Monday, February 28, 2011

Worst of the Worst: The Official Razzie Recap

Last night’s Oscar show may have captured the attention of the vast majority of the Earth’s population, but not all.
 Some of us prefer adjectives like “cheese” and “corn” to “glitz” and “glamor.” We’re a stalwart lot who root around in tinsel town’s leavings as deftly as Lauren Dern through Triceratops poo.  For us, our Super Bowl actually came on Saturday when the 31st Annual Golden Raspberry Awards were held.
                The Razzies “celebrate” (read: skewer) the worst Hollywood has to offer. A few weeks back, I made my predictions as to who would claim… ehem…victory. I think I did pretty well for myself overall. Let’s recap:
                Worst Picture
                                I Predicted: The Last Airbender
                                And the Razzie goes too… The Last Airbender
                                Thoughts: M. Night didn’t disappoint! The one time Oscar nominee continued his whiplash-inducing decline and took home five spray-painted trophies.
                Worst Actor
       I Predicted: Robert Pattinson, Eclipse and Remember Me
       And the Razzie goes to… Ashton Kutcher, Valentine’s Day and Killers
       Thoughts: Kutcher was a real surprise winner. Who even remembers “Killers” or the fact that Kutch was in “Valentine’s Day?” I thought Pattinson’s teeny-bobber appeal would put a huge target on his back, but Kutch came out of nowhere to take the prize.
                Worst Actress
                                I Predicted: The Cast of Sex and the City 2
                                And the Razzie goes to… The Cast of Sex and the City 2
                                Thoughts: The gals drew a lot of criticism for being too old and for spending money too carelessly in these tough times. I can’t comment on either of those things, but the Razzies like to play outside the box and splitting an award four ways is pretty outside the box.
                Worst Director
                                I Predicted: M. Night Shyamalan
                                And the Razzie goes to… M. Night Shyamalan
                                Thoughts: I’m paraphrasing, but Razzie founder John Wilson noted that the cartoon version of “Airbender” was far more realistic than Shyamalan’s live action version. Can we just officially replace the phrase “punching bag” with “Shyamalan” already?
                Worst Supporting Actor
                                I Predicted: Billy Ray Cyrus, The Spy Next Door
                                And the Razzie goes to… Jackson Rathbone, Eclipse AND The Last Airbender
                                Thoughts: I was hoping that Billy Ray’s recent public criticism of his daughter, Miley, would win him the ire of Razzie voters. That or the fact that he rode a preteen back into the lime light like some kind of fame-addicted parasite. I guess Rathbone starring in two of the worst films of the year is pretty impressive.
Worst Supporting Actress
                   I Predicted: Jessica Alba, The Killer Inside Me, Little Fockers, Machete and Valentine’s Day
                   And the Razzie goes to... Jessica Alba, The Killer Inside Me, Little Fockers, Machete and Valentine’s Day
                   Thoughts: She was nominated for FOUR separate movies. If the Razzies website were better constructed, I would look to see if that was some kind of record. Sadly… the site is a mess. Certainly it seems like a lot.
                Worst On-Screen Couple
                                I Predicted: The Cast of Sex and the City 2
                                And the Razzie goes to… The Cast of Sex and the City 2
                                Thoughts: I figured if they could pull down a joint Worst Actress trophy, then this category should be no problem. All told, the gals took home three awards.       
                Not bad at all. I’ll take 5 for 7. That’s a solid extra innings day at the plate. Figured I’d work in a little baseball analogy since spring training is upon us once again.
 Also, I snarkily mentioned yesterday that “The King’s Speech” would take home the top honors at last night’s Oscar ceremonies, further proving how out of touch Hollywood is. And lo and behold look who came out on top. So you can go ahead and tack that one on to my total if you’re so inclined.
And I am.
6 for 8. That would make Pete Rose proud. In both the baseball and the gambling sense.
Bumblebee tuna.   

Monday, February 7, 2011

Halloween (2007)

25% Certified Rotten ( 6.0 out of 10 ( 47 out of 100 (
                A hulking behemoth of a serial killer walks out of a mental institution in search of his baby sister. You can’t really say he broke out, because that would imply there was some difficulty involved.  He tracks her down with startling, inexplicable ease and proceeds to kill off a bunch of her friends because… well the reasons aren’t really important or given. At some point the infamous “Halloween” theme plays and all of Rob Zombie’s pals get to add another movie to their IMDB pages.
                I don’t hate Rob Zombie, I just hate what he did to Michael Myers. And the middle hour or so of “The Devil’s Rejects,” but other than all that me and him are cool.  

               Now I’m not going to just compare Zombie’s film to John Carpenter’s because Zombie’s film does a fine job of sucking in its own right, but I will say this. In Carpenter’s version, Michael Myers was a normal kid, with normal parents and a normal suburban life who (spoiler alert to all my readers out there in 1979) one night stabs his sister to death for no reason. No motive, no nothing. That is scary. The idea that anyone, at any time could just snap.        
                Not content to just rely on nature, Zombie turns to nurture for his film. His version of Myers grows up in a bitter and ugly white trash household. Still suburban though for some reason. Didn’t know you could afford a house in the ‘burbs on a stripper’s salary. Noted. Anyway, by the time Zombie’s done detailing Myers horrible, twisted upbringing, it’s pretty easy to understand why Myers became a serial killer. It would have been crazy if he didn’t after all that. And as that element of the unknown goes so goes what made Michael Myers so scary to begin with: the mystery.
                “Halloween (2007)” is a stark tribute to the death of subtlety. The near heart-stopping tension of the original is replaced with ample gore, violence and nudity. And his three leading teenagers are all so painfully loud and annoying that it makes me wonder if there is any hope for our society. Are these kids really our future or is Zombie nuts? I pray for the later or else China, come on down. The world is yours.
                As for the movie’s script, well it is a total disaster. First off, it feels like two smaller movies, ham handedly switching from the story of young Michael in the first half to Laurie Strode in the second half. Then there are the plot holes, which are more like craters. How does Michael know who Laurie is? Say what you will about brotherly love, but I start to forget what my sister looks like if I don’t see her every 15 minutes. Yet Michael knows exactly who his sister is after 15 YEARS and she was only a baby when he last saw her! And by the way, how does he know she’s still living in Haddonfield? I could go on like this as logic has no place in Zombie’s world.
                Even better, you’ll likely need a GPS or at the very least a compass and some knowledge of astral navigation just to keep track of where you and the characters are in the movie. People will just show up places without any rhyme or reason as to how they got there or just where there is anyway. The movie is populated with dimly lit, poorly explained locations. Zombie either skipped the film school lesson on establishing shots or his movie is just too dark for them to be of any use.
                The acting is across the board weak. All of Zombie’s usual cohorts turn in rather blah, shoe-horned-in performances. The usually wonderful Brad Dourif is given nothing to do with his role as Sheriff Bracket. The less said about the teens the better. Malcolm McDowell’s Dr. Loomis, while far from the movie’s biggest problem, will make you pine, literally pine for Donald Pleasance. Daeg Faerch, as little Michael Myers is not terrible, which is a huge compliment considering what he has to work with.

Are you allowed to start a movie with a quote from a fictional character?


Behold! The origins of... shit pants. Also, this school's bully looks about as intimidating as Corey Matthews

                :07- What do you mean big deal!?! Your son kept a dead cat in his locker! That’s not normal behavior!
                :13- Boy, if Rob Zombie could just make one movie where his wife keeps her clothes on… just one. Must be awkward on the set. “Hey camera guy, make sure you get a good shot of my wife’s boobs. Don’t be afraid to get right up in there…”
How drunk do you have to be to not notice this happening?

                :33- Little Michael needs to eat? Look lady, he’s got Alec Baldwin’s head so he’s not exactly wasting away…
                :35- Yeah that makes sense. Give the child serial killer a real knife and fork to eat with. Nothing could possibly go wr… oh. Ooops.

Umm... there's... uh... someone behind you...

Celebrity sighting! Cousin It from TV's "The Addams Family!"

                :50- Why does Michael kill the guy for those overalls? Are insane sociopaths really fashion conscious?

Yeah... don't ask.

Hey, hey! Look who it is! He must have taken the last train to Haddonfield. Well that cheers up this... sleepy Jean

                1:14- Tommy Doyle is the only part of “Halloween” that Zombie doesn’t make worse. Lindsey is still annoying though

How the heck does he sneak up on anyone? He's as big as an elephant and as quiet as a sleeping mouse.

                1:18- “Go worship your god?” The TV? Really? Some social commentary from Zombie…
                1:22- Is Michael’s plan to kill every teenage girl in town just to make sure his sister is, in fact, dead?
                1:40- Never mind how Loomis seemed to know exactly where to look to find Laurie, how did he get there? Wasn’t he carpooling with the cop?

Hiding in the walls? That's a paddlin'

Well there's your problem!

                And so there it is, Rob Zombie’s ugly mess of a remake, “Halloween.”

                Yeah, now that's how it's done! Bumblebee tuna.