Posts Tagged ‘misogyny’

by Andrew Mooney

Antichrist (2009) – Lars Von Trier (Dir.), Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg, 

I will never look at Ents the same way ever again.

I will never look at Ents the same way ever again.

When I began this humble blog in twenty-aught-twelve Anno Domini ACDC Esquire, I decided I needed to expand my cinematic repertoire with a little more Film. That’s ‘Film’ with a capital ‘F’ for ‘Fucking Pretentious’. How appropriate was it, then, when my first course of many was the Lars Von Trier delight: Melancholia. And by delight I mean, “Bizarre dreamy fog of boobs and sadness”. Since that fateful day, locked in my room, my pajamas practically melting into my epidermis to become some kind of magical hangover-bark, I slogged my way through that 2.5 hour epic of wanton women and Kiefer Sutherland wearing glasses in severe not-torturing-people-to-save-the-world mode. It was a thing. Since then, I have also joked and jested about reaching into the Netflix Roulette jar and plucking out one of the more ‘rapey’ affairs, my main target and fear: Antichrist. Well, the fates of ordained it, the planets have aligned and chance has punched me in the dick once more, for, on that Halloween night in twenty-aught-thirteen in the year of our iPad, I drew the rapiest of the rapey. SPOILERS: it isn’t the lady who gets raped this time.

Before we begin, let me say, in these last few years wandering the sordid display of cinematic gems on display in the Flix of Net, I have grown a good deal. I have shifted from a wide-eyed moronic 23 year-old, practically still soaking in amniotic fluid (that metaphor is terrifyingly apt for this movie) to a fully grown Critique (it’s in French because it’s, you know, fancy ‘n’ shit) who grandly opines, tying the disparate threads of auteur imagination into a bundle of throbbing and mesmerizing humanity, a web of such intellectual and emotional gravity that would murder even Sandra Bullock. With that said, I would like begin with a simple statement of journalistic integrity:

EEEWEWWWWEEWWWWEEEWWWWEEWWWWW AAHA AHA AHHA MAKE IT STOP, PLEASE MAKE IT STOP, MOMMY!

Just be aware there are SPOILERS in this bad boy. But then again, this movie has been out for almost 5 years. Deal with it.

Dafoe don't give no fucks about no chestnuts

Dafoe don’t give no fucks about no chestnuts

What is Antichrist? Is it a horror film? Is it smut? Is it Lars Von Trier’s wet nightmare? Is it the weirdest and least catchy Charlotte Gainsbourg music video ever made? Is it Willem Dafoe atoning for playing the stupidest incarnation of the Green Goblin ever known to man? Who the fucking fuck knows? Because Lars Von Trier sure as shit doesn’t. We begin, as you do, in super slow motion sex between a middle aged couple in the shower. And, as you do, you see full penetration. Then, while the aria peaks and both Mr. and Mrs. blow their so-called wads, their baby does its best impression of the kid from Ghostbusters 2 and tries walking out on the window ledge. Stupid baby. Much like Orlando Bloom’s career after the final Pirates of the Caribbean, the kid falls to its death. THAT’S IN THE FIRST FIVE FUCKING MINUTES. Granted, every movie could begin this way, apropos of nothing, and I’d be happy. Love Actually? Well, before the Hugh Grant gives his speech about Heathrow kissing, HOW ABOUT SOME FULL PENETRATION BABY SUICIDE. But it’s to classical music, so, you know, fancy ‘n’ shit. Wouldn’t Legally Blonde have benefitted from the terrifying countenance of Willem Dafoe’s vinegar strokes as a child hits the pavement face-first, skateboarder-style, before breaking into its overly pink beginning number? What about Monster’s Inc.? First we have to see the monsters in the real world before we can see the monsters in the their own world. And by monster, I am, of course, talking about Dafoe’s thrusting peen.

Well, after that, Gainsbourg, only credited as ‘Her’ in the credits (if you watch that far) has a mental breakdown. Dafoe (say his name like a bird call: will-em da-FOOOOOE) plays the eponymous ‘He’, a therapist who is, apparently, perturbed by NOTHING. Seriously, the entirety of Tim Burton’s Halloween Town could parade through his underpants and he’d be like, “Hmm, interesting. Where does it go on your pyramid?” THAT FUCKING PYRAMID. Anyhoo, Gainsbourg spends a majority of the film kicking, screaming, sobbing, wilting, walking in slow motion in the woods, mood-swinging, masturbating, leg-drilling, chasing her husband down like the dog he is and calling him a bastard for leaving after he painstakingly dragged his wound half-corpse of a body into a fox hole to hide. You know, like all woman. Dafoe, on the other hand, seems to have not read any of the script past that day of filming and is consistently horrified by what’s coming next…but sticks around because…well, fuck it, contract probably. That expressive half-mutant mug of his wears a look of half-interested bemusement the entire length of the film.

"I IMMEDIATELY REGRET THIS DECISION!"

“I IMMEDIATELY REGRET THIS DECISION!”

Anyways, after realizing that neither hospital nor home will cure the beleaguered Her, Him decides to take her to the place she fears, the completely-subtly-named and not-at-all-ironic “Eden” out in the middle of nowhere. Here, Dafoe envisions snowballing fragments of insanity, from a still-born deer hanging out of another deer’s vagina to a rather erudite fox covered in a mixture of amniotic sludge and gore (I assume he’s played by James Earl Jones because that would be AMAZING). Meanwhile, Gainsbourg goes from “understandably upset” to “genital mutilation” in fewer steps than one would expect. Everything about the movie is fairly surreal, with slow motion images of Dafoe getting rained on by chestnuts and random shots of hands coming out of tree roots as Dafoe’s flexing buttocks rhythmically ram his randy and rowdy spouse after she sprinted into nature to begin servicing herself with the fury of teen girl dry humping a cardboard cut out of Justin Bieber. I think the film piqued when Gainsbourg slams her husband in the dick with a 2×4 and then proceeds to jerk him off until he comes blood (I told you there were spoilers). I wish I was making that up. I think, at that very moment, my testicles decided “you know, this just ain’t worth it anymore” and crawled back into my lower abdomen, thus destroying any chance of actually growing any chest hair. Oh yes, then she cuts off her clitoris with a pair of rusty scissors. I can foresee this becoming a family holiday favorite. It just isn’t Christmas until someone is in the corner curled in the fetal position.

I wish I could take a brillo pad to my brain and scour that shit right off. I think it will be a couple of days before I can have sex without envisaging sanguine ejaculations or babies falling out of windows. I have seen horror movies aplenty. I am affected by precisely none of them. The Conjuring? Yeah, freaky until bitch-face-mc-witch-a-lot appears and you’re reminded this is just a silly excuse for a haunted house ride. The Shining? Granted, there is very little more terrifying than Shelley Duvall’s explosive fucking eyeballs…but the rest of it wasn’t particularly perturbing. This movie, however…I had to start icing my genitals just from sympathetic pain. Perhaps its effectiveness is tied directly to its quality.

"Bitch, what you say about my mama?" ~ Text from the Urbanized version of Bambi

“Bitch, what you say about my mama?” ~ Text from the Urbanized version of Bambi

It’s from Lars Von Trier, and Lars Von Trier is a Director with a capital D. Incidentally, that D stands for “Dear God, You’re an Asshole”. He is the genius, nay, the sadistic auteur responsible for this clit-rip-fest of a horror film. He’s also crazy (no, really, he was committed). He is, on the other hand, extremely talented and skilled. Every art form has a craft and a vision. While his vision is something so demented I would encourage a visit to the ophthalmologist, he’s insanely adept at filming things. This was the guy who came up with Dogme 95…95 rules for making movies, essentially stripping filmmaking to its essential parts. That’s like writing a novel without being allowed to use metaphors or more than two adjectives. Sure, it’s boring as a day old turd, but it requires thought and skill. There is no moment in Antichrist where you lose the awareness of the fact that this is a movie made by a Director. Shots and techniques run the gamut of modern technology, cutting back and forth through styles faster than Tim Gunn’s wit can cut through a Project Runway prep room. We’re given juxtaposition, simplicity, overt symbolism, metaphor, slow motion, black and white, disconnected soundtrack, sound-mixing tricks and treats…everything. It’s as though the man is simply content to wave his dong at the filmmaking community while spitting a raspberry at their unimpressed faces; he has to dip it in whipped cream and personally dick-wich each and every one of them. Both Gainsbourg and Dafoe give shockingly believable performances even though a good deal of that is screaming in each others’ faces while attempting to reach orgasm. Both actors draw you in with harshly naturalistic portrayals of a couple trying to come back from the brink of insanity. So, when Her drives off the crazy-bitch cliff with the zeal of a dick-punching Thelma and Louise, one can only watch with a gaping jaw and allow the ensuring chaos roll over you.

What is the movie about? Why did Von Trier make it? I haven’t been able to deduce anything close to an answer. Does he hate women? Does he see himself as the woman? Initially it certainly seems as though the film sympathizes with her plight and Dafoe’s maddening need to calm and logic his way through the emotions turns him into something of an antagonist. But then satanic texts appear, Gainsbourg goes into full Witches of Eastwick mode and all semblance of sympathy goes the way of the drill she uses to attach a 30lb weight to her husband’s shin to stop him from running away. It’s amusing to note that when Von Trier submitted this film to Cannes before it was released, they didn’t give it an award but rather an Anti-award (see what they did there? Those pretentious hilarious pricks). Cannes is a festival celebrating humanistic values and they seemed to believe this film portrayed nothing of the sort. I believe it was at this point that Von Trier said something along the lines of “Hitler wasn’t so bad.” So, yes, asshole to completion. However, as much of a throbbing dong as he is, he’s still one of the most talented filmmakers out there. I almost wish Spielberg or Del Toro could tame the beast and lock him up Marquis De Sade-style, forcing him to craft the basics of their at least mildly human visions.

He's my spirit animal.

He’s my spirit animal.

In the end, Antichrist is a confusing mess of a movie. On the one hand, it is supremely made and shockingly far more coherent than the slop that was the latter half of Melancholia. But what can be said for a movie where a wife is driven to murderous rage by the elements of nature to the point that we cheer when her husband chokes her to death? It is an exhausting quagmire of a movie, one that requires patience and endurance to complete. However, what is the reward once we do so? A flood of women a la some kind of documentary about Auschwitz, flooding down the hills and flocking to their about to be Vader funeral-ed comrade-in-vag? Dafoe limping into the sunset smiling at the previously aborted woodland creatures who are now so happy the bitch is dead that it looks as though they might break into a rendition of Bambi?

Note to self: get Lars Von Trier to direct the remake of Bambi. It begins with Bambi’s mom getting rammed in the shower and ends with Thumper looking into the camera and declaring “CHAOS REIGNS” before having rage-sex with Flower.

Happy Halloween, guys. I’m going to go weep now.

Possession (2002) – Neil LaBute (Dir.), Aaron Eckhart, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tom Hollander, Jeremy Northam, Jennifer Ehle, Queen Cersei, and some other British People.

Join us for the harrowing tale of poets and British and...(he collapses into sleep)

Join us for the harrowing tale of poets and British and…(he collapses into sleep)

Well, sometimes we decide on a movie to watch. Sometimes that movie is a turd so incapable of polishing that you soil yourself at the thought. And sometimes that movie is In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. It was my choice this time around and, after much arguing and whining, we decided that Uwe Boll’s tour de flatulence was simply too terrible for human viewing. Thusly, we were caught with a dilemma. We had the pizza. We had the people. We had the wine…well, we had way too much wine. The evening proceeded down the terrible, unending road of Flix-surfing. Every choice was an agony. Eventually, we discovered this little gem waiting at the bottom of the “Why the hell would anyone watch this movie?” pile. And, boys and girls, we were not disappointed…in that we were completely fucking disappointed. This was one of the most boring movies of all time. Starring Aaron “The Chin” Eckhart and Gwyneth “The Reason For All Evil in the Universe” Paltrow, this picture by Neil LaBute is so fucking boring that we decided to talk about something else entirely. Namely: bees. So, enjoy us being drunk and shitting on G-Palt. Because, seriously, she deserves it.

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.