Sunday, November 08, 2009
Lately I've been wondering if my ability to distinguish from good and bad entertainment has gone askew. It seems like, lately, I like pretty much everything. All the books I read are entertaining and all the tv shows are well written. Not necessarily a good thing if you're trying to pass on recommendations and keep your credibility. As an example, I wrote a positive review of the tv show "V," and then read some comments on another site that pointed out some holes in the plot a mile wide. And I thought, he's right. How did I miss that? Then again, "V" is one of those shows that can close the plot holes over the next few weeks and my thumbs-up reaction may be justified. But still, I've been wondering-- until I tried to watch G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, and I was forcibly reminded of what a really, really bad movie looks like. Let me just state, beforehand, that I didn't finish the movie. I didn't even come close. What a full on piece of crap this movie is. It's so bad I can't believe it got a 37% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. I wasn't a faithful watcher of G.I. Joe as a kid, so I'm only loosely acquainted with the overall plot of the cartoon this movie is based on. I do know that the movie is a bastardized version of the original show, which had been called "G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero." Apparently Americanism is not something that is considered fashionable anymore since the G.I Joe team is now some sort of international fighting force based in North Africa. Normally a movie that incorporates this kind of theme wouldn't bother me in the slightest, but the original cartoon had the words a real American hero in the title. Why bother to make the movie if you're not interested in following the story as it was intended? Obviously the producers of the movie were hoping to cash in on the nostalgia that made the first "Transformers" movie such a hit (I'll address the train wreck that was "Transformers II" in a second). But I'm always game when it comes to anything that resembles a comic-book hero movie, so I gave it a chance. Only who knew that a movie with such horrible acting and writing could make it to the big screen? I'll be honest, I didn't really try to follow this mess. The lead actor of the film Channing Tatum, who plays Duke-- the original field commander of the original G.I. Joe series-- has got to be one of the worst actors. Ever. Every line he delivers is wooden and unconvincing. I swear, you could see him reading off of the cue cards. And as the movie continued I began to wonder if the real problem was the acting or the directing. Even Dennis Quaid (General Hawk) seemed as if he was still rehearsing the script-- and I know he's a decent actor. So what gives? Just last year one of the best, if not the best, superhero films was released and "The Dark Knight" solidified the genre as a bona fide moneymaker-- if it's done right. And "Iron Man" continued the trend. But Hollywood just can't seem to understand that audiences are smart enough to know quality when they see it and they persist in insulting our intelligence by pumping out crap like "G. I. Joe" and the latest "Transformers" movie. Where do I start with "Transformers?" I was one of those people who was able to enjoy the original "Transformers" movie even though parts of it were stupid beyond belief. Seeing Bumblebee pee oil on John Turturro was puerile at best, but I could watch the movie with my kids and that becomes a plus when you're used to only going to the theater to watch cartoons. But what was the saving grace of the first movie was completely destroyed when Michael Bay (and are we really surprised here?) decided to aim for the lowest common denominator when he made Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. I couldn't finish this one either. "Transformers" doesn't suffer from bad acting as much as "G. I. Joe" does. I mean, the actors do what they can with an abysmal script. No, where this one goes wrong is by pandering to the tastes of 14-year-old boys (no offense to any 14-year-old boys who may be reading this). You've got humping dogs, a really stupid parent who unwittingly ingests pot-laden brownies when she should have known better and a so-so looking guy who won't tell his incredibly hot girlfriend he loves her. Oh, and a robot that lives in the garage who destroys the house on a moment's notice. Add to that an incomprehensible script and pointless action, and you have yet another classic Michael Bay film-- only worse than usual. Yeah, maybe I'm being mean. But I resent the heck out of such sloppy movie-making. Clearly, Hollywood has decided we're all a bunch of morons who are willing to pay an exorbitant amount of money to spend two hours in a movie theater eating greasy popcorn and mindlessly watching whatever they put on the screen. If the studios aren't already going bankrupt, they will be soon at this rate. And the new Christopher Nolan Batman movie hasn't even started filming yet... I could weep.