Friday, March 20, 2009

Don't even read this shit, I lost interest halfway through writing it. Shit, the truth is I give up halfway on all of these entries anyway.

When you have kids, you enter a bigger world of shit than the one you're currently residing in. There's many things that you now have to do, and one of them is buy tickets for whatever young pop boy band your daughter is creaming herself over. That's the situation with my sister and her daughter (aka my niece); the niece is really into these Jonas Brothers, so now there's this big to-do about them coming to the Staples Center. It's funny because all of this pain and anguish about getting tickets isn't going to mean shit in about uh, um, I don't know, two years maybe? My niece will not only outgrow them by then, she'll refuse to believe that she was even into these little queers in the first place. I understand, as long she's happy, right?

She's a great student, but she's still young enough for that shit to change quickly when she gets with the wrong crowd or she puts being cool over doing well in school. Maybe my sister shouldn't be so awesome to her; my parents spoiled the shit out of me as a kid and I grew up to become a complete failure. I think the key is to beat the fuck out of your child and deny him or her everything -- then watch the fuckin' accolades and cash roll in when the motherfucker makes something of him or herself just to spite you. I think what I'm trying to say here ladies and gentleman is: DON'T HAVE KIDS. Save yourself the time and just pay someone to cut open your belly that way your intestines can come spilling out and you can suffer a painful death. That should give you the same effect as raising children, but in way shorter a time period.

Anyway, I went to the drive-in to watch a double feature of Last House on the Left and Friday the 13th. Sounds awesome, right? Well, not really because these are the remakes, not the originals. But I went in some weird way hoping that maybe I could will myself into thinking that I was actually watching the old movies. I don't know, I'm a fuckin' weirdo scumbag creep, what the fuck do I know? Besides, it was a cheap ticket price and I could bring my own food, so there you go.

You may have noticed that I haven't mentioned anything in the way of company, and that's because I didn't have any. I went to the drive-in alone. Before I would go with family, friends and the rare occasional date with a person of the opposite sex who didn't know any better or maybe just hated herself. But then I remember hearing about guys like Quentin Tarantino and John Waters having no qualms about driving themselves to the drive-in and I figured, Shit if it's good enough for them...

I live close enough to both the Vineland Drive-In and the Mission Tiki, which is cool because drive-ins are not exactly blanketing the country like Starbucks circa 2001. The Tiki is much preferred because the Vineland is pretty ghetto; this may have something to do with the Tiki being right next to lovely predominately-White Claremont and the Vineland being located near the heart of Aztlan aka El Monte. You know what the fuck I'm talking about, do not try and delude yourself that we are living in Candyland where everything is sweet and perfect. You go to the bathroom at the Tiki and it's remarkably clean and spotless. Go to the shitters at the Vineland and you'll find yourself in a jungle of graffiti and childlike drawings of ejaculating penises (penii?), toilets filled to the brim with feces excreted from poverty-ridden anuses, and urinals flecked with 20 varieties of pubic hair. The Tiki's bathroom: "See You in September". The Vineland's bathroom: "Low Rider". I'm of Mexican descent, so I'm allowed to say this shit. The rest of you can shut your fucking mouths, otherwise I'll call out the homies by doing the first few bars of "Eighteen with a Bullet" and we'll roll up and stomp on your racist ass. Double standard, bitches!

I'm in a bad mood, by the way. So what else is new? Fuck you, that's what's new.

The Last House/Friday double-bill was at the Vineland, so there I went. Because I was by myself, an armed guard had to check my trunk to make sure I wasn't sneaking fools in. Then I parked and watched the first film of the night.

Last House is a remake of Wes Craven's 1972 film, a pretty harsh tale about some pretty harsh shit being done by a group of pretty harsh people. So when talk of a remake surfaced, there were quite a few motherfuckers crying foul about doing over a masterpiece. I don't know if I would call it a masterpiece, but it's definitely a good movie and a strong piece of work. But god DAMN are there some flaws in it. It was Craven's first movie, I think, and before that he was a college professor who got bit by the film bug while on campus. It kinda shows in the finished product, looking pretty amateurish in the filmmaking department. There was also some horrible comic relief in the form of two bumbling police officers that jarred with the overall tone of the movie. If anything, it's a very flawed masterpiece and I was hoping that if anything, maybe the remake could address those flaws.

The fact that Wes Craven himself was overseeing it also made things easier to swallow. He wasn't going to direct it, but he had a strong hand in the behind-the-scenes, hand-picking the director himself and making sure they were on the right path when writing the new screenplay. He did the same thing with The Hills Have Eyes remake and that worked out really well. So I wasn't too freaked out, and as it turns out, there was no reason to be. Because the remake is a damn fine piece of work.

The basic storyline is the same: A group of criminals are on the run, after having broken out one of their own. As they try to escape from the woods to find the nearest highway out, they run into two innocent teenage girls. Being the scumbags that they are, they kidnap the girls and proceed to do horrible shit that you unfortunately read or hear about everyday on the news. That's only half the story, too. But in case you've never seen either flick, it's best to only know so much.

But then maybe you won't want to know anything about this flick at all, and maybe would prefer to skip it altogether. This would be understandable, because like the original, Last House features scenes of stuff that will probably make the average moviegoer uncomfortable, to say the least. Rape is among the things we watch happen here, and I'm sure I've said it before, but I'll say it again: I've got a strong stomach and have seen a lot of crazy shit and can pretty much take whatever you got, but I've always had problems getting through rape scenes. I was able to make it through this time, but here's a little heads-up for the rest of you.

I went over to the IMDB to read all the complaints from people about the rape and all I could think is "Wow, good thing you didn't see the original", because that shit was even worse and featured added humiliations like a girl being forced to pee her pants. I've also heard a couple different reviewers call it Torture Porn, and that's bullshit. The idea here is to get you to feel so much for the victims while working you up to cheer for the bad guys' eventual comeuppance. Whether it's a hooligan kicking an old lady's dog or a rapist stabbing someone in the gut, the basic idea is the same and all that changes is what level you wanna take it to. It's simple audience manipulation, working on the most base audience instinct and emotions; it's been around since the beginning of movies and it will remain a part of movies forever.

And what an audience manipulator this flick is! If you decide to watch Last House and you can stay with it, the dividends will pay off handsomely in the currency of Motherfuckers Getting Owned. Mmm, sweet sweet comeuppance. If that's what you like, then that's what you'll get. People in the drive-in were honking their horns in approval. Or maybe they were honking their horns in disapproval because they couldn't see anything. You see, like most current movies of the past 20 years, Last House plays it kinda low in the lighting department. Everything is now moody and dim, and that shit means DEATH at the drive-in, where the surrounding ambient lights of next-door businesses can make darkly-lit scenes frustratingly unwatchable. I guess it's a testament to the movie that I still really liked it despite the last third of the movie playing in Jose Feliciano-vision. Or maybe it was just my screen, because I looked over at my neighboring screens and both Watchmen and Sassy Fat Black Woman Gets Locked Up looked nice and bright.

It's weird that I can be such a hopeless pessimist when it comes to humanity but I'm such a faggoty lemonade-from-lemons optimist when it comes to movies. Even though I was squinting and trying to make out the events on-screen, I wasn't upset. I thought to myself, "Hey, this is like watching an old badly-transferred 80's horror movie on VHS with a dark print and tracking problems". It's like whenever I would go to the Rialto or the New Beverly Cinema, and sometimes there would be a homeless guy in one of the far ends of the aisle, loudly grumbling or knocking over his bottle of hooch, and rather than get up and complain, I would get all giddy and sit back and imagine I'm watching a movie in some 42nd Street grindhouse. Ladies and gentlemen, I am an idiot.

Overall, this flick is about even with the original. That's awesome when you consider the fact that most remakes can't even manage to make themselves worthy of shining the original's shoes. It's missing those awesome David Hess tunes and the documentary-like grittiness of the original, but what the remake has going for it is a kind of Straw Dogs and Deliverance tone. While it may not be as good as those flicks, it has no reason to hang its head down and can proudly eat at the table next to them, where they will look over and nod back in acknowledgement. You're not quite us but you'll do fine, kid.

Meanwhile, sitting next to the kiddie's table on a high chair, face covered with food, bib wet with drool, and fingers smudged with pudding is the Friday the 13th remake. You know what? That's too much credit. That's assuming the kid will grow up to be something. No, the Friday the 13th remake is the mongoloid baby that was left buried half-alive in a shoebox somewhere in the park. Yeah, that sounds about right.

I actually love Michael Bay's flicks and will defend that overcompensating motherfucker till the day I die (or until he makes a movie too shitty for even me to defend), but I just can't get behind his need to remake movies for no good reason other than "Hey, this old movie needs to look shinier". He had his boys redo The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which was surprisingly decent, but "surprisingly decent" shouldn't be the fucking result when you remake a Genuine Classic. Then he had his minions remake The Hitcher, which I don't need to see because I have a pretty damn good flick already called The Hitcher over here to my left on my movie shelf. But when I heard he was getting Friday the 13th redone, I shrugged and gave it a pass for the same reasons I gave the Ocean's 11 remake a pass when I heard about it -- the original wasn't that great to begin with.

Well the original may have not been great, but it's still a shitload better than the load of shit Bay's Boys came out with. You know when you watch a movie, or television show or cartoon, and the characters are watching a shitty horror movie? That's THIS movie. That's exactly how this shit feels and plays. The first two minutes are decent, pretty much remaking the climax of the first movie. But that's it. After that, we're introduced to some lame "characters" with their fuckin' lame-ass dialogue and horrible fuckin' attempts at humor. Who knows, maybe Bay and his bros purposely made these douches as vacuous as possible because they knew we just wanted to watch them die anyway. Maybe?

No -- bullshit.

I'll tell you why that can't be the case, because it's the same kind of douchey humor that was in Bay's last flick, Transformers. I liked that movie simply for working as a BIG THING GO BOOM spectacle, but goddamn, some of those punchlines were flatter than Keira Knightley sunbathing in Atonement. Okay, you see that last joke I made? It's THAT kind of unfunny. I couldn't wait for these assholes to die, and I didn't have to, because within 20 minutes they all get sliced and diced, THEN the title comes up. No joke, nearly a half-hour goes by before the title Friday the 13th comes up on the screen. That's pretty funny, I'm sitting there thinking this movie is moving awfully fast but it turns out the movie hasn't even started yet.

We're then introduced to a whole new group of insufferable douchebags. They're all college students, and based on their behavior, I would guess they all attend St. Broseph's University. There's also a rebel on a motorcycle who is putting up flyers all over and looking for his sister. Then Jason shows up and kills all of them, and it's all lame. The End.

The only thing these two flicks have in common is that they are remakes of horror classics. Otherwise, one is awesome and the other one sucks. Oh, there's one other thing. Both Last House and Friday the 13th feature marijuana as a catalyst for all the fucked up shit that happens to the victims. In Last House, the two girls end up in their predicament after following a guy who tells them about some "grade-A shit" he has in his motel room. In Friday the 13th, the first batch of victims are out looking for some hidden weed crops to poach from. The more things change, the more they stay the same, I guess. In the past 15 years or so of Postmodern Horror, we've seen innocent virgins slain and bitchy whores survive, obvious Dead Meat side-characters make it through and leading lady Final Girls killed off in the first five minutes. But no matter what, it seems those devil vices of Smoke & Drink will always remain as sins worthy of punishment.

After both movies, I drove over to the next lot and caught the second hour of Yes Man with Jim Carrey. It was pretty decent, and they worked in a few Eels songs in there, which was unexpected but welcome. Zooey Deschanel was the love interest, and that made things so much nicer. As the end credits rolled and the cars took off, the last Eels song came up but a few seconds later the screen cut to black and the song started getting slower and slower and s l o w e r and s...l...o...o...w...w...w...w...e...e...e...r...r...r...r...r...r
until all that was left was this long bass-filled growl that scared the fuck out of me. I turned the ignition, hit the gas and got the fuck out of there. Jesus Christ, that shit freaked me out. I thought the Cucuy was going to get me -- I'm talking about the D.J. on Spanish radio, not the Mexican boogeyman.