Do not watch "Dumbland"
You should be as ashamed of me for watching Dumbland as I am embarassed of myself for having done so.
Dumbland is the type of comedy that makes you want to shoot yourself in the face. The main character is a white trash moron who gets angry and beats his wife, who is a shuttering brainwashed woman (who looks more hedgehog than human) in perpetual scream while their son, this scrawny alien-like high-pitched squeaker, jumps around and asks things twice everytime if not more. The film contains 8 chapters. The humor of it lay in fart/poop jokes, violence, anger, awfully-timed "punchlines," repetition to the point of excrutiating boredom (one chapter repeats itself around 7 times, adding one nested "joke" after each pointless repetition), and more violence. It is the type of humor a 6 year old would crack up at. It lasts more than 30 minutes.
Here is the literal plot to the last chapter, as I've swiped from the wikipedia page it doesn't deserve:
Randy (the main guy) is plagued by an increasing stream of ants into his home. His frustrations rise to the point that he grabs a can of insect killer and attempts to eliminate his ant problem. In his haste and anger, he fails to realize that the nozzle on the bug killer is pointed not at the ants but at his own face. He is squirted in the face with the killer for several seconds. He then falls to the ground and experiences a vivid hallucination in which the ants are singing and dancing and offering gleeful taunts of "asshole", "shithead", and "dumb-turd". Randy eventually snaps out of his predicament and charges at the ants slapping at them on the floor, wall, and ceiling. He is later shown falling off the ceiling and suffering substantial injuries that require a full body cast. The final scene shows ants crawling over his incapacitated body and into an opening in the cast at his feet. Randy then screams helpless in agony as hundreds of ants march into his body cast.
The humor is so fucked up and stupid that it becomes boring to watch. But you cannot stop watching. It makes you feel so bad inside, makes you feel so stupid to be watching this, that it strips you of your agency to turn the thing off. Or if you've managed, it is only because you quit early on. The more you watch, the more you begin to contemplate: "There absolutely has to be some point to it. Some artistic message about culture, or about humor." But there isn't. You cannot turn it off because if you did, you would realize that there was absolutely no point to it, you've come out of it less of a human, and you've wasted every second. By the end of the film, there's an awful taste in your soul, like you've eaten dogshit. You feel utterly void. And no, it's not the rich "Kafkaesque" contemplate-life version of humor, because that has a purpose, that has a point, it's incredibly written and articulated and crafted. Dumbland was produced in 60 hours by David fucking Lynch. I feel deeply that he should be ashamed and repelled of this work. I have a strong reason to believe he's been trying desperately to make up for his disaster of a work Dumbland by trying to actually create meaningful art.
Why watch Dumbland? You should not. Don't look it up, continue with your day. You will think better of me for having done so. I rented it from a DVD store one night, only knowing that it was "experimental" and "simplistic." I also saw it was done by a famous director, so "how bad could it really be?" It is worse than The Emoji Movie. It is the true anti-art: a piece so incredibly stupid and unintrospective that you, the viewer, are intellectually-unchallenged to the point of being forced to contemplate your own life—though, importantly, the piece does so in a way that you approach this self-contemplation willingly—at which point you will horrifyingly conclude that 1) you have wasted your life and 2) you powerless to stop. It is a mirror into modern-day humor: Vine in particular, which started off as a creative project with a strong community, and ended up as an endless source of simple entertainment for wasting time. I am not hyperbolizing any of this.
I was so ashamed of myself after viewing the movie that I felt like I had to mentally "brush my teeth," that is, I had to watch or read something so pure and intellectual that it would scrub the bad taste from my mind and soul.
Now, back to the article I had intended to write (and publish) this week.
I'm not where the scene is.
The problem, as explained to me, is that you start life right now. That you can't put it off until college, or after college, or when you get a career. That life starts now. And I'm not where the scene is.
Living in a loft with a tropical warmth and reading a book on some avant-garde movement in the 1980's and listening to the best music or radio reclining back with some Madame Psychosis type. The vision of becoming a best-selling author. There's nostalgia in this. Avant-Garde is most nostalgic. The romance of beatniks.
There's a feeling of tragedy upon realizing that this ideal is fantasy. There persists a wrong romanticization: of swinging with the countercultural crowd of high-art celebrities while maintaining the power of worldly isolation. Imagine for a moment your vision, what makes you alive. Is there an access to the scene? No. A societal, or personal, mentality bars you from that reality, so you know even if there was a scene, so well and alive with every mix of character, potently alive, even if there was a scene you would have no way of knowing where it was, or how to get in.
The mysterious allure of what we call the genius. What defines the word?
One can look at two of the same pictures differently. Alfred Hitchcock was marvelous at this. Depending upon the environment, an object can be viewed one way or the other. A grin can be sinister if shown after a horrible crime such as murder. The same grin can be benign if shown after a sentimental moment such as a wedding. Is it possible to look at the ordinary through this lens? The filmmaker Robert Bresson says if you take an ordinary object out of its environment and look at it carefully, it reveals to be something quite peculiar.
I would have written more. I'll end with this: take yourself out of your environment for a while. Analyze how you work. You are your own fucking scene, which sucks because you realize that you are what you make of yourself and that fact is inseparable from the person you become. I watched a movie that made me want to kill myself, it made me contemplate how the trajectory of my life was going and how futile it was. I was removed from the world of useless entertainment and put into a world of synthesized uselessness, and I came back with the realization that this world was so much more beautiful than its dumbness. The world is filled with interesting books, and adventures, and people, and you can go out and love someone, or at least try to ask for someone's number and go on a fucking date: Anything but watch more vines or god-forbid Dumbland. I've got about 200 more pages of summer reading to do. See you on my first day back to school.