Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Movie Over-Rater

“Dude, did you see The Hangover? You would love it! It’s so your sense of humor too. The guys get drunk and wake up and forget everything. Then there’s like a tiger and a chicken, and some Asian gangster dudes. One guy looses a tooth. A tooth! Could you imagine?! So funny! Oh my God, then one of the guys marries a stripper! I mean how do they come up with this stuff? It’s fuckin’ hilarious. This Summer is going to be awesome. So many movies I need to see! Can you say G. I. Joe?”

Meet the movie over-rater. He’s never seen the Godfather. He likes both of the Matrix sequels, and he likes Scarface because it’s cool to like Scarface. He is the reason you come out of a movie and ask yourself, “Why would they even make this movie?” He is not alone. In fact, there are more of them than there are you and I. If we’re not careful, he will breed with some of us and further the garbage that litters the theaters.

Movie director Michael Bay is all too familiar with this crowd. His movies are deliberately designed to allow for no human brain activity whatsoever. The purpose of his films are to completely shut down all internal motor functions, thoughts, and intellectual opinions, so that the viewer can just enjoy two CGI robots smash each other over and over.

Wow, that explosion was badass! I’ve never seen an action film with a giant explosion. Especially one that immense. Here is my $12.50. I’m going to need a refill on this tub of popcorn too. I’ll just get up in the middle of this intense drama with its intricate plot and refill my tub. Of course I want extra butter. It’s free. Why wouldn’t I want it?

Please have a seat and hear this particular true story. Oh right, you are sitting. I was at Kips Bay (over near Murray Hill), where I joined an old college buddy for a late evening showing of the Peter Jackson remake of King Kong. I sat down, neglecting to buy my own popcorn or soda. Instead, I would “borrow” from my friend’s share. He didn’t mind. At least that’s what I told myself. After previewing more of what’s to come (and disappoint) for the summer, we sat down for what was bound to be a mediocre remake at best. How good could this thing possibly be? It was either this or sitting by my air conditioning unit all day, while my contacts dry out, watching Match Game on the Game Show Network. Love that Charles Nelson Reilly. Is Betty White still alive?

The gentleman to the left of me was on a very romantic date. I could tell by his XXL t-shirt and crooked hat, with the stickers and tags still attached. Nothing says romance like a red Yankees hat, with an official MLB sticker on the rim. Now I shit you not, as soon as King Kong came on to the screen this man awoke from his slumber and turned into a five-year-old child – sans parental control.

“Look at the monkey! Yea Kong!” the twenty something year old child exclaimed.

The movie over-rater had turned my attention away from the screen, and onto his fascinating antics. Is he being serious? Is he looking for laughs? I wasn’t sure. But, he was in awe of this giant ape. His excitement reached a peak, and alas he had to tell a friend about this unbelievable ape that had taken him out of his seat. Yes, he was standing.

With the quick dial of his phone, the over-rater was able to reach his friend. Yes, we’re still in the middle of a theater trying to watch a movie. The connection was a success. Not only that, the recipient of the call was in the very same theater. As I looked across the theater in pure amazement, I found another over-rater – hootin’ and hollerin’ about the very same ape. The two were able to have a conversation via cell phone. One man seated directly to my left, while the other was up in the front. They openly discussed how the ape was a “pimp,” given his ability to pick up the lovely blonde, Ann. They rooted for Kong as he defeated a Tyrannosaurus Rex in an animal-like feud. They even had sympathy for Kong when he was captured and exploited. “Poor monkey,” they cried. With that went my theory that they were heartless robots. No, “God” made these creatures. I’m still talking about the movie over-raters.

What was going on in the actual film made no difference to me. I had seen the original King Kong and I had pretty much put my brain on autopilot from the opening credits. But, two grown men were actually enjoying this movie so much, that they had to talk about it via phone from one end of the theater to the other. Mind-boggling. Shut the fuck up! No wait, I’ll say that out loud.

“Shut the fuck up!”

“What you say family?”

“I’m trying to watch the movie...what family? They’re in New Jersey.”

“Man, leave me alone. I’m on the phone!”

He had a point. I hate it when people interrupt my phone conversation. Plus, he was trying to watch a movie. I wasn’t even paying attention. You know what? I’m enjoying this. It’s like the de-evolution of human intelligence taking place right before my very eyes. Alright buddy. Talk away… From now on I may shell out the extra dough for the movie experience, not for the movie, but for the ignorant entertainment provided by dozens of movie over-raters.

Before I sign off on this topic, I thought it’d be a good idea to poll hundreds of movie over-raters to see what are the top ten movies of all time. Here are the results. Drum roll please….

Top Ten Movies: Voted by Movie Over-raters

1. 300
2. Saw
3. The Hangover
4. Final Destination
5. Transformers
6. The Italian Job
7. Sin City
8. American Gangster
9. Clerks
10. Do The Right Thing

I would like to thank everyone who helped with this poll. You will make people think extra hard about the movies you have selected. As they are undoubtedly, awful. Don’t feel too down, though. You are an important part of society, as you continue to line the pockets of millionaire Hollywood producers, whose main ambitions are to line their pockets with millions of dollars.


bobby g said...

I couldn't agree more. After suffering through Transformers I - GM's poor attempt at propaganda - I had this misfortune of wasting money on the sequel this summer with some friends. My low expectations were not even close to being met. In addition to CGI ruining movies, America's willingness to marginalize talent in the face of beauty (Megan Fox) and Hollywood's capitalization and manipulation of American nostalgia to defraud us with third rate remakes, sequels, and TV Shows turned movies (King Kong, Indiana Jones, Transformers) have also contributed to the low expectations of movie enthusiasts.

Good movies are definitely few and far between. However, your list contains a few suspect "over-rater" films. Saw I - before the onslaught of horrid sequels - is a thriller and mystery in its own right. Unfortunately, its value has been diluted 16 times over. The dialogue in Clerks is timeless, again the brand tarnished by a slap-in-the-face sequel made purely to line pockets.

And the summer comedy - dating back to "classics" such as Animal House and Caddyshack - have never been thought provoking. The Hangover served its purpose.

Your post does a great job of attacking contemporary Hollywood. It is lacking in a list of movies you believe worthy of my two hours.

Finally, what is wrong with a red Yankee hat and XXXL shirt on a date?

The New York Pasquinade said...

Thanks Bobby. I'm not sure if you're knocking CADDYSHACK, but that happens to be one of my favorite comedies. Nevertheless, if you're asking for other comedies I like...I would say: GHOSTBUSTERS, ANNIE HALL, MONTY PYTHON HOLY GRAIL, AIRPLANE!, SPACEBALLS, DUCK SOUP, RUSHMORE, LOVE AND DEATH....There are more.

What are your favs?

nr62 said...

Couldn't agree more with you NY Pasquinade.

BTW...What's wrong with a red Yankee hat and an XXXL tee??? Don't even get me started...

The New York Pasquinade said...

I prefer the army green hat...

bobby g said...

Hands down, favorite comedy is The Big Lebowski. The Cohen Brothers have some great ones (Fargo) and some terrible ones (Lady Killers). The first fifteen minutes of Super Troopers is priceless, Dumb and Dumber is up there (might be because I was 13 when I first saw it) and Office Space.

Michael said...

american gangster sucked nuts.

gimme some popcorn, monkey.

The New York Pasquinade said...

I'll call ya the next time I'm in a theater...