Monday Morning Critic – 7.13

On tap this week:
— Back to the future
— Rapid fire
— Megan Fox is hot
And slightly much more!

Sometimes when I begin to write a column I take a statement I said or a particular thought pattern and just flesh it out as my intro. And there are sometimes where a particular pattern just doesn’t flesh out, but is interesting enough on its merits for consideration.

– As much as I detest Michael Bay for making awful films, I respect him as a director for one simple reason: he’s not pretentious enough to presume what he does is anything but high art. It’s imbecilic to ask that he make some art house flick about a retarded gay midget with a drinking problem to show he has “artistic” bona fides. He’s good at making movies where stuff blows up around interchangeable pretty actors. He doesn’t stray outside his defined boundaries and it’s not a bad thing.

– I think Japan has one way of making unique everything they rip off from America, television wise: somehow incorporate giant-ass robots and villains who look like rejects from the ‘70s version of Battlestar Galactica. I think if they made a Japanese version of Friends that the Asian equivalent to Courtney Cox would have huge laser rifles that come out of her huge . . .well. . . .laser rifles.

– If When Harry Met Sally had Harry saving Sally from Russian terrorists with machine guns, I’d like it a lot more.

– Brock Lesnar needs a nickname if he truly wants to be a top line MMA fighter. All the best ones have at least one. “The Insufferable Prick” feels appropriate.

– Why do I think that Michael Jackson’s kids are called “The Money Train” by the entire Jacko clan? I think Joe Jackson has a special dance that incorporates a “choo-choo” motion anytime he think about the billions those kids could net him.

– There’s nothing cooler than a guy in an action film using two guns at once. If Johnny Depp can seem cool with two pistols, then anyone can. Except Paul Rudd. He only needs one.

– There ought to be a measure for bad ideas actually implanted in terms of cocaine use. Like it would take a certain amount of cocaine to make dumb ideas sound good, of course, and you can speculate on how much of the illegal drug it would take someone to do something. Like how much blow would you need to make Eddie Murphy’s ‘Party all the time’ seem like a good idea? I’d wager two lines apiece for Eddie and Rick James for the song, another two for the video.

– I’m curious how many people would’ve laughed if David Letterman had implied A-Rod had knocked up one of the Obama daughters as opposed to Sarah Palin’s youngest. Or if Letterman would’ve issued the same half dozen half-assed apologies about it atterwards.

And unfinished thoughts like these kept me out of the good colleges.

Random Thoughts of the Week

So I’m watching the red band trailer for Jennifer’s Body the other day, ostensibly for one reason: naked Megan Fox. And I think that’s the only reason why the film was made, leading me to think one thing: has there ever been an actress that is quite as useless as Megan Fox?

Really, let’s dissect her career so far. Two Transformers films, a supporting role in How to Lose Friends and Alienate People and a host of bit parts beforehand. Jonah Hex, another Transformers sequel and And it’s not like she’s a talented actress or renowned for her intellect. When she speaks for longer than a minute you can immediately tell why she’s achieved her status as a sex symbol as opposed to being considered a legitimate actress.

It’s the one thing that bugs me, especially when I see the Angelina Jolie comparisons, Jolie was always a talented actress, even in the beginning, and just happened to be incredibly smoking hot. Like if aliens came down to Earth and wanted to give us the hottest woman alive, we could settle for like Bar Refeali or Jennifer Connelly. But with Jolie it’s like “Nahhh, no woman could ever look like that.”

Jennifer’s Body is going to be the zenith of her career, you watch. Every mediocre to bad actress peaks once they get naked on film. It takes a talented one to have a career afterwards, or have the dignity to not do it. Why do you think Jessica Alba never has done a nude scene? Once she does, NO ONE WILL CARE. That’s why we keep watching her in films, and why she gets cast. We all want to see her and her Albas; once that passes, it’s over man. Fox is just the poor woman’s version of her, not Jolie. It’s the most apt comparison to make. And she’s everything behind why the movie star’s box office clout is disappearing. How so?

Listen to me now and believe me later.

It’s not Megan Fox, per se, who’s the sole reason behind it. I think a couple years ago, when Transformers came out and she became an instant star for merely looking hot, it was the final straw that broke the camel’s back. In this case it was the final part that minimized the box office clout of the movie star. One only has to look at the top grossing films of 2009 to see how far the mighty have fallen. Night at the Museum 2 is the first film to cross $100 million this year to feature someone who’s a legit box office champ (Ben Stiller) and you have to go down to #11 (Angels & Demons with Tom Hanks) to find another. A cast of unknowns propelled Star Trek to $250 million plus, Pixar is a brand in and of itself, The Hangover has a cast of unknowns and it keeps going.

Hollywood is becoming a place where there are a handful of actors capable of drawing people to a film purely based on who they are. Will Smith is about it. Fox, like the rest of them, are fairly useless and it’ll be interesting when Hollywood stops handing out $20 million checks to a handful of stars for the box office season. If it gives us better movies, I’m all for it.

A Movie A Week – The Challenge

This Week’s Film – Back to the Future


Considering Family Guy has done everything but directly remake the film in the last two years, it is a little interesting to go back and look at the source material. Robert Zemeckis certainly has made quite a little career out of the absolute box office bonanza Back to the Future ended up being.

Following the tale of Marty McFly (Michael J Fox, before Multiple Sclerosis totally ruined his life), who time travels back to the 1950s to meet his parents as teenagers in a DeLorean. Whacky shenanigans ensue, leading an entire generation of people to reference a car that never sold well and Doc Brown as one of the more enduring iconic images of the era. Who wouldn’t want to gun it to 88 and travel in time?

And despite a number of references to the era that I had to think back to remember, Back to the Future shocked me for one thing. It’s score is shockingly awesome and well used. I forgot how much Zemeckis used the score so wonderfully.

Strong recommendation.

What Looks Good This Weekend, and I Don’t Mean the $2 Pints of Bass Ale and Northwestern University Co-Eds with low standards at The Keg

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince – The gang returns for more magical gatherings.

Skip It – I refuse to read the books, thus the films don’t appeal to me. And while they may be getting darker the trailers have gotten worse and worse.

500 Days of Summer – Joseph Gordon-Levitt analyzes a failed romance that last 500 days.

See It – If it’s playing near you, which odds are it isn’t because it’s getting a limited release, I’d advise a viewing. Travis Leamons has been creaming his britches about it and he’s usually a good barometer for stuff like this.

Do you have questions about movies, life, love, or Branigan’s Law? Shoot me an e-mail at and you could be featured in the next “Monday Morning Critic.” Include your name and hometown to improve your odds.