Thursday, September 22, 2011

Movies I Haven't Seen: Abduction

I tried to write a blog last week for the Sarah Jessica Parker, Academy Award vehicle I Don't Know How She Does It and I couldn't get through it.  Even making fun of that movie was boring the absolute hell out of me, and I will make fun of anyone and everything, usually with girlish delight.  So, as a saving grace to my sanity, I stopped writing it and will allow it to crash and burn and have a slow and painful death at the box office like so many other SJP vehicles and, coincidentally, vehicles driven by other people who happen to see Sarah Jessica Parker's face.  So now, finally, I'm back to doing what I love... ruining shitty movies that I haven't even seen for everyone who wants to see them.  I swear I'll shake the dust off eventually.

He's following his career down that hill... skyscraper?  That ruins the joke...

Okay, I can't help but continue making fun of that poster.  I've seen the movie trailer and in reality, and I use that term loosely, he's sliding down the a decorative glass siding in some kind of outdoor mall and it's at about a thirty-five degree angle.  But with the poster, people are gonna think that Spider-Man lost his powers mid-dive... and for some reason his costume.  Is this Inception?  Is he dreaming and he can just bend the buildings at a whim and perform some killer grind sans skateboard?  You'd think he'd soften those windows so the glass doesn't shatter under his diamond sole shoes connected to his tree trunk of a body.  Or does this film take place in a futuristic city where people live in crooked buildings because the future is going to be a lot less rigid in it's building code restrictions?  Irregardless, yes irregardless, everything about that well made piece of advertising tells me this is going to be the first Oscar worthy film of the early awards season.

My blatant lies in that last sentence made Jesus kill this litter of kittens.  Sorry, Jesus.

As if you needed to be explained the plot after seeing that Don Draper quality creation, Abduction stars Kid's Choice Award Winner and MTV Movie Award Nominee Taylor Lautner as a young hunk with an ideal life and parents who are suspiciously training him to be James Bond Jr. right under his nose in front of his face.  His nosy girlfriend just happens to find his photo on a missing children website (girlies always be doing background checks) and these bad dudes break into his house and murderize his parents... or are they his parents?  No.  He bolts and gets picked up by Ellen Ripley in a Sarah Connor-like "come with me if you want to live" moment and he's whisked away into a world of espionage, chased by the people who want to protect him and the people who want to kill him, sounding nothing like the Bourne films or any other movie where a kid is chased by a shadowy organization.  And literally no one gets abducted in any of the trailers.

Seriously, let's go through the list: misleading title, terrible poster, cliched as hell plot, what exactly do they think audiences are going to go to this movie fo...

A young Tommy Wiseau?  Or Cher...

...oh.  Yeah.  That little kid.  From that one really popular movie, what was it called?  Oh yeah, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl.  That's the one.  Ha, I just looked at the cast of that and the girl who played Lavagirl was named Taylor too.  Must have been confusing on set.  "Taylor!  No, the girl Taylor!  Seriously, why do you both keep looking?"  Obviously, we all know what he's from.  Some of you are panting furiously at the thought of it.  I myself feel a little part of my eternal soul die every time I type the name Taylor Lautner.  And before the haters stop reading now and say, "You haven't seen it, it's really good!" let me stop you right there.  I watched New Moon.  Don't ask me how or why, but I did.  I regret every second of it.  I know he's not that old but I have seen better acting in a school play, and I'm talking about me in the production of Peter Rabbit I did in first grade.  If he said, "Not if I find you first," to me like he does in the trailer, I would chuckle uncontrollably.  But I digress, it's not about acting, is it ladies?  It's about him in a tight shirt.  I'm sure he'll take it off sometime.  It might get wet a time or two.  Maybe ripped a little bit...  Is that what it takes to sell tickets to movies?  Is that what this world has come to?

Third highest grossing movie of all time, Oscar, and he wore a shirt through the whole thing.

Okay, I feel better, about most of the highest grossing movies of all time being serious films and the fact that I finally got to stop searching for pictures of him.  So, baby-voice Lautner aside, this movie is chock full of really good actors who apparently got really bored for half a year.  Ripley, Dr. Octopus, Lucius Malfoy, the cheerleader mom from A History of Violence... they must all be really hungry.  We should set up a foundation for starving, award nominated actors so they don't have to bottom feed to scrape by.  Poor bastards.  Apparently they really will act for food.

Exhibit B: Morgan Freeman acting for food.  Harry Connick Jr. not applicable, he's never acted.

It was even directed by John Singleton, the guy who directed Boyz n the Hood.  To be unfair though, he also directed 2 Fast 2 Furious, proving that he's attracted to directing projects with chiseled men who forgot to go to acting school.  So apparently you can direct for food, too.

On to the spoiling.  This was a tough one because of it's unique plot.  I seriously gotta tone down the sarcasm.  Nope, still going.  Obviously Sigourney Weaver is gonna bite the bullet, being the mentor of the picture.  Mentors never live long enough to see their students succeed.  Alfred Molina acts like the good guy government man but he's probably just as shady as everyone else.  The title is the only thing that confuses the hell out of me... wait!  Abduction!  Missing children website!  The title that seemed so very stupid before is actually the twist of the movie.  Was he abducted as a young boy and put into this spy foster family so he could become a trained killer.  What in the hell is the point of that?  Did they know from birth that he would be a robot, both as a killer and an actor?  Why would you kidnap, deceive, and then lose track of this clearly closeted teen when he needs a true family the most?

This movie just became a very depressing drama.  There could be some terribly touching scenes.  He could have found his real parents and discovered they were Communist spies.  After that horrible revelation, he could have realized that he took advantage of the time spent with the people who raised him.  His girlfriend could be an enemy agent who set him up on this quest in the first place, and he has to put his true high school feelings aside and kill her for the greater good.  Sigourney Weaver and Alfred Molina could be his real parents, fighting over their missing son on a national scale of intrigue.  All of that would have been a brilliant mix of drama and action, with a young, nubile actor ready to give it his all and stretch his acting chops to the limit.


So at the end of the day we'll probably be left with a clear cut, by the numbers, person-discovering their-real-identity-and-running-a-whole-bunch thriller.  And by we, I mean anyone stupid enough to consider this a thriller.  He'll find out who he is, maybe become an agent himself or disappear to the uninhabited corners of the world to live out his days looking over his shoulder with his one and only true love - the first girl he met in high school.  Maybe we should all take a cue from this acting aficionado and run away to a far off land where they don't have movie screens that cater to ten year old girls and boys who only like a handsome hunk with feelings and is also an ass-kicker, respectively. Or I can just deal with it, watch The Dark Knight again, and remember that I was ten once too and that formula worked just fine for a certain group of heroes.

Although, the robot on that show could act circles around Edward and Jacob... I mean, whatever those character's names are...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

6 Social Situations In Which You're Being An Asshole (And Don't Know It)

It was a long summer.  The well of terrible movies I don't want to see coming out in theaters ran dry as we stumbled hazily into the summer film season.  So many explosions... so little time to see them all.  So, in lieu of writing a new Movies I Haven't Seen column, I thought I'd try something a li'l different.  But don't worry, fall is here and with it, the worst movie months since February.  I'll be back on the horse, soon.

Since I'm so obsessed with and their style of writing the funnies, I decided to write an article in the vein of their world famous lists.

Over the years, I've done ponderous research, both in the lab and out in the field, on the human race.  And what I've discovered may astound you: 98.7% of the human beings on the planet... are assholes.  Shocking, I know.  Oh, calm down, you already knew that.  For some of you, this will be a checklist.  And if you didn't know that, well, maybe you should read some of these very carefully, step back and take a good hard look at yourself.  But if you could do that without me telling you to, well then you probably wouldn't be such an asshole....

Rock 'n Roll Concerts -

Rock has a rowdy reputation.  Some of its greatest heroes are drunks, druggies, criminals and all around assholes.  So are a lot of the fans, coincidently.  The reason we partly allow the rock stars to be such pricks is that they entertain us with their music and silly antics.  Fans don't have that luxury.  I don't know what hidden musical talents the sweaty pig jumping up and down and bumping into me has, and I really don't care.  It's okay to have a good time, but I feel like after the thirtieth time you bump into another solid human being and they glare at you, you'd at least wonder why they aren't bumping back.  And if you happen to be seven feet tall, make sure you find the best spot in the crowd, right in front of the average sized people.  You need to see the band better than we shorties do anyway.

No, but enjoy your scoliosis and the cruel ravages of gravity, Frankenstein.

Got there late?  That's okay, just push and shove your way in front of the people who got there on time.  And don't forget to sing as loud as possible in my ear... every... single... word... because I paid Tickemaster a 50% enema fee to hear your sloppy, off-key crooning.  Singing isn't so bad... but then there's the chatters, the ones who talk about the music they're listening to while they're listening to it.  Or just chat about their mundane lives.  I'm all for having fun, singing along, jumping around... but the second I come into contact with an inexplicably drenched, nine foot tall, tone deaf drunk, I turn into a square and wanna go tell his mommy what he's done.  If it's an all-ages show, I could probably find your mommy there, so don't push me.  Too bad your mom is probably an asshole, too, hanging out in the back by the bar, boring the hell out of someone who doesn't care how good music used to be when you were on shrooms.  And since alcohol never helps these kinds of situations, you know that all of these people just get worse after they booze up.  You'd think charging twenty bucks for seven ounces of beer would deter most people from getting drunker than the Founding Fathers on July 4th, but obviously I've underestimated the deep pockets of assholes.

These ICPs are all CPAs in their other life.

Sporting Events -

If there's something people have stronger opinions about than music, it's sports.  People kill people over sports in most countries that aren't this one.  Coincidently, soccer is popular in most countries that aren't this one.  But don't worry, Americans make up for not being genocidal football fans in plenty of other ways.  Take Chicago for instance.  If you even mention the word socks around a Chicago Cubs fan, they will immediately tell you how stupid you are, how much your team sucks, and how great a century-and-still-going-strong losing streak is.  And that's if you just say something like, "Man, these socks on my feet sure are warm."

As warm as a current century win...

There is no excuse in any true sports fan's mind for someone to have a different opinion, which sometimes makes being at an actual sporting event similar to having to sit through an opera in a volcano.  That sounds excessive, but for any kid who has had to play sports while their parents watched, they'd probably rather take the lav-opera.  I don't quite remember many of my little league playing days, thanks to extensive hypnotherapy, but I think they all went something like this.  Little Timmy gets up to the plate.  Little Timmy strikes out.  Little Timmy's parents verbally abuse the umpire for doing his job.  Little Timmy sits in the dugout crying, for once not being made fun of by his friends because their parents are doing the exact same thing.  Little Timmy's father, who works at the bank and volunteers at the children's hospital, shanks the umpire on the way to the parking lot.

"Daddy bet your college fund on this game!" says Ray Winstone?

The difference between those games and professional games is negligible, but once again, alcohol has something to do with it.  At those kid's games, you had to sneak it in and be discreet.  Little Timmy's Dad's handle end of his shank, for instance, could be hollowed out as a crude flask.  But at professional games, it flows like water from a leaking toilet that I still didn't fix cause I'm busy, okay?  And mixing alcohol with team pride is a powder keg that more often than not goes off.  When fans of two opposing teams start drinking and sitting in close proximity to each other, no amount of children or nuns on a field day can deter them from assaulting each other with amounts of profanity not heard since the days of The Sopranos.  And at the end of the day, one of those teams is gonna lose... and heaven help the poor fans of the winning visiting team who have to get out of that stadium... and that city... alive. 

Bars/Parties -

Once again, alcoholism causes asshol-ism.  No, I can't blame it on booze.  Alcohol makes me more truthful, so following that example, someone who becomes an asshole when drunk is probably just hiding it when they're sober.  Being in a whole group of people that are drunk was fun, for a bit, in college.  Now, it's a nightmare, especially when you're attempting to be responsible and have fun at the same time.  The number one thing to avoid are the people sitting alone.  They're like black holes.  If you get to close to one, there is no escaping the gravitational pull of loneliness.  They think you're there to listen to them talk, even if you came with fourteen other people who got lucky enough not to get sucked into oblivion.  And when you pull yourself away, you're the asshole because you can't take four hours out of your busy night to hear about their divorce.  They have literally been making happy people feel guilty for a long, long time...

"Oh, go talk to your precious Jedi friend.  I bet he's got a whole face."

And then, there are the drunks.  Oh so many.  Where there's smoke, there's fire, and where there's alcohol, there are people that think it makes them funny.  There's a tiny sliver of time where that's true and a mathematical formula involving how tipsy you are, how tipsy they are, and the position of the planets that can calculate it.  Past that, being drunk is a crapshoot.  Some people talk too much, some not enough, some too loud, some too close to your face, some like to hit, some like to hit on every female in sight, some like to meet strangers awkwardly, some like to cry in a bathtub, and some just like to run around in circles until they vomit all over the place and then say they're too drunk to clean it up... as they go back for more.  And being responsible about everything just means that you're not having any fun and you're ruining their fun ruining your fun because you have to babysit.  But you don't have to babysit, they'll be just fine... in that ditch the next morning.  And what's worse is the next night, they'll either have forgotten about it or they'll just say, "Sorry, I was drunk.  Duh."  It's good that we have this circular logic in place so that no matter how obliterated someone gets, their behavior can be excused by the thing that got them to that point in the first place.  But at least they were having fun, right?  That makes up for everything.

It's not a disease if I literally can not have fun without drinking.  Right?  

The Internet - 

I was hesitant to include this one as a social situation, but in this high tech day and age, the internet is about as social as most people get.  Walking around in a colorful fantasy world dressed in chain mail and l33t speaking to each other is some people's only means of socializing.  The first time I played a game online and had to listen to the ignorant garbage coming out of a twelve year old's mouth when they trash talked was jarring.

Don't even think about spawn killing these little psychopaths.  They eat kittens and spit fear.

I'd heard trash talking before, during games of sport for instance, but that has real world consequences.  If you trash talk a pitcher, he can bean you with the ball... possibly in the balls, completing a horribly ironic circle.  The real difference for online gaming and many other online activities is the anonymity.  I don't know who that miserable little child is, and I never will, so he can pretty much call my mother whatever the hell he wants while he's pwning me.  The same goes for the people who troll the internet discussion boards and rant about how every movie that's coming out is horse shit and every supermodel/actress is ugly.  Who the hell are you?  Why do you think that we care about your standards for women?  And by standards, I mean, hating every woman you can't have... which is damn near all of them if I'm allowed to assume.  And I am allowed, cause I'm on the internet.

Disgusting.  My clearly not made-up, out-of-town girlfriend is hotter.

And it only gets worse when you realize that if you ran into this person in person, this cynical, depressing excuse for a human being that has such confidence hiding behind their username, odds are they would say the exact opposite if confronted about it.  And once you actually saw them in person, you'd know they were lying about having high standards, because I mean... they probably look like they bathe in butter.  And yes, I'm stereotyping.  Once again, it's the internet.

Driving -

I'm gonna put this out there with absolutely no sarcasm: I'm a great driver... and you're not.  Granted, that's how everyone feels, but I'm right.  If you want to witness humanity at it's worst, watch how other people that aren't you drive.  That nice old man who works at the grocery store?  He's the guy who ran that red light.  Little Timmy's mom from down the street, whose husband went to jail for attended umpicide, who pays you to mow her lawn?  She's the one who does her make-up in the car, endangering lives and perpetuating a stereotype.  These are people you know and enjoy their company, but once again, anonymity destroys the societal foundations we worked so hard to create.  You could be a saint face to face, but once you get in that car, the windshield is your mask, keeping your super villain secret identity safe.

Can't ticket the anonymous crime fighter who weaves between lanes... and I bet that registration name is phony.  Bruce Wayne?  Yeah, right.

With that mask on, you feel perfectly fine racing an entire line of cars in a lane you know perfectly well is going to end so that you can sit in the same gridlock tens cars ahead of everyone else, you sack of horseshit.  There's a special section of Hell reserved for those people with a bunch of bumpy, poorly lubricated poles.   And sometimes, worse than the people that excessively break the law, are the people who don't quite come close to following it.  These are the people who go 35 in a 45.  That's actually less safe, since everyone around you is doing 45.  You're in the way.  Also, these are the people who stop where there is no stop sign to be nice and let you go first.  When you have the right of way, take it, and stop wasting my time trying to be nice when in reality, you're accomplishing quite the opposite.  The day that the general public finally understands the proper way to tackle a four-way stop, that'll be the day that Jesus fella comes home.  Except that he's already given them his blessing on driving like idiots...

"Thou shalt not tailgate my chosen car children..."

Movie Theaters -

This is it.  The place of death, spoken about in hushed whispers when planning on having a good time and knowing that it's futile to think you will.  Because for every decent human soul who ventures to the multiplex for an enjoyable night of film, there are a dozen ingrates, confused infants, unsupervised teens, and all around buttholes hellbent on ruining everyone else's good time.

"After I talk during this movie I don't understand, I'll come slaughter puppies with you, girlfriend!"

First of all, and I know this is common sense so you won't understand it, but why pay upwards of twelve dollars to completely ignore the movie you're in?  You could ignore it for free somewhere else, like at home being beaten by your boyfriend.  Second, a baby?  If you can't get someone to watch your kid for two hours, wait.  The movie will be around once your child turns eighteen and leaves home.  It's not our fault you got pregnant, don't make us deal with your regrets in a quiet public setting.  Thirdly, I understand that movies are fun for teens.  They get to escape from their parents and their really hard lives for two hours and sit in the dark.  But, if you want to do that, don't go to a movie that requires you to pay attention.  If you're bored enough where you start talking and texting your little moron friends, you obviously need to do something more your speed, like try to finish a Twilight novel or huff paint.

Although with some movies, huffing paint might actually help.

And Zeus forbid you shush any of these people or complain, because you'd be annoying them.  And they won't stand for someone being annoying to them.  They don't want anyone to ruin their time ruining your time.  And if you do want to get up to tell someone who cares, now you're gonna miss a part of the movie that you so desperately wanted to see.  And all they'll do is shush them, too.  It's a double-edged shit sword, and as usual, the asshole wins.  The time has come to have a bouncer in each theater.  I hate paying extra for a 3D movie, but for the peace of mind that if someone takes out their ringing phone and answers it to tell the person on the other end, and everyone in the theater, that they're in a movie, and that person will be forcibly ejected by someone that looks like The Rock?  I'd gladly pay the inflated price.  And they get to have the movie ruined for them on their way out the door, as a punishment, by the annoyed, hulking man who's seen it several times.

"They find Nemo.  Now take your smart mouth toddler and get the hell out."
There needs to start being some real world consequences for being an uncaring prick, and I think we need to start in the movie theaters, where assholes seem to nest like a hive of xenomorphs.  Instead of just kicking them out, kick them out, ban them, and then separate them from their families and friends for a few months, making them watch the same movie they got kicked out of over and over again until they finally learn to shut their dirty mouths and pay attention to something other than themselves for once.  Oh, did I say real world consequences?  'Cause I meant Medieval real world consequences.

And that goes for the crying babies, too.