And You Thought It Was Safe(?)


Red Dawn (1984)
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Team America: World Police (2004)
So, if actors are such pussies, how come this one gets to use his magic Acting powers to save the world?

So, if actors are such pussies, how come this one gets to use his magic Acting powers to save the world?

Every morning I thank God we no longer live in that sick, bipolar year of your lord, 2004. Were we still stuck back there, in one of the crappier years of one of the crappiest decades in world history (so far), I’d have to start this review out with an equally crap introduction. Tons of them litter our great series of tubes, all saying the same damn boring things:

“Boy, it sure has sucked, suffering through all these films with explicit political messages. Sure do wish all these filmmakers would just shut the fuck up. How dare they exercise their right to free speech in a supposedly-democratic society? Thank God for Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and their Great Gift, Team America: World Police. It’s a film that gleefully farts in the face of our entire political spectrum. Thank God someone’s finally made a film for apathetic, hipster douchebags whose main source of current events is cable TV news…or award winning satires of cable TV news, Monday-Thursday at eleven, on Comedy Central. (Now where’s my damn check, Paramount?)”

Seems every hack with a movie website cranked one of these out and unjustly tacked them on to reviews of this film. Reading them all in sequence is like reading a series of variant print-outs from some evil artificial intelligence: the Critic-Tron 9000. They may be perfectly accurate descriptions of the South Park episode writer/directors Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Pam Brady turned in immediately after this film premiered (“Douche Vs. Turd”)…but as a description of Team America, they sell the film far too short. Just like I did, at the time. Continue reading



Pearl Harbor (2001)
Full daylight? In a Michael Bay establishing shot? Revolutionary!

Full daylight? In a Michael Bay establishing shot? Revolutionary!

I’ve been dreading this. Re-examining Armageddon all but killed me, though that’s partially my own fault. I was the one playing that drinking game. Incidentally, Googling “Michael Bay Drinking Game” yields up some dangerous results. But while individual drinking games exist for individual films, apparently no drunk has the courage to construct a game applicable to Bay’s entire oeuvre. As that great old drunk Stephen Hopkins (my favorite character from 1776) once said, “So it’s up to me, eh?” That’s what you get for falling down on the job, fellow rummies.

Since Pearl Harbor bored me so damn much, my mind savored any distraction. I spent a good thirty minutes contemplating how hard I’d need to throw this movie off my balcony in order to ensure its disc would land at the optimum place in the street where it was sure to be run over by as many cars as possible. After I filled half a page with geometric calculations, constructing the Ultimate Michael Bay Drinking Game seemed a much more utilitarian distraction. I figured it would do the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Throwing Pearl Harbor at passing cars would only annoy their drivers…who’d go on to annoy the cops…who’d go on to annoy me. Continue reading



Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

"Let the hero born of woman crush the serpent 'neith his heel..."World War II films and I have an understanding: I don’t watch them and they can go on propping up whatever brand of historical whitewashing is popular at moment. Rare is the film that consciously sets out to subvert the usual tropes of their perpetually John Wayne genre, or the deification of Tom Brokaw’s “Greatest” Generation. Whenever such a film emerges from the vacuous, exploitative, corporatist, Hollywood hive it is duly acknowledged by critics, nodded at by the Academy Awards…and promptly forgotten about. Case in point:

Begun as a companion piece to Flags of Our Fathers, Letters hopes to turn the American War Film upside down by dramatizing the Japanese side of the Battle of Iwo Jima, just in time for its sixty-first anniversary, with all the historical histrionics that entailed (on both sides of the Pacific). Opening sometime in 1945, the film attempts to (and largely succeeds at) do(ing) for the Honorable Imperial Army of Japan what Das Boot did for German submariners: portraying them as actual human beings trapped in a horrific situation. And since I can’t think up a proper joke to end this paragraph, I’ll go for the long hanging fruit and ask how many Bella Swan’s does it take to screw in a lightbulb? {More}