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Tuesday, 05 July
Pyrotechnical Fouls

So happy belated Independence Day! Did you barbecue? Did you witlessly fend off an invading alien force? Did you covertly sneeze into a flag, and then feel kinda bad about it? Or did you just drink some beers and watch baseball? Because that's what we did. Well, we watched some baseball, which is to say we caught part of a Mariners game, but then we realized that we were watching the Mariners and switched over to a Food Channel show about hot dogs.

Oh, but there were also the fireworks! Oh, the majesty! Oh, the twinkling! Oh, where's my beer? The wife likes fireworks, but frankly, I find them tremendously boring. Fireworks shows basically remind me of funerals. Everyone shows up dutifully; they all stand or sit motionless for twenty minutes or so staring fixedly at a point angled about 20 degrees upward; and everyone kind of feels like the whole thing goes on for about 15 minutes longer than it really has to. We could actually combine the two. Funeralworks! Where for twenty minutes or so, dozens of corpses are launched by cannons into the air, and everyone can show up and be all like, "There goes Aunt Ro! Whoop, she caught in that tree pretty good."

No? Yeah, okay.

I don't know why I have such a hard-on against fireworks, except, you know, the boring. Maybe it's hearing the same damn things every year when they go off: the oooohs and aaaahs and Yay, Smiley Face! SMILEY FACE? Is this the best they can do? Other favorites are: the heart-shaped one, the cube-shaped one, and the thing that looks like hair growing in the sky. WHAT AMERICA MEANS TO ME: card suits, Platonic solids, and vigorous hair growth.

It is possible that I'm a bit of a crank about this.

What other horrible things did we assault our eyeballs with this weekend, anyway? Oh, right--awful movies! Oh, we had a couple of DOOOOZIES this weekend! Standard warning about possible spoilers apply, yadda yadda.

National Treasure

"Okay, hang with me on this one. There's a treasure map on the back of the Declaration of Independence! It has to do with a bunch of crap about the Knights Templar and the Masons and possibly James Mason! Anyway, we get Nick Cage to STEAL IT and do a bunch of shit to it, like dump crap all over it, shove it down his ass-crack, and bend, fold and mutilate it--we might have him fuck it, with sax music--and then he finds . . . the NATIONAL TREASURE."

As an American, I am proud to have watched a movie on the Fourth of July weekend that basically treats our founding document like you would a matchbook from Thumper's.

National Treasure is a ghastly melange of about nine other vastly superior movies--we spied cops from Indiana Jones, Mission: Impossible, any number of Bond movies, and even, at its most visually ridiculous, Harry Potter--but where the famous Frankenstein monster finally came to life, this movie, at its end, when all the dumb switches were thrown, simply continued to lie on the table, unmoving, just a horrifying unnameable thing, stitched ghoulishly out of catgut by an idiot following a bad dream.

Nick Cage has long ago squandered whatever goodwill he had amongst curmudgeons like myself, and once again turns in the laziest possible performance, offering up allegedly quirky jitterisms as an ersatz substitute for actual acting. As his ostensible E-VILL foil, Sean Bean does what Sean Bean always does: a commendable job in a thankless role. Anyone who has seen the Lord of the Rings movies already knows that he's going to be the nice guy who stabs everyone in the back, and so again in this movie the audience is screaming, "DON'T TRUST SEAN BEAN! DIDN'T YOU SEE THE FIRST RING MOVIE?" However, for economy's sake, National Treasure is at least kind enough to have his betrayal come within the first ten minutes of the film. Truly, he is a magic Bean.

White Noise

You are forgiven if you cannot immediately recall what the hell this movie was; none of our friends that we mentioned it to could until we told them it was a Michael Keaton movie where he can hear the voices of the dead--again, the dead must hassle us--through his MODERN ELECTRONIC RECORDING DEVICES. Thanks a lot for the ceaseless chatter of the dead, Thomas fucking Edison! Now I can't even listen to my old Pebbles CDs without Aunt Ro coming on the line asking when we're going to pull her corpse down from that tree.

There's nothing worth going into about this movie. At the end, the wife asked, "How did this even get made?" I didn't know. Tensionless, unscary, incoherent, brainless, pointless and needless . . . and then I suddenly realized what watching White Noise was actually like: fireworks.


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Comments

I was talking just yesterday about the possiblity of launching cremated remains in firework shells.

Also, every time I see White Noise on Netflix I think just for a minute that it might have something to do with Don DeLillo. In this way there exists a terrifying possiblity that I may rent it by accident. Michael Keaton is no Sam Neill, but christ, it's close.

Comment number: 005889   Posted by: kaf on July 6, 2005 09:41 AM from IP: 63.81.40.65

You are a bit of a crank when it comes to fireworks, but hey, smily faces and cubes????? Those were so stupid I kept saying to my husband, "Dude, those are totally Gaytarded!"

What were they thinking? Maybe next year they can do not only funerals, but maybe launch the cask of what remains of the career of Nicholas Cage up into the sky. Now THOSE would be fireworks!

Comment number: 005890   Posted by: kerewin on July 6, 2005 11:58 AM from IP: 216.39.163.161

last night i watched ghost ship, which i must recommend to you. it might be the best awful movie ever.

Comment number: 005891   Posted by: kirsten on July 6, 2005 12:21 PM from IP: 64.252.107.5

Ghost Ship is rad! So horrible! I love it's bone-deep badness.

Comment number: 005892   Posted by: Skot on July 6, 2005 12:42 PM from IP: 66.150.9.2

Oh dear. I watched those same two movies last weekend. I share your pain. It's four hours of my life I'll never get back. (Luckily I was doing other, more exciting, things while watching them. Like laundry.)

Comment number: 005893   Posted by: czeltic girl on July 6, 2005 06:14 PM from IP: 66.195.131.1

Heh. I'm probably going to end up renting White Noise anyway - my mother has a low tolerance for "scary," and it's kind of fun watching her freak out - but at least now I won't go in expecting to enjoy the actual movie. Thanks.

Comment number: 005894   Posted by: CG on July 6, 2005 07:22 PM from IP: 70.18.218.241

While I wouldn't go so far as to say "White Noise" was good, I did think it had a few scary moments in the first half. If it had been an elaborate hoax and not actualy evil spirits, it would have been much better. That said, the 13-year-old who accompanied me to the movie loved it.

Comment number: 005895   Posted by: jamy on July 7, 2005 03:05 PM from IP: 170.97.67.91

There actually is a service that will mix your creamated remains with fireworks innards and make you into a spectacular display.
Anyway, that's what they say they do, although I'd bet they just dump your ashes in the garden and go on with regular corpse-free fireworks.

Comment number: 005896   Posted by: samantha on July 7, 2005 03:30 PM from IP: 140.107.79.54

Ok so that part about the launching of Aunt Ro into the crook of a tree was seriously gross. And I happen to like fireworks. I just hate all the dumbasses who come out to light them on fire. And all the jerks who come to gasworks at 10:00pm and stand on the path right in front of my view which I had been staking out for the last 5 hours. Bastards.

That's why this time I got liquored up and climbed a roof. Much more fun. Fireworks got nothing on a sunset over Ballard and I didn't even have to wrestle anyone to the ground to see it.

Comment number: 005897   Posted by: shelly on July 8, 2005 08:54 PM from IP: 140.142.170.54

Fortunately I haven't had to see fireworks for two years because we got a high-strung dog who can't be left alone during the explosions. Hence I can stay inside with a book instead of outside with morons, mosquitos, and grass stains.

If our dog ever, you know, calms down or anything, around about March I'm going to start popping balloons while sticking lighted matches between his toes to re-sharpen his hysteria.

Comment number: 005898   Posted by: Kate on July 10, 2005 11:32 AM from IP: 63.205.69.228

You know, to clear your mind of those crap movies you need to watch these two back to back. I'm sure you have them in your DVD stash!!! (we do)

Rocky Horror Picture Show
Cannibal the Musical

That should clear things right up. RHPS and Cannibal may be crap too but at least they're watchable.

Comment number: 005899   Posted by: Susan on July 13, 2005 09:16 AM from IP: 130.20.68.155

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