Friday, August 29, 2008

Movies Shmoovies

It's been a bit of a time of a while since I actually wrote a review. This is because last week I felt that life was too short to spend one second of it watching movies like The House Bunny, Death Race or The Rocker. This week I'm realizing that life hasn't gotten any longer* so I'll probably go see at least one of the three releases. Ah, but which one? I'd like to see Hamlet 2 but it's not showing anywhere near me. This leaves me with College, Disaster Movie and Babylon A.D. So, in the old Clear's Own tradition that started last week...

TO THE TOMATOMETER!

Man oh man, does this week's crop suck. Disaster Movie is one of those crappy parody comedies. These get worse every year and I think that Disaster Movie may actually be an attempt to kill off the entire genre before it destroys the planet as we know it. As of this writing, Disaster Movie scored a big fat Zero Percent. Here's a quote from film critic Prairie Miller of Newsblaze:
Movie metaphor junkies be on high alert, for a horny Dr. Phil, Michael Jackson hiding out in a car trunk with a little boy and a pet chimp for good measure, and a bad imitation Juno blasting lactating breast milk as a deadly weapon.

If you did not say, "Holy shit," when you read that, it means that you are instead saying, "Holy fucking shit." Zero percent may be too high.

Our next selection is Babylon A.D. This one scored 6%. Congratulations Babylon A.D. You are the number one movie of the week. I've mentioned Bab-Ad (I'm trying to hip it up) here and here and it was obvious then it was going to suck but the six percent is a big shock. Usually an action film can have the hero dodge bullets while outrunning a fireball and push the movie up to at least 15% that way. Sadly, due to the fact that I like Vin Diesel, cute French girls (this movie has one), Michelle Yeoh (this movie has one of those too) and the fact that a bad action movie is easier to watch than a bad comedy, this will probably be the one I go to see.

Fianlly, we have College. This movie does not yet have a Tomatometer rating which means that the producers felt it was so bad they didn't do advance screenings for critics. But hey, maybe they're wrong. I gave it what I call as Ass Number of 22% but I'm more than willing to admit that my ass was wrong and that even 22% was way too good for it.

Anyway, see you at the movies. If you are in northern New York and see a blond guy coming out of Babylon A.D. with tears in his eyes, please don't look at him. He's already ashamed of himself and needs neither your pity nor your judgement.

*So what if that makes no sense? You try coming up with clever things to write.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Status: AAAAAHHHHHHH!!!

All I heard at first was that someone was making a "Facebook Movie." This gave me visions of a movie consisting entirely of large groups of people in hot tubs, guys licking beer out of a girl's navel, girls miming oral sex with carrots or touching tongues with other girls and endless Playlists featuring indie bands that even the maker of the Playlist doesn't give a crap about. Oh, and every single character would be telling constantly and passionately that (insert favorite sports team here) IS FUCKING AWESOME! This caused me to make a decision I had often come very close to making in the past. I was going to travel to Hollywood, kidnap the guy who greenlit the movie and bury him up to his neck in an anthill until he changed his mind.

It turns out that it's not that bad. Sony and Aaron Sorkin are in the preliminary stages of filming the story of Facebook's creation. I read an article a few weeks back in what I think was Rolling Stone (and through the magic of Google, I find out it was Rolling Stone) about Facebook's controversial creation and the ongoing legal battles surrounding it. The article's a decent read and you should check it out if only to be able to yell at the screen during the movie when a historical inaccuracy rears its ugly head.

Aaron Sorkin himself talks about this on his own newly founded Facebook page. You high school and college kids out there will recognize the style of Sorkin's page as the same one your mom uses when she tries to set up her own page. She proudly states that she knows jack about Facebook and just, "wanted to see what all the fuss was about." She then wants to join all your groups and have access to all your pages. Because you're probably stoned most of the time, you do so and she sees you licking apple sauce off the breasts of that very nice girl she met when you brought her home for Thanksgiving and this example gets ten times worse if you happen to also be a girl which means Mom starts sending you brochures for Christ Camp which include that quote from Leviticus about man not laying down with another man or, in this case, a girl not licking the intimate parts of another girl.

If this ever happens to you, in a roundabout way it'll be Aaron Sorkin's fault because he made that movie.

Today's Playlist:

Glob Rats -- Eating Up The Food
The Aerodynamics -- Kiss It
Jaded -- Who Gives A Crap?

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Things I've Learned From Watching Movies Part 39

From what I can tell, it always goes like this: some hardcase who's super-competent at whatever illegal activity he happens to call his profession meets up with some sexy girl who makes him feel all funny "down there" and is thus moved to betray his employers whose response is a little more harsh than just posting a blistering job performance review to Angie's List. It always happens the same way. Always!

My Mistake

Here I was thinking I would skip this movie since I assumed from its title it was an educational film produced by Sesame Street. You know, "Today's episode was brought to you by the Letter...W." Turns out its a historical film made by Oliver Stone, the guy who brought you JFK which was the historical movie equivalent of Chariots Of The Gods in that everything, including the lack of evidence, was evidence of a conspiracy to kill the President.

Personally, I'm looking forward to what I'm sure will be the unbiased and maturely written Dirty Harry review. I was thinking of making a drinking game where you take a drink every time he accuses someone with whom he disagrees of being a traitor or a member of al Qaeda but most participants would die of alcohol poisoning.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Congratulations to College

Yes, College, congratulations. You are the official winner of the One Millionth Animal House Remake Award.

This movie takes the very dangerous step of trying to make a Judd Apatow movie without Judd Apatow. When you do stuff like that, the stuff that's supposed to be offensive and funny is just offensive. People who look at Apatow films or watch South Park often fail to appreciate what it is they do and how they elevate low-brow humor to a high artistic level. If you lack the writing and film making talents of Judd Apatow or the South Park guys then stuff that's supposed to be offensive and funny is just offensive and the only people who say that they liked it are either stoned or they're the type of people who laugh when they see a puppy get kicked. I chuckled a couple of times during the trailer and it has a 20% chance of being good (please note that this is a number I pulled entirely out of my ass). Also, the college in this movie, like all movie colleges, has a strictly enforced Hot Girl Only Policy which means that the only way an ugly girl gets on campus is if she's the type who only needs to wash her hair and put on a tight dress to be hot. I'm a superficial man so I'll raise my Ass Number from 20 to 22% for that reason. The rest of the movie looks like college movie cliches so 22% is final.

We'll see if I'm right. If 22% is enough to beat the odds, I'll start playing the lottery again.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Dollop Of Bondness

I would love to meet the person or people who managed to convince Sony Pictures that they should be allowed to name the new James Bond film Quantum Of Solace. I imagine a great deal of pressure was put upon the filmmakers to give it a title like Maximum Deathness or Hard Charge Overdrive. Quantum Of Solace sounds like it should be the name of a student film about a young man just out of college who is devastated by the death of his favorite house plant and gets over it by having a three way with his girlfriend and her best friend who may or may not be female (we never find out).

If you can convince a nervous movie studio that their big holiday release on which they have spent in excess of 100 million dollars of their company's money should be called Quantum Of Solace then there's nothing you can't do. Hell, you could bring peace to the Middle East. Congratulations and have your excuses ready if it flops since the title will then be Hollywood shorthand for poor decision making for the next century.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Random Thought

When a movie has a name like I Served The King Of England, shouldn't the plot have something to do with serving the King of England? It's about some old guy who mainly views World War II in the context that it was a major league pain in the ass for him and one of the supporting characters makes some vague reference about how as a waiter he once served the King of England a plate of meatballs or something. Something tells me there won't be a car chase through the Los Angeles River in this. Oh well.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Sunday Sunday Sunday

I usually don't get to the movie theater until Sunday night which means that, in the modern movie business model, the reviews I write during the week have the same relevance as my opinion on the 2004 Presidential election (obviously, Ralph Nader will pull a major upset). So now I'm going to tell you what to see based on the Tomatometer. The Tomatometer is probably my favorite way of gauging the quality of a movie in advance and, with uncommon exceptions, I usually agree with it.

Which of this week's 3 big studio releases should you see? According to the Tomatometer, which is being backed up by my own opinion which I pulled out of my ass, none of them.

Death Race
clocks in at 38% making it this week's #1 movie. I'm sure that Death Race's mom will be proud. Who'd have thought some cheap looking remake of some cheap looking 70s movie about a death sport in a dystopian future (which, back then, was the plot of around 75% of all movies) would fail to charm the nation's critics? The original, Death Race 2000, has the charms that a low budget movie can exude when you expect very little from it and includes Sylvester Stallone and David Carradine before they got famous. The new one is a big budget studio release that, judging from the ads, has an ugly look and a dumb plot. Skip it and see Dark Knight again.

The Rocker has some funny stuff in the trailer which makes it the worst kind of movie, the kind that makes you think it may be worth seeing then figuratively kicks you in the crotch and takes your lunch money. With a Tomatometer rating of 34%, it is number 3 on the list of this week's new movies. This is a case in which I disagree with Rotten Tomatoes.

The worst movie coming out this week is almost certainly The House Bunny. Amazingly, this beyond-stupid comedy scored a rating of 37%. This movie is about a stupid Playboy model who meets some loser sorority of girls who are considered to be the most hideous girls on campus. These ugly girls include Emma Stone who played a babe in last year's Superbad, singer Katherine McPhee who in real life is the kind of girl who gets layouts in magazines like Maxim and Rumer Willis who is a dead ringer for her super hot mother, Demi Moore. Anna Feris' Playboy model character hatches the genius plan of getting the girls a makeover and some sexy outfits and IT'S A MIRACLE they're suddenly hot.

There are lots of good movies in the theaters right now. You certainly couldn't have seen them all. If you have, this may be a good weekend to pretend that you still love your family and spend some quality time with them.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Things I've Learned From Watching Movies Part 38

I have learned that there is no God. If there was, The House Bunny would never have been made. Same goes for Disaster Movie.

If that's not enough for you, this movie clinches it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Sound Of Thunder

I can just see Ben Stiller rolling around naked on a big pile of money shouting, "SCREW YOU, BATMAN! KISS MY ASS, GEORGE LUCAS! YOU CAN BOTH SUCK ON MY 26 MILLION DOLLAR COCK!" Not only did he finally manage to knock Dark Knight off the number one spot (something that Judd Apatow, Will Farrell and those Traveling Pants girls all failed to do) but he also managed to beat out a brand new Star Wars film. Let me state quickly that The Clone Wars was, after a promising opening, strikingly lame so beating it wasn't that much of a challenge. After the tepid Night At The Museum (although that too was a big hit) and the boring Heartbreak Kid, I was wondering if I'd ever see a decent Ben Stiller movie again but Tropic Thunder makes up for both of them. I was not at all encouraged by the fact that Stiller not only had a writing credit but also directed the movie. Stiller's highlights as a director are 1994's Reality Bites (a movie that at the time was said to speak for an entire generation but today hasn't even rated a mention on either edition of VH1's I Love The 90s), Cable Guy (the movie that broke Jim Carrey's streak of hit films) and Zoolander (which has some great parts but also has some boring parts in between those great parts).

Tropic Thunder is about the making of a pretentious war film of the same name. Production is quickly hampered by the incompetence of the director (played by Steve Coogan of Alan Partridge fame and if that means nothing to you then you must live an interesting life instead of watching DVDs of BBC television shows like I do) and the prima donna behavior of its three stars. These stars include Tugg Speedman (Stiller), an action star trying to prove that he can act in a serious project, Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr giving us a second unique and memorable performance this year), a hardcore method actor who underwent medical procedures to darken his skin so he could play an African American and Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black giving us his usual amount of awesome), a drug addicted comedian best known for his film The Farties where he played every member of a flatulent family. Also in the movie is, well, everybody. Everybody includes Nick Nolte playing the Vietnam vet who wrote the book that the movie is based on, Matthew McConaughey as Stiller's devoted agent and an unrecognizable Tom Cruise as an abusive, foul mouthed studio head who, at one point, instructs the movie's key grip to punch Coogan's director character in the face after a particularly bad day of shooting.

One of the reasons that this movie works so well is that it does have a large number of supporting characters and they all have their good and funny moments. For this, I must congratulate Ben Stiller. As writer and director, he could have done what many other movies have done in the past and given all the good lines to himself. In comedies especially, it's not at all uncommon for a star to demand that another character's funny lines be given to him. I'm sure you've all seen comedies like this where only the lead character ever says or does anything funny. Not so with Tropic Thunder. Even a 9 year old boy gets laughs when he plays the head of a gang of Laotian heroin dealers who worship Tugg Speedman for his portrayal of a mentally challenged man in the movie Simple Jack, a film the rest of the world considers to be one of the worst movies ever made.

This is a very funny film and I don't want to ruin too much of it for you. I'm just glad to see that Ben Stiller is making good movies again and hope that this trend continues. Let's see, according to IMDB, he is currently working on...Night At The Museum 2.

AAAAARRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Carol In Peril, Not Hysterical

Ah, I can finally do a proper edition of Movies I Haven't Seen. Last week, I attempted to comment on David Zucker's upcoming neocon fantasy An American Carol. Unfortunately, at the time all I had were the observations of others. Now, they have released a trailer and set up a website, both of which remove all doubt that not only will this movie will not only suck but that, in the future, if you wanted to give something an award for sucking, the award would be called The Carol. Here's the trailer.

Okay then, what have we learned? Well, we all now know that Michael Moore is fat. I mean he's just fat. In case you're not getting this, he's super duper big, morbidly obese, El Moore Grosso. If you're wondering why this point is being hammered over and over again, it means that you're not a movement conservative or right wing nut. To those people, the fact that Michael Moore is fat is intrinsically funny. In fact, it never gets old. If you're ever working as a stand up comic at a big conservative get-together, just say, "Michael Moore is fat," over and over again throughout your entire set. I guarantee that the room will smell of urine because everyone there will piss themselves laughing and they will hire you again next year. Members of the Heritage Foundation, the writers at NRO's The Corner and the comments sections of right wing blogs will giggle the way 8 year olds do when someone farts every time the image of the fat old Michael Moore look-alike appears on screen. Unfortunately, you need many more people than that to make a movie into a hit.

This reminds me of the last time a conservative comedy used Michael Moore's weight for comic effect. That was the puppet movie Team America made by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Unlike Carol, Team America was actually funny. The main reason is that Parker and Stone weren't trying to start a movement. They didn't try to recruit people to be Theater Captains or to go door to door handing out leaflets promoting the movie. Parker and Stone sat down and said, "How do we make the funniest movie possible that huge numbers of people will want to see so that we can both entertain people and make big bags of cash at the same time?" One of the ideas they had was to make fat jokes about Michael Moore. They showed him with hot dogs in each hand and covered in mustard. The main difference between that movie and An American Carol is that Moore's appearance in the film was very brief. He was in two scenes and I'd be willing to bet that total screen time was less than a minute. This is because, though they do possess many right wing beliefs which were incorporated into Team America, Parker and Stone aren't right wing nuts. They made a funny movie that even people who disagreed with their ideas could laugh at and, thus, managed to disseminate those ideas far beyond the conservative audience.

Speaking of the desire to create a movement, let's look at the web site. When I first watched this yesterday, it crashed Firefox 3 times. That was because it suffered from incompetent web design. It had several graphics scripts running at once including movie clips, animated gifs and pop ups of Arab terrorists. It made many of the same web design mistakes that 16 year old boys make when they're trying to set up their Hayden Panettiere Worship Shrines. It's running fine for me now partly because they seem to have streamlined it and thrown out some of the clutter and partly because I'm not seeing it on a more powerful computer. However, even one day can be too late in a case like this. Just imagine all the bright eyed College Republicans taking a break from not getting laid to check on this web site and having their browsers crash. Instantly, they're worried that the term papers and pictures of the sweaty, buff King Leonidas contained on their hard drives may have been wiped out. They'll never go back and will now never enter in their names, email addresses and cell phone numbers which is what they want you to do right there on the front page which brings me back to the idea that the ultimate idea behind this movie is not to create an entertaining film but to start a movement. This website also contains the ultimate sign that you're participating in a movement. It gives you information on how to book group showings. If a movie is heavily marketing group showings, it's normally a sign that the movie will mainly appeal to church groups, but church groups are just another type of Movement.

An American Carol will be heavily promoted by right wing outlets like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and will probably have a halfway decent ad budget. If recent box office history of other heavily promoted conservative films like Expelled are any indication, it will gross around 5 million dollars in its first week, the bulk of which will come from group showings organized by churches and conservative groups. Any chance of crossover appeal will be limited by boycotts from liberals who will dislike it for its politics and horrible reviews from everyone else who will dislike it for the fact that Holocaust documentaries have more laughs and the movie will quickly drop off into oblivion.

In the meantime, between now and October 3, I will have no trouble coming up with something to write about.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Things I've Learned From Watching Movies Part 37

If you need proof that "Truth In Advertising" laws do not apply to movies, please note that the government is allowing this movie to call itself a comedy.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Least Frightening Horror Movie Ever



I see that Kiss Of The Spider Woman is coming out on Blu-Ray. I have a funny story about that movie, funny to me anyway. I remember when it came out 20+ years ago. I knew absolutely nothing about it except what I saw on the poster. As you can see above, it's a pretty neat looking poster. I can't remember what I was going to the multiplex to see that day but I saw that and said, "Wow, a horror movie starring William Hurt. He was awesome in Altered States so maybe this will be one of those intelligent and classy horror films in the vein of Don't Look Now or The Exorcist." So I went to see that.

Well, lo and fucking behold, it was about as much a horror movie as Splash was. The story centered around a guy played by Hurt who was in jail in an authoritarian South American country for something along the lines of statutory rape of a teenage boy. He's put in jail with a political prisoner played by one of my all time favorite actors, the late Raul Julia (he was alive then, I'm assuming). So, there they are, a man who passionately fights for his beliefs and a man who believes in nothing other than that underage boys are cute. They talk. And they talk. And they talk some more. Julia talks about his struggles and the woman he loves and Hurt talks about his desires and romantic notions and even about a love story he once saw in a Nazi propaganda film that becomes a movie within a movie. And they talk and talk and talk and I keep wondering where the hell the monsters are.

Turns out there were no monsters. It's a movie about different men, each with their own secrets, who come to respect and even care for each other and JESUS CHRIST WHERE THE HELL IS THE SPIDER WOMAN? Telling you why the movie is called Kiss Of The Spider Woman would probably reveal too much of the film's plot but I can tell you that it has nothing to do with some chick who drinks radioactive spider venom and turns monstrous or anything like that which is what the god damn movie should have been about.

I like the movie much more now than I did then, partly because I'm older and understand it better and partly because I no longer expect it to have scenes where the National Guard vainly shoots at the super powerful Spider Woman while some scientist discovers that she's vulnerable to zinc or some crap like that. It's a decent movie though it's not for everybody and you already know if you're the kind of person who likes stuff like this.

To this day, I don't trust horror movies. For instance, I'm assuming that Kiefer Sutherland's new flick Mirrors is a social commentary on South Africa under Apartheid rule and I won't believe otherwise until the reviews come in. Even then, I'll be thinking that maybe every critic in the country is playing some elaborate joke on me. See what you did to me, Hollywood? You lured a trusting boy into a theater with promises of scary spider scenes and, since it was rated R, the possibility of seeing boobs. Instead, you gave me two guys who yammered on endlessly about...hell, who cares? I blame you for the fact that I grew up to be a cynical adult instead of a happy, optimistic fellow who's fabulously wealthy and and father to Jessica Alba's baby. Yep, it's all your fault.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

What The Dickens Is This?

Many of you have probably heard of David Zucker's new comedy/neocon fantasy An American Carol. When I read the Weekly Standard article about the movie and about Zucker in particular, I immediately figured that I should write about it here. For some reason, though, I just didn't want to. I'm not sure why. Conservative views on film fascinate me because conservatives, or at least their pundits, thinkers and operatives, don't really see movies as a mode of entertainment but rather as a delivery system for various agendas. That's why right wing websites love to scour scripts for signs of treason. It's why they tried to kill WALL·E in its crib by denouncing it as a Marxist style propaganda film designed to turn your children from cute little moppets into frothing-at-the-mouth global warming fanatics and, when they failed and WALL·E became a big hit, they refused to concede defeat and assimilated it into the Right-Wing Borg by declaring WALL·E to be a harsh criticism of the liberal nanny state.

Anyway, I wasn't at all inspired to write about An American Carol and I didn't have to as several other sites did it for me. I particularly liked the two part smackdown at YouAreDumb.net (part 1 is here, part 2 is here). So I figured, "That's all taken care of, now to write some one-liners about how I learned from The House Bunny that it's possible for a guy who has clearly never been laid to still somehow find he's able to resist the advances of a Playboy model."

That was all well and good until I read David Weigel's post about the movie at Reason.com. This confirmed that The Weekly Standard article only hinted at the depths of horror that are plumbed by An American Carol. This post was just the catalyst I needed to sit down and do something I haven't done for months. Thus, I present to you:

MOVIES I HAVEN'T SEEN: AN AMERICAN CAROL

Oh my freaking God, this movie is going to suck. There is no chance, none, that it will be good. Some of you may be shocked that David Zucker, a man whose film making career stretches back over 30 years, made such a horrible film. Then some of you will remember that Zucker's last good movie was 1988's The Naked Gun and that, since then, his career highlights have included Baseketball and My Boss's Daughter and won't be shocked at all.

Weigel begins by telling us how, at a Heritage Foundation rally for the movie, he was handed a card.
If I fill out the card, I can take one of four pledges, such as "Yes, I will send the trailer to my contacts" and "Yes, I want to be AN AMERICAN CAROLER or THEATER CAPTAIN." It's an induction to a movement, as the slogan on the card makes clear: "Finally, a movie for us."

First off, to all you College Republicans out there, and particularly to the male ones, you may think that being a Theater Captain or An American Caroler sounds cool. Let me assure you that wearing tags like this sends to every girl who sees it the message, "No thanks, I am not now nor will I ever be even slightly interested in receiving oral sex from you, but thanks anyway." You may as well try to impress them with your elaborate knowledge of Monty Python and I can personally assure you that girls suddenly find a reason to stand on the other side of the room when you demand that they bring you a shrubbery or yell, "THIS IS AN EX PARROT," in their faces.

We learn a bit more about the movie's plot than we did in the Stephen Hayes piece. It centers around a Michael Moore clone called Michael Malone played here by Kevin Farley, brother of the late comedian Chris Farley whose strengths as an actor included screaming, running his hands through his hair and falling face down in cow flop so you know there's going to be some quality acting there. Apparently there is a scene where Malone grabs a woman's boobs and, out of nowhere, Bill O'Reilly appears and slaps him for sexually harassing an innocent woman and then says, "I just like doing that." This would be the same Bill O'Reilly who was once forced to pay out millions of dollars to a woman in order to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit. Part of the harassment included a taped phone conversation where he talked dirty to the woman while masturbating with a vibrator. I could have left that part out, but I just liked doing that.

We also get scenes of the ghost of General Patton in a gun battle against, well, read the quote:
In a scene that Sokoloff described, but didn't bring, Patton and his soldiers storm a courthouse that's about to remove the Ten Commandments and start opening fire on the people trying to stop them. "You can't shoot these people!" Malone says. "They're not people!" says Patton. "They're the ACLU!" At this point we see that the ACLU members are unkillable George Romero zombies.

I hope that none of you wet yourselves from laughing at that. I'm sure the description of this scene killed at the Heritage Foundation, a place where they still get laughs from Billary jokes. And then we get the money scene where Michael Malone is confronted by the ghost of George Washington. That's where...this happens:
In a clip we saw, Washington takes Malone to St. Paul's Cathedral to lecture him on freedom of religion and "freedom of speech, which you abuse." Malone is grossed out by dust in the priest's box, so the doors open onto the smoldering ruins of the World Trade Center. "This is the dust of 3000 innocent human beings!" bellows Washington. Malone whimpers that he's just making movies. Washington won't have it. "Is that what you plan to say on Judgment Day?"

"That scene," said Sokoloff, "is hard to put in a comedy. But we had to do it."

That's producer Myrna Sokoloff stating the obvious to which I would like to add a hearty, "DUUUUUUUUH!" That line about the World Trade Center would have been hard to put into the movie World Trade Center.

All this reminded me of a couple of things. First, this is not the first time an outrageous comedy has been made about the post-9/11 world. The first one was Uwe Boll's Postal which I talked about back in May. This movie, especially the scene in which crashing a plane into the World Trade Center was played for laughs, was roundly trashed by the right wing. They wondered what sort of soulless bastard would do something so insensitive as to make light of something as serious and perilous as global terrorism. Now we find out that they meant, "How could you do something like that without advancing the conservative movement?" I was also reminded of the last time that conservatives tried to make something funny. It was conceived as "The right wing Daily Show" and was called The 1/2 Hour News Hour. It was produced by 24 executive producer Joel Surnow who said he wanted to make something that would make Michael Moore's hair stand on end and, as you can see from the YouTube link, not only was it not funny but it was so densely unfunny that light can't possibly escape it. It also shows that conservatives have no idea about what Jon Stewart does. Jon Stewart is a liberal and often fiercely and brilliantly takes conservatives to task on his show. What he does not do is sit with his writers and say, "Ok, how do we use this show to advance the liberal agenda?" Jon Stewart does not try to make a LIBERAL show, he tries to make a FUNNY show. In fact, anyone who's ever seen The Daily Show knows that they show no mercy to Democrats or liberals. Why do they do this? Because it's funny and therein lies the difference between him and Joel Surnow.

Stewart tries to make people laugh while Joel Surnow tried to make Michael Moore's hair stand on end. That's why he failed and that's also why David Zucker has failed so miserably in his attempt at conservative comedy. When he made The Naked Gun, Zucker was trying to make a funny movie. When he made An American Carol, the comedy came second to advancing his agenda. Zucker more or less says this himself in the Weekly Standard article:
He adds: "I don't have any desire to be taken seriously. Really, I really don't. But having said that, I really believe this stuff. Why can't I put it out there? And I'm scared to death of Obama. If I didn't do something about it I would feel--My kids would ask: 'What did you do in the war Daddy?'"

"I donated my career to stop this s--."

Yep, nothing says "laugh riot" like imagining yourself to be the equal of the people who are actually fighting and dying on the front lines. Surely, he can't be serious.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Things I've Learned From Watching Movies Part 36

Just because a story has ended doesn't mean that you can't keep making movies about it.

Let's all look forward to 3 years from now when George Lucas takes another obscure reference from 3 decades ago and makes it into a full movie. I'm guessing it'll be the Kessell Run or something about the guy who made Princess Leia's gold bikini.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Cooking Up Excuses

To sum up Dane Cook: bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch.

For those of you who refuse on ethical grounds to click on a link that has anything to do with Dane Cook, the Funniest Man In His Own Mind is publicly complaining about the marketing campaign for his upcoming "movie" My Best Friend's Girl. This is the one I talked about back in May where I warned the planet to avoid this in the same way you would avoid a rabid skunk who was also trying to talk you into buying a time share. I based this opinion on his earlier work in movies, specifically in Good Luck Chuck where I am legally obligated to warn you that it ends with Cook giving oral sex to a stuffed penguin while Jessica Alba, in an Oscar-worthy performance, acts like it's turning her on. In the trailer for the new movie, he's giving oral sex to what looks like a burrito so at least he's moved on to organic material.

Anyhoo, not realizing how lucky he is that movie producers have yet to realize how much he sucks and allow him to make yet another movie, Cook goes on an extended whine about his new movie's poster. Here's what he said:
He writes, "I had no say in this marketing campaign, but, if I did, things would be different, since it is obvious that this poster is boring/odd and has zero to do with the movie I performed in.

"The left side of my face seems to be melting off of my skull. My left side looks like Brittany Spears' (sic) vagina.

"It's no secret that I'm more rugged facially, due to a drunken visit by the teen acne fairy, but according to this poster I've got perfect porcelain flesh. I look like the f**kin' bathroom floor at Caesars Palace."

He also went on about Alec Baldwin not being on the poster which, to me, shows that the marketing department had too much respect for Baldwin to publicly embarrass him by putting him on this poster. I'm not sure if this was meant to be funny since, whenever Cook tries to be funny, I always end up saying, "I'm not sure if this was meant to be funny." The "bathroom floor" comment made me think of several cheap jokes about Cook's face being covered by piss and puke but I'm way too classy to make those jokes though not so classy that I stopped myself from bringing the subject up at all.

I try to stay away from conspiracy theories and attempts at mind reading that's so prevalent on the internet and in society in general. That being said, I believe that I've successfully read Cook's mind and come up with a conspiracy theory. Dane Cook's last two star vehicles made so little money that their backers can no longer afford to jack off to Playboy and must now use the Victoria's Secret catalogue. I believe that Cook has laid the groundwork for what he's going to do on the off chance that the same thing happens here. When My Best Friend's Girl premieres and somehow fails to rival The Dark Knight's box office take, Cook will then be able to run back to his blog and announce to world, "YOU SEE?! I told you that poster sucked. If they had added Alec Baldwin and not cleaned up my face so people could have seen me for the hideous troll that I am, we'd have had a 300 million dollar opening and people would be wondering who the hell Christian Bale was."

At this point I was planning to say something about any Dane Cook film projects currently in production but, according to IMDB, he doesn't have any. The list begins in 1995 when he starred in a show called Maybe This Time which was so good that network television was forced to yank it off the air lest it be held up as a new standard of excellence in broadcast television and ends with My Best Friend's Girl. Let's hope it stays that way.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Things I've Learned From Watching Movies Part 35

Evil gangstery types will never learn that these jaded, hardcase burned out smuggler/transporter types, no matter what their reputation for being jaded, a hardcase or a burnout, will always betray you when their "cargo" is a hot girl.

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Friday, August 8, 2008

Depression Setting In

Summer is winding down which means we are leaving the "cool movie comes out every week" time of year and entering September, the "Month where bad movie go to die" time of year. It's a combination of everyone having disposed of their disposable income during the previous 3 months and high school and college kids being too busy with their new school year to worry about going to the movies. The result of this is that movie studios grab the cheesy pieces of celluloid that have been stinking up their shelves and toss them onto the screen. This means that we stop getting movies like The Dark Knight, Clone Wars and Hellboy 2 and start getting Babylon A.D., Death Race and The House Bunny. Around October the trend starts to reverse and we start getting things like murder mysteries and prestige films that their makers hope will be nominated for Oscars. All we movie fans can do is try to live with it. This year, though, will be especially hard. Why?

This movie comes out September 19 and I suspect a wave of depression to move across the planet shortly thereafter. Remember, world, I warned you back in May but you didn't listen.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Right Wing Movie Reviews -- The Dark Knight

Once again I've heard from right wing blogger Gotterdamerung. GD is no longer associated with Bushpocalypse.org due to the fact that the conservative groups who had been funding it realized that, and I quote, "Our money would be better spent if we just gave it away as toilet paper." GD has now set up his own website called TwilightOfTheLiberals.com and his very first post was the following review of The Dark Knight that he insists I reprint here to serve as "balance" to what he insists is my wrongheaded view of what may be the most important movie ever. My response is, sure, gives me more to play World of Warcraft. So, here is Gotterdamerung.

Hey all, Gotterdamerung here. I know it's been weeks since the last time you've all heard from me and it's all because of The Dark Knight. When I saw that movie, I was so overwhelmed that I passed out and, when I awoke, I'm not at all embarrassed to say that I had the longest and most powerful erection of my life. I consider this to be the normal response that any patriotic American male would have upon seeing The Dark Knight. For weeks now, I've been masturbating non-stop to what I can assure you is a perfectly heterosexual reaction to the sight of the wonderful, perfect, beautiful Christian Bale beating up the Joker played by the wonderful, perfect, beautiful Heath Ledger. I'm sure all the Democrat gay-boys out there think this is crazy behavior but that's because they don't understand the worldview of a conservative who truly loves all things manly. Finally, I've regained a sufficient amount of my senses to tell you all that you must see The Dark Knight or just admit to the world that you hate America.

The true meaning of The Dark Knight is obvious to anyone who doesn't worship Michael Moore or think that global warming is real. Batman is clearly meant to symbolize George W. Bush and the Joker is clearly based on a combination of Osama bin Laden and Barack Obama. The Osama part is clear because he's a crafty sadist bent on the destruction of all things good which translates as all things Christian and Obama because he speaks flowery language, becomes a huge celebrity and wears makeup which means he's girly just like Obama.

The Dark Knight explains to us all why we should give George W. Bush a third term. First off, Batman wants to stay and fight the Joker whereas all those pansy ass liberals would probably want to pull all police and other law enforcement agencies out of Gotham and just leave our innocent civilian allies there to the mercy of the Joker. This would have been Barack Obama's strategy had he been a) in charge of Gotham City and b) not already being represented in this movie by the Joker. Batman/Bush wants to face the Joker head on whereas Obama would have wanted to fight the Joker by giving a speech and making sure his tires were properly inflated. The choice as to which strategy would have worked is obvious.

Another similarity is that, like Bush, Batman only fails when his ideology is impure. Batman has many opportunities to kill the Joker but instead tries to apprehend him. In the real world, Bush could have just nuked the parts of Iraq that didn't have oil but instead he tried to occupy it and found that the populace we just bombed into freedom didn't appreciate us enough to become the 51st state. This should serve as the ultimate example that conservative theories cannot fail; they can only be failed.

The Dark Knight also shows us how our enemies, if given the chance, can corrupt the precious bodily fluids of the good and decent circulatory system that is America. We see this in the character of Harvey Dent, Gotham's District Attorney who, at first, seems to symbolically represent Dick Cheney by the way he takes on the roots of Gotham City's underworld by any means necessary. However, after he unpatriotically allows the Joker to kill his girlfriend and burn half his face off, he becomes the villain Two-Face and stands as a symbol for liberals everywhere who are both atheists and Muslims at the same time. Only Bat W. Man can defeat this menace and, like Bush, sees his poll numbers go down for doing so.

People out there clearly anticipated this good review from me and The Dark Knight has broken all box office records as a result. Hopefully, the result will be that Americans out there will ignore that silly 22nd Amendment, a part of the Constitution that has never been truly tested, and write in the name of George W. Bush this coming election day. John McCain is too old and, when bills like universal health care wind up on his desk, would sign it into law by accident instead of vetoing it. Universal health care will be easy under an Obama administration since the black people will have plenty of money from his plan to give them reparations for slavery and all other races will be forced into death camps.

The choice is clear, America.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Sequels


How could any self-respecting sequel put out a poster like this? In a sequel, your poster should say stuff like "This Time -- IT'S PERSONAL!" or "The Pants Traveled -- And Hell Traveled With Them". This is a strong indicator that this movie will lack things like gratuitous explosions, jet ski chases and shape shifting robots. Also, I doubt there will be a showdown between some two fisted loner who sometimes has to work outside the law and his arch nemesis played by someone like Anthony Hopkins who says something like, "Are we really so different, Mr. Muttchenko?" Oh well, it's four cute girls so surely there will be loads of scenes where they strip down to their underwear for pillow fights, right?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Mo' Mummy

There are two conflicting forces that are both trying to alter my opinion of The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. First, this is a needless sequel to those other two Mummy movies being released several years after anyone who gave a crap about whether needless sequels to the Mummy movies were made or not. This automatically causes me to award Mummy 50,000 Suck Points. On the other hand, two of the movie's stars are Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh which not only wipes out the 50,000 SPs but even moves it slightly into negative suckiness. Also, you have Maria Bello, whose nickname, I believe, is "Va Va Va Voom," taking over the role of Evelyn from Rachel Weisz and Brendan Fraser, a good actor despite his often poor choice of movie roles.

Okie dokie then. What sort of movie did we end up with after all that? Mummy 3 is the kind of movie where, when the end credits start to roll, you're not sure if you actually just saw a movie or not. It's kind of like a dream in that way. You may have liked the dream or you may not but there will only be bits and pieces that you'll take with you and the rest goes down the memory hole. After a bit of thought, you may say, "Jet Li did some cool martial arts," or, "I liked it when the plane shot up those dead guys," but I'm betting there will be huge portions of the plot that will be relegated to the same part of your brain in which you put facts like what the number 1 export of South Africa is. As I go over a bit of the plot, many of you who have already seen it will probably say, "That really happened?"

The movie opens around 2000 years ago as Emperor Han (Jet Li) uses his superior fighting skills along with some super powers that he picked up along the way to conquer pretty much everything around him to form a massive empire. Han apparently learned to rule a country by going to the "Kill Everyone Who Looks At Me Funny And Then Kill Everyone Who Doesn't Cause You Can't Trust Them Either" School of Governing. Eventually, he decided that he was so awesome that he should live forever so he has the faithful General Ming go and fetch a witch named Zi Yuan (Michelle Yeoh) who knows where the Ancient Book of Surefire Immortalinginization is. As Ming and Zi travel around ancient China looking for the book, they decide that they're hot for each other even though Han said he wanted Zi for himself. The predictable consequences are that, as soon as Zi casts the immortality spell, Han, considering Ming's years of loyalty, service, friendship and sacrifice, mercifully has him pulled apart alive by horses. The predictable consequences of THAT are that Zi mixed in a little curse along with the spell making the Emperor into an immortal statue, along with his army.

Jumping ahead to 1946, we meet Alex O'Connell (Luke Ford), the grown son of the two folks from the first 2 Mummy movies. As in all movies that start off at archaeological digs, he flat out ignores all the ancient warnings and prophecies that tell him not to dig where he is digging and unearths the statues of the Emperor and his army. Alex gets upset when three of his men die when they set off ancient traps but quickly recovers when the professor running the dig site literally tells him that, "they knew the risks," and he should just suck it up and sure enough, he does and starts smiling again even after an assassin tries to kill him.

Skipping over to England, we once again meet Alex's parents, Rick and Evelyn O'Connell. Even though they're only about 40, they've both decided to retire even though, as has been stated, they're both only about 40. To their great surprise, they find sitting around some country estate after exploring the far reaches of the planet to be extremely boring so they suspend their "No More Cool Stuff For Us" vow and accept a job from the British government to return some ancient Chinese artifact to China. In a large country with a population of a billion people, you'd think the odds would be small that they'd run into their son while they were there but sure enough, that happens. Also, you'd think that the odds would be small that the Chinese thingumabob they were transporting would be just what was required to wake the Dragon Emperor but ONCE AGAIN you'd be completely wrong.

So off they go, on a merry quest to try to put down yet another mummy. They're joined Lin, the pretty assassin who tried to kill Alex earlier in the film but that was because she was part of some society sworn to keep anyone from awaking the Emperor. By the way, is there a less effective group on the planet than those that are sworn to keep some ancient evil from being released from its prison? The Presidential Commission On Keeping Gas Prices Below 4 Dollars is better at its job than these zealous warriors are. Lin and Alex are instantly hot for each other and, for me, the only true mystery of the film was whether they would be together at the end or if one of them would die heroically in the other one's arms. Another mystery was how Alex could have grown up in England with an Australian accent but that one never gets solved.

As I said, you can more or less predict what will happen, especially if you've seen any of the commercials or trailers and saw what they do to counter the Emperor's army. What, did you think that Emperor Han would succeed in his plot to conquer the world and rule it forever? The best parts of the movie were some of the fight scenes at the end between Jet Li and the others that actually happened and weren't put together inside some guy's Macintosh. I could say the same thing about Jet Li's last movie too. Filmmakers have forgotten these days how great it can be to show real people in real places doing real things and not to just do everything through CGI.

Oh well, enough preaching. You'll probably kind of like Mummy 3 even though 91% of all other critics disagree with me. As I said, though, it's not horrible, just forgettable. I suppose you could take notes during the movie so that you can impress your friends later on with things like, "Hey, remember when they found the lost city of Shangri-la? And what was the deal with those yetis?" Of course, they may not even remember that when you prompt them which means you can have fun making stuff up. Regale everyone with stories of tap dancing unicorns and gumdrops falling from the skies. It'll probably be better than the actual movie was. In the end, it is fitting that, shortly after you see a movie set in China, you quickly become hungry for another movie.

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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Friday, August 1, 2008

Irony

Movies like Pineapple Express and the Harold and Kumar films actually make me shy away from drugs even though drugs are glamorized by showing good looking guys like James Franco as a happy stoner or convincing us that a guy who looks and acts like Harold actually has a shot with a girl like Paula Garces. Ironically, this anti-drug ad makes want to smoke as much weed as possible so that I, too, can achieve a state of mind where I think that dogs are talking to me.

Just making random observations. Feel free to go back to your lives now. Oh, and don't take drugs.

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