October 16, 2009, - 6:07 pm
Weekend Box Office: Boring “Wild Things” & “Game,” Pointless, Gory “Law-Abiding,” Anti-Semitic “Serious,” Rerun “Stepdad”
There’s nothing new worth seeing at the movies, this weekend. Ironically, the best of the bunch–the lame, predictable, but mildly entertaining Madonna-produced “The Stepfather”–was not screened for critics.
* “Law Abiding Citizen“: This horrible, wannabe, very substandard “Death Wish” is sickening, stupid, and predictable. Gerard Butler plays an American father who strangely has a Scottish accent that keeps creeping out. His wife and daughter are slain by thugs. Why? We don’t know. They never tell us. And frankly I didn’t care because the movie is that lame.
Years later, one of the thugs gets the death sentence, but the main man–the murderer–gets a deal, in order to testify against him. The prosecutor tells the angry American father this and he gets upset. Suddenly , things go haywire, and everyone involved in the case, from the actual murderer to prosecutors are picked off. The main prosecutor (Jamie Foxx) tries to fight back. And Foxx’s and other actors’ “acting” in this movie was stilted, put on, and excessively officious.
The movie is a mess, completely ridiculous, and vile and bloody. We’re shown the gruesome dismembered parts of a man’s body. And it just gets very predictable who’s going to die and when. Butler’s true identity–an evil Defense Department mastermind our government “created” (only in leftist Hollywood)–and how he perpetrates the murders is simply preposterous. I found this movie, which was so full of action, so extremely boring after the first half hour. The only thing that disturbed me more than gory dismembering scenes, was when the mostly urban audience–with whom I watched the movie–applauded the blowing up of an innocent judge via cellphone. Yeah, let’s applaud killing innocent authority figures, ‘cuz, hey, those Whities deserve it . . . even if we have to live vicariously through what’s on-screen. That’s life in the age of Obama.
The ghost of Charles Bronson called. He wants his magnificent movie back. Skipworthy. This movie’s an IQ test. If you like it, you failed.
* “Where the Wild Things Are“: As a kid, I always thought the Maurice Sendak book, “Where the Wild Things Are,” was over-rated. As an adult, I know that for sure it was. But this boring waste of time makes that book look like a masterpiece. Do you really want to take your kids to a boring melodramatic soap opera between characters in furry animal costumes? I hated this movie. I wanted to walk out and do errands, and I wish I had. Although it’s being marketed as a kids movie, it isn’t one. I’m not even sure if kids will understand what’s going on or care. I didn’t on both counts.
Giant, imaginary animals pretending a kid in an animal costume is their king, building a house out of twigs, then fighting and crying? What’s the point? Don’t ask me, because I’m not quite sure . . . other than to make James Gandolfini (who voices one of the animals) some more money post-”Sopranos.” When my little brother was three, he could have written a much more entertaining story than this. A sleep inducer to be sure.
Buy your kids, “My Side of the Mountain,” instead. It’s a far more charming, entertaining kid-appropriate movie about a young boy’s adventures alone in the wild with animals.
* “The Stepfather“: As I noted above, this wasn’t screened for critics, usually a sign the movie stinks. I went and saw the Midnight Show on my own dime, late Thursday Night, so I could review it for you.
You and I have seen this movie a million times before . . . on Lifetime, on USA Network, and in the movies in the ’80s and ’90s. In fact, it’s a remake of the creepy 1987 movie of the same name, starring the very effective Terry O’Quinn. A murderer who has previously murdered his wives gets engaged to a gullible, lonely divorced mother. Her son comes home from school to find this fiance of his mother, whom he finds extremely suspicious. Soon people show up dead everywhere. Been there, seen that.
Still, in this incarnation–with Sela Ward as mom, Dylan Walsh as the creepy, murderous suitor, and the mostly shirtless Penn Badgley as the suspecting son–was mildly entertaining and slightly scary . . . even if you knew what was going to happen, more or less, every step of the way. This movie is clearly aimed at teens and 20-somethings, who are the primary audience of Badgley’s star vehicle, TV’s “Gossip Girl.” And for guys, there are many, many shots of his beautiful, scantilly-clad, on-screen girlfriend shrieking, laughing, and cavorting about.
Madonna’s Maverick company and her Israeli guru, Guy Oseary, produced it. Not a great movie by any stretch. But better than the other choices and there was nothing objectionable in it. All things are relative.
* “A Serious Man“: After seeing this movie, I’d say that the cinematic brother team of Ethan and Joel Coen is the most anti-Semitic, self-hating Jewish duo in Hollywood. But to say so would be to ignore the sea of other stiff competitors emanating from Hollywood. It’s a safe bet, though, that like their other brethren–my fellow co-religionists in the entertainment biz–they definitely voted for Barack Obama.
How do I know this? Well, this movie portrays Jews the same way anyone who hates Jews would portray them. A stereotypically “Jewish-looking” actor, Michael Stuhlberg, plays a loser Jewish math professor whose life as a Jewish middle class suburban married man and father stinks. And even his character’s name, “Larry Gopnik,” sounds self-hating and stereotypical. I think the next time some anti-Semite attacks me, instead of calling me a “hymie” or “kike,” they can call me a “Gopnik.”
The man lives the life of Job. His wife is a shrewish bitch. She’s cheating on him with a fat, older Jewish guy from their Reform Temple and wants a divorce. The rabbis are stereotypical idiots, too. And so are the pot-smoking son and ugly, annoying daughter. And his brother is a sickly free-loader who lives on their couch. And that’s just the beginning of his problems.
I found this movie disgusting and despicable. The studio expected me to like it because there was a lot of Hebrew and Jewish stuff in it. Big whoop. Should I like “Mein Kampf” better if some Hebrew and Jewish words were thrown around in it? Watching this was almost as bad as seeing Mein Kampf on video. And I have no idea how they expected the mostly non-Jewish movie critics who’ve watched this (and audiences who might see it) to understand the Hebrew parts or what the heck is going on.
Sorry, but I grew up in a Jewish-American middle class family in the ’70s, not too far from the 1967 setting of this movie. And it was nothing like this lie. If it were, I wouldn’t want to be a Jew. And maybe that’s the point of this movie.
Regardless, Ethan and Joel Coen will probably get a gazillion Jewish awards from the typical dominant Jewish groups (which are dominated by liberals) because they sprinkled Hebrew and rabbis amidst their venomous attack on the Jewish middle class upbringing in America. Mazel Tov, scumbags. You’ve mastered the art of high-quality Protocols of the Elders of Zion cinema.
This mostly unfunny, self-hating, Judeo-centric movie was supposed to be a comedy. But the joke is on the Jews. . . and anyone who plunks down ten bucks to see it.
FOUR MARXES PLUS AN ARAFAT
* “More Than a Game“: If you’re looking for a great sports documentary a la “Hoop Dreams,” try again. This ain’t no Hoop Dreams. Not even close. Instead, it’s a gushing, self-congratulatory exercise in boring.
You could make this movie about any five Black guys playing basketball in high school, and I guarantee it would be infinitely more interesting than this Nike-funded, LeBron James-promoted ode to himself. If this is a documentary, so is a Coca-Cola commercial. I was bored to tears by the self-absorption of four brothers who would be nowhere if it weren’t for the fact that they had a future NBA star in their midst. The movie follows James and his four friends through four years of playing hoops at a private high school.
You would think that White people are just extras and support staff, if you saw the world through the lens of this movie. Would it have killed them to have one single sentence uttered from one of the White players on LeBron’s high school team? Would that give us the cooties? Apparently so, since the only White people interviewed in this movie are coaches and sportswriters (and one tiny angry quote from a White teammate’s mother).
Instead, we’re treated to sappy stories about how one player, Dru Joyce III (yes, there are now three generations of men who can’t spell the name Drew in a non-ebonics manner), is short and still was good at basketball, even though he never grew tall. So what? This isn’t new. In fact, like everything else in this waste of time, it’s stale. College basketball and the NBA has had a slurry of short players, from Spud Webb to Muggsy Bogues (with whom I once had my picture in The Washington Post–we’re both short) to Earl Boykins and plenty of others. So this guy made it in high school basketball as a teammate of LeBron James? Who cares? There wasn’t much in this movie to care about.
There was nothing critical or enlightening on the screen here, so it’s hard to see how it was a “documentary” of anything. In contrast, “Hoop Dreams” was a gritty, critical look at two men’s attempts to make it in basketball amidst inner city social problems, like out-of-wedlock pregnancy, etc. That stuff is skipped in this promotional video movie. The movie doesn’t show us or even mention that LeBron James is now a babydaddy. His life as the son of a nomadic, mostly-homeless single mother was glossed over as were the very big stories of LeBron James getting a Hummer via a suspicious loan to his welfare-dependent mom and all of the free stuff James got as a supposedly “amateur” hoops star in high school.
Boring as heck.
Tags: 1987, A Serious Man, anti-Semitic, Charles Bronson, Coen Brothers, Death Wish, Dru Joyce, Dru Joyce III, Dylan Walsh, Earl Boykins, Ethan and Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Gerard Butler, Hoop Dreams, Jamie Foxx, Job, Joel Coen, Larry Gopnik, law-abiding citizen, LeBron, LeBron James, Mein Kampf, Michael Stuhlberg, More Than a Game, Movie Reviews, Muggsy Bogues, NBA, Penn Badgeley, Penn Badgley, remake, Sela Ward, self-hating, Spud Webb, Terry O'Quinn, the Coen Brothers, The Stepfather