Last night it happened, again. I willingly sat through a film that evoked such animosity, such blinding and violent hatred in myself, I couldn’t sleep afterward. I lay awake, practically steaming, trying to work out how I could find and slaughter every member of the cast and crew.
This isn’t a case of some “man-child” becoming enraged because a Star Wars or Marvel movie didn’t meet his impossible personal criteria. This happens on those rare occasions when I give a movie a fair shake, and in turn, said movie returns the favor by metaphorically digging up my mother’s corpse and fucking her face. I’m talking about an egregious transgression against me, the viewer, by people I don’t know and hopefully will never encounter. Because it’s clear they think they’re smarter than I am, and because I’d like to kick their collective heads against a freeway guardrail until their eyeballs pop out.
Some filmmakers spend their time and money crafting timeless art that transcends generations and social barriers to delight millions of people. Some filmmakers have a deep passion for the mystery of the darkened theater, wherein anything one could imagine can happen. They carry this love across decades, inspiring the next generation to reach even greater peaks of cinematic majesty and triumph.
Some filmmakers are sexually stunted creeps who get their jollies off fucking with you. Not by “subverting your expectations”, like the unctuous slime-molds at Disney. By forcing their perversions onto an unwilling audience, and making them pay for the experience. Sort of like repulsive deviants Andrew Cuomo and Chrystia Freeland, who get off on the fact that the entire proletariat has no choice but to witness the horrific sight of their wilted, barbell-pierced nipples. They know you can see them. They’re daring you to say something about it.
This attitude makes me livid, to the point where I want to hurt them more than they hurt me. People who intend to force acceptance of their deviant impulses aren’t artists. They’re sick fucks who learned how to get to you, did it, and got away with it. Like an unspayed Cocker Spaniel that mounts your leg and spackles you with dog-jizz, before happily trotting off. Except these animals receive payment and acclaim for humiliating you, and you’re not permitted to deliver the kick in the balls they require to straighten them out.
That’s the mentality we’re dealing with here.
As proof that I can be forgiving, I’ll begin with a movie I hate that was created by someone I have the utmost respect for, and who has made movies I consider to be the greatest of all time. Everyone rolls a gutterball once in a while, especially early in their career when they’re young and white-hot after a previous victory.
This movie made me so mad I didn’t know whether to shit or go blind. I understand that it has many admirers and defenders. I don’t care. I absolutely fucking hate it.
This is a movie where Jason Robards says “I’m dying”, and then the camera zooms in for a close-up and crossfades to a filmstrip of microscopic cancers wiggling about. This is a movie where frogs rain from the sky, and all the characters simultaneously sing an Aimee Mann song in unison. This is a film that puts random ideas in your head, complete with narration, that will go on to mean nothing, and have no bearing on anything living or dead. This is a film where Tom Cruise appears, amber-preserved as always, but this time he screams the word “cunt” so let’s hand him a shiny award for playing against type by a micron and doing something a literal billion other people could do.
Yeah. It’s that kind of movie.
This isn’t genius Paul Thomas Anderson directing Daniel Day-Lewis, or spinning a fabulous lurid tale of 1970’s porno stars into pure gold. This is Fiona Apple-era PTA. High-off-his-own-farts PTA. Given-to-embarrassing-excess PTA. It’s possible that if not for Punch-Drunk Love, I never would have forgiven him. Punch-Drunk Love is a tight, thrilling, hilarious little marvel that wrings the performance of a lifetime out of Adam “Happy Gilmore” Sandler. He stars opposite the magnificent Emily Watson, the beguiling Mary Lynn Rajskub, the wholly-organic Luiz Guzman, and the ill-fated maestro Philip Seymour Hoffman. It does in 95 minutes more than Magnolia could hope to do in 188.
And then PTA went on to weave magic with There Will Be Blood and The Master, two films that left me every bit as awestruck as Boogie Nights, which I would argue sits beside Citizen Kane as the greatest film ever made. I felt sincerely that PTA made Inherent Vice solely for myself and my friend Joey Pikkels. So like most people, I forgot all about the Tom Cruise Says Cunt show.
I’ve heard defenses of Magnolia that claim it’s the most purely “Californian” movie ever lensed. If that’s true, then that is the California I hope crumbles into the Pacific Ocean. With the crushing tonnage of inflated self-worth contained there, I’m astonished that it hasn’t happened already.
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN (2011)
Here again we have a director who later earned my forgiveness. Lynne Ramsay went on to direct You Were Never Really Here (2017), which I consider to be an absolute jaw-dropping masterpiece. I honestly cannot recommend that film enough, especially if like myself, you were alienated by Joaquin Phoenix’s phony-rapper borefest with Casey Affleck, I’m Still Here (2010). Ramsay’s film, PTA’s The Master and Inherent Vice are proof positive that Phoenix has abilities as an actor that border on supernatural.
Now, as for Kevin; please note that I do not consider this to be a bad film. It isn’t, by any stretch, despite my blinding animosity towards it. During one of my many rants, my friend Philip made the counterpoint that it’s essentially a story of a mediocre mom who shouldn’t have had kids. Under that description, all of it makes sense. It’s a worst-case scenario taken to a horrifying extreme, with not a single punch pulled. Tilda Swinton is a revelation, but let’s be frank; pointing out that Tilda Swinton is the high point of a film is like describing water as wet.
On the other hand, Kevin is played by a guy named Ezra Miller, who gets to be DC’s The Flash despite literally putting a female fan in a chokehold and slamming her to the ground. This past March, a couple in Hawaii had to file a restraining order against Miller after he threatened to kill them, promising “I will bury you and your slut wife”. A month ago, Miller threw a chair at a 26-year-old woman’s forehead, gashing it, after he was told to leave a private party. I bet you money that this is the first you’ve heard of any of this, even though every detail of Amber Heard’s abuse of Johnny Depp is headline news. Ain’t it funny how that works out? I wonder why!
My point is, it works to We Need To Talk About Kevin‘s advantage that Ezra Miller is a violent scumbag who gets away with anything. That’s like, pretty much the film’s narrative engine.
So primo casting all around, sincerely.
Full disclosure: As soon as the little sister appeared with the guinea pig, I began to fast-forward the movie to the end. If you have to insinuate the painful death of a defenseless small animal to manipulate your audience’s emotions, you can fuck yourself ragged with a rusty chainsaw. If you think humans and animals are interchangeable in movies when it comes to matters of trauma and death, you aren’t competent enough to watch movies, let alone make them. Seek professional help pronto. You are a sociopath and you get off inflicting pain.
CLOUD ATLAS (2012)
It doesn’t matter what their first names are, or what gender they choose. It doesn’t matter if you enjoyed The Matrix (1999).
You see the name “Wachowski”; you run like hell.
If you peel away the protective layer provided by the “alphabet people”, you will find that every Wachowski movie is terrible, as well as incompetent on the most basic storytelling levels. Even The Matrix is junk beyond the first half; I won’t mention its sequels, which now number three, the most recent of which is considered one of the worst movies ever made. That’s after six hours of sequel that might as well be botched root-canal surgery. Even Bound (1996), the Wachowskis’ debut feature, is worthless outside of letting the world watch Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon get it on. (Granted, I had no complaints there.)
Cloud Atlas kicks off with Tom Hanks mumbling some unintelligible “future language” behind a campfire. Following that, well… you know what? I don’t get paid to work these things out properly. Here’s an explanation from a reference site you may know that calls hired goons who burn down businesses “protesters”, and people holding picket signs “terrorists”. They also openly and falsely claim Joe Biden was legitimately elected president, just so you know the keen intellects we’re dealing with here. So caveat emptor, as they say.
The story jumps between eras until each storyline eventually resolves, spanning hundreds of years. Writings from characters in prior storylines are found in future storylines. Characters appear to recur in each era, but change relationships to each other. Slaves or abusers often change roles, suggesting reincarnation or other connection between souls through the ages.Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia No One Can Edit But The Elites
What the above hogwash means is that Cloud Atlas restarts incessantly, like a studio screener that shows only the first act of a dozen movies. Two-thirds of the way through, I turned to my friend Chay and said “I don’t think this movie knows how to movie.”
Lots of stuff happens, there’s gay sex because of course there is, and then Hanks and Halle Berry (both festooned with off-putting “old folks” makeup) enter a future house and we’re left to imagine their gross old-hetero lovemaking behind closed doors. (Points awarded for implying that anyone in the far-flung future will be heterosexual.) God forbid their rubbery couplings are depicted on-screen, like the aforementioned EMPOWERING AND BRAVE gay sex; that would be yucky.
Before you ask/since you didn’t; I made it one hour into 2008’s Speed Racer. Aside from the kid who plays Spritle, an utterly endearing and hammy rascal, the experience can be simulated by eating an entire gallon of expired sherbet while stuck on a broken mechanical bull for two hours. It makes the worst Michael Bay movie look like Paths of Glory. If you’re curious as to why it’s not on this list, it’s because I couldn’t stand it long enough to hate it.
And hey- if you bristle at the fact that I dislike gay sex scenes in movies, consider the undeniable fact that most of the greatest movies ever made feature no sex scene at all. Remember what I told you about Hollywood perverts getting off by forcing you to watch something uncomfortably sexual? That’s literally all that matters to the Wachowskis. It’s their raison d’etre. Have you ever met a single human being who thought the Neo-and-Trinity-fucking-during-a-rave scene in Matrix Reloaded was arousing?
No, huh? So why was it there? To pad the running time of a highly-polished turd, that’s why.
If you pay the Wachowskis even the slightest attention, you deserve what you get. Stop wasting your time. They have enough money, they’re gonna do what they’re gonna do. Don’t encourage them, for Pete’s sake.
Now onto the movie that inspired this article. A movie so foul, so abhorrent, so insulting to my intelligence, that I lay awake in bed last night after watching it, hoping and waiting for the overwhelming murderous urges to subside.
Allow me to relate a second-hand anecdote. If you hunt for it, you can find the original on YouTube. I assure you, it’s worth the time, but I forget where exactly I heard it.
Back when he had a nose, lovable comedy shlub Artie Lange was approached for a small part as a promoter in Darren Aronofsky’s celebrated drama The Wrestler (2008). The undeniable excellence of that film would have ensured a new era in Lange’s storied career, a proper step up in the industry.
If you see The Wrestler, don’t strain yourself looking for Artie; Aronofsky never used him. Lange was left to wonder what had transpired, before banging heroin up his arm and returning to his day job as the only funny person on The Howard Stern Show. One of his friends offered a possible explanation, which I will now paraphrase from garbled memory.
“Artie, remember that campus party ages ago? Darren Aronofsky was there, when he was still a college student. He came up to talk to you, and you immediately put him in a headlock, rubbed his head really hard, and called him a ‘film-school faggot’. He probably made the connection, and doesn’t want to work with you.”
Of course, Lange couldn’t recall this particular event, but due to his well-publicized Bacchic frenzies, he couldn’t dispute it either. He was on the verge of penning a heartfelt apology to Aronofsky, when his friend revealed that he’d made the entire thing up, and uproarious laughter ensued.
After subjecting myself to mother! last night, I no longer think that story is apocryphal. I think it actually happened, and Artie Lange was right on the money.
Let’s start off with who I don’t blame.
I don’t blame Jennifer Lawrence, an average-looking, decent enough young actress with an above-average body, who can do strenuous action as well as emote. I don’t believe she has any more control over her casting than she had over those leaked pictures of her asshole. She does as good a job in this putrescence as any actress could. She plays Mother Earth, which I’m revealing so that if you choose to endure this garbage, you’ll feel as pummeled by its imbecilic “message” as I felt. It’s like an insufferable Biblical analogy written by a church-burning atheist who chugs soy milk all day.
I don’t blame Ed Harris, who appears in the film as “man” (aka Adam, as in “the first man”). Harris is one of my favorite actors of all time, particularly in the role of artist Jackson Pollock, and numerous terrific Westerns. It’s not really his fault that he has to spend this movie as an annoying houseguest who smokes indoors after being repeatedly asked not to, and who randomly dry-heaves. Then the desiccated corpse of Michelle Pfeiffer appears as “woman”, and they have sloppy make-out sessions in front of Jennifer Lawrence. Get it? She’s “Eve”! Isn’t that brilliant?!?
Pfeiffer looks so bad on-screen that for the first 20 minutes of her screen time I wondered aloud why Rene Russo looked so bad. She looks so gross that I have no qualms about pointing it out. Aside from Jennifer Lawrence, every person in this film looks like boiled dogshit, male or female. I don’t ever want to see Javier Bardem’s ugly catcher’s mitt of a puss again. In fact, I now hate No Country For Old Men and believe it’s the shitty movie I always feared it was. Wow; Bardem talks slowly and quietly and then kills someone with an air compressor. OMG the palpable dramatic tension. You ever watch it a second time? It has all the suspense of an afternoon in a doctor’s waiting room. Javier Bardem kills everybody, then gets away! Tommy Lee Jones sings us all to sleep with a final monologue over the breakfast table! Roll out a crate of Oscars for the Coen Bros! (Calm down, it’s not like they don’t drop the rare stinker now and again; remember Intolerable Cruelty? Of course you don’t, it sucked!)
Here’s roughly 99.9% of mother!‘s interminable 121-minute run time.
- A person representing a retard’s idea of a Biblical figure enters or occupies Bardem and Lawrence’s special house.
- Lawrence panics and exclaims one of the following phrases: “Who are you? How did you get in here? You can’t be in here! Please get out of here! Please don’t touch that! You have to get out of here!”
- The person, depending on their Biblical representation, verbally or physically abuses Lawrence.
- Bardem runs in from a different movie happening nearby and tries to calm Lawrence down. He represents “God”, so of course, what else does God do, right?
- GOTO 1
More and more cyphers invade the “Edenic” home, while blood inexplicably oozes between floorboards, and everyone performs repetitive bits of “business” like an amateur theater production in a sanitarium. Lawrence gives birth to a healthy baby, which Bardem steals away so that she can shriek in horror as the invaders tear the terrified infant to bloody pieces and eat it. Finally the crowds choking the house savagely batter Lawrence, kicking in her face and tearing open her blouse so that her young bosoms can flop about sadly, while calling her “cunt”. You know, like in the Bible!
Then they torch her and the house, Bardem carries her smoldering body to an altar, and pulls out her heart, which is actually the crystal that rebuilds her and the house to the healthy state they enjoyed at the start of this cunting torture of a “motion picture”. If the entire production crew of this atrocity burned alive in a fiery plane crash tomorrow, I would empty my life savings to throw a champagne party in celebration. I can’t be any clearer about this; I want everyone involved in this production to die screaming in flames. If I’m ever within a mile radius of them, they should hire armed security ASAP. Only courtesy prevents me from tracking them down and slowly bleeding out every last one of them, slowly, with a razor-sharp hunting knife.
As soon as Jennifer Lawrence’s exalted titties were out while her skull was being stomped, I began hitting the “skip 5 seconds” button, until the end credits mercifully unfurled and I was free. Darren Aronofsky should be ashamed of himself. Personally, I would kill myself if I created something like this, without a moment’s hesitation. People who make movies like this are bad for the world and should be hospitalized. If I discovered that anyone I considered a friend enjoyed this movie, I would never speak to them again for the rest of my life. There is art made by serial killers with more depth and humanity. Aronofsky could have filmed himself sucking infected hemorrhoids for two solid hours and it would have had more artistic merit.
Holy shrieking mother of fuck, I hate this movie with every atom of my being. I never imagined I could hate anything this much. Had I a hatchet handy, it would presently be embedded in my monitor screen, as a surrogate for Darren Aronofsky’s head. I would burn a theater that screened this movie to the ground and sleep like a baby, because I’d know that theater could not possibly be occupied by even a single human soul. I hate this movie so much that I lay awake in bed last night, gnashing my teeth, wishing to God that I could hurt the people responsible as much as they’d hurt me. This movie is a botched coathanger abortion. It has all the wonder and joy of violent anal rape in a filthy bus station bathroom. It’s as appealing as Stage 4 colon cancer, or the pus-encrusted anus of roadkill fermenting on a highway buffer. If mother! were a person, I would crush its windpipe with an ax-handle. I would make it march through town with a gasoline-filled tire around its neck, light it with a Roman candle, and cackle with glee as its head blackened and disintegrated.
I’m overreacting, right? I’ve gone too far? Try your luck. No sane human female would ever willingly sit through its entirety. I can’t speak for males; after all, my stupid ass watched it. I’m sure there are guys out there who’d enjoy watching Jennifer Lawrence being debased, savagely beaten, tortured, and burned alive. Here’s hoping the government keeps a list of those guys, so I can be notified if one moves into my neighborhood. For Christ’s sake, children play here.
Okay, enough. Here’s the kicker.
This wasn’t the first time I made the mistake of giving Darren Aronofsky a chance.
This is purely conjecture, but I suspect that Darren Aronofsky was violently molested with Bibles as a young boy. If he doesn’t actually possess a pathological hatred of women, color me very surprised.
Russell Crowe plays Noah, the dude who builds the Ark. Since this film was released by Paramount, the giant rock-like “Watchers” are built upon CGI wireframes reused from Revenge of the Fallen, and look like bosses from a 1990’s PC game. Noah’s son Ham falls in love with a girl who is literally trampled to death while Noah does everything possible to keep his son from helping her. If you ever wanted to see a young girl screaming as rampaging feet stomp her head into mush, Noah is for you.
I have no idea what transpired after that. I stood up and calmly exited the room, refusing to continue viewing the film. I lost any empathy I might’ve had for the characters and any interest I might have had in the story. Maybe the meaning of life is revealed at the movie’s conclusion. Maybe it displays winning lottery numbers, or demonstrates the secret to cold fusion. I will never know. I would sooner use a hot stove as a pillow than so much as think about this movie again.
And before you comment, I’m not the one who should seek help. I’m not the perpetrator of these unforgivable crimes against cinema.
All I did was watch.