March 13, 2009, - 12:04 am

Weekend Box Office: STAY HOME–Lame Disney Space Mountain Remake, Vile Torture/Snuff-Porn Wes Craven Remake; When Hollywood Libs Like Waterboarding

By Debbie Schlussel
This weekend is prime for staying home and renting. The “choices” as the box office are bad remake movies (not that the originals were good or necessarily better). Hey, Hollywood, come up with some original–and more worthy–ideas.
* “Race to Witch Mountain“: When I was a kid, I begged my parents to take me to the Witch Mountain movies–“Escape from Witch Mountain” and “Return to Witch Mountain.” (And I begged my mom to let me go on the “Witch Mountain” roller coaster ride at Disney World, where she almost dropped me like five stories, and we were scared to death.)
I don’t remember the original Witch Mountain movies I saw, but I remember liking them and finding them charming. I can’t say the same for Disney’s latest incarnation of this movie, “Race to Witch Mountain,” which stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Carla Gugino, and two blond kids I never heard of.

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There’s nothing offensive about this movie, and it’s fine to take your kids. But it was old hat, lame, unoriginal, and unexciting. The thing about the original Space Mountain movies and many Disney big screen properties is that they’re magical and filled with wonder. This wasn’t. It was just dull and formulaic. It might have worked in the early 1970s. But, today, in the age of Wall-E and even the lesser “Nim’s Island,” this movie seems unsophisticated for kids. It’s just too simple. I felt like, “Been there, seen that.” Ho-hum.
The story: Two alien kids come to earth, on behalf of their parents, to show their planet that they can regenerate the planet’s energy and survive, instead of taking over our earth and destroying us. They end up in ex-con Johnson’s Los Vegas cab, and after doubting them, he helps them on their mission, with the help of a discredited female scientist in town for an outer space/science fiction convention. At the same time, they are also fleeing government agents and scientists who want to dissect them, and mobsters who are after Johnson.
Like I said, nothing really wrong with this movie. Just nothing exciting or noteworthy. I thought it was boring, and it put me to sleep. But it’s fine for your kids.
ONE REAGAN
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* “The Last House on the Left“: This is a remake of Wes Craven’s 1972 torture/rape/snuff-porn flick of the same name. And while it’s better than the ’72 flick, that’s like saying completely extreme crap is slightly better than almost extreme crap.
You get what you expect here–gratuitous, grotesque violence of all varieties. But why would you seek this out?
Torture/snuff-porn movies like this have no purpose other than to satisfy some warped moviegoers’ need for bloodlust. The movie was vile, sickening, and depraved. And we wonder why violent crime and the depravity of criminal acts is escalating, as its portrayal onscreen escalates. What’s on the screen influences what’s on the street.
The story–of a daughter (Sara Paxton, who “graduated” from starring in kids’ show “Darcy’s Wild Life” in 2006 to starring in rape/torture porn), who is raped and left for dead by violent, sick criminals, who are then tortured and killed by her parents (Monica Potter and Tony Goldwyn)–doesn’t provide the satisfaction of, say, “Death Wish,” or “Taken.” The revenge is sick–not as sick as the crime, unfortunately. And while it is the least that is deserved by the criminals, it doesn’t justify sitting through the onscreen portrayal of disgusting, unhuman criminal acts of savagery and sheer animal behavior. This movie is just gratuitous violence for the sake of it.
I nearly walked out (and would have, had I not been reviewing this) during the disgusting rape scene and other shots of a woman being stabbed and cut with knives. These were slightly less offensive than similar scenes in the 1972 version. But not by much.
Some movie critics were disgusted with the cheering on of revenge by the family and planned to write about it. But, to me, that was the only “redeeming” part of seeing this, though not nearly redeeming enough for this violent piece of garbage. There is one part of the revenge involving a sink, which is shocking. But this kind of shocking shouldn’t be in R-rated movies. It should be restricted to NC-17 products. I already saw the same incident of violence in a William Devane movie, “Rolling Thunder” (which has a similar revenge-against-criminals theme and which is also distasteful in its bloodlust, though not as much as here). It’s vomit-inducing and simply not necessary.
Of note, part of the revenge which people liked was when the parents waterboarded one of the criminal thugs who left their daughter for dead after raping her. It’s the second movie I remember where viewers audibly enjoyed the waterboarding of criminal scum (the first was “Passenger 57,” when Wesley Snipes waterboards a terrorist hijacker in the plane’s toilet). And so they should–this is what we want (minus the rape and torture scenes that come before it). The bad guys deserve it. It’s interesting that we’re told by liberals that we can’t waterboard Islamic terrorists who want to kill thousands of Americans, but Americans justifiably love when we waterboard criminals who tried to rape and kill two women on a movie screen.
If you allow your kids–no matter how old they are–to go to this, you need to be locked up (and yes, despite what “Watchmen” fans still lurking on this site may say, I saw that parents still don’t care about exposing their young kids to this garbage–see my column on “The Morons Who Take Their Kids to ‘Friday the 13th‘”). Like I said, it’s rated “R,” but stuff like this deserves an NC-17.
If you need to ask why, after what I’ve already written, here’s a great tongue-in-cheek spoiler quote from my friend, fellow critic Corey Hall: “It’s the best microwaved head movie scene ever.”
This movie left me cold . . . and angry that it will be a hit at the box office. America, you’re warped.
FOUR MARXES PLUS
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Hear me talk more about this weekend’s new movie releases on “The Mike Church Show” on the Sirius Patriot Channel 144, this morning, after 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

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5 Responses

The Golden Age Of Hollywood seems a distant memory now. Debbie, I asked you why you put yourself through watching this knowing its hours of your life you’ll never get back. I like your reviews but I’d like to understand why you put yourself through it. I’d can’t see ever spending the money to watch a slasher film like “The Last House On The Left.” Its just sick. I like mystery films better than that genre.

NormanF on March 13, 2009 at 1:07 am

It always amazes me that they give YOU free tickets to the movies to review them. WHAT did you expect a rewrite of “Last House” would be…a Disney flick???
As for the ACTUAL Disney movie, i don’t think any adult should be allowed to review those since i know plenty of little kids that ADORE movies i think totally mindless.

EminemsRevenge on March 13, 2009 at 7:07 am

I seen the “Parent of the Year” that brought her one year old kid to the movie right as it was starting Tuesday Night to Last House on the Left.
I thought it was strange as well when the crowd was applauding when one of the villians was being “Waterboarded”.
That being said, I think I have to agree with your review on that one as well. I certainly would not have paid money to see that movie, and would not have gone except I had a free pass.

trewsdetroit on March 13, 2009 at 7:17 am

We must be about the same age. I really can’t recall the details about the original Witch Mountain movie, but I remember that I loved it!
You have more guts than I do, Debbie. I rarely watch new movies.
I’m a Turner Classic Movie junkie. From the silent era to the early fifties, now THOSE are movies!

mplumb on March 13, 2009 at 8:20 pm

I love you. You are right about all of it. Thank you for stating the obvious; we have become crude and are on the track to being vulgar beyond measure.

Nora on March 13, 2009 at 11:09 pm

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