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The first weekend of May can mean only one thing—either a mindless action orgy or a remotely interesting big screen adaptation of a third string comic book hero. Or a sequel involving a first rate one, depending on how dry the well has run (okay, that’s three things—wanna fight about it?) Anyway, Spider-Man shit the bed last year, and there’s maybe three X-Men characters left after X3, so it’s time to bring in the alternates.
Which brings us to This Year’s Model, Iron Man. With no “powers” to speak of really, Iron Man is just a self-centered billionaire munitions industrialist who decides to fight evil with the technology he created to escape the terrorists who kidnapped him. Said gadgetry comes in the form of a suit of armor that allows him to fly at supersonic speeds, destroy tanks with a single shot and kick various other kinds of ass.
If you’re familiar with the comic books, you know that Iron Man is basically the dullard Dick Cheney (they’ve both got heart trouble) who wishes he could be Batman of the Marvel universe. Watching the horrors from your real life bleed into your entertainment is something that no one wants. The cool effects and the adrenaline-fueled fights ought to be standard, but what looks most promising is the fact that Robert Downey, Jr. is playing Tony Stark, and going by the trailer, Downey seems to be playing him with his trademark smartass humor and charm. That just might keep Iron Man from being the next Daredevil. Jeff Bridges as a bald-headed bad guy and Terrence Howard as Rhodes seem like kind of a crap shoot, but Gwyneth Paltrow as the leading lady?
Something’s not sitting right with me on that one. She’s taller than Downey, which is just kind of disorienting, not to mention awkward. She’s definitely not unattractive, but the fact that she not only had Coldplay babies, but named them Apple and Moses, just kind of strips away any lust factor I may have had for her. But if those responsible for bringing Iron Man to the big screen keep the clichéd, obvious metal soundtrack in the trailer and avoid sticking the Sabbath song in the middle of the whole thing, you just might get the first good movie of the summer and a movie that won’t end up as a punchline on some VH-1 retro special in 5 years.
Made of Honor
It’s amazing what starring on a craptacular show such as Grey’s Anatomy can do for your career. If Patrick Dempsey would’ve made this movie a few years ago, not only would no one give a damn but he probably wouldn’t have even been starring in it. But now that he’s playing Dr. McCreamy, Dr. McQueenie, Mayor McCheese or whoever, we can all get excited and watch him in the guy version of My Best Friend’s Wedding.
Remember that nauseating Julia Roberts movie from the ‘90s, My Best Friend’s Wedding? You know the one—a neurotic narcissist suddenly realizes their best friend of the opposite sex is the one for them only after their friend gets engaged? And through a series of allegedly comic and definitely formulaic mishaps, the protagonist must not only stop the wedding but convince their best friend that, despite their numerous shortcomings and the unforgettable knowledge of just how shitty of a human being they are, they’re meant to be together.
So come on, Sissy Spacek. You didn’t think I was merely outlining the plot for yet another hackneyed romantic comedy, did you? What are we waiting for? How long are we going to keep playing this game? We know each other better than we know ourselves! I mean, you’re a Capricorn; I’m a Capricorn. You were in Carrie; I saw Carrie. I’m a man and you’re a woman. And you are a woman. I know I should’ve brought this up before you married your husband for 34 years, and just ignore the fact that I’m only 33 years old. I know what you’re like and you know how I am. Look me in the eyes and tell me you know for an absolute fact that this wouldn’t work between us! Tell me that without a doubt in your heart! You can’t, can you? That’s just like you, Sissykins—still can’t go with your heart, can you? Just know this: I’ll stop going out in public in my Captain Morgan pajama pants if it means being with you. And I’ll wait as long as I have to. And I’ll think of you every second you make me wait. Every second!
So I’ve managed to outrun that chronic case of day terrors that’s been plaguing me since that third Matrix movie came out. At least until the Wachowski, er, siblings (the one switched from Andy to Andrea and looks like he/she should be working at an arts and crafts store next to a Dollar General. Think I’m lying? Look it up.) decided to make a live action version of the anime cornerstone Speed Racer. And going by the trailer, all I can say is I don’t know if that’s actually the movie or if I’m hallucinating again.
It doesn’t help that after watching the trailer for Speed Racer, I feel like I was force-fed ecstasy and was made to chase it down with about 22 Red Bull and vodkas. Compound that with the fact that the whole trailer looks like that Star Wars Pod Racer video game that came out along with The Phantom Menace—but only if you adjust the color on your TV to look really saturated, I’m talking Douglas Sirk saturated. I’m talking blow out your screen saturated!
Speed Racer doesn’t look entirely terrible. Yeah, it’s full of exceedingly nauseous special effects and yes, more bullet time shots, not to mention the aforementioned color scheme that’s sure to burn out its fair share of retinas. But as jaundiced and Winehouse-like as Christina Ricci’s been looking lately, she’s looking as fine as frog hair in this. I’m talking straight-up trouble. She looks so good that I might even watch a pirated copy of this movie. On the down side, John Goodman accomplishes his most frightening and physically disturbing role since Fred Flintstone as Speed Racer’s dad. And the rest of the family looks like the Addams Family on Ritalin and rockgut wine. And don’t even get me started on Racer X. I’ll just stick with the vapid retro cartoon whose only power is its novelty and leave it at that.
What Happens in Vegas...
I think I might need a minute here. I’m trying to overcome nausea while making an attempt to articulate it. It’s like a cat puked in your shoe, and just as you’re putting it on, that “Viva Viagra” commercial starts. Just too much at once.
So what can put me in this state of overblown and exaggerated distress? What Happens in Vegas. If you were waiting for a horrific movie based on one of the most abused tourism advertising taglines in recent memory, you’re not just an idiot; you’re also in luck. This shit-smear of a movie not only flaunts the trite grotesquerie of Cameron Diaz; it also boasts the genuine concentrated douche factor of Ashton Kutcher. And when you get that much unlikability on one screen my friends, you can bet your dopey looks that something truly abominable is going to happen, and I don’t just mean that they’re probably fucking now.
So Shitface and Asstard play a pair of apple-faced goons who are down on their luck, getting dumped and fired respectively. To escape the woes of their abysmal plights, their paths cross in the Low Class Tourist Trap Capital of the World. They meet, drink like college freshmen and, presumably, copulate like a pair of bonobo apes. Oh, and as a true testament to their collective imbecility, they get married while they’re drunk off their asses.
Doesn’t sound enough like a paint-by-numbers horseshit droolfest yet? Wait for it. While the hangover’s wearing off, Asstard plays a slot machine with a quarter that Shitface gave him and he wins three million bucks. And amazingly, when they’re not drunk they don’t like each other! Who gets the money? This sounds like more fun than I can bear. Really.
If your faith in both the entertainment industry and humanity isn’t shaken yet, a thin plot contrivance (Dennis Miller as a highly improbable judge) ensures that this pair of atrocities has to stay married for six months or something to claim the loot. But if one can make the other one look like a shitbag they can legally divorce and not have to split all the dough. Some chafing attempts at humor and screw jobs are made, and Rob Corddry proves leaving The Daily Show was a great move, as he finds himself cemented into the “idiot buddy doling out bad advice”role. I couldn’t take 2 ½ minutes of Asstard and Shitface on screen together. Yeah, I know—they’re going to get together at the end and realize they’ve got a lot in common and I’d rather take the hundred lashings than go on talking about this. Shit, they probably don’t even get the money in the end, but it just doesn’t matter, because they’ve found love. I’d say I’d rather watch retard porn, but in the end I know there’s not that much of a difference.
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
I can honestly say I’ve had oil change appointments I’ve been more excited about than this movie. When you consider just how bad the first Chronicles of Narnia movie was, getting screwed on a transmission flush by those Valvoline guys doesn’t seem too bad. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was slower than Corky Thatcher and had more in common with a lost book of the Bible than the makings of an even remotely entertaining sci-fi or fantasy movie. The dopey kids, the horrific-looking computer generated talking animals—all awful. Hell, the only good thing that came of the first Narnia movie was the SNL digital short rap about two guys going to see it.
Let’s say the first Narnia movie is like some kind of uncomfortable episode involving your roommate with low-grade alcoholism. You wake up one weeknight sometime between 3 and 4AM to him blankly smiling at you and petting your head. You’re completely out of it and unsure if his statement that you’ve “got pretty hair” is part of some warped dream or not, but the whole episode’s over within seconds, the next day’s business as usual, and if you can even remember it happening you shrug it off as too much MSG for dinner.
This new Narnia movie, Prince Caspian, an apocalyptic nightmare version of the first one, is like being roused by the same roommate rubbing your ass and repeatedly grumbling the words “man pussy,”high on that half bottle of mouthwash from the bathroom. It’s pretty obvious this episode won’t be so easy to ignore, so I don’t think beating the shit out of him and moving into a studio apartment is out of the question. Screw the security deposit.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Before I start spouting about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull I want to say that I’m going to go see this movie regardless of how vague, cryptic, obvious and stupid its teaser trailer is. I love all the Indiana Jones movie and even though its been 19 years since the last one (which was a great place to end the whole damn thing, I’d like to add), Kingdom of the Crystal Skull looks like a blaring case of too little, too late, but I’m way too curious and excited to ignore it.
The trailer for Crystal Skull starts off with clips from the other movies, as if we need to be reminded what happened in them. After that we’re reintroduced to Indy by his fedora on the ground, and listen to numerous remarks made by Jones and some other guys about how they’re not as young as they used to be. Really? Because Harrison Ford looks like grilled chicken in this trailer. We got it. You know that we know that you’re old. Gotcha. A shot of a black bobbed Cate Blanchett shrieking in a Russian accent accompanies some standard Indiana Jones action, some running and the kid from Transformers. And that’s about it. It had me at hello.
Sex and the City: The Movie
Being a straight, American man with more taste than money and more brains than time, I can say that I’ve never seen an episode of Sex and the City. The short previews left me with the impression it was written by a roomful of gay men who wrote themselves as a gang of glamour hags to vent about their dysfunctional relationships and brag about their zany sexcapades.
On the other side of the screen, I’m guessing Sex and the City served as conversational fodder for catty gay men and their codependent portly female fruitfly sidekicks as they run up their credit cards and drink appletinis or cosmos together. And I’m guessing the show also served as a catalyst for boozy, past-their-prime housewives to lament their lost slutdom after the kids have gone to bed and their husbands have hit the bathhouse.
I’ll sometimes wonder if I missed out having opted for The Sopranos instead, but after gargling estrogen during the viewing of this 2 ½ minute trailer, that question was definitely cremated. First, these gals don’t lend very well to a high definition trailer. Especially Sarah Jessica Parker. I mean, these four were barely a notch above the baby batter-greased skanks with the neck tattoos in those shitball Cricket commercials. Someone should tell these swamp cows the term “facial”is just slang terminology and not meant to be taken literally—regardless of what Cosmopolitan tells you. The only thing keeping the cast of Sex and the City above the slimy Cricket hip-harpies is the fact that every other word out of their mouths isn’t baby and they don’t have Johnny Hashmir and his questionable heritage making insistent hand gestures and robotic motions behind them.
I never watched the show and I’m sure as hell not starting now. I stopped paying money to see drag queens in action years ago. And even if I could handle seeing Sarah Jessica Parker’s gigantic face on a big screen, television shows turned into movies always suck. Almost as much as Cricket’s service.
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