Monday, February 12, 2007

So I wanted to compose a special Valentine's Day edition of my blog denouncing the inanities of womynfolk when it occurred to me...

... a healthy portion of my readership (approx. 5 out of the 7) is composed of baby-bearers.

And while I'm definitely not adverse to biting the hand that feeds me, gnawing it down to the stump seems just a sliver on the ungrateful side.

So, in the immortal words of every living Hollywood screenwriting hack, "to hell with originality!" I'm going back to the well of my limited creativity to take a few healthy sips and maybe, just, you know, jump in and splash around a little...

Here are five more movies I know will blow based solely on the merits-- or lack thereof-- of their trailers.

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1.) THE APPARENTLY ENDING STORY
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: IT'S JUST AS LONG AS READING THE BOOKS
A WRINKLE IN THE BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME
THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE ROLLTOP SECRETARY DESK
HARRY POTTER AND THE OVERUSE OF THE CGI EFFECTS
BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA

> The plot as far as I can tell from the trailers: Various ugly tree creatures decide that the magical dreamworld of Terabithia -- located just off the coast of Racine, WI -- has been disconnected from the mainland for long enough. They determine to build a self-anchored suspension bridge spanning the vast gulf that exists between the world of reality and that of computer-generated weird-looking shit.

> Why it will suck: Here we go again. I have no idea what the plot of this fantasy novel set in the Land of the Library's Young Adult Section happens to be, but I'm gonna take an educated guess and assume it involves some neglected child or children escaping the daily unspeakable terrors of his or her pampered suburban life by entering a mystical world of make-believe.

And while immersing themselves fully in this ridiculous waste of time, the spoiled, white bread crybabies conjure up a giant evil robot that steps on things. I guess. I don't know; the trailers are kind of vague on that point.

Anyway, I'm sick of these movies about some perfectly healthy kid boo-hooing about Daddy not playing catch with him every free second of the day. Oh, you poor thing. How selfish of your father to spend 40+ hours a week, toiling at some thankless, 8-5:30, cube-squatting, paper-pushing, interchangeable office job just so he could clothe and feed and shelter your ungrateful little ass. Who do you think bought you that baseball glove in the first place, kid? You think we belong to some socialist utopia that tosses them out for free, all hither-and-thither and willy-nilly-like? And you just throw the damned thing on your bedroom floor when you get home, anyway! Learn to respect the things your parents give you and then maybe we'll talk! Otherwise, get a job and then we'll see how much you wanna play catch after Old Man Jacobson tears you a new one for forgetting to add repeating headers to that Excel spreadsheet you slaved over!

*clears throat*

Ahem. Excuse me. I believe I was channeling my father there for a minute.

The point is, if the kids in this movie are even thinking about bitching about feeling ignored in their charmed lives as citizens of a free, democratic, first world nation, they'd better at least be getting abused on top of it. That's all I have to say.

And please, various gods of the sundry heavens and hells above and below, please, please don't let there be some obvious, tacked-on moral about how the industrial-technological movement is heartlessly displacing the environment and "the good old days" -- you remember, when children were regularly crippled by polio and smallpox and animators had to draw cartoons by hand.

> Why it may not be a complete bust: As I mentioned before, I believe I saw some giant, shadowy creature of a mechanical nature clomping ominously about the trailer. If this turns out to be a Decepticon -- say Devastator, or, ooo! ooo! Trypticon! -- who's become separated from his evil teammates, this is intensely cool.

If, as is far more likely, I was grossly mistaken and it's just some giant shadowy creature we never really get to see, well, fuck this movie. BUST BUST BUST.

2.) THE NUMBER 23

> The plot as far as I can tell from the trailers: Head-scratchingly popular hack, Jim Carrey, reeeeeally wants that Oscar, so here's a psychological thriller rip-off of the actually funny Will Ferrell's recent existential comedy Stranger than Fiction.

> Why it will suck: Did I not just mention the words "Jim Carrey?"

Odd thing about the former token majority on "In Living Color:"

Jim Carrey in a comedy = not funny
Jim Carrey in a drama = funny

That Jim Carrey has two Golden Globes to his name is conclusive proof that entertainment award shows have outlived their collective usefulness... whatever that was.

The wife in the trailer seems concerned that Jim Carrey might kill her, as foretold in the plot of the novel his life appears to be mirroring. Seems to me that any woman married to Jim Carrey has far more pressing problems at the moment than her imminent death. Come to think of it, you kind of expect that she'd embrace her homicide with open arms rather than endure a lifetime as the bedmate of that egomaniacal toilet stain.

> Why it may not be a complete bust: Rest assured that Ol' Flubberface'll favor us with plenty of goofy expressions as he delves further into insanity's relentless grip. That should be good for a few unintentional laughs. Also, characters like this usually die at the end, so there's that.

3.) THE GRUDGE
THE GRUDGE 2: STILL HARBORING
THAT ONE THRILLER WITH DAKOTA FANNING AS A CREEPY LITTLE GIRL...GO FIGURE
THE AMITYVILLE BORER
STAY ASLEEP

EVERY OTHER HORROR FILM PRODUCED IN THE LAST SEVEN YEARS
THE MESSENGERS

> The plot as far as I can tell from the trailers: The Union of Scrawny, Pasty, Sub-human Freaks with Black, Dead Eyes and the Ability to Run Up Walls is contractually entitled to appear in at least one Hollywood horror film per calendar year. Enjoy.

> Why it will suck: Because movies about malnourished humanoids that only equally oddball children can see are never scary, never interesting, and certainly never original.

First of all, ghost movies are at an inherent disadvantage in that, focusing as they do on mere noncorporeal apparitions (the existence of which is apparently still a matter of extreme uncertainty), our colorless family of "heroes" is never in any immediate mortal danger. Ever. The most these folks have to lose is a few hours sleep and their credibility with friends and neighbors. Inconvenient, sure; possibly fatal, not so much. They should just be thankful they didn't move next-door to a homestead of cannibalistic hillbillies or a lakeside camp filled with horny young counselors.

Secondly, when are film families gonna realize that if the gorgeous, turn-of-the-last-century, recently-renovated, out-in-the-middle-of-cornfields-and-cross-burnings country home of their dreams is ridiculously low-priced... it's because it's fucking haunted? Honestly, people. A nervous realtor in the movies means a brutal, will-be-revealed-to-the-audience-in-sepia-toned-flashbacks massacre occurred in the house in the recent past, and you're about to purchase a home replete with vengeful demons that push picture frames off of shelves.

For comparison, a nervous realtor in real life means the paint used in the house was probably lead-based. This is a far more irritating problem to address than a ghost kid who meows.

> Why it may not be a complete bust: I 'unno. Don't movies like these usually have a pants-fiddlingly nubile young babysitter or blossoming-into-glorious-adulthood teenage daughter in them?

4.) BECAUSE I SAID SO

> The plot as far as I can tell from the trailers: Diane Keaton is slowly going senile, and wants it to be documented on film.

> Why it will suck: It seems to me that there exists a disturbingly large contingent of people in this nation who can't get enough of watching Diane Keaton fuck old men. This group of folks needs to seriously consider indulging this fetish in the privacy of their own homes with the appropriate "mature" movies specially produced for their, er, "mature" set, cause ain't nobody needs to see that shit while out on a date.

Now, I fully accept that it must be empowering for such people to know that old coots like themselves can still enjoy sex well into their second century, but why must this gruesome burden fall squarely on Diane Keaton's bony shoulders? Angela Bassett, Dyan Cannon, Amy Brenneman, Diane Lane... these are all perfectly acceptable hot old broads whose bodies need to be displayed openly and often. And for those of you female cynickites who have an equal gripe with decrepit, randy old geezers constantly getting paired with drool-inducingly gorgeous, just-out-of-community-college starlets...

... good for you. Believe me, I, for one, will be perfectly happy when Sean Connery decides to hang his by-now vestigial penis up for once and all and leaves the seduction of such fine young things as Zoe Saldana to the age-appropriate studs in the acting community.

You know, like me.

On another equally obnoxious note, how many goddamned "comedies" do we need telling us, "Hey! Sometimes mothers and daughters have trouble understanding each other! Isn't that wacky?"

Yes, girls. Your mothers can be flaky, or selfish, or old-fashioned, or domineering femynyst bitches, or spineless Stepford wives, or, in the case of Diane Keaton, clinically neurotic, bi-polar messes who flail about the place for no good reason.

And yes, mothers. Your daughters can be hyperemotional, or nasty, or anti-social, or superficial, preening bimbos, or whining, self-destructive emo-girls, or, in the case of Mandy Moore, lousy actresses.

We get it, ladies. You have trouble connecting sometimes. This concept is neither amusing nor fresh. So please, allow Diane Keaton to get back to what she does best...

Making geriatric porn.

> Why it may not be a complete bust: Blonde, perfectly-built goddess Piper Perabo is listed among the cast. Despite possessing one of the worst names in Hollywood history, there exists exactly zero physical flaws on that magnificent reincarnation of Aphrodite.

5.) THE ASTRONAUT FARMER

> The plot as far as I can tell from the trailers: A NASA engineer-turned-corn-pickin'-rube decides to build a rocket ship in his barn.

Somehow, this movie is not being marketed as a comedy.

> Why it will suck: I refer you back to the plot as outlined above. With my jaw dropped. And a stunned look on my face. And a significant loss of brain cells in having witnessed this commercial to begin with.

What the-- ? Who did-- ? Why was-- ? Why? I mean, really, guys, why?

Look, Hollywood screenwriters, just because critics and audiences alike have been bemoaning the lack of original ideas for movies lately doesn't mean that you should run with every original idea. I mean, I can't even grasp how I'm supposed to take this shitfest -- which sounds exactly like a lame Disney family film starring Tim Allen and some chick from the CW network -- seriously.

Apparently, the guy -- this... astronaut farmer -- used to work for NASA. Okaaay, fine. I'll buy that. So, at NASA HQ, was he the man capable of building an entire operable space shuttle... by himself??? And where does Farmer Joe Shmo happen to amass all of the materials required to construct an orbital spacecraft? Kansas must have some pretty impressive flea markets, I tell you what.

ASTRONAUT FARMER AT FLEA MARKET: So I'll take this here flyswatter, and that there chest'er drawers, and this porcelain cow looks kinda sharp, and-- oo, hey! Is that several hundred thousand pounds of liquid hydrogen propellant I see over there? Ya got that in oxygen, by any chance? (To his wife) Look, now, Enid, you put that back. My star-flyin' machine don't need no beaded seats!

I suppose all of these questions and more will be poorly answered in the movie, but damned if I'm wasting money that could be better spent on scotch finding out.

Oh, and a side note for all you Democrats out there: please don't chuckle or, gods forbid, laugh uproariously over the embarrassingly weak WMD joke featured prominently in the current trailers. I mean, I'm all onboard with condemning beady-eyed, talking turd Bush and his Jesus-sanctioned war, but supporting lame topical humor -- particularly in a mind-anesthetizingly pointless film like this -- just isn't going to help the cause.

> Why it may not be a complete bust: For the rest of his career, Billy Bob Thornton can pretty much coast on the good will he engendered with his laugh-out-loud, painfully funny, and unrepetantly nasty tour de force performance in that anti-holiday classic Bad Santa. If you have not seen this movie and have no desire to, you also have no business reading this blog. Take a hike, Snowflake.

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Mocking people far more successful than I am is a very constructive and healthy use of my free time, I like to think. Of course, I am writing this from work...

In any case, don't go see these movies. Or do. Whatever. Once you jokers navigate away from this page, you're really no longer my responsibility.

In closing, Jim Carrey and Diane Keaton's epileptic fits have been mistaken for quality acting for years now.

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It's gonna drive me nuts if I don't mention a trio of classic plays that deserved inclusion in my Classic Literature that Doesn't Suck section from this entry, so here they are:

> The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde and The Country Wife by William Wycherley, two period comedies that are -- gasp! -- actually funny.

> Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes, a family drama in which the bad guys win... throughout. My favorite character is Machiavellian brother Ben Hubbard, a courtly southern gentleman who'd sell his family and his soul for a couple extra dollars and whose dialogue is a cynic's delight. His penultimate monologue concerning the people who "will own this country one day" is chillingly prescient:

“I say to myself, years of planning and I get what I want. Then I don’t get it. But I’m not discouraged. The century’s turning, the world is open. Open for people like you and me. Ready for us, waiting for us. After all, this is just the beginning. There are hundreds of Hubbards sitting in rooms like this throughout the country. All their names aren’t Hubbard, but they are all Hubbards, and they will own this country one day. We’ll get along."

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So my last entry regarding cynical definitions to common theatrical terms seemed to have gone over like a batch of beer-soaked bear claws at the Policemen's Ball (though it wasn't an especial hit with directors, oddly enough). Therefore, I have decided to add a few extra definitions for the snickering pleasure of my more dramatically-inclined constituents.

GLOSSARY OF THEATRE TERMS, Part the Second

Lighting Designer: A glorified lightbulb hanger.

A favorite catchphrase of the lighting designer is "Find your light, dammit!" One would think that "finding the light" would be the job they were expressly paid to do, and one would be wrong.

Set designer: An architect who designs houses nobody can live in.

Stage Manager: This bossy little martinet is like a director, only she knows what she's doing. Stage managing is, without question, the most thankless task in the entire theatre world. Stage Managers know this, and therefore make it a point to be insufferable bastards throughout the show's run.

Open auditions: Auditions open to anyone, including people the director hasn't already pre-cast under the table.

Precasting: When a director tells his favorites to try out for an open audition so he can "fairly" offer them the roles he promised them three weeks before.

Some theatres dispense with this charade altogether and openly place actors in roles without auditioning them. Until someone does this with me, these theatres consist of narrow-minded elitist pricks.

Should a theatre decide to pre-cast T.C.I. in the future, please expect this definition to be updated accordingly.

Small parts: According to directors and lead actors, these don't exist.

"Break a leg!": To the layman, this term means "Good luck with the show!" Among those in the theatrical know, it translates roughly to "I hope you break your fucking leg, asshole."

"The Scottish Play:" Shakespeare's ominous tragedy Macbeth has a long and storied history of bringing bad luck to any theatre bold enough to produce it. Some claim it is cursed; others that it is kinda boring and its supporting characters are severely underdeveloped. Either way, thespians being a supersititious and asinine lot, if you simply must mention this classic within the confines of a playhouse, it is considered good manners to refer to it as "The Scottish Play."

That being said, I implore everyone reading this to scream "Macbeth" loudly and frequently should you ever have the misfortune to enter a theatre. This is very rude and annoying and hilarious.

Myspace: This well-known Internet abyss of shameless onanism is apparently utilized by actors and other theatrical types the world 'round for "networking" purposes.

Networking: Inviting others to witness your unrestrained narcissism through the use of garish webpage designs and an irritating loop of a crappy acoustic version of your favorite song. Those who "network" efficiently find they can quickly amass hundreds upon thousands of online "friends." This is far less time-consuming and satisfying than actively going outside of one's home to make offline friends.

Here's a safe rule to help you decide if myspace is right for you: Are you a giddy female under the age of 20? No? Then I regret to inform you that high school ended some years ago. Welcome to the rest of the planet.

Which, sadly, you'll find is not a whole helluva lot different. Still, enough with the myspace already, people. Your list of interests is, ironically, not all that interesting.

OBSESSED, POORLY-GROOMED MYSPACE ZEALOT: You hypocrite! Look at you! You keep a blo-og! It's the exact same thing! Now, I'm gonna go on my myspace account and tell all of my friends I've never meet that you're a big jerk! LOL!!11!1!!1

Myspace is about acquiring friends. Have you ever read my blog? Does it honestly sound like I'm trying to make friends around here?

Curtain call: When the actors line up to take their various bows immediately after the play ends. No matter how strategically the director plans this out, someone will get pissed about their order in the bows. And this person will invariably be you.

Intermission, or Intermezzo: The theatrical equivalent of "halftime." This is the time for the audience members to stretch their legs, purchase concessions, use the restrooms, read the playbills, wonder what the hell happened in the act they just watched, ask their friends what the hell happened in the act they just watched, decide no one knows what the hell happened in the act they just watched, collect their belongings, and drive home.

After the Intermission, the actors are left to wonder what the hell happened to the audience that was just watching.

Popcorn, Raisinets, Goobers, and Snowcaps: You're in the wrong theatre. Actors don't generally have heads that are fifteen feet high.

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And finally, on a serious note, I'd like to take this time to say good-bye to a woman who was not only a wonderful influence on my life, but made life wonderful as a rule: "Aunt" Donna Ford.

Aunt Donna was the aunt of two of my dearest friends, Lynda and Angie, and as I've always been an unofficial brother to them, she was my unofficial aunt by extension. She was a warm, charming, highly intelligent woman with a wickedly dry sense of humor. She was also a loyal and vocal supporter of my writing and acting abilities, such as they are, and of all the people in her life whom she cared about.

I will not go into further specifics -- this simply isn't that kind of blog -- but I just need to say that Aunt Donna... Aunt Donna was the kind of individual who makes me wish there was a Heaven, because to never get to laugh with her again seems like the cruelest kind of Hell...

Rest in Peace, Aunt Donna. If I'd known you forever, it would not have been long enough. We miss you.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Quietly said...

"You're clearly retarded," she said while fighting an incredible urge to create a MySpace account in T.C.I.'s name.

In the event you should reproduce, your child(ren) will probably resemble Jesse and/or Leslie from BtT: athletic writer/artists types with no religious leanings and active fantasy lives.

Not to say the movie will be good just because the book rules. I can't say as I actually recall any of the trailer's beasts 'n' monsters making appearances as such in the book, so the film's already deviating, and I don't doubt a *timely and appropriate* environmental message will sully an otherwise engaging moment. But surely you have a niece you should be taking to see this. Or a likeable neighbor child.

And that 23 movie? Okay: Thank you. That man needs to stick with comedies. That I'm also not watching.

9:45 AM  
Blogger Chuckles O'Plenty said...

This is a blog, not a message board, Quietly. Jesus...

If I liked my neighbor's children, why the hell would I subject them to BtT? And without monsters, the reason for that book's existence grows even more mystifying.

And I pride myself on having an especially INactive fantasy life, thank you very much.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find I must take issue with your definition of Stage Manager. I have stage managed twice and will be doing it again in a couple of weeks. I have found the majority of the casts I have managed have asked for me for future shows. The real definition should read "Actor Babysitter"

Sgt Mellors

P.S.

Everyone should come see "A Few Good Men" at the Sunset Playhouse to see me say "Ten-Hut" alot and watch me stand on stage the entire 2nd Act. It's a thrill a minute.

9:05 AM  
Blogger Chuckles O'Plenty said...

You know, I don't normally make it a point to provide free publicity for theatre productions I failed to get cast in...

...and I see no reason to change that stance now. Suck it sideways, Sunset!

Ahhh... Bitterness is a hearty brew, indeed. I believe I'll help myself to a second draught.

In any case, break a fucking leg in your guest appearance, Sgt-at-Arms Mellors!

10:40 AM  

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