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Archive for April 22nd, 2008

#1433: Basket Case

What’s in the basket, huh?

Why, I’m so glad you asked! It’s only my horrifically deformed, now-unattached Siamese twin! Careful, now, he bites!

Basket Case is the story of two brothers, and it sure as hell is not a “feel-good” kind of story. Duane and Belial are Siamese twins, who are forced apart by their father who’s horrified that he’s got freakishly attached twins, one of whom (Belial) looks like Slimer from Ghostbusters got covered in that years-old gum you find under movie theater seats. Anyways, the doctors separate the two and wrap good old Belial in a Hefty bag and toss him to the curb. (Nothing says “sanitary” like a Hefty bag.) Oooh, burn!

Except Belial’s not dead, and now he’s one pissed little twin. Since Belial seems incapable of doing anything but being murderously wrathful and making noises that sound like, “mrawagh”, he hooks back up with Duane and together, the two are determined to exact their revenge on the doctors who detached them. They shack up in a seedy New York hotel where Duane carts Belial around in an enormous wicker basket with a padlock on it. Charming, non? Yeah, it’s just clothes in that basket, folks, nothing mean and nasty.

Basket Case was probably made for about $5.00 and it shows. The acting is tremendously awful; the special effects are of the laughable kind. Even Belial is obviously a latex puppet, and his modus operandi of killing people appears to be facial lacerations. How one dies of facial lacerations, I don’t know, but everytime someone dies, the viewer’s treated to a nice, long, Strawberry Quik coated close-up of the victim’s face with…facial lacerations.

The brothers systematically begin to exterminate the doctors who made them two instead of one, when Duane has a pang of conscience and begins to try a normal life outside of you know, killing people and lacerating their faces with his hideously deformed twin brother. Needless to say, Belial is less than thrilled. Belial MAD! Belial SMASH! Well, not smash so much, but he does begin to act out.

Duane’s got his eye on this sweet little receptionist. It should be noted that the hotel (and I use that word loosely) where Duane lives is populated by people who are 100% looney tunes, so he’s kind of living in an insane asylum. With prostitutes. Even with crackheads and nutsos living around him, the neighbors kinda begin to suspect something’s up when people start to see things in their rooms. Belial totally tries to get it on with the prostitute down the hall — ick — -and fails; then Belial goes after Duane’s little receptionist friend, and that doesn’t go over too well.

Ultimately, I enjoyed this movie. Why? Because the director, the crew, the actors, seem to know they’re in on one big joke. No one’s out to make a movie to change the world; they’re out to make a bad, schlocky horror movie that you can curl up on your couch with and giggle at the crap killing scenes and laugh at with your friends. They succeeded, so well played, filmmakers of Basket Case.

There’s actually several sequels to this film, and while I’m not running out anytime soon to Netflix them or anything like that, if they’re made in the same spirit as Basket Case, I’d be willing to give ’em a watch.

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…Because nothing says funny like teenage pregnancy.

Fifteen year old Juno MacGuff receives a nasty shock one day when she realizes she’s pregnant by her friend Paulie Bleeker. Unable to go through with an abortion, she searches for and finds a couple she feels is suitable enough to adopt her child. When Mark and Vanessa, the prospective parents, begin to fall apart, Juno has to make a tough decision.

I expected to hate Juno. Scratch that, I wanted to hate Juno. From the twee, “I’m so smart it hurts” dialogue in the trailer to Diablo Cody being everywhere all over the place in no time flat, I really wanted to find a reason to dislike this movie.

The dialogue, once you fall into it, is far from “so smart” and delves into sophisticated writing. The actors do a superb job, especially Jennifer Garner, as Vanessa, the “perfect mom”. You can practically feel how badly Garner wants a baby and she and Jason Bateman do a wonderful job as Vanessa and Mark.

Ellen Page deserved her Academy Award nomination and Diablo Cody deserved that win. The eloquent way in which Juno’s father and step-mother handle the news of her pregnancy is so refreshingly unlike anything Hollywood throws at us that it’s nice, for a change, to see something different. Juno’s whip-smart wit does nothing to protect her at her rawest, though, and that’s where the movie really hits home.

I love it.

I’d buy it.

I’m glad this film had all the press and all the coverage it got; it deserved every last ounce of it. J.K. Simmons and Allison Janney also shine as Juno’s dad and step-mother, and any movie that has Allison Janney in it I tend to like (Exh. A: Drop Dead Gorgeous).

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