Thursday, January 05, 2006

So I finally saw "Fantastic Four" and am happy to report that it was a non-stop thrill ride packed with action, laughs, romance, excitement, and...

...BWA-HAHAHAHAHAHA! I deserve a goddamned medal for having the solid titanium balls to even put that last sentence into writing.

No, no, rest assured, my loyal cynickites, "Fantastic Four" emitted a bile-stimulatingly foul odor from its very first frame. Never before has a movie so egregiously misused the word 'fantastic,' unless the word 'fantastic' now means 'surprisingly slow-moving and filled with gaping plot holes' and someone forgot to tell me.

Allow me to introduce you to the five central characters that will accompany you on your head-throbbingly tedious journey should you make the stupid mistake of viewing this movie despite my advance warning.

"But, Matthew," you say, stupidly, "I thought it was 'Fantastic Four.' "
"Shut up and read ahead," I thoughtfully advise.

1.) "Mr. Fantastic" (aka Tall, Dark, and Bland) -- The group's white bread leader is played by Ioan Gruffud. To pronounce his name correctly, you need to spell it 'Yoan Griffith.' Why? Because he's Welsh, and apparently Wales is the dumping ground for all of the United Kingdom's mental defectives. Mr. Fantastic has two special powers worth noting. First, he can furrow his brows and act extremely concerned about Important Scientific Information (and since this is a comic book movie, Important Scientific Information translates roughly as Vague, Incoherent, Marginally Science-Related Buzzwords). His second and far more impressive power is that he was evidently born without a personality.

But I jest. Neither of these "characteristics" can accurately be described as powers, since he displays both of them in spades well before the cosmic storm imbues the cast with their actual superskillsets. What's all this nonsense about a cosmic storm, you ask? Allow me to explain what little I managed to ascertain from the movie's explanation. Apparently, Tall, Dark, and Bland wants to go into outer space to conduct genetic research -- which, as we all know, can only be effectively performed while sitting in a privately-funded space station several thousand miles above the Earth. So, naturally, he pleads his case to the former college roommate who has hated him all these years. Never suspecting once, mind you, that said archnemesis might sell him out at the earliest possible convenience.

It would seem that staggeringly blind naivete would be a prerequisite for all potential superheroes.

Anyway, they're all in space and a cosmic storm hits them, permanently altering their DNA. It is heartening to know that when a poorly-defined galactic death cloud rocks through your American-made spaceship, not only will you fail to be permanently altered into so much spacedust, but your method of transport will also suffer zero noticeable damage.

The phrase 'cosmic storm,' however, is admittedly cool. Feel free to use it to explain your next mind-altering journey.

In any case, Mr. Fantastic bored the shit out of me and anyone he was on screen with. Of course, at least they all got paid for their troubles. I should also mention that the special effects employed to recreate Mr. Fantastic's rubber-bendable body were cheap and embarrassing, but I'm not going to.

2.) The Thing (aka Gruff, Burly Sidekick) -- I have never understood the fanboy's obsession with this sad, pathetic excuse for a superhero. For those of you who don't know, The Thing is a big, orange rock-man who wears blue underwear. To me, this hero concept is only marginally dumber than a big, green bodybuilder who wears purple capris. And calling him 'The Thing...'

*sighs heavily, shakes head, returns to typing*

Okay, here is how I imagine comic book weirdo Stan Lee came up with the idea of naming his latest stupid creation something as memorable and descriptive as 'The Thing.'

STAN LEE: Hey, I've got this great idea for a new superhero! But I need some help picking out a name that does him justice...

STAN LEE'S COUCH: All right, well, what's he like?

STAN LEE: Oh, he's great! You're gonna love this. He's this guy who was, uh, sent from the planet Rockdar to-- No, wait! He was, uh... bitten by a rock-shaped spider-- No, no! Wait! He is the next mutation in the evolution of the rock and -- No, no, wait! He was caught up in a cosmic storm and now he's, like, this... this big... orange... rock-looking... thing! Yeah, yeah...

STAN LEE'S COUCH: Hmmm... So he's just this... this thing, then?

STAN LEE: Perfect! That's it!

STAN LEE'S COUCH: Um, I didn't really say any--

STAN LEE: The Thing! I'll call him The Thing! I just know the average discerning comic book fan will adore this unique name as much as I do! And to show my appreciation, I will now sit on you while eating Cheetos and watching Spider-Man DVD extras.

STAN LEE'S COUCH: Fair enough.

When not warning his surprisingly thick-witted scientist friend, Mr. F, about Evil Roommate Man's insidious behavior, The Thing likes to grumble at other people. This comes in very handy when he... er, when he needs to... well, whenever he has to be-- Look, at least it's a personality trait, all right? Oh, and he's sad a lot after he turns into a big orange rock, which would certainly be understandable ... if he hadn't already spent his entire life looking like TV's The Commish, that is. Frankly, I see an up side.

And if a cosmic storm should ever turn you into a big orange rock monster-man or a plus-sized version of Humphrey Bogart, be sure to check out your local Big & Tall Fedoras & Trenchcoats retailer. Apparently they are the new Starbucks.

The Thing's best characteristic is that he hates the Human Torch and constantly wants to hit him. This is admirable in and of itself as...

3.) The Human Torch (aka Obnoxious Metrosexual) is a fucking prick. If you are a shallow, appearance-obsessed, hollow-headed girl between the ages of 13 and 35, feel free to skip this section and just enjoy the disturbingly long part of the movie in which actor Chris Evans races around half-naked. This was evidently included to appeal to the massive 'giddy young female' demographic that the comic book industry was built on.

It's always a bad sign when a movie decides that the cocky, brash young dickhead will also serve as the film's comic relief. What intelligent human being doesn't instantly hate a cocky, brash young dickhead, never mind find him remotely amusing? But here he is, flying around on fire, tormenting a walking mountain, and pretending he likes girls. He's also the only one of the craptet who wallows shamelessly in his newfound fame. I imagine this is done with the intent of scoring a lucrative TV series deal, probably with the Bravo network.

Oh, incidentally, a question for the ladies: After witnessing a man turn into a ball of flame and literally fly through the air, is your first undeniable instinct to strip naked in a snowbank and fuck him in a pool of icewater? Because if so...

I have no 'if so...' That was just weird. Although the girl was pretty hot.

(And yes, I can be as shallow and appearance-obsessed as I want without being labelled a hypocrite. It's my blog and my double-standard, so suck it sideways.)

One last note on useless, unfunny peripheral character The Human Torch (I still don't know what exact purpose he served on that fucking spaceship): He covers his eyes and claims he'll need therapy after seeing his sister in the buff. As if one needed any further proof of his blatant homosexuality, because his sister is none other than...

4.) THE INVISIBLE GIRL (aka Smart Jessica Alba) -- Yes, that's right, the luscious, delectable, curvaceous, heavenly, hymn-inspiring, oh-so-screwable Jessica Alba. I'm sorry, but if I had a sister who looked like Jessica Alba, I'd be right out there on the front lines of the pro-incest camp along with the rest of Arkansas.

Miss Alba's role in the movie is quite straightforward. She appears -- looking hot -- and we instantly know from Tall, Dark, and Bland's constipated expression that they once loved each other. But she is now working for the Evil Roommate Man as his Improbably Sexy Assistant who is Serious About Being Taken Seriously and Wears Short Skirts while Carrying Around a Stack of Folders. All right -- so far, so cliche, but I'm with you, I'm with you... She then banters with Gruff, Burly Sidekick. Okay, some weak back story, sure, we've got time here. It's early yet. Next, she talks shop with the scientist before informing him she'll be joining the team on their scientific space flight to assist with the genetic --

>>Sound of record scratching<<

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold on. Let's all just -- just step back for a moment and take stock here, okay? Now, let me see if I've got this straight... She's supposed to be smart? Really? You want me, the unassuming viewer, to honestly accept that this voluptuous, pouty-lipped supermodel-type with killer abs is a walking fount of vast scientific knowledge? I hate to be the bearer of cold, hard cynical truths, movie guys (like hell I do), but throwing glasses on a wet dream does not a genius make (please consult mobile turd Tara Reid's painful performance as a bespectacled anthropologist in the abyssmal Alone in the Dark for further reference).

Really, guys, come on. You just wanted megawatt hottie Jessica Alba in your lousy movie. That's it. You know it. We know it. There's no need for all this "beautiful girls can be brilliant, too!" garbage. I mean, really. Have you ever actually met any beautiful women? And if you have, well ... you must not be in Wisconsin. ZING!

Look, the following is how I would have worked Miss Alba's character into the film:

TALL, DARK, AND BLAND: Hmm, there seem to be an awful lot of men coming along on our unsatisfactorily-explained mission.

(JESSICA ALBA enters in purple lacy lingerie.)

JESSICA ALBA: Hello. I'm here for the space mission. To gather science-y things.


THE EVIL ROOMMATE MAN: She's a girl, so she must work in the secretary pool.

JESSICA ALBA: I work in the secretary pool.

TALL, DARK, AND BLAND: Do you know anything about genetic engineering, quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, the theory of relativity, and/or the space-time continuum?


JESSICA ALBA: Words are long.

TALL, DARK, AND BLAND: I don't know about this...

JESSICA ALBA: Oops! My clothes fell off.

GRUFF, BURLY SIDEKICK: Welcome aboard.

I have heard that the fanboys originally threw a fit when they heard Jessica Alba was slated to play dumb old Invisible Girl. And why? Because she wasn't blonde. Seriously. Hey, acne-ridden fanboy shitbags, here's some free advice for you: If movie producers ever decide to cast Jessica Alba in one of your precious comic book movie adaptations again, here's what you do...

Are you ready? Okay, here it is. You...

...SHUT UP AND ENJOY IT. It's Jessica Alba, you ungrateful, grease-layered blobs.

Hell, my biggest complaint about her casting is this: What bright-eyed producer thought it would be a brilliant idea to cast one of the world's most physically stunning women as an invisible character?! Hell, we only get two measly seconds to oogle the Body that is Alba in an all-too-brief bra and panties shot, and one second of that time we can't even see the damn woman!

"Yes, yes, but how's her acting?" you ask impatiently.

If you're asking that question and you're a man, you're gay. If you're asking it and you're a woman, you're just being catty. If you're asking it and you're a dog, well, I'm pretty impressed by your manual dexterity and keen comprehension of the English language, to tell you the truth.

5.) Dr. Doom (aka Evil Roommate Man or Tall, Dark, and Bland v.2) -- The subtly-named Dr. von Doom is the movie's villain, and boy is this character a fucking mess. First off, he's played by that weird-looking creepy guy from TV's Nip/Tuck -- you know, the guy with the cheekbones that can slice vegetables? We are introduced to him as Mr. F's former roommate (please) and the actor wastes no time in establishing his character's alignment on the moral compass. This is done through a complex and difficult-to-master system of method acting that consists of exactly two expressions: sneering and scowling. Both the scowl and the sneer prove to be so effective on their trial runs that Evil Roommate Man continues to use them, uninterrupted, throughout the remainder of his time onscreen.

In an odd way, this actually proves somewhat helpful, seeing as how the actors playing Dr. Doom and Mr. Fantastic look exactly the same. Now, throw in the similar-looking Obnoxious Metrosexual and Doom's fey, mincing, gratingly irritating henchman, and I've got four non-descript nobodies with poorly-delineated personalities I've got to keep straight. Ladies, really, I just have to ask: Are these the kinds of men you really want? With the vacant-eyed, lantern-jawed, beetle-browed, cornfed, interchangeable frat boy/caveman look? I mean, really? That's what does it for you? These non-entities? Man, I've gotta say, I'm just baffled that there aren't more lesbians crawling around the face of this planet.

When Dr. Doom isn't sneering and scowling -- oh, wait. There is never a time he's not doing that. Well, anyway, he also sports a nifty green hooded robe and a mask with a mouthpiece that doesn't move (which, ironically, adds more depth to his facial expressions). His special power is that he is Magneto from X-Men. Ha, ha. Just kidding.

No, I'm not. That's exactly who he reminds me of.

As if a mere two expressions, a lame outfit, a pathetic minion, and an obvious obsession with being evil without motivation weren't bad enough, Dr. Doom is also that most insipid and frustrating of movie villains: He's an Assumer.

DR. DOOM: Ha, ha! I pushed over the brawny sidekick guy! Look at how he fell onto that table over there, which most likely cushioned his fall! I'm sure that healthy shove was enough to kill any superhero, let alone a chubby man! I will now simply assume he's dead and move on.

And later...

DR. DOOM: Aha! I shot a heat-seeking missile at that annoying flame-boy! Despite the astounding ignorance that comes with assuming a mere rocket could destroy someone capable of withstanding the intense heat of a neutron bomb, I'm sure it will finish him off well outside of my range of vision. Having obtained absolutely zero proof of his demise, let us assume that it's two down, two to go!

And, of course, the obligatory reaction of shock and rage when he finds the heroes have not, in fact, perished in spite of his strongest assumptions...

DR. DOOM: Huh. Will you look at that...

Okay, I made that last part up.

I think I've wasted more than enough time and energy on Hollywood's latest spandex-driven piece of whale urea. But don't worry: They left the door wide open for a sequel. And guess who will be right there, front row and center, waiting to witness the whole sorry mess?

*shrugs* I dunno. Some dumb asshole, I guess.

In closing, I was also going to rent The Dukes of Hazzard and give you guys a 2-for-1, but a man can only take so much.


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Blogger Behnnie said...

i miss 'the comish'. i really do.

9:21 PM  
Blogger Dakota said...

As your local friendly gay male (who, incidentally, has become obsessed with your blog), I can say on good authority that following that movie, there is no phrase on this planet more erotic than "FLAME ON!"

That aside, your review of the movie was quite accurate -- but you appear to underestimate the appeal of gentlemen in lycra.

Keep up the good work.

4:36 AM  
Blogger Chuckles O'Plenty said...

Dammit. Now, in deference to my gay constituency, I will now have to eliminate beloved phrases such as "That's so gay" from my vocabulary.

I should point out that I don't underestimate the appeal of Jessica Alba in lycra ... it's just that it covers so damn MUCH of her...

12:04 PM  
Blogger Dakota said...

I must say that I enjoy the phrase "that's so gay," particularly because it so rarely applies to things that gay people are in any way involved with. The Marines here use it all the time. "The new safety guidelines for the M1A4 rifle? Dude, they're so fuckin' GAY."

My friend, I can pretty much assure you that homosexuals had nothing to do with the new safety guidelines for the M1A4 rifle.

1:16 AM  
Blogger The Fourth Earl of Excelor said...

Since were on the topic of movie updates, here is one on "March of the Penguins" . . .

A bunch of penguins march all over the place then that guy from "The Shawshank Redemption" pipes in with an overly dramatic narration of the lives of the animals. To wrap things up a couple hours later, the penguins march some more. I found it to be one of the more engaging penguin documentaries of the last ten years. Things I learned from the movie . . .

1. Penguins live in the cold.
2. Penguins are cute.
3. Penguins are even cuter when they slide around on their bellies.

I apologize if I have ruined the movie for those of you who haven't seen it.

7:31 PM  
Blogger Chuckles O'Plenty said...

Penguins are so gay.

3:33 PM  

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