Originally Posted by DVD-fanatic-9
What I legitimately cannot stand:
Safe (1995). There is a difference between a movie that leaves room to interpret its' meaning and a movie with nothing to interpret. If people call this one of the scariest and most horrifying movies, yet the film is basically about how wrapped and coddled this already feather-gently handled woman's life is... the film is getting credit for something it isn't doing. I didn't even go into the movie expecting that it had better live up to its' reputation. I left my mind open as much as it can get. At most, I was hoping there would be a few good potshots at the 80's. But, no. The movie takes place in high class suburban type areas and all the characters are even tempered, pleasant, kind, etc. Yet it's still a trap because the protagonist is being slowly driven to isolation by her low tolerance to chemicals. At best, what the movie is saying is that everyone hurts someone. Or, should I say, everyone hurts Julianne Moore. I might have more patience for the movie's ambiguity if other people were seriously affected by Moore's situation. Her husband is a robot and her son is a little brat. These are the only characters who react to what's going on and the most we get from them is generic, unemotional cursing and despondent selfishness. Either way, these don't feel like reactions. Nobody reacts to anything that happens. Yet, it's all about this horrible thing that happens to this person. If nobody reacts, it's like nothing happens. If nothing happens, there is nothing to interpret. No meaning. At all.
Based on my last viewings of The Godfather, Goodfellas, Scarface, etc(.) - I find it impossible to take gangsters seriously. I grew up with Oscar and Innocent Blood. With John Landis's vision of gansters. Watching serious dramas about gangsters make me really bored. It's so glamorized just because they wear suits and use guns. It's a fantasy for the typically male demographic. Yet, even good "chick flicks" are talked down. Immediately, a gangster film is presumed to be good. Even if it isn't (*cough* Analyze This *cough*), the public automatically wants to see it. Because of the unspoken belief that it will be more meaningful because it speaks directly to that male fantasy. (And, please, see the Jane's dead aunt episode of Coupling for further proof; or, hell, Reservoir Dogs. Just that movie's existence.)
Oh, and... the rise in the last few years of the fist fighting movies. Even Magic Mike has brawling fistfight scenes, because it's Channing Tatum and: You Want Skin? You Have to Take the FistFighting too or No Deal (it's okay, Tate- most people were looking at Matt Bomer anyway).
Next: Christopher Nolan's Batman films. #1- I like good female characters to be given decent roles, Nolan doesn't seem to. #2- What in the Fuck is up with the Cookie Monster voice??? There is no excuse for that. It goes beyond ridiculous and right into plain insulting. #3- nothing against his performance but Nolan doesn't know how to really make Heath Ledger's Joker intimidating onscreen. #4- The Action Scenes. As there has been a lot of quality analysis proving the guy doesn't care about women in Batman's story(ies), he doesn't (didn't? I learned my lesson with Begins and DTK and haven't bothered with Rises) know how to direct action scenes. Which I wouldn't care about... except the movies stop, point blank, for the action. #5- Tim Burton, in his prime, was a legend. One of a kind. Unimitatable. There are no other "action," "adventure," "fantasy," "drama" directors like Tim Burton. Christopher Nolan? Unlike Burton, he could easily be put in a category. And one where I believe Michael Mann, David Fincher, and John Woo (to name a few) would be his superiors.
anything with Harold & Kumar.
anything starring Larry the Cable Guy.
naturally, anything directed by Michael Bay.
Absolutely all action-adventure franchises / intended franchises beginning with Men in Black. Including: Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Spiderman, X-Men, Hulk, Iron Man, Pirates of the Caribbean, Narnia, Elektra, Super Ex Girlfriend, Aeon Flux, National Treasure, Tomb Raider, Daredevil, Punisher, Hellboy, Transformers, Fast & the Furious, Death Race, G.I. Joe, Captain America, Green Lantern, Lone Ranger, Universal Soldier, Star Trek, Avengers, Ender's Game, Hunger Games, Twilight, Blade, and any post-90's sequels/prequels/reboots to Terminator, Rambo, Indiana Jones, Wizard of Oz, Superman, Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, James Bond, Mad Max, RoboCop, The Crow, The Neverending Story, Tron, Rocky, or Get Shorty
I will not watch any of those movies.
I agree Zoolander isn't funny. Just like Reality Bites, I wonder what the hell was going through Stiller's head. A lot of other people liked it because it was goofy but, deep down... it was a satire without a target. Male Modeling? Male Modeling really takes itself THAT seriously? So much more than women modeling? His subject proved to be so void, he literally had to start digging into Actor and Musician circles for targets. Stephen Dorff? I'm sorry, but when Stephen Dorff was onscreen in Cecil B. Demented- everyone else was looking at Jack Noseworthy (muscles trump hair bleach everytime). Paris Hilton? Did anyone (and I mean anyone) even know who she was 2 years before The Simple Life? The world really followed Kathy Hilton's pregnancies in the 80's like they did with Madonna's or Demi Moore's in the 90's? Idon'tthinkso. Lil' Kim? Did Eve, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, Aaliyah, Missy Elliot, Mya, Brandy, and Queen Latifah turn them down or something? I haven't seen a Stiller directed movie where his ideas didn't run away from him. The story was bad and the jokes were almost all about how the only thing he can do is suck in his lips. But, credit to one person for making the movie tolerable: Will Ferrell. Who I usually hate.
Also agreed on Big Lebowski. I thought it was decent. But I didn't see the humor in any of the characters. Everything was so broad that, when suddenly John Goodman was pissed off about something- it felt to me like it was coming out of nowhere. After Tara Reid's first scene, the whole movie went down this road. Dialogue, characters being shot, arguments, people dying, nudity- all of it came out of nowhere. However, there were a few scenes in the first 15 minutes that worked. The movie was on track. What ruined it was wheelchair Lebowski. The scene with him chewing "The Dude" out over something that hadn't really been outlined just meant it was a guy who didn't want to pay attention being yelled at by someone we didn't know. Am I wrong, or didn't this piss people off when it happened in Freddy Got Fingered?
Put another vote on Fight Club. The penis ruined the ending. The ending was supposed to mean something and they drew me in and... then... cheap 2nd grader joke! I don't care if they referenced it in the beginning- this ending was supposed to mean something. And, thanks to the music and the acting, it did. Before that, the rest of the movie felt like half a book, half a video game. Neither I really want if I sit down to watch a movie... well, after Tron, at least. It didn't feel like the story of the guy or like it cared about what he was supposed to be going through. It cared about getting some viewers for rebelling against tech office work force (which Office Space kinda did already) and other viewers for the "we're rebels 'cause we're fighting and all those other losers are just carrying briefcases and stamping papers." It felt calculated instead of cerebral.
I think the ending is actually incredibly sad. I mean, when I go back and think about characters in horror I really cared about- Dee Wallace's Karen White is right up in the top 20 or so. Losing her husband, knowing that she's doomed but trying to stop what happened to her from happening to everyone else, and then us knowing it failed. Knowing the people watching were being trained to be so jaded, they chalked it up to a publicity stunt. Even though they watched a real-life murder. I get why anyone might find it silly but that's the budget. Otherwise, this works for me better than anything in Network (which I agree is excellent but think is also quite flawed).
It took me a long time to get into the movie though. It kinda took the DVD, at first, to amp up the music's power (the 5.1 surround helped a lot) and get me to finally appreciate the incredible atmosphere. I took to American Werewolf in London right away but now, I wish it was a little more like The Howling. They're both excellent. But could both also be better.
The music. The gore. And... campiness.
It's half and half. I think the gore and music are simply outstanding. A+ on both counts. I also adored Nicoletti Elmi as the Usherette (was really hoping she wouldn't end up like the babysitter in Fulci's House by the Cemetery: evil, mysterious, and sexy one minute- a standard victim the next, just to up the bodycount) and thought that moment where we watch one of the survivors actually becoming a demon was an amazing bit of hypnotic substance. For once, we felt like a real person was becoming lost. That it was actually a little sad. What was happening to everyone who eventually died. (Oh, and... I liked the punks in the car interludes.)
But the rest of it is ridiculous, patience-testing schlock. I agree. This movie could easily be remade and remade well. I could even see it now. Keeping it dumb yet allowing it to work. If you don't have characters, a filmmaker should never turn their movie into a "now you're trapped together" scenario. If you do that, you just have brainless Body Count Fodder crashing around in the dark, yelling and screaming to indicate tension. D'UH! (That's, of course, directed at the people who think the movie is more than maybe 56% successful.)
Slant Magazine's recent Blu-Ray review did a good job explaining why the movie had to be as crappy and flawed as it is. That is was intentionally flawed. Don't get me wrong, watching it didn't hurt me or anything (not like a bad horror movie does- this is not a horror film). But it was a huge letdown. For one, because the socio-political commentary didn't go anywhere. It didn't affect anyone. Most of the movie shows you the have's and a few rebels trying to fight the system. But when the cops swoop in to take down the rebels (or whatever you want to call them), it's ridiculous. I actually laughed. You see like 75 cops out in the street beating up 2 guys. None of them standing back either; they were all trying to get in and punch / whack something. Next, Roddy Piper's famous scene in the bank. Um... tell me something: if you were in a bank and saw a guy come in with shotguns and start shooting people... how the fuck are you going to know he's not just shooting random people? He's scaring the shit out of people who have no clue what's going on. Is this defendable by them contributing to the system of conformity and subliminal mind-control? Seriously? How would they know? This has SO MUCH disregard for basic common sense, it's mind-boggling. And, yet, all we can take away from it is that- he only killed bad "people." If I directed this, I would be ashamed. Of this aspect alone, but it's a huge problem. There's a lot to be said in a film about real world mind-controlling through advertising. But... in real life, it doesn't matter what reason you have for carrying a gun in a public place, let alone killing people in a crowd where no one knows why. "You'll thank me someday..." Yeah? In the meantime, how about getting sued for 8,000 different categories of inducing terror, trauma, and psychological distress / suffering in public?
Next: Meg Foster. Was I the only one who'd seen both Leviathan and Shrunken Heads before this film? She is Always Evil. Don't trust her. She's Always Evil. Look at her eyes. That's why they cast her. She's Always Evil. She turns out to be Evil in the end...I. Am. So! Shocked. Lastly... the 15-minute street wrestling match. Um, this is a movie about people in peril and there is some urgency in the story... am I wrong? Anyway, this is the sorta thing Slant's review is trying to defend. But, watching it is a different matter. I do not like the way Carpenter usually tries to cram 5 or so different genres into his movies at once. This was a huge problem with me on The Thing. Carpenter controlled it on Halloween and The Fog. Here, it goes even further out of control. Guess he got tired of being a horror master even when he was still making horror movies. I don't blame him but... I can't lie and say his post-Fog movies are perfect. Though, I haven't seen Escape from New York or Big Trouble in Little China yet (I would have watched the former a year ago but Netflix fucking 1.85'd his 2.35 movie and I refuse to support them doing something like that unless it's a shit movie like Enough or something like that).