August 22, 2008, - 3:05 pm

Weekend Box Office: Lotsa Duds

By Debbie Schlussel
Lots of garbage debuting at the movies, this weekend. Yes, I sat through hours of this crapola so you don’t have to. And, ironically, the relative (and I stress the word, relative) best is made by two of the most unlikely people. (My review of “The Rocker” was posted earlier in the week.)
* “The Longshots“: Who’da thunk that obscene rocker Fred Durst (of the group, Limp Bizkit) and foul, racist, anti-cop, scumbag rapper Ice Cube would make the most palatable and family-friendly fare of the weekend?
But they did. Durst directs and Ice Cube stars and produces in this film based–very loosely–on the true-life story of Jasmine Plummer, the first female Pop Warner (youth football) quarterback.
Normally, I’m against these movies about female quarterbacks. We’ve seen a million of ’em–from “Quarterback Princess,” Helen Hunt’s TV movie when I was a kid to, now, this. But one thing in the movie’s favor: It’s not a feminist movie or pro-Title IX celluloid propaganda. I like this aspect of it–that it’s not in-your-face.


Still, it’s hackneyed and filled with the usual sports cliches. And the most objectionable thing about it is that the story is a lie against fathers. In this movie, the father has abandoned his wife and daughter and is a loser and a jerk. In real life, I’m told, Plummer’s father was there and her family was intact.
Then, there’s Keke Palmer, who ably plays Plummer in the movie. The talented young actress looks like a model and her character dreams of becoming one. But the real-life Plummer is far more masculine. She was a national youth wrestling champion and said she chose football because she didn’t like to play with Barbie dolls.
But there is truth to one thing. Her team, with her as quarterback, did reach the finals of the Pop Warner football tournament in Florida.
While it is full of trite sports movies lessons, it was overall a charming movie for kids and their families. But, like I said, we’ve grown tired of the manufactured “evil father” tripe coming from Hollywood, so explain to your kids that that part is pure fiction.
* “Death Race“: This extremely bloody, violent, and just plain horrible remake of the 1970s movie “Death Race 2000,” is nothing like the David Carradine/Sylvester Stallone original, in which racers drove across the country and got points for running people over (including crazy fans who set themselves up to be hit).
Instead, this one is set in a prison, where Jason Statham (who plays a has-been race car driver down on his luck) was sent after he was framed for murdering his wife.
This movie is preposterous. Statham is told by warden Joan Allen that if he races in and wins the “Death Race” (a televised auto race to the death among competing prisoners), he’ll go free.
There’s really not much more to this, other than that it’s sickening, disgusting, just plain stupid, and a complete mess.
Skip at all cost. Ridiculous.

* “The House Bunny“: “Revenge of the Nerds” called. It wants its plot back. Where that movie–about nerds in a frat house in college becoming cool and popular–was hilarious and even had a weird charm to it, this is just a bummer.
What happens when a Playboy playmate (Anna Faris) hoping to become the Miss November centerfold gets kicked out of the Playboy Mansion by Hugh Hefner? She becomes homeless . . . and gets a job as a housemother for a nerdy sorority and makes them cool and beautiful (well, sort of–we’re talkin’ Demi Moore’s homely daughter and another actor I’m convinced is a man in drag).
Any movie that features Hugh Hefner, his three girlfriend playmates, AND Demi Moore in speaking roles . . . well, you know it can’t be good.
Like I said, it’s basically a bad remake of “Revenge of the Nerds,” using sorority sisters instead of frat boys, with a Playboy bunny character thrown in for bad measure.
Mildly entertaining, but mostly just dumb. The jokes are mostly stupid. I laughed less than a handful of times.
Best line in the movie:

You’re 27? That’s like 59 in Bunny years.

Skipworthy. Rent “Revenge of the Nerds” (“Oh, No, the nerds saw me naked!”) instead.
* “Elegy“: I sort of liked the message of this movie about an empty, hedonistic professor whose life is basically full of sad, empty relationships. But it was kinda like watching salami-making to get there.
This chick-flick May-very December romance movie gave me the creeps. It stars 64-year-old (pro-Palestinian) Ben Kingsley as David Kepesh, a cultural critic who supports the concept of “emancipated manhood”–which basically means sleeping around and eschewing marriage, which he thinks was his one big mistake in life (he divorced after having a son).
Kepesh has lots of empty sex with students and other young women (as well as the older Patricia Clarkson), but gets captivated by one student, Consuela (Penelope Cruz). He falls in love, but he feels foolish as an older man in love with a younger woman and is embarrassed to attend her college graduation party.
It was very hard for me to believe the romance between this senior citizen and the much younger woman who was once his student. It not only gave me the creeps, but some of the dialogue was more suited to a porno flick. Yuck:

Kingsley: You have the most beautiful breasts I’ve ever seen.
Cruz: You like them?
Kingsley: I worship them.

Or this:

Kingsley: This girl will never once tell me she yearns for my c-ck.

Or this scintillating discussion of Cruz’s past boyfriends’ turn-ons:

Cruz: He liked to watch me menstruate.

Then, there is a comment about pulling a tampon out.
Didn’t need to hear the gratuitous Kingsley comment that Cruz’s “Cuban, Ronald-Reagan-loving-parents” were the proud parents of someone who engaged in obliging this “turn-on.” Now, it’s Ronald Reagan’s fault that some fictional Cuban characters had extremely disgusting sexual habits?
Classy script.
Now, do you understand why I find this movie creepy (in so many ways)?
And it frequently seemed like the movie was more of an excuse to show extended shots of Cruz’s naked chest, more than anything.
The many close-up shots of Kingsley’s giant nose didn’t help the movie. (Whatta schnozz!) Nor did the scenes of Cruz with mid-length hair and bangs and suddenly long hair. Or the shots of the part Asian and very ethnic Kingsly with his “son,” the very waspy-looking, whitebread actor, Peter Sarsgaard.
The movie was mostly sad and depressing and throws you a completely different story about 20 minutes toward the end, which seems like an entirely different movie.
The best dialogue in the movie is delivered by Dennis Hopper, who plays Kingsley’s fellow womanizing professor and poet:

Kingsley: For a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, you display an incredible lack of imagination.
Hopper: That’s why they gave me the damn prize.

Or this:

Hopper: You have to stop worrying about growing old and worry about growing up.

Mildly entertaining, though sort of Wood Allen-esque. Very depressing, but a great message about growing up versus growing old: They are two different things, and the Hugh Hefner lifestyle is emotionally bankrupt in the end.


*Hamlet 2:Shakespeare is turning over in his grave.
One of the dumbest, crudest, worst movies of the year. English actor Steve Coogan plays a washed-up, loser actor who teaches drama in an Arizona public high school. His students are mostly Hispanic with some bigots. They don’t give a damn. He is with a loser wife or girlfriend who’s trying to get pregnant. He’s putting on a stupid musical in which Hamlet goes back in time on a spaceship. Oh, and they make fun of Jesus Christ. It was supposed to be a comedy, but simply wasn’t funny. Not even barely.
This movie seemed like a fifth grader wrote it and inserted lots of expletives. The only good part was Amy Poehler playing a typical ACLU lawyer biotch. But even that was overdone, and lasted for only like five minutes total of this whole exercise in vomit.
Uggh. Completely absurd. And a complete waste of ten bucks and two hours.
* “Stealing America: Vote by Vote“: This left-wing documentary is the same old stuff you’ve been hearing about how Republicans allegedly stole the election in 2004 (and 2000). While there were a few interesting things I learned, it was mostly the stuff you’ve already heard over and over and over and over. Not sure how this is a “documentary,” since it’s so one-sided. When the heck will they move on from this whining?
But here are a few interesting points from this boring, repetitive movie:
* Republican Congressman Tom Feeney hired someone to write a program that automatically switches someone’s vote away from what they really chose. Then, he was a Florida legislator. Scary guy.
* Anti-Israel, pan-Arabist, pro-Obama faux-Republican Senator Chuck Hagel owned the company that counted votes in Nebraska, including the votes for his re-election race. Hello . . . ? That’s a huge problem, and no-one cared.
* Exit polling companies, when their exit polls are wrong, change their exit polls to reflect actual polls. Isn’t that cheating? How are they “exit polls” if you changed the results you got when people “exited” the polls?
And finally, there was the repeate of Al Gore supporters’ whine that if all the votes in Florida were counted he would have won. Maybe so, but he and his people chose not to count the entire state. Their fault. They weren’t cheated out of it. They chose.
On one thing I do strongly agree with the moviemakers’ apparent viewpoint: Since I ran for the Michigan House twice and lost by just one vote the first time, I, myself, am against the use of electronic or computerized voting machines. As the movie showed, there’s no record of the actual votes, and it’s very easy to write programs that change the results.
We should rely on paper ballots (not the punchcard kind–I experienced the hanging chad problem a decade before the Bushies in Florida did). We should use the ballots, on which you connect the arrow to the candidate of your choice or fill in the circle. Then, there’s a concrete record easy to recount and hard to fake.

10 Responses

1. You are right regarding Chuck Hagel – the man is a dirt bag
2. The movie “Stealing America Vote By Vote” sounds like a bunch of whinging crybaby left wing losers.
3. I do not find Penelope Cruz attractive at all and it also seems to me that Ben Kingsley is now in every damn movie that comes out lately.

Ripper on August 22, 2008 at 7:35 pm

Here’s some more of Ice Cube’s great work. I won’t be going to any of his movies.
“Bust a Glock; devils get shot Ôø? when G_d give the word me herd like the buffalo through the neighborhood; watch me blast Ôø? I’m killing more crackers than Bosnia-Herzegovina, each and everyday Ôø? don’t bust until you see the whites of his eyes, the whites of his skin Ôø? Louis Farrakhan Ôø? Bloods and CRIPS, and little old me, and we all getting ready for the enemy”
“Enemy”; Ice Cube, Lethal Injection
“Deal with the devil with my motherf***ing steel [handgun] Ôø? white man is something I tried to study, but I got my hands bloody, yeah Ôø? I met Farrakhan and had dinner”
“When Will They Shoot”; Ice Cube, The Predator

John Harper on August 23, 2008 at 5:12 am

It’s only really been the last two ears that I have had to slow way down on the movie viewing. Nothing to see. I just picked up Batman Begins for $10 at Kroger. Before I’d be paying $20 on the day it was released.
Kingsley is a weird actor that tries reallllly hard to artsie and doesn’t pull it off well.
Ice cube can write about whitey all he wants but he is still a sell out. He married a white ho and played a homicide detective on t.v. even though that series kinda sucked he still wears around a po po badge.
When hollywierd gets it right, and they do it rarely, they come out with 300 or Batman. Lefties need to realize that Thin Red Line sucked and Saving Private Ryan was an instant classic.

samurai on August 23, 2008 at 9:58 am

Ice Tea is the bigger sell out, my mistake. Ice cube made a bunch of money rapping about f–king the police too. A great service to his fellow young blacks that decided to turn to a life inside prison and street gangs. He can barely stop his face from turning into the famous scowl that used to look out at the public from his cd covers. He’s trying to be a funny angry black guy. Too bad the po po didn’t bust a cap in his ass back in the day.

samurai on August 23, 2008 at 10:04 am

I saw several movies this summer, thus I had to sit through most of these trailers. My impressions from the trailers:
House Bunny: Porn star pornifys achieving girls
Hamlet 2: Art is defaming Christ and Christianity
Ice Cube: Girls and boys are the same
Death Race: Wardens bad, murderers & rapists good
All of these fit the leftwing template.

Rick on August 23, 2008 at 1:03 pm

Debbie, I just tried to watch “Made of Honor” (don’t ask) and got to the part where the useless leading man was confiding in his improbable urban/black guy friend and I finally had enough. That was after he had expressed love for a random dog and juggled wedding china plates. They don’t make enough red Twizzlers to get throught that bad a movie.

Anonymous1 on August 24, 2008 at 1:55 am

I won’t watch anti-male movies any more. I hardly see the point of them. They surely are not good for the kids.

Pat on August 24, 2008 at 3:06 am

Aww, I like Death Race 2000 (the David Carradine vesion). High camp value and deliciously sick humour.The guy who playes the announcer also played disc jockey “Screamin’ Steve” in the Ramones’ “Rock and ROll High School”

dm60462 on August 24, 2008 at 3:04 pm

Finally saw George Lucas’ “Clone Wars” and THAT is one of the best movies out there, definitely better than Batman:)

EminemsRevenge on August 25, 2008 at 7:18 am

Clone Wars: The graphics style made the characters look like the old 60’s wire controlled puppet cartoons. And Jabba Jr. was almost as annoying as Jar Jar Binks.
Batman: While the Joker was great, Batman has several themes I despise; The fact that good can’t engage evil on its level without becoming evil, and that the prison ship people were more virtuous than the regular citizen ship people.
I almost barfed.

Rick on August 25, 2008 at 10:01 am

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