August 12, 2011, - 7:03 pm

Wknd Box Office: The Help, 30 Mins or Less, Final Destination 5

By Debbie Schlussel

I’m torn by two of this weekend’s three new movies.  I liked the stories in “30 Minutes or Less” and “Final Destination 5″ and was entertained by both.  But in the case of the first, it was too unnecessarily raunchy for no reason.  And in the case of the second, it was too unnecessarily graphic and grisly.  So, I’m thinking maybe I need a new way of rating movies I liked, but whose filth/raunch and/or grisly violence were crap and which I could have done without.  Maybe you have some ideas beyond my “null” symbol.

*  “The Help“:  If you’ve read my column on the real-life Black maid, Ablene Cooper, and her lawsuit against Kathryn Stockett–the author of the best-selling novel on which this movie is based–then, you know what I think of this movie.  It’s a lie.

Yes, there was racism in the South in the ’60s, and I’m sure Black maids experienced it. No one is saying it didn’t happen.  It did.  But it’s truly hypocritical of a White liberal chick to lecture us about it, when in 2008, she ripped off her and her brother’s black maid, Ms. Cooper, and in 2011, still won’t give her a dime.  The real racist, today, is the multi-millionairess, White limousine liberal hypocrite, Ms. Stockett, who continues to treat this maid like garbage, ripping off her name and story.

The movie is about Skeeter, a White tomboyish girl from a privileged family.  She was raised by her family’s Black maid who was suddenly fired.  She sees the racism of her friends and how they treat their Black maids poorly, and she convinces the maids to talk to her for a book, which she believes will make her career. As I’ve already noted, in the movie (and the book upon which it is based), Skeeter splits her advance up among the maids. In real life, Stockett stiffed the maid, Ablene Cooper, giving her bupkus. Zip. Nada.

On top of that and many other lies, the characters in this movie are so blatant, stark, and caricaturish, they simply aren’t to be believed, especially Bryce Dallas Howard’s character, Hilly, who is so black-and-white, she’s not to be believed.  The movie isn’t just over the top, with its “Stepford Wife” type of women.  It’s simply more caroon and comedy than real life.  Oh, and its racist and manipulative, not to mention cloying and maudlin.

So much for the lie of a “post-racial” world in the Obama era.  It’s just more rubbing our noses in it and lording it over us in an Oprah kinda way.  No thanks.  I’ve seen many of these movies, but they’re irrelevant.  Today, Whites bend over backward for everyone, lest the racism card be played, and it’s played anyway.  And we’ve endured affirmative action, minority set-asides, and any number of other government- and corporate-imposed preferences that constitute reverse racism.

And today, the most racist group of Americans is not White America, it’s Black America.  But don’t look for a movie on that.  Instead, we’re served up yet another movie for which audiences are supposed to laugh and laugh and applaud and applaud over the running story of a maid serving up her chocolate pie–baked from batter into which she defecated–to her former boss.  As I noted in my column on the real life “The Help” story, I don’t applaud those who get their racist culinary skills from Jesse Jackson (who bragged about spitting in White people’s salads as a waiter).

“The Help,” while it’s well told, tells a story the reverse of which goes on far too much today.  And we never see movies with that narrative.  Not even close.

There are only two things I liked about this movie: the clothes . . . and the cars. And, for that, I can see a whole lot better stuff on “Mad Men.”

FOUR AL SHARPTONS PLUS FOUR JESSE JACKSONS
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Watch the trailer . . .

*  “3o Minutes or Less“:  The basic story of this movie is slightly shoplifted from real life.  A pizza delivery man has a bomb put around his neck and is told that if he does not rob a bank and bring his assailants the money, the bomb’s timer will go off and he will explode.  That much happened in real life, though the FBI said the Pennsylvania pizza man was in on it.  And in the real story, he is mentally disabled.  Plus the bomb does go off, and he dies.

This movie has a far happier story and ending, and it was better than I expected.  Despite being extremely juvenile, it was very funny and entertaining.  Jesse Eisenberg, as the pizza guy, does his usual great acting, too.  That said, I’m very hard-pressed to recommend it because it’s been Judd Apatow-ized.  It’s very raunchy and the language is constantly littered with four-letter words and other verbal filth.  I’m no prude, and I enjoyed the movie.  But it didn’t need this kind of crap, which took it into the gutter.

So, I’m torn about recommending it, and given my reservations, I cannot give it anything better than . . .

ZERO REAGANS OR MARXES – A WASH
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Watch the trailer . . .

*  “Final Destination 5“:  I really liked the very first “Final Destination,” but I haven’t seen numbers 2-4, so I was unaware of how escalatingly grisly and graphic the movies got.  This is not for the faint of heart.  Bodies are gratuitously sawed in half and otherwise dismembered in your face.  It’s especially in your face, given that the movie is 3D.

Still, I like a good science fiction/supernatural thriller.  And this delivers on that.  It’s just a shame that the movie was ruined by disgusting blood, guts, and gore.  There’s a ton of it.

You don’t have to have seen any of the “Final Destination” incarnations to see this.  New story, different characters, same deal:  one guy, in a group of several people traveling, has a vision of all of them dying and insists they get off, in order to save themselves.  In the original movie, it involved getting off of a plane that was going to crash.  In this one–at least at the beginning–it is a bus on a bridge.  Death is upset it was cheated, and it ultimately gets its prey.  Those who were supposed to die will meet death in freak accidents later on, unless they kill someone else who takes their place.  It’s the same story in this movie.

Like I said, it’s entertaining and keeps you rapt.  It’s not a bad movie and is kind of funny, too (if, at times, unintentionally).  But it’s just so disgusting and bloody to watch, it wasn’t necessary.  I saw two parents with their 8- and 10-year-old kids, and I asked them on the way out why they brought their kids to such a graphic movie.  They looked at me like I was from Mars.  And maybe, today, I am.  Because this isn’t good for America, with this pointless, gratuitous gore and violence.  It merely desensitizes us to the real thing.

And that’s why I can’t give this movie anything better than . . . .

ZERO REAGANS OR MARXES – A WASH
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Watch the trailer . . .

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24 Responses

I might go for the “30 Minutes or Less”. The rest I’ll pass.

Thus, this weekend – SLEEP. (End of vacay. Back to work Sunday.)

The Reverend Jacques on August 12, 2011 at 11:39 pm

Never saw any Final Destination movies pasted the first one. The idea is a horror movie without a villain, instead there was bizarre fatal accidents and psuedo-Rube Goldberg device demises of the characters under the silly theme that “death won’t be cheated”. Death isn’t an entity; it’s an event. If it was an entity…why not just give all the cheaters fatal strokes or heart attacks.

Killing Time on August 13, 2011 at 2:23 am

    @ Killing Time: “pseudo Rube Goldberg” devices?

    Logs coming off of a big rig and causing a pile-up on the freeway, careless smoker dropping a lit cigarette onto a trail of leaking gasoline are like “Rube Goldberg devices”?

    You missed the point of the movie, methinks.

    DS_ROCKS! on August 13, 2011 at 1:25 pm

      I saw the first movie some 10 years. I was going by memory. Sorry if I dumped on your favorites series (Actually, no, I’m not i’d only be sorry for comparing Goldberg to some c-grade horror schlock.)

      Killing Time Responding to U on August 13, 2011 at 8:00 pm

“I saw two parents with their 8- and 10-year-old kids, and I asked them on the way out why they brought their kids to such a graphic movie. They looked at me like I was from Mars. And maybe, today, I am.”

That’s all you need to know right there about where parenting in america has fallen to.

Squirrel3D on August 13, 2011 at 9:21 am

Bravo! So much good commentary in this post, DS! It makes us who feel we are lost in “Bizarro World” know we are not alone in kicking against the pricks.

I’ll be working in the most opinionated zip code in a week or two and I will check out the two wash movies if they are playing (If there is not a good artsy-fartsy film available and as long as I can swing it on the $$$ left over on my AMC gift card!)

Skunky on August 13, 2011 at 10:41 am

Back in the late 80′s, I went to see Jodie Foster’s “The Accused,” and a family with two young children walked in. I quietly told the parents that there would be a graphic rape scene and since the movie hadn’t started, I was sure they could get their money back. They, too, looked at me like I was from another planet and sat down with their kids. They did not leave until the movie was over. I was/am still horrified at their poor parenting choice.

mom on August 13, 2011 at 10:42 am

Love the rating: Sharptons and Jesses. Priceless!

pats on August 13, 2011 at 11:18 am

Wow, did anyone ever think Debbie would be opposed to the free market to rip off the little guy?

Mike on August 13, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Riff-Trax has done a Riff on Casablanca. Much better than this. I have no financial interest in Riff-Trax, but I am a Mystie (MST3K fan), and Riff-Trax is done by those guys. Much better to watch these and put on National Velvet for the horse crazy 8 year old girl than go out for this crap.

Occam's Tool on August 13, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Ugh. I hate that Cicely Tyson, who I remember fondly from “The Marva Collins Story”, “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” and “A Woman Called Moses” also chooses to appear in junk like “The Women of Brewster Place” and this movie.

Gerald on August 13, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    Ugh. I hate that Cicely Tyson, who I remember fondly from “The Marva Collins Story”, “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” and “A Woman Called Moses” also chooses to appear in junk like “The Women of Brewster Place” and this movie.

    Gerald on August 13, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    Reply

    Remember her in SOUNDER?

    Miranda Rose Smith on August 16, 2011 at 9:26 am

Your reviews of these three movies matched my own thoughts about them exactly, Debbie. There really is no place else to go other than this blog to get a quality, balanced, perceptive, conservative take on what comes out each week.

I like good science fiction/supernatural thrillers like you do, and I have watched all five of the Final Destination films. This is the best that’s come along in the series for a while. Number three was a nadir with a gratingly obnoxious liberal subtext. Number four was very bad also, full of unpleasant, cardboard characters and extreme gore. This film had humor, good set pieces, and the suggestion of a conservative subtext (for example, the young people drank rather than smoked dope, and they wore ties a lot). But the graphic gore unfortunately marred the film, just as you pointed out.

I thought 30 Minutes or Less was very funny. It had the same deadpan humor as Four Lions, mixing terrifying and outrageous situations with a lot of amateurish bumbling. It was somewhat raunchy but didn’t have the hiply cynical, misguided, slimy humor of Bad Teacher or Friends with Benefits, for example. It also reminded me of Pineapple Express which I recall you panned but which I also enjoyed.

Your review of The Help was perfect. The surface gloss is Fried Green Tomatoes–a fluffy women’s film set in the South. It’s really targeted, though, to mean-spirited liberal zealots who are happiest when racial tension is kept stirred as well as to blacks who want to hear that hate and crude acts of vengeance towards whites are perfectly proper considering all the existing unfairness and social injustice, or something.

Attack the Block was also released here in LA–a sci fi film with cheap, unconvincing effects but three times the entertainment value of the lavishly produced but soulless Cowboys and Aliens.

Burke on August 14, 2011 at 1:42 am

“The Help”…the people who make these movies research their market and they know there’s a sufficient number of self-hating White women to put the movie over the top. Those women used to get validation from Oprah, who despised them lol, but Oprah’s gone, so now those women need their fix. You could make a good living filling that need. What’s funny is, blacks are more disgusted with the gutless white Obama-voters than they are with the non ass-kissing whites.

John Harper on August 14, 2011 at 4:34 am

Burke, I always enjoy your take on the flicks. Your post this week was very interesting.

John Harper, you are spot on. That Oprah is something else. That kook thinks she’s the perfection of America but she is a complete whack-job.

(Not in my own home) I was able to see some of the “Oprah:Behind The Scenes” show and I didn’t know if I should feel proud that I knew she was a charlatan at least 2 decades ago or scared so many dopey yentas gave that sicko so much power. The only good think about that “Hoprah” show is that she (perhaps unwittingly) lets her knickers down and you really see what a fraud and a phony she is. Trouble is, like ZerObama, most people pretend that they can’t smell the stink.

Skunky on August 14, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Hey, Skunky, thanks! I always appreciate your comments, too. You are amazingly loyal to this site, and that shows what good taste and judgement you have.

    Burke on August 14, 2011 at 9:24 pm

I saw Bryce Dallas Howard on “The Talk” last week promoting THE HELP. She said she based her character on a certain female politician who remained un-named (we all knew it was Sarah Palin). That got a big laugh from the audience. Ms. Howard said she had to try to understand how a woman can believe so strongly in something even though it is wrong, as this politician does. I do not believe there was any mention of the lawsuit that Debbie spoke about.

Carol on August 15, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Sometimes it’s just not worth going to the movies.

Tanstaafl on August 15, 2011 at 4:53 pm

I see, from the IMDB, that Sissy Spacek is also in THE HELP. How mighty are the fallen!!!!!

Miranda Rose Smith on August 16, 2011 at 9:32 am

OK I actually liked “The Help” but didn’t know the background you provided.

We all know of the countless documenteries about racist white.
Isn’t it now time for a documentary exposing the racism towards white ?
Or would it never see the light of day or even have a studio release it ?

frankb on August 16, 2011 at 10:19 am

So, Death can’t give them aneurisms or heart attacks or anaphylactic shock in a sudden allergy emergence?

Come on.

Michelle on August 16, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Michelle, maybe Death has a sense of humor? Or a certain pride, or maybe glee, in ingenious accomplishment? Or maybe “Death doesn’t like being cheated” as the advertisement for the film states, and the elaborately staged goriness is evidence of grim, somewhat showy retributive anger, as in “So there!”

    Or perhaps the screenwriters are waiting for film 6 before introducing us to an examples of aneurisms or anaphylactic shock, saving the most interesting and subtle for last.

    Burke on August 16, 2011 at 2:11 pm

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