question of the day: So, what happened to Mike Judge?

Last week, over at Film.com, I wrote a piece pondering the weird fate of Mike Judge, that his movies end up being brilliant and being dismissed, only to end up as cult favorites of subversion and sedition on DVD. I dismissed out of hand the possibility that Extract, his new film, would be anything other than brilliant — this was before I saw the film; I was mostly concerned with the either/or of “Will it be brilliant and embraced by audiences?” or “Will it be brilliant and dismissed… again?”

Turns out now, the film pretty much sucks. I was deeply disappointed by it, and I might have been harder on the film if it had been from another filmmaker — I think I can Judge some benefit of the doubt that perhaps he might not deserve here. And I suspect that I may not be alone in that kind of reaction: though the film is 62 percent Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, even some of the positive reviews there are decidedly mixed.
We probably shouldn’t take much from the fact that the film debuted way down at No. 10 for the four-day weekend (that may shift a little when the final numbers come in later today), since Judge’s movies have never been blockbusters.

So, what happened to Mike Judge? Did he try to go more mainstream with Extract, and utterly failed? Did his idea of subversion change to such a degree that he’s neither funny nor subversive anymore? What the hell?

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