Beast Banner June 2008
ISSUE #128
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Features

ArrowFROM THE DITCH OF A BLUE-COLLAR GUY FROM BUFFALO
A welcoming message from Russert country

ArrowTHE WRATH OF CON
A faith healer in Buffalo
Ian Murphy

ArrowBIG FUSS
Tim Russert, "A guy who did the news and just died"
Paul Jones

ArrowMEDIA MANNERS
Media Matters for America's mission creep
Allan Uthman

ArrowGETTING FIT WITH JOHN McCAIN
My friends, this workout is for all hardworking Americans

ArrowSUMMER GAS-SAVING TIPS
Stave off bankruptcy with these helpful suggestions!

ArrowTHE DISPOSABLE OATH
Goff Angry!
Stan Goff

ArrowEAT SHIT & DIE
Diseased veggies are the meat industry's fault
Allison Kilkenny

ArrowOLD DOGS & HARD TIME
Convicted rapists are people too
Joe Bageant

ArrowPEN OR SWORD
Retired Navy Commander Ken Huber on Iran, Obama & Bathtub Admirals
Russ Wellen

Departments

ArrowThe Beast Page 5
Appalling racist anachronism

ArrowWaxy Beast: Music Reviews
by Eric Lingenfelter

ArrowKino Kwikees: Movie Trailer Reviews
by Michael Gildea

ArrowBEAST-O-Scopes
Your completely accurate horoscope

[sic] - We ridicule your letters

 

Hancock

So what do you do when you get sick of seeing the same movies and sequels about those same old superheroes? Well, you can find even more obscure ones to make a movie out off—you know, the ones from graphic novels. No? Create a whole new hero? Yeah, yeah. That’s it. But let’s take it further. Let’s make him edgy, smarmy and crass. I know! Make him a homeless, low-grade alcoholic! Ooh, ooh! And the best part? We make the movie a comedy!

And this is where the mighty often and almost always fall. Superheroes and comedy generally go together like an open can of paint thinner and closed windows. If you’re into either of those combinations I believe my point is made. And I also get bonus points if you saw My Super Ex-Girlfriend.

So we’re at Hancock. It’s the story of an alcoholic dickhead superhero who seems to do more harm than good. He’s all about rough take-offs and landings when he flies. He’s a proponent of infrastructure and property damage on a large scale. And if some little kid calls him a jackass, Hancock will throw him 200 feet up into the air, then catch him once he’s scared good and shitless. At some point the public’s had it with Hancock, and he voluntarily goes to jail. But somewhere Hancock saved an image consultant who volunteers to help reinvent himself. And if that doesn’t sound bad enough, Will Smith plays Hancock.

Personally, I don’t care now. And I’m guessing that anyone who’s down to see Hancock won’t care by the end of 4th of July weekend. This movie looks like they used margarine instead of sweet cream butter to make it and margarine doesn’t hold shit together that well. God, this summer movie season sucks so far.

The Dark Knight

Walking out of the movie theater three years ago after seeing Batman Begins, I was floored. It made up for a Batman movie that had the pox/taint of Schumacher upon it in a way not unlike someone offering to buy you a new house after they pass out drunk and piss on your couch. And with the promise of The Joker for the next movie, The Golden Age would soon be upon us.

Admittedly I’m excited for Batman Begins’ sequel The Dark Knight in ways the printed word cannot describe. Christian Bale returning as Batman/Bruce Wayne and the rest of the cast minus Katie Holmes (replaced by Maggie Gyllenhaal—yesssssssss!) is reason enough to be there opening night. Throw in recent dead guy Heath Ledger as possibly the creepiest incarnation of The Joker ever, then add Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent and I’m facing the constant threat of dehydration from the state of perpetual orgasm I face at the mere prospect of this movie. When I hit the theater in July, I’m showing up with an IV just so I don’t risk passing out.

But there’s also a part of me that dreads going to see this movie. More specifically, wading through fanboys who’ve hit all the viral sites for The Dark Knight and dealing with the subsequent damage it’s already done to their frail, virtually non-existent personalities and their already questionable senses of humor.

For example, take the case of some stammering hammerhead who ganked the phone of one of my friends and left me a manic voicemail. First off, this nincomfuckingpoop mispronounces my name—that told me I was dealing with a Grade-A tardcake right there. Then this assclown has the sack to impersonate my editor, Al Uthman. This fool sounded like he’d been downing Red Bulls or smoking meth straight since Neil Patrick Harris came out of the closet. Uthman usually sounds like he hasn’t gotten a full night’s sleep this century. Then this fool tells me he’s upset with me because my reviews haven’t been turned in yet. Oh really? Pligga Neese! My shit’s always in on time. Unless I get an incorrect deadline but that’s beside the point. [Sorry. -Ed.]

This turkey on my voicemail proceeds to threaten me if I don’t say that “Batman is the best sequel to a movie made eight or nine times already” and he’s going to sick Ian Murphy on me if I don’t say that in my review. Ooh! And possibly the worst part of this whole twisted message was the fact that this guy said capice. Then he said he had to go because he had to go piss his pants or something. Oh, and he sounded like he was at the Old Pink.

The whole experience (especially the capice part) was enough to make me want to submerge myself in the shadiest parts of Asia and learn obscure martial arts techniques. Of course that message was also inspiring to the point where I’d more than willingly wear a rubber outfit with a cape and pointed ears if only to tear fanboys apart at a midnight showing.

But each trailer that’s been released has been more impressive than the one before it. The Dark Knight maintains the grimy film noir elements that Batman Begins introduced. Ledger is nothing short of staggering in the few brief shots in the trailer and REAL BUILDINGS (as in non-CG ones) are being blown up in this movie! All this and director Christopher Nolan is citing Michael Mann’s Heat as a major influence on The Dark Knight. And all that’s worth fighting through some douchebags dressed up in costumes at the theater.

X-Files: I Want to Believe

When The X-Files rode off into the sunset 6 years ago, it disappeared in a way not unlike your childhood dog that lived to old age and eventually died. There were indeed the Good Old Days, and you were still supportive when ol’ Rusty’s eyes started going. Hell, you didn’t even mind ponying up the $50 a month for that medication that you swore wasn’t doing any good. But once ol’ Rusty went blind, got mean and started shitting and pissing up the house, it was time for him to go live out the rest of his days on a nice big farm in the country.

If you caught even one episode from the last four seasons of The X-Files you know the whole thing went on way too long. The only things those seasons had to offer were a progressively better-looking and somewhat less bitchy Scully and a handful of classic Mulder one-liners. And after 1998’s Fight the Future movie it was pretty obvious that series creator Chris Carter was pulling the ongoing mythology out of his ass. Don’t believe me? Watch the series finale. Then tell me what the hell happened, because once the previously mentioned snappy banter was gone I was off like a prom dress.

If you thought The X-Files was cryptic and vague before it went to hell, this trailer views like a cryptic and disjointed montage of utter nonsense with no real context to place it within. What—these asshats drop the most anticlimactic turd of turds of a series finale in our laps after nine years of faithful viewership? The whole thing was like a long-term relationship and you were getting the red flags that this wasn’t going to last forever, but then it’s over and it didn’t end well.

So this person who wasted nine seasons, I mean years of your life is now trying to lure you back. With what? What? A lot of quick cuts of generally indeterminate imagery that offer no insight or even a general idea as to what this little opus is about. Don’t forget the running; lots and lots of running. But most importantly don’t forget to throw in a few brief shots of a weather-beaten David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. Trying to breathe life into That Old Magic with this trailer is like taking back an ex you haven’t seen in years after they tell you they drink just 3 nights a week instead of 7, only do Civil War re-enactments once a year now, are getting their license back in a couple of months and offer you an engagement ring purchased at Wal-Mart. Some people are easier than others, but not me! I’m a different person, I’ve changed. I’ll take that lifetime supply of quiet desperation any day, thank you very much!

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Neat monsters, lame story. That’s what the first Hellboy was all about. A big demon working with a shadowy government agency to save the world from Rasputin (that main bad guy was supposed to be Rasputin, right?) and some wind-up Nazi assassin that turned out to be dust wrapped in duct tape.

Hellboy II just basically looks exactly like the first Hellboy, except the creatures look cooler. I thought I saw one that had a small house for a head. Could be wrong about that. So anyway, yeah. Some bad guys are trying to take over and Hellboy, an asymmetrically-coiffed Selma Blair and the Abe the fish guy have to stop them. Maybe they go to some otherworldly place to get help?

Yeah, I’m sorry I’m not being much help here. I know its my job and everything, but once I saw it was Hellboy I stopped listening. The creatures look awesome and I might actually watch Pan’s Labyrinth sometime in the next few days. With that movie, which was also made by Guillermo Del Toro, I know I’ll get a good story with some cool creatures. Hellboy II just doesn’t really challenge me to enjoy it. The only thing this movie challenges me to do is see it for free as soon as possible.

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Watching the trailer for Journey to the Center of the Earth, the words “innocuous kiddie ride” sprang to mind. “Pointless” showed up after further ruminations. Brendan Frasier yet again plays the adventure hero/scientist who, with his nephew, ends up falling through a cave floor to… well, the center of the Earth. It took more than half of the 2 minute and 14 second running time of the trailer to explain this.

The rest of the trailer was a PG-rated car wreck of dicey special effects involving prehistoric creatures, Spielbergian summer blockbuster worship, lame “in your face” 3-D shots (yes, it’s a 3-d movie) and painful, painful kid-friendly humor. Journey to the Center of the Earth looks so remarkably generic! Granted, the story in one form or another is basically older than time itself, but this is like the Hydrox version of Indiana Jones. The new one even! This movie makes me want to punch out parents who take their kids to see it, and—obviously—kidnap their children for the afternoon and make them watch Raiders of the Lost Ark. Parents who take their kids to see this should be brought up on child endangerment charges. You know, because it is possible to bore someone to death and you can absolutely overdose on vanilla.

Mamma Mia!

If you watch “Family Guy”with any regularity, you’re familiar with a hilarious recurrent bit from the show, one of those things that is funny because you’ve seen it happen in real life. Peter Griffin will bang his foot, knee, or whatever, then fall to the ground, wincing in pain. What accompanies this is an extended period of ooooohhs and aaaaaahhhs that go on much longer than they need to.

The trailer for Mamma Mia! did that to me. I know that it’s a musical heavily mired in the works of Abba, but somehow it just doesn’t prepare you for what’s coming, even if you’ve seen the musical. A lot of dancing while those dancing stare at you. Stop looking at me! Oooooohhhh. A lot of music. Aaaaaaahhhh.

The plot offers no respite either. Some girl raised by her single mom ooooooohhhh on a Greek Island aaaaahhh is getting married oooooohhhh and wants her father to give her away. The problem is that her mom was a big whore back in the day and in true Maury Povich style can only narrow it down to three guys. Ooooooohhhh.

Look. Enough with the oooohhh and aaaaahhh shit. There’s going to be three sets of circumstances under which you’re going to see Mamma Mia! 1) You’re a woman. Call it misogynist but tell me I’m wrong. You think John Wayne would’ve gone to see this movie? Didn’t think so. 2) You’re a gay man. You can say I’m basing that statement on stereotypes but everybody knows stereotypes save time. Who doesn’t like saving time? 3) You’re a straight guy trying to nail, or continue nailing, a girl. Maybe she didn’t like You Don’t Mess With the Zohan and now you’re in a world of shit. But if you haven’t reaped the so-called rewards, she’s just trying to see how much shit she can put you through until she finds someone better. You saw Sex and the City with her, didn’t you? She’s going to have you wearing women’s underwear by next weekend. Have fun watching Project Runway, you vagina.



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