Monday Morning Critic 10.19

On tap this week:
— Meghan McCain: What could’ve been
— Punishing my way through Blockbuster
— Someone needs to give Jackie Chan an intervention
And slightly much more!

Normally I don’t give two craps about the kids of politicians, unless they’re screwing up. That was until what we can call the “Meghan McCain Experiment.” I was perusing the web the other day, looking around for stuff that wasn’t Rush Limbaugh buying the Rams, and apparently there was a bit of a firestorm about the little Mac’s Twitter post. Apparently she intoned that was going to stay in and read a book, attaching a picture about her activities on a Saturday night.

Honestly, it took me like 10 minutes to figure out she was holding a book. And combined in the super secret staff forum it took us collectively two to three hours to pull it off. Jenny Rushing spotted it immediately, of course, but it led me to feel sad. If McCain had won instead of President B Hussein Obama, we could’ve had an entire three network circus revolving around Meghan McCain’s ta-tas. I mean one picture and it was “BHAM” … I mean it’s impossible to miss them. It made me disappointed that Obama won and McCain lost. It’s not for the political aspect, as I honestly think both guys would’ve done similar things and we’d be in nearly the exact same place as we are now, but to think we could have Meghan and her McCains on television at least once a week is depressing. I mean come on! That’s Presidential Daughter boobage, and you get it maybe once every four or five Presidents at most.

Seeing Sasha and Malia is one thing, but they’re kids. Nuts for nothing but the only guy who thinks of the Obama girls in the same way as any sane, heterosexual man thinks of John McCain’s hottest daughter is Roman Polanski. Though I’d be curious to see the consequences in the press if Polanski pulled off his patented “teenager seduction technique” on one of them. It would be amusing to see Whoopi Goldberg try and spin it in the same manner she said that plying booze and Quaaludes to a 13 year old isn’t “rape-rape.” Twenty bucks says she’d call it a “non-traditional relationship” and advocate that it’s ok because “he did Chinatown.”

But then again, thoughts like these kept me out of the good colleges.

Random Thoughts of the Week

Every action hero at one point or another needs an intervention. Someone should’ve slapped Chow Yun Fat silly when he stopped being his usual “guy with two guns who kills everyone in a three block radius” and started wearing funny makeup. Someone should’ve slapped Jean Claude Van-Damme when he started making every movie a variation on the plot Bloodsport. And someone needs to slap Jackie Chan in the face really effin hard for The Spy Next Door and the remake of The Karate Kid.

Slap him twice, actually, one for each crappy film.

Every action star at some point loses it. Arnold did when he decided he wanted to be more family friendly. Stallone did when he decided to try equal parts comedy and drama. Seagal wanted everyone to feel his pain for the environment while never adapting to the times. The only smart ones of the bunch were Bruce Willis (who took a break and opted to just try and make great movies that didn’t involve him being some variant of John McClane) and Chuck Norris (who opted for small screen success and his startup World Combat League), as both never deserved a career slap for consistently bad choices as they slid down obscurity. Norris’s fame never went above being a second tier star whereas Willis made enough good picks overall that his A-list status has never been in doubt.

Chan, though, seems to make great films in China and crappy Hollywood productions and it just needs to stop. I can see doing the spy flick, as every action star does at least one film where he gets embarrassed by kids. Vin Diesel did it and Arnold did it, so it’s not new territory. Heck, even The Rock did it. So it’s forgivable, but stepping into Pat Morita’s shoes so that Will Smith’s untalented child can have his own vanity project at the expense of an iconic ‘80s classic is wrong on so many levels I’ve lost count.

A Movie A Week – The Challenge

This Week’s Film – Punisher: War Zone

The Punisher: War Zone A-Sheet

There’s a reason for everything in life, and there really is no wonder why this was in the “deep deep discount” bin of my local Blockbuster. I ended up picking this up, and another dozen films on top of it, for about 20 bucks on the last day of their going out of business sale. There are some perks to a recession, perhaps.

The Punisher as a comic book hero hasn’t been relevant in a couple decades yet still perseveres. It’s hard to fathom why. He’s a sociopath whose time has passed yet is still profitable, thus he sticks around. And that’s why he still gets movies made, because there’s still an audience looking to see Frank Castle kill criminals on screen. Though it keeps shrinking, at least based on Punisher: War Zone, which barely broke the $10 million mark in international box office receipts and stands as the lowest grossing Marvel Comics film of all time.

A re-imagining of the franchise after Thomas Jane led it to a somewhat successful re-imagining after Dolph Lundgren initially launched the franchise in the 1980s as another vehicle in his flailing attempt at action movie stardom. So it’s not like this has been an overly successful franchise to begin with. In an era where revenge films have become numerous but still lacking in any great quality, this should be a film tailor made for this era of revenge flicks. But there’s one problem: Frank Castle is at his heart a sociopath and any attempt at changing it otherwise makes the character antithesis to his nature.

And that’s ultimately the problem with this attempt at launching the Punisher franchise. We meet Castle several years into his criminal-killing vendetta and he inadvertently creates his new arch-nemesis, Jigsaw. Lots of dead bodies later, we get a happy ending.

This is the sort of film Lundgren should’ve made but didn’t, as it’s insanely violent and an instant throwback to the over the top action flicks that marked the pre-Die Hard era of action film-making. But there’s no heart to it.

Recommendation to rent on a lark.

What Looks Good This Weekend, and I Don’t Mean the $2 Pints of Bass Ale and community college co-eds with low standards at the Alumni Club

Amelia – The life and times of America’s most famous female pilot

See it – Hilary Swank in another prestige picture is always good for a viewing.

Astro Boy – Kind of like Pinocchio, if he had machine guns that came out of every orifice

See it – It has good source material, apparently, and it looks like a good childhood superhero flick.

Cirque de Freak – John C. Reilly turns Chris Massaglia onto the dark side of blood-sucking

Skip it – Did we need another film about vampires?

Saw VI – Another year, more torture porn from the film genre that started it all

Skip it – If you’ve seen one Saw you’ve seen them all.

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.

Tags: , ,