Posts Tagged ‘sasha baron cohen’

Les Miserables (2012) – Tom Hooper (Dir.), Hugh Jackman, Russel Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Sasha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter, Samantha Barks

This poster brought to you by the monosyllabic factories of Stuttgart, our motto: "GOOD"

This poster brought to you by the monosyllabic factories of Stuttgart, our motto: “GOOD”

Alright, let’s get this out of the way. Deep breath…

OMGLESMISERABLESYOUGUYS!!!! SQUUUUUUEEEEEE. OMG JEANVALJEANVSJAVERT FANTINEDREAMEDADREAMALLOVERMYFACE

SUCKITSUSANBOYLEYOURFIFTEENMINUTESAREUP

BECAUSEANNEHATHAWAYISTHINNERTHANYOU

*pant, pant*

HOLY SHIT THE BARRICADE IS UP ANDGAVROSHISGOINGTOGETSHOTAND

EPONINELOVESHIMSOMUCHBUTHEJUSTDOESN’TSEE

ANDI’MTOTALLYTEAMEPONINENOT

TEAMCOSETTEBECAUSESHE’SBEENWITHHIMTHROUGHTHICKANDTHIN

*pant, pant*

AND…

*SLAP*

Hugh Jackman as Daniel Day Lewis as Hugh Jackman as Orson Wells as Valjean

Hugh Jackman as Daniel Day Lewis as Hugh Jackman as Orson Wells as Valjean

Holy fuck. Thank you, disembodied internet-hand. I needed that. Yes, it is true, I’m almost not ashamed to admit, that I am a Les Miserables fan-girl. From the moment the score swelled and the chain-gang took to their turntable on a lonely stage in New Haven, CT, like a fish too stupid to tell the difference between a worm and a piece of sparkly plastic on a string, I was hooked. My little highschool self became drunk on Thenardier’s bombast, Valjean’s strength, Javert’s straight-laced don’t-fuck-with-me-fuckery. The next year, we performed the show, fresh off of the touring stage. Our budget was nothing! Our talent was limited! Our cast was mainly boys who were too afraid to play sports and girls who were trying to sleep with all the hot gays! But what we lacked in pretty much every department required to put on one of the most over the top productions since Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Michael Bay’s Transformers! The Musical, we made up for in heart. And, you know what, we kicked ass. At least, that’s what my mother said. (But she’s british so it was more, ‘It was the dog’s bollocks!’)

So, now, years later, I am confronted once more with my deepest of demons, my darkest of secrets, my squealiest, most infuriating, most utterly weepy self: Les Mis Mooney. *Facepalm* Try as I did to stave it off, every fucking time that fucking trailer with Anne fucking Hathaway came on the fucking screen and sang I Dreamed a Fucking Dream I’d become a weeping sack of musical theater nerd mush. I was excited for this film. So excited that I did battle with my mother for a solid month before finally convincing her to make this our ‘Boxing Day Movie’ (Mooney Family Tradition, we don’t fuck around). So, the question is, did Tom Hooper pull it off? Did I spend 3 hours squirming with sappy glee in my theater seat? Was I launched back into post revolutionary France to stand atop the barricade and fight with all my might against the coming horde of the Parisian military?

Um…no.

Was the movie terrible? No. Was it good? No. Did I cry? Kinda. Was Russell Crowe a rotting sack of shit that rained over everyone’s parade and completely ruined every modicum of film that he marred? Abso-fruitly. But I’ll get to that.

"Come, my darling, let me eat your soul."

“Come, my darling, let me eat your soul.”

First, let me say, that when attempting to corral the Mooney clan towards a movie theater, grandmother in tow, on the day after a massive film release in the middle of Connecticut, buying tickets early isn’t enough to guarantee seats. When we arrived five minutes before show time, the entire place was literally bursting at the seams with autumnal-yeared bourgeoisie. My lady friend and I were relegated to the only seat in the house with ‘restricted view’ and the inability to hear any dialogue seeing as this craphouse hadn’t figure out how Dolby works. Finally, we conceded, after I decided to sit on the floor to get a semi-decent view, to sit in the second row aaaaaaall the way to the left. We were probably 10 feet from the screen so every frame, every second was a wash of dour color and beads of digitalized sweat. Bear that in mind; I’ll come back to it.

So, who has the brass balls, the iron-clad testicles, the Steely Dans, if you will, to take on the task of adapting this emotionally-rich and utterly over-the-top display of operatic theater-nerd crazy from the West End and adapt it for the silver screen? Enter Mr. Tom “Fish-Eye Lens” Hooper. You might remember him from the 2010 Oscar-Grabby Old-Man-Acty-Acty Royalty Porn that was The King’s Speech. Now, for months I staved off the horde from forcing me to sit down and indulge in all two hours of Mr. Darcy being taught by Bellatrix and Captain Barbossa to speak right. But, in the end, I broke down and scoffed on the mass of royal toe-sucking that makes up the highest grossing revenues of all British exports. And it was good. Like really, fucking good. Suddenly, all preconceived notions of its shrewd award begging evaporated and I was offered a heart-warming tale of small victories and family issues. Now, let’s transport that grimy and realistic view of Blitzed London to post revolutionary France. Mr. Hooper, during that import, seems to have loaded up on the HD close-up cameras, Steady-Cams and fish-eye lenses (OH THE FISH-EYES!). Because, honestly, how does one transmogrify a play that, beside the fact that everyone’s singing, attempts with its very core to convince you that it is anything other than a play, into something that is a movie that doesn’t want to be a movie but wants to be a movie? Apparently, the answer is close-ups. SO MANY CLOSE-UPS. Seriously, if I had a migraine for every close-up that happened…oh wait, I fucking did. It got to the point, only ten feet from the screen, that I almost attempted playing a game of ring toss with the fake wrinkles around Wolverine’s eyes. Yes, Hooper does an excellent job of fucking up peoples’ teeth, spreading the grease through their hair like they just returned from a New Orleans deep-fry off, and covering the extras in so many topical diseases you’d think they were all going to a Keith Richards costume party. In retrospect, that was my favorite aspect of the movie. Out of all the Les Mis adaptations, including the hilariously truncated but eminently watchable Liam Neeson/Geoffrey Rush Fugitive remake in the mid-Naughties, this is the only one that actually has shit in the Parisian sewer. It was gross. It was vile. And it was a delightful touch.

"COME, I WISH TO VIOLATE YOUR NOSTRILS WITH MY APERTURE," Tom Hooper, an actor's director.

“COME, I WISH TO VIOLATE YOUR NOSTRILS WITH MY APERTURE,” Tom Hooper, an actor’s director.

Here is the biggest issue. Film is a medium that avoids Suspension of Disbelief like the plague. It offers levels of realism unparalleled by any other form of artistic expression. And so, when you have this sprawling epic in vibrato forced into ultra-realistic cinematography, peppered with spoken lines to help fill in the blanks that the stage play just doesn’t give a fuck about, you have to ask yourself…why are you singing when you can talk? Surely that’s an easier form of communication? Thus, we have the patented Square-Peg Conundrum. Les Miserables is a wonderfully square peg, beautifully constructed and soaking in the loins of teenage fans in heat, but Mr. Hooper is attempting to force it into the round hole of cinema. No matter how hard you lean on it, it ain’t gonna fit, buddy. What you get is a higgedly-piggedly mish-mash of actors not knowing what movie they are in (is it an understated comedy? A romance movie? A jailbreak? A concert film where all you do is stand still and sing because you are contractually obligated to at least show up? (Fuck you, Russell Crowe)). Honestly, there are only three stage musicals that have been adapted into film that I think work. First, West Side Story because one, duh, it’s Sondheim and Bernstein and two, it knows it’s a play. It has the sets, it has the dancing, it has the everything. It defines its rules and it sticks to ’em. Second, is Reefer Madness because, well, it’s fucking ridiculous and I love it and never-say-anything-bad-about-it-ever-or-I-will-come-to-your-house-in-the-night-and-let-a-bear-loose-in-your-bedroom. Lastly, and probably leastly, Chicago. It’s not my favorite musical nor is it my favorite movie. BUT. It understands why the play is a musical and why it loves the format in which it was crafted. It’s about over-the-top sizzle, sazzle, jazz, pizzazz and other misuses of the letter z. When people sing, they are teleported to a disembodied stage in the middle of MUSICAL-TOPIA and it becomes clear that these songs are more inner-monologues, thus weaving it together in a sensical package. Sometimes it really works in Les Mis. Pretty much everything at the barricade and involving the lovers makes sense and is fucking great. Sometimes it really, really, really, really doesn’t (I’m looking at you everything-Hugh-Jackman-does). So…speaking of Wolverine…

Oh the cast. There is a wonderful paradox when it comes to casting a movie musical. Anyone who doesn’t really give a shit is waiting to see what Hollywood starlets believe they can belt and so they charge forth to witness either their edification onto the fast-track to Oscardom (Renee Zellweger has an Oscar Nomination. I ask you, is there no other greater affront to humanity than that?) or the complete and utter dismemberment by way of unrelenting ridicule. Those who do give a shit demand Broadway stars who only the most nerdy of the nerds might recognize. It’s naive and incorrect to think there is anyway a no name will be installed into the lead role of any massive budget shit show like this, so the argument never, ever holds water, disregarding talent altogether. So, here we have Catwoman, the enervating and delightful Anne Hathaway, with a widescreen camera almost lodged in her vocal cords, plugging away and sealing up an Oscar faster than Meryl Streep can say, “I think I’ll make another movie”. She hits her notes, she cries her tears, she dreams a dream of days gone by. Good job. Then we have the chilluns and the clowns. Amanda “Light of God Encapsulated in Human Form” Seyfried plays Cosette, the role she was literally concocted in a lab to play, and kills it. We even having the surprisingly buxom Samantha Barks trouncing those solos as Eponine because, well, she’s famous for singing things well. Next, Borat and Ms. Lovett create a love story that makes you question French dentistry with completely unexpectedly underplayed performances. Seriously, I played Thenardier in high school with a gusto that would have made Roger Ebert cry blood, but this is so absolutely opposite and hilarious that it provides something that you wouldn’t expect…a reason for this movie to exist. Bonham Carter and Baron Cohen, these dually-surnamed beasts of comedic timing, create characters you wouldn’t see on stage. Thank the Jesus. Finally, on the ‘good’ side of things, we have the otherwise blissfully unknown powerhouse that is Eddie Redmayne playing Marius. Where the fuck did he come from? Did he crawl out of some kind of secret lab where the Brits are trying to construct the perfect man but accidentally hit the ‘freckle-icious’ button? I have always hated Marius, the wimpy, whiny little sod. This is the first fucking time ever that he comes off as a warrior, believably smitten, and a PTSD survivor. Holy shit. When he sings ‘Empty Chairs at Empty Tables’, redundancy of the title aside, he delivers a solo that would make Orpheus rethink

The Thenardiers, shockingly good hosts, if you don't mind Syphilis.

The Thenardiers, shockingly good hosts, if you don’t mind Syphilis.

his profession…and that’s even with a fucking steady cam assaulting his esophagus.

But then, oh man, then there’s the other half of the cast. Mr. Jackman, Wolverine, bubby, I love you. You’re the sweetest little stardust of a human being to ever flit its way out of Aussie-land. You’re a great singer, a charismatic actor, an uncompromising delight. Jean Valjean, you are not. You try, you try so hard…but there’s only so much a make-up artist can do to make you age from 30-something to 60-something with High Definition Dolby Digital Chromatic-Asshattery sucking on your flaring nostrils. You don’t have the voice, the presence, the age or the latter-day Orson Wells look to play this role. But it isn’t your fault…you’re just miscast. I feel like I should send you a card and beg you to continue what you’re doing. Be Wolverine. Be likable. Be the most charming host the Academy Awards has pulled out of its ass since Johnny Carson died and everyone got sick of Billy Crystal.

There is another card I wish to send. Well, it’s more of a package. It has no writing. Just poop. Stinky, stale, maggot-ridden, I-might-have-had-curry-last-night feces. And it will be addressed to Mr. Russell “Cell Phone in the Face” Crowe (yeah, no one has forgotten that one, bucko). Now, I’m fully aware that if I ever met Mr. Crowe, this next paragraph will earn me a punch in the face because, you know, he does that. I don’t give a fuck. So, here goes:

FUCK YOU

Good paragraph. But seriously, when I auditioned for this show, when I fell in love with it, when I sang it all alone in my room and my parents quietly questioned my sexuality, I wanted to play Javert. I don’t know what it is about his character, but he spoke to me. He’s a man who lives by a code, much like Batman. He fights bad guys, like Batman. Sometimes he talks about stars and jumps off of high things, like…Batman? His quest to destroy the virtuous Valjean is the emotional through-line that weaves this thousand-fucking-million page novel into something edible for the illiterate public. He is so stalwart in his view that bad is bad and will always be bad, while Valjean entirely undoes his basic understanding of existence. The only option? SPOILERS. Suicide. You know what I just described? A character arc. A tale of emotional growth and destruction that makes sense. Have you seen movies recently? You’ll be so lucky you get anything so worthy. Mr. Crowe, you stumble into this film a blank piece of wood. You sang badly. You look as though this was court-ordered community service. What the fuck? Do you not know what a musical is? What about singing? What about acting? I know you got your Oscar early so the rest of your career is just coasting on fumes, but come the fuck on. Don’t just piss on my favorite character! You are the worst. Just the worst. You know what? Hitler did a lot of bad things (Holocaust, World War II, painting, vegetarianism), you know what he didn’t do? RUIN LES MISERABLES. That’s right, in this specific case, you are WORSE THAN HITLER. You know what? From now on, everything will be judged on a Russell Crowe scale of terrible. Level 1 is Gladiator, where, yes you kill people good and make some speeches, but every scene of you talking to another human being is about as interesting as me scratching my balls for two days straight. Level 5 is Robin Hood. I went through the entire movie thinking you were Little John because, goddammit, lose some weight! Level 10 is going to be the probably terrible Superman remake because, let’s be real, it’s directed by Zack “DERR-I-LIEK-BOOBS” Snyder. Level fucking 50 is Les Mis.

And the award for best Keanu Reeves impersonation goes to..."GO FUCK YOURSELF."

And the award for best Keanu Reeves impersonation goes to…”GO FUCK YOURSELF.”

So, in conclusion, did I enjoy Les Mis? Yes and no. Was it agonizing to sit there for 3 hours? Yes. Will I buy it on DVD? Absolutely. Will it be in Blu-Ray so I can literally count every single pore on Hugh Jackman’s face? You fucking know it. The second it comes out I’m going to have a Whiskey and Swearing at Russell Crowe Party. You’re all invited.

by Andrew Mooney

Well, we have the movies I’m actively excited about. This list, well, this list is not that. This is the stuff in the middle. The pudgy flab, that isn’t quite ab, isn’t quite a gut. It’s just there. Neither negative nor positive. The purgatory of summer film, if you will. These are the movies that, when you witness the trailer, everything about the flashing lights and moving shapes pummels your body with messages of “YOU WILL BE ENTERTAINED” and yet, you come away with a resounding ‘Meh’. And that ‘meh’ has power. It can come from a place of frustration, the collective sigh of a civilization yearning for more and yet settling for less. These are those movies that, yes, they’re not perfect but they have their pros and their cons. Yes, we can wait until the perfect film will come along and fulfill all of our desperate needs, or we can find Mr. Right Now: The Movie. We can settle for a fling. It doesn’t bring any closure. It doesn’t even bring decent climax. It just passes the time.

For this section, I have rated each film on the internationally standardized ‘Meh’ scale. It ranges from ‘Meh’: nothing too offensive, finely constructed, yet it didn’t build any expectation that it would be anything other than what it would be, to ‘MEEEEEEEEEH, ugh, Meh!’: You know the people here are talented, they have ideas (or had) and yet this thing is a bunch of forgettable by-the-numbers crap. Don’t you remember when you were hot? Young? Ready to take on the world. Now you’re just a haggard mess of an artist, scraping what’s left at the bottom of the molded barrel, searching for that lost youth. And yet, every year it slips ever-more steadily from your grasp until you are nothing more than a husk. Taking up space. Useless. Wasted.

So, here they are:

MOVIES I WILL SEE AND HATE MYSELF

Men in Black 3

Oh Will…you fill me with such…respect. Guys, I said respect. That’s what I meant. No, I’m not blushing!

Alright, let’s get real for a second. I enjoy Men in Black. Let’s get even realer. I even, wait for it, didn’t mind Men in Black 2. There is something so effortless about Will Smith. About his finely trimmed mustache. About his smile that’s just the right amount of trickster, mixed with the perfect dash Han-Soloian sexiness, sprinkled with just the right of ‘black-person-white-people-aren’t-afraid-of’. I will watch him in pretty much anything. Even Wild Wild West. That’s like a Vegan saying that there’s a sauce so good, they’d eat horse-penis with it. This movie has a few things going for it: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin as a freakishly accurate Tommy Lee Jones and…well, that’s about it. What’s against it? They started shooting without a script. That’s beginning to cook without a recipe…or ingredients…or pots and pans. You’re just some jackass switching a stove on and off.

I’ll see it. I’ll shrug. I’ll say ‘Meh’. Maybe I’ll laugh…I probably won’t cry. It will be effortlessly forgettable…as effortless as Will’s roguish charm. Okay…this is weird. Now I’m blushing. Moving on…

The Dictator

I imagine Baron Cohen has one of these above his bed where he sleeps with Isla Fisher every night. Bastard.

So. Sacha Baron Cohen made a movie. It was called Da Ali G Movie. It was a movie. About Ali G. It had characters. A plot. It had actors in it, many of them good. My 13-year-old self loved it. It loved the gay jokes. It loved the boob jokes. It loved the hilarious misunderstanding of youth/rap culture relegated to London suburbs. As I have previously discussed, my thirteen-year-old self was an ironically sexually frustrated/fucking idiot. That movie is nine levels of awful, each level being a hell of Danterian horror, wrought with the souls of those too far-gone to salvage. We had Albus Dumbledore as the Prime Minister, toiling in a mess of gay/black jokes, stumbling around after drinking marijuana-laced-tea. We had Shakespearean thespian Charles Dance dressed in drag and tied up with leather straps. We had Rhona Mitra…well, we had Rhona Mitra’s breasts. She might have been present, though my thirteen-year-old memory is clouded with a mammary-clogged haze. It was bad.

And then Borat arrived in theaters. Now an immigrant myself, I appreciated the crass dissection of American xenophobia and bigotry. It’s characters were one-dimensional, its humor, like an Israeli brothel, specifically semitic/genital-based. What helped it surpass its basal subject was its use of actual Americans spouting some of the most hateful things I’d ever heard…until the next presidential election. Somehow, Cohen’s schtick managed to unearth the harsh underbelly of American racism, especially at a time where fears of middle eastern terrorists were at a peak. And it had a naked jew-fight in the middle of a conservative convention. I laughed. I cried. I tried to wash the sight of hairy taint from my mind by inserting bleach into my ear. I needed surgery. But it was worth it.

This has parodies of terrible people, Kim Jong Il, Gaddafi, Hussein…you know, dead guys. It’ll explore the hilarious excesses of people drowning in the belief that their very testicles are the second and third coming of Christ. Or whoever. Someone apocalyptic. It also makes light of the US murdering foreign enemies with precision robot strikes (yeah, I didn’t think I’d ever be able to unironically write that sentence during my lifetime…Sky Net is coming). And that’s fine. But it has a plot. And characters. This doesn’t seem to be Baron’s forte. Like a dog with a bone, Cohen plays with his narrative structure, knowing that he needs it, and it’s important, so much so that he has to keep it safe. But fuck if he knows what to do with it. This gets a “meeh”. A light shake of the head and face produced usually by the presence of passed gas.

Snow White and the Huntsman

“Yes, I have special powers. I bite my lip. And I pout. Well, it worked on the American public, so go to hell.”

A few summers before this, while I was still burgeoning with optimism for my life once released from the shackles of my undergraduate degree, I stepped into a movie theater and witnessed a little movie named Star Trek. I’m sure you’ll hear me rant about that film another time. The point is this: the opening to that film is one of the most unfairly affecting pieces of short sci-fi you’ll see gracing the multiplexes any time soon. Captain Kirk’s father, Cameron (this isn’t true, but how hilarious would it be to see Kirk Cameron yell about Jesus in space? Copyright, bitches), sacrifices himself to save his wife and son then becomes the aptly named ‘Captain’. I wasn’t really paying attention to the details because, seriously, this is Star Trek. Give me Han Solo and humanity’s inexplicable ability to understand every language over Spock any day. Anyhoo, sidetracked. The guy playing the Kirk’s dad was a pretty lad named Chris Hemsworth. He was also in Cabin in the Woods  and he was fucking great.

He was also in Thor, where that fascinating nuance of a beef-head with actual emotions was sorta, well, ignored. In between his hammer hitting’ stuff, and kissin’ all up in Nat-Port’s facial region, he was about as complex as George Lucas’ artistic intentions. So, let’s move onto the film at hand. Hemsworth is back: good. He plays a beef-cake: bad. Already in the trailer we had more shots of him swinging his penis axe and flicking his totally-super-manly locks of gold this way and that. We also have K-Stew who has made an entire career out of lip-biting and acting like a sack of lady-meat.

But there’s also Charlize Theron eating people’s hearts. And that creepy-Matrix-mirror thing. Remind me of my Grimm’s, but I’m pretty sure cave trolls, harpies and The Prodigy’s terrible come-back album weren’t a part of the original text. We all know Bella Snow White isn’t going to die, but what a sweet way to end the saga of Twilight if Charlize Theron ate her fucking heart. I would pay to watch that. Alas, I shall be frustrated, as I am with each film in the glitter-sporting-not-sunlight-fearing whimpy vampire pout-fest when, just before the credits roll, I pray for Wesley Snipes to show up in his Ray Bans and fuck some Cullen shit up. And yet, he doesn’t.

It’ll be pretty (hopefully). It won’t contain Julia Roberts desperately trying to murder her own career with each blinding second of Tarsem Singh’s visual insanity. I’ll watch it. I might heave up a little popcorn. I won’t see K-Stew get viciously disemboweled. Maybe another year when she delves into that inevitable crevasse of her career where she’ll play a murdered stripper trying to figured out who’s semen that was. I might see that.

The Bourne Legacy and The Amazing Spiderman

Dude, Jeremy, I think you need some new blinds. You fucked these ones up.

Alright, alright, neither of these movies look bad, per se. No, both offered the world trailers that actually seemed mildly palatable. Spiderman is taking the darker edge with the tale of Peter Parker’s forays with a radioactive spider (in real life: dead of cancer in months). We get a little of his parent’s history. It’s got Emma Stone (always good even if the film is created in total ignorance of the entire Civil Rights Movement). It’s got Andrew “That’s Right, I ACTUALLY Founded Facebook” Garfield. Also good. It’s even got the wonderfully bizarre, Notting-Hill-dwelling, tight-whitey sporting Rhys Ifans as the lizard. Sure. All of that seems fine. Even The Bourne Legacy has Jeremy “Fuck you, I was in the Hurt Locker” Renner, Joan “Not Rivers” Allen, Rachel “Most Beautiful Woman on the Planet and Sleeping with James Bond, That’s Right” Weisz and Edward “Eh” Norton. It’s even written and directed by Tony Gilroy, the crafter of that George-Clooney-Being-George-Clooney-Being-Someone-Else lawyer-fest Michael Clayton. The pedigree is all there. So, what’s my problem?

Do you remember when original movies used to arrive in theaters? Do you remember the times that the numeral ‘4’ after a title usually meant it was in the malaise-period of the Nightmare on Elm Street series? Do you remember The Fifth Element? That movie was fucking crazy and original. In fact, out of the seventeen movies this year that I’m mentioning, only six are original IPs. What happened? Did Hollywood suddenly go self-human-centipede and begin guzzling its own refuse? We have movies coming out this year based on Battleship. Read that sentence again. And again. Read it until your eyes bleed. One more time.

What makes the abdomen part of the shadow? Garfield is hung like a horse. That’s what.

I have picked these two films to berate, not because they are the worst of the bunch (just wait for Dark Shadows) nor are they particularly egregious. They are boring wastes of time. Spiderman: we already had an entire series of those fucking things about four years ago culminating with the campy-ass-lobotomy-I-will-never-get-back-my-childhood-watching-the-old-cartoon-orgy that was Spiderman 3. And now they’re rebooting it? For what greater purpose? Of course, more money. Of course. But it’s boring. It’s so, so, so boring. Piranha 3DD may be a pile of elephant anus, the likes of which the world has never seen…but it certainly won’t be boring, ladies and gents. Of that, I am sure. Marvel, do something new and good. You’ve done the Avengers. Figure it out.

But you, Mr. Gilroy, you disappoint me. You can write real movies. We’ve seen it. Why settle for a forth-quel? Are you looking to place your work on the same mantle as Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace: How Many Colons Does Lucas Need? What about Saw 4? Or Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides? Or Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Meyers, the movie that killed professional granddad of the year Donald Pleasance? Give us something new, you talented bastard. Give us some meat. We’re hungry and we don’t go for fecal matter like the bottom-feeders running some of these studios.

Both movies will be fine. They might be enjoyable. But they are both a waste of time and energy. So, Meh, with a tongue stuck out, at both of you.

Dark Shadows and Savages

Miss Hayek, blunt bangs are not your friend. Please deal with them immediately.

Hey guys! Yeah, you guys! You directors. Right, the ones with oscars sitting at home and cult classics on the shelf that will be enjoyed for decades after this. Hey, you remember when you were good? And then do you remember when your careers became less good you went one of two paths, down the route of absolute bat-shit-insanity and the route of by-the-numbers uninspired garbage? And then do you remember waking up in the morning realizing that every one of your good years is gone and you only pump these things out year after year because, honestly, its better than staying home and masturbating? Well I do.

Let’s start with you, Mr. Stone. Congratulations, this is a new movie. Not-congratulations on casting Blake Lively. She’s pretty yes, but about as compelling as See Spot Run once you know the ending (Spoiler: he runs). It’s got Salma Hayek (one of my deepest loves) forced out of her natural comedic brilliance and employed to spice up a role that, if it were cast with the dude it was written for, would be completely unforgettable. It’s got John Travolta. I don’t even need to ridicule that one. It ridicules itself. Oliver…you made Platoon, arguably the best way to witness Willem Dafoe die like Jesus (and that includes The Last Temptation of Christ). You made a movie where Charlie Sheen isn’t terrible. You have bent the rules of the universe and created work that isn’t just good, it’s fucking brilliant. What do we have now? W? Wall Street 2? Oliver, I understand that your ‘schtick’ is being an unrestrained maniac…so do something maniacal again. Yes, Natural Born Killers was, to be kind, a hot mess that could eclipse Lindsay Lohan after a long weekend in Vegas. But at least it was ridiculous. Maybe this will be that and the trailers are just terrible. Maybe. I’m hoping, not just for your sake, but for Juliet Lewis’ career. She needs the help, man. Look at her…she’s a scientologist.

Tim Burton: “I want the Addams Family, but less dynamic and more 70s”. Art Director: “So…more color?” Nailed it.

Now onto you, Mr. Burton. Once you were great. You created Edward Scissorhands, the most inspiring biopic of a bondage/hair artist the world has ever seen. You made Beetlejuice, thereby making all children terrified for modern art for the rest of their lives (and bringing the world Winona Ryder, Saks Fifth Ave. aside). When I hopefully have kids, I will force them to watch Nightmare Before Christmas so many goddamn times they’ll be afraid of even asking for Christmas presents, including the pony that, I’m sorry, we just don’t have the space or the income for a stable, I don’t care how much you plea and hug my leg and cry or tell me how you’ll do all the work or that I’m the best dad in the world… Well, alright. But don’t tell your mother. Our secret. Our secret pony.

Sorry. Distracted again. What now, Mr. Burton? Michael Jackson Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Alice in Lord of the Rings Wonderland? Planet of the Apes starring Mark Wahlberg? Okay, seriously, who thought that was a good idea? I want to know. I’m not leaving until I find out. Because I want to slap some sense back into their stupid…

Anyhoo… Now we are reduced to seeing that golden god of a man, Johnny Depp, follow you once more into the heart of darkness. This isn’t just a remake. Or just a remake of a TV show. It’s a remake of a soap opera. Sure, I could see that maybe working out…if you didn’t rely on base, poorly-timed slap-stick. It won’t be bad. It will be totally useless. It won’t piss anyone off. Nor will anyone remember it. It will be blip in the universe, two hours of completely pointless time, spent switching off one’s brain and allowing the world to trickle by. Hundreds of people worked on this thing, artists, people with ambition. And what is the result? Nothingness. Pure nothingness.

When you look back in time, inevitably forgetting each of these films, you think on the days you were young, the days you were in the best of health, the days you could get into raucous hijinks with college friends… And you’ll think…with all those gifts the world gave me, what did I do?

And you won’t be able to remember. You turn back to your kids/grandkids and you simply answer, “I don’t know. Can’t have been that important.”