KINO BOTTOM TEN 2005

If the overpriced repression therapy I’m currently undergoing fails like I expect it to and I actually remember anything from the Year of Our Lord 2005, it’s safe to say the memories I have will not be fond ones. But I can’t think of any reason in the world why they should be unpleasant.

Fortunately for myself, I’m the kind of person who’s honed his ability to insulate himself for the most part from the big, bad world. If the world as I know it has turned into a dipshit convention, I can easily check out by turning off my phone and tuning out in front of the idiot box with a few of many remedies in my DVD catalog. It’s truly amazing what watching the entire first season of “Scrubs” can do. If the overwhelming urge to hammer some nails from that pair of nickel-plated .45s overcomes me, I go to the movies.

But in 2005, the latter solution no longer proved viable. The 1-in-2 odds of an enjoyable trip to the multiplex were void. 2005 at the theaters was like playing Russian roulette with a fully-loaded, double-barreled shotgun. Don’t get me wrong, there were a few shining moments: Sin City, Syriana, Batman Begins, The 40 Year-Old Virgin, King Kong and... and...Well, it wasn’t all bad, but more trips to the movies than not were as relentlessly punishing as a Wal-Mart stampede on Black Friday. I felt like I was watching a series of infomercials for get-rich-quick pyramid schemes that were scripted out of a Mad Libs book. Let’s review:


The Family Stone

The living hell that is the holidays was certainly compounded by the sight of Sarah Jessica Parker’s foot-like face in a neurotic Meet the Parents-esque comedy. In fact, it was enough to drive even the best-adjusted of us to an overdose of painkillers on Christmas night. The horsey Parker plays a pretentious, uptight Manhattanite who goes with her fiancée to his family’s Christmas gathering. And you’ll never guess what happens next: THEY DON’T LIKE HER. And if that’s not a recipe for nonstop belly laughs, I’ll go and punch out your mother on Martin Luther King Day.

The Family Stone turns into a sewage whirlpool of jokes that are worse than a combination of rush hour traffic on Elmwood, all your limbs falling asleep simultaneously, bad tribal tattoos, The Tyra Banks Show, NASCAR enthusiasts, Genny Cream Ale, yellow toenails, menthol cigarettes, stepping in dogshit, Windows NT, lurkers in Allentown, people who exclusively talk about The Grateful Dead, marshmallow circus peanuts, black licorice, Dean Nottis’s farts, James Blunt, rectal bleachings, titty beads on rearview mirrors, missing car keys, waking up five minutes before you have to leave for work, vegan flatulence, parking tickets, weak deodorant, armchair psychology, people who tell you you’ve just got to read The Da Vinci Code, Jimmy Fallon laughing at his own jokes, self-important people, the full-frame no-frills version of Lost Highway on DVD and the soccer moms who will undoubtedly be cackling throughout The Family Stone like an army of demented harpies. (Of course, they’re loaded on boxed wine from the local Friday’s, which will make things even more fun.)

Shame on Diane Keaton, Luke Wilson, and...Well, frankly I’ve come to expect poor choices from the rest of The Family Stone’s cast, so to hell with them all. And maybe, just maybe, the filmmakers could’ve put in just one Sly and the Family Stone song, but noooooooooo.


Rumor Has It

Deja vu. We’ve all gotten it before and you’re about to get hit with a heaping helping of it again—unless you already did by seeing The Family Stone, or stepped in the same road apple twice by seeing Rumor Has It.

They’re both pretty much the same movie, interchanging Jennifer Aniston with Sarah Jessica Parker. The insane family element is still there, and it tries to borrow from the Mike Nichols classic The Graduate, but is shouted at to fuck off before it even gets to the door. Rumor Has It is based around a wedding, which always instills that feel-good bowel movement and does nothing to discourage you from slashing at the seats before the first act is over.

I had an experience at the tail end of my senior year of high school that still rattles me somewhat to this very day. There was this girl I kind of had my eye on in the hallways for a few months. We’d give each other “the eye.” Eventually we exchanged numbers and she came over to the homestead. She shows up and we’re pretty much sexing each other up with our eyes, when she remembers that she’s got to call her mom to let her know what time to get picked up. Her mom pulls the whole “What’s his name?” interrogation and it turns out this girl’s mom and my father are cousins. Yeah, pretty creepy. But what stays with me is not so much almost bumping fuzz with my second cousin, but the fact that she gave me this “Should I stay or should I go?” look. I mean, I used to be cute, but not that cute.

Every once in a while under circumstances such as extended sleep deprivation, extremely high fever or unprecedented inebriation, I would wonder what it would’ve been like to have given in. Rumor Has It didn’t quite give me the big picture, but after leaving the theater, I was clued in as to what would’ve undoubtedly been the post-coital aftermath—a cocktail equal parts regret, disgust and shame. If nothing else, that mystery was solved.


Son of the Mask

Some movies are just born bad, and some simply defy logic. When the twain meet, you’re looking at a combination more lethal than bleach and ammonia. We’ve got a ten-years-too-late sequel to a marginally entertaining, comic book-based movie featuring then-attractive Cameron Diaz and Jim Carrey in full grotesquerie mode. Everyone in the world was ready to squeeze, wipe and flush without ever looking back. Then of course, some dickless studio exec can’t leave ehhh enough alone and insists on turning purgatory into hell.

If Jim Carrey’s over-the-top, rubber-faced antics failed to kill what little remained of your soul, Jamie Kennedy and his complete lack of comic timing have arrived to finish the job. While the otherwise cool Alan Cumming jumps the shark as the evil god (or something moronic like that) villain.

I could have lived with the stupid plot—hell, I could have even dealt with the decade-long gap which elapsed between the original and the sequel. But what really set me off on a bender of hatred, MD 20/20 and destruction was the nonstop assault of loud noises, rapid-fire imagery and blatant obnoxiousness. Usually studio crumbums decide to market a movie toward a specific audience. Son of the Mask must have been going for tasteless, ADHD morons. If you saw it and have been filled with nothing but regret, I feel your pain. If you saw it and liked it, send me your bank account number—you can look forward to a special surprise!    


Domino

You have seriously dropped the ball when you’ve made a movie so bad that not even Keira Knightly’s bare, wonderfully proportioned breasts justify the price of admission. Domino was the mostly-true story of a real life model turned bounty hunter. Director Tony Scott decided to rehash all of the same techniques that got him somewhere with Man on Fire, but the only thing ablaze in Domino is your eyes. With the exception of said nudie shot and a brief yet pointless cameo from Tom Waits, Domino is a dud on every level. It jumps around so much that the only way to focus is by overdosing on painkillers an hour before you walk into the theater.

Domino was a disappointment of biblical proportions. It could easily spawn the next evolutionary step to compensate for the setback, or undo months of AA meetings. If you’re on the wagon, avoid this movie. But if your gene pool was pissed in somewhere along the way and you’re an avid risk taker, be my guest.


Memoirs of a Geisha

Have you ever had someone talk to you about something as though they just assumed you’re interested? They just yap and yap and yap; without even the slightest inkling that you’re mentally preparing a grocery list, or have the melody to “One Note Samba” running through your head. Well, that’s the feeling I got with Memoirs of a Geisha. I’ve never had (what I’m told is) the pleasure of being with an Asian woman and this movie seems to see those of us who haven’t as its bread and butter.

As much as I’ve drooled over Ziyi Zhang since seeing Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and House of Flying Daggers, the attraction is kind of lost behind the obviously phony blue contact lenses which are supposed to be her sex slave character’s special appeal. Admittedly, my teeth were sweating as I gawked at Zhang for the first twenty minutes to half-hour of Memoirs of a Geisha. But after that I thought to myself, who honestly gives a shit? Oh sure, it’s not the typical cinematic slop that dripped off the edges of the Hollywood crock-pot this year, but that doesn’t make it any less crusty. If you decide to take the plunge against your (or is that my?) better judgment, you’ll be surrounded by gay men and fag hags, commenting in hushed tones on the costumes and disrupting your mental list of several hundred better ways you could’ve spent the money wasted seeing this movie.


Fantastic Four

Since the original X-Men movie gave birth to the modern day comic book movie as we know it, the movie-going public has been subjected to a virtual deluge of big screen adaptations, Some great (Spider-Man parts 1 and 2, X-Men parts 1 and 2, Sin City), some marginally entertaining (The Hulk, Constantine) and some that just left you begging for mercy (Daredevil and Elektra.) Despite the more than impressive rebirth of the Batman franchise, 2005 was the year that should have made us say, “enough’s enough” with comic book adaptations.

Fantastic Four was like that rotten little shit of a kid who shows up at your house on Halloween without a costume. And the rat bastard expects candy from you. The plot was weaker than the drinks at a corporate off-site, the casting was less inspired than a Michael Bay picture (let’s cast Jessica Alba as an invisible woman—GREAT thinking there) and these presumptuous prick filmmakers had the ass to set it up for a sequel. Between Michael Chiklis’ poorly designed makeup and the walker-dependent pace, I was on the edge of my seat—ready to leave.


The Dukes of Hazzard

Let’s consider the source of Dukes. The show was about two guys who did odd jobs around town and drove around in a hot orange car with a Confederate flag painted on the roof. There was also this weird incestuous thing going on with their hot cousin Daisy and their pale yet leathery Uncle Jesse. There was always some fussin’ and a-feudin’ going on with Boss Hogg and the local retard cops, and Daisy was always the one to figure out how to save the day.

The movie is like a 90-minute infomercial for the current white trash chic movement. It flaunts moonshine, bad fashion, and NASCAR, while saying absolutely nothing.

The latest in an ongoing series of dumpy-hot southern belle pop singers, Jessica Simpson, plays Daisy. You know Daisy: the smart one. Jessica Simpson as the smart one. Come on! Casting-wise, that’s on par with Keanu Reeves as the guy with too much information in his head in Johnny Mnemonic. Then there’s the matter of Willie Nelson as Uncle Jesse and Burt Reynolds as Boss Hogg. I know the world’s gone to hell since their heyday, but has it really gotten this bad? Well, I just saw a commercial for Maxwell House with NASCAR Nascar guys singing the Madness song “Our House.” So I guess it has.

Everyone is so raunchily filmed in this movie that if you’re turned on by even one of them, you’ll be passed out for days after perpetually pleasuring yourself from memory. You’ll be dangerously dehydrated and look years younger. So if you want to see a terrible movie or try out a new beauty secret, go see The Dukes of Hazzard.

The Dukes of Hazzard is not one of those movies which will be worth revisiting a few years down the line, and I’ve got nothing to add to my initial review. It’ll age badly like a high school yearbook, but without any nostalgic value. And much like the outfits usually sported in yearbook photos, we’ll cover our eyes and ask, “Why?” Presuming we didn’t ask that question from the beginning. For the record, I did.


In Her Shoes

When I saw the preview for In Her Shoes, I thought I was having a mild stroke. I did nothing to fight it and only hoped it would all be over soon. But I snapped out of it when I realized what I was dealing with here. So far, we’ve seen a fish-faced Cameron Diaz being stupid. Add that to sloppy drunk, and Toni Collette in her trademark role as the frump sister who undergoes some sort of dynamic transformation before the couldn’t-get-here-soon-enough credits roll. I also thought about how there was actually a point in my life when I would’ve gone and willingly paid Cash American to see this movie. Completely disgusting.

Men in general talking about their feelings set this country back 300 years. It turned us into a nation of fairies and bums. Did you know there was a time in this country’s history when you could consume a fifth of rye then literally beat your wife and punish your children with a belt? The only condition was that you provided for them, and all was forgiven. Products of my generation were also led to believe women loved sensitive men. Now, women are bitching about getting what they asked for, and no one’s happy.

Nowadays, if I even feel something resembling that kind of gibberish in my mind, I push it down so far that it’s only recourse is to turn toxic somewhere down in my bowels and eventually kill me one day. That’s what a man’s supposed to do. He’s not meant to lie on a couch and pay somebody 100 bucks an hour to listen to him wonder if his feelings are valid. But we just had to get sloppy with the dope and VD back in the sixties. It’s been downhill ever since.

This is the mentality that In Her Shoes nurtures. Making this movie at this stage in the game is like showing up with a case of beer outside an AA meeting or asking a girl coming out of a women’s services building if she wants to bang. Still, it’s easy to see why Curtis Hanson, the man who directed LA Confidential and Wonder Boys, would make a demoralizing chick flick. Martin Scorsese made his chick flick with Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. Ridley Scott did Thelma and Louise. So these guys do this kind of film to show their versatility and we have to take it.

That’s what I’d initially said back in October when In Her Shoes came out. I stand by my words. Good day...


Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story

Kids’ movies are pretty much a tool for sedating or placating children at this point. It’s a rare thing when studios can find that balance, keeping both parents and children entertained. Dreamer pretty much falls off the tightrope the second both feet are off the platform. It’s a forgettable piece of trite, sappy dog shit that will make tomorrow’s adults cringe at recalling today’s childhood. If you’ve seen The Black Stallion or National Velvet, there’s no point in even bothering with Dreamer.

If nothing else, at least Dreamer helped expose local nutcase/pervert Robert J. Parton’s inability to purge lewd imagery of the movie’s child star, Dakota Fanning, from his memory. Parton’s favorite Fanning quote from Dreamer, “Please don’t treat me like a little kid!” must be right up there with any random line from Casablanca or a David Mamet play for this guy. What? Barbara Walters shows that specific clip on TV and that justifies emptying your yogurt dispenser and ruining another pair of pants?

Everyone’s got their weird shit going on, Bob. I’ve got a female armpit fetish. No axillism, mind you; just an appreciation. One of our contributors can’t have an orgasm unless he’s defecating at the same time. One of our former editors couldn’t have sex with a woman unless her head was in a freezer, for crissakes—unsevered, of course. The point here is that no one really talks about their little quirks and you broke the cardinal rule, Bob.

Oh sure, you didn’t come out and say that you wanted to violate the poor child. But the fact that you wrote back and felt the need to defend yourself left us at The BEAST with a couple of words running through our admittedly overactive imaginations: guilty conscience.

Look back at the archives on our website or grab a handful of back issues, Bob. Pay specific attention to the letters to the editor. We’re smart asses even to the people who praise us. You sent us a piece of correspondence that had nothing to do with the price of gas in China. What did you think was going to happen? Christ, Bob. Even Tom Cruise eventually got wise enough to realize he was getting nowhere with us. I would say that February 23rd, 2012 is just around the corner, but I imagine that you’ll have lost interest by then.

“Make the bastard deny it”

-Lyndon B Johnson


Wedding Crashers

A second viewing of a movie is often a good thing. It can offer clarity, a different perspective. It can even give you the opportunity to see things you may not have caught the first time around. When I first saw Wedding Crashers, I pretty much dismissed it as a somewhat entertaining comedy and left it at that. But after a second viewing, something inside my head clicked and a key thought entered my mind:

“Fuck Wedding Crashers.”

Yeah. I said it. So what? What, am I supposed to get all happy because Vince Vaughn and his famous “One-Trick Pony” show are back in town? The guy can’t get through one movie without telling someone he likes where their “head is at” and I’m supposed to turn to Mecca to give thanks? This guy’s been playing the same character since Swingers and I’m still supposed to be laughing? The movie had a combined 6 and-a-half minutes of genuinely funny parts in it and I’m supposed to smear myself in peanut butter and dance around in my grandmother’s underwear? As for that sneeze of humor, it consists of Will Ferrell carrying Vaughn and Owen Wilson while the plot floundered like an epileptic Helen Keller. Laughs were scarce for the last 45 minutes. Yeah, that’s supposed to make me happy. Then they tack on another ten minutes of this crap for the DVD release? F that, man!

But who knows? Maybe in a perfect world, where you don’t have every putz with a generic sense of humor telling you how great Wedding Crashers is and blowing all the funny scenes for you, it’s a good movie. Maybe I’m just bitter. If you’ve heard nothing whatsoever about Wedding Crashers, hurry up and check it out before some dickhead at the water cooler shits the bed for you. But if you’ve heard nothing but how funny it is, spare yourself the disappointment.

 

The BEAST 50 Most Loathsome People in America, 2005
Our disturbingly popular annual list of the foulest among us, for a particularly objectionable year.
The Year in Ephemera
Our 2005 Timeline.
Andrew Gullerstein Predicts!
Iron-clad predictions for the new year.
What's Going On
You just don't know, do you?
by A. Monkey
Buh-buh-buh-bye, Sharon-a
What you won't be hearing this week about Ariel Sharon
by Paul Jones
Mine Shaft
Undermining mine safety
by Kit Smith

Last Issue: #90

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