WMGB5 - When Summer Movies Go Bad
posted by B on 8/16/01
Previously, on "When Movies Go Bad"...
You thought we were done. But something SINISTER this way comes!
School is out and it's a sort of a buzz
a back then I didn't really know what it was
but now I see what have of this
the way that people respond to SUMMER MADNESS
From the mouth of the man responsible for "Wild Wild West" comes a foreboding warning...you shouldn't have gone to see any movies this summer. I shouldn't have either. But I did. I did it for you!
If you're worried about ***SPOILERS*** in this article, stay away. It's not the most ramble free thing I've ever written, but you get the idea. It turns out that at the end of "The Others" that Bruce Willis is actually Abraham Lincoln. So enjoy.
Year of Release: 2001
The Pitch: Okay, so there's this big house out in the middle of nowhere surrounded by hidden gravestones and an eerie fog. The only people that live there are a woman who routinely goes mad and tries to kill people, and two children who will die if they are exposed to sunlight. Out of nowhere, three mysterious strangers show up. So, if you can even BELIEVE it, SOMETHING FISHY HAPPENS. And I'm not talking Fishstick Guy wants to stick his hook into Brandy's long lasting forehead kinda fishy, I'm talking "the smell if Aquaman from the Justice League and Merman from Masters of the Universe gangbanged that Miss Cleo Crab from the Little Mermaid" fishy. Aquaman could TALK to the fishy!!!11
Starring: Nicole Kidman, filmed somewhere between the time of her heartbreaking divorce to Tom Cruise and those few months filming Moulin Rouge where she had to learn all those song lyrics with Ewan McGregor's lightsaber (I'm such a good writer) placed firmly into the back of her throat. Also, lots of kids with really goofy limey accents. By "goofy" I mean less like a normal British person and more like "AH DON'T LIKE SPAM." Any minute you expect all the Vikings in the haunted house to start chanting "SPAM SPAM SPAM SPAM."
Reason for Release: The Sixth Sense made a whole lot of money a few years ago, right? So now "horror" qualifies as an overdose of mood-lighting and 20 minute soliloquies where people just breathe really heavy until a loud noise happens. Remember when you and your friends would stay up till three in the morning cheering along as Jason snuck outta the bushes and cut the stupid handicapped kid's head in two with a lawnmower blade, and you cheered and it was awesome? "The Others" is the OPPOSITE of the feeling you remember.
Where it Went Wrong: You ever start reading what looks like it's gonna be a really great book, and then about halfway through the first paragraph this feeling of indifference takes over and you flip to the back of the book? And then the book's got a really awful ending, one that you could've predicted by half of the opening paragraph, like 300 pages ago? That's what watching "The Others" is like, whoever wrote the screenplay seemed to be making one of those "read-along-with-the-movie" storybooks with the records in the back of them. At the risk of "spoiling" everything for the six of you who are rushing out to the theater after reading this, here's a brief "The Others: Director's Cut" to express my opinions. I'm not quite Paul at this, but I'll give it a shot:
Nicole Kidman: (opening the door) Hello creepy old woman, creepy old man, and strange mute girl...welcome to my home where something VERY strange happened many years ago, and where all the servants just suddenly disappeared a few weeks ago. Come on in, let me tell you about why we have to keep it PITCH BLACK at ALL times, and OOH, remind me to show you the basement where we keep Dracula and the WOLFMAN tied up. Try not to get eaten!
Limey Daughter: Mummy, lately I've been seeing strange things, like the ghosts of a creepy old woman, a creepy old man, and a strange mute girl who had something REALLY AWFUL happen to them in this house years ago!
Limey Son: I see DEAD people, mummy! If I see anymore dead people I'll just DIE!
Nicole Kidman: That's absurd! As a religious woman who randomly goes mad and tries to kill people, I can't possibly believe that there are any ghosts in my old haunted house! Oh, by the way kids, I saw your dead father in the fog yesterday! And I haven't seen any LIVING people in YEARS! Now go away and let me show the creepy old woman, creepy old man, and strange mute girl around. Go read and study hard about DEATH.
Kids: Yay! Let's go sit in the darkness and act like ghosts!
And it goes on like that for HOURS. The script goes the paint-by-numbers way and just foreshadows everything at once right there at the beginning so you don't have to worry about feeling any emotions or thinking for yourself. Well, it only goes on like that for TWO hours, but it seems like it's a lot longer. About six seconds into the movie I was checking my watch. And I don't even have a watch. I was just DYING to get out of there!
Where it REALLY Went Wrong: From the opening tip. Ever since "Scream" breathed new life into the horror genre, it reanimated the corpse of a much more pretentious, much more snooze-inducing zombie. It's like a choose your own poison...you can have the movie with all the hot girls in it, that has no story, bad special effects, and a story you can find in a crumpled up ball in the trashcan of whoever writes those "Goosebumps" books. If you don't want that, you have to get the slow moving "tension" picture, like "Lost Souls," where the people, like I said before, just stand there and then scream when a loud noise happens.
Is it too much to ask to have a movie where hot girls are running away from zombies and getting their brains eaten? A slasher movie that really delivers the guts and ass, instead of the "OH MY GOD MY BOYFRIEND IS THE KILLER I NEVER KNEW!!!!!!!11111" plot twist. I don't care what you did last summer, I still don't care what you did last summer, and if you ask me again I'm gonna strap your elongated head to the back of my Toyota Camry and drive you into the ocean. WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM MEEEEEEEEEE!
Overall: Any horror movie/suspense thriller where the body count is "zero" has a lot to make up for anyway, and "The Others" just doesn't pick up the slack it lets hang. The "plot twists" in the movie are seen from so far away that a drunken cosmonaut could stagger to the window of his half-assed Soviet space station and call it in to mother Russia before the opening credits are done. Yeltsin can phone it across to George Dubya and, if he can manage to keep his brain cells from revolting against him and melting his face off, can alert the American public of the twist. By the time the movie fumbles towards the twist everyone's lost interest, and has snuck across the movie theater to catch the last 15 minutes of "The Princess Diaries."
Have you seen her hair? FRIZZBALL!
Jurassic Park 3
Year of Release: 2001
The Pitch: A guy who almost got killed in the most ludicrous and unbelievable way ever...on an island full of dinosaurs...gets tricked into going back to the SAME Island, because Tea Leoni wants to see if she can scare Velociraptors just by looking at them, like she does to humans.
Starring: Sam Neill, Tea "I Cause People to Bleed From Their Eyes" Leoni-Duchovnyy, the same special effects they used back in 1994, and William H. Macy, who breaks through typecasting to play a complete loser, something he didn't do in "Boogie Nights," "Magnolia," "Mystery Men," "Fargo," "Pleasantville," "Air Force One," or "Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon." Sho'nuff.
Reason for Release: The first Jurassic Park movie made 900 million dollars. The Lost World (Jurassic Park 2) made 600 million dollars. So why wouldn't Jurassic Park 3 make at least 300 dollars? This equation will continue on until Jurassic Park 27 (just an old VHS copy of "Pre-hysteria" repackaged) will become available in discount bins at finer video stores across the nation for a mere seven cents. Hey, it worked for "The Land Before Time."
Where it Went Wrong: In "Jurassic Park" the big threat was the Tyrannosaurus Rex, the most popular dinosaur of all-time and a special effects marvel. In "Lost World" the threat is more T-Rex, only this time it gets out and destroys America and a little black girl does gymnastics and everything is fine (so I could tell, I was fighting off hibernation). So what, are they gonna go with the T-Rex again? NOT IN HOLLYWOOD GOD DAMMIT!
This time we get the "Spinosaur," who is JUST like the T-Rex only BIGGER and he has SPIKES on his back and has SHARPER TEETH and likes to EAT MORE HUMANS!! Michael Crichton has the writing ability of a 10th grade Creative Writing student ANYWAY (oh man, now let's make a SWAT TEAM fight the dinosaurs!), but instead of going to Crichton for JP3 the boys at Universal hung out with the failed abortions playing the Digimon card game at the local comic shop. "Oh man, you guys suck, you shoulda put WINGS on the T-Rex and have him shoot FIRE out of his mouth! OH CRAP WILL JURASSIC THREE HAVE LORD OF THE RINGS TRAILERING BEFORE IT??////????"
After all...SOMEBODY went to see "Dungeons and Dragons" when it was in the theater, and it wasn't just the Wayans Family. But with 10,000 of them being around y'never know. MO MONEY MO MONEY MO MONEY.
In Jurassic Park 4 Dr. Grant and mumbly-Joe (Jeff Goldblum) must try to get off the Island and escape sudden INSTANT MURDER HELL from the DREADED TRI-SCARE-ATOPS!
He's my friend and a whole lot more.
Where it REALLY Went Wrong: The plot twist. "The Raptors can talk to each other...like we never thought before!" Basically whenever the Raptors get ready to attack they go "WHARG," which used to mean "WHARG" but NOW, since it's a new movie and they've eVoLvEd it means "Jesus Christ is that Tea Leoni? Let's eat her face and string up her intestines so we're never forced to sit through Family Man 2." And then the other raptor goes "WHARG" and it means "Yeah, for real, or a 'Deep Impact 2'...I was rooting for the world to be destroyed." And then both raptors go "WHARG WHARG WHARG" because they're satisfied with a laugh at someone else's expense.
I guess there's only so many times you can write about the EXACT same thing and keep it interesting. That's why so many sitcoms end up adding precocious brats and cartoons (especially the movies) always introduce the "new generation" that nobody likes. So, just as the Care Bears movie gave birth to the "Care Bear Cousins" and just as Optimus Prime took a dirt nap so Hot Rod could get a push, Jurassic Park 3 replaces the realism that astounded us the first time around with raptors who talk and have spiky haircuts. Hopefully next time the raptors will learn to snowboard and drink Mountain Dew. WHARG TO THE MAX!!!!
Overall: With such queef-inducing human characters, I find myself, like the two times before, cheering on the tiny little meeping dinosaurs. Hopefully those little buggers will get into Tea Leoni's orifices and chew her out from the insides. That way we're spared any resurgence of "The Naked Truth" on our televisions, and David Duchovny can go back to being a transvestite. Maybe that'd make the X-Files interesting again.
Wait a minute, what am I saying? Gillian Anderson could be making out with shapeshifting alien clone hookers and the X-Files still wouldn't be interesting. Actually yes. Yes it would.
Year of Release: 2001
The Pitch: Ben Affleck + trivializing a nation tragedy + 3 hours = SMASH MOUTH MOVIEMAKING~!!1!. And what better way to convey the raw emotions of the men and women who bravely fight to keep our nation free than with Michael Bay's complete inability to show emotion of any kind!
Starring: Ben Affleck, who was the bomb in Phantoms yo, Kate Beckinsale, who was the bomb on her bathroom floor with her fingers jabbed down her throat, and Josh Harnett, who, as of this writing, has been "the bomb" in nothing. His Mom thinks he's cool. The supporting cast includes Alec Baldwin, who appears to still be caught in that Canteen Boy sketch, and Cuba Gooding Jr., who does such a good job that they keep his screen time in the three hour movie to under half a minute. Not to mention James King.
Are you ready for some high class fashion modeling Whatever-Dude.com?? You wanted the best...you got the best! The hottest nipple rings in the world...James King!
You know you want them. You can use them to hang notes on when you're done.
Where it Went Wrong: First of all, the film is completely lacking nipple rings of any kind, so it's automatically disqualified from being the epic that it claims to be. Second of all, the key to pulling off a three hour movie is to fill it with good acting. With the exception of Cuba Gooding Jr.'s presence the whole movie comes across looking like a Max Fisher production from "Rushmore."
Granted, the actual bombing of Pearl Harbor is really well done and is one of the most stunning (visually anyway) 45 minutes or so of special effects you'll see. Unfortunately it's mired in an ignorant premise, most notably the fact that the United States armed forces are helpless against the surprise attack until Ben Affleck single-handedly sends them running away screaming a la an attack from King Ghidora. It's everything you'd expect it to be, complete with the strategically placed "slight head wound" on Affleck and the slow motion scenes of the Japanese government looking all distressed. Shortly after he hops into a short yellow bus and single-handedly destroys everyone with down syndrome, before piloting a big bagel and taking out the Jews. Michael Bay is SUCH a great director.
If nothing else the scene helps set up the most amazing and emotional scene in movie history...the usually cardboard Affleck reacting to Josh Harnett's gunshot wound. You can practically see the make-up guys dabbing little beads of sweat on his forehead as he clutches his pretty best friend to cries of "OH MAN, BRO, YOU GOT SHOT MAN...OH BRO, COME ON BRO!" American audiences have not seen such an accurate display of idiots dealing with loss since Alex Winters' infamous "Ted..don't be dead, dude!"
Where it REALLY went wrong: "And EEEEV-ry WHEEERE-I AAAAM there you'll BEEEEEE(pause)-heeeeeee...." You expect the standard "dun dunna dun...dun dunna dun" score from any Bay production, but Pearl Harbor's decidedly NOT Titanic-like themesong takes the silver medal for lamest song effort of the year, narrowly losing the spot to the Delilah classic "Christmas Shoes." Make your own decision for what is lamer -- a song about a kid begging for shoes so his Mom won't be uncomfortable when she meets Jesus, or the theme song to a movie about the triumph of the human spirit:"Sir I wanna buy these shoes for my momma please,
It's Christmas eve and these shoes are just her size,
Could you hurry sir,
Daddy's says there's not much time.
You see she's been sick for quite a while,
and I know these shoes would make her smile
and I want her to look beautiful
If Momma meets Jesus tonight."
"In my dreams I'll always see you soar above the sky
In my heart there will always be a place for you
For all my life
I'll keep a part of you with me
And everywhere I am, there you'll be.
I believe I can fly. I believe I can touch the sky. Whoo."
Yeah, I think the Olympic committee made the right choice. But Faith definitely wins the title of "Captain Redundancy." Everywhere I'll always remember her lyrics no matter where I am for all times forever.
Overall: I hope Michael Bay's next movie is about the Revolutionary War. I've always wanted to see Thomas Jefferson streak across the frontier in a rocket car, and who wouldn't want to see George Washington shinobi shuriken toss his wooden teeth into some redcoat's forehead? Heath Ledger can play George. Heath Ledger is the new Mel Gibson! It could have a soundtrack by Crazy Town! Crazy Town is the new White Town!
All in all it's three hours of my life wasted, I could've watched Josie and the Pussycats two times in the time it took me to fight away the grim specter of death in that movie theater. How am I supposed to get behind a love triangle when the woman is the most immoral character in the movie? She shacks up with Ben Affleck because she gave him a shot in his ass and though he was cute (in that New Kid sort of way...call him Donnie). Then, when she thinks he's dead she hooks up with his best friend. She gets pregnant by the friend, and decides to stick beside him, even when she finds out Affleck's not dead. Then, about 20 hours later when the friend dies she hooks back up with Affleck and makes Ben the father of her child. That's the kind of woman I want to shoot with my vintage airplane, not the Japanese. The Japanese gave us schoolgirl panty vending machines, inner-city robot battle fantasies, and Chansey, the nurse Pokémon. Ben Affleck gave us "Forces of Nature," "Shakespeare in Love," and "Bounce," a movie called that even though it's about a guy who dies in a plane crash. Which side would you be rooting for?
Dave, we're not big fans of your work. Tonight you meet the Dudley Boys in a handicapped tag team table match!
Exactly. Domo arigato.
This is the Fresh Prince's new defintion of summer madness..
Please Visit The team I would not want to play High School Football for...