August 7, 2009, - 4:39 pm

Weekend Box Office: Lame, Barely American G.I. Joe (Has Muslim Influences), Okay Julie/Julia, Charming Ocean/Pearls; UPDATED: Im”Perfect Getaway”

By Debbie Schlussel

Sorry for the movie reviews being posted so late, but I had a lot going on behind the scenes today.

*  “G.I. Joe:  The Rise of Cobra“:  This wasn’t screened for critics (a sign it’s crap), so I paid to see it.  And it wasn’t worth it.   Great special effects, lots of action, chases, killing, and fighting, but a completely stupid and boring story.  So much action, so little insomnia (meaning the opposite–it’s a yawner).

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The most disappointing thing about this movie is that almost everything American has been whitewashed from it.  You’d hardly know any of these people in the movie are Americans other than some of them speak English, most with a bad foreign accent (and the White Ebonics mumbling guy–star Channing Tatum).  And that’s no surprise, given that director Stephen Sommers said they were deleting all the “rah-rah American” stuff from the foreign ads for the movie (and dissed Vietnam Vets).  Well, guess what?  They already deleted the “rah-rah American” stuff in the movie, itself.  There’s nothing American about it, but for a couple brief scenes of the White House and the President, and a tiny script on the screen at the beginning noting that the G.I. Joe’s were at NATO (and that’s not even American, though we’re a member and founded it).  So tiny, and yet it’ll probably be deleted from the movie for the foreigners.

You know what is in it, though?  One of the heroic main characters–one of the G.I. Joe’s is an Arab from Morocco (who wears a keffiyeh the whole time), played by Arab Muslim Said Taghmaoui who has been in a number of anti-Israel movies.  Oh, and why is Channing Tatum–an American soldier and G.I. Joe–wearing a keffiyeh for like half the movie when he isn’t in a Muslim country or fighting Muslims anywhere in the movie?  To get a ton of Arab cha-ching, when this is shown in the Muslim world.  Cha-ching, whoredom.

The story?  An evil defense contractor from Scotland is selling weapons to NATO or presumably the U.S. and at the same time, he’s also the one sabotaging those and hiring criminal thugs to get the weapons.  Tatum and a Wayans brother play soldiers (presumably American soldiers–we’re never really told because America must be whitewashed to make money in foreign ticket sales), who are holding the briefcase of weapons known as “Nanomites.”

The nanomites are tiny organisms that destroy and eat up everything in sight turning it to dust, until ordered to stop.  Tatum and the Wayans brother join the elite “G.I. Joes–many of whom are foreigners–to get the weapons back.  Tatum’s ex-fiancee (Sienna Miller) is one of the evil crooks who’ve stolen the Nanomites and are threatening to use them to eat up cities.  Dennis Quaid is their commander.

The movie is stupid, and no one in it can act, save Quaid, who has a few lines, including the sagacious, “C’mon, c’mon, c’mon.”  A complete waste of time, unless you like endless shooting, action, and special effects that–despite their coolness–are boring as hell.

ONE MARX
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* Julie & Julia“–This started out as a light enjoyable Four-Reagan movie, but as time went by, declined to a Two-Reagan movie at best.  It intertwines two stories:  how Julia Child (Meryl Streep) became a chef in France in the late ’40s and early ’50s in Paris defying a tradition of mostly male French chefs and setting out to make a French cookbook for Americans, something that was novel at the time; and how Julie Powell (Amy Adams), a 20-something college grad working the phones and answering questions from 9/11 victims in New York spent a year making over 500 Julia Child recipes and blogging about it for Salon.com.

While it was somewhat charming and entertaining, this movie–essentially a bearable chick flick–was waaaay too long.  And Memo to Hollywood:  When you make a movie with people constantly eating in it, would it pain you to insist that at least just one of them would eat with their mouth closed.  Since none did, it was like a really bad date . . . except your savage date’s open mouth wasn’t across the table, it was huge on the big screen.  Gross.

Don’t go see this on an empty stomach (even if, like me, you are turned off by excessively rich French food and its preparation)–endless scenes of cooking, but why would I want to see that, when I can actually learn something from watching it on the Food Network.

While Meryl Streep is good and convincing as the high-pitched-voiced Julia Child, some of it was overplayed and over the top.  And it got annoying.   Even more annoying were the multiple anti-Republican jokes and constant harping on the McCarthy hearings and how they were “out to get” Julia Child’s husband and accused him of being gay.  Heck, I can believe that someone married to her (and they never had kids) could, indeed, be gay.  In fact, Stanley Tucci–who plays her husband–played Meryl Streep’s gay assistant in another recent movie the pair did together, “The Devil Wears Prada.”  So, it’s not a stretch.

Nor did I need to know that Julia Child allegedly said that a hot piece of pasta was “as hot as a stiff [DS edit:  rhymes with ‘rock’].”  Truly tasteless. Child is an American iconic chef.  No need to dirty her up and filthify the flick.

About a half hour could have been cut from this movie–particularly the neurotic parts in which Julie Powell constantly whines and then fights with her husband.  The movie’s message is that the husband is such a saint and that Powell is self-absorbed but comes to see what a great, supportive husband he is.  But, in real life, Julie Powell cheated on her husband after doing the 500-plus recipes.  I also didn’t need to know about Julia Child’s even weirder, gargantuan sister.  Who cares?  So what?  Added nothing to the movie and ate up time.

For guys whose wives drag ‘em to this, it’s a bearable, relaxing, somewhat charming movie.  But it’s ruined with politics, occasional dumb dirty jokes, and the arrogant slowness and length that made two hours seem like three, and every scene seem like the gazillionth ending.

TWO REAGANS
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*  “Ocean of Pearls“:  This movie is only showing in Detroit, New York, and Los Angeles and is written, directed, and financed by a Detroit area Sikh medical doctor, Sarab Neelam.  It’s a charming, touching story of a Sikh medical doctor who struggles against prejudice and his own identity to fit in, in America.

While I liked it, it overplays the level of bigotry in America and definitely overstates the alleged “overexuberance” of airport security and security officers’ treatment of Sikhs.  We don’t want Muslims (and the star of this movie is not a Sikh, he’s a Muslim–Omid Abtahi) pretending to be Sikhs and trying to get through security with weapons hidden in their turbans.  And I think many Sikhs would be as turned off as I was by a very disturbing scene in the movie where the Sikh doctor takes actions that are extremely sacrilege.

Plus it was funny to see Dennis Haskins a/k/a “Mr. Belding” from “Saved by the Bell” as a surgeon in a serious movie.  It made me laugh, but I got over it.

Still, I found the movie moving, because it demonstrates an important return and appreciation for tradition that one might explore forsaking, to instead discover increased value in the tradition.  I also found it interesting, since I have a fondness for the Sikh people who fight Muslim prejudice in India on a daily basis and have generally been very pro-Israel and definitely pro-Western.

Fast-paced, well written, and it kept my attention and interest throughout.

THREE REAGANS
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* A Perfect Getaway“:  This thriller movie is not so thrilling since I hated all of the annoying and cloying characters (and not in a fun, creepy way; just flat-out annoying.

Two newlyweds (Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich) are on their honeymoon on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai, where they are hiking to the beach. On their way, they meet two strange couples–the first couple have nasty tattoos and feel strange, and the second are a Southern couple, including a guy who has fanciful stories about being in special ops in Iraq. The honeymooners learn that a couple has murdered another couple in Honolulu and come to Kauai. Are one of these two weird couples the murderers? Will they honeymooners be killed?

I couldn’t care less if all of them were killed, plus I basically figured it out (everything other choice was too obvious), which makes the movie a waste of time.

Bloody and annoying, the “twist” at the end wasn’t exactly novel (it’s been done before and far better), and the movie was slow–even at just over an hour-and-a-half.  When I finally grew to like the two characters who are the targeted victims, the movie has already gotten way out of hand.  Lotsa blood and some gore, but not much in the way of salt and pepper to make it appetizing.  As “perfect” as rotten steak.  Disappointing.  And skipworthy.

ONE-HALF MARX
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29 Responses

Just might as well re-title it as “Jihad Joe.”

DS_ROCKS! on August 7, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Am I still being censured?

Nakruh on August 7, 2009 at 8:22 pm

GI Joe was suppsed to be an American hero-why get rid of it? I LOVE Ameerican Heroes-in fact, i’m getting a customized tag necklace to commerate one, a local guy from Patchogue made.

mindy abraham on August 7, 2009 at 8:50 pm

G.I. Joe always stood for an american hero. IT EVEN SAYS SO IN THE OLD SCHOOL CARTOONS DAMMIT!!

Wow did I see this disaster coming when I first saw the “meh” trailer.

Squirrel3D on August 7, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    The first GI Joe doll was based on Medal of Honor recipient, Marine hero, Mitchell Paige. He was an American born to Serbian immigrant parents in Pennsylvania. He was a Serbian Orthodox Christian and all around great man ALL his life!

    I actually met him shortly before his death a few years ago.

    What a dignified man!!

    Sewsalot on August 9, 2009 at 2:02 pm

“A bearable chick flick?” Why are you so against chick flicks, Debbie? Do you think women should be more like men?

N: Just the opposite. Regular readers know I think women should STOP being like men. That’s the problem with women today, and decrying the absurd blurring of gender lines is a constant them of this site. Regarding movies, I think chick flicks should stop being so dumb, predictable, sappy, vapid, and a waste of time. DS

nogre on August 8, 2009 at 3:02 am

For the most part, chick flicks are filled with vapid females, goofy males, and unrealistic romantic scenarios. (Notice I said most, not all.) No thanks. Guns and aliens for this chick!

As for GI Joe, I’m really disappointed but not surprised. I really wanted this to be another Iron Man type movie.

I read your review for Julie and Julia. The whole lack of table manners thing makes this movie an automatic FAIL for me!!! I CANNOT STAND any type of eating noise!!! If you cannot eat comfortably with your trap shut, then it’s time for a decongestant or a trip to the Ear-Nose-Throat doctor! I have two prescription toothpastes for hypersensitivity. That being said, I can eat ice cream or soup without slurping. I can chew gum without looking like the cover cow of Bovine Monthly. AND…if I need to lick my fingers, I can do so silently!
There is no way in hell I will pay to see this in the theater. Yes, I am petty. I don’t care. I hate bad table manners that much!!!

cirrus1701 on August 8, 2009 at 8:48 am

I hope the investors in “GI Schmoe” make a nice negative return on their money. What a great way to destroy a brand, they deserve their financial punishment.

ray on August 8, 2009 at 9:50 am

In spite of an appreciation for genuine critique of films, recognizing there are some actors with acting ability, it’s all par for the course.

Hollywood is full of ‘it’ and of themselves. Each rental, theater ticket, cd purchase, film festival involvement, is providing money for the Hollywood crowd to fund their favorite project: The dismantling of America from within.

Best recommendation: Limit your support, “just say no” more often, compare their products to purchasing illegal drugs off the street.

Smile on August 8, 2009 at 10:02 am

The bad guy in G.I. Joe is a defense contractor? That’s a shock (cough). Earth to Hollywood: Get some new villains! It’s not just that your constant capitalism-bashing is transparently anti-American, it’s also BORING!

Erik on August 8, 2009 at 11:05 am

Nice review on Ocean of Pearls – slight correction though – the lead actor is actually not a Muslim (he is Persian though and plays a convincing Sikh Indian).

S: Omid is a Muslim name, and the writer/director/producer, Dr. Sarab Neelam, acknowledged to me that Abtahi is Muslim. DS

Sabrina on August 8, 2009 at 1:47 pm

I hope your will review HURT LOCKER , Debbie.

49S: I already did, two weeks ago or so. Please do a search in my search engine and you’ll find it. DS

49smudge on August 8, 2009 at 8:27 pm

Debbie,

I didn’t know what “keffiyeh” were until I read your blog. So I did a Wikipedia search. I found out that they are functional accessories our Troops wear when defending our freedom. They have used this traditional Semetic garb to better adapt to harsh desert conditions.
What’s wrong with that? The Troops request them and even ask relatives and loved ones to send them in care packages. What’s wrong with depicting a smart warrior dressing appropriately for battle? Do you want our Troops to loose just so they can look a little less Islamic?

J: Talk about numbskulls. Did you bother reading the review? No, of course not. RIF–Reading Is Fundamental. As I said in the review, “since they are not fighting Muslims, why are they wearing keffiyehs?” What you wrote has nothing to do with this movie since they are neither in the Mid-East nor fighting Muslims. Get a fricking clue. And above all, learn how to read. Your premature articulation is very unappealing. DS

Justin on August 9, 2009 at 2:39 am

Okay movie but just not great visuals at all which bothered me.

Debt Reduction on August 9, 2009 at 2:52 am

Is it just me or does Debbie find any reason to hate Arabs/Muslims? A guy wears a keffiyeh and suddenly he’s a muslim? I’ve seen plenty of people wear those things as fashion. Does that make them America-Hating muslims? There’s more to life than identifying muslims. Personally, I think the world would be a better place without Islam, but you can’t hate on them when you’re Pro-Israel. It boils down to preference. Muslims prefer Islam and Jews prefers Judeism. This difference makes for interesting world events. That’s all. Niether side is right or wrong.

YM: Maybe they should have worn swastikas, b/c anyone denouncing the wearing of the Swastika is full of hate. And neither side–the Nazis or those who opposed them–is right or wrong. This difference–and the people shoved in ovens–made for interesting world events. [To those @ Media Matters and other idiots, I don’t really mean this, but “Your Mom” does. DS

Your Mom on August 9, 2009 at 4:52 am

    When the zero-bama gets the sharia laws placed in force in the USA , may YOU be the very first woman to get a cliterectomy!

    Sewsalot on August 9, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Not to defend what they have done to G.I. Joe, I will say that in the original story (the 1980’s G.I. Joe) one of the main bad guys, Destro, was a Scottish arms dealer that looked to his best interest. I know it is a tired theme, but this is one of the few original story elements the producers kept.

Gideon on August 9, 2009 at 9:16 am

@Your Mom

A “keffiyeh” is a symbol that is tightly tied with that culture. Wearing it ignorantly with knowledge of the Islamic culture and Jihad specifically is naive and ignorant.

“Niether side is right or wrong.” That’s moral relativism. There is right and wrong in the world. In modern society, there seems to be only one “culture” that openly wishes the death of the western “dogs” and the Jew “pigs” (or is it the Western pigs and the Jew dogs, I can never keep that straight). Only one culture that seems to revel in it its honor killing of young girls who want to wear pants and get education. Only one culture that kills movie directors who make movies against that culture. Or riots for four days because of cartoons. Or blows up two large business buildings in Manhattan. Or… you fill in the rest.

verbatim on August 9, 2009 at 12:00 pm

Justin, most Americans are clueless about the keffiyeh, specifically the one that Arafat wore on his head all the times in public or private appearances. The Arafat keffiyeh is a very popular fashion symbol in the Arab-Muslim world, unfortunately most people in the West are unaware that it is the fashionable symbol of Islamic terrorism and jihad. You wear the keffiyeh, you’re supporting Islamic terrorism and jihad against Jews, Americans and Western lives, even support outright terror and murder of them. Clueless Americans wearing the keffiyeh think it looks cool and hip on them without realizing what it’s really meant. Some American soldiers refused the keffiyeh when these were sent to them while they were in Iraq or Afghanistan because they were told or know what it means.

To “Your Mom”: You just made yourself truly clueless (and naive). I guess someday you’ll get a hard dose of reality check.

Bobby'sBrain on August 9, 2009 at 1:37 pm

The original GI Joe doll was based on a real American WWII, Marine hero named Mitchell Paige. He was a Serbian-American, Serbian Orthodox Christian and Medal of Honor recipient.

He was also an inventor and an engineer in later years.

He was the model for the VERY first GI Dolls.

This movie does a disservice to ALL true America heros!!

I hate hollywood or hollyweird as it should be named.

Sewsalot on August 9, 2009 at 1:54 pm

Palin’s backside looks like a large moose.

That’s good eatin’

Mary

MaryHarman on August 9, 2009 at 2:42 pm

Leave it to libtards to sling the mud in a movie review. I hate you people.

Joe on August 9, 2009 at 2:58 pm

Debbie, I don’t know any Sikhs, but I do feel a mutual respect with the Hindu Indians I meet. There is an unpoken appreciation for the others culture, American experience and disdain for Islam. And a lot of their girls are worthy of facebooking.

A1 on August 9, 2009 at 4:09 pm

Can someone please explain to me the point of the “Julie” part in Julie & Julia? So she decides to go through every recipe in a cookbook and this somehow helps her find herself? I am a twenty something, not ecstatic about my life or where its going, and I love Spiderman. Therefore I am going to read all 600 issues of Spiderman and write a blog about how the experience changed my life and helped me discover who I am.

Hopewell on August 9, 2009 at 8:16 pm

My 10 year old boy liked it. Good guys win.

Daniel Jacobsen on August 10, 2009 at 1:31 pm

Debbie Schlussel seems to be a racist bitch. You hate GI JOE because it isn’t “American” enough? LOL. If you were a true American you would not have made such a biased review based on your pro-Israel stance.

The genocide in Palestine is so great that the Israel flag patch on Israeli soldiers’ arms now equate to a Nazi swastika on German soldiers.

Your twisted beliefs aside, GI Joe was a good movie. The unity of 10 different nations (including Arab nations) is what America strives to achieve. Of course, such international unity goes against the twisted genocide that Israel is committing against the Palestinian people to steal their land.

Laughable on July 19, 2010 at 3:45 pm

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