I just got back from the Post Office.
As always, that little chore has put me in a foul mood.
There were over a hundred people in line waiting on the slug-like postal employees of the Palmer, Alaska Post Office and it took over an hour to pick up one lousy package. (Actually, in retrospect, that comment is an insult – to slugs. Slugs have a purpose, they’ve got a plan, they’re motivated and they’re doing the best they can. Compared to the Palmer Postal Employees, slugs could be considered speedy)
So, anyway, I was in line. For a long time.
A couple of folks behind me were loudly discussing what they considered to be great movies. I had to bite my tongue to keep from joining in, because this group of people were just plain goofy.
What’s that you’re saying, Jim? I hear you ask in the whiny tone that just annoys the hell out of me. People, you say, are entitled to their opinions when it comes to entertainment. So they like something different than you, what’s it to ya? Art, it’s in the eye of the beer holder and etcetera and so on and so forth. Blah blah.
Listen, remember that parable about the con artist, the magic cloth, and the parade with the naked King? Exactly. It’s bad enough when our political leaders wander around naked (Think Cheney. Yeah. Now you’ve got that image in your head. You’ve got no one to blame but yourself, I warned you I was in a foul mood). But seriously, way too many good flicks aren’t getting made, because studios keep green-lighting movies about naked kings. These movies are loved by the snobby critics, and they’re touted by the entertainment industry – and they trick people into spending gobs of money on movie tickets and DVD’s and that, my friends, is the real reason for the economic decline. People know these movies suck, but they’re too embarrassed to admit it.
Well, I’m not going to take it any more. That’s right, I’ll say it.
The emperor has no clothes.
Now I’m not talking about movies that suck, and everybody knows they suck – like say Battlefield Earth, which basically defined an entirely new level of horrifying sucktastic. Or movies that suck and nobody cares, like say Sunshine. Or movies that are all hyped up and cost enough millions to feed all the starving brokers on Wall Street, but everybody knows are going to suck anyway, like say The Mummy: Tomb of the Franchise. No I’m talking about movies that people gush over in line at the post office with total strangers. I’m talking about movies that win awards, Academy awards, Sundance awards, and especially awards from that festival in Cannes. Frankly, it’s a pretty good bet that if coked-up Hollywood stars and beret wearing Frenchmen like the movie, well, it sucks.
Let’s start with this piece of crap, shall we?
Cloverfield: “Scary, Delivers the Thrills!” “A terrific movie filled with spectacle and humor.” “A heart racing experience.” Seriously? Cloverfield was 84 minutes of dark, jiggling blurs and lousy sound – the only part that scared me was how much I spent and the thought that it would never end. The director, J.J. Abrams, could have gotten the same, exact, movie by downing a couple of six-packs and wandering through a frat party with a handycam dangling forgotten from a strap around his wrist. The screams and moans from the upstairs bedrooms are the same, the blurry explosions from the frat boys out back recreating scenes from Jackass the Movie are the same. Scary? I’ll tell you what’s scary about this monstrously sucky piece of celluloid, the 1998 Matthew Broderick remake of Godzilla is actually decent entertainment compared to Cloverfield.
300: “This is Spaaaaaaaarta!” Please. No it’s not. Not even close. The Battle at the Hot Gates, i.e. the Battle of Thermopylae, is one of the greatest, most noble, most heroic, and most studied of the ancient epics. What’s more, it’s a true story. 300 isn’t that story. 300 is some kind of bizarre semi-erotic fantasy for teenaged boys who learn history from comic books. I don’t demand that my movies be accurate representations of history, but Jesus H. Christ is it too much to ask for some plotting? Or maybe acting? or a coherent storyline? 300 is a ninety minute animated comic book, once you get past the artwork and the effects – there’s really nothing else. As to the effects, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow did it better.
A History of Violence: “You won’t know what hit you!” Yeah. I’d say that about sums up this movie. Violence = Bad. Got it. Of course, that’s why people went to see it, for the violence. Oooow, violence is terrible - now, show us some more! Listed as the “Best movie of the year” by Entertainment Weekly. Makes you wonder what the other choices were.
Children of Men: "Gripping Thriller!” Yeah. Gripping. “Magnificent…a unique and totally original vision.” Totally original if you haven’t actually read any post-apocalyptic science fiction, that is. More handheld camera work, apparently nobody knows how operate a steadycam in the future. And then there’s the endless long shot. Christ, I felt like I needed a pair of binoculars.
Lost in Translation: You know, I miss Bill Murray, I do. I miss the old funny Bill Murray, the guy from Meatballs, Stripes and Scrooged. Hell, I even miss the Bill Murray from The Razor’s Edge. I miss his dry wit and subtle everyman humor. What the hell happened to him? I couldn’t even watch this movie. I kept falling asleep. I don’t even know what this movie was about, unless it was intended to cure insomnia.
Solaris: Please, God, do not ever let George Clooney wear the batman suit with the nipples again, or act in a Science Fiction movie. If there is anything more boring than Lost in Translation, it’s Solaris. Good God! 90 minutes of introspection with George Clooney. I wanted to gouge my eyes out. People claim this piece of crap is powerful and thought provoking – the only thoughts it provoked in me were powerful thoughts of suicide.
War of the Worlds: Great, great depiction of the Martian tripods – which did not in any way make up for that squealing kid. Be honest, how many of you would have fed Dakota Fanning to the Martians? Tom Cruise too. I swear to God, an hour into the movie I was cheering the Martians and shouting at the screen “Over there! You stupid tree frogs! They’re hiding in the basement! Over there! Get ‘em.”
The Constant Gardener: Two hours of constant boredom. Is it just me, or does anybody else find Rachel Weisz annoying? She was OK in the Mummy movies, cute and endearing even, but seriously in anything else her voice and unblinking doe-eyed stare is like a fork on a blackboard to me. I can’t buy her in anything, she always seems completely miscast to me, Enemy at the Gates, The Fountain, Constantine (and seriously here, when Keanu Reeves has more emotional depth of expression, you might want to think about backing off on the Botox).
The Golden Compass: Holy freakin’ crap, for all the hoopla about atheism, I can’t even remember what the hell this movie was about. There were blimps, I remember blimps – but that’s about it. If Christians are threatened by this piece of shit, well, maybe they should go watch Narnia some more.
V for Vendetta: Yeah, brainwashing. It’s like cheering for Tania, ur, sorry Patty Hearst. At least they blow up Hugo Weaving in the end.
And finally, by far the biggest piece of crap I’ve been suckered into in a long, long time:
No Country for Old Men: And here you have the actual Emperor of Naked Parades. Every person who got hoodwinked into seeing this turd wants to claim that they ‘get it.’ It’s supposed to be a deep, deep movie that trumpets the brilliance of the brothers Coen. Ask ‘em what it means though, and they raise one eyebrow archly and say, “if you don’t get it, then you’re just stupid.” Ok, outline the plot then. “If you don’t get it, you’re just stupid.” Ok, I’m stupid, tell me what the ending, or lack of ending, means. “If you don’t get it…” Yeah, if you can’t see the Emperor’s new suit, you’re an uncouth heathen. I’ve heard the same thing about blobs of paint thrown at a canvass. When a kindergartener does it, it’s amusing, when Jackson Pollock does it – well, it’s supposed to be art. Truthfully though, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference. And it’s the same here, the difference between the horribly violent Country and Robert Rodriguez films like Desperado, is that Desperado actually had a plot and fairly decent acting. It was also amusing. It was also entertaining. It also had a fucking ending. (it also had Selma Hayek, yozer!) The ending of Country isn’t deep. It isn’t clever. It isn’t brilliant. It’s crap. It’s a cop out. It’s the fact that the Coen brothers can’t actually write. It’s not that I don’t get it, I do – I just don’t think it’s particularly earth shaking.
Anyway, there you have it. Stonekettle Station’s top ten acclaimed movies that actually sucked.
Now, tell me why I’m wrong – because I know you will.
Go ahead, but I warn you, I’ve been to the Post Office and I’m not in a good mood.