Thursday, March 23, 2006

So I don't have any new thoughts I feel especially compelled to share...

... and that means it's ................................

TIME TO RECYCLE OLD IDEAS!!! (Huzzah!)

Yes, that's right. The Cynical Idealist is gonna take the unimaginative way out and present another list of five films he refuses to see in theatres based solely on the content of their trailers. There is truly no stronger evidence of a man's inherent laziness than when he decides to plagiarize himself.

If you enjoyed my previous judgmental and unfounded reviews of movies I had no intention of actually seeing, prepare to convince yourself that you enjoy this second installment as well. And if you didn't enjoy the previous ones, well, you know where the Back button is, Lord Snooty von Buggenbutt.
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1.) The Shaggy Dog

> The plot as far as I can tell from the trailers: A perfectly innocent and good-natured English sheepdog runs afoul of, uh, someone and is cursed with having to appear in daylight as an obnoxious, third-rate former sitcom star. Oh, and some kid's dad doesn't believe in him. Quelle surprise.

> Why it will suck: A loud, annoying Disney remake of a bland, forgettable live-action Disney "classic?" If that ain't a recipe for Fetid Bowl of Horse Crap, I don't know what is.

Whatever information Tim Allen is privy to that enables him to continue successfully blackmailing top Disney programming executives into helping his career lurch along, it must be some juicy shit. I have yet to witness Tim Allen do or say anything even remotely smile-inducing. Well, with the exception of his work as Buzz Lightyear in the Toy Story movies, that is. But even then you didn't have to see his prematurely wrinkled mug gaping at you.

"Men are pigs?" Really? That's the bit you want to go down in stand-up comic history being remembered for? Come on. Haven't ugly single women been uttering that banal phrase for decades now? Well, if you can base a highly popular and astoundingly unfunny family sitcom around a grunting noise and have it run for several seasons, I guess I have no choice but to doff my cap to you, you lucky jackass.

Oh, and I have to say something about the fucking "everybody learns a lesson about sharing/respect/tolerance/family/reptile anatomy/sexual mores" garbage that's shoehorned into every Disney movie. This unrewarding and pointless cliche is as irritating as the "boring token love interest who adds nothing to the film" subplot that gets shoehorned into, well, every goddamned movie ever made. I swear, even romantic films are required to have romantic subplots tacked on. Jesus, Hollywood, get your head out of your vagina and face the fact that your entire viewing audience is not made up of love-starved housewives and giggling tweeners.

And why the hell is Robert Downey, Jr. still getting work? I hate that guy.

> Why it may not be a complete bust: It features Kristin Davis, who has the dubious distinction of being the only star of "Sex and the City" who doesn't make me want to vomit on myself. However, she is not nearly hot enough to justify spending one damn cent on this glorified collection of butt-sniffing jokes.

2.) The Hills Have Eyes

> The plot as far as I can tell from the trailers: A stupid family travelling in the Southwest suffers graphically at the hands of "attractiveness-challenged" displaced hillbillies.

> Why it will suck: You know what? I like my freaky-deaky, outlandishly gory horror movies as much as the next closet sociopath, but it is my very firm belief that this particular breed of filmed sadism should only be produced and distributed to enable the government to lock up anyone disturbed enough to purchase a ticket for this mess. I mean, come on. I read that a poor woman gets raped while her father burns alive and her sister gets molested in a breast-feeding "incident." I hate to take an actual stand on anything here -- I mean, I really hate to -- but rape and molestation? These are not ingredients for a feel-good cinema experience. And no, do not feed me any of that "but the director is trying to send a message about the basic animalistic impulses at the core of a man's savage heart and the helplessness of women in a predominantly male blah blah blah blah" bullshit. This is not some highbrow, intellectually elite foreign film here, this is an exploitation piece about people getting hit in the skull with an axe. Repeatedly. In such a situation, you are expressly forbidden from playing the "message" card.

That said, go watch the Saw movies. I also like the Final Destination series. Please fast forward through all plot points in any of these aforementioned films.

And I realize that taking a stand against sexual assault is not exactly the most daring position one could choose to pat oneself on the back for. Next thing you know, I'll be saying I strongly disagree with Hitler's tactics, too.

In addition, I understand it that various pets are massacred throughout the film. Folks, if you're going on vacation for comedic and/or horror purposes, please do me a favor and leave your poor animals at home. They're only gonna get slaughtered as a warm-up to the eventual misery you yourself will have to face. However, feel free to bring your newborns along. Judging by these films, those suckers are indestructible. I tell ya, nothing drains the suspense from a suspense film like tossing in a kid under 16. As if I'd believe for one nano-second that an underage celluloid brat was ever in any danger (see Saw 2 for reference).

I know this is a remake of a Wes Craven movie (a remake?! Someone actually felt this was a story that needed to be shared with future generations?) and Wes himself is not responsible for it, but can we please get that guy some help regardless? I mean, don't get me wrong, he's very low-key and intelligent and charming in the interviews I've seen with him, but The Hills Have Eyes? Last House on the Left? Cursed, for Christ's sake? The poor fella's just begging for an hour with a therapist.

> Why it may not be a complete bust: It will.

3.) She's the Man

> The plot as far as I can tell from the trailers: A transvestite finds acceptance on the soccer field of her local third-tier state university.

> Why it will suck: Because Amanda Bynes is quite definitely not "the man." She's also not the woman, or an even marginally-gifted actress. Amanda Bynes is a product of the Nickelodeon School of Acting, which means she is well-versed on the subjects of mugging, falling down unconvincingly, throwing temper tantrums, overemphasizing punchlines, and awkwardly conveying emotion when pathos is required. Some critics have likened this smug little shit's "talents" to those of Lucille Ball. I would not blame Lucy in the least if she took it upon herself to rise from her grave in zombie form to feast on the mite-sized brains of these idiots.

Not that I especially care for Lucille Ball's work, either, but Christ, no one deserves to be compared to Amanda "Look! I'm acting!" Bynes.

If you need further proof of this loudmouth's inability to be amusing, just watch her lame-ass sitcom on some station on some day called something. It's dreadful, and I rightly feel shame for having viewed this travesty even once.

As for this movie, I'm sorry, female character actors, but it's time somebody came out and said it: Men dressed as women = Comedy gold. Women dressed as men = confusing, unconvincing, and more than a little creepy. Ladies, instead of doing the cross-dressing gag as a cheap attempt to grab laughs, why not just become a lesbian comedienne instead? Ellen DeGeneres, Paula Poundstone, Margaret Cho, Rosie O'Donnell (in her prime) ... all funny, all mannish, all gay. But cutting your hair, putting on a suit, and deepening your voice? Yeah, there's a reason no one's laughing, sister.

> Why it may not be a complete bust: Movies like this always have at least one uber-doable blonde hottie in a bikini. And this one doubly so, I imagine, as penance for forcing the viewer to endure Bynes as a weird boy-girl monstrosity.

4.) V for Vendetta

> The plot as far as I can tell from the trailers: A demented, masked killer stalks a bald teenage girl through the streets of [some dreary foreign city].

Just kidding. Actually, I think it's more about a resistance fighter/vigilante/rebel/bored, effete aristocrat who makes life miserable for the unjustly-maligned futuristic totalitarian regime of [some dreary foreign city].

> Why it will suck: That mask. If for no other reason, that bizarre fucking mask will sink this movie before it even leaves port. I can't decide if that mask is the scariest thing I've ever seen, or the gayest.

However, there are other reasons.

Do you know how I assumed the bad guys here would be neofascist, Nazi-esque megalomaniacs? Because the trailers feature an angry, wizened, well-groomed Britishman shouting at hordes of attentive plebeians via a plasma screen TV. Subtlety is not the strong suit of your standard, unoriginal movie villain. You know, just once I'd like to see a bleak vision of the future in which the antagonistic government that came to power after a brutal world war is portrayed as a commune of dirty, incompetent, affected, sniveling anarchists. Of course, this worldview would never happen, seeing as how liberals would so totally get their pasty, pacifistic asses handed to them when push came to air-to-land missiles.

At least the hero, I'm sure, will be an entirely fresh character, not like the typical brooding, mysterious, noble, flawed, disarmingly attractive, uninvolving bore one usually gets saddled with in these kinds of films.

Right. And the heroine won't be plucky and opinionated, either.

So let's review: Setting -- cliched, villains -- cliched, hero -- cliched, love interest (see?) -- cliched, mask -- sweet holy fuck.

And is it just me, or does that title sound suspiciously like a book by mystery-writer Sue Grafton?

> Why it may not be a complete bust: If you're gonna have a British nasty, you could do a lot worse than the grossly-magnified head of John Hurt. And Hugo Weaving, who was the sole reason to sit through the excrutiating Matrix films, might make something bearable out of the protagonist. But I ain't a-plannin' on findin' out!

5.) Stay Alive

> The plot as far as I can tell from the trailers: A group of impossibly attractive online gamers, who have obviously never watched The Ring, play a forbidden video game and become dead to the world, unlike any other online gamers in the history of mankind.

> Why it will suck: Well, first of of all, that title is a little too similar to that of a certain John Travolta disco-themed movie that shall remain nameless.

You know, it's nice to see that Evil is doing its part in keeping up with the times. By embracing the technological revolution, Evil can now infiltrate such previously untapped worlds of terror and fright as video cassette tapes, online chat rooms, cell phones, electronic home security systems, and now the colorful land of online video games. I can hardly wait until the highly-anticipated iPod, uPod, everyonebecomesaPod hits theatre screens next Fall!

A haunted video game? A game they "told me not to play?" I really, really wish I'd been at the pitch meeting for this bright idea.

EXECUTIVE: ... and if you die online, you die in real life!

HIGHER-RANKING EXECUTIVE: That's dumb.

EXECUTIVE: The hot girls who play it will wear very little clothing!

HIGHER-RANKING EXECUTIVE: Can we have it ready by Easter?

There is so astonishingly little behind this concept that I have nothing else to mock regarding it.

> Why it may not be a complete bust: Succulent Sophia Bush of "One Tree Hill" 'fame' lends her, uh, talents as one of the gamers. Oh, to live in an alternate reality where video game players resemble WB starlets.

SPOTTY, GREASY, SLIGHTLY PUDGY FEMALE GAMER WHO WEARS GLASSES: Screw you! I'm a gaming chick, and I'm hot!

THE CYNICAL IDEALIST: No, sweetheart. No you are not.
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Wow. Unfairly judging art and entertainment without bothering to give the subjects a chance to prove themselves is fun! No wonder there are so many critics. I may just have to make this a regular feature of So...

In closing, I actually want to see Stay Alive.
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THE CYNICAL IDEALIST'S HATEFUL HINT #27: Looking to rent a mindless, time-wasting film with absolutely no artistic merit or thought-provoking side effects whatsoever? Here are some useful tips to apply while searching the racks at your local overpriced video store ...

> Is there a sexy, nubile, half-naked chick on the cover? No? Put it back. Nope, don't even bother reading the blurb on the other side, just set it down and walk away. They have no business offering this piece of crap as an option, anyway.

> Pictures of explosions and guns are promising. Any director who regularly blows shit up in his films is not looking to win any accolades from the National Society of Film Critics.

> Speaking of critics, avoid any movie that has quotes such as "Moving...," "Mesmerizing...," "A masterpiece...," "A triumph of the human spirit...," "My girlfriend loved it..." featured anywhere on the sleeve. Movies with quotes like these tend to take place sometime in the distant past and feature a love story about two parapalegic homosexuals living in France portrayed by American actors speaking with English accents. It would make things a lot less complicated if films like these just had BORING AND SURPRISINGLY LONG emblazoned in bright red letters across the front of the jacket.

> Are there two or more mildly attractive women with their arms around each other, smiling, laughing, or giving each other exasperated looks? WARNING. Do not be taken in by the relative lickability of these chicks. You have inadvertently stumbled onto a movie about sisterhood, friendship, crying about unimportant shit, whining about relationships, having periods, and cursing men who are too smart to waste time on any of these sad sacks. Move along.

> Does the name Jessica Alba or Vin Diesel appear in the cast list? Ding ding ding! We have a winner (of sorts). Rest assured, no one will be learning anything of value while watching this movie. Not one damned thing. Just enjoy the ride.

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2 Comments:

Blogger The Fourth Earl of Excelor said...

"Domestic abuse is totally not cool."

~Christina Aguilara

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you ever wondered if being forced to watch any of these movies continuously for ever might be one of the HELL's you could possibly end up in?

Sgt Mellors

9:40 AM  

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