September 16, 2011, - 6:32 pm

Wknd Box Office: Drive, Straw Dogs, I Don’t Know How She Does It

By Debbie Schlussel

Nothing spectacular–or even close–in new movie releases, this weekend, at the movies.  They consist of two grisly, pointless “thrillers” and a whiny, feminist retread.


*  “Drive“:  This movie was slow, boring, extremely violent and grisly, and just pointless.  Ryan Gosling stars as a stunt car driver and mechanic who also drives getaway cars for robbers.  He falls for the next door neighbor at  his dumpy apartment complex, and when her husband gets out of jail, he feels guilty for liking her and agrees to drive him to a robbery.  What could go wrong?  Like I said, this was extremely graphic and bloody.  Unless you enjoy a guy getting his head kicked in until bloody death and a hollow skull, stay away.  Sickening.  And stupid.  Oh, and the dumb ’80s synthesizer music didn’t make it hip or campy, despite the obvious failed attempt.

FOUR MARXES
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*  “Straw Dogs“:  This wasn’t screened for Detroit-area critics, and I can see why.  (I paid to see it on my own so I could review it for you.)  This is a remake of a ’70s horror film, and although I didn’t see the original, I’m not sure why this one needed to be made.  It’s basically yet another Hollywood sneer at middle America, particularly the South.

Kate Bosworth, a TV actress, and her Hollywood screenwriter husband, James Marsden, return to her childhood home in backwater Mississippi, where they hire her high school boyfriend (Alexander Skarsgard) and his fellow rednecks (cartoonish caricatures of hillbilly rednecks) to repair the barn ruined by a hurricane.  They have a little over $8,000 in FEMA money to spend on it.

Bosworth’s former boyfriend and his friends do not take kindly to the preppy, smart, cultured, kind Hollywood guy from Harvard, and they set out to sabotage him and his marriage.  (‘Cuz everyone knows no one from small town, Southern America is smart, cultured, or anything positive, right?  Not my view at all.  But it’s definitely Hollywood’s outlook on Red State America.)

While, at first, the movie was only mildly entertaining, it degrades into a pointless gang rape and torture fest. (Hollywood wants you to know that violent rapist dummies from the South proudly fly the Confederate flag, are gun-toting hunters, and mock “global warming.”)  Oh, and the very old and haggard James Wood as a drunken former football coach doesn’t help this movie any.

Extremely violent and graphic.  And even though the bad guys get it in the end, it wasn’t worth it.

TWO-AND-A-HALF MARXES
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* “I Don’t Know How She Does It“:  Sarah Jess-equine Parker stars with Greg Kinnear in this predictable whiny, feminist diatribe.  The only highlight is the dashing Pierce Brosnan, who almost always manages to make things bearable (with the exception of his painful-to-watch role in “Homo Mia,” er . . . “Mamma Mia”).  Parker is a Boston working mother and finance executive, who comes up with an idea picked by the bigwigs in New York for development.

It’s her big break and career chance of a lifetime.  But it includes lots of time away in New York and traveling elsewhere with Brosnan (the New York bigwig).  Her husband, Kinnear, is upset and so are the kids that the mom is away from the family.  The movie is filled with various stereotypical sexist males talking to the camera and disparaging working moms, while traditional moms are portrayed as shallow bimbos who spend all day at the gym.  Christina Hendricks plays a fellow working mom whose apparent role in the movie is to whine to the camera about a gazillion double standards for women in the workplace that frankly don’t really exist.  It’s tiresome and annoying, but the ghost of Betty Friedan would be proud.

Here’s a tip, ladies:  if you want to raise your children, stay at home and raise them.  If you want a career, remain childless and pursue your career.  You cannot do both and succeed at either.  And these stories simply don’t work out in the predictable Hollywood way portrayed in this and a gazillion other versions of this story we’ve seen before.  (The only thing new here is an overdone, irritating scene in which Parker has lice and scratches her itchy scalp so much it made me itch and scratch, too.)  With endless affirmative action hiring and promotions for women in the workplace and so many more men affected by the recession, this movie isn’t just dated, it’s stale and moldy.

Please, Hollywood, come up with something new beyond the “oh my gosh, women have it so hard in the workplace when they are moms, and all the men are sexist pigs” BS.  It’s even more tired and haggard than Sarah Jess-equine Parker.  Next!

FOUR GHOSTS OF BETTY FRIEDAN
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40 Responses

Thanks for the film review DS, I’ll be watching football games this weekend (both NCAA football and NFL football alike), starting tonight with two football games, #4 Boise State @ Toledo and Iowa State @ Connecticut/UConn.

“A nation is defined by its borders, language & culture!”

Sean R. on September 16, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    You know, Sean, the only reason I tend to go to films nowadays is to take my kids to something fun to do. Otherwise, it’s Riff-Trax for me! (or Football)

    Keep up the great posts!

    Occam's Tool on September 17, 2011 at 9:41 pm

I was unemployed for most of the year last year, and I can guarantee you it would have been easier to find a job if I had a vagina or a pair of breasts. The idea they have it tougher in the workplace or get paid less is ridiculous, and as DS said extremely dated. This movie is about a generation too late to be relevant. I’d bet they get paid more at this point.

Hopewell on September 16, 2011 at 9:17 pm

I certainly hope releasing remakes of movies exactly 40 years after the original isn’t an impending trend. 1971 was a particularly big year for extremely violent films. In addition to “Straw Dogs,” there was “A Clockwork Orange” and the first “Dirty Harry” picture.

Irving on September 16, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    Did you dig out Wikipedia for that entry? The only thing you did not include was the French Connection. If you are going to write something, try either disguising the source more or try coming up with something yourself.

    worry01 on September 17, 2011 at 12:07 am

NO! NOOOO! Not the dreaded ghosts of Betty Friedan!

I will sleep with the lights on tonite.

Straw Hags! on September 17, 2011 at 12:09 am

When I see the title “I don’t know how she does it” I think of you Debbie. I don’t know how YOU do it, going to see these awful movies for reviewing. Saves my money, but I do feel sorry for you.

pitandpen on September 17, 2011 at 12:26 am

    The thing is, reviewers get a kick out of either praising a good movie – or bashing a bad one.

    This is the ONLY area where I have occasional disagreements with Debbie. In general I agree – and one episode of Dexter series 5 is worth more than the last 100 Hollywood movies.

    Nir Leiu on September 17, 2011 at 4:21 am

      I have to agree with Nir.

      I LOVED Dexter (Season 5) soooo much. It was my favourite season and in my wildest dreams I’d love to know a Serial Killer/Sociopath hunter to get rid of the evil vermin of that ilk.

      It’s a healthy way to get your ya-yas out when the nasty people of the world get you down (because they seem to win more than lose).

      Skunky on September 17, 2011 at 7:28 am

I had problems with Straw Dogs as you did, not liking it as much as the original which starred Dustin Hoffman. Here the Southern community was portrayed as backward and provincial, as you point out (whereas the original contains no such cliched slam). Also, the retarded-man subplot was not in the original, and I suspect its inclusion here was to suggest that liberals can find a backbone and become “manly” if they become principled nurturers of the unfortunate. This is part of the liberal-fascist mythology that I find repellant. As for the graphic violence, the original was notorious for its gore (Pekinpah who directed the original was famous for his groundbreaking use of slo-mo mayhem). Ironically, this remake which is even more violent than the original will barely cause a critical blip because audiences have become so inured to all the gore.

As for Driver, I admit I liked it better than you. I found the characters textured in interesting ways. The mood was hypnotic, thanks to the pulsating music (straight from Michael Mann). It was noir, so the hero was morally compromised as is typical of the genre, but the Gosling character had so many appealing qualities that he won me over. I’m not a fan at all of the bandit-as-sexy-hero trope, but this was not that. The film borrowed heavily from Scorsese’s Taxi Driver (although Albert Brooks had a dramatically different role this time around), so the blood was maybe inevitable.

I also saw My Idiot Brother again (which you reviewed two weeks ago). This time I realized the film was deeply liberal (how could it be not, with the screenwriter being the daughter of the radically leftist New Republic’s publisher-editor Marty Peretz?) The titular hero of the film, I realized, is patterned after Dostoyevsky’s Myshkin in his book The Idiot (thus explaining the movie’s odd title). Here, the Paul Rudd character–as in Dostoyevsky’s original– plays a naive innocent, a kind of holy fool, in this case one whose belief in freely sharing dope, in organic farming, in dog-custody nurturing and in uninhibited honesty with everyone is intended as a morally high touchstone against which the liberal contradictions of the others should be measured. It really is a disgusting film full of sanctimonious platitudes targeted at low-hanging fruit, not clever satire at all (at least IMHO).

Burke on September 17, 2011 at 12:58 am

Rotten Tomatoes gave Drive a 93 percent. I’m taking their word over yours, hunny.

Mithro on September 17, 2011 at 3:04 am

    While Drive was visually textured and beautifully shot, the problem is that the movie relies almost wholly on extreme violence and gore. Character development was non-existent. Debbie and the 7% on Rotten Tomatoes are correct.

    Gregg S. on September 17, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    My wife is from samall town Alabama, are my in-laws. It’s nothing like this crap. One of my brother-in-laws worked for a research institute in B’ham. When I lived there, I was on faculty at University of Alabama med school. Please.

    Occam's Tool on September 17, 2011 at 9:45 pm

I’ve been a working mom and a stay at home mom, both while being a single mom (which I don’t recommend). Being a stay at home mom is much better even with the limited income. Some people tell me they don’t know how I do it, and my response is for the love and guidance of my 2 kids.

Sarah on September 17, 2011 at 9:19 am

The original Straw Dogs is set on an island off the coast of England, Dustin Hoffman married to Susan George. Will not see this lame remake. Hollyweird gets more Weird all the time.

A_Zion_State_0'mind on September 17, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    The original Straw Dogs is set on an island off the coast of England, Dustin Hoffman married to Susan George. Will not see this lame remake. Hollyweird gets more Weird all the time.

    A_Zion_State_0’mind on September 17, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Reply

    I was going to point out the same thing; the original STRAW DOGS is set in England.

    Debbie: Shvuah Tov. In the remake of STRAW DOGS, does the liberal couple ANTAGONIZE their new conservative neighbors? There’s a scene of that in the original film. Does the liberal wife parade around in her bra in front of the workman? There’s a scene of that in the original film. Does a subplot of the film involve protecting a retarded man from a mob? There’s a scene of that in the original film.

    Miranda Rose Smith on September 18, 2011 at 4:59 am

“FOUR GHOSTS OF BETTY FRIEDAN” LMAO! Very entertaining reviews, Debbie. I did see the original ‘Straw Dogs’ with Dustin Hoffman. It was set in England with Hoffman as an American defending his house against local thugs. It was a Sam Peckinpah violent, graphic movie, but enthralling in its buildup and final conflict. I will not see this remake.

BernardL on September 17, 2011 at 12:24 pm

“Sarah Jess-equine Parker”-

LOL!Riot.

T.Y. on September 17, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Yes, and she has a cute little colt.

    The Big Dog on September 17, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Why didn’t James Marsden use his optic eyebeams to stop the criminals? Or call for a strangely metrosexual Superman to help?

luagha on September 17, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Your description of Drive makes my soul hurt. Are you a grown up or a fucking kid? You basically say “this was slow and boring with too much blood because OH LAWDY i can’t handle blood in ma stories!”, guess what? It’s rated R, meaning there will be swearing and chances of blood are high. Plus, there will only really two bloody scenes and they lasted mere seconds. The fact that you truly believe the “’80s synthesizer music” was there to try and be hip or campy pretty much seals the deal. You completely missed the mark on that as well.

Now everyone, please read that section of this vomit that somehow passes for a review and disregard it. Go see Drive. It’s not boring, it’s not stupid (seriously lady? stupid? not enough fart jokes and explosions for you?), it’s one of the best movies of the year and that is not hyperbole.

Chris on September 17, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Debbie after you produce a healthy, attractive, achievement oriented Jewish baby for me I would certainly allow you to continue blogging. You can watch the little one and blog whilst the prince(ess) sleeps. I agree your law practice will have to go as running a Kosher household and looking after me and the baby will be time consuming.

A1 on September 17, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Debbie,

Thanks for the comment on Sarah Jessica (Equine)Parker. I cannot understand why she is still featured in films. I suppose it has to do with marketing and promotion as opposed to talent. With all the atractive women in the Hollywood film industry, I fail to understand why she or Hillary Swank for that matter still commands attention and oportunities. As for the remake Straw Dogs, it seems Hollywood is running out of ideas. Yet another remake we have to endure.

Peter on September 17, 2011 at 8:27 pm

Instead of re-making STRAW DOGS, why didn’t Hollywood film Joseph (The Desperate Hours) Hayes’s The Deep End, about a psychotic hippie and his girlfriend, who invade a lawyer’s Park Avenue duplex? (They get the key to the apartment by mugging the cleaning lady and stealing her handbag.)The climax is much more subtle than the gory shoot-out at the end of the original STRAW DOGS.

Miranda Rose Smith on September 18, 2011 at 6:42 am

@ Occam’s Tool – yes, even most mildly educated people know that AL is an epicenter for many research and tech industries as well as for the educated people who staff them and live there.

The point here is that “regular”, ordinary people from the south or red states aren’t, as a rule, loutish, violent and stupid, as Hollywood is so quick and unashamed to stereotype and mock them as being such.

DS_ROCKS! on September 18, 2011 at 9:25 am

The obongo administration is enough horror for me and it is free to all. These movies are crime scenes(like D.C.). Thanks again for the caution tape around these horrible crime scenes. I was thinking of seeing drive, nada now.

Lars on September 18, 2011 at 9:31 am

Great and honest movie reviews. I have posted they we stopped going to movies (except for James Bond) years ago. We refused to be influenced by Hollywood radical liberals who constantly push their agenda. WHY SUPPORT THEM?

Fred on September 18, 2011 at 11:50 am

Flip the “Straw Dogs” plot, with the being that of story of a White Southerner trying to become a mover and shaker in Hollywood,being harassed and terrorized,mentally ,and poltically by the Marxists,Greeners,and other Leftists that rule the studios and make up most 0pf the actors,directors,writers,etc,with an iron fist,and heel – NOW you’ve got a realistic story!!!!

Phineas on September 18, 2011 at 2:02 pm

It’s white people from the south that are evil in movies. Not anyone else, probably because they still think southern blacks are slaves and that Hispanics don’t exist outside of big cities and SoCal.

Sarah Jessica Parker is a dog, btw. I think Hilary Swank has some homely appeal and is far better actress at least.

Sarah Jessica Barker on September 18, 2011 at 3:56 pm

I don’t know why they can’t make a movie showing how Western men did more than anyone to empower women. 100 years ago women needed men to do things, and the minute our economic system was advanced enough, women were allowed to earn a living and buy those services they needed, like police protection, food, housing, etc. Sounds pretty enlightened to me. You’re welcome.

David Lanham on September 18, 2011 at 7:03 pm

A1, you have low esteem. You’re angry because you want those things but don’t have the self worth to express it to someone’s face or accept rejection and mere friendship.

David Lanham on September 18, 2011 at 7:23 pm

You’re probably better off viewing the re-release of The Lion King in 3D!

Alan on September 18, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Well Lion king spread its magic one more time and topped the box office and i was amazed to know it when i checked box office collections from here http://www.access-movies.com/

Jason on September 19, 2011 at 3:50 am

Did it occur to Debbie that the original “Straw Dogs” was made by the late, great Sam Peckinpah? (“Major Dundee,” “The Wild Bunch,” “The Osterman Weekend”). Or is she so obsessed with white Southerners being “mocked” in a movie that she couldn’t bring herself to acknowledge the original source material? “Horror film,” my foot.

As for “Drive,” I’ll see it for myself. Ryan Gosling was great as a PUA in this summer’s “Crazy Stupid Love” mentoring Steve Carell’s character; this looks intriguing enough.

Debbie should stick to what she does best: exposing Muslims.

Seek on September 19, 2011 at 11:42 am

Seek–

Point well-taken regarding Debbie’s lack of preparation on the Straw Dogs review. At the very least the original was far better, and some knowledge of the original is requisite for a good review.

Bear in mind, though, that unlike most film crix, Debbie actually has a real day job.

Lurie took the easy step of propping up the white liberals’ all-purpose villain (Southern whites). As such, he has shown that he can suck at being a director, as well as a very poor film critic in his past life.

Red Ryder on September 19, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Woah!
I love love LOVE this sight! Debbie is sooooooooooooooooooo awesome at expressing her opinions in an easy to read, 9-th grade dropout level. It must bring great joy to the dittoheads and lemmings that feel “gosh o so smart” when able to fire up that dang computer to the internets!
Let me paraphrase Debbie’s review. “I hate this (Insert vile non-senseicle description here) because it goes against the majority of other reviews that say the exact opposite.”
“Oh and, I dont actually hate Obama, but enough of the lemmings, KKK members, and brain dead Fox News Zombies follow anyone that spouts lies, threats, and thinly-disquised racism against the Negro-In Chief (although my lemmings freely use the “other N-Word”)that i love how it gets me ratings!! Low, los low pathetic rating, but I’ll take it.

Right is ALWAYS wrong on September 19, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Ok to Left (Right) is ALWAYS wrong,

Hey dumbass, get lost and go away, far away, you are poising the atmosphere with you’re demogoguery, stupidity, etc. If you want to comment on DS’s movie review, go for it, otherwise just get lost and away. And for you to call us “KKK members” is absolutely “LIBELOUS” and complete “DEFAMATION”! You POS, I happen to be african-american/man of color and I agree with Ms. Schlussel’s point 90-95% of the time, and point out any of us (including Debbie herself) on this blog EVER using the N-word? Either you provide me a link or a quote or STFU! And Debbie is way more smarter and more intelligent than you, and she has more balls than you’re sorry ass. Atleast she went to two colleges and has three college degrees to her own name, you on the other hand are probably a high school dropout with a “GED”? Now go back to Media Matters, Think Progress, Democratic Underground, Huffington Post, Daily Kos, etc. and stay there with all of the retarded and mental deficient left wingers who rides the short bus most of the time.

“A nation is defined by its borders, language & culture!”

Sean R. on September 19, 2011 at 5:25 pm

I used to be a fan of Sarah Jessica Parker back in the days of CBS’s short-lived “Square Pegs”-1982-83. But since then she’s become Sarah Jezebel Puker. If I were a woman I’d boycott Garnier Nutrisse.

Kurt Toy on September 21, 2011 at 11:15 am

This is a topic which is close to my heart… Cheers!
Where are your contact details though?

Genevieve on July 20, 2013 at 9:51 am

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