The Room Review

February 18, 2010

Oh, hi movie poster!

I watch a lot of crappy films — it’s a hobby of mine. I always have an ear open listening for buzz on the worst films ever made. I figure that if I watch a lot of awful films and can determine why they’re bad, I could not only appreciate good films even more, but learn from the mistakes of others while writing my own unfinished manuscripts. (Writing unfinished works is also another hobby of mine.)

Through my hobby, I rarely come across a bad film that genuinely fits the mold of “so bad it’s good.” Most truly bad movies are extremely boring or so incompetently made that it’s hard to watch without daydreaming of doing something else or just shutting it off outright. However, once in awhile you find a bad film that requires no additional commentary to be hilarious or revelatory. The film’s plot has enough going on to keep your interest and the earnest ineptitude of every frame makes you want to see how the horrible train wreck ends (usually in a massive explosion with lots of screaming), making it both heinous and gripping. Rarely does one see a terrible movie that is so bad that they actually want to suggest it to friends. Those films are true gems worthy of praise.

The Room is such a film.

Oh, hi cast!

The Room has an extremely basic plot that gets needlessly complicated (more on that later). The film’s story follows our protagonist Johnny (played by The Room‘s writer/director/producer Tommy Wiseau) as he goes about his days, being a good guy and a loving fiancé to Lisa (Juliette Danielle). Unbeknownst to Gary Stu — er, I mean, Johnny — Lisa is a cold-hearted succubus who cheated on him with his lantern-jawed, Kenny Loggins look-alike best friend, Mark (Greg Sestero). Lisa ultimately decides to have the best of both worlds by keeping her stable, “successful banker” boyfriend Johnny, but having a wild, passionate sex life by continuing to sport fuck his best friend behind his back. To keep this charade going, she lies upon lies and drags this whole thing out as long as she can. Shenanigans ensue.

Before I get into the meat and potatoes of this review, I would like to say that if one were to make a movie that depended on a no-nonsense femme fatale to carry it, the filmmaker should at the very least try to cast a woman who aesthetically fills that role. Some time-tested attributes may include (but are not limited to) sharply arching eyebrows, a curvaceous figure, having an air of confidence and being extremely beautiful. Now I’m not going to say that the woman who plays Lisa is unattractive — beauty is subjective, after all — but if she’s going to pass as a conspiratorial, evil temptress with sex and murder on the brain, she shouldn’t look like the office secretary who keeps refusing to go to her coworkers’ after-work parties because she has to get home early to take care of her cats, Mittens and Tum-Tum.

Oh, hi evil lady!

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into the main reasons for The Room‘s spectacularly awesome failure as a film.

The Room adds depth and weight (i.e., convolution and filler material) to the general plot by sprinkling many mini-plots throughout the narrative that turn out to be complete cul-de-sacs. For example, at one point in the film, the college-aged neighbor and friend to everyone, Denny (Philip Haldiman), is revealed to be — bum, bum, BUMMM! — into drugs! After a few minutes of tearful hugs and talks, the plot thread is set up and resolved (I guess?) within about ten minutes of total screen time without ever making an impact on the main story.

Perhaps The Room‘s best instance of the go-nowhere side stories is the infamous breast cancer line. Yes, I said “line.” The plot of Lisa’s mother being diagnosed with breast cancer is introduced with a single line of dialogue without another mention of it for the entire film.

Since it didn’t contribute to the main narrative, provide character depth or even have a resolution, why was this even brought up? Perhaps Mr. Wiseau was going for verisimilitude…? I don’t know. Your guess is as good as mine. But while these plethora of subplots would ruin a good film, they keep a bad film interesting. Honestly, the hardest part in watching a bad film is preventing boredom from setting in, and The Room succeeds in holding your attention. (Bad filmmakers, take note!)

Now while any bad film can be convoluted and messy with plot holes galore, The Room is truly special because of the acting. Across the board, everyone gives a performance that could best be described as “distant,” with every line uttered so monotone that you’d swear that they’re trying to form their words on the spot by reading alphabet refrigerator magnets. Due to the inexperienced actors being unable to emote properly for the “dramatic” scenes, most of the film feels like you’re watching aliens trying to put on a teleplay based on observed human behavior. If stiff acting is usually referred to as wooden, then this is concrete. But nothing compares to the main man himself, Mr. Tommy Wiseau.

Oh, hi auteur!

The unique qualities that Mr. Wiseau brings to the table is his indiscernible European accent and his sleepy performance. His voice could be described as the result of Jean-Claude Van Damme and Isabella Rossellini having a baby on quaaludes. His accent is so oddly absurd and his mannerisms so aloof that you’ll find yourself uncontrollably imitating/laughing at him during the film and well after it’s over. He generally coasts through The Room with a sedated performance and thousand yard stare, but then he’ll seemingly randomly interrupt himself when he remembers that he’s supposed to be angry for a scene, so he increases his volume and pumps his arms petulantly. Mr. Wiseau finally answers the question, “What happens when a laid back European filled with indifference is forced to express emotions that require over-the-top, American soap opera-styled hammy acting?” Hilariously, the answer is this:

If I had to single only one thing out of The Room, I would say the best parts of the film are the sex scenes, but not for the reasons that you may think. I don’t enjoy them for their titillation or passion, but for their complete lack of titillation and passion. Every sexual encounter between the characters is like watching a college student’s rejected demo reel for applying to be the director of a basement-budget, soft-core skin flick that you’d find on Cinemax’s After Dark. The fact that Wiseau fails at even aspiring for the lowly goal of making a Zalman King-produced sex scene rip-off is hilarious and sad in ways I never knew existed. (In the pantheon of off-putting cinematic sex, Johnny and Lisa’s non-penetrative porking is somewhere above Bloodrayne‘s overly gratuitous, out-of-nowhere fuckfest, but below Monica Bellucci’s 15 minute rape scene in Irréversible.) The funniest sex-related moment in The Room comes after the most cringe-worthy display of foreplay ever committed to film, where Johnny awkwardly dry humps what would be Lisa’s navel, which makes one wonder if he even knows how men are anatomically different from women. Then again, Johnny’s lack of knowledge about female physiology would give motivation for Lisa to cheat on him with his best friend, so… maybe it’s character development,… I guess?

I’ve gone on long enough talking about this film, but I could actually keep going. This film’s likability is so far above what most consider a “so bad, it’s good” film, that it’s hard not to recommend it. Thank God the fine fellows over at Rifftrax released a rifftrack for the film, and I’m pleased to say that it’s one of the funniest ones they’ve made, making this film even better/worse. Honestly, for connoisseurs of bad films, The Room is required viewing… and should be taught in film schools.

If you love bad films, you owe it to yourself to watch The Room — it’ll change your life.
Not knowing what you’re getting into: 1/10
Knowing what you’re getting into: 9/10

P.S. Oh, hi Rifftrax sample! (Contains spoilers)

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Sexism Knows No Gender

February 12, 2010

A car commercial aired during the most recent Super Bowl — what else is new? Apparently this car commercial ruffled some feathers due to its sexist message — again, what else is new?

That was exactly what one expects: A fairly stupid, one-dimensional car commercial aimed directly at men. Given that the audience for the Super Bowl is predominantly male (about 60% male viewership, if not more), it’s understandable. Someone (I’d assume a woman, but I really shouldn’t assume such things) was so disgruntled at this ad that s/he made their own parody of it.

I didn’t like the original ad and its message, and this lampoon doesn’t make things better. All it conveys is that women can be just as — if not more — angry, sexist and whiney as an ego-driven, male-focused car commercial. Hate and exclusionary remarks do not cancel out hate.

Think about it this way: Imagine some racist black guy is making a stink and calling all the white people he meets “honkies” and “crackers.” Instead of ignoring his racist remarks or confronting him in an enlightened and instructive manner, a white guy comes up to him and calls him “nigger.”

Using “revenge” as your go-to tactic when countering bigotry benefits no one. Fighting sexism by being even more sexist doesn’t mean you won the battle.

But kidnapping and torturing a sexist bigot is pretty sound and foolproof.

“But Boone,” you say in a highfalutin tone, “This parody ad is satire — it’s supposed to be funny. It’s making fun of the sexist message of the original commercial through direct opposition. Or are you too stupid to realize that?”

Fair enough, I guess,… although you didn’t have to call me stupid. However, before you say anything else, keep this in mind: I completely forgot about the original Dodge commercial ten minutes after I saw it. It wasn’t visually interesting, it was too long (for a commercial), it had a weak message and worst of all, it wasn’t funny. Thanks to the parody, not only was I reminded of the original commercial again — a commercial that my mind naturally thought wasn’t worthy enough of any brain space — but I remembered that it was promoting the new Dodge Charger.

I work in the advertising industry. You know that saying about there being no such thing as bad publicity? It’s 100% true. By even watching this parody you are giving attention to the lame Dodge ad. Those who were unaware of the original ad now have to see it to see what the buzz is about. Interest spikes, online views quadruple and the advertisers are promoted for making such an effective ad. Regardless of whether it’s negative or not, as Paris Hilton has proved, any attention is good attention.

Barely literate, and yet she had a book deal. Unbelievable.

Essentially, this parody ad shouldn’t have been made. Attention is brought to a problem in the least constructive way possible. Instead of denouncing sexism by being even more sexist and belittling your message, how about you try approaching the topic in a more productive manner? Contact the advertisers or the manufacturer and tell them about how displeased you were with their ad. Boycott Dodge vehicles and tell your friends/relatives about how much they suck. Hold a rally, attend a seminar about gender inclusion, write a blog post — anything would be better than to encourage the parody’s views of reinforced gender stereotypes and then laugh it off. Sexism isn’t that funny.

In a perfect world, ads would be gender-neutral and enjoyed by all. The Dodge commercial and its accompanying spoof only show how far off we are from that world.

===========

EDIT: There. Now I fixed the ads.


Avatar Review

January 19, 2010

'Avatar' is a film unlike anything ever seen before.... Sort of.

Over the past few days, a bunch of my friends asked me what I thought of the new movie Avatar. Given that my stance has been contrary to what most people have said about it, I have found myself explaining my opinions over and over again. To finally purge myself of all my feelings and educate others about an unheard opinion, I finally decided to write this review (yes, this one that you are reading right now). This review is not an outlet for me to be smug or controversial, but ultimately to educate. I’m aware that I am of a vast minority — extremely vast, almost infinitesimal — and it is for that reason that I am writing this review.

Hello, my name is Boone… and I didn’t like the movie Avatar.

Now before you pick up your pitchforks and torches and chase me into a rickety windmill, give me a chance to explain myself. Perhaps in doing so, you will walk away a richer, more enlightened person for listening to a contrary position. Or perhaps you’ll be even angrier at me, cementing your opinion that I am a royal doucheface. Either way, this will be quite an adventure!

To get in your good graces, I’ll start by saying the things that I enjoyed about the film. Avatar, from a technical standpoint, is fantastic. The special effects, editing and sound design are solid, and the final action setpiece is frenetic and well-done….

And thus concludes the positive portion of this review.

The visuals for 'Avatar' are a delight -- creative and wholly original.

One of the biggest problems that I have with Avatar is that it’s been done before. Not only that, but it’s been done better many times before. You’ve probably already heard/read about how the film borrows plot points wholesale from other films, and everyone knows that when it comes to storytelling, it’s not what you tell, but how you tell it. However, Avatar does absolutely nothing revolutionary other than ramp up the special effects to 11. That’s it. If you aren’t wowed by visual splendor alone, then you can’t help but leave the theater wanting.

To make my point more clearly, let’s look at the film from a point of view that in no way focuses on the special effects. Imagine the film is a made-for-TV movie on the SyFy channel, where bringing attention to its special effects will end in tears. (“The filmmakers are doing the best they can! Leave ’em alone!”) Better yet, simply imagine that the film wasn’t made by James Cameron, it didn’t have a budget of $300 million, it didn’t have 15 years worth of preparation to make and that it certainly was not the result of the two largest and most adept visual effects houses on the planet (WETA and ILM) working together. It’s simply a movie with a story to tell.

'Avatar' tells the tale of a wounded, journal-writing soldier who goes to a remote outpost and ingratiates himself with the "primitive" indigenious people.

First, Avatar uses the same stark, condescending liberal guilt message that so many other movies have used before. Yes, we get it: Corporations and the military industrial complex are bad and people who love nature are good. Not only were those ideas played out years ago, but Avatar presents them with the subtlety of an exploding dumptruck filled with howler monkeys, all without nuance to the characters or their motivations. There are the evil people and the good people and they are presented in black and white with no shades of grey.

Let’s say, off the top of my head, the movie-going public was told that “unobtanium” — the precious mystery ore that brought the humans’ mining corporations and military to the alien planet of Pandora in the first place — could cure cancer, AIDS and all other Earthly diseases. It would’ve perhaps made the audience question the necessity of suffering and sacrifice and given an iota of complexity to the characters’ actions. Whose needs are more important: An entire planet of dying humans or a couple hundred aliens who are unwilling to move from their sacred patch of land? How can diplomacy be reached with an alien tribe who have nothing to gain by leaving and can’t understand the consequences in their refusal? You know, ideas that give both sides of a story and provoke thought.

But nope, we don’t get that. Instead, we get a clichéd, careless corporate CEO putting golf balls in his office and military brass sipping coffee as they all watch an entire race unnecessarily get wiped out by fire bombing and deforestation. You know, SUBTLETY!

James Cameron's 'Avatar' should be commended for mixing a heartfelt, pro-environment message with an original, fantasy setting that is easy for people to digest.

That brings me to another thing: the clichés. Most of the characters are one-dimensional archetypes at their best and shop-worn stock characters at their worst. A lot of the time, however, they can’t help being stereotypes given that they have lines like, “You’re not in Kansas anymore,” a line so clichéd that you’ll spit out cobwebs if you say it out loud. But that’s not the only example — not by a long shot. The filmmaker, in his infinite wisdom, settled on naming the MacGuffin in the film “unobtanium,” a name that sci-fi nerds, engineers and cinephiles literally laugh at while jokingly naming stupid mystical metals in theoretical thought experiments. Cameron could’ve taken 10 minutes out of his day to think of any other name so that we could take his not-even-thinly-veiled analogy on The War on Terror seriously. How about cantfindium? Or lostite? Or behindthatbushium?

I guess now is as good of a time as any to mention why I didn’t like the fact that James Cameron decided to use Avatar as a mouth piece for his thoughts on The War on Terror. And in case the analogy wasn’t obvious to the audience, Cameron again decided to kick subtlety in the face and had the marine colonel mention making a “preemptive strike” on the aliens and that they will “fight terror with terror,” which might have made sense had the nature-loving, life-respecting Na’vi forced suicide bombers to rush into military encampments at some point in the movie. Honestly, what sort of “terror” were the aliens responsible for? How can that reference make any sense at all in the context of this movie? This having an Iraqi/oil subtext feels tacked on and out of place, especially considering that it comes at the end of the movie. I was content to accept Avatar simply as a metaphor for the Colonial expansion on the Native Americans, but hey, why stop at just one obvious, clichéd, out-of-date analogy, right?

This all goes back to what I’ve said before that the whole movie has no voice of its own. It takes well-known, over-used ideas and throws in some special effects razzle dazzle so that you forget that you’ve already seen this film many, many times before.

'Avatar' is refreshing by being a family-friendly, interplanetary, 3D sci-fi film that denounces the industrial military complex and its encroachment on.... You get the picture.

The plot is derivative and unoriginal, the dialog is hokey as all hell and plotting is far from revolutionary. (“Gee, there’s the skull of that winged creature that has only been tamed 5 times in the history of the Na’vi. I wonder if that’ll come into play at some point in the movie.”) Some of the actors give competent performances in the film, but most of them are either wooden and bored or over-the-top scenery chewers. Although, to be fair, picking on a sci-fi film for having wooden or hammy acting is like picking on a SyFy original movie for its special effects. (“I said to leave ’em alone, jerk!”)

Cameron had $300 million dollars and 15+ years of development and this is the final result? The whole thing just feels like wasted potential…. Well, I guess misguided potential might be more accurate.

Look, if you enjoyed the movie for its spectacle and special effects, then more power to you. Go nuts and buy it ten times over when it comes out on DVD. All I ask is that you allow those of us that weren’t impressed to have our opinions and not bash us for them. We may be a minority now, but think about this: When Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace first came out, it was overwhelmingly enjoyed by both critic and fan alike, and the people who disliked it were in the minority…. Now look at it.

I haven’t seen better special effects,
but I’ve definitely seen better movies.
5/10

P.S. As a professional graphic designer, I take personal umbrage with the fact that they wrote the subtitles in Papyrus font. That shit’s fucking clownshoes.


Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny Review

December 28, 2009

Well, that looks... enchanting and magical...?

Well, Christmas came and went like a fart in the wind, and now we will have the rest of the year (one week) to indulge in our excesses before making our New Year resolutions (which we will promptly forget). The holidays are a time of mass-commercialization, and along with that comes a plethora of pandering, holiday-themed films that no one wants to watch. One such answer to a question that nobody asked is the film Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny, a deservedly unknown piece of no-budget tripe that no right-minded human could possibly enjoy… which is precisely why I watched it. Come along with me on a magical journey featuring Santa, a cow, Huckleberry Finn, a fire truck, Thumbelina and a 6-foot-tall anthropomorphic rabbit.

The title screen. This does not bode well.

The “movie” (in the loosest sense of the word) opens in Santa’s “workshop” (which is obviously just a horribly painted set) with his “elves” (who are just kids wearing prosthetic ears) “working” (they’re just singing) and making “toys” (Raggedy Ann dolls don’t count as toys). One of the elves notices stock footage of reindeer outside, which causes the omniscient narrator to inquire that if Santa’s reindeer are back in the North Pole, where’s Santa?

Before you have time to even wonder this yourself, the narrator answers her own question by whisking us away to Florida to show that Santa’s sleigh got stuck on a sand dune near the beach. Apparently his self-centered reindeer “friends” got too hot and left the poor, fat bastard to roast to death while they chilled at the North Pole (pun intended).

"Santa's" reindeer at the "North Pole."

Fearing that he’ll miss delivering presents in time before Christmas, Santa does what any person in his situation would do: He sings to himself… poorly. After Santa thoroughly ear-rapes the audience with his tone deaf “singing,” he — and I’m not making this up — telepathically beckons all the children of the neighborhood to come help him. Instead of all the children being freaked out by having an old man speak to them through their collective subconscious, they joyfully stop what they’re doing and come running to help out the jolly fat man. Two of these children happen to be — again, I’m not making this up — Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, who are floating down the Mississippi River on a homemade raft when they get Santa’s brain communiqué, all the while the film’s soundtrack plays “Old Man River” on kazoos.

In case I forgot to mention it, this film’s story takes place in then-present day 1972 Florida.

Pictured: The Mississippi River. Not pictured: Florida.

When the children arrive, they sit in a semi-circle around Santa as he explains that his sleigh is stuck and that he needs the brainless brats to help him out. Even though they lack the magical flying ability (or even higher brain functions) needed to pull his sleigh, the kids enthusiastically cheer and promptly run off, perhaps to attend an idiot convention. Oddly enough, despite the myriad of fantastic/insane things that have happened to everyone involved, the only ones who question what’s going on are Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, who spy from the bushes far away from the group and remark how weird it is to see Santa there. Pot, meet Mr. Kettle.

"Wow, it's Santa Claus! I always thought he was imaginary, didn't you, HUCKLEBERRY FINN?"

Santa sits around and mopes for a minute when all of sudden, some blonde-haired little girl comes back holding hands with a giant gorilla. Yes, a gorilla. The primate proceeds to try and pull the sleigh, but to no avail. Nice try, Donkey Kong.

Right after Grape Ape gives up, another kid arrives, but this one is bringing along a donkey. Of course the ass is as stubborn as… an ass, so Santa mopes until someone else shows up with the next failure on four legs. Sure enough, the next kid brings a small pig whose incessant squealing sounds like a TIE fighter from Star Wars. Again, it didn’t work (nor would it), but that didn’t stop Santa from allowing the children to give it an honest attempt. Next in line of the petting zoo rejects is a sheep, then a cow and finally a horse, which, coincidentally, is the only animal in this whole lineup that is meant to pull a sleigh.

"That's all well and good, Billy, but can he fly?"

Free comedy tip, Movie: Start with the banal and work your way up to the absurd. Don’t start off with trying to have Magilla Gorilla pull a sleigh only to end up with Secretariat, especially when it takes TEN MINUTES to get there.

So now that the kids have completely failed him (big shock), Santa is all despondent again, and because misery loves company, he’s surrounded by the children… again. The narrator chimes in to say that despite the odds being against Mr. Claus, he always has a trick up his sleeve. So what’s his trick this time? Apparently it’s to tell the kids a story and cut to a different movie entirely. I’m dead serious — he starts to tell the children the story of Thumbelina and then it fades into a title and introductory credit sequence for it. For the next 65 minutes, this is no longer Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny, it’s Thumbelina.

This isn't what I signed up for!

Since I’m writing a review for Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny and NOT Thumbelina, I’m going to skip pretty much everything there is to say about this film-within-a-film save for a few points.

  1. Thumbelina is one of the cheapest productions ever made. I’ve seen grade school plays that had better costumes and more convincing backdrops.
  2. The entire film was shot at a now-demolished theme park called Pirate’s World.
  3. Not only is this a film-within-a-film, but it has it’s own narrator, as the whole movie focuses on a girl watching a display about Thumbelina while the park’s PA system blurts out the story.

"Thumbelina was as tall as--" *SKERSH* "Custodian to the Whirlygig. Clean-up in front of the Whirlygig." *SKERSH*

So just to make this perfectly clear, we have a narrator telling the story about Santa, who in turn is telling a group of kids a story about a young woman who is being told the story of Thumbelina. It’s a film-within-a-film and a story-within-a-story-within-a-story-within-a-story. Primer was less convoluted.

After Thumbelina ends, we come back to Emo Santa on the beach with the Idiot Brigade. Some stuff happens (i.e., nothing) and the kids get an idea and run off. After 85 minutes since the start of the film, the titular Ice Cream Bunny finally appears with children in tow. Naturally, he’s driving a fire truck (Why wouldn’t he?), and since the Ice Cream Bunny is a complete moron, he forgot to turn the truck’s siren off, so the audience is treated to the sweet, dulcet tones of a fire engine siren while the kids poorly lip-sync a ballad about Santa. But why take my word for it when you can watch the ending yourself?

So the day is saved for Santa and friends, and my brain now officially hates me for subjecting it to this movie. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a film where literally 75% of the damn thing is padded with another movie, especially another movie that has nothing to do with it. Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny redefines lazy filmmaking. It is definitely in the highest echelon of bad movies — worse than almost anything featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000, and I say that having seen every episode. This film is so incompetent, it makes Manos: The Hands of Fate seem like Citizen Kane, and I stand by that. The only thing entertaining about this movie is reading the director’s biography.

And I thought Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 was bad. Goddamn.
0/10

By the way, the entire film can be found on YouTube here, with a “higher quality” version here. (There’s not enough quotation marks in the world for that last statement.)


Things I Think Too Much About: The Kongs

November 30, 2009

I’ve recently went back to playing Mario Kart Wii after a long respite. The game is equal parts fun and frustrating. Racing on the bizarre courses and nailing the other racers with weapons is fun. Likewise, your opponents can hit you back and send you to a lower placing bracket through a sheer lack of luck, not skill. It can be maddening to run a course while in first place the entire time, only to get hit with an unavoidable blue shell as you’re going on a jump in the final stretch, sending you falling down an abyss and ending up in tenth place (which actually happened to me last night). The Rubber Band A.I. can be brutal and, at times, downright unfair.

But I’m not writing this to talk about how Mario Kart Wii cheats (which it does). I’m here to discuss a little malcontent who doesn’t even belong in the game, and yet he’s available on the roster. I’m talking, of course, about Diddy Kong.

Diddy Kong, I want to kick you in the face. Nothing personal.

Diddy Kong made his debut in the Super Nintendo game Donkey Kong Country. Through the Fourth Wall-breaking narrative of that excellent platformer, we learn that Cranky Kong, the lovable old coot who dispenses advice, was the original Donkey Kong from the 1981 arcade game. The tie-wearing Donkey Kong that we know today is his son (or grandson, depending on what game you’re playing).

Cranky Kong has seen better days. Insert: Better days.

Here’s where the confusion comes in: Rare, the developers of Donkey Kong Country, originally wanted to make Diddy Kong an updated Donkey Kong Junior, but Nintendo said that either he wear the white singlet from previous games or be given a different name. Since Rare liked their design of the character, they renamed him Diddy Kong and made him Donkey Kong’s nephew. To make sense of the new family they created but still keep it in the Donkey Kong universe, they aged everyone and made the already-approved Donkey Kong the original DK Jr. and Cranky Kong the original Donkey Kong.

But before DK Jr.’s redesign into the new Donkey Kong, he raced in his white singlet with the other Mario Karters in Super Mario Kart.

"Boy, Mario, I'm glad we could put aside our petty differences about you kidnapping and enslaving my dad! Now let's go go-karting! DERF!"

So in my opinion, Donkey Kong can stay in the Mario Kart games. He’s in the Mario universe and has interacted with Mario in several games outside of their non-canon, franchise-milking crossover games. (I’m looking at you, Super Smash Bros.) I’ve got no beef with him.

But why the hell is Diddy in the Mario Kart games? He doesn’t belong. He’s from an entirely new universe and in a different series of games. He has no idea who the hell Mario even is. Sure, you could argue that Diddy is sort of related to Donkey Kong and belongs in the game by proxy, but you’re reaching. Through association, I could argue that Link and Samus belong in the Mario Kart games since they had cameos in Super Mario RPG. Despite how weird that would be, they have more of a right to be there than Diddy does: they’ve at least met Mario. There’s TONS of characters in the Mario Universe who could be in a Mario Kart game who haven’t been in one yet. Why resort to Diddy freaking Kong?

To add greater insult to the fact that Diddy’s now in the Mario Kart games, the most recent iteration added Funky Kong, the one-dimensional XTREME SURFER DUDE who felt dated back when he first appeared in ’94 with the original Donkey Kong Country. For those who love Simpsons references, Funky Kong is essentially the Poochie of the Nintendo universe.

"I'm Funky, the rockin' Kong!"

Now that I look at him, he looks like he belongs in a pride parade.  But if that’s the design Nintendo is sticking with, then more power to them.

Before I end this tirade that no one cares about, here’s something else to consider: Gorillas live to be 35-50 years old, depending on whether they live in captivity or not. How is it that the Kongs get older (and die), but everyone in the Mario universe stays the same age? How are these future versions of the Kongs meeting up with a Mario who hasn’t aged? Is there some sort of time rift going on in the Mario Kart world?

Uh... I'm gonna go with a "yes" on that.


Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 Review

November 9, 2009
superbabies-cover

Jesus Fucking Christ.

Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 has the notorious distinction of being the ONLY film to be in the Top (Bottom?) 20 Worst Films of all time on three of the most well-known film reviewer aggregate sites on the web: IMDb, RottenTomatoes and Metacritic. Let that sink in for a moment. Not only do all of the educated and legitimately published critics on the planet think that the movie is the worst piece of crap ever made, but so do the basement-dwelling, OCD nerds who have nothing better to do than watch movies and comment about them on internet forums. Bottom line, EVERYONE agrees that this movie is garbage. This film is, quite literally, the worst of the worst, and that is precisely why I watched it. And since I don’t like suffering alone (my girlfriend refused to watch the movie with me), I’m reviewing this piffle for all to experience.

The story follows a boy named Kahuna, a child who…. *sigh*
Okay, look. I’m going to explain the “plot” of this movie now, so you’re about to read the stupidest sentences you’ve ever read in your life in rapid-fire succession: Brace yourself. Also, spoilers abound, but it’s not like you’re actually going to watch this shitty movie, right?

superbabies-electro

SPOILER: This actually happens in the movie.

Moving along…. Kahuna is a 4-year-old-looking boy (they never say his age) who is a super sleuth who uses crazy spy gadgets like a miniature James Bond. When he has to resort to fisticuffs, Kahuna drinks a super serum of his own design that gives him super strength and the ability to run up walls and jump really high in some of the worst displays of wirework ever seen in a film. Kahuna uses his tools to fight the evil, German Colonel Kane (Jon Voight) and foil his attempts at trying to take over the world.

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He eats his Wheaties! And steroids.

As retarded as this all is, it’s actually just a story that a baby is telling other babies — Kahuna is just an urban legend, of sorts, amongst the toddler community. The audience then breathes a sigh of relief as they realize, “Oh! This retarded bullshit is all just the imagination of a pants-crappingly stupid-ass baby! Boy, am I relieved. For a second, I thought this movie was actually going to be about this horrible, nonsensical garbage.”

Then Act 2 starts, and Kahuna and Jon Voight’s Colonel Klink impersonation show up in the context of the “real world.” Not only that, but Kahuna is still a baby despite the fact that the “legend” of Kahuna took place in Cold War era Berlin.

It’s at about this point that the audience realizes that this movie has gone off the fucking rails, detoured into Crazy Town and staked permanent residence. Yes, this whole movie really is all about a goddamn super agent toddler with a rocket-powered baby buggy and glowing super serum beating the shit out of Jon Voight and his army of ne’er-do-wells.

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They're laughing at the audience, not with them.

Several babies (and their sitter) get embroiled in this international game of espionage when they accidentally bump into an agent of Kane’s and unknowingly end up with a data disc containing… something. Who cares? Anyway, seeing that they’re in danger from Kane, Kahuna swoops in and protects the little bastards by whisking them away to his secret lair that looks like Michael Jackson’s bedroom.

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"So you, uh... live here? It's, um... nice. Very nice."

It’s here where the audience is explained many things about Kahuna, none of which make sense. First, the little kid Kahuna is actually an old man who was born in the 1940s. He looks young because his scientist father made a super soldier serum that had a side effect of freezing Kahuna’s aging process, making him forever a young boy. He’s nearly 70-years-old, but he looks four. If you stop to think about that for more than a second, you’ll realize this plot development brings up more creepy grown-up-in-young-body questions than Twilight could ever dream of.

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"108-year-old SWM seeks 16-year-old female. Must like nighttime walks and/or sparkly skin. Enjoying baseball is a plus. No fatties."

Second, Kahuna and Colonel Kane are — bum, bum BUMMM! — brothers! Kane resented Kahuna getting the serum because he was older and felt he deserved it, so Kane spent his entire life in a pissing match with his (literally) baby brother, essentially making him the most pathetic villain in the history of anything ever.

I have a question for the makers of this film: Why attempt a backstory or any semblance of character development when it’s so goddamn stupid?

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Movie Cliché #135: Super serums and science-based elixers must glow because of SCIENCE.

Moving right along, Kahuna decides he needs help to stop his brother’s scheme for world domination, so Kahuna uses a machine that gives the other babies super powers (LIKE IN THE TITLE LOL!) so they can help him fight the evil blah, blah — you know what? Screw this dumb shit. I’m getting a headache just trying to recollect this movie so that I can write this review, and I’m running out of Aspirin.

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Everything you need to know about this movie is contained in this one picture. Fuck this idiotic film.

I usually don’t get angry at movies, but Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 is ten hours of pure stupid condensed into 85 minutes, and I hated every second of it. Okay, granted, the title alone should clue you in on how bad it is, but nothing can prepare you for how bad it REALLY is. There is nothing good about this movie. Nothing. This movie deserves every bit of scorn that it’s received. It’s the film equivalent of cancer and AIDS put together.

I’ve seen The Star Wars Holiday Special, Battlefield Earth, Gigli, Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever and almost every Uwe Boll film made, and Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 is the film that almost broke me.
0/10


Muscle March (WiiWare Game) Review

November 2, 2009
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"Hey, big boy. Wanna play a game with us?"

The video game Muscle March tells the classic tale of a gaggle of weightlifters who had their protein shake powder stolen by a football player/Martian who is then chased from Japan to outer space by the muscle-bound behemoths trying to get their drink mix back.
Okay, so it’s not so much a classic story as it is a fucking bat-shit insane one, but who needs a story when you’re talking about an arcade-style, downloadable Wii game?

Muscle March was released on the WiiWare Channel in Japan in late May this year, and it’s every bit as crazy as this video portrays it.

As you could see from that footage, the point of this way-hetero game is to select your not-at-all-gay-looking character and strike flexing poses to fit through the holes punched out by the protein-shake thieves as they smash through walls. Using the Wiimote and nunchuck, you strike a pose by lowering or raising your arms, your movements corresponding to your characters’. Pose incorrectly and you run into the wall and get hurt — get hurt 5 times and you lose. When your more-than-likely-heterosexual character gets close enough to the perp, you go into a short mini-game where you shake the Wiimote and nunchuck as fast as possible to make your character run faster and eventually hip tackle the thief in a completely straight manner. Screw up and the level starts over again.

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Totally not gay.

There are three levels in Muscle March (Modern Japan, Feudal Japan and Outer Space… yes, I’m serious) with each level having three sub-levels. The game also has an endurance mode where it’s one unending level; the point being to rack up the highest score possible by seeing how far/fast you can go without messing up.

The game tries to coast on quirk and charm (and let’s face it, sheer madness), but as you can probably guess, it’s still a pretty shallow gaming experience. The controls, while functional and fun, are extremely simplistic. I mean, I described the ENTIRE game to you: Lift your arms like an idiot, chase guy, the end. You can pretty much see everything the game has to offer in half an hour. It’s like a mini-game from Wario Ware being stretched out about as far as it can go.

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WHO IS PLAYER? OH MY GOD, BEAR IS PLAYER! HOW CAN THIS BE!?

I hate to bring up graphics when concerning a downloadable game, but the Playstation 1 could probably run Muscle March. The textures are muddied and most of the low-res sprites are downright terrible. You could argue that the bad graphics are part of its charm, and you might be right, but when you see it in motion, some of the visuals are downright inexcusable. On the plus side, the game runs at a decent clip without any frame rate hiccups or slowdown.

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Wait a minute.... Is that a baby chick sitting in that black guy's afro like it's a bird's nest? That's racist... right?

If Muscle March were $5 or cheaper, I’d recommend it for its sheer absurdity alone: It’s almost worth owning just to show people that this game actually exists. Guaranteed, you and your friends will laugh playing this crazier-than-a-shithouse-rat game. However, given that Muscle March is actually $8, it’s a bit hard to recommend. To me, three bucks is the difference between a fun lark on a lazy afternoon and an all-too-short arcade game that you regret for spending that much money on.

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And did I mention how completely not gay it is?

It’s fun and all, I guess, but the price point is hard to swallow.
(Heh, heh…. Not gay.)
5/10

PRO-TIP: If you’re having a hard time beating a level, try intentionally getting hurt a couple times near the beginning of the stage. The level is only a certain length, so you can protract the introductory slow part by running into the walls before the hard parts begin. Sure, your score will decrease, but your odds of beating the game will be better.