Thursday, February 28, 2008

So Bsuy That I Don't Even Have Time Spell the Word "Busy"

Just as I'm getting some people to actually read all this stuff I get too busy at work to do an update. Oh well, on Saturday I'll hopefully have either a review of Semi-Pro or a deeper look at American remakes of Japanese horror films, maybe both. See you all then.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Please oh please, Hollywood, please stop making American versions Japanese horror films.

Ok, that oughta do it. Thanks, Hollywood.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

College Road Trip...TO HELL!!!!

Recently, I did something that a movie critic is not supposed to do, I reviewed a movie I hadn't seen. That movie was Larry the Cable Guy's new movie Witless Protection. Despite the fact that I committed what is normally considered to be some sort of journalistic mortal sin, I feel that future generations will not only vindicate me for what I did but actually put actually worship me as a national hero. Parents will name their children after me for warning them to stay the hell away from a movie that scored ZERO PERCENT on's Tomato Meter.

I speak now not only to my current readers but also to little Michael Clear Nussbaum in the year 2030 who's writing a school report about me and needs more than just the Witless Protection article to work with. Therefore, I will now make the case for why you all should never, ever see College Road Trip.

This won't be as easy a call like Witless was. Movies can surprise you in ways that are* I can remember seeing the trailer for Pulp Fiction and thinking it was going to be something like what retarded people would make if they ever broke into a movie studio and shot their own picture. Instead, it turned out to be on of the 20th century's great movies. On the other hand, I thought Snakes On A Plane would be a highly entertaining action film and it was instead fiercely mediocre.

So, why do I think that College Road Trip won't be one of these surprises? Let's review the evidence.

First, there's the trailer. Yeah yeah, I know I just talked about how much I didn't like Pulp Fiction's trailer but that was a complex tapestry of a film. A trailer takes some of the movie's best moments and splices them together and Pulp Fiction's best moments were difficult to appreciate when taken out of context from the rest of the film. Go ahead and watch College road Trip's trailer and see if you think that's the case here:

What did we see? First, we see that Martin Lawrence plays a mind bogglingly stupid police chief with some sort of pig phobia who seems shocked that his 18 year old daughter would want to go to college far away instead of what I assume whatever sort of agricultural community college that his small town offers. He's one of these TV/movie dads who's so insanely overprotective of his teenage daughter's virtue that he thinks it's a good idea to abuse the power of his office by tasing a young man who tries to get her a drink. Apparently he's not brought up on charges or sued since he's still driving his police vehicle when he decides to piss his daughter off by accompanying her on a series of college tours or, more specifically a (drumroll) COLLEGE ROAD TRIP. This is the point at which hilarity has supposedly been procured and the film makers attempt to set it free so that it may ensue. Unfortunately, hilarity is an unpredictable beast and in this case it not only fails to ensue but actually desues. My spell checker just told me that "desues" is not a word but, thanks to me, it will be commonly used by my fans in 2030.

Continuing with the trailer, apparently Lawrence's character has never before spent any sort of extended length of time with another human being since he thinks that playing I Spy and singing Bingo will be sufficient to keep the daughter who already resents him for coming along on this trip entertained. After acting like an ass and rolling his SUV down a hill, he and his daughter as well as his son and their pet pig (don't know how the hell they got there, don't care) bum a ride with a man played by Donny Osmond who provides the only laugh in the entire trailer. Lawrence's character possesses no self awareness since he is now visibly annoyed by Osmond's dull attempts at keeping them entertained even though it's similar to what he trying to do with his daughter.

At this point his character is revealed as either schizophrenic or manic depressive since he suddenly does a complete character reversal and whole-heartedly embraces his daughter's decision to move away and go to an out of town college. Since fucking things up and acting like an ass seems to be the only way Lawrence does things, he rushes them both onto a plane to meet what I suppose is some sort of fast-approaching deadline for either a college interview or some sort of submission filing and OH WHO GIVES A CRAP because it's unimportant to the fact that the plane they're on belongs to a skydiving club and they must now jump out of the plane to do whatever the hell it is they have to do. I guess they make it but it turns out that the girl will be staying the night at some sort of a sorority house so Lawrence reverts to his Totally Bugfuck Insane Dad personality who thinks it's a good idea to hide under the beds of strange college girls. Again, the sins he committed earlier in the movie are visited upon him when one of the sorority girls sees the strange, middle aged man hiding in the sorority house and hits him with a taser.

And, well, that's the trailer. It's my main piece of evidence but I do have more. For instance, we have the video diaries that you can see here and here. The first one shows some of the stunts where you get to see a scene not in the trailer where, after parachuting out of the plane, they steal a golf cart which they seem compelled to drive through crowds of people instead of just going to their destination. In the second one, you see some of the supporting cast making lame jokes capped off by Martin Lawrence making a lame joke about doing a sequel.

My final piece of evidence is Martin Lawrence himself. Lawrence simply doesn't make good movies. Looking through his IMDB profile, the only one I'd even come close to recommending is Bad Boys and that is because it's not a Martin Lawrence movie but rather a movie with Martin Lawrence in it. This is the same distinction I made when discussing Larry the Cable Guy and why the only decent movie Larry had been in was Cars. I admit to never having seen Big Momma's House 2 so, hell, maybe that's Lawrence's Citizen Kane and won't be truly appreciated until after he's dead.

So, that's about it. We'll all see on March 7 if I was right. If I'm wrong then I pretty much blow to hell any chance of the future getting cluttered up with all those monuments to me. I have a decent shot of still being alive in 2030 so, if you see an old man walking around with the self satisfied smile that says he did his part to make humanity a better place, that's probably me. Don't say hi though or I'll hit you with my cane.

*(Note to little M.C. Nussbaum in 2030: What I just wrote is a horribly written sentence and you should never write like that. I could go back and change but, here in 2008, we're taught not to acknowledge or correct our mistakes but, rather, to "stay the course" so that sentence stays in. Oh, and don't do drugs.)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

My Oscar Predictions

The Academy Awards starts in just a couple of hours. I don't like to do Oscar predictions because I'm usually wrong, but what the hell! Here are my predictions for what will happen tonight:
  1. At least two sex symbol young actresses will show up loaded and inadvertently flash their vaginas to the paparazzi.
  2. Daniel Day Lewis will be greeted by a crowd of screaming people shaking milkshakes around. When he sees them, he'll say, "Fuck, this is my career from now on, isn't it."
  3. Juno star Ellen Page will be described as "adorable" no matter what she's wearing. She could show up wearing a barrel and the runway correspondents would say, "Just like her character in Juno, Ellen Page makes a quirky statement by wearing a barrel yet still manages to look adorable."
  4. If Juno doesn't win, chat rooms, forums and MySpace pages all across the internet will immediately proclaim that the Academy members wouldn't know quality if quality stuck its fingers up their asses and gave them all rectal exams.
If I'm right on all 4, everyone reading this must send me 5 dollars.

Suck My Smurf!

There are oh so very many reasons why I'm not looking forward to an upcoming big screen adaptation of The Smurfs but there's one that really stands out. It's not that The Smurfs is a retarded concept that was turned into a soul destroying cartoon several years back. It's not that the soul destroying cartoon had enough fans who actually enjoyed it that the movie could turn into a hit. It's not that the samples of the CGI we've seen so far look lame which gives the movie the potential of being even stupider than the TV show.

No, what I'm really dreading is what I believe that films critics and entertainment reporters will do when speaking of it. I know in my heart that a number close to 100% of them will copy that stupid Smurf gimmick of taking various words when speaking and replacing them with the word Smurf. "It's the Smurfiest Smurf I ever Smurfed," will be a common sight in newspapers and websites. Morning show hosts like Meredith Viera, when introducing voice actors that they're interviewing, will describe them as, "the most positively Smurfy actors working today." If you like it, you'll say it made you feel, "joyfully Smurfy," and if you hated it you'll say it was, "a huge, steaming pile of Smurf." Hell, look at the title of this post. I absolutely hate all that crap yet I couldn't resist doing it myself.

The whole Smurf craze died out years ago and we, as a society, became better for it. Now, I watch as our world once again jumps into the Smurf abyss, quietly weeping because I know what's about to happen. This must be what it's like to be God.

Friday, February 22, 2008

In The Valley of Elah -- It's Not Easy

When In The Valley Of Elah came out last fall, a lot of movie critics went on about how they couldn't figure out the title. I always thought, judging by the commercials, that it was a place in Iraq, but that's not it at all. Now that I've finally seen the movie on DVD, I can tell you that the meaning of the title is very clear, to me at least. It just requires some thought. Not much thought either, but some. That's the problem I think a lot of people have with the movie, It requires some thought.

Elah stars Tommy Lee Jones as Hank Deerfield, a Vietnam veteran who is tortured by the news of his son's disappearance and, eventually, brutal murder shortly after he returned from a tour in Iraq. When the movie didn't do well, many people assumed that its anti-war overtones tanked it at the box office. While that was part of it, the truth is this is a depressing story that does not give its lead character, or the audience, easy answers to the questions about why his son died. A movie like that simply isn't going to pull in the box office take that Transformers does, especially not in this day and age where many people don't feel like being depressed at the movies and will simply wait for the DVD instead. I didn't see it till yesterday on DVD but not because I didn't want to but, rather, because I live in a small town whose local multiplex only has 7 screens. In a case like that, movies like Valley Of Elah will be ignored in order to keep Saw IV and Witless Protection in theaters for another week. This is another reason why the movie didn't do well.

Hank Deerfield was a criminal investigator while in the Army and uses those skills to investigate his son's death. This brings him into contact with the only person who truly sympathizes with him, Police Detective Emily Sanders (Charlize Theron, looking pretty but not glamorous). She comes to share Hank's passion for solving his son's murder as well as his disgust at the incompetence of the local authorities who did a poor job of initially examining the crime scene and also jumped at the chance to hand the whole investigation off to the military who may be trying to cover up something. At the very least, the military is eager to wrap up the whole unpleasant situation.

Hank enters this investigation with certain assumptions and has to watch helplessly as one assumption after another collapses under the weight of the evidence that he uncovers. The most painful thing for him is how his son, Mike, changed during his time in Iraq. One of the movie's points is that immorality is like an infectious disease, that Nietzsche's warning about not battling with monsters lest you become a monster can be all too true. He also discovers that he's wrong about the ways in which combat veterans would treat their fellow soldiers. Jones does an excellent job of portraying Hank Deerfield as a man whose strength of character gives him the ability to function through the depression that grows with each new piece of information he uncovers. It's a piece of acting that stands out in his illustrious career as he plays a man who manages to let the audience know what he's thinking and feeling even as he tries to repress his emotions.

As I said, there are answers given to the questions asked during the movie, but they are not easily given nor understood. All the data and evidence are presented to you but no Sherlock Holmes type comes out at the end to connect all the dots and explain why so much of what took place happened or why some of the characters did what they did. The characters try to explain but they are unable to fully reveal their motives because even they don't fully understand them. You have to think about all this. You have to use your brain and so many of the people who make movies like Pirates of the Caribbean one of the all time box office champs have no interest in studying the ending and trying to figure out the relevance of a child's simplistic questions or what it means when the contents of a mysterious package that Mike Deerfield sent to his family before he died are revealed. Again, the answers are not simple but they do say something important about human nature and how that impacts this country and the war in Iraq.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The John McCain Conspiracy

I'm sure I don't have to go into the story of the current scandal involving John McCain and a female lobbyist. There is, however, a question that must be answered: How did John McCain make sure that this story came out during a week when Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert were on vacation? They're off this week since Stewart is hosting the Oscars telecast and thus didn't have time to prepare for that and do his show. Odd thing about that, though. People were really surprised that Stewart got that gig again since most agree that his performance the last time he hosted was somewhat underwhelming. And yet, here we are, there he is, and so it goes.

The only logical, rational explanation is that John McCain knew that the story would break this week so he somehow got the Academy to hire Stewart to host again. How did he do it and, if he's that powerful, why didn't McCain just kill the story altogether? Only someone who's in the tank for McCain would even think that.

If my conspiracy theory gets completely ignored, that will be proof positive that it is true.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Force Hates My Guts

Harry Knowles is the proprietor and webmaster of the famous movie site Ain't It Cool News. He's also someone who will cease to exist if doctors ever manage to find a cure for stupid. His writing usually consists of opening his posts with, "Hey folks, Harry here..." after which he says something like, "Don't quote me if this turns out not to be true, but reliable sources say that Mrs. Doubtfire 2 will be the most AWESOME FUCKING MOVIE EVER!!!!!!!" or else he goes on at length and detail about how some sexy actress gave him an erection. I believe that so much of the internet is moronic is because Harry's very presence is some sort of intelligence photosynthesis that breathes in all the smart stuff and exhales idiocy. I felt the need to say all this to qualify the fact that, today, I'm going to discuss something I read on AICN and that reading anything there is not because I'm a HK fan. People thinking that you like Harry Knowles is like people thinking you have an STD. Even if you get rid of it, it taints your reputation forever. I read AICN because, despite being a walking underwear stain, Harry has managed to create an informative movie news site that often lets you know what's happening in Hollywood before just about anyone else does. I'm sure George Clooney found out he was going to be in Michael Clayton from Harry's site before he ever saw the script for it.

Anyhoo, I was perusing AICN when I stepped into this steaming nugget of moronosity. There's a movie coming out called Fanboys set in 1999 about a group of Star Wars fans who plan to break into George Lucas' ranch and steal the unreleased print for The Phantom Menace. Apparently, The Weinstein Company (the folks who own the movie) plan to make some changes to the movie that show Star Wars fans in a bad light. Now, if you've never obsessed over anything stupid then you will not understand in the least the actions taken by the Star Wars fans who heard about this.

Harry received a letter from someone calling himself Jek Porkins who claims to represent a group called the 501st Legion. That sentence contains not one but TWO warning signs. I actually commend this guy for calling himself Jek Porkins, saying that he belongs to the 501st Legion. This was an unintentional public service in which he told the rest of the planet that they should stay the hell away from him. If they read that and still try to engage him in conversation then they have no excuse to get annoyed when he starts talking about light sabers, the number of Clone warriors it would take to conquer the galaxy and just what the ratio of midichlorians in your bloodstream must be to qualify for the Jedi Academy.

Jek Porkins outrage over the Fanboys situation is at a level normally only reached when you discover that a paroled child molester is living next door to a local grade school. He and his fellow Legionnaires have started 3 count em THREE websites in an attempt to pressure Darth Weinstein (their name for him, not mine) to keep Fanboys as is. The 501st Legion has vowed to organize an international boycott of all Weinstein films if they go ahead with their planned changes. I wish I had been in the room when the Weinsteins were informed that a group that is probably four guys who get together and gorge on KFC while discussing the pros and cons of Han Solo shooting first was vowing to bring their company down. Porkins even wrote this in his letter to Harry Knowles: "We're going to attack the Weinstein Company death star, even if it is a suicide mission."
Finally, there's a passage on their MySpace page shows how they have no idea what they're doing that goes like this:
We are in no way affiliated with the filmmakers or with the asshats at the Weinstein Company (obviously).

Okay, take a deep breath and think. What would you do if a group of nerds called you an asshat? When you want people like the Weinsteins to do what you want them to do, you should treat them politely and, with calm and clarity, tell them the reasons that they should grant you your wishes. I guaran-goddam-tee you that what this did was make anyone who ever made his own Luke Skywalker On Tatootine costume immediately open his email client and quickly send off something like this to the Weinsteins:
"Dear Douchebags, I realize you probably can't read this because your heads are up your asses but I would really fucking appreciate it if someone there at your company would stop jacking their two inch cocks long enough to realize that Fanboys is the most awesomest movie ever and that only a prick who fucks his own mom would ever try to change a second of it."

Oh well, I've done what I could. Help me, readers, you're my only ho...Damn it, now I'm doing it.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Jumper? I Hardly Know Her!

Jumper sucks. I'm sort of glad it did since I don't have time to write a long review today and, "Jumper sucks," pretty much sums the whole thing up. You all know the plot, or, more appropriately, "plot." A couple of pretty boys who can teleport are being hunted by Sam Jackson who, with his short-cropped white hair, looks like the guy who staggers alone out of the gay bar at 3 in the morning. After hooking up with that brunette from The O.C., the Jumpers fight Jackson and his group of Paladins (and not cool World of Warcraft Paladins who can heal and throw up their indestructible bubbles). What happens then? Who gives a crap? I'm annoyed that I could either have seen this or The Spiderwick Chronicles and saw this.

Oh well, maybe better movies will come out this week. Witless Protection's coming out this week. Anyone heard anything good about this one?


Tonight's episode of Terminator will contain at least one scene of Summer Glau's good Terminator throwing a bad Terminator into a wall. The bad Terminator will then throw her into another wall. Don't ask me how I know. If it turns out I do have predictive powers, look for me to win tomorrow's big Mega Millions jackpot.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


I don't have many readers but, for some reason, most of them seem to be coming from Canada. I'm not sure how this happened. I'm a New York state yet, somehow, I have connected with my brethren north of the border. So, I bid you welcome. I wish I could say something in your native language but, unfortunately, I don't speak a word of Canadese.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

300 + 24 -- A Perfect Number For A Perfect World Part 2

When last we left our brave hero (me), he was tackling the puzzling issue of why some right wingers so thoroughly embrace fiction and even tout it as The Way We Should Live Our Lives. I think I showed the reasons this doesn’t work with 300 so now I’m going to tackle what, for them, is the weightier subject of 24. This is especially important since many right wing bloggers now have their panties in bunch over the announcement that next season’s 24 may actually have Jack Bauer thinking that torture and some of his other extremist tactics may be immoral and un-American. They all seem to feel that life isn't worth living if they can't watch Jack Bauer inject his own brother with torture juice.

Recently, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia tried to defend government sanctioned torture by talking about how it could be necessary if there was a nuke somewhere in Los Angeles. Why Los Angeles? He says it twice. Why not American cities that have actually been attacked like New York and Washington? He places the ticking time bomb scenario in LA because Los Angeles is where Jack Bauer lives. Think that’s a leap? I believe the reason he doesn’t actually say “24” or “Jack Bauer” is because this isn’t the first time that the Honorable Mr. Scalia has confused the real world for the fictional world of 24 and the last time he did it earned him loads, heaps and mounds of scorn. This attitude is commonplace among right wing bloggers and pundits. Even the Vice President has talked about using torture to find suitcase nukes.

At least 300 is based on something that actually happened. Sure, it’s an accurate depiction of history in the same way that Green Acres accurately depicts farm life, but 300 Spartans did stand and die against the invading Persian army. 24, on the other hand, is an entertaining piece of fiction that many prominent people now treat as some sort of how-to manual on counter-terrorism. It’s as if, back in the 60s, politicians and prominent thinkers believed that we were actually being protected by tuxedo clad Englishmen with licenses to kill who had lasers in their pens and were constantly getting betrayed in the sack by hot Russian babes.

In the last post, I talked about how actual Spartans differed from the characters in 300. I can’t do that with 24 since, and I feel I must stress this again to any conservative readers out there, JACK BAUER AND CREW DO NOT EXIST. However, what if they did? What have Jack Bauer and his fellow CTU agents actually accomplished with torture and treating the Constitution like it was toilet paper?

  1. Two, count ‘em, TWO nuclear explosions on US soil, one of them in downtown Los Angeles.
  2. The murder of a sitting President.
  3. The murders of two former Presidents. A third President was injured by a bomb and we’re not sure if he’s alive or dead.
  4. A biological attack that resulted in the deaths of hundreds, maybe thousands.
  5. Infiltration at the highest levels of government by various anti-American operatives, one of whom was the First Lady, who have caused untold damage.
  6. Constant kidnappings of CTU’s family members and loved ones.

So to sum up, conservatives want us all to be gay, baby killing slave owners who live in a disease-filled nuclear wasteland where the President is killed every few days or so, usually by one of his most trusted associates. Oh, and Laura Bush would have to be sent to Guantanomo for immediate waterboarding.

Reality's a wonderful thing. However, I do believe that we should be trying to develop a squadron of cute, super powered cheerleaders in case someone like Sylar ever shows up.

Friday, February 15, 2008

300 + 24 -- Perfect Number For A Perfect World Part 1

The modern conservative movement is a sad and sorry thing to watch. First off, most of their operatives and deep thinkers absolutely loathe their presumed Presidential candidate, John McCain. I'm sure it pisses them off to no small end that they're either going to have to say and write either veiled racist or veiled sexist remarks and then, when they get called on it, have to try to spin what they said into something that wasn't at all racist or sexist in order to get a guy that they think is a douchebag into the White House. And this is just the latest outrage for them. By now, Iraq was supposed to be the 51st state and we should have been in the process of making Iran the 52nd. Gasoline was supposed to be so cheap that Citgo would give away 5 gallons free with the purchase of a Slurpee. Ted Kennedy should have been the only Democrat left in Congress and that was only so that they could throw stuff at him and heckle him with imitations of his accent whenever he made speeches on the Senate floor. Instead of having to pretend that they are in thrall of the awesomeness that is John McCain, they saw themselves having done away with the 22nd Amendment and now preparing to celebrate George Bush's third term.

Instead, right wingers now live in what, for them at least, is an increasingly nightmarish scenario in which all their theories fail to work out and all their carefully laid plans fail to make the Rapture happen. Thus, they increasingly turn to fiction for validation of their worldview. Movies like Juno and Knocked Up are embraced as signs of the Conservative Ascendancy because the women in those chose not to have abortions. they failed to notice that the main reason that no abortions took place was because, if they had, both movies would have been 20 minutes long. I think my favorite example of taking something apolitical, digesting it and crapping out something conservative was the way they embraced Transformers. Somehow they felt that Optimus Prime was supposed to represent George W. Bush and, I guess, the character played by actress Megan Fox made them think of Dick Cheney.

Now, though, I'm going to comment on the movie 300 and the TV show 24. These are the ones they talk about the most, the ones that not only captured their imaginations but lovingly waterboarded those imaginations until they had been completely broken down.

300, released in theaters last spring, is beloved by conservatives because it involves one of their favorite things: telling a true story while leaving out the stuff that makes them feel uncomfortable so that they can then revel in the bubble created by a new, soothing reality. The movie tells of the famous Battle of Thermopylae in which 300 soldiers of the Greek city-state Sparta teamed up with the armies of other city-states to successfully hold off (for a little while) an attempt by the Persian army to conquer Athens and, eventually, the rest of Greece. One of the reasons this movie was so embraced by the right is that it came out at a time when the Bush administration was pushing hard to be able to wage war against the modern-day Persians in Iran so they hailed it as a piece of propaganda. We all then got to see the hilarious sight of rightwing warbloggers like this guy , people who don't even consider the idea that they should actually enlist in the military and go to Iraq to fight in the war that they support, trying to sound as if they could have been ancient Spartans.

Anyway, as I said, 300 is not reality but rather a movie's cleaned up version of reality. In reality, Spartans were the following things:
  1. Gay. Yes folks, Spartan soldiers were encouraged to engage in homosexual relationships with their fellow soldiers.
  2. Baby killers. This is mentioned in the movie but was ignored by everyone who felt that this was a movie on which to base your life. When a baby was born, they would check it for birth defects and other imperfections. If they found any they'd chuck the poor little tyke into a ditch.
  3. Slave owners. Yes, right wingers, the Spartans you all saw making melodramatic speeches about the importance of defending freedom had slaves that did most of the work that did not involve war or, for the women, making little Spartans.
  4. Warmongers. Again, the whole, "We Loves Us Our Freedom," thing that the movie Spartans were always doing was a load of crap. Had they not been fighting with the Athenians against Persia, they would almost certainly have been trying to invade or conquer Athens or some other nearby country. Hell, that's pretty much all the Spartans ever did.

This is getting kind of long so I think I'll break it off here and continue later on in another post later today or tomorrow. Hate to leave you on this nail-biting cliffhanger (Will he or won't he now talk about 24?) but you knew the risks.

Part 2 can be viewed here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Irrational Anger

I'm not looking forward to Owen Wilson's new movie, Drillbit Taylor. Not because I think it's going to be bad. Based on the trailer, which gave me a few decent laughs, I give it a 40% chance of being a decent flick. These are good odds for me to hand out since I prefer to be thoroughly convinced that comedies will suck, an action motivated by the fact that most comedies suck. That way, I'm not disappointed when they do suck and get to be pleasantly surprised when they don't.

Anyway, the reason I'm not looking forward to Drillbit Taylor is because I know that a variety of jackasses which will include even a few professional film critics will think it's wildly hilarious to say, "It's so bad I'm starting to understand why it is that Owen Wilson tried to off himself." As I think about this, I start getting pissed that a) anyone would be so stupid as to do something like that and b) that anyone would think such a lame joke was funny. So here I am, getting angrier and angrier for something that no one has actually done yet.

I just hope I don't succumb to the temptation to use it myself. Hey, you try coming up with new material.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Assassination of Jesse James -- Etc.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford...give me a sec please, my fingers are tired from typing all that. Hum a little tune to entertain yourself, perhaps.

There, that's better. I may write a longer review tomorrow, but the gist of it will be that the movie, like the title, was too damn long. It was decent, not a great movie by any measure but good in a lot of ways with much to recommend it including good performances by its two leads, Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck but there's at least 30 minutes or so that you could have cut out and not missed. I wish I had kept more detailed notes and could have just told you which parts to skip over when you buy /rent it. Still, I recommend that you do buy/rent it, or possibly just do one of those two. That seems cheaper and more sensible.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Hey, Comedy Central

I just wanted to tell you that you never have to show Joe Dirt again. Really. Truly. You never, ever again forever have to ever show Joe Dirt again. It's that we as a nation don't enjoy seeing it every 10 days or so. It's just that anyone who would ever be remotely interested in seeing Joe Dirt has made damn sure to have seen it by now so there is no reason to ever show it on your network again. You have filled the country's Joe Dirt needs for the next decade or so and you can now, with a clear conscience, put it into your vault then weld the vault shut. You've done your part, Comedy Central, so go home, pop open a cold one and sleep the sleep of the just knowing that your Joe Dirt obligations have been met.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Witless Protection: Made FOR Idiots, BY Idiots

I had planned to watch and review Fool's Gold today but, since I wasn't able to, I decided to do something that, if it was done by anybody else, would draw harsh criticism from me. I'm going to review a movie that I haven't seen, that being the latest "comedy" from Larry the Cable Guy that is oh so cleverly titled Witless Protection.

If you are one of those people who gets outraged at the idea that someone would dare to judge a movie that they haven't seen and ended up accidentally spitting so much of whatever you happened to be drinking at your computer that you short circuited it, I apologi...on second thought, if your computer doesn't work, that means that you're not even reading this so the hell with you. Hell, if you don't know that you aren't supposed to be spitting at electronic devices then you are probably a Larry the Cable Guy fan.

The fact that I can't stand Larry is Exhibit #1 in my case against Witless Protection. If you think he's funny, well, you have my pity. Some of you Larry fans may have suffered a traumatic head injury at some point and will see this movie when your caretakers bring you to the theater, help you off with your helmet and periodically wipe the drool off your face. If this is not the case for you then you really have no excuse. Larry lost me as a fan the first time I ever saw him perform on TV and heard him say something like, "First time I ever saw Rosie O'Donnell, my wiener done gone up my body and come out my butthole." There is a list of people in this world who fail to make me laugh yet have huge, passionate fanbases. These people include Tom Green, Jenny McCarthy (who's also in this movie), Dane Cook, Rush Limbaugh and, of course, Larry the Cable Guy. I just have to remind myself over and over that comedy is subjective when I see people laughing, cheering wildly and encouraging Larry to Git-R-Done when he says things like, "If you get whacked by a gay mafia, is that good or bad?"

Exhibit #2 consists of Larry's previous films. Larry was the voice of Tow Mater in Cars. That's a point in his favor. That was a wonderful movie and he was often very funny in it. Of course, that was a movie with Larry the Cable Guy in it, not a Larry the Cable Guy movie. That is not a subtle difference. Cars was a movie in which Larry supplied the voice of a supporting character and spoke dialogue that was written for him, thus making it a movie with Larry the Cable Guy in it. A Larry the Cable Guy movie is one where he's the star and had a great deal of creative input, which brings us to Health Inspector and Delta Farce. These are both movies that are so bad that the only way I could entertain myself was trying to imagine how they could have been worse. Sex with relatives or farm animals or maybe actually having to watch Larry take a crap (although there is a scene where he takes a piss in a shower) would probably have had to occur to achieve that standard. In Health Inspector he plays a stupid, incompetent health inspector who, despite the vast authority of his position, is unable to get restaurants shut down even though they are poisoning people. He gets fired from his job, partly due to what is apparently the all-powerful reach of restaurant owners but mostly because he's a moron but manages to resolve the whole, stupid situation by going undercover. In Delta Farce, he and his Blue Collar Comedy pal Bill Engvall play stupid, incompetent soldiers who crash land in Mexico and think it's Iraq. They then proceed to cause an international incident by fighting corrupt Federales and quite improbably manage to get hot Mexican girls to fall for them. The humor mainly consisted of racist and homophobic jokes with a healthy does of toilet humor mixed in. These movies are both not only bad but I'd say that their existence is almost blasphemous and that you could probably take the scripts and, given the proper incantation and alignment of the stars, use them to summon Cthulu.

Exhibit #3, my final piece of evidence, consists of the movie's trailer and IMDB profile. IMDB starts off by saying that this was written and directed by Charles Robert Carner. In his entire profile, there is only one movie that I recognized and that was his 1985 screenplay for Gymkata. This was a stupid movie about some threat to the planet that could only be solved by a combination of gymnastics and martial arts, hence the title. Everything else that Carner has ever written or directed is...well...I can't say bad since I had never seen any of them. I'm having a hard time even remembering any of them. Mostly he's done made-for TV projects like his last movie, Judas. I see that he actually thought it was a good idea to cast Tim Matheson as Pontius Pilate and, for some reason, having the guy who played Animal House's Otter condemn Jesus to death didn't garner huge ratings. So, Charles Robert Carner started off his career with a stupid movie, and proceeded from there to stupid, forgettable movies. And now he's directing Witless Protection.

The trailer's a whole different animal. In it, we see Larry playing a stupid, incompetent deputy who thinks a Russian woman he sees in a diner who is under FBI protection has been kidnapped. Because, you know, kidnappers love to bring their victims into public diners. We also get to hear a sample of the hilarious dialogue:

Russian Woman: Are you insane?

Larry: No, I'm Larry.

The trailer also shows a large number of B-list actors. Two of these include Jenny McCarthy and Eric Roberts. Jenny McCarthy is on the list I mentioned above. She got a reputation for being funny from when she hosted an MTV show where guys would laugh at what she said because she was hot. Eric Roberts, on the other hand, became famous when he played Paul Snider in the movie Star 80. The late Gene Siskel once called his performance in that one of the best pieces of acting he had ever seen. This is why I imagine he cries himself to sleep at night because, pretty much ever since then his career has been what I can only assume is some sort of experiment to see how many crappy movies he can be in before they'll stop letting him make movies.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I think I've made my case. If, after reading this, you still want to go and see Witless Protection, I just hope your caretakers make sure you don't choke on your popcorn.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Emergency Press Release

This isn't movie related, but I thought I should share it with my vast audience anyway. As you've all probably heard, Mitt Romney today announced that he was dropping out of the race for the Presidency. Shortly after that, his son, Tagg*, held a press conference where he made the following statement:

"I just wanted to publicly state my feelings about my dad today: Fuck you, Dad. Seriously, thanks for blowing my fucking inheritance just so you could lose to some old guy who's hated by pretty much every high ranking member of the Republican Party. Surprisingly, to you at least, having the Jaw of a Colossus and Shoulders You Can Land An Airplane On wasn't enough to keep a majority of the country from seeing what a fucking asshole you are. You know, this speech is kind of long and it's mostly just me telling Dad to kiss my ass so let me skip to the end. I'm gay. Yeah, Dad, that's right. My lover's name is Sandoval and the only things on the planet that suck harder than he does are your parenting skills and your shitty campaign. So, to sum up: Fuck you, Dad. Thank you and good night. Oh, almost forgot, the Book of Mormon is a crock of shit."

Poor guy. Oh well, here's to the next nine fun-filled months of hearing about what a mega-manly, straight-talking maverick John McCain is.

*Yes, Tagg is his real name. I imagine he hates his parents for sticking him with it.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Good Luck Chuck -- Replace "Luck" With "Up"

"It's porn... It wasn't supposed to be like that." -- Jessica Alba describing Good Luck Chuck

Good Luck Chuck is hate. I don't mean it's hateful or makes you hate it. I mean it is the physical embodiment of hate. Just now I started to write, "If it was possible to actually physically hold on to hate..." when I realized it IS now possible to do that. All you have to do is get yourself a DVD copy of Good Luck Chuck. If you took several stacks of that DVD and put them into a juicer, you'd have yourself a tasty glass of Hater-Aid.

As you can see from the above quote, the movie stars Jessica Alba. Maybe you're thinking to yourself, "Golly, Jessica Alba is one of the cutest, most likable actresses currently working in Hollywood. How could the movie be as rancid as you are describing if she's in it?" Well, why tell you when I can show you? The reason should be immediately apparent.

And thus, the reason. It doesn't just have Jessica Alba. It also has as its title character DANE FUCKING COOK! Dane Cook is to comedy what a rancid, rotting corpse of a three-days-dead skunk is to comedy. Cook took what, from what I've heard and Jessica Alba seems to confirm, was a halfway decent script for a romantic comedy and turned it into a movie where fat widows beg some douchebag to eat their edible panties.

And they knew, god damn it! The studio knew all this and released the movie as is anyway. How do I know that they knew? Let's once again go to the instant replay. The first clip is the original trailer for Good Luck Chuck.

Note how prominently Dane Cook is featured. He's clearly meant to be the main reason that you should want to plunk down the cost of a ticket. Now let's skip ahead in time a bit. Focus groups and test audiences have seen the movie and this resulted in the commercial that was all over TV just before the movie premiered.

It now seems as if the entire plot has changed. It's no longer, "Dane Cook possesses a mystical power over women but must change his ways to win the love of Jessica Alba," but is now, "Jessica Alba is a sexy klutz who keeps falling out of her clothes and, oh yeah, Dane Cook is in it doing...something." Gone are the scenes of Cook trying to hold down his vomit at the idea of actually having to screw a fat woman. Gone, in other words, is the hate.

Ah yes, the hate. Hate for everyone and everything that is good and decent in the world. Do you love your mom? Puppies? Ice cream? This movie doesn't, it hates all those things and much more. Most of all though, as you can see if you watched the clips, it hates women. Women in this movie are plot devices for Dane Cook to make fun of and things for him to stick his penis into.

As for the plot it's...ah, screw it. I'm not doing an in-depth analysis. It's some stupid thing about how he's cursed to have women fall in love with someone else after they have sex with him. A plot like this exists to have funny, outrageous situations stuffed into it. One thing I will say is that, normally, it's a matter of subjective opinion as to whether a movie is funny or not, but that it not the case here. This movie is not funny. Let's stress this: THIS MOVIE IS NOT FUNNY! No sane, rational intelligent person can watch this and say that this movie is funny. If you say to me, "In my opinion, this movie is funny," then my answer will be that your opinion is wrong. It would be like saying, "In my opinion, 2+2=5."

As a parting shot, I will leave you now with the movie's final scene which I feel is prima fascia evidence of everything that I have been saying. I warn you, this is not for the squeamish. It's not just the sexual content which will offend you. Let me put it this way: the clip starts off with a fat guy making out with a woman who has 3 breasts. This is the least offensive part of the clip. If you enjoy watching this, please don't ever let me know.I'm not going to embed this one. Here's the link:

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Cloverfield -- The Monsters Take Manhattan

Cloverfield is yet another one of those movies that gets a large segment of movie lovers interested and a small segment thinking, "OH MY FREAKIN GOD THIS WILL BE THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER," or at least the greatest one since the last time a Greatest Movie Ever hit the theaters.

Cloverfield has had the internet abuzz ever since they bundled their trailer in with Transformers last summer. The trailer was dark, difficult to understand and had a lot of people saying, "Wha...?" and, "HEY!" when they didn't even tell you what the title was. I'd like to think there was a time when this sort of marketing strategy would have been seen as the filmmakers extending a giant middle finger to their intended audience and caused such a backlash that not only would no one ever go see the movie but the people who thought to do this would be hunted down, have their homes burned and be buried up to their necks in anthills. However, as most of you already know, what happened instead was that many people, after watching the Transformers cross the galaxy to fulfill their sacred mission to help Shia LaBeouf nail the hottest girl in school, raced home to endlessly watch YouTube video of the trailer over and over trying to see where they missed the title. Since it is produced by Lost creator J.J. Abrams, the ensuing viral marketing campaign consisted of vague clues that really don't lead anywhere and numerous mysteries that are never fully solved. I'm not going to link to any of it since, in the end, it all really has very little to do with the movie.

Oh yeah, the movie. Here we are, three paragraphs in and I haven't yet mentioned how the movie is. Opinion of it mostly breaks down into two camps. The first camp consists of people who thought it was an entertaining movie about a giant monster attacking New York City. The second consists of people who got pissed off and became physically ill. They were easy to spot too as the sick people mostly sat in the front rows. See, the movie's greatest asset is also its greatest flaw. Movie aficionados got excited about this because, while it is yet another giant monster movie, it's told using the Blair Witch gimmick of having all the movie footage being shot by the characters themselves with a hand held digital video camera. This got people into the theaters and then drove them back out since, due to what I assume was an effort at "realism" in a movie about some crazed sea monster who rips New York apart, the camera often shakes so much that you literally get queasy watching it. I was ok but then again I sat in the back row. I heard at least two girls who sat closer to the screen complain about upset stomachs but, oh well, they knew the risks.

So, speaking as one of the people who did NOT immediately run to the restroom to throw up their popcorn after the credits rolled, I can say that it was an ok film with some really exciting stuff. A group of good looking young people get together to throw a going-away party for an equally good looking buddy of theirs who's going off to Japan to accept some sort of high level corporate job that someone his age would never get if he wasn't a character in a movie. It turns out that Rob recently convinced Beth, his hot female friend, to have sex with him after which he promptly cut off all communication with her even though he says he's always loved her. Rob does this because...well...I guess because he suffered some sort of brain damage off screen that the script never mentions.

The real reason he did it is because it provides a necessary plot twist when a giant monster powerful enough to rip off the head of the Statue of Liberty and throw into midtown Manhattan attacks the city shortly after Beth leaves the party and goes home. This gives Rob and his buddies a reason to go charging like idiots into the kill zone to try and save Beth so that Rob can have at least a chance of convincing Beth to take off her panties for him again.

This movie has a lot of very exciting stuff including an attack on the Brooklyn Bridge and a frightening extended sequence as they take a hike down a dark subway tunnel. Your experience with the film will be enhanced if you do the following things:

  1. And I cannot stress this heavily enough, SIT IN THE BACK ROWS!
  2. This is not the greatest movie ever no matter what sort of promises you think that J.J. Abrams may have made to you and
  3. Be prepared for a less-than-satisfying ending. I know what they were trying to do, I just think it was the wrong thing.