Why So Serious(ly Awful), S. Darko?
June 8, 2009

Back when I saw the trailer for S. Darko, I had high hopes that it was going to be a campalicious train wreck.  It seemed to have the pedigree, after all.  It’s a straight-to-DVD release, it has a truly bizarre cast (Elizabeth Berkley, Ed Westwick, and Daveigh Chase???), and it’s automatically one of the worst ideas ever.  Seriously, a sequel to the cult classic Donnie Darko is pretty much the one thing absolutely nobody asked for, but that’s never stopped Hollywood before, so all we can do is cross our fingers for a new camp classic as we watch the bad ideas pile-up like a multi-car highway accident.  At least it’s got Elizabeth Berkley as a Jesus freak, so that’s something, right?

s darko wrong

On one hand, I really shouldn’t be surprised by how bad S. Darko ended up being.  Everything that could have made it the great camp sensation is also a liability.  Straight-to-DVD is always a coin toss between fabulously bad and just plain bad, so I guess for every Powder Blue there must also be an S. Darko.  Still, it’s an impressive feat to witness just what a spectacular failure S. Darko actually is.  Not in a fun way, mind you, but in a whoabitch-is-this-movie-terrible sort of way.

The plot involves Samantha Darko (Daveigh Chase) heading out on a road trip with her rebellious friend (Briana Evigan) only to end up in a small town when their car breaks down.  There’s a crazy Christian cult in the town, disappearing children, and a crazed war veteran the town refers to Iraq Jack (James Lafferty).  Iraq Jack keeps seeing a Samantha ghost warn him of the impending end of the world, everybody in town loves Samantha because behaving like a melancholic zombie is the new sexy to Chuck Bass and the town nerd, and then a weird geometric shape travels through one of those space/time worms, bursts into flames above Earth, and becomes a meteor shower.  Meteors that give you nasty skin rashes and drive you violently insane.  Of course.  

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The Gossip Girl We Know and Love Returned Last Night! Huzzah!!!
May 19, 2009

Just in time for its summer hiatus!  Fiddlesticks!!!  Though I don’t really think I can better express my extreme frustration than this visual diagram:

chuck blair gossip girl

See, like Blair’s inability to wait for Chuck to confess his love for her, such is my inability to wait for Gossip Girl to return next season.  That’s just how good it was.  Soooo good.  Incapable-of-making-complete-sentences good, even, so let’s just abandon all hope of a cohesive recap and discuss the highlights of this fabulous return to glittery trash.

Firstly, there was the moment in this episode when for a hot second we’re all led to believe that Eric’s boyfriend was Gossip Girl, but then after the commercial break we’re told that he’s not; he just happened to hack into her file server, which gives him access to her texts (?). That barely makes sense, seems inspired by one of the bevy of internet-themed thrillers that came out in the mid-1990s when our minds were being blown by dial-up and AOL, and also gave me the “Whaaaa?”-face of the century.  It may have only been a tease, but what a fantastic tease it was.

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Gossip Girl IV: A New Hope
April 21, 2009

Last night’s Gossip Girl was rather peculiar.  The Blair/Nate/Grandpa Archibald plot?  A curious plot of deception and double-crossings involving Nate wanting to go to Columbia because he got in on his own, and Blair and Pop-pop Archibald wanting Nate at Yale so Blair could be a socialite and grandpa can still feel in control of the family legacy–except that it turns out that he turned Nate’s dad in to the SEC!  Muy escandaloso!  Perfectly fine as filler, I suppose, except that it tried to act like this was riveting political intrigue; instead, it felt over baked and underdeveloped (particularly in terms of Blair’s turn).  I mean, was there really no easier way than this to keep both Blair and Nate in NYC for the third season?  I’m just going to guess and say there was.

Added to that, the Seder dinner plot line played out like an equally overblown poor man’s comedy-of-errors dinner party.  Dan’s a cater waiter at the dinner to help pay for college, but Lily and Rufus are there and can’t know because Dan has pride!  Eeks!  Serena’s maybe-husband-due-to-a-debauched-night-in-Europe shows up, so Serena pretends she and Dan are back together (don’t worry, she’s not married, but she is totally crushing on her fauxsband)!  Yipes!  Eleanor Waldorf is sick of tradition and just wants to get her kosher eat on!  Gosh!

One particular sequence was shot and edited as if  the director of this week’s episode had just seen the dinner party scene at the end of the original The Thin Man.  All the tight shots of faces and quick cuts in conversation crave to be ZANY, SCREWBALL DRAMEDY!  Sadly, none of it’s particularly compelling.

Then, in the minor plots with characters that are momentarily entirely useless to everyone, Jenny continues to look like a depressed raccoon, but now she has a crush on a total butterface.  Chuck is so dramatically useless as a teenage billionaire that the best the screenwriters come up with is to have him apologize for forcing himself on Jenny from way back in the beginning of the first season.  I’m not saying that the apology wasn’t warranted, but I am saying that this show is clearly running on empty for ideas.  

That all said, I see a light at the end of the tepid tunnel:

HUZZAH!

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Hell No, “Valley Girls”
April 20, 2009

Once upon a much more innocent and simpler time, I really loved the hell out of Gossip Girl.  It was completely absurd, but I loved it so.  The plot lines always resolved themselves in a matter of episodes, and a great deal of drama was either totally regurgitated whenever needed (Serena and Dan, together yet again!) or totally ludicrous (Lily and Rufus have a secret baby!), but that didn’t mean the show lacked flair.  Like good trash television, it knew the marks to hit and hit them with aplomb.  

The costumes were either fabulous or fabulously tacky, so either way they’re good for conversation.  The dialogue was frequently smart, and the Chuck-and-Blair banter occasionally even reached rather Hawksian heights of verbal sparring.  And let’s not forget that Gossip Girl birthed Georgina, an F5 tornado (F is for fierce) of pure bitchcraft that made the show briefly crackle with a palpable electricity.  

But the past few weeks of Gossip Girl have been pretty miserable, and tonight’s episode doesn’t really put me in anticipation of any great review.  Between the teacher/student affairs, the secret sex clubs, and the reunion between Nate and Blair that rests firmly atop the Do Not Want list, I’ve pretty much accepted that I’ll follow Gossip Girl through the rest of this season out of loyalty alone.  Even Georgina’s return just makes soul hurt; why drag her down with this sinking ship, Josh Schwartz?  You already introduced those terrible (and by terrible, i mean boring and poor) public school kids in the third season of The O.C.!  Haven’t your wrought enough carnage?

Obviously not, because we’re getting this mess May 11th:

valley_girls_poster

This is the promo poster for the Gossip Girl flashback episode involving Lily van der Woodsen’s youth in L.A.  This poster says, “I’m a twenty-something actress that’s been lit in this poster to more closely resemble a thirty-something drag queen because I’m a show that’s all about quality.”  This poster also says, “Please watch me despite the fact that I’m a terrible idea made real only by riding the wave of middling hype of a once-great-but-now-rather-dreadful show.”  This poster is the new (tranny) face of the Do Not Want list.  

Let’s hope this is not suggestive of what’s to come with these final episodes of this season’s Gossip Girl because that’s one gaudily styled train wreck of despair.  Le sadness, indeed.

Update: This post was initially written under the impression that “Valley Girls” was to be an official spin-off show.  It has since been reported that “Valley Girls” is merely a flash-back episode in the second season; however, depending most likely on fan reaction and ratings, this train-wreck could be a go for this fall.

Thank Goodness There’s a Three-Week Gossip Girl Sabbatical Now
March 31, 2009

It’ll be a nice opportunity to grow back some of the soul that the past three weeks of this nuclear-grade disaster-bomb have destroyed.  I really hope that Gossip Girl isn’t practicing a scorched earth policy with their soul-killing descent into unrepentant atrociousness, ‘cos seriously, y’all:

gginbedawful1

Given that recapping last night’s Gossip Girl constitutes forcing yourself into a state of post-traumatic stress, I’m going to try to keep this brief.  Hopefully I won’t blackout in a fit of rage before I’m finished writing this damn thing.  Anyways.

In last night’s main plot, the Humphreys and the van der Woodsens decide to team up and throw Jenny a high-society sweet sixteen party.  Jenny’s makes sad racoon eyes because she wants a smaller party because everybody hates her.  Don’t worry, little J, I don’t hate you.  I just hate your outfits.  Everybody does hate her, though, so Serena thinks she’s losing her social edge because Jenny’s birthday is actually about Serena.  Duh.  I hate how I always forget that your birthday is always about somebody else.

Serena secretly starts up the party again and invites her socialite friend/human-shaped-mass-of-awful-with-a-wretched-haircut-and-foul-bangs, Poppy, so everybody at school will thinks she’s cool.  Jenny proves to have a soul as ugly as the dress she wears to her party and invites everyone to the party through Gossip Girl and…oh, let’s just skip to the end.  Really, at this point in the episode, I was wishing I’d baked rat poison or cyanide into my shepherd’s pie so I could end the dreadful suffering.  

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Last Night’s Gossip Girl Continues on the Track to Train-Wrecksville
March 24, 2009

Did you ever see Little Children?  Hopefully this’ll jog your memory if you don’t know what I’m talking about:

Remember it now?  It was that drama from 2006 with the totally brilliant trailer that ended up being rather average.  Kate Winslet and Patrick Wilson have an affair because they’re bored suburbanites, and it’s also a satire of these bored suburbanites because their lives are pretty decent but they’re still behaving like selfish brats who can’t grow up, so it’s about adults behaving like little children.  Got it?  Good.  

Why am I saying this?  Well, I really like the trailer and it also contains a toy train train wreck, which is a perfect visual metaphor for this week’s episode: still a total train wreck, but now on a smaller and incredibly more inane scale.

In the main plot, Nate and Dan and Vanessa go to Nate’s family reunion so Nate can patch things up with his grandfather.  Nate plays touch football with his relatives, but people get knocked over by these “touches.”  That kinda defeats the point, you WASPy jackasses.  Grass stains take forever to get out of you J. Crew sweaters!  

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With Friends Like Last Night’s Gossip Girl, Who Wants a Return From Hiatus?
March 17, 2009

Did you see the highly anticipated (for me) return of the trashtastic Gossip Girl?  If you did, well, I’m sorry.  So, so sorry.  Let’s go back to happier times, when Blair and Chuck were literally destroying the episode’s film stock with their fiery passion, and the print campaigns for the show had parents decrying both show and campaign alike as obscenity.  Oh wait, I can’t, ‘cos seriously:

ofmgabysmal

I recognize that I’m frequently given to hyperbole; I suspect that a predilection towards hyperbole is part of my homo-DNA, but I’m not a geneticist.  I am a Gossip Girl fan (also most likely related to the gay gene), though, and I can most certainly say that last night’s episode of Gossip Girl was wretched.  Perhaps some of the worst television I’ve ever seen.  Seriously, this is the episode written by that pretentious asshole that sat behind you in high school English, spicing up their conversation with name-dropping and pseudo-intellectual ruminations about “art” that nobody asked for.  

And I most definitely did not ask for this, Gossip Girl.

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S. Darko Will Be the Showgirls of Donnie Darko Sequels. Literally.
March 10, 2009

Ruh-roh!  Someone in Hollywood put on on their best Armani bad idea suit, had it dry cleaned and pressed at Train Wreck Washers, then walked into an office and pitched this hot mess:

I’m left with so many questions, such as:

  • Is that Chuck Bass?  Why is Gossip Girl‘s Chuck Bass in the sequel to Donnie Darko?
  • Why is that one guy dressed like an extra from Mad Max?
  • Who thought this was a good idea?
  • Wait, there’s a meteor shower?
  • And a firebird???
  • And dancing in said meteor shower?!?!?

UGH.  This is such a colossal assortment of bad ideas gathered under one straight-to-dvd roof that I…

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