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Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

**1/2

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story is a story thatís been beaten to death every bit as badly as a Kenmore toddler (Iím going to hell for that one): an everyday business owner/gang of schmoes is under siege by corporate oppressors and has to win some sort of competition in order to keep their hangout from becoming a parking lot. Itís been done in such classics as Barbershops one and two, not to mention the funny-in-a-way-that-cannot-be-explained Good Burger. So what makes Dodgeball any different than the countless movies with the same ploy? The jokes and the talent involved. Dodgeballís not a world better than those movies, but Vince Vaughn has shown us time and time again that he can be a funny guy in a very subtle way. And God knows that we canít get enough of Ben Stiller recycling the same characters from his short-lived comedy sketch series from the mid-Ď90s ďThe Ben Stiller Show.Ē The jokes are pretty funny, but Dodgeballís nothing to rush out and see. I tried to sneak a dodgeball into the theater, but the usher sent me into a time-out until the previews came on. So I came back with another one later in the afternoon and beaned him in the head with it when she wasnít looking and booked. Itís a short life kids, youíve got to get your kicks where you canÖ


Around the World in 80 Days

No Stars

 

There are definitely some movie-going tasks that I look forward to more than others. To take the sting out of past assignments, Iíve used tools such as six packs in parking lots, smuggled flasks, and Iíve even implemented cough syrup on occasion. But for Around the World in 80 Days, I knew I was going to need something considerably stronger. LSD seemed like a viable option. I havenít done it since high school. It was too easy to have a bad time on it and required a controlled environment to avoid freaking out, but Iím a much different person now. It was a guarantee that I couldnít fall asleep during the movie (or for eight hours after). I timed my three hits just right and it was blastoff right as the movie started. Unfortunately, the movie was too grand a job for our hallucinogenic friend to tackle, because Around the World in 80 Days still sucked. There were some very interesting parts, though. For example, whenever Jackie Chan spoke in his classic incomprehensibly mushmouthed fashion, I was hit by a tidal wave of both fear and giddiness simultaneously. I then realized that Chan was my friend, and there was a specific reason he was making all of these terrible movies, and he will share it me when the time is right. I also found the knife-fight between Jimmy Stewart and Haley Joel Osment incredibly gripping. I thought it was a little trite when Cindy Crawford and William Baldwin reprised their characters from the 1995 turkey Fair Game, but people canít get enough of a classic I guess. The army-of-inflatable-sex-dolls-lead-by-Al Franken scene had a lot of potential, but it was paced pretty poorly and the sequence was too choppily edited. Ultimately, it took away from the movie. But if I had to name something that freaked me out the most or had me rolling in stitches (because frankly when youíre on that crap, isnít it all the same thing?), Iíd say that seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger as a Jheri-curled sheik with a harem. I still canít make the distinction as to whether I laughed or cringed at it, but all I know is that I can never have the same experience watching this movie ever again. And that makes me sad.


The Terminal

**

We get it. Tom Hanks is a great actor. Heís one of two actors in film history that got the best actor Oscar two years in a row. Heís played a convincing retard, an AIDS patient, a killer for the mob, and hell, heís even carried on conversations with a goddamned volleyball on a deserted island for Christís sake! Now, to flex his acting muscle, heís playing an immigrant from a fictitious country who has to live in an airport due to political reasons and a technicality in security policies. He goes from a penniless traveler who can only ask where to get a pair of Nikes to a likable slob who warms the hearts of airport workers and security alike. And to that I have two words: sentimental bullshit. The Terminal is based loosely (you know, Madonna circa 1992 loose) on a true story of a European immigrant who had the option to leave the airport after a few days, but opted to live in the airport for a few months because he was a goddamned nut. Director Steven Spielberg made a nice-looking movie, but he took a vaguely interesting story and made it as tedious as a conversation with a speed freak. Itís nowhere near as clever as Catch Me If You Can and nowhere nearly as interesting as anything else heís ever done. Stevieís been on a roll over the last few years, but it had to end sometime. Also along for the ride is Welsh baby factory and necrophiliac Catherine Zeta Jones as a love interest/stewardess screwing a married man and Stanley Tucci as the evil head of security. The Terminal also features Mr. Littlejeans from the far superior film Rushmore. I didnít pay a dime to see The Terminal, so I canít complain too much. But the highlight of the night was seeing Jeff Simonís doughy ass run around like a complete and total pussy when the projectionist didnít have the movie centered on the screen at the opening scene. I would pay to see any movie, regardless of how bad it looks, if I could witness that sight again.†††


The Chronicles of Riddick

*

(Actor plays himself, evil genius, impossible science, special effects circle jerk, likable thug, talented actor makes bad choice)

About this time in the year 2000, I walked out of the theater after watching Pitch lack Black. I came down from a monster buzz about halfway through the movie. Laughter at Vin Dieselís voicebox-like delivery gave way to merciless ridicule to the rehashed plot. It was a ripoff of a formula that horror legend George Romero made famous with zombies. The zombies were now nocturnal aliens, and even after paying $1.50 I felt ripped off. My only consolation was in watching a steroid-pumped human/antelope hybrid attempting to act like a badass (or even worseóthe next Schwarzenegger). Needless to say, the thought, ďthis story needs to go onĒ wasnít running through my head. Over the years, I saw said mutant play the same pumped-up character. Iíd silently giggled to myself every time a cheesy girl with no taste or a gay man with thoughts of defilement on the brain talked about how hot he is. Now weíre at a point where an unmemorable movie is followed up with an effects-laden even more forgettable piece of shit. Diesel returns as Richard Riddick (great name, which couldíve only come from a phone book) to stop the† Necromongers, an imperialistic race that came from an H.R. Geiger wet dream. Itís all horrible dialogue (seriously, itís like someone puked on a page and started sending it out to agents), special effects, and fights that are slightly impressive, but as the movie goes on bore worse than a diamond-tipped drill bit to the temple. If you like your entertainment as dumb as your women, you shouldnít be disappointed, but if youíre looking for something moreókeep looking. When I walked out of Chronicles of Ridicule Riddick, the only thought I had running through my head was, ďwhat the fuck was Judi Dench doing in this piece of shit?Ē


The Stepford Wives

**

(Actor plays himself, evil genius, impossible science, mindfuck, talented actor, crappy remake)

My uncle (by marriage) from South Buffalo movedto the suburbs with my aunt after their wedding. Heíd periodically say, ďitís like the fuckiní Stepford Wives out here.Ē All I knew about it was that it was supposed to be a horror movie. So one day, I was curious enough to see what the hell he was talking about and rented the 1975 version of The Stepford Wives. When I was done viewing it, I got his joke, but I didnít get scared. It was a dull and dated commentary on feminism, the equivalent of someone telling you a lengthy joke and botching the punchline. Not a good movie. Cut to a couple of months ago. I saw a preview for the remake. I rolled my eyes at the thought of another remake, but was thankful that they werenít remaking a classic. After sitting through the remake directed by Frank Oz (aka Yoda, Grover, Miss Piggy etc.), I realized that remakes arenít an entirely bad thing. This remake leans toward comedy as opposed to the originalís horror slant making it slightly more enjoyable than the original. The remake dates itself just as badly, but ditches the bra-burning commentary that the original pushed. Itís the story of a husband and wife who move to a seemingly perfect New England town only to discover that everythingís not quite right. Nicole Kidman, Glenn Close (in a movie thatís frankly beneath them), and Christopher Walken (in his patented creepy style) are vaguely enjoyable and even Bette Midler did a decent job acting as the obnoxious neighbor (oh wait, she wasnít actingónever mind) But if it seems like Iím letting the remake of The Stepford Wives off the hook, donít worry. The silliness and wannabe wittiness get old pretty quick and you soon realize that a remakeís still a remake, and youíre watching a Martha Stewart episode that never aired. Iíd say that the best thing about The Stepford Wives is that itíll get you into an air-conditioned theater if thereís absolutely nothing else good up and you donít know anybody with a pool. A guy with the longest nose hair Iíve ever seen or imagined tried to tell me that the originalís a true classic and therefore better than the remake. I couldnít really counter his point because I was hypnotized by his lack of grooming, but in retrospect, itís a point not really worth arguing. That would kind of be like arguing who would be a better layóJoan Rivers or Melissa Rivers? Nobody wins, EVERYBODY losesÖ


Garfield the Movie

**

  

Did this really need to happen? Bill Murray falls off the wagon after one of the most impressive comebacks in film history as the voice of Garfield, that fat orange cat with an attitude from the comics section of any given newspaper. Frankly, Iíd expect this sort of thing from Breckin Meyer and Jennifer Love Hewitt, but Bill Murray? He survived Larger Than Life, so I imagine heíll live through this. Garfield suffers from the same problem that Cat in the Hat and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas suffer from. Theyíre making a 90-minute movie out of something that you can finish while on the toilet. ďGarfieldĒ takes you ten seconds to read and you donít laugh half the time anyway. There are few laughs, but at least every animal in the movie wasnít computer animated. And most of the actors who lent their voices probably went for it because they didnít have to show their faces. The lines arenít any crappier than they are in the comic, so if youíre a fan of the comic and arenít being emotionally blackmailed into seeing it, you shouldnít be too disappointed.

 

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