Summer Movie Preview 2013
Part One – Movies I Want to See
Every summer movie season has about as many ups and downs as the “Bi-Polar Coaster” at Six Flags. We’ve got our A game, our Dark Knights, our Jurassic Parks, you know, shit that makes audiences spontaneously spew fan-boy goo from every orifice. Then there’s the mid-shelf stuff. At first you’re like, “Nah-uh, they did NOT just greenlight a sequel to the prequel of the sequel to X-Men”. But then, like that old bottle of milk, you can’t find anything else to drink. You sniff. You shrug. You sip. It ain’t that bad but it’s not exactly a game changer. After that, you’ve got your indies, your cults and your duds. You know the duds. The ones the studio just NEEDS to recoup some of their investment. Why not shove every b-list slab of talent you’ve got on endless retainer up its ass and hope their recent guest spot on SNL was painless enough to jolt you from your couch, through the searing heat of the sun and into the air conditioned movie theater? You know, the one-night-stands of movies.
Well, fear not, today is dedicated to those glimmers of chromatic brilliance lost in an otherwise black and blue palette of blandness that this year has to offer. Now, last year had the likes of The Dark Knight Rises, the allure of Prometheus, the anticipation of The Avengers and the assumption that Joss Whedon was going to get sucked into the Marvel jet engine like some wayfaring bird caught in airspace over O’Hare. This year…not so much. We have a few palatable offerings but nothing that going to make me squee like I did during the
opening moments of Les Miserables um…during the…(research and insert up-to-date sports reference). And much like my girlfriend on “Andrew’s Extended Striptease Night”, you are all probably saying “Get the fuck on with it!” And my response to her is the same to you: “Don’t rush genius, baby.”
Iron Man 3
Ah yes, once again Marvel must tighten the chains and drag out our good ole pal Robert Downey Jr. for yet another foray into the suit of iron. If Disney has given us any indication of their artistic farming practices in the past 60 years, they are going to milk that mutherfucker dry until his udders are pouring nothing but limp-lipped catchphrases and phoned-in numbness. Following is the list of stuff that RDJ has appeared in for Disney over the past few years: Iron Man, Iron Man (The Video Game), The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, The Avengers, Iron Man 3, The Avengers 2 – Electric Boogaloo and the Avengers’ rarely seen sex-tape Thor’s Hammer and Some Man Iron. Dude is like 60 and a recovering heroin addict. Either he is immortal or he is working on borrowed time, people.
Back to the movie. While The Avengers (or as it was turdishly known as in the UK Avengers Assemble because British people can’t discern the difference between a major blockbuster with a hundred famous people based on the massively successful comic book series, and a movie adaptation of a 60s TV show no one gives a shit about where Sean Connery goes for the Oscar for Best Supporting Comatose Actor) was brain-bustingly amazing, the lead up was a parade of uneven snore-fests. Thor? If you’re not into Hemsworth-abs, it ain’t workin’, darlin’. Captain America? It was totes dece until that montage that made up the ENTIRE SECOND HALF OF THE MOVIE. Even Iron Man 2 was an exercise in tepid blandness. How the fuck can you make Mickey Rourke, you know, that guy with a face that looks like he tried to make his nose look like a vagina, with a Russian accent, a pet bird and ELECTRIC WHIPS ATTACHED TO HIS SPINE boring? Well, Mr. Favreau did it. And then he was fired. Thank the lord.
This time we have the little-known Shane West, responsible for the gut-spewingly funny Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang, as well as the addition of Guy “If Vanilla Were to Take Human Form” Pearce as boring bad guy number 1 and the ubiquitous Ben “I Have a Lot of Ex-Wives” Kingsley as the dangerously-close-to-racism-if-they-aren’t-incredibly-careful Mandarin. And, from the trailers, it looks pretty cool. Now, I won’t O over the keyboard for yet another RDJ speed-speak competition. There will be funny lines, over the top action and, most importantly, Ben Kingsley wearing Ray Bans and speaking with an accent that rivals Bane for what-the-fuckery. I am always in favor of that.
This is the End
So, there are these guys in Hollywood. We all know them. They’re a little boy’s club that has grown from humble beginnings to taking over the ENTIRETY of mainstream comedy. No, I’m not talking about Rob Schneider, Adam Sandler and the rest of the SNL circa 1995 gang. And no, I’m not talking about Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly and the other duds from SNL circa the 2000s. And, jesus, NO, I’m not talking about Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and John Belushi. God, guys, not cool. Belushi is dead. Go think about what you’ve done.
I am, of course, talking about the entire cast of Freaks and Greeks along with all the other kinda-indie funny guys they have sucked into their charging snowball of increasing revenues. These guys show up like the Magnificent Seven every fucking year with yet another film that you hope isn’t just a dumb stoner comedy and yet, it almost always is. We have Seth “The Writer” Rogan, James “He Says He’s a Writer But I’m Pretty Sure He Has No Idea Where He is Half the Time” Franco, Jonah “The Younger, Fatter Seth Rogan” Hill, Paul “Dreamsicle” Rudd, Jason “Actually Does Other Things, Like the Muppets, Seriously” Segel, Craig “The Black Guy” Robinson, Jay “What Happened to His Face? Like, Has it Always Been Like That? Does He Constantly Have Something Stuck in His Eye?” Baruchel, Danny “If a Mullet Were a Human Being” McBride and Michael “Please, For the Love of God, Stop” Cera. Well, their years of circling around the inevitable have finally come to an end. Yes, we all believed that they would eventually suck themselves into their own anuses but, while many assumed it had occurred on the set of Your Highness, they deliver this little puppy into theaters.
Holy. Fucking. Shit.
You know what isn’t funny? Watching a bunch of smug comedian friends sit around being assholes to each other and the rest of humanity. You know what is? Watching that same load of smug assholes get VICIOUSLY MURDERED ONE BY ONE. The concept is, for all intents and purposes, balls-out brilliant. I’m talking, swinging-testicles-free-from-pants-and-flying-in-the-wind genius. What’s the problem with apocalypse movies? That pesky thing known as ‘characterization’. It’s a scourge on all Emmerich-esque screenwriters. Unfortunately, for an audience to care about whether or not you drop a fucking skyscraper on a character’s head you have to get them to actually care about them. You don’t get points for making them a) black, b) a child, c) a black child, d) gay or e) a black, gay child. Until they do something worthy of our interest, they are simply slabs of meat readied for the oncoming abattoir of choice. Here, however, they already have characters…themselves. Suddenly, the jokes that all those Disaster Movie and Scary Movie Vs have been attempting for years suddenly become hilarious. Love them for their banter or fucking hate them for it, you are guaranteed that every one of the ‘Geek Squad’ is getting mutilated somehow. Yes, I know the third act will be a horrid unfunny mess. Yes, it will totally overstay its welcome. But, I mean…come on…Michael Cera gets impaled in the trailer. Oscar for Best Screenplay written all over it.
A few years ago, the geniuses in Hollywood greenlit a movie adaptation of Halo. I know what you’re going to say, but wait, it gets better. They then hired Alex Garland, the brains behind Danny Boyle classics The Beach and 28 Days Later to write a screenplay for $1 million. They then threw it out. The Halo debacle cost someone or other millions upon millions of dollars, Peter Jackson a major headache and almost killed the career of up-and-coming filmmaker and Bond-villainly-eponymous Neill Blomkamp. Luckily, from the mountain of artistic manure grew a single delicate flower. District 9 hit theaters with a shoe-string budget, a no-name cast and a whole lot of limb-dismemberment. It was a brutal and half-clever/half-video-game-fanboy-snuff-film that explored the politics behind South African apartheid and fear of otherness. The movie was so damn good that even my mother, you know, the matriarch of “Game of Thrones looks disgusting”, fucking adored it. No joke, I bought it for her on Blu-Ray for a birthday and she couldn’t have been happier.
Now, years later, Blomkamp is back with Mr. Matt “Please Don’t Ask Me To Do Another Bourne Movie” Damon in the lead. What’s it about? Fuck knows. Earth sucks. Elysium is great. Also, they use a bone saw to attach a metal skeleton to Matt Damon’s spine. TICKET PLEASE! You had me at ‘bone saw to attach a metal skeleton to Matt Damon’s spine’. District 9 was one of the first of many sic-fi movies forcing the winds of change to sweep through the desolate soulless plains of Hollywood Summer-dom. Intelligence and humanity is finally finding its way into this horde of messes hotter than an Lindsay Lohan between rehab visits. Sci-fi is now skirting the realms of Philip K. Dick, Arthur C. Clark and more writers with middle initials. From Inception to Looper to the recent stylings of Oblivion, science fiction is desperately trying to discover this concept called ‘intelligence’. Now, yes, it’s hard because most of the writers are insufferable morons, but the thought does count. Who knows? Maybe Elysium will be more the bang-bang-lightning-gun-head-a-sploding second half of District 9 and less the ponderous and discussion-provoking first. I’m willing to give hope a chance. Unless hope fucks it up then I’m going to hunt hope down like the dog it is and burn it in public effigy. You hear that, Blomkamp? If your movie sucks, I will make sure that this world becomes a hopeless hellscape!
Kick Ass 2
Alright, I’m not really sure how this bad boy made the list…but I guess that’s what happens when I gotta scrape the bottom of the barrel. Sometimes you don’t get the good stuff, just the black and moldy leftovers that people forgot to wash out months ago. Oh well, I’m talking about it now. To those of you who didn’t see it (and judging by box office receipts I’m pretty sure that includes everybody in the world) Kick Ass gracefully slid into theaters, cutting under the sensors with it’s cunt-and-knife-weilding 12-year-old Chloe Moretz Grace and Nicholas Cage giving his best performance in a trillion years. And, so graceful it was, Kick-Ass slid right across the stage and into the orchestra pit. Nobody noticed. I had a multitude of reasons to see the first Kick Ass. First of all, it’s called Kick Ass. Second, it’s from the disturbingly dark mind of Mark Millar, the man responsible for Timur Bek-Oh-God-Please-Don’t-Make-Me-Say-His-Name-betov’s literal blood-and-shit-show Wanted. Third, it was written and directed by Mr. Claudia Schiffer and the talented half of the Snatch production crew, Matthew Vaughn.
Let’s get this straight. Kick Ass wasn’t good. It was awesome. Foul-mouthed, invincible ninja 12-year-old girl? Check. Mark Strong being an asshole? Check. And…well, really it only needed that first one and I’d be cool with it. So, years later, after Ms. Moretz Grace has been tapped to remake every movie ever (Let Me In, Carrie etc.) and the titular Aaron Johnson was in that one movie where Salma Hayek had bangs, the crew is back. But Chloe isn’t 12 anymore. And Nic Cage isn’t in it. And the allure of Moretz Grace who, since the first movie, has now eaten people, ripped people’s heads off, murdered an entire auditorium of high schoolers and almost killed herself because of her period, has worn off. Yes, she murders people. YAWN. Gimme something else. Well, there is Jim Carrey. Who doesn’t love Jim Carrey? Oh, right, me. Um…who cares. It’s going to be violent, dumb, and Hit Girl is delightful. NEXT!
to the Ground into Darkness
Ah yes…the coup de grace. Through all of this seasonal mediocrity finally a morsel worth supping upon. Alright nerds, hide your boners. Let us sit upon the ground and talk of kings. And by ‘kings’ I mean the jerkoff who made me both love and despise LOST. Mr. JJ Abrams (because he’s just too good for first names, JEFF) is a man who has both plagued and saved Hollywood over the last few years. From his breakout dud Mission: Impossible III to the confusingly mislead Super 8, his career is filled with more misfires than a blind man’s firing squad. His movies are never bad per se…they’re just not exactly, well, good. That was until Star Trek. We all groaned when we saw the Enterprise under construction in Iowa back in 2008. I think the Nerd Discussion Boards crashed faster than Evil Kineval on a bad day, loaded with death threats and rages of the pimpled variety.
And then the movie arrived in theaters.
To say that we all let out a sigh of relief would be like saying people were ‘slightly excited’ about the return of the McRib. If it weren’t a horrific Obam-ian sci-fi faux pas, I’d say that there had been a disturbance in the Force. But I ain’t no nerd baiting moron. I mean, all I would have to do is point out that Spock intends to cut open the heads of the Enterprise’s crew to steal their powers, Chekhov will have to go back in time to impregnate Sarah Conner, Sulu is going to get lost on his way to White Castle, Bones is going to save Helm’s Deep from the forces of Saruman, Uhura is going to turn blue and hiss at things, and Scottie is going to defend a pub against zombies. Oh yes, that’s all while the director opens a Jedi Academy.
So, what’s the plot of this movie? Well, it seems the crew, hot off the victory over Eric Bana playing, I guess, a crazy Roman emperor with some serious skin and rage issues, are taking it easy. And then things blow up. Maybe. Who knows? All I care about is the fact that the enemy is Bendy-Dick Mutherfucking Cabbage-Patch-Kids. That’s right, the Federation is fucked because, for some reason, they pissed off Sherlock “Gun to My Head? Sure” Holmes. That’s right, JJ Abrams, the man tasked with rebooting the two greatest science fiction series of all time, has decided to insert so many juggernauts of nerd-joy into this thing that he seemingly intends to force a critical mass of squee, a chain reaction of dork-bliss, a nuclear blast of fan-person-doo-doo-batter and unravel the fabric of the universe. All we need now is for the Star Wars reboot to include David Tenant, Nathan Fillion, Sir Ian McKellan, Matt Smith, Patrick Stewart and, let’s say, Daryl from The Walking Dead and I think he will have his Nerd-pocalypse in the bag.