Sunday, November 08, 2009

So Bad, I'm Insulted

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.

10 comments:

T.D. Newton said...

Yeah, I disliked Transformers2 way more than GI Joe. The campy humor and dog-humping in Transformers was what did it. I wouldn't buy either one of them, but I would watch GI Joe again.

I'd have to turn my eyes away from the part where the ice sinks, though. I'm surprised you didn't mention that as the low point in the film, except you probably didn't watch that far :)

Scott Marlowe said...

I haven't seen either film yet, but my wife and I gave up going to the theater a couple of years ago partially b/c the economics vs quality of the films never worked out, though mostly it was b/c I got our media room finished, so we exclusively just rent movies now. We'll see Star Trek for the first time in a couple of weeks. :-)

Both GI Joe and Transformers 2 are on our Blockbuster list, so we'll get to see just how bad they are firsthand. ;-)

The first Transformers was a joke, and I've heard nothing but bad things about GI Joe. Maybe my expectations are so low they'll turn out halfway entertaining.

Charles Gramlich said...

Wow, and I was just saying to Lana that I kind of wanted to see this when it came out on PPV. The previews hide the worst parts again it seems.

SQT said...

Charles-- maybe I overreacted. But my husband did finish it, and he said it was pretty much awful all the way through. And seriously, the acting is baaad.

ShadowFalcon said...

GI joe was truly horrible, it didn't even make it to the so bad its good category.

Christopher Nolan's batman movies are awesome. After he horror that was Batman and Robin we all needed something spectacular and boy oh boy do the recent films deliver.

I too liked Transformers 1, despite the flaws but 2 was soo long and painful, it didn't seem to add anything worth watching. Oh well...we live in hope I suppose

Stewart Sternberg said...

No one has the right to be insulted if they saw this film. Why? Because the horribleness of it was so evident in the trailer and in the many reviews that skewered it.

I avoided this just as I avoided Transformer II, just as I'll avoid the new Micronauts movie which is slated for production. Just as I avoided Speed Racer.

SQT said...

Stu-- I'm not insulted from trying to watch it (I knew what I was likely getting into). I'm insulted they made it in the first place.

Michael said...

Oddly enough, I watched both of these last week, first Fallen, the Joe. By the time I got to Joe, I was actually ok with it because at least it wasn't as bad as Fallen.

Its sad, though, when you feel compelled to watch a movie because it can't suck any worse without your active participation...

Steve Malley said...

I actually paid to see Transformers in the theatre. My rationale: y'know the script, acting, etc. isn't going to be Terms of Endearment or Remains of the Day. Those stories still pack plenty of punch on my TV at home. Any movie that's all about the effects should be experienced on the big screen, where it becomes Theater as Spectacle.

As such, it wasn't too bad. The transforming robots and exploding buildings were twenty feet high and forty wide, and the noise of their passage shook you in your seat.

Now if I just get that fake ID I'm after for my 15th birthday I'll be able to get into R-rated movies and have some *real* fun!

SQT said...

Steve-- I'm not gonna lie, I thought Transformers was worse than G.I. Joe.