FUNNY FARM (1988)

Once upon a time there was no one funnier on this Earth than Chevy Chase.  Feel free to disagree with me, but when you look at his work on Saturday Night Live, Vacation, Caddyshack, etc., he shaped what a lot of people find funny. 

Strictly speaking from my limited point of view.  Maybe you’re slamming your fist into the desk reading this going, “Dammit, Carrot Top was waaaaay funnier.”

To each his own then.

This movie was nothing but empty promises. Not only was it not particularly funny, but at no point is anyone ever on a farm.  Just because you have geese who occasionally break into your place, does not make it a farm.

The premise this movie gives is that Chevy Chase is a sports writer who moves his wife to the country so he can write a novel and get his wife pregnant – not necessarily in that order. They settle into a house in a small town that seems idyllic, BUT YOU GUYS, ITS NOT. That’s where the funny comes in, get it?

Chevy’s character is goofy and affable and not flexible but he pretends to be. His wife is…well, she’s his wife. She reacts appropriately to things.  When he makes a joke, she laughs.  When they look around the house, she smiles.

When she enjoys a banana, we’re given a whole scene to let that happen.

Chevy Chase is someone that you know he’s going to go off the rails at anytime…

Like when he realizes his wife has eaten the last banana.

We’re introduced to all the crazy characters who contribute to Chevy’s steady descent into madness, which has possibly affected modern day Chevy Chase, but results of that theory are still pending.  There’s a crazy mailman who throws mail, a lazy sheriff who’s role in the town I really wasn’t sure about.  Also, there’s this lady…

She’s the town operator and if you want to make a call, you have to have a payphone in your house, where you feed it five cents. If you don’t, she won’t put through the call.  Does this make any sense? Nope. Does the movie’s heroes ever solve this problem or does it shrug and expect us to laugh along? Do we need to ask?

Its one of many things that make no sense and that the screenwriters felt didn’t really deserve a point, just something to say, “Hey, isn’t this crazy?”  There’s a dead body in the house and the town wants to charge our heroes a fee to bury it. Why? Well, its not really explained, but our heroes go along with it. Because that makes comedy?

Seriously, asking for a friend.

 They get a dog. Because that’s a great formula for comedy. He can’t hear or see anything, so the producers had a laugh about that.

The story takes an interesting twist.  Chevy gives Mrs. Chevy the first chapter of his book to read and she hates it. Like, HATES it, hates it.  She cries and its awkward and didn’t think it was funny (perhaps our hero was the author of this movie?)  He tries to take it well, but its eating him alive.  The darkness consumes us all.

To make things worse, not only is the lack of his wife’s approval crippling his mental wellbeing, but she wrote a book on the sly – a kid’s book about a squirrel and it’s getting published. He’s supportive in that he allows her to live in the house, but you get the feeling that this might be the 80s answer to In Cold Blood.

What happens next might surprise you, that is if you walked into a movie expecting a realistic character arc. Chevy Chase loses his mind and becomes obsessed with his own failures at life.

The movie reaches its tipping point, when his publisher stops into town (do publishers really do long distance stop ins? Anyone we can ask for a point of reference?) He’s greeted with Heart of Darkness style Chevy:

…as he’s trying to murder the local mailman.  The publisher ignores this behavior and passes it off as “artistic genius” and says, “Hey, where’s that book you promised us?”  Chevy’s response is hand him his wife’s recent manuscript (possible titles are  Boys and Squirrels, Squirrel with the Dragon Tattoo or Squirrel, Interrupted). Publisher takes it, says good day.

Wife does catch on to the ruse as the publisher can’t wait to send Squirrel on Fire to the presses on Chevy Chase’s name and demands a divorce.  So the baby prospects also get put to a halt.

If they’re going to get a divorce, they have to sell the house and go their separate ways. In any other situation, the couple would sell the house cheap or apply to be on one of those renovation shows on HGTV, just to get away from each other (see also, The Money Pit)

Instead, they go to a Town Hall, and bribe the townspeople to act like a Norman Rockwell painting to help sell the town. Weirdly, everybody’s into it.

This begs the question – no one put up these shenanigans when our heroes bought this house, the house and scenery did the job for them. But, to answer these questions, we would be watching a much better movie starring other people. So, moving on.

A couple comes and looks at the house, has no problem finding the place and automatically falls in love. Our heroes are told, “Tomorrow morning, expect an offer.”

Our heroes could easily smile and say, “Thanks, that’s great,” but no. Instead, they respond with, “You should spend the night and find out why we hate this house.” (Blogger’s paraphrase, not a direct movie quote.)

Oh, is everything going better than expected? Time to quit while you’re ahead.

Our heroes could have saved boatloads of cash by just letting the prospective owners go to a hotel for the night. Also, if you’re not growing crops or raising livestock, then stop calling your property a farm.

In a move that surprises no one on this side of the screen, one of the townspeople goes off the rails and assaults Chevy Chase.  Everyone laughs except for the prospective house buyers, but they’re weirdly still into buying this house.

The next morning, the house buyers have their checkbook out, they’re ready to make a deal, but something in this overly complicated and unnecessary ruse has made our heroes rethink everything and it turns out that not only do they love the house and the town, they’re just in love with each other.

Wife apologizes for overreacting when her husband tried to steal her work and pass it off as his own, sending the fight for equality and dignity for women back about a hundred years.

She’ll keep writing her Squirrel, You Know Its True saga and Chevy’s going to settle for being the towns sports writer, covering the one softball game they have in the summer.  Not the emotional powerpunch ending of Cop and a Half, really more like a shrug from the writer and director alike.

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A Star is Born (1976)

You may find this post controversial and I’ve made my peace with it.  Some view this film as a classic and some hold it proudly in their Barbra Streisand shrine.  However, I recently viewed this film and felt the need to post about it as there were just way too many elements that couldn’t be ignored.

Fact: this is the THIRD remake of this story (a fourth is slowly rolling around in development. You can read about it here).

Fact: this is the first movie I’ve blogged about on this site that’s both a Oscar and a Golden Globe winner for the song “Evergreen”.

Fact: I have long since made fun of the lyrics to the song “Evergreen” without realizing it was a) from this movie and b) a Barbra Streisand song.  You can’t sing a lyric that compares love to a easy chair and not expect me to mock it.

So we meet John Howard Norman, a big rock star who’s late to everything, drinks a lot and has Gary Busey personally shove cocaine up his nose.

No one in this movie ever calls him just “John”.  Its always “John Howard” or “John Howard Norman”. This may have been because the filmmakers felt that no one would accept a hero named John, leading to theater attendees storming out of the theaters in protest.

Fact: John Howard Norman never sings a whole complete song. He starts songs, then always interrupts and we as an audience have no idea why people even bother going to his shows to begin with.

Here’s what someone should have prepared me for. No one knows how to wear shirts in this movie.  Shirts are really more of a suggestion or an opinion.  So as a result, they’re maybe buttoned or worn halfway or in this case, Kris Kristofferson just forwent the shirt entirely and skipped to the vest.  To each his own, I suppose.

After an evening of kind of singing parts of two songs, he leaves his own show and goes to a club where we’re introduced to Barbra Streisand aka “Esther Hoffman”.

She’s in a singing group that call themselves “The Oreos.”  The less said about this, the better.

So they’re singing, and Barbra is being Barbra.  However, every romance movie needs a “meet cute” and we get with this moment…

“John Howard Norman” (I guess we’ll follow the movie’s instructions to always call him this) gets into a shouting match with some bar customers and Barbra gets ticked and confronts him about it. 

Now, lets put this situation in “real life” shall we?  In movie life, Barbra sings at a club and she hears a drunk guy shouting and getting drunker. She confronts him, he’s charmed by it, chases her down and begs to date her.  She kind of plays coy and allows him to bring a pizza to her house at 7am the next day.

In “real life”, Barbra would have finished her set, gone backstage, complained with the rest of The Oreos (sigh). Had “John Howard Norman” come slurring her way, a bouncer would have steered him to his car and he would have woken up ten hours later not remembering anything.  Roll credits!

But they have breakfast and are super cutesy about eating pizza and him guzzling down a whiskey and a few more beers for breakfast, so he invites her to come to his show.

Another show where he starts a song, mumbles through it, then goes and finds Barbra…

…sings from a vantage point where no one can see him…

…takes a fan’s motorcycle (which begs the question, do people still bring a motorcycle inside arenas? Also, where can I get the “I’m Spoiled Rotten” shirt?)

…and this inevitably happens…

…where you know, everyone’s going to have to file back out and spend three hours in their cars wondering what on earth they just saw.

Meanwhile, “John Howard Norman” gets put in an ambulance, everyone takes off, leaving Barbra stranded at a arena.

In “real life”, Esther Hoffman would have been angry and annoyed, spent hundreds of dollars on an Uber getting back to her house and written an interesting op-ed piece to Rolling Stone on what a tool John Howard Norman is.

Instead, she finds it cute that he stalked her at a studio and follows him home to his house where they make sweet music together…

…and then sweet, sweet love.

So many beer cans in this scene.

Naturally, he brings her into the studio and she sings whole and complete songs, which blows everyone away. He realizes that she is a unicorn and they make glorious creative plans.

He does yet another show, where he starts to sing a song and people are into it, but he stops barely into the first chorus and goes, “Hey guys, you paid to see me, but you’ll be fine letting my girlfriend of two days taking over, right?”

So Barbra comes out in an outfit that makes her look like she’s about to do everyone’s taxes and performs two whole songs.  Turns out the crowd loves it when you come out and do a song that has a beginning, middle and end. They go nuts and officially, “a star is born.”

Roll credits.

In the frenzy of the show, Barbra proposes to “John Howard Norman”. JHN gives her a very solid reason why this is a terrible decision. Namely that he’s an awful person who’s life is a total mess. Never mind, she knows what she wants and thats that.

The movie clearly has very little to do between now and JHN’s inevitable death (spoiler alert) so it does that thing that only bad movies do…there’s a montage. And it has everything that a ’70s love montage needs…

 Picture perfect moments in the middle of nowhere. This is always followed by sex in the most uncomfortable setting imaginable.

Being silly in the middle of nowhere.  This movie was made by Warner Bros who also holds the rights to Superman which I guess makes this scene okay.

Wearing Indian blankets as if that counts as clothes.  (Fact: It does not)

Enjoying your ’70s house with more rugs.

Maybe one of you fakes your death?

And at the end of a long day of holding each other and staring into each other’s eyes, you recline on pillows that vaguely look like Swastikas.

At some point, you have to come back to reality.  After all, Esther is a big star now (sure, its been a week maybe) and JHN is dealing with the fact that his career is over. Now this movie gets it into gear.

People are really digging her. She’s up for a Grammy! She shows up to her shows! She finishes songs! She wears shirts!

Speaking of which, she wins a Grammy for Best Female Vocal. She insists JHN go up with her, despite the fact that he almost didn’t make it and that he’s super trashed.  No, no, no, she drags him up there where he slurs something about art, all while Tony Orlando and Rita Coolidge seem horrified.

And, this movie dares to wave its codependency flag again, when Esther goes to calm down in the bathroom and is followed by JHN.

He makes another really good case for why this marriage isn’t going to work out, but she won’t have it.

This movie is begging for the opening credits to Intervention to come on at any moment.  I would have fully welcomed it.

During a photo shoot, he tells her that she’ll have to tour on her own.  She’s horrified.

He doesn’t show up for things when she needs him to, but instead of processing the links between addiction and unhealthy relationships, she puts on more drapey clothes and wonders why as she literally stares at empty glass vessels that used to hold alcohol.

While she’s gone however, a sexy journalist breaks into their home and begs for an interview with Esther.  She’ll do anything.

ANYTHING.

And he obliges.

Of course they’re caught.  The journalist gets huffy and walks out, while Esther thinks things over and has this reaction to the whole situation…

Frankly, at this point, I won’t blame his addiction, I’ll just blame the ’70s. Neither of them are clearly ever going to learn anything at this point.

So the universe takes over. He gets up early, drinks a lot of beer and has a fatal accident.

And Esther gives the performance of a lifetime where she cries and hopes he’s looking down on her.  I’d cry too, but then I remembered he was a reckless and selfish alcoholic who possessed really bad judgement.  The good news is that she got a career out of it and the rest of The Oreos had to find another white lady to lead them.

PERFORMANCE OF A LIFETIME.

Should you care to delve deeper into this, you can watch this movie on Amazon, HBO GO or in physical disc form from Netflix.

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INFERNO (1999)

I think the movie’s tagline says it all…

“Left for Dead. Burning for Revenge…”

I get chills just thinking about it. That and the fact this was brought to us by the same guy who made a squeaky voiced Ralph Macchio roar.

This is how we meet our hero…

Drunk and passed out. You can’t see it, but his motorcycle is crumpled up in a heap somewhere off in the distance. Maybe it was written in the script but something tells me this is just JCVD being JCVD.

Its now occured to me that the movie’s tagline “Left for dead…” isn’t exactly true. More like “Wasted Loser Life, Might Get Up Later.”

The other thing we establish very quickly is that JCVD’s best friend is a guy named Johnny Sixtoes. No one questions this last name, they just plow into the story as if we all didn’t just hear one of the silliest names in movie history.

As the movie will explain to you (through the ramblings of a drunk JCVD) he’s here in the middle of nowhere to drink himself to death over his actions while serving in the Army. Honoring his Army training, he recklessly fires shots in the air, which makes Johnny Sixtoes disappear (the name stays though) and a group of guys in a truck appears upset about JCVD’s inability to understand gun safety.

What follows is flareups of tempers and conflict that could have easily been avoided had these guys just driven away from the gunfire. But that would have been a blissfully short movie and we would have watched another 75 minutes of JCVD slobbering unconsciously.

If there’s one thing this movie has that other Van Damme movies don’t is that Jean-Claude is rocking a cowboy hat for most of it. He clearly really likes himself in said hat, because once its on, he seems reluctant to be without it.

Guns, grenades and cowboy hats….Van Damme for President 2016.

It should be mentioned…

Mr. Miyagi is in this. His role in this movie is useless, which is fantastic because its long been forgotten and he can remain a cherished icon of our childhoods. Instead, he works at a dumpy diner with this little love interest (van DAMN!)

Her acting is genuine – it says, “I’m playing a character that doesn’t know she’s supposed to kiss Jean Claude Van Damme later.”

Johnny Sixtoes comes back. He’s also Danny Trejo, pretending we don’t remember his name is actually Johnny Sixtoes.

He hangs out, soothes Jean Claude’s ego and then disappears into the night. God bless you Johnny Sixtoes. I’m hoping for the sequel where we meet his wife, Susie Fourthumbs.

You would think this movie would be about JCVD overcoming his suicidal guilt Army thoughts, but no, its just about him getting back at the guys who got mad at him for almost shooting them. So his plan of attack is, kill the guys and have Hot Waitress and Mr. Miyagi help dispose of the bodies, making this one of the darkest movies I’ve watched for this blog (please keep in mind I sat through two Insane Clown Posse productions).

I realize JCVD wants us to know that he’s a formidable force for good, but when you garble out dialog and insist on wearing cowboy hats that are too big for your head, it just defeats the purpose.

Man loves his hat. Not much else you can say about it.

He does take it off from time to time though…

Because its extremely hard to do a roundhouse kick in one. If Chuck Norris has mastered it, then he’s not showing it nor talking about it.

The lesson we learn from this is that if you’re depressed, do whatever makes you feel better. If someone has a problem with it, feel free to introduce them to Sonny & Cher (aka your fists).

“You guys, I’m really working my way through the grumpies. Thanks!”

Better than therapy, albeit way more messy. No word on how Mr. Miyagi and Johnny Sixtoes coping skills have held up.

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THE PIRATE MOVIE (1982)

Who else had the desire to see this today? Just me then?

Given the absolute magic that was Xanadu and The Apple its understandable the appeal to create fantastical ’80s musicals meshing fashion and sound, cartoon humor with knowing winks to the audience. So some filmmakers in Australia decided to try their hand at something everyone in the 80s was begging for – a big splashy rendition of the Pirates of Penzance.

The obvious observation out of the gate is giving this film the award for laziest title ever.  We couldn’t name it Pirates of Penzance?  How did that producers meeting go?

Producer 1: Its called Pirates of Penzance and its a musical. People like both of those things, right?

Producer 2: People won’t know what they’re getting! We need to give it a more hip, more contemporary title! We’re calling it The Pirate Movie until we think of something else.”

At this point in my blog I give a quick recap of the plot. To this one, I say, if you have to ask, then this movie just isn’t for you.  You walk in blind and let it dress your brain up in ruffles.

How much sense does this movie make? Absolutely none. None at all.

I had to link the 80s-tastic opening credits. Somewhere Gilbert and Sullivan are shaking their heads and saying, “Don’t put our names on this.”

 

The film doesn’t try for seriousness, in fact it tries for lightheartedness in the way that surgeons try to save patients lives after near fatal car accidents.   Basically, if you’re not making a goofy face on frame, then you’re not doing your job…

“Okay, we wanted this scene to show you’ve got muscles, but how will the audience know we’re being funny?”

Maybe its just this movie was made in a different time, but there was some weirdly sexual scenes included that were played up for laughs.  The ’80s synth music just made it more upsetting.
 The scenes start out innocently enough…

But what you’re missing is the weird grunty sex noises Kristy McNichol makes while Pirate John Tesh flexes his muscles.

This scene also got the Ick Medal…

(shifts uncomfortably, looks down at phone….)

“We’ve got a big goofy song and dance number going on…but the audience might not understand its funny. Get me a silly face!”

This is our villain. He’s hilarious. At least according to the director who kept making him do these faces. Espescially during song and dance numbers.

Maybe you’re asking yourself, “So much dignity left at the door. How low could they go?”

Oh, they went low. Low, like the bottom of the sea.

Literally.

Kristy McNichol sings a song called “Pumpin’ and Blowin…”

…while the guy from Blue Lagoon did a weird awkward dance with animated fish.

No one asked for this, but they gave it to us anyway.

(shifts uncomfortably in my chair, stares at phone)

“Chris, this scene is funny and all but you know what would take it to the next level? Make that funny face!”

I guess an important part of the plot is that our hero can’t go out on his own and be independent from the Pirates of Penzance because he was born on a leap year and is therefore only 5 years old. I’ve filed this story twist away in THINGS TO NEVER USE IN A SCRIPT.

There’s a lot of music that is used in this. Some of it is from the original opera, some of it from a songwriter based in LA that had a “lost weekend*” style writing session when coming up with these songs.

*This infers that there’s a songwriter who did a lot of illegal substances in hopes of touching the mind of God while creating these songs. This is never the way to do it.

During this 90 minute music video, there was a music video that had this romantic montage…

…with scenes that couldn’t have possibly happened, because there was no time in this film’s timeline. Perhaps I am a stickler for the rules of space and time.

“Kristy, you clearly understand the hilarious undertones of hiding out in a knight costume are all dependent on your goofy face. You’ll have to teach Chris…”

Have you discovered your movie is funny, but could be funnier? Gather together the largest group of Keystone Cops possible and watch things really take off.

This is not photoshop. During a swordfight, our hero picks up a lightsaber and waved it around. Clearly our movie was not expecting people to sit this far into it.

The big finale was a high school production of Pirates of Penzance set in one of the chaperone’s yard.

People are playing along, but you can tell everyone who went to Julliard in this lineup is regretting everything espescially not going to that networking meeting where all those Broadway producers showed up.

But none of this matters. You know why?

Because it was all a dream.

OR WAS IT?

Happy endings all around.

And well done to the casting directors who picked the love interests to look like fraternal twins.
(uncomfortably shifts, stares at phone when realizes the implications of that reality).

 

For Your Consideration: MAC AND ME (1988)

I found this little treasure of awfulness and decided to investigate further. It got missed on my first pass through childhood, so here we are, over 25 years later and it demands to be resurfaced.

If you’re not familiar with it, here’s the synopsis:

A troubled child summons the courage to help a friendly alien escape Earth and return to his home-world.

If you’re wondering why I cut and paste the movie synopsis from E.T.’s IMDB page, its because this movie is a total ripoff of that. And that’s all you need to know.

This movie will tell you that its good natured and often funny. This is not the case.

E.T. had the capacity to be loveable.  These aliens are straight out of someone’s drug induced feverish nightmare.

GET THAT THING AWAY FROM ME.

A NASA probe came and sucked them up. That’s how they came to Earth.  Trust me, its just as stupid as it sounds.

Even these scientists are like, “Wait, what?”

 

Mac and Me felt that Elliott from E.T. wasn’t sympathetic enough, so we have Eric, who is in a wheelchair and who’s father has just passed away. What happened, you ask? Given how horrifying these aliens are, apparently the movie thought we’d be dealing with enough as it was.

Based on the family photo next to Eric, it seems Dad’s probably just hiding out in Latin America until whatever ugly incident  that he caused blows over.

Probably the most horrifying thing that happens in this movie is watching this kid helplessly roll down the mountain…

…and off a cliff.

Unfortunately, that’s not the most offensive thing in this movie. That honor goes to non stop product placement.

No one drinks anything but Coke.
The aliens will never leave…now that they’ve found Coke.

E.T. at least made Reese’s Pieces into a “sometimes food”. Mac pretty much just starts freebasing Coke.

The action of the scene is all background. Coke would like to politely remind you that its accepting new followers daily.

Quick! No time to waste – pump these aliens full of Coke, STAT!
It didn’t stop with Coke.  McDonald’s got itself a full 15 minute commercial halfway through this movie.
 This film had no good intentions.  NONE.

 


Should you have a fear of clowns, the sound of Ronald McDonalds’ laughter will grip your soul and take you to a deep dark place.

And then the product placements just got weird….

Well done Clearblue. Well done.

Eric and Mac, now disguised as a bear go to the world’s most choreographed birthday party, sponsored of course by McDonald’s. Tons of people turned out for this party….

…and practiced for hours before hand.

Eric came, sat in his wheelchair as usual and got to watch his new buddy show off his working legs in front of him.

Anytime you see an alien ravenously reading the LA Times, know that they are out to destroy us all.

Tell me, does this scene remind you of anything?

Nope, I got nothin’. If someone could enlighten me, I’d really appreciate it.

There’s a scene where the kids try to escape from the law with Mac and his alien family and end up in a grocery store. Its disturbing and upsetting for a number of reasons. First of all, as much as they try to pass this up as comedy, these aliens just look like deformed humans that are naked.

Secondly, people have two reactions upon seeing them. Casual observance and hysteria….

Queue the security guard with an actual gun. The alien responds by taking the gun and discharging it in a store full of adults and children, putting the whole “good natured and often funny romp” claim into question.

 

The conflict gets taken outside where, logically, more shots are fired which causes the supermarket and a nearby gas station to explode. Eric is caught int he explosion and dies.

That’s right. Our hero, already dealt a crappy hand in life, is killed by a freak accident where the aliens he was trying to help, blew up a supermarket that he was in close vicinity to.

All is not entirely lost – they come and raise him from the dead. Your move, E.T.

Not that our immigration system wasn’t broken enough as it is, Mac’s alien family is granted citizenship in exchange for bringing a American boy back from the dead.  There’s no way the thousands of immigrants who are trying to legally get citizenship aren’t feeling the slightest bit of rage.

Also, Eric may be revived from the dead, but that doesn’t mean he gets his legs back.

E.T. probably would have healed his legs. Just sayin’.

Here’s what I imagine the last page of the script reads:

“Our family drives off, looking all American (1950s) and ready to move on with the next phase – everyone will no doubt accept them and not even question what lurks under their weirdly fitting clothes.”

And then they leave us with this threat, which thankfully never came to fruition.

You’re welcome, America.

 

 

For Your Consideration: MAN OF THE HOUSE (2005)

Once upon a time, there was a mighty force of acting named Tommy Lee Jones.  He uttered the words, “I don’t care!” to Harrison Ford with such deft and might that its been my favorite catchphrase, 20+ years strong.  There was his turn in Coal Miner’s Daughter! No Country for Old Men! Lincoln! Captain America!

However, things weren’t always so bright for Tommy.  He rode high on his Men in Black cash and then reality apparently was so bleak, that he took a little project called Man of the House.

Don’t let the sunny smiles of early twentysomethings with bare midriffs fool you.  Its bleak.

Also, this should not be confused with this slice of 90s treachery….

The lesser Man of the house

For those of you who actually watched this movie for a plot, here you go…Tommy Lee Jones channels his energy from U.S. Marshalls into a romp where cheerleaders witness a horrifying murder and to protect them, he moves into their sorority house and inflicts his crotchetiness on them.  And then he marries a English professor.

We open seeing Tommy Lee Jones doing what he does best. Talkin’ smack and wearing one too many belts.

Cedric The Entertainer makes the first of many unfortunate appearances. Judging from this film, it’d probably be best if we took the “The Entertainer” out of his moniker.

Because I was not entertained.

Moving on….

The girls witness a gruesome murder. Although to follow their eyelines, the blonde girls in the middle are looking at something not only further down the street, but also less concerning.

 The thing that I’m struck by the most in the film is just how everything about Tommy Lee Jones just screams, “I have given up.”

A lowpoint in cinematic history happened at this point – Tommy Lee Jones and a doughy stereotype of a sheriff character oogled co-ed girls in a interrogation room.

The filmmakers would like you all to believe that girls in college sit on couches and stare blankly at older men.  Well, they’re half right.

Dear God….

The look on Tommy’s face pretty much sums up how I felt while watching this.

Fact: many college sororities have altars dedicated to the patron saint of Natalie Portman.

This was the one time in the movie where someone gave it their all, blindly and gleefully. It was almost as though they were tasked with telling the movie it was going to die but wanted to literally put the best face on it.

I just ask that there is no montage scene of Tommy Lee Jones participating in something like roller skating or being faced with unmentionables…

COME ON…..

MAKE IT STOP….

It’s gonna be okay, Tommy. You’re going to go home and call the Coen Brothers.  Everything’s going to be fine.

(pulls out Intervention style letter…) “Dear Tommy, your involvement in this movie has affected me in the following ways: I have forgotten that you were in better movies…..”

And now for the real reason this movie was made….

Look at him, the poor man is just crying for help.

Ever been harassed by a bad movie? Now there’s help. Spielberg’s making a movie about Lincoln. You just have to accept the help that comes along.

Not for this man. The nails have been hammered into an unforgiving coffin.

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION – The Host (2013)

In this week’s post we examine a film that not only came out a few months ago, but probably had a bigger budget than all the other films discussed, combined.  However, just because your film

shoot had studio money to burn, does not make it a worthy pursuit.

Also this:

I realize making fun of Twilight is the world’s easiest thing to do – but if you see this woman’s name stamped on anything, its best to just back out of the room slowly.
On the other hand, this is also the studio’s way of casting blame. “From Stephanie Meyer – so don’t look at us if you hated it….”
This film should also not be confused with this Japanese monster movie, which I haven’t seen but looks way awesome:

 

Moving on…
For those of you unfamiliar with the story, its in no way a rip off of Invasion of the Body Snatchers – its just the tale of a alien invasion that takes out people’s souls and wears their bodies like suits. Nothing like Invasion of the Body Snatchers at all. There’s a girl named Melanie who gets invaded, but the aliens were sloppy about the whole body snatching invasion and so the entire movie is her talking to her alien. They fall in love with two different guys and enjoy harvesting wheat. Also, Diane Krueger keeps her whites whiter while looking for pesky humans.
That being said, here’s the most mockable highlights of this little film:

Melanie wandered into someone’s well lit mansion/library/art gallery and was immediately caught by aliens. Melanie clearly has no concept of how an end times apocalypse works.

Instead of letting the aliens put one of their own in her, she throws herself out the window, where they simply scoop her up and put an alien in her.

Had Melanie seen Invasion of the Body Snatchers, she may have come up with an alternate plan.

For the rest of this film, Melanie and her parasite, now known as The Seeker, will communicate. This will be conveyed to the audience by her staring into the camera and talking to herself.

We’re introduced to Diane Krueger’s character who’s name was probably said at some point, but given that her character required for the depth of cardboard, I don’t remember it.

Wooden characters that we don’t care about? I sense Stephanie Meyer has been in this room….

She asks Seeker to write down whatever memories are left behind. Its really wooden and we don’t care about it.

She obeys and writes down a really boring love story of something that happened earlier….

She met this guy while breaking into his house.

Again, Melanie does not know how an Apocalypse works. You don’t just mosey into an apartment and start going through the refrigerator for lunch meat.

She does however get a boyfriend out of it and they make out a lot. Which we all know, according to Stephanie Meyer’s Guide to the Apocalypse, is the only thing that matters.

Seeker then stares at herself in the mirror. Because she’s really interesting in that way.

She does however escape from a guy in a white suit who moves really awkwardly.

She steals a car and drives as far as she can and then has a accident only involving herself.

Oh Melanie/Seeker…..

Then runs into the desert and passes out. Thankfully, in the Apocalypse, a kind stranger shows up every fifteen minutes….

…and that kind stranger is John Hurt. Well done, Seeker! Most people just get a Guy From That Show a Few Years Ago. When it happens to me, I’ve got my fingers crossed for an Albert Finney or Michael Fassbender.

Diane Krueger is on the case! And just in time for her car to be polished within the very life of itself.

I watched this scene and started to hope for this scene from that other Host….

But whatever….

Melanie/Seeker is taken to a underground commune of hippies/survivors where her previous couch flame just happens to be there to tend to her wounds.

“Yeah, she’s possessed by an alien, but its a girl we used to know. So I’m conflicted. Better let it hang around and make the first move.”

There was this flashback, so Uncle John Hurt has a really good point.

Meanwhile, Diane Krueger is not amused.

Also, if in the future, your alien invasion has left you confused as to who is human and who is alien, let their choice in transportation be your guide.  No alien would be seen dead in a beat up 1994 Chevy Impala.

The action REALLY heats up when everyone goes out to the fields to harvest wheat.

Like, lots of wheat.

 

So. Much. Wheat.

They broke up the action with a car chase scene.  Despite the amount of dust being kicked up, the shine will never go out.  NEVER.
These two are the ones being chased, and not, I repeat, NOT in a ad for Foster Grants.
 Thanks to the quality acting work going on, I am in no way distracted by the fact they are posing in sunglasses with guns. Totally legit.

Its legit because the aliens lost and therefore, humans are better drivers.  Or something. For further questions, ask Stephanie Meyers.

One of our heroes bravely hides behind a bush thats shorter than him. Based on Melanie and this guys actions, humans have not done one thing to prove they deserve to survive.

In true Stephanie Meyers fashion, the other hero tries to kill Melanie/Seeker, but instead falls in the water. She saves his life and then….

…decides she’s in love with him. After all, he did just try to kill her.

I hate this movie. I hate it with the same breath and fire that I hate a Twilight experience.

Its really awkward though, when your host body loves one guy and your parasite loves the other. But thats what happens.
“Its Stephanie Meyer’s fault!” signed, The Studio that released The Host.
Just FYI ladies, no man will buy the whole, “That wasn’t me making out with your best friend! That was my parasite entity!” excuse.

When Cardboard Diane Krueger chases down Melanie/Seeker, a classic case of “The Villain Can Easily Win This” happens….

…but wait! Killing goes against the aliens’ code of ethics. So it doesn’t happen.

Speaking of endings that were ridiculously easy, Melanie’s Seeker gets bored with the movie and decides to step out of room. Presumably to find a better movie to be in.

 

Just a gentle alien parasite that only needed to be gently coaxed out of one’s soul that it was devouring for eternity. Simply cut and let it ooze out.
Quite possibly the stupidest yet easiest way the human race has ever been conquered in cinematic history.
“Its Stephanie Meyers’ fault. Don’t blame us – The Studio That Gave Us The Host.

It neatly fits in a dish….

 

…in which Melanie considers sending it back to Earth…

….but changes her mind and sticks it in the body of a dead girl that they found in the desert.

Seriously. That’s what happened.

“Think of it this way- She wasn’t using her body anyway…”

Lets see what Japan’s Host vision looks like…

So much thematically satisfying…..

And if you need someone to blame, you know who to call.

 

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION – Big Money Rustlas (2010)

Every now and then, a film is released that’s so edifying to the human soul, so poetic in its dreams that it wraps itself around your heart and lifts your spirit in such a way that is completely unexplainable.

And then there’s Big Money Rustlas, which made me want to hurt this movie so badly. The tragic thing is that I can never hurt it in the way its hurt me. I went toe to toe to brash ugly stupidity, and lost when it reared its hideous head, cornered me, then pummeled me with the lowest common denominator of the human experience.

In the end…I was defeated by this movie. I just couldn’t finish it. I crawled away from it and thought of happier days – the pull of the tide, the laughter of children.  Its hard to say when I’ll feel like me again.

There’s a plot – the members of the Insane Clown Posse, still confused on why no one will take them seriously, put on westerny clothes and pretend they’re making a movie.  There is a plot that I assume was hastily written on a napkin, which was used to wipe off wing sauce, which then fell on the floor. I’m also assuming the editing floor was surprisingly clean after this was deemed good to go.

Here’s some moments. I hated all of them.

Separately, I could tell you what these words mean.  Put together, I just don’t understand.

 

You can make me read all you want, movie, still going to hate you.

Tom Sizemore shows up for no reason. Don’t you have a urine test to fail somewhere?

 

Here’s what you need to know about this scene. Purple and gold are complimentary colors.  Unlike this man and acting talent.

Let’s say you’re involved in a shootout and want to stay hidden. Might I suggest you don’t where bright white clown makeup?

I’d make a horse’s ass joke here, but its just too easy. Also my soul was hurting at the time.

Hey guys – let’s decide who we’re shooting at before we commit to putting this scene on film.

I hate everything about this movie.  I hate the fact that people got up at dawn and brewed coffee, sliced bagels so that the crew would have the energy to film this movie.

Once upon a time, this was a mother’s little miracle. And now I hate everything.

Bridget Nelson and Jimmy J Walker finally together in a scene that nobody asked for, doing things that nobody wanted.

The well crafted dialogue and cinematography blend so perfectly together in this story, its hard to pick up on the subtle racism that peeks out of the blankets of filmmaking, then hits you over the head with a oversized clown hammer.

I…just can’t.  If this had been a real injury, I’d just assume that we were watching God’s judgement unfold in real time.

“Hey guys! What if we have a guy in leather shoot lasers out of his eyes during one part. Because I saw it in a movie once. There’s money in the budget for that, right?”

Everytime a clown laughs, a child’s dream dies a dark humiliating death.

This movie made me wish for the deceptive simplicity and heart strings tugging approach of Convoy.  May this film be translated to film stock then stored in a dark damp place. Like a cheese factory. Or the ample mouth of a member of the Insane Clown Posse.