Archive for February, 2011

Sabbath Reviews: The Social Network (2010)

Posted in Uncategorized on February 23, 2011 by Sabbath


Directed by: David Fincher
Written by: Aaron Sorkin (screenplay) & Ben Mezrich (book)
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, & Justin Timberlake

The Social Network swept the Golden Globes by storm despite having some stiff competition from Christopher Nolan’s Inception and Darren Aranofsky’s Black Swan. Immediately I reacted with outrage — having just seen Black Swan and thinking it fantastic, I thought there was no way in Hell a bio-drama about the founder of Facebook could claim such a victory. My opinion was completely uninformed because at the time I had not seen The Social Network, but I’m a dick and that doesn’t stop me from being highly opinionated even when I have little to support my argument. I’m allowed to be from time to time.

David Fincher is a brilliant Director who has brought us the men’s bible in the form of Fight Club, an excellent detective thriller in Se7en and is responsible for the very underrated movie The Game. Even when he stumbles (Alien 3), he’s not without his charm. It’s not like I expected The Social Network to suck. I just refused to believe it could hold a candle to more films with more entertaining ideas. In either case, there was only one way to settle it, so as soon as I could I got my hands on a copy of the film.

The film starts with a conversation between Zuckerberg (Eisenberg) and his girlfriend, Erica Albright (Rooney Mara). The opening of the movie started things off on a bad foot for me. Zuckerberg is rambling on-and-on about utter bullshit and I suppose it’s a good introduction to his elitist vantage-point and sets the stage for who Zuckerberg is — a dickhead. The problem is while it’s also my introduction to the character, it’s my introduction to the film and it’s easy to confuse wanting to punch the character in the face with my desire to punch … well … everyone behind the production in the face. The conversation isn’t just annoying to me. It annoys his girlfriend into ending things with him, which is the spark that sends Zuckerberg on a drunken rampage …

… of coding a website where people get to rate females on campus as compared to other females. While he does this he’s blogging about Erica and making her look like a fool in front of her friends and classmates, because, well, he’s a huge tool. The website he creates is a huge hit on campus and the website traffic ends with the server going down. The school’s not happy, but eh, what are you going to do when your student’s going to be the youngest billionaire ever?

We’re introduced to the Winklevoss twins (Arnie Hammer, who plays both by having his face digitally superimposed onto a second actor’s body) who are impressed with Zuckerberg’s ability and pitch to him an idea that would be the base for “The Facebook”. The catch is there version would be exclusive to the Harvard campus. Well, Zuckerberg takes the idea and runs with it, but doesn’t clue in the Winklevoss twins because he has a much better idea and plans for expansion. He teams up with his friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) who provides the equation which becomes the foundation for the code of Facebook as well as the start-up cash.

While this is all happening the film is cutting between the story and the depositions of two cases. Unsurprisingly, one of them is the Winklevoss twins who are suing him for theft of intellectual property and the other is … Eduardo Saverin. The story involving Eduardo is the real meat of the movie because, while the Winklevoss law suit could be seen a mile away, the one filed by his own best friend is only explained at the events unfold.

The Facebook becomes a huge hit and quickly Zuckerberg looks to spread its outreach. Saverin once more provides the cash to keep things going and has hopes to see a return on his investment by pimping it out to advertisement companies. This is an idea that Zuckerberg highly resents as it would ‘remove what makes The Facebook cool’, but as the one putting in the money, Eduardo obviously wants to see a return.

At some point Zuckerberg and co meet up with Napster creator Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake), who is portrayed as an overly paranoid, party-loving … psycho with charm. As much of a hater as I am on Timberlake, the boy proved he had some acting chops in this role and I can’t take that away from him. Parker becomes the wedge between Zuckerberg and Saverin as he too agrees with Zuck’ on what makes The Facebook cool, and also gives him the idea to drop the word “The” from the title.

As events unfold, Eduardo finds himself being cut out of the loop more and more all the while Parker’s presence becomes more evident within the company. Unceremoniously, one day Saverin finds that his share of the company had been reduced to less than 1% and due to signing some contracts, this was perfectly allowable — but his trust in his friend led him to make the mistake that ended in his undoing.

The heart of the movie is the betrayal between the two friends. Eisenberg plays the Facebook CEO without pulling a punch, proving he is not just the poor man’s Michael Cera (a very sad title for anyone to have to claim). The character is a total dickhead, completely introverted and robotic in his decision-making while still remaining a very human character. I don’t know anything about the real Zuckerberg, but if he’s anything like his movie counter-part, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out he had Asperger syndrome. You want to punch him in the face on an almost frame-by-frame basis, but it works somehow.

The story is a lot more entertaining than I thought it would be and that’s probably due to a lot of Hollywood fabrication and magic. The beginning started me off on a bad foot, but as time went on I started seeing what everybody else saw in this film. It’s just very well made. Now, the verdict … should it have beaten Black Swan or Inception?

I can at least with honesty say I can see how it’s a matter of personal opinion. The movie is very good, but I wouldn’t put it above Black Swan and Inception is a tie at best. Fincher’s a talented director, the actor’s pulled their weight, and the soundtrack was great … but you’re pitting a story about the founding of Facebook against movies that … well … are NOT about the founding of Facebook. Really, no matter how you stretch that story it is what it is. I stand by my objections, but not with some humble respect towards The Social Network.

Still … come the fuck on. Black Swan, hands down.

— Sabbath

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Director FAIL! List

Posted in Uncategorized on February 21, 2011 by Tick

What will probably be our most controversial list so far. The crew give their opinions on their five most hated films by their favorite directors. It’s sure to bring about some arguments, even if we’re right. Not all of us are. Do with this as you will.

https://thereservoirblogs.wordpress.com/the-list/

Super Carnitas reviews La Moustache (2005)

Posted in Uncategorized on February 20, 2011 by supercarnitas

Director – Emmanuel Carrere

Starring – Vincent Lindon, Emmanuelle Devos

  I’m going to go ahead and tell you everything I know…or assume to know about this film. Spoilers be damned.

  Now the premise is as simple as it is intriguing. A man shaves off his moustache for the first time in his adult life…and nobody notices. His wife, his friends, his co-workers….nobody notices. Even worse, nobody will even acknowledge that he ever had a moustache to begin with. Hilarious right? When I describe the premise of this film to people they inevitably assume it’s a comedy. It’s not. Or maybe it is…it’s French…who knows what the hell they think is funny.

  The film opens with a husband and wife (Marc and Agnes) in their home. Marc is taking a bath. He asks his wife what she would think if he shaved off his moustache. She responds that she’s not sure….she never known him without it. She kisses him and says that she’s off to the store. She urges him to get ready for their dinner date at a friends house that evening. While she’s gone he finishes his bath….and decides to shave off his moustache…before finishing getting ready.

  When Agnes arrives home from the store…Marc does his best to hide his clean shaven face from her…wanting to surprise her. Finally…he sneaks up behind her while she’s doing her makeup…and reveals himself in the mirror. Nothing. She looks right at him and doesn’t seem to notice. They continue getting ready and the only mention of appearance is Agnes noting how “tarty” her dress is.

As they arrive at their friends house Marc let’s Agnes out while he searches for a place to park. When Marc enters the house nobody mentions his new look. Their friends, a husband and wife and their young daughter, carry on like nothing is new. During dinner it is revealed that the male friend was once involved in a relationship with Agnes. He tells a story of a ski vacation he once took where Agnes manipulated the radiators in the small lodge they were staying in…so that only their room would be heated. As opposed to turning their heat down so everyone would benefit. Agnes denies denies denies. Despite how obvious it is that she did it, and despite the fact that it no longer matters…Agnes denies it.

  On the way home Marc accuses Agnes of convincing their friends to play along with her ruse while he was parking the car. Agnes says she has no idea what he’s talking about. At home, in bed, the argument continues. Marc says she told their friends not to mention that he shaved off his moustache. The joke is old, he says. She admits to doing no such thing…and tells Marc that he’s never had a moustache. She even calls the friends to confirm her statement. Marc, frustrated, gets out of bed and heds to the den. Agnes stews before finally going to sleep. In the den Marc finds pictures of he and Agnes together on vactation in Bali. In the pictures he is sporting a moustache. He brings the pictures to the bedroom and sets them on the nightstand before going to bed. In the morning, half asleep, he notices Agnes take the photos from the nightstand.

  At work that morning….nobody notices. The barista at the local coffee shop doesn’t even notice. Marc begins to think he’s losing his mind.

  At home the tension with Agnes leads him to retrieve the clippings from his moustache out of the trash and to present them to her as evidence. Agnes is afraid and worried for Marc. She tells him so and says that she has “never lied” to him. He says he knows…and curls up on the bed defeated. Soon after this incident Marc begins to smoke again…having quit with Agnes several years earlier.

  Trying to return to some sense of normalcy, Agnes and Marc spend an evening out. While shopping Agnes chooses a hideous jacket for Marc to try on…knowing he won’t like it. He doesn’t…but he pretends to…and purchases it. He wears it to dinner at one of their favorite restaurants that night. They both note that the restaurant has changed. Marc doesn’t mind the changes…Agnes hates them.

  The next day, Agnes asks Marc if they still plan on having dinner with his parents that night. He tells her to call his parents and cancel. She asks him to repeat himself. He does…telling her to please call his parents and cancel. She looks at Marc sadly and says…”Marc…your father is dead..”. He reminds her that she just asked if they were planning on visiting his “parents”. She denies ever saying it. He thinks he’s losing it. The trip to Bali comes up…and she says that they have never been to Bali. The night with their friends comes up…she denies that they even have such friends. Marc escapes to the bedroom to sleep.

  Agnes drugs Marc….and calls his boss Bruno over to their house. Marc wakes up…groggy…and overhears Bruno and Agnes plotting to have him committed to an insane asylum. Marc struggles to his feet, gets dressed, and despite Agnes and Bruno’s protests….he leaves the house. Too disoriented to drive, Marc flags down a cab. He instructs the cab driver to take him to his parents house. Despite living in the same town…he cannot quite direct the cab driver to his parents house. Outside the cab it’s pouring rain. From the cab he calls Agnes and instructs her and Bruno to meet him at his parents house. When they leave he returns home…grabs his passport…and heads to the airport.

  Marc flies to Hong Kong. What? Yeah…anyways…once in Hong Kong Marc boards a ferry…then another. seemingly traveling without a destination. After another ferry ride he pays some fishermen to let him ride with them. On this ride he stares at his cellphone…contemplates calling Agnes…but instead tosses his phone into the river. After exiting that boat, Marc makes his way to a remote hotel and checks in. At some point he writes a postcard to Agnes…describing what she means to him. The next morning Marc walks around the village before stopping to have breakfast. His facial hair at this point is an unruly, unkempt, full beard and moustache. After breakfast he heads back to his room….where he finds…

  …Agnes. What? No really. And she’s acting like they have been there the whole time on holiday. She tells him to get ready as tonight they are going out to meet some friends. Agnes wonders aloud what he would look like without his moustache. He shaves….and shaves it off. She says it looks cute…and tell him he’s handsome. She makes fun of his ugly new jacket. They have their dinner with her friends…and head back to their room. Agnes tells him that if he didn’t like her friends…they wouldn’t hang out with them again. He says they were fine…and at some point along their walk he tosses the postcard he had written to her off the boardwalk and into the river.

  The movie ends with Marc laying in bed…closing his eyes…and the postcard sinking into the darkness of the river.

  ~Fin.

  What the fuck did I just watch? Sitting there in front of my television…I couldn’t figure it out. Was it a David Lynchesque “weird for the sake of being weird” movie? Was it a sci-fi tale of alternate universes linked by one mans facial hair? Was it some Kafkaesque metaphor that I’ll never be cool or hip enough to understand? I didn’t get it. And I’m not ashamed to say that I’m usually pretty good at this type stuff. You know…finding the underlying message in a film. Usually I’m spot on. Heck..I’m pretty sure I was the first one to point out that Jurassic Park 2 was just a metaphor for the Korean War.

  So it stuck with me. Even a few days after I saw it, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I think it was the end that was bugging me the most. How did Agnes find him when he didn’t even seem to know where he was going? And why was she acting like they’d been there all along? Hmmm. I was starting to think this movie was like a Rubik’s cube…nobody would ever solve it. I didn’t even have a reasonable theory….at least one that didn’t fall apart at the end. I was focused on Agnes and her role in the story. The whole time it seemed like she was up to something. I just didn’t trust her. Then it hit me. The reason I didn’t trust her is because Marc didn’t trust her.

  Here’s what I think. The majority of this movie…up until Marc steps out to have breakfast in Hong Kong….is just a dream. Or a peak into Marc’s anxieties. But let’s stay here in the shallow water and call it a dream. Marc has some issues. For one…and this is the big one…he doesn’t trust his wife. Not at all. During the entire dream, she is cast in an untrustworthy light. Their conversation about her “tarty” outfits is just another layer of that mistrust. The dinner with her ex, his story from their ski trip, the jacket he buys to please her, they way they each react to the changes at their favorite restaurant….they all tell a similar story. Marc’s marriage is in trouble. Besides not trusting his wife, he’s starting to question his role in the relationship. He’s starting to wrestle with the perceived loss of his personal identity. He’s starting to wonder if he still holds her interest. Call it a mid-life crisis. The dream extends to include his job and his parents. His boss is present when Agnes drugs him with the intention of having him committed. And when he doesn’t acknowledge the death of his father. Marc has some shit he needs to deal with.

  There are a few dreamlike instances thrown in. In the cab searching for his parents house, he can’t see outside his window because of the torrential rain that is pounding on the windows. Water is a big theme throughout the dream. Another example is how a restaurant that is very familiar to them…is suddenly different. I don’t know. I could be wrong.

  La Moustache is a really good movie. The directing, the cinematography, the music, the acting…it’s all top notch. It’s worth checking out and coming up with your own theory. Like I said, it stuck with me for awhile after I watched it. Even though I found it confusing and bizarre….I enjoyed it. I still have a few lingering questions (What was the deal with the postcard?) and i’ll probably never truly understand it. But it was good. You should watch it.

Dub Cee Reviews: Cop Out (2010)

Posted in Uncategorized on February 20, 2011 by Dub Cee

 

Director: Kevin Smith

Writer(s): Robb Cullen, Mark Cullen

Star(s): Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan

The one thing in movies than annoys me more than anything is over directing. When a director decides to insert things that simply do not need to be there that detract from the film. Cop Out would score a higher grade from me but they had to hire Kevin “I tell the same joke over and over again” Smith.

Cop Out is a goofy buddy cop movie starring Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan as a couple of less than stellar police detectives who cannot help but be friends. Morgan is convinced that his uber hot wife is two timing him. Meanwhile Willis’ daughter (Michelle “What Happened to my Career” Trachtenberg) is planning this $47,000 wedding which he cannot afford. What’s worse is that her step dad (Jason “Hey, I owed Smith a favor” Lee) is an arrogant rich douche is going to pay for it if Willis cannot. No problem. Willis will just sell off his rare baseball card. However, as he is about to sell the card he is mugged by none other than Stiffler himself. The rest of the movie is just Morgan and Willis trying to get the card back from a group of drug dealers.

There really is not too much to say here other than only two scenes were even remotely funny. In one of them Smith couldn’t help but insert a penis joke. “Oh, lookie’ Willis drew a penis on the window in front of the guys’ open mouth. Oh the hilarity!” The other funny moment comes when Morgan and Willis confront the most notorious car thief in the city…who turns out to be a 10 year old boy. Smith gets in his stereotypical gay joke in a scene. The only thing missing was a cameo from Jason Mewes to make things feel complete.

Final Grade: As I said, not much to say here as the movie wasn’t horrid but it was not good either. If not for Smith I would score this movie a little higher but instead it gets a D.

On a happier note, it seems even Smith realized how much he sucks and announced he has retired from filmmaking. Can we retro activate that back to Mallrats?

Now, to save you sometime I have included the only two funny scenes from the movie below.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpZEQXQ39vE

Tick Reviews(sort of):I Sell The Dead (2008)

Posted in Uncategorized on February 1, 2011 by Tick

Oh mediocre horror film, how I loathe thee…

I am a huge horror movie fan. I’ve established that on here in the past. I may love all types of film, but horror is my genre of choice. It’s my default genre when I’m channel surfing or streaming Netflix when I’m bored. It’s the genre that shaped me as a child and turned me it the film nerd that I am today. I may not be the guy in The Misfits shirt that’s standing in line at Horrorcon to get a copy of Fangoria autographed by Linnea Quigley, but I’m a horror fan to my very core nonetheless. Besides,  I’m glad I’m not that guy at this point. If I was that guy, I’d beat my own ass right now. My relationship with horror movies has turned into an abusive one and these people are the enablers that have made it all go bad.

But I digress. Or, actually, I’m getting ahead of myself. This rant needs to start with a small review of the film that broke the proverbial werewolf’s back. That movie was I Sell The Dead. I will have some minor spoilers in this and I don’t care. It won’t really hurt the film and in all honestly it’s better to know these things going in so that your bubble isn’t burst by the time you get to the pointless, predictable ending.

I Sell The Dead has a log line that reads pretty clever and actually pretty original. The film opens with a man being lead to the guillotine and executed before segueing quickly to another man sitting in a dank dungeon awaiting a visitor. The man is 18th century grave robber Arthur Blake (Dominic Monaghan) and we find out that the executed man was his partner Willie Grimes (Larry Fessenden). Arthur is soon joined by a strange priest named Father Duffy (Ron Perlman) who wishes to speak with him and document his and Willie’s adventures as grave robbers, particularly their many dealings with the supernatural over the years. Thus begins the history or Arthur and Willie, told through flashbacks, as Father Duffy gets to hear tales almost too bizarre to believe.

From here, I Sell The Dead goes through a variety of tales that start out as fairly endearing to any horror fan. Where I assumed, and the trailer seemed to sell, this film being about grave robbers vs zombies, there’s actually far more going on than that. This is a world more akin to TV shows like Supernatural or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Our heroes have to contend with zombies, vampires, demons, sea monsters, aliens and bizarre gangs. It’s scattered hodge podge around the film, for the most part it’s handled well and, at the beginning, each reveal is a bit of a surprise.

Their first encounter is with, presumably at least, a vampire. The vampire, however, moves and acts like one of the deadites from the Evil Dead trilogy. It’s an obvious homage and it’s remarkably faithful in the mechanics and filming. I wasn’t expecting the nod and I actually liked it. If the film had stuck with this one idea, I would have been happy and I think it may have ended up the better film. This scene is perhaps the best part of the film, yet indicative of why it goes so wrong.

From there we are treated to the boys using the “vampire” to kill their evil employer, who’s played by Angus Scrimm, best known as The Tall Man from the Phantasm films. Once again, a wink wink for horror fans that goes nowhere and is more distracting than useful. We move to Arthur and Willie uncovering the corpse of an Alien Grey straight out of Area 51, a trip across sea monster infested water to retrieve zombies and a showdown with a rival gang of grave robbers that might as well be an 18th century super villain team, all before coming to an ending that everyone who isn’t already asleep will see coming a mile away.

Except for that ending, sounds at least intriguing, right? It could’ve been. Hell, it should’ve been. The setting, the basic plot and the way genre staples are combined are all fresh and the two leads give good performances with terrific chemistry. Instead it’s all wasted. What makes it even worse is, it’s not completely terrible either. It just….is. It has some good ideas, some lousy ones and a whole lot of meh. It’s somewhat…cute? Do you want a cute horror movie? I don’t. I sure as fuck don’t want a horror movie that starts out offering me a totally original premise, only to turn it into some half ass homage that wants to be everything to everyone without ever being anything at all. I Sell The Dead is watchable. It isn’t really terrible and if you caught it while channel surfing on the couch one rainy Sunday, you’d feel satisfied enough and probably wouldn’t ever think about it again. It really is, for the most part, inoffensive and slightly amusing.

Yeah, the Evil Dead homage was done really well and it did bring a smile to my face. The question is, do we really need to see another Evil Dead homage or do we desperately need to see a new voice bring something as original and exciting to the screen  as Sam Raimi did all those years ago? The main reason I was smiling was because I thought the film would be going in a different direction than I expected. It didn’t. The smile faded.

Yeah, the unexpected Area 51 corpse was a neat little idea that I didn’t expect. That’s all it was. An idea. It went nowhere, was quickly wrapped up in a way that made no sense and never held any significance, nor was it mentioned again. It was like an easter egg in a video game. A moment of “Hey! Look at that!” yet meaning nothing in the grand scheme. Just like the idea of the sea monster, which gets a nice back story and some sound effects, and then are never seen or mentioned again. They’re red herrings and the quest for the zombies is a Macguffin. Just like the grand legend of the rival Murphy gang and the detailed reveal of each member, including their sinister backstories and special powers mean nothing as they are anticlimactically dispatched a minute or so after finally meeting up with our heroes. I Sell the Dead, like so many horror movies now, are just throwing lots of things into a pot and hoping something works without ever really caring if they do or not. They gave us some touchstones and we should be happy.

So why would something that rates a five or six out of ten be the film that sets me off on a rant like this? Because I’m sick of mediocre, half-assed horror films more than I’m sick of shitty ones. I’m far more sick of indie film makers, who like to trumpet being “real fans”, shitting out quick cash and grabs than I am of seeing clueless studios do it. I’m sick of lazy “homages” and fan wank casting instead of originality and competent film making. I’m sick of genre smash-ups so someone can try and cover up the fact that they really have no story to tell. I’m tired of the “throwback” films and “gritty” films and brain dead gore just for the sake of gore. Most of all, I’m tired of being made to think that any of these things is enough for a horror fan to accept a film.

 

That’s my biggest problem with I Sell The Dead. Is it wholesale terrible? No. It’s just symptomatic of the larger problem within the genre. I Sell The Dead is a kitchen sink approach at film making. Take a bunch of cool ideas that don’t fit together and pour them haphazardly into the story. Add in sprinkles like other fallback categories of stunt casting, “homages” and genre mash-up and we have a cult classic that fan sites like Dread Central and Fearnet will lap up and do their best to make sure that other horror fans will drink the Kool-Aid. I say fuck that.

It’s time to stop watching crap films. It’s time to stop eating them up just because we don’t have anything better. Even more so, to bring up the abusive relationship analogy again, it’s time to stop watching them and making up excuses for liking them when they’re obviously terrible. No one is as masochistic as horror fans and not even Star Wars diehards are as big of apologists. We love to abuse the phrase “so bad it’s good” even when most of the time what we just saw is awful. We’ll decide an unwatchable movie is somehow cult worthy because it has great gore. We’ll watch something shitty, that we know full well is going to be shitty, just in the hopes that maybe we’ll be wrong. Sometimes for a second or third time.

Horror fandom has become one big fucking Ouroboros. A cynical one at that, eagerly devouring its same stale self as it pretends it’s feeding on something original. There’s not much original out there. Horror has become the least original genre in an industry that rewards the safe, the regurgitated and the rerun. Why bother giving us something that we haven’t seen before when we have such a Pavlovian response shopworn horseshit? Originality? That require work, and artistry and risk. Just trot out another jokey homage with some genre faves and some grue and some asshole will dub it a “modern classic.” Other assholes will immediately fall in line.

The “homage” and the fan castings have become the two things that have most come to signify everything wrong the genre as far as I’m concerned. They’re the things that piss me off the most because they were once things that I loved seeing in films. So did other fans. That’s why they’ve become such over saturated garbage. Hack film makers don’t understand how or when to use them properly. They’ve become substitutes for actual plot or fully formed characters. They become just flat-out masturbatory. Shit, they’ve become acts of self fellatio. They’ve become just another reason to bash Rob Zombie’s stupid fucking head in.

Hey, horror film makers, here’s a list of people I don’t want to see in another film for at LEAST a year – Sid Haig, Robert Englund, Bill Moseley, Ken Foree, Kane Hodder, Jeffery Combs, Lance Henrickson, Gunnar Hansen, Angela Bettis, Tiffany Shepis, Linnea Quigley, Debbie Rochon, Tom Savini, Andrew Bryniarski, Reggie Bannister, Angus Scrimm, Andrew Divoff, Doug Bradley, Karen Black, Tony Todd, Patricia Tallman or any Buffy the Vampire Slayer Alumni. Seriously. Enough already. It’s not like I don’t want them to work. I love most of these people too. These people have earned their stripes. Most of them are icons to the genre. That’s why we need to stop turning them into jokes by just needless piling several of them into bad horror films like it was a fucking clown car.

Ken Foree shouldn’t be made to play a jive talking vampire. I don’t want to see Robert Englund in a cameo just so he can smile at the camera and tell some idiot twenty-year old nobody that he hopes they don’t have a nightmare tonight. I don’t want to see Kane Hodder do anything at all. Do you fucking idiot film makers even understand who these people are or what made them genre favorites to begin with? If you do and you truly do love horror, quit reducing them to jokey, embarrassing cameos. Don’t make them a name I cringe at when I see it in the credits. Ken Foree is a good actor who turned in some great, fully realized characters before Rob Zombie turned him into a punchline. Use these people in real roles or don’t use them at all. Next time you decide to round-up four or five of these people for your film, go fuck yourself instead.

So, this is where we’re at. It’s time to stand up and do something about it. Stop feeding on the shit that they’re shoveling. Vote with your wallet and just stop watching. Go to the internet and speak out on message boards and Twitter and review sites. Create a backlash. I’m not expecting miracles. I know there will still be bad movies. I know we’ll still happily watch a lot of them. We just need to be choosier and clean up our own backyards. We need to make sure there aren’t a hundred new zombie films this year. We don’t need Pumpkinhead 6, Saw 9 or Hellraiser N Da Hood. We need to stop any more variations of vampire versus werewolf movies. We need to not have any more movies with the cast full of the usual suspects named above.

Horror fans know our genre has always been the shunned stepchild of the film world. We love that. It makes us proud. That doesn’t mean we can’t expect more. There’s no reason why films like Let the Right One In or [REC] aren’t the rule instead of the exception. Reward original, well made films that take genre conventions and turn them on their head. Shun the films that aren’t even trying. Don’t fall for the same old tricks and don’t accept what they’re selling just because you’re supposed to like it. No more excuses. Stand up and change the game. It surely would have helped I Sell The Dead if writer/director Glenn McQuaid had just stuck to his original ideas and not felt obligated to give into fan wank.

Dub Cee Reviews: S.F.W. (1994)

Posted in Uncategorized on February 1, 2011 by Dub Cee

Director: Jefery Levy

Writer(s): Andrew Wellman (novel), Danny Rubin and Jefery Levy (Screenplay)

Stars: Stephen Dorff, Reese Witherspoon

I could recall this movie from many, many moons ago when I caught it on HBO as a kid. I could recall a couple of scenes and the general story but I could not remember many details. However, it must have left something of an impression on my young mind thus why I decided to check this movie out again. Gotta say, I am glad I did.

S.F.W. is really about two central characters. Cliff Spab (Stephen Dorff) and Wendy Pfister (Reese Witherspoon). That said, make no mistake, Dorff is this film’s star. Both in screen time and performance. The gist of the story is that Cliff, Wendy, Cliff’s friend Joe, and two other people are taken hostage by a group called Split Image. The news networks are forced to broadcast the tapes sent to them or else the hostages are killed. This creates the most warped reality TV show in history and the hostages are the stars.

The relationship between the stoner Spab and the Belle of the Ball Wendy is the main focus of the masses. The movie actually centers around Cliff’s live after surviving the ordeal and realizing that his attitude has created a cult like following for him. The media attention and the treatment from his money grubbing father causes Cliff to go into hiding while Wendy is making the talk show rounds. Eventually, the media reports that Cliff’s body has been found, which Cliff finds hilarious and comes out of hiding. The whole love story between Wendy and Cliff could have easily ended up in Romeo and Juliet territory, for one scene I thought it would but thankfully it did not. Anyway, Cliff finds that the only person in his life who understands and gets what is happening is this girl who he otherwise has very little in common with. Even his best friend, Morrow (Jake Busey) tries to cash in on him.

My only real big bitch with this movie is that a character will be introduced and seem to be an important factor and then vanish. Although granted that means only two scenes with Joey Lauren Adams aka the Chick from Mallrats with a voice more grating than Fran Drescher’s.

The movie is a not so subtle stab at America’s obsession with celebrity. At the end of the movie, Cliff and Wendy are totally overshadowed by a women with an opposite message to Cliff’s S.F.W. and yet the very same people are praising her. The movie was released in 1994. To put it into perspective, MTV’s “The Real World” debuted in 1992. Survivor in 2000. And Big Brother in 1997 in England. In other words, the whole reality TV concept was still very much a new idea. So credit to the movie for being a little ahead of its time there. And given the way American’s reacted to Richard Hatch, maybe the movie’s cynical opinion of it all is accurate. Also, the news Media takes pretty good bashing with the not to obvious look-a-likes for Sam Donaldson, Larry King, Phil Donahue, etc.

The acting is solid all around but really, only Dorff is a major character in the movie. Witherspoon’s scenes are few and her lines are usually spoken one or two at a time. Dorff channels his inner “Loose Cannon” Brian Pillman. Or, for those non-wrestling geeks out there, Kurt Cobain. Dorff is excellent. Trust me, you will not hear me say that too often. Even still though, I could not help but think the writer’s had Ethan Hawke in mind when they wrote this. The movie was released the same year as Reality Bites and if you compare Dorff’s Spab to Hawke’s Troy Dyer, you will find loads of similarities.

Grade: I am really glad my childhood memories were strong enough to remember this movie. I enjoyed it a lot despite a couple annoying flaws. — B.

Oh, and what exactly does S.F.W. stand for? Mr. Dorff, if you please…

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