Visual Club

I Prejudge Movies

We’re still in that no-mans land between winter movie season and the feeding frenzy of the summer season, so the current crop of movies in release (or about to be released) are, of course, rotten piles of shit; the outcasts, the lame, the crippled, the unwanted. I say this with the attendant admission that I have seen none of them, nor do I intend to, because a mere look at most of the ads for these things is enough to confirm their intrinsic badness. I admit as well that this is not fair; I don’t care. It’s basic preservation instinct; sort of the same instinct that whispers to me, should you ever need a lawyer, you probably should not call one that advertises on TV in drag, or also, avoid eggplant at all costs, as it is a violent emetic and is harvested from old, deserted Superfund sites.

There are, as ever, the kids’ movies. For the youngsters, we’ve got Piglet’s Big Movie, a sensible enough title for a movie whose ads relentlessly feature, uh, Tigger, who is still tirelessly bouncing around, wisecracking maniacally. The really unfortunate thing about Tigger is, for me anyway, is that he just continually reminds me of Robin Williams any more. Have you seen any of the man’s horrible interviews? He’s up! He’s down! He’s speaking in an allegedly funny voice! Christ, he’s a fucking firecracker! Won’t he please stop the schtick for one goddamn second please? That’s Tigger. But if you’ve got little bastards, well, you’re probably fucked, because they’re going to scream until you go see it, and you wouldn’t want to miss Disney’s last bit of horrible money-grabbing before they lose the rights to pillage Pooh’s good name, would you? Of course not.

So while you and the little screaming bastards are gritting it through Piglet, you can send your twelve-year-old daughter off on her own–because as far as she’s concerned, you’re a frightening embarrassment-beast now anyway–and she can crack her bubblegum all the way through the not-at-all formulaic What A Girl Wants, in which another gleaming teenybopper girl–this time her name is Amanda Bynes, whom I’m evidently supposed to be familiar with, but I’m old and creaky–asks the question, duh? What does a girl want? Apparently, it’s to lose her dad at an early age, and then discover that he’s actually a really wealthy British guy who lives in a manor and has ready access to harmless cute boys who will indulge her in a bit of chaste necking before she scurries off to put on a godzillion-dollar gown and just knock the shit out of the stuffy English people, who all turn out to be really nice after all and everybody lives happily ever after. I don’t think that’s too much to ask! But then again, I’m not Colin Firth, whose every second even in the TV ads, appears to be broadcasting the message “I’VE MADE A HORRIBLE MISTAKE! CONTACT MY AGENT!” on all psychic airwaves.

But maybe you’re lucky and you don’t have kids. Whoops! You’re not lucky at all! There’s many fresh horrors lurking out there ready to indian-burn your helpless mind! My favorite guilty pleasure so far–right out of the gate, and I’ve already taken many shots at it–is The Core. This is a movie so strange, it almost cries out for the inclusion of Angelina Jolie, but alas, it has an almost aggressively b-list cast: Aaron Eckhart (“Call me Mr. Brockovich, won’t you?), Hillary Swank, Stanley Tucci, and Delroy Lindo all apparently have to go to the center of the Earth for some reason because the planet is going to stop spinning, and they have to go blow something up. The whole idea just makes me giddy, giddy like Amanda Bynes!!! in a Dior dress!!! because, well, what? This might be up there on the fun-o-meter in the “so bad it’s good” way were it not for a couple things: one, the actors. I have a feeling that Mr. Eckhart and Ms. Swank are going to be taking the whole thing way too seriously, while Mr. Tucci and Mr. Lindo are going to be skulking around wearing hunted, Colin Firthlike expressions. Oh, also, Alfre Woodard plays a character named “Stick,” which is a bad omen recognized by all rational people. And two, there’s the whole problem that this thing is clearly so fucking dumb, you’re going to be stuck in a theater filled with science dweebs who are going to loudly bitch about the stupid technical aspects and theatrically groan at every violation of natural law, which one assumes will be frequent. Geeks cannot be quiet at the movies.

The less said about Bringing Down the House the better. It is clearly a hateful thing created by sociopaths to punish the stupid and weak.

Certainly the most baffling entry out there crabwalking for your movie bucks is the unexplainable widget called View From the Top. This thing is pretty evidently a cookie-cutter bit of feelgood glop, but it features people who ostensibly have much, much better things to do with their time, such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Michael Myers. It then teams them up with people who probably really didn’t have anything better to do, like Christina Applegate and Rob Lowe. It’s kind of like you and a buddy going to the gym and finding Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson hanging out waiting for a game: it just doesn’t make much sense. So: Gwyneth is of course the small town girl who with just a little gumption and whole fucking lot of positive attitude makes it big time in the stewardessing game! You go, girl! Please? Will she succeed? I wonder if she finds true love somewhere along the way? Maybe she sportfucks Rob Lowe, and then gets a riotous case of the clap? Whatever. Oh, and also, Candace Bergen is lurking around in there somewhere biting the heads off pigeons and throwing hateful looks at Christina Applegate, who still looks really great in a bikini.

You know what? This is good fun. And I don’t even have to know what I’m talking about! It’s the whole premise! I may have to do more tomorrow. Whoopee!