave us some really catchy phrases and inside jokes. You haven't lived until you've seen my friend Renee's impression of John's repetitive phrase "I don't know Butchie instead." Despite the comedic tone and laughter our trivia team shared the night she started her displaying her impression skills, we all agreed to have no idea what the phrase actually means. We really believed that in no time at all - this week, for sure - we'd have some better idea of how the whole puzzle that is Imperial Beach was supposed to fit together.
And that hope - that there had to be some point or meaning to it all, even if that meaning was dictated purely by Milch - was what I think kept us watching for the past 2 months. Maybe Milch was the god-head the whole time, by sending us all those mixed and confusing messages only to leave us hanging at the end with little more clue than in week one. Maybe John, with his sideways, shit-eating grin and inability to actually express himself except for through the words of others is (as National Post hypothesized to a degree) is the manifestation of Milch, who is repeatedly forced to express himself and his film via the actors who implement his visions?
Who knows. At least Milch gave us some excellent surfing shots, a litmus test to define the lowest possible expectation for acting ability (no naming of names please), and the inspiration for my friend Renee's impression.