Friday, January 16, 2009

The woman who edited this movie went on to edit Ghost World. So rock on with your bad self, Carole Kravetz

I don't dream, but I do have nightmares and last night was a pretty fucking bad one. By the end, a fucking skull was staring at me in the early morning fog and then I woke up pretty freaked out. That shit probably sounds funny to you, because that shit ain't happening to you. I would be cool with having dreamless sleep for the rest of my life if it meant no more nightmares.

Speaking of nightmares, I understand this Bride Wars movie sounds like a big one. Sometimes there are positives to being a lonely drunk with no girlfriend or wife, and one of those positives is not being dragged to see shit like this. Since this movie looks like an incredibly annoying piece of shit, I figured it was going to be number one at the box office and break records, because that's how it works out with those kinds of movies. Luckily, people had the good sense to go watch Dirty Harry call Asian people names for two hours instead. Bride Wars still made a nice chunk of change though, which means there are plenty of unlucky guys who were unable to talk their girlfriend or wife or mistress out of watching it. I take that back. This is the kind of movie that guys don't fight with their chicks about seeing, this is one of those "let her have it" type of movies, where the guy doesn't want to argue or get into any shit with the lady, so he'll agree without putting up any fuss and then tell his friends that it really wasn't that bad afterwards. Wrong. Looking at Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson for ninety minutes may not be so bad, but the movie they're appearing in HAS to be a complete piece of shit. Has to be.

Why am I going on and on about Bride Wars? I didn't even see that shit. But I did watch a movie from the same director. Before he made Bride Wars or that Charlotte's Web remake or that ripoff of Big that starred the chick from Alias, Gary Winick made an exploitation flick called Curfew in the late 80's. The movie begins with these two prisoners who we find out raped and murdered a girl, so of course their punishment is to live in a cell bigger than my apartment where they could get three square meals a day, gym privileges and cable television. There's also plenty of rampant anal sex, whether they want it or not.

These assholes escape from there anyway, but because this is a low-budget straight-to-video movie, we never see the actual escape. We see them in a jail cell, then the black-on-white title fills the screen, and after the title explodes we cut to them walking towards a small town in their prison clothes. So either they broke out or they were let out and were allowed to take their prison issues with them.

It's your basic Of Mice and Men duo; a bleached blonde asshole who looks like he should be named Chad, and his doughy slow-witted brother who I'm just gonna call Lennie. Going back to Chad, I think he looks a lot like the bully from Encino Man, and for a while I thought it was him, but I looked him up and this Chad motherfucker is some other dude who in addition to acting, also co-wrote Clint Eastwood's movie Firefox back in 1982. Firefox wasn't that great of a movie, in my opinion. So if the dude who wrote Gran Torino is reading this, go watch Curfew and take a look at your future, bro.

So it turns out Chad and Lennie are on a revenge trip and want to kill the people they hold responsible for putting them behind bars. They wanna kill the psychiatrist who declared them mentally competent enough to do time in prison instead of the nuthouse, they wanna kill the judge who sentenced them to do hard time, and they wanna kill the district attorney who prosecuted their asses.

Chad and Lennie first kill a couple of farmhand-types for their clothes, then hitch a ride with a dude who likes to whistle Dixie. You know this asshole probably has a Confederate flag hanging from the porch of his crib, and if you'd ask him about it he would say it's because he's proud of his Southern roots. Sure. Just conveniently forget it also represents the time when you could make Kunta or Kizzy or Tyrone pick your cotton and the only payment they'd received came from a fuckin' whip. The Civil War is over and your side LOST, so take that fuckin' flag down. It's all about the stars and stripes, motherfucker. It's okay though, because Chad and Lennie do us a favor and take this motherfucker out by giving him quite possibly the fastest strangulation death I've ever seen in a movie. He must've had a real delicate neck, this guy. Also, they do it while he's driving the car, and after he dies, the car keeps going and neither of them make an effort to take the wheel. That was odd.

The waste of space we know as Paris Hilton has two aunts who were in the showbiz growing up; one of them is named Kim Richards and she was best known for the Witch Mountain flicks but to me I will always remember her as the poor little girl in the original Assault on Precinct 13 who learned the hard way that if you get the wrong ice cream flavor, sometimes it's best to just let it go. Then there's Kim's sister Kyle Richards, and that's who we have here in Curfew playing our heroine, Stephanie. She's a cute chick but with early 90's Jennifer Connelly bushy eyebrows, which is a little disconcerting when you combine it with having a dude's name like Kyle. Her eyebrows are thisclose to being Groucho Marx style. I'd still hit it, though.

Anyway, Stephanie is new in town and she's going out for the night with her new friends from high school. Her mom and dad are also going out for the night and Dad tells the babysitter to make sure Stephanie gets home by ten, and that's how the movie gets its title. Mom is kind of a cool lady so she tells Mrs. Babysitter that it's okay if her little girl is a little late. Mrs. Babysitter looks like a very kindly older lady, the kind who probably knows how to make some bomb-ass homemade cookies, so you figure it's only a matter of time (approx. 25 minutes) before she dies a horrible death.

Speaking of horrible deaths, our boys Chad and Lennie are busy dealing those out and by the fifteen minute mark they've already taken out two out of their three main targets: the shrink and the judge, along with a number of innocent bystanders. What makes these jerks even more insufferable is that they don't just show up and kill, they have to talk and act stupid with their victims. So basically each of the kill scenes consist of them showing up somewhere, the victim freaking out and asking what do they want, Chad then delivering some long speech on how they got fucked by the system while Lennie is sitting close by just being his usual stupid self. Then they stab or beat the victim to death.

Stephanie meets her friends at the diner, two jocks and a girl who are also the most popular kids in the school, so I guess she lucked out considering she's only been in town for two weeks. You have Jock #1, a blow-dried douchebag who has the hots for Steph, then there's Jock #2, who's got Greatest American Hero hair and is supposedly the comic relief, and finally you have Young Ann Coulter, who's #2's chick but you get the sense she's had the entire football team inside her at one point during the semester, probably behind #2's back. Would you be surprised if I told you the jocks are wearing letterman jackets? These guys are annoying assholes, given to leaning over to some other diners' table and telling them about their latest football victory and then falling on the food. You usually see these motherfuckers in Denny's on a Saturday night at 3am, smashed drunk and fucking with the staff and just being general asses in public and it never gets any less annoying. So Chad and Lennie, please kill these motherfuckers. Kill them good.

We have a couple of familiar faces in this diner as well; you got Peter from the Brady Bunch playing a cigar-chomping cop in sunglasses and a mustache, looking just as ridiculous and not believable as you'd think. Then you have the manager of the diner, played by the one guy from Fast Times at Ridgemont High who managed to succeed in NOT becoming famous afterwards. You know who I'm talking about, he played Rat's ticket-scalping buddy. Wait. Make that TWO guys from Fast Times who didn't become famous afterwards. Not Famous Dude from Fast Times does nothing here but serve coffee and tell some kid to quit beating up the pinball machine. As for Officer Peter Brady, he doesn't like the jocks and is always trying to intimidate them into respecting his authority. Like in one scene, Jock #2 starts belting out "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" in the diner, and Officer Peter Brady's response is to give him a supposed tough-guy glare and threaten him with "You want satisfaction? I'll GIVE you satisfaction". It sounds just as ridiculous as you'd think. He is later pranked by the jocks, making him believe that one of them got into a serious motorcycle accident. By the time he comes back to check on them, he only finds the word "SUCKER" written on the ground in ketchup. Why, those darn hooligans!

That "Satisfaction" song reminds me of something that happened, back when I was 14 or 15. I came down with a serious fever, I couldn't keep anything down and I couldn't stop shivering. It got really bad and I had to be taken to the doctor. In the waiting room, there was a kid about six years old that came in with his parents. This little dude was bouncing off the walls, screaming out I CAN'T GET NOOOOOOOO SAT-IS-FAC-TIOOOOOONNNN!!!! over and over again. Non-stop. I CAN'T GET NOOOOOOOO SAT-IS-FAC-TIOOOOOONNNN!!!! The dude hardly breathed in between his screams. There seemed to be a silent agreement with everyone in the waiting room that this little kid should be treated first. So off he went with his two incredibly worried parents, the scream/singing gradually getting lower in volume as he went further into the building until we couldn't hear it anymore. About ten minutes later, the parents came back out, the father cradling his son who was no longer singing or yelling or anything. He was completely calm and normal. Would it sound incredibly hacky for me to say that I guess he finally got his satisfaction? Har har har? No?

Back to Curfew. Stephanie goes out to some make-out area outside town and once there, she realizes what Jock #1 really wants and turns down his drunk advances. She must be okay with drunk driving because she makes his soused ass drive her home. She gets to the house and Jock #1 takes off. Once inside, an evil cat jumps out of thin air and false-scares her, then she gets real-scared when she finds both Chad and Lennie waiting for her. I guess I forgot to mention that Stephanie's father is the same district attorney who helped put these dudes away, but there you go. There's a brief struggle, followed by a foot chase.

Stephanie manages to get to the road and flag down a vehicle. The driver of the car is played by One of the Worst Old Man Actors Ever, either that or he was told to act the part as if he just came in from Planet Lethargy. Or maybe his character was supposed to be heavily medicated. It's really off, this dude's acting, he would've fit in with most of the Gran Torino cast. So this old dude drives slow enough for the bad guys to cut him off and then they force him to stop, and it's then that the old actor suddenly decides to let out some actual emotion when he walks over to Lennie and gives the dude a whack from his cane: "Where did you learn to drive, young man? We could've been KILLED! HUUUAAAAAAAGGGHHHH!!!!" That last part was the sound he made as he was getting beaten to death with his own cane by Lennie, by the way.

Stephanie takes off in the old man's ride and speeds her way to the diner. Once there, she gets Officer Peter Brady to come back with her to check on the house. She and the Brady Cop get to her place only to find Steph's mom waiting at the front door. Mom says everything is fine, so Officer Brady takes off. Mom pulls Stephanie inside the house and we find Chad and Lennie have been inside the entire time, holding Daddy at gunpoint. DUN DUN DUN! The rest of the movie then becomes a kind of cross being Desperate Hours and Cape Fear, with Chad and Lennie fucking with the family as a way of making them feel the pain the duo felt they unjustly suffered.

They force the whole family to join them for a turkey dinner with all the trimmings and fixings, which Chad later compliments Stephanie's mom on. Wait a minute, you mean to tell me that Stephanie's mom cooked a whole feast in a couple of hours? Even then, it's pretty late in the evening at this point, and there's still a lot of movie left, you figure the sun would be coming up pretty soon. Or maybe she just happened to have a complete Thanksgiving dinner wrapped up in her refrigerator and all she had to do was microwave it. Pretty lucky of her to have all that grub in her house because I don't know about you, but if two convicts break into my place and force me to cook them dinner, the bill of fare is going to consist of Top Ramen, Hot Pockets and Cap'n Crunch.

The middle section of the movie is pretty much Chad and Lennie doing fucked up things to the family, stuff that's supposed to be entertaining, I suppose, but I don't find fun at all. I know the filmmakers would probably excuse it and say it's a way to get the audience worked up for the eventual comeuppance of the bad guys, except I've seen enough of these movies to know it's never good enough. You get some asshole torturing motherfuckers and killing innocent people, and in the end payback consists of some faggy little .22 caliber bullet being shot into the head and the bad guy dies relatively peaceful compared to his victims. Bullshit, motherfucker -- I want some motherfucking SUFFERING and ASSBEATING going on!

So Chad forces the father to take off his shoes & socks and walk on broken glass, something I remember seeing in another low-budget straight to video movie called Eyes of the Beholder, which was about a dude who escapes from a mental institution and holds his doctor's family hostage. I guess it's a subgenre staple in straight-to-video flicks to have the escaped con/nut force his prosecutor/doctor to walk on broken glass. Chad then takes Stephanie's mom upstairs to put make-up on her, making her look like a French whore when he's done. It's suggested that he rapes her, then he tries to drown her in a bathtub. Entertainment!

Chad then brings the mom down to the basement with the others and declares that it's execution time. He and Lennie aim their guns at the family and are just about to shoot when they suddenly hear a noise -- Stephanie's friends.

The two jocks and Young Ann Coulter are upstairs, having snuck into the house. I know Jock #1 is there because he wants to do it with Stephanie, but I never understood why he needed his friends to join him. Maybe he's an exhibitionist. Anyway, they split up, Jock #1 with Young Ann Coulter and Jock #2 by himself. Jock #2 finds the leftovers from the turkey dinner earlier and helps himself to it. He walks around while chomping on his turkey sandwich and discovers Mrs. Babysitter's body. He's then run through with a machete by Chad, proving Chad can't be that bad of a guy. I also like the touch of Chad having a cigarette right afterwards. Nothing like a good smoke after committing murder.

Now remember that Jock #1 came to Stephanie's house with the distinct purpose of having sex with her. I say this because the next thing we see him do is take Young Ann Coulter to the upstairs bedroom to literally do to her what Bernie Madoff figuratively did to so many investors. This is a pretty funny scene because halfway through, the sounds of two completely different people moaning are dubbed in over the obviously closed-mouthed couple. But then in the next shot, it's undubbed moaning from the actual actors. It's like Kung Fu Porno or something. Chad is not as amused by this as I am though, so he grabs Jock #1 and gives him the lamest neck breaking I've ever seen. Chad then channels his inner Democrat and slices up Young Ann Coulter something awful.

Meanwhile, Officer Peter Brady is driving along when he finds someone limping his way down the road. It's the old man, having survived his beatdown by Lennie. The old man actually does a really good job playing beaten up and miserable. I guess as long as homeboy plays to his strengths, he's all right. Officer Brady takes the old man to the hospital and then calls for backup as he heads back to Stephanie's house, and it's here that I thought "Holy shit, fuckin' Peter Brady is going to come in and save the day! Awesome!".

Chad comes back down to the basement to join Lennie in executing Stephanie and her family, but for some reason Chad changes his mind about shooting them, instead rigging up some elaborate electric chair set-up for all three of them. But what Chad doesn't know is that while he was busy upstairs filling his Dead Teenager quota, Stephanie's been talking up Lennie's ear the entire time about how she really wants to get it on with him and because Lennie is not only a man, but a stupid man, he buys it completely and gets in Chad's way. A fight ensues, ending when Chad gets the better of Lennie by grabbing a power drill and giving his bro the Black & Decker treatment. Exit Lennie.

Interspersed with all this shit going on is all these hero shots of Peter Brady as he slowly makes his way into the house with his gun drawn, the tension slowly building up and assholes like me getting hyped up to watch the Brady kid busting caps in these fools. That is until Chad shoots him and it's at this moment that Peter Brady finally stops looking ridiculous and finally looks believable in this movie -- the revolver goes flying out of his hand, Peter gets a stupid look of shock on his face, he stumbles back and then runs away. Chad then follows Officer Brady and kills him. That's what you get for sending little overwhelmed Peter to do a man's job. I bet that shit would've gone a little differently if they had my boy Danny Bonaduce play the cop.

After subtracting one less Brady from the world, Chad comes back downstairs to finish everyone else off but can't find Stephanie. He looks all over, shooting in every direction until our girl comes out of nowhere and blasts him with Lennie's gun. Finally the cops arrive outside and Stephanie goes over to untie her parents. But guess what? Chad's still alive! Wow! I'd never guess that would've happened! He has enough time to give Stephanie a self-pitying "woe is me" spiel before she shoots him in the head, giving him the unsatisfying quick death these assholes always get in these kinds of movies. The End.

I bought this movie on VHS at the video store expecting hilarious badly-made garbage, but Curfew is not really like that. It's not good, but it's competently made and watchable in that late-night-on-cable sorta way. You wouldn't ever watch it again or recommend it to anyone, but it's totally something you'd find yourself watching in its entirety while you're half asleep on the couch at 2 in the morning, and you wouldn't hate yourself for it afterwards. You'd be like "Ok, whatever. I'm going to bed now". It's sure as shit GOT to be better than fucking Bride Wars, that's for goddamn certain. It's cool to know that the dude who did this is now making major bank directing Kate Hudson flicks, but that's because I don't hate on a motherfucker for making money. Doesn't mean I have to see or like his movies, though.