Having written two blogposts in the last year on this thing, and having taken one of those down on the grounds that it was 'stupid,' I've decided that there's no choice. I've got to break some boundaries. I've got to hit a homer. I've got to do what no man hath dared to: I'm going to write a LIST OF MOVIES I LIKE.
But not just movies I like! That wouldn't be pretentious enough. No, this is a list of movies I like... That YOU, the Unwashed Masses, haven't seen. So, with one cry of my catchphrase (BLOGS IS LIKE BACON AND EGGS!), let's get started.
BLOGS IS LIKE BACON AND EGGS!
5 (We are starting from the lower parts of the list, and then proceeding mathematically in a direction): Primer
Primer is a movie about how people are assholes. Two guys invent a time travel box, and then they are assholes with it. The time travel operates on "Futurama" rules, which is to say, you are going to think your time-double is an asshole and beat him up.
BUT SERIOUSLY. Primer was made for couch-cushion money and looks it. The acting is naturalistic (bad), there are NO effects, special or otherwise, and the movie is intentionally confusing. It has exactly one thing going for it, and that is that the guy who wrote, directed, scored, and starred in it thought really, REALLY hard about time travel before he made it. And hence, the movie is AWESOME.
It is free on the Youbtubues, and you should watch it.
IV (I DON'T SPEAK LATIN BUT I COUNT IT): Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.
This is a movie about how people are assholes. The specific assholes here: MURDERERS.
Behind the Mask has the dumbest premise ever: Hey, what if slasher killers were real? What if a new one was getting ready to start? It would be awesome to make a documentary about that, right?
RIGHT. I know I threw you when I called the premise dumb earlier, but it actually makes for a great, smart movie. Most of the credit for that goes to the guy playing the titular (tee-hee) Leslie Vernon. He is charming, bouncy, hyper, like a young Jim Carrey, except that one seeks to destroy happiness and joy and the other one just wants to kill people do you SEE WHAT I DID THERE
The movie examines all the cliches of the slasher film, except this time from the killer's point of view. There is a lot of pseudo-philosophical nonsense about the purity of the "Final Girl" and the power of phallic objects, and it completely works as a mockery of the self-serious analysis of the horror genre. This isn't "Scream," where Halloween is a movie we've all seen, this is a world where Mike Meyers is a known murderer, and the movie gets a lot of fun out of the idea that this is a "tradition" that the character is entering into.
The most interesting stuff happens when the movie flirts with reality. The documentary crew is watching, even in a few cases, helping, Leslie prepare to brutally murder several people. This whole part would fall apart without Nathan Baesal, who plays Leslie. His gleeful energy makes it really easy to get into the spirit of what he's doing, and makes it all the more disorienting when it falls away and you can see the killer inside.
This movie is so good, I stopped shouting jokes while writing about it. You should check it out. BUTTS!
¡Tres! (HOLA AMIGOS YO HABLO FRENCH): In The Loop
This is a movie about how people are assholes.
Did you know that America and probably England are at war right now? Not with each other, but with tear. Tear apparently lives in Iraq and Afghanhisthan(?), because those are the places we invade and blow up and etc.
In the Loop is a funny fictionalized story about how we started killing all those people we killed. A bumbling (everyone in this movie is either bumbling or yelling) British minister (like a priest but with gov'ment) says that war is unforseeable. This causes him to become the center of what, for the sake of politeness, I will call a political shitstorm.
The Chief Shit-Weather-Wizard and Yelling King is Malcolm Tucker. The conflict between him and the minister is the basic one of the whole movie: Everyone in power is either evil or useless. A few of the characters are evil AND useless, so at least they are being represented.
This movie produces two kinds of laughs (man, that's a lot of duality going on around here. Note to self: am I enough of a bullshitter to throw the word Manichean in here without seeming like an asshole), a Manichean divide between humor types. One kind of laugh is "OMG that was some incredibly amazing swearing LOL," which is fair, because this movie has the best, funniest swearing in the world. The other kind is "Oh God I have a horrible suspicion that this movie is more accurate than not I had better laugh so no one notices me killing myself ha ha ha haaaaa."
It is very gud I liked it a lot.
2 (MANICHEAN!!!!!) Southland Tales
This is a movie about how people are assholes.
I will now, in a single paragraph, attempt to describe Southland Tales to you. Spoilers follow. Let me just reaaaach over for my bottle of Malort and my capslock...
OKAY SO THE ROCK PLAYS THE ROCK EXCEPT HE HAS AMNESIA AND WALLACE SHAWN PLAYS AN EVIL WIZARD IN A CAPE AND HE HAS HARNESSED THE TIDE TO MAKE FLUID KARMA WHICH IS BOTH A DRUG AND AN ALTERNATE FUEL SOURCE AND HE MAKES OUT WITH BAI LING AND OH GOD JON LOVITZ HAS SILVER HAIR AND HE MURDERS PEOPLE AND THEN QUOTES PHILIP K DICK WAIT DID I MENTION THE CGI CAR COMMERCIALS WHERE THE CARS FUCK LIKE LITERALLY ONE CAR EXTENDS ITS TAILPIPE LIKE A DICK AND PUTS IT IN THE OTHER CAR'S VAGINA SEANN WILLIAM SCOTT PLAYS IDENTICAL TWINS WHO ARE ACTUALLY TIME CLONES (SPOILERS) AND THE ROCK CONSTANTLY OSCILLATES BETWEEN PLAYING A CHARACTER FROM THE SCREENPLAY HE WROTE WITH SARAH MICHELLE GELLAR (PORN STAR!) AND A SCARED LITTLE KID WHO TWIDDLES HIS FINGERS AND THEN JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE STARES INTO THE CAMERA AND LIP SYNCS A KILLERS SONG AND THERE WAS A NUCLEAR ATTACK ON TEXAS AND NOW THE DAD FROM DONNIE DARKO IS A REPUBLICAN SENATOR AND THERE ARE CAMERAS EVERYWHERE, MAN, THEY'RE WATCHING YOU AND THERE IS AN UNDERGROUND INTERNET RUN BY KEVIN SMITH IN OLD MAN MAKEUP NOT TO MENTION THE CLIMAX TAKES PLACE ON A MEGAZEPPELIN WHERE THE ROCK DECLARES THAT PIMPS DON'T COMMIT SUICIDE AND BOOGER FROM REVENGE OF THE NERDS TALKS ABOUT A RIFT IN THE FOURTH DIMENSION AND WHAT THEY DID WITH IT (DIRECT QUOTE: WE SHOT MONKEYS INTO IT) AND CHERI O'TERI IS KILLING PEOPLE AND IT'S AN APOCALYPTIC POLITICAL SATIRE SCIENCE FICTION COMEDY ABOUT THE END OF THE WORLD.
The first time I watched Southland Tales was the closest I've ever felt to losing my mind.
Neo: Zero Effect
This is a movie about finding grace in a world where people are assholes.
This is another one of those movies where the stats say it should be crap. A first-time writer/director making a modern-day tragic-comic loose adaptation of Sherlock Holmes with Bill Pullman as Holmes and Ben Stiller as his Watson? Come on.
But the film makes its case from the first moments and never lets up. The opening scenes are a beautiful bit of character building. Steve Arlo, played by Stiller, meets with a nervous potential client and begins to sell him on why he needs his employer, the mysterious detective Darryl Zero. He speaks of a man of complete secrecy and total professionalism, capable of unraveling the most devious schemes with a few seconds of careful observation.
This scene cuts back and forth with another, where Arlo, at a bar with his friend, endlessly bemoans the weirdness of the freak he works for. Rude, incredibly awkward, helpless in any interaction not directly related to his work, Zero is painted as an irritating, paranoid near-psychotic. And the joy of the movie is that both scenes are shown to be fundamentally true.
I have never regarded Pullman as an amazing actor, but he wears the skin of Zero extremely well. When on the case, we're in his head, listening as he narrates to himself the art of his work as he delves into an intricate blackmailing plot. At the same time, we seem him run Arlo ragged with weird demands and intense, whiny neediness. He's that strangest of things - a likable, vulnerable asshole.
His interactions lead him to a woman named Gloria Sullivan, played by Kim Dickens. Maybe it's just my predilection for short-haired women, but Dickens gives an amazingly strong, sexy performance. She's our Irene Adler - less film noir femme fatale than honorable opponent, and the romantic elements introduced with her character give Zero's a chance to expand beyond quirks into an actual person.
So yeah. A funny, emotionally satisfying, interesting mystery story, with an engagingly fucked up Holmes and a uniformly strong cast. I love this movie. You should find it, if you can.
SO MUCH EARNESTNESS POOP FART LIST OVER