During this festive time of year, time is a very valuable commodity. I had full intention of getting out to the theater sometime during this last weekend to check out the latest blockbuster film, "The Day the Earth Stood Still". The buzz about this film wasn't good, but since it's been two weeks since my last review, and due to the hype of this film, I felt I needed to get out to see it.
Unfortunately, the weekend was a little too tied up with fighting through crowds so dense, in terms of both the sheer amount of them and their (limited) IQs, that afterwards I just wanted to go home and slam down several Crown & Cokes to do something about my "holiday spirit". Especially since my spirit was contemplating adding a 50 caliber machine gun to the top of my SUV before attempting to get within a mile of the Mall.
No problem, I thought. Since the movie was less than two hours long, I could easily run out and see it right after work on Monday, and then get home in plenty of time to watch the Browns-Eagles game on Monday Night Football.
Brilliant idea. 2 hours of Keanu Reeves followed by two hours of blathering from the idiotic E$PN gaggle of hens, followed by 3 ½ hours of Tony Kornholio droning on and on while the Browns were making a complete embarrassment of themselves.
What I really should have done was to skip work that day, and schedule myself for an IRS Audit, followed by a Root Canal...hence making it a complete Theme Day from start to finish. Perhaps sprinkle in a call from the ex-nightmare and a knock at the door from a Jehovah's Witness, too.
For the moment, let's just concentrate on the movie. For some reason (greed), the powers that be in Hollywood decided that it would be a great idea to remake a classic Sci-Fi film from 1951. How do you know it was a classic? Because it was made in 1951, and STILL managed to make it to the second round of TheClevelandFan's bracket of The Top 64 Sci-Fi Films of All-Time.
Great film, very timely during the omnipresent shadow of nuclear war that hung over the entire world in the 50s like depression hangs over Browns fans everywhere.
But since that was almost 60 years ago, and there is NO chance we'd ever, ever have to worry about nukes going off everywhere in today's completely stable and peaceful World , they decided to "update" the film, and make it a cautionary tale about Global Warming.
Wonderful. Didn't we just have one of these called "The Happening"? Wasn't it the worst film I've reviewed all year? (Yes and Yes).
Look...I'm listed as a "believer" when it comes to the theory that man can really screw up this planet beyond belief...but what I'm not is one of those on the far fringe who runs around screaming at the top of my voice about how we've got to change EVERYTHING!!! I can even deal with being lectured a bit if the movie is a cautionary tale. To some extent, "Wall-E" was that, although over-consumption was more of a target than global warming. I was even entertained by "The Day After Tomorrow", mostly because they didn't beat me over the head with the message. They set up the concept of something Really Bad happening, and then they dropped the lectures (until the end) and used the event as an excuse to tell a really cool tale which included Russian ships floating down mid-town Manhattan with man-eating wolves on them.
That is not the case with "The Day the Earth Stood Still". Sister Mary Elephant from Our Sisters of Perpetual Guilt Grammar School was more subtle with her titanium laced ruler-across-the-knuckles than the makers of this film.
Sure, it had a few decent special effects, but the bottom line is that there is really no difference between this film and Steven Spielberg's remake of "The War of the Worlds" a few years back. You get less cheesy spaceships...but so what?
What really struck me in my Monday Evening of Suckiness, though, was how many similarities existed between the movie and the Browns.
Lack of Talent on Display in the Key Position - Keanu Reeves and Ken Dorsey...separated at birth? I'm not really sure which one was worse. Keanu showed the acting range in this film that eerily mirrored Dorsey's arm strength and mobility. The director telling Keanu to "not show any emotion during this scene" would have been like Chudzinski telling Dorsey to "not throw a 50 yard pass on a rope." Way to push the envelope, guys!
Lack of a Clue from Top Management - Director Scott Derrickson was given the keys to this $80 million project with almost no experience as The Guy Running the Whole Thing. And it shows. He has no idea how to get anything out of his cast and crew, and the result is something completely amateuristic. In fact, it's easy to picture him sitting in his director's chair with the same blank stare of cluelessness on his face that we see week in and week out with Romeo Crennel.
To further the management (or lack thereof) comparison, let's look at the producers and the casting manager in the same light that we should be viewing Randy Lerner and Phil Savage. How can you waste so much money on a product this bad? How can you get some pretty decent actors (other than the lead), and then throw in complete bums here and there who are laughably incompetent. When I look at Kyle Chandler as a government wonk, or Robert Knepper as a gung-ho Colonel with a really stupid Southern accent, I'm seeing the movie's version of Andra Davis or Rex Hadnot.
The Over-the-Hill Gang - John Cleese and Kathy Bates are two excellent actors who are almost painful to watch in this film. Cleese plays an Nobel winning scientist debating both a complex math formula, and the fate of mankind with Reeves. Keanu and Nobel level mathematics in the same sentence...sorta like saying "Romeo Crennel and excellent time-management". Bates plays the Secretary of Defense using skills right out of the "Blundering, Meddlesome, Incompetent Public Servant" Handbook. They are the Willie McGinnest and Jamal Lewis of this cast. You may get an occasional moment of spark out of them...but 90% is pure past-their-prime lameness.
Lipstick on a Pig - For the Browns, that comes in the form of Josh Cribbs. Brilliant effort and fun to watch, but not nearly enough to overshadow the overall stinker. For "The Day the Earth Stood Still", that would be Jennifer Connelly. I'm not really sure what an Astro-biologist is, but she sells it, and she delivers by far the best performance in the film as the one person who might be able to get through Neo's...er...Klaatu's blank skull and convince him to give us one more chance.
Loads of Potential Talent, but an Immature Pain - Obviously, I'm talking Braylon Edwards when it comes to the Browns. For this movie, it's precocious Jaden Smith, a kid who hit the Genetic Jackpot better than anyone not named Prince William. But unlike the cute kid he played next to his father Will in "The Pursuit of Happyness", here he is a bitter, unlikable brat. His dad was killed in Iraq, leaving him in the care of his step-mother, who just happens to be Jennifer Connelly. As such, he's the most obnoxious ankle biter I've seen since Dakota Fanning and her chalk-board scraping scream from "War of the Worlds". Spare the world, Klaatu, but please take that kid back with you to Planet Whoa.
Predictable and Boring - Those two words apply perfectly to both Rod Chudzinski's playcalling and David Scarpa's mediocre adaptation of Edmund H. North's original 1951 script. I loved hearing early in the game how Josh Cribbs was going to touch the ball "four or five times a quarter". The final tally? Six touches for the game. Someone's been taking math lessons from Keanu. The script from "The Day the Earth Stood Still" is just as unimaginative. Way too talky...way too obvious. And when all else fails, go to what is supposed to be an awe-inspiring special effect.
Sort of like calling a time out with 1:46 left in the game when you are down 20.
All in all, it was one of those days where I can honestly and unashamedly say "Thank God that I drink!"
Things will get better over the next several days. We get some really good movies coming out, and we get to watch some really good football this weekend.
No...I am NOT so drunk as to be talking about the "get your discount tickets here" matchup between the Browns and the Bungles...I am referring to the top-of-the-standings battles this weekend between the Titans and Steelers for AFC supremacy, and the Panthers-Giants slugfest for the #1 seed in the NFC.
My Rating for "The Day the Earth Stood Still" - Derek Anderson (1 football). A decent concept wasted by gross suckitude.
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