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Thursday, 28 April
We All Fall Down

My friends, I have seen the future of horror cinema, and strangely enough, it's arriving not on the silver screen, but rather right through your humble television set.

I have not actually seen the movie yet. I do not need to. I have seen the advertisements, and even those tiny glimpses into this movie fill my bowels with icy fear; my brain screams for reprieve from the roiling sensations bombarding it; my skin writhes with creeping dread. Just a few 30 second spots have done this to me. They have exhausted me and debilitated me and now it is all I can do to master my shaking hands enough so as to pour my calming whiskey.

It is getting more difficult to sleep since seeing what I have seen.

Do you know this terror? Have you seen? It is coming, and I do not know if I can survive the full gale force of this picture's dark promises. I will tell you:

It is called Riding the Bus with My Sister. From the twisted people at Hallmark's Very Special Cloying Theater That Makes You Want To Die Studios comes this ebon thing, this shambling mass, this abomination: it stars, cruelly, Andie MacDowell, one of our most potently untalented actresses and Rosie O'Donnell, beloved TV personality similarly bereft of any gift for acting. They are sisters, you see, but THERE IS MORE! For Ms. O'Donnell's character is, from what I can only assume from these morbid clips, retarded.

This is really all I need to know, which makes the ads so brilliant and disturbing. (Though I suppose there's some ancillary bus-riding going on in there too, as the title suggests.) We have long been accustomed to the tabula rasa that is MacDowell, and it doesn't appear that she disappoints here either: even in these brief ads, her uselessness shines out from the screen like a beacon of sadness and quelled hopes. (She has been used effectively only once in her career, in sex, lies & videotape, where her implacable blankness was exploited by Soderbergh brilliantly, setting her passivitey against the other firebreathing personas in the film. Or I'm full of shit and he just got really lucky. Whatever.)

But it's Ms. O'Donnell's presence that really commands attention. I have never, ever been . . . what's the word? . . . so destroyed by such tiny glimpses into a performance before. I felt--I feel--crushed, almost oppressed by what I have seen.

Why?

It's hard to explain. These are, after all, only 30 second spots. But even in those fleeting 30 seconds, the humiliation one feels is astonishing. Humiliation for Ms. O'Donnell, humiliation for the art of acting, humiliation for sharing a taxonomic affiliation for the creatures--if they are human--who were responsible for shepherding what I was viewing into the public domain. Every time I see these ads, I want to apologize to . . . well, anything. I go over to my neighbor's and knock on the door, and when they answer, I say, "I am so sorry for Rosie O'Donnell." "What?" they ask, but I do not answer. I am already on my way outside so I can apologize to the curb, a passing dog, and the concept of free will. I apologize to all of them for Rosie O'Donnell.

People will cry, perhaps, that I am unfair in my assessment, that I'm judging a book by it's shabby, lurid, nightmarish cover. I disagree. When a filmmaker (here the director is Angelica Huston) creates something so shattering that even the ads for it are nearly Lovecraftian in their air of suffocating madness, I think a masterpiece has been created. I did say, after all, that I had seen the future of horror. I stand by that statement. This is unquestionably going to be the most sinister and terrifying film of our generation. I challenge everyone out there to see it, to confront it head on. And having lived through it--I'm assuming that some strong-willed people will perhaps actually live through it--then discuss it.

I want to hear all about it. Because I'm not strong enough to see it myself.


Note: Comments are closed on old entries.

Comments

You just don't get it, do you? See, this is O'Donnell's revenge on the world.

Her Broadway show tanked. Her magazine ended horribly in a protracted court battle. She faced wide-spread backlash when she unshackled herself from her talk-show host constraints, with the public heaping ridicule on her unfortunate haircuts and quickly replacing her with Ellen DeGeneres, a far less intimidating lesbian.

Now she seeks nothing less than the destruction of all mankind and this, this tele-film, is her weapon. Cower in fear, mankind, for our day of doom is near. Sunday at eight, seven central and mountain, to be precise.

Comment number: 005750   Posted by: Joe on April 29, 2005 04:06 AM from IP: 67.101.250.93

"Humiliation for Ms. O'Donnell, humiliation for the art of acting, humiliation for sharing a taxonomic affiliation for the creatures..."

Ah, but acting isn't art.

Comment number: 005751   Posted by: Brendan on April 29, 2005 04:56 AM from IP: 63.145.150.137

I saw that commercial last night, and with my brain curled up in horror in the waxy confines of my inner ear, the only thing I could think of was:

"They picked these two because their hair matches.

That has to be it. Please."

I'd like to say I died then, passing on to eternal peace, or at least a slightly less MacDowell-offensive 'Groundhog Day' (another role where her ponderous vacuousness works for her), but here I am.

Feeling dirty.

Comment number: 005752   Posted by: Tim on April 29, 2005 06:37 AM from IP: 24.168.222.235

In the interest of frying Skot's soul into a little curclicue of grey ash, and so that I may lessen my own taint by passing it The Knowledge, it may interest you to learn that Rosie has a blog:

http://www.rosie.com/

(damn, she got all corporate and moved it; I barked my shin on it earlier this week at http://onceadored.blogspot.com/)

Comment number: 005753   Posted by: Diablevert on April 29, 2005 03:04 PM from IP: 82.6.182.137

I am somewhat glad to know that the ads for this have caused such visceral reactions (mainly of pain and embarrassment) in others. At least I know I'm not alone.
Bleepin' Rosie O'Donnell.

Comment number: 005754   Posted by: CG on April 30, 2005 12:20 AM from IP: 70.19.108.155

I hear Andie MacDowell is retarded in real life...explains a lot.

Comment number: 005755   Posted by: Laura on April 30, 2005 06:47 PM from IP: 63.19.30.223

After mistakenly seeing Ms. Houston's pitiful 'Agnes Brown', I can testify that she is no stranger to embarrassing, maudlin shite. She seems to be trying to make a career by producing crude slop that one supposes is intended to pull on our heartstrings. However the lack of any kind of subtlety or talent that her father might have had, means that the strings in question bypass the heart completely and go straight to the lower intestines.

Comment number: 005756   Posted by: Lung the Younger on May 1, 2005 05:32 AM from IP: 213.151.109.153

saw parts of it...but taped the whole thing. you're welcome, Skot!!!

Comment number: 005757   Posted by: dusty on May 2, 2005 06:08 AM from IP: 167.88.200.30

It's a truism of Hollywood that playing a retard, gimp, or nut-job is a sure-fire ticket to recognition and awards. Just ask Tom Hanks, Marlee Matlin, Dustin Hoffman, Sean Penn, Daniel Day-Lewis, Joann Woodward, and Russell Crowe, to name a few.

Besides, does any of us need to watch this thing to know exactly how it will play out? Rosie will alternate between bouts of violent tantrums (Andie, agonized: "Should I have her committed?") and moments of calm in which her simple-minded wisdom cuts to the heart of things. (Andie, moved: "She's not heavy, she's my sister!") The movie will end without clear resolution, other than a smug sense of self-congratulation for promoting the idea that the mentally handicapped should be able to live with dignity (except when they're a danger to themselves and others -- in which case it's the obligatory electroshock therapy scene for you.)

Comment number: 005758   Posted by: girlygirl on May 2, 2005 07:30 AM from IP: 69.3.87.248

For those who would like to feel the pain first-hand, I give you this:

http://www.cbs.com/specials/riding_the_bus_with_my_sister/#

Comment number: 005759   Posted by: Jason on May 2, 2005 09:35 AM from IP: 216.239.124.38

I'm still waiting for your review of the Robin Williams piece-of-shite that you threatened a month ago.
Yeah I know you didn't see it, but I'm sure your review will be fabulous.

Comment number: 005760   Posted by: dayment on May 2, 2005 12:26 PM from IP: 64.105.86.146

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