Thursday, 22 February 2018

IMDb Bottom 100 Review - Number 31 The Final Sacrifice

My media center (Kodi for those at home wondering - it’s a really nice piece of software, that has served me extremely well so far. Yes this is a plug. No I don’t get anything from or is affiliated with Kodi in anyway. I just like their software. It’s what open source is all about) has this thing, where it cycles through a picture from each movie in my library instead of displaying a static background. The picture from this movie shows one of the main guys wielding a stick. Everytime I saw that picture, I thought for a second it was Dennis Quaid. It isn’t. It’s this movie. I dislike this movie. I hate Dennis Quaid. No matter the outcome I lose. Fuck my life. Read how fucked my life is, when I take a bad short look at…

I'm no mechanic, but this can't be healthy. 
The Final Sacrifice (1990)

Remember the first paragraph of this review, where I was really negative and talked at length about how I hated this movie? Well it’s not actually that bad. Ok it is pretty bad. But not THAT bad, if you catch my drift. If you don’t, thankfully I’ll be writing another 1300 words give or take to explain. This movie is, if not unique, then at least rare in a B100 context, in as much as the story is follows actually kind of makes sense. Now, before you reach for the defibrillator, let me clarify. The story is ultra stupid, bordering on 3rd graders would question it’s merit. But it is sequential, meaning events are connected and follow a red thread that isn’t deviated too far from. I was kind of impressed, because this is exactly the kind of movie that wouldn’t have any of these things going for it. It’s exactly the kind of movie I’d expect to be all over the place. All this being said, it was still like watching Bobcat Goldwaith in drag, trying to seduce a confused Lena Dunham. Or something to that effect.

The map they are all chasing after. Like imagine picking this up, and somebody telling you'd they'd kill you for it. "Wha... this shit? My infant brother could draw this better."

The story is, in all it’s simplistic glory, that a cult of Canadian Wrestlers are looking for an idol so they can take over the world. I feel as if I could probably stop this review right now, and you would be entertained enough from that concept sinking in alone. But alas, I’m not getting paid for half a page of text. I’m actually not getting paid at all, but you know what I mean. One dude had found a map to this idol, that the Canadian wrestlers, understandably, wanted to get their grubby little wrestler hands on. Before being shot out in the middle of the wilderness by a gang of Canadian wrestlers, he had apparently left it for his son, Troy, to find. Troy, totally his father’s son, finds the map, and before he knows it, is in the back of Rowsdower’s pick up truck, with a bunch of skimasked wrestlers chasing him. Rowsdower, ever up for shenanigans, takes kindly to Troy, and together they embark on the quest to find the idol. Rowsdower, however, is more than just a ridiculously looking whiter trash version of Dennis Quaid. Unbeknownst to Troy, Zap motherfucking Rowsdower is an ex Canadian Wrestler Cult Member Guy. Yes. What are the odds? Hourglass tattoo on his left shoulder and all. He left them when they started beating up kids for milk money and has made a living as resident drifter slash gigolo catering exclusively to other drifters ever since.

Rowsdower accepts the kid into his one man wolfpack. 

The Wrestler Cult leader is a weird looking motherfucker, but he is the villain so that’s totally understandable. As opposed to his skimasked and wife beater wearing cohort, he is in a suit and tie. I’m not sure what his deal really is, but what I do know, is that he wants that idol in a big fucking way. Rowsdower and Troy are grinding his gears, so he goes all out to rid the world of Zap and his new companion. They, in turn, stumble into an abandoned house next to, where the map indicates, the idol supposedly resides. They narrowly escape the wrestlers and meet another even shabbier looking dude who was buddies with Troy’s dad. Small world. I won’t give away the ending, but basically Troy and Zap go through more shit, find the idol, is taken hostage, breaks free, kills the evil dude and raise a hidden city that either pops out of existence or floats into space. I wasn’t clear on that. Rowsdower loses his hour glass mark, and we can rest easy knowing the evil of the Wrestler Cult has come to an end.

Old guy in the cabin who just so happens to be a vital part of the story is done with your shit. 

The production value of this movie was pretty shitty to say the least. They managed to get around some of it by cutting scenes right when people got shot to a wide angle of the woods, so as to save on stunts and fake blood. They probably couldn’t afford birds fluttering away in a bird-like panic, but I’ll take it. The raising of the temple city thing at the end was actually somewhat decently made, but all the rest was so so. I’ll give them a few points for performing some semi cool stunts, jumping into moving vehicles and what have we. It doesn’t take much to impress with these movies, but even so it deserved mention. They even managed to get identical costumes for the surprisingly large number of wrestlers they put on screen at the same time. And prop guns too. Credit where credit is due, am I right?

Jumps into a moving god damn truck. That's not bad. And the Wrestler Cult guy was so close too!

Everything else besides what I just mentioned, and the story was utter shit. Zap Rowsdower is literally the stupidest name I’ve ever heard I think. The guy who plays him looks enough like Dennis Quaid to get me all pissed off, so that didn’t bode well for the movie. The connections that link the characters are far fetched and so vague, they might as well just have been text on the screen. “Troy is that guy who was shot at the beginning’s son” captioned over a panorama of wherever in Canada they shot this. Also Troy jumps into Zap’s car as it is driving past. When Zap realizes later, he isn’t, as most people would be, annoyed to find a 12 year old kid in the back. He immediately recruits Troy to help him fix his car. The car is fixed by pouring whiskey or vodka into the carburetor starting a small fire. I’m no mechanic, but besides the ignition, I can’t think of a single scenario in working on engines that would be improved by actual fire. But his truck may be special. It purrs like an armadillo shortly after, and Zap literally hugs Troy for helping. They are BFFs after that. Also the motivation for the Wrestler Cult to take over the world aren’t truly explained. World domination is NOT as cool a concept as one might think. I don’t know why it’s always made out to be something you’d want in movies. Like there are 7 billion people on Earth, most of which are blithering imbeciles, or speaking other languages or haven’t got access to running water. What is so good about ruling the world? You’d be killed within a day. Didn’t these people play Sim City?

It was a close run for Rowsdower, but he managed to escape and assist the kid in saving the world. Even up against so many wrestler dudes and evil guy in suit, Rowsdower took names. 

Most of the people associated with this, like in Troll 2, weren’t really in anything again. I didn’t click through the entire cast list of faceless people, but nothing appeared familiar. I guess for a “hey guys let’s make a movie’ production, this wasn’t terrible. I’m wondering if Zap Rowsdower was a hobo they couldn’t boot from the set so they decided to give him a part instead. Or if he was a travelling Dennis Quaid impersonator, down on his luck, who happened to wander into a backyard audition. I might never know. What I will know, however, is that The Final Sacrifice would rank in the Top 10 best worst movies I’ve watched so far. It doesn’t really know if it’s action or horror or whatever, but even tumbling blindly around genres, it managed to not piss me the fuck off. And that’s kind of an achievement these days. As I’m heading into home stretch, it’s nice to know I can do other stuff with these movies in the background, and not feel like I’m basically wasting an hour and 18 minutes of my life. Yay!

Rows-Goddam-dower doesn't just say yes without seriously scrutinizing the proposal. 

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

IMDb Bottom 100 Review - Number 32 House of the Dead

Urgh this movie. I had been dreading this one for a while, because let’s be honest, it looks complete shit. And it’s yet another Uwe Boll flick. Does this guy know no mercy? Why? Why are we being targeted for his shitty artistic outlets? This movie, unsurprisingly, sucks. And it involves zombies. And a ridiculous cast. And shitty locations. I could end the review now, and you would walk away knowing everything you needed to know about this flick. But that’s not how this works, is it? No. No it isn’t, dear reader. I sit through the movie, and write this, and you have to read it. That’s our dynamic. So let’s just get it over with, and follow me down the feces infested rabbit hole as I take a look at…
Fully Headless Nick fights main dude, I think. When I snapped some shots from the movie just now, the red shirted guy seemed to be there at the end, so I assume he's the main guy.
House of the Dead (2003)

First off a small disclaimer: I actually watched this movie in May, and just never got around to writing this review until now (it’s September). Partly because I was busy with exams and then went to see my beloved girlfriend who lives thousands of miles away and she kept me occupied all summer. But also partly, and perhaps even fully, because I just hated this movie and couldn’t bring myself to spend even five minutes cranking out one shitty sentence to describe it. I know I’m slacking off, but I’m worn down by this project. Alas, I reap what I sow, as the proverb goes. And I’ll soldier on. Because it’s what Jesus would do. If he had existed. Jesus would watch all 100 shitty movies for you guys. I’m basically Jesus. A version of him that actually exists though. Anyway, I’m straying off track here. House of the Dead was what we were talking about. And what Jesus would’ve thought… alright forget about Jesus for a second. He isn’t relevant.

Oh yes, I remember the zombie origin subplot. Something about a captain and a treasure. Or something. I think Clint Howard was wise to their game. 
I’m desperately trying to remember the plot of this movie, or if it even had anything worth remembering. I feel as if this movie reminds me of like 4 or 5 other movies I’ve seen, so pardon me if I get them confused. The description on IMDb says college students travel to a remote island for a rave. I don’t know if this sort of thing is really normal anywhere in the world, but it certainly seems to be, since several of the worst movies ever made depend on this plot device to work. You never see rednecks travelling to remote islands to attend Klan meetings only to find bloodthirsty zombies have taken over. Or perhaps those movies dwell comfortably in the 3-5 point range, and because of that I will never see them? These particular college students miss the official boat, or are banned from it or something, and have to resort to convincing a shady captain and his Clint Howard seaman to get them to the island. Obviously Clint Howard and his boss have ulterior motives, that I’m sure will become vital later on. A big star such as Clint Howard isn’t used just willy nilly, that much I do know.

Clint fucking Howard. He isn't much of a looker, but he can act the socks off of your grandmother. 
The rave is predictably lame, because who the fuck has a rave a place where people can’t get it without super expensive boats? It would have been more believable if they were going to a mysterious dinner party in the mansion of Dr. Acula. The main cast stray off, and zombies start emerging. I’m desperately racking my brain trying to figure out if we see why the zombies come about or if it’s just understood that zombies are everywhere just waiting. But zombies happen, that’s for sure, and one by one, people succumb to the walking dead. Clint Howard and his scurvy captain are smugglers who have weapon caches everywhere, and we are treated to a sequence of excessive zombie killing, at the end of which a few people are holed up in a house, with zombies trying to get in. It’s the whole tedious routine we know and hate. Somebody finds a secret tunnel, and I think there is something about a cult too. Wow, this movie just blends in. Nobody gives a shit about the plot anyway. One girl makes it out alive. There. Done.

This was one of the opening shots, with voiceover going "We had broken up so I could study and she could fence." Seems legit. She totes utilized her fencing skills later. 
This was a completely run of the mill Uwe Boll movie. As I’m sure the diligent readers among you would inherently understand, this means that production is deviously clean looking. Money went into this movie. Not millions and millions, but more than a lot of the ‘dude we should totally make a movie with my cellphone’ or ‘Children, your homework assignment for summer school is to make a feature film!’ productions I’ve reviewed so far. I’ve gone into great detail regarding Boll’s schtick before, so I won’t bore you with it. But suffice to say, he has the power of the fifth largest economy in the world backing him up, and we suffer from it. Please note I’m refraining from making Nazi jokes even if they are right there, ripe for the picking. Not a lot of great names are involved in this movie. In fact, only Clint Howard (arguably a great name) and Jürgen Prochnow (arguably a name) stand out as anybody I’ve seen before. In anything. Except Will Sanderson - I’ve seen him in 3 other Boll productions on this list. But his name is far from great. Uwe has a knack for reusing actors who mistakingly believe they are a part of something worth while? I’m adding a question mark here, because anybody who has seen any of Boll’s movies, and have an internet connection must surely be aware, that his movies are universally, and rightfully, disliked or even loathed by the public at large. You accept a role in a Boll movie, you may get paid (and I’m not discounting that as a valid reason) but you’re also basically committing career sepuku. I get people like Will Anderson, who isn’t a huge name. But folks like Ben Kingsley or Jason Statham? Surely they have enough on their plates? For the record: none of those two people appear in this movie. But they are in other Boll productions. Christian Slater is too, but…. You know.

Jürgen whatshisface injured. He is going to play the old sacrifice gambit, where he lights a stick of dynamite with his cigar. You can practically smell the badass from here. 
The effects and all the other technical shit is on par with what you can expect from a b-movie. It’s decently made, without being totally on point, but also without you going “oh sweet mother of Jesus” every two minutes. I went “oh come the fuck on” a few times, but not because of the production value. Again, fifth largest economy pouring thousands of deutsch marks or euros (whatever era you adhere to) into Boll’s coffers. The relationship dynamics in the, peculiarly diverse, group of college students is completely wooden and without any kind of merit. None of the characters (with the possible exception of the always believable Clint Howard) have more than one dimension, and even that dimension seems warbled by redundant dialogue and decisions that would make a 7 year old cringe. You can’t engage in the action or any of the characters, because they have the appeal of getting your near frozen cheek flicked by the older kids in the school yard. It’s a movie I feel nothing much about. I disliked it when I saw it, but promptly forgot I had watched ten minutes after end credits were abruptly cut short by my finger on the remote. Uwe, you may not read this ever, and that’s probably for the best. But let me tell you this, on the off chance that you are; Jesus, had he ever lived, would probably find your movies kind of dull, and write a scroll about it, that somebody would find thousands of years later, and build a religion around. A religion I would be the pope of. Please cut down on making movies, or for once in your life, don’t write, produce or cast your own movies. There is a lot of talent out there. Please utilize it. Thanks.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

IMDb Bottom 100 Review - Number 33 Glitter

Another musical film on the list. Or a movie featuring a musician rather than an actor/ress. I’m counting Gigli here, because I’m still reluctant to call J-Lo an actress. But I digress. Traditionally singers turned actors do not fare well on the silver screen. With the possible exception of Will Smith. But then again, these days I’m reluctant to call him a musician. Anyway. This one I had dreaded for a while, because let’s be honest here. Mariah Carey. Turns out, I was partly mistaken. Or was I? No, I actually was. But not by much. Confused? Me too. Let’s try and clear things up with this review of…

Obviously this had to be in the movie somewhere.

Glitter (2001)

Like Gigli and Usher’s attempt at a serious(ish) movie, uh… Turn it up? No that can’t be right. In the mix. That it’s. I was close. Like Gigli and Usher’s In the Mix, Glitter is pretty much a movie built around the main attraction. J-Lo/Ben Affleck, Usher and Mariah Carey. Contrary to Gigli and In the Mix, the main attraction actually has a talent. Not acting. Acting is not that talent. But she has one. And that makes parts of the movie at least bearable. Let me just cast my verdict right off the bat here, so you know what you’re heading into: This movie isn’t good, but it’s not B100 bad. Not by a longshot. How do I determine? Well for starters, I didn’t want to murder myself and/or others immediately after credits rolled. This is a huge step up. Secondly, I was somewhat engaged. Granted, I played a whole Parcheesi tournament online while watching it (I won. Yay me) but still, a few times my little 10 second timer ran out because I accidentally got caught up in the movie. Crazy, right? So let’s have a look at the plot here, so you can try and get over this crazy turn of events. 

I think it's written in some music industry bylaws, that if you're a music producer, you have to wear a shit with golden records on it at least once a week. And wear it out.

Unsurprisingly, this movie is about Mariah Carey. Well Billy Frank really. But also Mariah Carey. It’s not autobiographical, but I don’t think Mariah Carey has the capacity to play anybody but herself, so… Mariah Carey. Her night club singer mother, who is living life a little too carelessly, has to give the 7-12 year old Billy up for adoption or foster care placement. I say 7-12 because the scene after she is given up, Billy appears in school in what looks like a kindergarten classroom, but she, and the two girls she meets, look a lot older than kindergarten. It’s unimportant. The two girls become her life long friends and co-dancer/singers. Cut to some years after. 1983 the caption claims, which is obviously a lie. We’ll deal with that later. Billy and her troupe are discovered in a club and asked to sing back up for some talentless lady. Mariah Billy outshines her, and is discovered by Terrence Howard, and then rediscovered by Dice (Lucky 7s) a prominent NYC club DJ. Dice wants to produce Billy, and they enter a partnership that eventually leads to a romantic relationship. Dice buys her contract off of Terrence for a 100 large, that he doesn’t pay. Terrence, perhaps with good reason, is upset by this. 

Terrence is down a 100 grand, and this pleases him not at all. Here seen threatening Billy with physical violence.

Dice starts making some noise for her, and rejects offers from small time producers. He believes in Billy, and it pays off. Warner or some other large production company signs her, and things move fast. Studio execs want to take over, and it causes some issues with jealousy and competition between Billy and Dice, but Dice bows out gracefully. He simply loves Billy too much to hold her back. But he’s bitter, is Dice. Bitter than he isn’t as successful. After some show, he’s drunk and says hurtful things to Billy. Billy doesn’t like having hurtful things said to her, and can we blame her? No. We cannot. She bails. With her cat. Dice regrets everything. Billy’s start shoots, and her and Dice’s dream of her playing Madison Square Garden becomes a reality. Billy visits Dice’s apartment while he isn’t there, and sees he’s writing a song for her and that he has a ticket to her show. On his way to the concert, Dice is shot dead by Terrence, and Billy goes on stage and gives a teared up rendition of some song that was special to her and Dice and which may or may not have come from Mariah’s actual catalogue. Right after the concert, in a letter from Dice, Billy reads that her birth mother has been found. She heads directly from the concert and meets up with her. Roll credits. 

A kiss for the song that the late Dice worked on. So heartfelt.

Alright. 1983. No. Just no. I mean sure, perhaps. But in that case, they should fire the props, costume and music department, because nothing is early 80s about this. It’s mid to late 90s at best. Now, I don’t know if they made the movie and didn’t realize or if they just thought fuck it, the demographic this movie caters to won’t know the difference. But it was not 80s. Mariah Carey was executive music producer on this, so I guess she should’ve been fired too. She used, or had somebody use pretty iconic 90s music. This may be chalked up to artistic liberty, but it just seems sloppy. Like nobody gave a shit about that aspect. Hairstyles and outfits were not in the least synced. Especially not Mariah who basically looked like Mariah all the way through. I mean she could’ve done that movie yesterday, and we wouldn’t have known the difference. 

That hat pissed me off more than anything else in this movie.

Plenty of the actors involved are ones you’d remember from some obscure little role in some obscure film og series. A few have done bigger things. Mariah Carey was obviously the star here, which is probably why she’s in almost every scene. Mostly people deliver decent performances. Nobody where I was appalled or wanted to phone the proper authorities. Like I mentioned, Mariah wasn’t as crappy as I had suspected she might be. It is the director, though, that kind of startled me the most. When I saw the name Vondie Curtis Hall on screen, I had this weird idea, that I’d seen that name before. And I felt pretty sure he was related to Arsenio. Turns out I was correct. Vondie Curtis has been in thousands of movies and series, but where I remember him from, is the overwhelmed Zamundan concession stand worker that wants a picture taken with Eddie Murphy in Coming to America. That’s the guy. Crazy that he’d go on to direct Glitter. What a time to be alive. 

"No Dice. I don't owe everything to you. I'm my own person. My own person and my cat." - Billy Frank, probably.

After watching this movie, and figuring it wasn’t B100 material really, I had to ask myself the question: Why is it on this list? And at 33 no less. Well I’m going to assume it’s much the same reason that 5 (yes five) of Paris Hilton’s movies are also on this list. That’s almost all Hilton’s collected works in feature film. People just don’t like Mariah Carey. Now I wasn’t a big fan of Glitter. I won’t recommend it probably. And I won’t ever watch it again. But like I said, I didn’t hate it. And I didn’t hate Mariah Carey for it. I’ve never been a big fan of hers but even a cold hearted sum’bitch like me can’t deny, that she has a voice and the skills with which to use it. Paris Hilton has zero skills worth anything in the movie business save a brand. Glitter belongs in the 4-5 range of the grading scale, and not >3. The love story was a little forced, and Dice and Billy both make some weird choices and do some weird things. It’s amore, I guess. But really, lots of this could’ve been handled if they had gotten an agent and a lawyer and negotiated a proper deal, instead of just half assing it. But alas, I’m just a lowly review writer. 

Fighting in the car. Billy has to chose between her man or her friends. She goes with the guy. Rookie mistake.

The whole mom subplot was… It was pretty stupid. You didn’t get the idea that Billy had done all this shit all along just for her mom. She mentioned it at one point, because she finds a box of her mom’s old stuff. But it’s not really a thing besides. Yet when she reads Dice’s letter, it says her mom has been living clean for the past few years, which begs the question: why the fuck didn’t her mom both know Billy Frank existed and/or try and find her. Nevermind. But Billy goes to her mother’s house which is the fucking colonial giant of a house located in this super pictureque location, with trees and fields and meadows all around. I’m like “she was a drug addict down and out dive bar singer. How did she manage a massive house in Maryland like this? And why?” Don’t get me wrong, I only want the best for Mariah Carey’s pretend mother, but a street walker from Jackson Heights? Did she win the lottery? I’m going off on a tangent here. It really doesn’t matter. Glitter. Don’t watch it, but also don’t hate it?

Mom's humble abode. I know right? Cray.