Monday Morning Critic – 3.22.2010 – Breaking Dawn thoughts, DY-NA-MITE, a quickie on healthcare reform and slightly much more!

On tap this week: Breaking Dawn thoughts, DY-NA-MITE, a quickie on healthcare and slightly much more!

With the big healthcare bill passing Sunday night, probably to be signed on Tuesday and sued over in the next several years, one thought keeps passing through my mind:

“Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

It was a great lyric from The Who in “Won’t get fooled again,” but the whole healthcare debacle (and that’s what it really is) has left me uninspired. It is supposed to be a fundamental change, yada yada, but the one thing I keep thinking of is this song lyric from a band that embarrassed themselves during the past Super Bowl. Why?

Because nothing is really going to change. The only difference is that instead of some bureaucrat at a health insurance company screwing people over, he’ll be collecting a federal paycheck. That long hassle dealing with an insurance company is going to become a long hassle dealing with government officials in the health department, and I don’t doubt that the phone numbers are all going to stay the same. That’s if the 300 people jonesing to sue someone like they’re John Edwards in an ambulance chasing competition all fail, as well.

Call me a cynic, but this bill reminds me of someone passing limits on carbon emissions with goals to be obtainable in like 2153. It’ll be years away before any of this actually kicks in and yet people are dancing in the streets like we’ve found the cure for cancer. Watching my Facebook friends’ feed was one of two reactions: either “everything is wonderful” or “we’re all doomed. DOOMED!”

Me, I’m rather unimpressed with either side. Why? Because nothing really is going to change in either direction. The sun will rise tomorrow, the sky will be blue and water will still be wet. The system will still suck; it now just has a different master.

Next week: Back to the usual scheduled of random insults and offensive doses of hilarity.

Random Thoughts of the Week

With the Twilight franchise apparently reaching out to Sophia Coppola and Gus Van Sant, amongst others, for directorial duties in the two-part conclusion to the saga Breaking Dawn, I think they need to expand the pool to others. Think about it; you could have fun letting any number of directors go nutty with it. So I’ve narrowed the field down to the ones I’d find the most amusing to direct that “franchise” that has managed to be completely god awful yet been a massive money-earner for Summit Entertainment. And since both directors have left a mark on the franchise so far, one has to presume that whomever is the next director will make some changes, et al, to the series.

Thus, I present the New Twilight Franchise Director Competition, complete with how I can see each director taking the franchise. And since the Oscars we’re open up to 10 nominees this year, I figure we should have at least 10 for this. Plus I could only think of 16 that were suitably amusing to me.

1. Michael Bay – $150 million in explosions, combined with Megan Fox and Shia LaBeouf replacing R-Pats and Kristen Stewart, turn Breaking Dawn into a chase film where things blow up in every frame.

2. Spike Lee – The franchise finds itself in 1940s America as Lee explores racism through the eyes of a vampire (Denzel Washington) and his forbidden romance with a white teenager (Kristen Stewart).

3. Judd Apatow – “Eddie” Cullen has decided that smoking pot and making jokes about cunnilingus is his new career path instead of brooding and hissing like a puss. He’s also played by Jonah Hill now. It’s up to Bella to get him to grow up.

4. Kevin Smith – Same as Apatow, except now Edward Cullen is played by Jason Mewes and inexplicably has a morbidly obese mute of a sidekick. That and everyone involved is really into Star Wars.

5. James Cameron – The series goes animated and inexplicably turns into a “save the planet” parable with interspecies erotica.

6. Martin Scorsese – The finale of Breaking Dawn has everyone but Jacob getting graphically shot in the head.

7. John Woo – After 90 minutes of gunfights, Edward (now played by Chow-Yun Fat) saves Bella but dies in a hail of gunfire. Jacob honors his memory by releasing doves.

8. Tim Burton – Johnny Depp takes over as Edward, modeling his performance inexplicably after Elvis Presley. And we’re talking Fat Elvis, not Skinny Elvis, as Edward develops a coke problem and Bella has to help him with her weird and whacky buddies.

9. Robert De Niro – He doesn’t actually direct the film, he just shows up and beats the hell out of the male cast for acting like little girls.

10. Neveldine/Taylor – Jason Statham takes over as Edward, now an adrenaline junkie trying to save his girlfriend by blowing up and beating up everything and everyone in his path.

11. Ridley Scott – Russell Crowe is a brand new character, “Not-A-Wimp-Ickus,” who screams awesome stuff (repeated by d-bags everywhere) and then kills everyone in sight because he can.

12. Rob Marshall – Everyone starts singing and dancing, leading to a big number at the end that leaves you strangely satisfied.

13. Tony Scott – You really don’t know what it’s about, but there’s a lot of weird edits using new digital cameras. Edward and Bella have sex in a forest in a mescaline-induced stupor, as well.

14. Roman Polanski – Edward roofies Bella up to sodomize her, then flees back to his home country of Transylvania to hide from justice. Inexplicably, he’s the good guy.

15. Joe Carnahan – The Cullen family are now crystal-meth addicted white trash skinheads. Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades” is licensed and used copiously.

16. David Mamet – The whole movie is just an elaborate con game with Joe Mantenga & Ricky Jay as vampire grifters. William H. Macy shows up as a werewolf who gets conned out of his life savings. Bella is now played by Rebecca Pigeon.

A Movie A Week – The Challenge

This Week’s DVD – Black Dynamite

Ahh … the guilty pleasure that is Black Dynamite. The ideal second half in a blaxpoitation parody film festival, right after I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, and ideal enough to watch back to back with The Hebrew Hammer in a “modern exploitation flick” festival, inexplicably was a great little film that no one saw in 2009.

Following the tale of the title character (Michael Jai White), Black Dynamite is a spoof of the blaxpoitation genre of the 1960s & 1970s. Drugs are coming into the area and it’s up to former CIA operative Black Dynamite to find out who’s bringing them in.

On DVD, the film has the same flaws and awesomeness it did in theatres. It’s about an hour of insane brilliance with about 30 minutes of filler, roughly.

Pauline Kael once said that great movies are rarely perfect ones, or something. Black Dynamite isn’t great, or perfect, but it’s an awful lot of fun.

Strong recommendation.

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

Hot Tub Time Machine – Four friends go back in time via a mystic hot tub to the ‘80s. Wackiness ensues.

See It – Early reviews have raved about it. My gut says it’s either going to be insanely brilliant or insanely awful, no ground between.

How to train your dragon – A non-Pixar animated flick.

See It – Every now and again, there’s an animated flick that Pixar doesn’t make that’s entertaining. This could be it.

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.

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