Sunday, December 21, 2008

Shh. It Happens.

I must apologize Sporefans. While most of the reviews I post are directed to you so that you might better choose which movies to spend your time and money on, this week's review is actually not directed at you. While you are more than welcome to read it, I'm afraid that I need to address this week's review to someone who needs my help much more than any of you could. This person is in dire straights, and needs someone to help them recognize the pitfalls of bad movies. This person desperately needs my help, because without it they stand to make horrible decisions; decisions that could have consequences and ramifications that could adversely effect all of America. My apologies Sporefans, though I do hope you'll read on; for even though this review is not directed at you, you might glean some important information from my advice to this poor soul who has fallen upon bad times.

Dear M. Night Shyamalan,

You need to stop making movies. Now.

In June of 2008 you released a movie upon the world that you entitled The Happening. You wrote it, produced it and directed it. We know this because for some strange reason, you put your name on it. Its as if... somehow... you're proud of making this movie.

Some say you've lost your touch. Others say that you got lucky when you made your first couple of movies and this is actually the truest work you've ever done. I will admit that the first two major movies you made were fairly good. Unfortunately you seem to follow the same arc that sequels do as they progress over the course of years, spiraling ever downward into the toilet of oblivion.

I know that I've made some pretty biting comments about you in the past. It's no secret that I was not a fan of Lady in the Water, and that I found a space ship sized plot hole in Signs. The Village should have been damned before it ever got to production. But you just kept going, pushing the envelope of sucking to lower and lower extremes; sulking down at the bottom of the movie-making toilet costing everyone valuable time and money.

What's that? You don't know what I'm talking about? You don't see the problem? Allow me to explain Mr. Shyamallamalan. I think the question you should really ask yourself is, where am I going to start?

My god... this movie is... dead!

Indeed where should I start? Let's begin with imdb's claim that you "wrote the screenplay with Mark Wahlberg specifically in mind for the lead role." Let me get this straight, you WANTED Mark Wahlberg? I can't argue that you hadn't seen Max Payne because that movie hadn't been created yet, but if you looked more carefully at many of his previous roles, you'd know that you were hiring a guy who is largely considered to be the discount version of Matt Damon. Please consult the following list of Hollywood face actors:

Top level face actor- Matt Damon. Pros: He'll act wonderfully and help your movie. Cons: He costs a lot of money, too smart to be in anything written, directed and produced by M. Night Shymahimalayamalan.

Mid level face actor- Mark Wahlberg. Pros: Some people will confuse him with Matt Damon, works cheap by comparison. Cons: Can't act his way out of a paper bag, not real bright.

Low level face actor- John Cena. Pros: Two blind retarded guys who may or may not live in a country where this movie gets shown might think he's Mark Wahlberg. Everyone else will leave the theater during the opening credits. Cons: Movie will fail. Massive debt ensues. Director's career over, see John Bonito of The Marine for details.

Mark Wahlberg has a heart to heart talk with a plastic Fichus. The Fichus, by the way, completely steals the scene from Wahlberg.

OK, so you didn't fail epically so far, but you did get yourself a really bad actor as your male lead. Which leads me to my second point. You hired Zooey Deschanel to star opposite Mark Wahlberg, but then made her character so annoying that you probably damaged her career. Think about that Shymalimealon, you just wrecked that girl's career. Think back to the terrible script you constructed by pulling lines from your anti-social backside. Think about the directions you gave her on set. Directions like this:

M. Night: OK Zooey, in this scene I want you to make Mark look like a really good actor, so I need you to be really annoying. Can you do that?

Zooey: I can... but... I really don't feel comfortable doing this.

M. Night: Come on Zooey, I know you have what it takes to be a whiny anti-social loser; someone who is so pathetic that she thinks that by having dessert with another man she's cheating on her husband; and that fills her with... Guilt.

Zooey: So... you want me to act like you?

M. Night: Yes! Exactly!

Zooey: (sighs) Fine. (whispers) No one's going to watch this movie anyway.

I do admit that this is only a facsimile of what I suspect happened on set, but given the on screen results it seems a pretty accurate reconstruction.

Speaking of bad things you do to actors, what the hell did you do to poor John Leguizamo? Leguizamo has had his share of both great movies and stinkers, but it seems to me that you tazered the poor guy until his speech slurred. I get that all of your characters are supposed to be socially stunted individuals, but the raging trifecta of Paxil popping people who populate your unpopular movie about depopulating the planet is just painful. Or was it Payneful, I can't remember.

John Leguizamo attempts to get out of this movie by any means necessary. Fortunately that's not real glass, otherwise he'd actually be dead right now. This is not the type of movie you want as your last feature, kind of like how Raul Julia had to go out on "Street Fighter". Ugh.

Which brings me to the plot.

Let me get this straight... Your movie is about how plants feel threatened by human beings and release complicated deadly neurotoxins into the air that cause people to kill themselves. Seriously, this is your plot. I didn't add any jokes there, that's really the plot to this movie.

Breaking it down retroactively, it seems to me that you wanted a movie where characters killed themselves because you thought that it would disturb people. I mean, that's never been done before, right? Except maybe in that movie Pulse where people killed themselves to avoid turning into spots on the walls because of ghosts. Or in the movie Kairo, which is the Japanese movie that Pulse was based on. Or in that movie Suicide Circle, directed by Sion Sono; which was also a pretty good movie... much better than Kairo in my opinion.

Still, nice try though. This idea does have some merit as it is a fairly disturbing way to kill off characters and provides variety in that different people may find different means to do themselves in.

But then you blamed it on the trees.

You mean... we're all in an M. Night Shyamalan movie? Oh god! Kill me! KILL MEEEE!!!

In your movie plants have become threatened by humans and begin to release toxins that cause the humans to kill themselves, revealing a tired theme of man versus nature with us as the antagonists who defile the world and the plants as the protectors of Earth. Thus, we are vile polluters we will be punished for our hubris. Because, you know... plants never do anything wrong.

One user on IMDB suggested that there is a chemical called Pyrethrin which is derived from Chrysanthemums grown and harvested from Kenya which would account for this phenomenon. Oh, except that Pyrethrin doesn't cause you to kill yourself, it just irritates your eyes and lungs. Sorry IMDB guy, your guess at an obscure insect repellent being the cause for plant initiated suicides in humans is wrong.

But don't worry Mr. Shamalamadingdong, that's why they call it fiction. You're allowed to make stuff up. That part is OK.

The part that's not OK is when you have all of the scientists in your fictional world shrug their shoulders and say "We will never know the mysteries of nature." That part. That part right there... the part where you hit people with the "We will never understand" crap... we call that laziness. The worst part is, this feels like intentional laziness because it could have been fixed in a simple rewrite. Here, let me show you:

"Scientists around the world are studing this phenomenon, but as of yet we still do not know the reason for the release of the deadly plant toxin."

See, was that so hard?

Even though scientists do not know the cause of "the event" in the movie, they know exactly when it will end. You can set your watch to it. They try to make up some funny math about how its all based on statistics, but how do you get statistics on an event thats never happened before? One you can't explain? How do you know it will even stop? Way to drop the ball there Shammy.

Unlike the scientists in your movie, I think I know the problem here. I have the root cause to why your movie sucks so bad. It's because of your writing. Actually, I have proof. Here are some of the worst quotes from The Happening, taken from IMDB's quote page.

Elliot Moore: [Alma looks troubled] What's wrong?

Alma Moore: Okay, I was going to tell you, okay? There was this guy Joey. His name is Joey; he's at work. We went out and we had dessert; I went out and had dessert with him when I told you I worked late and I didn't work late and I'm feeling really guilty in case we're gonna die. I just wanted you to know that.

Elliot Moore: You... lied to me?

"You... lied to me?" That's what you wrote? This is supposed to be stunning, movie quality dialogue? And "Okay, so I was going to tell you, okay?" Did you steal this from some kid in high school? No, I'm sorry, you couldn't have. It's too consistent. Here, have some more:

Elliot Moore: If we're going to die, I want you to know something. I was in the pharmacy a while ago. There was a really good-looking pharmacist behind the counter. Really good-looking. I went up and asked her where the cough syrup was. I didn't even have a cough, and I almost bought it. I'm talking about a completely superfluous bottle of cough syrup, which costs like six bucks.

Alma Moore: Are you joking?

[Elliot nods his head]
Alma Moore: Thank you.

I'm really glad that you know what the word superfluous means. I really am. But it sticks out like a sore thumb. Oh, wait... no it doesn't. Most of this dialogue sounds like you wrote it with pimples on your face. Is this something you've been keeping in your attic for years, for when the artistic well finally runs dry?

They really want you to know that this is an iphone in this scene where you watch a man pet a lion. Product placement ahoy!

Did I hit a nerve? Is that what happened? Is that why the happening happened? A movie so bad people joke about the actors killing themselves to get out of the film. There you go, it wasn't trees. It was you. The scary thing being that I wasn't the only one to come to this conclusion. Here, take a look at this conversation I had with another victim of this movie.

Spored to Death: So... did you see The Happening yet?

Mr. Mazz: Oh yeah, the movie where all the actors kill themselves to get out of the film? I saw that. It sucked.

Spored to Death: You thought of that too? That's kind of creepy. I wonder if that's "happening" all over the world as people watch the movie.

Mr. Mazz: Oh, god. You and the puns. It's like talking to a verbal minefield.

See, that didn't suck because both participants in the conversation don't sound like retards.

So, as I said in the beginning, I think its time you just gave up making movies. You're getting older now... and with some people, they loose their ability to... how should I put this... "create". It's a natural part of the aging process. Some people just can't... "do it" anymore. And when they try, its just... sad. Sure they tell you if you take some pills it'll solve the problem... but honestly, do you want to wind up in the emergency room from strain you're just not meant to handle? Lets face it, its time for you to retire and let other, younger, healthier more talented people have a shot at entertaining America.

The movie ends with some INTENSE HAND HOLDING ACTION! You know... very, uh... what's that word I'm looking for here? Platonically. Yeah. That's it. Platonically. You would think that after risking their lives by crossing a back yard full of grass... You know what? The movie's ending is appropriate, as it fits with the general lameness of the rest of the film.

Come on now... stop crying. You had a good... OK, you had a run. You made some money. But the party's over, and its time you came face to face with your fears. Come on now.

Shh. It happens.

OK Sporefans, I know that I usually put the YouTube video of the trailer for the movie at the end of the post, but I also cannot abide by false advertizing. Here's something else. I find this movie to be of a much higher caliber than The Happening. Enjoy!

And yes, I have seen Shark in Venice. It's still better than The Happening. Think about the ramifications of that statement.


Anonymous said...

Ah the Crappin'Thing: Movie of the year no doubt. I think that M. Night Shawarmalonghu... Mnight Shrolomanoruggh... Mola Rom might have been filming an homage to all horrible movies. Even if that's the case, this movie still sucks so unbelievably hard that I killed myself twice in the theater watching it with no help from toxic tree spores.

esuarez said...

You know when I saw the link for the toliet video, I prepared myself for the horrors it linked. Those horrors were soon flushed.

Don't worry about M Night he's realized this whole original plot thing is done for him. I wrote him off when he tried to make me swallow that aliens who are harmed by water would invade Earth. That's like invading a lava planet for there precious but deadly...lava. Damn, those Lava Men!!!

M Night's next project is...get ready...Avatar the Last Air Bender. Now from what I've heard this is a really well made cartoon on Nickelodeon. So this live action recreation should be stunning. The eye burning type of stunning. Kids bending elements to M Night's will might prove rich fare, but I'll believe it when I see it.

Side note the movie has been re dubbed "The Last Airbender" so that it is not confused with the other upcoming movie, James Cameron's "Avatar" about 300 foot sims on a alien world in 3D.

Spored_to_Death said...

Our Anonymous friend is right, The Crappening or whatever euphemism you prefer for it will definitely be the Spored to Death Worst movie of 2008. Yes, there are still a handful of days left in 2008, but I think it's won that award already.

As for esuarez's comment about James Cameron's Avatar... you're joking right? Please tell me you're joking.

esuarez said...

apparently not

from imdb:
n a distant future, humanity discovers the planet 'Alpha Centauri B-4', and for those scientists and astronauts who've traversed the gulf between neighboring suns and arrived on its alien soil know it as 'Pandora'. A world filled with an incredible diversity of beautiful and deadly ammonia-breathing lifeforms. Its also a world that harbors treasures and resources almost beyond price. But just as the original Pandora's Box wrought devastation on those who would use it for their own gain, so too this world may destroy not just the Pandorans home, but ours as well.

Avatar is the story of a wounded ex-marine, thrust unwillingly into an effort to settle and exploit an exotic planet rich in bio-diversity, who eventually crosses over to lead the indigenous race in a battle for survival."

Since the planet is deadly, thus the use of avatars. Cameron been planning this for the past 2 years or so. Really its an excuse to use really expensive cameras to film a 300ft Sigourney Weaver.

esuarez said...

by the way the ex-marine: Mark Wahlberg all the way. At least that's my vote.

Tying it all back together in a poorly tied bow.

Anonymous said...

Ah ha ha... They called the new planet Pandora. That's like calling your new business Failed Ventures, or your newborn son Michael Madsen Jr., or your farm Crappy Acres.