Friday, 29 April 2016

IMDb Bottom 100 Review - Number 34 Emret Komutanim: Sah Mat aka Yes sir

Just like Hannibal I love both elephants and when a good plan comes together. When every intricate little aspect of a well laid plan executes with clock work precision, despite possible involvement of elephants - notorious for being unable to adhere to a time table. It’s beautiful to watch, and gives you the sense of something lurking behind the scenes of life, pulling threads so events fall in your favor. Imagine that magnificent scene, and then picture the polar opposite of that. What do you now see? This movie. Please, if you will, let your eyes wander downwards and soak up the thoughts in my head put into words on your screen. Yes, you guessed it. It’s…

Pretty much how I felt watching this movie.

Emret Komutanim: Sah Mat aka Yes, sir (2007)

Another Turkish movie. And, I fear, not the last one at that either. I don’t know if the Turks are particularly horrible at movie making, or if the Turkish movie watching crowd are particularly apt at rating said movies for shit on IMDb. It’s really hard for me to say, because I do not speak and/or read Turkish. Coincidentally that also made picking up nuances in this movie exceedingly tough, since I was unable to procure a set of English subtitles. Or indeed any of the numerous other languages I would understand better than Turkish. The plot wasn’t super tricky to follow, don’t get me wrong, but even so, I’m thinking I would’ve understood why I hated this movie a little better than I do now, where my hate is largely unsubstantiated by anything else than “It was superbly boring and I hated every character in it.” That may not be much different from the previous some 70 films I’ve had the dis/pleasure of reviewing for you guys, but still, as a guy with, what I think of as, a critical sense, it’s nice to understand why strong emotions are invoked. But we’ll see if I can reflect on my thoughts as this review is written. 

Levent and his colleagues' office. I like the little coffee table setup in front of her desk. Also is that two identical pictures of Ataturk in one room? Bold.

Plotwise, this movie was both simple and confusing. Like I said, I understood what was going on, but never why it was. A bad guy, Karpov, surrounded by matching ladies in silver hair and skimpy outfits, look to cause a military guy of undeterminable rank, some harm. Either personally or in his capacity of being a military officer. He accomplishes this, or attempts to accomplish this, by exploiting an annual event at the barracks where a group of special needs people are allowed to don uniforms and participate in military drills and exercises for a day. With this group of special needs people, he sends one of his non special needs guys cleverly disguised with slightly goofy looking glasses with a piece of thick white string tied around his neck. Blends right in. The ringer manages to switch out the officer’s phone, so Karpov can track him on this Nintendo looking screen, and real time move little action figures around on a crude, and ridiculously pointless, scale model. 

The monitor on which Karpov, well, monitored Levent and his crew of ragtag soldiers. 2007, ladies and gentlemen.
Karpov lures the officer, whose name might be Levent (?) and his forces out into a remote location. I don’t know what pretenses are set up to accomplish this, but it happens. Some of Karpov’s henchmen drive an 18 wheeler into the location, rig it with a bomb, and bank on Levent and his group being close by when it goes off. They are. So close, in fact, that the plan would’ve succeeded, had this not been a really shitty movie. Everybody survives a pretty big explosion, despite being in a 20 feet radius of it. Oh well. Levent is kind of miffed by this whole thing, but decide to send his men back to the barracks. Underway they are tricked by, what I’m gonna have to label as, the lamest and most preposterous hot-ladies-broke-down-car scheme I’ve ever witnessed. So many stereotypes are inadequately purported here, I was almost in shock for a few minutes. Obviously every single one of these super inappropriate dudes are captured and brought to Karpov’s compound. Levent and his, apparently equally ranked, lady friend (possibly girlfriend. We don’t really know), go on a rescue mission, and despite complete lack of control over anything from tactical approaches to trigger discipline and several instances of conduct unbecoming, they save the crew and incapacitate Karpov. The end. 

Levent dons guns akimbo and utilizes his military training to invoke deep concentration, before he shoots to literal fucking bombs at close range.
I can’t figure out what Karpov’s motivation was. He had enough money it seemed, with all the shitty hardware and the obscene amount of women and henchmen he had in his employ. Also a tracking device in Levent’s phone kept a Super Mario looking avatar updated real time on Karpov’s main viewer screen. One silver haired lady was almost constantly at the computer, punching buttons and fiddling with levers. I’m not sure why, but there we are. And then Karpov spent a lot of time moving little toy military vehicles and figurines around on a mock battlefield. It was stupid and made him look like a 5 year old moron. Karpov was played by Mehmet Ali Erbil, a person I fear we (you and I, dear reader… you and I) will not be rid of that easily. His unimpressive catalogue includes two more movies I will be watching in the near future, and his performance in Yes, sir taken into consideration, I’m pretty depressed about that. I couldn’t find anybody on the cast list who have appeared in other movies that one might know. Ali Erbil voiced Woody in Toy Story and Toy Story 2 (Turkish versions obviously) but had apparently fallen from grace when the time came for a third outing for Woody and his gang. Perhaps they had seen these movies of his, and figured fuck that. Rather risk the continuity snafu in a different voice for Woody than have this guy ruin more movies. 

General's office. Or the Turkish equivalent. Same god damn picture of Ataturk again. It's a thing apparently.
The military ranks piqued my curiosity, but like the rest of the movie it left me severely disappointed. All officers (I assume) have insignia on their collar flips, and I assumed they indicated rank, but Levent and the woman and somebody who is clearly above them in the chain of command, all have this special emblem on their shirts. The ranking officer has several stars on his shoulders, however, where Levent only has two. I checked Turkish military rank and found nothing that matches. So that’s kind of a bust. I could’ve learned something, but even that was denied. Everything was, as far as I’m concerned, in this movie. A reviewer on IMDb tore this movie a new asshole, and still gave it 3 out of 10 stars. I don’t know why. He compared it to the 1980s classic franchise Police Academy. I don’t know if I quite agree, but I suppose the inept and supposedly lovable dipshits save the day concept is somewhat similar. However, these dorks accomplish precisely nothing, they save no day and they basically just fuck around aimlessly for 100 minutes, until Levent, in a glorious fucking stunt, shoots two bombs at 4 feet, to free his men from two cages. I mean he literally points a gun in each hand at the bombs on the bars of these cages, and shoots them. Like what is that even supposed to accomplish? Granted, bomb disarmament and dismantling is only a hobby of mine, but it takes skills well above the UN sanctioned 9000 to be able to safely shoot bombs at close range. Insanity. 

I wonder if subtitles would've let me to a greater understanding of these girls matching outfits, and why they mostly just stood around.
I fear for the next few Turkish movies coming at me. This was from 2007, and still I could not find subtitles for it. The next two are from the year before, so I don’t hold high hopes. Say what you will about the many many many crappy movies I’ve watched so far, but at least when they’re in English, I can understand just what it is about them that I loathe so very much. I feel handicapped watching this. On the plus side, I can stick this on, and pretty much do something else, since the dialogue isn’t keeping me marginally distracted. It’s just moving images on screen for a 100 minutes, until credits roll and I get to write this. So there are pros and cons. Mostly cons. Even the pros are kind of cons. Next week, thankfully, I’ll be back in good old sub-Hollywood to review a wonderful movie featuring Mariah Carey. I literally can wait. 

The scene of these girls in the back of military vehicle with super inappropriately behaving soldiers made me uncomfortable.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

IMDb Bottom 100 Review - Number 35 The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies!!

I know you’re probably thinking “has he gone insane making up titles for these films now where does the madness end?” And I honestly can’t blame you for thinking something along those lines. If you were thinking about touching strangers inappropriately on the street or throwing rocks at small animals, I’d probably blame you. But that’s really neither here nor there. This movie really bears that striking title, and it really kind of does fit. Because like the title, this movie is super stupid. If you can make your way past the title however, please enjoy some moments reading my review of…

My face when watching this movie.

The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies!! (1964)

I won’t say I exactly looked forward to watching this movie, because that hasn’t been true a single time so far. But with a title this moronic, I admit I was a little curious as to what the makers had come up with. Because surely people making a film with a title like that had to have poked fun at themselves a little, right? I don’t mean like it would be a comedy. I mean you make a zombie movie and throw in some fun gags and stuff and give it a title that indicates that you don’t take yourself super seriously. Right? Nope. This movie is dead serious. And apparently the title is too. It might’ve come about in a stillborn attempt to apply to a younger demographic by being cool or something. I’m sure there has been done research or questions have been asked, but I honestly don’t want to spend precious time on Earth looking for those. Suffice to say, the movie is serious and the title is too and whoever made that decision did bad and should feel bad.

Jerry looking less than skeptical at this gyppo's shenanigans.
The story in this movie seems like it should be pretty basic. However, it’s not quite as straight forward as you might think. No evil scientists or nuclear accident in this. No siree, this time it’s the gypsies’ fault. Their motivation eludes us, but with gyppos, you don’t really need motivation. They are inherently evil. A young girl is in love with the neighborhood black sheep dude, Jerry. I’m not sure why he isn’t liked by her parents, because he seems just about the most harmless dude ever. But he doesn’t have a job, and in 1964 that was the same as doing drugs. Jerry takes Marge to a carnival, where they visit the Gypsy fortune teller lady, and Jerry makes the mistake of scoffing at her predictions. If only he had lived in 2016, he’d know not to laugh at gypsy ladies. Anyway, they walk out and Jerry immediately becomes crazily infatuated with a stripper/belly dancer. He sends Marge on her way and watches the stripshow among a crowd of underwhelmed patrons. Unbeknownst to Jerry, stripper lady is gypsy queen’s sister, and Jerry is soon lured into the back room, where he is turned into something supposed to be a zombie. 

Wart on face and she turns from Elizabeth Taylor to crazy gypsy woman. He'll I'm suspecting Taylor did this movie uncredited.
You might think that there is nowhere else to go at this point, plotwise. And you’re actually kind of right. But there is also a subplot, featuring a singer/dancer and her dancing partner. She needs to quit drinking or she’ll get fired. In that process she somehow incurs the wrath of the gypsy queen and is murdered. I have a really hard time connecting the dots here, and I do believe I actually watched the whole movie without napping or bathroom breaks where I ‘accidentally’ forgot to pause the movie. So we’ll let this subplot stay unresolved except to say, that Jerry kills her and her partner. Marge recruits her brother and one of Jerry’s friends to free Jerry. This ends up being a half assed chase across a sandy beach ultimately leading to Jerry’s death when two policemen become involved. I think, possibly, before this happened, Jerry, with the last thread of humanity in him, managed to open the cage door to the gypsy zombie stash, and the monsters pour out and kill every gyppo around. The end. 

Kind of a diverse crowd for a burlesque strip show. But perhaps the 60s were different.
This movie sucked a lot. It’s hard to find much to say about it that isn’t already covered in that one sentiment. It’s from 1964 and, like the other movies from the sixties we’ve reviewed here, it’s super shitty quality. Obviously, since it’s a B100 contender, the plot and acting and story is subpar, but it’s just the look of the movie too. I’ve seen movies from the 30s that looked better than this, and I assume it has to do with equipment quality and thus prices. I just can’t help but think, if you’re gonna make a movie, at least have the common decency to make it look somewhat good. This looks like it was shot through a pair of binoculars. It’s a subconscious thing to me I guess, but I get unreasonably annoyed and pissed off about it. Like the whole movie is a shitty peep show flick from the 1910s. Grainy and choppy and like you just woke up from one of those naps in the afternoon that feels like somebody doused you in olive oil and you can’t get it out of your eyes. That’s how this film feels to me. Then there is acting and directing.

Is this the face of somebody who directed endless pornos? I guess it is.
Both of which suck. Jerry does a somewhat decent job, but his looks are not believable. And I’m not really criticizing Jerry’s looks as much as I’m criticizing the casting director’s (if there was such a person) choice in actor. Jerry looks like he’d be better fit as a teaching assistant at a local community college’s physics department than a 1960s cool cat. Marge is completely off the mark, even for a movie this crappy. The gypsy kind of pulls her role off, but she kept reminding me of Elizabeth Taylor from back in her heyday, and it threw me off. Like she was a pretty face they had stuck a giant wart on, and it seemed kind of ham fisted. Like they started giving a shit and then remembered they actually didn’t. She has a henchman that sort of hangs around and I’m not sure how to describe him. He reminded me of Scarecrow of Oz fame, but infinitely less well made. The zombies were alright I guess? I mean you didn’t see them much, and Jerry never fully transformed enough, to warrant lots of make up. The ones that poured out to slay gyppos looked pretty stupid, but not as much as say the jerk off who killed people in Yucca Flats

Subtlety wasn't on the cast list for this plot.
This movie had like 4 or 5 musical bits with dancing, that seemed completely unwarranted. It’s a movie about zombies doing the bidding of gypsies. Why the fuck are we then treated to people prancing around to repugnant music in offensive outfits? It seems like it’s thrown in as a vehicle for somebody’s latent desire to become a music hall actor/director or putting out an album or something like that. It had no bearing on the already fragile plot whatsoever. It was basically wasting everybody’s time. The entire movie was. Granted it didn’t look like it had a budget of more than you could confidently beg off of strangers on the street in a mid sized city over the course of a week, but even with that kept firmly in mind, somebody must have fronted the money for this movie to blink into existence. People have come together to collectively craft a piece of cinema. Did anybody at any point during the process of making this, think it was going to be a masterpiece? Or did they make it, realize it was complete shit, and stick that title on it, hoping it would scare people off?

The only thing this movie accomplished was to associate astrology with gypsies and tag it as mumbo jumbo.
All in all watching this movie felt like a waste. Not as much a waste as I’ve been through before, but enough that I was mildly annoyed after watching it. Like it’s offensive that somebody makes movies like this under the premise that others will inadvertently pay to watch it mistaking it for an actual good movie (hard to believe with that title, but the principle stands.) Not a single person on the cast list has their profile image on IMDb, and perhaps that’s a shitty measuring device to determine the success and appeal of a movie, but it’s proven somewhat of a rule. One person does stand out, I suppose, and that’s the director and main star, Jerry. Played by a guy named Ray Dennis Steckler. Or that might be his name. He’s credited as Cash Flagg for his acting. He was active up until 2009 so I took a glance at his credits and found that they mostly consisted of porn. Debbie Does Las Vegas was the only one I read about, mostly because the title was iconic in nature and I figured I might have some sort of contextual knowledge that would help me in understanding what Ray Dennis was up to. I can’t say I gained much understanding. The guy made pornos. It’s pretty straight forward. This explains the lewd semi-clad nature of the performers in the extensive and extravagant musical bits in this movie. If only Ray Dennis had gone full porno, I might have enjoyed this more. But it couldn’t even give me that. Instead I watched incredibly stupid creatures who should’ve stopped living altogether.

Jerry pays the ultimate price for his insolence: Shot by police. Just like the gypsies had foreseen it. Kind of.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

IMDb Bottom 100 Review - Number 36 Surf School

Another cesspool of filth starring every god forsaken child star and b-lister from the 90s and up. I’m amazed at the amount of “oh look it’s… that guy!” actors they’ve managed to scrounge up from the underbelly of Tinseltown that WEREN’T in last week’s pitiful attempt at a comedy slash surf movie. We are treated to a whole new array of faces known enough to be recognized but not remembered. The film is all about surfing raping convincing women that they are only truly worth something when they are reflected in the eyes of men. Just like God intended. So without further beating around the bush, fester your eyes on the following review of…

I forgot to mention didn't retain the memory of the monkey deflowering nerdy virgin boy, while virgin boy thought it was really a hot woman subplot. This picture should perfectly illustrate why.

Surf School (2006)

I’ve sat through some massive piles of poo in my time as a reviewer of the final inches of Hollywood’s colon. Where shitty movies go to live. But I’ve never been personally appalled at a movie until this one. Professionally offended, sure. Despite not actually being a professional. Annoyed at being taken for a fool? Absolutely. But felt violated on my cultural and humanistic views? Not until Surf School. The amount of misogyny and cultural appropriation they toss in here is absolutely astonishing. I’m a passionate person, but mostly internally. I ran out of expletives 55 minutes in, and by the end I had nearly sprained an eyeball from rolling them so much. I’ve seen bro-flicks before, and while the genre hasn’t ever truly appealed to me, I guess once or twice I have been lured into liking a movie by shallow characters and scantily clad women. And yet somehow those movies, none dimensional as they might be, felt like a Bergman masterpiece compared to this shitshow I witnessed tonight. I feel like a tumblr warrior in that I literally died several times during this flick, but was shocked back into coherence immediately after by another horrific character act.
Rip, ladies and gentlefolks. And yes, before you ask, that IS a water bottle effortlessly blending in with his other hair bling. And yes, he does drink from it. Funny stuff.

Surf school… what is it about even? The easy answer would be a surf school. But that’s not really true. There isn’t a surf school in this movie. There is a guy who supposedly teaches surfing, but it is never actually seen. He isn’t seen on a board at any point. I digress. In Surf School we meet Jordan showing off playing lacrosse. He is the most generic prep school douchebag quasi rapist looking dude I’ve seen yet. Like you can almost sense the khaki shorts and popped collar, obnoxiously hitting on girls with bros egging him on. Why are douchebags in movies almost always lacrosse players? I digress yet again. Despite being perfectly chiselled and the kind of guy to whom being an outsider is physically impossible, Jordan is an outsider. And because of that, he hangs out with the most rag tag gang of stereotypical high school outcasts. A goth dude with spikey hair, a black rapper (who would not be normally be a part of a group like this but is here a token black dude), a nerdy skinny ultra white boy, the exchange student who doesn’t speak a word of English, and another gothy chick who outgoths the gothy dude by so much even he thinks she should dial it back a bit. These are our heroes in this film. Jordan has a full lacrosse scholarship that apparently isn’t contingent on him finishing high school, because he “just has to wait the next six months as a senior.” Then there is the annual senior’s trip to Costa Rica that is by invitation only. I’m not sure why. It magically coincides with the world championship in surfing. Or some large competition. Jordan gets his new friends to go.
Hot babe Jordan ditches. You can clearly see she is questioning what that flushing sound she's hearing is, and why it feels like her career is being tugged at in swirling motions.

In Costa Rica, they check into a hotel run by a couple of hippy expats still embracing the 60s sexual freedom and anti-establishment. Jordan wastes no time finding Rip sleeping it off in a shithole of rare calibre, and hire him to teach them to surf. Because beating the cool kids at school is alpha omega here. Thankfully Rip comes out of completely shitfaced retirement to hook these kids up with one gamechanging victory. And all the while they are training to become surf pros in just mere days, it turns out crazy goth chick was really super attractive blond girl with a wig all along, and Jordan telling her he’d totally do her despite her looking like something the cat threw up got her thinking that she was worth something as a person all along. It’s Cinderella all over again. Only instead of mice singing and whistling one of the most catchy goddamn tunes of all time, we have that “Boys have a penis, girls have a vagina” kid from Kindergarten Cop saying stuff like “Rad!” and “far out” like he was Sean Penn out of Ridgemont High. School bullies are beaten at their own game, and every dude on the winning team hooks up with a hot babe, telling us all you need to do to get hot babes is win at something and they will be bestowed upon you along with a nice shiny trophy. Credits roll with ‘funny’ outtakes, and I’m left pondering who was the biggest douchebag here.
"Even thought you aren't totally blond and you read books and you don't engage in mindless conversation and don't kiss my perfectly chiselled pecs every hour on the hour, I actually still think you are alright. Just.. dye your hair if you want to make a move."

Suffice to say I wasn’t impressed with this movie. And it’s not just the abject entitlement shit perpetuated in this and other movies of its ilk. Or the objectification of the girls here. It wasn’t even the stab at Scandinavia as home of the ever popular but criminally dumb blond. It’s just the entire feel of this film was creepy as fuck. Like almost every male in the cast came off as creepy. And every woman came off as dumb or simplistic. The story, or what’s left of it after one liners and failed attempts at humor have been removed, makes sense. Kind of. There is no amount my disbelief can be suspended that would make me accept that main guy Jordan wouldn’t just be accepted into the most popular group in high school at face value. The popular girl, that he ditches to be with scary goth chick turned perfectly blond, even says “We didn’t know you were this cool from the start or you would have been one of us”. Jordan moved in from Maryland (scary!) to California, and that made him weird and mockworthy. Well OK I get that. East coasters, right? But it’s still not believable. Then there is Rip who is a character in himself. He 'won' Ghost Babe as a prize, apparently, when he was surfing king. When they wake him from a drunken near paralytic state, he asks if it’s 1974 already? Yet later it’s revealed he won the surfing whatever in 1989. So that checks out. Also Ghost Babe in 1989 is identical to the Ghost Babe that shows up after the dudes win the surfing competition. It’s aggravating. Even for Ghost Babe that's just ludicrous. And I still feel like I’m not conveying my frustration properly here.
"Boys have a penis and girls have a vagina? No seriously, I'm asking you."

The entire movie is basically just a way to show that dudes turn into men by conquering women, but it’s wrapped up in this sugarcoated package that most closely resembles people sporting neckbeards and wearing fedoras who think just by virtue of not being a piece of shit they are entitled to ‘beat the friendzone.’ I can’t for the life of me get this mindset. I doubt the people who made this movie share that sentiment. Probably not a lot of it’s viewers do either. I fear the reason it’s on the Bottom 100 list isn’t the hidden sociological discrepancies but merely the fact that it’s just boring and stupid and pointless. And it certainly are those things. I’ll leave this discussion up to you guys for now, and delve into the cast list a bit. It’s always interesting (to me at least) to research what other stuff people who were involved in these movies have done. Sometimes it’s early infancy of a career and bad choices are made due to lack of experience. Sometimes it’s late in a career and bad choices are made to fund the coke and/or hooker habit. Sometimes it’s just because crappy movies is their lot in life. I mentioned that stupid looking little kid from Kindergarten Cop. He was also in Mercury Rising as, I’m sorry to say, the most annoying/least believable autistic kid ever put on the silver screen. I wanted to like that movie. I couldn’t. He annoyed me so much. And here he is, being kind of super annoying. Who would’ve thought. Also our friend from last week, and many other great and memorable times, Taylor Negron is back. He plays a Russian living in Costa Rica in this movie. In real life both his parents are Costa Rican. It must’ve been kind of a kick in the face for him. His wife here is played by Diane Delano, and if you think you know her face it’s probably because she seems to have had a part in every TV series ever produced. Not a big part mind you. Without being certain, I feel as if she is cast when you need an obnoxious mother character or perhaps a chubby female police officer for comedic relief. I was embarrassed for her and Taylor Negron in this movie. The outtakes at the end of the movie with them made me cringe pretty hard.
Taylor Negron... Why do you do this to us?

Fuck it, I’m almost out of actual stuff to say about this, but there are still characters in this flick worth mentioning, so here’s another paragraph dedicated to it. Rip is played by Harland Williams who I knew from both Dumb and Dumber and Something About Mary. He plays cop and serial killer respectively in those. I saw his name on the cast list for Surf School and thought “Oh well, he might be able to pull off a joke.” I haven’t been that wrong since I thought “Nobody would put a random shot of lamp oil on a bar counter” just before I drank, what turned out to be, a random shot of lamp oil that stood unattended on a bar counter. You know who else is in this movie? Sisqo. Yes, the guy who was featured in Will Smith’s Wild Wild West song/video and shortly after, riding on the coattails of Big Willie’s fame, came out with the, admittedly, catchy Thong Song. Amusingly enough, he makes a meta reference to his thong legacy in this movie, when he sees thong clad girls and exclaims “the songs I could write about those!” Hilarious. Laura Bell Bundy played crazy goth girl, and if you have no idea who she is, don’t go out and invest in a new brain just yet. She played the girl Robin Williams played Jumanji with (when they were kids) in the movie of that name. And then, true to the standard of all these ‘actors’, she’s been in a fuckload of tv shows. Not a lot of good ones, mind you. But tv shows none the same. I’ll finish this shit off with the main asshole - Jordan. Played by a guy named Corey Sevier. I know it’s unfair to judge a guy solely on how he looks, but this guy just comes off as the ‘my dad’s a lawyer and will get me out of any sexual assault charge you can throw at me’ type, and nothing he does in this movie makes me think otherwise. He’s been in a lot of stuff you’re like “Oh yes that movie I think I might have…. actually never heard of” about. I urge you not to watch this movie. It’ll make you feel filthy and like you need to shower. I tore my remaining hair off and cried under streams of scalding hot water for an hour after, and I still feel like somebody smeared fecal matter on my irises. 

In case you're still a little confused, please view exhibits A, B and C. These colorful still screens were opening this masterpiece. I don't think it's a joke.