Thursday, September 27, 2012

Doomsday prism

This September has been absolutely Amy-tastic with two films featuring The Adorable Amy Adams in our fine overpriced, badly-projected theaters; I've already rambled about the first movie, The Master (read that if you haven't already, please, thank you) and now I'll ramble about the second flick, Trouble with the Curve, where she co-stars with Clint Muthafuckin' Eastwood.

For the record, my experience with baseball is mostly relegated to my junior high school years, and later, the occasional half-drunken softball fuck-around at barbecues. Other than that, I don't give a good goddamn about the game and watching it on television makes me sleepy and hearing about it from others makes my eyes glaze over. Sorry. I don't know a fuckin' thing about stats or players or teams. Once upon a time, I used to think the "Black Sox" was an actual team and not just a name related to an old scandal (holy shit, was that an embarrassing night of Trivial Pursuit). I did go to a couple games and enjoyed stuffing my fat ass with overpriced snacks, though. Anyway, keep all that shit in mind while I ramble about this movie, which I only watched because Clint Eastwood is awesome and Amy Adams is AWWW-some.

So Clint's a scout for the Atlanta Braves and it seems like a pretty cool job, sitting around with his fellow oldsters, munching on peanuts, chomping on cigars, talking shit while taking down notes on the potential acquisition. Then he'll continue with his notes over a few beers at the local watering hole, then after he'll go to his cheap motel and let the Powers That Be know whether or not this guy's worth a shit or not. It's a cool job, he's been doing it forever, but now it's coming close to contract-renewing time and that fuckin' asshole Matthew Lillard is trying to get rid of him and replace him with those newfangled computers because this motherfucker's like Fuck Gran Torino, It's All About Moneyball In This Bitch.

Lillard's job to fuck Clint out of employment would be much easier if he knew about Clint's recent problems with his sight; it's tough enough that it takes him five minutes to take a twenty-second leak at his age, but now the man has to deal with his vision getting all blobby-blurry on him. Early on in the film, he accidentally bumps into his coffee table and ends up angrily kicking the motherfucker away, making this not only the second of two films featuring Amy Adams this month, but the second of two films featuring Amy Adams this month that include scenes of the lead character taking his pain/annoyance out on the house after bumping into a table.

Clint gets the official word from his eye doctor, a man who wears quite possibly the worst fuckin' rug I've ever seen on something that wasn't a floor. I guess it makes sense, given that he's an eye doctor and most of his patients wouldn't be able to see well enough to tell. Or maybe that's how he tests them, by asking them how his hair looks and their response would determine how bad/good their eyesight really is.

Thankfully, John Goodman is on the scene, playing Clint's old buddy. He gets the hint that something's up with Clint's eyes, so he calls up the man's semi-estranged daughter (played by our girl Amy) to help this ancient work of art out on the job. See, if this was my dad, I'd be like Sure, it's not like I have much going on right now anyway -- I can hang out for a while in North Carolina with the old man, watch some ball games, eat hot dogs. But it's not me, this is Amy's character with a good life going for her as a hard-working, kick-ass attorney who's thisclose to becoming a partner at the law firm headed up by the warden from Shawshank and the deputy from "She's the Sheriff", provided she doesn't fuck up an important case they got going on. She's got a lot of shit in her life right now, is what I'm saying. She's busy. That and, you know, the semi-estrangement.

She's very serious about these things, both at work and outside of work; she has a boyfriend taking her to the nice eatery with the kind of music you'd hear at the Black Angus and he's all like C'mon Bitch when are we gonna get married, but she's married to her work, and she's also married to being a vegan -- until the halfway point of the film, when she starts stuffing herself with hot dogs because she "couldn't hold out any longer", like that kind of lifestyle choice is that easy/fast to switch without any repercussions.

That reminds me of a dude I knew, he was a vegan because his girlfriend of six years was vegan. She ended up going to see her family for the weekend, and my man was home alone, watching television. A Pizza Hut commercial came on and he was like Fuck It, I'm ordering me a Meat Lover's. A couple hours later, he's puking his guts out. According to his doctor, my dude spent so much time without that harsh meat that his system wasn't ready for the strong re-introduction. So basically what I'm saying is, thank you Robert Lorenz, director of this film, for sparing us the scene where Our Amy is upchucking poorly digested chunks of animal anus or whatever the fuck is supposedly in that stuff.

Anyway, I'm sure there's some other stuff early on in this film about how this is Clint's possibly last go-round as a scout on account of his age, and there's a sub-sub-plot about some player not doing so well and that perhaps seeing his parents will help him out, but I honestly don't remember it that well because the characters discussing it were all familiar actors who now look so much older and I was distracted by that. Clint, of course, is all wrinkled out but at least he spent the last 20-something years easing us into it by making his age a factor in the stories he was telling. Then there's Ed Lauter and the dude who made the mistake of stealing Jobu's rum in Major League (as fellow scouts), not to mention the aforementioned Warden of Shawshank -- those guys were always kinda old, so that's no surprise, to see them even older.

But then you look over at Robert Patrick -- the T-1000, people! -- looking so fuckin' grizzed here and that really threw me off. Even Matthew Lillard -- who I always thought of as the young-ass punk guy in SLC Punk! or the punk-ass young guy in Scream -- is starting to show signs of getting bitchslapped by Father Time, looking more and more like Michael Berryman with hair. I guess it's my refusal to grow up (I'm a Toys R Us kid) that makes it difficult to acknowledge everyone else getting older. And if they are, then I sure as fuck am. I think the trick is to just be really fat and slowly lose some pounds over the years, then the aging won't be as noticeable, because that seems to be working for Goodman.

So off they go, that old badass Clint and our swell gal Amy, off to watch some thick asshole of a human being hit homers and see if he's Braves material. I don't know about that, but he's definitely douchebag material, treating his teammates like shit and charging people for autographs. He also believes in visualizing in his mind all the good shit that's gonna happen to him in the future -- money, women, fame -- which I'm not against, I just wish he would also visualize becoming a better human being as well. Best/worst part is he's not even a pro yet but he's already doing that cheapskate thing that pro-athletes excel at by demanding a bag of nuts from the raza peanut vendor in the stands (calls him "peanut boy"), then refusing to pay the fuckin' $2 for 'em. You fuckin' piece of shit -- I got your bag of nuts swinging, ya fat cunt.

Along the way, they run into Mr. Sexy Back himself, Justin Timberlake. He's all right, playing a former-player-turned-scout for the Red Sox who's hoping to parlay his current career into a gig as an announcer up in the sports booth. He's not annoying, in fact, he's a pretty likable dude and even really funny at times -- he's introduced in a scene that starts out Whatever and ends in Awkward, with someone calling him a "dork", so with that I was already on his side. Likability is important if he's going to be the potential hug interest for Our Amy in this film. That's why it's gonna hurt so fuckin' much when Amy eventually does a movie with Punk'd the Douchebag. You may scoff, but shit, did you ever think you were gonna see that human smegma co-star with Academy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman? No, you didn't. But it happened anyway. We're living in the darkest timeline, people -- so expect the worst, hope for the best and watch the worst happen in front of your fuckin' eyes anyway.

I like how they make Amy's character a big baseball fan who knows a lot of trivia, demonstrating it over tequila shots with Sexy Back; if I loved baseball as much as I love movies and getting fat, I'd totally be falling in love watching this scene of a pretty girl downing the booze and displaying such knowledge about the sport. It's a great use of Nerd Bait by the filmmakers, and yeah, don't get it twisted -- hardcore sports fans are just another form of nerd, don't try to pretend they're not. You stats-quoting, fantasy sports-playing, jersey-wearing motherfuckers are just as bad as those of us who quote lines from films or those other peeps who show up at conventions wearing fuckin' cosplay from some fuckin' anime, which some of you homophobes might call gay except I'd argue the sports thing is gayer because of all the sweaty muscular mens you're taking in. Yeah, "mens", I'm not gonna correct it.

This movie started off really fuckin' lame and cheesy, with Clint eating Spam out of the can and declaring it as a "breakfast of champions", which isn't quite Jim Belushi creating some weird concoction in The Principal, but felt just as 1980s when I heard it. The antagonists don't go any deeper than about a hundred feet into the depths of Asshole, but that kind of shit is still fun to watch and it made me laugh. I don't know if it's Lorenz' direction or Randy Brown's script that's to blame, or both, but that's just how it is. It's the kind of movie where more than one character agrees that Ice Cube has long been ignored by the Oscars for his performances, which I guess is funnier if you're in your late 70s and only have a passing idea of who or what a fuckin' Ice Cube is.

It gets a little better along the way, not like "really good" better, more like lazy Sunday afternoon viewing better. Which I guess is just a long way for me to say "kinda decent". I liked the interactions between the three main characters, that really worked; mostly the humorous moments between them. It certainly doesn't try to surprise you at the end, or at least I hope it wasn't, otherwise the film thinks very little of you. As it is, it could've been done a lot worse. I don't know about paying full price to see this in a shitty too-dark-digital-projection theater, but you can put this harmless shit on in the family room a few months from now and you're not gonna get anyone's feathers ruffled up, unless someone in your family was sodomized with a baseball bat or something. 

You'd probably get more out of it if you're into the beisbol, but for me it was OK at best. But then again, there is a scene where Amy Adams hits a ball, trots past the bases going "WOOOO!" and then finishes it off by performing a cartwheel. Which is just so overwhelmingly precious I've changed my mind and now declare: