Friday, October 31, 2008

Short, Intense Payne

Been getting slammed with work the past few days but I noticed I had never reviewed Max Payne so I figured I'd do that now:


That was a wonderful juncture of "all I had time to do" and "all the attention and critical analysis it deserved."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

No Entertainment Allowed

When Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed premiered earlier this year, I almost went to see it. Since it was one of those movies I'd have to drive about 50 miles to see and it was receiving poor reviews, I decided against seeing it and it's a good thing I did. I'd have pitied anyone who was in the car on the drive home with me since there would have been a 50 mile long conversation that looked something like this:

ME: What the hell was that?
FELLOW PASSENGER: It was a bad movie, Mike. Get over it.
ME: Yeah, but seriously, what the hell was that?
FP: I'm putting my iPod earphones in for the rest of the trip.
ME: Ok ok, I'm sorry...but, I mean, there was, I mean I drove 50 miles for, I mean...WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?!

Had I been alone, I'd have sitting quietly, stewing in my anger and frustration and wondering how I could take all that out on society. See, Expelled is not a bad movie. Max Payne and Eagle Eye are bad movies and they don't create this reaction in me. No, to get this reaction you have to create the type of movie that H.P. Lovecraft would have described as, "Having come from the deepest and most foul of the Stygian depths, it had no connection to the world of light and sanity and reason. It's very nature was madness and it's very existence, blasphemous." I am not exaggerating when I say that Expelled is that kind of movie.

First off, Expelled is extremely boring. I almost stopped watching about 45 minutes in after yet another dull interview with some guy claiming to have had his ideas suppressed by an international conspiracy of doctrinaire scientists who are trying desperately to hide what is apparently a huge shitload of evidence supporting Intelligent Design. Oh yeah, that's the subject of the movie. What, you thought this was some sort of 90+ minute rant about Creationism and Intelligent Design? Clearly your brain has been clouded by Evolutionists Cabal and their allies in the pro-Darwin media that secretly run the world. No no, this is merely a plea for academic freedom. It turns out that approximately 95% of all scientists secretly think that Evolution is bunk and would love to embrace Intelligent Design but the dark masters to whom they must answer won't let them. To prove this point, Stein uses what his probably the most effective weapon in his arsenal, a tool he uses again and again. He flat out lies.

I wrote down several names in my notes of people that Stein interviewed and picked the first two to investigate. Richard Sternberg was the editor of a small scientific periodical that published a paper supporting I.D. that Stein claimed, "...ignited a firestorm of controversy merely because it suggested intelligent design might be able to explain how life began." It turned out that the paper was not about how life began but rather was about the Cambrian Explosion which took place around 3 billion years later. Stein claimed it was peer reviewed but, instead of going to associate editors and other members of the Council of the Biological Society of Washington (BSW) who normally would have been included in the peer review process, Sternberg handled the whole process himself. The Council later stated that the paper would not have passed their review not because it advocated I.D. but because it was poorly written and was substandard science. Stein also claimed that Sternberg had lost his job at the Smithsonian and very nearly had his career ruined when, in fact, Sternberg had submitted his resignation 6 months before the article was published and that, after the paper was published, he still had his position at the National Institute of Health and his unpaid position at the Smithsonian. You can check out more details of the story at the website Expelled Exposed.

The second account I looked into was the story of Caroline Crocker. She claimed that she had only shown a few slides concerning I.D. during a class she taught at George Mason University. As a result, she claimed to have been quickly disciplined by her supervisor and to have been blacklisted by the scientific community leaving her unable to find a job. Well, except for the fact that, whatever the "discipline from her supervisor" entailed, it did not involve removing her from her position at GMU where she stayed until the end of her contract. Also, Stein and Crocker fail to mention her adjunct faculty position at Northern Virginia Community College and the year of postdoc work she did at Uniformed Services University where she researched and taught molecular biology. Crocker is also full of it when she claims she only showed a few slides when, in fact, she was teaching extensive examples of demonstrably false Creationist material.

So, the two stories I looked into both turned out to be huge crocks of shit although I'm sure that the numerous other examples that were given of The Intolerant Scientific Establishment oppressing these meek advocates of Intelligent Design were absolutely true.

I got sidetracked before when I started writing about the movie's greatest sin: the fact that it's throroughly, utterly boring. Yes, the boredom trumps Steins lies and even the section of the movie where he blames the Holocaust on Charles Darwin and no, I didn't just make that up. The structure of Expelled is similar to that of Bill Maher's movie Religulous which I reviewed yesterday. Both movies show their hosts on a journey through various parts of the world interviewing a variety of people. They both mix in film clips meant to add humorous resonance to whatever point they are making at the time and they both use manipulative editing to make themselves look smarter than the people with whom they disagree.

One of the biggest differences is the fact that Maher is an experienced and witty interviewer whereas Stein is incompetent at it. His technique involves asking I.D. proponents things like, "Surely you had the freedom to express your opinion without fear that your colleagues in the scientific establishment would reatliate against you?" and then acting shocked when they say, "No Ben, actually my ideas were suppressed." He's even worse when talking to I.D. skeptics. His favorite little trick is to ask what he perceives to be "Gotcha" question over and over again. He asks noted biologist Michael Ruse how life began. Ruse good naturedly explains one of the more popular theories only to have Stein ask him again and again. Ruse gets understandably flustered, saying, "I...I just old you that." He does the same thing later on with Richard Dawkins, asking Dawkins if he has any sort of religious belief. Dawkins says no every time Stein asks him one variation after another of the same question and, like Ruse, gets very annoyed with the pathetic little man who's visibly proud of himself that acting like an annoying jerk managed to successfully annoy people. Oh, by the way Stein, good work on managing to take Richard Dawkins, world famous atheist and author of the best selling book The God Delusion, and outing him as someone who has no religious beliefs.

Well, better wrap this up though I could go on and on as to why this movie sucks. I could talk about how Stein's use of film clips failed to garner a single laugh or how he edited the Dawkins interview to make him look like a fool who believes in ancient astronauts. In the end, I'll just go ahead and utterly decimate the movie's main point. The reason that proponents of Intelligent Design and Creationism are subject to skepticism and criticism is the same reason that you would be subjected to skepticism and criticism if you were a mathematician who advocated the Theory That Two Plus Two Equals Five or if you were a zoologist who made the claim that lion's blood is composed entirely of pudding. Centuries of research and observation have managed to convince all but the ignorant and fanatical that Evolution and Natural Selection are the proper models to use when explaining why the world is the way it is. Ben Stein himself experiences a moment of cognitive dissonance when he says that we certainly don't want schoolkids being taught that the world is flat or that the Holocaust never happened which, using Stein's own standards, makes him an opponent of academic freedom. Why shouldn't we "teach the controversy" and let the kids decide for themselves? Because, as with Creationism and I.D., there is no evidence that either of those things is true. Until there is evidence, none of those things will ever be taught or accepted. This is not a matter of tolerance or freedom. It is a matter of evidence and lack thereof and it will be so no matter how many times that a small, vile man named Ben Stein says otherwise.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Relogo...Religi...Screw It

Yeah, I know, it's called Religulous, Bill Maher's new movie in which he says that the story of the Egyptian god Horus is a load of nonsense. I hope I didn't offend all the millions of Horus worshipers out there by describing this attack on your faith but come on, who the hell could buy the story of a guy who was born of a virgin in a cave with a star heralding his birth then went on to preach to the world with 12 disciples at his side before being crucified along with two thieves before coming back to life three days later? And yes, that is the story of Horus, a story told centuries before Jesus Christ was supposed to have walked the Earth. This is one of the pieces of evidence that Bill Maher and director Larry Charles offer up as they try to make their case that faith in gods without evidence is ridiculous.

It should come as no surprise that Maher and Charles, two men who've spent their lives in the comedy business (Charles directed Borat and was also involved in TV shows like Seinfeld and The Tick) would take the subject of atheism and make it into a very funny movie. I discovered after the movie was over that many of my fellow audience members were religious yet still laughed at the movie, even the parts where he openly doubts the sanity of people who believe in talking snakes. I was expecting to see someone walk out during moments like that but no one did, at least not that I saw. I suppose anyone disposed to walking out wouldn't have shown up in the first place.

So, what sort of movie is it when you put aside any sort of preconceived notions, pro- or anti-God biases or, for that matter, pro-and anti-Bill Maher biases? What you get is documentary that often amuses yet also often annoys. Maher and Charles use some of the same B.S. documentary techniques that Ben Stein used in Expelled such as inserting film clips for comic effect during interviews. A little of that can be funny but there was anything but a little of that and it went from funny to annoying. One of the more memorable scenes that definitely moved into the "annoying" column is when Maher was interviewing a man who claimed Jesus had cured him of his homosexuality. What we saw was an interesting interview that was constantly being interrupted by clips of gay porn and gladiator movies although the theme song from Brokeback Mountain was used to comic effect toward the end. Another Ben Stein trick used, although Maher does not achieve Stein's A-hole level of of usage, is to edit an interview look stupid or dumbfounded before the supreme intellect and wit of the interviewer. There were too many times where Maher would make a joke or an observation where the scene cut form there to another part of the interview giving Maher the final word on that particular subject. Maher also borrows Michael Moore's famous technique of going somewhere you are clearly not wanted so you can then be thrown out. We see him get thrown out of the Vatican and the Salt Lake Temple and nearly thrown out of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and a Christian theme park in Orlando, Florida. All of this takes what could have been a great documentary and moves it down into the "good but flawed" category.

Speaking of the Orlando theme park, this is where we met one of the better advocates of religion is an actor who plays Jesus there in a daily Passion recreation. I wish I knew his name but I can't remember if it was ever mentioned and every time I try to Google I end up at website where he is simply referred to as, "The actor who played Jesus." Hell, maybe that's his name and, if so, you can see why he chose the career path he did. Anyway, he's one of the more likable people you'll ever meet and his charisma and enthusiasm allows him to duel effectively against Maher's logic although mainly his arguments boil down to, "Hey, we can't understand the thinking of a higher being like God." The only time he gets flustered is when Maher points out to him that the Jesus story was most likely modeled after the story of Krishna and Horus story I told in the first paragraph which was also probably modeled after the story of Krishna. When the actor asked if the Krishna story, "had been published back then," Bill Maher calmly explains to him that yes, the history of Krishna was well known back then. Had I been asked that question, I most likely would have said, "No dumbass, Krishna worshipers kept the whole thing a huge secret for a thousand years so it was probably just a charming coincidence that Jesus had such a similar background attributed to him." I also would have pointed out the Christian penchant for taking stories of other religions and making them their own like when they took the story of a pagan king looking for the Cup of the Goddess and turned it into the Christian King Arthur and his quest for the Holy Grail. I have to admire Bill Maher's restraint.

Bill Maher says that he doesn't expect to talk most people out of their religious beliefs but, rather, the point of this movie is to try and get fellow rationalists to come out of the godless closet and become advocates for their beliefs. He says (and this sounds high to me) that 16% of the American population is not at all religious which would make them a higher percentage of the population than Jews, blacks, gays and NRA members yet the godless do not have the outspoken advocacy or influence that those minority groups have. Mitt Romney in his big, "Don't hate me because I'm a Mormon," speech earlier this year went out of his way to exclude atheists in his call for tolerance and instead called upon all "people of faith" to unite in some kickass Judeo-Christian team against the evil secularists. If this movie can get even a few rationalists to be more outspoken, it will be a good thing and could move us closer to a time when we can let go of Yahweh, Jesus and Mohammad and, if we do that, we can finally bring about Utopia by getting our Thetans audited.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hey Charlie Kaufman

Synecdoche, New York? Really? Why that title? Was there already a movie in production called Doucheland, Wisconsin so you had to go with that? This is one case in which I would have supported some generic title like Maximum Beatdown. On the off chance that you Googled your name and found this on page 147 of the results, you're most likely thinking, "Uh, hello, how many movies have you had produced? I was once played by Nicolas Cage so shut the fuck up," in which case I would say, "Wow, you sure are insecure if some random goob on the internet like me can get to you like this," and that will mean THAT I WIN!

I'm a big fan, by the way. Good luck.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cheers And Jeers

Ok, off to see Religulous but I just wanted to say two quick things first.

First, thank you thank you thank you America for giving High School Musical 3 a huge opening weekend which gave it the week's number one position, thus denying that position to the latest entry in the awful Saw franchise. As I said earlier in the week, I'm a neutral observer when it comes to the HSM movies and I'm glad they actually did some good.

Second, fuck you fuck you fuck you America for giving Saw V an incredibly strong second place finish thus guaranteeing that we'll see Saw VI this time next year.

Have a nice Saturday all.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Who Watches...You Know...Those Guys?

I'm really looking forward to The Watchmen movie coming out next year. I loved the series when it came out 20 decades ago and the footage I've seen of the movie looks better and better every time I see it. I don't like that I feel this way because I honestly can't see The Watchmen being successfully adapted to the screen which means that the more optimistic I am about its critical success, the more likely it is that I'll be devastated when it turns out to suck. Maybe it'll suck in an amusing way, like they'll add a cute, precocious kid or an intelligent monkey. Hell, why not both? That worked out great the last time a movie tried it. I suppose I'll end up taking my disappointment out on society. If you hear this coming March about a guy holding a theater full of people hostage demanding that all prints of The Watchmen be burned, you'll know who did it. Until that time, here's the footage from the Spike Awards that started this train of thought.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Everything Is About Me

This will be a lousy week for me at the movies since two of the three major releases are movies I absolutely won't see and a third is one that doesn't look too good.

High School Musical 3 wasn't made for me. I've seen parts of the other two movies in order to see if they were appropriate viewing for my two young nieces. The answer is that, if you intended to raise your children as hedonists, you should not let them see High School Musical. They're both extremely clean. One clear cut sign of this is in the second one that took place at a resort and the girls in the pool scenes all wore one piece swimsuits with shorts over them. I've taken a couple of pot shots here implying that the male characters are gay because they never try to have sex with the girls, two of whom are played by actresses now considered to be sex symbols but hey, what else can we expect from a Disney film? Speaking of the actresses, you do have to feel sorry for Vanessa Hudgens. I'm sure I don't have to tell anyone about the nude photos of her that got leaked to the internet last year and I'm also sure that she'll never live them down. There's an interview with her in my paper today and that was mentioned in the second paragraph and will be mentioned in everything that will be written about her ever. She could cure AIDS or invent a water-powered car and all those two events could accomplish would be to bump the nude photos down to the third paragraph. By the way, I guarantee that everything I've written up till now is more interesting than High School Musical 3 will be to anyone over the age of 12. Let me break it down for you: it opens with them singing something innocuous like how much they like the school cafeteria's Salisbury steak. Then some sort of conflict is introduced, probably a temptation for one of the good characters to turn bad which results in a couple of songs being sung that boil down to, "Dude, don't turn bad." In the end, everything is resolved and they've all learned important lessons about tolerance and friendship and you know this because they sing about tolerance and friendship endlessly. I won't see it but it's definitely in the Mostly Harmless category.

On the opposite end of the Harmless scale is Saw V. I consider this movie to be a basis for atheism since no just and loving God would have allowed this movie to be released. If you are a fan of the Saw films, you're wrong. Wrong about what, you ask? Everything. If you say you like the Saw franchise and then say that the sky is blue, I know I'll be able to look up and see a bright shade of orange. Yes, I hate hate hate those movies and that includes the first one. I hate them not because they're offensive but because they're stupidly offensive. Oh well, may as well copy this part and use again next year for Saw VI.

Pride and Glory looks like yet another bad cop movie only this one has an extra layer of dumb since it involves a cop played by Edward Norton being told to investigate his own brother who is played by Colin Farrell. You know, cause that happens so much in real life. If you asked me to investigate my brother, I could catch him eating a human liver and go back to my superiors with a report clearing him of all wrongdoing but that's not how it goes down in Pride and Glory. Instead we get the, "I'm gonna follow this wherever it goes," line you so often hear in movies and end up with the two brothers in some sort of fight.

Oh well, this may be the week to take the long drive and go see Religulous. As I said, we now have proof that there is no God so it seems appropriate.

Monday, October 20, 2008

W's Second Term

Members of the mainstream media, you know, people who get paid to write stuff like this, often hold people like me in contempt. They sit in their big, snooty offices eating whatever big, snooty takeout food they ordered that day and say in between bites of hoagie or lo mein or whatever, "Stupid internet people with their stupid internet connections are so stupid. They think they can do what I do so they write their stupid stuff thinking all they have to do is add swear words and suddenly it's cool. What the hell is a 'fucktard' anyway? They don't have journalistic standards imposed on them or editors looking over their shoulders." And you know what? The imaginary strawman I just created is absolutely right. I could have used an editor or some standards when I wrote my review of W. As I reread it today, I realized it was a little long yet I didn't say some of the things I wanted to say. So you may call what comes next the review's recount.

I really don't think we saw enough of Elizabeth Banks' Laura Bush. I would have liked to know more about her. When they first meet at the party of a mutual friend, we can see an instant attraction despite the fact that he spends the entire time speaking with a mouth full of food (a habit the real Bush has to this day). She becomes the perfect woman for Bush in that she never says a word to him about any of his excesses. She stares sadly as he pours one glass of Jim Beam after another down his throat and is clearly upset when he suddenly declares that they are dropping their lives in Texas to help with his father's presidential campaign yet she says nothing. I wonder if that is accurate and she's never really stood up to him about anything, if she's the one wife who never says a peep when hubby leaves the toilet seat up. Probably not. I remember an interview in which Bush stated that Laura had once said to him that it was either her or Jim Beam. Oh well, whatever the story is, the movie doesn't give it to us.

To me, the scene that sums up the movie and, for that matter, the entire Bush presidency is when Bush and his inner circle (Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc) are following Bush as he takes a walk across his Crawford ranch. As they walk along discussing the upcoming invasion of Iraq and blithely dismissing General Tommy Franks' recommendations that they go in with hundreds of thousands of troops, Bush realizes that he has gone down the wrong path and they are now lost. There they are, a group of the smartest people you'll ever meet and yet they are following a guy who gets lost on his own ranch. Draw your own conclusions from that.

I thought Thandie Newton was great as Condoleeza Rice. Her imitation of Rice's distinct vocal mannerisms even drew a few laughs in the same way that Tina Fey's imitation of Sarah Palin does. She's also portrayed as an enabler as she never criticizes anything Bush does and agrees with him even when she clearly knows she's wrong. It says a lot about Bush that he surrounds himself with women like this.

And well, that's about it. As I said in that first post, the movie is good but not great. I think the subject matter interested me more than the movie itself did but it's still worth seeing. So go see it.

Oh, almost forgot: Ha Ha Ha to all you right wing fucktards* who predicted this time last month that An American Carol would haul in Titanic-level box office numbers while W. would go down in flames. Thanks for little moment of schadenfreude. I get so very few of those.

*Sorry MSM employee who doesn't know what that means.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Weally Good

It's strange that a lot of what I expected to happen in W. didn't happen since I know exactly what has happened in the last 8 years. What I mean I expected to see certain events that weren't shown. For instance, did you know that there was a major terrorist attack on September 11, 2001? You wouldn't if your only source of information was this movie. Ok, I'm being too harsh. The events after 9/11 are the movie's focus but the day itself, the most momentous day in Bush's presidency, what he did and how he reacted are not in the film. If I had to guess, I'd say that director Oliver Stone figured he'd already made a movie about 9/11 and thought that any sort of 9/11 recreation would serve as a distraction from the kind of film he was trying to create. He's probably right though I can always call his judgment into question by bringing up Natural Born Killers, a cinematic acid trip he made about 10 years ago that took a perfectly good story by Quentin Tarantino and turned it into a perfectly shitty movie by Oliver Stone. Anyway...

I'm assuming we've all been paying attention and know that W. is the life story of George W. Bush, a man who was lucky enough to hit the genetic lottery and be born into a family of wealth and prominence but unlucky enough to have that same family expect its sons to be extraordinary, not good news for a man of average intelligence and abilities like W. The movie moves back and forth from the period between 2002 and 2004 to Bush's early years. We see him as a drunken party boy at Yale, a school he got into because Dad pulled a few strings, undergoing fraternity hazing and impressing his frat brothers by his ability to remember the name of every member of the fraternity. People skills like that are George W's only real skills and what eventually brought him success in politics. The drunken frat boy grows up to be a drunken executive, a drunken sporting goods salesman and a drunken oil rigger who gets more and more frustrated and angry as he grows older. All this paints a portrait of man suffering from a narcissistic personality disorder who blames others for the fact that he keeps failing at everything he tries to do. The Christian Evangelism he eventually embraces that helps him to quit drinking fits in well with that as they always talk about having a personal relationship with God, the perfect religion for a narcissist.

It's interesting to see the way in which he lost his first bid for Congress. His opponent was a good ol' boy Texan who dressed like a cowboy and talked about Jesus who derided Bush as an elitist Ivy League educated Yankee carpetbagger. Thus begins a morphing of Bush's personality into the faux Man of the People you see today. This leads him to successfully run for Governor of Texas, a race he began partly as revenge against then Governor Ann Richards for the way in which she derided Bush's father at the 1988 Democratic convention. He thought running for governor would please his parents but, again, he disappoints them since they feel his running in Texas would overshadow his older, more promising brother Jeb's bid for the governorship of Florida.

Stone uses all these events as turns in a road that eventually led us to war in Iraq. Bush's inner circle mostly consists of people from his father's administration like Dick Cheney (Richard Dreyfuss) and Colin Powell (Jeffrey Wright). It's amazing how effortlessly they shift their focus after 9/11 from Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden to Iraq and Saddam. They have different reasons. Donald Rumsfeld (Scott Glenn) thinks establishing a successful democracy in Iraq will create a reverse-domino effect that will also bring down the regimes surrounding Iraq. Dick Cheney sees this as a first step toward American control of Arabian oil and an American Empire all through the Middle East and Asia. Karl Rove (Toby Jones) sees it as a winning issue for Bush and other Republicans. Bush sees this as a way to finally step out of his father's shadow. George W. apparently counseled George H.W. to keep on going into Baghdad and not be satisfied with just driving the Iraqis from Kuwait during the Gulf War. To justify all this, they focus on Saddam's supposed WMDs and create amongst themselves an echo chamber that reinforces their own wishes and desires and shuts out skepticism ultimately expressed by the reasoned advice of Colin Powell who tries to counsel against preemptive war based on such doubtful evidence but ultimately is swept up by the current and sits before the United Nations to present the case for Iraqi WMDs.

We see the rush of jubilation over victory in Iraq as Bush the narcissist comes out and figures this will show everyone who said his presidency wasn't legitimate and questioned his judgment and intelligence. We then get to see his reaction to the confirmation that Saddam Hussein had no WMDs and our justification for war was nonexistent. He furiously demands to know why no one ever told him this. In his mind, none of this is his fault.

You know, as I look back over what's become a long review, I see that I have failed to say whether I liked the movie or not. I did. It's not a great movie but it's definitely worth seeing. I suppose I find the reality more interesting than the fantasy, unlike Bush who, in what I think was a 2004 press conference (recreated in the movie), was asked what mistakes he thought he had made. After a minute or two, he was unable to come up with any. He struggled with that question because he knew he'd look stupid if he couldn't come up with one yet that's what happened and he couldn't see his own mistakes because he's a narcissist bordering on being a psychopath and that's what narcissists bordering on being psychopaths do. It's really as simple as that.

Friday, October 17, 2008


I'm putting nothing new up today. You hear me? NOTHING!

Hmm. This right here would actually count as something, wouldn't it? Well, it's my site and I'm the Lawgiver who decides what is and is not Ape Law so I declare all this to be nothing.

Have a nice night.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I Liked It Better When It Was Called Syriana

There were times when I thought Body Of Lies would stand out as a superior thriller, the kind of movie like Three Days Of The Condor that gets talked about and studied decades later. There were a lot of promising moments like when you see Russell Crowe's character Ed Hoffman, a top level CIA official, running life and death missions half a world away as he calmly gets his kids ready for school. Unfortunately, too much of the film fails to live up to scenes like that making the good parts of the movie...wait for it...A BODY OF LIES.

The main character is Leonardo DiCaprio's Roger Ferris, a CIA field operative on the verge of a major burn-out who moves about through various parts of the Middle East trying to capture a Osama bin Laden type called Al-Saleem. Al-Saleem's organization is currently conducting a series of bombings all throughout Europe and Ferris gets a lead on him from one of Al-Saleem's operatives who has changed his mind about becoming a suicide bomber and wants to go to America. This is also where you meet Ed Hoffman, a man who is both Ferris's superior and a major league pain in Ferris's ass. As I said, Hoffman sits in Washington watching everything Ferris does from a high resolution spy satellite and often keeps information hidden from Ferris like that he's running his own side operation. He's also pretty close to being a sociopath which allows him to be cold enough to order Ferris to break his promise of asylum to the defector and instead use him to find a terrorist safe house. Ferris, on Hoffman's orders, personally executes him after that. We never find out why Hoffman is the way he is. As I said, he's the kind of guy who is literally capable of pleasantly enjoying drinking a tasty cup of coffee in his backyard while his wife and kids eat breakfast inside while, at the same time, casually order Ferris to shoot a man in the head. This was all in the first 20 minutes and it's pretty good stuff. If only the rest of the movie had been like that.

Ferris's investigation leads him to Amman, Jordan and to Hani (Mark Strong), the top man in Jordanian intelligence. Hani's a lot like Ed except that Hani doesn't have the luxury of observing terrorist actions from an air conditioned office in America. This is all real to him whereas Ed often behaves as if the people he orders and the events he plans are actions in a video game. Hani, though, claims to place a high value on trust and integrity and places only one condition of his working relationship with Roger Ferris: Ferris must never lie to him. This, of course, means that Ferris is going to lie to him. A lot. And yes, there will be harsh consequences.

After surviving a bombing, Ferris meets the prettiest woman in Jordan, an Iranian nurse named Aisha (Golshifteh Farahani). Not only does she live in a part of the world filled with religious fanatics who think that a Muslim woman dating a westerner would be grounds to kill that woman but he also refuses to fully explain what he does or why he was so badly bruised. Naturally, she sees no reason to refuse to date him.

What I described in the previous two paragraphs is part of why, after the first half hour, I re-categorized the movie from "Pretty Good" to "Near Miss". It moves from "Near Miss" to "WTF?" when Ferris comes up with the idea to create a fictitious terrorist organization whose success would be seen as an insult to Al-Saleem's vanity and draw him out of hiding. Believe it or not, this perfect plan actually fails in its objective and the movie actually finds ways to go downhill from there.

I'll be generous and move it back up to "Near Miss" based on the acting, especially Crowe, and Ridley Scott's competent direction but, if you want to see a better spy movie that has a far better handle on the world's fight against Middle East terrorism, you should see Syriana. Hell, Don't Mess With The Zohan probably had a better handle on the world's fight against Middle East terrorism.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Yes Or No...

...No, Oliver Stone's W is not a prequel to Spike Lee's 1992 film X.

...No, The Secret Life Of Bees does not have a jet ski chase in it.

...No, just because none of the guys in any of the High School Musical movies try to have sex with any of the hot girls isn't proof that they're gay. On the other hand, guys, I know you're fictional characters and it's a Disney film but Beverly Hills Chihuahua was more realistic than this whole "A good night kiss is enough for me" thing you're doing.

...Yes, I am looking forward to Zack And Miri Make A Porno mainly because I have a huge crush on Elizabeth Banks and will go see anything she's in. She could remake Yentl and I'd be the first one in line. And no, you don't get to see her breasts in this and shame on you for having such filthy desires about someone as pure and wonderful as Elizabeth. Elizabeth, if you're reading this, you've probably seen me following you and going through your garbage but I can assure you that I'm not at all sick or creepy and, if you'll agree to spend a few weeks in the special room I've built for you in my basement, I'll prove that to you.

...Yes, I am getting tired now. See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What's In A Name?

I liked Pride And Glory better when it was called We Own The Night.

I liked Sex Drive better when it was called Superbad.

I liked Max Payne better when it was called Every Other Movie Where Guns Go Off And Stuff Blows Up.

I liked The Secret Life Of Bees better when it was just a book that I never had to even hear about.

How Do You Say "Start Floyd CD Now" In Turkish?

This is too strange not to share with the world.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Drinking Quarantinis

Well, how about that? Quarantine was actually decent. I was fully expecting it to suck and it didn't. Well, I didn't expect it to suck with the full on certainty I felt for An American Carol or Beverly Hills Chihuahua but the ads had so many horror movie cliches in it that I didn't see the movie rising above them. But it did.

This is one of those Found Footage movies like Blair With Project and Cloverfield where the whole movie is told from the point of view of someone's video camera (in this case, the camera of a news crew involved in the movie's events). One thing that really surprised me was that the movie had recognizable actors, unlike the other two movies I mentioned that had a cast of unknowns. No superstars, mind you, but it had Jennifer Carpenter who played the title character in The Exorcism of Emily Rose and sister of the title character in Dexter. You also had Jay Hernandez from World Trade Center, Dania Ramirez from Heroes and Greg Germann who does so many character parts in movies and television that you'll immediately recognize him as "That Guy From That Thing I Once Saw."

Mind you, the movie has its share of Teh Dum. Dumbness kicks in early and often but the movie is so good at slowly building the sense of Inevitable Terror And Doom that you overlook the stupid parts and enjoy the movie anyway. Here is a little Inside Review Edition (very minor spoilers included, nothing most people couldn't see coming) of Things I've Learned From Watching Movies:
  • A rundown, dirty third floor walkup is an excellent place for advanced biological research.
  • When someone has been infected with some godawful virus that makes them turn homicidal, the best way to protect yourself is to put the infected person behind some flimsy glass doors.
  • When you're trapped in a house full of crazy people, you should leave the relative safety of your firmly barricaded room so you can run to the other end of a dark house, thus making it easier for the crazy people to get you.
  • If you've seen many bodies that appeared to be dead yet later turned out not to be, you should have no fear of hanging out next to what appears to be a dead body.
  • When you are in a room with a monster that would want to eat you even if you hadn't just drilled a hole into its head, feel free to turn your back and ignore it.

I could have gone on but, as I said, the dumb stuff can be tolerated and it gives those people who like to yell, "DON'T GO IN THAT ROOM," something to do.

I don't really need to go much more into the plot, do I? You've all seen the ads about plucky reporter Angela Vidal (Carpenter) who picks the wrong night to do a ride-along with the Fire Department and ends up being forcibly quarantined in a house with people who've been driven crazy by some unknown infection. The nature and origin of the infection are revealed but they're also totally unimportant to the plot. It could have been anything. I do want to suggest Jennifer Carpenter for an Oscar nomination this year, mainly for a 15 minute sequence in which she hyperventilates non-stop. I don't know how she did that without passing out and I'd like to see Meryl Streep try to do something like that.

So, not much left to say except go see Quarantine. It should still be in theaters come Halloween and you can try to convince your friends to see this instead of Saw V, a movie that's part of a franchise that, in my mind, is proof that God does not exist.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Just Wanted To Say

When I wrote this yesterday:
First, I want to predict that, this weekend when SNL does a sketch about Tuesday's debate, they'll have Obama saying nice things about William Ayers.

Since there was a special Thursday edition of SNL, I don't have to wait till Sunday to say CALLED IT!

Around the halfway mark is the part written by SNL staff writers Michelle Malkin, Larry Johnson and Ace of Spades. Too bad since it was a reasonably funny sketch otherwise.

Until we next meet, I shall honor another famously crappy SNL sketch by saying... Buh Bye.


I would like to announce that, after a thorough investigation run by me, I have been cleared of of ever having jacked off while staring at a picture of Angelina Jolie.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


With the topic of agenda driven comedy on my mind, I once again bring up the topic of television, something that was originally a product of the worlds of stage and cinema. In this case, stage and cinema are like two first cousins and television is the product of an incestuous union they had back in the 1940s after they had a few beers and promised each other that it wouldn't get past first base.* The mildly retarded result of all this that they named Television usually puts of crap you'd expect someone mildly retarded to put out like Different Strokes or American Idol but occasionally surprises you by showing you something like The Prisoner or Mystery Science Theater 3000.**

One of the best examples of both the best and worst that television has to offer is Saturday Night Live, now entering what I think is its 33rd year. Every time you think this show is dead, something shocks its system and it rides that shock for a few more years. About three or four years ago, the shock came in the form of a video in which Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell rapped about going to see the Narnia movie. This video was one of the first big YouTube hits and, thanks to YouTube, SNL's ratings went way up. NBC thanked YouTube for this by ordering them to remove the video from their servers so that NBC could show it on their website, thus giving YouTube a kick in it virtual nuts from NBC's cyber shoe, but that's a topic for another day.

Currently, the life giving jolt is coming from Tina Fey's impression of Sarah Palin. Her spot-on impression is giving SNL its best ratings in years but it also presented a problem. The skewering they were giving to Sarah Palin was so effective that conservatives complained. This caused Lorne Michaels and the SNL crew to set out on a quest for balance, a quest which has resulted in one lame sketch and one sketch that is so thuddingly unfunny that, if it were water, you would refuse to drink it even if you had just stepped out of the desert. First, the lame one:

If you didn't feel like watching all of that, it's mildly funny except when they have Obama say things like he'll give a tax cut to the Chicago City Council and Tony Rezko and when they make allusions to some sort of affair between Obama and Scarlett Johansson, something I know isn't true because he doesn't have a perpetual smile on his face. It's not just me. The audience lets out what are at the most mild chuckles when these "jokes" are told. Now for the thuddingly unfunny one:

It starts with some promise but in this case the promise is a football, SNL is Lucy and you are Charlie Brown getting the football pulled away from him at the last moment when they start talking about George Soros. The fact that they're talking about subjects like Rezko and George Soros tells me that Lorne Michaels has hired the comments section at to write comedy for him.

To find any of that funny, you have to believe Barack Obama didn't just know the recently convicted Tony Rezko but was also part of his criminal dealings. Also, apparently, you also have to believe that Obama is so powerful and brilliant that he was able to scrub away and and all evidence of his crimes. Most of you probably don't even know who the hell Tony Rezko is and the same probably goes for George Soros. For those of you who don't know, Soros is a billionaire who strongly supports Democrats as well as progressive causes. For this reason, the right wing has for years tried to transform him into some sort of Sith Lord who secretly runs the Democratic Party and that's the image of George Soros you see in this sketch. The problem with this and the reason that none of it is funny is that it's all based on bullshit. The Sarah Palin sketches are funny because Sarah Palin really does say and do dumb things. In fact, some parts of those sketches are actually quoted verbatim from things that Sarah Palin said. On the other hand, Obama has never had any criminal dealings with Tony Rezko and George Soros is not Palpatine to the Democrats' Darth Vader. At least, that's how it is in the real world. In Conservative World, it's all absolutely true.

Ok, just two things left to do. First, I want to predict that, this weekend when SNL does a sketch about Tuesday's debate, they'll have Obama saying nice things about William Ayers. Second, I want to offer some proof that I, too, can laugh at Barack Obama by showing how a real comedy show can intelligently make fun of him.

That sound coming out of your mouth is called laughter. I know it sounds strange after watching those two SNL sketches.

*No, this is not first hand knowledge of how these things go, you pervs.

**Not universal favorites, I know, but they're my two top favorite shows ever.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Terrorists Win

This will, hopefully, be the last post I do on An American Carol, a movie that for generations will be held up as an example of incompetent movie making. For years, conservatives have been openly wondering why war profiteers don't use some of the vast wealth they have raised at the cost of American blood to make propaganda movies that will convince Americans to keep the Iraq War going until the Iraqis see the folly of this whole Islam thing and start running television specials about the Liberal War on Christmas. Thus, tens of millions of dollars were loosened from the tight fists of rich conservatives who were assured that Americans would camp out for weeks to buy a ticket for a movie that dared to tell the world that Michael Moore was fat.

So, how'd all that work out? Did the vast movie going public swallow Carol whole and crap out a fortune for its filmmakers? Not only was it beaten out by a Mexican dog but, despite the fact that it opened in over 1600 theaters and had a decent ad budget that made me have to sit through commercials for it every time I watched The Daily Show, it opened at ninth place with a surprising 3.66 million dollar gross. To put that into perspective, Bill Maher's pro-atheist documentary Religulous opened for 3.5 million dollars despite being in only a third as many theaters. To put it into even sharper perspective, give me the ad budget that Carol had and I could get the movie Mike Clear Scratches His Nuts to open at ninth place for 3.66 million dollars.

I'm honestly surprised it didn't open for more. I was figuring it'd open somewhere around 7 million simply because that's usually where heavily pushed conservative films open. A Kirk Cameron movie marketed to the church group audience called Fireproof opened at around that amount last week and still managed to make more than Carol did in its second week.

Well, that's that, right? HA! If you thought that was that, it means you've never read right wing blogs. To my surprise, I've been unable to find anyone trying to spin the ninth place opening into a victorious sign of conservative ascendancy but I have found a couple of examples of right wingers trying to place the blame on something other than the sheer craptitude of the movie itself.

Dirty Harry's Place tried to blame the state of the election. Had John McCain been ahead by 20 points, theaters would still be trying to get the smell of millions of right wing douchebags out of its seats. This, of course, fails to explain why the new Tim Robbins anti-war film The Lucky Ones, something that should appeal to the liberal Obama loving crowd, which opened in limited release this week, managed to gross $183,000, a per screen average of just $425. Again, we're down in Mike Clear Scratches His Nuts territory assuming it had no ad budget but, somehow, I managed to get Tim Robbins to star in it.

My favorite defense, though, comes from a blogger called Little Miss Attila who said this:
Mpower pictures and Vivendi are starting to hear complaints about unorthodox treatment of An American Carol by employees of theaters that are carrying the movie. So far, ten theaters have been implicated in irregularities regarding the handling of this movie in cineplexes and other theaters—particularly as regards ticket sales.

This accusation is based on two pieces of evidence. The first piece is jack, the other, shit. LMA provides no links which would prove she hadn't merely reached up her ass and pulled out a conspiracy theory.
• The theater suggested that the movie was rated R (its true rating is PG-13);

• Posters for the film are not visible inside or outside the theater;

• An American Carol is not on the marquee, even though the movie is playing there;

• The film title not listed behind the clerk in the box office, so you have to ask if that movie is playing at that theater, never mind that you checked on the internet and called in advance (this actually happened to me);

• Showtimes are given on the theater's outgoing message machine for every movie playing except for An American Carol (this is also out of my personal experience: somehow the local four-plex only had showtimes listed on the phoneline for three movies . . . . hm);

• technical oddities: image or focus issues, problems with sound, and the like.

Again, no evidence is supplied to back up any of these accusations, but the sheer numbers of accusations couldn't all be bogus, right? So, there you have it. An American Carol's box office numbers actually rivaled those of The Dark Knight but only 3.66 million dollars of that got reported thanks to a nationwide liberal conspiracy of corporate theater owners.

Also, Mike Clear Scratches His Nuts actually beat out Titanic for top grossing movie of all time but you'd never know because of the massive conspiracy of theater owners to make people think the movie doesn't exist.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Not Quite Infinite

First off, I'm not exactly sure why the movie is called Nick And Norah's Infinite Playlist. I suppose it's meant to have some sort of cute, romantic meaning although at first I suspected it came from some studio head who said to some lackey, "The kids these days, they like all this playlist crapola, right?" However, it turns out to be based on a novel with the same name so we're back to the "cute, romantic meaning" idea.

Anyway, the movie is about a group of New Jersey high school students played by 20 year old Michael Cera, 22 year old Kat Dennings, 24 year old Alexis Dziena* and 25 year old Ari Graynor. Cera is still very baby-faced and can still pull off playing a high school student. Dennings kind of can but the other 2, no way. That goes for everyone else in the cast too. Ari Graynor especially distracted me since Judi Dench looks more like a high school student than she does.

Anyway, Nick (Cera) is depressed over the fact that he was recently dumped by his girlfriend, Tris (Dziena), on his birthday. To try to win her back, he leaves a countless number of pathetic, whiny messages on her voicemail as well as making her several mix CDs. Somehow, this strategy fails to work although the CDs do gain the attention of Norah who absolutely loves this guy's taste in music. Norah and Tris don't get along because, if they did, the movie would be robbed of an important plot device. Really, that's about it. Norah is a vaguely socially awkward tomboy while Tris is a slutty bitchy mean girl queen bee type which sort of gives a reason for their dislike of each other, but their mutual antagonism is never really explained. They hate each other and that's that.

Norah first sees Nick at a New York nightclub where he's playing with his band. Michael Cera has made a career out of playing a nerd who manages to get hot girls to want to have sex with him but, for once, it makes perfect sense. If you're in a band, girls who normally would never give you the time of day will enter into Thunderdome-style death matches for the privilege of sucking your cock. Tris just happens to be at the same club and Norah doesn't want to admit she came there alone so she walks up to Nick and shoves her tongue into his mouth. After this, she discovers that, in a city of 10 million people, the guy she randomly chose to kiss happens to be the ex boyfriend of her rival. Because Tris is a jealous bitch, the fact that she thinks Nick and Norah are now together makes her want Nick back. Another impediment in the budding relationship between Nick and Norah, since in New York City you're bound to run into everyone you know, occurs when they run into Norah's ex boyfriend, a douchebag named Tal. I call him a douchebag because there's nothing about him that doesn't reek of douchebaggery including his wardrobe. Looking at that picture, you know that if you ever met him you'd pass out from the smell of Axe Body Spray.

So, there you go. You can probably predict where the movie goes from there. There are some sideplots about Nick's band and a search for Norah's drunk friend but that's basically stuff to throw in between the "How will Nick and Norah get past the obstacles keeping them apart?" storyline. One of the main obstacles is that they live in one of these Bizarro movie worlds where a beautiful girl like Kat Dennings in considered to be plain and no match for Alexis Dziena.

This movie comes so close to being really good but just can't quite overcome the fact that it's not as clever as the filmmakers think it is. This is one of those movies where 17 and 18 year olds have the sensibilities and worldview of 30 year old standup comedians. It gets a little better toward the end when Nick and Norah spend some time alone in a recording studio owned by her father. A lot of the jokes told in those scenes are actually funny and the sweet, tender scenes are actually sweet and tender but it's really too little, too late at that point.

I don't use a rating system but, if I did, I give it 1000 stars. That, of course, would be 1000 out of an infinite number of stars, which isn't very good.

*Honestly, I hope I never meet this actress as I would have no idea how to pronounce her name. Is the "D" silent? The "Z"? Is it pronounced like "CHA" sound? If I said it wrong, her show business ego may cause her to stab me in the throat.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Carol Burn Net

Just thought I'd point out that, as of this writing, An American Carol has scored a staggering Zero Percent at* Of the revieq quotes up so far, this one from Kevin Carr of &M Pictures is the nicest:
It's neat to see a movie from another point of view... Still, the movie has a message, and that message gets in the way of the comedy at least half of the time

This confirms the prediction I made months ago, that this movie was doomed because it was made to push and agenda and not to entertain. I wonder if the filmmakers are shocked that their "If we get a guy whose last good movie was made 20 years ago to make a movie that preaches the neocon worldview while also finding hundreds of different ways to say that Michael Moore is a fat traitor, we'll score box office gold and guarantee a McCain presidency," has failed to come to fruition.

Personally, I can't wait to see this just to see how big of a trainwreck it is though it may be a while since the closest showing is 50 miles away and driving 50 miles is now a major investment thanks partly to the right wing agenda that is preached by this movie. Is that irony or a paradox? I always get those two confused.

*This statistic could change as more reviews come in.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Right Wing Movie Reviews -- Eagle Eye

From time to time, I'm contacted by right wing blogger Gotterdamerung of the site who often perceives some sort of left wing bias in my work that he feels must be balanced by his own opinions. I usually don't know what he's talking about as his targets are usually not something political such as my posts about An American Carol but rather reviews that had little to no political content at all. Still, I don't want anyone saying I'm against balance so here, once again, is Gotterdamerung.

Hi all, Gotterdamerung here. It's been a depressing few weeks for conservatives but that, for the moment at least, has passed. The reason I'm at least a little bit chipper is because of a wonderful new movie that clearly is meant to advance the conservative cause called Eagle Eye. The film was poorly reviewed by liberal film critics (and you know that they're liberals because they're film critics HA! that never gets old) who, while failing to pick up directly on its symbolic political content, did manage to instinctively sense that they should trash what, in future years, will be considered to be the greatest and most influential film of its time. Even An American Carol, which I love even though I haven't seen it, won't be as highly regarded as Eagle Eye. This movie will put John McCain into office and, after his heart explodes shortly after Inauguration Day, we will be led to a right wing utopia by Sarah Palin.

In order to become a hit, its true intentions had to be hidden by symbolism so when we first meet Jerry Shaw (played by the Marlon Brando of his generation, Shia Lebeouf) it takes a while to figure out that he is supposed to symbolize John McCain. Jerry has quit school to work some low paying job as a cashier. Why? Because he's a maverick, that's why, and that's what mavericks do. Jerry is framed by a mysterious conspiracy in much the same way that McCain is framed by the liberal media and no, I can't explain what the hell that means but that's because only some godless homosexual liberal would even think of asking that question. I do know that the conspiracy represents Barack Obama because I just do so shut the fuck up.

Fortunately, McCain is not alone and gets help from Sarah Palin, represented here by a character named Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan). Rachel chooses not to attend a concert that her son's school band will be giving for the President of the United States. Why would she skip that concert? Because that's what the elite media punditry would never expect her to do and, by doing so, she's able to say, "Take that, you elitist prigs!" Rachel is also contacted by Barack Obama/Conspiracy Voice and is told that her son will be killed if she doesn't do exactly what she's told. Can you imagine that? Barack Obama actually threatened to kill her child? How can America vote for someone who would threaten violence against an innocent child like that?

Jerry/McCain and Rachel/Palin eventually discover that the Obama/Conspiracy Voice is trying to assassinate the President. Wow, Obama wants to kill George W. Bush. Good Lord, America, why is this monster ahead in the polls? You should be ashamed of yourselves. Anyway, Obama meticulously controls McCain and Palin with his cold, elitist logic but is eventually defeated when McCain and Palin abandon logic and instead commit erratic, desperate, maverick acts like firing off a gun in the middle of the Capitol Building. This maverick strategy saves the day and the McCain and Palin characters end up having hot sex in much the same way that the real McCain and Palin will have hot sex with the country once they are elected.

On Friday, I intend to make Eagle Eye part of a double feature with An American Carol. If everyone does that and just wishes hard enough, not only will John McCain and Sarah Palin be sworn into office come January 2009 but they will do so in front of the new Republican Congressional Majorities of both the House and the Senate. When that happens, we can get rid of all the damn restrictive banking regulations that caused the current financial crisis and create a Conservative Heaven On Earth where everyone acts white and no, that's not racist. Why is not racist? Only a racist would ask that question.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Honestly, when I figured I'd write a review today of the movie I saw on Monday, I couldn't remember what the hell I'd seen. I knew I'd gone to the movies. I remembered I had a medium Diet Coke* and a small popcorn. Hell, I remember they had ads in the beginning for Knight Rider but I couldn't remember the movie itself. I had to look up and see what was playing and that was when it all came coming back. Apparently, in an act of self preservation, my brain had blotted out the weak, characterless chin of Shia LaBeouf, the stupid dialogue, the plot device ripped off from 2001: A Space Odyssey and the plot where the scenes were apparently put together at random. I had suppressed Eagle Eye but now it was out.

Our story begins, and I want to point out that the word "story" is used very loosely here, in some generic Middle Eastern country with some generic Middle Eastern guy who may or may not be some fictional terrorist leader. The President and various advisers decide to ignore the recommendations to abort the mission and kill the guy and THEN...

Well, then a whole new movie starts and we're suddenly in America watching Shia's character loser character Jerry Shaw. I have no idea why Jerry Shaw is a loser other than it is extremely convenient for the movie's plot that he is. When his twin brother dies and he returns home for the funeral, we're told that he is estranged from his father due to the fact that he quit an Ivy League college to live some slacker existence as a low paid employee in a copy store. Again, we never really find out WHY THE HELL HE CHOSE TO DO SUCH A STUPID THING but we do find out that the events in the movie would never have occurred had he not done these things. Anyway, one day Jerry finds that his bank account mysteriously contains hundreds of thousands of dollars and his apartment is mysteriously filled with terrorist equipment like ammonium nitrate, high powered rifles and various other sundries that look like they came directly from the Tim McVeigh Gift Catalogue. Jerry then gets a phone call from a woman telling him to get out of his apartment before the FBI arrests him. Instead of leaving, he stands around and scratches his balls while the FBI breaks down the door and arrests him.

While all this is going on, we also meet Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan). It turns out her young son is going to Washington because his school band has won the opportunity to play the National Anthem at the President's State of the Union Address. It turns out, though, that Rachel will have to miss this so she can stay home and do whatever the hell is is she does. I want to say this again with some emphasis. Rachel DECIDES TO STAY HOME and skip seeing her son PERFORMING WITH HIS BAND FOR THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. She does this insane act for the same reason Jerry threw away his promising existence; because it was convenient for the plot. Had Rachel done what any other mother on the planet would have done, the movie would have ended right there. Although Rachel has no time to see her son live out a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, she does have loads of free time to go out drinking with her friends and that's where she gets a phone call from the same woman who called Jerry saying that her son would die if she didn't do exactly what she was told. Deciding not to skip this part of her son's life too, she agrees.

We then get to see the female voice on the phone arrange for Jerry to be able to jump out of a 5 story window onto train tracks and survive and then meet up with Rachel for a fun trip across the country to do something unbelievable. When I say "unbelievable" I mean for unbelievable than quitting your promising future to become a clerk and skipping your son performing at the nation's capitol which means we're into "unicorns are real" territory. Without going too far into spoiler territory, I will say that we meet someone or something that can engineer the massive frameup on Jerry, derail the train that Rachel's son is on, make trains back up and stoplights turn green, track anyone from anywhere on the planet, literally move billions of dollars around, cause power lines to overload and come apart on top of people and launch missiles at will yet he/she/it needs Jerry Shaw to come to his/her/its headquarters and push a button in order for the movie's evil plan to come to fruition.

This movie made my head hurt though it is the type of movie where you can safely go to the bathroom or get a soda refill in the middle and not worry that the plot won't make sense to you when you come back because the plot never makes any sense. Did I mention that Billy Bob Thornton and Rosario Dawson, two of my favorite actors, are in this? No, I didn't, and that's because they add absolutely nothing to the movie. Billy Bob in years to come will probably get pissed in years to come when you mention he was in this movie the same way he gets mad when you mention that he was in Armageddon. He probably did this to pay for yachts and whores and yachts and whores aren't cheap, at least the good ones aren't, so I'll let it slide that he was in this.

I wonder if Nights in Rodanthe was better than this. I'm pretty sure that the Richard Gere/Diane Lane romance pic didn't contain a scene where the President is going to be killed by a murderous trumpet (and no, I did not make that up) which places it light years ahead of Eagle Eye.

*Product placement money will be gratefully accepted.