Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Portent Of Impending Doom

When my parents asked me if I wished to see a film this evening, I foolishly agreed, thinking that I might as well take advantage of their free hospitality and that a pleasant evening of light entertainment might be had by all. The name of the film - The Family Stone - had absolutely no significance to me.

Two hours later, to my gut-wrenching horror, I discovered that not only was this film a 'romantic Christmas comedy', which should immediately have sent apocalyptic alarm bells pounding through the very nucleus of my soul, but that it featured the two most unbearably annoying female actresses in the known history of the universe. Extraordinarily, an actress who has existed in a permanent haze of self-satisfied, backside-clenchingly complacent self-parody for twenty years and refuses to appear in any film unless it is so vomit-inducingly sentimental and sickly that it makes Kate Winslet's death in Titanic look like the ear-slicing scene from Reservoir Dogs (Dienow Keaton) was acompanied by the unchallenged queen of cinematic and televisual excretion - Sarah Jessica Parker, famous only for playing the most irritating character in the universally despised pit-com Annoying Ladies Talk Annoying Self-Satisfied Femi-Chauvinist Bollocks In The City. I can only assume this was some kind of hideously misplaced 'joke' on the part of the casting director, who I strongly suspect as a consequence of either being or of having inappropriately close ties with Will Ferrell.

Sitting through two hours of this grotesque, cringeworthy, horrific mockery of a film is akin to being slowly roasted over a fire while being force-fed live cockroaches in a cyanide sauce and having Teletubbies Theme Tune: Extended Hot Fridge Rave Mix blasted at 200 decibels through eardrums that have already been shattered by Sarah Jessica Parker's hideous, doom-portending death-rattle of a voice. This film is as funny as dipping your face in liquid nitrogen and as emotionally resonant as a turnip with Keanu Reeves' face painted on it. I would give you a synopsis of the plot, but this would involve there actually being one. Suffice to say that this film is so appallingly bad that even someone as majestically shameless as Owen Wilson was above appearing in it, though his brother bravely compensates for his absence by putting in an admirably atrocious performance equally as dire as anything Wilson Snr. could have managed. The most depressing aspect of the film is the fact that the cloying sentiment of the script is so cynically calculated, manipulative and formulaic that it will appeal hugely to millions of candyfloss grandmothers who will all insist on bringing their poor, innocent infant grandkids along to have their minds corrupted and poisoned by this mawkish tripe. This will terminally destroy any chance of them ever forming any kind of acceptably decent cinematic taste. Those poor children.

The film was only at all amusing by pure accident. As part of the overriding aim to shamelessly sell out in every way imaginable, the author includes every conceivable type of minority figure within his/her stupendously unlikeable character list in order to appeal to as universal an audience as possible:

WRITER: Now how do I appeal to all of those minority audience sectors while appeasing my conservative fundamentalist market? Aha! I know! I'll have a disabled man... let's say, a deaf man... the other characters can patronise him horribly throughout the film, disabled people will come along to see the film because they're represented and other people will think 'wow, that is so forward thinking and inclusive'. Now who else do I need? There has to be a homosexual... no, wait! A black homosexual! I can save on characters this way. Now obviously if my homosexual characters kiss or engage in any kind of physical demonstration of love I'll lose half my American market, so I'd better ensure that they're ludicrously platonic throughout, engaging only in the most tepid and suspiciously heterosexual man-hugs and exchanging the occasional warm hand-shake and friendly nod. That's entirely realistic. I also need an annoying grandmother for the middle-aged bores audience... that'll be Diane Keaton... and someone who everyone unfairly hates at the start but who actually turns out to be a genuinely despicable person... that'll be Sarah Jessica Parker....'

Ed's Rating: 0.25/10 (the 0.25 is awarded for the belated, but desperately, desperately essential death of Dienow Keaton's character)

Continuing today's theme of cinematic sewage and expanding on a point briefly touched on earlier, I was struck by a stomach-churning realisation when seeing an advert for the upcoming monstrosity The Producers.

No-one has yet garrotted Will Ferrell.

Why is this? Will Ferrell is so spectacularly, so stunningly, so preposterously unfunny that the mere onscreen appearance of his unbearably gormless, clownlike, maddeningly dimwitted, sublimely infuriating and supremely slappable excuse for a face induces an overwhelming death wish on the part of anyone unfortunate enough to be within ten thousand miles of any cinema showing of one of his pitiful films.

EXAMPLE ONE:

SUICIDE SECT MEMBER: Erm, y'know, I'm having second thoughts about this....

SUICIDE SECT LEADER: Oh yeah? Well why don't we sit down, have a nice cup of tea and watch the film Elf...?

SUICIDE SECT MEMBER: *swallows cyanide*


EXAMPLE TWO:

MAFIA DON: Hey guys! Look what I got for tonight's entertainment!

*Mafia Don holds up Bewitched DVD, which, accompanied by anguished screams, is immediately riddled with bullet holes*

MAFIA DON: What the hell??

MAFIA MEMBER: Quick! It might still be playable! Take out the DVD player!

*DVD player is blasted with a conveniently located machine gun*

MAFIA DON: It'll have to be the PlayStation then...

*PlayStation is immediately fired upon from all angles*

MAFIA DON: Geeze! Well, luckily we've got a whole load of other illegally shipped DVD players outside..

*Mafia Member emits blood-curdling screech and shoots self in head*

MAFIA DON: Damn. Ah well, I'm sure I'll enjoy it. I was dropped on the head repeatedly as a baby and am high on several shipments of hallucinogenic drugs after all.

The fact that Will Ferrell is not only still permitted to make films but shows absolutely no remorse or sense of shame for his criminally inept performances (none of which are assisted by the fact that he has the subtle comic appreciation of a three year old child shouting the names of rude body parts and burping) has drained me of all motivation to continue this entry. I leave you a wiser but utterly broken man.

Ed's Mood: Disgusted

Ed's Incessant Auto-Repeat Musical Tip: Arcade Fire - Wake Up

8 Comments:

Anonymous George said...

oh another one on the arcade fire bandwagon. no theyre good, just not THAT good. diane keaton is legendary in the godfather films, and i happen to adore mr owen wilson and his cohort ben stiller. sue me.

4:30 AM  
Blogger Chandler said...

Ah, but I was only talking about the last twenty years of her career. Did you ever see Something's Gotta Give? Arcade Fire are acceptable enough - they'd probably be in my all-time top 600. Ben Stiller can occasionally be amusing but his leach of a sidekick never is.

4:40 AM  
Anonymous Oli said...

George:
1) how good is that good? are we talking supergroup?
2) I may have to sue you, as Wilson and Stiller nearly always seem to attract Ferrell cameos, where he plays the 'weirdly sinister goofy one'.

Ed. Good work with the Ferrell bashing. He is utterly unfunny in every way. Did you see Anchorman? It has a similar approach to casting and scriptwriting as the Family Stone.

7:53 AM  
Blogger Thepatient323 said...

yes anchorman and ron burgundy.
seriously ferrel is pretty gay although he has a certain something about him that reminds me of chad smith from red hot chili peppers. zoolander, meet the parents, both amazing, owen wilson is spot on in meet the parents, seriously no one can deny that.

no we are not talking super group, they are the "next big thing" but good, usually bands tarred with tHAT brush wilt

ps coldplay were terrible on tv last night, some concert on channel 4

10:25 AM  
Blogger Chandler said...

'Meet the Parents' features a decent effort from Ben Stiller and a pretty pointless one from Owen Wilson. I'll have to see him carry a film without Stiller in it to be convinced.

If anyone says 'Wedding Crashers' at this juncture I'll strangle them...

'Anchorman' is so majestically bad that it's actually impossible to satirise. A successful laugh-to-attempted-joke ratio of about 1/90 is not really good enough, even if it's twice as good as Peter Kaye's.

10:02 AM  
Anonymous Nick B said...

Wedding Crashers was not good after the first half hour, when the scriptwriters apparently banged their heads on something hard and forgot what their premise was.

And I can't remember Owen Wilson being in Meet The Parents, so clearly he wasn't much good in that either.

2:03 AM  
Anonymous George said...

oh really. he was brilliant as pam's ex boyfriend who hand crafted the alter as a wedding present, called kevin...

10:23 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

Yes, I remember that. To be fair, he only mildly annoyed me in Meet The Parents - which I believe would technically render it his greatest performance ever...

2:48 PM  

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