Saturday, August 23, 2014

Ghostbusters 2 (1989)

Ghostbusters was a great film and a classic of cinema. But it wasn’t just a classic. It was the film that defined a generation. It was a movie about a bunch of working class schmucks starting up a business at their lowest point and succeeding. Never mind the fact that it was a goofy, hilarious ghost-romp - it also had heart to it and a lot of wit, and the people of the 80s were probably attracted as much to the working class, blue-collar American entrepreneurial spark as they were to the supernaturally charged antics.

And then the sequel came out.

Director: Ivan Reitman
Starring: Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd
IMDb

A lot of people really didn’t like this movie for whatever reason. I dunno - I didn’t see this as a kid; in fact I only saw it as a young adult for the first time, but I always thought it was good. While the original had more classic lines and iconoclastic scenes, this one I always thought was a good movie anyway and plenty funny and enjoyable on its own. As this year marks the 25th anniversary of this film, I thought I’d take a look and see what it was, from a more critical eye, that people didn’t like about this flick. Let’s turn on the proton packs, don our grey janitor suits and try not to cross the streams.

This one starts off immediately with a text card saying Five Years Later - and as the film was made five years in real life after the first one, I think the movie deserves an accolade for truth in advertising. Take that Guardians of the Galaxy - you should’ve waited that 26 years after the opening scene to make the rest of your movie!

We then see that this was at the very edge of that time in movies where things like this could happen and not cause an infuriated outrage immediately:

I'm never having kids.

Sheesh. If that happened in a movie these days, you’d get five Facebook pages the night after it was released crying for the beheading of the director in the middle of a crowded city street. Also, shouldn’t Sigourney Weaver be a bit better at looking after a baby when she’s fought off aliens in the past? Just saying, movie.


We then see where a ghostbusting pedigree gets you - birthday parties where little kids scream about wanting He Man instead. Most parents didn’t want a 75% naked guy with hair like Fabio at their 10 year old boy’s birthday party, so I guess the Ghostbusters were option #2. I guess getting Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (i.e. real turtles with voice boxes Krazy Glued to their shells) was option #3.

That's Jason Reitman as the little boy, who would later grow up to make movies like Thank You for Smoking and Up in the Air. Call this scene a "passing of the torch" between father and son, if you will.

We also see them dancing to their own theme song at the party. Wait a second; who the FUCK recorded that song in-universe? I thought it was just a theme song! So they’ve actually gotten a real song IN THE MOVIE’S UNIVERSE to dance along to? Huh. Go figure.

This is like watching your childhood heroes get drunk and fall on their asses while trying to reclaim their former glory. Painful - going down in flames, guys...

This scene is just proof of one of the movie’s flaws … it’s a debilitating condition I like to call sequel-itis, where a follow-up to a well-acclaimed film doesn’t further the story of the original so much as deconstruct it, leaving its characters in a run-down place in life and having the first film’s accomplishments serve as a yellow brick road to the unemployment line.

Characters will do silly and demeaning things that mostly just make them look, well, silly. Instead of a continued story, sequel-itis knocks the franchise over with the proverbial flu, forcing it to lose ground and have to pick itself back up again. It takes a lot more guts and talent to write a sequel where the characters don’t fall down and regress to where they were before the first movie started again - it takes talent to write characters that continually progress. Unfortunately Ghostbusters 2 does tend to fall into this trap.

We also get Bill Murray as a TV show host on a show about weird psychic phenomena - his guests include a guy who wrote a book about the end of the world, claiming it will end on New Year’s Eve, and a lady who says an alien took her to his hotel room and told her the world will end on Valentine’s Day in 2016. Well, all I have to say about THAT is, at least we won’t have to sit through another presidential election that’s actually just a big media circus.


Also I thought aliens would have better taste in hotels than the Hilton. I mean at least go to the Marriott instead, guys. That’s the real hub for supernatural vacationing.


The guys all meet up again to help out Dana Barrett with a problem involving her infant son, who she fears is in danger from some kind of supernatural force. But we see the only danger the baby is in comes from Peter Venkman, who likes to pick up the baby and insult it for not being his child. I sure hope he doesn’t remember any of these diatribes when he gets older. Those are the sorts of things that mess a kid up.

Don't shake his hand, kid. That'll open up doors you never expected - like bursting randomly into comedic jokes...

We also get this line from Egon: "I had part of a slinky as a kid. But I straightened it."


Wow. That's got to be the saddest fucking thing I've ever heard. Good job - up there with Million Dollar Baby and pictures of starving children for sure.

They end up discovering there’s actually a giant river of pink slime under the streets of New York City - wait, this is news to people? I always knew that.


I don’t fucking know. I’m just wondering where the hell they got that construction equipment. Was it just in the trunk of the Ghostbusters car the whole time?

I guess they all somehow became masters of using that construction equipment too. Guess ghostbusting involves a lot of different skills.

They get arrested and are in court the next day with a judge that is perhaps the most extreme I’ve ever seen in my life - he screams like a Looney Tunes character and says he wants to burn them at the stake for being frauds. Geez. Either this guy was having a really bad day and just needed some Quaaludes to calm down, or he’s never judged anything more serious than a parking violation before this.

"Bahahahahahaha....my life is an unending ruinous smoldering pile of rubble. Why do they let me be a judge again?"

Then again, these days you can shoot an unarmed black kid and get off because “you were defending yourself”...maybe judges in the 80s were just more innocuous.

Dana’s troubles aren’t over either, as she is attacked by Ditto from Pokemon:

"I WILL HAVE MY MOTHERFUCKING REVENGE!"

That isn’t the only thing she’s attacked by though - she’s also under constant siege from Venkman, who she shares possibly one of the weirdest relationships ever with. He didn’t want a baby when they were together years ago and constantly avoided the subject, yet now acts jealous that she has a kid.


She constantly warns him not to try anything funny and acts like she doesn’t want to be together, but then walks around in his house wearing nothing but a towel.

"We can have sex, but it doesn't mean you can try any funny business."

Not to say either one of them is at fault - THEY’RE BOTH WEIRD AS FUCK. Being a relationship counselor for these two must be fucking fun, huh? Probably requires a person with a will strong enough not to bang your head against a wall with your eyes bleeding and your brain aneurysm screaming after twenty minutes.

Not to mention the crowning achievement of complete insanity these two characters have - after learning that a bloodthirsty centuries-old immortal tyrant is the cause behind the slime in the sewers (just go with it), what is Venkman and Dana’s plan of action? Well, the logical one of course: go on a date while the other Ghostbusters go down in the sewers and mess around with the slime.


Actually, on second thought this is some brilliant entrepreneurial work. Smooth-talk the other guys into doing the dirty work while you go eat at a high class establishment with a beautiful woman. That’s the kind of thinking that allows you to do nothing else after this movie but Wes Anderson films and become a fodder for Internet memes.


They also discover that the pink Ditto slime can light on fire when you get too close to figuring out why it exists. But luckily Ernie Hudson with a fire extinguisher is right there to save their asses, like the boss he is:

They just keep him locked in a closet with a fire extinguisher until they need him.

Down in the sewers, Winston discovers the genesis of one of the great Halloween haunted house scares - the good ole “train coming at you then disappearing” thing:


So after that stunt, the Mayor gets them into his office and they try and explain exactly what the fuck was going on. The Mayor’s aide, who hates them for no reason, ends up getting them locked up in an insane asylum, unbeknownst to the Mayor:

That's Bill Murray's brother Brian Doyle-Murray playing the doctor here. Guess that was fun at family reunions. "You didn't really want to lock me up in an insane asylum, did you, Brian? Brian? Uh...why are you so quiet right now?!"

This is another of the film’s worst moments - why are they in an insane asylum? Did nobody remember the giant fucking Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from the first one? Was everyone in this movie just passed out drunk on cough syrup when the Ghostbusters were fighting Gozer in the first movie? How does nobody believe them? In terms of half-crazy TV paranormal investigators with a slightly worrisome obsession with marketing, THESE GUYS are probably some of the more believable!

Fortunately there’s a Statue of Liberty cameo to save us all:

Man that's a lot of people waaaay too happy about seeing the Statue of Liberty marching toward them. How do they know it isn't the bad guy here? They can't see the Ghostbusters from way down on the ground!
That's several thousand dollars in property damage, good job!

I wonder if they’ll use this as a promotional campaign for the city - hey, if you want to experience NYC the right way, take a ride in the Statue of Liberty! It may destroy the city’s streets and sidewalks, but it’ll drive our tourism industry through the roof faster than shiiiiiit. Then go gorge yourself on hotdogs.

So they all save the day, even Louis Tully, who dons a Ghostbusters outfit in a clear case of "nobody needed to see this ever":

I'd say this is jumping the shark, but frankly I'm still traumatized by the word 'shark' after seeing Creature.

So that’s Ghostbusters 2. I still like it. While I won’t say it’s as good as the original by a long shot, I also wouldn’t say it’s bad either. I don’t really know how any sequel they made to Ghostbusters would have been satisfying to fans - after all, most of the cast and even director Ivan Reitman didn’t want to do this at first and only changed their minds later. The genius behind the first Ghostbusters was, in part, because the guys were nobodies; they had no reputation and they just sort of came out of nowhere and captured the worlds’ hearts.

In the second one, not only do people know about them in the movie’s universe, the WORLD knows the Ghostbusters exists in real life. They had huge reputations. For a movie about a bunch of down on their luck schmoes, it doesn’t really work so well when your losers are actually the biggest stars in the world in real life. The cartoon had already aired at this point too, and so a lot of the quiet and somewhat mature wit of the first movie is replaced with goofy slapstick and over the top emoting. And that’s a bit of a letdown.

However, the movie as a whole is still very enjoyable overall. The electric energy and bounce of the first movie is still there, the supernatural goofy plot is still there (albeit maybe not as dark and occult as the first movie’s Gozer plot) and the characters are still really good. There are a few dumb moments, but for the most part the characters - especially Bill Murray and Harold Ramis - carry the film higher than it would have been otherwise, and the chemistry and energy between them is still very ripe and present throughout the runtime. So despite a few goofy 80s-movie moments, a couple dumb cliches, I still really enjoy Ghostbusters 2. I can see why some people dislike it, but it’s good in my books.

Images copyright of their original owners, I own none of them.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Robin Williams: What He Meant To Us


By now, you probably feel like you have seen it all. Since Robin Williams died on August 11th, thousands, if not millions of tributes have spread across the airways, the web, and everywhere in between. Heck, my Cinema Freaks colleague Lawrence Griffin already posted one here on this site (I encourage you to read it here if you have not already). So the question is, why do I bother? Why should a guy like me, who has seen only a fair portion of the man's full body of work, and is already far behind schedule on his other projects for the site (despite being in supposed semi-retirement) bother writing a post that has probably already been repeated too many times over the past week? Then again, why are any of us bothering when most of us did not even know him personally? What is it about Robin Williams and his untimely passing that has so affected us? I do not claim to completely know the answer, but if you are willing to indulge, I have some thoughts to share:

Of course, one part of it is the initial sock value of his death. Whenever someone even vaguely familiar to you departs this world, for whatever reason, there is this feeling of a void that can never quite be refilled. Few things, if any, are more permanent than death. When it comes in the way that it did for Williams - committing suicide at the relatively young age of 63 - the effect is multiplied tremendously. Still, many people sadly do this to themselves everyday - it has even been noted that Williams, as a middle-aged white male, was in a demographic known for committing suicide at high rates. Why does he get special attention?

One obvious answer is that Williams was famous. And not just somewhat famous - I mean iconic. He worked his way from stand-up to TV shows in the late 1970s (eventually landing his own series, "Mork and Mindy") before then going on to movies. And he never left. It has been pointed out that everyone has a different perception of Williams based on their generation. Baby Boomers and Gen Xers knew him from his stand-up, "Mork" and a handful of movies he did in the 1980s, while Millennials knew him for family-oriented movies he did in the 1990s and 2000s, like "Hook," "Jumanji," "Mrs. Doubtfire," "Aladdin" and the "Night at the Museum" films. Some of his more dramatic roles in things like "Good Will Hunting," "The Fisher King" and "One Hour Photo" have also managed to bridge the generation gap. Some spots of his career where brighter than others and not everything he did was golden, but I do not honestly remember a time where people asked "Whatever happened to that Robin Williams guy?" That is because while some celebrities have their moment in the sun and then fade off into the sunset (i.e. join a reality TV show) it seemed like Williams was always up to something. Even at the time of his death, he had completed scenes for four movies that have yet to be released. No matter what, he was always there.

This leads to a follow-up question: why was Williams so famous for so long? His great range certainly helped. He will ultimately be known as a brilliant comedian. I regrettably have not seen any of his stand-up routines all the way through, but even from just seeing him in interviews, you are able to get a glance at this talent: his superhuman abilities to come up with jokes and imitations on the fly and with machine-gun delivery. The fact that he could do all this and make it the majority of it funny is even more of an accomplishment. But in addition, he was also able to actually act. It is very difficult for comedians to break into dramas, as well as for dramatic actors to break into comedies. At least later on in his career, Williams would decide to do either and no one would bat an eye; they knew that whatever goofiness he may display off-screen can immediately give way to sadness or even grittiness once the cameras rolled. I think he was able to pull off this transition because even in his comedies, he knew when to stop and savor the serious moments. I admit to being annoyed by this when I was a kid: "Why is he so sad? This is suppose to be a happy movie!" But as I have gotten older, I have come to appreciate this more; life is not all together happy or sad, and it was great to have someone like Williams to show us both sides of the coin (in fact, my personal favorite movie of his is "Good Morning, Vietnam, " which I think does the best balancing act in this regard).

Life imitates art, and vice versa, and that seemed to be the case for Williams. Behind the cheerful demeanor was a man who dealt with alcohol and drug problems, was divorced twice, and suffered a longtime battle with depression. But as people have pointed out, he never let any of that define him the way it did with other celebrities. He would acknowledge it, joke about it, and then move on to something else. A great example of this took place less than a year ago, when he made what would be his last appearance on The Daily Show. He talked about how he started drinking again in 2006 after being sober for 20 years, while making one joke after another. That says a lot about someone who is able to make light of something that surely must have been a great personal tragedy. It may have worked too well - there is no indication that this was a man who would be dead a year from now. It just seemed like the same old Robin Williams that we have all knew and loved.

And that was the thing about Williams: no matter what, he always seemed to stay the same. Yes, he physically aged and he played different characters as his career progressed, but he never seemed to lose that child-like zeal, that burst of energy that would electrify the room wherever he went. On top of that, he remained a good guy. As I said, I did not know Williams personally, but I have yet to find someone who has said that he was a jerk or full of himself. The time and money he spent helping kids with cancer, entertaining troops overseas, or simply making Superman laugh again, seem to illustrate this point. There are many comedians, and celebrities in general, who have made a career out of playing jackasses. Williams would push people's buttons and lightly mock them, but he was rarely, if ever, mean about it. He only wanted to have a little fun, just like everybody else.

This last part might be the key to why we have felt so bad about William's death. Everything else I have mentioned before is valid, but one part seems to stand out the most: he was nice guy who would be fun to hang out with. No matter how miserable he might have been in real life, he never came off as removed or cold; if he did, it was because he was playing a character that felt lonely and desired a human connection. He certainly felt that way at times, but so do we all do at some point or another. More often than not, he was someone who wanted to be your friend, make you laugh, and have you feel good about yourself at the end of the day. So when we learn that someone like this was himself so unhappy that he chose to end it all, it just does not feel right. We think that he would be immune to something like this, that he can have stumbles in life but will always bounce back in the end. Life often does not have a Hollywood ending, yet no matter how many times we say tell ourselves this, we tend not to believe it. Williams proved otherwise, and it is not only sad, but almost heartbreaking.

So where does that leave us? Is there anything positive to get from this glum outlook? There is, and it is rather cliched but nonetheless true: our lives are better because of Robin Williams. He gave the world his unique talent and kindness, and inspired a number of people to follow in his footsteps. As sad as his death is, it does not take away from the great legacy he left behind. That message goes for both his close friends and family who really knew him, and those who just write a blog post about him to simply say "Thank you."

The pictures and links in this post do not belong to me and are not being used for monetary gain.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Guest Column: Ed Gein: The Original Backwoods Bumpkin

This column was written by guest writer Spencer Blohm.

Ed Gein. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

He was a good old-fashioned boy, according to his neighbors. He was described as quiet and shy, and lived with his mother until the day she died. But on November 16, 1957, store owner Bernice Worden disappeared — and what the search party would find at Ed Gein’s house would shock America and inspire a sub-genre of horror movies that continue to this day: hixploitation.

Plainfield, Wisconsin was a town right out of a Norman Rockwell painting, which only made matters more perplexing when sheriff’s deputies discovered Gein’s gruesome collection. Not only had he killed Worden, he had decapitated her body and hung her upside down like a freshly hunted deer. Worden’s heart was in a saucepan on the stove. Among the other items found were bowls made from human skulls, and lampshades and chairs covered in human skin. Gein had not only killed, but he had raided the local graveyard for trophies — he even constructed a “woman suit” to wear after he had decided he wanted a sex change.

America had never seen anything like this; it had cannibalistic and sexual overtones almost impossible for reporters to describe in detail. Gein was arraigned on November 21, 1957 and pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity; he would eventually be tried in 1968 and found guilty after a one-week trial, but was remanded back to the hospital until his death in 1984.

The Midwest’s idyllic perception of itself was destroyed. Before, if someone lived on a farm by themselves or with their mother, it was assumed that they merely wanted privacy. News of the Gein case invited grim speculation about what other horrors might be tucked away out of public view in the rural countryside. The farmer who lived a solitary existence became a person to be feared, and it became a true horror trope when Robert Bloch chose to put his stamp on the story...

Bloch was a horror novelist who knew a terrifying story when he saw it, and the Gein story inspired him to pen the novel Psycho, subsequently made into a movie by the legendary Alfred Hitchcock. Norman Bates, just like Gein, had an unhealthy attraction to his mother and had preserved her corpse in the Bates Motel. Psycho was a success both as a book and as a movie, and others would attempt to duplicate its success — most without much luck.

Then in 1974 came two films with a different take on the Gein story: Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Alan Ormsby’s Deranged. Ormsby took a more factual approach, changing the names but sticking fairly close to Gein’s story. Hooper took the Gein story and repurposed facts to suit his own narrative, which placed the story not in the Midwest but in rural Texas. Hooper’s film centered around a redneck family in the middle of nowhere making a living by selling barbecued tourist meat. This was a true hixploitation film in every sense of the word — the rural white family, the twisted values, lack of intelligence, and complete removal from mainstream society. Leatherface, with his penchant for tailoring masks from human skin and dressing as a woman, is a homage to Gein. While Texas became an enormous success (leading to several sub-par sequels and inept remakes) Deranged quickly fell of the radar after its release, but it has garnered a lot of attention recently thanks to Robert Rodriguez’s El Rey Network, which has screened both films somewhat frequently this past year on cable and DTV (more information here).

Later, the movie Motel Hell approached the hixploitation genre in a more comical way, taking the “country redneck” trope and satirizing it with a cringe-inducing story about a redneck hotel owner who has his own victims in perverse pasture so he can make jerky out of their skin. Later, The Silence of the Lambs was a best-selling book and Oscar-winning film about an FBI agent raised in rural West Virginia tracking a killer who skins his victims and wears their skin. But all these movies, whether comedy, drama or straight-up horror film, owe their inspiration to that solitary man from Wisconsin named Ed Gein.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Ender's Game (2013)

You know, some people, when they try to justify why video games are good for them, they just make a long-winded self-important rant on Facebook, maybe complete with one of those greeting card memes. Well, the director of Wolverine: Origins (always a reliable pedigree) took that just a few steps further and made a multi-million dollar special effect jerk-off movie just to prove that. Wow. Couldn’t have just stuck to Facebook, huh?

Director: Gavin Hood
Starring: Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford

Before I go any further, no, I haven’t read the book, and no, I’m not going to bother letting that ruin this review. Because this movie sucks. It’s a pretentious, bloated mess that thinks it’s way more than it is and I’m sick of it. I don’t see a point in beating around the bush. No...I just see a point in needlessly drawing this whole charade out with play-by-play descriptions of things I could sum up in a fourth of the time.

……………..

The movie begins in a fashion guaranteed to make me want to turn off any movie immediately - a goofy looking space battle like something out of a childish RPG, told in super-fast fashion with no room for drama or background story - but I guess those aren’t that important when you have SUPER COOL LASERS and shiiiiiiit!


Apparently this is a future world where the military relies on children to fight in the military for them. Why? Did Obama’s drone program just not work out so this was the most viable alternative?

Then we get main character Ender, played by Asa Butterfield. I know it’s tough on kid actors, 99% of the time because - let’s be frank here - nobody really knows how to fucking write kids anymore in movies. But this character is just bad. There’s no other word. The performance isn’t that much better - he’s constantly wooden and flat, with basically no emotion at all. Maybe it’s the way the character is supposed to be, I dunno, but as a way of trying to get us invested in the character, it failed for me.

Don't get me wrong; bullying sucks, but the way this kid acts is kinda asking for it a little bit.

His thing is, he gets picked on a lot by bullies! I can’t imagine why when he beats them in Battleship and then makes stiff, snobby sounding rants about it afterward that would make even the characters from the Big Bang Theory want to clobber him.

There’s also Harrison Ford as Colonel Graff, whose performance in this movie makes Indiana Jones 4 look like an impassioned, devoted career performance done out of a love for the art of acting. He’s terrible in this. He never sounds like he gives a crap. But to be fair, how could you when you’re handed a character who has about half of one dimension - no personality save for monotone shouting and “rah rah” speeches. Like a high school football coach run through a Han Solo filter, then whitewashed out completely.

Let's be honest now; this is really just a warm-up for Star Wars VII.

Apparently Graff thinks Ender is some kind of prodigy to lead them in battle, or some shit like that. This is even more confirmed when he sees Ender fight a bunch of kids and nearly kill one of them:

The dead-eyed rage and lack of any compassion or humanity in this kid's face is clearly proof that he is a born leader and the only one who can save us all.
"I have a fossil and I'm not afraid to use it!"

But we see it runs in the family, though, as when he gets home he has to face an incredibly common aspect of sibling rivalry: where his douchebag of a brother makes him put on a goofy alien mask and fight him right there in the room. His brother gets him in a chokehold and nearly kills him. I sure am glad these kids’ parents keep such a close watch on them! Maybe in the future the dominant style of parenting is “out of sight, out of mind.”

I miss when kids just smoked crack after school. It wasn't good, but it was better than...whatever the hell THIS is.

Ender’s sister is also shown; a complete non-entity of a character who just exists to make Ender feel better about himself. Which I guess I can understand, as approximately 80% of the other characters in this fucking thing act unpleasant and rude to him for no damn reason other than “hey! We really need to show some conflict, but we forgot to make characters with any human traits at all! They’re just fuckin’ wooden planks! What should we do?” “Try just making them all shout at one another!” “GENIUS!”

I know I keep reinforcing how poor that kind of writing is in my reviews, but movies keep doing it to begin with. So I have no choice. The sister is maybe even more annoying, as they don't even try to make her have any emotion or character of her own. She just exists to comfort Ender; nothing else.

After dinner, Colonel Graff and his sidekick Major Anderson, played by Viola Davis, arrive at Ender’s house to tell him he’s perfect for their super-special military program because they saw him get in a few fights. His parents don’t seem to give two shits that he’s like 12 and not nearly emotionally developed yet to make such a drastic choice, and send him straight off to Space Military School!

They don’t even make it all the way there yet before the movie begins to indulge in its favorite pastime - telling the audience that Ender (and by extension the movie’s creators for putting him on screen) is the GREATEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD. And frankly even the sliced bread is beginning to pale in comparison!

Yes apparently the zero-G atmosphere in the space ship exists for no damned reason other than for Ender to make some asinine comment about how in space, there is no up or down because it’s all relative. Graff for some reason (I’m guessing all the space-weed he was hitting behind his trailer doors) thinks this is hilarious, and talks about how Ender is “the only one on the ship with a brain.”

"My happy pills are in my right breast pocket. I took a handful right before I came on scene for this shot!"

Gee. That’s pretty sad then, considering how the rest of these kids are also among the smartest in the fucking world. Are they just chopped liver now or something because the oh-so-great and powerful Ender is there? Or is this “military program” really the most desperate thing ever since that creepy guy on OkCupid messaging every girl who has a profile picture and working his way down to the hyper-Christian lady who’s married with five kids and yet still goes on OkCupid?

The space military camp scenes are pretty much no better: adults on ego power trips because their lives are fucking sad, shouting at a bunch of little kids, then Ender gets praised for being so different and cool and wonderful and Jesus-ish for no reason. Repeat until you vomit just like the kids did earlier in that zero gravity spaceship thing:

"I SHOUT AT CHILDREN TO MASK MY OWN CRIPPLING INSECURITIES."
Ender's Game: it makes you vomit.

There’s also battle scenes in this training room place, where the kids wear ridiculous looking space-suits and float around shooting lasers at each other and stuff. My favorite of these scenes is the first one, where the kids are all horsing around shooting each other with stun guns and acting amazed when, BIG SHOCK, their limbs can’t move afterward:

The paraplegics in the audience are rolling in their chairs!

Then the control-freak Freud-bait adults come out and scream at them to stop playing around. I’m just so amazed these children acted like children when we gave them free reign in a battlefield with no rules! The scene ends with them being given some kind of game to play where they shoot each other with the stun guns … you know, exactly like what they were doing before you shouted at them to stop fucking around.

I’m just glad to see military camp hasn’t changed in the future; through a mix of intimidation from adults with self-esteem problems and bullying from other kids, cadets are turned into cold blooded killers. Great job!

There’s also this weird video game he keeps playing where he is a rat who has to run around in a post-apocalyptic landscape and choose cups of poison from an ugly giant:

Insert your own acid trip joke here. I'm too lazy to come up with one. In fact, all my jokes will be like this soon...I won't even write them anymore; I'll just continually ask you to insert your own. THE POWER OF LAZY PREVAILS!

I guess we do get a sort-of explanation from Graff - it’s supposed to “master his emotions” or something and reflect his emotional maturing. Graff is unhappy, though, when Ender’s psychotic brother shows up in the game, as it indicates his emotions are going a different way than what Graff wanted. You mean children who haven't fully developed emotionally yet are unpredictable? Color me shocked, Sherlock fucking Holmes. How’d you come up with THAT brilliant deduction?

Doesn't this poor fuck look like he could use a drink right about now? Somebody make that happen for him.

And again, maybe this whole “using kids for the military” thing ISN’T a good idea?!

Ender keeps on fighting battles, even assembling a team he thinks will do well, until it’s revealed that they WEREN’T really playing a game after all but actually fighting a war against these huge Mothra wannabes that Graff and the other adults have constantly called “the enemy.” Dun dun DUN!!!

So he just walks off the ship and immediately finds this thing right away and negotiates peace with it. How the fuck was there some kind of big war between these bugs and the humans anyway? Did anyone even consider any options beyond "BLOW THEM THE FUCK UP"? I mean it seems like they're pretty easy to get along with so long as you're not sticking guns in their faces or blowing up their home planet. So I guess it really just comes down to one ultimate truth: this whole thing was just another poorly written social commentary on how we act today. Snoooooooore.

Ender ends up leaving the space station and walking to the ship where the main Mothra-alien-thing is, and does the unthinkable by talking to the alien and finding out that all it wants is a place to live without the constant threat of human extermination. So Ender leaves with the alien to help it find a new place to nest its egg. Thus proving that he truly is the smartest and best human being ever in the history of creation, so you should get on your knees and alternatingly bow and suck off the film’s director, who clearly is the One True Messiah for bringing this story to the screen for us mere homo-sapiens to experience.

That’s a bit exaggerated, sure, but you get my point: this whole movie is just so self-involved, masturbatory and revelatory that it’s insufferable. It’s horrible! Every other line is just praising Ender for how Godlike he is and there’s no depth, complexity or humanity to his character. There’s just no sense of real struggle here - Ender is waaaay too perfect, constantly monotone and static, and seems to just exist so adults can point at him and go “Look how perfect this kid is!” He’s not a realistic or interesting character when there’s no sense of who he IS as a person. All you hear about him is what others think about him, and while that MIGHT be an interesting social commentary in a better film, the character isn’t compelling enough to glean much depth or subtlety out of that concept.

I can tell Asa Butterfield tried to bring the emotion out in the character, but the script handwaves away any kind of character development in favor of more “Look how great Ender is!” crap, over and over again. We get it. He’s the fucking Messiah. You can stop hammering that in with all the subtlety of a nuclear war now. It got old in the first ten minutes, and after that it’s so omnipresent and in-your-face that it becomes less a storytelling decision and more a proxy for the creators of the film to wax their own egos until they’re as shiny as a new Cadillac. By talking about how great Ender is, I never got the sense they were telling a story; rather just primping up their own egos for making this movie. It’s lazy, self-important, pretentious, pompous crap.

The rest of the movie isn’t any better - the action isn’t that good, I’m not a fan of the sci-fi aesthetics at all and the pace is either blitzkrieg-fast at the beginning or trudgingly slow for the other two acts. I never read the book, and I’m sure some people will try and tell me I missed the point, but this is just what I got from the film - an alternatingly boring and pretentious story made by people who just wanted to show off and talk about how great they are. If you got something else from it, that’s great, but I really didn’t, and even after seeing this thing twice now, I still couldn’t stay awake without forcing myself to.

So that’s where I stand on this. Just go watch The Hunger Games and its sequel Catching Fire instead if you want a good YA movie.

Images copyright of their original owners. I own none of them.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Robin Williams: The muse or the madness? A tribute

This is my unfiltered, unedited thoughts about Robin Williams’ death and other related issues.

Let me just get this straight; I was never a devout follower of Williams’. I never saw all of his comedy and I wasn’t familiar with a few of his famous films or his improv work. It was because of this that I was surprised by exactly how affected I was upon hearing of Robin Williams’ suicide earlier this week.

Yes, it was quite a blow...I mean, the man was the voice of several films of my childhood; most notably Jumanji and Aladdin. As I grew up, I appreciated him in other things - the heavyhanded drama of Dead Poets’ Society, the uplifting Good Will Hunting, the dark and eerie One Hour Photo, the bright and jubilant Good Morning Vietnam, the dramatic Awakenings, the cynical World’s Greatest Dad...there was just a LOT of shit the guy did that was SO good. It struck me because I just hadn’t realized exactly how much, as a fan and consumer of film and comedy, Robin Williams had affected my view of both of those things.

I’m not going to spend too much time dwelling on his work, as many people have already done so who were more imbued with passion for it than I was when he was alive. While I love the stuff I have seen, I really want to talk about something I mentioned back when Philip Seymour Hoffman died last February. In my tribute to him, I wrote this:

“In a way it’s the curse of great artists though – can we ever have someone who could dive so fully into a role that isn’t self destructive? It seems to me that self destructiveness goes hand-in-hand with the kind of immersive, chameleonic acting talent Hoffman had. It was like he was trying to lose himself in his roles, trying to escape whatever demons drove him to drugs in the first place.”

It’s the same thing with Williams, though a bit of a different angle. We know now that Robin Williams was suffering from depression and had been for some time. He had drug problems in the past too. And yet he was a comedic genius; he knew exactly what made comedy work and was quick to make jokes and get a crowd laughing in a variety of ways. He was a fucking funny guy and he went after his passion and his art with a tenacity that most people would kill to have.

And yet he was so, so immensely troubled that he hanged himself this week. I just now read, before starting this piece, that he apparently tried to cut his wrist as well with a knife. I don’t need to point out that these are not the actions of a man of sound mind.

Genius of any stripe comes at a price. Many people who do art, write, act in movies or plays, play music, etc, etc, etc - are just fucked up inside. Whether it’s from a bad childhood, a wrong decision made in childhood turning to drugs or just that general emptiness inside, they aren’t perfectly balanced … something is off in them. Like a wire loose. There have been various studies and reports that justify that, and it makes sense. You get real deep into writing a book or making a movie or anything like that. Your brain goes to places most peoples’ don’t. If you’re really possessed with the kind of manic creativity that leads you to just keep doing it and doing it and doing it, it isn’t just a facet of your life you can turn on and off - it’s something that seizes hold of you and won’t ever let go.

And it does seem like there IS just such a price for that genius...people get depressed and they sink into that like a trench, like a black bog from which there’s no return. And they don’t tell anybody because they’re human and there are a thousand reasons why they wouldn’t - or maybe people just don’t notice. Suicide is tough and complicated and it’s not always a clear sign that you’ll see right away. It’s not really a strong thing to do or a weak thing to do. It just is - it’s a fact of life inevitable that some people just can’t go on anymore and they make their own choice. It’s not something to judge.

People can certainly create and be mentally alright and live full lives. Not everyone who makes great art kills themselves or lives a life full of nothing but misery. But I do think there’s a truth to saying that those with really unbridled, brilliant creativity do end up paying a price for it in their own ways. It’s like the chicken-and-egg question - which comes first; the creativity or the mental instability? The muse or the madness? They feed off one another really. You have a big wide crevasse in you and it can only be filled for a little while by making art and telling stories and telling jokes and singing - and that isn’t a catch-all cure and it doesn’t last that long, and you can’t beat it forever because to create great art, there’s always some part of you that’s coming unhinged. Art isn’t made by studied, focus-group-tested and balanced methods of creations...it’s made by a soul willing to reach into the abyss. And many of those souls are broken, lost and living on the edge even when they have millions of dollars.

I don’t know Robin Williams’ situation, but the whole thing made me think a lot about these issues in a broad sense and I think they deserve to be talked about. I’m not romanticizing mental illness nor am I suggesting that we tolerate it for the sake of art - I’m just saying it’s a thing that needs to be talked about.

As for Williams...R.I.P., you strange, crazy, hilarious man. We’ll miss you.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Creature (1998)

I think it’s time to re-evaluate my life choices. I’ve told a couple of my friends about this week’s movie already: “Hey, I’m doing a three hour TV movie about a shark that walks on land!” The responses have been pretty much universal across the board: “I don’t know how you keep doing this.”

And they’re right! What the fuck am I doing? These days I do serious editorial pieces about movies and society. Then I get drunk and go “hey! Let’s do a dumb B-movie about a shark that walks on land! Piranha 3DD wasn’t enough of a warning for me!” The right side of my brain goes “No! NOOOOOOOOO!” Then the other side shoves it out of the way and is like “No, this is the greatest idea ever!”

So here we are.

Director: Stuart Gillard
Starring: Craig T. Nelson, Kim Catrall, Giancarlo Esposito

This was adapted from a book called White Shark, by Peter Benchley, who also wrote the book that inspired Jaws. With that pedigree, you’d think they would have tried a bit harder with the movie, released only four years after the book came out. And you’d be wrong. Great DVD cover, too, by the way. Having the word "creature" over just the two of them standing there. Is the creature Craig Nelson's chest hair?

We start off with Super Secret Military Base Fun Time as some guy is coming to look at a big project being done on this deserted island, where all good projects are done of course. I've never seen a project on a deserted remote island go wrong in a movie at all! Then again I am extremely naive and stupid.

We get the explanation as follows - they tried to combine a shark and a man into one horrific abomination. We see exactly how well THAT went when, like five minutes into their little show-and-tell, something goes horribly wrong and the man-shark starts killing everyone:


These guys sure are the best! More evidence of that will follow later…

I guess this one guy played by Giancarlo Esposito, later of Breaking Bad fame, has to draw the creature away and kill it so it doesn’t reach the mainland. We don’t really see whether he does or not. But I’m sure he’ll come back and get that lab, remodel it and then use it to cook meth in later.

The movie’s current timeline actually starts with some guys going shark fishing. These idiots are really prepared as they look more like a bunch of beer-drinking rednecks who would normally just be fishing off a dock. I wonder if one of them just dared the others and then it went too far. “Hey, I dare you to go shark fishin’!” “What’ll you give me if I win?” “I got the last season of Duck Dynasty on DVD!” “YOU’RE ON!!!”

Well the top guy is sort of redneckish; these guys look more like your dad's yacht club took a wrong turn on the set of a Jaws movie.

Oh well; it then gets stopped by Captain Buzzkill, a.k.a. The Main Character, a.k.a. Chase, some kind of poacher-police who goes around stopping people from killing sharks, I guess. He’s so good at his job, he almost pops a vein in his neck every time he screams at these poor dumb fucks for shark hunting. He also loves to live dangerously by getting waaaaay too up close and personal with sharks:


After he frees the shark, the rednecks get angry at him, shouting and cajoling him as he drives off, saying he’ll NEVER be welcome on the island now! The shark hunters' union is a very prestigious group, apparently.

Chase is excited because his kid and ex-wife are coming to visit. Yeah, “excited,” which is why I guess he was tangoing with Death by getting up close to that shark - maybe he doesn’t want to see them that badly after all. I don’t really get why they even came, as the ex-wife, Amanda, does nothing but bitch and moan at Chase and the kid, Max, is constantly told not to do anything as to not get himself in trouble.

"Now, Max, you know you'll have to spend the entire time in a bubble to avoid causing a national catastrophe. You do remember the time we went to Cuba and you made Fidel Castro angry after tripping over a rock on the ground and somehow causing a revolution in the streets."
"Aw, dad!"

Yes, they brought this kid on an eight-hour plane flight to a strange island to see his father, just so they could tell him not to do anything. Do they just want him to sit in the hotel room like a boring lump?

I guess he’s pretty sheltered. I mean, THIS is his reaction to seeing black people:

That look on his face just kills me. "What are these exotic specimens?!"

We also get a scene where some crazy guy, who the locals call Werewolf, runs by screaming gibberish. It really doesn’t have much to do with anything. He’ll be important later on, but at this stage, it’s kind of a non-sequitur really - I mean there’s nothing it really contributes to the story to have him just running around screaming randomly.


Meanwhile, Chase and Amanda go out to research the supposed great white shark that locals think killed a man. Chase, insisting its innocence, is out to prove them wrong. But what REALLY happens is, we get a shitload of bickering dialogue between Chase and Amanda, proving what kind of a film this really is - you know, a shitty late-90s thriller with arguing white people finding something wacky in an exotic locale and the movie trying to pass off THAT as exciting thrills.

We then get a bit of backstory as to why Chase is so hellbent on saving sharks and stuff. Apparently his friend died from cancer and he thinks somehow sharks have the secret to curing it. The movie shows us this by having Amanda look at pictures and talk to Chase’s partner, Tall Man, about it.


For convenience purposes, we see she has a picture of Chase’s friend with cancer right after the one of Chase’s friend happy and playing just to be extra dramatic:


You know, even if the stupid shark could cure cancer, would you really want these characters discovering it in the first place? I mean they’re just so asinine. I don't want these assholes having any notoriety in the field of cancer research; they don't deserve the fame!

We then see the greatest part of this island is where the teenagers hang out, at some abandoned cliff near a beach and stuff, where they can jump in. For extra excitement, this is a shark-infested area where sharks can just come up and take a chunk out of your fucking leg at any random time.

Get your red food coloring out of my swimming area.

You know...because that wouldn’t be noticeable at all and it’s understandable how the rest of the island would have just ignored that little detail.

So you’re the kind of father who lets your son come visit you and then completely ignores him in favor of work despite the long plane ride he took to get there. Your son has just witnessed a horrific shark attack, which is the reason you were focusing so much on work to begin with. You were already telling him not to get in danger before this, but now as he’s clearly scared shitless and there’s a clear and present danger, what do you do?

a) Send him home.

b) Have him stay at your place with the door locked and out of harm’s way.

c) Let him come along on a dangerous shark hunting boat trip with you.

If you chose “c,” congratulations! You’re a piece of shit parent. And also in the movie Creature.

Yup...it’s clearly the worst idea available, and even the wife goes along with it, so I guess sanity was just at a low that night. They sail around until they see a shark eating another shark on their little Nintendo video-game screen shark detector:


Going under the ocean, they come across the only reason for this movie’s existence, Land Shark:

Tune in next week when they make a turtle-man hybrid to try and cure Ebola!

Yes, apparently this is the product of the scientists’ attempt years and years ago to cure cancer. By breeding a man with a shark. I was initially going to say this made no sense, but upon hours and hours of sleepless thinking about it, going over it in my head and analyzing it, I can totally see how this would potentially cure cancer.

I just love every scene in this movie that has the Land Shark in it. There’s one bit where he’s swimming up to the surface that makes him look like a fucking Marvel Comics supervillain or something - it’s just so hilarious and so corny that I can’t help it. Too bad we won’t be seeing him very much at all in this...

They escape but only after Amanda gets stabbed in the shoulder. As they’re back up above the water, we clearly see the competence that Chase and Amanda instilled in their son as he trips and falls into the water, right as the Land Shark is coming up for air!

"Remember me as a complete incompetent idiot!"

Unfortunately, they manage to save the little booger. I really don’t know who to be mad at here; the son for being an absolute moron, or the parents for thinking it was a good idea to bring this kid on a boat to go shark hunting when he can’t even stand on his own two feet without tripping over the air. I’ll just be mad at all of them!

There are also a couple of scenes with Tall Man and his wife, which can basically be summed up thusly: the wife asks him why he’s so loyal to Chase, to which Tall Man has no reply, and instead just makes up some mumbo jumbo about loyalty. Then they make love. I guess talking about loyalty really gets them in the mood.

"Why are we making out now when we were clearly having a serious discussion just a second ago?"
"Ssshhhh, honey, the director needs more make out shots for the brain-dead audience! You know how small their attention spans are!"

These scenes are just indicative of the larger problem with movies like this - you have this cool, interesting indigenous culture to this unnamed island, all these cool settings and characters and cultural talking points that COULD make for a really, really interesting film if developed more. But no, we get boring white people arguing about familial problems while everything unique or interesting about the area they’re showing us is pushed waaaaay in the background. American centralism at its best, folks. Because we are always the focus of anything going on!

I will give the movie this, though - it does know how to film a nice sunset.

Clearly this scene was referencing The Godfather Part 2, so I automatically love it now.

And by that I guess I’m just giving the movie credit for a naturally occurring phenomenon that happens every day. Like yeah, really, you can point your camera at something that happens all the time. Hooray! On second thought I’m not that impressed by this.

I guess the Navy shows up, because hey, why stop at the other 9,978 cliches in the world? Why not throw in “evil bad mean old military guys shutting the main characters down” into the mix? Their thing in this movie is that they don’t want to tell anyone that there’s a mutant shark and instead just say it’s a regular shark that they’re taking care of.

He's so navy, he's ALWAYS in the water. Super navy!

Because just a regular fucking shark won’t incite ANY PANIC...well, I guess it really won’t, as this island apparently lets teenagers hang out at a place where sharks can kill them at any moment, as we saw earlier. They’ve sealed their own fates! Fuck ‘em.

"I was going to tell you to leave as this is clearly a dangerous time to be here, but instead I think I'm OK if you come along and join the shark hunt. After all, those two are basically the same things, right?"
Parent of the year!

There’s also this other plot point about this fish hunter guy who caught a shark and is saying it’s the one that was killing people - even though Chase and the other main characters have now seen the real monster. Chase tries to get the police to dissect the shark and prove it wasn’t killing people, but Mr. Fish Hunter Guy says no, it’s his property and he wants to hang it up as a trophy!


...okay, movie; seriously - for one, why would the police just let that fly? In a MURDER INVESTIGATION, you’d think the lives and safety of others would take precedence, not just some asshole’s ego trip. And two, what kind of a douche-face would you have to be to just hand-wave away innocent lives eaten by a shark, just so you could have a precious trophy on your fucking wall? What a despicable person.

As they’re preparing to go after the thing again, Amanda remarks that it’s going to be an adventure like the old days. Which wouldn’t normally be a line worth talking about, except that just a little while ago, the same character was just crying her eyes out, clearly traumatized from seeing the Land Shark. So really I guess she’s just bipolar or something. Or the writers just forgot the character and who she was and stuff - which wouldn’t surprise me...

So we get some scenes with the Navy morons hunting Land Shark, where we learn they didn’t even bother checking all those years ago whether or not the Land Shark was actually killed. They truly are the greatest Navy guys in the world...nothing gets past them.

We get a bunch of annoyingly long scenes of the Navy guys exploring various places, which serve to do nothing except drag the movie out longer. I seriously just don’t know how to express how utterly boring these scenes are - this movie is three fucking hours long; do we really NEED these scenes?

"Let's play soldier! Just walk around holding a gun dramatically for several scenes with dim, scary lighting! That makes a good movie."

I guess we do find out that the Land Shark is able to mate with other sharks to create more Land Sharks. Which for some reason is the thing that really gets the Navy morons on board with killing it - yeah, before, we just knew it was killing people, but now that we know its plans to get laid, NOW we can really go for it! So basically these guys are just a bunch of cock-blockers.

Meanwhile Max and his new spontaneous one-day girlfriend are on the case looking for a missing friend of theirs. They come across a scene from Angel Heart…

Ah yes, the old 'spinning around in circles' voodoo ritual, intended to...make the person very dizzy I guess...

...and then share a forbidden kiss in this one area of the forest where apparently kids go to do that a lot:

The love that started a war...or not as it's never really brought up again and this is one of the last scenes where they actually speak together. So it's like Romeo & Juliet: The Diet Version, with all of the lurid implications of forbidden love but none of the drama. Add in a land shark and you got yourself a winning formula!

This movie needed a Romeo and Juliet subplot as much as I need a hernia. And really, movie? They had to share a kiss NOW? There weren't any other times in the movie, where they weren't looking for a missing friend, that they could have done that? You cheap pile of crap.

Ugh, whatever; so the Land Shark attacks them, but they unfortunately get away without a scratch on them. Dammit, Land Shark, get your head in the game! You’re verging on disappointment if you don’t get some kills in soon!

Why would he be hanging upside down in a fucking tree? Vampire land shark! Now the movie is complete...and in fact, not only the movie, but life in general.

He does kill a few idiots later on at this swampy area, but he doesn’t get Mr. Navy Man or Chase, so it’s still not exactly something to party about...the characters go back on their boat and plan to go confront the thing in its own caves. I shit you not: they actually bring Max back with them, too, to go down and fight Land Shark and everything.

"I guess I just don't care about your well being, son. Besides, this will save us money on college funds."

Are you fucking kidding me? Weren’t you idiots just telling him to get on a plane and go a while back? No matter how you shake this - whether they’re trying to get him away or they want him to come with them - it’s retarded. But at least choose which brand of idiocy we’re dealing with here! God! You’re gonna drive me out of my skull at this rate!

Before they go in, they end up running into Giancarlo Esposito again, who I’m sure has a character name, but fuck it, you’d just make Breaking Bad jokes anyway, so we’re just calling him his real name in this. Through some irritatingly spazzy flashback scenes, we realize that DUN DUN DUN he’s been the crazy “Werewolf” guy all along!

It's been 25 years, man. I think you can get the fuck over it by now.

Hey, what’s that sound? I think it’s the shock and awe of everyone who cared...



Down in the caves, they wander around a lot and talk about how Chase and Amanda still like each other even though they act like they don’t. No, really; Tall Man actually takes Max aside and they have a good conversation about this while they’re supposed to be looking for the fucking Land Shark.

I HATE YOU RRAAAAAGGRRRRGGGHHHH

Guys, I dunno what brain malfunction or drug-addled madness was going on in the studio when this piece of dog shit was made, but do I really have to say this? Okay then: WE DON’T NEED TRITE FAMILY DRAMA IN A MOVIE ABOUT A HALF MAN/HALF SHARK! That’s inherently interesting shit to see! Why the need to shoehorn in awkward, limp-ass attempts at drama into a monster movie? Who the fuck is sitting out there going “gee, this monster movie is really lame, but you know what would make it interesting? A bunch of boring white suburbanites arguing about their relationship problems!”?

"Wearing these glasses sure makes me look smart and like I'm doing something!"

There are a lot more scenes of boredom, mostly of Giancarlo Esposito and the shark making doe-eyes at one another:

Stare into its soul, you'll find the meaning of life and all creation there. Witness the folly of man and all his scientific abominations! How dare man try to cure cancer? MANKIND IS EVIL! Or I think that's what the movie is trying to convey.

I guess it’s supposed to be that Esposito couldn’t kill the shark because, SHOCKING TWIST, the shark was actually made from HIS DNA! Wow...oh wait, the three hour runtime of the movie has turned my whole being into formless goop and I can no longer form opinions.

So Esposito’s life is apparently so sad that he had no other meaningful connections in his life except to this abomination man/shark hybrid. He decides to sacrifice himself by cornering himself with the creature and allowing it to kill him. This then gives the heroes the opportunity to blow the shark up. Given that Esposito was apparently so into having sympathy for this thing, just blowing it up seems a bit like taking a giant runny dump on Esposito’s grave.

Not to mention the whole “cure for cancer” thing is kind of forgotten about, and if that shark thing was supposed to be some kind of aid in that quest, well, it seems like you just shot yourselves in the foot. Hope you can sleep well with your dead friend’s ghost looking over your shoulder, Chase!

But whatever. EXPLOSIONS!

Esposito didn't even have to die. There were plenty of other ways to keep the shark in there...just duck under him and lock him in? But nah. I guess self sacrifice even if it's for no reason is just cool.

Then they all walk into the sunrise as apparently this was supposed to be a “happy” ending…well, I disagree with your presumptions, movie!


This was just god-awful. Everything about it was bad, and the stupefying three-hour length made it actually painful to sit through as it went on. The characters, the acting, the story...nothing was done well at all. The plot is full of holes, the characters are unlikable all the way through, and the movie couldn’t even sustain a plot about a fucking man/shark hybrid without divulging into complete nonsense. I get it, they’re trying to bring back the 50s-era monster movies. Fine. But why did you have to make a three-hour pretentious pile of pulsating fecal matter with annoying characters and plot holes big enough to make a new Super Walmart in to do that?

You had a simple goal, point A to point B - a goofy horror movie about a government experiment making a half man/half shark killer. But you fucked it up! It’s like saying, hey, drive to my house and get my mail. Then the person does it but instead of doing just THAT, ends up blowing up your house in the process - taking a simple thing and utterly, horrendously botching it up beyond repair.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is, this movie sucks.

Images copyright of their original owners. I own none of them.