..Gary Dretzka
..
Noah Forrest
..Leonard Klady
..David Poland
..Douglas Pratt
..Ray Pride
..Kim Voynar
..Michael Wilmington




WEEK SIXTEEN:
The Dregs Of Delight

What is a shatlet?

It's like an omelet, but made of shit.

It's also an anagram for Stealth.

But the funny thing about this atrocious pile of beautifully shot celluloid manure is that if it had any sense of humor about itself - and even better, cost half of what it cost - it could have been a lot of fun.

This last month of summer could have been produced by Sam Arkoff and Roger Corman… and you know what… it will probably be the most fun month of summer moviegoing this year.

Stealth is the A-movie that desperately wants to be a B-movie. I mean, the only thing sillier that greenlighting a movie called The Island that has no island in it is greenlighting a movie called Stealth that makes no use or even an effort to use stealth technology as a part of the storyline. (Twice in the picture we are informed that "my stealth isn't working" and neither time does it make one bit of difference.) A better title might have been Flying Hal, since it is basically another computer chip gone crazy and killing people movie. Even better, instead of getting Jamie Foxx to play The Funny Negro Who Has To Die First character, they could have gotten Jack Black to play The Funny Fat Guy Who Has to Die First and then they could have gotten a few people to mistake it for a sequel to Shallow Hal. Hell… if they got Gwyneth Paltrow to play the Jessica Biel character, her bikini scene might have put people in mind of Schindler's List. (It's an anorexia joke, folks!)

Speaking of Ms. Biel, isn't it one of those great B-movie moments when Sam Shepard's gruff leader of the super secret best-three-fliers-on-the-planet team, decides to send the trio on a Thai vacation for no apparent reason other than to offer motivation for Ms. Biel to agree to strip down to a Bikini in front of a waterfall? Had they only been smart enough to send her undercover in a PG-13 brothel!

And without giving away any spoilers, where but in a B-movie would the world's most sophisticated piece of equipment be fixed by someone yelling at it at just the right moment? It's genius! It's moronic… but its genius. Eight Winged Freaks!!!

There is also the delightfully retro Sky High, which is classic DIsney B-movie making, including rubber suits that look like they didn't quite fit and every cheesy special power you can imagine. There is even a villain duo right out of the Power Rangers.

Next week, it's The Dukes of Hazzard, which is kind of pissing me off with this "Thrillbilly" stuff. Call a cracker a cracker and call a hillbilly a hillbilly. Next thing you know, they'll be CGing the white trashcans into another color so they can't be accused of making subtextual jokes about Britney Spears.

Four Brothers may be great, but it is B-movie all the way. Four guys of different ethnicities share a foster mom who is killed by bad guys… and someone has gots to pay!!!

The B-movie weekend of the year is August 19 when both The 40 Year Old Virgin and Red Eye arrive… and will be remembered as two of the biggest audience pleasers of the year. And believe me, for a movie about a middle aged virgin and a film about a girl who gets forced by a bad, bad man to do something she doesn't want to do… B-movie is nothing less than a sterling compliment. You will laugh your ass off in one and scream, "No girl… don't do it… oh oh oh… he's right there… no… no… yay!!!," until you spill your Coke and gag on your popcorn.

It's the movies, stupid.

Red Eye has something for everyone. I mean, who's going to complain about a movie that has Rachel McAdams out of her shirt and Terry Press called an "asshole" all in the first 5 minutes? (For those of you who are not in the biz, T.P. is head of marketing at DreamWorks and though she has a rep for being tough, any exec who has the sense of humor to put herself so actively in mock's way clearly rises above the fray.)

Make no mistake. It's not going to be genius. It is not going to be complex. And it is not going to be anything like Flightplan. In fact, it's not even going to be 90 full minutes. But if you just want to have a good time getting out of the heat, you are going to walk out of the theater smiling.

As for The 40 Year Old Virgin, it is really in the great tradition of B-movies like The Last American Virgin, Porky's, and How To Stuff A Wild Bikini. It's definitely got a new millennium sensibility. But the four central male characters are all emotionally iconic… one guy (the virgin) has built a perfect shell for himself, one guy thinks he is a stud, one guy can't get over his ex and one guy just bulls through everything without much thought or finesse but with an aggression that makes it work for him. This film knows that the music from those earlier films is now ironically funny. But it also knows that everyone has a little guilty pleasure with the Eric Carmen song now and again.

And if you want the perfect L.A. night, you'll go see this film and then go to the Versailles on Ventura Blvd. in the valley and look at the film's location right across the street. If you get there early enough, you can even go to the "I Sell Your Stuff On E-Bay" store next to Versailles.

Benderspink has quickly become one of Hollywood's most interesting production companies with two B-movies this summer (Monster-In-Law and Red Eye) followed by a film from David Cronenberg that works both as a B-movie and as a masterful art film.

Even the art films in August, Broken Flowers and Junebug, are character B-movie corn as interpreted by artists, in the genre tradition of Altman, Rafelson, Ashby, and Ritchie.

Do you remember when they made Skeleton Key the first time? It was called The Serpent And The Rainbow, it starred Bill Pullman, and it was made by - taa dah! - Wes Craven.

20 Weeks of Summer Archive
July 21 , 2005
July 14 , 2005
July 7 , 2005
June 30, 2005
June 26, 2005
June 16, 2005
June 9 , 2005
May 26, 2005
May 13, 2005

May 5, 2005
April 28, 2005

April 21, 2005
April 14, 2005

The Summer Chart - June 16, 2005
The Summer Chart - May 26, 2005

The Quality Chart
Boxoffice Chart - April 14, 2005

Boxoffice Chart - May 12, 2005

- Email David Poland


 

 


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