Knucklehead

 Posted by at 5:39 am  1 Response »
Jan 072011
 

Not since Santa With Muscles have I been so excited for a WWE superstar to grace the silver screen. When director Michael W. Watkins (who I’m sure you know from the 6 episodes of Quantum Leap he directed) signed onto this project, he was faced with a tall order: Somehow manage to wrangle the effervescent star power of Wendie Malick, Dennis Farina, and sassy little black kid phenom Bobb’e J. Thompson and let Paul “Big Show” Wight’s light shine.

Was Watkins able to accomplish this most daunting of tasks?

I honestly have no idea. I fell asleep 10 minutes into it.

Having only seen 10% of this movie, (you can now deduce that this movie is 100 minutes long, and you would be correct. THAT’S CALLED DOIN’ SOME MATHS, SON!) it would seem to the casual observer that there is no way I could, in good conscience, write a review for it. Well you know what, casual observer? I don’t like your attitude.

In fact, not only was 10 minutes enough…it felt like 9 minutes and 6 seconds too much. However, C.O. has a point. Which is why in lieu of a standard review, I have decided to instead give you, dear reader, a gift…the gift of time.

Below you will find the film “Knucklehead”, painstakingly re-edited to retain all the nuance of the original narrative, but condensed into a manageable 54 seconds.

You now have 99 minutes and 6 seconds to do something awesome. You’re welcome.

Outsourced

 Posted by at 7:06 am  Comments Off on Outsourced
Sep 242010
 

Did everyone have a happy equinox? I know I sure did…and if the 50 drained pig carcasses on my back yard altar are any indication, I’m gonna have one bountiful-ass harvest. (Much different from a bountiful ass-harvest. Hyphens are powerful things.)
Anyway, enough about the alignment so nice it happens twice…we all know the real reason for the season: Good TV is back.

I sat down this stagnant autumn eve (I would have liked to have said “blustery”, but it wasn’t and I’m not gonna lie to you guys for the sake of ambiance) to take in the NBC Thursday night lineup which, for the most part, has brought me a sizable amount of joy the past few years. (If you’re not at least watching Community and 30 Rock, you’re a gods damned tard.) Throughout the evening, I kept seeing commercials for a new show premiering called “Outsourced”, which appeared to be a borderline racist “fish out of water” situational comedy wherein a smarmy American 20-something moves to India to manage an outsourced call center full of offensively stereotypical Indian workers that comically misuse/misinterpret American colloquialisms.
(I’m 100% sure that someone pitched it as “It’s basically The Office but everyone talks like Apu” to which an NBC executive replied “AH-OOOOGA!” and his eyes turned into slot machine reels that spun and both landed on cherries and then a buzzer went off and then money started shooting out his mouth).

Did I watch it? Of course I watched it. You think just because a show looks like a half-hour-long backwards leap for society that I’m not gonna watch it? What else was I supposed to do until Sunny came on? So anyway, yeah, it was fucking terrible and pretty much what I expected (except no old Indian lady sang a Lady Gaga song while Too Cool McJeans shook his head in amused bafflement, but hey – it was only the first episode. You can’t shoot your comedy load right out the gate).

Trying to wrap my head around how this cultural abortion ended up on a major network while my groundbreaking idea for a Big Brother-style hide-and-seek gameshow called “Are You Smarter Than A Feral Cat?” goes unrealized, I did a little internet super-sleuthing and discovered “Outsourced” is actually based on a movie by the same name and whaddaya know…Netflix has it available to “watch instantly”.

In addition to being the source material for the most insipid television program since The O’Reilly Factor (zing!), the delightfully quirky and innocently hand-drawn  indie-romance cover art didn’t help this movie’s case any. I sat back, started the movie, and prepared myself to hate.

Brazenly defiant in the face of all evidence to the contrary, Outsourced is actually a really good movie. Like, not even just good for what it is…but like actually good for realsies. Well-written, well-acted, well-shot…I couldn’t believe it. Especially since it had bullshit written all over it. Here are a few of the themes explored:

– Stranger in a strange land
– Exaggeratedly evil corporate ambivalence
– Language barrier-based humor
– Witty jabs at American excess
– Forbidden cross-cultural love
– Underdogs pulling together to triumph at the last moment
– Losing everything to find yourself

Total cliché bullshit across the board, right? Yet somehow, it’s all delivered so honestly, dare I say sweetly, and without an ounce of pretension, you never think for a second to call it out. The characters are all so endearing and grounded in reality that when something flat out goofy goes down – like the excitable and oafish Indian worker trying to do his Robert DeNiro impression – it comes off as genuinely funny rather than some “Me rikey da flied lice” horseshit.

Besides introducing me to Ayesha Dharker, the new love of my life (Sorry Aisha Tyler…I’d love to marry you both, but a.) the two A(i/ye)shas thing would get confusing, and b.) that shit’s illegal. We’ve had a good run though…and we can still be friends…), Outsourced did something else unexpected, at least for its genre – It presented a completely plausible yet wholly satisfying ending. I was actually still grinning like a moron halfway through the credits.

Now, I’m completely willing to acknowledge the possibility that this movie isn’t as good as I think it is. It’s not infeasible that Outsourced caught me in a moment of weakness when I was susceptible to heart-warming douchery. It’s also conceivable that it just seemed remarkable in contrast to its ham-fisted, tactless television counterpart. Shit, maybe both. Or maybe – just maybe – it’s a great little movie that you should just shut up and watch.

I give Outsourced 9 out of 10 free-roaming sacred cows that you should totally be able to ride but I bet you’re not supposed to.

Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever

 Posted by at 5:36 am  Comments Off on Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever
Feb 252010
 

Note: If you’re all hung up on politics and brazenly vilify this movie as you raise your sword in defense of Ti West, who wanted his name removed from the film after his artistic vision was hijacked by the producers, do yourself a solid and just stop reading this now because, beyond this opening paragraph, I’m not going to address it again. Yes, it fucking sucks for Mr. West and I have nothing but sympathy for him, but I’m reviewing a horror movie here, not trying to harangue you with my uneducated opinion about the sheisty nature of the film industry and its insatiable appetite for the souls of talented young filmmakers. (That’s what IMDB message boards are for, apparently.) So let’s just all agree that life is unfair, bad things happen to good people, and that Hollywood is a hideous bitch-goddess. Sweet? Sweet. Now lets  get to the movie as it is presented, regardless of the myriad of shitty circumstances leading to its release.

How much do I love the original Cabin Fever? So much that I named my dog “Pancakes”. That’s commitment, motherfucker. That’s like watching Swingers and then deciding to name your dog “Money Baby”. Except it’s not like that at all because that would be retarded and what I did was awesome because as it turns out, I am in fact pretty fucking awesome and I should be rewarded with trophies molded in my visage (but also on the inside they’re chocolate). Anyway, given my obvious personal investment, you can imagine the teste-contracting terror that gripped my soul (and apparently ballsack) when I walked by the Redbox outside 7-Eleven and saw the DVD cover for Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever.

“WHAT THE FUCK”, I exclaimed (no I didn’t) as I smashed my fist through the Redbox touch-screen (again, not really). Why would they make this sequel 8 years after the release of the original?  Who the fuck is this Ti West guy? That sounds like the name of a porno director. What happened to Eli Roth? Is he okay? How could he let this happen to me and my dog? Whose 12-year-old nephew got Photoshop Elements free with the laptop he got for Christmas and made this cover art?

Those are all valid questions (and one valid statement) and my outrage was pure and true. So, of course, I rented it – because being angry at movies is my number three favorite hobby after being mad at TV commercials (#2) and being mad at weather (#1).

With almost every conceivable thing about it suggesting the contrary, this movie is actually pretty awesome. It unabashedly delivers the “3 B’s” – Blood, Boobs, and Barf – and does it with a sense of humor about itself that never comes off as blatantly “wacky”.

Not even the fact that the starring role went to the weak-voiced would-be-rapist turned accidental-necrophiliac kid from Deadgirl bothered me.  Even more surprisingly, his archetypal “portly/sex-crazed/wise-cracking sidekick” is somehow believable, natural, and actually funny at times. In fact, almost everyone in this movie goes well beyond typical “direct-to-DVD horror/comedy” standards. (Except the cartoonishly witch-like teacher who chews up the scenery like she has cancer and it’s the cure.) There’s even an amazing cameo by Judah Friedlander and, if you ask me, a fucking Oscar-worthy appearance by Mark Borchardt of American Movie fame.

The one glaring fault of this movie is its last 5 minutes. (Yes, I know it was shot and added by the producers after Ti West washed his hands of the film, but we’re not talking about that, remember?) After a satisfactory ending complete with crane shot and fade-out, the movie suddenly and apropos of NOTHING cuts to what I guess is supposed to be a strip club, where we  meet six new characters as they all clunkily interact with a girl that we haven’t seen since the first half hour of the movie. We get some pointless gross-outs, some even more pointless dialogue, the girl half-heartedly delivers some bullshit joke, and we’re treated to a bizarre cartoon sequence where we see the virus taking over the world.  It’s absolutely ridiculous and almost insulting. It came very close to actually ruining the whole movie for me, but I figured if I could forgive High Tension for its last 10 minutes, I could forgive this – a far lesser movie. I’m tough but fair, folks.

What’s that? You’re wondering what’s up with that sweet picture of the chunky chick up there? Oh, well she has a full-on nude scene and then fucks a villain from an 80s movie in a pool. Then her tooth falls out and she dies. It’s pretty awesome.

As long as you’ve seen the original, I’d say Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever is worth a watch. (It kind of assumes you’ve seen the first one in that it never really explains why everyone’s barfing everywhere and dying.) It’s not a great movie, but with some great use of the 3 B’s, it’s not as bad as you think it’s going to be.

I give this movie 1 dead fat girl in a pool (out of a possible 2 dead fat girls in a pool).