Archive for the ‘Backlashes’ Category

The Bitterness is Strong in This One
July 26, 2009

A note by Shmathan…

Despite the general bitchiness with which I express myself on this blog, I am actually a pretty nice person.  I hold doors open and give up my seat on the subway to old ladies.  I’m good people.  Consequently, I don’t normally find the suffering of another human being enjoyable.  But there are exceptions.  For example, when a person has committed High Crimes and Misdemeanors against all of mankind, I find a certain sense of joy in the miserable existence he reaps as a consequence.  But who is this person, you may ask?  This person against whom I direct such righteous fury?  The answer, dear readers, is Jake Lloyd.

When cinema critics look back on the abomination that was The Phantom Menance, they have no shortage of targets.  The fact that Lucas went batshit crazy for CGI effects at the expense of actual dialog.  The fact that the mystical nature of the Force which had intrigued science fiction afficionados for decades was reduced to something as lame as midichlorians.  That every CGI alien from the Nemoidians to Watto was some sort of racial stereotype.  And of course, in that vein, the introduction of the worst most offensive character in the history of Science Fiction:  Jar Jar Binks.  And then, there is Jake Lloyd.

Jake Lloyd, or as I like to call him “Mannequin Skywalker” for the unnatural, plastic manner in which he “acted.”  Now, I know some people would jump to his defense, saying he was only ten years old.  No dice.  Talent is not defined by age.  Anna Paquin won an academy award at 12.  Dakota Fanning had more presence at eight years old than most actresses muster in their prime.  The simple truth is, Lloyd’s pathetic articulations and awkward manner meant he couldn’t even play a kid naturally.  You have to really suck to be a ten year old boy who fails at playing a ten year old boy believably.  He deserved every savage review he received at the time.  And now, ten years later, one might wonder how he’s doing.  Well, wonder no more, and marvel at his recent interview at Australia ComicCon.

To quote the great Jane Lynch:  “Your resentment is delicious.” (more…)

The Final Poster for The Ugly Truth Gives Me a Headache
July 6, 2009

Sometimes I editorialize images I find on the internet with pithy comments in pink letters.  But sometimes there’s an image that  speaks entirely for itself.  Such is the case of the final poster for The Ugly Truth, which I spotted on the streets while walking to the bank this afternoon:

ugly truth final poster

Yes, ladies and gents, it speaks for itself, and it says, “UGH.”  Even though this is essentially the same thing as the teaser poster (but now with actors),it’s still an embarrassment to anyone with a brain.  Or genitals.

Women love love, so Katherine Heigl’s holding her heart as an object unto itself.  And men love sex, so Gerard Butler’s holding his heart over his business while he lustily smirks at Katherine Heigl.  The lesson?  Men love you to take a ride on their discostick, so do it now in order to make them like you, ladies.  Don’t worry that this probably means they’re emotionally unavailable Neanderthal man-children; just give them a trip down your tunnel of love, and the sparks will be flying!

Look, I fully understand that movies like The Ugly Truth are intended to be light-hearted comedies that deliberately embrace tired gender stereotypes as opposed to having the creativity or intelligence required in saying something innovative about how men and women emotionally and romantically connect, but this Gender Wars 101 bullshit is the dead horse that’s been so thoroughly beaten that all you’ve got in front of you is a bucket of glue.  Never mind the trailer; this poster is so boring I damn near had a narcoleptic fit on Sixth Avenue.

More importantly, though, is how incredibly misogynistic these reductive gender politics are.

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Hardee’s is Lowering America’s Standards in Acceptable Breakfast Items/Clever Innuendoes
June 30, 2009

Two birds, one stone.  Quite impressive, really.  Then again, Hardee’s is nothing if one thing:

hardees classiest

Do you not believe me?  Then just take a gander at their new ad for something they thus far call “biscuit holes”:

CLASSY!  I sincerely hope that these people were actually paid actors (or at least let in on this “clever” marketing “joke” in order to guide their responses); otherwise this is yet another sad day in America’s cultural and intellectual decline.

Don’t get me wrong, I get that it’s been long understood that sex sells.  But since when did we try to market a product off of anal sex jokes?  “The a-hole tastes funny”?  Really?  Yes, I would suspect that it would taste rather funny, but I also don’t think that anybody’s fish taco is tasting magically delicious, so this is just DUMB; unfortunately, it’s so much worse as well.

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The Boycott Against the Videodrome Remake Begins Today! Long Live the New Boycott!
April 27, 2009

In the past weeks, I’ve oh so gradually begun to rethink my initial and total disgust at the prospect of a Nightmare on Elm Street remake, in large part because of the rather inspired casting of Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy Krueger.  I still remain hesitant, of course, but I’m willing to lay off the knee-jerk backlash for a moment in favor of (incredibly) cautious optimism.

This reaction, however, will never ever EVER be the case with the just-announced Videodrome remake that’s to be written by Ehren Kruger, the man responsible for both some pretty damn good (Arlington Road, The Ring) and really damn dreadful (Reindeer Games, The Ring Two) movies.  I already feel thoroughly confident in saying that this remake will firmly fall into the latter camp.  I mean, just consider this tidbit that Variety reported on the remake:

The original “Videodrome” starred James Woods as the head of Civic TV Channel 83, who makes his station relevant by programming “Videodrome,” a series that depicts torture and murder that transfixes viewers.The new picture will modernize the concept, infuse it with the possibilities of nano-technology and blow it up into a large-scale sci-fi action thriller.

Neat.  Because despite it being one of the most fascinating and ambivalent takes on media and technology and sex and violence in modern culture, I totally forgot that—since it was released in 1983–Videodrome clearly has absolutely nothing to say about our current moment.  It really might as well be about people in Victorian England, or maybe the Stone Age.  Really, just look at this:

Yikes!  Looks like David Cronenberg got it all wrong the first time.  Videodrome obviously can only interesting as a “large scale sci-fi action thriller.”  Movies with any restraint and minimalism are sooo booooooring.  So are practical special effects.  The only way to make Videodrome interesting or relevant is through CGI and explosions. Universal is clearly right with this remake, and I’m just a dunderhead who writes total nonsense!

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Let’s All Puke With the Pussycat Dolls
March 16, 2009

A few weeks ago, I discovered that A.R. Rahman’s Academy-Award-winning song, “Jai Ho,” was reworked.  With the Pussycat Dolls.  That’s terrible.

Fortunately (?), the fun didn’t stop there.  The Pussycat Dolls have made have a video accompaniment to their musical crapsterpiece.  If you’re curious to know what it’s like to barf simultaneously from your eyes and ears, you can watch it here.  I’m not going to embed it, firstly because you can’t  embed the Youtube version (thankfully), but mostly because I don’t want my blog to get the Pussycat Dolls’ strain of the clap.  Consider yourself warned, though, because seriously:

pussycat-dreadful

I think this video needs to be preserved in a cultural time capsule so that future generations can know what it looks like to profoundly sell out.  I’m not certain who’s worse in this situation.  Is it the Pussycat Dolls for turning there sad bid for a few more moments of relevance into a nightmare ad for a cellphone, or A.R. Rahman for willingly appearing in this train-wreck of truly epic proportions?

D: Both.  Obviously.

The only solution to this toxic mess is to take away A.R. Rahman’s Oscar and lock the Pussycat Dolls in that train station.  Forever.

Thanks (I think?) to Videogum for dropping this mess in our laps.

Looks Like David Hayter Will Not Be Invited to Take Back the Night
March 11, 2009

david-hayter-gross

As Videogum noted, one of Watchmen‘s scribes, David Hayter, has posted an open letter on the internet imploring fans to see the movie again this weekend to keep box office up and therefore make studio heads feel confident in green lighting future Watchmen-esque projects.  Much of Hayter’s argument requires him to indulge in a little self-congratulatory ego masturbation, because that’s how you make a convincing argument.  For example:

I’ve seen it twice now, and despite having run the movie in my head thousands of times, my two viewings still don’t’ allow me to view the film with the proper distance or objectivity. Is it Apocalypse Now? Is it Blade Runner? Is it Kubrick, or Starship Troopers? I don’t know yet.

I’m gonna go for d) none of the above.  And also, Mr. Hayter: Kubrick is a filmmaker, so he probably shouldn’t be in a list that consists of movie titles.  But maybe that’s a stylistic choice irksome only to me, so I won’t dwell.

I certainly agree with his sentiment that, particularly when it comes to the film industry, you cast a vote every time you purchase a ticket.  It’s rather tacky that he has to be the one to make this plea for audiences to see Watchmen again; the movie’s as much his (ridicu)baby as it is Snyder’s, so Hayter’s essentially one of those parents with those awful bumper stickers on their vans about how their child’s on honor roll or Mensa.  Except whenever he has you come over and babysit, he makes you pay him.  He’s wrapped the ugliest sales-pitch sweater in a box with lovely pity-party ribbons and glossy sophisticated-taste paper as if that makes what he’s giving you any better.  Thanks, but no thanks.

But when Hayter gets to his climax, in which he uses a particular scene from Watchmen to articulate how the movie’s supposed to be dark and challenging yet ultimately rewarding as entertainment, he completely shits his (crazy) pants:

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Get Hollywood a Bailout, People, ‘Cos It’s Bankrupt on Ideas!
March 5, 2009

When I was a young, Freddy Krueger scared the living bejeezus out of me so much so that I’d refuse to go into movie theaters until my parents could confirm that there were no posters for a new Nightmare on Elm Street movie in the lobby, and if there happened to be one, I’d have a fit.  That my parents would put up with such absurdity is an impressive testament to their patience and love because I can’t even imagine how insufferable I must’ve been.   Were I in their shoes, I suspect I would’ve screeched, “You won’t step in the theater?  Then we’re going back home, and you’ll just have to watch Land Before Time!  AGAIN!!!”  But I’m writing about movies, not parenting styles, so I digress.

Anyways, my fear eventually turned to love, and I now regard A Nightmare  on Elm Street as one of my all-time favorite horror movies.  This scene pretty much sums up why [oh, and it’s NSFM (Not Safe For Mom)]:

 Wes Craven, you are brilliant.  Totally insane, but brilliant.   Between the Freddy tongue coming out of the phone, the crazy drunk mom, and Johnny Depp being dragged into his bed and spit out as a geyser of blood, well, you don’t get much better than that.  But that doesn’t mean Hollywood’s not gonna give it a shot.

And totally fail at it in the process.

In fact, according to ComingSoon.net, Platinum Dunes just recently announced the new A Nightmare on Elm Street remake will drop on April 16, 2010.  I think their poster should be a simple homage to the original, something like this:

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A.R. Rahman is One Step Closer to Becoming the Cuba Gooding Jr. of Best Song Oscar Winners
February 24, 2009

I may be profoundly unimpressed with the ridiculous Slumdog Millionaire sweep (Best Editing?  Really?), but I’m not such a crotchety bitch that I can’t recognize credit where credit is due, and I can fully admit that the end of Slumdog is innocuous and sweet:

There’s also something kinda creepy in a cultural-fetishization/imperialization sort of way, what with a movie about growing up in the slums of Mumbai being written and directed by two white men from the UK, but whatever.  I’d be inclined to complain about how, if the Academy really felt so inclined to give Slumdog a Best Song win, they could’ve at least picked the better song, but “Jai Ho” is perfectly fine, the Oscars are over, and we can all move on with our lives, right?

WRONG.  

Look at what I found on iTunes today:

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This Girl That Hates Stephen King is Your Fag Hag
February 13, 2009

I know that you two have been nearly inseparable since you met during your summer abroad when–afterwards–she moved stateside six weeks later to the apartment across the hall (surprise!). But gurrrrhl, we need to talk.

I know you’ve probably heard all this about a million times before because she talks about it every you go out to your favorite gay bar, but at least this time you’ve gotten the entire rant out in one interrupted swoop as opposed to when she’s constantly interrupting herself by asking, “Why are you checking that guy out?  He’s totally not your type!  Focus!  This is SERIOUSLY IMPORTANT!  LIMELIGHT!!!” after she’s had her third Flirtini but before she tries to make out with you.  So at least there’s that.

But don’t you think it’s about time you two had a talk?

You have to admit that this is almost as embarrassing as that time she vlogged for 18 minutes about your boyfriend because he said she was creepy and controlling and sending him death threats by text message, but really it’s your boyfriend who’s in the wrong because he’s jealous of the fact that she knew you first and he’s not getting any of the limelight and she’s just protective of you.  And then he broke up with you.  Ouch.

Or then that time you found her private LiveJournal post where she’d Photoshopped both your faces onto the Twilight poster.  Yeesh.

Seriously, I’m just saying that you may want to consider a good, long talk or an even better, longer friendship sabbatical before she dedicates “Maps” to you at karaoke night.  Again.  It’s beginning to get a little embarrassing.  I’m just saying.

Thanks Videogum.

Ugh, Just Stop It, Slumdog Millionaire
February 4, 2009

When the Slumdog Millionaire trailer came out, I cried (don’t judge me!  Sigur Ros used in trailers has that effect on me!!).  When I saw the movie, I cried some more.  Whatever.  I have a nougat-soft sentimental side, and I liked the movie.  These things happen.  But then this happened, and this too, and it’ll probably happen again, and I’ve started to cry for a different reason.slumdog-millionaire-fl-021

It’s not that I hated the movie or am trying to jump on some backlash bandwagon.  Fine, Slumdog Millionaire, you’re this year’s Little Miss Sunshine/Juno.  You’re safe for mass consumption yet just edgy and international enough to make people feel like they’re broadening their horizons.  Neat.  But now you’ve gone too far, and you MUST be stopped.

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