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.

Magic Mike

Unless they were swinging their trouser snakes around, this movie was utterly boring.

Actually, the trouser snake slinging wasn’t all that exciting either. I guess we’re old ladies now, but there used to be a time when trouser snake slinging was exciting. Back when we were 18, our moms took my BFF and I to La Bare. We thought we were HOT SHIT. We were young and naive and gleefully shoving our allowance dollars into their banana hammocks. We had even written our phone numbers on the bills, because we were such hot shit. Imagine my mother’s surprise when I got a phone call a few days later. She was PISSED after taking a message from some stripper who admitted he got the number off a dollar bill…

Not enough Big Dick Richie. Not enough DICK in general – just one likely prosthetic peen in a penis pump. A good amount of jiggling buns and oiled up pecs. Lots of boobies.

I gagged every time that Tarzan was onscreen. He looked like Mickey Rourke in Iron Man 2. Blech.

I was confused by the end of the movie. It just fucking ended like they ran out of film. It felt like blue balls – the film was working towards some kind of resolution, but nothing was resolved. Like my BFF said, Magic Mike is basically Boogie Nights with Male Strippers instead of Porn Stars. Male Strippers can’t get Small Business loans and get sucked into bad drug deals. Wahhhhhhhh.

  

Texas Killing Fields

Based on a True Story…I LOVE “Based on a True Story.” I love bullshit and nothing is more bullshit than “Based on a True Story.” (Technically, the film opened with “this story is inspired by true events” – but that’s pretty much the same thing.)

Being a local, I’m more than a little familiar with the REAL Texas Killing Fields off I-45. For decades, someone – or more likely, several someones have been killing young girls and dumping the bodies in the marshes between Houston and Galveston. The film fictionalizes two Texas City detectives who become obsessed with the murders and follows their hunt for “the killer.” The film is built like an episode of CSI – every male in town is creepy enough to be a suspect, with most being red herrings. Worst of all, there’s a clear resolution to the “killings,” whereas the families of the real victims haven’t gotten a resolution at all. Pure Hollywood. Fuck Hollywood.

Look on Down from the Bridge by Mazzy Star Plays over a montage near the beginning. I LOVE Mazzy Star – it’s sitting in a bubble bath and crying music. In fact, the whole soundtrack and score is lachrymose. I like lachrymose in small doses.

Chloe Grace Moretz is Ann, the “star” victim. If she can keep a good head on her shoulders, she may end up being the next Scarlett Johansson. They even look quite similar. Laura Palmer Plays Chloe Grace Moretz’s skanky mom. She’s aged well, much better than Sherilyn Fenn or Lara Flynn Boyle.

This film was as confusing as fuck, but not in a Lynchian way. It was confusing because the film focused on interactions that later proved to be insignificant. Even with several marquee stars – Sam Worthington, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jessica Chastain – this movie isn’t worth paying for, but not bad enough to deride too much. It would have been better suited as an episode of CSI or NCIS, where everything is supposed to be wrapped up neatly in one or two episodes. It’s a disservice to the real victims to show such a clear resolution to 40+ years of unsolved crimes in the real Texas Killing Fields.

 

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.

  

Black Swan

Every once in a while, I’ll see a film that I think my mom would’ve liked. Our taste in films didn’t always intersect – in fact, they hardly ever intersected. (She did make me watch The Last Picture Show, which I still love. I guess I pretty much forced Pink Flamingos on her.) While I’ve always preferred horror, she preferred drama…but we both agreed on freaky. Black Swan is an interesting combination of the three.

With all the press and awards, I already knew a lot about Black Swan. Hot lesbian scenes, dance doubles, altogether freakiness…If I had been able to see Black Swan cold, it might have knocked my fucking socks off. Then again, I might have fucking fell asleep. There’s no denying it – the beginning of the film was boring as hell. I know it was a slow build – I had the same complaint about Death Proof, another movie that I liked after the fact, even though sitting through the beginning was like Chinese water torture.

My husband actually said that he would never, ever sit through this film again…even for the lesbian scene. Personally, I thought the lesbian scene was pretty hot, but he said, “Who wants to see two flat racks bouncing together?” I sure am glad that I don’t have one of those flat racks….

I’ve always liked Natalie Portman. She has been amazing in everything I’ve seen her in, from The Professional to SNL to Black Swan. (We shall not speak of those damn prequels.) She deserved every award that she got. I do wonder where her career will take her…she can’t play an ingénue forever?

All things considered, I liked Black Swan. I had forgotten what it was like to watch a grown-up movie that wasn’t on SyFy.

  

Mudhoney

Another Russ Meyer film, another band gets its name.

I have no fucking clue why the film is called ‘Mudhoney’ or what mudhoney even is. Maybe it is a play on the phrase ‘land of milk and honey’ or maybe it has something to do with products made by unsanitary bees? The film is set during the depression and depicts the conflict that occurs when a farmhand falls in love with his boss’s married niece. Her husband Sidney is a drunk piece of shit that cannot even afford the town’s $1 whore. (Inflation is a bitch, huh?) Sidney teams up with the town’s crazed preacher to stir up trouble, but the tables turn when Sidney goes on a crime spree.

I don’t know where Russ Meyer found the actors for this film, but most of them are the most fucked up thing I’ve seen this side of Gummo. The actress who played Maggie Marie, the proprietor of the whore house (and mother of said whores) was blindingly fugly. Maybe it was the lack of teeth. I wasn’t sure what was going on with the dancing farmhand and that freak in the tree.

At least there’s some skin in this one, unlike Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! I haven’t seen any other Russ Meyer stuff yet, though – I think that Pussycat’s lack of skin is the exception, not the rule.

Always a fan of films that depict religious hypocrisy, I found Mudhoney to be fairly enjoyable, if achingly slow to get started. It took me over a week to slog through the first 45 minutes of the film, but after that, I had no problem sitting down to watch the whole thing. Don’t watch this film if you have a hungover friend trying to sleep in the other room – all the yelling and ranting at the end is likely to irritate the shit out of them.

Fast Food Nation

Fucking horrifying.

From beginning to end, Fast Food Nation shows different facets of the fast food industry, each more fucking horrifying than the last. From the boardrooms in which the food is invented, to the slaughterhouses filled with illegal aliens, to the actual restaurants filled with apathetic high school students – all scenes intended to sicken the viewer and wonder what the human race has sunk to. The center of the story is a fictional hamburger chain called Mickey’s, which gets its meat from a corrupt meat packing plant in Cody, Colorado.

I wanted to hate Wilmer Valderrama, but his portrayal of a Mexican slaughterhouse worker was totally unironic. He wasn’t a walking a punchline for once. I was ready to write a review bashing him, but he did ok. Weird.

I was all in until Ethan Hawke showed up. Looking slimy as usual, he’s cast as the voice of reason – the conscience of the film. That voice is condescending, idealistic and out of touch. He gives Amber a hard time for working at Mickey’s and tries to light a fire under her to leave the job. I would have been alright with the character without the wink and nod that Ethan Hawke brings to the role. Or maybe I just hate Ethan Hawke for divorcing his wife because she got too loose after birthing two of his children. Either way, Amber doesn’t quit her job at Mickey’s until she falls in with a group of even more idealistic college kids, led by Avril Lavigne. Fucking A, she’s even more offensive than Ethan Hawke.

Trapped in the Closet makes a cameo – it’s on Coco’s TV when Sylvia visits her trailer. Is it a metaphor for the fact that all those who come into this country illegally are “trapped”? Or is Linklater merely depicting how “American” Coco has become by showing that she now watches the most hedonistic American crap on TV, as opposed to Sylvia, who still watches telenovelas as she cleans hotel rooms?

The film is based on the non-fiction book of the same name. It’s no small feat to turn a non-fiction expose into a character driven commentary of the subject matter – Linklater did a pretty good job of adapting the material. I could have done without the condescending tone – Linklater is obviously a vegetarian and wants us to feel guilty about eating meat by telling us how much shit is in it. Newsflash asshole – the salads you eat are doused in even more shit than the hamburger meat. Remember the E.coli spinach scare last year? Even so, I really enjoyed the film. It actually made me soften my stance on immigration a bit – if we open the borders, we eliminate the need for black market labor. I always think of the landscaping and construction industries in relation to illegal labor – I never even thought of the more dangerous jobs they are performing for us.

Coincidentally, I ate a Sourdough Jack for dinner last night. Jack in the Box has the most memorable E.Coli problems in recent history and I was in the middle of watching a film about shit filled fast food hamburgers. Funny how the human mind works – it was still delicious. I’ll never eat a hamburger that’s not fucking well done again though.

Elephant

I don’t trust those people at Cannes, not one little bit.

How did this get the Palme d’Or? I can understand the Best Director award – the direction of the film was masterful, with the kids in concentric circles of activity around the high school. But the top award of the whole festival? How did the audience and judges keep from falling asleep? I have a suspicion that the film was given the top award as a penance for NOT giving the award to Bowling for Columbine the year before.

On the surface, Elephant is a dramatization of the Columbine massacre…but let’s not kid ourselves – there have been enough school shootings in the last decade for this movie to be seen from a less specific perspective. In any case, in most aspects, the film is totally non-judgmental of the victims, the survivors and even the killers themselves. The controversy surrounding the release of Elephant honestly surprises me, now having seen it. It has to be one of the most emotionless, viewpointless films I have ever seen.

I do like Van Sant’s decision to avoid popular music in the film – but it was likely not his choice. What group would knowingly allow their music to be attached to a school shooting?

There were parts of the film that worked…but the parts that didn’t work overshadowed them. Why did Van Sant make the killers get all gay in the shower? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being gay – but depicting a couple of psychopaths as getting their gay on right before they murder a bunch of people isn’t very socially responsible. And why didn’t the bulimic cheerleaders die? Oh wait, this is Gus Van Sant’s fantasy, not mine. Also, the final scene ruined the whole movie for me. What high school has a meat locker, replete with hanging sides of beef?

The title of the film might refer to the phrase “elephant in the living room,” meaning a problem too big to deal with in any of the traditional ways. Someone should let Mr. Van Sant know that making a boring film about school violence may win awards, but does little towards a solution to that violence.

The Business of Strangers

I saw this movie almost two weeks ago and it is still stuck in my head.

The Business of Strangers is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long, long time. It’s the story of a bizarre night shared by a corporate executive and her assistant. They start out as complete strangers, rhythmically moving from enemy to friend and back again, before ultimately ending up as strangers again. Oh yeah, and in between, they totally jack up a fratty headhunter – but that’s secondary to the relationship between the two women. Control is the underlying theme of the movie – at first, it’s hard to tell who’s in control of the situation, but it moves into focus as the manipulator becomes the manipulatee – is “manipulatee” even a word?

Julia Stiles benefits greatly from a phenomenon called “Talent Run-off.” Stiles is serviceable in her role, but no great shakes. However, Stockard Channing has such an excess of talent that some of it inevitably rubs off on Stiles. Too bad the effect wasn’t longer lasting. The Prince and Me? Huh? WTF?

So this is a response to Neil LaBute’s In the Company of Men. Okay. In the Company of Men is another movie I’ve been avoiding like the plague. I just don’t feel like being that depressed. I don’t need a movie to tell me what SHITHOLES men can be.

I’m sensing a trend in my interest towards films with office violence, specifically those involving women and/or revenge. Hmmm…wonder what that’s all about? Next on my list…The Temp. I would put Nine to Five on the list, but I don’t think it’s quite violent enough. Maybe repeat viewings of Fight Club and American Psycho will also feed my frenzy?

Sideways

I hate wine.

Although I have been known to quaff Strawberry Hill and other Boone’s Farm delicacies – not to mention the occasional “box-o-wine” – I (and most drinkers outside of the hardcore, homeless winos) hardly categorize those things as real wine. Real wine is seriously gross. Red wines, by far, are the grossest, although my distaste for red wine likely dates back to an unfortunate incident involving Mad Dog 20/20. In addition to being grossed out by the taste, most red wines – and cider for that matter – send me into mild anaphylaxis. I suspect sulfites as the culprit, as this also happened to me the last time I ate grapes.

So I bet you’re expecting me to write that Sideways changed all that and I am now itching to become a member of Sommelier Society of America? Nope. I still hate wine, still think it’s gross and still think that wine aficionados are a bunch of snobby tools. (Strangely enough, the movie did make my mother want to try wine. That’s pretty fucking weird, since she doesn’t drink at all.)

It was a good movie though – I enjoyed it, although it was mightily depressing. Movies about losers are always entertaining, likely because by the end of most films, the loser isn’t a loser anymore. Sideways breaks out of that mold – at the end, Miles and Jack are still losers, possibly even bigger losers than when the film began. Imagine Revenge of the Nerds ending after their house is trashed, but before Lewis’ triumphant “nerd power” speech – and that’s Sideways. 2004 was the year of the schlub, just ask Napoleon Dynamite.

Speaking of Napoleon Dynamite, I see these two movies almost as peas in a pod – a very bizarre and misshapen pod, given that the movies couldn’t be more different. Just as Napoleon Dynamite is a film that I would have identified with more a decade ago, I suspect that I identify with Miles a great bit more these days than I possibly could have at 19. Whether that’s due to maturity or attributable to having the weight of several failures (relationships, careers, you name it) under my belt, I’ll never know.

Jack was a right asshole. I guess that’s the determining factor in getting an Oscar nod these days. Asshole losers like Jack are a lot more fun to watch than your garden variety losers like Miles. I’m still confused as to why Paul Giamatti didn’t even get nominated – maybe it’s the bug eyes? I do predict that he’ll get nominated for his role in Cinderella Man and possibly even get a pity Oscar because of his dis for Sideways.

Oh yeah, next time the pay-per-view pre-movie ratings blurb says ‘nudity,’ I’ll try to keep in mind that it may not necessarily be nudity that I want to see. I think that tow truck driver’s nuts made me blind.