Now, my favorite section of summer film. And I use the term ‘film’ loosely. This is the intersection of terrible and so-terrible-you-can-joyously-yell-at-the-screen. These are the films destined for cult status. These are the films that, down the line, will clutter the bottom of Wal-Mart $5 bins, waiting for a perfectly inebriated pack of college sophomores searching for a good, cheap time. Greats have fallen into this category, year after year. Sometimes, I’m surprised…though I’m usually too far down drunky-lane to really understand that it’s an epiphany and not me just falling asleep. It doesn’t take a brain. Hell, it doesn’t even take a pulse. These are moving images of such camp and dumbness that you can just sit back, relax and laugh.
Yes, there are sometimes turds in the basket. In fact, by rational definition, pretty much everything on this list is almost entirely turdish. However, they shall be seen. Perhaps they will be glorious fun. Perhaps they will incite a rant of such saucy bluster that my friends will have to excuse my actions to the public wandering by. But I will see them with a fervor that I cannot explain. It is a passion that leaves those around me bewildered. Maybe it’s my latent British need to inflict constant self-pain. Maybe it’s spiritual karma to remind myself that, no matter how bad my own work, it will never be as bad as this…and look they’re making money! Maybe it’s just that see people try and fail with such spectacular terribleness is a not only a well-studied mental condition, but a spectator sport born from base primal needs. Maybe.
These, ladies and gentlemen, are the:
MOVIES I WILL SEE WHILE DRUNK
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Read that title. Read it again. You are not high on ether (maybe you are…then I apologize) That is real. It, alone, is reason enough to sneak a fifth of Jack into the theater. Now, from what I gather, the book is a hilarious mash-up of horror cliches and tropes, mixed in with the tone of historical fiction. That is amusing to me. Seth Grahame-Smith found fame first and foremost with his absurd retelling of Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Again, hilarious. So, our greatest president against vampires, funny stuff right?
Well, “fuck you” says Timur “Say it Five Times Fast” Bekmambetov. “You want historical irony? NO. NO LAUGHS SHALL BE HAD!” Or, at least I imagine him saying that while petting a Siberian Tiger and sipping Lemur urine (because, with a last name like that, it’s pretty much assumed). So, taking time off from being a bond villain, Bekmammarytosspot has directed a few films. After getting the utterly nonsensical Nightwatch series under his belt, he penetrated Hollywood with his bullet-curving-anorexic-Angelina-exploding-mouse-James-McAvoy-shooting-a-guy-in-the-face-and-then-shooting-the-guys-behind-him-while-keeping-the-gun-in-the-guy’s-skull masterpiece Wanted. Did I say masterpiece? I meant a piece of…well, never mind. Needless to say, between the ‘Loom of Fate’ and fun times with physics, that movie was messier than a guy lost in Logan Square at 3am wondering what he’s doing with his life and convincing himself that maybe, maybe he’ll find love at the other 4am bar and…well, ahem. Moving on.
This film looks dumb. Not only does it look utterly moronic, but it looks super serious. Like, super-super-cereal. It has dark lighting and broody acting and Lincoln cutting logs and…a stampede into battle and…well…what? I have no idea what’s going on. This one could have easily landed on the ‘Movies I will See and Hate Myself’, but good old buddy old friend Jack D will shift this from Blade-fan-fiction into bona-fide vampiric insanity.
On the drunk-o-meter this gets: two old-fashioneds (keep it classy, boys) followed by a shot of bourbon. Sloshy enough to numb the pain, but not so far to impede the seizure of perfect ‘yell at the screen moments’.
There’s this guy. His name is Oren Peli and he made a movie called Paranormal Activity. With its meteoric rise into the lexicon of classic horror, it swept across the nation, wetting pants and making bros cry a little before them telling their dates that ‘they were cutting onions, no big deal’. Inopportune movie cooking aside, this film scared a lot of people. I watched it. I switched it on, waiting for things to happen. My friends had all told me “Dude, it’s like…so scary, like…like so scary.” Well. Challenge accepted. I was prepared to jump. To get freaked out. However, when it turned out that this was just the tale of two filmmakers taking the American public for a fucking ride by pulling together a derivative, predictable, cheap-as-dirt movie and then selling it to everyone as ‘the next Exorcist’ I yawned. And then I shrugged. And then I went to bed. And I never thought of it again.
They made a second one. Which was like the first…in that it was the first…just more boring and less scary. If the first was about as frightening as a puppy with a Chucky mask (say that 3 times fast), this was the equivalent of a cat sitting on wrapping paper covered in pumpkins. In theory, it recalls something related to unnerving activity…but really it’s just lazy fucking cat that does nothing but lie in inopportune places every damn day and it can’t even feed itself and yet it expects you to work to his schedule, but seriously what schedule does he have? What essential things does he have to do? Scratch your legs? Stare into space? He’s a fucking CAT!
Well, Mr. Peli has created a beast. After Paranormal Activity, we had Apollo 18, The Last Exorcism, The Devil Inside, Porky’s 3D and Girls Gone Wild Mumbai 19. The last two might have been made up. Now, instead of taught, intense, well-made, well-shot, well-scripted horror (sorry, I just made myself laugh. When was the last time any of that shit ever happened?) we have these sorry excuses for the deleted scenes from an elaborate Paris Hilton sex tape. What’s almost the worst thing is that the endings of each of these is the fucking same. They all die. It’s like a Goosebumps novel except without my teenage-wet-panties being involved. Did I say teenage? I meant grade school. That’s what I meant, guys. Seriously. I was super young and not at all in 10th grade.
Now we have the one about Chernobyl. Yes, Chernobyl is fucking fascinating. Radiation is fascinating. Its effect on the human body is fascinating. A bunch of large-breasted, mentally deficient, testicularly-oversized American teenagers exploring these themes is not. From the opening shot of that one girl (pulling down her shirt so you get a go view of the milk twins, we all know why she was hired) saying something about radiation is about as convincing as Denise “Wild Things” Richards pretending to be a nuclear physicist named, I shit you not, Christmas Jones.
It has jumps. It has ‘scares’. It has crazy irradiated Russians, who are 34.2% more hilarious than irradiated hillbillies (that’s science. Look it up). It has Eastern Europeans being poor which, for some reason, always tickles my fancy. And it will be terrible. I mean it. Absolutely, positively, Whore-of-Babylon-ironically-riding-Ted-Nugent bad. I’ll be there at the midnight opening.
So, what does this terror-legend-to-be score on the gold-standard dunk-o-meter? I give it 5 PBRs and splash of scotch. Because, let’s be honest, after that much hipster shit gets into your system, you have to purge it with a little 50-year-old-man and a dousing of pungent aftershave. This will also preferably include hidden beverages in the movie theater to encourage drinking-game-generation on the fly. Drink every time they do something stupid.
You’d be dead in 20 minutes.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Total Recall
Well, what do we have here? Looks like the nonsensical sequel to a movie that nobody wanted and a remake of a 80s action movie so crazy, Nic Cage asked it to ‘dial it back’. Neither of these movies have any right to exist. A few years back, I had the singular, life-altering pleasure of witnessing G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra, a film so bursting with not-giving-a-fuckness that it could not be contained by its series title alone. Director Stephen Sommers attempted to tame it to simply G.I. Joe, but the film, supplying the world with such pivotal performances as Joseph Gordon Levitt attempting career suicide and Channing Tatum attempting the English language, expanded into the wonderfully needless moniker: Rise of Cobra. Were they worried we’d mix this up with the other G.I. Joe films? Were they concerned that the world would watch the film and then demand “WILL THERE BE ANOTHER? PLEASE TELL ME NOW!!!” Well, G.I. Joe: Retaliation shudders its way into theaters this summer. Apparently, they decided to axe the entire original cast save for the Asian dude and the inexplicably British President of the United States. Now they have Dwayne “The Rock “Smiles Like A Cherub”” Johnson and Bruce “I Really Thought I’d Be Dead At This Point in My Career…Oh Well” Willis. Somehow Channing Tatum has a scar increasing his evil score to “Eh. He’s probably just German.” Joe Levitt is gone (my heart is broken) as is
The Doctor Christopher Eccelston and his metal fucking head. I’m going to miss that metal fucking head. It was one of my favorite parts of the first movie, that metal fucking head. Oh well. Maybe I should simply watch Man in the Iron Mask a dozen times and laugh at Leonardo Dicaprio because in real life he gets fat. Poetic justice.
The original film’s director (‘original’ is an incredibly loose term) is one of my personal heroes. I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard of Stephen Sommers, but he’s the auteur responsible for inflicting, nay, bequeathing such pieces of cinematic excellence as The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, Van Helsing and the criminally unseen Deep Rising. He has launched the careers of both Rachel Weisz (THANK YOU GOD ALMIGHTY) and Famke “Goldeneye” Janssen (legs…watch out for the legs!) as well as the continued existence of Treat “Who the Fuck is that?” Williams and Brendon “I Remember When He Was Famous…Kinda” Frasier. Sommers is basically Michael Bay with a sense of humor and without his penis constantly stuck in his ear. His movies don’t give a gleeful fuck. The one liners are so agonizing, you need anesthesia. His conflation of myths, legends, popular figures and currently existing intellectual properties is so perplexingly incorrect you can only admire his balls. Literally. He’s like if Roland Emmerich and Luc Besson had a gayby. Watch all of his movies immediately.
G.I. Joe: Returning Bullshit will be bad. And it’ll probably be boring. Only one of those things is egregious. When the first film in a series had Joe Levitt declaring “Call me COMMANDER” and walking around like he had taken his ‘stroke’ pills, there’s a lot to live up to. This one looks ‘gritty’ and ‘dark’, two words most appropriately applied to fungus. So, to survive, let’s play a game. Drink every time something batshit could have happened if it was an ACTUAL sequel to the first film. Just to be clear…you will be constantly drinking.
Next we have the admittedly gorgeous and yet entirely soulless remake of Total Recall. If you have not seen the Arnold Schwarzenegger original, directed by Paul “Starship Troopers, Showgirls, Robocop, Total Recall, Fuck With Me I Dare You” Verhooven, watch it right now. Like right now. I fucking mean it. Stop reading right the fuck now and witness that deplorable-violence-Sharon-Stone-Three-Tits-Michael-Ironside crazy fest that is that orgasmic work of ‘art’. It’s as though Verhooven said “I want to make a movie like Jackson Pollock makes paintings”. When someone returned, “you mean using a fascinating deconstruction of shape and form to explore emotion and expression itself?” he stared them in the face and slapped them. “No, because there will be blood EVERYWHERE.” Everyone gets shot. Main characters. Not main characters. Completely innocent bystanders. EVERYONE. It is one of the most hilarious examples of excess one could possibly have the please to witness.
And now there’s this one. Colin Farrell, a man who is about as artistically consistent as a waterbed on a cruise ship, and directed by Len Weisman, a gentleman whose greatest career achievement was banging Kate Beckinsale. Again, it will be boring. Again it’s ‘dark’ and ‘gritty’ like that thing I found under my toenail last week, which is really weird, because I didn’t stub it or anything, it was just there…but it didn’t seem like a growth because it wasn’t exactly attached…just some sort of anomalous interloper (if anyone has any thoughts about what it was, please share in the comments section below).
The issue with these movies isn’t that they are bad. Bad movies can be amazing. Have you seen The Room? (More on that later). The problem is that people substitute slick action scenes with decent graphics and a growly main character for ‘edge’, perhaps even ‘depth’. But, unfortunately, we know that these films have about as much ‘edge’ as a fucking peanut butter sandwich and about as much depth as another peanut butter sandwich (sorry, my metaphors are a little one note, I haven’t eaten much today.) Who cares if the movie can’t be good? Just make it insane! Stop trying to convince yourselves that you’re something you’re not. Don’t hide what’s really within. We can see you all acting butch, like you really do care about your muscles and your flash…when really you want to break out the tassels and that sequined thong that you’ve just been dying to wear out. Be yourself. Be crazy. Let it out. Because, seriously, a massive boner party is only really palatable when thrown in conjunction with a sequined glitterfest.
How many drinks? G.I. Joe: Resident Evil: Retributaliexctinctelations will require a pitcher of Margaritas. Just enough tequila to get you wasted, just enough flavor without being a ‘girl’s drink’ (boys: manhood in tact). While Total Recall will require liquified Paul Verhooven (read: Four Loco) pumped directly into my blood stream with an IV. It’ll be one hell of a night.
There is a movie out there, lost in the wilds of the great American film-scape, fighting for its relevance day-in and day-out, struggling to be remembered as one of the silliest comedies of all time. That movie is, of course, Clue. Not Clueless, the piece de resistance of Alicia Silverstone’s…I want to say ‘career’, is that what we call it? Clue. Based, that’s right ladies and gents, on a board game. I remember witnessing the words “Based on the Parker Board Game” for the first time, before the movie descended into Tim Curry-esque madness and a quagmire of such verbal punnery it would make Oscar Wilde facepalm in his grave, I threw back my head and uttered “We’ll never see that again!”
How wrong I was.
Battleship is ‘based on a board game’. In that, it has the same name as a board game. When was the last time you replaced your battleship pieces with flying fucking robots from outer space? So, alright, let’s call a spade a spade. What do we have here? Well it looks like
Transformers 4: Liam Neeson Continues Career Suicide Battleship is attempting to cash in on every possible franchise it can. I believe this is the third in the trilogy of Tim Riggins Films, joining such classics as Tim Riggins in Space (John Carter…eesh) and Tim Riggins has a Mullet and Mutant Powers (X-Men Origins: Wolverine…okay, side note. When I saw the midnight showing of that film – yes, you read that correctly – it was in this amazingly shitty little one-screen movie theater in my college town. When Will.I.Am (sp?) enters the scene, an African-American gentleman in front of me bellowed the words “Oh look! It’s Will.I.Am! I love him!” And then Will.I.Am spoke two lines. A second later, the same gentleman declared “Oh shit. Will.I.Am can’t act.” True story. It was amazing.) Okay, back to Tim Riggins on a Boat. We’ve got a panoply of b-list actors, ranging from Erik from True Blood making dumb faces when glass blows up in his face, to Brooklyn “Double” Decker, to Rihanna. I refuse to make any jokes about her. That would be tasteless. Moving on swiftly…
This movie has Liam Neeson, supplementing his recent string of cinematic excellence beginning with kill-everybody Taken, then Bradley-Cooper-Shut-The-Fuck-Up-No-One-Thinks-You’re-Funny The A Team, to I-Was-Hoping-It-Was-Taken-But-With-Wolves-Instead-of-Human-Traffickers-I-Was-So-So-Wrong The Grey. And, of course, he’s going to die immediately, releasing him from this franchise forever. Lucky bastard. It has Taylor “Please let me be a movie star!” Kitsch. We might even be serenaded by Rihanna’s…um…talent? Let’s go with that.
It’s going to be awful. Like…if Transformers was somehow stupider. Who knows? Maybe it’ll surprise me and actually be a nuanced discussion of the US Navy’s brutality in war, the ethics of invading another culture for profitable gain and what it truly means to serve in a branch of…
Sorry. Couldn’t keep a straight face. This movie requires beer. Lots and lots of beer. Perhaps a few of those ‘craft’ beers that just turn out to be Blue Moon in a different bottle. Whatever you drink, it’s going to make you shit razorblades the next morning. I find that an apt metaphor for the viewing of this film.
Alright, boys and girls. Strap in. It’s gonna be a boobalicious ride.
One might describe film as ‘high-art’. One might describe it as a ‘glimpse into our fleeting existence, a chance to view life uninterrupted’. One might describe it as ‘life-changing’. Every single one of those phrases left my mouth as I witnessed the film Piranha 3D. This was not because I believed any of them. It was because, over the course of that film, I ran out of expletives to scream at the screen and instead my mouth was filled with randomized phonemes. I think I might have bellowed the entirety of Moby Dick at one point. Some films understand what they are, yet subtly mask their sensibilities for public consumption. They understand they are smut, yet drench themselves in gore and dark lighting and tout it as ‘the new generation of horror’. Not Piranha 3D. It had tits. A lot of tits. It had Ving Rhames mutilate flesh-gobbling piranhas with a boat motor as they stripped his legs to the bone. It had tazered, exploding fish. It had Jerry O’Connell’s penis regurgitated in 3D. It had all this…and that dude from Parks and Recreation get bitten in half. It was like seeing god…if god had a really nice rack.
What do we have now? Double the terror? Ha. Nope. Double the gore? Maybe. That would be difficult. Double the D’s. Yep, pretty much. This is the only logical conclusion posited by the predicate of movie one. Lifeguard strippers? Sure. Why not? Piranhas that live inside you Alien-style? Points for hackneyed creativity, I suppose. David Hasselhoff? He’s gotta do something when he isn’t making millions in Germany. Gary Busey? Oh hells yes. As the Bible says “Crazy begets crazy.”
Just in watching the trailer to this film, I can feel the humanity leaking from my bones, trickling out in a mass of empathy that sizzles away its existence into nothingness. If this is just a modicum more insane than the first, I will be nothing but a steaming sack of flesh, pooled on the cinema floor. For we will have done it. We will have found the bottom of the abyss. As the Mayans predicted, it would come in 2012. The end-times of taste. The lowest of the brows. The chamberpot of artistic excrement. Congratulations, guys, you did it. And I will be drinking whiskey all the way down.
Here’s to the end, folks!