In a recent conversation with friends, we discussed M. Night Shyamalan, who made the amazing The Sixth Sense followed by a non-stop parade of atrocious clunkers. How could such a brilliant movie emerge from the mind of this aggravatingly untalented auteur-diva? We proposed two competing theories as to how the poor man's Spielberg could be so bad:
Theory #1: He stole the idea for The Sixth Sense from a a close personal friend, then screwed his friend out of all the royalties. Since he and his friend are no longer on speaking terms, he has nobody he can mine for movie ideas. Forced to come up with his own concepts for movies, he's coming to the realization that directing is not really his .
Theory #2: M. Night is known for his now-stale "twist ending". Maybe he's structured his WHOLE LIFE as he would approach a movie. Taking a page from filmmaking greats, he starts his movies and his career with a BANG (The Sixth Sense). He then rides this wave of initial euphoria to produce a boring and somewhat incoherent middle section for the duration of his overly-lenghty runtime. In the case of his career, this will be every movie he makes after the Sixth Sense. Then, just as audiences can't take any more, he throws the twist ending at them.
In the case of his career, this twist will come in the form of some absolutely brilliant movie he makes just as he's dying. This movie will be so good that it will not only be Oscar-caliber, but it will also manage to cast a new light on all his previous crappy movies. Just as he's dying, critics and moviegoers will discover that piles of garbage like The Village and Lady in the Water are actually gripping masterpieces. Some new revelation in his final overture will make Signs bearable and even watchable.
It this theory is true, then there will be clues riddled throughout his career that will allow the intelligent to see it coming. So next time your sig other forces you to sit through a Shyamalan disaster, don't think of it as a reason to dump them cold. Instead, use it as an opportunity to pay attention. What appears to be a prosaic directorial mistake may actually be a clue to cracking the Shyamalan Code.