February 24, 2012, - 5:35 pm

Wknd Box Office: Act of Valor, Wanderlust, Gone

By Debbie Schlussel

I can’t really recommend any of the new movies debuting in theaters, this weekend.  But here’s what I saw:

*  “Act of Valor“:  You’ve probably already read my full review column on this trash.  What could have been a decent made-for-TV movie with real-life Navy SEALS trying their hands at acting, instead became an anti-Semitic diatribe in which the main terrorist financier and torturer of CIA agents is, not Muslim, but Jewish.  No thanks.  I’ve had enough Goebbels-quality cinema to last a century, but Leni Riefenstahl would be proud.  Read my complete review.


*  “Wanderlust“:  At times, this movie was extremely funny.  And I give credit to any movie that makes funny of hippies, left-wing morons, animal rights activists, free love advocates, vegans, and other forms of New Age wacko-ism.  This movie did all that and even exposed a hippie “leader”/”guru as a complete fraud and charlatan.

However, it went a little too far for me and was kinda gross.  A baby being raised with its placenta still attached and at the table at dinner, all kinds of feces and bathroom jokes, and other assorted bathroom humor/eeuuw-inducing stuff–yuck!  Ditto for a nudist’s penis in everyone’s face and scenes with lots of senior citizen nudists running around.  It’s a sagging, disgusting scene I can’t get out of my mind.  And the movie was more than a little annoying, which pretty much sums up how I feel about star Jennifer Aniston.  She’s annoying, and she plays herself in every failed movie she does.  It gets old.  I’ve had enough of Rachel from “Friends,” still desperate to stay relevant years later.

Aniston and Paul Rudd play a New York couple who buy a “micro-loft,” which is a euphemism for tiny studio apartment that costs a fortune.  But, right after that, Rudd loses his job and Aniston’s documentary about arctic penguins with testicular cancer doesn’t sell to HBO.  They are broke and must move out of the apartment and seek work elsewhere, while staying at Rudd’s annoying rich brother’s house in suburban Atlanta.  On the way, they get stuck at a “bed and breakfast” in the middle of nowhere, called Elysium.  It turns out to be a hippie commune.   And, after a brief time there, they decide to give the commune and hippie life a try, though Aniston is more into it than Rudd. 

Being the only intelligent, normal, and sane person amidst these hippie nutcases is difficult for Rudd and the source of much of the movie’s comedy. But he’s pretty much the only likable person in the entire movie. Aniston’s character was selfish back in New York and she’s selfish at the commune. She’s the reason they were stuck in the commune in the first place. I, frankly, couldn’t understand why Rudd’s character didn’t quickly dump her, and I wanted him to. Wives like her are the reason a lot of men get into troubled scenarios like this.

Not my kind of movie and too much that is just plain gross. Plus the ending was cheesy and so very predictable.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “Gone“: This was not screened for critics, but like an idiot, I went to the Midnight show last night, so I could post a review of it for you, today. When will I learn that almost all of the movies not screened for us are crap? It’s the occasional good ones that keep making me enough of a sucker to go see the ones which have trailers that appeal to me. Sadly, the trailer is almost always a major league lie.

This was long, slow, boring, and stupid. It involves a cockamamie, uninteresting plot centering around Amanda Seyfried, who plays a victim of a serial killer that got away. She lives with her college-student sister in Portland, and is constantly looking to find the pit in the woods from which she escaped her attacker. The police believe she made the whole story up and there is no serial killer. But she believes the serial killer is watching her, so he can finally put her out of her misery. Her sister goes missing and she searches for the killer.

Believe me, when I tell you that the description makes it sound far more intriguing and exciting than it is. I struggled to stay awake because it was that bad.

Skipworthy to the max.


Watch the trailer. . .

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27 Responses

Wanderlust looks so promising (making fun of hippies), and then it sounds like it gets totally ruined by unnecessary gross-out humor. What is it with Hollywood, are the studios all run by twelve year old boys? Uh hang on a second.. Actually that’s not really fair on twelve year olds who at least have the excuse that they are still kids.

In fairness to Aniston she has played against type and well I might add. She was very good in the excellent ‘The Good Girl’ and I thought she was hilarious as a psychotic sexual predator dentist in ‘Horrible Bosses’.

Larry in Tel Aviv on February 25, 2012 at 2:42 am

As I have mentioned in one of DS’s previous posts, and after reading some of the comments regarding THE-SOON-TO-BE-FORGOTTEN-MOVIE-THAT-SHALL-NOT-BE-NAMED-NOR-SHOULD-HAVE-NEVER-BEEN-MADE, I plan to do something more constructive on my less-than-one-day weekend…

Watch porn.

The Reverend Jacques on February 25, 2012 at 3:40 am

    “Lady, you’re the one who wanted the pizza delivery?”


    “Well, here’s the pizza, and here’s the pepperoni (zip)!”

    Yeah, I think you’re right, Rev.

    In addition, I met Christy Canyon once, and I’m an acquaintance of Cindy Wood, the Playmate of the 1970s. Either lady I would rather spend non-sexual time around than these producers and directors of that SEAL film.

    Occam's Tool on February 25, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Rev- your comments just crack me up! Thanks for the day brightener.

Pats on February 25, 2012 at 7:31 am

If you want to see liberals making fun of liberals without the grossness, watch Portlandia on the IFC. Very funny.

adam on February 25, 2012 at 9:57 am

Former muslim Obama’s groveling and apologizing to barbarian racist muslims is not working AGAIN! His leftwing general yesterday told American troops to NOT seek revenge.

This POS President must be removed/impeached NOW!

KABUL, Afghanistan – The commander of NATO and U.S. forces says that all NATO personnel are being recalled from Afghan ministries following an attack at the Interior Ministry in Kabul.

Gen. John Allen says staff are being recalled “for obvious force protection reasons.” He says NATO is investigating Saturday’s shooting and will pursue all leads to find the person responsible for the attack.

Feb. 25, 2012: Afghan policemen march towards an anti-U.S. demonstration in Mehterlam, Laghman province east of Kabul, Afghanistan.

Two U.S. military advisers were killed Saturday at the Afghanistan Interior Ministry in Kabul, though accounts of what led to the clash were unclear.

Contradictory accounts emerged out of Kabul following the shooting. Initially, reports from the country indicated that the shooting was a result of an altercation between Westerners. But a report by the Wall Street Journal, citing one Western official in Kabul, said the two high-ranking advisers were killed by an Afghan policeman who was upset about the burning of Korans earlier this week at a U.S. military base.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/02/25/2-nato-troops-killed-at-ministry-afghan-officials-say/?test=latestnews#content#ixzz1nQHIVNog

bill on February 25, 2012 at 11:22 am

Thanks Debbie,

I refuse to support the radical Hollywood movies who have an agenda to brainwash and not make great movies. I was watching some movies on Turner Classic Movies from the 40’s and WHAT A DIFFERENCE. This older movie had great dialog, attractive actors, and a good story that left you feeling good at the end.

Hollywood went from being patriotic to being radical. And look at the so called “actors” puny Brad Pitt. Once we had Kirk Douglas, John Wayne, and Clark Gable. Stars with class and dignity. DO NOT SUPPORT HOLLYWOOD ANYMORE. I also tell everyone to drop HBO as they support the radical left. Bill Marr just gave millions to Barry for re-election. What does that tell you.

Fred on February 25, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    I’ve seen hundreds of those old “patriotic” movies we’re all supposed to fawn over. Sorry, but I’m not buying into that Michael Medved-inspired party line. Aside from being, for the most part, poorly lit, edited and acted, they weren’t terribly patriotic.

    rocker on February 25, 2012 at 3:28 pm

This is a sample of the “old Hollywood” when we had class, dignity and they made better movies. Wow have things changed and not for the better.


Fred on February 25, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Now do you all see why I haven’t been to the movies in nearly 4 years?

Save your money, get a netflix subscription or like Fred said watch movies on TCM and such.

Squirrel3D on February 25, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Squirrel, I haven’t gone to the movie theaters in 10 years, the last time that happen, I was on a date with this girl from my old church I that I used to attend to at the time.

You’re right bro, save you’re money. And as The Reverned Jacques said in his message, I’d rather watch pornography or do something constructive instead.

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

Sean R. on February 25, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Thanks for enduring the reviews Debbs,unlike my fellow post-ers I do go to the movies and I do use your reviews a lot,even old reviews to buy dvds,you are tbe queen of movie reviews.

Juan on February 25, 2012 at 2:10 pm

When did Obama convert to Christianity? His father was a muslim, his mother after divorcing his father married another muslim. And Obama himself attended muslim madrassa religious schools for several years in Indonesia. 2 questions? 1-When did he convert? 2- Why did muslims here and all over not deal with him like they do all other apostes of their religion?

bill on February 25, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    “Why did muslims here and all over not deal with him like they do all other apostes of their religion?”

    Because he’s doing the work for them. They have no reason to kill him, unfortunately.

    Jeremy on February 25, 2012 at 5:35 pm

The police in “Gone” were probably correct in viewing the entire matter as a bizarre fantasy. As for the sister who disappeared, I can guess that it was an escape from a psychotic relative rather than an actual disappearance. It is a convenient way to dump someone without having to go through the histrionics of parting.

worry01 on February 25, 2012 at 8:31 pm

There is that something about J. Anniston.

She is the definition of je ne sais quoi.

Imagine most of her movies, with anyone else in the same role, it would be hard to get your arms around the epic fail.

I never miss any of her movies and will see this one too.

Brad Pitt’s most recent decision, to dump 14 million dollars in a shithole at 43rd and Tracy, (here in Kansas City.) in an effort to acquire some Hollywood white savior cred, should work out about like his decision to dump Jenniferr Anniston for that harpy Angelina Jolie and go kidnapping children outta 3rd world garbage dumps so he can have a United Nations Family Reality Show after smoking 5 packs a day, when it finally puts him in a wheel chair.

Jen got a pretty good script in “The Good Girl”, and as bad as the reviews were for that trash with Adam Sandler in it, I can’t quit looking and listening to her.

Hey, she isn’t as cool as you Debbie, but she IS cool.

chuck on February 26, 2012 at 9:12 am

@ Chuck she is known here as Palestina Jollie.

Juan on February 26, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Both Palestina Jollie and J Anniston are beautiful,but if I had my choice I d pick Sarah Palin then Jennifer Anniston….Palestina? beautifiul yes but no thanks.

Juan on February 26, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Arctic penguins? Don’t think so.

Dan on February 26, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Juan, I like you’re choice dude, here’s my take, yes both Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Anniston are attracting looking women, if I had my pick, I’ll pick “Veena Malik” over Jolie and Anniston!

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

Sean R. on February 26, 2012 at 5:16 pm

One question. Is Jennifer Aniston nude in this movie?

Doc Holliday on February 26, 2012 at 6:28 pm

Thanks for the reviews, Debbie. I won’t be seeing any of these movies. I did see “Safe Houses” and it was indeed a very good movie.

JeffE on February 26, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Sunday’s my usual movie day, and this week I went out and saw the four new ones that came out. One of them was “Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds” which Debbie didn’t review (I notice Debbie often doesn’t review movies targeted to black audiences and doesn’t usually review Tyler Perry films in particular. She made an exception with his film “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide…”, and for good reason, since that was a fierce Marxist attack on conservatives. Sometimes the reviews of the bad movies are more important than the ones of good ones–as, for example, this week with her review of “Act of Valor”).

I like Perry’s movies in general, especially his so-called “dramadies” which are really just complicated relationship films. My favorite of these was “Why Did I Get Married Too” (which most critics panned). What I like about Perry’s movies in general is that 1) their values are middle class ones involving character traits like loyalty and fortitude in the face of stress and 2) whites aren’t demonized in his movies (not even in the “Colored Girls” one) even though there are many chances to do so.

This latest dramadie was fairly typical. The film promoted middle class values like decency and ambition. Whites were portrayed sympathetically. There were lots of well-drawn character types each reacting to different situations in their own personal way. All of this I liked. The basic plot was the fairy tale Cinderella one used in “Pretty Woman” and “Maid in Manhattan.” What I didn’t like about the film was the main female character played by Thandie Newton. She played an angry black woman, very defensive and confrontational, with a chip-on-her-shoulder attitude that the rules didn’t apply to her because she was struggling with rent and raising a child. This is a stereotype of black women in general, and maybe Perry thought he was creating something in the way of an archetype. In any case, she wasn’t very appealing, at least to me–though perhaps black women in the audience might have been able to identify with her. So that made me personally not like the film as much.

Burke on February 27, 2012 at 2:09 pm

I also saw “Wanderlust,” and I found some scenes funny, too, such as the drive to Atlanta and the scene where Rudd tries to prop up his confidence in front of a mirror. Generally, though, I didn’t like this film.

There is a type of comedy becoming more common (“Our Idiot Brother” was another of these) which appears to attack the extreme excesses of the counterculture even as it embraces middle-of-the-road liberalism. That was the case here. This is the kind of complacent, self-back-patting liberalism that argues that good dope is a fine thing, yes, and SUVs and greedy land developers are definitely evil, but living in a commune without cell phones on a vegan diet is another matter all together. I’m not fond of films that present yuppie New York liberalism as being somehow the balanced and mainstream choice to make.

(But there was another satire of hippies that I particularly liked because it was so completely merciless: South Park’s “Die, Hippie, Die.”)

Burke on February 27, 2012 at 2:59 pm

I also saw “Act of Valor” and thought it had some merit as Debbie and some other sympathetic critics have pointed out. Any positive of the film, though, was completely obliterated by the screenplay which made a rich Jew the financial backer of an evil terrorist plot. That is outrageous and Debbie is right to call the filmmakers out on it. A commenter above who writes, “There are some bad Jews,” misses the point. The point isn’t that it’s not possible for a Jew to be involved in a terrorist plot; the point is that it doesn’t actually happen in the real world, and hinting that it does is phony misdirection.

I go back to the movie “Source Code” which Debbie panned last year. This would have been entertaining sci fi except that, being built around a terrorist plot point, it of course became necessary to absolve any Muslims of wrongdoing. What was particularly interesting in the film wasn’t just that the eventual villain turned out to be a white Tea Party-type kook, but that, a little earlier, fully fifteen minutes of the movie was devoted to showing that Jake Gyllenhaal the hero first suspected a Muslim-looking character (Pakistani?) but that turned out to be a red herring since the Muslim suspect was completely blameless. In other words, the film devoted a large amount of time to pushing an agenda of proving not only that Muslims are blameless, but also that being suspicious of them is downright stupid.

Burke on February 28, 2012 at 6:10 am

I also saw “Gone,” and I think I know why the film didn’t work. It tries to blend two genres, the lurid one about the male predator (as in “Kiss the Girls”) and the mystery one about an unreliable main character who may be hallucinating–or maybe not (as in “Unknown” and “The Vanishing”). Lurid plots are in themselves usually boring, which is why I dislike James Patterson adaptations. So that’s a strike against the film from the start. Mystery plots, though, are intriguing, at least to me. However, in this case, to make the mystery more convincing, the Seyfried character is made intentionally unlikable and weird (for example, she beats up her sparring partner for no good reason). That way, we are supposed to be suspicious that she is unhinged and the mystery about what is real will deepen. Unfortunately, it’s hard to watch a film about an obsessed, unlikable woman, even if she does have saucer-sized eyes. Also, to deepen the mystery, a bunch of clues are thrown in which all turn out to be wince-worthy red herrings, and that’s frustrating.

In the end (caution: spoiler), half the critics I read argue that Seyfried is hallucinating (including commenter worrier01 above), and half believe the predator was real. I fall on the side who believe the predator was real, because the photos at the end that the detective receives prove there were real victims. Otherwise the photo doesn’t make sense. The fact that Seyfried “admitted” to the police that she made everything up of course proves nothing; she needed an alibi because she had just cold-bloodedly torched the bad guy and she didn’t want to go to jail for the rest of her life.

Burke on February 28, 2012 at 7:13 am

I was at a screening for Act of Valor. I fell asleep about a half hour into the movie, and ultimately ended up walking out of the screening about an hour and ten minutes into it.

I agree I thought it was novel to have real-life Navy SEALS acting in the movie, but they all felt wooden and stiff. It wasn’t a case of art imitating life at all.

My decision to leave in the middle of the movie, which I never do no matter how bad the movie is, sounds like it was warranted.

trewsdetroit on March 2, 2012 at 3:26 pm

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