Seeing as though two somewhat similar new Scarlett Johansson science fiction projects came out this year within a few months of each other; one being Lucy, coming out this week, and the other being Under the Skin, which came out a few months ago but is now making its run on rental and streaming services, I thought I’d do everyone a service and hold a very important FAQ. So you don’t get confused.
Premise: In the first instance of Hercules being played by a guy named Dwayne; the legendary hero joins forces with the king of Athens to take down the army of Rhesus, the evil Lord of Peanut Butter Cups, who is doing something to someone, that makes the king angry or something. But is the king himself evil? Did Hercules murder his family? Probably not? Yeah, I assumed he didn’t either. That was a dumb side story of manufactured suspense that no one fell for. Does anyone even care? Oh… wait… Oh my god… I didn’t realize this was a Brett Ratner film until the credits started rolling… It all makes so much sense now! The incompetence makes so much sense now!
Let’s take a moment and honor the unsung heroes of Purge night, the ones who will probably never make it into a Purge film:
I see more movies than the average person, but probably less than a psychotic person, but every so often someone will find a movie I haven’t seen and hold it over my head like it’s my job to have seen every film ever created. “No, I haven’t gotten around to seeing that movie, but I *have* seen “Play Time” by Jacques Tati. Twice! Yes, I live a sad, empty life, why do you ask?”
Anyway, I saw an article on Uproxx about pop culture blind spots, and it got me thinking about what I hadn’t seen. So, I guess my first confession would be that this isn’t that original of an idea! But I thought I’d just clear the air and get out 15 movies that I’m ashamed (sort of? maybe?) that I’ve gone through my life never watching.
Remember when Mark Wahlberg starred in that terrible remake of Planet of the Apes thirteen years ago? The one with the conch shell helmets and Apebraham Lincoln? Let’s just go ahead and remove that from any sort of Ape canon from this point forward. Also, an ape cannon would be great. It can either be a cannon built and used by apes, or a cannon that fires apes at people. Hold up. STOP. It’s way too early to get this derailed from the movie at hand… Focus.
The director of the new film America (currently at 11% on Rotten Tomatoes), the latest documentary from best-selling author/filmmaker/attention whore/republican guy Dinesh D’Souza, recently complained (and lawyered up) about how his movie was getting blatant lack of exposure, despite it being in over 1100 theaters in the country and is the first thing you see on basically any Fandango listing you look up. Meanwhile, I had to drive to Country Club Hills to see Snowpiercer, as it was the only theater playing it in suburban Chicagoland. If you’re not from around here, Country Club Hills sucks and their AMC smells like pee. Snowpiercer only played in 250 American theaters and made almost half the money America did (that’s aside from the $80 million it made overseas), while basically receiving none of the American advertisements or bitching about lack of exposure. I don’t know where I’m going with this, but I just read an article about how D’Souza thinks he’s getting the short end of the stick; meanwhile he has a documentary that’s playing in 1100 theaters and I had to drive an hour to downtown Chicago last year to see Blackfish, which is no doubt a better documentary without even having seen America. I think I’m just trying to say “fuck that D’Souza guy”; I don’t even want this to be in a political context: nobody’s movie is important enough to publicly complain about how much *you* think everyone deserves to see *your* own movie. Especially to the extent that he’s doing. It’s a freakin’ movie. I (and the rest of the country) had the option to see your film at basically every theater around us, and I (and the rest of the country) *chose* not to watch it, and I (personally) chose to sit in a urine soaked theater and watch a sci-fi action film about a futuristic train that, truth be told, probably created a better metaphor for a global society than your one-sided, self-appreciative, pandering documentary ever could. AND it had axe fights.
After seeing the countless commercials and trailers for Tammy over the last few months, the biggest driving force for me to go see it was the simple question in my head: “What is the actual plot of this movie?” The marketing certainly doesn’t give any indication of a grandiose plot element that drives the movie forward. Is there a plot? Or is this merely a showcase for Melissa McCarthy to do her (now) standard “oafish dumb lady” routine without constraint? When does she get mixed up with a nearly identical lady in the witness protection program and then unknowingly chased by the mob? Or when does she get confused as a rich socialite and has to pretend to be classy for a weekend? Surely this isn’t just a movie about Melissa McCarthy and Susan Sarandon driving places?