Saturday, February 28, 2009

Leslie Nielsen as Osama bin Laden? How can you fuck that up?!

When I went to the video store, I grabbed the two first movies available that were new to me. Turns out I made myself a little Republican themed double feature. So to get into the mood, I cursed out a Mexican and filled up the Hummer with premium gas, even though I myself am of Mexican descent and I don't even drive a Hummer.

An American Carol had a bit of buzz around it late last year, or so it seemed, because it was a comedy made by-and-for conservatives that skewered liberals like Michael Moore. It got horrible reviews and bombed just as badly. Of course, the filmmakers called foul and blamed the liberal theater owners for not counting the ticket sales or some weird conspiracy theory like that. The truth is that people probably didn't go because it looked shitty. And it is really shitty. It was one of those cases where despite the reviews, I just had to see for myself and rented it. It's not an exaggeration when I tell you that I laughed four times during this entire movie, and they weren't even good laughs, more like amused chuckles. I'll count them out for you:

1) Terrorist training video done in the style of cheesy driver's ed film.
2) Terrorist leader in disguise by wearing a fake beard over his real beard
3) A documentary by "Rosie O'Connell" about Christian terrorists, which then proceeds to piss all the funny out of it by going on way too fucking long.
4) Musical number that makes fun of liberal college professors who are really just trying to relive their 60's youth. Again, it goes on way too long, to the point that you're ashamed for having laughed at the beginning of this shit.

Then there's the occasional attempt at having a sincere moment, which just comes off really fucking awkward and wrong. Like in one part when the ghost of General Patton watches proudly as a group of soldiers in Iraq are huddled together for a prayer before going out to battle. Maybe get rid of Patton's ghost and there's nothing wrong with the actual scene itself, in fact this could be a well done emotional moment, but it doesn't work in this movie, it comes off really lame. Even more out of left field is when the Michael Moore character (called "Michael Malone" here) meets the ghost of George Washington in an abandoned church. During this, Malone keeps noticing all this dust and ash around him that's making him cough. By the end of the scene, Washington opens the doors of the church to reveal to Malone where all the dust is coming from -- the remains of the World Trade Center. Komedy!

Even spoofs and satires have to have some kind of logic when it comes to what they're making fun of, but this movie has no fucking leg to stand on. They have Michael Malone constantly say that there is no terrorist threat to America. Wait a minute, are they trying to say that Michael Moore says that? When the fuck did he say THAT? Shit, I must've been taking a bathroom break during Bowling for Columbine or Fahrenheit 9/11 when he said that shit, but I haven't seen his other movies, so maybe he said that shit somewhere else. Malone is also leading a movement to abolish the 4th of July, which makes no fucking sense whatsoever. Why the fuck would he want to to do that? Oh, I get it -- all liberals want to see America destroyed.

That's good enough an explanation for some people, but I'm sorry, I don't buy it. Let's get this out of the way, so you know where I'm coming from. Opening paragraph joke aside, I'm definitely not a liberal and I KNOW I'm not a conservative but I sure do love money and want to keep as much of it as I can, even though I currently have very little of it to begin with. Make of that what you will. Anyway, I'm sure there are a few leftists who probably do want to see this country fall apart for their own weird illogical reasons, just as there are a few right-wingers who honestly don't get what this great country stands for and want to change it to their own fucked-up standards. I believe we call these kinds of people "extremists". Yet somewhere along the way, people on both sides have been increasing the size of the fringes, so that anyone who remotely disagrees with them is included, and An American Carol definitely feels like it was made with that mentality. I prefer to save that kind of polarizing attitude for foreign countries.

Hey man, it's just a comedy! Listen, there are liberal comedies and liberal comedians out there I believe are just as wrongheaded as the motherfuckers behind this goddamn movie, but some make up for it by being funny and the others that don't, I don't waste my time with. If this movie had actually generated more than a few pathetic chuckles, all would be forgiven, but that's not the case here. I don't know what happened, the director of An American Carol was also responsible for Airplane!, Top Secret, The Naked Gun, BASEketball, and the last two Scary Movies. The dude knows how to make a funny movie, but he stumbled badly with this one, probably after tripping over his fuckin' soapbox. It's like the idea of exposing those darn liberals turned him on and he jerked himself off into such a frenzy that he ended up numbing his funny bone.

This motherfucker used to set up gags and shots like a fuckin' master, but here everything is all off and his comic timing is for shit. It's like this once great comedic director had a stroke or came back from rehab or the mental hospital like Gena Rowlands near the end of A Woman Under the Influence or something and he was too shaken up and just couldn't get it together. The shots and edits go way too long or are cut way too short, and the entire production looks cheap too. You're much better off going the Trey Parker/Matt Stone route if you want to watch far better examples of liberal-spoofing. But this movie? This movie can go fuck itself.

Thankfully, I had a better movie to follow it up with, W. This was a decent flick, not one of Oliver Stone's better works but still worth a watch. It plays kinda like an underdog tale, following Dubya around in his youth as he drinks and fucks around. His father is always bailing his son out of trouble or literally bailing him out of jail. We watch him fail at various jobs his father hooked him up with, we watch him meet the woman that would become his wife, Laura, we watch him turn his life over to Jesus Christ and we also watch him eat. Goddamn, do we watch him eat. This motherfucker is always eating. They should've changed the title of this movie to Nom Nom Nom, that shit would've been more apropos. It's like the filmmakers were aware of all this on-screen eating, and realized they had no choice now but to go cause-and-effect and eventually show him taking a shit.

The movie also cuts to older Dubya in the White House and gives us some of his greatest hits and misses, even though 9/11 is curiously left out and only mentioned from time to time. We also get some of his best lines in different scenarios, like "misunderestimate" and that "fool me once...fool me twice" line he fucked up. The cast is good here, some looking more like the real-life people they're playing than others. Josh Brolin is very good as Dubya, doing enough of the voice but not to the point of coming off as some sketch-show impression. Miri from Zack and Miri Make a Porno plays Laura Bush, which means that for the rest of my life, my mind will always flash to Miri and not the actual woman whenever I read something in the news that mentions the former First Lady, much in the same way that I see Tina Fey's face whenever I read or hear about Sarah Palin. Funny how that works. The guy they have playing Karl Rove played Truman Capote in that other Truman Capote movie and he had an awesome part in The Mist. He's good here too. The chick who played Condoleezza Rice came pretty close to SNL-impression territory with her performance, otherwise all of these motherfuckers are top notch.

Richard Dreyfuss, in particular, is awesome as Dick Cheney. He doesn't do much early on (I was especially bummed not to see him shoot a motherfucker in the face), but he has a pretty cool bit halfway through where he brings up the plans for an American empire to Dubya and company. I know that scene is supposed to be chilling, yet I'm looking over his plans and I'm going "why not?", which I guess tells you what an evil asshole I am. I mean, come on, who would you rather have to deal with when it comes to getting the hook-up on some sweet sweet guzzle-ine: Tex Texington from Texas, a ten-gallon hat & cowboy-boot-wearing, redneck hick billionaire in a stretched limo with bullhorns on the hood? Or Prince Bulla-Bulla from Derkastan, with his harem of burka'd women, an inability to smile, and a burning hatred for my Western ways? At least I can bro out and tell dirty jokes with Tex. I'm just being honest here.

W.'s not a hatchet job but it's not a lovefest either. I wouldn't call it even-handed, but it definitely gives Dubya the benefit of the doubt, especially when you consider that Stone could've very easily done his thing and really tear Bush a new asshole and fill the gaping void with conspiracy theories. I don't know if Stone is mellowing out or what. There's nothing new to learn here; the dude was good with people, the kind of guy you'd want to have a beer with but maybe not one you'd want running your country, he has serious "please love me daddy" issues, maybe his staff took advantage of him, or maybe he knew full well what the fuck he was getting himself into. If that's news to you, then that's news to you.

It's too bad Stone had such a hard-on to make this movie so soon. If he waited, maybe we'd have gotten to see a recreation of that Iraqi journalist throwing his shoes at homeboy. That shit was hilarious, and it would've been so awesome if Stone could've ended his movie that way; a dramatic slow-mo version of those shoes comin' a-flyin, maybe followed with some white doves passing by afterwards. Oops, wrong director. I'm not giving up hope yet, because Stone could always put that shit in the sequel, 2 Bush 2 Furious.