Dear Hollywood: Please Stop Sucking

Posted by Lizzie on Saturday, August 22, 2009
Our next submission is from Aaron!

If you talk to me for more than 10 minutes (admittedly, this can sometimes be difficult, as I'm a bit of a weird duck), it becomes quite apparent that I am startlingly fond of movies. I would use the word love, but this word has also been applied to breakfast food and watching that barefoot homeless guy obstruct traffic and then flip off cars that honk at him, and thus it feels as though it cannot convey the full enjoyment I get from cinema. I'm far from an expert, the whole of my film education being a french film class in undergrad, in which I got a B- (though in fairness to me, I did have to write my papers in french), but I have viewed and enjoyed a great many movies in my 26 years. From Jackie Chan before he got U.S. fame, to La Marie Etait en Noir (for the language stickler, I know I'm missing the accents, I don't care), to any of a dozen awesome and insane explosion fests, to various and sundry horror films of varying quality (but not the Saw films, or Hostel, because if you want to scare someone, use some goddamn subtlety, instead of strapping someone to a precision engineered death machine, or cutting off toes), I have absorbed them in particularly sponge like fashion. So, I am usually looking forward to summer with a level of excitement that makes me squeal with noises most commonly associated with excited school children who have forgotten their ritalin. This summer, however, has felt more like Hollywood felt like I needed an extended 2 month disappointment-and-punch-in-the-dick-athon.

For several summers now, my face has been consistently rocked off so hard I've spent a week finding the damn thing. 2005 gave me Batman Begins, Madagascar, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, War of the Worlds (I consider it high praise for the movie that it made me forget how completely shit-flingingly out there Tom Cruise is at the time when he initially snapped and started peddling his crazy to anyone who would stand still), The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (which I will say only that I greatly enjoyed it, as anyone who knows me knows I am overwhelmingly biased in favor of anything which Douglas Adams was in the least involved in), Madagascar, and even Fantastic Four (not brilliance, but it had fun moments).

2006 had Pirates of the Caribbean 2, Superman Returns (shut up, I liked it), Clerks II (which I found to be so good I almost completely forgot about nearly being run over on the southside by some jerk in an SUV, in a rare moment of me not jaywalking or otherwise daring the less than sane to run me down), Lady in the Water (again, I'm one of about 5 people who liked it, but it's my face being rocked off here) and myriad others which I've heard good things about, but haven't seen yet.

2007 had The Bourne Ultimatum (no other move has made as amazingly brutal use of Kali as a fighting art, and such utterly brilliant improvised weapons, and then there was actually a decent movie under all this Matt Damon death machine action), another Pirates of the Caribbean movie (not as good, but still awfully fun), and Harry Potter of the Order of the Phoenix.

Unfortunately, this was also a summer in which some atrocious piles came out. Spider-Man 3 landed during 2007, which I dearly hope Sam Raimi regrets, because there was a single redeeming moment in the entire film, Eddie Brock praying for God to kill Peter Parker. It was not enough to redeem the epic-fail otherwise contained in the film. Alvin and the Chipmunks and Transformers also came around at this time. This is to say nothing of whatever crap Uwe Boll may have been up to at this time (looking at his filmography, it doesn't seem anyone has trusted him with a summer release, in a glorious moment of uncharacteristic intelligence for Hollywood).

Summer 2008 landed. I had Iron Man to start it off, which immediately kicked my ass so hard it required medical intervention to remove the cheeks from around my ears. It had the Dark Knight, which proved that a comic book movie can succeed as an actual movie, not to mention gave everyone with a fear of clowns some of the most horrid nightmares imaginable. Wall-E was utterly fantastic, being cute, fun, and startlingly socially conscious, and poking some impressive fun at Bush the 2nd. Hancock came out of nowhere to surprise me, and be much better than I expected (I'm sorry, but the initial ad campaign felt like "we made a black superhero...and your very first image of him is in hobo clothes drinking liquor on a bench threatening children." Great work guys. But it did grow up as a film by the end, and I was quite happy with it. It had it's short comings, but all in all, I was blown away.

Summer 2009 came at last. Sadly, I can't count Watchmen in this, first for my overwhelming bias due to Alan Moore, and other obsessive reasons, but also that it wasn't in any way in the summer. That's really what screws it over. Because that alone could have made my summer. X-Men Origins: Wolverine had about 2 minutes total that made me not think of it as shiny crap, not to mention they took the cannon of Deadpool and completely trashed it. Star Trek was a notable exception, it was fucking brilliant, and JJ Abrams has once again made me the happiest girl in the world. I wasn't ever going within 50 feet of Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. Poor Rhona Mitra, constantly getting attached to/stuck in shitty films with vampires (or just shitty films. I'm looking at you Doomsday). Terminator Salvation made me hate the series. So far, you have made an endless run of convergent and divergent paradoxes (some which cause each other) to the point that an attempt to make a timeline for the terminator series would require you to make several mobius strips have some sort of bizarre mutant mobius strip child which defies any and all forms of logic and reason, and would probably give most people tension headaches if they looked at it to intently. Angels and Demons...I can't throw it down the proverbial stairs, but neither was it as awesome as it should have been for the overwhelming pile of great actors they had. Up was almost the highlight of my summer (like I said, Star Trek), proving once again that Pixar can make anything awesome, fun, believable, just utterly wonderful. Then came Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. I personally feel we should be allowed, as a people, a nation, a collective victim, if you will, to roll up newspapers and smack Michael Bay like a naughty puppy that just pissed on every single carpet we own. Did we learn nothing from Jar Jar Binks? Honestly, the highlight of the entire film was the college girl robot seduction machine that goes all scorpion attack on Shia LaBeouf. But this did not break my summer. Until GI Joe. Thank you, Stephen Sommers, for clubbing my youth to death with a rock. You took one of my favorite actors (Christopher Eccleston) and somehow on screen you brought him across in such a way that he seems like a complete tool. Not as a character, but as an actor and person. You paid so little attention to the actual production of the film you managed to have, in the middle of a chase scene involving soldiers in robotic ninja super suits chasing a humvee with a cowcatcher on the front throwing cars down the streets of paris, exchanging gun and missile fire, and all this is happening on the streets of paris, which have enough trouble accomodating a Renault, and there are people in the street waiting for a bus with completely no reaction. You made a super advanced jet fighter capable of running down missiles that go at mach 5, but to use the weapons, you basically had to yell "BANG BANG BANG" like a 7 year old playing army, and not only that, but you put it in a foreign language, just to make it sound even dumber.

So this is my open invitation to Hollywood to stop making substance-free "he blowed up real good!" summer films. Star Trek, Iron Man, Dark Knight. Lots of stuff blew up, and I still managed to care about the characters. We're paying you enough, get it right.



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