Tuesday, April 10, 2007

DVD Reviews: It’s Not Like the Internet is Rife With Them Or Anything

Warning: This Shit Contains Spoilers

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I hate going to movie theaters. It costs too much, it’s usually too crowded, teenagers and their goddamned laser pointers piss me off (Oh, wow, Hannibal Lector suddenly has a fuckin’ bindi. You’re one hilarious little shit.), sticky floors make me uncomfortable, and if I wanted to spend twelve bucks to listen to a bunch of morons talk on their cell phones in the dark, I’d go to a restaurant.

While I hate going to movie theaters, I happen to enjoy watching movies. I’ve spent a large percentage of my time on earth watching DVDs while swilling whiskey like a fed-up husband gathering the courage to push his mouthy wife down the stairs. Most of the movies I’ve seen I’ve rented from various video rental stores. And while the process of visiting these rental stores—video libraries, if you will—is slightly less annoying than licking splintered wood, I do it at least once a week.

Sometimes I rent a movie that is so good I end up buying it, and other times, most times, I rent movies so bad they’re more likely to cause cancer than entertain. The major problem with renting videos is their deceptive package design and misleading, professionally written descriptions. It happens to the best of us: the movie promises to be a terrifying, gore-filled descent into hell, and ends up being a love story between to boyhood friends who diddled each other at summer camp. By the way, if any video boasts of winning awards at the Cannes Film Festival, it probably involves gay minorities overcoming adversity.

The most deceptive and misleading movie I’ve had the misfortune of renting recently is The Groomsmen. The movie description promised zany antics and non-stop laughs when a bachelor party gets out of hand, but what the movie delivered was a tear-soaked wad of pointless angst glued together with a sticky mess of whiny, clichéd psychoses. Renting this movie was like going to see a hilarious stand up comedian only to arrive at the venue to find out it’s actually Fat Lesbian Beatnik Poetry Night.

From “I’m a drunk because my penis doesn’t work right” to “I’m a homo and my caustic childhood friend hurt my feelings because he was insensitive, oh yeah, and my dad doesn’t like me because I like to poke guys,” all the epicene complexes were there. It was about as hilarious as a Jeffrey Dahmer therapy session. I’ve seen more testosterone on Martha Stewart's TV show.

Jay Mohr was funny occasionally, but that hardly makes this movie a comedy. The movie was so dramatic and unnecessarily emotional, about halfway through I felt like I needed a tampon. Or perhaps a soothing cup of tea and a kitty cat to pet. You can save yourself the time it takes to watch this movie and just have a friend punch you in the testicles; it’s painful but it’s over quicker and there’s less crying.

I would have called the movie Grow Your Own Vagina Kit and covered the box with pictures of the stars of the film crying all over each others’ shoulders.

Sometimes a movie will pose as an interesting, psychological thriller/horror movie, while actually being nothing more than an outlet for a writer and director’s various sociopolitical views.
Sublime is a series of political messages, all expressed and represented with the subtlety of a ten-clown gang rape. If anyone fails to catch the finespun symbolism, the makers of the film discuss it in length as one of the DVD’s special features. Here’s a rundown—infomercial style—of what to expect from this movie:
"Yes, ladies and gentlemen, when you watch this movie you get more than just a few clichéd horror movie devices for your money. You get metaphors, allegories, similes, and political messages so guilt-soaked you’ll have to wring out your brain to keep from donating large sums of money to NAACP! Do you even know what an allegory is? Does it even matter? People these days don’t care about fancy words. They want everything in soundbytes and bulletpoints. When you buy this movie, you get the following political/sociopolitical issues and awesome features:

Chills & spills
White guilt
White male guilt
Upper-middle class white guilt
Hidden, or buried, racism
America: Europe’s retarded little brother?
Those poor, poor minorities
The Terry Schiavo equation
George Bush is a bad, bad president
Stereotypes, stereotypes, stereotypes
Your wife might leave you, and your daughter’s a little lesbian slut
Multiculturalism and understanding
And, just so you don’t forget it’s a horror movie,

That record-scratching sound used in every horror movie since the mid 1990s

Buy now! Because even if you miss all this and more, it’s still kind of a spooky movie, and dumb girls will probably think you’re kind of deep for owning it!"

I just saw Black Christmas, yet another horror movie remake. Honestly, the film wasn’t that great. But it turned out pretty well considering the script was only one page long. Here is the original script in its entirety:

Girl 1: "Oh my gawd, I hate Christmas."
Girl 2: "That's very interesting. I hate my real sister, but I love all my sorority sisters. Well, not that plain-looking girl. I forgot her name, but she smells like cat pee."
Girl 3: "I hate my whole family. In fact, the only thing I don't hate is being annoying and drinking a lot to look tough. I'm going to brood and drink until I throw up."
Girl 4: "It seems as though my sorority sisters have complained about everything already, which means I have nothing to say. Drat! Oh, I know. Hey, girl with seemingly religious beliefs and an implied redneck father, you are lame."
Girl 5: "I am not. I am going home because you are mean."
Girl 6: "Here is a newspaper-wrapped Christmas present for you. It is a glass unicorn head. Nothing says Christmas like a glass unicorn head. I must go now, I'm only in this movie for ten seconds, but I do smell remotely like cat pee and may be related to the killer in some way. Homely sorority girls usually are. Bye!"
Girl 7: “Christmas reminds me of … wait a minute. How many of us are there?”
Girl 7.78: “It’s impossible to say, really. We, as characters, are about as deep as flea spit. At least none of us are clichés in any way.”
Girl 8: "I never had a real sister. I wonder why. Oh well. I'm just glad to have all you, my sorority sisters. My boyfriend sure is nice. And honest. He would never do anything to hurt me. And he would never hide anything from me."
Girl 7.78: “Oh dear. I recant my previous statement about clichés.”
Killer(s): “You are all my family now. This reminds me: which of you will act as my mother. She had sex with me, so I’ll meet one of you in the attic in five minutes. Please remember to call me son and pinch my yellow butt. The rest of you would do well to remove contact lenses if you wear them. I can’t handle the indigestion.”
Killer(s)2: “I truly am an abomination. What hath my brother/father and mother wrought? Arrggg! The confusion! The turmoil! So many societal mores trampled upon! If not inbreeding and a horrific mug, surely my downfall is lack of depth perception!"

The end ... or is it?

Lately I’ve been renting a lot of Asian horror movies. I think they’re generally more interesting than the American movies being released (especially the American remakes of Asian horror films), and they’re easier to watch knowing the actors aren’t getting paid millions of dollars to play make believe.

One of the more interesting of these films I’ve seen in the past few weeks is Marebito. If nothing else, the movie is downright strange; however, many people think the movie is rather confusing. I, on the other hand, think the movie is quite clear. Briefly:

The old fellow in the subway killed himself because he had an eyelash stuck in his eye that, try as he might, he couldn’t get out. He wasn’t terrified, rather super annoyed. This is why he killed himself—much like someone with a gnarly case of long-lasting hiccups might.

The protagonist of the movie went crazy due to some seriously expired Pocky combined with an M. Night Shyamalan movie marathon. He made it through The Village okay, but after Lady in the Water he completely lost it.

F, as the protagonist called her, was actually a rare type of humanoid-looking amphibious lamprey that can be found off the coast of Indonesia. Only the most skilled Asian fishermen/wizards are able to capture them. Very few people know the ritual required to summon and trap this strange and deceptively naked-chick-looking creature, but some scholars believe it involves chanting the lyrics to the song “Afternoon Delight” backwards, ritual Mayan penis blood rope, and an ant farm full of mosquito larvae.

That really was the protagonist’s ex-wife he killed. And although he was nuts by that time, this action could be considered his “moment of clarity.” Initially he was just going to kill her and use her blood for lamprey-lady food, but then he remembered what a nagging harpy she was and how she got the house in the divorce (and his comic book collection, which she only took because she knew he loved it). This snapped him out of his insanity long enough to enjoy killing her.

The protagonist was all scared at the end because he realized he left backup batteries for his video camera at his apartment. His look of sheer terror was more of a dawning realization that he would have to walk back up all those stairs to get the batteries. It’s really rather anticlimactic, but therein lies the horror and mental anguish.

Another Asian movie that confuses many people is Pistol Opera. I may not have enjoyed this movie, but I certainly understood it (even though it’s abstract enough to give Wassily Kandinsky a headache). A brief explanation:
You see, purple monkey pringles can. Who let the shampoo out, dogs? Hamhock flonaise; Mary had a little lamp post. Flim-flam and shim sham. Flibberty jibbetts. Bee-dee bee-dee bee-dee. Hotdog, freetos, chilimac. Slap the watermelon. Paella.


neko said...

hmmm... i need some popcorn..

in this decrepid little nowhere town in which i live, the cinema is so behind with its movies, new titles are available on dvd at these movie libraries before they are on the big screen.

that being said, i like scary [read: disturbing] movies.

i agree with everything you said.

dammit. you made me crave popcorn now.

NewYorkMoments said...

You sure can pick 'em! Why don't you just try some porn?

morbid misanthrope said...

neko -- I doubt you're missing all that much. Most new movies are garbage.

I like disturbing movies but also really enjoy comedy. Unfortunately, new comedy films are usually even worse than the new horror movies.

Even though most of the movies I've seen lately have been bad (Marebito excluded), I have seen quite a few good ones. I'll probably end up writing about them at some point, but here's a quick list of some Asian movies that don't suck. You may have already seen some of them, of course.

Audition (Japan)
Suicide Club (Japan)
Kairo (Japan)
Living Hell: A Japanese Chainsaw Massacre (Japan)
Ichi the Killer (Japan)

Vengeance Trilogy:
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (Korea)
Old Boy (Korea)
Lady Vengeance (Korea)

Duel Set:
2LDK (Japan)
Aragami: The Raging God of Battle (Japan)

Battle Royale (Japan)
Happiness of the Katakuris (Japan)
Attack the Gas Station (Korea)
Getting Any? (Japan)
Samurai Fiction (Japan)
Akakage: Red Shadow (Japan)
Kamakaze Girls (Japan)
SkyHigh (Japan)
Versus (Japan)

newyorkmoments -- I've heard that porno lacks something in the plot department. I've also heard that watching that filth will make you go blind (a little elf pops out of the TV and pokes your eyes out with metal kabob skewers if you watch porn).

NewYorkMoments said...

I can still see!

Prunella Jones said...

I like karate flicks. Oh and German scheisse movies.

Dan said...

Porn is fit for purpose, hardly general R & R viewing. Audition has a lot of weird sex in it though, as pornographic as bowling.

morbid misanthrope said...

newyorkmoments -- Of course you can. It's a well-known and scientifically understood fact that women never watch porn.

prunella jones -- Scheisse? Is he a famous German director? People keep telling me about these great directors I've never heard of.

For example, the other day my lawyer was talking about some great director named Bukakke. I've never even heard of him. I must be out of the loop.

dan -- Travis Bickle seemed to think porn was fine for R&R viewing, and look what happened to him.

Thankfully, Audition shows about as much sex as a Quaker family's vacation slideshow. Most of the fucking in Audition is mental, and the rest is only implied.

What the movie lacks in sex it makes up for with amputees in burlap sacks eating fresh human vomit out of dogfood bowls.

BD said...

Audition did partake in the mind fuck that Japanese films usually do. Open hallways with only the prime characters, injections and big doors with lock bars...

After seeing Mr. Vengence, Old Boy was a major let down. In fact, Bulletproof Monk was better. Lady Vengence did pull it back.

I was always meaning to watch Suicide Club, Akaji Maro is usually pretty good. (If thats how its spelt? The dude with the Stan eyes.) The film that followed, Into A Dream was pretty good in that not quite sure what to think but I gather this is going on kind of way.

I think Money Talks is going to be the next film I watch, it's bound to remind me of everything a film should be, just like U-571 did...

Polyman3 said...

Life is cinema gone wrong.

morbid misanthrope said...

bd -- Really? I rather liked Old Boy. It was gory, violent, and fucked up. What's not to like?

Supposedly, the sequel/prequel to Suicide Club is already out; although, I haven't been able to find it anywhere. It's called Noriko's Dinner Table (Noriko no Shokutaku).

morbid misanthrope said...

polyman 3 -- Long time no see. I hope you're doing well.

My life would make a terrible movie. So much swearing and anti-social behavior....

BD said...

Ok, heres one for you...

morbid misanthrope said...

bd -- That movie looks great. While I do want to see it, I refuse to see it in theaters for a number of reasons.

1. I hate going to the theater.

2. Dave Willis and Matt Maiellaro, creators of the show and movie, are also responsible for the garbage TV shows The Squidbillies and 12 oz. Mouse (respectively). I'm still pissed about that and am not ready to throw money at those two jackasses just yet.

3. The DVD will probably be out, like, nine days after the movie debuts in theaters.

honkeie2 said...

Xenophobia :an unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange.
I must say I had to look this one up. And it is my new word of the day.
Thanks for all of the warnings, I will be sure to miss these little buttnuggets of movies.

honkeie2 said...

I miss old 80's epic horror flicks. Like Basketcase, Dead Alive and anything from Dark Castle productions. Even though the time era is more like 80/90's. Anyone remeber Maniac Cop?

morbid misanthrope said...

honkeie2 -- Back in college, some bitch in my sociology class called me a xenophobe because I said America is the best country in the world. So I burned down her country, a carboard city built on a reeking cesspool in South America, and killed her cousin, Pepito. That was a fun weekend.

Though most of the movies I mentioned were indeed buttnuggets, I suggest watching Marebito. It's just fucking weird, man.

You're right about those Dark Castle horror movies. Those kicked ass. It's hard to believe Peter Jackson directed Dead Alive.

neko said...

morb? are you an arsonist?

.. i sense a morbid fascination with FIRE ..

morbid misanthrope said...

neko -- I just happen to have a healthy respect for fire.

And sometimes burning something down is just funnier and more appropriate than knifing it to death.

neko said...


staying true to your name, i c.

something unrelated-

your timestamp on this comment says 3h10... in the morning. It just hit lunch time here (1pm)..

are you really blogging at 3 in the morning? or, is blogger screwed?

morbid misanthrope said...

neko -- I don't sleep much.