A Tale of Two Coreys

I felt dirty just watching this.

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Lifetime is already known for shitty, exploitive “biopics”, like the ones they did on Saved by the Bell and Full House. This one goes one step further into the abyss, by skipping past petty grievances and hook-ups, straight into sexual molestation and ODs. Corey Haim is show getting molested on the set of Lucas within the first five minutes of the film. The production was ultra-low budget, with whatever budget available bei g used on multiple Corey Feldman wigs. For real, that kid had a new ridiculous wig in every scene.

So. Much. Cocaine. Maybe they were going for a Less Than Zero vibe, but it was more like an Afterschool Special. I swear Sam Kinison gave them coke in one scene – no one called him Sam Kinison, but his look is pretty specific. They partied at the “Playpen” Mansion. It was so weird, but I guess they had to legally protect themselves. There were no scenes with Charlie Sheen, etc.

With Corey Feldman himself onboard as Executive Producer, most of the blame is pushed onto either his parents or Haim. I don’t doubt that both Coreys were used by EVERYONE as they sought stardom – their parents, their handlers, their hangers-on – essentially every adult they came into contact with. But films like this don’t shed any light on the situation, nor prevent it from happening in the future. I’m curious as to whether Feldman will ever get funded for his “Truth” documentary on Hollywood pedophiles. I’m expecting not, nor am I expecting any true revelations, as long as he can continue to book interviews with Dr. Oz. Sigh.

The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story

Why do I keep doing this to myself? Why do I keep watching crappy Lifetime biopics? Am I getting so close to middle age that I just can’t stop myself?

I’d like to say that I never watched Saved by the Bell when it was originally on, but as a child of the 80s, it was hard to avoid. As cartoons faded away, all there was to watch for a kid without cable was stuff like Saved by the Bell. At least I can say I never experienced a “Zack Attack”.

The film is nominally based on Screech’s autobiography, so needless to say – it’s mostly bullshit and full of sour grapes. The film is told from Screech’s point of view and makes the case that Zack secretly bleached his own hair and loved Lisa, Jessie thought she was a serious actress, Slater was drowning in pussy, and Screech was jealous of all of them. Except for Screech, the casting was HORRIBLE. It’s like they didn’t even bother watching the show before casting all these kids.

I was full of shame as I watched this…but not quite as much shame as when I watched Inside the Osmonds.

At least I didn’t fall for Lifetime’s trap and watch the Brittany Murphy biopic that tries to infer she was murdered…haven’t fallen for it YET.

  

Behind the Candelabra

Needed more sodomy.

I don’t consider myself to be a connoisseur of sodomy…I’m a dabbler, really. An amateur sodomite, if you will. I can appreciate the finer points of buggery, but really I know just enough to be dangerous. That being said, there was a dissapointing lack of hot action in Behind the Candelabra. After reading quote after quote from Matt Damon and Michael Douglas about how “difficult” their “love scenes” were, I’ve gotta call BULLSHIT. (I wonder if THIS went through Michael Douglas’ head during the filming?) Yes, there was some kissing and some vague tussling under the sheets, but it’s not hardcore Brokeback action. It was downright boring.

Instead of sodomy, I would have accepted an equal measure of camp, but camp was sorely missing as well. Sure, there were a few campy moments, like any of the hilarious Plastic Surgeon Rob Lowe scenes. But for the most part, Soderbergh totally played it straight. I was expecting a ridiculous spectacle like Liz & Dick, but the spectacle was limited to what we already know Liberace was like. The acting and writing were good, so really, I’m complaining that this movie wasn’t shitty enough for me to enjoy it. Maybe the book is juicier?

At least we got to see Matt Damon in a bedazzled banana hammock.

  

Liz & Dick

I’m just going to pile on to the rest of the fucking planet and say that Liz & Dick was one of shittiest movies I’ve ever seen. As a rule, Lifetime movies are shit, but they’ve hit a new low with Liz & Dick.

Lindsay Lohan is bearing most of the criticism for the atrociousness perpetrated by Liz & Dick and I won’t disagree that her performance was flat, uninspired, one-note, lackluster…I could think of insulting adjectives all day. I suspect that she has never even seen an Elizabeth Taylor film. Even so, the material she had to work with was shit. Yes, she could have worked a little harder to put lipstick on that pig, but the script was horrendous. The film was inter-cut with ridiculous narrative vignettes of Liz and Dick sitting on a stage, reminiscing and explaining to the viewer what happened in the preceding scene. How stupid does the screenwriter think that the people who watch Lifetime movies are? Okay, maybe that’s a fair assumption…but the cut scenes did not work AT ALL.

At the very least, I was hoping to see LiLo in a fat suit…nope. Richard Burton spent the last half of the film calling Liz “fat”, yet there was no “fat” in sight. What a rip-off!

If my criticism sounds harsh, keep in mind just how low my standards are. I watch mostly SyFy Channel movies like Sharktopus and Pirahnaconda…and I STILL think Liz & Dick is shit.

Where the Buffalo Roam

It’s not Bill Murray’s fault.

Bill Murray is a good Hunter S. Thompson. He’s got the weird cadence down. The walk, the talk, the nuttiness. Murray reportedly spent time hanging out with Thompson to pick up his mannerisms, some of which he seemed to hang onto long after the movie was done. Personally, I prefer Johnny Depp’s performance, but that’s not a knock on Bill Murray’s version.

It’s not Peter Boyle’s fault either. His portrayal of Carl Lazlo/Dr. Gonzo/Oscar Zeta Acosta/The Brown Buffalo was spot on, although less fun to watch than Benicio Del Toro’s. Boyle’s Carl Lazlo was a renegade. He was nuts, but he was trying to change the world. Del Toro’s Dr. Gonzo was just fucking nuts. They’re not really even the same character in my humble opinion.

I guess that means it’s the director’s fault. Or maybe it’s the writer’s fault? Either way, the film just jumped around too much and it was hard to figure out what was going on. It was just a series of vignettes strung together and they didn’t really tell me anything I didn’t already know about Thompson. He did a lot of drugs and hated Nixon. That’s barely a newsflash.

It’s a must-see for Thompson fans, but most others will find Where the Buffalo Roam to be boring and confusing.

Gacy

I know you are, but what am I?

It was an interesting experience to see Francis (Pee Wee’s Big Adventure) burying teenage boys in his crawlspace instead of stealing bikes. Mark Holton has evolved from playing Pee Wee Herman’s nemesis to playing a real life serial killer – John Wayne Gacy. Although I began watching cynically expecting the worst, I’ve got to admit that my expectations were too low. Holton put in an admirable performance as the man who buried 29 men and boys underneath his Chicago home.

Similar to Monster, Gacy is a fictionalized version of Gacy’s killing spree. Fictionalized means that the killer’s name can be used, but the names of his victims are changed for privacy and some of the details are exaggerated and twisted around to make a better movie. Even so, the articles I’ve read on Gacy make him out to be a sicker fuck than portrayed in the movie.

The film portrays the middle and end of Gacy’s killing career, beginning with a brief flashback of young Gacy and his abusive father. Apparently, Gacy’s father beat the shit out of him because he didn’t enjoy fishing? In any case, not much time is spent trying to explain the rationale behind Gacy’s urge to kill. Rather, the film revolves around the cluelessness of those surrounding Gacy. I was incredulous at how unsuspecting his friends and neighbors were to his extracurricular activities, not to mention his wife and mother. His wife eventually leaves him after discovering gay magazines and handcuffs in the garage – how retarded was she?

I’m interested in checking out Dahmer, co-written by one of the screenwriters of Gacy and released a year earlier. I’m much more interested in Dahmer than Gacy. Dahmer didn’t have near the output of Gacy, but what he was lacking in quantity, he made up for in style.

 

Inside the Osmonds

One minute, I’m watching 80s Metal Videos on VH-1 Classic and all of a sudden, I find myself an hour into a made for TV biopic on the Osmonds.

I figured that since I was already halfway through, I might as well keep on watching to see which one of them turns to drugs or starts hiring hookers. I was disappointed to find that none of them did. Go ahead laugh – you obviously know more about the Osmonds than I do.

This has got to be the most boring ‘made for TV’ celebrity biography ever made. Probably because it was produced by an Osmond. No one’s gonna dish nasty dirt about their own family…unless they’re a Jackson, of course. At least the movie Osmonds were more attractive than the real Osmonds. They were a pretty fugly bunch. Maybe it was because the Osmond kids were played almost entirely Canadians?

Coincidentally, I found this yesterday. I wasn’t really familiar with The Osmond Brothers’ music before and now I know why. I’ll be staying away from Jimmy as well.

I wish they would have touched on the disturbing incestual overtones of the Donny and Marie Show. I mean really, what the fuck? As far as Variety Shows go, they DID have more chemistry than Sonny and Cher or Tony Orlando and the Hooker Twins – but that doesn’t mean it’s right to exploit it. Didn’t anyone else think it was weird that a brother and sister act continuously sang love songs to each other?

I hate you, VH-1…oh, I can’t stay mad, VH-1, there’s a new episode of Flavor of Love on tomorrow night.

Monster

Monster almost makes up for The Astronaut’s Wife and The Cider House Rules. Almost.

I find it nearly impossible to forgive stars for inflicting bad performances and/or bad movies upon the public. As much as I love Kyle MacLachlan, I’ll never forgive him for The Flintstones. The same goes for Matthew Broderick – The Cable Guy – why? Of course, Johnny Depp gets a pass for The Ninth Gate, but only by the thinnest margins of Fear and Loathing. With that in mind, Charlize Theron is one step closer to a pass…though I doubt that she’ll have the good sense to start passing up tripe.

Many have accused Theron of merely uglying up for an Oscar nod. I even had that assumption before I actually saw the film. Admittedly, the makeup and hair and clothes made a very attractive woman look like she crawled out of a ditch, but that was irrelevant to her performance. As ‘ugly’ as she was, her performance was the truly ugliness. It’s rare that I am actually able to overlook the actress and just see the character. As a rabid viewer of forensics shows, I’ve seen several documentaries on the real Aileen and her courtroom outbursts – for once, it wasn’t overacting – Aileen really was a crazy bitch.

As for Christina Ricci, her performance wasn’t noteworthy in any way. I assume that her character, Selby, was a bit difficult to capture as it could only be an approximation of Aileen’s real companion, Tyria Moore. Tyria understandably distanced herself from the whole situation after selling Aileen down the river. Even so, Ricci’s presence was entirely her own and not the character’s.

Funny how some have accused Monster of showing Aileen’s crimes in such a sympathetic light.I didn’t feel that way at all. Of course, it’s unlikely that Aileen was ever raped by any of her Johns. Even so, the depiction of her rape doesn’t make her any more sympathetic. An unfortunate number of women are raped each day (about one per minute), but how many develop into serial killers afterwards? I think that the film took great strides to show how deeply wrong Aileen’s murders were, starting first with her deserved rapist, moving to threatening Johns and ultimately onto someone who only wanted to help her.

Another glowing recommendation for the film? Monster was the first film in recent memory that my mother did not fall asleep during. Seriously, from the time my sister and I were old enough to go to the movies, it was a given that my mom would be snoring within the first 30 minutes – it was a wonder we didn’t get snatched! Anyway, if it was good enough to keep her awake, it must have been kickass, right? It was either that, or all the yelling and screaming and cursing in the film…

Man on the Moon

Pretty good film, considering how much I loathe Jim Carrey.

Jim Carrey sucks. I don’t know why. I liked him before he sold out, when he was on In Living Color and in films like Once Bitten and Earth Girls are Easy. But once he started talking with his ass, it all went downhill from there. Ace Ventura made me twitch, The Mask was tolerable, I refuse to watch Dumb & Dumber on moral grounds and The Truman Show made me puke up a lung. Let’s not even discuss Batman Forever. But here I am, swallowing my pride and admitting that Jim Carrey was good in this film. He has finally played a character other than “Jim Carrey” – he was Andy Kaufman.

Courtney Love wasn’t in it all that much, which is a good thing. She had maybe 20 minutes of screen time, which I admit is about 19 minutes too much, but she wasn’t that annoying. I hope someday I can get a nose job as good as hers. (That was just a rude remark. In reality, my nose is perfect and I don’t need a nose job. She sure did though. If you would like to see Courtney’s original nose, go rent Straight to Hell and see her nose circa 1987. Fucking shit!) The rest of the cast was pretty good too. I liked that they got people to play themselves in this film. Even though the cast of Taxi look pretty old and crusty these days, it was neat-o to see them all pissed off at Andy. It would have been even better if they could have gotten the actual cast of Fridays to be in it, but Norm MacDonald playing Michael Richards was funny. I guess Michael Richards is too busy looking for a new job to take any bit acting roles right now…

I predict mucho Oscar hype for this film. I predict film classes eventually being taught about Milos Forman. I predict that Jim Carrey will next do a biopic on Jerry Lewis. I predict that Courtney Love will continue to suck a lot of dick. I predict that Michael Stipe (of R.E.M.) will die of AIDS. I predict that you will wait until Man on the Moon comes out on video to see it. I would have too, except I got to go to a preview for free. Ahhh, the life of a social debutante.