Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Fractional Orders Deviating

(Full Disclosure: I know someone who worked on this movie. Not that you care, but I thought I'd let you know that I'm trying to write this and judge it on how I felt sitting through two hours of this shit, rather than what I already knew about it during its production. I wasn't going to do a blog on this, but I am a sucker for people who actually read this garbage and make requests. Haha, "people". More like person, but what a swell person to have asked me.) 

I have a headache. I tried a couple cups of coffee at Norms (along with the Bigger Better Breakfast, which was advertised with this ad inside the restaurant featuring a man holding his hands up triumphantly like Yes, Finally -- $5.99 For A Filling Breakfast!) and a couple aspirin and nothing's doing. It probably didn't help that I was sitting next to a retarded kid in the other booth. He didn't stop wailing and his parents have to act like they're not embarrassed and smile while imagining a different life, a quieter and more fulfilling life had they used a condom or aborted those damaged goods when they had the chance, but alas, they left it up to God, just like Sarah Palin, and now they found out too late that they don't have Sarah Palin money and ladies & gentlemen, raising a waterhead isn't as easy when you're lower middle-class aka poor. We're all going to die and Unconditional Love is going to pull the trigger.

The Dilemma is a serious film racked with tension, filled with sad scenes and occasionally visited by a rare slightly humorous moment, which is weird because I think it's supposed to be a comedy. It stars Vince Vaughn, who I remember being a good-looking tall dude back in the Swingers days but nowadays seems to be trying to beat Jon Favreau in the Fat Fuck game they're apparently competing against each other in. I don't know, I guess I'd have to ask my friends of the female persuasion if they still find Vaughn attractive, because you never know, there are people who still find Alec Baldwin attractive even though he looks like he swallowed Jack Ryan somewhere along the way. I can talk all this Fat shit because I am also a Fat Fuck, only I don't have celebrity bros to compete against, my only competition is Death and Death always wins -- this is something Adam Richman will find out soon enough (have you seen him recently?).

So yeah, Vince Vaughn plays Vince Vaughn, only this time Vince Vaughn's name has been changed to Ronny to protect the innocent, otherwise this is Vaughn right down to his politics; Ronny's a fast/smooth talking operator who wears Don't Tread On Me t-shirts and complains to his wife about paying for a bunch of overweight street kids' medical bills because "we're all on the same healthcare now" or something like that because Fuck Obama, he ain't even American.

I'm reminded of an old interview back around the time that Gus Van Sant's Psycho remake was coming out; I remember one article even went as far as calling Vaughn the new Steve McQueen and even now I still cringe when I think about it. But yeah, they interviewed Favreau for one of these articles and he talked about Vaughn's Republican leanings and how pro-America he was and how once at some fancy French hotel, Vince threw a shit-fit when he noticed that of all the flags outside the hotel, the American one was improperly placed. I'm with Vince there; fuckin' Frenchies thank this great country for saving their asses by pulling some shit like that? Nique ta mère, you ungrateful fucks. I feel like an asshole for having taken the time to learn your fucking language. Take Luc Besson back, he hasn't done shit for me recently anyways.

Because this movie takes place in one of those late 90's/early 00's sitcom alternate universes where you can be fat and sloppy and NOT rich and still get a hot wife, Ronny is hooked up with Jennifer Connelly, who's playing an Oscar-winning actress whose last few films didn't do so well, so fuck it, why not play third fiddle to Fred Claus and The King of Queens, right? Mrs. Paul Bettany is such a beautiful woman, I actually got lost a couple times during the movie just taking in her lovely face -- she is my ultimate argument for watching movies on the big screen, rather than on some bullshit iPod -- and it says a lot about her beauty that she still manages to be so luminous even after going on the Hollywood Stick Figure diet. I like Jennifer Connelly 2.0 as much as I liked Jennifer Connelly 1.0 (The Rocketeer, The Hot Spot), but like homeboy said in Innocent Blood, "you're a good-lookin' broad, but I gotta tell you, a little meat on the bones never goes out of style".

Since hangdog big-gut Vince is going with Jennifer Connelly, that means Paul Blart: Mall Cop is married to precious little Winona Ryder, who's eyes are even wider than usual, probably out of disbelief that she's married to this tubby bastard. She used to be cinematically hooked-up with pretty boys like Ethan Hawke and Johnny Depp, now she's making do with Adam Sandler and Kevin James and I'm sure in her next film she'll give an Oscar-worthy performance getting all up on Rob Schneider and/or David Spade and acting like she wants it while being grateful for the work. My crush on Winona Ryder has not waned though, even after noticing this time that she isn't quite the young pixie she once was. Further proof that Life Is A Motherfucker -- she's getting older, we're all getting older, and it's fucking depressing.

For the most part, I'm in total agreement with the old saying "You're only as old as you feel" because even now at the eve of Carousel, with my palm blinking, I feel like I'm still 20 years old -- a fat sedentary 20-year-old, but a 20-year-old nonetheless. The only time I feel old is when I listen to some of this shit the young kids who won't get off my lawn are listening to. But when I see an actress I grew up watching/went down masturbating starting to exhibit a little bit of age, never mind if she's aging like a fine wine, I'm still dragged kicking and screaming into The Cold Harsh Reality that we're all getting old.

Most movies now feature people my age, actors I remember playing high schoolers, then they moved to college students, then aimless young adults -- and now they're playing mothers and fathers and responsible adults and that fucks me up. Fuckin' Donnie Darko is playing a fuckin' medication salesman? Natalie Portman played a mother the year before and now she's going to be a mother this year? What the fuck is this bullshit? What is this getting older bullshit? Trust me, I'm no Peter Pan Syndrome motherfucker but I don't feel like going to bed early either and I don't like being reminded that I should be going to bed early, know what I mean? 

Anyway, Vince Vaughn and Paul Blart are the best of friends and they have that whole bromance thing going, and ultimately that's what The Dilemma is, it's a bromantic film about one bro wondering what to do after finding out that his bro's wife is sleeping with G.I. Joe behind his back. It doesn't help that they're on the clock with some American auto company (we still have those?), working on creating what basically amounts to a sound system you install in an electric car, that way it will sound like an old muscle car, not like some faggy putt-putt hybrid.

There was a whole brouhaha over the word "gay" being used in the movie -- not even the movie, it was in the trailer, the movie hadn't even come out yet and people were all up in arms over it. Because when Vince Vaughn says Gay in the movie, he means Gay as in Lame or Stupid or Has Sex With Men, but when other people hear Gay, they think of Harvey Milk, Matthew Shepherd and all those high-school kids killing themselves over being ostracized and bullied. In the end, the filmmakers took it out of the trailer, but they still kept it in the movie, probably because they figure those gay dudes aren't going to pay to see a film that uses a word they don't agree with. Based on the box-office performance, I don't think a lot of straights are paying to watch this movie either.

As it is, Ronny Vaughn uses Gay to describe how electric cars are seen in the general public's eyes, and there's a good scene where Ronny compares these putt-putts with more manly vehicles from the 1960's. "Took more virginities than Francis Albert Sinatra" says Ronny about the Plymouth Barricuda, and he's got a point because I really don't know how one can get business done in a fuckin' Hyundai. My first car was a 1965 Ford Mustang and man, I can only imagine all the action I would've had in that car if I actually had the balls to ask a girl out back then. I never did acquire the balls, but that was OK because soon I was well into acquiring booze and weed -- and my friend, that is all the balls one needs.

I liked how Vaughn's character slowly loses his shit, which is a big deal for someone who is very good at keeping his wits about (it's Paul Blart who is generally more of the worry-wart); he admits to Connelly early on that he sees Paul Blart and Ryder as heroes -- because they're two people so happy and in love with each other -- but after catching Ryder cheating on Blart, his entire foundation has been shaken and it's fucking him up and he doesn't know how to deal with it. My favorite scene involves Vaughn sitting alone at a bench, talking to God, getting choked up and teary-eyed and basically kinda wishing this wasn't happening because he can't handle it and because it's his bro that it's happening to. His fucking foundations, people. Shaken like a muthafucka.

Your foundations would probably shake too if you had those two bro-mosexuals pacing up and down your floor; I'm sorry, I can't get over this shit: Paul Blart has always been a shorter, squat Fred Flintstone, so there's no surprise there, but Vince Vaughn -- the Steve McQueen of 1998 -- he used to be lean and mean. Now he's just mean -- in The Dilemma, he keeps talking about these fat kids he met on the street, he keeps referring to them as fat and I couldn't stop laughing at the blackest pot in the fucking world talking about some fucking kettles. They don't call him Vince "Big Balls" Vaughn for nothing, I guess. That's because they never called him Big Balls, I just made that up. My doctor would probably call me Big Balls, that is, if I had medical insurance, but I don't, so when I drop dead of the Big C someone will probably go "Oh, so that's why his testicles were getting larger."

It doesn't help Vaughn's self-delusion that the movie still finds ways to visually fuck him over; side views that reveal just how much more Vaughn there is to Vince nowadays, or close-ups of him gobbling up sloppy spoons of cereal or slicing a huge piece of cake and shoving it into the same mouth that kissed many a starlet in films past. Should it be a surprise that Connelly's character is a chef? Probably not. Later on, he references the Donner Party and we're even treated to a quick flashback of said party (because it was necessary, I guess) and while he talks about these cannibal motherfuckers, I'm thinking Jesus Christ, Does Everything Have To Involve Eating With This Guy?! Haven't you seen Boyz N The Hood? Now one of us is going to get eaten!

He gets around in this movie by leaving his shirt untucked; the untucked shirt is my specialty (it's both a stylish choice and a way to slightly disguise the gut -- but let's be serious here, the untucked shirt is as effective as a fucking combover, you ain't fooling nobody) and if a movie star has to dress like me to get by, then be grateful that you at least have a bed of money to cry on, because me, I'm fuckin' broke. But not too broke for pizza, right, guys? HIGH FIVE!

The Other Man is played by G.I. Joe and he's probably the funniest thing in the movie, and yes, I just called him a thing because that's what he is, just a sexual object for Ms. Ryder to get off on. He's a living, breathing vibrator and appears to be slightly more intelligent than one. Eventually, that fat motherfucker Ronny meets up with this himbo and I think we're supposed to laugh during their violent altercation, but I thought it was pretty intense. It ends (or does it?) with Vaughn screaming in the middle of the street for what seems like five minutes, just going on and on about how he's gonna kill this motherfucker if he sees him again, leaving me to think out loud (there was no one else in the theater) whether this was intended to play like something out of a violent crime movie or like some fuckin' Western. Because that shit did not feel too out-of-place from Kurt Fuckin' Russell screaming out to that fuckin' cur in Tombstone about how he better tell all the other curs that he's coming and Hell's coming with him. Either that, or maybe Al Pacino could've joined my man Vince during that scene and been all like YOU THINK YOU'RE BIG TIME? YOU'RE GONNA FUCKIN' DIE BIG TIME! YOU READY? HERE COMES THE PAIN!

Some people might consider Winona Ryder's character very Boo Hiss worthy, but I'm not among them. I mean, sure, she does some bitchy things to both Vaughn's character and his fellow bro-mo Paul Blart, but I think she's operating more out of a Woman Scorned kind of playbook. Granted, maybe she's sticking it in and breaking it off a bit too much, and I don't agree with some of her actions, but you know what? I can understand why she'd want to do that. Or maybe she is a total cunt and I'm just forgiving it because she's Winona Ryder. I saw her on that late night show; either Jimmy Kimmel or Jimmy Fallon, whoever it is who used to fuck up SNL by laughing all the time like he was fuckin' Harvey Korman or somebody. Anyway, she seemed to be doing a pretty good job being genuine when she talked about her fear of the Internet and computers. Kooky? Yes. But that's our Winona, people. She then brought up a picture she took on her iPhone -- a picture of her drinking out of the Stanley Cup -- and she held up her phone to the audience and was like Wow My Phone Has A Camera On It and if this was say, I don't know, Katherine Heigl, I'd have been like Shut Up Ya Fuckin' Lying Hag, but it wasn't, it was my favorite little klepto saying that, so I thought it was cute.

Ultimately, the movie has way less to do with beautiful Jennifer Connelly and precious Winona Ryder and more to with these two br-ags, Vaughn and Blart, and how they've been Friends Forever like that fuckin' song from that Zack Attack episode of Saved by the Bell. These guys, they're inseparable and they've been through thick & thin (in that they used to be the latter and are now the former) and even Queen Latifah's character seems to want to be a part of it, and why not, she's a Bro too, right? That's what I assumed; she has a kid, but does that really mean anything in this day and age? She wants to be one of the guys, and I'm sure that's why she wears pants instead of a skirt (that, and also because she probably has the kind of legs she would be doing the world a favor by hiding) and it's also why she keeps referring to her "lady-wood" like it was funny the first time or something.

In the end, I thought this was an OK movie overall. I chuckled a few times, but honestly, I thought this worked more as a dark ride through a trying time between two couples. There's a scene where Ronny Vaughn proposes a toast at Connelly's parents' wedding anniversary and that shit got more and more disturbing and uncomfortable as he went on. Again, I was all alone in the theater and wondered, how did this play with a crowd? Did they laugh? Or were they convinced -- as I was -- that they were watching a deleted scene from Paul Verhoeven's Turkish Delight? I don't know. All I know is that I'd like the movie a lot more if it was about Jennifer Connelly and Winona Ryder having some alone time. That movie is currently in post-production in my head but will play in the cinema of my mind soon enough, I reckon.

When the movie ended and the credits began to roll, I walked down toward the exit and almost bumped into the female security guard who had just come in. It was the last showing of the night and I guess she wanted to make sure I wasn't going to sleep in there or something. I felt the need to tell her -- in my usually douchey excited manner -- about my friend and how he/she worked on the movie as ***REDACTED***. The guard smiled, not totally believing me, and then asked me why I was sitting alone in this neighborhood theater, having paid to see a movie that my friend worked on. She told me that surely there had to have been one screening that my friend could've invited me to. I stood there for a moment, then looked at this guard and told her, "Between you and me, my friend is a fucking asshole."