Korner: Movie Reviews by Michael Gildea
The Bad News Bears
the idea of a summer remake of a classic cult movie from
the ‘70s appeals to me about as much as staring at that
creepy picture of last season’s Buffalo Jills I keep seeing
at work. The idea of it is kind of sick at first.
think of the cheesiness of the whole thing. A bunch of blank
Chippewa chicks wearing gross outfits, sucking in their
natural guts while maintaining their Vaseline-toothed smiles.
Yeah. A lot of them look like drag queens who are, in fact,
female. At least 1.5 million dollars in make-up combined
in this photograph. And not a platinum blonde in the house.
it’s not all bad. Let’s take Gillian Anderson’s little sister.
Third row from the top. Second one on the right. I’d sure
like to meet that girl’s mother. If you’ve seen the picture,
you know who I’m talking about. Not the one with the psycho
eyes in the middle, nononononono. The one with the hot pose
and the bobbed crayolahead hairstyle. Sorry, forget the
the point is that there are some great parts too. And although
Billy Bob Thornton doesn’t have a chance in hell of winning
against that pair of stems, he had me laughing. He puts
in a performance that’s a few notches below Bad Santa—or
the DVD release unrated Badder Santa, if you wish.
Bad News Bears is basically a PG-13 version of an
R movie. Director Richard Linklatter had some success with
School of Rock, about a lovable loser surrounded
by demented misfit children. And School of Rock is
basically Bad News Bears. Or is Bad News Bears
actually School of Rock? It’s a vicious, vicious
many remakes these days are clones. They’re slightly tweaked,
but they’re fun. The Bad News Bears is basically
a clone, but a fun clone. Besides, how can you not enjoy
a movie where the main character is named Buttermaker?
I want to get a dog and name him Buttermaker. A gray Neopolitan
Mastiff. Buttermaker. Even if it’s a female.
go. It’s no original, but it’s fun. It’s pretty much a pisswater
version of the sturdy stout that Bad Santa served
up. Do what you like; there’s worse ways to spend your money.
of worse ways to spend your money, there’s The Island,
the latest Michael Bay movie. You may not know his name,
but you know his movies. There’s Armageddon,Pearl Harbor,
Bad Boys I and II. The Rock. You
see where I’m going with this?
something to sit through if you need to leave your brain
at the door. But if you look at the plot of The Island,
it actually requires that brain you’d normally ditch while
watching a Michael Bay movie. You’ve got two clones who
are supposed to be harvested for organs, fighting for their
“lives” through a metropolis in the future. Do they have
the right to live? Should you root for them? There’s certainly
a lot to think about here. But before your head starts to
hurt, the typical crazy-ass action sequence kicks in and
depressurizes your throbbing temples.
that’s where The Island goes wrong. For the first
part of the movie, you’re drawn into this wild story. And
you’re wondering where it’s going to go. It’s kind of like
you’re on this date, and it’s going very well. She’s got
great eyes, a little bit of a schnozz, but otherwise very
this chase scene you’ve seen half a dozen times before shows
up and blows its wad on her leg. Farts in the lobster bisque.
Jumps on the table and starts dancing. Oh, what the guys
down at the comic shop will say when they find out!
Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson are in it! Let’s add
some street cred to this movie! Johansson’s the big thing
now and McGregor’s old hat at this sci-fi thing. He did
THREE movies with Lucas. Tom Maccio’s kid told me he’s going
to kidnap McGregor in London and asked me what I thought.
ask him about Star Wars. You’ve seen those people!
Talk a lot about movies where he’s shown his penis. Talk
about Velvet Goldmine. You know, the movie where
he fucks Batman in the ass! You want this man to fear and
respect you! I told the boy.
tweaking. We think we’re losing the boy to the dark side.
First Phantom of the Opera and now this. I told
him it could be worse; he could be stalking Vin Diesel.
I finally saw House of 1000 Corpses, I remember thinking
it was a Texas Chainsaw Massacre knock-off that was
at points amusing before it did a 180 on its audience by
settling down for the night in Hellraiser territory.
Seeing Sid Haig’s character Captain Spaulding was worth
the last couple hours of my life (check out the DVD and
let the main menu run) and I was ready to leave it at that.
The finish reminded me of an anime movie that made no sense
at the end, like Wicked City or Akira, but
now we’ve got the sequel, The Devil’s Rejects. House
of 1000 Corpses came off like the wet dream of a guy
who’s seen every horror movie ever made. And from what I
understand, writer/director Rob Zombie has.
The Devil’s Rejects is completely unnecessary, it
has its moments. With a 1:4 scare to gore ratio, it gets
to points where it drags. Don’t get me wrong, this was some
of the worst gore I’ve seen in my time—and I grew up on
some bad ‘80s horror—but this was all cock and no balls.
Zombie can make a good-looking movie, there’s no doubt about
that. But The Devil’s Rejects seems to be what you’d
get if Quentin Tarantino did a horror movie: a cast of actors
who were the Lawrence Oliviers of obscure horror movies
from the ‘70s. But Tarantino would’ve remembered to throw
a story in there. For fans of ‘70s horror exploitation,
you’ll probably freak out to the point of a borderline seizure
when you see all of the cameos. It’ll make your day. But
if you couldn’t give a rat’s ass about any of that, skip
and the Chocolate Factory
are two kinds of remakes: one is the kind that happens for
the sole purpose of making money, where people think it
would be interesting to see an updated version and see how
something would happen in this day and age. There’s usually
extensive tinkering with the plot and when the credits roll,
you can only think about how unnecessary that all was.
we’ve got the second kind of remake, the kind where you’ve
got an original film which, despite enjoyable moments, is
flawed and there’s plenty of room for improvement. Hence
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
back on Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the
rags-to-riches story of a white trash kid, his frumpy mother,
and both sets of his grandparents in a perpetual orgy smack
dab in the middle of his living room. He wins a trip to
a world famous chocolate factory run by an eccentric...
well, nut and the whole thing’s set to song. It was enough
to make psychiatrists rich years down the line.
Willie Wonka was entertaining in a nostalgically
demented way, it wasn’t a great movie. Roald Dahl hated
it. So it’s worth redoing, if you can get the right people
to redo it. Get two insanely creative people like Tim Burton
and Johnny Depp to do it and you’re looking at an exception
to the rule that the remake’s never better than the original
film. They’ve never let us down.
the result of the duo’s 4th teaming is Charlie
and the Chocolate Factory. With Tim Burton directing,
you know you’re getting a darker version than the Gene Wilder
musical from when you were a kid. The coppertop huckster
we grew up on is traded in for a demented geek man-child
that could pass for either Marilyn Manson or Michael Jackson’s
creepy. The Oompa Loompas in Charlie and the Chocolate
Factory (they’re all played by one guy) and the songs
they sing whenever one of the kids gets knocked off are
nearly Flaming Lips demented. A scene that springs to mind
is when Mike Teevee gets voted off the island and there’s
actually an Oompa Loompa cheese metal band playing. Not
to mention the clever tributes to 2001: A Space Odyssey
what would a Tim Burton/Johnny Depp film be without a trademarked
performance by Depp himself? Depp throws dementia, classic
kid’s show host energy, and low-grade OCD to give one of
his most bizarre performances so far.
senior citizen orgy dinner show is still happening in accordance
with the basic gist of the movie. But what adds nicely is
the fairy tale atmosphere that Burton washes on.
say check it out, but I’m kind of biased. Every time Burton
and Depp get together, magic happens. And it’s a kid’s movie.
Take that any way you want.
marketing of movies over the past few years has gotten good.
Effective, but sneaky as all hell. Wedding Crashers
is a prime example. It stars Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn
as a pair of fun-loving galoots who crash weddings for free
hors d’oeuvres, booze and tang. (And I don’t mean the breakfast
beverage of astronauts.)
seen these two before, right? You remember. Starsky and
Hutch. Oh, wait. Ben Stiller was in that too. And Owen
Wilson was in Zoolander with the both of them. And
wait, Will Farrell was in that toothenhedidOldSchoolwithVinceVaughnandthentheydidAnchorman
andnextthingyouknow your mind’s bent. It’s like the time
I heard that there was cocaine in Bob Hope’s system when
all of these guys and more of them I haven’t mentioned get
together and it’s to the point where they’re starting to
sell themselves in bulk. They’re turning into the Justice
League of Funny Actors. But they’re not quite there yet.
Wedding Crashers, we’ve pretty much got a Swingers
sequel. Swingers Go to Hell is what we’ve got
here. There’s no “you’re so money” and “where are all of
the beautiful babies” that started as a nice breeze in the
mid-‘90s and turned into a bitch of a tornado that spawned
martini and cigar bars that died with The Big Bad Voodoo
Daddies. We’ve got the same concept, but instead of hitting
Vegas, they’re crashing weddings. We’ve got grown up versions
of the Swingers guys who get played by their own
game, when they become the uneasy boyfriends to the Big
Man in Town’s crackhead daughters.
was expecting Old School funny out of Wedding
Crashers, but wound up with Starsky and Hutch funny,
with some Dodgeball moments. You’re not missing a
hell of a lot here. If you can see it eventually, go for