Bad Movies Done Right — God Hates Time Travel

Every day Robert Saucedo shines a spotlight on movies either so bad they’re good or just downright terrible. Today: Harness the lightning and channel it into your flux capacitor.

Time travel is a one-way ticket to misery.

Without a doubt, it would be awesome to be able to visit the past — not to witness historic events (that’s what movies are for) but to alter my own history.

Personally, I’d not only give my right testicle, I’d give society’s collective right testicle for the chance to hop in a DeLorean and jet off to my childhood — lending some of that hindsight 20/20 vision to Lil’ Robert and ensuring that all the mistakes that haunt my past would never be made.

On the other hand, science fiction authors and hack screenwriters have shown us time and time again that messing with time travel never ends well.

Judging from what fiction has taught us (and we should always listen to what fiction teaches us), God is on a constant crusade to punish time travelers with bad karma.

If the day comes where I somehow invent time travel — well … let’s face it, I’m never going to invent time travel. I’m neither scientifically inclined nor highly motivated.

If the day comes where I stumble upon the chance to steal some scientist’s time machine and I hop back to the seventh grade and manage to impart all my life lessons and words of warning to the younger version of me — helping him to gain the confidence I lacked at that age and win that date with the girl of our dreams (pesky run-on sentence … hold on, I need to catch my breath … okay, all better) — If I did all that, God would probably hit him/me with a train during his/my date — a date that I never experienced or ever will because when past-me dies, present-me ceases to be as well. So sayth the book of Frequency.

Thus, God doesn’t like time travelers.

It’s not like I would go back in time to hurt anybody. I don’t want to exact revenge on my playground foes (not yet, at least) and I don’t have any real desire to cheat at the stock market (authorities would get too suspicious if seventh grade-me started to make a killing on Wall Street and everybody knows the real way to make money off time travel is to bet on sports like in Back to the Future Part II).

No, I just want to make a better life for myself. Isn’t that the American dream?

Technology is constantly catching up with the American Dream. 200 years ago, immigrants would travel in boats to America, the so-called “New World,” for a fresh beginning.

Today, Americans fly in planes to Canada for a fresh beginning and free healthcare.

Tomorrow, I’ll use a time machine to be an immigrant of the future.

I want to travel to the “Old World” for a fresh middle.

I would tell Lil’ Robert not to let his Mom buy his clothing – because the non-ironic usage of Looney Tunes characters most assuredly does not belong on the shirts of middle school boys.

I would tell him that he should ask out the girl he’s been crushing on because a year later, she’ll be forever out of his reach and ten years later she’ll be a slightly crazed pot-head. Strike while the iron’s hot, kid.

I’d tell him to stop wearing such tight jeans because very soon he’s going to experience a very embarrassing moment that involves his pants ripping. On a similar note, I’d tell him that he should always wear clean underwear.

I’d tell him that soda pop is fun and tasty, but if you drink too much of it, you are going to have to pause and catch your breath during run-on sentences in the future.

I’d warn him against getting into a fight with his best friend over something trivial because he won’t want to spend the next four years not hanging out with him.

I’d tell him not to waste so much money on trading cards and action figures because in five years time, he’ll be tired of them and will throw them away.

I’d tell him that despite what he thinks, the way to win girls’ hearts isn’t through quoting “Weird Al” Yankovic lyrics or showing her how he can fit a whole apple into his mouth.

I’d tell him not to listen too much to what that jerk who sits behind him in math class says. In six years, he’ll be rotting in jail.

I’d also warn him against being such a jerk himself. Nobody wants to be remembered as the class bully.

I’d tell him to check our priorities. Be nicer to the classmates who will remain friends with you for the rest of your life and don’t bother trying to win the approval of the asshats who are just using you for the then and there.

I know that I can never go back in time and do all these things.

God would kill me like he killed Bruce Willis in 12 Monkeys.

Instead, I’ll have to settle for the next best thing to time travel: becoming a father and living vicariously through the lives of my future kids.

Bad (Ass) Movie of the Day: Timecrimes

Last year, The Time Traveler’s Wife was released in theaters — finally filling that “young pretty people in a time travel romance movie”-shaped hole in our hearts that had been empty since The Lake House.

But what about those dumpy, middle-aged moviegoers? Not everybody looks like Eric Bana or Rachel McAdams. Where will the rest of America find the time paradox-infused film that we can relate to?

Well, if you are willing to venture outside the comfort zone that is Hollywood mainstream and read some subtitles, you can pick up a copy of the 2007 Spanish film Timecrimes.

In the movie by writer/director Nacho Vigalondo, Karra Elejaldre plays Hector, a pudgy, lazy man who finds himself a reluctant time traveler after stumbling upon a scientist’s experiment. Similar to the 2004 Dallas-shot film Primer, Timecrimes forsakes the big-budget special effects-infused trappings present in most time travel movies and instead tells a story that is at times both mundane and straightforward — but never boring.

Proving once again that binoculars bring nothing but trouble, Hector ventures off into the woods behind his home after spying a naked woman traipsing through the trees. Instead of falling into the plot of a porno, Hector is instead attacked by a mysterious masked man brandishing a pair of scissors. His ill-advised choice to find sanctuary inside of a time machine leads Hector into a continuously more complicated journey through destiny and pre-determination.

Timecrimes is not an elaborate film. Utilizing a sparse cast of believable actors and a tight plot, the film methodically unravels a story that manages to be both predictable and surprising as all get out. Elejaldre is your parent’s time-traveling hero — a man who needs his afternoon naps and has to stop and catch his breath while being pursued by a murderous assailant. And just like your parents often need the plots of intricate time travel movies explained out for them, Elejandre’s Hector never quite grasps the concept of time travel — making the perfect excuse for in-film exposition that even your computer illiterate mother could understand.

So, if you don’t feel like venturing out to the video store to rent a DVD that shows Bana and McAdams doing young, pretty things set against the backdrop of the time-space continuum, you should rent Timecrimes, a time travel movie that provides ample reasons why you should never follow naked women into the woods.

Robert Saucedo can be found most days cruising Craigslist for ads looking for volunteers for experiments in time travel. Follow him on Twitter @robsaucedo2500.

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