Okay, I got a new column for the first time in a couple months, so everybody’s gonna assume it’ll be about the recent tragedy in our country, the school shooting where some crazy asshole doubled the body count of the previous worst gun massacre in our history. It’s true, whenever something like this happens you feel like you sort of should say something, not just pretend like nothing happened. Even if right after it happens somebody else kills 150 people in Iraq.
And I have to admit, I looked at those pictures the killer sent to NBC, and as soon as I saw him posing with a claw hammer I thought, “Oh great. Now somebody’s gonna blame it on OLDBOY.” People are already talking about that (not that anybody’s buying it) and I think it’s only a matter of time before some dipshit politician starts talking Korean cinema on the floor of congress. When something like this happens that hits everybody in the gut you gotta try to make politics out of it, but it’s gotta ignore any actual causes (poor treatment for mental illness, easy access to guns) and blame everything on movies, video games, maybe ringtones. The old “in serious times, give them nothing but moronic horse shit for babies” technique. Also known as Liebermania.
But you know what, that dude put together a fuckin portfolio of publicity stills and promotional clips. To him those Columbine kids were some cool symbol like James Dean or Che Guevara on a t-shirt, and now he’s made himself into that for some future fucked up individual. Of course NBC is gonna use the photos, they’re not gonna throw them away. But now that asshole gets what he wants, we’re all talking about him. And future murderers are gonna send in their press kits too. That’s just fuckin great. So that’s it, I don’t want to write about that asshole anymore. Let’s talk about, uh, Tarantino.
(sorry. I was working on this topic before.)
So, that double feature GR***HOUSE looks like it made about $45.23 (before taxes) in its first couple weeks, and it makes me realize how far removed I am from the average American moviegoer. For me this was the anticipated movie event of the year, for the average American moviegoer they would rather watch just about any other movie, preferably worthless garbage, possibly involving Ice Cube hanging out with kids destroying both a house and his own legacy. And possibly somebody’s balls at some point, would be my guess, but I was watching G-HOUSE so I wouldn’t know.
Apparently it’s the middle part of the country that didn’t watch this, G-HOUSE did very well on the coasts, which explains why it can be a huge flop and also one of those one or two movies a year where just about every person I know who watches movies saw it right away. Alot of them two or three times, and going out of their way to see it at a drive-in, which it turns out we still got a couple of. Most movies you try to see it at the Cinerama or Imax, or that 3-D theater out in the boondocks where applicable. This one you want to see in a rotted out old drive-in.
Of course, I don’t care too much if it lost money. It’s not coming from the fund to rebuild New Orleans, it’s coming from the Weinstein brothers evil bank account. Those dirtbag motherfuckers have had this coming for years. Every day they wake up and do three things that would cause them to deserve this before their filthy movie-destroying feet even touch the carpet. If it’s a just world this will help run them out of business, they’ll die penniless in a shack out in the woods somewhere, and the whole thing will be turned into a depressing riches-to-rags biopic, but an Asian company will buy it out and leave it sitting on the shelf for 15 years before cutting it down to a 2 minute cell phone commercial, dubbing it into Cantonese, rescoring it and calling it THE SOLDIER or THE WARRIOR or THE POLICE OFFICER.
So if G-HOUSE loses money for those fuckers, that is a good thing to happen in this world. As far as cinematistic repercussions, well, I figure they’ll probaly make MACHETE anyway (it’ll be cheap and DTV, why not?). I was looking forward to other G-HOUSE double features, especially if they did an action one, but at least now I don’t have to worry Tarantino will lose interest and farm his slot out to Eli Roth or somebody.
Still, it does make me sad that people didn’t want to see this. Like it, don’t like it, whatever, but the figures they’re throwing around show that people didn’t want to see it in the first place, they got no clue if they like it or not. Here are these two very popular directors whose movies normally would be an event anyway. And they actually use their clout to make it so we only have to pay once and we get to see both of their movies. They have done the impossible, they have made multiplexes show a double feature, without charging extra. It goes against the laws of nature. These are places where they even got ads on the fuckin urinals. The movie is only there as the cheese in the middle of the mousetrap. They don’t care if we watch movies, they want us to look at slides and watch commercials and listen to the CD that promotes the latest releases from their music product division. To them it’s more of a medical experiment than an act of entertainment.
Strolling right into the heart of this wickedness are these two guys actually trying to give you a good deal and use showmanship and give you a whole evening of carefully programmed fun, complete with these fake trailers, basically short films for added value.
I’m not surprised it ain’t making TITANIC bank but jesus, NOBODY wants to see this? There is this movie that came out last week called REDLINE, starring Eddie Griffin. I never heard of this movie, never saw a single ad for it, don’t know what it’s about, the only reason I know it even exists is because I read that Eddie crashed and completely destroyed a rare Ferrari related to the movie. It made a pathetic $4 million coming in 11th place at the box office. Ahead of G-HOUSE. There are more people that would give Eddie Griffin’s crashed Ferrari movie a chance then would gamble 9 bucks on two movies by Rodriguez and Tarantino.
How is this possible? I can’t even comprehend it. If they had released it NC-17 so it couldn’t play in most theaters and had limited advertising possibilities it still would’ve done at least this good. Or if they had taken it on tour like in the old days. Hell, it seems like any generic movie, as long as it looked horrible and had a small amount of advertising, would double that amount. We are in an age when any god damn movie can make money. NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM was a smash hit. WILD HOGS was a smash hit. If there was a movie that came out this year starring David Spade or Dane Cook as a gay porn star, ice cream man or air conditioner repair man, I guarantee you it was a smash hit. Unless it was good. Here is something that actually looks good, actually is good, got great reviews, is a little something different but by no means uncommercial or over most people’s heads… and it’s an unprecedented flop. It’s so fuckin weird. And you can’t even pin this one on the Bush administration.
I don’t think it can be explained with some marketing bullshit like “polls show that consumers avoid awesome movies, they prefer GHOST RIDER” or “there is no time in modern American life for a double feature, Americans want to check their phone messages every two minutes then download clips off of youtube and try out their new ringtones and watch the first 12 minutes of LOST in fast speed on Tivo then text message somebody then go for half of a coffee then watch the rest of LOST then go for the other half of the coffee then forget where they were going and go to the store and buy a new cell phone then remember that they have to check the messages on their other cell phone then go to bed.”
No, this is something deeper, something mysterious, something X-Files. Man is abandoning his own interests (the pursuit of awesomeness) to wander off into oblivion. It reminds me of something else going on in the world, something I am much more concerned about. I’m talking about what’s going on with the honey bees.
We’ve had alot of crazy, apocalyptic shit goin down these last handful of years, ranging from a diaper wearing astronaut assault to game show contestants winning Oscars. But the spookiest, most ominous thing I’ve heard about lately is what’s going on with the bees. Have you heard about this? I’m not joking. Starting in the U.S., and now spreading across Europe, worker bees have started abandoning their hives. Nobody knows why. They just don’t return, leaving only the queen bee and the babies and the whole place goes to shit. Are the bees getting lost? Are they turning into beatniks, saying “fuck this worker drone shit” and hitting the road? Are they dying of some disease? We don’t know.
There are alot of guesses as to what could be causing it. Global warming, obviously. Some sort of parasitic mites. Pollinating genetically modified plants – but since it’s happening in the UK now, where genetically modified foods are banned, that might be crossed off the list. One group of scientists now is thinking it might be cell phones. They put cell phones near hives and found that the bees don’t come back. They think maybe the phones and other types of radiation are fucking up their navigation so the bees get lost.
The creepiest part is that bugs and animals that normally eat honey from dying hives – your Winnie the Poohs and what not – according to an article I read they “won’t go near” these abandoned hives. Like maybe they know something about the honey that we don’t.
I thought maybe it had something to do with Candyman, but this was not mentioned in the article.
Now look, nobody’s really sure what’s going on here, and I’m no scientist, maybe the problem is being exaggerated. I wouldn’t know. If it is real, nobody likes bees, except for those weirdos with the bee beards. I’m not gonna miss the little bastards if they don’t stop by my picnic anymore. But bees serve a pretty god damn important purpose in the world, they spread the pollen around. Apparently if all the honey bees died there would still be other types of bees and insects that would pollinate our crops, but honey bees are used commercially because they’re stand up bugs, the best bugs for the job. So there would definitely be some problems. I don’t care how many illegal immigrants you sneak in here, you are not gonna be able to find a work force to spread the pollen like the honey bees do. For hundreds of years they have pollinated our crops and made our honey, and never complained. Those are the real heroes right there, the honey bees.
Let’s say it really is cell phones. How would you feel about that? Would you feel that the text messages you’ve sent have been worth it? Imagine we learn conclusively that the bees are dying off because of cell phones, and the only way to save them is to stop using cell phones. What do you think would happen? Would people stop using them?
I honestly don’t think they would. Shit, they’d probaly start using them more, just to show off that they don’t give a fuck. Why must everything be so politically correct? Who needs pollen. Fuck pollen. I gotta take a picture of my friends at the club and send it to my friends after they get home from the club so they can see the picture I took of them at the club. And they can use it as their wallpaper if they want to. It’s a really cute picture.
If bees were an endangered species, Paris Hilton would carry a jar of bees around with her. She’d probaly purposely get stung, her face would be all swelled up and it’s cool because she killed one of the last remaining bees in order to do that. Poor people can’t kill bees. And rappers will start doing it too. They’ll have special jewel encrusted bee jars with their initials in diamonds. And a little spout so you can just hold it up to your face and shake it around and the bee will get pissed off and sting you. You gotta understand, they grew up in the projects, they couldn’t afford to be stung by a bee. So now that they got money they want to be stung by a bee. To show how far they’ve come. L’il Jon will have a bee beard and carry a jeweled honey jug with a leak in it so he can carelessly leave a trail wherever he goes. Maybe Leon Del Caprio and Alec Baldwin will say something about the bees but everybody will make fun of them and call them hypocrites because one time somebody saw Al Gore eating an organic animal cracker that was sweetened with honey.
I’m just kidding about G-HOUSE. I mean, I really am surprised by all the crap that is more popular than things that I would think people would share my enthusiasm for. I am feeling more and more alienated from the American public. But oh well, that happens when you’re a lone wolf with high cultural standards in the form of a Vow of Excellence. I’ll live. This bee thing though, this really creeps me out. It’s unnatural. I’d like to live in a world where we don’t have to figure out some new artificial way to spread pollen. And I’d like to live in a society that I really believe would give up those Bluetooths if that’s what it took to have plants on earth. But I’m not sure we’re there yet.
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.