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Archive for the ‘Mockery’ Category

Oh, Quentin.

Imagine my shock when I opened up my internet browser this morning and moseyed on over to Cinematical only to discover you’ve been running that mouth of yours again. Sure, I wished for you to get on the ball about Inglorious Bastards, but not quite like this.

Via the good folks at Cinematical:

Tarantino has pronounced that he’s finished a draft of the script (that was fast) and “if all goes well, I will be here, in Cannes, in 2009 with Inglorious Bastards.”

…Wait, what?

I’ve been hearing for years, literally, about this movie, Mr. Tarantino — I’ve heard crazy, strange stories about 800 page draft scripts and Michael Madsden and whatever bizarre affectations come along with a Tarantino film. And now? Now, you give me this.

Oh, Quentin. Again.

We have a strange and varied history, don’t we? I like you and then you do something so odd and creepy that I have to take ten steps back and start running away.

I love your movies. Granted, it’s always been very trendy to fall head over heels for Tarantino films, but there’s no denying you’ve got talent and not just that, I’ve resisted your insane-o movie crack many a time, even insisting in some quarters that you’re not as good as you think you are or that perhaps you should issue a “cheat sheet” of recommended movies that you’ve stolen from wholesale every time you release a new movie. And every time I run away, either from some freaky interview you you gave, or your psychotic ramblings that make you sound like a two-bit hack jacked up on uppers, you’re still there with your stupid Reservoir Dogs and Charlestown Chiefs jersey and infectious love of kung-fu. You make it hard to stay away.

Here you tease me with the fact that you’ve finished a long awaited draft (or pared it down, depending on which sources we believe) of Inglorious Bastards and you say it might be ready for the 2009 Cannes festival. How, pray tell, are you going to accomplish that? Are you going to hop yourself up on so many amphetamines Judy Garland style to finish this film from a draft script that by the time Cannes rolls around next year you’ll be singing cracked out versions of “Get Happy” with RZA? Tell me how, Quentin! Tell me!

After all we’ve been through, Q, it’s so decidedly unfair to dangle this carrot in front of my face with a promise you can’t deliver. But there’s our history, right, Quentin? An avenue of broken promises and addictive films that I keep running back for, while making shameful excuses to everyone else I know. “He is a genius, I promise!” I say. “Look, I know he’s a freakshow and a half, but he’s talented! Yes, I know all his characters curse a lot and talk about random stuff; just watch the movie, okay?”

This is so unfair, Quentin. We both know the real truth – we can probably expect Inglorious Bastards around 2020, but I don’t understand why you have to keep on pulling at my emotions like this.

(If you actually do sing “Get Happy” with RZA, I want video. ASAP.)

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Oh, goodness. It’s actually titled Shaolin Temple Against Lama, but Netflix lists it as the title above.

Once upon a time, I dated a guy who for Valentine’s Day gave me the best present of all: a pre-planned marathon of kung-fu movies and Chinese food for Valentine’s Day. (It should tell you a lot right there what my idea of a good Valentine’s Day is, huh?) One of the movies we watched was a movie I’ve been trying to track down – Shaolin Versus Lama – but to no avail. It was awesome and amazingly good-bad, so in desperation and sifting through 8,000 “Shaolin” titles on Netflix, I randomly selected this one hoping it would live up to the brilliance of the movie I had originally watched.

No, this one was better. Better, I say!

Does the plot matter? Absolutely not. Like all kung-fu movies from the late ’60’s or so to the late ’70’s, it’s got three very important features: lots of fights, supremely bad dubbing and horrible camera work. This one, however, is way over the top.

I don’t claim to be a connoisseur of bad kung fu movies, so I can’t really relate this on a scale to you how awesomely cracktastic this movie really is, but let’s just say…it’s hilarious. Roaringly, outstandingly hilarious.

First of all, no one in this movie gets through three minutes of it without some super huge fight breaking out — which, while entertaining, is pretty exhausting. The dubbing is the pinnacle of bad in the best possible way. It really is every kung fu dubbing cliche you’ve ever heard. The costumes and actors, though, have to be seen to be believed. Let’s all stop for a moment and thank the heavens that God made screencapping software:


This is our main character and no, his name is not important. What is important is that he looks like the love child of David Bowie and the Yellow Power Ranger.

Do you SEE WHAT I MEAN? If you’re wearing more makeup than Boy George, you have a problem, my friend.

This is the main bad guy, who I think made his outfit from a Simplicity Sewing book of patterns.

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I should preface this by saying that I hate Uwe Boll’s movies. (This is probably not an unpopular opinion among movie buffs.) I’ve sat through at least four of his movies, trying desperately to find something redeeming in the hot messes he makes, but so far, I haven’t found much.

In the comments in an earlier post there was a small discussion between me and The Best Haiku Writer Ever, also known as andrew, about Uwe Boll’s movies wherein it occurred to me via another commenter that not everyone was aware of the horrific nature of this man’s movies.

Uwe Boll is a German filmmaker/producer who uses German tax shelters in order to make his movie. From The All-Knowing Wikipedia:

Boll is able to acquire funding thanks to German tax laws that reward investments in film. The law allows investors in German-owned films to write off 100% of their investment as a tax deduction; it also allows them to invest borrowed money and write off any fees associated with the loan. The investor is then only required to pay taxes on the profits made by the movie; if the movie loses money, the investor gets a tax writeoff.

Germany, your contributions to cinema have been duly noted.

Boll usually prefers to make adaptations of video games, like the movie I have just watched. In short, I’m not sure that Boll actually puts anything but half-assed effort into his movies. I’m not sure how in the world he keeps on doing what he’s doing, but he manages. His movies have terrible acting, horrific directions, plots and scripts so shoddy they just should have been reworked about eighty times before anyone decided to put them to celluloid; what disturbs me most is that the man takes something that could be theoretically decent and somehow screws it up. I never get the feeling Uwe Boll loves movies or even thinks he should have to work hard at making a decent film. In short, his movies piss me off because they’re mediocre pieces of crap that he is content to continue to unleash upon the public. None of his movies have improved; in fact, House of the Dead is probably one of the better movies I’ve seen that he’s done — sadly.

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So here we go, through House of the Dead.

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Oh my god, this movie is a thousand kinds of bad.   There’s nothing good-bad about it, either.

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Okay, first of all, I want to ask Gabriel Byrne one question and one question only:  “Why were you in this remarkable piece of crap?”     Oh, Gabriel.   You and those pretty blue eyes are capable of so much better.

Point of No Return is a remake of a much finer French film, La Femme Nikita.   The basic plot is that Bridget Fonda plays a Nina-Simone obsessed junkie who is in a robbery gone wrong and she manages to receive the death penalty for her role in it.   The execution is faked and instead the government trains her up as an assassin.   Needless to say, Bridget Fonda’s character is not entirely thrilled about this whole turn of events.

This film feature one of the most hilarious execution scenes ever put to film.  Not only is the execution chamber highly stylized, Bridget Fonda’s face is classic.  It’s like she’s having a lobotomy instead of lethal injection and afterwards promptly pees all over herself.

Bridget Fonda’s  acting is atrocious in this.  Not only is it hard to believe she’s a junkie, it’s hard to believe anything other than the fact that she’s a whiny little snot at every turn of the movie.    She rages with almost pre-teen angst through all of her training, where it’s pretty obvious Gabriel Byrne isn’t trying to down Jameson’s in between sessions and backhanding her alternately.    Watching her efforts at being “frustrated” is like watching a child try and paint Rembrandt.   It’s hard to conceive that her boyfriend, played by a very scruffy, hobo looking Dermot Mulroney, wants anything to do with her, but somehow, he does.

After she completes her training, Bridget Fonda’s character, who is now known as Claudia, is sent to Venice, California as a home base.   We know this because we get some cracktastic montages of people rollerblading and lifting weights in the most hideous spandex day-glo outfits imaginable.

Needless to say,  Hobo Dermot Mulroney begins to get very suspicious.   She doesn’t seem to work a lot for someone in “sales” and she gets all these whacked out phone calls where she has to just up and leave.   For someone who’s a super-stealthy assassin, Claudia’s not very convincing at making excuses to leave to go kill some people.

Claudia now has to juggle her “regular” life with her “assassin” life and figure out a way to make the two balance.   I could imagine how shooting people in the head with sniper rifles as your day job would conflict with being a nine-to-five sorta person and having a wretched looking hobo for a boyfriend.   So there’s lots of drama.

I won’t spoil the ending, but needless to say, I don’t think you should want to throw something large and heavy at a main character that is supposed to be sympathetic.   Or wonder why Gabriel Byrne took this role in the first place.   Or wondering if Mr. Byrne saw the final product and promptly drank himself into a years long stupor.

Yeah, it’s that bad.

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I like Netflix. Scratch that, I love Netflix. Okay, so I spend more time with Netflix than I do some human beings. So sue me, they’ve got that nifty “Watch It Instantly” feature that I f’love. Don’t judge me.

My friends often ask for movie recommendations or do the thing I used to get when I worked at Blockbuster: “I’m looking for this movie and it has that dude from that TV show a while back with that chick from the one movie with the sword…” While they find my movie freakness amusing if strange, sometimes they are like, “Whoa, Caitlin, you lost me there.”

I told one of my friends that “if Netflix has a queue limit, I’ll be the first to find out”. (It’s 500 movies, incidentally.) One of the reasons I like having several friends that find my movie obsession a bit weird, but acceptable, is that they kind of rein me in at times. Upon looking at my Netflix queue, a friend exclaimed, “Are 473 movies REALLY NECESSARY, Caitlin?”

Of course, I was instantly on the defensive. “Of course it is!” I exclaimed. “I need to watch all of these! I mean, some of these I’ve been waiting to watch FOREVER. I’ve got the three at a time plan and I mail back a movie every day, I’ll get through it in no time!”

Ha! Famous last words, friends.

Upon deciding that my next ten movies in line held no interest at the moment for me recently, I started going through my queue to see what in the world was worth watching. Oh my god. WHAT WAS I THINKING.

I practically had the collected works of Ken Burns Netflixed. Seriously, self? There is NO WAY I could get through ten plus discs of Baseball, no matter how much I was interested in learning about the game even though I don’t even like baseball.

Then there were the movies that had been languishing in my queue for god knows how long that I had actually bought that I had never remembered were IN my queue.

My queue was sad enough to contain a Brittany Murphy movie. What? I hate her! What is that monstrosity in there?

This is why I need someone to intervene every so often and say, “Caitlin…just…stop.”

I’ve paired it down to an extraordinarily reasonable 405 movies, down from 500. Hey, I made all the changes I could, okay? Don’t ask me to give up Murder, She Wrote: Seasons 1 and 2. I love Angela Lansbury, especially as Jessica Fletcher. Those darn mysteries! She’s such a crack sleuth! I’m reliving my childhood! (Shut up.)

And there’s no way Animated Soviet Propaganda is coming out of my queue. Have I mentioned my Russophilia?

Nevermind the master works of Jean-Claude Van Damme there, either. Let’s pretend you never saw that, because if I had willingly put that in my queue, hypothetically speaking, it would be because a life without having seen Bloodsport is a life not yet lived. Or something like that.

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With any major author these days it seems to be inevitable that their books will be made into movies. See: J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, etc. (Not that this is new, but it’s picked up in the last 20 or so years.) Tom Clancy is no exception. In fact, we already have four movies based on Tom Clancy books all centering around Jack Ryan.

In the order they were filmed and released, they are:

  • The Hunt For Red October (1990)
  • Patriot Games (1992)
  • Clear and Present Danger (1994)
  • The Sum of All Fears (2002)

(Side note: I actually own all of those. And due to my Russia-fixation, The Hunt for Red October is my favorite of the four.)

You actually have three very solid movies in the list. Harrison Ford was probably the best Jack Ryan, but I think we can all agree The Sum of All Fears was a waste of time. Seriously? Ben Affleck? I can imagine the conversation right now between two people knocking around the idea of restarting the Ryan franchise. “Dude. It’ll be awesome. We’ll cast Ben Affleck. And we’ll take it BACK into the timeline before The Hunt For Red October! It’ll be awesome.” Then the two put down the bong and managed to go get the sucker greenlit.

It’s no secret that Hollywood’s trying to revisit the Ryan franchise. I, for one, actually don’t have a problem with this. Clancy actually has an extended body of work that involves Jack Ryan that one could use, although it becomes less believable as time goes on, as half of the Congress, most of the executive branch and a whole bunch of people get blown up and Jack Ryan becomes president, who then creates a secret organization to fight terrorists. And his kids are involved in running said organization. (Yeah, WTF, I know.) Heck, Hollywood even has the notorious Rainbow Six cashcow, which focuses on John Clark, Jack Ryan’s CIA spook buddy. It’s made an awful lot as video games, so why shouldn’t it translate more into success as a film?

Then there’s all the crap Clancy has allowed to be released under his name that’s been written by different authors.

You have a lot to work with here.

So when I started hearing rumors that various people wanted to revisit Jack Ryan but not directly use Clancy material and just use the Ryan backstory Clancy had created. And then I read this, via Ain’t It Cool News:

The plan, apparently, is to have [Sam] Raimi direct a whole series of movies focused on a Ryan even younger than Ben Affleck. The first could hit cinemas as early as summer 2010.

 

What the heck? What the heck happened to Jack Ryan before he runs into the Soviets that is remotely fascinating? Who cares! Isn’t part of the Jack Ryan appeal the fact that he’s a quiet CIA historian who gets muddled up in world affairs, eventually becoming deeply entrenched in the CIA? Aren’t we missing the point here?

I trust you, Sam Raimi, just not like this.

I may have to pretend that only the first three movies exist. Again.

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“Hi! I’m noted film and television actor John Travolta! It’s a great day, isn’t it?

Listen, I’m here to talk to you about something very important to me. No, no…it’s not Scientology. I’m here to talk to you about acting.

Acting, obviously, is the main thing that I do. I’m proud to say that over the years I’ve developed my own system, my own method, if you will. I call it ‘The John Travolta School of Acting’. It’s really quite easy, you see.

There’s a couple of steps. I’m only willing to share a few with you here; you’ll have to attend my super-exclusive seminar to hear the rest, but this should get you started on your path to acting superstardom!

Now, many of you out there may have never taken an acting class in your life. That’s okay! The John Travolta School of Acting was designed especially for people who have no idea how to act. In fact, we don’t want you at The Travolta School if you have any idea how to act. All you have to do is show up, and follow a few quick and easy steps.

Step One: Maniacal Facial Expressions

All you need for this is a mirror and some of my movies. Two of my “Maniacal Facial Expression” piéces de resistance are Broken Arrow and Face/Off. See here?

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Note the serious expression! The partially raised eyebrow! And then, when you’re actually moving and not standing still, you just need to act like a hybrid of Jack Nicholson and Nick Nolte. It’s easier than you think! Go, right now, and try it out on your husband or wife. I guarantee they will hide in the bathroom out of complete and utter terror. (Travolta Safety Tip: Make sure all sharp objects and firearms are locked away safely before you try Step Number One.) If your husband or wife will believe it, your average American moviegoer will!

Step Two: Speak Loudly With Your Hands

Take a look at Basic. Enjoy Broken Arrow again. What you can’t say with your face (or what your face won’t let you say) you can always say with obnoxious, overly large hand gestures.

Want to reinforce the fact that you’re a maniac? Grabby hands! Want to seem especially sarcastic? Jazz hands! They’re not just for dance anymore!

Now, you’re capable of playing a bad guy! Want to know how to play a good guy! Well, you can attend my seminar for only $999.00 this weekend to figure out the rest, and soon, you too can star in Urban Cowboy or Saturday Night Fever! Half of the proceeds go to the Church of Scientology! Wait, no, I haven’t won an Oscar, now that you ask — where are you going? Wait…come back! Come back!!!”

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