Saturday, May 30, 2009

"You have insulted my rich Gypsy heritage, sir!"

Some movies aren't meant to be watched early in the afternoon, and Drag Me to Hell might be one of them. The idea was to catch the midnight showing late Thursday, but laziness and frugality changed my mind. It was a mistake. The late night crowd is much different from your matinee crowd; more often than not, they are the most hardcore types who will show up the night before official opening night, or they just don't have jobs the next morning, or both. They will probably show up pumped and primed and ready to let the movie have its way with them, and if the movie happens to be directed by Sam Raimi, it will definitely have its way. You may end up with a talkative crowd, but it'd more of a "Holy shit this movie's fuckin' awesome" kind of talk, created by an energy only a great flick can cause. The feeling surges through them like recently snorted uncut Bolivian flake, and like someone on that drug, the people riding the high can't help but let the other person know how they feel.

Matinees, on the other hand, are mostly attended by senior citizens who talk during the movie for a whole other reason. A reason I have yet to comprehend. What I'm trying to say is that I'm not sure whether the problem with Drag Me to Hell is that it's simply not as awesome as everyone else has been saying, or if the narration by the two old ladies in front of me during the whole movie muffled the experience.

So I'm sure you know the story: In an attempt to prove herself worthy of a promotion, a loan officer named Christine Brown ends up denying an old Gypsy woman a third extension on her mortgage, meaning her house will be foreclosed and she will be homeless. The Gypsy begs her for another extension and is denied, so after attacking her in the parking lot, she places a curse on Christine -- she will be tormented by horrible visions and hallucinations for three days, after which a demon called the Lamia will show up and drag her soul to Hell where she will burn for all eternity. Between this movie and Thinner, I think its safe to say that Gypsies are fucking assholes.

I'm reminded of a rule of conduct I made up and gone by for the past few years: "Assume every man is a Navy SEAL". The idea is that you should let it go if someone accidentally bumps into you or steps on your shoe or something like that. So many men have this problem -- the testicles -- that forces them to have to do something about some bullshit that'd be better off forgotten. I used to be like that, I would try to start shit with some guy who probably didn't even know he'd done me wrong in the first place. Sometimes it worked out my way, sometimes it didn't. Life's too fucking short to start shit, and if you happen to do that to the wrong guy, then life will be even shorter. Just because the guy is smaller or skinnier than you doesn't mean you'll walk away the champ. So like I said, assume every man is a Navy SEAL. Let it go. Life is complicated and scary enough without your dumb ass making it scarier and more complicated.

So in addition to that maxim, I also add "Assume every old man and lady is a Gypsy". This is why I didn't tell the two old ladies in front of me to shut their fucking cunt mouths before I put them out of their Depends-dousing misery. I was afraid they would put a curse on me to get dragged into Hell after three days. I don't need that shit in my life. I'm already on thin ice after that Fireproof review. That, and the whole "treat elders with respect" deal too. Besides, there was another old man sitting at the end of their row who was trying to shut them up, and I decided it would best to let age deal with age. They talked loud enough that moving seats wasn't an option, and I couldn't wait for the next showing because I had a schedule for the day, and I couldn't go home because GODDAMMIT, I SHOULD BE ABLE TO SEE THE MOVIE RIGHT THE FIRST FUCKING TIME.

I knew he was going to have problems with them because during the trailers (before the old hags even arrived), he moved from his original seat because the family in front of him was talking during THE FUCKING TRAILERS. C'mon, even *I* let that slide. Talk all you want, just make sure to zip those lips when the movie starts. The two old ladies sat down in front of me, a few seats away from the old man, and started to flap their denture-curtains. It was amusing at first. At first. At the end of the Inglorious Bastards (fuck that misspelling shit) trailer, one said out loud for everyone in the audience to hear (which is the volume they kept during the entire movie), "My God, they managed to make Brad Pitt look ugly!". Then the movie started, the blabbing continued and it stopped being amusing. Other bon mots included:

"Why is she doing that? Oh, okay. She thinks that will keep the spirits away."

"What is it about all these Hindus that believe in this garbage."

"(unintelligible for a change)...HAH HAH HAH! (during a quiet scene, BTW)"

"She should give her the curse!"

"Look. That's going to go into her mouth. (fly goes into Christine's mouth) Told ya!"

Or one of many cases of "Maybe if you paid attention to the fucking movie instead of BLAH BLAH BLABBITY FUCKIN' BLAH, you'd understand":

First Old Lady: "Why is she looking at him like that?"
Second Old Lady: "Because if she gives him (spoiler deleted) he will die."
First Old Lady: "Why does she want him to die?"

I know why I want YOU to die, that's for sure.

I would accept this if they were black, because black moviegoers who talk can make that shit entertaining. Plus, I'm scared of black people. But they weren't black, in fact, one of them was probably raza, because of the occasional use of Spanglish. It was the worst kind of old lady talk, where one would ask the other what had just happened, or the other would guess what was going to happen next and then would sit back and smile when it happened, like she expected a prize for that shit. As I kinda mentioned at the beginning, for this kind of movie, there is a way to talk through it that won't annoy your fellow moviegoer and instead show just how much you were into it. But these ladies certainly weren't doing that.

The old man wasn't much help. Instead of shushing them, he'd make a clicking noise with his tongue every time they spoke loudly (which was all the time). It was the same clicking noise one would make when telling a horse to move, so I can kinda understand why that shit meant nothing to the old ladies. Whenever he got really peeved, he would make a sudden sweeping motion with his arm, like he was pushing everything off an imaginary table. About 20 minutes before the movie ended, the old man finally had enough. He got up and left, never to return for the remainder of the movie. A chill ran down my spine, when I thought to myself that perhaps that old man represented my future self. Then I calmed down, because I'm certain I'll serve myself a bullet before I even get that old. Then the movie ended.

The tone is very much in the same vein as the Evil Dead movies, in that it mixes comedy, horror, and many, many gross-outs. The main actress even had a couple of Bruce Campbell-style lines towards the end, which only proved that there can be only one Bruce Campbell. It was cool to see the old 80's Universal logo at the beginning and the old Universal Studios ads after the credits, that shows exactly where Raimi's heart was with this flick. But overall, it felt like nothing more than the best episode ever of Tales from the Crypt, meaning I was entertained and the movie was fun, it just didn't rock my world the way it did to others whose opinions I highly respect. Which I guess makes me the fuckin' wet blanket of the bunch.

But let's be fair, if anything, I'm more of a slightly damp blanket, because I still dug it, even if I just didn't dig it as deep as others. Those who know me probably know that I fuckin' love Raimi's flicks and I'm damn near an apologist for the dude like I am with Tarantino. Shit, man -- I even defended Spider-Man 3, I thought that movie was pretty sweet while everyone else was calling me a retard for thinking so. Motherfuckers, I didn't star in Life Goes On, so take that shit elsewhere. Maybe I'd like it more if it wasn't for the two Early Bird Special diners sitting in front of me. Because of that, I might give it another chance later on. But since I'm writing about this flick *now*, these are unfortunately the impressions that I'm going to leave on this here blog.

A buddy and I talked about this movie a few days ago, before I saw it, and he said it seemed like the kind of movie that'd be perfect as part of one of those horror movie marathons they've had at the New Beverly Cinema or Aero Theatre. I really hope that happens. I would love to see this with an audience full of people who would appreciate it, then maybe I'd experience it in the best possible manner and get more out of it. Then perhaps my opinion will change for the better. Fuck that, I'm sure it will. As it is, I've only seen it in a nearly empty theater with two old talkative ladies. Sartre was right all along. I wanted to shout at the screen and tell Christine Brown not to worry her pretty little head. Because win or lose, the only thing that will change is the weather.