The Rating System
Kex Liked It:
It Really Sucked:
It Sucked as bad as Eyes Wide Shut:
It Sucked badly enough to bring the world to the brink of apocalypse:
CAUTION! CAUTION! CAUTION!
WARNING! WARNING! WARNING!
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS A MAJOR GRADE A PLOT SPOILER!
I am breaking tradition by reviewing a movie that was released last week rather than a first day release for two reasons: First, for some reason or another, I have received more curious inquiries about this film both from people who have already seen and those who are considering seeing it than any other movie that has been released this summer. Second, the competition just wasn't that formidable.
On the one had, there is a new action adventure starring Wesley Snipes.
Frankly, I'd rather loop a bungy chord around my gonads and jump off a tall building than see that. Then there was the new cheerleader competition movie, Bring It On. Yeah, I was enthusiastic about seeing that one. I hated the last movie I saw about a cheerleader, and I hated the last two movies I saw that starred Kirsten Dunst. That sounded a lot like winning a trip to Las Vegas and discovering as you board the plane that the destination is Las Vegas, New Mexico. Finally, there was yet another old farts dealing with the modern world flick, and I filled my quota on that genre a couple of weeks ago. So I backtracked and took a look at The Cell, and by the time it was over, Bring It On was starting to look downright attractive.
Within the deep subconscious of each human being, there is a dark pit of fear, superstition and reptilian instinctful lust that is the source of all nightmares. As I watched this movie attempting to surpress the growing assaults of nausea, I could only regret ever setting sail on this bleak voyage. Somehow, the entire experience seemed all too much like a pathetic journey through something probably much like G. Gordon Liddy's own private seventh circle of hell. By the end, I could only wonder if the title referred to the terrifying inner prison in the mind of every human, or the one brain cell the script writer sacrificed to create this garbage.
Let's not mince any more words. To all those who have wanted my opinion on this film, this is it: It was the most despicable and loathsome piece of filmmaking I have ever seen. Ever. I'm not just talking about in the 15 months since I started doing these reviews. I am saying EVER, as in the 4+ decades that I have been a human being on this planet. I'd rather stick my head in a full bucket of Rush Limbaugh's urine and blow bubbles for half an hour than to ever even remotely consider sitting though this crap-a-thon again. I'd rather sit through a John Travolta film festival with back-to-back-to-back showings of Saturday Night Fever, Grease and Battlefied Earth than to sit through this movie again.
Now, a lot of filmmakers have been raving about the "artistic" qualities of this movie. I'll concede that there was a lot of impressive scenerary and memorable images, but the same could be said of that overpoweringly crappy Robin Williams movie "What Dreams May Come ". That movie was such a stinker outside of its visual qualities that it would have sucked even if Robin Williams hadn't been in it. Quite frankly, anyone who can find anything even slightly redeeming about this trainload of elephant shit probably spends a lot of time torturing small, furry animals to death.
There isn't much of a plot to summarize here. Catherine Deane (Jennifer Lopez) is a psychiatrist who is part of a team that has found a way to allow one person to enter the dreams of another. She is working with a boy who has schitzophrenia in order to help him overcome his personal demons. Meanwhile, a demented serial killer is loose on the world (Vincent D'Onofrio). His modus operandi is to kidnap beautiful women, then torture them in a cell that slowly fills with water (What is this fixation Hollywood directors seems to have lately with torturing women to death by drowning them?). After they drown, he bleaches their bodies to look like dolls. Apparently he loved dolls as a child, but his father tortured him for it.
The FBI, led by agent Peter Novak (Vince Vaughn) catches the killer, but his schitzophrenia has already turned him into a vegetable just prior to his capture. But they know he has kidnapped another victim, and that they only have 40 hours to figure out where she is before she dies in the self controlled torture chamber. Thus they enlist the help of the dream entry team.
The movie revolves around Catherine's explorations into the serial killer's mind, in which he is alternately a hurt child, and an omnipotent god-king. At one point, she becomes physically trapped in his mind, and Agent Vaughn has to go in after her. He rescues her, and figures out where the trapped girl is, leading to her eventual rescue, just in time of course. Unfortunately, that plot point unwinds into an afterthought.
There would probably be some measure of rightful justice to naming the director and screenwriters of this horror, but I don't even want to look them up. It occurs to me that there exists a finite possibility that one day, I just might find myself in the same room with them. Should that come to pass, I think I would rather not know. These have to be some seriously sick, twisted people. Sometimes, ignorance really is bliss.
I'd like to be able to think of an analogy to describe just how sick this movie is, but I don't think its within my psychological capability. Remember when Bambi's mother got shot? Suppose the story had continued with the hunter plopping her on his jeep, taking her home cutting her up graphically on camera, roasting her up, and sitting the family down to a meal. After dinner, the hunter goes out, kidnaps Pinnochio, brings him home, and tosses him on the fire? Nope, still not even close. Maybe if at the end of Old Yeller, the family had carved him up for Thanksgiving dinner? Not even close. This is a work of cinema so completely and vulgarly warped that I have gained a whole new artistic appreciation for Peewee's Big Adventure.
Needless to say, I recommend STRONGLY that you skip this one. I'd advice against rental as well. In fact, if I ever find myself on a long plane flight where this is the in-flight movie, I'm going to give some really serious consideration to Conaning the hatch off the bulkhead. I've seen some buzzing from reviewers that this movie could become a big cult classic. If it does, I think it just might be a good idea to chain up all the theaters where it is showing at the midnight movie some night and fire bomb them. I guarantee that there will be no one inside society will ever miss.
Previously Week: Old Farts In Atlantis:
This final score just in: Jurassic Park 3 American Pie 2
And now that we have gone for the easy joke, its okay to move right along and explain what a completely sucky piece of trash Hearts In Atlantis is. I suppose if someone were to put a gun to my head and demand that I say something NICE about this movie, I could always offer that at least it wasn't an 8 hour mini-series. Generally speaking, Stephen King's movies translate better into T.V. mini series than they do 2 hour movies. For the most part, they are too complex to reduce to short treatments. But this was absolutely the worst effort yet.
Apparently Hearts In Atlantis suffered especially significantly in the translation. All it lost was plot, story, character development, audience interest...in short everything. I get the feeling in this case that the problem really wasn't one of the film suffering much from necessary extraction from book form. I think the book itself probably sucked to. I've got some field support on that opinion.
I wasn't even five minutes into the film when I realized that I wasn't going to be able to empathize with the film's main character in the least. In fact, I thought he was an absolute imbecile, and he kept doing things to confirm my suspicions. The film opens with our hero, Robert Garfield, apparently a famed professional photographer, playing with some lenses.
Shortly, he receives a Fed Ex package which contains an aged baseball mitt. It is accompanied by a letter informing him of the death of his childhood pal, Sully, who has left him the mitt in his will. Naturally, he makes preparations to head out to the funeral, and quickly exposes himself for the moron he is.
The first thing he does before leaving is to prepare a telephone message for the interested world. It went something like this: "Hi everyone. The wife and kids are off skiing, and I'm going to be gone for a few days too." Right. What he should have added, but didn't, was "So if anyone who wants to come over and steal everything I own, this would be a pretty good time."
Garfield goes to the funeral and pays his last respects to his friend. Again, I lost respect for the man. Hey, he was at the funeral of an old, childhood pal who left him a freaking baseball glove. Stocks? No. Bonds? No. Securities? No. Cash? No. A freaking baseball glove that was worn out 40 years ago. I'm not paying respects to this guy. I travel a thousand miles to his funeral and take a whizz in his casket. That would have been appropriate.
THEN we find out that Garfield isn't really there to pay respects to his friend anyway. What he really traveled some distance across the country to do was to boink his old childhood girlfriend. Unfortunately she is already dead. This being a story based on a Stephen King novel, I was prepared to crawl under my seat and avert my eyes in preparation for the inevitable scene involving some really sick grave robbing and necrophilia, but we were spared that. I guess it just didn't occur to King.
Garfield then visits his deteriorating, boarded-up childhood home and neighborhood. He brilliantly observes that the area hasn't fared well, which was right up there with saying that Hiroshima had a tough time during the closing days of WWII. It looked like a good stiff windstorm would leave the whole block as a pile of kindling.
Finally, we are "treated" to a lengthy flash-back of Garfield's childhood in this small Connecticut town. His mom is a struggling widow, who can't afford to buy him anything more than a library card for his 11th birthday, but can afford all the new dresses she wants. I liked her right away too. A new boarder, Ted, moves into their home, an aged psychic played by Anthony Hopkins. His job in the film is to teach Garfield what a wonderful experience childhood is.
Just in case you are wondering what the baseball glove and Sully have to do with the entire movie, the answer is, not much. We never actually see Sully and Garfield playing baseball. We scarcely see them playing together at all. The movie mostly drags along with Garfield pondering the joys of kissing his girlfriend, and Ted staring off into space, when he isn't saying trite philosophical things.
Eventually Garfield's mom gets fired and finds a new job in Boston. Ted is hauled away by the FBI who covets his apparent psychic powers. Garfield never sees Sully or his girlfriend again. But we end the film with him reminiscing about the how this was the last "summer" of his life, even though all the action clearly takes place in autumn.
He ends the movie back in the present, where he meets his ex-girlfriend's daughter and gives her an old picture. This deprived us of the ending we really wanted to see, where he returns home and finds his house emptied of all his possessions. But the credits rolled and we missed out.
I walked out of the theater seeing a lot of people crying. I think it had something to do with the fact that they had just blown eight bucks a piece on tickets, a fiver on popcorn, and another fiver on each soft drink. I was having my own cash layout ideas though. They went something like this:
Plane tickets to Bangkor Maine: $500
A box of large grade A eggs $1.89
Taxi Fair to Stephen King's house: $40
Egging the home of America's most overrated fiction writer: priceless.
Last Week: Serving Sara:
So, we went to the Bronco preseason game Thursday night, and while I enjoyed it, something really
bugged me. Why is it that every kickoff, every incomplete pass, every replay, every player
substitution, and every other damned thing has to have a sponsor? There were so many companies
pimping at that game I could have sworn I was driving down East Colfax on Saturday night. I tell
you, it was just disgusting.
The proceeding editorial comment is brought to you by the Adolph
Coors Brewing Company. And now, a message from Pete Coors: "Hey young people, I know we show
a lot of TV commericals featuring young people drinking and having a good time. But don't
misinterpret our message. Please don't drink until you are 21"...*wink wink*
This week's feature review is Serving Sara, which was released last week, but there were
no significant new releases this week, so I backtracked. The critical question that arises
immediately when watching this movie occurs very simply. How wildly desperate is Matthew Perry
to advance his career beyond the albatross of the T.V. series Friends when he is willing
to completely prostitute his career by shoving his arm elbow-deep into the hindquarters of a
What else was this guy willing to do to get a lead role in a movie? Mow the producer's yard?
Wash his car? Do his laundry? Polish his knob? It's more than I really want to think about. Then
again, how low has Hollywood's opinion of the tastes and sense of humor of the general public
sunk when they present that kind of thing for our consumption in the name of laughter? I warned
you folks two years ago that crap like Scary Movie was going to come back to haunt us.
Time to pay the piper.
The punctation marks in the previous paragraph are sponsored tonight by The Phillip Morris Family
of companies. "Yes, we are a FAMILY of companies. We make nice things like Nabisco products, and
lots of other neat things. So what if one of them is an addictive and dangerous carcinogen that
kills tens of thousands of people annually? Remember that magic word...*F*A*M*I*L*Y*"
I learned a lot of neat things watching Serving Sarah. Here are some of them:
The following list is brought to you by Microsoft. Remember, Microsoft, makers of fine software
like Microsoft Works...(Microsoft works? yeah, bullshit)
* Process servers make lots of money. So, apparently, do Companies that do Process Serving. They
can fly people all over the country first class, and process servers can afford to fork over several
hundred dollars a day to bribe people to help them carry out their task.
* If you bribe a police officer in New York City, they will not only happily accept your bribe,
but they will almost instantly drop whatever important thing they are doing in order to help you
do whatever you need done. Especially if you are a process server. This in lieu of taking your
bribe, then throwing your ass in jail.
* You can go to the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, slide down the baggage conveyors without anyone
making a serious effort to stop you, or initiating an intense security breach alert. After you've
opened a lot of other people's luggage and ripped off some of their clothing, you can simply
walk out of the airport unquestioned, and not end up spending the rest of your life in jail.
* Defense attorneys who suddenly develop a conscious generally become process servers.
* A wimpy little smart ass like Matthew Perry can get his ass wiped all over the road by a couple
of gigantic mafia enforcers without suffering more than a broken fingernail and a minor nosebleed.
I think that one is pretty good news.
Elizabeth Hurley costars in this movie as a woman who is being dumped by her rich husband, because
he wants to hook up with a younger lady. Perry is assigned to serve her with divorce papers, but
she turns the tables when she offers him a million bucks if he will serve her husband instead.
It seems that if Perry serves Hurley's husband first, she will stand to do better in the settlement
since the laws in New York are more favorable to women than those in Texas.
But the company Perry works for stands to make a fortune on the deal, so they assign one of their
other servers to get to Hurley before Perry can get to her husband. WARNING! PLOT SPOILER AHEAD!
Hurley gets served first, but a picture reveals that the company server has forgotten to set his
watch back from New York time, leaving Perry with most of an hour to get to Hurley's husband.
Yeah, that would play in a court of law about like a Klan march in Watts.
The proceeding slam was sponsored by The Ford Motor Company. Ford where quality is job one. Putting
out the fire is job two.
I didn't like any of the people in this movie very much. Hurley struck me as a gold digging whore,
and her incredulity when her husband demanded a divorce came off pretty hollow. Perry was a smart
ass who would have lasted about as long as a process server as Pee Wee Herman in the NFL. As you
might expect, Hurley gets her divorce and half of her ex's loot, Perry gets his million, then
marries Hurley, and buys a vineyard in California. What we didn't see was Hurley subsequently
dumping Perry's ass and getting most of her money back, but maybe next August...
This review has been proudly sponsored by Dell...but would YOU really buy a computer from that guy?
Last Week: Whale Rider:
Watching a movie like this is sort of like getting your oil changed. I don't really look forward
to it. In fact, I rather resent having to devote precious time in my life to it. On the other
hand, I would be a lot worse off in the long run if I didn't occasionally invest the time.
So, every once in awhile, you just swallow the bad taste, and do what you have to do.
This is the kind of movie that makes me pretty glad I don't actually review movies for a living.
For several weeks I've been reading rave reviews about this film, almost all from guys who
actually DO review movies to put bread on the table. Now, I'll say up front that this movie
wasn't terrible. It just wasn't anything special. I could easily forget I saw it a month from
If you are a critic by profession, however, films like this probably really start to stand out
in your mind as a shining jem in the ocean of crap you have to traverse. When you have to see
10 or so movies a week as a rule, and about 9 of them deal almost exclusively with car chases
and martial arts battles, anything that has none of the above has to start to look pretty good
by comparison. Hence, Whale Rider is enjoying critical praise way above what it rightfully
This is a movie about a little girl who lives in a small tribal group in New Zealand, or somewhere
thereabouts. Her grandfather is the tribal leader, and for some reason, he seems to believe that
is son will sire some sort of great prophetic leader who will return the tribe to the glory days
of old. Naturally, the child in question will be a male child.
Before we proceed here, let me note that I am going to make no effort whatsoever to try to
include the names of the characters, or the actors who portrayed them. You won't recognize the
actors names anyway, and the character names are a bowl of alphabet soup.
As the movie begins, our heroine is born, along with a twin brother, the apparent messiah-leader.
However, the male infant dies, along with the mom. Thus old gramps is wildly disappointed, and
begins imploring his son to remarry and have another male son. His badgering begins even before
the corpse of his son's wife is much below normal body temperature.
But the young man has rather different aspirations in life than becoming the tribal leader, and
raising the prophesized tribal messiah. He is an aspiring artist, and would rather trot around
Europe selling his wares. After viewing some of his creations during a brief moment in the movie,
we actually begin to think gramps has a point, but clearly, things just aren't going to go
Not that we are particularly sympathetic to the old guy either. He is sort of a pig-headed lout,
and can't even begin to consider that our young heroine might become the great leader he is
waiting for. She shows both the interest and aptitude as she grows up, but gramps simply can't believe that
the tribe will be returned to greatness by someone with indoor plumbing, if you get my drift.
Effectively, gramps wouldn't be able to recognize a sign from the gods if his granddaughter
started shitting gold bricks out of her ass.
Actually, we have people sort of like gramps in America. They have no vision, no flexibility,
they are disgustingly sexist, and without vision or imagination. We call them Republicans.
Curious thing is, that we also make the mistake of awarding them with leadership positions, which
pretty much disqualifies us from passing judgements on tribes like the group gramps leads....not
that we don't anyway.
Eventually gramps is given a sign so profound that not even a narrow-minded pig could ignore,
when his grand daughter saves a group of whales during a mysterious beaching incident. The
little girl fulfills her destiny, and the movie ends happily. I think it serves as a very
inspirational message for girls right here in our own country: They can grow up to be anything
they want, as long as their family escapes to New Zealand, and they aren't overly grossed out
by decaying beached whales.
There were a couple of things that bothered me about this film though. Part of the training the
tribal leader received involved learning how to use a stick-like weapon. I imagine that someone
who got good with it could take out several able-bodied men in a short period of time. A skilled
master could do some serious property damage with the instrument too. That qualifies it as
a weapon of mass destruction in my mind.
Further, the tribal leader apparently had some signficant psychic power over whales. A pod of
whales could really disrupt shipping activity, even doing signficant damage to commerical and
military vessels. Acts of that nature are easily definable as terrorism. Looks to be like old
Shrub better be rounding up some troups and sending them to New Zealand as soon as possible. You
just can't be too careful these days. Yeah, I know it is moronic, but did that stop us last time?
Last Week: A Shark's Tale:
Animated movies are the most challenging reviews I do on this page.
The problem is that unless they are just rollingly awful crap, as, or
example, Chicken Run, they present annoyingly small targets.
Just how does one go about really taking a cheap shot at an animated
movie? You can't say that the acting was bad. Afterall, we never really
see the actors. Wrong voice inflections? Heck, the actor doing the
voiceover could have had a cold that day. Bad animation. Maybe, but if
that is true, everyone is going to see it. Its like saying that George Bush is
That is obvious to everyone. Its just that some people have such low
standards that they are apparently willing to accept it. I have never
really understood that mindset, and it may well be that this November,
we will just be trading one idiot for another. But making progress
sometimes involves taking that kind of chance. Its not like we could
really do worse.
How about saying that the story is bad? Yes, that can be true to. Its
just that everytime I blast an animated movie, I get tons of email
from people that sound exactly like Republicans when someone correctly
points out what an idiot Bush is: "Well, maybe he isn't too bright, but
he's our leader and if you don't support him you are unpatriotic. Maybe
even a (drumroll) TERRORIST!"
Pleeeeeease, people. I swear, if Dick Cheney told those people that we
were going to sell America's wealth to the gypsies tomorrow, they'd be
lining up to help load the trucks. But those of us who point out that
our nation is being run by wreckless sociopaths are the bad guys these
days. Makes sense to me.
So its tough to say bad things about animated movies. If the story is
bad, hey, its a kids movie dammit. Its not War and Peace. Thank
heaven for small favors. War and Peace is probably the most
tedious piece of crap I've ever been forced to read. And believe you me,
my vast expanse of reading material through the course of my life has
included some pretty tedious stuff.
A voice doesn't fit the character. So who would have been better....fill
in a suggestion, and here come a hundred emails explaning why that choice
would have been even worse...even if I suggest that James Earl Jones
booming baritone might have sounded better coming out of Joe the Giant's
mouth than the whiny tone of that blonde gay guy on Queer Eye.
So with all that off of my chest, there really wasn't a whole lot wrong
with A Shark's Tale. Most of the voices fit the characters pretty
well. In fact, this movie actually gave Jack Black a role in which
we didn't actually have to see him on screen. That made it possible to
enjoy his performance. He didn't even sound much like Jack Black.
The animation in this movie was great. The art of animation has changed
drastically in the past decade from the old methods of employing an
army of illustrators, and now the work can be done by a small bank of
computers. And state of the art is getting better and better. I'll bet
that inside of a decade, someone is going to be producing animated
films out there that are indistinguishable from real life. Mama's, don't
let your babies grow up to be actors. There may not be much work around
in the future.
As for the story, well, imagine Finding Nemo meets Car Wash
and The Godfather. Truth be told, that isn't a formula that
works particularly well, but dammit, its a kid's movie Kex! Ha Ha! Beat
you too it.
So, you have my unqualifed recommendation to go see this movie. Its
actually a lot of fun. Will Smith is kind of a hoot in the lead role,
and it looks impressive enough just to watch without thinking about
what is going on. But I don't want my email box to be completely empty
this week, so here goes: Yes, George W. Bush really is an idiot.
I'll add one note of certainty. What with Shrek 2, A Shark's Tale and the
upcoming Polar Express, this year's Best Animated Feature award at the Oscar's is going to be the closest race to date.
Last Week: The Greatest Game Ever Played:
But one of the worst sports movies ever made. First of all, the only thing in the world more hideously dull than playing golf is watching it on TV. The only thing in the world more completely, insanely boring than watching golf on TV is having to endure a movie about it: Unless of course the movie is made by the Polly Anna people at Disney, who rub salt into our wounds by attempting to convince us that what we are watching actually happened.
The movie is preceeded by a huge title on the screen announcing that this movie is a true story. Then the people who made it sell us a pack of lies that would make Republican congressmen blush. For those who may not be familiar with this film, its the story of Francis Ouimet (Shia LaBeouf), who won the 1913 U.S. Open, single handedly transforming the game of golf from an exclusive pasttime of rich gentlemen, to a form of entertainment for the masses.
Here is something a lot of you probably don't know. Golf isn't just a name somebody came up with out of the blue. Its actually an acronym, which stands for "Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden." No kidding. Look it up. Golf was once regarded as an exclusive property of the aristocratic gentry, and common folk, and especially women, regardless of their social standing, were forbidden from participating.
Its true that Francis Ouimet's 1913 U.S. Open victory helped change all of that, but that influence is about as far as the factual presentation of this movie goes. If you are to believe the story line of this film, Ouimet was a talented young player who won a high school championship and gained some notoriety by making a good showing in a U.S. Amateur Championship before being forced by his stick-up-the-ass dad to give up the game. So he became a retail clerk.
But as luck would have it, the U.S. Open was being held in New England in 1913, and the people who were running it apparently wiped their ass one day and the resulting residue happened to spell out Ouimet's name. So they invited him to play. He then made history by tying British golf titans Harry Vardon (Stephen Dillane) and Ted Ray (Stephen Marcus) after 4 rounds, and forcing a playoff which Ouimet ultimately won by one stroke.
Not only did Ouimet play spectacularly, but at one point during the playoff, he actually chiped his ball over Vardon's on a short putt and almost sunk it. What a player! He finally prevailed by sinking a difficult putt on the 18th and final hole to win by one stroke. The only problem here, is that almost none of what I just described actually happened in the 1913 U.S. Open.
The part about Ouimet, Ray and Vardon having to go to a playoff to decide the championship is true. Its even true that Ray imploded late in the match, and had to give up on the 17th. By that point, Ouimet had a one stroke lead. Vardon ended up hitting into a bunker on the 17th, and had to take a bogey on the whole. Meanwhile, Ouimet birdied, giving him a 3 stroke lead going into 18. He ended up with a five stroke victory.
I'm afraid that its even necessary to debunk the fortutitous invitation Ouimet received to join the tournament. It was actually his idea, and he wasn't exactly an unknown quantity around New England golf circles.. It was his victory in the Massachussets State Amateur Championships in 1913 that inspired him to give the U.S. Open a shot. I sort of doubt that the whole bit about his unsupportive father is even particularly accurate.
As a boy, Ouimet grew up across the street from the local country club, where he was employed as a caddy. He and his brother constructed a makeshift 3 hole course in their backyard, and there is no indication that their father tanned their backsides for it. In fact, they apparently played on it throughout their formative years.
I noticed a couple of interesting things in the closing credits for this film. First of all, portraying the young Harry Vardon is none other than James Paxton, who's father Bill is the director. I'm thinking he probably didn't have to audition to get the role. That is fortunate, since he only has about 2 lines. The second thing I found interesting is that this film had a person in charge of Canadian casting. I never knew that there was a screen test involved in becoming a Canadian. That bit of information could really spoil my future plans in case another member of the Bush family gets elected President. I'm not much of an actor.
One other point here: I'm going to offer a challenge unprecedented in K.A.W. history. I will pay $50 to the first Kexkateer that can offer proof from an independent source that the chip over putt that Ouimet attempted, as depected in this film, actually occured during the 1913 U.S. Open. I have no concerns that I am going to have to cough it up.
Last Week: The Nativity Story:
The last time I reviewed a movie about Jesus, I criticized it for very legitimate reasons,
and I spent the next month reading emails describing my eternal toasty future. Mel Gibson
made that movie. During the course of most of it, Jesus got the crap beat out of him and we
had to watch. According to Mel, the Jewish people were primarily responsible for what
happened to Jesus.
Then, a few months ago, Mel got liquored up and was pulled over for DUI. He blamed the Jews
for that too. Evidently, a bitter group of hostile Orthodox rabbis kidnapped Mel, tied him
up, poured alcohol down his throat until he was stinking drunk, put him in an automobile
and sent him off driving.
Actually, that isn't what happened. In fairness, Mel didn't even claim that happened,
but he wouldn't have come off any less of a pathetic jerk if he had. He claims that he is
sober right now, and I hope he stays that way. But if he doesn't, I'm guessing I already
know who is going to get blamed. And I'll bet it isn't the Mormons.
Oh. I'm supposed to be discussing The Nativity Story. Keisha Castle Hughes stars in
this movie as The Virgin Mary. Last time I saw her in a movie, she was riding a whale, and
trying to convince her stick-up-the ass grandfather that girls can do anything boys can do.
Actually that isn't true. For example, they can't write their names in the snow without using
their fingers or feet. But they can do some things boys can't. In this film, she did something
other women can't too. I'm betting gramps still wouldn't have been all that impressed.
To be honest, I wasn't either; at least not with the movie. There is probably a pretty good
reason that no one has ever turned this story into a full length movie before. Pretty much
everyone already knows it, and to expand it into a two hour film, you have to flesh it out
quite a bit. This movie even left out the part about the little boy playing his drum. The whole thing was about as interesting as spending two hours watching Donald
Rumsfeld pick toejam.
You know what? I have an idea.
In the space above, write your own Kex-style insult for this movie. Then, feel free to email
me and tell me what an idiot I am, and how I am going to spend eternity toasting marshmallows
in the front row. Some of you are going to anyway, and this will save me the intellectual
exercise of actually having to piss you off on my own.
Ruh roh. I still have a few paragraphs to fill. What should we finish up talking about? Well,
it was championship Saturday in college football. Some years ago, the Southwest Conference
kicked out all the really bad teams except Baylor and joined the Big 8, thus creating the
Big 12. Since then, only 4 teams have won the conference championship: Colorado, Texas,
Oklahoma and Kansas State. Oklahoma won it again this year by beating Nebraska. The people
in Lincoln are going to be unhappy about that. Nebraska is the kind of place where everyone
knows somebody named "Bubba." Sometimes it isn't even her real name.
Ohio State is going to end up playing somebody, probably Florida, for the national championship.
The BCS people are probably happy USC lost, because now, only one team has a legitimate right
to complain. If West Virginia hadn't gagged against Louisville, they could have really messed
things up. Leave it to a bunch of hillbillys to foul up the best opportunity to date to get
rid of the BCS. Thanks a lot, WVU.
For the first time in recent memory, not one of Colorado's 3 major universities is going to
participate in a bowl. Colorado started their season by losing to a 1-AA team, then the
season really went downhill. Air Force went 4-8, but lost 4 games by a grand total of 8
points. Colorado State won 4 of their first 5 games, then blew a 21-3 halftime lead against
Air Force and never won another game all season. Yep, the 2006 college football season in
Colorado was about as much fun as, well, watching The Nativity Story. Send your emails.
Also Previously: Mamma Mia:
After taking a few weeks off, I thought I'd catch up a bit with a double feature day. But what an unfortunate choice of movie selections. I should have taken pain killers before seeing Mamma Mia.
In my nightmares tonight, Heath Ledger is going to be prancing through the Greek Islands belting out Abba tunes, while Batman kicks Pierce Brosnan's ass just for having to listen to him sing. That is one beating that will be richly deserved. Will someone please tell me why any casting director would give a role in a major musical to a guy who can't carry a tune in a bucket? For that matter, how badly does Brosnan need a paycheck to have taken on this role in the first place? Was he not aware that he'd have to sing? Did anyone audition him for the part? Did anyone at least consider doing a voice over?
Forget water boarding in the future. If we want to dish out torture to any suspected terrorist, forcing them to sit through Mamma Mia might not be a bad idea....inhumane, yes, but probably effective. Even if we just make the poor soul sit through one of Brosnan's numbers, we'll get all the information we need in a matter of minutes.
Next to disco, the absolute worst cultural phenomemon of the 70's was Abba. Astonishingly enough, somebody thought their music was good enough to slop together into a musical. Of course, most of the songs in the musical have no contextual relationship. As far as I know, no two songs utilized in the movie even appeared on the same album. In effect, this was Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (the crappy musical of the 70's) set to annoying music. At least Sgt Pepper had Beatles songs going for it.
The story line of this movie involves Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), a girl growing up in the Greek Islands who is about to get married. She has never known who her father is, but she discovers by stealing her mom's diary that he is one of three men. In other words, mommy dearest was a bit of a slut in her younger days. So, the young lady decides to invite all three men to her wedding figuring that she would have no difficulty picking out her true father. Evidently the notion of DNA testing and the Maury Povich Show are unknown to her.
She leads all three men to believe that it is actually her mother, Donna (Meryl Streep) inviting them, and doesn't tell Donna they are coming. But when Donna discovers their presence on the island, she freaks out. She fears that Sophie will discover her long kept secret, that her dad might be any one of three men. So while Sophie frets over her mother finding out that she was the one who invited them, Donna is worrying that Sophie is going to find out what a slut she used to be.
You're right. It's not exactly a strong idea for a musical. Then again, the music to support it isn't very strong either. Quite a few of the songs simply seem to come out of nowhere, and don't have much to do with the action. Worse still, none of the actors in the movie are really song and dance types, and every impending number is preceeded by expressions on the faces of the participating cast members similar to what they might display if facing down a charging grizzly. Pretty soon, the audience is anticipating the upcoming numbers with a similar sense of horror and impending doom.
Mamma Mia is based upon the stage play which was pretty popular in Europe, but received with less enthusiasm here in America. This is one of example of a situation where America is showing some actual civilized advancement by jumping out of step with our foreign brethern. Place this alongside soccer, and we have two solid examples that we can claim a little cultural superiority.
I suspect that the primary audience for this film will be old ladies who find it cute, and young women who didn't have to suffer through Abba the first time around. For the rest of us, all Mamma Mia is going to do is open the wounded memories of a decade that included disco, shoes with gold fish in the heals, and lots of clothes shaded in colors that don't exist in the natural spectrum. Today's younger generation might look back to the 70's with a certain nostalgic reverence. For those of us who were there, no inclination exists to think of them as the good old days.
Sometimes you watch a movie, see a character do something and question their motivation. Why did he/she do that? You might ask. While watching Mamma Mia, you will just find yourself asking, Why? Twenty minutes into this movie I'd have handed over everything in my wallet for a baseball bat with which to beat myself unconscious. At that point, I only had another hour and 40 minutes to endure.