Cool as Ice

Oh no, I forgot COOL AS ICE in my “Quick Trips” entry! Ultimate Quick Trip….down memory lane!

Once again at Steve’s house, where so many of the good things in my life take place, I was treated to a visual feast that left my eyes ruined for all the tawdry colors and fashion choices of the humdrum modern world forevermore. Yes, I can only be talking about: COOL!……….AS ICE

This 1991 narrative Vanilla Ice vehicle tells the stirring tale of Johnny Van Owen (Ice), the enormously puffy fluorescent fabric-clad leader of what appears to be a bi-racial gang of crotch-rocket-riding, rapping, high-fashion orphans, who answer to no man and who call no land home. We first meet them at some sort of dance or concert? In a warehouse. And Naomi Campbell is a backup singer. Everyone does the Cabbage Patch, my second favorite 90s dance. Later they do my first-favorite. I’ll let you guess what that is.

In the first of many moments where we found ourselves surprised into complimenting this film, Steve and I both agreed that Vanilla Ice is actually a really good dancer. A little bit later, my brow furrowed in confused concentration, I haltingly asked “Is Vanilla Ice…..like……HANDSOME??” The nigh-on-two-decades of brittle irony separating my current self from the version that actually owned To The Extreme on cassette cracked a little bit and I felt like I was gazing at Vanilla Ice, the human man, in a bit of a realistic, albeit dim, way. Verdict: Vanilla Ice was (is?) indeed handsome. Mind blown!

As the ragtag gang of fashion motorcycle rappers makes their way across the American countryside, they come across what is clearly a Rich Girl, riding a horse, on the other side of a fence separating some sort of stately grounds from the plebeian highway. Obviously Vanilla Ice immediately jumps his motorcycle over the fence, à la Steve McQueen in the Great Escape, almost killing the girl and her horse in the process. He finds her fury to be adorable, and asks her what her problem is. She punches him and rides her horse away like FUCK YOU, TOWNIE. Also, she is a prep.

Then as the gang pulls into a town, the comical one (he is overweight, thus comical) is all “Daaamn” and “oh man” and stuff, because his motorcycle has broken down! His masculinity eroded to a pitiful nub of what once it was, he finds himself towed via some sort of rope into a residential street where there is inexplicably a motorcycle repair shop run by two hilarious old hillbillies who I still think might actually have been figments of the gang’s imagination, like some sort of post-Revolutionary French short story involving a sensitive young man fainting and believing he has had sex with an ancient Egyptian mummy.

This older couple sets to work repairing the motorcycle while the motley crew of rapping misfits just sort of hangs out and makes “wah-wah” faces at each other concerning how square the couple is. Unbeknownst to them, this will become a match made in heaven, and will culminate in the old couple not only fixing the motorcycle, but lying to the police in order to absolve Vanilla Ice of a terrible kidnapping.

Vanilla then goes directly to the home of that girl who he almost killed on the horse. She dates a 1980s movie cliché of a shitty rich boy, like we might just as easily encounter him being sexually humiliated in the triumphant climax of Animal House, or thwarting Molly Ringwald’s great love by giving Andrew McCarthy class anxiety.

The girl (“Kat”) is like “you suck, turkey!” but Ice plays it so fucking cool you guys. Here once again I realized I was complimenting the film. I believe my actual words were “they have really good chemistry.” In spite of a later scene where he sneaks into her bedroom and wakes her up by dropping a whole huge ice cube into her mouth and basically choking her, somehow the relationship feels sort of sincere. And I mean, there is the whole concept of the bad boy helping her to liberate herself from her dumb oppressive gender-normative relationship with the preppy rich boy who thinks he owns her, and getting to ride off on a motorcycle at the end of the movie with a boy who is actually nice to her, which, I’m not complaining, it was 1991 and you had to take what you could get when it came to teen relationships in films.

The rest of the plot is sort of convoluted but basically Kat’s dad, the dad from Growing Pains, it turns out is in the witness protection program, and due to his daughter being interviewed on the news apparently just for liking her parents and getting good grades, his old criminal cronies find him, and they kidnap the little son, and Vanilla Ice saves the day. The son also plays a videogame that can be aurally identified as Super Mario 3, which then reminded me of how the whole world was introduced to that amazing game via the climax of the Fred Savage vehicle THE WIZARD. Remember how cool the mean bully in that movie made the PowerGlove look? And remember how lame the PowerGlove actually was?

But betwixt all that, there is a really epic love scene montage set in an abandoned construction site and involving Ice and the girl making out in every position you could conceivably manage while atop a neon motorcycle. They also play tag, and at one point Ice takes off his shirt, which I felt was a mistake, because then he started reminding me of the boy I dated in high school, all skinny white skin and blonde hair bristling with gel and a single earring and Jimmy Buffet on the tape deck. Not that Vanilla Ice would be caught dead listening to Jimmy Buffet. He’s a human being, after all.

And there is a scene where the gang goes and crashes a lame preppy school dance, where a bloated sweaty “rock band” is limping half-heartedly through shitty music, and then suddenly there’s a turntable there and the gang unplugs the amps and the band is like “HUH?” and they plug in the record player and somebody starts yelling into a mic and suddenly the gang is totally breakdancing and rapping and scratching and whatever else you call the stuff DJs and rappers were doing in the early 90s. This was the best scene in the film, due largely to the copious cut-aways to the faces of various lame preppies upon which their jaws were hanging literally agape, like these people are actually feeling their minds explode with the fucking awesomeness of the spectacle they are being unexpectedly treated to. Then Ice sexy-dances with Kat, which prompts her boyfriend to grab her in a rough way, which prompts her to run away from him and suddenly she’s, like, all alone in some creepy part of town in the middle of the night and the old cronies of her father are about to grab her and obviously rape her but Ice suddenly screeches up on his bike and is like DITCH THESE ZEROES AND GET WITH A HERO BABY and he revs her to safety and some super hot frenching action.

The best part of the movie is obviously the fashion, though. It is LITERALLY NOT ABLE TO BE BELIEVED, the way people look in this movie. I kept having to stop and ask myself, was I alive when this movie was made? Was this really even a small part of the world I inhabited? There was obviously a time when the people in this movie would have been understood as looking pretty cool. Vanilla Ice’s outfits are legitimately insane. There are fanny packs involved, and gigantic leather coats with tic-tac-toe on them, and overalls worn with the top part undone and flapping around, and neon everything, and crazy angular hairstyles, and sunglasses that are like, I don’t even know how to describe them. Also Kat at several points is wearing Ultimate Mom Jeans, which it’s so weird to remember that that’s what jeans used to be like!

At the end she goes to college and Ice is like “I gotta be me baby” and she gets on the back of his motorcycle for one more night of hot frenching before she has to fly to Harvard or whatever, and then he literally rides his motorcycle up over the car of the shitty preppy boyfriend, and everyone standing around laughs and cheers and that’s the end of the movie.

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Quick Trips

I have seen a lot of movies but I keep not wanting to deeply interrogate their subtexts and lambast their scripts in yon blog, for some reason. I think it all began when I saw

The Master, which I felt was too good to blog about, for I have not enough words in my pen to adequately express my awe and delight. I am a huge PT Anderson nerd, so I knew I would like it, but I liked it even more than that. A beautiful, strange film. My old man claimed to find the Jonny Greenwood “distracting” but he is a grump. I say: Greenwood forever! This film is so small and quiet, and yet it is more powerful than all the great epics put together, yes, including DeMille. It’s like that one planet where everything is 1,000 times more dense than it is on earth, so a golfball sized lump of its soil would somehow weigh a ton. Thank you for reading that analogy comprised of something I dimly remember from elementary school science class. Do you think Anderson is a dick or a cool guy? He’s married to Maya Rudolph, so I basically imagine that he must be more or less perfect.

Then at Steve’s house, after a heavy Tex-Mex meal and a large margarita, we watched

The Comedy!

What a strange, hypnotic, disturbing little film. It intends to disgust and trouble, and it succeeds, yet rarely have I found disgust and trouble so riveting. In the grand pantheon of movies and novels (and real-life stories) about useless privileged pieces of always-male shit just kind of wandering around hurting people and pointing out how stupid everything is, I would rank this one pretty high. It felt like all the most disgusting, hateful elements of Tim & Eric but stripped of all the absurd fun-loving silliness. Just pure, focused abjection. I have always found those guys’ comedy to be unusually self-hating (people always say comedians hate themselves but I feel those dudes take it to a new level) and destructive. I really enjoy their comedy; I find it genuinely hilarious, but I also appreciate its dark constant undercurrent of nihilism and self-disgust. If, as Freud believed, all of human life is based on the struggle between the innate forces of Eros and Thanatos, and that if Civilization is to survive, Eros must eventually win, then the comedy of Tim & Eric represents the submission to the death-drive and the abandonment of all pretense toward love, and thus the rejection of any belief in human goodness or in the possibility of Civilization righting itself. I find it exhilarating and also fascinating. In “The Comedy,” we watch a surprisingly-good-at-acting Heidecker out-Caufield Caufield in terms of loathing everyone in the world. Where Caufield saw everyone as just kind of faking it, Heidecker’s character doesn’t even see anyone as human, least of all himself. I guess he’s a sociopath, but in a really aimless way. I appreciated that the film never even vaguely attempted to make him likable–this is not your classic Overgrown Manchild Finds Love rom-com or the like. In fact, there is a very long scene in which he half-watches a girl having a violent seizure, and almost falls asleep while doing so (see photo above). It’s the moment where, in a slightly dumber kind of film, the character might have found redemption or we might have seen something worth salvaging in him, if he, for example, tried to help her or at least manifested some sort of concern or even consternation, but “The Comedy” resolutely does not go this route. Nothing is ever resolved, nothing is ever explained–he’s just a really rich piece of shit, and he knows it, and that’s the whole movie. It’s excruciating to watch and I enjoyed it. The performances are, I would say, superb. Also features Eric, who as a rule disgusts me a lot more than Tim and who has one of the best scenes in this movie, and what’s his name from LCD Soundsystem.

Then we went and saw

Argo!

Boy, I sure liked this movie. It also marks the very first time in all my life that I have found Ben Affleck sexually appealing. He’s grossly bearded, shaggy, and in full-on “70s Dad” fashion mode, and yet there is something compelling about him, at last, to my loins.

This movie is apparently based on something that really happened, and that is so crazy I still can’t believe it. Apparently during the Iran hostage crisis, six Americans escaped the embassy and basically wandered around the streets of revolutionary Iran, which were filled with furiously angry people who would have probably torn them limb-from-limb if they’d been seen, and they knocked on the Canadian ambassador’s door and he let them live in his house for 2 months in secret. Meanwhile, everyone else caught in the American embassy was held hostage, in what could only have been extremely stressful conditions, for 444 days. When the CIA found out that these 6 had escaped and were living in the Canadian ambassador’s house, they developed a plan so kooky it just might work, wherein an extraction expert actually went to Hollywood posing as a big-time movie producer, got together a full film–script, cast, crew, financing, director–advertised it with big glossy promo ads in the trade magazines, had full storyboards made and mounted, had press events where the cast did full read-throughs of the entire script, opened an office on the studio lot, and generally made a lot of noise about how he was going to Iran with a 6-member team to scout film locations for a sci-fi movie. Oh and also he pretended to be Canadian. Apparently this actually happened, like in real history, which makes you like the CIA just a teeny bit more (not literally). Bryan Cranston plays the salty CIA dude who okays this bonkers mission and gets to say things like “No sir, this is the best bad idea we’ve got…by a long shot” to a super-pissed Phillip Baker Hall. Everyone in the government thinks this idea is so stupid but literally no one can come up with a better one, so they basically just say “okay give it a shot.” Like, JIMMY CARTER knew about and condoned this scheme. In real life! That is so hilarious.

I could not keep track of who was who in the white house, but there are A LOT of men running around screaming things like “I WANT YOU TO DO YOUR FUCKING JOB” at each other and smoking incessantly. Coach Taylor plays some sort of Chief of Staff who yells manfully into telephones and has a big mop of virile black hair. Everyone else is bald and has absolutely hideous mustaches: hideous.

Well, what a delightful set-up for a picture show! The opening sequence, which depicts the Iranians storming the American embassy, is FUCKING HARROWING. I realized I was literally sitting on the edge of my seat and gritting my teeth. Holy shit!

But this leads me to the main piece of praise I have for the movie, which is that it carefully, consciously REFUSED to demonize the Iranians. Perhaps you will disagree, but I felt very empathetic for the Iranians throughout the film–at no point was I thinking “these horrible villains! why are they being so mean?” Indeed the film opens with a quick run-through of then-recent American history, explaining how Iran elected (? I think) this badass dude who nationalized all their oil and who put the country on track to become wealthy and stable and awesome, but then the U.S., needing said oil, staged a coup and installed their own puppet Shah instead, who was universally loathed and under whom all the cool reforms were rolled back. He also relentlessly westernized the country even though generally people weren’t into it. As revolutionary rage was ramping up, the U.S. evacuated the Shah, who was dying of cancer, and then refused to send him back to his country to stand trial. So yeah, you think the Iranians don’t have a right to storm the U.S. Embassy? Under the circumstances I feel they showed remarkable restraint, to be honest.

And throughout the film, even as you are of course being cinematically manipulated into identifying intensely with the hostages and with Ben Affleck, who just wants to make it to his son’s birthday party, and even as you are biting your fingernails hoping they will escape, there is never any demonizing. At least, I didn’t feel there was. Even the revolutionary guard who almost catches them in the airport during the insane climax is portrayed so humanly, it’s like, yeah, you want our dudes to escape but you’re also very much identifying with the Iranian dude, who is PISSED OFF FOR GOOD REASONS. Also the actor playing him is incredible. I thought about him for hours afterward. Nobody is a kooky caricature; there are no villainous Arabs hindering American freedom or anything like that, really. I think the movie does such a good job of presenting this as a crazy time, filled with people having a lot of justified feelings and trying to steer their country in a good direction; trying to hold other countries accountable for their totally nefarious and evil meddling. Imagine how mad you’d be if Iran came over here, killed the President, and stuck, I don’t know, Donald Trump in office, to rule over us all. That’s a bad example because Trump is so virulently anti-Arab but anyway, let me tell you, I would not like it one bit.

I also enjoyed how the film took big, lazy chunks of time off from the harrowing events unfolding in Iran to show us the delightful antics of Hollywood. See Alan Arkin give a scathing dressing-down to a posturing studio exec! See John Goodman make a bunch of jokes about show biz! See the hilarious press event with the readthrough! What fun!!!!

In conclusion: a good time at movies

I still need to see Cloud Atlas and, surprisingly, that Silver Linings movie, which seems like it ought to be terrible but which reviews are leading me to believe I might like. I’m on the fence about Bond. I’ve never been a big Bond fan. The only Bond movie I’ve ever liked is Casino Royale. I know that is crazy. I think young Sean Connery is gross. I think Bond is a sociopath. I just don’t find those movies compelling, there I said it. Casino Royale was good because he actually cared about a human and that made all the action compelling, plus that movie sparked my short-lived but intense crush on Daniel Craig, now thankfully mostly extinguished, so I look back on it with a certain frisson.

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Prometheus!

Well, what a shame! What a shame, Ridley Scott. Your triumphant return to the Alien franchise was, shall we say, not as good as the original Alien movie. Shall we say more than that? Shall we say it was kind of a disaster? Everyone else is saying it, so why not me?

– if all life on earth is here because one of those giant blue guys turned himself into DNA a billion years ago on our earth, then wouldn’t all animals on earth have the same DNA as humans, à la that part when what’s her face shows the drunk guy the little iPhone that proves the big blue guy corpse has the same DNA as humans?

– what kind of highly-trained space biologist sees a never-before-documented alien creature pop out of the primordial goo on an alien planet and then just immediately sticks his face down and reaches his hand out to, what, grab it? Is that what biologists do, they just sort of grab whatever pops up when they’re out on the job? This guy is like John Steinbeck or something, just hauling sea turtles up out of the ocean and chopping them up to see if they have livers. That’s good science!

– Why did Michael Fassbender infect the drunk guy with the alien crude oil? He had no motivation for doing so aside from that fact that the drunk guy was inexplicably cruel to him. It seemed like he just did it on a whim. Does this mean cyborgs have whims? Come on!

– Why was the drunk guy so inexplicably cruel to Michael Fassbender? Just so we could establish more muddy Creator/Creation tension?

– Why did Michael Fassbender make what’s her face stay pregnant in that one really malicious and terrifying scene? It was totally going to be a Rosemary’s Baby style pregnancy terror where he was like “oh I’m terribly sorry but you have to stay pregnant until the alien eats you–MWAH HA HA HA HA,” but then she just immediately gives herself a C-Section (note: best part of the film, stick with your wheelhouse, Ridley Scott and the Alien franchise) and then stumbles into the meeting with Fassbender and the old dude and everyone is like “ho hum.” Is Michael Fassbender just a motive-less psychopath?

– What were we supposed to think Charlize Theron’s motivations were, as a character? She was like one part corporate goon, one part crazy operatic madwoman, one part bitchy daughter, one part great hero. I mean, when she flame-throwered the drunk guy, that was actually an incredibly heroic, righteous act that would have saved the ship if they’d all paid better attention. But we were supposed to read it as her being a cold bitch. Ripley would have fucking torched that guy to the max, are you kidding me? He was turning into an alien! So was Theron supposed to be a villain or what? She was set up as a villain but then she did literally nothing for the rest of the film except heroically torch the drunk guy

– Why was the old dude played by a young person in old-face??? I just assumed that, because of the old-face, at some point he was going to be touched by an alien and would go back in time, Benjamin Button style, or at least that we’d get a flashback. But he was old all the way through. Why didn’t they just hire an old person? It was unbelievably distracting.

Some funnier questions we had:

– So they wake up the big blue guy who’s been in cryo sleep for 2,000 years, and he’s like “huh?” and then Fassbender says something to him in his language and then he immediately just kills everyone and starts revving his 2,000 year old space ship up to continue the mission to blow up the earth. Some hyper-intelligent god-like alien soldier he is! He doesn’t stop to be like “Hey is this mission still on, or what? Maybe I should radio back to base and see if I’m still supposed to blow up that entire planet from 2,000 years ago”?? He doesn’t stop to be like “why is this weird looking thing speaking to me in my language, that’s pretty interesting maybe?”

– So we are told that all this shit went down 2,000 years ago–that 2,000 years ago they were going to try to destroy earth by releasing WMD aliens upon us, à la God and the Flood, the famous part of Genesis where God admits he made a mistake. And Noah’s like “but what about me” and God’s like “oh yeah, you’re okay, you can live” and then later Noah’s son sees him naked and that’s why some people are slaves. ANYWAY, so 2,000 years ago, our Creators decided to kill us. WHY? There are two possible interpretations, given the very explicit “2,000 years ago” thing:

1. They somehow sent us Jesus to tell us how to do a good job in life, and we misinterpreted and crucified him instead, and they were like “ok that’s it with these people”

2. Jesus was just a human who was trying to change the course of culture and they DISAPPROVED OF HIM

Obviously I like option 2 a lot more.

I find the driving themes of the Alien franchise to be pretty compelling, although perhaps not always in the way they are meant to be compelling. I find it very interesting, the vagina/pregnancy terror of these films. Every time I re-watch an Alien movie I almost cry, wishing Freud were around to write about it. This terror of Creation, of wombs, of vaginas. It’s more explicit than ever, in Prometheus. When the alien gets its revenge on the giant blue guy and basically rapes him with its horrible tooth-vagina. Yeah, we get it! Pregnancy, sex, vaginas, parents = all sites of horror. Freud would be like “THATS WHAT I’VE BEEN SAYING THIS WHOLE TIME”

Killing your parents, killing your creator. Creator/Creation locked in hateful battle. The blue guys created humanity and now want to destroy us. They created the aliens who now want to destroy them. Humans gestate aliens in their bodies and then the aliens kill the humans in being born. Humans hate androids even though they created them. Fassbender wants to kill the drunk guy (a human) and also the old guy (his father). Theron wants her father to die. “It’s like Ridley Scott hates himself for creating the Alien franchise,” said my old man.

If the blue guys created us, and they created the titular aliens, then that means humans and aliens also must share DNA. We are the same. Brother against brother. The enemy within.

One thing I really do appreciate about Prometheus is that it’s another one of these movies that has such an incredibly hateful message about mankind. We live in the age of “Earth Fights Back” movies–natural disaster movies but also movies like Melancholia and Cabin in the Woods, which have ultimate messages of, like, “oh god, how we have fucked up” or “we all deserve to die” or even “thank god, we’re finally all going to die.” I love that Prometheus is all about these two dipshit scientists trying to find God to ask him a question and instead what they discover is that their God HATES THEIR GUTS and wants to MURDER THEM IMMEDIATELY because humanity is such an irredeemable piece of shit. I kind of think this is a great quality of this otherwise muddy and incomprehensible picture show.

Michael Fassbender for president, also Idris Elba! Elba/Fassbender 2012! Everyone else in that movie can eat a bag of tooth vaginas

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Safety Not Guaranteed

This movie is beautiful. It is nearly flawless. It is pitch-perfect and all the other terms you use to describe good cinema. It’s a romantic comedy sort of but it’s also deeply sad, and it has this incredible ending I don’t want to spoil. But I will tell you that the entire audience spontaneously broke into applause when this one thing happened at the end, which I don’t think I’ve ever really experienced before. Also I was crying. Rom/com my butt! That’s just a good picture show.

It’s about Aubrey Plaza, who is playing her usual character. She’s grouchy and salty and hates everything. Her father, Jeff Garlin, tells her that she’s sad and doesn’t have any friends, and that her college roommate says she’s a virgin (“We’re facebook friends!”), and he’s worried about her. The movie quickly establishes that she’s a poorly-treated intern at some Seattle magazine run by Mary Lynn Rajskub, who’s demanding story ideas from her bored underlings. The amazing Jake Johnson proposes one–someone has posted an ad in the paper that is kooky and could make for a hilarious piece of bullshit journalism. The editor gives the ok, assigns him Aubrey Plaza and a nerdy Indian guy (ok I’ll admit I’m tired of the nerdy Indian guy trope) as his assistants, and we’re off!

There’s so much else going on in this story though. It’s about regret, and sorrow, and all the different reasons people have for wanting to go back in time. And the whole movie is suffused with this gentle tragedy, this awareness that what’s done is done, and everyone is just getting older and that’s that. Jake Johnson slowly reveals that his secret agenda in pitching this story is that the ad was posted in the town he grew up in, and he wants to reconnect with his high school girlfriend because he’s realized his life has gone off track. Aubrey Plaza’s reason is that she wants to stop her mother from being murdered.

It’s in the revelation of details that these plots and side plots become so affecting. Jake Johnson’s old girlfriend turns out to be not some obvious boring babe but an actual 30-something woman–gorgeous, but you know, full-figured, with wrinkles, and he has to overcome his years of plastered-on douchebaggery to continue pursuing her. For some reason watching this happen is super compelling. Seeing into the soul of a sad sad man and finding that what he really wants is just a lady who’s a good person, a partner, and he wants to have a nice home and he wants to be connected to his past. And then the movie doesn’t bullshit us on this point, though, either–the woman in question has her own thing going on, her own thoughts on the subject, and it’s not just about him becoming a man or whatever. Indeed that sideplot does not end well and it’s suddenly crushing when it doesn’t. Poor Jake Johnson, driving his go-cart and sobbing! More details: Plaza doesn’t just say “I want to stop my mom from being murdered.” She tells the story of the murder, and in the details it becomes devastating. The details that you’d remember, if your mom actually was murdered. The annihilating guilt and shame. Mark Duplass plays the time traveler and again, there are all these nuances and well-chosen details that turn him from a kooky weirdo who you’d never believe anyone could fall in love with into someone I’m pretty sure I had an intense romance dream about last night.

The performances were so good, every single one. Jake Johnson plays “Nick” on The New Girl with Zooey Deschanel, and we’ve been remarking this whole time about what a fucking star he seems like. I think everyone on that show is really good, but Jake Johnson stands out to the max. He takes it to the next level in this movie. And Mark Duplass! When he showed up I was thinking, how am I going to buy this dude as an emo romantic figure? I know him from The League. But he seriously brings it. There’s a scene with a campfire and a zither that I can barely even think about it’s so touching. By the end of the movie just looking at his face made my eyes get all wet and sad. What in the world!?

I feel like I’ve already said too much, but the film is really about its story (which my film scholar old man described as “impeccable”) and it’s hard to talk about it without going into the plot. It’s the first loosely-described rom/com I can remember seeing that doesn’t have a slack middle section and/or a contrived conflict and/or a hacky ending of some sort. Everything fits together so perfectly. It’s also very funny, I think I’m making it sound morbid. It’s both!

When the heat gets hot, do you have a partner who’s got your back? Bottom line.

I am pleased to see this has a 92% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Thank you and good morning

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THE NEW BOURNE MOVIE (I ALREADY FORGOT WHAT IT WAS CALLED, THATS HOW GREAT IT WAS)

I had high hopes for Jeremy Renner. I have loved his frowny pug face in several movies in a row now. I watched the new Mission Impossible on hopes he would be awesome. His abs-lighting nearly upstaged his performance in the Avengers movie, but he was still great. Then, judging by the trailer for the new installment of the Bourne film franchise, he seemed a shoe-in for a our new action-stud-with-a-heart/brawn-with-a-brain type.

It looks like Classic American High-kicking Fuck Yeah with questionable facial hair.

What we get with this movie, The Bourne Indecency? The Bourne Referendum? The Bourne Quad Cities Sheepshearing Assemblée? is the bait-and-switch of the summer. It begins with Renner, puzzled, jockish, weirdly hirsute up in Alaska deep in the winter snow. I say weirdly hirsute in that his face beard is supposed to show us how long he has been out repeatedly diving into this icey river
and staring down wolves over a campfire in a survival assignment–it is shaggy and pubic-wild, moustache is snaggly and hanging into his mouth… but his neck and cheeks are perfectly clean shaven. With beards being such a hot trend, did these people in charge of the beard think we wouldn’t notice the difference between groomed and ungroomed. These are the kinds of things that set me off with a movie. Like in Drive when Joan from Mad Men has on lipstick and then she is shot and her lips are pale. C’mon, we are not that dumb!

Anyhow, Jeremy Renner and his ass beard make their way to a cabin outpost of a fellow in his same spy? superdefender? man machine? program and he we learn that unlike Jason Bourne, these dudes are made superhuman style not through heavy duty PTSD-inducing tortures but by blue pills (insert Viagra joke or allegory here). It’s unclear why Jeremy Renner needs more–is he cracked out or trying to double down or kill himself or is it like Roids and he just wants to have a huge nasty chest. It’s unclear. We find out he is really good at being super human. That is established, and perhaps that is all that is clear. Meanwhile, scenes from the end of the last movie are intercut so as to posit this as happening concurrent to Jason Bourne going rogue, Pam Landry exposing it all and David Strathairn yelling “SHUT IT DOWN” or “Cut it off!” every 85 seconds. The Bourne program getting out into the open means that all the other way dicey programs will be exposed so they have to kill all the tuff bros and operatives round the world. That, right there, is like, 38 slow minutes into the film. The best thing that happens in the first half of the film is Renner trying to feed some sort of tracking device to a wolf, which will make anyone who has ever had to feed a pill to their cat or dog laugh. It is also funny because it is a bad CGI wolf momentarily. AND THEN (SPOLIER ALERT!) A DRONE PLANE BLOWS THE WOLF TO KINGDOM COME!

I kind of forgot what happens after that but I think the idea is that Renner walks a long way to freedom, but maybe I am confusing that with the new Batman movie. Oh, yeah, he steals a plane! And flies it down a creek, about 10 feet off the water. Not exactly a thrillride, but it made me think a thrill might come.

Then there is a side plot that is never quite explained about the gov’t lab where the blue pills and tests are tracked and administered to these buff man machines. A guy who is in every movie and who was also super scary in the horrible 4th or 5th season of HEROES (OMG REMEMBER THAT SHOW!?) goes on an inexplicable shooting rampage, perhaps commanded by the government in order to clean up some loose ends. It’s a tangle not worth recounting. Somehow Jeremy Renner in his Alaskan pontoon plane gets to Virginia to the house of Dr. Rachel Weisz, they escape and burn some hokey actors who are chasing them.

We now learn, in the actiony drama of Jeremy Renners intuitive killings, that he wants free of this medicine. Though maybe he has a virus that makes him free. But either way he wants to get off the shit, not be the government’s junkie, which you understand because he is way to vulnerable and just doesn’t seem like he is up for the job in the first place. The only way to get free is him and the Doctor have to go to Bangkok or Malaysia or Panama City and re-up his pill supply from a mini-fridge in a basement, that he can overdose his way out of it. Blah Blah some flashback and back and side story and crunch crunch he breaks some Asian necks. Maybe him and Rachel Weisz are kind of having a moment amidst his killing-for-survival spree. After a long night of sweating, he wakes up and either does or does not have his super fighting strength. An Asian SUPERSECRET INDESTRUCTIBLE KILLING GUY IS UNLEASED VIA PUDDLE JUMPER AT A PRIVATE AIRPORT TO GO KILL RENNER… and so begins a long stupid chase that is mostly running through a slum–a rip from every previous Bourne movie. It’s not a Bourne movie unless someone is hopping from atop a tin roofed shack on to an improvised third-world trash-built dwelling.
This is where most of the trailer comes from, the last 20 minutes of the film or so. There is a He’s dead/oh no he’s not/Oh yes he is/now he is really dead motorcycle chase where you do not believe for a second that Renner will not escape because we have been given no reason to believe the Asian Killing Machine is as tough as they say. He got on the plane with a manly leather overnight bag looking all GQ’d out. How tough can he be, you know?

The ending is mad hokey. White people having a romantic brunch on a barge, cue theme song. ZZZZZZZZ. No wonder Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon bailed on this installment. It’s boring aaaaaaand hokey and barely made sense. Worst of all, because we paid a babysitter and full evening movie ticket prices and got twizzler and a Sprite that only came in illegal-in-NY bucket sizes, I paid $66 out of pocket to see this. This is my shame.
WAAAH.

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Quickies

Two posts in one day!

CONTRABAND:

INANE

BOURNE IDENTITY RE-VIEWING:

GREAT

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Inception

Okay you guys. Lets do this.

First of all, is there anyone out there who actually liked this movie? It was up for a million Oscars, so I guess the answer to that is “Yes.” People also seem to love Velveeta cheese, endless illegal wars and paying for their own health insurance, though, so lets leave public opinion out of this one.

I somehow never saw Inception, even though the preview was awesome, and even though it looked like the kind of movie I would enjoy. I just missed the boat on it completely. I think I was in grad school, which is a time in your life when vast chunks of pop culture pass by you in a wink and you wake up one day never having heard of Aerosmith. So, we watched it last night. It was meant to be a double feature with Blade Runner but then we spent so much time talking about Inception that it was too late to watch Blade Runner and then we were both so pissed because we could have been watching Blade Runner that whole time.

I had been under the impression that the plot of Inception was labyrinthine, that there was at least one twist ending, if not more, etc. Instead, it was the straightest film on earth! It was just a straight-ahead James Bond espionage thriller, it just took place in a bunch of weird videogame-set dreams. There was no twist–or, I guess the twist was that he planted the idea that made her kill herself? HO HUM. I thought at the very least it was going to be a modern take on the “it was all a dream / waking up from a dream and then pulling back the covers and your feet are all muddy and then you go NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!” trope, like I figured the wife must be right, and that she HAD woken up when she jumped off the building, and at the end of the movie we’d realize the entire movie had been a dream, and the crack dream-espionage team was actually sent by the wife down into his subconscious to bring him back to reality or something. And when he wakes up it turns out he is actually Daniel Day Lewis. Or else the whole movie is a dream because he really did murder his wife and is hiding in his subconscious, OH NO! And like, even that would have been kind of obvious and hackneyed. But we didn’t even get THAT!

I now know for sure that Christopher Nolan has less imagination than a pile of dirty ol’ rocks, but he desperately strives to cover up this fact–which he knows subconsciously–just like in the movie!!!!!–with increasingly bananas special effects and crazy visuals, which he believes are the same thing as “being imaginative.” But the story was the most rote, boring-ass story, the performances were horrible, except for Cillian Murphy who I would watch even if he was just sitting in a chair unmoving for seventeen hours, and can we talk about the dialogue? Honestly, who writes dialogue like that? It was like dialogue you’d write in 10th grade. The aging eggs in my ovaries could do a better job and they don’t even have brains. Every line delivered with 100% sincerity. It was like a Max Fischer play except not intended to be funny. We kept laughing inappropriately.

“Am I dreaming right now?”
“NO. This is a dream within a dream.”
“Whose dream is it”
“My dream”
“YOUR dream!!!!????”
“I told you, the dreamer dreams, the architect creates the world the dream builds in the dreamer’s dream. Dream.”
“Why is everyone staring at me”
“Inside a dream a person’s subconscious knows the dreaming dreamer’s dream has been changed by an intruding dreamer dreaming. The dream ends up with you dying or something.”
“OH MY GOD I’M SUDDENLY FURIOUS AND SCREAMING AT YOU”
“I don’t wanna talk about it”
“I’m going with you in the other dream because ‘they need someone there who understands what you’re struggling with.'” (<--actual line) Batman was the same way. Christopher Nolan just showing a bunch of random shit that is like flipping through google images of "occupy" and then he's like "look at this incredibly deep film I made." When what he really made was a billion-dollar screensaver that gives you a throbbing migraine. I also just remembered that he did The Prestige, which I loathed. It seems like Christopher Nolan is just not my kind of guy. I guess to each his own. Can you even imagine how many millions of dollars that man has, though? Doesn't it make you just a little bit annoyed?? There are a trillion increasingly-irritating plot holes in Inception, but, just for the most nagging one: what is the deal with limbo? Leo is like "oh no I forgot to tell you, if we die in this dream we don't wake up, we go into limbo, where every second lasts a hundred years, and you forget who you are, and there's no way out, EVER. By the time you came back to reality your brain would be mush! You won't even remember that phone call you were going to make! OH GOD THE HORROR!" but then they do go to limbo and then they all just wake up like normal. I guess limbo wasn't that big of a deal after all. The Japanese guy lives for 100 years in limbo and then Leo wakes him up and he just goes "whoa what a crazy dream" and immediately starts dialing the phone. So yeah, actually no biggie, lets all go to limbo all the time. Were we supposed to care about Leo's character? He was the most cardboard, one dimensional character I've ever seen. Oh he's no longer wanted for his wife's murder, thank god, I was so worried. And also now Cillian Murphy has just been successfully manipulated into ruining his inheritance so some other guy can buy his company? Is that the big urgent espionage goal I'm supposed to bite my nails over? Cillian Murphy seemed like a good guy! WTF Was the "twist" supposed to be that we don't know if he's still dreaming or not at the very end because we don't see the top stop spinning? Can we all just acknowledge that that is the stupidest ending in movie history, not counting Planet of the Apes or AI? It was just like a videogame alternate reality, like people's dreams are just like shoot-em-up videogames. The movie so squandered its potential! What if, to do espionage in someone's dream, you had to, for example, actually interact with all the "projections" of their subconscious, instead of just wading/shooting your way through them as though they are all faceless ciphers? So much more interesting if they actually interacted with the representations of the subconscious. Like if they went and found somebody's mother in there, and had some sort of creepy symbol-ridden seemingly-nonsensical dialogue with her, because they were actually speaking to THE REAL DREAMER, just at a level beneath his conscious awareness? Like maybe they have to go figure out which projections represent which Jungian archetypes in order to put together the puzzle of a person's character. That would have been mind-blowing. Instead it was just gun battles. Not like dreams at all--not the creepy feel of dreams, or the disconnected logic of dreams, or anything. "It's as though the idea for the movie itself was planted in his mind by someone else and then he coldly executed it in a way that reveals he doesn't understand what is cool about his own idea."--my old man WHAT WAS COOL: - Joseph Gordon Levitt having that fight in the hallway that was spinning around - the classic paris-folding-on-top-of-itself moment - Cillian Murphy WHAT WAS BORING, HACKY, AND OTHERWISE POORLY REALIZED: - every other aspect of the film THERE I SAID IT And guess what? In this I am in total agreement with one of my arch-nemeses, David Denby, who pronounced the movie "a folly" and Christopher Nolan "a literal-minded man," and also got in some digs at Hans Zimmer's unbearable score.

But who cares if Cobb gets back to two kids we don’t know? And why would we root for one energy company over another? There’s no spiritual meaning or social resonance to any of this, no critique of power in the dream-world struggle between C.E.O.s. It can’t be a coincidence that Tony Gilroy’s “Duplicity” (2009), which was also about industrial espionage, played time games, too. The over-elaboration of narrative devices in both movies suggests that the directors sensed that there was nothing at the heart of their stories to stir the audience.

DENBY! AT LAST WE MEET, OLD FRIEND

(oh god. If you agree with Denby does that mean that you’re WRONG, though, because he’s always wrong? Or is it more like how even a stopped clock is right twice a day? Lets just say it’s the latter)

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Thunder Road

In 1955 the epically great Robert Mitchum made one of the best films in the history of the medium: NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, co-starring Shelley Winters, the pilot from “Airplane!” as a child, an additional child who is the worst child actor I have ever seen in my life, thus is delightful, and an old and crazy-seeming Lillian Gish. I simply can not recommend this movie highly enough; it simply has to be seen to be believed. It is gorgeous and terrifying and hilarious all at once; it truly could not be better. I watch it several times a month. If you’ve never understood what all the Robert Mitchum fuss is about (or if you’ve horribly never heard of him), here’s your chance.

Thunder Road, made three years later, is not your chance. I think this is the film Mitchum talks about in some interview where he’s cautioning people about not putting their own money into their pictures. He co-wrote, co-directed, and largely financed Thunder Road, and also wrote the theme song for it?? Which is about moonshine. The movie is sort of a car-noir. Moonshine car-noir. Lots of monologues delivered to adoring women. Car chases. The federal government being mad about taxes. Mitchum, while awesome, is not displayed to full advantage here. It really does feel like a student film.

There’s one scene where you can’t hear the dialogue because a frog is croaking so loudly on the soundtrack, and there’s another scene where a cop is like “We’ll get ‘im sure enough” but then in the dramatic pause that follows he awkwardly clanks this water jug against a glass and we both burst out laughing. I think they recorded the whole movie with just one mic and just hoped for the best. There’s also a love interest who is the most stoned-seeming person I have ever seen onscreen, and that’s counting Trainspotting.

What is great about this movie:
– every close up of Mitchum’s face
– this amazing scene where he’s mad at a car mechanic and so he slams a cigarette into the mechanic’s mouth and lights it and somehow this gesture is the most eloquent “fuck you” on earth. Jamming a cigarette into someone else’s mouth while they just stand there! Killer.

What is unintentionally great about this movie:
– at one point Mitchum is explaining to his stoned-seeming secret girlfriend why he needs to keep illegally running moonshine even though he knows that this will be his final run and he’s going to die. He’s telling her about how all he ever wanted was to stay in Croaker’s Gulch or whatever it’s called, with his hillbilly friends, but the government made him fight in a war and now he’s a broken man. And he says this: “I’ve been across the oceans, met all the pretty people, I know how to order in a fancy restaurant, I know what a mobile is.” And the camera cuts away to a mobile just hanging there. A mobile?! What? My old man was like “what, like a Calder mobile?” What kind of a nonsequitur is that? And being emphasized by the cutaway, god, how we laughed.

Mitchum’s adorable son plays his brother in this movie. He could not be cuter. It is very eerie to see Mitchum’s face on somebody else’s face: Genetics are so weird!!! Why are they?

There are so many really hacky car chases, like in the first scene of the film Mitchum’s car flips over and is destroyed but then the next shot is of it driving away, like they just couldn’t re-shoot that other scene so they just said fuck it.

Many amazing monologues about moonshine delivered by what appear to be non-actors. Scene where Mitchum smashes a man’s hat and then jumps out a window. Scene of a car exploding, pretty next-level stuff. Lots of good fake car-driving acting. Shot of Mitchum threatening a loud drunk fat man at a nightclub by tightening his tie; terrifying. Mitchum’s son is so emo! “Ya said ya’d take me, Luke, and you never did!” Father/son drama actually portrayed as brother/brother drama; I’m gonna drive this moonshine car to Memphis and I don’t care that it’s a trap damnit, I’m a man too! Then at the end the girl who loved Mitchum is just like “well here’s his brother I guess he’ll do” and that’s the end.

Also there is an opening voiceover about taxation and how moonshine is wrong, which apparently they put in to make it seem like a social problem movie and thus get it past the censors. Just a little walk down memory lane.

In short: highly recommended

Look at Mitchum’s son!!!!!!!! It’s so weird to see the same face but without the Ultimate Babe Death Ray Energies of the Actual Mitchum. Like it’s not just about the face, ladies, dude’s got all kinds of other stuff going on. If I could go back in time and french one person in all of history it would be Robert Mitchum.

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DARK KNIGHT RISES

We went on a date, mid-afternoon, to the gnarly multiplex by our house. Matt refuses to go on principle most of the time since the time we went and wound up sitting behind two parents that called their son motherfucker and kept sending him the long way around the aisle because they didn’t want to move their feet for him when they dispatched him to the concession stand. He was four. Five tops.

Anyhow. We went. Hardly any one there. I felt weirdly scared about going, fearing some copycat shoot-em-up would leave our children orphaned because we couldn’t keep ourselves away from some Hollywood dreck. Like it was risky. Like we should of gone to see Beasts of the Southern Wild because it would be safe.

I think the Batman franchise is the best of all the superhero movies. I have seen all of them save for the first hulk and the two Green Lanterns because Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern seems like a lose-lose. Perhaps if he was Aquaman I might care. The previous Batman movie, with Heath Ledger so scary, is my favorite. It is everyone’s favorite. Though after a recent half-viewing of Mr. Mom, I want to see the Michael Keaton-era Batman. That was really his last hurrah after presiding over the 80s.

Anyhow. This Batman is all guns, all the time, and an unsettling kind of terror upon the rich, dumb, thoughtless privilege one associates with America. It is like a 99%-fever dream turned rancid. It’s paralleling of the zietgeist was heavy in spots. Poking at our bruised terrorism fears. Anne Hathaway as a self-serving Robin Hoodrat of a CatWoman was a nice way to break up all the brooding macho backstory, but I wanted her backstory, but I imagine that is what the next sequel or spin-off is for. The pre-ending, a hand-to-hand fight against a merciless foe armed with perfect machines in a steely metropolis was instant flashback to Transformers and the bloated Avengers, but I think that is just how these movies have to happen now.

It was hard to watch a movie, to just participate, in something that was so violent and “enjoy” it knowing the very real violence that had been done it in.

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Cabin in the Woods: MEGA SPOILER ALERT

MEGA SPOILERS AHEAD, PLEASE DON’T READ UNTIL YOU WATCH!!!!

You guys. What a truly great film. I was so invigorated and satisfied by the ending, and this is what I wish to discuss today! The reviews I’ve read of this movie do not talk about the ending, and I don’t think it’s just because it’s hard to do so without spoilering. The ever-clueless Denby, for example, just describes the movie as clever and self aware and fun. Yes, it’s self aware, and clever, it’s a meta-horror-film in a lot of ways, but there’s so much more going on than that! I mean, can you BELIEVE how that shit ended??

Up until the very last second of the film, I was just unproblematically expecting things to get resolved, like maybe Sigourney Weaver’s death would somehow finish the ritual, or something. Instead, what we got was two hideously exhausted main characters sharing a doobie and basically just shrugging about the end of the world. The line is literally: “Maybe it’s time for somebody else to have a chance.”

This is some sort of next-level modern nihilistic awesomeness that I have rarely seen on the silver screen. Apocalypse fiction ALWAYS does what I feel is a disservice to the reader/viewer, by taking for granted that the apocalypse is bad. Really, don’t a lot of us secretly long for the apocalypse? With global warming, nuclear bombs, slaughterhouses, the corporatocracy, the ever-growing Kafkaesque bureaucratic nightmare we all have to slog through every day, overpopulation but nobody being willing to talk about overpopulation, pollution, the Colorado fires, the Kardashians, the NRA, the Texas public school system, Israel/Palestine India/Pakistan etc. etc…don’t we secretly kind of think an apocalypse would be a relief, at this point? I know I do. Yeah it would be sad and scary, but come on, we haven’t exactly befitted ourselves as gentlemen, cosmically speaking.

Apocalypse fiction always wusses out on this point. It always takes for granted that the extinction of humanity is a terrible tragedy that must be averted AT ALL COSTS, whether that means sacrificing yourself/someone else, or whatever. It’s very rare that apocalypse fiction actually accepts the apocalypse as inevitable or even as appropriate. But Cabin in the Woods does that! The only other movie I can really think of that presents this worldview is Melancholia. What a cool double feature that would be. The triumphant end of humanity; the obliteration of everything we think is so important–our Jesus statues, our abortion bumper stickers, Beethoven, nuclear power plants, prisons, schools, the Constitution, Jerusalem, Mecca, whatever, the good and bad, all blobbed together in one colorless lump in a cold empty universe.

Where Melancholia presented these themes in von Trier’s customary hateful misanthropic style, Cabin in the Woods presents them way more jovially. We actually like these characters; we’re rooting for them; but even so it’s like, “oh well, fuck it.” In that final moment when whats-her-name is considering shooting the Stoner in order to save humanity, it feels so false and wrong. We, the audience, don’t want her to do it–we don’t want to see that dude die. In that moment, we, the audience, don’t actually give a shit about the fate of humanity. And it’s immensely satisfying when instead they just sit down and spark up a J and wait for eternity. She even says “Humanity,” with a disgusted sneer and a shrug.

So the end of the movie, to me, felt like it was saying: maybe it’s NOT worth it, living in a given system. Like, as the kids realize this system they’ve been living in–as they realize that their freedom has been predicated all along on this grisly, disgusting ritual, it’s like, IT’S NOT WORTH IT. If this is the way it has to be, then it’s actually not worth it! That’s a heavy thing to come right out and say, about whatever system you’re living in. It reminds me of that sci-fi short story about the planet where every single person is able to lead a life of constant pleasure and ease and happiness, so long as one child is kept locked in a dark cell for all eternity. You assign that story to your students as a means of sparking dialogue about morality and society and civilization and happiness and ethics and stuff. You’d be surprised how many of your students will have no problem whatsoever with the child locked in the room. Anyway, I feel like this movie was kind of raising those issues but even more direly, like it was going so far as to say “don’t you kind of wish evil gods would destroy everyone on the earth? admit it.”

This is not the way we have been trained to think about ourselves as a species. This is not the way the 19th century would want us to think! Self-preservation at all costs!! The first goal in any apocalypse fiction, post-apocalypse, is usually REPOPULATING THE EARTH. Oh my god, so many of us have died, lets now have as many babies as possible! Which is baffling and exhausting to me. Seriously, we just destroyed ourselves with technology and your first goal is making more of us?? Or like how there’s this running theme of colonizing other planets so that the human race will never die out. Why is that a priority? We’ve done almost nothing but fuck up the planet we’re currently on–why is it taken as such a given that interstellar colonization would be beautiful? Finally, these movies are coming out that are calling all this bullshit into question. Are there older movies that do this, in a similar way? I have been thinking about it for a day and I can’t think of any. Maybe there are some, I don’t know. Surely people throughout history have felt this way–this kind of exhausted acceptance of obliteration–but I think it’s becoming more of a culture-wide phenomenon.

Also there was obviously lots of darkly comedic stuff about The Audience–I read the evil gods as representing mass culture, this ceaselessly hungry, mindless, blind, dark force that wants to see blood and guts, wants to see rape torture fantasies. Placating that mindless force with banally horrifying violence so that it doesn’t destroy the world. How we are kept numb and docile by the media we consume, and meanwhile a small cadre of elite are making all our decisions for us.

Also it was about how we agree to play these roles society assigns us. I liked that the kids were actually NOT the jock, the whore, the virgin, etc., but due to media manipulation they started behaving in those ways, believing those things about themselves, acting they way they thought they were supposed to act. When they’re making out on the couch and she’s like “I’ve never done this…wait, I don’t mean ‘never,'” like she’s even confused by the dissonance between her actual lived experience in all its complexity and this archetypal role she’s boxed into by virtue of certain aspects of her personality. Amazing!

It was really a movie for our time. It’s not just a meta-twist on the horror genre, which is the main thing critics are saying about it, to my bafflement. As though it’s just another Scream! What? It’s so beyond Scream’s clever media critique. It’s so beyond just boring Funny Games-style nudge-nudge-wink-wink audience-shaming. It evinces a profoundly eschatological worldview that I think says so much about the way we currently experience modernity. Deep shit!

AND ALSO, it’s obviously incredibly fun to watch, a very well-made and entertaining romp. I laughed so hard at so many parts. When the Japanese girls defeat the evil and it turns into a frog! The opening title! Eric from Billy Madison finally getting to see a Merman, and the romantic music and the fog and then the merman is so hideously gross. The scoreboard with all the monster options on it! “No, you chose ‘zombies,’ but this is ‘zombie redneck torture family.'” Also “Angry molesting tree”?!?!? The way they’re all partying at the end, having these boring office conversations while on the screens behind them the Virgin is being horribly mangled to death. “It’s interesting you like the ballet, because I just happen to have two tickets, to your favorite—” And of course the hallway scene, I died laughing. When the SWAT guys come around the corner and it’s just completely drenched in blood and horrible dripping guts, but it’s all quiet and peaceful, with just a couple zombies peacefully eating. Also “good work, zombie arm” and subsequent slow zombie-arm-crawl onto unconscious SWAT guy’s face. So many funny lines and weird good jokes. I liked “husband bulge” a lot. “No matter what, we have to stay together! No wait, we should split up.” That first pan up from the receding RV to the guy perched on the roof with the earphone? “The eagle has flown.” So many good jokes I am forgetting! Definitely need to see it again. Richard Jenkins is a genius, as is Eric from Billy Madison. Also why does that one guy look so much like Channing Tatum but he isn’t Channing Tatum????

But yeah, I thought it was way more than just a fun, meta-horror movie. I thought it was saying something real about modern culture!!! Did you?

Also is it just me or is one of the options on this scoreboard just “Kevin”?

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