The author and his sister during a screening of Django Unchained.
I don’t try to hate every movie I see, but I’m also not into playing the mirage game. If I give someone $15 or however much it is now to sit in that little room, I at least want to feel like I’m being shit on in the eyes for 100 minutes. Maybe American movies used to be better before they started trying to remake everything, or maybe I was just a little kid then and now I’m slightly more tired of it all. Anyway, here are some tiny shitface diatribes about the nine movies I sat in a room and stared at during 2012.
The Cabin in the Woods
I don’t know who came up with the “playing on your expectations of previous horror movies so that it seems funny when we break form” model for scary movies, but god it’s old. At least this one was a bit more imaginative than most. They took the clichés further, and the leagues of monsters were actually entertaining. Still, I really hate feeling obligated to like something just because it’s slightly better than most of the other bullshit out there, so I’m not going to pretend this movie was anything more than something to do on a Friday night in a room full of other people looking for something to do on a Friday night. For me, listening to others eat their popcorn with their mouths open in the quiet parts of a movie is more horrifying than the things they’re calling horror movies now.
The Dark Knight Rises
Making a trilogy of movies when only 33 percent of each movie is pretty good (and that’s being generous) is about as American a concept as you can get—the same way eating three plates of shit at the buffet seems great until the second you stop eating. Mostly when I think about these Batman movies I just hear Christian Bale’s weird grunt voice in the front part of my face. We bought so much candy at this screening that for the majority of the movie I was messing with packages or thinking about who had which package and if I wanted more of it or not. Because of that distraction the film seemed pretty chill, though it didn’t have the “Heath Ledger died right after making this, isn’t that creepy” vibe riding over the whole thing, so in another couple months I probably won’t be able to remember the difference between it and anything else.
This is one of two movies I went to alone this year. I like going alone sometimes because it makes me even more aware of the fact that I’m paying money to go to a specific room in a huge complex and stare at a screen with a bunch of strangers all facing the same way in relative silence. I usually imagine the movie not playing, and all of us just sitting in there hanging out watching the flatness of the wall stay flat. Anyway, this movie bit dick. You’d think a thing about a chubby guy meeting a girl on the internet and having weird simultaneous fantasies about his coworker directed by the guy who made the movie where Phillip Seymour Hoffman likes jacking off on the phone would be pretty great, but I can’t even remember if that’s what the movie was about. I could go read the Wikipedia, I guess. Maybe it’d be more worthwhile from now on to just read about movies on Wikipedia and spend my $12 on not spending it on anything.
I think I liked it. Or at least I’m still thinking about whether I really liked it several months later, which is more than I can say for most movies. It still seemed lazy in certain ways, like I don’t understand why reasonably talented filmmakers can’t tell that they should maybe work on their script more before they turn it into an actual movie. I keep waiting for the other Anderson guy to make a movie about the history of Wendy’s. Bill Murray would make a killer Guy Who Founded Wendy’s. Dave. Guy’s name is Dave. Anyway, Hoffman gets jacked off in this one too and that was an image to remember. If nothing else there were a lot of good images to have, plus Jaoquin Phoenix’s weird hunch walk and funny talking. This is probably the only movie I saw this year that I would watch again.
It says a lot that the bland-looking bro actor who plays the main guy in this (I honestly still don’t know his name because he’s that flat) is in so many movies now. One good thing about this one was that it avoided being dull consistently enough that I wasn’t aware of my swiftly arriving death during every instant. I believe the storylines for some of today’s movies are specifically designed for people who want to suicide two hours of their lives while sharing an armrest with some bro. There’s probably a button in most film studios now called The Matrix button where when you hit it the scene starts going slo-mo and shit starts blowing up and the dialogue designed to surreptitiously explain its ridiculous premise to everyone is drowned out by whichever white dude is in charge of adding techno beats to Korn guitar lines this year.
Watching this movie is what it feels like to be buried alive. The theater was so still and silent. It was warm and the light in the shots felt like it was derived from sunlight collected off the palest person ever, and it just kept going and they kept talking and you already knew what was going to happen and then it did. I seriously think they made this movie to be the new thing at the Hall of Presidents at Epcot Center and then were like, “Fuck it, Americans will pay $15 to put their heads in front of this.” Then they contacted Stevie Spielborg in his sensory deprivation chamber at his retirement home, slapped his name on the front, and call it history.
Pretty sweet fuck action, honestly. I mean, at least there’s the scene with the huge stone cliffs coming to life to beat the shit out of each other while all the fat white things cling to it and scream. I think you were supposed to see this in 3D to distract you from the fact that (again) they made it three times as long as it should be so you can pay for it three times, but 3D makes me puke so I just watched it the old timey way. I wish the main dwarves had been James Franco, Owen Wilson, Johnny Knoxville, the bro from Looper, the bro from Bon Iver, and James Harding. This movie should have played only in solo porn booths so you could spank it during. I’ll probably go see the other two anyway because I have been inculcated.
Killing Them Softly
One of the only good movies I saw this year was starring Brad Pitt? Fuck. Seriously though, I rather liked it, but that might have been because I saw it in an almost empty theater with leather recliners and I could take my shoes and socks off and lie back enough to fall asleep.
The 14-year-old who lives inside of Quentin Tarantino’s increasingly distressed pale body gets to whack off all over America every three years or so, and if you say you don’t like it guys who haven’t read a book since Fight Club will call you a fag. Fuck Quentin Tarantino, and fuck all the people who help him raise money to make another wouldn’t-it-be-cool-if-I-stretched-this-idea-that-should-have-remained-another-dick-joke-at-a-party pee fest. Movies like this confirm that even though irony is dead, whatever’s floating around in its wake is even worse. If you take your ticket stub for this movie to T.G.I. Friday’s they’ll give you a free third of a fried onion and carve your name on the wall in the men’s room. Just tell them Spike Lee sent you.
Previously - Men Are Victims of Workplace Sexual Harassment, Too