Because the really good comedy writes itself
So yesterday I ensconced myself at my favorite coffee shop to attempt to wade through midterm exams, and this guy comes rushing in. "My wife," he explains to the barrista, "she says she wants a chai. But she doesn't know what a chai is. You know, she's from Jersey." To which the barrista replied, "Does that you mean you want a chai or not?"

Immediately after that I open my first exam and the first line, not even the first sentence, the first line has the word "fallacated."

No, it isn't a word. The student essentially meant "mistaken," but I like the word to be used in another way. As in "Yeah, he didn't have much until he started taking those fallacating supplements." Or "That prosthesis in Boogie Nights was so obviously fallacated."

The Hills Have Eyes

So on Friday I went to see the Hills Have Eyes with my little Office Elf. The filmmaker, Alexandre Aja, is the same person who brought us the highly flawed remake of Intensity, High Tension. Tension had a striking visual style, as does this film, with an amazing opening sequence and credit montage, but these guys can't end a movie to save their lives. I wasn't a big fan of the end of the original Hills Have Eyes (please file under "OK let's just end the movie there without a full resolution"), and these guys went for the gimmicky twist at the end that annoyed more than entertained.

The film stays close to the original, although we are given more backstory to both families (the mutants and how they came to be there and the victimized family), but bears a striking ressemblance to Wolf Creek, complete with desert craters, bags o' tourist swag which tip off the oh so observant Ted Levine to danger, and lots of pretty shots of nature made ominous. I kept expecting that man of mine, the Wolf Creek Killer, to pop up and say, "That's not how you kill a tourist. THAT'S HOW YOU KILL A TOURIST."

The beginning of the film does an effective job of capturing the family on vacation tension, but as the mutants begin to pray on the family I found myself rooting for the dog, Beast, as he was the only character who had both intelligence and integrity. The family isn't just unsympathetic, but also stupid. The mutants, for the most part, are more intelligent and more organized-the nuclear testing having seemingly no effect on their higher functions, while the "normal family" has been made idiots by ipods and PDAs and the like. The best example of this is the doofy pussy whipped brother in law, who can barely function if his PDA and cellphone aren't in service. Later in the film, he proclaims that "We need a plan" in order to survive. Yes thank you Captain Obvious for your stupendous powers of observation, but The Plan ends up being one man, one dog, and one bat. When I think plan, I think strategy, I think analysis, I think how can we use their strengths against them, I think maybe we should have more than one idiot vs an entire mutant village.

The film had a couple of comic touches like one of the mutant villagers watching Divorce Court and the brother-in-law singing California Dreamin' as he attempts to find help, but more often the film's humor is unintentional. When the brother-in-law finally completes the negative character arc and goes "caveman" on one of the mutants, afterwards he picks up up his broken glasses and puts them back on his nose in an utterly ridiculous gensture. It is almost as forced mutant exposition that comes earlier on in the scene.

The film is also strikingly anti-American. The mutants are, of course, produced by our government courtesy of nuclear testing. A small American flag is used to perpetrate two gruesome murders, and at one point one of the mutants is actually singing a patriotic song. With the exception of Dead Serious, I am always leery of a horror film that tries to have a social message (ie governments do bad things in the name of protecting their citizens through warfare). This one is no exception, and I left the film wishing that these guys would focus the attention they lavish on cinematography and special effects on THE WRITING.

Guys, I'm available for script doctoring. I recommend you give me a call before your next project.

And please, no more remakes.

The Best Film Insult
I was chatting with my group of boy cronies at my local coffee shop this weekend, when one of them posed the question, "What is the best insult you've heard in a movie?" We all sat around throwing lines out, and I thought, while I was working on my next post, you could all entertain yourselves by throwing out yours. Generally I think that almost any film with Kevin Spacey is garaunteed to have at least a few (ie "Oh that's right you stand by your man, you stand on them as you're reaching up for the next one's bed." -Swimming With Sharks). So go on people, do your worst.

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