Posts Tagged ‘michael bay’

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


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?


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: 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.

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


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!


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.


“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.


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.


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.


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?).



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.

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.