July 28, 2006, - 1:33 pm

Weekend Box Office: Dreck-fest Includes “Miami Vice,” Which Glorifies Cuba, Attacks Israel; One Gem in “Scoop”

By Debbie Schlussel
**** SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATE: “SCOOP” MOVIE REVIEW WE FORGOT ****
This weekend’s box office repertoire offers a number of skip-worthy, crummy “films,” but for Woody Allen’s “Scoop.” If you can’t see that, we recommend you rent something good, instead, and save the extra money for exploding gas prices. The movies out today (with the exception of “Scoop”) are so bad, it was difficult to decide which was the worst in this cinematic dreck-fest.
Here’s the run-down:
* “Miami Vice“–We never thought we’d say, “Bring back Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas!” (and their pastel suits). But even they were better actors than Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell, the stars of this stinker.

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These Guys Were Way Better Than These Guys.

This movie has absolutely nothing to do with the original TV show, produced by the same guy who directs the movie, Michael Mann. Unless you count that there’s a Black guy and a White guy, and they’re both Miami cops out to get drug dealers. Besides being a horrid, way-too-long, waste of time, full of useless, gratuitous violence, we have other objections to it.
First there’s the outrageous, gratuitous cheap shot at the Israeli Defense forces as drug dealers/producers, which we detailed here. Then, there’s the glorification of Cuba as a gorgeous night-life destination, full of glamorous clubs and gorgeous, exotic mansions. Sound like the real Cuba? It didn’t to us. Plus, there were so many strange accents in this film, it was hard to understand what anyone was saying. “Diversity” run amok.
And then there’s the plot, if you can call it that. Hispano-Narcos with a twist. They’re working with White Supremacists. We love how Hollywood, in every single movie where they don’t want to mention Arabs or Muslims goes to that old fall-back, even though the Klan et al are in big-time decline. Memo to Director Michael Mann: Hezbollah and Muslims produce a lot of the world’s coke. Bekaa Valley, anyone?
We laughed, reading “law enforcement” expert Colin Farrell’s quotes in USA Today about “the way undercover work has changed. . . . Now, drug cartels work with ‘sophisticated folks, and they’re not showy.’” How the heck does he know anything about law enforcement, and where were the “sophisticated folks” in this movie? Not in front of–OR behind–the camera, apparently.
If you’re looking for no plot, gratuitous violence, and stupid shower and sex scenes with both Foxx and Farrell, this movie is for you (and you sorely need to get a life). For the rest, save your $10 bucks. You’ll thank us.
****UPDATE: * “Scoop“–By Director Woody Allen (and co-starring him), it’s the one tiny ray of light peaking out from this weekend’s heap of crappy box office debuts. While we dislike the French-loving, uber-lefty, dysfunctional-family-values Allen–and usually don’t like his films, we have to recommend this movie. It’s well done–a fun, light, comedy/thriller about a mass murderer in England and an American college student/journalist (Scarlett Johannson–a skilled actress we like) who tries to foil him. Her partner in non-crime is an annoying magician from Brooklyn (Allen), who poses as her father.
While Allen, his thick annoying accent, and Jewish stereotype shtick are jarring and wear thin, very quickly, the movie is funny and enjoyable. It’s the kind of movie that’s not a downer or a complete waste of time like the rest of the new fare at the theater this weekend.
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We note that the movie hits some similar notes to Allen’s previous movie, “Match Point,” from December of last year. Both star Johansson, both take place in London, and both involve a rich patrician playboy involved in murder. Except this one ends more satisfactorily–in a way, it’s a parallel or mirror version in an alternate universe.
Recommended, even as we hold our nose for Mr. Soon Yee, Woody Allen. ****
* “Shadowboxer“–Easily a contender for worst movie of the year–no, make that the decade. And biggest phony marketing campaign. This movie is billed as a movie about mob hitmen who suddenly get morals and save a life. But it is anything but that. Plus it has uber-fatty, disgusting co-star Monique in it, the hallmark of a bad movie (she’s the silver screen’s “Jump the Shark” version of Ted McGinley).
This disturbing imitation of the “Natural Born Killers” ethos was disgusting, depraved, gratuitous, and highly offensive. Graphic, gratuitous violence and sex, we really did not need to see Cuba Gooding, Jr.’s naked butt in a prolonged sex/murder scene with his senior citizen stepmother in the movie, played by Helen Mirren. Talk about TMI. This movie is full of that. We didn’t need to see “actor” Stephen Dorff’s penis en flagrante delicto. I suppose these warped studio execs thought they were being responsible by putting a condom on it. Whatever. If watching graphic killing and limbs being hacked off is exciting to you, don’t go see this movie. Get help!
We’ll try never to see another movie starring either Gooding, Jr. or Dorff again. They lost us and wrote their epitaphs with this giant piece of excrement. Avoid this horror show at all cost.
* “John Tucker Must Die“–More like, “This Movie Must Die.” Glad I grew up in the ’80s. Not only did they make a better version of “Miami Vice” (not that it was that good then, just WAY worse now), they also made much better teen angst films. This one was just very, very, very, very, very bad. The only reason it was made, apparently, was to give pop star Ashanti, “Desperate Housewives” teen lawnmower Jesse Metcalfe, and washed-up former MTV hostess/Playboy model Jenny McCarthy something to do (and star Brittany Snow, too). No worries about giving us moviegoers something to do, while being force fed this drivel.
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The “plot”: A high school basketball star is a womanizer dating three girls at the same time. They take their revenge by recruiting another girl to pretend she likes him and draw him in, while they play tricks on him. Believe us, even that synopsis sounds more exciting than this movie actually is. Very bad jokes, not funny. We laughed about 2-3 times max. Rent your teen “The Breakfast Club” or “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” instead.

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One Response

I haven’t seen a movie in years and haven’t really missed much. TV shows for the most part do tend to have better acting, plot and writing than a movie since an episode will live or die on the quality of the presentation in 46 or 24 minutes. I hope they never do another remake of a classic TV show again. If it ain’t broke, don’t mess with it. I laughed out loud at the “Jeannie Broke The Bank” episode of the “I Dream Of Jeannie” show from the 60s. There’s no need to give away the plot but I all will say it all starts and ends with a joke over the value of wealth and in between every one learns lessons. That was in an era when moral absolutes where the order of the day and you could tell a funny story without a single profanity, gratuitous sex or violence scene, or offending people’s values. Why can’t Hollywood do that again? Instead of making movies that’s a testament to the cultural depravity, moral vacuity and intellectual shallowness that characterizes so much of its output. “Heart and soul” of America? Not one at present I want to see in view of the movies Debbie Schlussel profiled here today.

NormanF on July 28, 2006 at 4:38 pm

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