Thursday, April 30, 2009

Days Of Swine And Roses

Okay Hollywood, this is my latest attempt to crash your gate, infiltrate your ranks, crawl up your ass and ensconce myself next to your prostate. I'm sure many of you remember a movie made three years ago that remains an internationally recognized classic called Fatal Contact: Bird Flu In America. It was possibly the most influential movie about influenza ever made. (Cool wordplay, eh? Took 17 hours of work to come up with that). My goal today is to top that cinematic achievement. I present to you now my pitch for what is sure to be next year's top grossing movie/Oscar winner:


We open on some Mexican pig farm as some adorable little kid is playing in a barn or whatever the hell kind of building the Mexicans use to raise pigs. Out of nowhere, a pig with glowing red eyes jumps out of the shadows and bites him. As the boy's wound is tended to by his mother, the pig is loaded onto a truck along with several other pigs. As the truck's doors close, a sign on the back reads, "DESTINATION: U.S.A."

We cut to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia (which will bear a startling resemblance to Los Angeles) where me meet Dr. Chuck Maxwell, a devastatingly good looking infectious disease specialist with a reputation as a renegade who sometimes breaks the rules. (Depending on the budget, he'll either be played by Gerard Butler or that McDreamy guy from Gray's Anatomy). Maxwell rides his Harley right into the CDC's lobby just as his boss, some stick-up-the-ass old guy, is giving a tour to some stick-up-the-ass old guy from Congress who wants to cut the CDC's budget. The boss wants to fire Maxwell on the spot but Chuck says, "Before I pack my desk, you might want to take a look at this," and tosses him a file. Inside we see pictures of the little Mexican boy from the pig farm who Maxwell says has contracted a previously unseen strain of swine flu. The boss tells Maxwell he can go investigate but he must take along a partner. Maxwell at first insists that he always works alone but is then introduced to his new partner, recent CDC hire Dr. Laura Madison (Kate Beckinsale if the budget allows, any girl who ever posed for Maxim if it doesn't). After making several misogynistic comments about how chicks can't do science and that he'd like to take her somewhere and put his test tube into her autoclave, she emasculates him with some sort of really smart disease comment and they head out to Mexico.

We cut to the pig truck stopping for gas. As ominous music plays, the red eyed pig starts biting other pigs. The driver hears something going but, just before he opens the door, all grows quiet. He's behind schedule so he lets the situation drop and gets back on the road toward his final destination, Los Angeles.

Chuck and Laura are now in a Mexican hospital that is treating several cases of the new swine flu strain. The boy from the pig farm tells them how one of the pigs bit him before he got sick then he dies. Very sad. We jump to a hotel where Chuck and Laura are staying. Laura is taking a shower when Chuck just walks in and informs her that the farm has been shut down then asks if she needs someone to wash her back. He is informed that, if she did, he certainly would not be the one she would ask. Chuck sports a cocky smile and swaggers out of the bathroom saying, "She wants me."

She apparently does because she wears a sexy, low-cut dress to dinner that night, they flirt, she says something like, "I can't believe this was contained so easily," they flirt some more and we cut to Chuck's hotel room where they come crashing in and start ripping each others clothes off. When they're done, their rapturous afterglow is disrupted by a phone call where they are informed that a truckload of pigs went out before the farm was shut down. Chuck says, "Oh...dear...GOD!"

We cut to the pig truck driving through the desert only a few miles from L.A. The truck is suddenly surrounded by helicopters and police vehicles. Chuck's boss is there in one of those air tight germ suits and ignores Chuck's warning to proceed with caution. "Listen Maxwell, I've been doing this for longer than you've been a doctor. OPEN THE TRUCK." When the truck is opened, a pack of crazed, red eyed pigs come charging out and attacking everybody. Chuck can hear this from the airplane phone he was speaking on. Blood is flying everywhere as the diseased pigs go on a rampage. The police open fire and kill all the pigs. Chuck is screaming into the phone that they must quickly secure the corpses into airtight containers but, by the time anyone listens to him, it's too late. Massive amounts of gas begin leaking out of the pig corpses and form into one massive cloud of swine flu. Someone points out that the prevailing trade winds will bring that death cloud right into Los Angeles.

Chuck and Laura figure out that the cloud can be rendered inert by sprinkling it with...oh hell, I don't know...Mrs. Dash Cajun Seasoning? Yeah, that or something else that would make an awesome product placement. They gather up truckloads of the stuff but someone will have to fly into the cloud to deliver it. Chuck kisses Laura and runs to the helicopter containing the Mrs. Dash. He flies into the cloud and the swine flu gas begins seeping in. Just before it gets to him, he releases his payload and the whole thing dissolves around him.

Chuck lands and meets up with his boss who informs him that he's crazy, reckless and irresponsible...and also the best damn doctor the CDC has ever seen. Chuck spouts some cheesy monologue about how technology is bad and then fucks Laura again which, ultimately, shows you that he's the hero.

And there you have it. I imagine I'll be quite the hot property once this script gets optioned which means this'll be the last time I'll ever have to write one of these stupid posts. Yay!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I'm A Twit

You may have thought you were going to read something today called "Swine Flu -- The Movie." If you logged on earlier or have a RSS Reader you may have seen a post with that headline along with an incomprehensible single paragraph. That's actually an incomplete rough draft of something that will have to wait a day or two as I got busy with errands and work and couldn't give it the love it deserves. Instead of that, I give you filler. I use this thing that the kids like to call "The Twitter" so I thought I'd regale you with some of the genius that is I condensed to 140 characters. One awesome thing in my life directly attributable to Twitter: I won a contest held by Neal Gaiman and won a personally autographed copy of The Graveyard Book.

When BBC America presents us with such scintillating titles as "Hotel Inspector" how can we NOT watch? 3:49 PM Apr 23rd from web

I've always known when to take cake out of the oven. It's the lame end of the superpower scale but I'll take what I can get. 6:29 AM Apr 24th from web

Youtube is promoting the fact that they have full movies like Harvard Man and Blue Juice online, I assume because they hate the world. 4:02 PM Apr 24th from web

Blue Juice's IMDB page: "Will he stay with her and run a surfer coffee shop or travel around the world without her?" That screams quality. 4:04 PM Apr 24th from web

Why is it we can put a man on the Moon yet I'm not allowed to spy on women while they shower? 5:28 PM Apr 24th from web

So now we're all going to die of swine flu? Odd, since I thought we had all already died of bird flu. 4:36 PM Apr 25th from web

How many times in the last decade has the media crapped its pants and screamed "pandemic" about a perfectly manageable situation? 4:40 PM Apr 25th from web

I wonder if we'll get another crap made for TV movie out of this. 4:46 PM Apr 25th from web

This will be my 350th tweet. If you write it like this "3-50" it makes me very sad since my parents were killed on March the 50th. 7:21 AM Apr 26th from web

Fact: Bea Arthur was healthy till she ate her last meal: Pork Chops. Coincidence? And why is the media covering this up? April 27th from TweetDeck

Good night all. Please note I've already established Bartertown for when swine flu destroys society. about 23 hours ago from TweetDeck

Hey all. I see my Twitter friend PgFker69 passed away overnight. I wonder what killed him. 6 AM April 28th from TweetDeck

Which insurance company do the people on #House use? House says "Let's do MRIs on every molecule" and their HMOs say nothing. 10 AM April 27th from TweetDeck

The pitch: A show called Glee where students try to improve their circumstances by singing 20 year old songs. 10:15 AM April 28th from TweetDeck

I just can't figure out what else was in that pitch. Maybe "Greenlight the show and I'll return your kidnapped son." 10:17 AM April 28th from TweetDeck

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Girl Gone Wild

I was expecting Obsessed to be something that had dredged itself up from the lowest point of Hell's Ninth Circle and splashed its unholy slimy self all over this planet's movie screens. Instead, what I got was something at least a few levels above that, maybe as high up as the Fifth Circle (this is supposedly where the slothful end up so that really makes no sense but let's just go with it).

Obsessed is yet another one of those DA BITCH BE KRAZY movies in which a woman who appears perfectly normal makes sexual advances on some poor, innocent man. The advances are rebuffed (if not at first then eventually) and that's when you find out that DA BITCH BE KRAZY and she does things like vandalize property, kill house pets, and eventually provoke a violent confrontation in which DA KRAZY BITCH (DKB) is finally put down.

In the case, said bitch is played by Ali Larter. She's perfect for this role because DKB is always smoking hot. DKB is also always supremely competent at anything she happens to be doing that doesn't involve her love life, an aspect when Ali Larter's Lisa (DKB) is hired as a temp to fill for an executive assistant who is out sick. Her boss, Derek (Idris Elba)*, quickly concludes that she is better at the job after one day than his regular assistant is. She's also extremely friendly and always makes a point of adjusting her skirt when Derek is watching. Resisting this sexy temp isn't really too much of a problem for Derek though since his wife, Sharon, strongly resembles Beyonce Knowles which is probably why they cast Beyonce Knowles to play her.

That pretty much sums up the movie's first act. Derek is a good man who is faithful to his wife. Lisa is a beautiful woman who is clearly attracted to Derek yet is also presented as someone intelligent and mature enough to recognize that he is in love with his wife and not at all responsive to her subtle flirtations. Her proper response would be to give up and look for love somewhere else but she can't do this because...yeah, you got it...DA BITCH BE KRAZY. The first bit of insanity comes at the office Christmas party when she attempts a very aggressive seduction in the office men's room. She gets into his car later, at first trying to apologize before she opens her coat to reveal that she's in her underwear. It escalates from there in terms of madness on Lisa's part and the intensity of her threats against Derek.

There are two things that, for me, elevate this movie slightly above the level of unwatchable crap. One is a realistic plot point in which Derek's male coworkers think it's funny that the biggest problem in his life is that a gorgeous woman's biggest goal in life is to wrap her lips around his penis and his frustration when he encounters that attitude. The other in a very cool line Beyonce delivers toward the end when she finds Lisa in her house. I won't reveal it here but when I heard it I thought, "Oh THAT'S why Beyonce agreed to be in this movie. So she could say that line."

All in all, though, it's the same DBBK misogynistic plot you've seen dozens of times since Fatal Attraction came out in which the greatest threat a man can face is a beautiful, intelligent woman. At least in this case, Derek had an even more beautiful and intelligent woman. Remember men, this could happen to you.

*I was going to describe Derek's job here but I honestly can't remember what the hell it is he does. It's one of those generic movie jobs where guy in suits sit around in an office discussing accounts. Could be advertising, could be finance, hell it could they publish neo-Nazi pamphlets. I really can't say.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Almost Home

Still not home so I really only have time for this:

If you've ever asked yourself the question, "Am I a rightwing nut?" just read the opening sentence of John Nolte's review of the movie Earth.
Anyone who’s figured out that Global Warming is socialism disguised as nonsense will immediately understand why DisneyNature’s “Earth” was dropped into theatres and aimed at your children on Earth Day.
If you thought that was not the paranoid ranting of someone who thinks that Barack Obama, George Soros and Sean Penn all meet up regularly in their hollowed out volcano fortress where fake footage of melting glaciers is produced and thermometers designed to show that the temperature is ten degrees hotter than it actually is are manufactured then you are a rightwing nut.

The More You Know...

Friday, April 24, 2009

If It's Friday, It Must Be...

...time for another collection of brief observations, something made necessary by the fact that I'm still on the road.


Once again, it has become necessary for me to point out to some brain damage case that 24 is a work of fiction and that Jack Bauer only exists on television and in the homoerotic fantasies of guys like Greg Gutfeld. And yeah, you didn't mention it by name but who did you think you were fooling when you wrote this?
Fact: if a loved one is going to be killed in 24 hours, and an agent is holding someone with knowledge that could save him - you sure as hell want that agent to have every option at his disposal. Imagine if he said, “well, the suspect didn’t tell us anything. We asked him and asked him, and he still said nothing. We did all we could do. Sorry about your dad.”
Fact: It's a sign of a diseased mind to follow the word "Fact" with fictional scenarios that don't happen outside of movies and television. Also, if you really feel this way...
So a lot of media types have been making grand pronouncements on the topic of torture - the gist being: this is America, and America doesn’t torture.

If so, then I’m not sure I want to be part of that America.
...then I'm sure there are many other countries that are aching to welcome a rightwing douchebag who depends on wingnut welfare payments from Rupert Murdoch and Andrew Breitbart to make a living. Love it or leave it, dude.


When BBC America offers its U.S. audience programs with such scintillating titles as Hotel Inspector, how the hell can we NOT watch?


Awesome, a movie where Channing Tatum plays a tank top wearing street kid trying to change his circumstances by the benefit of some unusual talent. It's been nearly six months since we've had one of those.


And finally, here's something to make your weekend a little more depressing to which I shall simply add:


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Just A Few More Things

I'm very busy here in my super cool, high flying world but I can still find time to make some brief observations.


The new Star Trek movie is getting some decent reviews which is good news since it will at least help to silence the idiots who've been screaming, "YOU'VE DESTROYED MY CHILDHOOD," ever since this movie was announced. Even if this movie ends up sucking, it's existence does not affect the existence of the 40 year old television series. People can pick up the DVDs anytime they want to and watch William Shatner deliver corny dialogue in his often mocked speaking style that somehow convinced futuristic women with their beehive hairdos that they must rip their panties off and do him right there. (Wow, that sounds especially bad considering I'm a fan of Star Trek. I wonder how it's described by people who hate it.)


Most of the critics get it that Seven Pounds blows
yet since the DVD came out I've had to deal with people who tell me they liked it. As I said back in December, this is not a Wonderful Character Study or One Man's Quest To Find Redemption. Seven Pounds is about a man who was driven insane by a personal tragedy and then hatched an insane plan because that's what insane people do. There were some interesting and moving moments but, ultimately, it had the same entertainment level as a blackout (which are exciting at first then quickly get boring and frustrating).


I'm sure you are all as shocked as I am that the Pulitzer Prize committee chose to snub me and this blog. I'm wondering if it was my overuse of the word "douchebag" or the sometimes graphic descriptions of things I'd like to do to Scarlett Johannson that ultimately turned them off. Oh well, I have a whole year to convince those douchebags to change their...crap.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Over There

I find I have a few thoughts and observations that mainly concern England. You Americans may know England as yet another one of those countries you can't find on a map.


On behalf of my country, I apologoze for the fact that so many of us still think Benny Hill is the end all-be all of British humor.


Only four episodes of Doctor Who this year? Screw you, England! What you should have done was put out all four of those episodes in the same week then started the next series a month later. How would you like it if we only put out four episodes of Two And A Half Men this year...never mind.

Also, in the last episode, Planet of the Dead, you had Michelle Ryan on and didn't have her strip to her underwear and do a gratuitous shower scene. Oh, wait, does this make me look creepy?


It's odd how two countries, even when they share a language, can have such thoroughly different tastes. A good example is the phenomenon of Susan Boyle. In America, we think she possesses Jessica Alba levels of hotness while her voice sounds like a cat in bag being hit against a wall. However, I understand the British have a completely different opinion of her. Oh well, at least we all hate the French.

Monday, April 20, 2009


It's good that State of Play came out the same week as 17 Again. The Zac Efron flick basically acted as a giant vacuum sucking out the same audience that went to see Twilight. This means State of Play was emptied of kids yelling, "FAG!" and texting each other non stop and instead was filled with people who actually do things like pay taxes and get excited at the thought of going bowling.

Perhaps this pleasant atmosphere put me in a generous mood since I wasn't expecting much going into the movie and actually ended up enjoying it. It's been a while since I've seen a decent movie about intelligent adults engaged in political intrigue and, while it has a few too many twists and turns, I didn't really see them coming. Last King of Scotland director Kevin Macdonald actually lets the characters and story set the movie's mysterious and dangerous atmosphere instead of doing what most movies and television do these days and just shoot everything in dark, atmospheric lighting.

The movie opens with the worst purse snatching ever as the thief seems almost determined to trip over everything in his path. When he finally gets a moment of peace, it is rudely interrupted by his murder. We cut to a subway platform and meet a pretty young woman named Sonja Baker who also ends up dead by being smacked in the face by a subway train but whether she jumped or was pushed is a matter of some debate.

This is where we meet Cal McAffrey (Russell Crowe), a reporter for the fictional Washington Globe, and Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck), a Congressman for the fictional Congress that aggressively investigates things like corporate wrongdoing. Cal goes to cover the purse snatching murder for his paper and also ends up looking into the Sonja Baker death due to the fact that she worked for his old friend, Congressman Collins and boy howdy, who would have thought the two deaths were connected? It turns out that Collins was cheating on his wife with Sonja Baker but I suppose he was due an affair since his wife had once cheated on him with his old pal, Cal McAffrey. Injecting herself into this Washington soap opera is Della Frye (Rachel McAdams), a blogger for the Globe's online edition who's instantly hated by Cal because she's a blogger and he's a Luddite who thinks a story is only worthwhile if people have to wash the newsprint off their hands after they read it even though the newspaper industry, even in this movie, is going the way of the dodo. You can tell Della is a reporter because she wears the same clothes that female reporters in movies have been wearing for decades (ruffled blouse with a vest and a calf long skirt that says, "No, you cannot screw me.")

In addition to routinely rocking his world and believing him when he says that oh yeah he's DEFINITELY planning to leave his wife, it turns out that Sonja Baker was the lead researcher for Collins investigation of Powercorp, a Blackwater-type company that supplies security personnel to the military and seems to exclusively employ thugs who are compensated by being allowed to commit atrocities in foreign countries. Cal discovers that her number was on the cell phone of the murdered purse snatcher which leads to...well, that's enough of the plot. As I said, the movie I think has a few too many twists, turns and surprises but it'll still be fun to discover them for yourself.

I do want to mention yet another great performance from Jason Bateman who plays Dominic Foy, a corrupt P.R. man who turns out to have key information to the whole case. Bateman is one of the movie industry's most underrated actors, a fact made obvious when he's onscreen with both Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck and manages to outact them both. This reminds me of the last time Bateman and Affleck were onscreen together in a dumb ensemble crime piece called Smokin' Aces, a movie I remember almost solely for Jason Bateman's character. I like Jason Bateman so much I'm not even going to make fun of a movie he's making with Jennifer Aniston called The Baster whose IMDB profile goes like this:
An unmarried 40-year-old woman turns to a turkey baster in order to become pregnant. Seven years later, she reunites with her best friend, who has been living with a secret: he replaced her preferred sperm sample with his own.
Yeah...okay...I'm sure that'll be...what's the word...good? I'll just go ahead and copy the, "a movie I remember solely for Jason Bateman's character," line now so I can paste it in when I review that movie.

Anyway, this isn't a great movie but it's portrayal of Crowe as a man whose only real asset in life is his dedication to the ideals of a job that he may not have much longer so yes, go see it unless you feel you will not have truly lived unless you watch Zac Efron do the Hammer dance.

On an unrelated note, I'll be out of town for a bit and not sure if I'll have computer access or time to write. If I manage to find both, there'll be something new on Wednesday. If not see you next week.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Things I've Learned From Watching Movies Part 67

It turns out that 50% of Vatican City is made up of religious and scholarly types while the other 50% consists of major league badasses.

Friday, April 17, 2009

So Random

Just have a few random thoughts today as we swing into the weekend.

I really have to wonder what sort of pitch was used to convince studio executives to spend millions of dollars of their company's money in order to make a movie that could be summarized like this:
Two friends and business partners find their lives turned upside down when strange circumstances lead to them being placed in the care of 7-year-old twins.
I can only imagine copious amounts of alcohol mixed with some sort of animal tranquilizer/cough syrup/herbal laxative concoction along with the most bendable prostitutes currently working in the Hollywood area had something to do with it. I'd hate to think some corporate money man actually read the script and ran out to his co-workers screaming, "YES, YES, PRODUCING THIS MOVIE IS WHAT I WANT MY LEGACY TO BE."


17 Again is getting better reviews than I would have expected. I am truly and thoroughly rooting for this film's failure since, if it's a hit, it will revive the execrable fad of movies where an adult switches bodies with a teenager. Sure, that particular trend produced Big with Tom Hanks. We also got 18 Again with George Burns and Dream A Little Dream in which Jason Robards changed bodies with Corey Freaking Feldman. Movies like that in which the old guy becomes young always have the scene where the old guy teaches the young whippersnappers some sort of song or dance from his youth which is always perceived as being cooler than anything happening today, something that seems likely this time around since the commercial has Zac Efron doing the Hammer dance. I have no idea if that's well received by the movie's other characters but if it takes the path of realism and Efron's character gets mercilessly ridiculed, I will at least have a measure of respect for this movie.


I wonder which will be the worst movie coming out on May 1, Wolverine or Matthew McConaughey's Dickens ripoff Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. Normally I'd go with the dumb action movie over the dumb comedy since even the worst action films can have a few halfway decent stunts or special effects scenes whereas a bad comedy can make you long for the sweet, merciful embrace of death. This time, however, I just really don't like the look of Wolverine. Oh well, something to look forward to.


I was thinking the other day about one of the first porn films I ever saw. Damned if I can remember the name of it and, really, does it matter? However, it did have one memorable scene where a female spy was trying to pass along some sort of sensitive information to her male counterpart. After she did so, the guy said, "Okay, that's done, now come down here and give me head." The woman at first was revolted by that but then the guy said, "Shut up. We both know I couldn't stop you if I tried," and, sure enough, he was right and she blew him. To this day, I find it an awesome concept that there's a woman out there who so absolutely MUST suck a dick that no attempt a man made to stop her would be successful. It's truly genius filmmaking. I could try to track it down and watch it again but it would probably be like the time I saw Buckaroo Bonzai ten years after it came out. I loved it when I first saw it but, ten years later, I thought it sucked harder than the female spy did in that movie. No, better to just leave my memories intact.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


There is a very annoying word that Hollywood conservatives insist on uttering over and over again. That word is "blacklist". The scenario is that Hollywood is controlled by Evil Communist Fascist Muslim Nazi Liberals who make damn sure that no one to the right of Chairman Mao ever gets to work in show business. I assume this is done by teams of leftist operatives constantly combing coffee shops and night clubs in the L.A. area and approaching aspiring actors/directors/whatever to casually ask them their views on issues like taxation and school choice. If they say anything like, "Golly, never put that much thought to it. I suppose people who work hard for their money should be allowed to keep it," then BAM! they're waiting table for the rest of their freaking lives thinking to themselves, "My audition for the role of Seth Rogen's drinking buddy was brilliant. I know the director was impressed by how I could fart and puke at will. Why didn't they cast me?"

It's been a few weeks since I first wrote about and, frankly, I'd almost forgotten it existed. I couldn't tell you why I looked it up today. Maybe I sensed that something there would annoy me which would mean I was in a mood to be annoyed. I never realized I was a masochist, but that's a subject for another day. Anyway, sure enough, I look down their front page and see the dreaded B-Word.
Just posting on Facebook prompts fear in some, “Will this cost me work?” Imagine how Ron Silver felt before he gave his speech in 2004 supporting President George W. Bush...

"After I made that speech … Hollywood and Broadway dried up on me," Silver told radio station magnate William O’Shaughnessy. "The phone stopped ringing . . . nada . . . not a thing."
Let me qualify this by saying I hate to speak ill of the dead, especially when "the dead" in question is Ron Silver. He was a special talent who is missed by me and the rest of the world. That being said...

OH COME ON! Seriously? Ron Silver got blacklisted? I remember not being able to turn the TV on between 2004 and the day Silver died without seeing him on it. Who would write crap like this? Why that would be Bob Fois, a name that invokes images of absolutely nothing because you've never heard of him before. His Parcbench Profile tells you absolutely nothing about him which makes me think he isn't real. I suspect the folks at Parcbench, instead of actual human writers, use something called Microsoft's Right Wing Bloggetizer 2009. You just punch in whatever subject you want and it automatically starts talking about how liberals, working mainly in the interests of Osama bin Laden, have somehow caused whatever the hell they're talking about to become a threat to America.

If a prominent and talented actor like Ron Silver was the victim of discrimination because of his politics, I suppose I can no longer deny that there is a serious problem of Hollywood conservatives being the victims of leftist bigotry. This has made me nostalgic for the wonderful acting of Ron Silver. I think I'll go check out his IMDB profile to get some ideas for Ron Silver Netflix rentals.

Those of you who clicked that link see the claims made by Bob Fois/Bloggetizer don't hold up to scrutiny. In the 4+ years that spanned his 2004 speech to the date of his death, Ron Silver had around 20 acting jobs in movies and television, including two episodes of Law and Order and ELEVEN damn episodes of The West Wing, a show made by liberal advocate Aaron Sorkin. Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick, don't we all wish we could be victims of a "blacklist" like that? When Silver said his phone stopped ringing, he must have meant he was getting jobs through email and texting.

Oh, but when Silver said, "Hollywood and Broadway dried up on me," maybe he was just focusing on Broadway and mixed in Hollywood by accident. It's true, Silver did not work at all on Broadway after he made that speech. In fact, his last role on the Great White Way was his Tony Award winning role in David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow. If you happened to click that link, you know that his last performance in that play DECEMBER 31, 1988. For the last 20 years of his life, he didn't set foot on a Broadway stage due, I assume, to the fact that theatrical producers somehow knew 16 years in advance that he would someday campaign for a Republican President.

Honestly, I wish a claim of this nature would be made that didn't take me 30 seconds of research to demolish. Fois/Bloggetizer has access to the same internet that I do and he could have easily checked all this garbage before presenting this work of fiction as the ultimate piece of bright, shining evidence that Hollywood is run by mindless liberal automatons who, due to a glitch in their programming, keep insisting on giving jobs to outspoken conservatives like Jon Voight and Kelsey Grammer. Had he lived, you can bet your ass Ron Silver would still be working but that could just be because even the movie business's evil liberal overlords couldn't keep down the guy who set the acting world on fire with brilliant portrayal as the villain in Timecop.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Richard Corliss Is A Dumbass or Observe And Be Stupid

When I wrote yesterday's award winning review of Observe and Report, I said there was more to be written about this movie. Much more, in fact, about one scene in particular.

To recap, Seth Rogen's Ronnie has a crush on Anna Faris's Brandi. Ronnie is a delusional, bipolar security guard who thinks he's awesome while Brandi is a superficial party girl who thinks he's pathetic. Ronnie nags and harasses her (in what he perceives as being done in a very good natured way) until she agrees to go out with him so that he'll let her get into her car. Brandi sort of warms up to Ronnie after he buys her copious amounts of alcohol, amounts which she is clearly used to drinking, and really warms up to him when she sees him popping klonazapem, a tranquilizer he takes to keep his mood swings he check. This puts Brandi into a very compliant state or, to be more succinct, she's in a state where, after she pukes, she has no idea why her mouth tastes like puke. This all leads to the already infamous Date Rape Scene.

I will say that they way this has been described is somewhat inaccurate. After Ronnie gets her into her house, we cut to them in bed in the middle of Ronnie grinding away on top of an unconscious Brandi. Many have described Ronnie as suddenly stopping due to a moment of conscience which causes Brandi to mumble, "Why'd you stop, motherfucker?" thus sending the message that chicks love it when you screw them when they're passed out. I don't know why I was the only one to see this but, in the context of the scene, it was obvious to me that she was awake when they started and passed out in the middle. Ronnie was happily thrusting away until he looked up and noticed that not only was Brandi not reacting but that she was literally drooling puke. He stopped and said, "Brandi? BRANDI?" That was when she said, "Why'd you stop, motherfucker?"

So, no date rape, right? WRONG! Oh, Ronnie would never be prosecuted and, with his penchant for seeing the world the way he wants to see it, probably thought his actions were just fine, but they weren't. Brandi was certainly in no shape to give consent at that point and in fact wasn't in shape to give consent since she downed several of Ronnie's pills with four straight shots of tequila. If you're the kind of guy who thinks this was perfectly fine then you are most likely like Ronnie, a pathetic nut case whose view of the world is warped and can't get a girl into bed unless she's so intoxicated that a dog could mount her and she wouldn't say anything. At least Ronnie can blame his actions on a chemical imbalance with which he was born. What's your excuse, Richard Corliss?

Yeah, I've spent enough time burying the lede. Richard Corliss, film critic for Time Magazine, absolutely loved that scene. He loved it so much that he opened his review by gushing about his undying love for the greatest scene in movie history. Think I'm joking?
Here's a scene to frighten the horses. About an hour into Observe and Report, mall cop Ronnie Barnhardt (Seth Rogen) has finally achieved his dream and taken the blonde, egotistical, doltish perfume saleslady Brandi (Anna Faris) to bed, basically by getting her drunk. Problem is, she's pretty much passed out, her puke staining the pillow, as Ronnie happily, obliviously churns away. He pauses for a moment to notice her comatose state, and without opening her eyes, Brandi mutters, "Why'd you stop, malefactor?" Or a 12-letter word to that effect.

Now that's character comedy, I mean tragedy, I mean tromedy, of the highest, I mean lowest, I mean high-lowest order. Beyond the weirdness, if you can get there, is a quick portrait of trailer-park America pursuing its urges by any means necessary. It's clear that Ronnie, no babe magnet, will take what he can get on this night of nights, even if it's not quite the exalted ecstasy he had hoped for; and that Brandi, who's been in this position once or twice before, wants the sexual exercise, even if she's not awake to take an active role in it — somewhere in her stupor, she's feeling a rote rumble of pleasure. The scene achieves what few American movies even attempt: to pinpoint the grim compromise, the desperation, that can attend the sex act. Don't call it love; don't call it grand; but whatever it is, don't stop.

That minute or so is the finest thing in Observe and Report, and if it doesn't strike you as funny-peculiar, you may as well stop reading now.
Will do, Richard.

Did you ever talk to someone who says something he or she thinks is perfectly normal but disturbs the rest of the world? Something like, "I gotta say, the smell of piss has always turned me on," or, "How many times do you have to be whipped before you can achieve orgasm?" If this has never happened to you before, you can say it has now after reading Richard Corliss. I'm not sure whether to start with the misogyny, classism or the perverted world view. Hell, why not tackle all three at once?

I imagine Corliss has waited years to write those paragraphs. He's probably had most of that stored in some obscure little folder in Microsoft Word for years trying with every review to figure out a way to use them. I can imagine him hoping against hope that Monsters Vs. Aliens would have a drunken date rape scene and leaving the theater once again disappointed that his freak flag could not be allowed to fly. Until now, that is.

After viewing Observe and Report, Corliss must have tried desperately to hide one of the grandest erections of his life, simultaneously energized by feelings of lust and filled with loathing for the fact he was turned on so easily. The fact that he knew his views were strange and potentially disgusting is right there in the article. That's why he included this sentence:
Beyond the weirdness, if you can get there, is a quick portrait of trailer-park America pursuing its urges by any means necessary.
Yes, only the lower classes would find this pleasing, not one of the country's top critics and if he did get turned on, well, blame the dregs of society for whom this scene was made. When Corliss watched that scene, he knew it was wrong but he also knew how it made him feel and he just couldn't reconcile those two facts in his mind. Part of the blame goes to the filmmakers who wanted Ronnie to be both repulsive and likable so you get a guy screwing a passed out girl who manages to rouse herself from her stupor just long enough to beg the guy to keep going. Thus, we have a review in which a slutty woman is at fault for her own rape but hey, it's all cool cause it wasn't really a rape even though she was totally wasted but maybe not totally wasted cause she did eventually give consent even though she wasn't at that time capable of doing so and OH MY GOD WHO CARES MY FANTASY HAS FINALLY BEEN FILMED AND THIS IS THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE THAT MY PENIS HAS GOTTEN LONGER THAN THREE INCHES SO DON'T YOU DARE TAKE THIS AWAY FROM ME YOU P.C. BASTARDS!

And that, folks, is why Richard Corliss is a pervert freak woman hating weirdo but, ultimately, he's a dumbass for letting us know all this. In the end, he has no one to blame but himself.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Going Off Your Meds And On To A Collision Course With Wackiness

Observe and Report is one of those movies that's truly misrepresented by its marketing. Warner Bros. Studios is trying to make you think this is a light comedy about a lovable, self important doofus that's just like another movie about a mall security guard that came out earlier this year and became a surprise hit. For some reason, they seem to think you'd be less likely to go see a sad, dark film about a man is slowly sinking into madness because of his bipolar disorder. Turns out WB was right since it opened at a distant fourth place about 11 million bucks behind third place finisher Monsters Vs. Aliens. Hell, they got their butts whooped by Hannah freakin Montana and she's on TV just about every day.

Seth Rogen plays Ronnie Barnhardt, the aforementioned bipolar security guard. Ronnie has delusions about himself, his job and their importance to the world and those delusions turn out to be infectious as his fellow security guards come to embrace them. First and foremost among Ronnie's crew is his best friend Dennis (Michael Peña), a man who nearly worships him and backs up even his craziest ideas. Ronnie is presented at the movie's beginning with what he perceives to be the Joker to his Batman, a flasher who's been exposing himself in the mall's parking lot. Ronnie and Dennis elevate the flasher to the level of heroic myth and describe him in terms that make it seem as if he's a mortal threat to everyone in the mall. One of the flasher's first victims is Brandi (Anna Faris), a girl who doesn't seem to own anything that's not low cut and form fitting who is also the love of Ronnie's life. His delusions make him think he has a shot with her and he bonds with her by telling her that the flasher will eventually take her life.

The most sadly realistic moment in the movie comes on Ronnie's first date with Brandi when he decides he no longer needs the anti-psychotic drugs that allow him to manage his condition. You may have seen the commercials where Ronnie is comically describing himself as a force that separates light from darkness. This isn't quite so funny when presented in the movie itself since Ronnie is saying all this from a place of deep madness and really believes it. This advanced bipolar state causes him to lose his chance at being a real police officer when, during his psychological evaluation, he cheerfully describes his desire to casually blow people away, an action Ronnie thinks will cause the public to love him. Ronnie's nemesis, Detective Harrison (Ray Liotta) who's also investigating the flasher, gleefully gives Ronnie the news about his failure and adds insult to injury by screwing Brandi in the backseat of her car. All this sends Ronnie into a depression spiral that is disturbing to watch.

So, fun time at the movies, eh? There are quite a few laughs in Observe and Report and I would call it a dark comedy with special emphasis on the word "dark." I pretty much guessed how the movie would end* but all that proves is that it's a big budget studio release. All in all, it's ok, but I'd skip the theatrical release and wait for the DVD though I shudder to think about the chambers of horrors that will be the deleted scenes considering the stuff they felt perfectly comfortable about putting into the theaters including several scenes of full frontal male nudity and one particular moment you may have heard about that is lovingly referred to around the internet as, "The Date Rape Scene," about which more will be said at a later date.

*Golly, will he eventually wind up happy with the nice coffee shop girl who's taken an abstinence pledge or miserable with the slutty Brandi? Who could possibly know?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Friday Night Bites

I spent most of the weekend not feeling too good so I couldn't get out and see any new movies which is a shame cause I have some cool stuff to say about Observe and Report but have to actually see the movie to see if it's relevant. Oh, I suppose I could just make stuff up. Very few people saw it so it's not like anyone could call me a liar but no, I'll wait. Until then, what oh what will I talk about?

Odds are that neither Dollhouse nor Sarah Connor Chronicles will be back next season. Fan written postmortems for these shows will go on for years but I can tell you right now that the reason for their low ratings is that each week, after watching them you feel like slashing your wrists. Sarah Connor has the most clinically depressed cast of characters in television history. Schindler's List had more happy people in it. I fully understand that they're trying to prevent a nuclear war while also trying to fend off nearly unstoppable machines from the future who have the opposite goal and that all this makes it very difficult to crack even the occasional smile. Understanding the show, however, does not make the show entertaining. Sarah Connor does have a saving grace that makes me root for its return, a little bit anyway. Week after week, they find ways to surprise me. Sometimes they'll even completely shake up the board and make me suddenly realize that things are completely different from how I thought they were. In one episode, what you thought was real was a dream and what you thought was a dream was real. In another, what was thought to be a tumor heralding Sarah Connor's eventual death turned out to be an implanted transmitter. Those twists and turns have kept the show interesting and kept me as an audience.

Dollhouse has more humor and light hearted moments but the premise itself is even more depressing. Each week I have to watch these poor people having there very selves stripped away and forced to be fighters, assassins and whores. It's especially disturbing to see them being turned into compliant sex objects to be the playthings of various types of creeps. I held out a bit of hope the week they had to deal with an airborne pathogen that caused them to lose their inhibitions. This caused Adelle DeWitt, the uptight and ruthless leader of the Dollhouse, to say things like, "I don't understand lentils." (It's funnier in the context of the episode. Just trust me in the likely event that you didn't see it.) That made me think that finally creator Joss Whedon was going to start giving us the fun times he has given us in everything else he's ever done but no. The next week we had to watch Eliza Dushku's Echo think that she was finally going to be free only to find out that it was merely an experimental scenario run by the Dollhouse itself. This reminded me of one of my favorite shows of all time, The Prisoner. Patrick McGoohan's Number Six was constantly given tantalizing tastes of freedom only to have it snatched away at the last minute. The difference between The Prisoner and Dollhouse is that Prisoner was made in England which meant that a total of 17 episodes was just fine by them whereas what Echo and her fellow Dolls are going through could last for years. I think you're awesome, Joss Whedon, but even you can't make me watch five years of this crap.

It's unfortunate that two shows that had such promise failed, in one case failing so utterly. I'm assuming the network, especially in Dollhouse's case, had a great deal to with it because the network always has a great deal to do with a television show's failure. Businessmen who know as much about the creative process as they do about dark matter always think they can march in and tell the most creative people on the planet what they're doing wrong and it's always something akin to the time in Amadeus when the Austrian emperor approached Mozart and made the nonsensical complaint that his music had too many notes.


On an unrelated note, I always like it when know-it-alls are proven wrong which is what happened this week. Everyone was predicting that Fast and Furious would once again be #1 while Hannah Montana and Observe and Report would fight it out for #2 with similar 20 million dollar openings. Instead, Hannah Montana opened in the #1 position with a 34 million dollar showing while Observe and Report's 11 million dollar 4th place opening has likely driven Seth Rogen into a Ben and Jerry's frenzy that will put back on all the weight he's been publicly celebrated for having lost. Miley Cyrus, on the other hand, gets to celebrate by not having illegal sex with her 20 year old boyfriend which means she will also probably be putting away pint after pint of Ben and Jerry's to deal with the frustration. All in all, it's a good week for me and my Ben and Jerry's stock.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Things I've Learned From Watching Movies Part 66

It turns out that reporters are actually supposed to do something called investigative journalism. I thought they were just supposed to get people like Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner together, shut up while they scream at each other for six minutes and then say, "Wow, what a great debate."

Friday, April 10, 2009

Kiss My Regal Ass

I live in a smallish town. Oh, it's not Mayberry or anything like that, but when you combine the main city with a few of the surrounding villages you get maybe 30,000 people. This means my local multiplex only has seven screens. They were talking about expanding last year but since we're now all just one economic level above drinking our own urine, that's been pretty much put on hold. This means that, sure, I'll get Fast and Furious and Haunting in Connecticut. Oh, how did I forget to mention Hannah Montana? That's right, I'm not twelve and female which means you'll probably never see a review of it here. Frankly, I'd be scared to see it. What if I liked it and became a huge Hannah Montana fan? I'd casually mention H.M. trivia and no one would know what I was talking about or, if they did, it would be assumed I was some sort of sexual predator.

This means all I do miss even some major releases. Last week, I didn't get Adventureland and this week I don't get Dragonball: Evolution. Missing that second one brought a tear to my eye because man oh man, could I ever have ripped that apart. That review would have been fun. I could have said, "Dragonball: Evolution? More like Dragonball: Neverlution." Um, I'm sure I would have been cleverer than that. Oh sure, I could drive an hour or so down to Albany, NY, and watch them there but who has time? If you say, "Oh, I have loads of spare time," screw you.

I miss loads of smaller and independent movies and you can pretty much forget foreign films. That's why you generally only see major releases reviewed here. The last example I can think of was the time I saw Let The Right One In, one of last year's better movies. I'm often tantalized my titles like Sunshine or Little Miss Sunshine or Sunshine Cleaning or...hmm, note to self, develop new independent film Sunshine Boobs. It will get both indie film fans and porn buffs. Where was I? Oh yeah, it also means I have to read about movies like this.

Anvil! The Story of Anvil is the Promised Land to my Moses. I can see it but it's maddeningly out of reach. This is my kind of movie. It looks like they actually pulled off something that can accurately be described as "cool, funny and quirky", terms that, when normally strung together, mean, "The filmmakers were all high and thought what they were doing was cool, funny and quirky." Hell, I don't think it's even showing in Albany. Sure, we'll get some movie where Vin Diesel does the same shit he did in another movie 8 years ago and some dumb little thing where a girl puts on a blond wig and makes even her best friends think she's not the world's biggest pop star but can I get even one vaguely intelligent indie film. Nope, can't get those anymore than I can get White Castles or decent looking hookers, something else I love that I have to and have to get in Albany.

So this is a special holiday thank you to my local Regal Cinema. Thank you oh so very much for making damn sure I got Bride Wars, Haunting In Connecticut and every god damn Saw film while skipping movies like Anvil! as well as Doubt and Frost/Nixon. Hell, they didn't even get Slumdog Millionaire until it got nominated for the Oscar. Anyway, I suppose I'll mention this movie again when it comes out on DVD.

Oh well, maybe I will catch Hannah Montana this weekend. So no one will recognize me, I'll wear dark glasses and a trench coat. I'll even bring some candy along and hand it out to all the little kids I don't even know. I'm sure their parents will think I'm the greatest guy ever.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Schlock Busted

My one regret about Blockbuster's financial troubles is that Blockbuster is a corporation and not a person. If it were a person, instead of going bankrupt, it would die. I could then take a piss on its grave while screaming, "HERE'S YOUR LATE FEE, BASTARD!" at the top of my lungs. The author of the article linked above says he hasn't been to a Blockbuster in five years. For me, it's been much longer. Blockbuster stood for me as a symbol of everything that's wrong with, well, everything.

Blockbuster has dominated the video rental industry for decades now. That power gave them the ability to act like assholes if they so chose and man, did they know what I mean. Sure, everyone who has power eventually acts like an asshole. Most people have had a boss who yells at people for no reason or encountered some bully who pushed you around just because he could. So it is with Blockbuster. They acted like assholes simply because they enjoyed doing so and no one could stop them. In fact, I'd go so far as to speculate that 90% of the assholes in this country started acting like that after they got charged at Blockbuster for failing to rewind their tapes.

One of the biggest problems with Blockbuster is that they're run by a group of Puritan idiots similar to the Coors family who literally changed the way movies were made. Like the Salon article says:
The chain may never have actually censored movies, but its family-friendly public image was so stodgy that no one had trouble imagining it did ("We have heard that for years," a corporate flak told Salon a couple years ago), and its available titles stuck pretty carefully to the less objectionable areas of the MPAA ratings.
Their denial is completely bogus. Many movies with sexual content literally had to edit their movies before Blockbuster would put them on the shelves. These movies were even famously known as, "The Blockbuster Version." I'm not just talking about soft core pornography. I'm talking about films that can truly be called Adult Movies. These would be movies like Henry and June that dealt with issues like sex seriously and in an adult fashion. These can also be called "movies that are very rarely made anymore" because Blockbuster won't carry them, at least not without editing the scenes that gave the movie meaning. When the MPAA replaced their X rating with NC-17, a move partly done to appease Blockbuster, Blockbuster responded by immediately announcing that they would never, ever rent an NC-17 film out of one of their stores. Again, this was an asshole move done because the people who did it enjoy being assholes.

I laugh my ass off now at how they're being brought down by their own arrogance. Netflix and Redbox are burying them and they never saw it coming. Thing is, you just know that at some point some mid-level Blockbuster executive probably proposed setting up an online DVD rental operation or putting machines in supermarkets and that management simply laughed at the idea. Hell, they probably thought such things would actually be bad for their business. I can imagine those ideas being roundly dismissed at some high level meeting.

"We make out money off of stores. Why would anyone come to our stores if they could just stay home and browse a much larger selection on their computers that would be conveniently delivered to their mailboxes? And so what if another company goes off and does that? We're Blockbuster, dammit! We'll crush them just like we've been crushing tiny rental operations for years. Nothing will stop us ever. To celebrate that, let's go wipe our asses with money."

And so, here we are with Blockbuster a quarter billion in the red and trying to copy everything Netflix does and the only way I could be more pleased is if some of their stores are behind in their lease payments and their landlords charge them a late fee. That would be to my schadenfreude what Monterrey Jack is to my tuna casserole.

Um, I like Monterrey Jack on my tuna casserole. I forgot you didn't know that.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I Used To Rule The World

I'm getting slammed at work this week which leaves me little time to write. I may be back on tomorrow and almost certainly by Friday. In the meantime, there's this.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Going Up To Eleven

The Eleventh Hour is a show that lost me from episode one. Whenever American TV remakes a show from another country, they almost always cast unrealistically good looking people in the roles which is why Patrick Stewart's Ian Hood is now Rufus Sewell's Jacob Hood and Ashley Jensen, an attractive woman who realistically could play a bodyguard, was replaced by waifish model Marley Shelton who realistically could not. What made me stay away from it though was in the fist ten minutes of the first episode, a remake of the British version's first episode, when a local policeman enters his own crime scene and is immediately and for no good reason subdued by Shelton's FBI character who then draws her gun on him. That bit of stupidity, which wasn't in the British version, immediately turned me off and I didn't bother watching the rest (I knew how it came out anyway so it wasn't that tough of a call). It was the least realistic part of a story about fictional advancements in human cloning.

So here we are, several months later, and Eleventh Hour has just wrapped up its season. Thanks to Big Hollywood, I discover that it's now considered to be ideological wanking material for right wingers. If you read the Big Hollywood link written by S.T. Karnick (I believe the S stands for "Douche" and the T stands for "Bag") you never once saw anything like this:
  • The acting was wonderful.
  • The dialogue was witty.
  • The writing was engaging and intelligent.
Instead, the selling point of Eleventh Hour, at least for Karnick, is that it was politically correct from a right wing perspective.
As noted in my previous articles on the CBS TV mystery-drama series Eleventh Hour (here, here and here), the show consistently presents interesting, intelligent, and fair-minded discussions of science issues in a dramatic (if often far-fetched) context. In addition, the show doesn’t portray business as the catch-all villain, giving a much more balanced range of motives and miscreants.
To translate, rightwing myths aren't immediately dismissed simply because all evidence shows them not to be true. Let's see why Karnick thinks Jacob Hood could start writing for The Corner.

Thursday night’s episode, “Medea,” ended the program’s first season on a high note in terms of the ideas and attitudes it expressed. FBI science consultant Jacob Hood (Rufus Sewell) investigates the case of a woman who appears to be suffering from delusions caused by schizophrenia.

Naturally, given that this is a drama, there’s a good deal more to the story than that. The woman (Melissa Sagemiller) has had an affair with a very powerful married man who wants to keep it secret. She claims to have had a baby recently, fathered by him, but he denies it, and at his instigation she is institutionalized and put on an anti-schizophrenia drug regimen.

Two interesting angles arise. One is that the powerful man tried to talk her into having an abortion, but she refused. In the course of the drama we see a powerful depiction of the natural bond between a mother and her child, and the show refuses to make any obeisance to feminist notions that if men don’t show strong attachment to the children they father, women shouldn’t either.

Ok, so, a woman was pregnant and the man wanted her to have an abortion. The woman, of course, could not be coerced because the choice as to whether she would have an abortion was hers and hers alone. I think it would blow Karnick's mind if it actually occured to him that he is in agreement with feminists and pro-choice advocates. He'd probably think he had been infected with some sort of woman disease.

As for the second "interesting angle": Huh?! Which feminists are saying, "that if men don’t show strong attachment to the children they father, women shouldn’t either"? This is a conservative caricature of feminist thought that also makes men like Karnick think women want all men to be castrated in order for true equality to occur.
On the contrary, the episode makes a strong case for individual self-sacrifice for other people’s good, regardless of whether others are willing to fulfill their obligations. That certainly accords with religiously based moral codes and resonates strongly with Christian teachings in particular.
Ooh, not good, D.B. You have apparently forgotten that the great conservative dream these days is to emulate John Galt. Acting out of pure self interest is supposed to be good for society. If anything, you should be calling not only the makers of Eleventh Hour but all Christians liberal pussies.

His favorite part of the episode was that the villain was a powerful government employee who used his power to lock up his mistress.
This vivid depiction of the powerful temptation for people to abuse government power is a welcome cautionary tale noting, as many wise thinkers have pointed out over the years, that a government powerful enough to do you much good is a government powerful enough to do you much evil. And as this episode points out, governments, being run by human beings, naturally manifest all the sins to which the flesh is heir.
Nooooo! Really? I've been saying that for the past eight years when the Bush administration said they needed to read my emails and listen to my phone calls so they'd know what sort of recipes I was trading with my friend in Australia. For taking that position, I was called either a useful idiot of jihadists or an open advocate of Muslim theocracy. Oh my God, this must mean that S.T. Karnick is a fifth columnist dedicated to the establishment of a world wide caliphate.

But no, he's just another conservative who thinks the real world is liberally biased and must find confirmation of his world view in fiction, even if that fiction is mediocre television. He even finds that he has to twist and warp fiction until it is ideologically pure. I'm not sure if Eleventh Hour is coming back next season which means we may get to deal with future Karnick articles telling us how Barack Obama personally ordered its cancellation, an article that will, of course, be fiction.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Jessica Biel Naked

Ah, cool, I finally have an excuse to legitimately use a headline guaranteed to up my hit numbers.

I am referring to Jessica Biel's upcoming movie Powder Blue in which she plays a stripper. She gave an interview recently to Access Hollywood about the movie along with some footage of her at what I assume is some sort of stripper boot camp. It's actually something of an art film which is probably how they convinced her to take off her top. It always amazes me how actresses keep at least minimally covered when making ten million bucks yet expose their good stuff to the world when making a movie for scale just because some pretentious director said to them something like, "This will be evocative of Truffaut." This is how IMDB describes the plot of Powder Blue:
Several Angelenos meet on Christmas Eve through chance, tragedy and divine intervention. Swayze will play the sleazy owner of the strip club where Biel's character dances. Redmayne will portray a mortician who falls in love with her. Kristofferson will play the head of a corporate crime organization who tries to convince his former employee (Liotta) not to seek vengeance on his former co-workers. Whitaker, who also serves as a producer on the film, will play a suicidal ex-priest. Newcomer Alejandro Romero will play a transsexual prostitute who shares an unexpected bond with the priest.
This is what Access Hollywood showed (may not be safe for work). Wow, amazing how Access Hollywood managed to so fully encapsulate the plot into the one clip. Here is the movie's actual trailer:

I wonder if the other actors will get their own Access Hollywood profiles showing how they prepared for their roles. Maybe we'll get to find out how Ray Liotta and Forrest Whitaker learned to stare so pensively or what Patrick Swayze did to be so damn weird.

By the way, have you ever noticed whenever an actress plays a stripper, they always say the same thing? Here are some predictions I made before watching Jessica Biel's interview as to what she would say:
  • It was very empowering.
  • You feel very much in control when you strip.
  • I have so much more respect for women in that position now.
  • It was so much more difficult than I thought it would be.
  • Shoving a banana into various orifices isn't as much fun as it sounds.
Leaving out the last one, I was 2 for 4 but I'll be really surprised if upcoming interviews don't include the other two.

I have no idea if Powder Blue is going to be any good. I do know that at least a portion of the marketing is going to try and cast the illusion that this complex indie ensemble drama is Jessica Biel bending over backwards while trying to lick her own nipples. Just thought I'd warn you. As always, you're welcome.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Cruel Summer

As the big summer movie season draws ever closer, I was looking through a list of the big studio releases and was wondering, "I wonder which of these will be the most absolutely rock stupid movie of the season, a movie that causes you to question the sanity of anyone who was involved in it generally and the studio morons who thought it would be a good idea to spend tens of millions of dollars of their company's money on it specifically."

There are always plenty of crapfests to choose from when looking at big budget studio releases. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen would be a likely candidate but it doesn't meet the sanity criterion. Of course this movie was made. No matter how stupid it is, it's a sequel to a stupid movie that made a huge chunk of money and this one will probably be a hit as well, especially if they have Megan Fox bending over two or three cars this time around. G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra also falls into this category. Sure, Eiffel Tower crashing aside, it looks to be about as entertaining as a documentary about how cheese is made but the built-in G.I. Joe fanbase means that you can at least justify its existence. No, I predict the worst movie of the summer will be this:

And this brings us to another edition of Movies I Haven't Seen. The Ugly Truth not only meets the sanity criterion, it far and away exceeds it. Judging from the trailer, it's an ugly mishmash of The Producers, Cyrano and every romantic comedy you've ever seen. Because none of that was deemed offensive enough, they've also made "Wimmin Be Stoopid" one of the movie's central themes.

Gerard Butler and Katherine Heigl are two of Hollywood's big up-and-comers who have apparently decided that they want their movie careers to end here and now. Heigl almost did it with her last movie 27 Dresses but thought, "No, I can do way worse," so chose to do this as well.

Heigl's character, Abby Richter is a career woman who, of course, needs a man to complete her. She figures the best way to accomplish this is to be especially annoying and creepy on first dates so she not only does extensive research on potential suitors but takes it along so they can discuss it at the dinner table. She doesn't have time to be puzzled as to why this method has yet to produce a man willing to buy her a house because her job as a television producer brings her into contact with Butler's character, Mike Chadway. Mike is what Howard Stern would be if you took away Stern's humor and style and just said blatantly sexist asshole remarks over and over again. Abby makes it clear that, as his producer, she will do everything she can to make sure he fails and gets fired or canceled or whatever. Note to all you wannabe TV producers out there: this is pretty much the exact opposite of what you're supposed to do in that job. Naturally, Abby fails and Mike becomes a big hit.

In the meantime, Abby meets a man who somehow passed her elaborate vetting process without discovering that she's a big bag of crazy. Mike tells her that she can get this guy for her and that he will quit if he fails which shows that Mike is a fucking idiot willing to gamble his future away but that's hardly the most stupid thing this movie has to offer. No, the most stupid thing would be that Abby, a woman in her late 20s, has gotten to this point in her life without realizing that men like sex and that she may have an easier time of catching one if she put some of her ample sex appeal to work. Luckily she now has a misogynistic jerk to show her the way. She even has to be taught that man may actually like it when she rubs up against him, something most girls learn when they're 13 and they slow dance with a boy for the first time.

We also find out something that anyone with two functioning neurons could have figured out when the trailer began. Turns out Mike and Abby are actually attracted to each other. This is where the movie turns into a confirmation of the worldview of the Nice Guys. You all know who the Nice Guys are, right? Those are the ones who say on message boards, "Why don't women like Nice Guys?" and then proceed to tell you the story of some girl who dumped them for total jerks. These one-sided accounts are always presented as evidence that the female of the human species is completely insane for rejecting these poor, put-upon Nice Guys. Nice Guys will love this movie. Abby is going to reject the Nice Doctor for the man who advises women to stop being lazy fatasses.

There is no chance that The Ugly Truth will be anything resembling good. Not only is it offensive and stupid but, if the trailer is anything to go by, it is the event horizon of a giant comedic black hole. Not only can humor not escape from it but the audience will feel as if time itself has slowed down until the merciful moment when the credits start rolling. It's saying a lot that I'd much rather skip The Ugly Truth in favor of another movie coming out the same week called G Force. Here's how describes the movie:
Producer Jerry Bruckheimer brings his first 3-D film to the big screen with "G-Force," a comedy adventure about the latest evolution of a covert government program to train animals to work in espionage. Armed with the latest high-tech spy equipment, these highly trained guinea pigs discover that the fate of the world is in their paws.
Yes, I'll be there and I'll have a huge smile on my face because I know that, no matter how many jokes we get about someone eating what looks like a Raisinet without realizing it's guinea pig poop, I'll know that it's quality is light years ahead of the sheer hell being presented somewhere else in the multiplex.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Spice Of Life

A few things caught my eye today while reading The big story was that a high quality workprint of next month's Wolverine had leaked onto the internet and was now being bitted or torrentized or whatever those crazy kids are doing these days. It used to be commonplace to download footage of movies that people were just thinking about making but these days, security improvements have made a major release like Wolverine hitting the web a month before release into such an unlikely event that I can correctly describe it as an unlikely event. (Wow, I really had no idea that sentence was going to end like that. Sorry.) Personally, I don't like downloading movies. I've seen downloaded movies before and the picture and sound usually suck. Then again, I'm not the guy to ask about this since I absolutely love going to the movies which is why I often go to movies that I think will be horrible because it can still be an enjoyable experience. Unless the movie is Bride Wars, of course. Angelina Jolie could have been blowing me while Kate Beckinsale worked the balls and I still would have been depressed coming out of Bride Wars. My point is that I worry from time to time that movie theaters will someday cease to exist. That point in time is still years away but douchebags downloading movies like Wolverine and then justify it to themselves as "sticking to the corporations" bring that time ever closer. Oh, that reminds me, have to torrent the latest Doctor Who episode.

I also see that plans are being made to remake Bright Lights, Big City. Oh...great. The 1988 version with Michael J. Fox was a sucky movie but I don't blame the moviemakers. I blame Jay McInerney, the guy who write the book. I'm betting if you Googled the words "self indulgent crap" the works of Jay McInerney would pop up*. McInerney always struck me as the kind of writer who masturbates while reading his own work because he thinks symbolism like comparing his protagonist to a coma baby was just so damn clever. Bright Lights and Slaves of New York spawned a whole rash of dumb little books that tried to deconstruct the lifestyle of wealthy New York douchebags and were really only liked by said douchebags so I really have no desire to see that genre revived. Hopefully, the box office will take care of that for me.

I swear at first I read this headline as "Steve Carrell Takes A Dump" and thought, "Wow, he's so famous he makes news for doing that." But no, nothing scatological to report here (which is a good thing, of course).

This got me excited for a second as it seems to say that Alex Proyas was trying to make a new movie set in the land of Oz but in fact is about boring tax and business stuff. If you're the kind of person who gets excited about the idea of Australian bureaucrats denying a tax subsidy to a film company because a narrow set of stringent requirements wasn't met then by God, THIS ARTICLE IS WHAT YOU'VE BEEN WAITING FOR! Otherwise, you can probably skip it.

And with that, I bid you ado...adu...that French word for, "So long and don't let the door hit ya where the Good Lord split ya."

*Actually, it turns out a very diverse collection of links pops up including a pregnancy blog, political statements and someone who specifically request music that is self indulgent crap. I, however, will assume that McInerney somehow got to the people who run Google so his name wouldn't pop up.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Yankee Doofus Dandy

I suspect the audience for The Haunting in Connecticut is mainly people who are planning to break up with their spouses or significant others. They absolutely insist on skipping Knowing (intelligent) or I Love You, Man (funny) for this, something incredibly stupid and only unintentionally funny. Lemme 'splain.

We meet Matt Campbell, a teenager dying of cancer and undergoing an experimental radiation treatment in a hospital that seems to be about 8000 miles from his home. That being quite the commute, his parents, Sara and Peter (Virginia Madsen and Martin Donovan) decide to find a home closer to the hospital and, apparently, figured the best possible place would be some abandoned, drafty house filled with dust and rat feces, just the place you'd want to bring someone in poor health. To make sure he's in the grave ASAP, Mom accedes to the kid's desire to let him sleep in the basement that not only has exposed insulation but also a really creepy looking room with windows that seem to have been intentionally stained with dung that they can't get into. At this point, I must reveal a spoiler: THE HOUSE IS HAUNTED. Yep, sorry if knowing that ruins your enjoyment of the film.

At first, only Matt sees the ghosts and it's chalked up to a side effect of his cancer treatment. When plates start flying across the room, lights go off and on by themselves and that creepy locked door opens all by itself, that is also pretty much chalked up to side effects from Matt's cancer treatment. When that door opens, we discover that the house used to be a funeral home. When you add that information to the disturbing dreams Matt has been having about a man desecrating corpses with black magicky looking symbols while some scared kid looks on, the audience now knows for sure that the house is full of pissed off ghosts and any resident of the house will be treated the same way as someone who dug up their corpses and had sex with them.

Matt meets a fellow cancer patient named Reverend Popescu (Elias Koteas) who assures him that it's perfectly normal for people with life threatening illnesses to see dead people baking casseroles and watching American Idol or whatever the hell it is dead people do and that all those stupid healthy people just can't understand which made me think, "Oh great, yet another reason not to get cancer. Guess I'd better eat healthier."

Up until now, the movie's just been dull and below average. Most of the scares come from things suddenly jumping out of the dark and saying BOO. There does, however, come a point where every member of the Campbell family becomes thoroughly and undeniably convinced that they're in a haunted house and that is where it gets oh so very stupid. Do they leave? OH, WHY THE HELL WOULD THEY DO THAT? In fact, Wendy, the Campbell's pretty niece who lives with them, didn't think that the ghosts shaking the hell out of the house and carving up Matt's body with necromantic runes was a reason not to strip and get in the shower where OH MY GOD SHE'S ATTACKED BY GHOSTS. Despite the fact that Wendy had done jack up until the point in the movie where she got wet and naked, I'm sure this scene wasn't meant to be the least bit exploitative.

As you can see, if you wanted someone to break up with you, insisting that they accompany you to Haunting is a great way to do it. After the movie is over, talk enthusiastically about how you just can't wait till it comes out on DVD so that you two can watch it again and again as well as whatever was considered to be too bad to show in theaters but is now immortalized in the Deleted Scenes section.

Fun fact that really has nothing to do with the movie's quality but does serve as the bread of this crap sandwich: the film still claims to be "Based On A True Story," a marketing gimmick I've already dealt with in a previous post. I would say that Monsters Vs. Aliens is probably more grounded in reality than Haunting. In fact, the movie bears little resemblance to the claims made by the people who originally wrote the book. Here is a good debunking of the actual story. Next week, I'll debunk Monsters Vs. Aliens (sneak peak: it was really Demons who fought the Aliens).