Firewall

There’s nothing worse than seeing one of your childhood heroes fortify a cliché. Sadly, it appears that old dogs really can’t learn new tricks. The last time we saw Harrison Ford he was in Hollywood Homicide. After bringing starchy, generic potato chips to that summer movie season potluck, he did the right thing by not showing his grizzled head for 3 years.

So when you screw up, you lay low and regroup. You’re supposed to figure out where you went wrong and come back better and stronger.

What does he do instead? He hangs out at home with a corpse and for his comeback he stars in a movie about bank robbers holding his wife and kids hostage until he gets the robbers their money. But of course he’s mad as hell and he’s not going to take it anymore. Fightin’ mad as hell.

Firewall is so predictable that expecting suspense out of it is like trying to get laid in a convent. Instead it hits us with an arsenal of high tech gadgetry on which the plot leans like a drunken basket case. “Here, play with Mr. Ford’s key, you jerks.” And as for the villain we’ve got an albino Englishman because we all know that a villain is so much more sinister with an English accent.

The entire time I sat through Firewall, I couldn’t help but wonder why the hell Ford doesn’t just get it over with and do the last Indiana Jones movie. Give everyone what they’re all waiting for and retire. Show up at the Oscars for a lifetime achievement award just before you hit 80, wearing really thick glasses with even thicker frames. Everyone will still kiss your ass, but at least if you do it this way they’ll have less material at a Friar’s Club Roast that you’re just about due for.


Final Destination 3

Who. Fucking. Cares?

If you saw even one of the Final Destination movies you know it was based on a briefly interesting premise that never quite gelled: fate—rather than a psychopath with a bad sweater or a hockey mask—killing idiotic teenagers. It didn’t justify a feature length movie, let alone a sequel. One time, shame on them. Two times, shame on you.

Three times? YOU DIE!!!!!!!

At least you deserve to. Because it’s a carbon copy of the last two movies. Dumb teenagers, beheadings, tanning salon disasters, roller coaster accidents, nail guns, fireworks, bullshit, cunnilingus, goose down pillows, espresso, girls with shoe box asses wearing jeans they have no business owning, cups full of pencils, wheat pennies, book ends, pinky rings, mint green ties, flying saucers over East Rutherford, religious cult activity, very big hair, Jersey tunnel hookers, erectile dysfunction, burping dogs, excessive use of the word girth, old people swearing, Jheri curls, dollar store slippers, bicycle-riding circus bears, people who replace their first names with adjectives, bad golf shirts, very small dogs, asshole Robert Frost, expensive nose hair trimmers, people who really know how to grieve, 3-D glasses, BLT sandwiches, Nehru jackets, pubic wigs, Cher impersonators, drowning in 3 inches of water, learning disorders, “Blades of Steel,” fresh linens, glow-in-the-dark condoms, tuxedos with white jackets, Disney movies starring Kurt Russell, farting weasels, people you went to high school with, the feeling you’ve been cheated, three-month old bong water, raw bacon and luncheon meats, Uncle Ben, charcoal briquettes, bubble wrap, memories, pussy willows, the clap, five-finger discounts, mom jeans, the “Pledge of Allegiance” and the Loch Ness monster.

Of course a movie that flashes all of those things should be nowhere near a disappointment. But Final Destination 3 is. It is.


The Pink Panther

There’s a process called brainstorming where every idea that springs to mind is written down. The good ideas and the bad ones are separated, then the bad ones are sent to oblivion. Or to UPN. Or New Jersey, depending on how bad the idea is. But there’s a third type of idea: the one that should never have been mentioned.

Every once in a while, this classification of idea actually comes to fruition. One happened some years back when the band Suicidal Tendencies re-recorded their classic first album. Horribly. Another example of this type of war crime is the rumor of Bruce Lee’s estate allowing a movie starring him combining computer-generated effects and already existing footage.

Or you can remake The Pink Panther.

The fact of the matter is there is not a soul alive who possesses the comedic prowess that Peter Sellers did when he made the first Pink Panther, or any of the sequels. Remaking this movie or doing a prequel or whatever the hell anyone connected with this movie thinks they’re doing is right down there with child molestation, incest, starting a Steve Miller cover band or enabling the Rolling Stones by paying hundreds of dollars to see them live. Let them enjoy their golden years, you jackals.

As for Steve Martin, you can take a page from Winona Ryder’s book. When asked if she wanted to play the Audrey Hepburn role in the 1995 remake of Sabrina, she gracefully bowed out saying that those were shoes that she knew better than to try and fill. You’ve been known to be funny, Martin, but not recently; and even then not funny enough to guess what shoe size Peter Sellers was. We’re all mad and disappointed. And by the way, if you remake Dr. Strangelove, I will end you.


When a Stranger Calls

A week or two back, I got sick for the first time in nearly two years. I rarely get sick, but when I do, I’m usually a big wuss about it. I’ll admit it. This is also the first time I got sick since I turned 30, and those of us who’ve hit that magical age know your body starts doing some funky shit as it heads downhill.

In my case it was a fever dream. I’ve had only one before in my life. It involved Robin Williams and Minnie Driver enlisting my help to stop Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s secret police. This was a crazy dream. I mean, these clowns had their own rent-a-cops with golf carts and everything. And fire! There was fire, too! You’ve got to be careful what you watch before you pass out when your fever’s about to spike.

But this more recent dream reminded me of a trip I took to the movies. I say this not because there was some deranged killer chasing me, an imaginary monster under the bed, or Oscar winners trying to take over the world. I bring this up because my latest fever dream was a monotonous hell from which I could not escape. And there was no point to it either. It was just old people at some kind of UN banquet who had to keep moving crap around. And just when we thought we were done, there was still more stuff that had to get moved. And the worst part was that nothing happened.

Which brings me to When a Stranger Calls, where nothing happens. A girl is babysitting and some nutbag calls up and scares said teenybopper babysitter. Then there’s a noise. What can it be? Let’s take five minutes of built up suspense only to find out it’s a cat. Then the nut calls back and freaks out the babysitter a little bit more. Then another noise, followed by another few minutes of suspense and a loose shutter. It’s false alarm city before it eventually comes out that the lunatic’s in the house the whole time. Ooooooooooooh!

If you recognize the footprint in this turd, that’s because this is a remake of a film by the same name. Which was also bad, but at least had the balls to kill off the kids. The remake doesn’t. The only ounce of street cred that the new When a Stranger Calls offers is using Lance Henriksen as the voice of the…well, he’s not really a killer. He’s not that bad either. Is he a terrorist? Nah, terrorizer! Yes! Terrorizer!

Call the baddie what you like; When a Stranger Calls was abhorrent on every level. It was like a false starts mix tape—like watching a copy of a movie that someone who doesn’t know how to work a VCR made for you or copied from a DVD that keeps skipping. I’d make a dumb phone company joke here, but that would make as much sense as a sequel to this movie—which I’m sure is on the way.


Match Point

It’s no secret that for his last few films, Woody Allen’s pulled his source material out of a toilet that couldn’t quite keep it down. We’ve had a string of bad comedies that gave you a damn good idea what it’s like to be a slug covered in salt, as we’re asked one too many times to accept that Allen is still sexually attractive to a woman in her 20s. Not to mention the trademarked neuroticism turned up to 11 and that 90-minute feeling of déjà vu you get once the opening credits roll.

But Match Point is a different kind of Woody Allen movie. It’s not a comedy at all. As a matter of fact, it’s a total 180 from his traditional style of film laden with pretentious New Yorkers sauntering around Manhattan dealing with their comical relationship problems and cases of the crazies.

Match Point takes place in London and follows a former tennis pro (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) as he’s accepted into an aristocratic old money family and somehow still finds the ability to make incredibly bad decisions as he diddles his soon-to-be sister-in-law (Scarlett Johansson). It started off interesting enough, but once the honeymoon period wore off, my friend and I were left to our own devices to make the movie engaging.

We were like Homer Simpson at the opera. We made fart noises, talked in “Monty Python” voices, hell—we even mooned the screen. My friend shrieked “Catholic guilt” and spoke in tongues as she started throwing individual birth control pills at the screen. She pulled out the biggest dildo I’ve seen in my life and stood up, shaking it like a magic wand at the screen and demanding Woody Allen’s head on a spit. That thing had some jiggle.

We spent the remaining hour-and-a-half making fun of the movie before heading home, bitching about Allen on the way.

I didn’t realize until hours later that with Allen being the jazz enthusiast that he is, Match Point was about the notes that weren’t played, rather than the very few that were. Sure, the solos were kind of long and drawn out. Almost too “jammy” at points: giving new meaning to the term self-indulgent. Well, that’s Woody Allen for you. But Goddamn that man if he didn’t bring it back home when all was said and done.

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Last Issue: #92

The BEAST 50 Most Loathsome People in America, 2005
Our disturbingly popular annual list of the foulest among us, for a particularly objectionable year.

Balance, Bias, & Bullshit
"Balanced" news is making you more stupider.
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Come Frey with Me
Advance excerpt from James Frey's new "memoir."
Chris Riordan
Belly of the Beast
An inexplicable adventure with Al Gore.
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Planet of the Apes
The promise of an animal society.
The Monkey
Ask an NSA Spook
He's always listening....
Lighting the Fuse
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Mad Science
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Reader Opinion
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