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Archive for October 22nd, 2008

I can think of no finer example of genuine movie crack than Dracula 2000.

It’s a godawful movie.   It hammers you over the head with the subtext; the idea of (spoiler!) Dracula originally being Judas Iscariot is nothing new; it takes characters from the original Bram Stoker novel and warps them beyond recognition.   It’s nothing new or inventive, but yet it somehow manages to entertain me and my admittedly low standards.

The plot is ridiculously simple:    Van Helsing now owns an antiquities dealership in London, England.   He has stayed alive for many years to keep watch over Dracula by injecting Dracula’s blood and using its restorative powers to keep his body going.    (And here I thought milk alone did a body good.)    Some of his shifty employees break into his ubersecret vault to steal whatever precious jewels lay inside only to discover a single, silver coffin containing – GUESS WHO?    Ignorant of its contents, the sneaky employees smuggle it over to America to sell on the black market, but Van Helsing finds out and follows them.   A non-shifty employee of Van Helsing’s, Simon, tags along against Van Helsing’s wishes and soon discovers that Van Helsing has two missions:   recapture a now-escaped Dracula and protect his daughter Mary, who was born after Van Helsing started shooting himself up with Dracula essence.   This makes her a prime target for Dracula, who now wants her.   And not just in the whole “I shall suck your blood” kind of way.   More like the eternal kind of way.

Sucks to be Mary!

Jonny Lee Miller is in this movie and he is bad, bad, bad.  Not in a villainous way, in a “I really needed the money but I’m phoning this one in” way.   He’s got to be the most boring performance in the movie.   This movie could use a lot less Jonny Lee Miller.   He basically just runs around and is all English.    Really.   He pretty much is like, “Cheerio, where’s the Earl Grey?”  Oh, Jonny – you had such potential post-Trainspotting.   Stupid Sick Boy.

You know who else is in this movie?

VITAMIN C!

You guys remember her, right?   Her annoying Graduation Song is on the radio at the end of every school year; it’s practically a rite of passage nowadays to be forced to listen to this song on repeat if you’re graduating ANYTHING, I think.   Yep, she’s in this one too as Mary’s semi-skanky friend who thinks she’s going crazy.   Her name?   Wait for it…wait for it…Lucy Westenra.

Ohhh, yeah.   She’s nothing phenomenal as an actress, but she beats Mr. Union Jack Lee Miller up there, that’s for damn sure.

Here’s the selling point of the movie.   The one, the only…Gerard Butler.

Screencap courtesy of Movie Screenshots, since my screencapping software decided it was TOO GOOD to cap Dracula 2000.   Uh huh.

DAMN.

It really was the first movie role that brought Butler to the attention of American women everywhere and even I have to admit he looks positively gorgeous here.   Plus, I will say that Butler does pull off the whole ageless evil thing quite well, considering what he had to work with here (:cough: not much :cough:) and the quality of the acting near him.   Sure he’s cheesy at points but not only is he pretty, you can tell he doesn’t take himself QUITE that seriously as Dracula, which is actually…nice.

Bottom line is that the special effects are pretty awful and shockingly, Danny Masterson of That ’70’s Show Fame and Omar Epps, he of the future role of Dr. Foreman, put in bit appearances here.   It shouldn’t charm me.   The movie falls somewhere distinctly in the middle of the heap as vampire flicks go, but there’s something redeemably charming about the movie.   Is it doddering Christopher Plummer as Van Helsing?   Or perhaps Gerard Butler’s blank, vacant, listless Dracula?    Maybe it’s Dracula’s badly-acted Vampire Brides.   Who knows?

I probably have no excuse for liking it but what really puts me into the realm of the pathetic is the fact that I’ve seen at least one of the sequels (there are two).   And yes, they were nothing to write home about either – but they also lacked the charm of the first.

However, if you asked me any day to pick between Dracula 2000 and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, I would easily choose the Gerard Butler fare ANYDAY over that Coppola piece of crap, even if it does have Gary Oldman in it.

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Was it necessary to make Friday Night Lights into a soap opera?

No.

I love how football movies set in Texas feel the need to portray Texans as knuckledragging, dumb as shit hicks who know nothing about life outside small towns other than the sweet, addictive lure of football, which consumes everyone’s lives and is all everyone cares about.

Really, Varsity Blues is just the soapy version of Friday Night Lights, which is ridiculous given the fact that Friday Night Lights is about as good as it gets regarding football movies.    The town they’re essentially portraying is one lone town in West Texas where football is king.   There’s reasons for that; and while football is pretty much the preferred sport in Texas, I don’t think it’s this obscene.   (No standing head coach of a high school has a freaking statue erected in his honor.)    It’s hyperbole of the most ridiculous form and the movie lost me when they introduced the fat, slovenly character Billy Bob, who drives a souped up truck, eats stacks of pancakes slathered in peanut butter and has a pet pig.

There’s a point where it’s satire and then there’s a point where it’s just stupid.   Varsity Blues is just stupid.   And I don’t think Varsity Blues is even thought out enough to venture into satire.

To give it credit, Amy Smart and James Vanderbeek are pretty good; both have decent accents and handle the crap they’re given capably.  Crazy Jon Voight doesn’t have to stretch much as he’s essentially playing himself with a Texas accent.

Just don’t ask me to buy into a football movie about Texas when you’re pretty much bordering on mocking said characters and then when you try and get me to buy Scott Caan as the teeniest, smallest running back in the entire history of football.

The movie is, in short, lame.

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