Posts Tagged ‘Battleship’

Battleship (2012) – Peter Berg (Dir.), Taylor “Locks of Love” Kitsch, Brooklyn “Chicken Burrito” Decker, Liam “Facepalm” Neeson, Alexander “Vampire Viking” Skarsgaard, real US Veterans

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The battle for my heart has already been won, Battleship, my Battleship.

Guys. Guys. Seriously, GUYS.

It happened. It finally happened! All this time I have been waiting, patiently biding my time, nagging and needing, pushing and pulling, whining and whinging until finally, fucking ultimately and in the goddamn end, someone ACTUALLY WATCHED BATTLESHIP WITH ME. Without alcohol, drugs or anything other than Earl Grey tea (Jean-Luc Picard style, bitches) I consumed, nay feasted on this behemoth of summer movie epicness.

Wow. Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the rest of the Seven Dwarfs. What can be said about Battleship that hasn’t already been said about Citizen Kane? What can be said that hasn’t already been said about Hamlet? Paradise Lost? In fact, it was so mind-blowingly brilliant, so life-changingly beautiful that I almost gave up my entire career in Chicago to go live with the gorillas in the Congo. It is, hands down, the most important movie I have ever seen in my measly existence. Decades from now, worshippers will lay themselves on the pyres of Peter Berg to sacrifice themselves to the greatest gift known to man. That gift? Mutherfucking Battleship.

But then, after completing this tour de force, this magnum opus, this codification of all things that makes us human, I finally glanced across the various Best Of lists for 2012 from a handful of mindful critics. Much to my chagrin, Battleship was left completely by the wayside! How was this possible? How did this many scholarly filmic journalists pass up the greatest ode to human suffering that is Hasbro’s Christ-like franchise? And so, like a manic father searching for his son in a mall, though you know he was snatched by the bad guys and is going to be held to blackmail me into infiltrating the White House to steal the nuclear codes, I tore through the Oscar Nominations this year. A Munch-ian scream-like grimace came across my face as, category after category, Battleship was left in the dust, a discarded piece of brilliance too advanced for its own time and tossed aside along with yesterday’s jam. What kind of monster would nominate Daniel Day Lewis, the silliest facial hair in the business, over Taylor Kitsch? How could we have Anne “Phoning it in” Hathaway on the list but no Brooklyn Decker? And, come on, Tommy Lee Jones? He was terrible in Men in Black 3! I haven’t seen anything else with him in it, but based on that sole metric, he must be awful. Why not substitute him for Alexander Skarsgaard?

So ashamed was I in the academy that I’ve decided to write my own Best Of list for this fateful year. Get ready, plebs, and, as Mr. L. Jackson would say, HOLD ONTO YOUR BUTTS.

Best Franchise Leading Man – Taylor Kitsch (Battleship)

There is a man, not just any man, but a Canadian man. He burst onto screens and into our hearts with the emotionally hollowing and brutal Friday Night Lights only a few years ago (full disclaimer…I’ve never seen Friday Night Lights nor am I sure of what it’s about. Baseball, maybe?). Since that unparalleled start, he was thrust into a role that could not have been portrayed by any mortal man. I am, of course, speaking of the Cajun, exploding-card-throwing-kendo-stick-wielding-building-jumping-Hugh-Jackman-punching fanboy favorite, Gambit, in perhaps the greatest movie about facial hair and poor cuticle trimming the world has ever seen: X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Since then, Kitsch was catapulted to stardom. And, like that first red bird you fire in a game of Angry Birds, it usually goes a little too high, soars too close to the sun and incinerates upon reentry into the earth’s atmosphere. Such was Kitsch’s career. In this last year alone he starred in the massively successful and sure-to-not-be-the-only-movie-in-it’s-franchise-unless-Disney-gambled-millions-of-dollars-and-lost-catastrophically John Carter as well as this beast of genius, Battleship. How can one actor go from long hair to short in only one scene? How can a man so effectively growl and look like he’s constantly defecating himself? How can a man make his eyes so squinty-small that it seems as though someone forgot to cut them open when they tore open the Kitsch Action Figure packaging? This man is absolutely destined for stardom. Obviously we will get to see his true strengths during the inevitable Battleship 2 due to the first one’s incredible commercial success.

Sorry, what was that? Oh, it didn’t make any money? Huh. How about that?

Yes, that’s the face that launched a thousand Battleships…well, it would have if, well, it was a good face.

Best Brotherly Acting – Alexander Skarsgaard (Battleship)

Now, though Kitsch was obviously the star of the show, credit must be given to his literal brother in arms, Alexander. I don’t remember what his character’s name was, but it doesn’t matter. The point is: they’re brothers. The two of them are so brotherly and so fraternally joined that any question of their joint ancestral background is nonsense. Even though Kitsch is brunette and Skarsgaard is blonde. And Kitsch looks almost native american while Skarsgaard is about as Aryan as weinerschnitzel. And Kitsch is like 5’10” while Skaarsgaard is approximately 3000 feet tall. Oh, and Skarsgaard has an accent. Other than that, any question of their filial relationship is completely absurd. But honestly, how hasn’t Skarsgaard won an Oscar yet? Isn’t there a category for best Sookie Pounding? Or maybe that’s just the Emmys (there’s an Emmy for everything). This gentleman is an epic piece of humanity whose nuanced portrayal of a naval commander truly cuts to the core of what Conrad was searching for when he penned Heart of Darkness. I mean, just look at his face-blowing-up performance that occurs at the thirty minute mark:

Just look at that lip. I haven’t seen a lip that good since Brando.

One might think he was a shoe-in for Best Supporting. But no, the Academy went with Philip Seymour “Butts” Hoffman. Travesty.

Best Naval Research – Peter Berg, Joe and Erich Hoeber (Battleship)

When given the task of representing an entire branch of the US military there are too many pitfalls to count. Let us all hang our heads in remembrance of the ever-lost and exceedingly terrible Aaron Eckhart growl-a-thon Battle: LA where combat verisimilitude turned every action scene into incoherent visual mulch. When Peter Berg decided to take on this, the greatest movie I have ever seen, he was given an impossible task. How does one take the tale of aliens invading the Earth and manage to keep the integrity of the US Naval forces in tact while they have to adapt and survive against this new and brutal foe? Well, the answer is: masterfully. So many questions I had about the Navy were answered in full, things like: Q. Who is in charge of a battleship? A. The guy with the coffee cup; Q. What does the commander do if he’s the only named character on the boat? A. Everything; Q. Can anyone do anything without orders? A. Absolutely not. Q. What is the first thing every single member of the crew does when given an order? A. Directly question and bitch about it to their commanding officer; Q. If aliens invaded a vessel, what’s the first thing you do? A. Send the most senior officer into the situation without any intel or weaponry other than a standard issue M4 assault rifle and then clear literally every space on the ship so, in case he does go hand to hand with a power-suited super alien, he won’t have any help whatsoever because he is, of course, the most senior officer. What we were offered was a dramatic, coherent view of everyday naval life forced into an extreme situation, an exemplary piece of filmmaking that would rival Saving Private Ryan, All Quiet on the Western Front or Tora! Tora! Tora!

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This is in no way a metaphor for the triumph over erectile dysfunction.

This certainly wasn’t, in no way a transparent cashing in on US militarism for solely the purpose of profit and unwarranted patriotism. Nor was it the result of director Peter Berg sitting in his bathtub with a toy boat yelling “NAVY! NAVY! NAVY!” over and over again while the two English-as-a-second-language screenwriters tried to take broken dictation. No way, no how. This is an AMURKAN film. No corners have ever been cut in AMURKA.

Best Meet Cute – Taylor Kitsch and Brooklyn Decker and a chicken burrito (Battleship)

As I will go into during my multi-part, existential, soul-searching examination of romantic comedies, the art of the ‘Meet Cute’ is a practice so delicate and precise that, if done incorrectly, can sour one’s audience to the point of the entire theater bursting into collective screams and soiling themselves with rage. Thank god Peter Berg was here. This ‘Meet Cute’ (where the two love interests first ‘meet’ in a cute fashion) wasn’t even necessary for this film. No. We could have just skipped to the next part where Kitsch has his hair cut off and is suddenly in the Navy and the audience would have believed that the two prettiest people on screen are in a relationship because, let’s be real, eugenics is a thing. But not Peter Fucking Berg. No, we had to see them meet while Kitsch was still sporting his rad doo earned from the deserts of Mars. We had to see the truest love committed to the silver screen since Casa-fucking-blanca.

What’s the scene? Kitsch is at a bar. So is super-blondie and constructed-in-a-Victoria-Secret-Secret-lab-owned-by-Michael-Bay Brooklyn Decker (also the name of the most hipster mode of transportation in NYC). We’re confronted with the age old issue that plagues all new couples. The lady wants a chicken burrito. You know, a chicken burrito. The elixir of the gods. A chicken burrito. Why does she want a chicken burrito? Because she wants to eat a chicken burrito. Because it’s a chicken burrito. And chicken burritos are delicious. So what does Kitsch do? He promises her a chicken burrito. You know, what the lady wants. A chicken burrito. He heads to Seven Eleven to get a chicken burrito but finds they are closed, thus his question for a chicken burrito is halted chicken burrito-less. What does he do? Buy her real food? Nope. He breaks in while the Pink Panther theme plays and steals her, yep, you guessed it, a chicken burrito.

And then he gets tazed.

I haven’t seen anything so true, so heartfelt, so fundamentally brilliant in all my 25 years. If I hadn’t gotten lucky and met a beautiful woman recently, I would march into a bar tonight and just start handing out chicken burritos in exchange for love. Also, I’ll make sure to be violently incapacitated by the Chicago Police. Fucking genius.

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“Wait, I thought this movie was about Chicken Burritos. Why is everything exploding?” ~ Brooklyn Decker, sweet but not much going on up there.

Best Being in a Movie Without Really Being in a Movie – Liam Neeson (Battleship)

This was a stroke of brilliance on the part of Peter Berg. It is established that Liam Neeson, you know, the Irish gentleman who is known not only for his unparalleled acting chops but also for his incomparable ability to beat the shit out of non-Americans with a brutality that can only be found in a movie produced by Luc Besson, is Ms. Double Decker’s father and Mr. Kitsch must ask him permission to marry her. Of course, Kitsch, being the fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants one-last-chance loose-cannon (insert other cliches here), he has not yet curried favor with the Admiral. Oh yes, did I mention? Her father is also the Admiral of the Navy. So, when Kitsch goes to Navy, gets a few Navy badges and joins in playing war games at Navy-Camp, he is determined to win her father’s trust and respect. Neeson towers over the proceedings, the aloof and terrifying father figure that is the puppet master of these Naval war games.

And then the aliens show up and Neeson pretty much disappears until the last ten minutes of the fucking film. Yep. He doesn’t stick around. He just sits on his aircraft carrier for an entire day doing nothing. While Kitsch and his cohorts battle tooth and nail, their asses handed to them in a shockingly interesting adaptation of a board game to the silver screen, Liam Neeson does nothing. Nothing at all. In fact, when the big alien shield is finally broken in the midst of the final battle, it cuts back to Neeson in exactly the same position having not moved a single inch in and entire fucking day. Now, a less observant movie-goer might ask, “Hey, did they just film all of Neeson’s scenes on one day so he could get the fuck out of there and go back to making Taken 2?” But I am one of the enlightened. Making it seem as though nothing had changed just serves Berg’s almost Rand-ian thesis that is this movie. The Navy is stalwart. It is always there, never taking breaks. It is the perpetual watchdog of our shores. Well done, Mr. Berg. Well done.

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I was going to put a picture of Liam Neeson in this movie here, but this was all I got from google. Well played, Neeson, well played.

Best Actors that Have No Formal Training of Any Kind – Brooklyn Decker, Rihanna, Gregory D. Gadson, a bunch of really old WWII vets

Now, there have been instances in the past where roles have been filled in major films with people who are not actors. They don’t know how to read a script for beats, for character arc, for subtext. These people have no training of any kind and are thrust into the world of a movie without so much as a life vest. It’s incredible. Mr. Berg managed to wrangle so many non-actors in this film that the actual number of non-actors outweighed that of actual actors. Yes, we first have Ms. Brooklyn Decker whose performance in the chicken burrito scene alone so have clinched her Best Supporting Actress (Fantine my ass), a model with no real interest in dramatic forms. Next, we have Rihanna, a woman known for her intense hairstyles and affinity for precipitation-avoiding accessories, who is, apparently, the only woman on an active naval ship. All questions of her ability and dramatic talent were quashed the moment she utter the words “Mahalo, Muthf-” before blowing up a super alien with a fucking cannon. The fact that ‘Mahalo’ in Hawaiian means ‘thank you’ didn’t stop Rihanna from truly imbuing the moment with a level of female empowerment that would have made Susan B. Anthony ejaculate. After that, we have Gregory D. Gadson, an actual vet who lost his legs in combat and now only has titanium kick-ass legs in their place. At first, his delivery was flat, uninteresting and fake. But, as the movie went on, his delivery remained flat, uninteresting and fake. His lines, however, became more and more badass with every scene; thus by way of sheer will, he managed to, no joke, become the most awesome character in the entire movie. When he choked the alien with his fake leg I was reminded of Day Lewis’s performance in My Left Foot. That level of greatness. Finally, after the sixth act break in the movie, we are treated with an AC/DC-backed montage of 80-something-old US vets recommissioning the only working battleship left in the armada after the alien attack.

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Look at that emotion! Sally Field robbed Rihanna for that nomination. ROBBED, I SAY!

Read that bit again. An AC/DC-backed montage of 80-something-old US vets recommissioning the only working battleship left in the armada after the alien attack.

One more time: an AC/DC-backed montage of 80-something-old US vets recommissioning the only working battleship left in the armada after the alien attack.

I think I saw God during those moments. No joke. An out-of-body moment of true clarity. It really is a testament to Mr. Berg’s directing ability that he managed to coax performances out of completely green subjects that basically outshone all of his professional actors, making their ‘acting’ look like nothing more than a growly rendition of a middle school retelling of Glengarry Glen Ross. That, or his ‘real’ actors really were completely incapable of anything other that utter bullshit. But that’s preposterous.

Best Performance by Ben Kingsley as an Entire Alien Race – Ben Kingsley, Peter Berg (Battleship)

Now, I’ve been known to accuse Sir Ben Kingsley of being in every movie for nothing but a pitiful paycheck (Species anyone? Prince of Persia? Bloodrayne? Ghandi?). But today I officially take back everything I have ever said to tarnish his career. Every err he has ever made over the years, and, trust me, there have been many, have been forgiven. Now, one would think that if we were to be watching a massive summer blockbuster, then the time and effort placed in designing and crafting the alien race that invades should evoke the darkest corners of our imagination. Much like Independence Day had imitations of the god of all sic-fi horror Alien imprinted into its alien DNA, we have come to expect truly terrifying design from our summer action. Well, Mr. Berg, once again, has defied expectation and made a choice that will go down in cinematic history. In an almost Being John Malkovich-like move, he cast Ben Kingsley as every single alien on screen. The result, one would think, would be a complete lack of forethought in terms of the grander world Berg is attempting to cultivate. It is not. Instead, when the aliens remove their helmets, revealing the Oscar winner himself (with some questionable facial hair, but I think that’s written in Kingsley’s contract to combat the lack of living follicles on the rest of his cranium) we are suddenly forced to examine ourselves. Perhaps, by the end of this movie, we might think that the aliens who are invading are really ourselves. Man’s only enemy is himself. Once again, brilliant work.

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House of Sand and Fog ain’t got shit on this.

Best Transformers Sequel – Peter Berg (Battleship)

I’m sure you, when scouring the list of 2012’s movies, were stunned to see the lack of a Transformers movie this year. Fear not! Mr. Berg, apparently taking over the helm of the franchise after Mr. Bay, I’m assuming, accidentally lodged himself in a stripper’s rectum, has done the unthinkable. He has so accurately and totally mimicked Bay’s auteurish flair to bring us yet another powerful addition to Hasbro’s growing film fiefdom. Now, as there are no actual Transformers in the movie itself, one must assume that all of the vehicles are actual living covertly as helicopters and boats until Sam Witwicky stops having sex with women far beyond not just his league, but his fucking sport, to come and start a new adventure. How else can one explain the film’s disjointed continuity? The flagrant misuse of lens flare? Of slow motion? The ghastly incorporation of over-saturated color filters? The broken flow and erratic shifts in tone? The complete ignorance of basic screenwriting rules? The eschewing of three acts in favor of twelve instead? The runtime of 2 hours and 20 minutes? An obnoxious and utterly unfunny comedic sidekick? A flagrantly untalented super-model with about as much emotion as a bag of nails constantly visually violated with a widescreen lens? Honestly, it truly was brilliant how Berg carefully and subtly laid the groundwork for a series reboot without attempting to push its audience into deep water too quickly (see what I did there?).

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Click the gifs and spot the difference. Can you? Neither can I.

As with all sequels, one must take the work done and make it better. In this instance, we had the addition of one female character that isn’t anyone’s mother. Well done there. Also, the screenwriters managed to imbue deeper meaning by way of constant quotations from Stephen Hawking, Sun Tsu and Shakespeare. These lines manage to cut deep to the emotional thrust of the action, while the less observant might just write them off as the two screenwriters scouring an edition of Bartlett’s Encyclopedia of Quotations in fear of having to write any lines themselves.

So, there you have it, my Best of 2012. I’ll be back for the Oscars where I will go through every single category and make sure you know exactly why Battleship should have swept up more Oscars than Titanic. I mean, come on. There are boats. There’s love. There’s a scene where Taylor Kitsch and the Japanese costar run up the length of a sinking ship and jump off exactly like Kate and Jack. The comparisons are innumerable. So, go see Battleship. I will watch it again and again, whiskey in hand. It truly is the new Showgirls.

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The winds of a distant winter are rising. Cold fronts, like chilled custard, are gradually consuming the Midwest and with it Chicago. Those summer dresses that make ladies seem so dishonestly ephemeral are quickly disintegrating to the temporal safety of jeans and sweatpants. The summer is coming to a close and, as Ned Stark would say if he had an issue with premature ejaculations (referring specifically to the archaic definition pertaining to elocution), Fall Is Coming. Finally, I’m able to cast aside my vibrant colors in favor of dour earth tones. I no longer need to repel the incessant whines of “Andrew, you should try shorts, you’d look adorable” because it wouldn’t be adorable, it would be as horrifying as looking into the Ark of the Covenant, doesn’t anyone understand I AM EXTREMELY INSECURE ABOUT MY PASTY LEGS.

Well, for a Summer of Film, like any good night of sex, there is a shit load of build up and anticipation, a middling execution with some high points (and seriously low ones) and finally a required and sleepy denouement. This is that sleepiness. A decomposition, if you will, a digestion, that special walk that you take after Thanksgiving Dinner in the hope that burning about fifty calories will offset that Herculean gorge-fest that was that five course monstrosity. Perhaps these will take the form of awards and, if they do, they will be more important than the fucking Oscars (because, honestly, what isn’t?). Perhaps they will take the form of rants. Perhaps the form of an elaborate and labyrinthine puzzle, dragging you through the depths of your own psyche, revealing grotesque truths about the human condition before finally revealing what I actually thought about a shitty film franchise. Perhaps. I haven’t decided yet.

Oh Summer of 2012, what a beast you were. You had such dazzling highs and such confounding lows. You were filled with aimless, drunken wanderings through the streets of Chicago, ending with confused mornings waking up in puddles of Dunkin Donuts breakfast sandwiches (true story). You were riddled with dates and drunken make-outs. Midnight showings and Bat-a-thons. You were epic and understated at once. Much like my fifth grade math teacher, I entered you a boy and a left you a man (not a true story). I have gained some loved ones, and lost some (you will be missed, Donnie. New York doesn’t deserve you). I went from living with four wonderful and crazed souls to living alone. And I saw both The Dark Knight Rises and Prometheus. I will be forever changed. So, now that I’ve arbitrarily decided to structure this like a rewards show, lets get this thing on the road. Without further ado…here are…

ANDREW’S SUMMER MOVIE AWARDS 2012!

Welcome, welcome ladies and gents. It’s been a wacky and wild roller coaster this summer, hasn’t it, Jane?

(Insert painfully unwitty, overly-enthusiastic response from once-pretty co-host whose face looks like it’s had more nips and tucks than a fucking French pastry)

Hilarious, Jane. You’re so on point. Well, let’s get to it!

Most Mediocre Movie I’m Glad I Missed

Winner: The Amazing Spiderman; Runner Up: The Borne Legacy

OH NO! MECHA-GOJIRA! Nope…my mistake. It’s just boring.

So, I know these were both on my list of “Movies I Will See and Hate Myself“, but guess what, other than a few noted exceptions, this was not a summer of self-harm. I read reviews of Spiderman. My friend told me it was, and I quote, “Totally Fine.” You know what? Fuck totally fine. I don’t want totally fine. This is the summer. If I want ‘totally fine’, I’d be in January. This is the time for RPX/3D/IMAX/ VHS/ADHD/CPS/SIDS to melt your mutherfucking face off. If I’m not feeling some facial phase-changes, then it has no business being in the summer movie line-up. I like Andrew Garfield, but it was so infuriatingly clear in every ad, clip and interview he was trying to be a total badass. You know what? No matter how many times you shove a lightning bolt up a corpse’s ass, you don’t get reanimation, you just get the suffocating smell of cooked, rancid meat and charred hair. My Peter Parker will always be the animated one that awkwardly fought the Green Goblin on Saturday mornings…and then got all weird and sexy with Madame Web and…well…let’s not talk about that. Also, The Borne Legacy, I heard Jeremy Renner was wasted. For that, I say, you deserve a penis in the ear. That is the one place no one likes a penis. Well, I’m sure someone does. Anyway, it’s invasive and unpleasant. You’re welcome.

Most Pissed Off I Got That Nobody Would Drink a Fifth of Jack With Me and Watch

Winner: Battleship, Runner-up: Piranha 3DD

YOU GUYS, IT LOOKS SO GOOD! SERIOUSLY! YOU GUYS!

Seriously, like, seriously guys. Why would NOBODY watch Battleship with me? Of course it’s moronic. Of course it’s about as worthy of sense as Gary Busey on the third day of an acid binge. Of course Liam Neeson will cash a paycheck. But still…COME ON. I heard there was an old person montage! And Rihanna acting! And Tim Riggins on a Boat! (For the record, I do not know, nor do I care, who Tim Riggins is. He has a cool name. Discussion over). I tried, time and again, to Shanghai someone to sneak a bottle of bourbon into the movie theater with me and drink every time someone said the words “Ship”, “God” or “Hey, isn’t that the guy from True Blood?” This summer has been seriously lacking some Transformers, over-the-top, misogyny-riddled, nonsensical action and I need my shit-fix. Why did you all abandon me? WHY?

Piranha gets honorable mention because, honestly, it’s a Piranha movie and those cannot be missed. At the same time, I heard it sucked massive elephantitis-balls. Like, globe-sized, Jack-and-the-Beanstalk-style giant testicles. And not in the good way. More in the, “just got back from rowing the Atlantic ocean and am suffering from about 12 different fungal issues in the nether-regions…do you still want to do this?” way.

Most Forgettable Movie of the Summer

Winner: I can’t remember; Runners-Up: Men in Black III, Brave

It’s that one movie…with the thing…and that guy, from that other movie…

It’s only logical that the least memorable movie was one that literally forgot its existence. This has happened numerous times. Some of the more memorable least-memorable films would be…um…that one with the cops…a black one and a white one…maybe the one with a scary thing in the something or other…or when that one person was on trial for something and somebody was trying to do something with the…it was by John Grisham, I know that. So, here’s to you, the least memorable movie of the summer! I might have written an article about you. Maybe. Maybe I didn’t because you were so fucking forgettable that my brain forcefully rejected your existence the moment I left the theater/my living room. Not because you were bad. No, bad movies deserve remembrance. You have committed the worst crime of all existence: you have stolen time out of my life that, not only will never be returned, but I cannot recollect. You’re a black hole of blandness. A vortex of vapidity. A nebula of nebul-‘eh’. So, movie that was positively pointless, thank you.

The other two runner-ups are nearly as blameful. Men in Black III was fine, without a capital ‘f’ because it doesn’t deserve such frills. It was a movie constructed by the corporate machine, placed in the hands of jaded, half-spent celebrity and given nothing to do other than make a really amusing joke about Andy Warhol. Otherwise, the film was so inoffensive and uninteresting that I literally forgot I saw it until I looked back at my articles written for this summer. And, Brave, you just stick that fucking bear tail between your legs (do bears have tails? I can’t remember. NOT THE POINT). You’re a Pixar, not some poxy by-the-numbers bullshit excreted by Lionsgate. You have a legacy to uphold! Now, yes, I enjoyed the film just fine (there’s that word again! I know grammatically the sentence is incorrect, but the issue is the same. Oh US parlance.) Semantics aside, Brave attempted a few things and succeeded. The issue was one of scale. I return to the face-melting essential nature of summer film. Wall-E fucking sublimated my entire head. Up transformed me into a sobbing, weeping, sniveling husk of mush. Brave? Brave made me shrug my shoulders and go “It wasn’t terrible.” Fuck that noise. I expect more from you people. I expect my very dreams to be haunted with your cartoonish mugs. I expect my bowels to loosen during the opening credits. I expect…

Holy shit. I just remembered what the most forgettable movie was. It was…wait…gone again. Oh well.

Most Good Movie Until a Super-Zombie Showed Up

Winner: Prometheus; Runner-Up: Um…Prometheus?

This is much more accurate depiction of that movie: people doing things that bear no relation to other things

You know how it is in the morning. You wake up, make yourself a cup of coffee, discover an alien planet that probably instigated all of evolution on planet earth, take off your fucking helmet because you “think it’s oxygen” and everything is forgivable and fine until a fucking SUPER ZOMBIE jumps out of nowhere and wrecks every non-named character? Know what I’m sayin’? No? That’s never happened to you? Well, Prometheus, I would like to thank you for obliterating the last twinkle of hope I held for modern science fiction. Thank you for taking such a deliciously dense, fertile, deep and compelling premise and the injecting it with Michael Bay cinema-herpes-riddled spunk. Much like the chaos-black stuff that infected and fundamentally transformed your characters, so did this Bay-Semen attempt to latch its genetic material onto yours. And, in self-same fashion, instead of becoming stronger, better and more interesting, you just became a fucking super-zombie, roaring like an idiot, throwing people this way and that, and eventually being crushed under the wheel of good fanboy taste. Yes, Prometheus, you are a dumb asshole. Not only that, but you built my hopes, you promised so much! And yet, as I drew back the veil, ready to place a ring on that finger and pledge my love to you, I instead discover the whale-vaginal, made-up visage of Guy Pearce peering back, Charlize Theron forgetting that human beings are capable of lateral movement and a big white dude giving forced fellatio to a crustacean.

It breaks my heart. It really does. Well, Prometheus, I really want you to be happy. Just…not with me. Bu-bye now.

Most Batman

Winner: The Dark Knight Rises; Runner-up: Moonrise Kingdom

Surprisingly Batman

This was a difficult category to decide. The list of contenders was long and contentious. We were offered an entire platter of Bat-films. Who could forget when the Dark Knight helped that family in Dark Shadows beat the evil witch’s curse? And when Bruce Wayne traveled back in time to help the Union get the silverware past the vampire threat in Abraham Lincoln: I Still Can’t Believe They Made This Movie. And, in one of the more memorable moments of summer film, who would ever lose sight of the iconic scene where the caped crusader gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to Judy Dench after a fatal Over-British-Dose in The Best Exotic Marigold HotelUndoubtedly, however, the award for Most Batman goes to The Dark Knight Rises, fearlessly having Batman in as many as six scenes! They did so well to make sure the cape and cowl had its due, featured in a whopping more than three action sequences! It takes a lot of strength, determination and creative prowess to offer so much screen time to an icon of the common imagination so immensely awesome that it naturally eclipses and obscures all sense of nuance and depth. But they did it.

Our runner up may seem like a surprise, especially with movies such as The Avengers which are simply blatant love notes to the amazingness that is Batman. I mean, they deliberately put all these mediocre characters together in an attempt to make some sort of kind-of-decent Comic-Book Voltron, composed entirely of Stan Lee’s penis inner neuroses. And they were completely and utterly successful in their attempts to show that the Dark Knight does indeed rise above the rest. However, Moonrise Kingdom takes the proverbial cake for second-place Most Batman. In fact, it’s one of my favorite origin stories of all time. X-Men: First Class was a campy/sexy mess; Batman Begins only scratched the surface; and Spiderman was about as subtle as a bottle rocket tied to my scrotum. Moonrise Kingdom charts the unlikely tale of a young Bruce Wayne, his family killed before the film even begins, falling for a young weirdo outsider whom we have to assume is Rachel Dawes (again played by Katie Holmes who really looks like she’s aged a lot since the end of TomKat) and running away from his captors (Ed Norton as a pre-police force Commissioner Gordon and Bruce Willis as Mr. Freeze before earning his PhD in ‘cold things’). I tell you, casting Bill Murray as Clayface was inspired and Frances McDormand as Harley Quinn was a stroke of genius. So, I thank you Wes Anderson, for filling in the missing pieces of Bruce’s journey. 

Least Batman

Winner: The AvengersRunners-up: The First Half of Dark Knight Rises, Magic Mike

This movie poster is still dumb.

Ok, I lied about The Avengers being a love note to The Dark Knight Rises. It was, instead, the Beethoven-esque, ovary-busting overture celebrating the eventual and glorious birth of one Mr. Joss “Fucking Finally” Whedon, a man that has been flirting with commercial greatness and total fangirl vomitoria for years. Throughout his career we have been fed tasty morsels of wonderment, from the episode Hush in Buffy season 4 to Serenity. We’ve also been plagued by Alien Resurrection and Joss Whedon fanboys (I’m not going to make any friends saying this, but if ANYONE begins singing Dr. Horrible around me, I will personally gag them and mail them to Nicaragua). The bald/ginger behemoth of pure nerdom has been gestating in a womb of ridiculous female caricatures and self-referential nonsense for years, only to bloom into a snarky, badass epic ball-buster that was The Avengers as well as the beautiful and hilarious send-up of horror films that was Cabin in the Woods. This was, in no uncertain terms, the summer of Whedon. I shall award him the honor of Least Batman because, contractually, the is no fucking way Batman can appear in the Marvel universe and, more importantly, the overall manic tone of The Avengers couldn’t haven’t been further from the Dark Knight’s noir necropolis. So, well done, Avengers. You did us proud.

The runners-up are slightly less Least Batman. First of all, the first half of The Dark Knight Rises does an incredibly admirable job of pretending to be about Batman and yet teasing us constantly with the fact that the caped crusader doesn’t show up for about THREE FUCKING HOURS. Yes, I understand pathos and that this is the first ever Batman movie that is actually about Batman. But c’mon! I want bat-antics (you know what they are because they’re labeled!)! I want gadgets! I want action scenes! I want to see Batman do something that makes my fanboy panties need a serious deep-clean on the ‘Teenage Boy Without a Girlfriend’ Cycle. The other runner-up, a film I did not see, seemed extremely not-Batman. Because, if the sixties taught us anything, there is nothing gay about Batman. Magic Mike looked super homo. Also, Matthew McConaughy is like anti-Batman. Not in that he’s something awesome like the Joker. No, he’s like buttered toast that falls on the ground butter-side down. He’s like getting a hang-nail while cutting lemons. He’s like Halle Berry’s Catwoman.

Very not-Batman indeed.

Best Movie of the Summer

Winner: Moonrise Kingdom; Runners-up: The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises

So surprising. Yes, it was the best. Deal with it.

Commence ‘Serious Face’ (TM). Yes, my favorite movie of the summer was indeed Moonrise Kingdom. Honestly, that movie cut me deeper than anything I’ve seen in some time. Deliriously funny, oddly dark and so whimsical that my testicles almost bloomed into Mumford and Sons and played a pop-folk concept in the middle of nowhere. It is probably the most entertaining modern tale of what it’s like to be a child I’ve seen in years. It was truthfully the most affecting thing I’ve seen in a while, both due to its examination of the child’s experience and because it makes you REALLY uncomfortable about how close to naked the little girl gets. *AWKWARD* That aside, thank you, Mr. Anderson, for serving us the same dish every single time and that same dish is absolutely fucking delicious.

Honorable mentions go out to the already lauded and fellated  The Avengers and Dark Knight Rises. So, yes, congrats, good movies. You’ll probably be the best movies I’ll see for a while. Unless someone FINALLY watches Battleship with me.

Movie I Wish I Had Been Drunker For

Winner: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Runner-up: Men in Black III

This poster is the most disconcerting thing I have seen since…well, this movie.

Seriously. My head was already fucking spinning, like that silver-coated axe wielded by our less-than-fortunate-looking 16th President of ours. So many things branded into my memory would have been offered the forgiving haziness of Jack Daniel-instigated inebriation. Perhaps Dominic Cooper’s horrific accent wouldn’t have pained me so. Perhaps I would have chocked up the absurdity of certain scenes to my waning control over basic motor skills. Perhaps I might have excused the nonsensical nature of the, well, the everything. Maybe Temur Nab-I’m-Not-Going-to-Look-up-How-To-Spell-it-Cus-Fuck-That-Guy-bakov would have been praised in my review for creating Inception-like complexity within his work. Instead, I had to watch it with a shitty Starbucks Latte in one hand (sorry for the redundancy of ‘Shitty’ and ‘Starbucks’) and my crumbling self-worth in the other. At least I had candy, but that can only do so much.

The runner-up here was Men in Black III solely because, if I had created a drinking game where the only rule was ‘Drink every time Will Smith is purposefully non-threatening to white people’ I might have been so drunk by the final scene that I might have involuntarily slept through the utterly hackneyed, inorganic and confusingly weep-tastic conclusion. But, hindsight is 20/20.

Movie I’m Really Upset I Missed

Winner: Beasts of the Southern Wild, Runner-up: Battleship

Come back! I can see Battleship another weekend!

So, I heard Beasts of the Southern Wild was one of the coolest, prettiest, most exhilarating films of the year. Its trailer had me crumpling my blanket in shoving into my mouth in fear that I might swallow my tongue due to a sudden wave of Cute-Black-Child-itis. Of course, I can’t really write anything about it and I don’t have a good reason for why I didn’t see it. I suppose time simply slipped away from me. Hours flew by, days even, and soon the only screen in Chicago playing its beauty allowed it slip away, quietly into the cinematic aether. And here I am, complaining about pieces of shit portraying presidents as Sarah Michelle Gellar’s only claim to fame and missing movies starring Rihanna as, well, a human being. Here I am missing true art and complaining that everything is decomposing into a massive stew of imaginative fecal matter. Here I am. I wish I had seen it, experienced it, written about it. Perhaps I’d be a different person, instead of a bitter jerk fuming over Michael Bay’s legacy. Perhaps. Lessons for the future, I suppose. A cautionary tale how lamenting about the terrible clouds our understanding of the good. Aye me.

The runner-up is Battleship. All pathos aside I REALLY WANTED TO SEE BATTLESHIP.

Most Hilarious Response to One of My Reviews I Have Ever Received

Winner: Fahrenheit 451; Runner-up: Batman Returns

So, this is the Internet. Though it is filled with wonderful things such as my blog, the blog of Raving Mad Scientists (check those ladies out, they are awesome), Netflix and every porn site ever, it is also home to less savory things. Like Goatsie (google it) or /b/ or every porn site ever. In expanding my writing to the World Wild Web I have braced myself for accidentally tapping into the vein of anonymous hatred that sneaks surreptitiously between sites, and allowing a deluge of trolling and nastiness. Luckily, I have not actually experienced any of this…yet. I have had a couple of amusing moments. My favorite of which was in response to my severely uninformed (and openly so) analysis of Truffaut’s Fahrenheit 451:

“Well….I guess you gave it a good college try. You missed it on some of the facts (Wikipedia isn’t the end all and be all of information). Actually, Truffaut had originally set Werner to play the role of the captain (eventually played by Cyril Cusack – father-in-law to Jeremy Irons). When Stamp bowed out, Werner did not want to take over the role of Montag — but Truffaut pleaded and cajoled (they had worked so well together in Jules and Jim). Werner (in real life) experienced Kristalnacht in Vienna and saw more than his share of book burning. He had a hard time with the way he felt Truffaut ‘triviliazed’ the book burning scenes. Half way through filming, the two would not even talk to each other and had to use go-betweens to get their messages across. Werner wanted to add more sympathy to the character of Montag than Truffaut did, etc. etc. I completely agree with you about how miscast Julie Christie was. Unfortunately, at that time, she was the biggest thing in box office and the film would not have been funded without her in it.” ~film fan

Thanks for the info, ‘film fan’! I do take your criticism about lack of research beyond Wikipedia and offer, in return, a gif!

And in not quite close second, after my Batman Returns piece:

“Burton himself has said that Catwoman wasn’t meant to be supernatural but ambiguous and have that whole 9 lives vibe and motif going on. When she is pushed out the window (a brilliant scene “actually, it’s a lot like that!”) she hits at least 2 awnings and falls into a mount of snow. And she only falls about 6 stories (Jackie Chan did a similar stunt for real in Project A). After this she has a pyschotic break and develops a new personality not bound by morals or society. A force of nature. The cats wander around her as they live in the alley and are suspicious and hungry. The backflipping and martial arts skilled are explained in an earlier draft when she tells Bruce about how she was a gymnastics champion as a kid and took many self defence classes but her teacher told her she wasn’t any good as her mind wasn’t clear. She replies that it’s clear now.

But a great review, I enjoyed the read.”

That was from the enigmatically monikered ‘G’. Thank you for the compliment, it will not be forgotten. But seriously, that is some serious Burton-Knowledge. All I can say is:

In all honesty, thank you for reading, all of you. I love comments. Of all kinds. I met my internet friends that way. And seriously, we all know these blogs are an attempt to find people throughout the universe that aren’t related to you who might like something you wrote. Fleeting passes of digital connection, helping us avoid feeling the crushing weight of loneliness if only for a moment.

Also, if you want to call me on my shit, bring it. I HAVE SO MANY GIFS TO WHIP OUT.

Well, now we must wait for the Oscars to collectively jerk off our tear ducts in an attempt for studios to garner those self-congratulatory golden dildos. Get ready for movies with Abraham Lincoln not fighting vampires. Movies that make you cry, though you keep telling yourself that you’re watching trite nonsense. Also, The mutherfucking Hobbit. I’m only entirely excited. And now…a contentious list of megachiroptean action movies from best to worst.

All Batman Movies Ranked from Best to Worst with Comparisons to Things that Get you Drunk

The Dark Knight – Like an aged Scotch, smokey, mysterious and surprising. With a dead guy in it.

The Dark Knight Rises – Hendricks Gin. Solid, delicious and makes a summer night worthy of enjoyment.

Batman Returns – Maker’s Mark. Makes you say hilarious things and surprisingly delicious. With hints of Walken.

Batman BeginsA wine. Not fine, but tasty and good with a helping of Neeson. You drink it before it’s done breathing. Like an idiot.

Batman: The Movie – Tequila. Gets you fucking drunk. And maybe a little homosexual.

BatmanAbsinthe (sans Wormwood). You think it’ll be more fun than it was and it tastes vaguely of something made in the mid-eighties but without the fun.

Batman ForeverAbsinthe (con Wormwood). Should be illegal in the States and makes you feel like you are tripping balls. Jim Carrey might appear wearing all green and torment your worst nightmares.

Batman and RobinHomeless Person’s Vomit. Self-explanatory. And it might give you a staph infection.

The Room (2003) – Tommy Wiseau (Dir.), Tommy Wiseau, Greg Sestero, Tommy Wiseau, Juliette Danielle, TOMMY WISEAU

That’s Tommy’s sex face. Also, coincidentally, his mug shot. Killed two birds with one stone that night.

Throughout the tempered history of cinema, we have seen some bumps in the road of objective quality. We’ve been blessed with the hills and mountains containing the caliber of such works as Citizen Kane, Chariots of Fire and Breathless. We’ve even had some valleys, some deeper than others, crevasses containing such reviled greats as Heaven’s GateWaterworld, Transformers, Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen, Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon and (one can only assume) Battleship. And then, beyond those Mariana’s Trenches of films we are sometimes bequeathed, nay, blessed with movies so catastrophically, categorically, scatologically agonizing that we can only stare into the abyss of awful and applaud.

The Room is such a film.

The word ‘film’ is difficult to apply in a situation such as this. Perhaps the word ‘experience’ would suffice, modified by the words ‘life’ and ‘changing’. Perhaps the word ‘torture’ would be more appropriate. It entirely depends on your point of view. I know that the moment I witnessed the trailer for this movie, touted for having the ‘passion of Tennesse Williams’ (note to self: sequel to Passion of the Christ idea…gayer, obviously. A lot, lot gayer), I couldn’t look away from the screen. It was a compilation of the worst things I have ever seen, each piece flittering across the screen in a performance of such scrotum-shrinking tastelessness, like a motor accident that begins with one car filled with nuns running into a motorbike carrying Gandhi, who’s head smashes into a bus filled with orphans, forcing it to jackknife into a gas station filled with the last remaining survivors of WWII. You know that watching this is about a morally acceptable as kicking Mother Theresa in the nuts…but you can’t look away. It’s mesmerizing.

So…who is this man, Tommy Wiseau? Why did he make this movie? How? For what purpose? Where is he from? Why does he talk as though he were Albert Einstein after suffering a stroke? The answer is simple: nobody knows. Not even Tommy. Funded by, “selling leather jackets from Korea”, Mr. Wiseau (a veteran of the Stella Adler acting school…WTF?) wrote, produced, directed and starred in this…I want to say ‘drama’ but it’s almost impossible to tell.

What makes this movie bad? Well, ‘bad’ is just a word, while the concept is something that can only be witnessed. Everything makes this movie bad. Literally everything. But this is no Manos Hands of Fate, this is no monkey with a camcorder production, a lackluster affair sprinkled with spare moments of inept hilarity. Every single scene in this movie is almost perfectly constructed to be the worst piece of shit anyone could have ever hoped to have produced. Of course, Wiseau will tell his fans, through a bluster of constant-drunkeness, an undoubtedly essential haze of inebriation required to stop himself from reminding his brain that he is, in fact, still Tommy Wiseau, that this is a ‘comedy’. This has as much comedic intent as Sarah Palin’s Vice Presidential campaign. Filmmakers like Michael Bay have the tendency to simply shit on celluloid and pass it to the projectionist, hoping he won’t smell the feces. Somehow, Wiseau took a shit and missed the reel, instead sinking his turd into some kind of artistic ley-line, spreading the excrement through the living veins of the earth, allowing fountains of ordure to erupt through television screens across the nation. Everything is so unfathomably incorrect, and yet at the same time, just competent enough in order to generate a perfect storm, to create the World Series of Shit, the Superbowl of Bollocks, the Holy Grail of “Holy God That Was Terrible”.

Moment #293 of inappropriate laughter. Most likely at the expense of women.

Here is a list of things wrong with this movie, in no particular order: 1) The phrase ‘Johnny is my Best Friend” is repeated over and over again, 2) People play ‘football’ without ever straying 4 feet from each other, 3) Sideplots involving breast cancer and a drugs deal pop up, make themselves known and are never referenced again, 4) characters enter and exit the scene for no reason, 5) in the numerous sex scenes, shots are blatantly recycled (a few of them of Wiseau’s leathery muppet-ass thrusting his manhood into…gross) 6) characters blatantly disregard the reality of the scene (“Lisa, the music…” there is no music “…the candles…” there are no candles “…the sexy dress…” there is no sexy dress) 7) characters are recast with absolutely no explanation, allowing random people to simply appear in the final scenes with no logical preamble… The list goes on and on and on. It does. Again, it’s not something that can be explained…only witnessed.

Worst. Prom. Ever.

Why did I watch this movie? Again? I’ve seen it perhaps a dozen times now. In fact, hundreds of people across the nation pack themselves into midnight showings, plastic cutlery in hand, to witness the divine train wreck that is The Room. That is the level of popularity it has gained. People cheer as the titles begin, we laugh, we cry with laughter, we yell at the screen, we throw spoons, we pass footballs…we celebrate the awful. Why? What part of the human experience has cultivated a need to reward the infallibly inept? This movie is a monument to a man so psychotic that he believes he is from America where it is obvious he’s from…well…France? Maybe Austria? It’s a mystery. Rules have emerged for watching the film. There is a scene where the audience yells out “because you’re a woman!” as Lisa’s mother lists the reasons she can’t live without Johnny. We throw spoons at the screen every time a painting of a spoon appears… an inexplicable piece of set dressing left around the main character’s room. You throw a football around the theater whenever people ‘play football’.

Those rules are great, but the excitement emerges as viewers generate their own callbacks, blurting them out during momentary silences and sending the rest of the audience into a guffawing ruckus. There are movies in the world that require absolute silence. This is not such a film. It’s a communal activity, a place we can join together and revel in the ineptitude of the new century, a party in the honor of schadenfreude. Wiseau himself sometime attends, allowing his ironic fans to bow down to his mess of life he so publicly displays. It’s cruel. It’s sick. It’s one of the most fun things anyone could ever do. Never have I felt as connected to other human beings in a movie theater than I have at the screening of these movies. It’s a rush, a blast of exhilaration. It’s an infinitely giving canvas for the sarcastic, a medium for the sardonic and a refuge for the boorish. It is everything I have ever wanted in a theater-going experience.

“I definitely have breast cancer.” Best. Diagnosis. Ever.

This is a gladiatorial match of the new century, a battle between Taste and Tastelessness and we are the thronging crowds begging for blood. We gnash our teeth. We stamp our feet. As Tastelessness traps Taste in its net, readying the trident to strike down into the jugular, we applaud, screaming to see the blade sever the lifeline, to see the highbrow shaved and whittled down to awfulness. As Wiseau screams “You’re tearing me apart, Lisa!”, as Sestero shaves his beard and begins wearing denim, as Lisa pouts and lies about being pregnant, as a Harry Potter-look-alike gets fired from the set, as Johnny buys flowers from a woman in the most bizarrely unsynched scene of dialogue ever created, we, the public, lower our thumbs. Tastelessness raises the trident, drinking in Taste’s fear, its pleas for salvation. Tastelessness laughs and announces, “You hope to be spared? This is for Uwe Boll!”

The three-pronged weapon falls. The crowd is silent. Taste bleeds out, a stuck pig. We see its last grasp on life trickle away. We see ‘subtlety’ soak into the sand. We see ‘pathos’ evaporate. We see the final breath drift from its lips, the last ounce of thoughtfulness left.

Tastelessness raises its hand. We cheer once more. Taste is dead. Long live the terrible.

Now, my favorite section of summer film. And I use the term ‘film’ loosely. This is the intersection of terrible and so-terrible-you-can-joyously-yell-at-the-screen. These are the films destined for cult status. These are the films that, down the line, will clutter the bottom of Wal-Mart $5 bins, waiting for a perfectly inebriated pack of college sophomores searching for a good, cheap time. Greats have fallen into this category, year after year. Sometimes, I’m surprised…though I’m usually too far down drunky-lane to really understand that it’s an epiphany and not me just falling asleep. It doesn’t take a brain. Hell, it doesn’t even take a pulse. These are moving images of such camp and dumbness that you can just sit back, relax and laugh.

Yes, there are sometimes turds in the basket. In fact, by rational definition, pretty much everything on this list is almost entirely turdish. However, they shall be seen. Perhaps they will be glorious fun. Perhaps they will incite a rant of such saucy bluster that my friends will have to excuse my actions to the public wandering by. But I will see them with a fervor that I cannot explain. It is a passion that leaves those around me bewildered. Maybe it’s my latent British need to inflict constant self-pain. Maybe it’s spiritual karma to remind myself that, no matter how bad my own work, it will never be as bad as this…and look they’re making money! Maybe it’s just that see people try and fail with such spectacular terribleness is a not only a well-studied mental condition, but a spectator sport born from base primal needs. Maybe.

These, ladies and gentlemen, are the:

MOVIES I WILL SEE WHILE DRUNK

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Silly Lincoln. Your chair is outside. It should be inside. You’ll catch cold.

Read that title. Read it again. You are not high on ether (maybe you are…then I apologize) That is real. It, alone, is reason enough to sneak a fifth of Jack into the theater. Now, from what I gather, the book is a hilarious mash-up of horror cliches and tropes, mixed in with the tone of historical fiction. That is amusing to me. Seth Grahame-Smith found fame first and foremost with his absurd retelling of Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Again, hilarious. So, our greatest president against vampires, funny stuff right?

Well, “fuck you” says Timur “Say it Five Times Fast” Bekmambetov. “You want historical irony? NO. NO LAUGHS SHALL BE HAD!” Or, at least I imagine him saying that while petting a Siberian Tiger and sipping Lemur urine (because, with a last name like that, it’s pretty much assumed). So, taking time off from being a bond villain, Bekmammarytosspot has directed a few films. After getting the utterly nonsensical Nightwatch series under his belt, he penetrated Hollywood with his bullet-curving-anorexic-Angelina-exploding-mouse-James-McAvoy-shooting-a-guy-in-the-face-and-then-shooting-the-guys-behind-him-while-keeping-the-gun-in-the-guy’s-skull masterpiece Wanted. Did I say masterpiece? I meant a piece of…well, never mind. Needless to say, between the ‘Loom of Fate’ and fun times with physics, that movie was messier than a guy lost in Logan Square at 3am wondering what he’s doing with his life and convincing himself that maybe, maybe he’ll find love at the other 4am bar and…well, ahem. Moving on.

This film looks dumb. Not only does it look utterly moronic, but it looks super serious. Like, super-super-cereal. It has dark lighting and broody acting and Lincoln cutting logs and…a stampede into battle and…well…what? I have no idea what’s going on. This one could have easily landed on the ‘Movies I will See and Hate Myself’, but good old buddy old friend Jack D will shift this from Blade-fan-fiction into bona-fide vampiric insanity.

On the drunk-o-meter this gets: two old-fashioneds (keep it classy, boys) followed by a shot of bourbon. Sloshy enough to numb the pain, but not so far to impede the seizure of perfect ‘yell at the screen moments’.

Chernobyl Diaries

I like the the tagline is actually two lines. And tells you the plot of the entire film. This thing is just made of winning.

There’s this guy. His name is Oren Peli and he made a movie called Paranormal Activity. With its meteoric rise into the lexicon of classic horror, it swept across the nation, wetting pants and making bros cry a little before them telling their dates that ‘they were cutting onions, no big deal’. Inopportune movie cooking aside, this film scared a lot of people. I watched it. I switched it on, waiting for things to happen. My friends had all told me “Dude, it’s like…so scary, like…like so scary.” Well. Challenge accepted. I was prepared to jump. To get freaked out. However, when it turned out that this was just the tale of two filmmakers taking the American public for a fucking ride by pulling together a derivative, predictable, cheap-as-dirt movie and then selling it to everyone as ‘the next Exorcist’ I yawned. And then I shrugged. And then I went to bed. And I never thought of it again.

They made a second one. Which was like the first…in that it was the first…just more boring and less scary. If the first was about as frightening as a puppy with a Chucky mask (say that 3 times fast), this was the equivalent of a cat sitting on wrapping paper covered in pumpkins. In theory, it recalls something related to unnerving activity…but really it’s just lazy fucking cat that does nothing but lie in inopportune places every damn day and it can’t even feed itself and yet it expects you to work to his schedule, but seriously what schedule does he have? What essential things does he have to do? Scratch your legs? Stare into space? He’s a fucking CAT!

Well, Mr. Peli has created a beast. After Paranormal Activity, we had Apollo 18, The Last Exorcism, The Devil Inside, Porky’s 3D and Girls Gone Wild Mumbai 19. The last two might have been made up. Now, instead of taught, intense, well-made, well-shot, well-scripted horror (sorry, I just made myself laugh. When was the last time any of that shit ever happened?) we have these sorry excuses for the deleted scenes from an elaborate Paris Hilton sex tape. What’s almost the worst thing is that the endings of each of these is the fucking same. They all die. It’s like a Goosebumps novel except without my teenage-wet-panties being involved. Did I say teenage? I meant grade school. That’s what I meant, guys. Seriously. I was super young and not at all in 10th grade.

Now we have the one about Chernobyl. Yes, Chernobyl is fucking fascinating. Radiation is fascinating. Its effect on the human body is fascinating. A bunch of large-breasted, mentally deficient, testicularly-oversized American teenagers exploring these themes is not. From the opening shot of that one girl (pulling down her shirt so you get a go view of the milk twins, we all know why she was hired) saying something about radiation is about as convincing as Denise “Wild Things” Richards pretending to be a nuclear physicist named, I shit you not, Christmas Jones.

It has jumps. It has ‘scares’. It has crazy irradiated Russians, who are 34.2% more hilarious than irradiated hillbillies (that’s science. Look it up). It has Eastern Europeans being poor which, for some reason, always tickles my fancy. And it will be terrible. I mean it. Absolutely, positively, Whore-of-Babylon-ironically-riding-Ted-Nugent bad. I’ll be there at the midnight opening.

So, what does this terror-legend-to-be score on the gold-standard dunk-o-meter? I give it 5 PBRs and splash of scotch. Because, let’s be honest, after that much hipster shit gets into your system, you have to purge it with a little 50-year-old-man and a dousing of pungent aftershave. This will also preferably include hidden beverages in the movie theater to encourage drinking-game-generation on the fly. Drink every time they do something stupid.

You’d be dead in 20 minutes.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Total Recall

You’d think one of them might notice that their pants are on fire.

Well, what do we have here? Looks like the nonsensical sequel to a movie that nobody wanted and a remake of a 80s action movie so crazy, Nic Cage asked it to ‘dial it back’. Neither of these movies have any right to exist. A few years back, I had the singular, life-altering pleasure of witnessing G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra, a film so bursting with not-giving-a-fuckness that it could not be contained by its series title alone. Director Stephen Sommers attempted to tame it to simply G.I. Joe, but the film, supplying the world with such pivotal performances as Joseph Gordon Levitt attempting career suicide and Channing Tatum attempting the English language, expanded into the wonderfully needless moniker: Rise of Cobra. Were they worried we’d mix this up with the other G.I. Joe films? Were they concerned that the world would watch the film and then demand “WILL THERE BE ANOTHER? PLEASE TELL ME NOW!!!” Well, G.I. Joe: Retaliation shudders its way into theaters this summer. Apparently, they decided to axe the entire original cast save for the Asian dude and the inexplicably British President of the United States. Now they have Dwayne “The Rock “Smiles Like A Cherub”” Johnson and Bruce “I Really Thought I’d Be Dead At This Point in My Career…Oh Well” Willis. Somehow Channing Tatum has a scar increasing his evil score to “Eh. He’s probably just German.” Joe Levitt is gone (my heart is broken) as is The Doctor  Christopher Eccelston and his metal fucking head. I’m going to miss that metal fucking head. It was one of my favorite parts of the first movie, that metal fucking head. Oh well. Maybe I should simply watch Man in the Iron Mask a dozen times and laugh at Leonardo Dicaprio because in real life he gets fat. Poetic justice.

The original film’s director (‘original’ is an incredibly loose term) is one of my personal heroes. I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard of Stephen Sommers, but he’s the auteur responsible for inflicting, nay, bequeathing such pieces of cinematic excellence as The MummyThe Mummy ReturnsVan Helsing and the criminally unseen Deep Rising. He has launched the careers of both Rachel Weisz (THANK YOU GOD ALMIGHTY) and Famke “Goldeneye” Janssen (legs…watch out for the legs!) as well as the continued existence of Treat “Who the Fuck is that?” Williams and Brendon “I Remember When He Was Famous…Kinda” Frasier. Sommers is basically Michael Bay with a sense of humor and without his penis constantly stuck in his ear. His movies don’t give a gleeful fuck. The one liners are so agonizing, you need anesthesia. His conflation of myths, legends, popular figures and currently existing intellectual properties is so perplexingly incorrect you can only admire his balls. Literally. He’s like if Roland Emmerich and Luc Besson had a gayby. Watch all of his movies immediately.

G.I. Joe: Returning Bullshit will be bad. And it’ll probably be boring. Only one of those things is egregious. When the first film in a series had Joe Levitt declaring “Call me COMMANDER” and walking around like he had taken his ‘stroke’ pills, there’s a lot to live up to. This one looks ‘gritty’ and ‘dark’, two words most appropriately applied to fungus. So, to survive, let’s play a game. Drink every time something batshit could have happened if it was an ACTUAL sequel to the first film. Just to be clear…you will be constantly drinking.

Hey Colin…is that dandruff or your existence flaking away? Because Head and Shoulders really works… Colin? Where did you go?

Next we have the admittedly gorgeous and yet entirely soulless remake of Total Recall. If you have not seen the Arnold Schwarzenegger original, directed by Paul “Starship Troopers, Showgirls, Robocop, Total Recall, Fuck With Me I Dare You” Verhooven, watch it right now. Like right now. I fucking mean it. Stop reading right the fuck now and witness that deplorable-violence-Sharon-Stone-Three-Tits-Michael-Ironside crazy fest that is that orgasmic work of ‘art’. It’s as though Verhooven said “I want to make a movie like Jackson Pollock makes paintings”. When someone returned, “you mean using a fascinating deconstruction of shape and form to explore emotion and expression itself?” he stared them in the face and slapped them. “No, because there will be blood EVERYWHERE.” Everyone gets shot. Main characters. Not main characters. Completely innocent bystanders. EVERYONE. It is one of the most hilarious examples of excess one could possibly have the please to witness.

And now there’s this one. Colin Farrell, a man who is about as artistically consistent as a waterbed on a cruise ship, and directed by Len Weisman, a gentleman whose greatest career achievement was banging Kate Beckinsale. Again, it will be boring. Again it’s ‘dark’ and ‘gritty’ like that thing I found under my toenail last week, which is really weird, because I didn’t stub it or anything, it was just there…but it didn’t seem like a growth because it wasn’t exactly attached…just some sort of anomalous interloper (if anyone has any thoughts about what it was, please share in the comments section below).

The issue with these movies isn’t that they are bad. Bad movies can be amazing. Have you seen The Room? (More on that later). The problem is that people substitute slick action scenes with decent graphics and a growly main character for ‘edge’, perhaps even ‘depth’. But, unfortunately, we know that these films have about as much ‘edge’ as a fucking peanut butter sandwich and about as much depth as another peanut butter sandwich (sorry, my metaphors are a little one note, I haven’t eaten much today.) Who cares if the movie can’t be good? Just make it insane! Stop trying to convince yourselves that you’re something you’re not. Don’t hide what’s really within. We can see you all acting butch, like you really do care about your muscles and your flash…when really you want to break out the tassels and that sequined thong that you’ve just been dying to wear out. Be yourself. Be crazy. Let it out. Because, seriously,  a massive boner party is only really palatable when thrown in conjunction with a sequined glitterfest.

How many drinks? G.I. Joe: Resident Evil: Retributaliexctinctelations will require a pitcher of Margaritas. Just enough tequila to get you wasted, just enough flavor without being a ‘girl’s drink’ (boys: manhood in tact). While Total Recall will require liquified Paul Verhooven (read: Four Loco) pumped directly into my blood stream with an IV. It’ll be one hell of a night.

Battleship

“I’m King of the Wor-…Um…did someone leave a Transformers knockoff in front of our boat?”

There is a movie out there, lost in the wilds of the great American film-scape, fighting for its relevance day-in and day-out, struggling to be remembered as one of the silliest comedies of all time. That movie is, of course, Clue. Not Clueless, the piece de resistance of Alicia Silverstone’s…I want to say ‘career’, is that what we call it? Clue. Based, that’s right ladies and gents, on a board game. I remember witnessing the words “Based on the Parker Board Game” for the first time, before the movie descended into Tim Curry-esque madness and a quagmire of such verbal punnery it would make Oscar Wilde facepalm in his grave, I threw back my head and uttered “We’ll never see that again!”

How wrong I was.

Battleship is ‘based on a board game’. In that, it has the same name as a board game. When was the last time you replaced your battleship pieces with flying fucking robots from outer space? So, alright, let’s call a spade a spade. What do we have here? Well it looks like Transformers 4: Liam Neeson Continues Career Suicide Battleship is attempting to cash in on every possible franchise it can. I believe this is the third in the trilogy of Tim Riggins Films, joining such classics as Tim Riggins in Space (John Carter…eesh) and Tim Riggins has a Mullet and Mutant Powers (X-Men Origins: Wolverine…okay, side note. When I saw the midnight showing of that film – yes, you read that correctly – it was in this amazingly shitty little one-screen movie theater in my college town. When Will.I.Am (sp?) enters the scene, an African-American gentleman in front of me bellowed the words “Oh look! It’s Will.I.Am! I love him!” And then Will.I.Am spoke two lines. A second later, the same gentleman declared “Oh shit. Will.I.Am can’t act.” True story. It was amazing.) Okay, back to Tim Riggins on a Boat. We’ve got a panoply of b-list actors, ranging from Erik from True Blood making dumb faces when glass blows up in his face, to Brooklyn “Double” Decker, to Rihanna. I refuse to make any jokes about her. That would be tasteless. Moving on swiftly…

This movie has Liam Neeson, supplementing his recent string of cinematic excellence beginning with kill-everybody Taken, then Bradley-Cooper-Shut-The-Fuck-Up-No-One-Thinks-You’re-Funny The A Team, to I-Was-Hoping-It-Was-Taken-But-With-Wolves-Instead-of-Human-Traffickers-I-Was-So-So-Wrong The Grey. And, of course, he’s going to die immediately, releasing him from this franchise forever. Lucky bastard. It has Taylor “Please let me be a movie star!” Kitsch. We might even be serenaded by Rihanna’s…um…talent? Let’s go with that.

It’s going to be awful. Like…if Transformers was somehow stupider. Who knows? Maybe it’ll surprise me and actually be a nuanced discussion of the US Navy’s brutality in war, the ethics of invading another culture for profitable gain and what it truly means to serve in a branch of…

Sorry. Couldn’t keep a straight face. This movie requires beer. Lots and lots of beer. Perhaps a few of those ‘craft’ beers that just turn out to be Blue Moon in a different bottle. Whatever you drink, it’s going to make you shit razorblades the next morning. I find that an apt metaphor for the viewing of this film.

Piranha 3DD

Classy as hell. You did it!

Alright, boys and girls. Strap in. It’s gonna be a boobalicious ride.

One might describe film as ‘high-art’. One might describe it as a ‘glimpse into our fleeting existence, a chance to view life uninterrupted’. One might describe it as ‘life-changing’. Every single one of those phrases left my mouth as I witnessed the film Piranha 3D. This was not because I believed any of them. It was because, over the course of that film, I ran out of expletives to scream at the screen and instead my mouth was filled with randomized phonemes. I think I might have bellowed the entirety of Moby Dick at one point. Some films understand what they are, yet subtly mask their sensibilities for public consumption. They understand they are smut, yet drench themselves in gore and dark lighting and tout it as ‘the new generation of horror’. Not Piranha 3D. It had tits. A lot of tits. It had Ving Rhames mutilate flesh-gobbling piranhas with a boat motor as they stripped his legs to the bone. It had tazered, exploding fish. It had Jerry O’Connell’s penis regurgitated in 3D. It had all this…and that dude from Parks and Recreation get bitten in half. It was like seeing god…if god had a really nice rack.

What do we have now? Double the terror? Ha. Nope. Double the gore? Maybe. That would be difficult. Double the D’s. Yep, pretty much. This is the only logical conclusion posited by the predicate of movie one. Lifeguard strippers? Sure. Why not? Piranhas that live inside you Alien-style? Points for hackneyed creativity, I suppose. David Hasselhoff? He’s gotta do something when he isn’t making millions in Germany. Gary Busey? Oh hells yes. As the Bible says “Crazy begets crazy.”

Just in watching the trailer to this film, I can feel the humanity leaking from my bones, trickling out in a mass of empathy that sizzles away its existence into nothingness. If this is just a modicum more insane than the first, I will be nothing but a steaming sack of flesh, pooled on the cinema floor. For we will have done it. We will have found the bottom of the abyss. As the Mayans predicted, it would come in 2012. The end-times of taste. The lowest of the brows. The chamberpot of artistic excrement. Congratulations, guys, you did it. And I will be drinking whiskey all the way down.

Here’s to the end, folks!