Friday, May 31, 2013

Manhunter/Red Dragon comparison by Tony Epifanio

My friend Tony Epifanio had been a fan of movies whom I frequently discuss with tastes in movies. He has been quite adamant about telling me that he prefers Brett Ratner's Red Dragon to Michael Mann's Manhunter, which I disagree with. However, he finally gave me this mini-prose on it and, with his permission, I decided to post it on Movie Motorbreath.

In addition, I will be having a co-writer on this blog soon by the name of David McGee, more on that later though. 

Manhunter and Red Dragon are both books based on the first book in the Hannibal Lecter series by Thomas Harris called 'Red Dragon'. They revolve around Thomas Graham, a retired FBI agent, being recruited one more time to capture an elusive serial killer. However, much like Clarice Starling after him, he finds himself in need of the cannibal serial killer Hannibal Lecter's assistance - who happens to be the very last serial killer he had put away, an arrest that left him hospitalized.

Here is Tony's explanation.

I can honestly say that I rather enjoyed the opening of Red Dragon rather than Manhunter. Why? Because I think that, especially in a story such as this, some sort of backstory on our hero is a necessity. I do believe that it was done more for the Hopkins-philes rather than the story, but it was a better beginning than just jumping right into the main story. Onto the main story [of the Tooth Fairy], I preferred the "old folks - grandma's a bitch" angle to him just killing people. Now of course, the idea of a man just killing people on pure speculation should make it scarier. But in this case, because of the type of movie that Manhunter is (I'll get to that soon), it falls short to me.

I told you before and I believe most people stand behind me on this that Hopkins is the superior Lector over Brian Cox and certainly over the dude from Casino Royale that is currently playing him [a reference to Mads Mikkelsen starring in the current NBC series "Hannibal"]. Cox played him too quickly, every answer was direct and every question abrupt, while Hopkins played him as a game. Every question and answer was a riddle that Graham needed to solve. The discussion between Graham and Lector in Manhunter, their first discussion, was rushed and completely underdone. Which brings me to the two starring actors, Norton and Peterson, I think I remember you saying that you preferred Peterson to Norton, I'm the opposite. For a character like Graham, at least how he is described in the book, Norton was a great cast seeing as he is a fantastic method actor, he did not overact at any point, and he did not underscore the big moments, plus for the extended ending between him and the Tooth Fairy when he had to call his child a little faggot and basically make his son feel like shit about pissing himself, I actually was able to believe Norton. Although, when it came to the family it was a lot better of a relationship between Peterson and the chick who played his wife.

Crawford is simple, I preferred Scott Glenn [from The Silence of the Lambs] to both Harvey [Keitel] and Dennis Farina.

The Tooth Fairy is a little harder to review because they both had merit. To me, it is like comparing the [The Dark Knight's Heath] Ledger Joker and the [1989 Batman's Jack] Nicholson Joker - they are two separate and distinct characters that happen to have the same name and come from the same source [material]. They were both spectacular. However, [Manhunter's Tom] Noonan had something going against him. Manhunter was a totally 80's movie. The cheesy synthetic music was the worst. However, the simplicity of the location and the sets, especially Dolarhyde's pad, definitely added to the story. I really enjoyed the use of the original version of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida [by Iron Butterfly], the 17-minute long version.

Red Dragon had one thing going against it...Brett Ratner. Dude needs to stick to comedies. I like Red Dragon, don't get me wrong. But the direction was not great and you could totally tell that most of the great scenes comes from the three fantastic actors in the film.

So, I like both movies. I'm glad I owned both movies.

I may or may not write my own response one day - but I doubt it. Neither movie, even though I really like Manhunter, are yet movies that I feel compelled to write about.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tyler Perry: A Bane to Black Cinema...

People who know me personally have sometimes heard me rip apart Tyler Perry as a filmmaker. From the moment he first stepped forward as that rip-off of exactly what people hated about Eddie Murphy, Madea, to the moment when somebody other than Tyler Perry thought Tyler Perry was a good actor and decided to give him a starring role in Alex Cross, absolutely nothing Tyler Perry had creative control over has come across to me as a good movie. In fact, quite the opposite, he always came off to me as a very bad filmmaker.

This in itself is very hard to say because outside of Perry's lack of filmmaking skill, the man comes across as a cool dude when he's not mad about Spike Lee telling him he sucks at making movies. And you cannot say he does not come from a good place: He started with gospel plays and as such, his filmmaking theme seems to largely be based on teaching good morals to people and injecting the right message with every film he makes, despite the obvious technical errors present, such as the soap opera dripping atmosphere being mistaken for an adequate substitute of direct plotlines and the unemotive acting that he captures on a run-of-the-mill cinematographic set-up. So, let's drop the technique, because that would be overkill and no movie is perfect.

I was asked, for the tenth million time, by some friends who actually like Tyler Perry why I hate Tyler Perry? So, I had to sit down and think of a final argument to put this question towards me to rest.
To start this, I have to introduce a different filmmaker... One many film aficianados are already familiar with and may be new to the layman who reads this movie blog (Odin help you if you read this blog thinking my opinion is the end-all, be-all, though)...
D.W. Griffith.

Honestly, D.W. Griffith is considered the grandfather of modern cinema (though there are a few filmmakers before him to have done what he's before him) with his then-innovative use of parallel editing, set design and forms of story-telling. But if you mention him to an African-American historian of cinema, or maybe even an member of the NAACP, you may see his/her eyes roll at Griffith's mention. And there's a pretty good reason why...

The Birth of a Nation is a 3 hour movie Griffith notoriously made in 1915 that made significant history in cinema and is remembered as the first film epic. It was also racist as fuck (and boring, depending on who you ask) as it depicted a fictional account of the creation of the Ku Klux Klan, presenting them as the men who brought order back to America after the Emancipation was put into effect and the Civil War was brought to an end.
It romanticizes the shit out of this story by making its main focus not the initiation of what is probably the most despicable hate group in existence save for the Nazis (say what you will about Westboro Baptist Church, they are idiots and their views are despicable, but at least they never murdered anyone), but the relationship between two families in the middle of the Civil War - sort of like how Titanic was about DiCaprio and Winslet getting it and the Titanic was just the setting. The movie is three-hours because we follow the story of these families, rather than just making a big deal about a tragic tier in American History.
Of course, this is not relevant yet to Perry yet because in spite of The Birth of a Nation's disgusting ethics, it is actually an effective form of storytelling and, if it wasn't overtly racist as it simply was, it might have been a greater movie than it already is considered.

No, the reason why this is relevant to Perry is because Griffith didn't know what he was doing was harmful to the perceptions of a race. He actually thought what he was doing and saying was good. He was naive. He even had two "good" black characters in The Birth of a Nation, but they are caricatures of heinous house slave stereotypes, the kind of black character Uncle Ruckus would claim to be a fine example of what a negro should be. In addition, once he found out what he said in this movie was absolutely wrong (though it may be he was just sorry that it ruined his career), he tried to apologize with the (similarly-racist for its use of yellowface and Asian stereotyping) romantic tale of Broken Blossoms.
He didn't mean wrong to the world, he just brought it ignorantly.

Also, nobody makes Idris Elba out to be a bitch...
That shit is unforgivable.

That's exactly my problem with Tyler Perry. Say what you will about his morals: They are for the most part fine. He is focused on the good things about the world he speaks to that he doesn't notice how he presents the bad things in it. He uses not just stereotypical but also cliched aspects of his African-American characters, always presenting them as privy to domestic violence, urban crime and things are black and white with characters. When a character is evil, he will make them out to be evil, but those characters will almost always be black and almost always be acting urban and thuggish without any answer to it. The one good thing to come out well from this is the development of the lead character (in writing at least, the acting is usually still bad) - most notably the developmental empowerment of Perry's female characters (y'know the ones that aren't Perry in a fat suit), such as in Diary of a Mad Black Woman. But sometimes, even those backfire from independence to absolute incompetence or dehumanizing aspects like in Madea Goes to Jail It's possibly is a familiar manner in how he gets his audience, but it also is the sort of apologetic stereotyping that makes movies like Crash and The Blind Side just as horribly unwatchable for me, despite their good intentions.

In addition, his presentation of filmmaking and his success leads to an unfair monopoly on black cinema that keeps some better Afro American filmmakers from getting enough attention among a predominantly white (and predominantly male) business - Steve McQueen, Robert Townsend, Ernest Dickerson, John Singleton, Neil LaBute, Lee Daniels, Antoine Fuqua are only among a few black directors who are shied away from because most people consider Tyler Perry the final coming of black cinema... Not to mention one of the most provocative filmmakers of all time, Spike Lee, though he's somewhat fighting that off by making the most out of whatever projects he can produce, even with some shoddy ones like Miracle at St. Anna.

In the end, the spotlight put on Tyler Perry's presentation of African Americans is not that very much different from D.W. Griffith's and I can't forgive that. The only difference is Griffith was kind of a good filmmaker anyway.

And can handle criticism without telling me to go to Hell.


Alright, after this, the final installment in my 20 Years series. And I know it's unorthodox but we really can't help but acknowledge TV series as a form of cinema - in some facets expanded, in others limited, but always engaging when it's done well. I have a lot more shows that I hate than I love, so the fact that these are the ones that were able to hold my interest among the many people have recommended and I abandoned shortly after should mean well.

After all, if a show does it's job right, you get attached, you feel like you are more involved in a lengthy matter portrayed on the screen. You can find escapism easier with the familiarity. You can go with the story at your own pace, to allow each element to sink in, like reading a fine novel.

Otherwise, watching some forms of brainless television kind of ruins you after a while (*cough*fanservicerealitytv*cough*). With some exception, such as these, I avoid the television as much as I can, save for sports and news.

So here's my ode to the television worlds I willingly and gladly inhabited - I don't hesitate in recommending any of these for anybody else out there and I'd go back to these shows anytime I'm in the mood.

NOTE: This article was written in the middle of the night so bear with any grammar or inconsistencies...

20. The Shield (crea. Shawn Ryan - 2002-2008) - As much as we can enjoy the mystery of the murder being solved, one can find it more tense and exciting to find out if the killer will get away with it and The Shield did that so well - Many thanks to an electric cast headed by Michael Chiklis giving a charismatic anti-hero/anti-villain (wot?) performance and a writing style that sometimes got itself into corners, but just as quickly got itself out.

19. South Park (crea. Trey Parker & Matt Stone - 1997-Present) - To say this is not one of the most intelligent shows on television is a blatant lie for which you will go straight to Hell. While its humor is hilarious in its own right, it is when Parker and Stone interject - sometimes subtly, other times not so subtle - their observations of pop culture, politics, social issues and other factors of the world outside the tv screen, that interest and keep South Park always running fresh.
Also, Primus sucks. The more of their music, the better.

18. Star Trek: The Next Generation (crea. Gene Roddenberry - 1987-1994) - I was introduced to this before I was introduced to the original series as a very young child. It was the make-up and the space travel that interested me. Later on, in my high school years, I came back to The Next Generation (I spent the time in between as a snobby Original Series elitist) to find the real appeal and freshness that the changing times have allowed the franchise to evolve in as opposed to the numbered days and limited abilities of the 60s. The other spin-offs (Voyager; Deep Space Nine; Enterprise) were cool too, but this was a major step up.

17. Seinfeld (crea. Larry David & Jerry Seinfeld - 1989-1998) - Is this show maliciously biting, vicious and scathing at times? Absolutely. Does it's insincere nature make it a bad show? Hell to the fuck no, in fact, it quite frankly makes it better. David and Seinfeld know how to use their comedic stylings and the gift of storytelling to give individuals in their lives and unsavory events and encounters the goddamned middle finger and it never stops being funny.

16. Quantum Leap (crea. Donald Bellisario - 1989-1993) - Once again, as a child, I'd be pressed to the screen every time an episode would come up to find where Dr. Beckett stopped next. Before Back to the Future was discovered by me, I had this to travel through time with. And I went to more places in this show than the BTTF trilogy - no disrespect intended. It was an adventure with every episode and the extra special presence of Al just to keep Beckett's journey not lonely and every once in a while interject humor was what kept me coming back and looking forward to this show.

15. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (crea. Andy and Susan Borowitz - 1990-1996) - First, tell me that theme song was not catchy. But second, the show was a lot more deeper than it gave off, as well as being extremely hilarious. It mixed well the urban and bourgeois appeal and especially more so showed that both classes have a lot to learn from each other. It is one of the more effective sitcom families I've even seen (Come on, we know you pretend to like Full House, but deep down you know it sucked...) with James Avery and Will Smith giving powerful performances at moments while the rest of the cast just joins in on the fun.

14. Neon Genesis Evangelion (crea. Hideaki Anno - 1995-1997) - It got cheesy at points and unbelievable, even for an anime, but it never faltered  from its original ideas and themes and was quite the expressive work of art as a series for Anno's identity. And the artwork and design was just captivating, especially around the end of the series.

13. Deathnote (crea. Tetsuro Araki - 2006-2007) - On the other hand, this is the kind of anime tale I enjoy following most. A cat and mouse chase with the fate of a city in the middle of it. An unclear definition of morality and an arrogant dispute to what the role of God means to Man. It is so badass not to watch.

12. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (crea. Joss Whedon - 1997-2003) - Anybody who was ever a teenager cannot disagree with the central thesis for the first three seasons: High School IS Hell. You're going to have to find your grounding and then keep shifting it if you're going to survive in the end. Except Buffy Summers and her friends had it worse because they had to deal with the forces of darkness with it. So yeah, for all of our social suffering, we got to have fun knowing it could be worse.

11. The Simpsons (crea. Matt Groening - 1989-Present) - I know a lot of people aren't fans anymore and there is no doubt this show is overrated, but even way past it's heyday, I never get tired of it. The classic episodes are masterpieces of sitcom television, but even despite their jumping the shark, I still at least crack a smile at the jokes of its worst episodes. It's just at it's best when it is most touching or most intelligently humorous.

10. Firefly (crea. Joss Whedon - 2002) - Okay, guys, Firefly is cancelled. Get the fuck over it. That said, man, it was a really awesome show while it was around. Not one lead character in the ensemble cast seemed extraneous, though some were kind of two-dimensional. They didn't hammer any mystery of the series, but they showcased enough to keep us interested. And it's central idea was to keep moving no matter what.
Unfortunately, it ran out of gas...

9. Star Trek (crea. Gene Roddenberry - 1966-1969) - Avast, but the superior space exploration show is right here. Rich in its cultural identity, humor, sex appeal and just plain fun, this show started a true phenomenon in science fiction imagination. It's undeniable in it's intrigue and ability to keep each episode fresh and running until the end of the show when a new musing on a new discovery is made by Kirk and company. Goddammit, Star Trek, you cool.

8. Tales from the Crypt (crea. William Gaines - 1989-1996) - I'm a horror buff. It is rare for me to find a decent horror show these days, however. American Horror Story is alright. Whedon's stuff is not really that scary, Twin Peaks and The X-Files can only fill that void for so long. Tales from the Crypt completely introduced horror to me as one of my most vivid childhood memories and the terror still holds up today (though at points dated and at other points very very cheesy).
There's another point, a set of paragraphs - one meant for a unfinished article - that I want to use: One in regards to my absolute favorite television character of all time.

There is absolutely NO film character, not one, so far in my 20 years of living with a screen entrance in my life that has made a bigger impression than the Cryptkeeper (Voice of John Kassir; Puppeteered by Van Snowden) from HBO's anthology series Tales from the Crypt, created by William Gaines and running from 1989-1996. The closest to come so far were Sherif Ali from Lawrence of Arabia and Hans Landa from Inglourious Basterds, but not one of their entrances could hit me as hard as the Cryptkeeper. I cannot remember how old I was when I began watching it, at the ill-thought companionship of my mother (at the time, a devoted fan of the show), but it was very young and the moment that decrepit puppet popped out of the coffin in the corner of his crypt, I lost it...

I could not even look at a picture of the Cryptkeeper without having a heart attack until I was at the age of 15. I had to mentally prepare myself for his brief cameo in Casper every time I watched that children's movie. I had nightmares of him. When the Kids WB channel had him hosting the show, I *beep* dreaded that I'd have to deal with him to watch Jackie Chan Adventures. I didn't watch the kid's game show based on him. I avoided Halloween stores or costume catalogs because I feared the idea of seeing his face right in front of me. I don't remember how I felt when he was (twice!) the mascot of Universal Studios Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights, but I doubt I liked it. The most I'd do is watch the cartoon series Tales from the Cryptkeeper, but even then I hated his laugh... it in itself gave me terror.
The best story was that, couch potato that I was, I still watched the show with my mom everytime she did... I'd just book it the moment the intro came on and come back to watch the story and then leave before the Cryptkeeper appeared again trying to keep out of earshot.

7. The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. (crea. Jeffrey Boam & Carlton Cuse - 1993-1994) - Bruce Campbell is an absolutely pimpdaddy McBadass and don't you dare fucking forget it. This is one of his most pimping performances - up there with Ash Williams, Carl Matushka and Elvis Presley. And this show was not meant to be anything philosophical or culturally significant or anything - though it had some philosophy to it. It was just a really good time and it sucks to see it's a show that ended so damned quickly. I mean, it was epic.
Special acknowledgment to the late Julius Carry for providing a memorable character alongside his legendary Sho'nuff - Lord Bowler's appearance always meant another great moment in the series.

6. Veronica Mars (crea. Rob Thomas - 2004-2007) - Like one of my previous articles explained... I had such the crush on the title character. But other than that, it's got to be hard to have to create original and interesting mysteries for a whole season, while still patiently progressing the season's full arc. It also helped that each major mystery of each season (saved for the last one) was very important to defining Veronica's character and growth as a real Billy Badass. And, as usual with the rest of these entries, blahblahblahwittyblahblahinterestingblahblahblahfun.

5. The Sopranos (crea. David Chase - 1999-2007) - This show is the definition of character development on a show. It goes through every level of Tony Soprano's life - psychological, personal, business - conflicts, doubts, fears. It's kind of hard not to be attached when this show basically forces you to see life through his eyes in all the bad and good ways. The first season alone is worthy enough of memory - His battle with his own Uncle Junior is shocking and intense.

4. The Wire (crea. David Simon - 2002-2008) - The writing on this show is so patient, so detailed, so well-paced and exciting. But a great script means nothing without a perfect cast and this show has that too. I cannot think of a single bad actor in this show. Maybe a few lackluster ones, but never bad. But moreso, once you start this show, you are involved in the Baltimore city until the end. You will know everything about this world you have inhabited. You will witness the true growth of America through the synecdoche of a single city and the life that breathes through it.

3. Arrested Development (crea. Mitchell Hurwitz - 2003-2006; 2013) - I can't say I'm extremely excited for its return (I thought the ending was actually the best thing about it), but it doesn't matter, because as far as those three seasons in its initial run went, this show is PERFECT. The characters, the setting, the referential jokes, this entire show was too ill-fated to have planned it all out so well, but it just comes out so well. It rolled with what it was given and in effect became the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band or Pet Sounds of television.
Which is surprising because other than Michael and George Michael, the Bluths are some of the worst people ever... like ever. They are bad people.

2. Twin Peaks (crea. David Lynch & Mark Frost) - Is it for everyone? No way, and nobody could blame another for finding it cheesy or unappealing. But man, when it has you hooked, it has you hooked. Within two seasons, philosophy, terror, melodrama and atmosphere have never been so better interweaved. Much like The Wire, by the end of Twin Peaks, you feel like you've lived there all your life. It's haunting in all the best and worst ways, which is what you ought to expect from David Lynch really.
The mystery of Laura Palmer may be in the foreground, but you won't be able to keep your eyes off the background characters, there's too many for you not to love one of them.

1. The X-Files (crea. Chris Carter - 1993-2002) - Well, first off, it's a horror show, so it had huge odds. But also, everything I said about the above shows... tenfold for why I love The X-Files. It's scary, it's fun, it's sexy, it's mysterious, it's intriguing - philosophy, conspiracy, romance - this show, despite losing steam once David Duchovny left, was my favorite show for being a piece of entertainment that still attempted to open minds and make you question everything.
Killer BOB can't touch how frightening The Cigarette Smoking Man is, BOB is only close second to him. BOB may have been fear itself, but the CSM represented what you feared, the idea that the universe is playing its odds against you. Agents Mulder and Scully, while not as cool as Cooper, really have a chemistry you can't find many directors eliciting without a true acting mindset. And man, was it always important to believe with Mulder - his story about his sister and feeling alone amongst his peers is audience-baiting sympathies, but it worked for me.
You don't know character arc until you know the story of Walter Skinner. That was an integral part of the show. Or the comic relief/occasional intelligence on the part of the Lone Gunmen. And so much more... 'Home' is an episode that will stick to your mind, or the appearance of Tooms. Alex Krycek and all... UGH!!!! THE SYNDICATE!!!
And Gillian Anderson is hot. The end.

HONORABLE MENTIONS - There's a huge amount, so bear with me...: The Twilight Zone (original); Lost; Breaking Bad; Dexter; Angel; Aqua Teen Hunger Force; The Boondocks; Prison Break; Batman: The Animated Series; Civilisation; The Civil War (PBS miniseries); Tanner ’88; Spawn (HBO original animated series); Babylon 5; Clerks: The Animated Series; Hey, Arnold!; Community; Boy Meets World; Mr. Bean; Sherlock; Mythbusters; Bill Nye: The Science Guy; The Honeymooners; Masters of Horror; Spongebob Squarepants; Malcolm in the Middle

Saturday, May 11, 2013

20 Years of Movie-Watching Part 7 - 20 LEAST FAVORITE MOVIES

Finally, almost at the end of this series of posts.... Two more to go after this... And with only a little over a month to go before my 21st Birthday and this 20 Years thing is nullified.

So, I can't go into my Hall of Fame without going into my Hall of Shame. I don't have the time to really bother honoring these with much of an introduction or even photos or videos, so I'll just get this done. I'm just gonna breeze through it and call it a night. I don't want to encourage watching these at all.
So forgive me if this all comes off as unillustrated rants, but that's the idea... No effort or respect for these films...

20. Who's Your Caddy (Paul, 2007) - I'm not going to lie, there was a time when I legitimately thought that IMDb's voters were racist. Nearly every major Afro-American film was on the bottom 100, with the obvious exception of Boys 'N the Hood and Dead Presidents. I mean, Crossover and In The Mix is understandable, but ATL and Hustle & Flow were actually decent.
Who's Your Caddy was not. It was a who's who of modern hip hop and black comedy and that's it. There's was nothing funny about it. It was like a bad episode of Family Guy gone wrong, which already goes wrong by its existence.

19. House of the Dead (Boll, 2003) - Uwe Boll gets a lot of deserved hate... now. Back in the day, he got undeserved hate. Not that his movies didn't suck then, but he got death threats and Nazi calls because of them. Good to see that people have chilled out by then.
When I watch The Walking Dead and keep thinking 'Wow, this is a horrible show', I comfort myself with the idea that that show is not the lowest zombies can go. Instead, there's this.

18. Gigli (Brest, 2003) - Benifer.

17. The Amazing Spider-Man (Webb, 2012) - I suppose you can tell by my review of that movie that I fucking hated it.

16. Jaws: The Revenge (Sargent, 1987) - I actually adored this movie when I was young. My brother loved Jaws (and marine biology) in general as a kid hard enough to just eat up any shark movie. Then we grew up and realized that this movie was just really hard to stomach when you develop brain cells. Like absolutely nothing in the movie makes sense.
Nothing makes sense. And nothing is believable.

15. Baby Geniuses (Clark, 1999) - One of the worst crimes a movie should ever commit is not being funny once when it's a comedy. Baby Geniuses does that. Terribly. It's only selling point is a gimmick and a bad one at that.

14. Mac and Me (Raffill, 1988) - When I was little, I mistaked this movie for E.T. Now I see it's just Coca-Cola and McDonald's the Movie: Starring the E.T. Knock-Off.

13. Catwoman (Pitof, 2004) - Everybody involved in the movie looked like they were having a bad time. We can see why they felt that way in the payoff. Did the director really use one name in his credit? Was he spending more time thinking of his pseudonym than character or story or pacing or shit like that?

12. Thunderpants (Hewitt, 2002) - I saw this in Algeria on a day when it was too hot to play soccer outside. After a while, I decided I would rather just watch ice cream melt on the street. But there is no ice cream to keep me occupied. I had to watch a movie about a kind who sang, murders (literally), is pardoned, goes to space, gets picked on and all that boogie jazz - in the name of his farts. "It was the worst day of my life... ever." We know.

11. Movie 43 (A bunch of directors who should be ashamed of themselves, 2013) - If you have to ask me why I saw it, I can never explain...

10. Sucker Punch (Snyder, 2011) - There's this thing about the Chappelle Show that led to its cancellation. Dave Chappelle kept making his skits, sacrificing his beloved stand-up time, because he thought the audience could see the message he was trying to make. Instead, the audience only had the joke played on them and continued quoting things that shouldn't have been quoted.
Sucker Punch is a reversal on this. It was misogynistic fan service without any relevant purpose behind its story and it wasn't doing it to be ironic, despite everybody trying to justify it and reading too much into the movie to let be saved. It was doing it because Zack Snyder likes to perform fan service.

9. Epic Movie (Friedberg/Seltzer, 2007) - This is that movie that started all this horrific parody films craze that everyone ate up too soon. This was the movie that started the darker side of that era.

8. The Adventures of Pluto Nash (Underwood, 2002) - This is completely the lowest Eddie Murphy can ever go. After seeing this movie, I don't hate Norbit or even Beverly Hills Cop III because I completely see better things in them and at least entertaining things, moreso than this muddled gangster plot with Randy Quaid.

7. Glitter (Hall, 2001) - I will not stand for musicians to be shoehorned into their own starring feature when they are not good actors. I will not stand for it. Mariah Carey is one of my favorite singers, but holy shit was this painful.

6. From Justin to Kelly (Iscove, 2003) - See Glitter above. I'm really glad I have never seen Justin Guarini face again after this. I'm going to do some wishful thinking and assume the mafia murdered him.

5. InAPPropriate Comedy (Offer, 2013) - I saw it for free and I got less than my money's worth. It baffles me when a movie takes an effort to be like a Friedberg/Seltzer comedy, it really does. I think if I say anymore, I will get beaten by the director like he beat that hooker.

4. Daniel - The Wizard (Lommel, 2004) - It's kind of a top pick on IMDb's Bottom 100, shouldn't that be straightforward? Also, see Glitter. Also, this movie should count as a Nazi war crime.

3. Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (Leonetti, 1997) - I'm not a fan of Legacy/Rebirth neither. The one true Mortal Kombat film was the original. But at least Legacy/Rebirth, in spite of all its Christopher Nolan-grit attempt to be relevant, actually tells engaging stories without extraneous plot devices, random continuity errors and makes the Outworld factor seem too silly than it ought to be treated.
Outworld is Hell. MAKE IT HELL!!! GOOD HELL!!!

2. Birdemic: Shock and Terror (Nguyen, 2010) - James Nguyen hates people. I'm sure of it. That's why he kept plugging in Yoko Ono's website and intends to make a sequel to Birdemic. Just think of everything that goes wrong with a bad film and think about it being done on purpose as an affront to you.
Fuck you, Nguyen!

1. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (Bay, 2009) - I have a very bad history with this movie. And it's a huge piece of shit. But mainly, I have a bad experience with this movie that got it higher on this list than Birdemic. BIRDEMIC: PEACE AND RECYCLING!!!

Now, as a postscript, I had posted this list a month ago on my facebook profile as my 20 favorite movies as an April Fool's Joke. For the people who knew what was up, they understood that I only list movies I have seen, but mentioned that these movies would probably be on this list if I had ever seen them (luckily, I never intended to):
Dragonball Evolution (Wong, 2009)
The Last Airbender (Shyamalan, 2010)
Doctor Who (Sax, 1996)
Super Mario Bros. (Morton/Jankel, 1993) - This is actually a certified turd I do intend to brave, just because I think it's necessary to know what it is when Dennis Hopper plays a Koopa.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

An Open Letter to Marvel Studios (and a Laugh for anybody else (and a Laugh for Marvel Studios))

The following is an extensive status I posted shortly after seeing Iron Man 3 at midnight opening day - with some edits so you can take my points less seriously), both satirical and fueled by a lack of sleep for many a day. Please stop judging me.

Okay, Marvel Studios, hear me out because this is a game plan that works for everyone and will single-handedly ensure that DC Comics can never ever ever expect to make another comic book film again (Not even one of the nu-DCAU movies or a sequel to Man of Steel) without getting crushed.

You've essentially killed the story of Tony Stark with Iron Man 3. You Dark Knight Rised that character. There is nowhere left for him to go. And Robert Downey Jr. is is on the balance for his contractual decision to extend or expire.
And Robbie is to Tony Stark as Wesley Snipes is to Blade, Patrick Stewart is to Charles Xavier or J.K. Simmons is to J. Jonah Jameson. There is no substitute. If Robbie goes, Tony goes.

So... here's what you do:
You do what every Nolan vampire (not the fanboys, though - they're a little more intelligent) has been crying to be done and you JGL Don Cheadle. Make Rhodey the new Iron Man - Not War Machine... Not Iron Patriot... Iron Man. You do it before a crappy Nightwing movie can be made by DC without bringing the first Robin back onto the scene (No, John Blake does not count!).

It's a risky deal, I know. It's like lighting a stick of dynamite with a short fuse to stop your baddies. But it's gonna work in favor of those involved, really...
Who wins?
Well, to begin with, RDJ finally gets the rest he's wanted and deserved since the Avengers. He can move on to more roles that have substance, like Chaplin, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Short Cuts, Natural Born Killers, the kind of hasn't been able to get since being Iron Man.

And RDJ might not ever need to wear make-up and be the only good thing in an average movie to expect an Oscar nod ever again.

Marvel will win by making DC look like a cheap Marvel knock-off and stealing all the thunder before Christopher Nolan can act a well-meaning idiot and make the films Grit Central - Easily the best thing to happen to the Batman franchise, but really the worst thing to happen to superhero movies in general - while Joss Whedon remains King of Nerds (with J.J. Abrams as his Queen).

"Wait, Salim," you tell me, "you can't be serious in thinking this movie would be even a D on the scale."
You're right. It's going to suck... It might even be the worst superhero movie made since Ghost Rider. And do you think the moviegoing audience will care?
You will lose an amount of the audience based on the idea that Tony Stark is Iron Man and you will certainly ensure that Iron Man is not in Avengers 2 (Pissing off the NAACP while at it).
But do you really need the critical acclaim anymore? You have Joss Whedon, who is only second to Christopher Nolan as the guy everybody today kisses ass to. Nobody will admit he's ever done something bad. Nobody will admit he's ever screwed up. And unlike Nolan, he never had to hide behind the 'smart guy' image.
Do you know how many people liked Iron Man 2? Hell, I LOVED Iron Man 2. It's probably the worst movie you made yet, it was a piece of shit trailer for the Avengers and I recognized that and still loved it. You will have your fanboys no matter what.

It was the best 30-second fight scene ever.
60 percent of my friends list is people who will eat any piece of shit you fling at them because they whore themselves out to anything comic book or video game related, because they like being called 'nerds' (No offense, you shallow shallow people). The kind of people who will walk out of Ghost Rider saying it was awesome until someone says 'No, dude. Look closer.' You will make money.

The Avengers has a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the second highest-ranked Marvel Studios film to date behind Iron Man. That's the movie you guys essentially said 'F* it' to story towards and yet it still made epic bank and got all the critics blowing it.

There's the people who will cry about how the movie is shitting on the source material. And they will be right, let's not pretend.

Let me give you the one movie of yours, Marvel, that remained completely accurate to the source material with like 3 percent change from the original comic source:

The only movie that could make more accurate to the source
is a Wolverine movie where Wolverine sucks.
Punisher: War Zone.

How much money did that make? Nope. Did anybody like it? Zero. That was the Punisher straight off the page, not a Thomas Jane crybaby. The Dark Knight trilogy is a series that removed mystical elements in the name of Nolan's realism and made a huge amount of bank.
Y'see, the comic book fans will always cry about something that's who they are.

You can't tell me this is a bad idea neither. Unless you're a racist who hates black people who's prejudice to Afro-Americans!

Yeah, you hate black people! You're the reason Childish Gambino never got to be Spider-Man!

With this, DC will call it quits - afraid (understandably) of being called hacks of Marvel in this world of (bullshit) originality - and remain in comic books until essentially Alan Moore goes insane like we always knew he would and burn down their headquarters in a vicious act of vengeance wearing the V costume (or the new 52 makes them lose money, whichever comes first). You will afterwards repair all the extraneous damage you have done to yourselves as a film company and be a singular empire in all of comic book movie history.

And I will be sitting here telling Robert Downey Jr., "I told you people would rather watch Don Cheadle as Iron Man than the raccoon guy from Guardians of the Galaxy."

Fuck, just give Rocket a cookie and he'll shut the fuck up.
Goddammit, I deserve that mountain of cocaine you movie executives award your proteges and I deserve it now.

Friday, May 3, 2013

I'm Sorry I Haven't Been Posting Lately - Enjoy My Short Film!

Finals and other things have gotten in my posting way and now I'm gonna pick up the slack.

But first, I present my latest short - an Eleventh Hour film called Check.

I'm in a hurry, but I'll edit this article with more info on it's production later.

Thanks for being patient with me, guys.