Sunday, March 11, 2007

It's Craptastic!

Hello everyone!

I've never attempted to write a movie review before. To be honest, it's never seemed important to me to do so. I like movies, but I'm not terribly interested in reading what someone else thought about them. The movie reviews section is usually not the first section of a newspaper that I go to. In fact, only when I have nothing better to do and all I have to entertain me is the newspaper, and all that's left is movie reviews, sports, and the home and garden section, only then do I even read any movie reviews. And that's only after I've finished counting ceiling tiles.

But last night, I watched one movie that has inspired me to write a review. Not because it was good, but because it was the single most disappointing crapfest I've ever had the displeasure of seeing. I'm talking, of course, about this steaming pile of turd:

I really wanted to like this movie. I enjoyed "Get Shorty", the precursor, and this sequel was loaded with actors I enjoy. So I figured, can't miss, right?

Wrong!

Right from the get go, it's clear that this movie is going to be horrendous. They don't even try to hide it either. Chili Palmer (John Travolta) is now a big movie producer. He's driving around with his friend Tommy (James Woods) in the first of many not so subtle Pulp Fiction rip-offs, while complaining about how he regretted making a bad sequel, in this case "Get Lost" which followed "Get Leo". They were obviously trying to go for a hip and edgy self-reference, but instead they basically admitted to the audience how much the movie was going to suck. Tongue in cheek? More like tongue in rectum.

Oh, and get this. Travolta's long time buddy gets gunned down, but then Travolta starts banging his wife (Uma Thurman) within a week. It would have been sooner, but the bad guys interrupted the first kiss. At least wait until after the funeral! The body is still warm for crying out loud!

Basically, Travolta decides he wants out of the movie business because it's too corporate, so he decides to go into the music business? ¿Qué? Wha-wha-what? Is this guy suddenly so stupid that he thinks the music industry is not corporate? What a maroon!

Coincidently, his buddy's widow owns a small, indie record label. So Travolta meets this tired cliché of a beautiful, young, struggling singer (Christina Milian), AKA "Miss Meal Ticket" who has "tons of talent" and just needs a chance. Now, I won't comment on her talent because having talent isn't necessarily a requirement to be in the music business, nor to star in a movie.

But the problem is Travolta uses his connections so he can get tickets to a Laker's game at the Staples Center and sit next to Steven Tyler (Steven Tyler) and get his girlfriend who used to do Aerosmith's laundry to convince Tyler to listen to the singer's demo and then to let her open for Aerosmith and sing a duet with him the next night at the same Staples Center. It's okay if you have to read that sentence again--I'll wait.

Travolta also uses his connections to convince "the best music video director in town" (Seth Green) to direct her video. Then he teams up with some big-shot R&B record producer (Cedric the Entertainer) who had previously been after Travolta to pay the money Travolta's buddy owed before he was killed by the Russian Mob, whom he also owed money to.

So what part of the above screams "not corporate"? The same part that screams "convoluted"? I guess they had to find some way to work in the tons of product placement in the film.

Also, the singer is under contract to the "totally original" character of a white guy who thinks he's black (Vince Vaughn) and his boss (Harvey Keitel), a huge, rich record label owner. Vaughn's character was identical to the pimp he played a few years prior during a Saturday Night Live skit. That character was old and tired before the skit was over--a skit that was better written than this movie. Anyway, Vaughn treats the girl like crap (because that's apparently what black people do) and has her singing in the Viper Room for next to no money, before Travolta rescues her, drawing the ire of Vaughn, blah, blah, blah.

But here's the thing, if this girl is so talented and marketable, why would the bad guys have her singing for a few dozen people? They're big, rich record company types, you'd think they'd want to exploit her, right? No, that's apparently Travolta's job.

When they're finally done with this poor girl, her big hit song sounds just like 1000 other over-produced, "corporate R&B", crap nuggets that you can hear on any radio station or on MTV if it's one of the two hours a week when they actually play videos.

Not only is this one of the stupidest, most convoluted, and highly improbable storylines ever, but that acting is atrocious, especially considering who was in it. John Travolta is clearly there to pick up a paycheck. Uma Thurman was only there so she and Travolta could dance together again. Vince Vaughn was funny for the first minute or so. Harvey Keitel gave his blandest performance ever. I mean, it's not like his role had much of a character to work with, but still. But I couldn't care less about any of them in this film.

Cedric the Entertainer did okay, considering how one-dimensional his character was. He had one good scene where he goes off on this wonderful rant about how black people come up with all the great ideas and then white people steal them. Normally, this would kick ten different types of ass, but he's saying this to a Russian guy. I don't mean a guy of Russian descent, I'm talking about a Russian mob guy who barely spoke English and had only been in the states for a few months. If he had gone off on Vince Vaughn, it would have made some sense. But the worst thing is that the movie was not about race relations!!! Racism was never even touched on throughout the film except very indirectly with Vaughn, so this came completely out of the blue.

I must admit, The Rock did a good job as Vaughn's gay bodyguard. I'm not just saying that because I'm a pro wrestling fan. But the reason I say "gay" bodyguard, is because that's how he's referred to throughout the whole movie. Of course, no stereotypical gay character would be complete without being overly effeminate because apparently that's how all gay men are, or at least big, gay Samoan/African American bodyguards. Still, The Rock manages to somehow pull it off. But it's sad when he's the best actor in a movie with Keitel, Thurman, Travolta, Woods, and Vaughn.

And don't even get me started on what a douche Steven Tyler was. WORST ACTING EVER!!! Also, the irony of him being in a movie called "Be Cool" is, well, pretty ironic. The guy was briefly cool during the 70s, but that was because he had done so much heroin, it was cool that he was able to still function. Since Aerosmith sobered up, they've stooped lower and lower to whore themselves out to whomever will pay. The worst part is that he quasi-ironically says that he hates it when rock stars think they can act. I hate it when rock stars think they're still relevant.

All in all, it was the biggest waste of 2 hours and $2.50 I've ever experienced. It's not even bad in a "so bad it's good" way, but just "so bad, it's painful". The only reason I kept watching for the full two hours was because I was morbidly fascinated by it like people who slow down to look at a car crash, and also because it kept dumbing me down in an almost hypnotic manner with its inanity that I didn't have the strength nor the will to get up and turn it off. Strangely enough, I was able to get up and get several beers which were needed to dull my senses against the atrocity taking place on my TV. In fact, I doubt that my TV and DVD player will be the same anymore. I know I won't.

Rob

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Greg said...

See what happens when I'm not around to help you pick out movies?

Here's another review:
http://www.mrcranky.com/movies/becool.html

12:01 PM, March 12, 2007  
Blogger Rob said...

Greg,

Thanks for the tip. I have to admit I was inspired by him, but I hadn't seen his review. I'm glad the two of us had similar ideas.

Rob

6:02 PM, March 12, 2007  

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