Cinema Psycho

"You know what? You have a losing personality." – Manhattan

A Love Letter to Hollywood, Straight from the Heart; or, the Probable Worst of 2006

Posted by CinemaPsycho on February 16, 2006

I rarely make New Year’s Resolutions, because it’s a ridiculous tradition and no one ever sticks to them. But there’s one resolution I decided to follow through on this year: giving up watching TV “entertainment news” shows. You know, those half-hour or even hour-long programs that are supposedly there to provide us with news and information about the entertainment industry. Entertainment Tonight, E! News Daily, Showbiz Tonight, The Insider, etc. I’m abandoning the lot of them, and I intend to stick to it.

I already know what most of you are thinking: “what the bloody hell took you so long?” I know, I know. There’s absolutely no reason not to have checked out on these crappy shows long ago. It’s not like I never realized before how lame and uninformative they actually are. I came to the conclusion some time ago that these shows actually should be called Celebrity Tonight, and that the E! channel would be more appropriately named C! (except for their Coming Attractions trailer show, which is the only thing I watch on that network now that Howard Stern has left).

But it used to be, not so long ago, that one could watch these shows and actually get some information about what’s going on in the entertainment industry. Not a lot, but some. Before the Internet came along, ET and E! were my main sources of information on the latest movies and TV shows. That’s really hard to believe now, but it’s true. Sure, I used to read movie magazines like Premiere and Movieline on a regular basis, but those only came out once a month. Then when Entertainment Weekly came along, that magazine provided a weekly fix of pop-culture info for quite some time. But reading a magazine once a week or month is nothing like being able to check in on the latest news every day, right? That’s where the good old TV set came in.

Unfortunately, these shows have become the televised equivalent of reading a supermarket tabloid, and they’re about as intellectually stimulating. An average episode is literally (I’m not exaggerating here) 99% celebrity gossip and 1% puff-piece filler. It’s a rare treat to see the premiere of a trailer (which is usually accompanied by annoying voice-over from one of the hosts) or an actual behind-the-scenes piece on a new film or show that actually tells you anything substantial. Meanwhile, you can easily go online to any number of movie-news sites and get tons of information about films in production, interviews with directors and screenwriters (you know, the people that actually make the movies), download trailers, read reviews (ahem), and just generally find out what’s going on in the industry. You can even pick and choose which stories you’re interested in reading, rather than rely on the likes of Mary Hart to decide for you what’s important. Say what you will about Harry Knowles and the rest of the online movie-news community, they get that it’s what’s on the screen that matters. The rest is bullshit.

So I’ve finally decided to give up, once and for all, on those lousy entertainment-news programs. Because I just don’t care about Paris “amateur porn star” Hilton or Jessica Simpleton or who’s fucking who, who’s divorcing who, who’s cheating on who. I really don’t give a good goddamn about reality TV shows, Dr. Phil (redneck idiot), Oprah (the world’s biggest cult leader) or 800-pound people who can’t get out of their houses. And I have yet to understand what the Kennedys, the Bush twins or Chelsea Clinton have to do with the entertainment industry. Not to mention the fact that the movies and shows and musical artists I actually care about are rarely covered (if at all) on those shows, which just makes them more and more frustrating to watch. Honestly, if I have to watch that vapid skank Guiliana DePandi do one more piece on “celebrity fashion” and how you too can wear the same dress that Eva Longoria wore at the Grammys…I might just find the nearest empty cave and live on tree bark for the rest of my days.

Now, if you’ve got some Veronica Mars news, or word on the new Scorsese film (like a release date) or inside info on Bob Dylan recording a new album, let’s hear it. Otherwise, do us all a favor and shut the fuck up. Pretty please. Believe it or not, some of us don’t “live for this stuff”. And I for one have had more than enough.

Unless they bring back Jules Asner. Then I’m tuning in every day.

Seriously though, I don’t mean to be negative or anything. God forbid. I actually look at my site as a way to celebrate the things that I love (or at least like) about the movie industry. Unlike some critics, I don’t really relish writing bad reviews. Watching a bad movie is such a dismal experience, and I don’t enjoy sharing that with others, except maybe as a warning. But when I see a movie that I love, I can’t wait to write about it and encourage others to see that film too. That’s really the only reason to do this, as far as I’m concerned. It’s not about anonymously attacking people – I respect anyone who can actually get a movie made. That doesn’t mean I have to like the movie.

Having said that, I like to avoid the obvious stinkers, as any sensible person would. The truth is, there are so many movies in any given year that I look forward to, that a list of those movies would take forever to write and to read. So I think it’s more interesting to make a list of movies I don’t want to see, as sort of a guide of what to avoid, as well as a kind of bizarre view into my own tastes and psyche. This will be my second annual list of this kind, and I think it’s worth noting that much of last year’s batch wound up on a lot of people’s Worst lists at the end of the year. So take it for whatever you will. Trust me, if I have any interest whatsoever in seeing a movie, it won’t be on this list. And I won’t include movies that have already come out, such as Big Momma’s House 2, Last Holiday, BloodRayne, Grandma’s Boy and Annapolis, none of which I would touch with a ten-foot pole.

Plus, given that I’m writing this on February 14th, what better day to “go negative” than a holiday devoted to emotional blackmail and making single people feel like crap?

OK, and away we go…

Eight Below – Paul “Tree Stump” Walker, Jason Biggs and a bunch of dogs? No thanks. The last thing anyone in the “flyover states” wants to see in the dead of winter is a movie set in Antarctica. Nice timing, Disney.

Date Movie – respect to Alyson “Trina Echolls” Hannigan, but this looks like proof once and for all that parody is dead. I used to be a sucker for spoofs, but the well is seriously dry. While I like the idea of making fun of romantic comedies (god knows they deserve it), nothing I’ve seen in the trailers and ads have even made me crack a smile. How can you make fun of movies like Meet the Fockers, which weren’t meant to be serious in the first place? You can’t make a comedy that makes fun of comedies, and expect it to be any funnier than the original source material. Lame is lame to the nth degree.

Madea’s Family Reunion – not even wild horses and a date with Kristen Bell could drag me to see this. Black men in fat old lady drag is desperate and tiresome. Why aren’t there any fat old lady actresses protesting this stuff? These guys are taking your jobs away!

The Shaggy Dog – speaking of desperate and tiresome, here’s the new Tim Allen comedy. The latest remake of a Disney kiddie movie that even 8-year-olds thought was stupid the first time around. If your kids’ classmates enjoy this movie, you should consider home-schooling your children. Robert Downey Jr. is in this – must have been a condition of his parole.

Failure to Launch – OK, a 35-year-old guy still lives with his parents and likes it? I’m already not buying this scenario. Casting noted thespian Terry Bradshaw as his father isn’t exactly sweetening the pot for me. It wouldn’t have taken Sarah Jessica Parker to get me out of the house – I’d have moved out for Amy Linker. (obscure Square Pegs joke from hopelessly old writer)

Aquamarine – looks like Splash for preteen girls who think Laguna Beach is, like, all deep and stuff. A young mermaid comes to dry land to pursue a romance with a teenager who’s in for a shock when he finally sees her bottom half. Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “smells like fish”! Come on, that’s gotta be funnier than the actual movie! Co-star Emma Roberts is Julia’s niece, for all you fans of nepotism out there.

Phat Girlz – no, I don’t have anything against fat people. I do have something against awful, clichéd comedies and people who can’t spell. Thanks for asking.

The Benchwarmers – I’m apparently the last person left who actually thinks David Spade is funny, and even I don’t want to see him team up with Rob Schneider and Napoleon Dynamite for this alleged comedy in which three athletically challenged adults take on a team of little kids. Where are the original Bad News Bears when you really need them? Tatum O’Neal could kick all their asses. Seriously, if you’re a fully-grown adult and you need sports to boost your self-esteem, you need professional help.

Take the Lead – Antonio Banderas plays an inner-city teacher who changes his students’ lives with the power of dance. Too sexy! And too clichéd. Is it Dangerous Moves, or Dance and Deliver? If he really wanted to change their lives, he’d get them the hell out of the inner city.

Scary Movie 4 – is there anything left to parody at this point? Oh yeah, they’ll just take shots at all the movies released since the last one came out. But they won’t actually have anything interesting to say about those movies, they’ll just trot them out as references to string together a façade of a plot. If it’s anything like 3, expect about 600 jokes in about 88 minutes, and maybe 2 or 3 will actually be funny. Plus it’s PG-13, so it won’t have the outrageousness of the first two. David Zucker, you should be ashamed for pimping out the style of humor you helped create to the anything-for-a-buck Weinsteins.

Stick It – a movie about a teenage girls’ gymnastics team, from the writer of Bring It On. Why am I not enthusiastic? Because I already see this in my dreams every night, except the girls in the movie will have clothes on.

See No Evil – a horror movie starring a wrestler and produced by the WWE. I’ll bet the audience will be more frightening than anything on the screen.

Little Man – the latest comedy from the Wayans Brothers. I think it’s something about a midget and a trampoline. Well, it wouldn’t surprise me.

The Fast and the Furious 3 – no Paul Walker? No Vin Diesel? Well, I wouldn’t go see it even if they were in it. Actually, the only way I’d see this movie is if it featured Elisha Cuthbert naked. Not gonna happen? Well, I told you my conditions. It’s not my fault if they don’t deliver.

Garfield 2 – ugh. After watching the first one on cable, I immediately deemed it “Bill Murray Makes a House Payment”. The further adventures of an orange CGI blob that only vaguely resembles a cat. Christ, if even Bill Murray’s voice can’t make an animal funny, it should be put out of its misery. And ours. No one over the age of 9 should see this movie. Ever.

Flicka – a remake of a classic family film about a preteen girl and a horse. If you know anything about preteen girls and horses, you know this should be NC-17. At least.

Swap Meet – not unless it’s a porno movie. And maybe not even then.

The Covenant – Renny “Crazy Hack from Finland” Harlin takes another shot at horror after the dismal, unwatchable Exorcist: The Beginning. That’s all I need to know. Maybe they’ll fire him and let Paul Schrader reshoot the entire movie. Fingers crossed…

Gridiron Gang – something about The Rock, prison and football. Somehow that combination is almost as spectacularly unappealing as the combination of Sandler, prison and football was to me last year.

Jackass 2 – apparently some people like to watch idiots torture themselves on screen for their own amusement. I’d rather scratch my balls with a cheese grater than watch this junk. But let’s not give them any ideas for the movie.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Prequel – you know, I’ll probably wind up seeing this thing anyway out of sheer curiosity, much like the remake this is a prequel to. And much like the remake, I’ll be shaking my head and wondering why I bothered when I walk out. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice… does anyone really care about Leatherface’s origins? He’s a mongoloid with a chainsaw, not Hannibal Lecter. “But how did he become a mongoloid with a chainsaw?” isn’t exactly a burning question on my mind. I hate that Hollywood now thinks that everything in horror movies has to be explained. Some things, we’re better off not knowing.

The Santa Clause 3 – I’ve never seen the first two, and I’ll continue that proud holiday tradition with this one as well. I’d honestly rather watch A Christmas Story about 500 more times. Still no sequel to Galaxy Quest, Tim? Come on, you don’t seem to have anything better to do.

Dallas – another old TV show gets the big-screen treatment. If the movie sucks, can we pretend it was all a dream? Rumor has it that John Travolta will play J.R. Ewing – because nothing’s more authentic than a Texas oilman with a Brooklyn accent. I never watched Dallas at all when it was on, and somehow I don’t think I’ll be missing much if I skip the movie version too. I bet they’ll throw NASCAR in there somewhere.

Dungeon Siege – the only thing worse than an Uwe Boll movie is a three-hour Uwe Boll movie or a two-part Uwe Boll movie. Apparently he hasn’t decided which way to go, but either way it’s a guaranteed tax write-off for some poor studio. Ray Liotta, Jason Statham, Burt Reynolds – how does he get these casts for his horribly shitty productions? I think some German businessmen must have seen The Producers and then looked at Uwe Boll and thought, “this guy’s terrible! We can make a ton of money off of him!” Edward D. Wood Jr. must be rolling in his grave.

Evan Almighty – I like Steve Carrell just fine, but if this movie is even half as insufferable and preachy as Bruce Almighty, I’m going to have to pass. If I wanted a sermon, I’d get up early on Sunday morning.

Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector – is he the one that says “Git ‘er Done”? Because that guy needs a bullet or a brain transplant. I couldn’t stand watching that hick for 5 seconds, much less 90 minutes. Maybe they’ll schedule the annual Klan rally around this movie’s (sure to be brief) release.

And, last but quite possibly least:

Open Season – the combined vocal talents of Martin Lawrence and Ashton Kutcher make this a cartoon that people of all religions can be angry about.

So that about covers it. Of course, release schedules change on a whim, so some of these may be pushed back to next year or even (let’s hope) go straight to DVD. Hope you had fun reading this; I certainly had fun writing it (more fun than any of these movies will be to watch, I’m sure). I’ll be back soon with more reviews, hopefully of good movies!

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