There are worse ways to spend your time…. You can either prepare yourself by reading a random stranger’s blog, vicariously arming yourself with knowledge that his unfortunate eyes can’t un-know. Or you can take the red pill and fall down the rabbit hole yourself, forever tumbling through the unshakable certainty that you live in a topsy-turvy world of mind-numbing carelessness, a world that allows these purgatories to exist, unpersecuted. I recommend the blue pill, Neo, so that food retains its flavor.
11. The Royal Tenenbaums
Ah. One of the progenitor “Indie” movies. You know exactly what I’m talking about. Weird enough to draw notice. Too weird to relate to. This type of movie will spend money on “real” actors but film them in bizarrely quaint or superficially “human” ways in a bid for prestigious awards, assumedly. This genre dictates that “deep” people are socially inept and if the audience doesn’t enjoy the stuttering stumblings of some egotistical writer/director then you obviously don’t understand why uncomfortable silence deserves nominations. If you love Ben Stiller (we all do) and incest, by all means…. Substitute Recommendations: Something About Mary, American Beauty, Getting Rid of Your Lensless Hipster Frames.
I actually have faith in Shyamalin-lan-ding-dong as a director. It’s just that he can’t consistently deliver on my expectations. Signs and Sixth Sense were gems. Lady in the Water had me confused but intrigued. The Village left a bad taste in my mouth and I heard The Happening wasn’t happening at all. If you feature action hero Bruce Willis and Loud-Ass Mofo Sam Jackson in a movie indicating Invulnerability, you need to advertise that your movie is quiet, uneventful, and a total letdown. Substitute Recommendations: Die Hard, Pulp Fiction, Punching Haley Joel Osment in his Creepy Pubescent Face.
I rag on Stiller and Ferrel. And I know that I’m a bit of a douche for liking stupid things and trying to play the opposite side of the coin whenever it suits me. Still, this movie was so hilariously un-funny that it’s not even funny. Anchorman put a bunch of comedians in a room without a script and it worked to arguable degrees, but Zoolander took almost the same risks with some non-comedians but made it adhere to a strictly annoying premise. It took me four attempts over a decade to watch the full thing, but my jeers will last a lifetime. Substitute Recommendations: Mystery Men, Austin Powers, IMDB Ben Stiller’s Extensive Bio and Weep that He Isn’t a Comedic Genius.
14. The Stand
Why did I read ANY of Stephen King’s books? It’s because they were the only “adult” novels I could get access to growing up. Other than being a pathetic hack, life seems to be going pretty well for the writer. People keep paying him money to do stuff and he churns out lifeless, uninspired, poorly-cobbled fiction that can be summarized by a single sentence for each. The sentence for The Stand is: “People are killed by a plague and two Religious Factions face off.” Extend that out over a full 4 hour mini-series and you’ll wish you had been in the first wave of deaths. Substitute Recommendations: Constantine, Tommyknockers, Be Forever Skeptical of Religious Figureheads.
15. Orange County
Jack Black’s dialogue about the Electrical Fire can’t even save this from being irritatingly pretentious and commendably ignorant. With a full cast of characters that couldn’t think their way out of a wet paper bag and Crazy Town’s “Butterfly” song as the unofficial anthem, Mr. Black’s tighty whities are the main feature of this terrible attempt to provide humor to a soul-crushingly incompetent town. Shane Brumder or Shawn Bramden or whatever the fuck his name is should jump off a bridge instead of embracing all of this bullshit as ‘inspiration’. Substitute Recommendations: Freaks and Geeks, Rushmore, or Set Your Own Curtains on Fire and Watch the World Burn.
Never have I hated an actor’s success more than Michael Cera. Pauly Shore had a good run with me and Tom Green of Freddy Got Fingered infamy was pretty bad, but the hook-nosed, weasel-y grin of Cera has the same affect every time: I want to club baby seals. I’ve never even seen a baby seal, but the fact that they exist un-clubbed drives me crazy whenever I google Cera and look at the Images. The irresponsibility of teen pregnancy and the burden it has on everyone is bad enough, but the fact that this stilted, chuckling bundle of nerves is the centerpiece of yet another awkward movie aimed at teens just…. GYAAAH! Baby Seals! The only thing worse than Michael Cera would be an unabashedly confident Cera, which is exactly where this industry is headed people! Him and Mini-Seth-Rogan drive me apeshit. Substitute Recommendations: Knocked Up, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Just Go Clubbin’ on a Friday Night.
17. Ferris Beuller’s Day Off
Overrated bullshit. Besides exuding very un-“cool guy” vibes, Matthew Broderick is one of the worst actors of our time and completely unbelievable in this particular role. Dead-faced line-reading. He looks like he was aiming for Cusack’s egotistical soliloquies crossed with any cartoon that wore sunglasses in the ’90s. It’s almost like a grown up Arnold from The Wonder Years with the same forced expressions, except that Broderick never grew out of them. Ben Stein kick-started a career, but nearly everything else from that era was more entertaining than this. Substitute Recommendations: Dazed and Confused, The Breakfast Club, Destroying a Priceless Car/Garage and Seeing how Un-Dead you Would Be.
I had originally reserved this space for blasting Interview With a Vampire before I realized that I actually enjoyed a good chunk of said movie. I’ll just take an easy potshot at Twilight, instead. With Robert Pattinson coming clean on how much he disliked filming the series, the sparkly vampire phenomenon can be reviewed with clarity. Or not. Whatever. Fangirl fluff, with no real story to be had, not even the massive werewolves would pick the bones of this one. Little known fact: Bella wasn’t a person at all, but actually a simple mannequin with a mask. Why they still parade the thing to red-carpet events is beyond me. Substitute Recommendations: Interview With a Vampire, The Lost Boys, Spritzing Glitter Glam on your Pasty Skin and Hangin’ Out in Europe.
19. Being John Malkovich
Quoting the most memorable scene: “Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich,Malkovich, Malkovich.” Substitute Recommendations: Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich your Own Head Off with a 45 caliber.
20. 2001: A Space Odyssey
Story synopsis: 5 minutes of cool introduction and actual Cinema, 85 minutes of foreshadowing shuffled with boredom, 20 minutes of trippin’ balls. Fast forward to the HAL insanity and skip the epileptic tunnel of kaleidoscopy and you can dust your hands off. Congratulations, you’ve experienced Kubrick at his semi-worst and can now pontificate on the very nature of man, machine, and the cosmos with the very best of the movie snobs out there. I believe books and movies should have editors. If you still don’t agree, let me point you in the direction of the author Dan Simmons and also number 21 on my list. Substitute Recommendations: Bladerunner, A Clockwork Orange, 01000010011010010110111001100001011100100111100100100000011
This is a perfect example of how I view fine art institutions and the wave of informal “progressive” trends in current media. Coupled with classic Instagram Filters, this movie’s shaky cam, motionless subjects, and hollow drama directly cater to the pretentious musings taught by some douchebag, somewhere. Negative space can be beautiful but this exhausting, vacuous, and wholly disheartening peek into over-long scenes, over-used camera tricks, and under-developed EVERYTHING make this movie irreconcilable with the gratuitous boobs (because it’s art, of course) and mis-handling of every frame of Dunst’s character. If you get through the first 10 minutes of desktop wallpaper, I dare you to survive the 15 minutes of limousine parking nonsense. I literally thought that someone had switched what they meant to record with what they had no intention of releasing…. throughout the whole thing. Now clap your hands together like a well-trained monkey and laud this drivel as the high-brow watermark of the year! Substitute recommendations: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Any Smashing Pumpkins Album, Get a Bucket of Paint and a Wall.
22. Requiem for a Dream
I don’t want anyone to think I’m hating on this fantastic piece of art and life commentary, because I’m most certainly not. This is one of the most heavy-hitting and important dramas I’ve witnessed and it deserves credit for its fantastic acting, writing, and cinematography. This is a movie you should AVOID because of how long the scenes will haunt you, how depressed you may become at the hopelessly downward spiral of a group of druggees. They dig their own grave, but the fall is oh so hard. Watch with a guidance counselor or a bucket of comfort food if at all possible. Substitute Recommendations: Happy Feet, Happy Gilmore, The Pursuit of Happyness (Scratch that last one. It can be kind of sad.)
….Continued in Avoid These Movies! (Volume 3)