Best goddamn movie you’ll see all day. I guarantee.
This movie takes me back to my childhood and our long trips to Florida to see the rockets take off from Cape Kennedy. We’d pile in the family battlewagon, wood paneling peeling on the side, and burble south on I-75 until we could smell rotting citrus. “SEE ROCK CITY” signs dotted the highways. Maminka would turn to Tatka and say, “We should go to Rock City.”
“It’s a bunch of crap!” he’d shout, spittle flying, and nearly would crash through the barrier into the opposing lanes of traffic in his dizzying rage fit.
“But the deti want to see it!” Maminka would say. The first time, she turned around and looked pleadingly at my sister and me. We shrugged at her.
One year, Tatka gave in to her, and we drove well out of our way to see Rock City. It was a bunch of crap. “What did I say?” Tatka rumbled, in both rage and victory.
“It’s not so bad,” Maminka mumbled in defeat. But it was bad. So very, very bad.
We continued down to Florida, mostly in silence, the AM radio chirping out the hits of the day. That was the summer that Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods sang, “Billy Don’t Be a Hero.” I remember seeing them on The Sonny and Cher Variety Hour wearing gold-spangled, bell-bottomed onesies, their chest hair in full bloom.
We watched the Apollo rocket take off in a big plume of chemicals, the ground shaking, me with my plastic space helmet on, my sister listening to Bobby Sherman on her little 8 track player shaped like a bright yellow Smiley Face.
This movie brought all of that back for me. The rockets, the arroyos and sagebrush, the mountains with their secret caves… yes, all of those Florida things. “Wait,” you say, “Florida has mountains?” To which I say, “Watch this movie, stupid! You tell me!” I say this in Tatka’s voice, the voice of victory he used on those rare occasions when he was clearly right and Maminka was clearly wrong.
Sure, there are a few stretchers in this movie. It’s science fiction, dummy! One of the stretchers is that we’re about to be invaded by Absinthe Fairies who can flit into the heads of dead people and control their bodies. The Absinthe Fairies, like nearly everyone in the cast of this movie, are from a faraway planet called “New Jersey.” This “New Jersey” is led by a rage-a-holic named Chris Christie who wants revenge on earth, so he sends two incompetent Absinthe Fairies named Nadia and Herman to shoot down rockets. They take over the bodies of a bickering couple and continue the bickering. Herman’s arm keeps falling off. Chris Christie communicates with his two minions on a radar monitor that’s been spliced with a Tesla coil. He demands frozen women. So they find a woman for him, wrap her in a space blanket, freeze her, and transport her back to New Jersey by using a bucket of bubbling chemicals from a Super Fund site. That’s how New Jerseyites get around, you know.
Other things happen. There’s a love story in here, but the acting is so wooden I couldn’t tell if they were serious or not. I’m guessing not. Also, there’s a German rocket scientist who speaks with a Yiddish accent. Back in Germany, some years before, when the Fuhrer would drop by the rocket lab, everybody would say, “Oh course he’s not Jewish mein Fuhrer! Ha, ha, ha! Silly Fuhrer!” And the Fuhrer would say, “I want to see a foreskin on that rocket!” Ja wohl!
Senile, stroked-out Ike was still in the White House, fingering his golf clubs, when this movie came out. I can see him watching this movie in a private showing, while his vice president sat beside him asking, “Are you still alive Mr. President? Blink twice for no!”
“Shut up, Dick! Or you’ll get my putter up your ass!” says the still feisty Commander-in-Chief. “Say, Dick. How many World Wars do you think Adlai Stevenson won?”
“None, sir!” Nixon barks out.
“You are correct!” Ike says, and then passes into a coma for ten to fifteen minutes. He comes out of it just as Nixon is prying the nuclear football out of the grip of the Navy lieutenant commander on whose wrist it is handcuffed. “Put that down, Dick! Catch me up on this movie!”
“Well, sir, the local real estate agent just dressed up like Elmer Fudd. I believe he wants to hunt down those Absinthe Fairies from New Jersey as if they’re wascally wabbits!”
“Or like they’re microfilm in a pumpkin… right, Dick?”
“Hah, agh, agh, hah!” Nixon goes, in his best approximation of a laugh. Or maybe he’s just choking on his own bile.
Instant vacation to “Florida”: http://www.amazon.com/Cape-Canaveral-Monsters-Scott-Peters/dp/B009W4AQQ8
I’ll confess: I always wanted to be Kirk. When the neighborhood kids were playing Star Trek—this is back in the 1970’s, mind you, before the advent of Star Trek: The Next Generation (a.k.a. Star Trek: Earl Grey Hot)—I actively stumped for the position of being Kirk. I would emote, and emote well. “Spock!” I’d act-shout, dropping to my knees, my hands outstretched before me, beseechingly. “Sp-ahhhhh-ck!” But no one wanted the weird ethnic kid to be Kirk, the all-American all-man from Iowa (played by a Jew from Canada). So I ended up being McCoy. I was an okay McCoy. “I’m a doctor, not a small business owner from Centralia, Illinois!” But still…
I liked the first iteration of the JJ Abrams Star Trek reboot. It was okay. Not great, but okay. I waited patiently for the next episode.
Imagine, if you will, everything you loved about Star Trek, the real Star Trek. Now imagine it being fed to the Cloverfield monster and shit out all over the screen in a glowing white ball that resembles an Apple Store, where all the low-paid pricks derisively snort at you for being a weird middle-aged ethnic guy wearing the Wrong Clothes. Imagine Khan, the wonderful Corinthian-leather-clad Ricardo Montalban, being transformed into the guy from PBS’s Sherlock. Now imagine Spock shouting out “Khan!” instead of Kirk. Imagine that Federation officers (Peter “RoboCop” Weller, for instance) are all dressed up like the officers from the Imperial Fleet from the original Star Wars movies. Imagine Kirk transforming into a bro. You know: The kind of bro who calls you “bro,” bro. High five! Oh, shit, you’ve imagined a horrible movie! And that movie is named Star Trek Into Darkness.
I stopped wanting to be Kirk many years ago. I grew up, went to college, got a job, moved out of my parents’ basement, lost my job, moved back into my parents’ basement, gained 50 pounds, became a vegan, lost 50 pounds, got another job, moved out of my parents’ basement again, got married, got divorced, moved back into my parents’ basement. You know: Lived. My childhood memories became sweetened by comparison with real adult life. I go to movies like Star Trek to relive those faked-up memories—to enjoy an imagined past that didn’t involve my pants being yanked down to my ankles by bros and all the girls laughing and pointing. We all have our own bullshit that we tell ourselves to keep ourselves sane. We want to be Kirk even after we stop wanting to be Kirk. And then Kirk is transformed into the bro who pulled your pants down around your ankles. High five!
I looked into my bank account, discovered a few dollars lurking there, and wandered off to the movies last summer expecting to be entertained. Instead I got Bro-Kirk (high five!), overly emotive Spock, Rule Britannia Khan, and a “Save the Cat” plot that was so predictable once it got going that I nearly fell asleep. I would have, too, but the movie had more explosions than an Afghan wedding party encircled by a fleet of drones. Not to mention the never-ending number of lens flares. It was like having a strobe light flashing into my retinas. I may still have lens flare ghosts dancing in there. Or maybe I need cataract surgery. I can’t tell anymore.
There will be no link to this film in this report, by the way. You have to pay for it, or steal it online. I won’t condone theft. And there is no way that this movie is worth paying for.
I once stood up during a preview of one of the Transformers movies and shouted, “Fuck you, Michael Bay!” and received a round of applause from the audience. At the end of Star Trek Into Darkness, I delivered the same salute to JJ Abrams, and was shushed. Ah, what the fuck. You goddamned people.
Good luck with fucking up Star Wars, JJ. There’s another childhood memory you can feed to the Cloverfield monster. Hey, Hong Kong Phooey is still available. Did you hear that, JJ? You can fuck that up, too!
She’s not laughing with you…
You ever find yourself trapped at a house party filled with whiny narcissists who ensnare you in conversation, even as you stare at the door, or a nearby window, plotting escape? Unlike that party, this movie is easy to escape. You click the two little bars at the bottom of the screen, and they transform into a triangle. And then the nightmare freezes on the screen. Exit your browser, and the nightmare is gone.
But me… I’m the kind of Fancy Dan who keeps driving on, slogging through the muck. It would be easy to turn back, but no. I don’t. Kind of like how Frances (played by the lovely, and possibly daft, Greta Gerwig) is a graceless dancer, and even less graceful human being, and yet she keeps on dancing and dancing and dancing and talking, with that lilt of whine in her voice. I don’t want to say I hated the protagonist, but I will say that I was actively rooting for Frances to commit ritual seppuku. “Do it, Frances! Do it because your best friend moved to Japan! And she hates you! And she should!”
Yes, her bestest friend in the whole world leaves her… for a boy! Who wears baseball hats! That’s the worst kind of boy ever. Frances moves in with two man children who imagine themselves to be artists. One writes spec scripts, the other claims to be a sculptor. Their hated daddies are rich, so they can do that, and buy vintage motorcycles and vintage Ray Bans. Then she runs off to Paris for a weekend, because she got a credit card in the mail. Eventually, she becomes a choreographer. Because that’s what people do when they grow up, and not settle for an unsatisfying career as a clerk at the place where your absurd dreams were dashed. Because you don’t have to settle when you’re filled with whiny whimsy. The end.
The montages in this movie all feature the most banal moments imaginable. Art doesn’t have to imitate life, you know. Art can actually be interesting.
I once worked with a man who claimed that Mister Rogers ruined America by telling all kids that they were worthwhile. “Most children aren’t worth a shit,” he opined. “And someone should tell them that… early and often. Give them the cold slap of reality.”
The creator of Frances Ha-like adults… and whimsy.
And now some dialogue…
“I feel bad!”
“Stop feeling bad.”
“I feel bad! You’re mad at me!”
“I’m not mad at you, I’m disappointed… I don’t know. Maybe this isn’t working.”
Yeah. Jesus Fuck.
“I’m so embarrassed. I’m not a real person yet.”
“You seem a lot older, but less, like, grown-up. It’s weird.”
“This apartment is very aware of itself.”
Good description of the movie: “You will always be messy, and you will always look at yourself in the mirror.”
Another good description of the movie: “…Undateable…”
Still game? Head on over to Netflix streaming and watch it. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Noted astronaut entertainer Sally Rand solves a crime, or something, in this slight bit of entertainment from depths of the Great Depression.
God-fucking-dammit, I don’t know. There was a plot here, but it seemed like the plot was completely nonsensical, kind of like half the episodes of Doctor Who these days.
What struck me about this movie is:
1. How much men and women drank and smoked; and
2. The constant and extreme manhandling of women.
If this movie is even partially accurate about “The Good Old Days,” women must have had to nurse bruises up and down their arms, especially their upper arms, and probably had to have a sling handy for dislocated shoulders from all the yanking around men performed on them. If you can manage to pay any attention to this movie, which is feat in itself, pay attention to that. By the end of the movie, I found myself rubbing my arm. Well, at least the obnoxious reporter got clobbered in the head with a vase. There’s that.
Ah! What do you want for free, anyway? A masterpiece?
You! Yes, you!
You can’t possibly be prepared for this, the greatest shitty movie ever made. You can gird your loins all you want. Strap on your six-shooter. Make a mug of cocoa and pour in dollops of peppermint schnapps. None of this will prepare you for this masterpiece, this mad vision of the world.
Obligatory synopsis that doesn’t begin to do the movie justice: A mad scientist’s love for his girlfriend drives him to keep her head alive in a brownie pan filled with Magic Bosco after he accidentally decapitates her in a car accident. She’s not thrilled with the situation, but she does make a new friend—a creature the mad scientist created who lives in the closet, a big ol’ huggable mass of reanimated amputated limbs. So there’s kind of a love triangle going on here. Plus, she torments Kurt, the mangled surgeon kept as a pet man by the mad scientist. Meanwhile, the mad scientist goes shopping for a new body for his girl at strip clubs, because that makes perfect sense.
Put on your trench coat, button it up to your neck, and put a fresh flash cube in your Instamatic. Snap as many photos of the stripper fight as you dare! You know you want to, sleeze bag!
I’ve taken dialogue from TBTWD and have transformed it into a love poem for this vastly weird movie. Please to enjoy…
you’ve lost the urge to experiment, to explore
the line between genius and obsessiveness is thin
you’re walking on thin ice, bill
what’s the mystery, bill?
I don’t have time to argue, kurt
don’t you want to see what’s in the closet?
my eyes are deceiving me!
what’s done is done and what I’ve done is right
she’ll live and I’ll get her another body. I’ll restore her as she was before.
you took long enough getting back here
I liked your act
is that all?
you’re no tourist looking at the sights
you could flip any chick in the house, why me?
keep your g-string on
you cheap birdbrained stripper!
I remember fire! let me die!
knock twice if I’m not the first
you! in the closet! what’s he done to you?
behind that door is the sum total of bill’s mistakes. before he injected the serum…
it was a mass of amputated limbs
the alcoholic has his bottle, the dope addict his needle, I have my research
all work and no play makes for a bad bedside manner
bill’s egotism drives him on and on, from outrage to outrage
I hate all men!
today, nothing’s hopeless
I’m not afraid of you, a head in a pan!
am I so appealing to you now?
do I look like a maniac who goes around killing girls?
is it a crime to want to keep you alive, to jump science ahead by years?