enjoy satirical movies—big shock, I know. Some are witty, some are subtle
and some even bite like a puppy that just wants to play. Maybe I’m a bit sheltered
here, but I can’t recall seeing a satire that was a Kong-sized, rabid Tasmanian
devil who pissed lighting and had sharpened railroad spikes for teeth until
now. And much like watching an “Animals Gone Wild” show that Spike TV is known
to air, I enjoyed every minute of watching the rotten creature destroy everything
in its path.
tells the story of an incompetent president who’s a puppet to his staff, the
prick host of a reality show/singing contest, and the show’s white trash hopeful.
If none of this sounds familiar or even the slightest bit amusing, there’s
a bible somewhere that needs to be picked up. You should go find it.
As a comedy,
American Dreamz was funny. To paraphrase what Robert DeNiro said when
playing Al Capone in The Untouchables, “you’re not laughing because
it’s funny, you’re laughing because it’s true.” And why would we laugh, as
anyone who’s got either a great sense of humor or the ability to giggle at
their problems undoubtedly will while watching this movie? Would they laugh
because our president has no control over his backyard and doesn’t read a
newspaper because he can get someone else to do it for him or because there
aren’t enough pictures? How about the fact that about 30 million people vote
for “American Idol” each week—a show so filthy with appeal to the extra-chromosomal
and those who need help defining their tastes? They clutch onto the lesser
of an X number of evils and are happy about it?
The whole joke
of American Dreamz was that it wasn’t a commentary on pop culture or
politics or even pretentious British men for that matter. It’s making fun
of you, America. It’s laughing in your face because you will without
hesitation jack up your cell phone bill and nearly demolish the redial button
on a regular basis to keep some candy-ass pretty boy from getting voted off
the island for one more week, but you won’t get off your fart-smelling couch
once every four years to take part in a decision that I don’t know…ACTUALLY
MATTERS. That’s what had me cracking up.
As for the cast
and crew, writer/director Paul Weitz of American Pie and About a
Boy fame turned out a great satire by casting Hugh Grant as the likable
son of a bitch/Simon Cowell clone. Dennis Quaid plays the witless president
so enjoyably and Willem Dafoe does a great Cheney impression. Come to think
of it, Dafoe has the only face I can think of that actually beats Cheney’s
for evil. Mandy Moore kind of rehashes her role from Saved! as the
trailer trash superstar wannabe, getting by on her looks yet again.
If you can’t
laugh at your problems, what good are they? Sometimes it helps to deal with
the things you can’t stand by confronting them, and maybe American Dreamz
is just the thing we need before we’re engulfed by a tidal wave of cheesiness
and incredibly bad decisions made by our leaders. You know, kind of like getting
blindingly drunk the night before your ass gets carted off to a five-year
sentence in a maximum security prison.
week on “24,” Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) tracks down a veteran secret
service agent (special guest star Michael Douglas) who may or may not be trying
to kill the president. To make things more difficult for Jack, he’s breaking
in a new goldbricking trainee (Eva Longoria) who’s sure to steam things up
with her fitted suits and cold, calculating ways. Will Jack save the president
in time? Will he get a prenup?
Wait a minute.
This isn’t an episode of “24.” It looks like one. It sure as hell sounds
let Michael Douglas out of the morgue long enough to make another movie. He’s
not playing a rich prick or a guy riding the hobbyhorse with a psycho, so
I was pretty confused while watching The Sentinel. He is, however,
nailing the president’s wife.And I’m so pleased to see that Kiefer Sutherland
is displaying his versatility, breaking away from his role on The Sentinel,
I mean “24.” The Sentinel was dull—a veritable yawnfest if you
will. The cord to my Playstation controller has more interesting twists in
it, and straightening that out is more fun than watching this movie.
After all, what
can I tell you about The Sentinel that you can’t figure out for yourself?
What, that the mole/traitor is some secondary character, hiding in the background
but in plain sight the whole time? What else can’t you put our finger on?
Eva Longoria has cleavage that you’d like to eat vanilla ice cream out of
as she sings Julie London songs to you? How about “crime doesn’t pay?”
Instead of giving
you the lowdown on yet another rote political thriller, I’d like to take this
opportunity to answer some reader e-mail. This week’s e-mail comes from Jim,
Don’t take your
insecurities out on me. You’ve never told me of the contempt you have for
your own haggard carcass, so please don’t preach to me and carry on like a
raving lunatic. If you need to talk about your personal problems, feel free
to write anytime and I’ll reply with glib remarks as soon as I feel like it.
By the way, even
if I did feel like getting off my couch and losing weight, I don’t think I’d
turn to meth. Come on, man! Have a little discretion at least. Hardbitsandgetmeth.com?
Score your dope in a trailer park like everyone else you friggin nincompoop.
And where does
this talk of Jewish roots and Zionism come from? What, are all Zionists crystal
meth addicts now? If only you could get a job perpetuating stereotypes you
wouldn’t have to fill your days sending out nonsensical e-mails to unsuspecting
film critics. The next time you get the urge to suck the glass dick and start
clicking away with your e-mail provider randomly, I’d like to suggest you
try this remedy out first.
I think your
problem is that the evil spirits in your head are about to take over for all
time. You need to get a power drill with a diamond-tipped bit and drill into
both of your temples and let them out. And stop watching “American Idol” for
crissakes, Jim. That shit is for kids. It’s the only way, Jim. It’s the only
and tolerating/enjoying movies most of the time can be a trial and error process.
For example, when watching romantic comedies or movies with repugnantly cute
children, I found that loading up on an obscene amount of candy (or just straight
sugar) will combine with the movie itself to drive you into a diabetic near-coma
with accompanying hallucinations that makes the movie, dare I say… acceptable.
Stupid action flicks require an empty-stomached 8 drink minimum and pretentious
arthouse flicks necessitate a cocktail of cough syrup (the sleepytime kind),
stolen prescription painkillers and a straight up, cover to cover reading
of Jane Eyre.
But when it comes
to watching a movie based on a video game, my remedy of choice comes from
the company of my partner in crime, Tom Maccio. He’s always good company for
one, but he also happens to get so revved up for these things that his positive
outlook cancels out my rotten perspective on the matter at hand.
Maccio also has
a ritual which revolves around seeing the movie in question. First he plays
the game upon which the movie is based for no less than 48 hours straight.
No sleep, no breaks, just a harmful amount of caffeine and take out. He leaves
his door open and tells the delivery guy to leave it inside the doorway. Take
three bucks for the tip and leave the change. He trusts him. When showtime
rolls around, Maccio gets on an orange biohazard waste handling suit and a
welder’s mask on. Sometimes a gorilla suit, depending on his mood. He never
drives either. If anyone gives us glib looks when we get tickets, we always
ask if they have a problem. Maccio assumes an alpha stance and clenches his
fists like he’s going to take care of some serious business. I go for the
calm assertive approach myself. No one steps up because they’ve got no idea
what the hell’s behind that mask. Once in a great while he’ll let out a death
metal growl from behind the mask. Then finally once seated, he’ll pull out
a game controller and pretend he’s controlling what happens in the movie.
I know it sounds absolutely warped, but he’s got a really great system behind
it and it’s a real treat to watch him work.
As for Silent
Hill itself, it was pretty lame. When initially playing the game many
moons ago, I thought it was a Resident Evil rehash that relied more
on suspense than gore. Oddly enough, that’s how I feel about the movie too.
For as much of the burnt out cinder of a plot really dragged Silent Hill
down, the visuals and special effects really tried to pull it out of wreck.
But the movie’s psychology also handicapped the movie, as it left you wondering
what the hell was going on more than it helped out with clues or explanations.
My advice is if you want to watch a two hour plus music video that admittedly
is damn good looking you should indeed check it out.
Normally at the
end of the whole thing, Maccio takes his mask off in the car and gives either
a yay or nay. But because Sony studios didn’t have an advance screening of
Silent Hill and we had to pay out of our own pockets, the stakes were
pretty high. The credits rolled and he went batshit. He started swinging left
and right, taking out kids on the end of their spring recess. He was a maniac!
I just started yelling his name and tried getting close enough to foolishly
put him in a bearhug or a full nelson. Someone tried putting a garbage can
over him to contain him but he smashed right through it. Eventually some blonde
and her friend asked us what we were doing the rest of the night and that
seemed to calm him down. She kind of looked like Naomi Watts so I’m guessing
that’s what did it. He went to take the welder’s mask off and she quickly
stopped him. “No, leave it on,” she said. “You had me with the unbridled rage…”
only thing worse at this point than a computer-animated kids’ movie with celebrity
voices is when you’re sold the same thing twice and are told its something
different. The case here is that last summer we saw a movie called Madagascar
about a bunch of zoo animals who escape from the zoo and are left in the wild
with no survival skills. And boy howdy did the hilarity ensue once that happened.
I don’t exactly remember the reason as to why the zoo animals wanted
to escape the zoo exactly, but since I don’t remember why it must not have
been a very good reason. Oh—and don’t forget the dismissed reason as to why
the lion wouldn’t bother to eat one of the other animals once he got hungry.
So if Ben Stiller,
Jada Pinkett-Smith and whoever the hell else was in Madagascar’s voices
didn’t do the trick for you or your spoiled spawn, you’ve got a do-over with
The Wild. The Wild and Madagascar are essentially the
same movie, except The Wild borrows from Finding Nemo when it
throws the lost lion cub into the mix. There’s the rotten wildebeest voiced
by William Shatner that wants to challenge Kiefer Sutherland’s lion for control
of the lava-filled valley and it almost becomes an action movie at points.
Blah, blah, blah.
I can’t stand it anymore. All’s well in the end.
needed to be done. All kids’ movies are the same lately. They’ve got the same
plot, written with the help of a Madlibs pad, and the same visuals meant to
hypnotize you into forgetting the fact that your kids are going to one day
hate you more than life itself. But for now they’ll take that happy meal with
a toy featuring the characters from The Wild. And of course, each kid
will want their own toy because that’s just how it works.
was long overdue. Someone had to teach these kids how the real world works.
No more of this sheltering and hiding them from the evil of the world for
as long as you can crap. No siree! This screening of The Wild would
be about harsh reality and learning about animals all at the same time.
One of my neighbors,
a pretty crazy one, has a pet lion named Thelonious. Some dogs as security
measures are frankly a joke, and my neighbor figured that no one would have
the stones, stupidity or mental divergence to try and break into a house that’s
got a lion inside. My neighbor has asked me to… baby-sit Thelonious from time
to time and I’ve always brought raw meat or a cantankerous Chihuahua from
the neighborhood that had it coming, so the beast and I were cool. Thelonious
and I decided that we could do with a brief afternoon constitutional and a
trip to the movies. Oddly enough, no one at the theater questioned as to why
a guy with sunglasses walked through the lobby with a full-grown lion in tow.
There was always the “Seeing Eye Lion” excuse to fall back on so I wasn’t
too worried about possible repercussions.
Long story short,
Thelonious took a chunk out of a kid who wouldn’t share his hot dog. He started
swatting at anyone who got in his way or tried to discourage his tantrum.
I’m told he snuck away from my side sometime during the first twenty minutes.
I just kept yelling down in front, completely oblivious to what was
happening. Even if I was a responsible…babysitter I would’ve let the little
tyke have his fun. Thelonious had just chomped through an old man’s walking
stick and had his mind on greener pastures when I noticed the ruckus. I let
out a shrill whistle that broke the panicked wailing of the audience. Aside
from the movie’s soundtrack there was silence. I told the crowd to start gently
singing “Que Sera Sera”. Thelonious went down like a lightweight after downing
4 shots. I told the adults to keep singing and rounded up the kids. The wounded
one was sort of all right after I got a tourniquet on him. I brought them
down to Thelonious who was audibly purring at this point.
The kids petted
him and Thelonious gave the wounded one his arm back. I warned the kids not
to buy into the crap they were watching on the screen. Lions are ruthless
killing machines that will eat you as soon as look at you. Don’t let the computer
graphics and celebrity voices fool you. I stood up and gave a brief, pious
speech to the parents and told them this is what happens when they poison
their children’s minds. I heard sirens outside and Thelonious and I made our
escape through the fire exit. Afterward, I told him I regretted not taking
him to Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe. We could’ve raised some real
hell at that one.