Missed me? Of course you did.
I had to cut my self-imposed, pre-Christmas hiatus (in which, as I mentioned in my last ‘Special Announcement’, I caught up on certain movies that I missed out this year) short as (a) I personally felt the need to post something new to my blog; (b) free time is getting shorter and shorter as Christmas draws near; and (c) blogging deadlines are an absolute bitch during Christmastime!
While preparing my Top 10 Worst Movies of 2013 list, I found myself writing a lenghty rant of each of the three films that will appear in today’s write-up. Looking at the actual length of those reviews in relation to the single-paragraph reviews I wrote for the others, I figured that shifting the longer ones into a separate write-up will work better than stuffing all my thoughts and notes into one post. Think of it like putting all your Christmas gifts into one package. Yeah, it’s in one package, but it’ll be tough to manage – let alone move.
I came up with the title “Top 10 Worst Movies of 2013 EP” because like an EP (or Extended Play) to an upcoming hip hop album release, for example, this write-up is merely a sample of what to expect in my end-of-the-year list. The following three films are pure examples of the cinematic horseshit Hollywood dished out to the world in 2013. They represent precious hours, minutes and seconds that I could have been spent catching up on the latest mid-season of AMC’s “The Walking Dead”. Or playing “Candy Crush Saga”. Well, maybe not that, but you get the idea. So get a tall glass of water and a bottle of Aleve, ’cause this shit might give you a headache. You’ve been warned.
Anyhoo, without further ado, here are THREE of the Top 10 Worst Movies of 2013 (COMING SOON TO THIS SCREEN).
BATTLE OF THE YEAR – “Battle of the Year” attempts to do three things: (1) make a modern-day fiction film based on the hip-hop originated, and 1980s-oriented, dance style of breakdancing or B-boying ; (2) use that film as a marketing tool to promote the director’s (Benson Lee) 2008 documentary “Planet B-Boy” – which, according to Rotten Tomatoes, dealt with the global resurgence of breakdancing – to a new generation who can easily download the movie via torrent or watch it for free on YouTube (Yep, it’s there, all right); and (3) remind the world that R&B artiste/rapper Chris Brown is still a bankable actor despite the turmoil of his life outside of the limelight, like his seemingly-never-ending community service, his altercation with Grammy-winning R&B crooner Frank Ocean over a parking space, and his off-again relationship with R&B/pop goddess Rihanna. This fucking movie FAILS on all three things, and more!
The plot: Hip-hop magazine owner Dante Graham (Laz Alonso) teams up with ex-basketball coach Jason Blake (played by a scruffy-looking Josh Holloway) to form a b-boy dance team (which includes Chris Brown. But you already knew that) to represent the United States in a global b-boy tournament (held in France) called….you guessed it….. BATTLE OF THE YEAR. This movie rips nearly every sports film and dance film cliche known to man! From the coach hiding his alcohol problem from his team and childish scuffles between team members over a girl, to the uniting of the team just in the nick of time for the final competition, and of course, the team’s slow-motion, motivational background score-supported walk to their destiny (which actually originated from the FANTASTIC 1983 astronaut drama “The Right Stuff” – which isn’t even a sports or dance film to begin with!). Ahh yes, there are cliches galore in this movie! At least the “Step Up” movies, cheesy as they are, add some creativity and originality to their narratives. “Battle of the Year” isn’t the least bit original! It’s so unoriginal that the name of the American b-boy group is the DREAM TEAM! Of all the names in the world, they just had to pick the one chosen by the U.S. Men’s basketball team in the 1992 Olympics! *FACEPALM!*
When it’s isn’t bad acting shown on-screen, it’s good actors given bad dialogue to speak on-screen. Consider the following line, from a later scene where Laz Alonzo argues with Josh Holloway: “You’re a mess, you smell like you’re sweating gin, and is that….vomit on your shoes?!”. And it gets worse when the (scoffs) “Dream Team” arrive at Battle of the Year. Ex-106& Park host-turned-E! newscaster Terrence J and veteran MTV reporter/radio host Sway Calloway deliver some of the film’s most (unintentionally) hilarious dialogue as the American reporters of the competition. This dialogue literally sounds like it’s being thought on the spot. Here’s an example: the Dream Team, during the last section of their dance set, put on blindfolds and dance to rapper Common’s hip-house b-boy homage “Universal Mind Control” (at least I give the movie credit for adding this song to its soundtrack. I REALLY liked that song when it came out in 2008, although the album of the same name was admittedly weak). What’s the response by Terrence J. and Sway? “They can’t see….and they’re dancing in UNISON!”. But thanks to the quick editing of that sequence, the viewer is unable to fully appreciate the “unison” in the team’s choreography – if it existed at all. And here’s another example: the Dream Team square off against the Seoul Assassins (Get it? Soul Assassins? Seoul Assassins? Seoul…..South Korea. Jeez! Google Map that shit, why don’t you?!) in the final round of the competition. Terrence J. says: “This is a battle for world supremacy”. Ummm…..last time I checked, South Korea and the United States are close friends and allies, and have been this way since 1950. So where exactly does “world supremacy” come into play with this b-boy dance-off? I have no fucking clue – and apparently, neither does Terrence J.
The three saving graces in “Battle of the Year” are the music, the dancing and an EXCELLENT end-credit sequence where b-boy teams from all over the world show off their talents on the Battle of the Year stage. But apart from that sequence (which is worth skipping the rest of the movie to see), music and dancing are the two key elements one can expect in any and every dance film. So why can’t we, at least, get a great story, relatable characters and passable, if not great, acting to go along with it, instead of a predictable plot, terrible acting, and characters that you DO NOT give a shit about? I have no fucking clue – and apparently, neither does this movie.
“BATTLE OF THE YEAR” – 1 out of 5 stars (“Of course it sucked”)
MOVIE 43 / INAPPROPRIATE COMEDY – Ladies and gents, I present to you two of the worst sketch comedy films ever conceived. Now you’re probably wondering: “Why am I writing on these two movies at once, instead of one after the other?” Simply put, they’re one and the same.
Now I will admit – “Movie 43” is the better (and I use this term VERY loosely) of the two. It has a bigger budget, a large cast of A-list actors (most of whom are listed on that unappealing and unimaginative poster on the top left), production duties by Charles Wessler and Peter Farrelly (both of whom collaborated on gross-out comedy classics like “Dumb and Dumber” and“There’s Something About Mary”), and directorial duties handled by names like Steve Carr (“Next Friday”, “Daddy Day Care”), Griffin Dunne (star of the cult classics – strongly recommended by yours truly – “An American Werewolf in London” and “After Hours”), Brett Ratner (The “Rush Hour” trilogy) and even the remarkably attractive Elizabeth Banks who stars in one of the sketches (not hers, fortunately). “Inappropriate Comedy” however, only has two A-list performers: Adrien Brody (who you may remember winning a Best Actor Academy Award for his role in Roman Polanski’s powerful WWII drama “The Pianist”) and Michelle Rodriguez (star of “The Fast and the Furious”, “Fast & Furious” and the recent “Fast and Furious 6”). The rest of the cast consists of Z-list actors like Rob Schneider (who, throughout the years, has become a literal poster boy for bad movies) and Lindsay Lohan (whose shitty Lifetime biopic “Liz & Dick”, based on the stormy relationship between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, rightfully earned a spot on my Worst Movies of 2012 list).
“Movie 43” has something that resembles a narrative. The sketches (16 in all) are tied together to a story about a man (played by Dennis Quaid) pitching movie ideas to a Hollywood producer (Greg Kinnear). However, when I saw the film for myself, I was presented with a completely different story. In this “alternate version”, a teenage loser named Calvin gets his “Jackass-esque stunts at home” YouTube page hacked by his younger brother (whose name escapes me). Calvin, with the assistance of his loser friend (whose name also escapes me), seek revenge. They make up a lie about an illegal, infamous video called ‘Movie 43’ – “the most dangerous movie in the world” according to “Whatshisface”- that must be discovered. Calvin’s brother is intrigued, and he uses his older brother’s laptop to scour the Internet for “Movie 43”. Meanwhile, Calvin takes his brother’s laptop, locks himself in the bathroom, and scours the Internet for porn, with the hopes of downloading enough viruses to crash the laptop. Now that’s what you call a fool-proof PROOF plan! While Calvin and “Whatshisface” search for the movie, they stumble on a number of videos (you guessed it….the 16 sketches), each stunningly awful than the next.
“Inappropriate Comedy” (or “InAPPropriate Comedy” as it’s rightfully marketed as), however, has no narrative. It’s as if the director of this movie – which just so happens to be Vince Offer (Who?!) a.k.a. the guy from the ShamWow! TV commercials (Oh, that motherfucker!) – took out a dictionary, looked for the word “narrative”, laughed to himself at the meaning, ripped the dictionary page out and wiped his ass with it! What’s left of that page is “Inappropriate Comedy”. My apologies for that analogy first and foremost, but seriously – there is absolutely no plot in this movie! NONE! “Inappropriate Comedy” starts off with a blink-and-you-miss-it spoof of the FANTASTIC Danny Boyle survival drama “127 Hours” where Vince Offer (in a totally unnecessary cameo) has his leg stuck underneath a boulder in a cave. Another guy walks past by him and finds himself looking up a air vent (on the roof of the cave, mind you) and enjoying the upskirt view of a Marilyn Monroe-impersonating (for no clear reason whatsoever) Lindsay Lohan. After an opening title sequence that begins with a baffling fade-to-white transition through the panties of Ms. Lohan (Even I couldn’t make that shit up), the upskirt lover finds an iPod that contains unheard off apps (hence the “app” in InAPPropriate Comedy”. Get it?) with names like “Blackass”, “Flirty Harry”, “The Amazing Racist” and “The Porno Review”. At this point, my dictionary page analogy should make more sense to you.
Both of these films are mental exercises in bad taste, bad storytelling and bad filmmaking. They’re as crass, tasteless and vulgar as one would expect from two “outrageous” (as they were advertised to be) R-rated comedies, but also brainless, tedious, dull and unfunny. All the sketches in both of these films SUCK ASS! Not one of these sketches had a smidget of genuine humour and intelligence. Comparing “Movie 43” with “Inappropriate Comedy” is like comparing “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” with “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”. One may be slightly better than the other, but the fact still remains that they’re both unremarkable.
The sketches in “Movie 43” are painful to watch, as actor after A-list actor humiliate themselves on-screen in career-derailing performances. Examples include: a blind date between Kate Winslet and Hugh Jackman which goes awry after Hugh reveals that instead of an Adam’s Apple, he has a giant scrotum hanging down his neck; a marriage proposal by Chris Pratt (from “Parks and Recreation”) to Anna Faris (his real-life wife, by the way) that’s completely reversed into a request by Anna for Chris to defecate on her; Richard Gere endorsing an MP3 player designed as a life-sized replica of a nude woman; Johnny Knoxville and Seann William Scott torturing a leprechaun (played by Gerard Butler —what….the….fuck?!!!) for gold coins; and Chloe Grace Moretz (from “Kick-Ass”, “Kick-Ass 2” and the recent “Carrie” remake) embarrassed by the reaction of her crazily over-reacting friend (after sharing her first kiss with him, mind you), his brother (played by “Kick-Ass”/ “Kick-Ass 2” co-star Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and father after having her first period. Laughing yet? Neither am I. But my least favourite (not like I had a favourite one, anyway) was a mockumentary-like sketch where real-life couple Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber play the parents of a teenager named Kevin (Jeremy Allen White) whom they have home-schooled. They needlessly and cruelly humiliate Kevin throughout this segment, by teasing him, bullying him, hazing him (in a high-school-like environment), and in an extremely uncomfortable scene, teaching him how to ‘french kiss’ (both parents do this, by the way). As if seeing Hugh Jackman with a nutsack on his neck wasn’t bad enough, this home-school skit took me completely out of the movie. What were these filmmakers thinking with that sketch? Did they think that audiences would like it? Did they find humour in something that distasteful? If one of the filmmakers’ two intentions of that skit was to offend the audience, then they surely succeeded. But if the other intention is to make the audience laugh, then I’m guessing that they’ll be rewarded with dead silence.
The skits are “Inappropriate Comedy” are much worse, and much more offensive than “Movie 43”. When it comes to shamelessly poking fun at Jews, African-Americans, homosexuals, Asians and even Caucasians, “Inappropriate Comedy” pulls no punches, and punches the viewer in the head repeatedly to remind you that it pulls no punches! “Flirty Harry”, for example, has Adrien Brody, the Best Actor Academy Award winner, playing a gay version of the iconic Clint Eastwood cop character “Dirty” Harry Callahan. While imitating Clint’s gruff, gravel voice and dispensing justice in an unintelligent, stereotypical gay manner, Adrien spits out a slew of double entendres like: “Go ahead! Make me gay!”, “Suck it up” and “So I went in….balls to the wall” . “Blackass” has a small group of African Americans doing “Jackass”-like stunts, but with an unfunny ebonic twist. The worst of these stunts involve a mouse, a mouse trap, an erect penis bulging out the owner’s drawers, and cream cheese on its tip. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out the outcome. “The Porno Review” (a spoof of the “At the Movies” TV show which starred the late, great film critic Roger Ebert. Imagine his response to this movie if he got the chance to see it) saw Rob Schneider and Michelle Rodriguez reviewing porno flicks, with a rating system based on the ejaculation level of a guy named Bob (Jonathan Spencer) who sits behind them, masturbating at the imagery on-screen (What…….the …….fuck?!!!!). But the worse thing, by far, in this film was “The Amazing Racist”. Some asshole named Ari Shaffer racially offends African-Americans, Asians and Jews (which he is) in a number of mind-numbingly unfunny segments throughout the film. In one segment, Ari plays a driving instructor who constantly insults a young Asian-American man and woman (in separate incidents) with stereotypical comments. Another segment, where Ari and his assistant are at a beach, shows African-American passerbys being encouraged to board a medium-sized boat to “go back to Africa”. Not only are these segments offensive, but they’re long, boring, bereft of humour and annoying as fuck! While suffering through these segments in particular, I observed a few instances where individuals responded to Ari’s dumb comments and questions by asking him “Are you serious?” . Along with other questions like “Who is this film made for?”, “Why was this film made?” and “WHAT…. THE….. FUCK?!!”, “Are you serious?” is just as pertinent a question to ask oneself while sitting through this film.
“Movie 43” and “Inappropriate Comedy” aren’t just two of the worst movies of 2013. They’re two of the worst movies in existence! These films don’t deserve a one-star rating or a half-star rating (“Burn this movie…..LITERALLY) from me. But fortunately for them, they’ll be the first to be given a brand-new rating: one that I never considered adding to this blog until now. Drumroll please…..
“MOVIE 43” & “INAPPROPRIATE COMEDY” – 0 out of 5 stars (“YOU ON REL SHIT!!”)