a scene in Domino, the new Tony Scott biopic about
bounty hunter Domino Harvey, where one of the characters
describes her boss as having “the attention span of a ferret
on crystal meth.” This is the key to watching, deciphering,
and maybe even enjoying Domino.
style in which Scott tells the story is so fidgety it’s
very much like a marmot on amphetamines. It looks
just like Scott’s last film, Man on Fire. In case
you’re too dense to figure out who certain characters are,
Scott throws Cliffs Notes on the screen. He even has his
characters repeat what they’ve just said – whether to inform
or annoy his audience I don’t know. But what probably bothered
me the most was that, despite decent acting and truly bizarre
characters, I felt like I was staring right in the face
of the aborted lovechild of Oliver Stone’s U-Turn
and any artsy alternative music video from the mid-to-late
‘90s. I kept looking out for some band to start playing
just after Domino’s star, the lovely and enchanting
Keira Knightly, starts wailing riot grrl-style into the
let’s talk about Miss Knightly. She was the princess or
something in Pirates of the Caribbean and she was
in King Arthur. The girl is dope! She plays a devil
pixie bounty hunter and I would drink her bathwater.
point here is that in Domino, Keira Knightly is amazing
to watch. You can’t take your eyes off her in any scene
in the movie. It’s her job to be magnetic, to distract you
from all the terribly annoying and awful things that go
on in the background. Domino is not only jumpy to
the point of inducing nausea and the bends, but the low-grade
excremental storyline will probably cause brain cancer in
anyone paying Cash American to see this movie. It gets ghetto
at points with Macy Gray and that Mo’Nique chick. But the
worst was the Springer episode with mention of “Chinegroes”
(half Chinese-half black people). I take that back; it was
pretty funny. Christopher Walken’s wooden, and Tom Waits
has a cameo as the voice of reason or something. Mickey
Rourke looks like a Botoxed vampire who fed off of Donatella
Versace and assumed her characteristics. Tony Scott pretty
much ends the movie with a Mexican standoff – just like
he did with 1993’s far superior True Romance. It’s
like he grabbed some of his earlier movies and edited them
I talk to people who have read a review I’ve written, but
are still unclear as to whether I actually liked the movie.
Let me clarify: I hated this movie! Donnie Darko writer-director
Richard Kelly’s toasted-dogshit script and Scott’s epileptic
storytelling style took what could have been a pretty good
movie and British-nannied it as it fell limp. If you couldn’t
care less and just want to wait for that nude scene with
Miss Knightly you’re not even sure exists (but would be
well worth the wait), then have a seat. She’s a very foxy
thing to watch for is a scene where Lucy Liu is really oddly
lit and you can’t see the whites of her eyes. She looks
like a soulless, demented alien-demon posing as a Fed. Two
guys seated a few rows up from me turned to stone – honest
to God! Get some of those wraparound senior citizen shades
and you should be okay.
are certain expectations when you’re watching a Cameron
Crowe movie. What you’re stepping into is a somehow highly
personal story. And because Crowe wrote for Rolling Stone
when he was sixteen, it’s also going to turn into a mix
tape, both visually and musically. The big question that
either gropes you until the end of the movie or is answered
almost immediately is: how bad will it be? You’ve
got to consider the hellish implications of this thing.
You get sucked into one of these beauties and you’re staring
at Tom Cruise’s head for the next 2 ½ hours. It’ll be a
remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers but with
a Scientologist slant. It’ll be like Battlefield Earth,
his new movie, Elizabethtown, Crowe tells his story
through Orlando Bloom, who has the shittiest day of his
life, which ends with him picking up his recently deceased
father’s ashes. Prior to that, Bloom spends his time with
Kirsten Dunst hanging all over him and acting like a total
dipshit who’s “not afraid to live life.”
familiar? If you’ve watched cable recently or rented a DVD
in the last nine months, you’ve probably seen the movie
Garden State. Zach Braff, Natalie Portman. Depressed
guy comes home to his mother’s funeral and learns to live
life again, while falling in love with a zany dame? Sound
familiar? How about Feeling Minnesota? Hip soundtrack
and an almost touching story? The kind of movie your girlfriend
describes as “cute.” I initially thought Garden
State was a knock-off of the The Graduate
that had taken a lot of drugs and spent all day passed
out on the couch. But after a second viewing it grows on
you and makes you wonder how it will age.
we’ve got Elizabethtown. Oh, let’s say depressed
guy comes home to grab his old man’s ashes and winds up
hooking up with a goofy chick with OCD, and isn’t life so
much better when it’s accompanied by an eclectic soundtrack
featuring artists such as Ryan Adams, Elton John and The
Hollies? And you can do no wrong with a dumb haircut, even
if you’ve just made a nearly billion-dollar mistake.
is not to say that Elizabethtown couldn’t have been
worse. I read somewhere that Crowe wanted Ashton Kutcher
originally. Sweet Jesus, can you imagine this sort of trip
with that brand of turpentine pissing on it? If you can
catch this someday on cable, you’ll be able to relish in
the fact that all you’ve invested in this movie was about
two hours of your life. You’ll thank yourself later. But
if you just can’t get enough of this saccharine crap, watch
the aforementioned Garden State instead. If you’re
still torn, just ask yourself which would you’d rather watch–Garden
State or Bluegrass State?
is why I never got to the fuckin’ movies – they all suck!”
moviegoer after an evening showing of Elizabethtown
are two kinds of movies that nauseate me more than any other
type of movie. There are horror movies – a genre that’s
seen its day and could live on through some kind of miraculous
recovery, but is more like that wheezy, balding dog your
friend’s grandmother has and should’ve put down years ago.
Then we’ve got the good old Hollywood remake. Put these
types of movies together and you’re fixing for the biggest
tragedy since Frankenstein met the Wolf Man. Naturally,
Japan won’t make any more horror movies for Hollywood to
remake, so we’ve got to go and exhume one from our own history.
already remade one John Carpenter movie this year, so let’s
shit in the mailbox again and redo The Fog while we’re at it.”
industry meeting transcript excerpt
reminds me of a remark my cousin made the other day. He
told me the US hasn’t found a new oil reserve in two years
and that we’re going to run out within the next 15 years
or something. Then I thought about a comment another person
I see regularly made about nukes that were unaccounted for,
or missing plutonium, or something like that. Mild nausea
overcame me briefly and I began to wonder if I was actually
in hell, or some demented version of Groundhog Day.
I began to wonder if anything I did mattered because of
the state of the country, or the world for that matter.
Could I just actually act like a lunatic and have it not
matter one bit? Did I actually write that all down?
we’ve got The Fog. It takes a simple original premise
and tries to make it complex or interesting and fails big
time at both. I swear to God, whoever directed this movie
must give really great head, because there was nothing about
The Fog that was warranted. Nothing that anybody
in the history of the world (Hitler included) ever did justifies
a world where crap like this is in circulation. It’s right
down there with discovering that the planet Earth is actually
the left testicle of a parasite that lives off fecal matter.
It’s completely disgusting and disturbing.
I suppose that The Fog did serve one purpose, and
that is to perpetuate the dreaded Superman curse. You see,
the movie’s star, Tom Welling, plays a young Clark Kent
on the WB’s “Smallville.” He’s not quite Superman, but he
still might count. George Reeves played Superman in the
‘50s and eventually killed himself. I don’t think I need
to go into too much detail about Christopher Reeve, do I?
Anyway, Welling has to become tragic in some way, so he
may as well get started with a crappy remake of a movie
that wasn’t so hot to begin with. I say Welling’s going
to get busted doing coke off a urinal in a down-low truckstop
before being found dead with a stomach full of semen next
to an OD’d whore. But that’s just one prediction.
and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
few weeks back, I reviewed a film called Tim Burton’s
Corpse Bride. I said the style was the main thing carrying
it and this aside, it wasn’t too incredible. Oh sure, it’s
something you can really get into if the proper mood strikes
you, but that particular mood doesn’t strike too often.
The thing that made me go see Wallace and Gromit: The
Curse of the Were-Rabbit (and Tim Burton’s Corpse
Bride) was the fact that computer animation had nothing
to do with the development of either film and I knew this
kind of refreshment’s days were numbered.
be honest, I wasn’t especially looking forward to either
one of these movies. Part of me was, but in retrospect I
knew I’d be going only to see a public hanging – a swan
song of sorts for hand-made animation, in which talent and
articulation create something that looks like it could be
a living thing and not a video game. Not to knock computer
animators – their work is appealing to the eye and definitely
requires a certain amount of talent, but it’s not organic.
The thought saddened me.
other possible plan for that day was to tag along with BEAST
contributor and general lunatic Tom Maccio. The ultimate
and inevitable breakdown after the Obi-Wan Kenobi thing
with his kid in London put him on a downward trajectory;
culminating in abject madness via a spot scribing a funny-because-it’s-true
traveler’s guide for this humble rag. He was doing a piece
and I told him he’d need to do this kind of thing properly.
This meant getting our mitts on some luminol and a few blacklight
bulbs before Spencer’s closed. He was covering an Allentown
haunt and we’d been drinking Mad Dog since noon. Maybe it
was the cheap sulfides or some unnoticeable forensic chemical
fumes (perhaps a combination of the two) but we’d been twisted
into a condition suitable for viewing Wallace and Gromit:
The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.
were all right once we got to our seats and we actually
found the movie enjoyable. But getting there was a minefield
on many levels. We had to bolt about six blocks to the theater
in roughly ten minutes. The prospect of watching claymation
on a head full of noxious chemicals was too tempting a trip
to miss. None of this had been planned. The vicious son
of a bitch who sold us the luminol told us that we wouldn’t
need ventilation for any task that we could possibly handle
with that chemical bomb he provided us. We were thwarted.
But little did that monster know that our task was all in
the name of journalism, and not cheap kicks!
dash was not a problem once the tidal wave of Buffalo-fresh
air hit the lungs. We sidestepped a few Yo! My man!s
and were cackled at by the duff friend of the chick who
lived in one of the second-story apartments above. Maccio
looked directly at the creature and he swore that he could
see into the future for a few seconds. Walking past the
police station straightened us out quickly enough, but these
cackling harpies visually crippled Maccio to the brink of
insanity. They say you never leave a man behind, and I wasn’t
about to break precedent – at least not this day. I dragged
the poor bastard into the theater lobby and what followed
was a scene that would justify a cliffhanger episode on
a not-too-interesting cable TV series.
there was a Barbara Stanwyck film the theater was showing,
drawing every independent female senior citizen in the county.
Many of them apparently are big BEAST fans. I couldn’t even
begin to formulate an idea as to how these women knew who
I was – not even if given grant money and a chimpanzee assistant.
Maccio started acting like Pacino in Scent of a Woman.
The women began congregating around us. Some started waving
past BEAST issues over their heads and demanding autographs.
Others had that amorous look in their eyes. And still others
had that squinting Hey, I got a question for you look
on their faces from which no good can possibly come. Only
tragedy could rival that kind of scenario – comparable to
flashbacks of Anna Faris singing in Lost in Translation.
let’s sum up: I’ve got a half-dead and blind Italian hanging
off my shoulder like a cheap mink and a scientific chemical/cheap
wine concoction is gnawing away at both our brains as nearly
two dozen older women are crowding us. Oh, and I’ve got
a gig to do. A total 180 happens and one of them calls me
“honey” and asks us what we’re here to see. I tell her that
it kills me to miss the movie they’re here to see. They
offer to stake the movie for us if I can tell her the name
of the picture they’re here see. I tell them as quickly
as the question was asked. They even bought us coffee to
straighten us out.
I saw the preview for In Her Shoes, I thought I was
having a very mild stroke. I did nothing to fight it and
only hoped it would all be over soon. But I snapped out
of it when I realized what I was dealing with here. So far,
we’ve seen a fish-faced (or would you say she looks more
like The Joker?) Cameron Diaz being all stupid and sloppy
drunk and Toni Collette in her trademark role as the frump
sister who undergoes some sort of dynamic transformation
before the couldn’t-get-here-soon-enough credits roll. And
I also thought about how there was actually a point in my
life when I would’ve gone and willingly paid Cash American
to see this movie.
was a confusing time in the mid-to-late ‘90s for me when
I actually paid attention to my feelings. (I’m sure
the only thing straight about me was the fact I was, and
am, still into women – and otherwise a complete and total
mess.) I’m sure I overindulged my feelings a tad as I was
able to justify anything. I nurtured my feminine
side with clothes shopping, and did whatever the hell I
wanted. But I was also, I’m told, a “generous lover.” (I
know this has the abundant potential to head south really
fast, but stay with me on this one...) I was also very gentlemanly
and was the kind of guy who would spend $300 and
three months trying to get laid. And it was also during
this time that I loved to talk about my feelings.
in general talking about their feelings set this country
back three hundred years. It turned us into a nation of
fairies and bums. Did you know there was a time in this
country’s history when you could literally beat your wife
and punish your children with a belt after you’d just drunk
a fifth of rye? The only condition was that you provided
for them, and all was forgiven. There was an episode of
The Sopranos where Tony talked about the strong,
silent type and how Gary Cooper never talked about his feelings.
Another thing that you believed as a product of this generation
was that women loved sensitive men. And now they’re bitching
about how they got what they asked for, so now no one’s
I barely pontificate in my own mind about what would happen
if I went right instead of left that one day. If I even
feel something resembling that kind of gibberish in my mind
I push it down so far that it’s left with little recourse
but to turn toxic somewhere down in my bowels and eventually
kill me one day. That’s what a man’s supposed to do. He’s
not meant to lie on a couch and pay somebody a hundred bucks
an hour to listen to him wonder if his feelings are valid.
But we just had to get sloppy with the dope and VD back
in the sixties and it’s been downhill ever since.
it’s this kind of mentality that In Her Shoes nurtures.
Making this movie at this stage in the game is like showing
up with a case of beer outside an AA meeting and asking
a girl coming out of a women’s services building if she
wants to bang, both at the same time. Still, it’s easy to
see why Curtis Hanson, the man who directed LA Confidential
and Wonder Boys, would make a demoralizing chick
flick. Martin Scorsese made his chick flick with Alice
Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. Ridley Scott did Thelma
and Louise. So these guys do this kind of film to show
their versatility and we have to take it.
you can make it through the first ten minutes of, or the
trailer for, Waiting…, you’ll realize that your first
impression is the right one. It’s a movie about people who,
as part of their dead-end lives, work at a dead-end job.
Much in the tradition of Office Space and Clerks
(Waiting… even uses the Greek tragedy device by having
the story take place over 24 hours), this movie is sure
to become a classic among the early-20s crowd who have more
in common with the movie’s characters than they know.
with Waiting…, we get out of the office—or the mini-mart—and
head to a chain restaurant called Shenanigan’s that’s every
bit as bad as it sounds. The horrible uniforms and the shitty
customers. Mmm, mmm! Makes you want to head to Chili’s right
now, doesn’t it? With any dead-end job, there are naturally
those who hate it more than life itself and rebel in their
own small way. We’ve got the cook who spits in the food
and a game in which the employees flash their dicks at each
all in the spirit of the scenes in Fight Club where
Brad Pitt’s character pissed in the food and generally didn’t
take his job very seriously– except without the use of irony
or scathing wit. Waiting…is basically a 90-minute
fart joke that lets you know that you’re not the only one
with a shitty life.
star of Waiting…is Ryan Reynolds. If the name sounds
more like a Polish superhero’s alter-ego than a movie star,
you might remember him as the one vampire hunter in the
last Blade movie who did nothing but look buff and
shit out crappy one-liners as he got the melon-farming piss
beat out of him. Spiky hair? Tiny eyes about an eighth of
an inch apart? He was in that Amityville Horror remake?
He was Van Wilder? Anyway, in Waiting…he keeps up
the fine tradition of making the sides split. But that’s
not to say this movie has no finer points. Dane Cook shows
up for like an eighth of a second and Anna Faris doesn’t
look too bad in some scenes. If you’re in the mood for dumb
comedy you won’t be Waiting…!
feel like I should write a suicide note after that one.
Note: I thought long and hard for several minutes after
I finished that review. I debated turning the review for
Two for the Money, the title of my last review for this
issue into a suicide note to Al Pacino and e-mailing it
to my editor. Would it get printed? Would it never see the
light of day? Wouldn’t that be the weirdest? Who really
for the Money
somehow knew you never existed. Even if you had special
effects on your side – which no one does – the idea of you
delivering presents to every human being in one night was
just plain preposterous. Of course my mother confirmed your
fictitiousness just before my tenth birthday and I haven’t
given you a thought since.
Santa, I’ve had a reasonably enlightening week that I won’t
really go into, but I will say that I believe in things
I haven’t believed in for a while. It feels good to know
that you have something you weren’t sure you had and I think
there’s more there than I can see.
where you come in. I haven’t believed in you for a while,
so I figure that you’re out there elsewhere like other made
up legends: Jesus, The Six Million Dollar Man and Jack Burton.
You can help me. I have a very special request that I think
only you can grant me. I want Al Pacino to stop making movies.
see, Santa, he’s turned into a concept. I imagine he feels
it’s one more step toward self-actualization or some pretentious
dogshit like that, but he doesn’t act anymore. He’s turned
into a Nicholson – a self-professing gargantuan that lives
off its own pheromones and the misery of others while collecting
an obscene paycheck.
just shouts, Santa! He yells and eats kitty litter before
he gives long speeches in his movies. He’s a snaky old lurker
who should drop off the radar until they decide to give
him a lifetime achievement award. Then he can get wrapped
up in some publicity stunt after he kills a spouse or someone
was his new movie, Two for the Money, that made me
feel this way. Well, I guess I always felt that way to some
extent, but this was the movie that made me speak my mind.
He’s just silly and leathery and it’s like watching a wooden
Indian outside of an old cigar shop try to poop. He played
pretty much the same character he did in The Recruit
with Colin Farrell. The slick old mentor who turned out
to be a piece of crap in the end.
if you actually are listening, there’s another favor I’d
like to ask. One of Mr. Pacino’s older movies is coming
out on DVD and I’d really like a copy for Christmas. It’s
called Panic in Needle Park and God bless everyone!