Movie Review #2

The two-hundred-million-dollar movie Crazy Climber will definitely entertain an audience too young to remember the source material: a 1980s arcade videogame where some guy scales the outside of a skyscraper while dodging closing windows, falling flowerpots, and other obstacles. Bro-centric comedian Reggie Glenn plays the title character, here named Ace Foley, an aging fratboy content to spend his days holed up in his parents’ basement, watching cyberporn with his buddies Stanky and Toker while listening to classic rock. Until one day—oh, God. Oh God, oh God, oh God. Ugggghhhhh. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeek. Crap crap crap crap. Crap crap crap crap crap. American culture has entered an irreversible decline. If we don’t drown due to the melting icecaps, or die of radiation poisoning due to nuclear war, we’ll cause our brains to shrivel due to the obnoxious entertainment churned out by—hey, who are you? What are you—POW POW BASH BASH BASH KICK KICK POW PUMMEL BLEED BLEED BLEED—Hello. May I spend a few minutes telling you about the acclaimed author Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism? Essentially—JSGBCSKWIOI347KFKDGF;Q.WKR—and with an Eighties-rock soundtrack and an endless amount of CGI-aided battle scenes, Crazy Climber should appeal to an audience looking for the latest in comic-book-style fun.

Copyright © 2015 by David V. Matthews

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Time for This Blog’s First Movie Review

One reviewer famously–or infamously–called Bobcat Goldthwait’s 1991 directorial debut Shakes the Clown “the Citizen Kane of alcoholic clown movies.”  Well, Dr. Willard Glice’s directorial debut Endoscopal Detection of Gastrointestinal Abnormalities in the Elderly is the comparing Shakes the Clown to Citizen Kane of three hour and forty-five minute Internet downloads that feature footage taken inside geriatric patients of hiatal hernias, fundic gland polyps, stromal tumors, and so on, meaning self-styled cinéastes bored with The Room and 9/11 footage will sarcastically derive humor from Dr. Glice’s unforgivably ingenuous and pop-culture free medical presentation, though the patients undergoing endoscopies in this download fail to find their situations amusing for some reason.  I suppose I should insert a winking emoticon here.  Has anyone even seen Shakes the Clown?  Robin Williams has a cameo in it as a talking mime.  I repeat, Robin Williams has a cameo in it as a talking mime.  He should have quit acting after this pinnacle.  I suppose I should insert another winking emoticon here.

Copyright © 2015 David V. Matthews

Racks and cracks

My first reaction upon seeing host Seth MacFarlane’s “We Saw Your Boobs” song-and-dance number (about actresses’ topless scenes in movies) during the start of last night’s Academy Awards telecast: eh.  Both MacFarlane and slightly bored-looking guest star William Shatner (as Captain Kirk, telecasting from the Twenty-Third Century in an attempt to prevent a major Oscars disaster—why didn’t he travel back in time to prevent, say, 9/11 or the latest bug-infested iteration of Windows?) had called the song controversial and offensive before its performance, but I thought I could have written a more controversial and offensive song, excuse the bragging.  I mean, boobs?  Not tits, but boobs?  Why not sing about Jesus’s taint?

However, it turned out the song had offended far more people than I thought; see the fifth paragraph of this article for the rape-related details.  Not surprising—MacFarlane’s animated shows Family Guy and American Dad! traffick in rape gags; I haven’t seen enough of his third show, The Cleveland Show, to rank it on the rape-o-meter.

Anyway, MacFarlane’s subsequent Oscars fratboyish, stoopid-with-two-O’s-to-denote-something-beyond-mere-stupid cracks about girls (they like stripping!), Jews (they control Hollywood!), and Latinos (they don’t speak English!) bored me.  Pardon me for my dreaded, oh-so-serious political correctness, but last night, he finally turned into the cynical, Twenty-First Century equivalent of those Fifties white-guy comedians who joked about nagging wives, crazy women drivers, and nasty mothers-in-law (and note, I have found American Dad! amusing on occasion, which should solidify my American dude bona fides, or boner fides, as MacFarlane might put it).

I’ve indulged in my share of non-G-rated humor throughout the years, but I’ve attempted to make my irony apparent, making sure people understand I oppose sexism, racism, homophobia, and anti-intellectualism.  I like humor that challenges the status quo rather than perpetuates it, in other words.  What does MacFarlane think about the status quo?

(Note #1: at least the we-luv-torturing-Muslims, CIA wet-dream film, Zero Dark Thirty, didn’t win best picture; that honor went to Argo, an anti-Iranian—i.e., status-quo—film that drools over the CIA slightly less vigorously.  Note #2: I shan’t mention Seth MacFarlane, the Oscars, Family Guy, American Dad!, The Cleveland Show, Zero Dark Thirty, or Argo on this blog again.  As for mentioning William Shatner, well…)

Copyright © 2013 by David V. Matthews

Teary-eyed and spacey (no, not Kevin Spacey)

A great, belated way to commence the new year: the second evening of Two Thousand and Thirteen, I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey at a multiplex in Robinson Township—a sprawling tribute to rampant, franchised capitalism near the Pittsburgh airport.  I had seen Kubrick’s flick many times on my analogue television (yes, I still own an analogue television, a Dawn-of-Mannish device that continues to pulverize my brain quite nicely) and once years ago via a scratchy celluloid print in a microscopic theater, but this time, I eyeballed 2001‘s restored, giant-sized digital version, sort of like—no, definitely like—eyeballing that film for the first time.  The sharp image revealed countless details I’d never noticed, from humans in the neon pink window of a spaceship to tiny black IBM tags on viewscreens.  (Yeah, yeah—the letters in HAL trail those in IBM one space behind, though Kubrick denied he’d intended this.)  The mid-Sixties future—amoebic-orgy chairs!  grasshopper-like space helmets!  bureaucratic paperwork!—has gained even more retro cachet decades later.

And for the first time, I reacted emotionally to the film.  During the sequence where the shuttlecraft soars toward the space station as The Blue Danube plays, I got a little teary-eyed.  I now thought the sequence epitomized America’s bygone can-do optimism, as in an eagerness to discover, to invent, to journey into the unknown.

Last year, I dated an East-German woman who remarked that various European countries and corporations had embarked upon expensive, advanced solar-energy projects, far outpacing my country, the United States of America, in this field.  She added that America has lost its interest in scientific research, a contention to which I agreed and still agree.  America has always had an anti-intellectual streak, but now the streak has grown two-thousand-and-one-times wider than the black monolith pawed by the lanky hominids.  Does anyone want to dare encourage creative thinking in a nation where a substantial portion of the populace not only disbelieves in global warming (the atmospheric phenomenon necessitating solar energy) but thinks we never evolved from those hominids, that some deity created man—and the planet Earth, and the entire universe—in six days six thousand years ago?  What major technological innovations have we created over the past decade besides drone warfare?

Speaking of warfare, for my entire life, my country has slaughtered non-Caucasians almost nonstop in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Grenada, Libya, Panama, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen…the list continues to grow.  Liquidation doesn’t come cheap; if you want your drones to vaporize children, you might have to raise taxes on the wealthy.  Ha ha, just kidding—the wealthy own our politicians, after all.  Far more likely, the military will avoid tumbling off the fiscal cliff by convincing Democrats and Republicans to inflict pain upon the disadvantaged.  A bipartisan deal—every respectable Washingtonian loves cooperation, not that either plutocratic party needs much convincing to indulge in free-market, trickle-down, orgiastic fantasies.  Thus, say goodbye to education or Social Security…or the non-militaristic parts of NASA.

Yes, I know  about the military’s influence over the space program (spy satellites, laser weapons, et cetera).  And yes, I know America had ratcheted up its Vietnamese slaughter by the time of 2001‘s release in 1968, but my country also had the Apollo program—money better spent on social programs in both cases, one could argue, plus we had wanted to travel to the moon in the first place to score a Cold-War victory over the Russkies,  but…for once in our history, we considered it great public-relations to stress brain-power.  Today, every normal American knows terrorists and/or atheists like thinking.

Copyright © 2013 by David V. Matthews