Contradicting Popular Opinion: 08.06.06

An Enquiry Concerning Knocking Off that Fucking Shit.

Intro
A couple of short topics this week. If you click around IP you should find more than enough supplemental ML Kennedy material.

Knock that Shit Off!

I can no longer stand going out to the movies anymore. It is a pain in the ass. So as a public service, I present to you: KNOCK THAT SHIT OFF.

1. Commercials: Movie trailers before movies are fine. There is a certain tradition there. Plus it is appropriate to see the movie trailer blown up on the big screen since that is how one will see the flick. But knock it off with the commercials already. I don’t want to see that goddamn Waking Life style car commercial before any more movies. I don’t want to know about the adventures of any young Coke drinkers. I do not want to see the stick thin, drug-addled body of Kate Moss hawking a phone or a camera or whatever the f*ck that little electronic thing is. I must look away during that ad. Gah.

2. Here is an idea: try spending as much time on the story as the effects. Maybe even more. People are getting harder and harder to impress with F/X and easier and easier to impress with story. Fix continuity errors. Ask questions like: “Why is Character A doing X?” That way the people in your movie don’t seem psychotic. Try to place scenes in a logical order. Develop endings which are “surprising yet inevitable.”

3. CGI. Knock that shit off. Sure some CGI is merited and some is even artfully done. But don’t shove in as much as freaking possible. When you can, work in practical effects. That way, the actors have something with which to work. It is a lot easier for an actor to react to a monster that he can see. It sounds simple, right?

4. Shut the f*ck up. During the film, if you want to say something witty, whisper it to the guy next to you. Don’t speak it aloud. Don’t yell it. It costs me a lot of f*cking money to see a movie, and I am very cheap. I want to see and hear the movie, not your opinion of the movie.

5. Stop asking questions. If you can’t follow the film you are watching, perhaps you should be watching something else. Or maybe you are just a dumb ass. Don’t yell your questions at the screen. A specific example: While watching the re-make of The Omen, I once again admired the scene where they showed the baby skeleton with a hole in it. The film doesn’t make the characters say, “there’s a hole.” We can see the hole. We can see that the baby was killed…

And then the dumbass next to me asked, “Did they shoot the kid?” Fuckface!

6. You know what I said about trailers? Well, how about always showing appropriate trailers? Before X-3, they showed trailers for Ghost Rider, Superman, Snakes on a Plane, Pirates of the Carribean, etc. These trailers are appropriate to the film. Before watching The Omen remake, they showed trailers for the Wayans movie Little Man and The Devil Wears Prada. The f*ck? Okay, so I saw the movie at an ICE theater (Inner City Entertainments), and they tend to plug the “black” movies first, and then the appropriate films. Hence, when I went to see The Hills Have Eyes there were trailers for ATL and the like.

7. Mean-spirited romantic comedies. It is okay to make dark comedies, horror comedies, zombedies etc. But if you are making a “romantic” movie, how about not making the protagonists complete asses? Do female leads always need to be manipulative shrews, developing Machiavellian plots to capture men and break them out of their committed relationships? Both characters in that How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days shit should have been killed.

8. Don’t answer your phone in the theater. Bill can wait until after Spider-Man is over. If not, step outside the theater area.

9. If there are other available urinals, don’t piss next to me.

10. Stop giving Uwe Boll money,

11. Stop giving Joel Schumacher money.

12. No more CGI lion movies for at least a year. We’ve had Madagascar, The Wild, and Narnia. If I see a CGI lion, I don’t want to waste seconds of my life trying to figure out which lion is on my cereal box.

13. Enough with the hyper-fast cut fight scenes. Fight scenes suck when you can’t tell who is hitting whom. If your actor can’t look convincing for 3 consecutive seconds in the medium shot, maybe he shouldn’t be an action star.

14. Stop hitting me over the head with the soundtrack. A top 40 song is not always appropriate for every f*cking scene. Way back when, they used to do this thing called a score. Chicken Little for instance, has no less than half a dozen musical montages to pop songs, including two unrelated songs played in their entirety, back to back.

The Omen: Original vs. Remake

So… The Omen remake doesn’t suck, but is hardly a necessary flick. Seltzer came back to write this version, and the script is nearly the same. Liev spends the movie doing a fairly good impersonation of Gregory Peck as does the wonderful David Thewlis as David Warner, whereas Julia Styles does a pretty wooden and shitty Lee Remick impersonation. The only real change-up here comes from Mia Farrow, whose satanic nanny/apostate is much different from the original. But then again, she does have devil-child experience.

In terms of directing, the original wins. No contest. The original has better shots, better pacing, and better choices.

In terms of physics, the original wins. No contest. The remake introduces a new character death involving using a cigarette as a lighter. IT JUST DOESN’T WORK PEOPLE! The remake also has a different, much more implausible version of reporter decapitation.

But the remake does have a much larger budget, a whole bunch more choppy art direction, and a razor scooter instead of a tricycle. Ooh, and superfluous scenes of the Vatican!

Mailbag

Some supplemental X3 stuff. Most are edited for space, but no words have been altered, nor their order. First off, are a couple of notes from friends of mine:

Laura G. says:

I justify it by saying that it’s not Earth 616. Definitely not. ‘Cause why, then, would Psylocke be so damned lame?

Meridith says:

Wolverine is tall ’cause he knows I like it.

Eric (not S) says:

I totally agree with you in so many sections if not all. Especially with Wolverine… and what’s with his clothes disintegrating well all but his pants, his wife beater goes away but not his pants?

Jerome C. writes in with a question:

The only question I had deals with Brett Ratner. I’m sure you realize just how much controversy there was about his direction. Did you think it was good/bad? How many of your problems with the film had to do with Ratner?

Many reviews bandied about terms such as “workmanlike” in regards to X3‘s direction. I’m inclined to agree. The direction was technically competent, but artistically wanting. Separating all problems with the script, the main problems with X3 are simple: a lack of patience and creativity. We talked about creativity quite a bit last week, so let’s look at the patience aspect. The state of movies is such that every action sequence must be of the “slam bang” variety. When Wolverine is infiltrating Magneto’s camp in the latest film, he is fairly obvious and just starts engaging sentries. Imagine if instead, we took a moment to slow things down. Logan sneaks in, and starts offing the mutant guards one by one First Blood style. I would enjoy that a lot more, but maybe that’s just me.

Jerone M writes in to say:

I’m sure you’ll get this from a number of people, but, just to make sure you have one more… :)… Juggernaut /IS/ a mutant. The story goes like this : X-Men was a mega-box office smash, but there was no appreciable increase in the sales of X-Men comics. After the appropriate heads rolled at Marvel, someone basically said “the X-Books are too complicated, and have too much history for a new reader to follow. All of the main books (Spiderman, The Avengers, etc.), for that matter, are too hard to follow”. So, from here was born the Ultimate universe : A line of books in a “restarted” universe that reads as though the main characters were created in the late 90’s/early 2000’s instead of the 60s. The Ultimate books tend to be a touch closer to the movies (and vice versa). And, in the pages of Ultimate X-Men, Juggernaut is, indeed, re-invented as a mutant. This was established WELL before X-3; I believe Ultimate Juggernaut’s first appearance predated X-2 (though I may be mistaken).
You are far from the only person to get this part wrong, but yes – the script writers DID have a comic book basis for making Juggernaut a mutant.

Meh. He isn’t a mutant in the main line of continuity, nor in any of the previous shows. In fact, the original “X-Men” cartoon made his character quite proud of the fact that he wasn’t a mutant.

Jerone M also writes:

A couple of other corrections :
* In the Mainstream Marvel universe, Beast started off looking like a regular person with very large hands and feet, and later was chemically altered to have the blue skin and fur. There is a comic precedent for Beast’s shift (and an example of a mutant who was altered due to outside forces ala Spiderman).
* No, I didn’t notice two different Kitty Prydes in the first two movies, and wouldn’t have noticed a third in this one (I’m seeing it tommorow). 🙂
* In re : Punching and Kicking – not all mutant abilities are “battle useful”. Those that don’t have battle-useful ones (say, the ability to see through walls)… punch and kick.
* There is an implied connection between Wolvie and Sabretooth in the first movie – Sabretooth’s desire to keep Wolvie’s dog tag. Were it nothing, he wouldn’t have bothered getting it back from Magneto.
* In the comics, mutants pretty much did nothing before the X-Men books, so, again, they are consistent.
Just a few more thoughts. 🙂
-JAM

I have to make a couple of statements here. I’m not out to attack anybody (Jerone seems like a nice enough fella), but I got to clarify a couple of things.

A. It is Spider-Man not Spiderman. It upsets Stan when people make that mistake.

B. Spider-Man is not a mutant. Beast’s blue stage is from downing a secret formula to keep it out of the hands of the bad guys (he is a genius you know?). But this would make his blue furry state a chemical change and would thus be immune to the Leech power of X3.

C. Mutants that aren’t battle useful shouldn’t fight Wolverine. Besides, it is a movie, make the mutants have freaky and interesting powers. If we were to look at it logically, Magneto and Phoenix don’t need an army at all. Fuck, two of the X-Men fighting off Mag’s huge army are MADE OUT OF METAL. Since we are ditching logic to the curb with the scene anyway, might as well make it cool.

D. I forgot about the dog tag thing. Probably because nothing ever becomes of any of that stuff.

E. The Sub-Mariner was around for 20 years before X-Men. Lots of super-beings were doing lots of superthings before the comic started. But forget all that. Here is the main difference. When the X-Men comic starts up, there are, what, 5 X-Men? When the X-films start the school is full of dozens of kids and teachers who seemingly went through the same schooling. What had been going on at the school before Logan showed? Is the answer really nothing?

Anyways, we have gotten enough for today. I liked all the feedback on last week’s column, especially since I was expected at least one person to call me “teh suck” or some such nonsense.

Pimps?
OTBP is about the greatest movie ever made (starring Craig T. Nelson and Carl Weathers).

We should have this holiday every year!