It just doesn’t make any sense. We have the ability to walk on the moon. We can perform surgery in utero. We can even make believe the country is going in the right direction finally. And yet. And yet Hollywood is still giving us plates of heaping, steaming turds.
This weekend I had the opportunity to watch the hormonal Twilight at a dollar theater. (I know I am hopelessly behind the times. I just couldn’t bring myself to auction off part of my liver to spend the cash to watch this hideous tween orgasm.) On the whole the movie is sad, ridiculous, and a complete waste of… well, red lipstick and pancake make up. (I’m sure there are more deserving clowns out there who could use the "Data from Star Trek get-up" that these “vampires” deployed.) I’m still trying to decide if I should be angry or if I should pity all involved who brought this to the screen (that includes cast, crew, and that lovable writer of all things dark and smoldering, Miss Stephenie Meyer). I think I’ll go with anger. Rage is powerful!
Recently I also happened to catch a dark little thriller called Stuck. Stuck tells the quasi-true story of a woman driving home. En route she plows into a man and he gets stuck in her windshield. She then drives around, wrings her hands, gets pissed, gets laid, and decides to park her car in her garage while this man is pleading and bleeding. The guy makes as much of a mess out of her car with his blood and guts as the director, the writers, and the actors do of the story.
They say this is something of a dark comedy. I must admit I tried to laugh but it ended in more of a grimace. The whole premise, while based on a true story, seems so sadly pointless and utterly unreal. I know this is something of the point but honestly, aren’t there better stories to make? Aren’t there better films?
Stuck and Twilight are the perfect storms of what movies should not be. Obnoxious, unsettling, and callous, these are perfect and adequate descriptions of what these movies represent.
Mena Suvari, of American Beauty, has never looked worse than she does in Stuck. With her cornrow braids and awkward sex scene, she comes off as more of… well, an unhinged bitch rather than some poor lass hopped up on ecstasy with a guy jutting from her windshield. Suvari portrays gutter trash in a way that seems shockingly detached and only slightly unreal. This is edgy? Being pounded while some guy is stuck in your windshield and then pounding that poor guy in the noggin with a two by four because he has the audacity to ask for help? Then swearing and back-handing her boyfriend after she discovers he has another sex buddy? Come on.
I know the situation is unbelievable but let’s try to manage a semblance of reality here. It doesn’t make sense for Suvari’s character to go into badass mode and wallop on the naked girl, ignore the boyfriend (well, she DID call him a few names and swore more than I ever did when I was in the Army) then calm herself in a Zen-like fashion and ask for help with the dead/dying guy in her windshield. What can you expect, though, from a director like Stuart Gordon? Gracing the cinematic landscape with such classics as Re-Animator and Space Truckers, Gordon is riding high on a wave of absolute garbage.
Twilight follows the vein of striking while the iron is hot (along with a myriad of others — Pirates of the Caribbean, anyone?). Gone are the days when a film would take years to put together. Now it seems the film industry has devolved into a kid with a Mac that throws movies to us poor schlubs and rakes in the millions. (And we’ll watch it, too!) Twilight is one of those "if you touch it, it will climax" movies. It doesn’t matter that the performances are so outlandish (not to mention the facial expressions), the story so disjointed, and the premise so obvious. The studio says thar be gold in them thar hills! And gold thar be, to the tune of almost two hundred million dollars (plus my two bucks). Incredible.
In a culture that worships larger-than-life filmmakers like Francis Ford Coppola and Steven Spielberg, who can criticize the trend toward movies like Twilight? The actors and the director can do no wrong. Never mind the main character Robert Pattison (of Harry Potter fame) has more of a deer-in-the-headlights look while trying to generate electricity (next time try one of those potato clock science kits — I hear they can generate electricity too) with co-star Kristen Stewart (of Zathura and The Messengers fame). Never mind Miss Stewart is stand-offish and unapproachable with character and audience alike. Never mind the vampires fly like people in harnesses that aren’t properly rigged. What we have here, folks, is a failure to execute!
That is the crux of this. As a consumer I expect more. I demand more. I don’t want some retread of a film. I don’t want the perverse “dark comedy” that the film industry revels in. I don’t want to see how creative and how grisly a director can be. And for the love of all that is a movie, I do not want another remake of Friday the Halloweenth! Enough already. It is not cute bringing old '70s sitcoms to the screen. It is not cute remaking every single movie into a gag fest like Not Another Disaster Movie. It is not cute mangling a movie with more digital graphics than Bill Gates ever intended and calling it artful, edgy, or powerful. Want to show me some power? Write a good story and film it well. Want something edgy? Give me something real. Don’t give me the trash that is Indiana Jones and the Refrigerator of All Hallowedness or the gushing that is Twilight. We don’t need it and it is embarrassing that as a society we flock to it.
Here is what I propose. As a consumer I have rights. I have the right not to breathe your cigarette smoke. I have the right to wear a helmet when I ride my motorcycle and avoid Gary Busey syndrome (that of being against helmets then smacking his melon on the asphalt and suddenly seeing the light in favor of helmets). I have the right to not eat at McDonalds because I will get fat and die. I propose we band together and demand that the film industry make better movies and stop wasting our time. I have the right to better movies and if filmmakers insist on slopping out the rancid gravy then I will sue the industry on behalf of America, the World, and those poor Martians who happen to catch the signal a la Galaxy Quest. (Though it occurs to me this is probably video piracy and Hollywood doesn’t sit well with that. Come to think of it, they don’t sit well with me talking on the phone when their movie is playing either. They don’t seem to mind that I am so thoroughly disgusted and bored that I cannot contain myself and I am actually talking to my shrink and attorney on a conference call because I can’t decide between a breakdown or how big this lawsuit will be, but that is for another day.)
I figure my time is worth about $125,000 a minute. If the average move is 110 minutes long then I will be suing Hollywood collectively for $13,750,000 per movie that sucks. I happen to watch a lot of movies, so lets’ say I go with about four a month. My lawsuit for movies that suck would be… well, it would be a lot. America, now is the time for us to dig in and demand better! Now is the time I leap about on my horse and proclaim our victory against such hellish odds! Now is the time I leap into the air heroically and snarl at the cloud of arrows! Now is the time! To arms! To arms! Hollywood, you unclean spirit, I demand you make a better product! In the name of the Mighty Dollar I command you. If that doesn’t work, then in the name of the Holy Lawsuit I will crush your head.
In the age of Hope that is the Obama presidency I say, my fellow Americans, that we stand up for our rights! Let us boycott the trash that is Brangelina, Octomom, and really, really lame movies. Let us take back our movie lives! Let us unite under this banner of Movies, You Suck. Our rally cry shall be No more! No more! I hope you are listening.