Archive for the ‘Cult’ Category

Change is in the air, my friends. The oxygen slows in its vibration, caught amidst the rushing meteorological shifts of this midwestern metropolis. There is gunk in my throat. My clothing has shifted from hues of happiness to those of hipsterian disdain for all things uncool. Yes, my friends, it is FALL. And, as this season was so named to follow Lucifer’s plummet from Providence of summer exponentialism, through the purgatory of mid-September and October bullshit horror second-hand mediocrity and finally into the pit of despair known only to the brave as ‘January’, so have we tumbled from the majesty that was this summer movie season. Did I say majesty? I mean Meh-ity. That’s right, this summer was filled with more duds than a post-Steve Jobs iPhone release (POSTHUMOUS BURN!). However, it is my job, nay my DUTY (tee hee, doody) to rip, roll, tar and feather every release of this thermodynamically diverse cinematic season. So, yes, kiddies, this is the one you have ALL been waiting for (and by all I mean probably like three of you…if that), get ready for Andrew’s:

SUMMER MOVIE AWARDS 2013!

Oh thank you, please, please, don’t get out of your computer chair…oh…please! Stop with all the adulation! I…well…alright…

Now come on guys, I have an article to write! Please, oh, you are too kind. This is all…just…too overwhelming…

WHAT? FUCK YOU AFFLECK! GET OUT OF MY GIFS, YOU NOT-BATMAN SON OF A BITCH! THIS IS MY AWARDS SHOW AND YOU’RE NOT WINNING ANYTHING! I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN LIKE THE NOT-BATMAN YOU ARE AND HIT YOU WITH A MUTHERFUCKING BATARANG! (Spoilers, he totally wins an award. ;). (Okay, second parenthetical…those winks really make me uncomfortable. It’s like my computer is flirting with me. And my computer has seen WAY too much of me to make that appropriate.) Without any further Ado (heh, heh, SPOILERS) let’s get this underway…

MOST MEDIOCRE MOVIE I’M GLAD I MISSED

Winner: The Internship; Runner-Up: Now You See Me

"What should be on the poster? Fuck it. I need to get baked. Let's just have them stand there." Genius designer.

“What should be on the poster? Fuck it. I need to get baked. Let’s just have them stand there.” Genius designer.

Alright, so in every summer, in between the bombast, the explosions, and the RDJ shenanigans, studios attempt to unload middling materials that have already cost so much damn money that they can’t help but attempt to make even a bum’s fortune on. Now, these movies sneak into theaters every year, sometimes disguised as remakes of massive blockbusters (AHEM The Amazing Spiderman AHEM) or four-quels to trilogies that don’t need another movie (AHEM PIRATES 4 and BOURNE 4 AHEM). However, this year, the cake is taken with aplomb and idiocy by the duo that brought us the misogynistic stupid-a-palooza that was The Wedding Crashers, all packaged into a delightful shit-twinkie coated with Google advertising. That’s right, The Internship looked like a rancid pile of boring. Like, if this was once a fanciful bouquet of ‘Interesting’ then some idiot left it in the sun for two weeks, forgetting that DAIRY DOESN’T DO WELL IN THE SUMMER HEAT and it gradually transforms into a mutated hunk of sludge less appetizing than that restaurant that was started by a gastroenterologist (My mother was extremely perturbed when she discovered Colonic Cuisine was not an establishment specializing in colonial delicacies). Now, I didn’t see it, but from everything we could see in the ads it was ‘cool kids help the nerds to be less nerdy and LET LOOSE and FIND THE REAL THEM so they can BE BETTER AT THEIR JOBS’ or something. Bullshit. This is what would have really happened: “They don’t get hired by Google. They die in a gutter. Maybe in a hobo fire. End of Movie.” The hobo fire is the twist. So, no, I will not be watching you, The Internship. I don’t want your miserable excuses for PG-13 dick-filled (not the appendage) comedy and your super-liminal advertising for media monstrosity Google. (Don’t hate me Google. I love you. Make my site famous! I’ll sacrifice anything the God of the Internet needs! Virgins? Annoying roommates? Pizza? Doing your laundry? Microsoft Bing? I’ll do anything you want!)

Also, Now You See Me looked like David Blaine’s wet dream where he was in Ocean’s Eleven and Woody Harrelson showed up. *Shudder*

MOVIE I WISH I HAD BEEN DRUNKER FOR

Winner: The Great Gatsby 3DRunner Up: White House Down; Man of Steel

The Fitzgerald is watching you...

Leo DiCaprio will ejaculate the American Dream on your face.

Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugh

Sorry, I’m not done. UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGH. There is nothing worse than sitting in a movie and reaching for a drink you’ve already finished. It’s agony. It’s as though the doctor is amputating a gangrenous limb and there’s no time for anesthesia. You reach for the whiskey…but the fucking orderly already downed it. That’s what it was like watching The Great Gatsby. It’s a movie like this that helps me understand why Oedipus claws out his eyes. And that was just because he fucked his mom. HE DIDN’T EVEN SEE THE GREAT GATSBY. It was a measure of impossible restraint to stop myself from impaling my pupils with snow caps to save myself from the turd-icaine of a literary adapt-a-Leo-tion. Seriously, at the halfway point, I reached for the champagne Amelia and I had snuck in and I almost screamed in horror when I discovered it empty. The rest of that thing was sobering in the same way that waking up with your head in the dog’s food bowl and the distinct taste of Pedigree Chum on your tongue can be (that totally never happened. It’s just an example. That definitely did not happen last August and my roommates did not force me to pay for another bag of food and therapy for the dog…totally didn’t happen). So, while Man of Steel was a teetotaled experience of agonized proportions and there isn’t enough alcohol in the world to make White House Down the cinematic equivalent of not-food poisoning, The Great Gatsby is offered this dubious award for reminding me that I would rather remove my own eyeballs with a spoon than watch another Baz Luhrmann film. Or eat dog food.

MOVIE I ALMOST GOT INTO A FIST-FIGHT ABOUT

Winner: Star Trek Into DarknessRunner-Up: Despicable Me 2

"Who put a goddamn banana in the exhaust? It's not funny guys!" ~ The final log of Captain Jim T. Kirk.

Most. Destructive. Fart. Ever.

Alrighty, this is the award that will probably piss off a few people. I know…because I almost got into a fist-fight about it. So…I didn’t like Star Trek Into Darkness (*cower and cover face*…wait…are they gone? Good). It’s true. The first Star Trek reboot movie was a hoot and/or a holler. We had sexy new this and sexy new that and OMG MY EYES – LENS FLARE! There were tight new costumes, explosive new weapons, and smoldering chemistry so hot it would make a thermite reaction jealous (MISINFORMED CHEMISTRY JOKE!). Granted, the plot was flimsier than an OJ alibi, but that didn’t matter. It was about characters. It was about man-on-vulcan growl-action. It was about Simon Pegg with a Scottish accent. But then…the sequel. Like a ruined sauce, the burner was too high and the elements that interacted so pleasantly before were reduced to a simple and unappetizing sludge. All the women became yapping shrews with D-cups while the plot, driven by evil Admiral Robocop, had somehow become more complex but even flimsier…like a Moebius Strip made out of blue Fruit Roll Up. It looks delicious…but there’s no such fucking thing as ‘Blue Raspberry’. Unfortunately, expressing disdain for anything that has included the newly anointed god of all Sexy Nerdom, Bendydick Cumberbund, is a crime worthy of death. Thusly, I had a multitude of Sherlock-ian friends accost me on my negative feelings. Granted, it never came to blows because, in all honesty, our asthma would have acted up two minutes into it…but it was the closest I came to a brawl in years. Other than that time I almost punched a teenager in line for The Dark Knight Rises (true story).

The runner up receives honorable mention due to a moment of pure vitriol I experienced in my own home. If you want a piece of advice…never, ever, ever say that you don’t like Despicable Me around my girlfriend. Deal? Deal.

MOST OBAMA

Winner: Idris Elba in Pacific RimRunner-Up: Jamie Foxx in White House Down

Okay, okay, yes, Jamie Foxx played the first black president in White House Down. Yes, his wife looked like Michelle Obama. And yes, his character was named Shcmarack Schmo-Schmama. But there is no fucking way he gets this award. If one can sum up Barack Obama in essence, he is a positive role-model and figure of power for the African American community. He is a leader who doesn’t always make the best decision, but he sticks to his beliefs while not being afraid to compromise.  So, by those considerations, Idris Elba is the most badass of fucking badasses ever to roam the Earth. I’m not kidding. I don’t care how silly his character’s name, be it Stringer Bell or Stacker Pentecost or Selection Easter or Serendipity Yom Kippur, Elba is like a deity dropped from the heavens to show humanity how to eat glass and spit out diamonds. Honestly, this man can play any role with power. James Bond? Fuck yes. Doctor Who? Do it. Queen Elizabeth II? It would be an interesting adjustment, but fuck it, let’s do this. The moment in Pacific Rim where Elba turns to one of the indeterminate white boys and says “One, don’t ever touch me again. And two, don’t EVER touch me again. Is that clear?” and then he walks off screen, a colossus of permeating confidence and charisma was the most sexually awakening experience in my life since Reese Witherspoon had pointy boobs in Pleasantville (also, shamefully, a true story). I mean…look at this exemplary specimen of humanity:

Yeah…not just women (*cross legs*)

So, yes, Jamie Foxx. You can wear your silly glasses and shoot bazookas and tell people to get their hands off your Jordans. You might have even chewed more gravel than a special edition Tommy Lee Jones gravel pit when you were in Django Unchained. But you will never reach levels of unbreakable badassery achieved by a man named after the fucking island where Napoleon was exiled.

That’s right. Fucking Napoleon.

BEST MOVIE I MISSED LAST SUMMER AND FINALLY GOT AROUND TO SEEING AND LOVED

Winner: Beasts of the Southern Wild; Runner-Up: Let’s be real, I made up this category to have an excuse to talk about Beasts of the Southern Wild…so let’s just say The Conjuring

220px-Beats-of-the-southern-wild-movie-poster

Alternate Title: How Not to Use Fireworks – The New Orleans Story

This was perhaps my greatest regret of the previous summer. Also, a number of tequila shots. Those were regretful. I think. I don’t remember what happened after, but I know the night ended and I had split my pants in two…so…probably not well. Of all the raucous insanity of the last summer, what with the capstone to Nolan’s Batrilogy and the resounding success and not-at-all-the-bloated-corpse-floating-in-the-East-River-we-thought-it-would-be that was The Avengers, I barely had enough time to explore the finer dining options on offer. Granted, for a city with as many damn hipsters as Chicago, we have the same number of art-house movie theaters as we have insane midget mayors (meaning: one). Thus, it is difficult to consume the delicacies offered by the independent cinema scene. Well, I eventually got my hands on this little ditty and I gobbled it up like Augustus Gloop after finding a Fruit Roll Up Moebius Strip. And, might I say, it was delectable. Beasts is an almost Grecian epic limited only by its impossible imagination. The performances are impeccable. The direction is manic. The script is borderline nonsensical. But the package is so much more than simply the sum of its parts. You might not understand why massive pig-boar-elephant things came out of Gulf of Mexico, and you might not get why Hushpuppy hangs out with a stripper she calls ‘mom’, or why she was named after a harshly unfashionable shoe. But it doesn’t matter. The film is a sliver of perfection, a vein of platinum surrounded by igneous rock. One can smash the precious mineral free and purify it to mold it into any shape you please…but why do that? The impurities only make the product more beautiful.

Oh yes, and I included The Conjuring because I didn’t really want to make a category for “Movie Most Likely to Make You Need Another Pair of Underwear”. Wait…why didn’t I do that? What the fuck, brain? Get your shit together. Oh well. Maybe next year.

MOST PISSED OFF NO ONE WOULD GET DRUNK AND SEE IT WITH ME

Winner: R.I.P.D.; Runner-Up: After Earth

I bet those two were fucking blazed every second of that production.

I’m coming for you, mutherfucker. Drunkenly.

Well, this category is slightly different than last year. Last year, the winner of this category eventually came out from behind and won Movie of the Year. That’s right, fucking BATTLESHIP. It didn’t matter how much I whined and cried and showed up to people’s work unannounced with a fifth of Jack stamping my feet until security had to escort me out, nobody would see Battleship with me in theaters. And it was AMAZE-BALLS. This year, the honor is slightly murkier. The stage was set for the perfect outing. Huntsy, Erin and I were going to sneak in a few metric tons of alcohol and watch R.I.P.D. the ironically titled finishing touch the tombstone for Ryan Reynolds’ acting career. This movie, parading Jeff Bridges as a verbally deficient post-mortem law man and Reynolds trying desperately to hang onto his lasting relevance, was apparently so fucking bad that they pulled it from theaters AFTER TWO WEEKS. The three of us were going to do a special episode of Whine and Cheese where we snuck into the bathroom to review sections on our phones. However, lo and behold, the movie was R.I.P.peD. from under us, like a tablecloth at a magic show. And so, we were lost, floundering, searching for answers, for hope, for Jeff Bridges sounding like Mr. Ed…thus, eventually, we watched Possession and almost, literally, committed ritualistic suicide due to over-doses of G-Palt. So, I promise you, when that steaming pile of Reynolds excrement becomes available on the Red-Box or the Flix of Net or the fabled land of ‘Illegal Movies’ we shall, oh, we shall get trashed and review it.

Also, After Earth sounded agonizing. I love agonizing. Just like I love M. Night Shamalamadingdong. Did I say love? I mean poop on.

MOVIE SERIES THAT MOST MADE ME SEE THE LIGHT OF GOD

Winner: The Fast and the FuriousRunner-Up: The Cornetto Trilogy

 Do you see how unrealistic this movie is? It's only mildly cloudy in London. Bullshit.

It’s like a model call for douchebags!

Now, this was a shockingly difficult category. I see god a lot. I saw him in the finale of The Avengers; I saw the jolly fellow at the conclusion of Children of Men; I caught a glimpse of him when R. Kelly reveals the midget in Trapped in the Closet; and I’m definitely sure I see the altruistic old man every year at the mall with children on his knee. The guy in the red suit, that’s God, right? Anyway, this summer, perhaps more than any other, opened my eyes to true cinematic brilliance. No it wasn’t Citizen Kane or Metropolis. Nor was it The Godfather or Black Swan. It was, in fact, that metallic ballet of flying meatheads and automobiles that is The Fast and the Furious. After missing the lion’s share of the series (chapters 2 through 5, to be exact), I thought I would sit in the theater and be bored with countless tired inside jokes and character choices esoteric to the outside non-Fast non-Furious fans (The Slow and the Impenetrably Calm? The Stupid and the Rational? The Eat-Whenever-You-Want and the Not-Realted-to-Samuel-L-Jackson-in-The-Avengers?). What I witnessed instead was a panoply of genius; a nonsensically coherent parade of bombast and excess; a poem of such pointlessness and beauty that the Dada movement would fall down and weep at its feet. Yes, The Fast and the Furious changed my life. Now, will I go back and watch all of them in a row? Most likely. Will I film my reactions? That is also very likely. Will I be a haggard inebriated mess? Most definitely. But, most importantly, I will be first in line for the next installment if only to see Kurt Russell…but it won’t be for Kurt Russell, it will be for EVERYTHING.

The Cornetto Trilogy, on the other hand, brought me to enlightenment in a subtler manner. Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s trilogy of British comedies, beginning with Shaun of the Dead and ending with the appropriately titled The World’s End, not only strive for the upper-reaches of hilarity, but have such a quiet underlying brilliance that the average movie watcher might not notice at all. From a literary stand point, The World’s End is practically genius. Like, Stoppard-levels of clever. It wasn’t something I noticed when first watching the film, but just read this article (spoilers within) to see how intricate the thought process was behind the film’s themes and references. Edgar Wright has always been a savant of referential humor, but this might be the first time that he trumps Joyce for his complexity of allusions. Check it out. So, yes, dumb summer movies CAN be intelligent. And I don’t mean faux-Inception smart where people spend an hour and a half explaining a plot mechanic that everyone conveniently ignores for the remainder of the runtime. (Don’t get me started on Inception. It will turn into a rant within a rant within a rant within a…OH GOD. IT’S HAPPENING AGAIN!). I mean, like actually sensibly coherent. Well done, boys. Well done.

MOST BATMAN

Winner: Iron Man 3; Runner-Up: The Spectacular Now

In Marvel-land, RDJ holds the orgasms for the ladies.

RDJ was mad they didn’t cast him in Pacific Rim.

I understand the IRON-y of my choice with this category (see what I did there? Do you see? DO YOU SEE? I’m fucking hilarious). In fact, Mr. Downey Jr. was precisely the reason why The Avengers won the award for the most rancid of my negative awards, ‘Least Batman’, last year. His fast-talking, consequence-avoiding, playboy Tony Stark couldn’t have been further from the Dark Knight in all ways. Granted, he doesn’t have superpowers of any kind…and he’s a philanthropic billionaire who turns himself vigilante with his considerable finances…and he has to fight both competitors and mad geniuses…well, anyway, that’s where the comparison stops. However, in Iron Man 3, after The Avengers proved that there is an upper limit to ridiculous third-act finale battles, Shane Black took Stark back to his roots. With a few far-fetched plot points in hand, he forces Stark to use his considerable smarts to rebuild his weaponry using nothing more than house-hold appliances. The effect is brilliant. Finally, we feel as though RDJ might be in actual danger, seeing as he doesn’t have his super-invulnerability-do-everything-swiss-army-knife suit at all times. He even begins feeling remorse and darkness for things that happened in previous movies. AND HE FIGHTS TERRORISTS. If this ain’t Batman, I don’t know what is. Unless it’s actually Batman. Because that’s pretty Batman. You know what else is completely Batman? This tie-clip:

My girlfriend is better than your girlfriend. Because she makes my tie Batman.

The runner up in this category doesn’t have an article attached for various reasons that will be discussed soon…but The Spectacular Now is the tale of a kid who barely has parents, spends his time wooing a girl and trying to figure out his life. Parentless kids? What’s more Batman than that? OTHER THAN MY FUCKING TIE CLIP. So, yes, you want to be Batman? Kill your parents. Become a billionaire. Or…more simply, GET MY TIE CLIP.

LEAST BATMAN

Winner: Ben Affleck; Runner-Up: The Great Gatsby 3D

Yep. The Drunk Knight himself returns.

Yep. The Drunk Knight himself returns.

Sigh.

I dreamed a dream of a world with JGL. When hope was high and movies worth making. I dreamed a dream Batman would never die. I dreamed that Zack Snyder would be forgiving. When I was young and unafraid, and Batmen were made and used and wasted. There was no bat-price to be paid. No Clooney unsung, no Kilmer untasted. But then the Snyder comes at night, with his dick as loud as thunder. As he tears your hope apart. And he turns your dream to Affleck…

I want to go on record here. I have no problem with Ben Affleck. His work behind the camera is nothing short of excellent. Each of his movies, Gone Baby Gone, The Town and last year’s Best Picture winner Argo deserve every ounce of praise they have received. However, I don’t know what it is…whenever he gets in front of the camera everything just…well…goes wrong. What was a funny and smart indictment of modern Catholicism in Dogma turns to shit monster way too fast. What was Pearl Harbor…well, continued to be Pearl Harbor. At least in Argo all he had to do was grumble and pretend that he’s hispanic (Tony Mendoza? Really?). Even in the trailers for his new movie opposite that juggernaut of thespian training that is Justin Timberlake, he looks about as charismatic as a forgotten, carved pumpkin on November 10th. Just…deflated. So, I don’t have too much beef with the Affleck. Worse Batmen have been cast (AHEM Clooney AHEH-HEH-HEH-AGH-I’M-COUGHING-UP-BLOOD-HEM). Worse directors have been hired (Fucking Schumacher!). But, I thought we were past this, guys. I thought we had reached the new age of the Bat. Nolan resurrected the franchise and turned it into something relevant. Passing off a franchise like this to Zack Snyder is akin to Robert Oppenheimer going up to Gomer Pyle and saying “Hey, I’m mostly done with the atom bomb. Why don’t you finish up?” All we’ll be left with is a smoking crater, and scorched earth. I have made my opinions on Snyder as a director on many occasion…but he has quite successfully earned his nickname “Dick in the Ear” each and every time. He is the fucking worst on every level. Man of Steel was rotting pile of penis. The concept of a sequel makes me nauseous. Like I just saw a rotting pile of penis.

The runner up is well earned in this, the worst of my awards. The Great Gatsby is perhaps the least Batman of all millionaires. He earns all of his money illegally…he does nothing but throw parties…and he dies by being shot. Yep. Nothing Batman about that. Asshole.

BEST MOVIE OF THE SUMMER I WROTE ABOUT

Winner: The World’s EndRunner-Up: World War Z

Has a beer every been so strong that it burns a hole in a fucking sign?

This is some epic poetry shit right here.

Clarification is required. These are not the two best movies of the summer. In fact, especially the runner up, the quality best known as ‘goodness’ has barely a tenuous relationship with this duo. However, these were the two movies of the summer that I enjoyed the most (that I wrote about). Since we as a society have had the surgical addition of our new iAppendages, the concept of not glancing at one’s phone every three seconds is akin to self-castration. Why would you do it? Therefore, we have become guilty of addiction. At least Google is doing half the work for us with its new G-glasses or whatever. We don’t even have to look away! Just through! Man, imagine what that world would be like if we saw the world only through the lens of Google. I mean, every time we tried looking for any information, we’d go through Google…or trying to find our way back home…Google might even invade our movies! Oh…wait…

Anyway, as I was saying, these two films succeeded in delivering the impossible. I didn’t look at my phone once. For World War Z it was purely due to early-onset rigor mortis, my knuckles white with tension as they practically ripped the theater chair armrests from their sockets. The World’s End, however, earns the top place on this, the second most coveted Mooney Award (after Most Batman of course) because the film kept me locked into its content at every moment. If I were to glance away from the screen for even a millisecond, I might miss a micro-joke tossed into the mis en scene, a line of such palpable hilarity that I might vomit at its very suggestion. Therefore, I held onto every ounce of that film. And, to be fleetingly sincere for one moment in my life, to let the real world melt away into a memory for a meager two hour span was more than I can ever wish for. There is no way to hit the off button on my near-schizophrenic obsession with movie construction, forcing my enjoyment of a movie to devolve into a clinical dissection of its moving parts. I could disappear into The World’s End. I only drooled over its detailed genius after the fact. For those two hours, I was in another land. A land of Smashy Smashy Egg People, pubs and big lamps fucking off. Bravo, The World’s End for charging where the trilogy had never had the impetus to before. Also, good job World War Z for not being the bucket of old elephant-taint we all thought you would be. Way to hustle.

Actually Best Movie of the Summer I Couldn’t Write About Because My Girlfriend Fell Asleep and We Never Got Around to Seeing it Again

Winner: Much Ado About Nothing; Runner-Up: The Spectacular Now

I don't know about you, but I ONLY go scuba diving with a full martini glass.

I don’t know about you, but I ONLY go scuba diving with a full martini glass.

So…Amelia and I have this chronic issue. We sleep. Hard. I’m not kidding. I’m talking as hard as John MacClane dies, we sleep. Maybe double that amount. When I sleep, it is more akin to rehearsals for decomposition than replenishing rest. I become an immovable lump of flesh. Seriously, and this is true, my apartment once began to burn down and my friends were unable to wake me to drag me outside. And then I burned to death. Well, not really. But you get my point. Over my travels through the universe, searching for a better (or, at least, pretty much equal) other half, I seem to have discovered the only human on planet Earth more likely to sleep through her own demise. When we went to see Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing, both of us giggling with our virginal Shakespeare boners tucked discretely into our belts, Amelia lasted about twenty minutes into the 10pm showing before setting sail for the Land of Nod on the SS PTFO. I, however, engorged myself on the glittering and near-perfect micro-budgeted adaptation from the man who personally murdered cinematic subtlety with a sextet of muscled heroes. When we left, Amelia was furious. And I mean seven-levels-of-Inferno-pissed that she had missed it. As the dutiful boyfriend, and ignorant of the pains of immolation, I tossed some gasoline on that fire by exclaiming, “OMG IT WAS SO GOOD”. I was refused a chance to post an article until she had finally seen it. Well…time came and time went and that trek to the Century Landmark became a thing of wilted dreams. The stunted beginnings of my deftly crafted opinions were left gathering dust in my ‘drafts’ section, begging to see the light of the Internet day. So, here it is, what I have of that article:

Much Ado About Nothing (2012) – Joss Whedon (Dir.), Alexis Denisof, Amy Acker, Fran Kranz, Clark Gregg, Nathan Fillion, Reed Diamond, Jillian Morgese, Sean Maher, Tom Lenk

Oh the Century Landmark theatre. What a delightful place. This little gem, held aloft above the questionable antics of the AVEDA beauty school, a hidden sparkle in lodged in the bleached anus of Clark and Diversey, is the only ‘Art House’ cinema in the non-terrible sections of Chicago (aka, not downtown). This is the place where I have delighted in numerous filmic morsels, from the haunting and grotesque White Ribbon from Haneke to Aronofsky’s white-bitch-be-cray epic Black Swan to the endlessly charming Moonrise Kingdom, this place is the antidote to the poison that is the increasingly cyanic business of 3D/RPX/FUBAR BS subsuming all things of even tepid quality. As summer film puffs its chest and shrinks its testes, we are offered a cavalcade of mediocre bombast, a tidal wave of unnecessary spectacle with a rotten core. Scripts have devolved into a sort of See Spot Run anthology of idiocy, riddled with more stage direction than dialogue to the point that they might as well be adapted from a Beckett Play Without Words. Therefore, there couldn’t be a greater breath of fresh air than a minimalist comedy using words provided by one of the most beloved writers of all time. That’s right, Joss Whedon. I mean Shakespeare. Sorry. Shakespeare.

Much Ado About Nothing tells the tale of two barbed single friends who, whenever they meet, spend pretty much the entirety of the time raking each other through witty verbal brutality while their friends and family look on with more eye rolls than an optometrists bakery. Recently returned from a war where nobody died (yes, this kind of absurdity exists in the plays of Shakespeare), Benedick, Claudio and Don Pedro have decided to put away their swords and unsheathe their most sacred weapons during a month-long frolic at the house of Leonato in Messina. If you haven’t read the play or, at least, looked up the Cliff Notes during high school because you undoubtedly had to read this ‘problem comedy’ at some point, none of this will make any sense. Claudio wants to hump Hero’s brains out…by way of marriage and, while the wedding is in its preparatory form, decides to hook up the two insufferable wits, Benedick (Alexis “Husband of Alison Hannigan” Denisof) and Leonato’s cousin Beatrice (an excellent Amy Acker). It’s the original ‘Will They? Won’t They?’ Tensions run high as the booze flows fast. Will Don Pedro’s inexplicably evil bastard brother Don John break up the wedding? Will Benedick fall for Beatrice? Will Nathon Fillion show up at some point?

SPOILER ALERT: Read the fucking play, you illiterate swine.

Aaaaaaaaaaaand that’s as far as I got. But, believe me, I laughed harder at this film than I did during anything else this summer season. There is one line in the final scene that almost made me, a grown man, request an adult diaper. Honestly, you should rent this shard of literary excellence and cinematic nonchalance immediately. It doesn’t tone down, dumb down or Whedon down any of the play. Amy Acker offers perhaps the best female lead performance of the season because, well, it’s the summer, so women are more likely to be seen and not humanized.

The other pick is the enigmatic indie, The Spectacular Now. It was a good movie, viewed on a quiet evening in the throw-back splendor of the Logan Movie Theater. It’s a problematic drama, exploring teen alcoholism, abusive relationships, and the dangers of codependent young love. Perhaps one day I’ll get around to writing an article on the film, though it struck some fairly vulnerable nerves relating to the ghosts of high school past… I will say, throughout the length of this quiet and thoughtful treatise on dependency and addiction, Pacific Rim was playing at full tilt in the next theater. Every crash of metal, every riff of the guitar, every flash of pubescent and puerile vicarious obliteration seeped through the paper-thin walls and derailed the somber tension. It was a bizarre juxtaposition of the reality of teenager inner life versus the escapism that generally ensues. It was weird, unsettling, and helpfully distracting from this composition of misery that was The Spectacular Now. See it. Or don’t. But it’s the sort of movie that has a right place and a right time. Right now…it feels like a blade in the gut. But that’s what candy is for. There is no coincidence that I ended up seeing Pacific Rim a week later in that same theater. Escapism is a drug whose addiction is only society acceptable due to its epidemical prevalence. I’ll take another hit. Always.

Most Hateful Towards Women

Winner: Pretty Much Everything…; Runner Up: Did You Read the Winner?

That’s right. Once more the heightened temperature brought us the cavalcade of overblown masculinity harshly present every summer. Granted, we didn’t have a Michael Bay movie to smack us with the hard end of a dick, but we certainly had Man of Steel. It seems that, day after day, we are offered more movies that, if not outrightly despise women, carefully ignore their existence as though the entire gender is simply a Forest Whittaker-esque servant lining the rooms of our bombastic and adolescent power fantasies. They waltz into the spotlight only when needed, their entire presence only determined by the male characters who ‘need a romantic counterpart’. In fact, almost every film on this list failed the exceedingly simple Bechdel Test (a movie passes if two or more named female characters have a scene without men and are not talking about men). Why don’t we go down the roster of movies I reviewed and grade them accordingly for how many women A) were in the movie; B) had conversations with people lacking penises C) worked on a movie. SPOILERS: the results are depressing.

This is how this award makes me feel.

The Great Gatsby: Okay, firstly, it’s a love story. It’s got Daisy Buchanan and Jordan Baker. Almost half of the five main characters are female. Not too bad. Does it pass the Bechdel Test? Nope. If so, then barely. Jordan and Daisy might have a scene together but seeing as it’s Tobey “Dopey” Maguire narrative, he’s always there, like your overbearing mother at a sleepover. Also, granted it was written in the 20s-30s, the main woman is merely an object of affection, unburdened by the onerous heft of things like a ‘personality’ or ‘dramatic agency’. Director? Male. Writers? All male (duh). Grade: C-

Iron Man 3: Eh. This one has a couple of female characters, one of them being the only time G-Palt is not nauseating to watch. Yes, there is a scene between her and another female doctor that technically knocks this into the ‘pass’ category for Bechdel. However, in terms of pure screen time, ladies barely have a second to themselves. This is about RDJ. This is ALL about RDJ. I appreciated the prevalence of female soldiers on the opposing team. That was nice. But, all in all, too little too late. How many male leads? 7. How many female leads? 2. Director? Male. Writers? Male. Grade: B-

Star Trek Into Darkness: Where the first movie made sure that Uhura was well-respected for her language abilities and her sassy attitude, here her essence is reduced to nothing more than a clinging-shrewish pain in the ass. She also only gets ONE chance to do the thing that she has been hired to do, you know, speak Klingon…and she fucks it up. It was probably because the blood rushed to her uterus too quickly saving her thinking organ from having to do too much work. Also, Alice Eve’s breasts are dropped into the movie. Why? So she can be in her underwear for no reason whatsoever. How many male leads? 9. How many female leads? 2. Director? Male. Writers? All male. Does it pass the Bechdel Test? Fuck no! Grade: D-

I wish I could have done this without a skull fracture.

Fast & Furious 6: Okay, this one is a shocker. Yes, this franchise is famed for knocking the testosterone levels up to 11 on all counts…but that goes for the ladies as well. We don’t have any weeping damsels in distress or floundering flaps of feminine flesh flaunted for their floopy bits. We have Gina fucking Carano punching Michelle Rodriguez in the fucking face. Does that mean it passes the Bechdel Test? HELL YES. A fist fight is a conversation, of sorts. And there ain’t no penis involved. Granted, the only adonis here who doesn’t manage to miraculously walk away from every auto accident unscathed is a woman…but that’s required for the ret-conned franchise reach-around that occurs in the final scene. How many male leads? 7. How many female leads? 4. Director? Male. Writers? Male. Still, it’s astonishing that the Fast and the Furious has set a higher bar for gender roles than Star Trek. Grade: B+

This Is the End: Um…do I need to say anything? Emma Watson shows up for like five minutes and the rest of the characters spend the film talking about dicks, semen, gay people, and pussies. Also, Watson is there for two seconds before someone mentions rape. Shudder. How many male leads? All of them. How many female leads? Do the math. Director? Guess. Writers? Really? Are we going to do this, guys? Grade: F

Man of Steel: Okay, this one, especially coming from the porn-addled mind of Zack “The Masturbator” Snyder, actually holds up okay. We have Amy Adams as an excellent version of Lois Lane, both confident and driven without anyone brandishing the dreaded ‘B’ word (and it ain’t ‘bunions’, people). Diane Lane is still as foxy as ever…though she doesn’t really get to do anything but be in trouble occasionally. Also…there’s that one bad guy Kryptonian Israeli lady. So…there’s some variety. While the rest of the meatheaded movie was about as intelligent as a passing of gas, the gender politics are not as abysmal as you’d assume. Does it pass the Bechdel Test? Perhaps. If so, then barely. There are no memorable scenes between female leads with Henry “I Want to Lick Him” Cavill being around. How many male leads? 6. How many female leads? 4. Director? So male I want to put him in a post host. Writers? Maler than Norman. Grade: B-

World War Z: Granted, the entire film is about Brad Pitt globetrotting, so any characters he meets are around for about five minutes before becoming zombie chow. However, his wife and daughters are essential characters as is his Israeli bodyguard. Now, if you want to say a two second conversation between mother and young daughter passes the Bechdel Test, go ahead. Otherwise, Pitt takes up too much film to allow any room for anyone else, gender aside. How many male leads? Well, like 2 or 10, depending on how you classify lead. If they survive longer than ten minutes, then it’s 2. How many female leads? 2-4 if you count children as humans. I don’t. Director? Male. Writers? All of them male. All 3000 of them. Grade: C+

Despicable Me 2: This is an odd one. We have the three little girls that Gru cares for, though, in this movie, they are about as essential to the plot as my little toe is essential to my sex life (not very, just to be clear). The only other female presences are Kristin Schaal’s bemusing and whorish crazy date lady and Kristen Wiig’s almost schizophrenic, incompetently ultra-competent spy. Yes, this is a cartoon so reality isn’t really under fire here…but come on. Do all the women have to be cardboard cutouts of humans? How many male leads? Between 5 and 2,000,000 (if you count the minions who are the real stars of the show). How many female leads? 5. It mildly passes the Bechdel Test when the girls converse after Gru has put them to bed. Directors? Male. Writers? Male. Grade: B

Pacific Rim: Oh lordy. After Mr. Del Toro’s excellent and lady-filled Pan’s Labyrinth, you’d think he would keep the trend going. Apparently not. Pacific Rim has as much vagina as a bachelor party: one, and it belongs to a lady who really doesn’t seem to want to be there. Yes, we get glimpses of that one russian lady…but Rinku Kinkuchi is the only lady in this massive expolathon. So, yeah, no Bechdel pass here, guys. Sorry. How many male leads? 7. How many female leads? 1. Director? Male. Writer? Same guy. So, yeah, male. Grade: D

My impression of me after Man of Steel.

The Conjuring: Finally! Something with some ladies! Yes, due to the frustration of being based on a true story, this little ditty had to fill its ranks almost exclusively with the woman folk. From Vera Farmiga to the eternally abused Lily Taylor, this is all-lady. Granted, those ladies get beaten, possessed, assaulted, scared and puked on…but this is a free country. Every woman has the right to be possessed by a homicidal demon witch from Rhode Island. It’s Susan B. Anthony’s dream! How many male leads? 4. How many female leads? 7. Director? Male. Writers? Male as well. Sigh. Grade: A-

The World’s End: Another poor showing. Yes, this tale of the journey through the darkness of male adulthood doesn’t have much room for the ladies. While intelligence throbs through the main artery of this piece, gender politics do not. We have c-words and b-words and p-words tossed out all over the place with impunity. Hopefully, soon, they’ll have the courage to include a few more X chromosomes in the proceedings. How many male leads? 8. How many female leads? 1. Technically, it passes the Bechdel Test…but a woman talking to lady robots doesn’t really count, does it? Director? Male. Writers? Male. Grade: D+

Elysium: Here is the oddest of the bunch. While there are only a few ladies in the mix, the lead enemy of the film was originally written for a man but then adapted to be female by none other than Ms. Filmic Gender Equality herself, Jodie Foster. Without her presence, this clattering, flashing, jumble of epilepsy-inducing trash would have been sucked up its own masculine asshole. It, again, barely passes the Bechdel Test when Jodie Foster tells the nurse lady to stop attempting to save her. Yes, one word. That’s all these ladies get these days. How many male leads? 5. How many female leads? 2. Director? Male. Writer? Male. Grade: C+

This is how this makes me feel always.

Isn’t it sad? Granted, those are only the movies I wrote about, but as a purely anecdotal cross section of modern blockbuster theater, statistically, this is a bad situation. Of course it’s fine to have a movie all about guys. That’s whatever. Yes, Glengarry Glen Ross is a thing. It doesn’t mean that those movies are diminished in value. The issue is the clear and painful trend that has subsumed all Hollywood filmmaking. Women are supporters. They interact with male characters. They help. The reason so many films fail the Bechdel test is solely because the main characters are almost exclusively male. World War Z is a classic case. No matter how many strong female characters he runs into, they are almost the ‘guest star’ of the act, never crossing paths with anyone in the past. The systemic issue is one that truly needs to change. It seems as though when a movie has a female lead character, it’s labeled a women’s movie and so dies the death of inanity at the hands of focus groups who assume they know what women like. What greater indicator of this plague than the fact that Snow White was adapted to make THE HUNTSMAN the main character? Seriously, guys? The only movie this summer that arrived with a plethora of X-chromosomes that was not considered a chick-flick was The Heat…which is fine…though the movie looked like nothing more than a by-the-numbers screwball comedy. Maybe ladies have to start with the shitty genres before working their way up the budget food chain. Oh well. Maybe next year I’ll make this list and the average grade won’t be so abysmal. Maybe it won’t. Maybe I’ll end up stabbing my eyes out during Batman vs. Superman. One can only hope.

The World’s End (2013) – Edgar Wright (Dir.), Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan, Rosamund Pike, Pierce Brosnan, and everybody else ever

Has a beer every been so strong that it burns a hole in a fucking sign?

Has a beer every been so strong that it burns a hole in a fucking sign?

There are those people in high school. You know the guys. Their acne runs rampant and untamed across their goof-toothed faces, their dentures held tight with more metal than a steel mill, their hair perhaps yanked back into a slick oily ponytail, emphasizing each and every pore oozing shiny fluid in a constant stream of social awkwardness. They spend their days logging out the AV room to watch entire marathons of Tarantino films; they quote both Monty Python and Star Wars in their entireties; they own each and every one of the 151 Pokemon trading cards (NO, I REFUSE TO ACCEPT THAT THERE ARE ANY MORE THAN THAT, YOU WENCHES!). Their soporific disdain for general humanity reaches a level of sociopathy known only to the uni-bomber, thereby seemingly indicating intelligence where it might not perennially reside. They are the few. They are the brave. They are the nerds.

And I was one of them.

Now, usually, these fascinating creatures of obsessive delights and questionable hygiene tend to cultivate quality middle-management and the hellishly titled ‘IT Technician’ positions, their fetishes and dorkish fancies relegated to every other Friday night when crowded about a dimly lit Dungeon Master. But, once in a while, when the stars align just so, that bubbling and roiling pot of pop-culture primodial ooze creates something different…something genius. It was from this pit of eternal virginity and ridiculously bad Sci-Fi fan fiction that Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright did crawl, two gentlemen of specific and boundless expertise. Along with their hilarious lady friend Jessica Hynes-Stevenson, they crafted perhaps the greatest and most referential sitcom of all time, Spaced. Oh 1999, a simpler time. A time of a Spice Girls movie. A time before The Phantom Menace. This trio of comedic brilliance introduced us to friends, nay, televised soulmates of all humans lucky enough to watch it, Daisy, Tim, Mike (Nick Frost), an artist who paints with his penis (Brian, oh how I love thee), a drunk land lady (Julia Deakin), a woman named ‘Twist’ and the most perfect dog ever to grace God’s green earth. (Awww, Colin). This mania of a serial nonsense, spanning references to Resident Evil, Damien Hurst, Trainspotting and an impressively long homage to Empire Strikes Back, allowed both our writer (Pegg) and our director (Wright) to cut their teeth better than a fucking orthodontic surgeon with a penchant for vampires. Eventually, once both seasons of the criminally short show (twelve episodes in all) passed the world by, their ball-blazing brilliance lost to the universe, Pegg, Frost and Wright teamed up to create the world’s first feature comedy about zombies, Shaun of the Dead.

He looks like the magician you book you your kid's birthday party and arrives with his own heroin and enough STDs to share.

He looks like the magician you book you your kid’s birthday party and arrives with his own heroin and enough STDs to share.

Since then, the Cornetto Trilogy, as it is named for their barely-edible eponymous treats omnipresent throughout all three films, has exploded into an international phenomenon. While Shaun of the Dead was a goofy musing on how the British would deal with an onslaught from the living dead (Bill Nighy says after being bitten, “Oh don’t worry, Barbara, I’ve run it under a cold tap!”), it flirted with intelligence by way of it’s exploration of adult male arrested development. Shaun is a man who must grow to fit the adult universe and leave behind his dead weight pal, the noxious and obnoxious Ed, in order to get the girl and a freaking job. Of course, as the film melts into its referential source, devolving into a mostly by-the-numbers zombie chomp fest, all of the supporting characters becoming nothing more than a human stand-ins for an oinky pal in a Luau, the comedy subsides in favor of drama and message. It’s good; it’s funny; but the men are children and the girls are women. The thesis is simple and exhaustive, rarely providing any fascinating realization. You come for the zombies; you stay for the comedy; you suffer the point.

After that, we were treated with the gut-bustingly gigglicious Hot Fuzz. Once again, it was a titter-filled juxtaposition of British mentality and quaintness against the explosive bombast and brutal violence of Michael Bay movies. Unlike Dead, which gets to the funny without delay, Hot Fuzz simmers and matures, warming its subject to a metaphorically and literally incendiary climax, fully equipped with old women getting kicked in the face, a homicidal goose, and Timothy Dalton impaling his chin on a model church steeple. Once again, you came for the laughs, you stayed for the old men pulling uzis from their bicycle baskets, you waited to get through the ‘message’. Unfortunately, Fuzz lost itself. While the buddy cop dynamic of Pegg’s impossibly competent Nick Angel and Frost’s obsessive and regressive Danny Butterman holds the focus for a majority of the runtime, its interest in adult male bonding does little to progress their already stated premise from Dead, this time the roles reversed.

"What happens in the Gents, stays in the Gents, alright?" ~ Boys, experimenting.

“What happens in the Gents, stays in the Gents, alright?” ~ Boys, experimenting.

Ah, yes, so now we come to The World’s End. It’s pretty much safe to say, this is my favorite fucking movie of the summer. There is no way I’ll accept any bullshit involving flying zombies, half-baked Men of Very Hard Things or the steaming pile of smegma that was Star Trek Into Darkness. This doesn’t just take the cake, it walks into the fucking bakery and shoves its face into every fucking cake it can find declaring, “NA NA NA NA NAH, MY CAKES, ASSHOLES“. Dear Jesus. To say I laughed would be an understatement of such absurd proportions that it is only rivaled by “This Black Death thingy. It’s bad, isn’t it?” (Don’t worry, I would have been fine. I watch House). There are lines forever more ingrained into my sorry fanboy skull (“Fuck off, you big lamp!” and “Smashy, Smashy Egg People” are going on my goddamn gravestone). It’s good. No…maybe it’s great. Now, there are people who might charge into the theater expecting some sort of comedic holy grail. You know, the perfect comedy. And those people are just as stupid as that one Nazi at the end of Last Crusade who chose poorly and turned into what we all know Sharon Stone would become once you turn off her Youth Sucking Device. You know the guy (Side note: I once had an acting class with that man, Julian Glover. He’s fucking old. He prodded me. Not in a sexual way. At least…not that I was aware. Oh god…wait…OH GOD). Now, it probably isn’t quite as testicle-tickling as the previous two installments, but what it lacks in giggle, it makes up for in messageTHAT’S RIGHT. YOU DIDN’T EXPECT THAT, YOU BASTARDS. Yes, it seems that the boys have finally grown up, put on their big-boy pants and discovered that they don’t fit anymore. The World’s End is one of the more depressing treatises on bromance I’ve witnessed in the last few years. While Judd Apatow continues to perpetuate his infinite comedic circle jerk, constantly sucking brighter stars into his celestial festival of cyclic self-abuse, Wright and Pegg use this film to ask the question: what does it mean to get stuck in the past? And how do we survive a parasitic friendship?

We have Gary King (Pegg with a dye job worse than a that old woman at the supermarket with a head of purple), the once and future, well, you get it, of his high school cronies. After an innocent inquiry from a gentleman in his support group, King decides he needs to finish a pub crawl he failed to complete back in the nubile days of yore (meaning 1992). To do so, he gathers his court of middle-aged jesters. What seems like an exercise in mild lampooning in order to up the offerings on the ‘sacrificial lamb’ menu, ultimately encourages you to actually care about these sad-sacks. Of course, there’s King, whose indefatigable abstruseness is the cause of almost everybody’s woe, as well as Frost’s recovering alcoholic, Andy. Those two are a given. Who knew that Paddy Considine (Detective Andy from Fuzz, and that guy that gets shot in the face in the third Bourne movie) would turn into the romantic lead? Also, Eddie Marsan is perhaps the most adorable dollop of corporeal pathos ever to open an account at Barclays. Even John Watson joins the fun, on break from foiling cases while Khan blows up Starfleet, to sell real estate and talk on a bluetooth.

All were shocked whenhHis 'Stop in the Name of Love' routine suddenly took a dark and homicidal turn...

All were shocked whenhHis ‘Stop in the Name of Love’ routine suddenly took a dark and homicidal turn…

Yes, we’ve all seen the trailers. The crawl quickly devolves into a eery ode to Invasion of the Body Snatchers with a peculiarly LEGO twist. While logic would dictate that those idiots should get the fuck out of the infectious town, filled with siren-spouting, hand mangling, easily-offended, unkillable blue-raspberry robots, the boys don’t. King lives up to his name, charging the gauntlet one pint at a time, his entourage doing whatever they can to drag him back to safety. It’s been six years since the Wright/Pegg/Frost band played their last gig, all of them going their own way, from duets (Pegg and Frost’s Paul) to solo pieces (Wright’s hilariously misogynistic and delightful Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), they have finally reached their acme. Pegg is on fire as King, igniting every scene like a dad covered in silly string; Frost successfully navigates the descent from depressed family man to hulking brawler; and Wright couldn’t be more on top of his game. As I once heard in a Community DVD commentary (yes, I am that fucking nerdy, alright? And yes, losing my virginity was exceedingly difficult. DEAL WITH IT), a director making a joke is like “a llama spinning a web. It’s really cool when it happens but no one expects it”. If that’s true, then Edgar Wright is the fucking Spider-Llama. Every edit is a gag. Even his mis en scene is precise and perfect enough to make Trouffaut weep with inadequacy. Together, this trio isn’t just dynamite, they’re a nuclear core of pure hilarity.

It’s a shame Ms. Hynes-Stevenson didn’t join them after her cameo in Shaun of the Dead. All of their movies suffer a distinct lack of vaginal population. It’s pretty much the boyiest clubs of boys since Boy George opened a buoy shop on Boy Bay. (They are fabulous nautical directional devices. Also terrifying and completely useless). In fact, I’m fairly sure precisely none of their movies pass the Bechdel Test. It’s a shame that boys can only talk about boys in an absence of non-penises. Le sigh.

Oh, yes, and Rosamund Pike is in this. And she kicks  a lot of Robo-booty.

Oh, yes, and Rosamund Pike is in this. And she kicks a lot of Robo-booty.

Well, while the climax, compared to Hot Fuzz, is little more than a wordy discourse basically stolen from The Day the Earth Stood Still…just with more ‘cunts’ thrown in, the magic of The World’s End is truly in the characters. It gets dark. Like really dark. Nostalgia isn’t simply a way of life for those of us too emotionally screwed up to take a leap out of the shallow end of the pool, it can be lethal. King is perhaps the most pathetic protagonist of the Wright/Pegg universe. In fact, by all definitions, he is both protagonist and antagonist, never really able to earn the title of anti-hero because there is literally nothing heroic about the man. Every choice is an extension of his brutal self-pity and solipsism, each decision dragging his friends further into the liquor-lined rings of Tartarus. Over and over we are reminded he is the King, the pointman, the Jesus to their Apostles. But King of what? His court has diminished to a band of tired middle aged John’s, none of them interested in reliving the former glory. In aging and losing the spark of youth, they’re all invited into the Collective, a world where mediocrity and homogeny aren’t simply encouraged, but essential. Wright and Pegg fear the mass of middle-aged zombism that so easily subsumes the middle class, each of their Trilogy attacking collectivism on opposing fronts. Here the assault has been perfected. The World’s End’s eventual postulation is that imperfection is human and any eradication of those mild maladies would be to fundamentally change what we are. But those errs come at a cost. And that cost is a man such as Gary King.

Finally, we have a tale of male immaturity that doesn’t simply spout, “Women are terrible and we should be able to act like a stoned bags of dicks. Just flopping about. Like a bag of dicks” (full disclosure: this is the second time I’ve incorporated the image of a bag of dicks into my work. I don’t know why. That image is just so tickling. Like…a bag of dildos…that are actually penises. I wonder if there’s a psychological meaning behind that. Huh). This is about growing up. Granted, it ensures that we know immaturity and acting like drunken louts is a cornerstone of human society, but at its core, The World’s End is a goofy cautionary tale. Growing up is terrifying. To be young is to be labeled a courier of potential, a seed shot out into the dusty earth, assumed to blossom into the grand arbor we all expect. But what if we don’t? What if that potential becomes the scars of our personal failure? What then? The pressures of adulthood aren’t simply great, they’re intoxicatingly horrifying. Gary King is the grandest example of what failure looks, tastes, sounds and smells like.

"I wonder if I'm part toaster, part Cylon? Does that make me a Toaster Toaster?" ~Existential Murder Robot is Existential.

“I wonder if I’m part toaster, part Cylon? Does that make me a Toaster Toaster?” ~Existential Murder Robot is Existential.

Finally, someone understands that childishness isn’t simply a choice. It’s a shelter. And it’s one that will always, always collapse. The question is, will you get out and make your way in time?

6 Fast 6 Furious…or Furious 6…or Faster 6 Furiouser or whatever it’s called (2013) – Justin Lin (Dir.), Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Ludicris, Michelle Rodriguez, Dwayne “Samoan Thor” Johnson, Sung Kang, Luke Evans, Gal Gadot, Gina Carano

 Do you see how unrealistic this movie is? It's only mildly cloudy in London. Bullshit.

Do you see how unrealistic this movie is? It’s only mildly cloudy in London. Bullshit.

Guys…I’m not sure what happened. What began as a joking suggestion to waltz into the sixth installment of a series that I would rather encounter less than a bout of super-herpes, ended with me walking, nay, stumbling from the theater, falling to my knees and crying to the heavens, “WHY? WHY DID YOU NOT TELL ME ABOUT THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS? WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?” (I was, of course, talking directly to Roger Ebert, duh). I would have put my face in my hands if it hadn’t already been melted off by Justin Lin’s fatality of a blockbuster. Like that guy who claimed he had gotten to third base because a girl had fainted on him breasts-first, I was basically a virgin when it came to this…I can’t even call it a ‘franchise’. Words fail me when describing what this series of films represents. It is no mere set of cheap cashings-in on some out-played formula. I mean, it is…but it is also so much more than that. It is not an epic, but rather a saga, a creation myth for, what one brilliant writer at Grantland termed, the ‘Fast & Furi-verse’. It is a beautiful and complex realm. A land of beautiful vehicles speeding recklessly through foreign cities with impunity while their mildly invincible meat puppets at the wheel communicate only in punches to the face and bullets to the chest. This is a world without logic as we know it. A world where the laws of physics are merely a suggestion. A world where runways can be thirty miles long to allow for a 20 minute finale. A world where the otherwise absurd concept of racing thieves isn’t just a possibility but an active scourge on the legal landscape. This, ladies and gentlemen, is where magic is born. And by magic, I mean Vin Diesel.

I had little to no understanding of the series before taking my seat. I had seen snippets of the first movie and, with the rest of the footage I have had incessantly burned onto my frontal lobe from every HD ad for DVDs ever, I managed to piece it together. However, there were 4 more fucking movies after that. Do you know what that means? Lord of the Rings happened in 3 movies. Imagine what could happen in 4! Well, apparently, not that much. From what I gathered in the “Previously on the only thing on Paul Walker’s Resume”, a bunch of shit went down in the last movies. However, because Lin’s throbbing techno soundtrack played in the place of actual audio, the plot round-up seemed more like an NYU experimental film just with very pretty people.

"The script says this is where we make out..." "I will fucking stab you if you try this again, dude."

“The script says this is where we make out…”
“I will fucking stab you.”

Basically, we have Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel), a man who both simultaneously gives enough fucks that he will do anything for his friends and so few fucks that he will RAM HIS SPEEDING CAR INTO A WALL TO PROPEL HIMSELF OVER A RAVINE TO CATCH SOMEONE HURTLING FROM A FLIPPING TANK…IN SLOW MOTION (true story), is chilling in the Canary Islands with newly-fathered and Chris-Pine-if-he-were-homeless Paul Walker when The Rock shows up to ask for his help in taking down an international crime lord. The twist is? The crime lord uses CARS. Because, in this universe, caltrops and tire traps don’t exist. Of course, Dom and his super rich pals (I guess they robbed a place in the previous movie and became exceedingly rich) are hypnotized by a picture of Michelle Rodriguez. Now, I like Rodriguez just fine. She basically eats badass for breakfast and regurgitates it on the cinema audience like a mother returning to her chicks. I don’t understand getting yourself caught in a massive crime scheme because of a grainy photo. I guess she ‘died’ in a previous movie so they were ‘shocked’ she was still ‘alive’. What the fuck ever.

THE POINT IS: There are multiple bags of flesh flapping multiple mouths. Some of them are people and some of them are Tyrese “I’m Pretty Sure He’s a Robot That Wasn’t Wired Right” Gibson. But this is all blah-blah-blah until someone gets punched or someone gets into a moving vehicle of some kind. Our director Justin Lin understands this well. Thusly, there is nary a scene of this film where a gun is not discharged or a person is punched in the moneymaker (and seeing as the entire cast is populated by models, both male and female, it’s absolutely an accurate term). But then the cars start and suddenly every member of the cast becomes invincible. It doesn’t matter if a car flips or smashes in half or gets crushed by a tank, as long as you are inside the car, in this Furi-verse, you are deemed worthy of life and safe from harm. The second you get out…well, that’s another story. In terms of the ‘scenes’ between car-gasms, I believe I counted almost ten that began with an explicit act of violence. It’s a purer form of communication in this world.

Finally, we come to the action. Oh the action. It is difficult to describe the feeling one gets when witnessing a high speed chase through Picadilly Circus, or a fist fight between Michelle “Midwife of Badassery” Rodriguez and Gina “I Am Literally Trained To Fucking Kill You” Carano in the London tube, or the aforementioned aerial/auto acrobatics of one Vin “His Last Name Isn’t Ironic In the Least” Diesel. It might be that sense of glee a young Andrew might find while awaking at five am on Christmas morning, rushing downstairs and discovering a tree surrounded by presents. Except, instead of presents, it’s the fucking Rock with his neck increasing in size every day and biceps comparable to damn jackhammers. Every set piece is captivating and pulse-pounding from beginning to end. And, seeing as it is quickly defined that every character in this universe has as much to fear from physical harm as Superman, watching the flesh marionettes beat the ever-loving shit out of each other takes on a zen-like joy. I mean, watching Diesel get a face full of roundhouse kick, you can finally sense that there is some order to the universe. THAT IS HOW LIFE-CHANGING THIS MOVIE IS. Also, Ludracris playing, I guess, a stoned super-computer-genius garden gnome uses the phrase: “We need more alphabets!” Yet. This is pure, uncut, Colombian amazingness.

Terrifying. On a pant-wetting level.

Terrifying. On a pant-wetting level.

And it, I am sure, is all thanks to Justin Lin. He is the director of this batshit menagerie. Mr. Lin was, I believe, brought on to direct the dark horse of the series, 3 Fast 3 Furious: Something About Tokyo (or something) and, since then, has cornered the market on ridiculous sequel names since. I, however, know Justin Lin as the man who delivered the genius ‘paintball’ episodes of the harshly underrated TV show, Community. This is a man who knows his humor and so, when Tyrese delivers yet another of his bland, misogynistic, cowardly one-liners, you don’t roll your eyes, but laugh. All attempts at intentional humor are almost intentionally humorously humorless. The lack of funny in the quip is exactly what makes it hilarious. It’s a moebius joke. An inside-out jest. An ouroboros chortle. His understanding of action is so precise, perfect and complete that you never once fear that your hopes will fail you. The ordeal is so beautifully paced that you never get bored. I mean, yes, I started looking at my phone when the meat muppets began yapping, but I could always assume there were only a few seconds before someone felt some facial malefaction by way of a fist to the nasal region. It could have been due to the writers, though it’s seriously doubtful. Most the lines dribbling from The Rock’s mouth had about as much gravity as a fucking M&M on a diet. There is literally a moment when the crew, who is currently in London, discovers that Luke “Zeus” Evans and his bad guy team are in Spain and Diesel says “That means they’re in another country!” Do you really have so little faith that your audience has so meager an understanding of European geography that you have to…oh wait, someone’s about to get punched again!

Now, I am keenly aware of my rather pretentious leanings when it comes to my flavor of cinema. Only a few days ago, I took Star Trek into Darkness to task for almost exactly the same things for which I laud this movie. And, yes, this might be hypocritical. But there is so much more going on. This series is brilliant. I don’t mean ‘brilliant’ in the sense of Beasts of the Southern Wild. No, even with its predilections for it’s heavy-handed ‘FAMILY IS FOREVER’ themes, it’s about as thematically deep an ant’s paddling pool. Its complexity comes from pure scope. Upon our exit from the movie, my friend Ben regaled me on the finer points of the Furi-verse’s chronology. Turns out, movie 3 takes place after all of the others. Due to the fact that they enjoyed the totally awesome character of Han so much, they decided to make the next 3 movies in the franchise his origin story, which finally culminates at the end of 6 with a brilliantly ret-conned cameo paving the way for movie 7, which will no doubt be titled 7 Fast 7 Fur7ouslier. It’s as intricate a world as anything Marvel can pump out. Yes, it’s fluff. It’s mental meltdown of the purest kind. But it has no pretension towards anything else. Lin keeps you on the edge of your seats, not because you’re afraid the good guys might lose or that anyone will get ‘hurt’, but because LOOK AT THE ROCK’S BICEPS, WHY HASN’T HE FOUGHT ANYONE YET? I BET WHEN HE DOES IT WILL BE AMAZEBALLS. Sure enough, it is. Both he and Carano shift through the film like springs wound to their tensile limit, ready to fucking explode. When they finally do, you will not be disappointed.

If I could sum up this movie in a single image...

If I could sum up this movie in a single image…

This is not good cinema. This is an anomaly. If I had seen something half as stupid, I might have condemned it to the lowest ring of hell. But not this. There is a level of passion and love that is coursing through this franchise’s veins that could rival any great film. It truly cares about its characters. I mean, how rare is it that I would remember any of the characters’ names in a bullshit fest like this? It never happens. You know what? For two hours, I forgot that I once suffered through The Chronicles of Riddick while bedridden with the flu and, for the first time in years, I actually rooted for Vin Diesel to not get his face caught in a weedwacker. Do you know how significant that is to me? Life-changing. Nothing but.

However, I then left the theater and saw a poster for the next Riddick movie and my bloodlust was ignited once more. Fuck that guy. Oh well.

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012) – Benh Zeitlin (Dir.), Quvenzhane Wallis, Dwight Henry, Levy Easterly

and

Mud (2013) – Jeff Nichols (Dir.), Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland, Reese Witherspoon, Sam Shepard, Michael Shannon

Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just happy to take your shirt off?

Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just happy to take your shirt off?

Okay. So you thought I was going to do a piece on Star Trek didn’t you? DIDN’T YOU? Well, jokes on you fools, I had to work on every fucking night that I was meant to see it in 3D IMAX so yeah, ha, you don’t get to hear my witty and over-worded examination of a movie that probably isn’t that good. Yeah, sure there’s Zach Quinto, the beautiful and distant Spock, still on his astronomical career high and, fine, Benedict Cumberbatch as the beautiful and distant and most sadistic villain since Kahn…I mean, who needs to see that? In IMAX 3D? Like, really? C’mon. I have better things to do. Like, like…work and, um, read William Faulkner. Who needs such a dumb, huge, explosive, gorgeous, eye-splitting, brain-enema when there is so much intelligence waiting to be found in our long and deep literary history?

ME! ME! I FUCKING NEED IT! GIVE ME STAR TREK AND STOP DESTROYING MY CHANCES, YOU PESKY CAREER!

Yes, this weekend, I did not have the chance to experience the most grandiose movie of the summer since Robert Downey Jr. so much as sneezed in the direction of a camera. Instead, I returned home, the prodigal son sneaking back into the comforting, peaceful, and shockingly caucasian, warmth of Connecticut. No, there would be no nightly carousing through the streets of Wicker Park and smuggled water bottles stocked full of the finest Andre $10 can buy. No, there would be no blasts of bombastic bullshit or crippling chromatic craziness. And there certainly won’t be the bloated corpse of what used to be Leo DiCaprio offering me a gimlet while the screen blows a wad in my face. Connecticut is a peaceful place and, unless it is our yearly Christmas Mooney Family outing, the insane blockbuster must wait. Instead, my mother treats me to all of the ‘quality’ films I’ve missed while ‘wasting’ my ‘time’ with ‘bad movies’ or as she secretly calls them ‘turd-taculars’ (she doesn’t). So, during my momentary convalescence, my mother, father and I or, as the British call us, “mum”, “dad” and “his lordship”, journeyed to the quaint, whiter-than–a–picket-fence–at-a-neo-nazi-convention town of Madison. There I purchased some ‘literature’ by some American ‘Greats’ (and, no, that does not include Twilight. You dicks), delighted in some tea and scones before sauntering to the local art theater for a film entitled Mud.

I shit you not. All of that is 100% true. Yes, I am British. I am also, if the constraints of hipsterdom were finally loosed, the boojiest boob that ever booed the bourgeoisie. Deal with it.

After said movie, which left us a little lacking, we retired home (yes, in Connecticut, you don’t ‘go’ you ‘retire’ because, more often then not, as a state, the general inhabitant regardless of age is wealthy enough to quit the workforce entirely) and after a few glasses (read: bottles) of wine, we chowed down on another fancy indie film that passed me by last year, Beasts of the Southern Wild. Both movies are small. Both are about the South. Both are about story telling, in a fashion, and both are about coming of age. To compare and contrast the two discovered a couple of fascinating little gems of self-realization. But I’ll get to that.

THERE IT IS!

THERE IT IS!

Mud tells the tale of two boys, the blandly named and even more blandly acted ‘Ellis’ and the badassly named and ‘um-what?’-ly acted Neckbone, who discover a bizarre gentleman living in a boat caught in a tree on a lonesome island in the middle of the Mississippi by the name of Mud. What is perhaps most perturbing about this gentleman is that he is played by Matthew McConaughey, LET ME FINISH, and he didn’t make we want to puke my brains out. Coupled with that, he spends most of the movie with a shirt ON. Granted, the definition of ‘on’ is loose and this shirt stretches that definition further than this actor has managed to stretch his bullshit career. Now, of course, he takes it off at some point because a movie without a shirtless McConaughey is like a broken pencil: pointless. I’m fairly certain his contract has a mandatory abs-clause. Well, Mud for all his roughly-edged charisma, is a man on the run, waiting for the love of his life (Reese Witherspoon looking more white trash than a Honey-Boo-Boo convention), while avoiding a slew of bloodthirsty bounty hunters. He spins a good yarn, encouraging the two wide-eyed mentorless greenhorns to scavenge the requisite parts to get their tree-borne boat back to its aquatic habit. Along the way, we enjoy inter-parental conflict, a number of black eyes, Michael Shannon in not-crazy-eyes mode, Sam Shepard whose haircut seems to have said to itself, ‘I want to look more like a skunk’s anus’, and a bitter-sweet, if unabashedly misogynistic, coming of age tale. Jeff Nichols, the madman behind Michael Shannon’s tour de force performance in Take Shelter, is a director who primarily focuses on the economic and emotional meltdowns of the South and Midwest. During a summer of blockbusters intent on making their first bigger and bolder, it’s nice to see a story told simply because it’s a story.

Nichols sautés his film with a healthy helping of natural elements, a handful of slow gorgeous tracking shots depicting the teeming yet morose pace of Arkansas life, and a dash of soulful silence. There is no doubt that he is a masterful director, always providing strong scenes and delightful dialogue. McConaughey, against all odds, shines. Apparently, his agent’s push to create the next Tom Cruise, just with more blonde and less clothing, has finally perished giving way to latter-day McConaughey (say that five times fast). This is the Matthew of Killer Joe, the sadistic hitman with a penchant for young meat, and of Magic Mike, shirtless, yes, but deep as well. His joy of lower-rung dialogue and dialect shines as he spouts BS concerning anything from snake bites to true love.

So...you told me I would have lines in this movie? It looks like all I do is s some d's? Okay...

So…you told me I would have lines in this movie? It looks like all I do is s some d’s? Okay…

Be that as it may, while pretty decent, the film felt hollow. The bullshit spewing from McConau-lips turns out to be almost entirely factual and the twists and turns the scripts suggest end up being more curls and bends than actual shockers. Coupled with that, we have Nichols obvious distaste of the ‘fairer sex’. Throughout, his predominantly male cast asserts hateful accusations about women incapable to defend themselves. Witherspoon’s character herself is essentially called a dumb whore by every character who meets her and, save for Mud’s endearing love, she has literally no redeeming qualities. While most filmmakers adhere to the polarized, sexist, Leone-model of woman (either saints or whores), Nichols seems convinced that all the women in the world are out to get his money while getting everyone else’s cock. The only out to this conundrum that I could conjure was by why of Ellis’s little foray with the town’s ‘popular’ girl. He goes on a date, after winning her favor with a slug to the eye, and asks her to be his girlfriend. When she doesn’t respond, he assumes a ‘yes’ and then flips out when he sees her with another guy. If one were to give Nichols the benefit of the doubt, it seems that the movie is somewhat of a ‘Last Temptation of Christ’ for Ellis in terms of his gender beliefs. On all sides he is beset with miserable bastards, from his alcoholic and dead-beat dad, to Neckbone’s stallion of an uncle and Sam “I Growl at Women for Breakfast” Shepard. It’s only through Mud and his unwavering optimism does he realize that women aren’t actually the succubi they might seem. In particular, Ellis’ mother, while leaving his father and causing the destruction of their house-boat, does nothing but make intelligent rational choices, much to the furious chagrin of pretty much every other character in the film.

But, maybe I’m reading too much into it and the south just isn’t nice to women. With that in mind…

The Sequel to Stephen King’s Firestarter…just with more black people.

After a beef tenderloin, two bottles of wine and a happy helping of scotch, the only sensible thing for the Mooney family is to attempt a heavy fucking Oscar-nominated Indie. As a unit, we have attempted, in vain, numerous times to sit through Magnolia, Children of Men, No Country for Old Men, and, and this was a bad one, Glengary Glen Ross…you know, fun films! The second the lights dimmed and my father’s mass of newspapers found his hand, I was hooked. This movie, for lack of a better term, was magical. Now I’m not talking like that Chris Angel card trick bullshit magical. No, I’m talking, this mutherfucker of a film flew in my goddamn window took my hand and flew me to mutherfucking Neverland (and not the Michael Jackson one. The Robin Williams Glen-Close-in-drag Neverland). Yes, this thing is a feast for the ears, eyes, tongue (I may or may not have licked the screen) and soul. It tells the tale of intrepid little Hushpuppy, a six-year old with a dialect that would make Faulkner weep and a fro that would make the Jackson 5 re-evaluate their lives (if they haven’t already done so). She lives with her father, Wink, on the fictional island of ‘The Bathtub’ just beyond the levies of New Orleans. The movie chronicles her impossible, brilliant, insane journey through a Katrina-esque deluge, the explosion of her elevated motor-home, the depths of a sea-bound strip club and a confrontation with a prehistoric gigantic pig-beast.

What’s perhaps most bizarre about this movie is that it doesn’t dive into the fury surrounding the government’s failure post-Katrina, nor is it an indictment of a failing welfare system. Rather, it’s a Greek myth imbued with the modern cajun gumption of an otherish group of people. They are, for the purposes of the tale, a different world from modern day USA. They live in their fantastical microcosm, self-sustaining and loving life. However, the outside world invades time and again, by way of her father’s medical maladies, a hurricane or Government relief workers forcing them into sterile hospitals from which they stage a daring escape. Now, it makes sense that people are probably pretty infuriated by the depiction of poor black people in the South, no doubt assuming this was going to be some kind of didactic visual essay ala Trieme. Rather it’s how a myth is created, devoid of a specific cultural touchstone and equipped perfectly to its time and space. Hushpuppy, though a child, has seen more hurt and tragedy in her six lives than I probably ever will, but she charges into the future with a scream and biceps showing. I think my favorite link to draw is between her and Gatsby. Throughout the movie, she sees a glint of light out in the ocean, which her father has dubbed ‘her mother’. So, what does Hushpuppy do? She fucking swims into the fucking ocean with a band of fucking six-year-olds and finds out what it is. Because she’s a BAMF. While Gatsby is content to lie in wait for his love, always getting close enough to declare “that’s close enough,” Hushpuppy dives into the waters with almost Grecian impunity. She isn’t Gatsby. She’s mutherfucking Odysseus. She’s a warrior in search of her home.

Beasts of the Southern Wild - 6

Go home, pig, you’re drunk.

Beasts of the Southern wild is a different kind of film. It’s a blast of images and sounds that, when analyzed and dissected, lose what truly makes it great. It’s a experience, one that must be completed in a single 90-minute seating, with the lights down and a smile on your lips. To equate it to a piece of jazz would be unfair. It is so much richer and complex. Every choice, while wild and rough, seems precise with the deliberation of, not a mind, but some kind of artistic muse guiding the lens. I doubt Zeitlin, the director, planned every take and every shot. It simply occurred and he was there to witness it. This is the kind of story that transports you to a world you never imagined and drops you back in realness before you’re ready. Over the past five days, I’ve done nothing but roll the images about in my mind, like a tongue trying extract every flavor possible from a heavenly treat. It’s the kind of movie whose imagination is infectious and you can’t help be feel inspired. It’s a rare sense of excitement that I get when leaving a tale such as this; one that hasn’t appeared since my dad read me the Odyssey as a child. It’s a reaffirmation that something beautiful can burst from the chaos. That you can truly lose yourself in a world that isn’t your own.

Apparently, I unwittingly purchased several tickets to the Gun Show: Little Black Girl Edition

Apparently, I unwittingly purchased several tickets to the Gun Show: Little Black Girl Edition

On my return to Chicago, with my tickets to Star Trek IMAX 3D HDD Blah-de-blih rotting away from unuse, I found myself turning off the Netflix machine, pulling out a book and losing myself again. After that came my laptop. I didn’t even need to think what to write next, it just poured forth.

That is why I love movies. That is why I love stories. Pure and unadulterated inspiration.

Summer Movie Preview Part III – Movies I Will See Drunk

I have always contested that Christian and family oriented Blockbuster went horribly and heroin-in-the-gutter out of business so quickly, not because of the advent of the internet movie sharing, but because they did not include this essential movie-viewing category. Drama? Horror? Comedy? Awkwardly-Messaged-Tween-Sexual-Exploration? All of these pale in comparison to the pure intention of this category’s delightful crap pile. Yes, these are those morsels of cinematic bliss that run the gamut of fucking eye-bleedingly terrible to bat-shit, mind-bending, David-Lynch-after-bad-seafood bemusement parks. Previous years’ have included the quintessential pillars of the filmic inebriati that are Piranha 3D, Battleship and the hook-your-car-exhaust-up-to-your-mouth-out-of-sadness-for-the-human-race Nicholas Cage’s The Wicker Man. What does this year bring? Do we drink to heighten ridiculousness? Do we douse ourselves with Jackie boy in the hope that it will offer some zen-vino-levels of clarity? Or do we simply drink to forget the abomination of taste, the societal sacrilege, of turdtacular cappitude? Let’s find out with the Movies I Will See Drunk:

The Great Gatsby

The Fitzgerald is watching you...

The Fitzgerald is watching you…

I think this might actually be the creme de la creme of summertime drunkitude. What better setting than the bootlegging, cocaine-swilling, gin-gobbling laggards of the roaring twenties? Ah, The Great Gatsby, the book we all know and love/despise with a burning hatred. How do we all know it? Because every fucking English curriculum from here to Zimbabwe has it as required reading. Read it or not, it’s about as hefty as a feather on a diet and can be devoured in an extended caffeine-based mania session. We all remember the quiet scenes of inward contemplation, the themes of alienation, of loss set to the backdrop of hollow revelry, all the parasites clawing at the heels of the rich in an attempt to eschew the inner sadness of their pointless lives. It’s slow. It’s literary. It’s F. Scott “He Wrote Benjamin Button?” Fitzgerald. So, who better to adapt this fiction masterpiece than a masterbator of setpieces Mr. Baz “The Hitler of Subtlety” Luhrmann, a man with more bombast than squadron of B52s filled with clones of Brian Blessed and gives us more party out back than a mullet convention. Yes, Mr. Luhrman has dazzled us (and I mean ‘dazzled’ in that I am physically dazed and mildly epileptic whenever crawling from the clutches of his silver screen outings) with his loose adaptations of Romeo + Juliet = An Awkward Next Thanksgiving, Moulin “If You Ever Wished Nicole Kidman Would Start Coughing Up Blood” Rouge!, and the film that would result if you took a lethal dose of LSD, fake tanning lotion and highlighter ink and then shoved it up Dirty Dancing’s ass: Strictly Ballroom.

Mr. Luhrmann has made a career of taking, for the most part, fairly restrained materials and pumping it with so much glitz and pizazzle that it would make one of Ke$ha’$ glitter cannons blush. Romeo + Juliet, a tragedy filled with verbal poetry that has withstood centuries of orally mangled maligning, but not without some admittedly fun moments, was suddenly transformed into a tween-serving, cross-dressing, gun-toting, Leo-fan-dribbling dance fest that turns out not-so-great. I mean…it’s fun. It ain’t Shakespeare. It’s Frank-n-Furter-speare. And don’t get me started on my vendetta against Moulin Rouge! If I could send out hitmen to murder a film with extreme prejudice, I would. I guess I’ll just have to resort to burning down the Library of Congress. Oh well.

So, this movie is an abomination. I calls ’em like I sees ’em. From the disregard for its source material to the employment of both ‘Puffy’ and ‘Dumb Accented’ Leo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire, a man who looks like he is constantly baffled by the wonder of oxygen, to exploding Fitzgerald facades, to using more green screen than George Lucas did on his wedding night (let’s say, the Force wasn’t exactly ‘strong’ down there), the thing looks like a mess hotter than Tara Reid after National Crank-and-Boob-Job Appreciation Day. However, I will hold my kvetching at bay and suffer through this nonsense with a sure-to-put-me-in-the-hopsital drinking game. Rules: 1) Drink every time there’s a musical number; 2) Drink every time there’s unnecessary CGI; 3) Drink every time I confuse Leo with the Michelin Man, but with a dumb accent.

I will probably die of acute Jack Daniels-ing.

World War Z

"Yeop, there's your problem right ther. You got yourself a fucking terrible movie problem."

“Yeop, there’s your problem right ther. You got yourself a fucking terrible movie problem.”

Oh dear, oh dear. This, I am sure, will be a ‘Drink to forget’ situation. As I am of around the age of 18 – 30, and since my complexion is pale and the existence of a penis lies in the positive direction, I have an affinity for zombies. This began long before it was age appropriate during a terrifying and white-knuckled play-through of the goofier-than-Tiger-Woods-with-dentures survival horror game Resident Evil 2. Since then, I have been utterly and irrationally terrified of the undead and their inevitable rise from Hell. Now, a modern psychiatrist might stock this up to my fear of social opinion and my crippling anxiety surrounding friendly backstabbing, but I say it’s because I’m a boy. Since that beautiful moment of imaginary origin, I have gobbled up zombie meal after zombie meal (it’s like a Happy Meal…except it eats you) and with it, of course, were some zombie turds. From the great and genre-defining 28 Days Later to the hollow but hilarious Zombieland to the oh-god-make-it-stop-Romero-what-are-you-doing Land of the Dead, I will take my zombies with a side helping of MORE PLEASE. Thus, when Max Brooks released his undead tour de force World War Z, I gobbled it faster than a pack of deadies stumbling on a MENSA brain storage lab. It tells the cerebral and sometimes harrowing set of stories in the wake of a near zombie apocalypse, from cradle to grave to not-grave to munching-on-your-puppy to hatchet-in-the-cranium. We have glimpses into the tales of the doctors who first discovered the outbreak, to the Jewish special forces who contained the outbreak, to families who almost froze to death in Alaska, to soldiers in the vanguard at the Battle of Yonkers. It’s a sweeping treatise on the realistic and grotesque lengths that the human race will have to resort to  just to survive. Of course, in the wake of The Walking Dead and the second zombie renaissance, this thing got greenlight. It was offered one of the greatest TV writers of all time (J. Michael Strazinski, I salute you) who, apparently, gave it a script worthy of Oscar dribbling all over its undead balls.

And then purgatory. Nothing happened. Brad Pitt signed on. And nothing happened. Then the release date changed. Nothing happened. They rewrote the script to be, and I use ‘douche quotes’ here, “more action-oriented”. We all watched in horror as this victim of the hollywood succubi, teeth sunk into its arm, slowly succumbed to the evil of ‘summer movies’. Finally, the trailer slipped subtly onto the interwebs to an outcry of hatred and vitriol. Really? Flying zombies? What is this, Starship Troopers fan-fic? And why, oh why, does Brad Pritt insist on sullying my eye testicles with that Tom-Hanks-in-Castaway-crossed-with-Tom-Hanks-in-The-Da-Vinci-Code mullet? Does it require it’s own contract and extra pay? Because it seriously makes Pitt look like Three-Legged-Joe our neighborhood homeless-person-junkie-amateur-accordianist. At first the spit and the anger flew, spilling vilely across the book of Face. I could not believe that Hollywood had dragged World War Z into its dungeon and was demanding the lotion be put on the skin otherwise it gets the hose again.

But then I remembered I Am Legend. And Episode I. And The Great Gatsby. So, I decided that drink was the only escape. Rules: 1) Drink every time someone says ‘My God’. 2) Drink every time there is a ham-fisted and out-of-place reference to the book. 3) Drink every time there is an even more awkward reference to Starship Troopers. 4) Drink every time Brad Pitt needs a goddamn haircut, you hippie!

White House Down

It started like any other day, just Channing Tatum walking away from things looking ashamed for G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra.

It started like any other day, just Channing Tatum walking away from things looking ashamed for G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra.

Do you remember when the first trailer of Antwon “Where Are You Even From?” Fuqua’s absurd, jingoistic and Gerard-Butler-Heavy-and-Not-in-a-Penis-Sense boner-head action movie Olympus Has Fallen? You know, that mess of a movie (I can only assume) where the North Koreans inexplicably capture the president by way of JFK Jr.-ing their plane into the Rose Garden (too soon?). Then, I guess, they capture Aaron “The Chin” Eckhart playing President Blandy McWhite-Man and of course Mr. Butler has to murder everybody. It looked dumb. It looked blowy-uppy. It looked mildly racist. You know what I thought to myself in the theater? I thought, what if the most ridiculous filmmaker allowed into the Hollywood outer rings made a completely incoherent even dumber remake, nah, response to this snorefest? Enter, Roland “Welcome to Earth” Emmerich. That’s right, the near-genius/homosexual-Citizen-Kane of blockbuster cinema, hot off his shocking un-exploding what-the-fuck-ness Shakespearean tale, Anonymous. He’s had too much time dealing with talky bullcrap like, you know, the most important Bard in western literature and his ‘art’, while arch-nemesis and homophobic frenemy Michael Bay has been rubbing his Transform-ational penis in his face.

Well, no longer must Mr. “Godzilla: The Remake” be relegated to the shadows. He must be heard, he must dazzle the world! Most likely in a sequined Speedo borrowed from Baz Luhrmann’s wardrobe for [insert any Baz Luhrmann movie here]! And so we have White House Down. How is it different? Well, EXCUSE ME! The president is BLAAAAAACK. Man, doesn’t that have some essential thematic weight? I mean, a black president? When have we ever seen that?

Oh. Deep Impact. That’s true, but, come on, that’s Morgan Freeman. That doesn’t count. He’s God. …Right and The Day After Tomorrow, that was Danny Glover. I mean, he’s no Morgan “Penguin Voice” Freeman, but he has some credibility. But there are no other movies with bla-… Well, Head of State was satire and didn’t really… Wait, we have a black president now? Since when? 2008? And I voted for him? Twice? Where the fuck have I been? Well, at least this time, Mr. Emmerich has brought some credibility to the role on Freeman-levels of excellence. (Sorry, who is playing the black president this time? …Jamie Foxx? You mean, “Stealth” Jamie Foxx? Like…Django? Oh lordie.)

Though the material looks about as original as a Che Gueverra shirt on a college freshman, this is from the gentleman who created, nay, agonizingly and lovingly birthed 2012 and Stargate. I say, carry on, Emmerich! Bring us the silly! Bring us the dumb! And Channing-Tatum-size the product!

Drinking game rules: 1) Every time someone says “My God”; 2) Every time something politically impossible occurs; 3) Every time something physically impossible occurs; 4) Drink every time someone delivers a catchphrase; 5) Drink every time someone delivers a catchphrase that isn’t a catch phrase like, “Time to Die” or “Fuck you, asshole”; 6) Just drink. Like seriously, it will make it go faster.

Byzantium

Irresistible. Immoral. Immortal. Inconceivable. Incontinent. Um...Impossible? Impotent? I'm running out of I-words guys!

Irresistible. Immoral. Immortal. Inconceivable. Incontinent. Um…Impossible? Impotent? I’m running out of I-words guys!

Another one on the “Holy Shit, this Director Is Batshit Crazy” list. Neil Jordan is a director of both great skill and meager sanity. Over his twenty-something years, he has both amazed, confused and Tom Cruised us from his politically-charged and not-a-gin-drink Michael Collins and the equally Irish, but way more penis-tucked, The Crying Game to Brad Pitt/Kirsten Dunst/Cruise-tacular suck-party Interview with a Vampire. His career has been dotted with some of the more sexually confusing forays (looking at you, Breakfast on Pluto) and some really, really dumb ones (The Brave One is unofficially Jodie Foster’s coming out…but with more penises being shot off). He even created the sex/blood/anthrax orgy of scenery chewing that is The Borgias television show.

So, like Buffy Summers after months of dipping her nib in the ‘human’ inkwell, he’s back to vamps. We’ve got the delightfully buxom yet awkwardly talentless Gemma Arterton teamed up with the awkwardly not-buxom infinitely talented Saoirse “How the Fuck Do You Say That?” Ronan. The former has boobs and bathes in literal showers of gore, while the latter, Ms. Shazam Ronin, has an extenda-nail that can cut through beef like butter and…I guess drink people? Does it have a little mouth in the cuticle? Or is it the vampire equivalent of a human can-opener? Maybe she only has enough cash to afford one totally ghetto nail extension and has to save up her pocket money for the full LaTisha set? Who the fuck knows. All I know is that the trailer looks insane, Gemma Arterton is attractive and Snow Mobile Rohan is a fantastic young actress. The game is simple, drink every time you’re confused. Bring on the drunkles!

R.I.P.D.

I bet those two were fucking blazed every second of that production.

I bet those two were fucking blazed every second of that production.

Oh Ryan Reynolds, what a rising star you once were, soaring over the heavens, a meteoric rise tailored to his chiseled abs and wry boyish grin coupled by an equally meteoroid-esque plummet through the ozone layer of Hollywood politics and the explosive reentry flames of a super hero movie more nonsensical than ballet-adaptation of Gravity’s Rainbow directed by Rob Zombie. Yes, Mr. Reynolds has entered the same fame-purgatory that has clasped its Lohanian claws around the likes of Melanie Griffith, Sarah Michelle Gellar and every graduating member of SNL for the past fifteen years. Once again, studios have tapped the mercenary with a mouth but without a film franchise (oh Deadpool, will you ever come to be?) to star in Men in Black 4: This Time They’re Dead R.I.P.D., the tale of a police officer being posthumously tapped to solve undead crimes. At his side is requisite insane old man Tommy Lee Jones Jeff “A Joint a Day Keeps the Doctor Away” Bridges as a barmy old west ranger with ridiculous facial hair and a rather breasticled alter ego.

This thing will be the big, dumb, mediocre, middle-range blockbuster of the summer. Around long enough for people to see because, shit, what else are you going to do during the summer? Go outside? What do I look like? Tan? It will pass through the intestines of the America media conglomerates, unseen and untouched, a metaphoric corn kernel of unexceptionalism. It’s loud, brightly colored and thoroughly cgi-ed. It won’t push boundaries, nor will it be particularly exciting or funny. However, it has Jeff fucking Bridges and, if the Dude abides, then so do I. Obviously I need to attend this movie joint and white russian in hand and yell Cohen brothers quotes at the screen all night. Granted, this is my strategy for every Jeff Bridges movie, which made watching Seabiscuit with my grandmother very uncomfortable.

300: Rise of an Empire

Oh. And I forgot to mention the essential flagrant racism. Bring it on, nerds!

Oh. And I forgot to mention the essential flagrant racism. Bring it on, nerds!

And finally, we have the proverbial cherry on the top of this booze-pie. While some of these films included on this list will cause a semi-woozy Mooney to stumble from his seat, flask flailing and spraying Knob Creek here there and everywhere, this movie might fucking kill me. Yes, because as parts of this world are plagued with famine, blood-thirsty warlords, nuclear weapons, neo-nazis, and really annoying paper cuts, God has finally answered our prayer. Was it is for more food? A reusable and clean energy source? An answer to the conflicts in the Middle East? Paper that doesn’t cause paper cuts? No. He decided to bestow upon his believers perhaps the greatest gift since Prometheus stole the fire from heaven and made a terrible fucking sci-fi movie. What is it? Why a prequel to 300 of course! Now, a sequel would be absurd. What are they going to do? Resurrect Gerard Butler by wrenching him beard first from the gravel to pit him against penis spear-weilding knob-beast intent on impaling his…well, there might be children reading. So, the studio has done one better: it has begged and pleaded Frank “Cum-for-Drains” Miller to craft another tale about the far-fetched and incredibly homosexual adventures of the Spartans.

I haven’t even seen a trailer for this movie and I’m already excited for the dangerous levels of inebriation to which I will crumble. The cast is a who’s-who of who didn’t make it. Conspicuously absent are, of course, the lovable asshole, Gerard Butler, the incomparably endowed Michael Fassbender, the sneakily British Dominic West and old Dick-in-the-Ear Zack Snyder at the helm of the HMS Testosto-licious. All of those  boys and their chiseled abdominal areas have moved onto bigger and better things. From saving the president in Olympus Has Fallen to saving confident women from their feeling-good-about-themselves, Gerard Butler is a b-lister of the highest quality. Fassbender is currently frolicking in the shadow of another famously massively snaked thespian, Sir Ian McKellan. Even Snyder has overcome his obvious mental deficiencies to direct one of the obvious successes of the summer. Left, however, are the paltry remains of careers that have slipped into a Beckett-ian purgatory. Lena “The Bitch Queen Herself” Headey is doing delightfully well, but on the rest of the shortlist is David Wenham, the awkward remains of the Lord of the Rings franchise, as well as Rodrigo Santoro, whose insanely good looks have been cursed by some still-angry LOST fans, along with Eva “Light of My Sexual Life” Green, who seems to have drawn the short straw since her break out in Casino Royale.

But all of that snark aside, I am genuinely excited for 300: Rise of an Empire. What could go wrong? The only thing that leant the original any merit was Zack Snyder’s jaw-dropping visual style. So, is he directing again? Fuck no. But he sure as fuck is writing the script! That’s like getting the IBS without the delicious burrito beforehand. While I’m fairly sure that Zack Snyder’s writing skill equals that of a room of monkeys on type-writers, this trollop-party isn’t going to be as genius as the original but, I tell you, it will do one better. It will be a cheap-as-Donald-Trump-at-a-charity-auction slice of hackneyed and pointless sludge. It won’t know if it’s coming or going, throwing out boobs and nipples and abs and awkward-in-the-butt sex, every which way. And I will be there, cheering every misogynistic act of douchery, every intentionally homophobic yet unintentionally homoerotic scene of ‘brothers in arms’, every tittie and every 6-pack to fly my way. I will swim in the mediocre crud like Scrooge McDuck through his improbably large collection of gold coins. I will dance the dance of a crazed loon, sucking down my whiskey like a babe from its mother’s teet. My review will consist of solely blacked-out non-syllables, sloshily slapped across the keyboard at 2am. Will I give into thematic continuity use my penis instead of my numbed fingers? Only drunk Andrew will know. And who can predict that glorious maniac?

There shall be no drinking rules. 300 might attempt to praise Aries and Athena, the gods of war, but the only deity present will be that drunk delight, Dionysus. Together we shall tumble, Daniels in hand, into the waters of Lethe to cleanse us both of the fact that we just watched a fucking PREQUEL to 300. Never before have I been convinced that God was dead until this moment. Or the second half of Prometheus. That sucked.

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

RDJ, the Man so fine even G-Palt is copping a feel.

RDJ, the Man so fine even G-Palt is copping a feel.

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

And the award for sweatiest pile of humans goes to...

And the award for sweatiest pile of humans goes to…

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.

Elysium

Elysium, the touching story of a man overcoming scoliosis and terrible back-tattoos

Elysium, the touching story of a man overcoming scoliosis and terrible back-tattoos

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

Um...Kick Ass 2, I think your catch phrase is broken.

Um…Kick Ass 2, I think your catch phrase is broken.

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!

Star Trek to the Ground into Darkness

Star Trek's shocking twist: Cumberbatch is really the Kool Aid guy

Star Trek’s shocking twist: Cumberbatch is really the Kool Aid guy

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…many…crossovers…brain…melting

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.

He stirs. He rolls to one side. His arms feel the coursing blood of a dozen film reels slowly revitalizing him into consciousness.

*YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWNNNNNNN*

No, that was not in response to memories of watching The Master. I have awoken once more. The temperature is rising (in theory) and the threat of the longest, coldest, blandest fucking winter in history is beginning to abate. That’s right! I have returned! Mama bear has risen from her den of lazy iniquity, doing her best to ignore the last four months of utter penis-drizzle that has decorated our silver screens (Pro-tip, if your movie theater is sticky, use disinfectant).

It is a time honored tradition among critics (well, just me) to lull oneself into a three month slumber, a coma of such artistic impenetrability even Rip Van Winkle would say ‘dial it back a bit, homes’ (because we all know Rip Van Dubs was totes hood – look it up). After the annoyance and rampant self-congratulatory visual masturbation of ‘awards’ season, cinema annually decides to not only ‘take it easy’ but to essentially attempt suicide. This, my friends, is the Time of Turds, the Armpit of Art, the Peril of Perry. Think I’m over-reacting? Think I’m hyperbolizing? Remember this butt-plugging-woman-hating-ham-fisting-kardashian-employing-smeg-ulicious gem?

Tyler-Perrys-marriage-counselor

That’s the face of a cold-blooded killer…of cinema

Granted, my critical hibernation had a few desirable hiccups along the way. Evil Dead was fun. I mean, not in the “Let’s hang out and grab coffee” kind of way, but rather, if I saw Evil Dead hanging out at a party, I’d totally say hi and make awkward conversation for a few moments. It was a classy film. Did I say classy? I meant bitch-cut-off-her-own-arm-with-a-meat-shaver. That movie was terrible. And fucking amazing.

evil-dead-remake-2013-arm-cuttting-scene

Evil Dead: The Tale of Ladies Losing Limbs and Dudes Getting Shot with Nails. You know, for kids!

Anyhoo…I’m back. From outer space. I just walked in to see you here with that sad look upon your face. And guess the fuck what? I’m back in time for mutherfucking SUMMER MOVIE SEASON!

(Cue audience applause)

That’s right, folks, the Rear Admiral of Snark is about to admiral his rear in the direction of some of these seasonal stinkers. Do I think it’s absurd that I’m talking about summer movies while still wearing a scarf because it’s thirty fucking degrees outside? Of course not! Because when I moved to this back-asswards town they call Chi, I knew what I was signing up for. That’s right, a Checkovian/Satrian/ Beckettian nightmare of meteoric implausibility and almost rabid weather-based mood swings. So, zipping up my winter coat, lets talk about the joke that is SUMMER.

Those of you who read my articles last year, you know, when I was writing articles and such, you will know that I have four distinct and essential categories of summer film: first, the coveted Movies I Want to See, you know, the films that get my fan boy goulies all twisted up with some kind of Joss-Whedon Family-Jewel Juice (Patent-pending). These are the movies that, when their glorious cheeky grins spread across the movieplex, I’m reduced to a galloping and insufferable child, returned once more to my days of hiding behind the couch when that Nazi’s head explodes at the end of Raiders. This is Class A, premium cut, top quality ass meat (but the good kind of ass…like rump, you know, not-anus meat). Expectations will be high! Sweeping declarations will be made! Tears will be shed! Dreams, like a really dodgy masquerade ball filled with David Bowie look-alikes and far too much Bowie-Balls, will be shattered! This is usually where the most weeping occurs, fair warning to you all.

He haunts my dreams. Take that as you will.

Second: Movies I will See and Hate Myself. Let’s be real. Cinema is a drug. No, fuck that. Movies are candy. They’re a pack of gummy worms, of Reese’s Pieces, of sugar-encrusted cola bottles because, fuck, I certainly wasn’t getting enough sugar when I bought the regular old 100% sugar treat designed to taste like a drink made of 100% pure cane white gold. You have one, but you know it doesn’t stop there. You reach into the pack again and again. I mean, you could cook something with, you know, nutrition but…well, that’s all the way in the kitchen and this grab bag of pre-diabetes is already right here. You eat and gorge and stuff and suck and, before you know it, you’re three hundred pounds getting a Reese’s Hysterectomy (full disclosure: not really sure what a hysterectomy is, but it sounds cool – fuller disclosure: OF COURSE I KNOW WHAT A HYSTERECTOMY IS). During the summer, I will return to the movie theater again and again, hoping that this time…well…this time it’ll be different. We all hear ourselves saying it: “But guys, maybe they’ll get Wolverine right this time?” or “Well, I know watching the last Smurfs movie was like getting a lap dance from Rush Limbaugh…but this is a sequel,” or, “Fuck it. Just give me two scoops of Transformers: Whatever the Fuck the Next One Will Be Called.” Yes, these are the movies that, on a rainy summer night with nothing else to do, we might reach into the bag and wake up the next morning with apenda-Michael-Bay-citis. These are the movies that are soulless, pointless, classless and, in the worst way possible, worthless. They’re the movies you will one day catch on TV when you have the flu and, due to general weakness and the fear of self-defecation, can’t reach the control. I’ll see them. I’ll ‘meh’ them. I’ll forget them. Like that one movie I forgot last year… Can’t remember the name of it, but it’ll come back to me.

Brought to you by our sponsor, Michael “It’s Only Hurts The First Time” Bay.

Third: Movies I Will See Drunk. Ah yes, perhaps the most sacred of categories. This list of cinematic delicacy is really only palatable with a handle of Jack and, let’s say, another handle of Jack to wash the first one down. If one were to witness these gifts from the filmic gods while under the satanic influence of sobriety, one might be tempted to claw one’s eyes out, or sex one’s mother, or something else of the Greek persuasion. Everything about these crotch-monkeys is terrible. Bad acting. Bad writing. Bad, well, ‘directing’ is a strong word. Let’s say ‘Man wearing an ass for a hat waggling his penis in the direction of a camera’. However, add to this crap-pie just one (actually ten) shot of whiskey and, ladies and gentlemen, you have a mutherfucking masterpiece. That’s right, Jack Daniels should have a goddamn Oscar for Best Supporting-My-Ability-to-Sit-Through-Abraham-Lincoln-Vampire-Hunter. This is probably my favorite category of film…in that I fucking hate it and love it all at once. If I publicized my relationship with this category on Facebook, it would be ‘It’s Complicated’ followed by a really awkward picture of me licking the DVD case of Piranha 3D. Don’t tell my therapist about that last part.

This is what the inside of my brain looked like after seeing Showgirls for the first time.

Finally and absolutely lastly, the fourth category: Movies That Want So Much For Me to Like Them to the Point They’d Roofie Me, Throw Me in the Back of Their VW and Then Gradually Reeducate Me While Having Me Strapped to a Chair in their Parents’ Basement. These are the films that are devised and concocted in a lab on a boat out in international waters, Robert Oppenheimer on one side and Josef Mengele on the other. These are the movies crafted precisely for my ‘Demographic’. You know, white twenty-something douchebags. These are the movies with about as much respect for gender equality as I do for the Star Wars prequels. These are the movies where aerial-barfing is a glorified art, farts are as revered as strings to Tchaikovsky, where pedophilia is the punch line (I’m looking at you, everything-Adam-Sandler-has-ever-done). These are the movies that, if I had the chance to condemn something to eternal damnation, they’d be at the top of the fucking list ready to be shoved down Beelzebub’s throbbing gullet. I will not see these. Not just because they are bad. Not just because they are lazy and stupid and about as witty as the smelly kid in kindergarten accidentally sticking a thumb up his own anus and getting it trapped (okay, that’s kinda funny). It’s because they offend me. They offend the fact that they want me. They try so hard. They woo me with their Zack Galifinakises, their casts of the Daily Show, their Senor Changs…but then the product they offer up is about as palatable as a dinner at Courtney Love’s new restaurant chain, “Needles N’ Noodles” (don’t get the lo mien, I beg you. Unless you’re really into Hepatitis A through G. If you are, fair play. Bon appetit).

What I do after watching any Adam Sandler trailer ever.

So, my adoring and, probably now, nonexistent public, tune in over the next couple of weeks for my Summer Movie Preview. There will be Marvel movies! Prequels! Sequels! Sequels to prequels! Oh lord will there be sequels! In fact! Now that I look at it! It’s pretty much ALL sequels!

Mama bear is back. And she wants some meat.

Okay, that last part was really creepy. Now I’m confused about several aspects of my psyche. Um…I’ll catch you next time.