The Last Stand
got a list that I like to refer to as my punch in the face list. I’ll
admit I ganked the name but I had the concept all along and I’m sure I’m not
the first. The list is some 50-strong and contains people from all walks of
life—the spectrum covers everyone from white trash comedians to sensitive
musicians. Hell, even people who wear designer sweatpants as they drink $6
cups of coffee while gallivanting in public can be found there. Not even “The
Boss” is safe from my quiet rage.
My list grew
by 3 while I watched X-Men: The Last Stand, or X3 if you want
to be cool about it. I watched this movie that the 16 year-old comic book
geek in me who never truly died was looking forward to and I got angry. I
wasn’t upset because this is allegedly the last X-Men movie, but because
of the way it was done.
If you weren’t
keeping score, Bryan Singer is the name of the gentleman who directed the
first two X-Men movies. He did so in a way that was not unlike watching
a gymnast walk a tightrope without a net below. All skill, no huckster theatrics
and done in a way that made you want more. Singer also did a great job with
the first two installments considering he had about a dozen characters he
had to make work and somehow appear interesting. Most comic book movies don’t
pull that off when there’s only one character to focus on. Daredevil, anyone?
So Singer dropped
out to do the upcoming Superman Returns and punch in the face addition
#1 Brett Ratner takes the helm. If you’ve seen any of Ratner’s other movies
you’re aware that this guy could screw up a cup of coffee. The only thing
he’s done that was even slightly interesting was Red Dragon and that’s
because Hannibal was so bad that anything would’ve been a step up.
But the problem
comes when punch in the face additions #2 and 3 show up—co-writers
of X3 Zak Penn and Simon Kinberg. They’re like Ratner’s idiot buddies
who tell Ratner in mid-act to do the thing pantless. Then they start throwing
more plates on stage and yelling at him to wrap it up so they can all go shoot
a game of hoops or go play quarters at some sports bar with quarter drafts.
off all right enough and with an interesting premise. A cure has been discovered
for the homosexual—I mean mutant gene, and the war between mutants and the
regular slobs is starting. Then a ridiculous explanation for the return of
Jean Grey, thin storylines and the pitiful execution of new characters Angel
and Beast drag X3 down to dare I say… Fantastic Four country.
don’t help either. Halle Berry lets her wig do her acting for her because
she already got her Oscar. Hugh Jackman looks like he’d rather be fruiting
around in a musical the whole time and the actors whose characters were killed
off probably begged to be once they read the script. Famke Janssen looked
really bored for someone who was allegedly the most powerful mutant in the
world. Maybe she was thinking about killing her makeup artist. While I can
appreciate the 27 hours a day that Kelsey Grammer had to sit in a make up
chair to play Beast, I just felt like I was watching a less neurotic Frasier
Someone I used
to know gave me a piece of good advice once. He said when you’re talking to
someone you’re trying to sleep with that you shouldn’t discuss things you’re
really, really into with them because you’ll come off like an obsessive wingnut.
Even though he’s giving shout outs through online personals now, he was right.
When all is said and done that’s where X3 shit the bed. It just smells
like a pile of dirty laundry that 12 cats take turns sleeping on and body
odor. An unhealthy Jessica Alba shrine. Noxema and puppy shit. Yeah, you get
the drift. There wasn’t very much room left for another sequel, but I’m sure
there will be one despite the milquetoast ending. Underused characters, a
weak script and substandard special effects are no impediment when enough
would seem that every summer there’s a movie that’s built around a hyped-up
couple whose exploits you’re familiar with if you follow checkout line gossip.
A few years back all you heard about was Ben and J-Lo. Last year it was Brad
and Angelina. And this year we’ve got Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston. These
couples are always seen on tabloid covers and talk shows for months before
the movie they’re starring in actually hits theaters, to the point where you’re
so sick to death of looking at them by the time their movie hits the multiplexes,
you don’t want to hear either of their names for as long as you live.
So this year’s
couple movie is The Break-Up, which stars Aniston and Vaughn as a couple
who… breaks up. Things get box-office-record-breakingly interesting when you
throw in the fact that this couple owns a condo together and neither one of
them wants to give the place up. Vaughn plays the same idiot man-child he’s
been playing since Swingers. The guy who you’d really have a good time
hanging out with until you go his house and he spends the rest of the night
fighting with his girlfriend. It was kind of fun for about 2 or 3 movies,
but I think I’d rather try and watch him play Norman Bates again. Which brings
us to Aniston.
admittedly looks good under Raymour and Flanigan showroom lighting, but, despite
her soap opera royalty status, she’s got a face that looks like a 70’s goalie
mask. I think Gerry Cheevers should sue. Aniston plays that woman, all-too-familiar
to dysfunctional losers, who doesn’t want a boyfriend, but a project. A real
fixer-upper. The Break-Up is a mirror into any relationship that’s
older than 3 years. He gets complacent and she gets pissed off that he doesn’t
listen to her. And if you want to blow your dough on that, then be my guest.
So for the rest
of the painful running time you’ve got Aniston and Vaughn trying to make each
other jealous and passive-aggressively trying to screw each other over. I
think the audience was supposed to care whether these two nincompoops were
supposed to get back together, but I’m not really sure.
cast had its moments. We’ve got the now-behemoth Vaughn-sidekick Jon Favreau
as the idiotic, ill-advising best friend. The guy looks like he can and has
eaten a whole can of Crisco through a straw in less than a minute. The helium-huffing
Joey Lauren Adams plays Aniston’s sister or some vaguely important character
who serves the same purpose.
All I could really
think about while watching The Break-Up was if there’s actually some
fake & baked Paris Hilton wannabe a-holes sitting around in a room in
L.A. somewhere figuring out how to make more movies like this based on the
scandal sheet formula. They’ve got pictures of random celebrities tacked up
on the wall like they’re the FBI trying to bust some crime family. They’re
all chewing gum with their gaping word holes opened and they’ve got “writers”
at Us magazine on the payroll acting as fixers and consultants. Then
that bored me and I was really hoping that The Break-Up would take
some kind of a War of the Roses turn that never happened. I went home
and told my girlfriend about it when the movie was over, but she didn’t listen.
She never listens.
almost no dignity in seeing, making or starring in a movie that was made for
the sole purpose of being released on June, 6th 2006. 6/6/6. That’s
the kind of idea that someone can only have after a cathartic dump when their
blood sugar is lower than George W’s approval rating. So to make matters worse,
we’re talking about a remake of a ‘70s horror movie here, The Omen
to be precise. Make no mistake as this whole frightening-for-all-the-wrong-reasons
ordeal gets worse, but I don’t want to hit you with too much at one time.
Omen wasn’t a horror movie. Oh sure, it dealt with Satan, devil worship,
the possibility of the world ending and Rottweilers, but it wasn’t scary.
It was supposed to scare the tar out of you and be another Exorcist, but
that never quite happened because there were too many funny things going on.
Gregory Peck’s wardrobe. with the math teacher elbow patches, was too much
of a distraction, as were his soul brother sideburns. And this cat was supposed
to be a U.S. Ambassador? You’ve got to be putting me on, Jim!
Then we’ve got
all the parts that were supposed to be scary. The one that springs to mind
is the scene where Lee Remick takes her child/spawn of Satan to the zoo and
all the monkeys go batshit because they sense evil. That was just plain hot!
Then the nanny—remember her? It’s Damien the Devil Boy’s birthday party and
she’s standing on the ledge and before she jumps, she says with the biggest
shit-eating grin I’ve seen in my life, “Look at me Damien! It’s all for you!”
I laugh my ass off every time I see it. And…and…and the look on Remick’s face…
excuse me a….moment. God that was awesome! I know this is up for debate, but
the scene where the hippie photographer’s head goes rolling like a honeydew
off a produce truck when that sheet of glass comes flying out just might be
the best part of the movie. The ’76 version of The Omen was the best
movie the Marx Brothers never made.
Now as far as
the remake of The Omen, I can say that it is scary because Julia Stiles
stars in the Lee Remick role. I’ve carved Halloween pumpkins with more symmetry
than this dame’s head has. She could’ve easily voiced The Devil, but this
wouldn’t be the first time a bad casting decision was made in a remake. Stiles
strikes me as the kind of gal who would eat 15 cigarette butts out of sheer
boredom then fart them out in a product that would instantly burns the eyes,
nose and throat. When I think Stiles, I don’t think of the wife of an ambassador,
I think of the girl you call when you’re completely drunk, your standards
are at their lowest and you’ve got an itch that really needs to be
scratched. Speaking of bad casting, no one screams modern-day Gregory Peck
like Liev Schreiber!
The only decent
thing about seeing a remake is that the story gets tweaked a little bit just
to make it interesting. Even the 1998 remake of Psycho changed some
aspects of the story around to make it minimally interesting, but director
John Moore couldn’t even be bothered to do that with The Omen. This
movie was basically the motto of the mundane worker—Same Shit, Different