Me and You and Everyone We Know
Within five minutes of this festering sore of a movie, I knew it would be the worst experience at a theater all year. It’s everything I hate about “indie” cinema: self-important, cloying, and oh-so-precious, and it’s packed with characters who only exist in the demented mind of a woman who has drifted through art school on daddy’s dime. Writer/director Miranda July, a woman who, if the universe is to make any sense whatsoever, will be stricken with advanced breast and cervical cancer so severe that any simpering memoir of “survival” will be abandoned out of sheer excruciating pain, is America’s worst enemy at this point in time, and yes, I realize Bush is still in office. We may never know why critics from coast to coast went gaga over this treasure chest of excrement, but I must conclude that at the very least, July is sick to death of complementary blowjobs. May she die, may she rot, and may her next film be her longtime companion’s Warhol-inspired sixteen-hour chronicle of July’s circus-like funeral.
I’m not sure 2005 cried out for vomit-soaked tits, but criminally unfunny Jenny McCarthy saw fit to give them to us anyway. Her “screwball” gross-out is, I suppose, a way for the girls to play on the same sick field as the boys, but I doubt Betty Friedan would be inspired by the idea that in order for women to crash through the glass ceiling, they must first swim around with their own blood clots. Normally, my visit to the McDonald’s Shithouse is grim, painful, and taxing, but this is the first time it made me question my decision to undergo self-torture for the amusement of others. No, really. Even McCarthy’s physical charms, such as they are, have given way to the ravages of age, and depending on the lighting, I could swear I was watching a woman in her late 40s pathetically cling to her buxom youth. As a new mother, I can only hope that haunting memories of a tortured shoot bring on a crippling psychosis, which in turn leads her to strip naked, grab her cooing infant, and run screaming into the sea, to be heard from nevermore.
Cameron Crowe’s horrific (and endless) nightmare is an ode to neurotic anorexics everywhere, and just might be the year’s most obnoxious waste of talent. That said, I don’t find any of the cast or crew particularly talented, so I’m not sure where I was going with that remark. Orlando Bloom, that mighty Ringer who leaves teenage girls dripping with insanity, is the year’s worst actor, and his telephone conversation with Kirsten Dunst just might be the most sustained piece of stiltedness yet delivered on camera. He’s frustrated, see, so watch as he waves his arms about! And the end sequence? Holy Jesus Fuck, might I one day banish those nightmarish images to the hinterland of lost dreams. Still, weren’t you waiting for a guided tour of MLK’s assassination site by a drooling twit? Even the music drones on, because it’s strikingly obvious that these are Crowe’s personal favorites, and the film isn’t big or wise enough to contain his narcissism. And did I mention that by my watch, it was at least seven hours long? To make matters worse, the film has the gall to believe that trashy, uneducated relatives hold the keys to wisdom. Oh yeah, and Susan Sarandon? Don’t ever, ever tap dance in public again.
There was a time when AIDS patients were wise martyrs who simply wanted to dance away the night, but now that we’ve given them a Broadway show or two to chew on, it’s time to face the reality — the disease is reducing Africa to a graveyard, and the petty concerns of some starving artists in Soho mean very little. Nothing at all, actually. Despite this musical’s cult-like following, there isn’t a sympathetic character to be found. All are untalented, deluded hacks who suffer so with their nobility — singing and dancing to their own genius, yet unconvincingly argued each and every second their filthy mugs were on screen. The score, grating and louder than several preschools, is supposed to be hip and edgy, but comes off as little more than a manifestation of some shithead’s failed rock and roll career. Fortunately, the criminal responsible for this (ahem) Pulitzer Prize winner died right before its premiere, so he can be ridiculed without fear of reprisal. The sap.
Alone in the Dark
Are you shitting me? Tara Reid as a fountain of scientific wisdom? Only the mind of Uwe Boll could conceive of a plot so moronic, so confounding, and in the end, so unintentionally laughable. From the opening bell — a narrative crawl that is decipherable only if one has mastered some obscure Eastern European dialect — I was in stitches, although I might have felt pressured by an audience that was having as good a time as I witnessed all year. Slammed between wooden line readings, the least erotic sex scene outside of granny porn, and Christian Slater’s anti-hero non-acting, there were mumblings about demonic beasts and portals of hell, none of which would hold interest for anyone not taking the short bus. Unemployed? Working for peanuts? Can’t make that car payment? Tara Reid has more cash under her mattress than you’ll make in a dozen years. Take that fourth drink; I understand.
A History of Violence
The most overrated film in years, David Cronenberg’s riff on comic book savagery makes even less sense as it goes along, and by the time we get to William Hurt’s jaw-droppingly bad performance as a crime boss (yes, whitebread milquetoast William Hurt as a badass), I was so bored it was all I could do to keep from bolting for the exits. Whatever lessons there are can be reduced to the simple phrase “the past will haunt you,” and that guns and ammo are usually passed from father to son in a twisted game of revenge. Wow, deep. There’s a pretty hot sex scene where Viggo Mortensen all but rapes Maria Bello on the stairs, but I long ago learned that if women aren’t being manipulated into bed, they long to be taken by force. Had it been honest about its escapist leanings and teenage mind set, I might have been inclined to forgive its stupidity, but as it took itself seriously, I never shook the idea that I was being fucked with. And yes, I am saying that every other critic on earth missed the boat. Cause you know Cronenberg wasn’t doling out the BJs.
I’ll come clean — I refuse to endorse any film that even halfheartedly treats spirituality with respect, and as this Oprah shitfest puts it forth as the raison d’etre, I must oppose it with all the force I can muster. Documentaries about spelling bees are fine, as we can see that the kids are home-schooled nutjobs one sharp slap from their first serial killing, but feature films on the subject tend to gloss over the pathology and focus on the competition. Fine, Richard Gere and Juliette Binoche are presented as criminally insane parents, but only due to unresolved issues related to guilt and control; not out of a god-inspired frenzy, which is what pushes most Americans over the edge. I just couldn’t take all the Kabbalah horseshit, although I now fully understand why I hate Madonna even more than I ever did before. Long, boring, and bloated beyond belief, I just didn’t care, and knew that I was being told to each and every time I was shown that determined young face struggling to impress her dad.
A Lot Like Love
Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet fall in love, fall out of love, fall back in love, and make eyes at each other while speaking in a language only they can (and should) understand. If 10% of this wasteland even minutely approximates modern romance, I thank fucking hell I’m out of the game for good. And is it any wonder that I frequented prostitutes before I met the one person in Colorado Springs who could speak in complete sentences without mentioning that they wanted to rub oil on Christ’s rippled chest? And yes, Kutcher pulls out a guitar and tries to woo back his lost love with a song. He wins, we lose.
Jane Fonda is just about a senior citizen. Sure, she’s had gobs of plastic surgery and now loves Jesus, but she’s still defiantly sexy. She’s a tough broad through and through, and because she continues to piss off insane Vietnam vets who can’t stop living in the fucking past, I love her all the more. That said, this “big comeback” is a disaster; an unfunny bore that puts a two-time Academy Award winner through more sick humiliation than your average pole dancer. Even Jennifer Lopez, despite her status as one of the world’s most murder-worthy celebrities, outclasses the old broad, and no universe worth its salt should abide such injustice. It’s exactly as you’d expect: man and woman fall in love, he’s a mama’s boy, mama is nuts, mama tries to break up the marriage because she wants to fuck her son….You know, your average American comedy.
Amy Adams is one of America’s newest sweethearts. Her Ashley, a naive, simple soul who sees delight in the smallest things, is a peach of a sugarplum; a loving angel who just wants to chat, have babies, and learn about mere-cats. Now we’ve entered my fantasy: she’s nude, slightly bruised from a light peppering of body blows, and tied down on a cold slab of steel. I enter very slowly, clad only in buckskin and holding a power drill. She tries to scream, but the horse testicles shoved in her mouth reduce her cries to muffled tears. I approach her skull, grasp her chin with tenderness and love, and sink the drill into each temple, followed by a frenetic eye-gouging, skull-fuck, and ritualized scalping. Tits fucked, ass raped, and kidneys removed with broken glass, she dies without redemption, having renounced her Savior as I penetrated the gaping wound in her abdomen. Oh yeah, her movie sucked ass, too.
Dishonorable Mentions: Proof, House of Wax, The Amityville Horror, Boogeyman