Aug 8, 2009

How Violently Does G.I. Joe Suck? [Critical Reception]

G.I. Joe wasn't screened for critics because Paramount wanted to market the movie to Middle Amerikkka without being judged. Critical reviews are finally coming in. They're going to be bad, it's just a matter of how bad. And how bad?

Roger Ebert says G.I. Joe wasn't as bad as Transformers 2. But it still sucked ass:

"G. I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" is a 118-minute animated film with sequences involving the faces and other body parts of human beings. It is sure to be enjoyed by those whose movie appreciation is defined by the ability to discern that moving pictures and sound are being employed to depict violence. Nevertheless, it is better than "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen."

Richard Corliss from Time thinks the entire thing is self-parody, and furthermore calls out the - and I'm paraphrasing - bitchass bloggers that were shown the film for being cornered into studio hype:

One of the few smart things about G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was the decision by Paramount Pictures to refuse to screen the movie for the press. The studio's previous summer toy story, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, had earned a sheaf of pans, then took in more than $800 million in its first six weeks of release. Hoping lightning would strike twice, but without the annoying critical thunder, Paramount showed G.I. Joe, which it hopes will be the first in a lucrative series, only to a few reliable bloggers. Less docile scribes like me had to catch a public screening last night at midnight. As the old line goes about some long-ago lemon: The movie wasn't released - it escaped.

Shots ring out! Rolling Stone's Peter Travers-king of the publicity pull-quote-got all poopie-pants when the movie wasn't screened for him! Watch his tantrum, as he first summarizes the film, then recommends a better Paramount movie:

The goal is stop arms dealer McCullen...from destroying the world with warheads packed with cockroaches. Well, they looked like roaches to me. McCullen calls then nanomites. No one really bothers to explain how these nanomites morph from insects into green slime. And this in a movie that helpfully tells us, via subtitle, that Paris is in France...There is an antidote if you see G.I. Joe and feel unclean. Get a copy of Team America World Police, the 2004 puppet musical from South Park's Trey Parker and Matt Stone. It totally skewers the 'America Fuck Yeah' idiocy on parade here.

It might be worth noting that one of the film's major set-pieces has the Eiffel Tower getting taken down by a missle-turned-green-slime in a piece of Anti-France porn sentiment that's even outdated for hicks by like, six years. This movie sucks so bad, even Young Republican Kyle Smith of the New York Post - who ragged on Do The Right Thing as patently wrong - hated this movie. His review sucked, but here's some more of what it's like:

That movie [The Mummy] and this one share a director, Stephen Sommers, who also inexplicably places the Joes' HQ beneath the Great Pyramids (hell, sand worked before), uses the guy who played the Mummy as a baddie named Zartan, and even dusts off Brendan Fraser, who pops up in the Joes' training center but has nothing to do but watch G.I. Joe for five minutes.

Unfortunately, insanely, perpetually crunchy New York Press film critic Armond White has yet to see it, but expect fireworks when he does (he will probably call it a masterwork of brilliance; this is the same guy thought Up was terrible). Others have weighed in on how much this movie sucks, and you can read their Metascores here. It's almost depressing how shamelessly ready these studios are to pump out sincerely mediocre fare. This is the kind of thing that makes Funny People look like Citizen Kane. Then again, any movie where you can watch the bottom line on an entire industry get lower in front of you might be worth the nine bucks to see. Probably not, but still: impressive.

Aug 7, 2009

Cocaine Implicated in Billy Mays' Death [Deaths]

Billy Mays died from heart disease, but final autopsy reports cite cocaine was a contributing factor in the TV ad-man's death, AP reports.

A preliminary examination of the Oxi-Clean pitchman's body had turned up no sign of drug abuse, just the prescription painkillers he was known to be taking for hip surgery. But it turns out he had used coke several days before his death.

Mays, known for his loud, energetic infomercials thrived on his manic energy, as seen in the Tonight Show clip we attached to his obituary. Pair this high-octane working style with his weight and middle age (he died at 50), and it's baffling that he would add cocaine to the mix.

Reasons For Concerned Citizen's Concern Revealed [Sigh]

How weird! A regular plain-old concerned citizen shouting about health care socialism at a Democratic congressman's town hall turned out to be a former vice-chairman of the county Republican party. And she worked for the member's opponent! Crazy coincidence, right?

This vile fucking terrible woman is, obviously, a miserable liar and a political hack. The mad old people, though, are not Republican "plants." They are just angry old white men who believe crazy things because all their preferred media outlets lie to them relentlessly and shamelessly, and that is not their fault, really, except inasmuch as they're generally incapable of being reasoned with.

Hermaphrodite Lady Gaga Has Your Publicity Stunt Right Here [Clebrity Science]

Lady Gaga has a knack for getting attention. So it's no surprise that video of the singer revealing a mini-penis at a concert successfully captured the attention of the Googling hordes. Britney Spears would be proud of this NSFW non-slip-up.

Recent weeks have also seen Lady Gaga wearing a coat made of miniature Kermit the frogs for German TV, partying with David Hasselhoff, pleading impending poverty and groping her boobs and mooning, in a nightclub. The latter was prt of a gay pride event; this new incident is surely likewise intended as PR catnip for Gaga's gay fan base, offering the opportunity for endless debate on the nature of human sexuality and our society's need to gender cultural icons.

So it's at least a brow above Spears flashing her vag on the way out of a car. It's downright sociological, kinda! And as a viral phenomenon, it could be even bigger; the supposed confirmation is just psuedo enough to be titillating, an unlinked quote of Gaga saying "Yes. I have both male and female genitalia... It's just a little bit of a penis." Given the singer's motor-scooter-shimmy and tiny skirt in the video below, it's hard to imagine she didn't intend to reveal something:

Is hermaphrodism officially the last gender-sexuality combination still reliably considered freaky, in a titillating way, around the world? Quite possibly!

'Not Having Kids' Is the New 'Having Kids' [Recessionomics]

The Way We Live Now: Alone. Abandon the kids! Or better yet, don't have the kids in the first place. They're the reason you're broke. And they'll just grow up to hide out in tax havens and rob taco trucks.

In 2007, the number of births in the United States broke a 50-year-old record high, set during the baby boom. But last year, births began to decline nationwide, by nearly 2 percent.

It doesn't take a freakishly big-headed Baby Einstein wizard child to figure out what's going on here: people are broke. Kids cost money. Mostly because they always ask you for things like, I don't what kids like these days, cigarettes and things. Candy. It adds up. Also you know yuppie parents always feel compelled to buy their kids way more expensive shit than they need, which adds up even more. So they're just having fewer kids now.

Why bring a child into the world if you cannot afford a $700 stroller for it?

Let's not bemoan this lessening of tots, anyhow. Babies, meh. For what? The rich yuppie ones grow up and go into finance and then, whoops, next thing you know he's a virtual recluse holed up in his Guernsey mansion trying to avoid capital gains taxes with the whole regulatory structure of the British empire on his ass, and you have to go there for Thanksgiving.

And then the hoodlum ones grow up to rob taco trucks. Taco trucks? Taco trucks.

Motherfucking taco trucks. Kids.

How Insulting John Hughes, And Maybe His Family, Made Me a Writer [Remembrances]

Richard Rushfield is still on vacation before joining Gawker, but he couldn't resist weighing in with another dispatch, involving dearly-departed director John Hughes, an LA-area deli, and some serious trash talk.

It was somewhere around 1985'ish...Sometime post-The Breakfast Club, but pre-Planes, Trains and Automobiles. I was in my senior year of high school with a head filled with contempt for anything that brought joy and solace to my fellow man, especially to my fellow teen man. MTV? Fascism unleashed. Live Aid? A sign we were entering the final days. Shoulder pads? Might as well be stapling patches of asbestos under your jackets with IVs sending it directly into your blood stream.

Yes, indeed. I wasn't in a mood to just sit quietly and go along with nothing. And least of all with John Hughes movies.

So one Saturday morning, when my friends Will, Joey and I took a table in the now-demolished Marjan's Deli in Brentwood, our jaws dropped to see our arch-nemesis sitting at the booth just across the tiny aisle from us. There we saw the destroyer of teendom himself, sitting with what appeared to be his wife and two young children.

While we stifled giggles and swallowed all the words we might have said to him, ("I guess this Breakfast Club will let anyone in") had we the guts, Joey peered closer and announced, that, in fact, although it looked almost like him, it was not the great auteur, just a guy who looked kinda like him. We all looked back and agreed, the man might be huge, but he was not Hughes.

With relief we settled in, relieve that we wouldn't have to confront on that morning any dangerous moral questions like, "Do you sell your soul if you eat lox, eggs and onions three feet away from a director whose work you despise?"

Getting comfortable again, we turned back to the work of le Hughes, talking over what bugged us so much about it. We discussed how he had ruined his brilliant subversive National Lampoon's Vacation short story, turning it into a mushy family film. We considered the racism of the Long Duk character in Sixteen Candles, Bender's laughable teen street talk in Sixteen Candles, the horrifying mock depth of the art gallery scene in Ferris Bueller. As we dug into the subject we grew more animated, more excited and, in the lovable manner of teen boys everywhere, incredibly loud

We were just diving into the "Twist and Shout" sequence when we glanced over at the next table. Two children looked at us, their eyes pools of sadness deep as infinite space itself. Across the table, their parents gaped at us, their faces frozen in horror and rage, as though saying, What kind of monsters are you? The neighboring tables, too, glared with hatred.

On closer inspection, taking a third look, perhaps, we realized, it was maybe John Hughes.

And at that moment I became a writer.

John Hughes made me realize then and there that if you were going to go around hating everything in the world, I needed to find away to express that that didn't shove it in the face of my target's children and just as important, didn't expose me to the risk of being tarred and feathered by an angry brunch mob in my neighborhood deli.

It occurred to me then and there, that of all the paths one could take in life, that of the written word, in the privacy of one's home, was calling out to me.

And in time, mellowed by the years, haunted by those children's eyes plaguing my sleep, I came to find myself laughing at part of Sixteen Candles. And the Randy Quaid scenes in the vacation movies.