I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Bronson

tn_bronsonBRONSON is pretty entertaining. Tom Hardy, some British actor who’s apparently substituting Treat Williams style as Mad Max in FURY ROAD, worked out and scaried up to play some real life dude they tell us is famous as “Britain’s most violent prisoner.” His real name is Michael something but he calls himself “Charlie Bronson.” He does have a mustache, but it’s a twirly circus strongman type deal and with a bald head, it’s not a Bronson vibe at all.

Hardy seems a little self-conscious at times, but then so does the character. The important thing is that he throws his full weight into the craziness, spending a good deal of the movie naked, smeared in paint, getting in knock down fights with the screws, yelling that everybody’s a bunch of cunts. One of his main hobbies is taking hostages, even though it never seems to get him anywhere. I like when the warden asks him what he wants and he thinks about it for a second and asks, “Well, what’ve you got?” Usually his only demand is a disgusted “Fuck off,” which is too bad because I read that the real guy likes to make demands like an inflatable doll, a helicopter and a cup of beans.

mp_bronsonThey do try to play him for laughs, like in the (completely made up I guess) section where he gets out and tries to fit into society. They have a long scene of him in an uncomfortable suit trying to smile and be polite while awkwardly drinking a giant, fancy cocktail covered in umbrellas and shit. Director Nicolas Winding Refn, who did those PUSHER movies, gets a pretty good look going, very carefully designed and staged.

I guess my favorite part is when he’s in an asylum drugged up and it takes him forever to do regular physical activities. In one scene he spends minutes trying to spit at a guy, in another he slooooooowly walks across a gym floor while the other inmates dance goofily around him. They all look like zombies, but especially him.

I’m not familiar with Refn’s other movies. From this one it seems like he has chops, but like with Hardy there were times when it kept nagging me that the guy’s putting on a pose, playing dressup. Both of them mostly pull it off, there are just little moments here and there. The constant use of classical and choral music struck me as a little pretentious, made me think of that nut that did AMERICAN HISTORY X and then dressed up as Osama bin Laden in Marlon Brando’s acting class. But I guess it’s kind of a cliche to use that kind of music for an insane asylum, so maybe he’s not really trying to be arty. Anyway, it was a good move because it tricked all the critics into saying it’s like A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. I checked a couple reviews just now and was amazed that they didn’t mention a way more obvious comparison: fucking CHOPPER. Maybe that movie’s not as well known as I thought it was.

mp_chopperI enjoyed BRONSON enough, but I can’t avoid comparing it to CHOPPER. It’s not the exact same story, but it’s the same damn recipe: heavily buzzed film festival favorite where previously obscure actor completely physically transforms himself and gives balls-to-the-wall performance in a fictionalized, meandering first-person-narrated portrait of a real life repeat offender criminal who spends most of his life in prison and becomes a celebrity for his insane, violent exploits and unrepentant bravado, starts career as writer/artist, seems to think he’s sticking it to the man. And just by definition that means they end up having a bunch of similar content: attacking somebody to try to get transferred, getting chewed out by the warden, spinning headline montages, smiling crazily into the camera, playful filmatistic gimmicks to try to make a bunch of scenes of standing around in prison cells less boring.

That’s fine, but the problem is that I think CHOPPER’s alot better. Both live or die on how interesting the title character is, and to me movie Chopper is way more interesting than movie Bronson. See, Bronson’s real in-your-face about how crazy he thinks he is, how evil. He’s so proud of himself, so cocky, like a baby who just shat his diaper and thinks it’s hilarious. He even appears on a stage as if he’s hosting the movie, sometimes wearing clown makeup (craaaazy!) and he actually cackles.

Chopper probly wants attention just as badly, but his method of intimidation is more original. He’s a maniac too (the man has somebody cut off both his ears, for example) but he’s funny. He makes you laugh and feel bad for doing it. He threatens you by being overly friendly, making small talk and jokes. He’s a master at the fine art of avoiding the elephant in the room, and he is the elephant, and that’s the whole problem is that he’s in the room with you. He’s way scarier, and yet way more likable than Bronson.

Chopper also has more facets to him. He has remorse. He stabs people and then feels bad about it, apologizes and stays to comfort them while help is on the way. And he has his hobby of killing criminals and pretending he’s on some vigilante mission of justice, using that bullshit excuse to play the cops like a fiddle. He outsmarts everyone. Yeah, he’s cocky too, but he earns it more.

Nothing against the real guy, but in the movie Bronson doesn’t seem to have as much depth. He’s a tough bastard, but that’s about it. He does some funny crazy shit sometimes (like paint on an art agent) but he’s basically stupid, just a brat kid in an adult body, throwing a fit at everyone and everything. He’s G.G. Allin without the music career. When he gets locked up after 69 days of freedom he says he’s “building an empire,” and I actually found myself siding with the uptight warden who bluntly says, “You’re ridiculous.” And you might be supposed to agree there, and also when the guy calls him “pathetic.” But I don’t know man, earlier in the movie it really seems like you’re supposed to think he’s alot cooler than I did. And at the end you see how his life gets worse and worse from all his lashing out, but it’s like yeah, no shit. You learn that around the same time as toilet training, usually.

I guess the movie just doesn’t communicate to me what’s supposed to be special about this guy. He punched more people than anybody else in British prisons? Put him in the Guinness Book, but I don’t know about a whole movie. Maybe start with a Christmas special. The Peanuts always worked better in short specials than as movies, so that might be the same with Bronson.

But maybe I’m extra harsh on this guy because of his crimes. I don’t care about him stealing money of course, but the sonofabitch stole one of our precious American resources, the very stage name of one of the all time great badass icons. What’s going on over there, fellas? I love you British, you published my books and released the new Seagal movie. But you got this guy trying to steal “Charles Bronson” and that director last year with the nerve to use the name “Steve McQueen.” And I can tell you’re eyeing “Lee Marvin” and “Clint Eastwood.” I can feel it. So let it be known that they’re off limits. Lay off, guys.

As far as the MAD MAX issue – Variety has confirmed that Hardy is cast in FURY ROAD, but didn’t say who he was playing and made a bigger deal about Charlize Theron, which would indicate that he’s in a supporting role. But the Hollywood Reporter reported (from Hollywood) that he was replacing Gibson as Max. Using a combination of IMDb and crude math skills I have figured out that Gibson was 29 when he did BEYOND THUNDERDOME (makes you feel old, huh?) and Hardy is now 32, so the age is about right. Throw a white streak of hair on him I guess.

I don’t think he’s a bad choice but I was hoping if Gibson wouldn’t do it they’d at least replace him with another little known Australian. Or with the actual Charles Bronson (the original one from DEATH WISH), but it’s a little late for that. We’ll see how Hardy turns out. I wish Gibson would come back, but to me George Miller is more important than Gibson and I’m willing to make that sacrifice to see what he has in mind for that world. Hopefully it’ll be worth it.

Anyway, BRONSON’s okay I guess. I wasn’t as into it as I was hoping, but I sort of liked it. They might want to go the HAVOC 2: NORMAL ADOLESCENT BEHAVIOR route and just release it on video as CHOPPER 2. There’s a little bit of bareknuckle boxing so UNDISPUTED 4 would be a possibility too, but I’d rather they save that title for Marko Zaror.

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.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009 at 12:49 pm and is filed under Drama, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

78 Responses to “Bronson”

  1. Two fucking Charles Bronson to choose from and they make a film about the wrong goddamn one! Still I’ve heard good things about this so I guess I’ll check it out when it becomes easy/cheap enough to do so.

  2. Tom Hardy…I totally forgot about him after he played Picard’s clone in Star Trek: Nemesis. And then, all of a sudden, he’s 8 years later the newcomer of the year, thanks to Bronson and RocknRolla.

  3. We’ll stop stealing your action-hero names when you stop remaking our TV shows. Deal?
    Mel Gibson isn’t actually australian, btw. He just grew up there because his dad a won trip to the place on a gameshow. So while an australian would be a better replacement, a brit should work since americans keep getting the accents mixed up anyway.

  4. Oh, and Hardy I think is currently one of the stars of a celebrity-filled Kleenex ad, where he sits on a couch with a bulldog crying at something on the tv.

  5. Vern: those crafty Brits have already been man-handling Clint Eastwood, albeit only in that Gorillaz song. Consider it a test drive.

  6. They stole Terry Gilliam from us already, we can’t lose Clint! Tell you what guys, take Michael Bay from us, he’s the great American auteur, it’ll just take a few more decades for the critical field to catch up. You can get in on this action today and beat the rush to claim him when said re-evaluation takes place.

  7. Brendan: Fuck that! You’ve already got Christopher Nolan from us. And Ridley Scott. Gilliam’s not such a good catch anyway. I saw Doctor Parnassus when it came out over here, and while I liked it overall, it’s a 3.5/5, tops. Also, most of Jackie Chan and John Woo’s best work is technically british, since it was made before Hong Kong was returned to mainland China, so you guys owe us for that too.

  8. Yeah, because Jackie Chan and John Woo flourished so wonderfully on the American shores. Ahem. For the record, I saw Body of Lies, you can have Ridley Scott back.

  9. Brendon-That was kinda my point. I wasn’t saying Jackie Chan being in 3 movies were Christ Tucker spends the runtime making fun of Chinese people is a highlight.

  10. Didn’t see this one, but I think I liked Chopper for a lot of the same reasons you give so I probably wont bother now.

    As you brought up Steve McQueen, I couldn’t recommend Hunger highly enough. Easily the best thing I saw last year and better than any of that other Steve McQueen’s films to boot.

  11. No man, you just don’t understand, Rush Hour is a cry for peace and racial equality. That shit is DEEP. You just can’t appreciate it yet, put take a frying pan to your head six or seven times and Rush Hour’s bold statement comes to light. As does your head blood, but that’s neither here nor there.

  12. Just noticed I typed “Christ” Tucker there, which so not my intention. Not that I wouldn’t watch some of a movie where Tucker gets tortured for 3 hours…

  13. well now i wanna watch Chopper again.
    saw Bronson, liked it. but i was more interested in the character than the film itself.

  14. “He’s G.G. Allin without the music career.”

    He’s also G.G. Allin with a penis. Crude, I know.

  15. I made it two sentences into this review before I wondered “How long before Vern compares this to Chopper?” And you made it all the way to paragraph five. Good job Vern.

    By the way, I gotta say, I really, really, really fucking dislike Chopper. We had it on VHS at the specialty video store I worked at, and after hearing so much from my coworkers about it (they generally had impeccable taste) I watched it. I didn’t like it. Then Vern loved it. So I watched it again. I still don’t like it. I find no charisma or interest in Eric Bana’s Chopper. It feels like a bad European made for TV movie to me. There are a couple oddities about it I like, such as his apologizing profusely to people he stabs or shoots, and of course having another inmate saw off his earlobes. Overall, I just can’t back Chopper.

    I’m sorry Vern. I tried. Twice.

  16. Stu – I thought Gibson’s dad moved them to Australia to avoid the Vietnam war draft?

    As to this UK/USA piss fight, guess what? America, via agents Madonna and Kaballah, destroyed the promising auteur career of Guy Ritchie. So we’re even methinks.

    Unfortunately, his spawn Jason Statham has survived (so far) as a global B-action star. Even Uwe Boll couldn’t kill him off. That transporter is a tough mother, the cockney Chuck Bronson.

    Which is coinciding with those Imperial wankers* trying to co-opt American badass icons. If anything, its kinda cool because it proves once again that America…is rather fucking awesome. UK is cool too, if a mixed bag (progressive on gay rights, regressive on racial tolerance) but hey nobody is perfect. For every DOCTOR WHO win, they give us an Oasis turd.

    *=What? Every guy working for the Empire in STAR WARS is from the Isles or their colonies. Except for good ole America. We’re the mother fuckin’ rebels. Obi-Wan is an exception, and well he’s dead as fried chicken.

  17. I heard a lot of comparisons of this film to CHOPPER, mostly unflattering. I love CHOPPER and I heard that BRONSON was similar except more surreal and self-consciously clever and that the character isn’t as interesting or explored in as much depth. That didn’t sound so great so I skipped it. I’ve got hope for Refn since I really liked PUSHER (I’ve only seen the first one).

  18. Well, I have to disagree with ya Vern. I think Hardy gives everything he’s got in this movie and he becomes Bronson.
    There was not one scene in the movie were I thought it’s just an actor who tries to show off. Like somebody else said, Hardy is the movie.
    For me it’s one of the best performances of the year. Intense and crazy.
    I can see the Chopper comparsion, but I think Bronson goes a really different route and shows you more of the “inside” stuff.
    It goes deeper into the mind of the character then Chopper does. All the theater scenes are a good example, Bronson “lets you in”.
    The whole nurse/Bronson scene is great stuff.
    I like both movies, but Hardy’s performance elevates Bronson a notch higher.

  19. I had the same beef when I saw the trailer. Who the fuck does this guy think he is taking Bronson’s name in vain? That’s my job, dammit! Throw in the fact that I thought Pusher 1 was one of the more boring and pretentious movies I’d seen in a while (I also got the sense that the director was putting on an act) and I had to give it a pass, despite the potential for multiple ass-whuppings.

    I also gotta say, much as this guy is not Bronson, he’s not Gibson either. I want Miller to succeed as much as the next action nerd but if you can’t get Mel, rewrite the movie without Max in it. Obviously I’m on board for car crashes and shoulder pads and etc., but let’s show some respect. If Mel wants to move on, let the character move on with him. No Mel, No Max. That’s my motto.

  20. RRA – I’m surprised you didn’t mention that Statham is actually starring in a remake of Bronson’s THE MECHANIC.

    Travis – I agree that Hardy’s great in it, I just thought at times I could see beyond the character to the actor playing tough, which I can’t say about Bana in CHOPPER. But that’s nitpicking, he obviously did a great job.

    Majestyk – I might feel the same when I see it, I’m not sure. But to me Max is like a spaghetti western character in the sequels anyway. In the first one he has a family and everything but later on he’s more of a blank, a wandering enigma, a man with no name. I don’t think they even call him Max in the third one. And they have Bruce Spence playing different characters. Just think of it as a different actor playing Django, or Lee Van Cleef starring in some movie that could’ve just as easily gone to Clint. It could work. I hope.

  21. RRA: My bad on the Gibson thing. But there were plenty of americans in the Empire. Admiral Piet (dude from ESB who was also the villain in Last Crusade), that guy who mocks the force in A New Hope and gets force choked, and ALL the Stormtroopers we heard speaking were american. Oh, and DARTH VADER. So really, what you mean is that British guys are all the SUPERIORS in the Empire, including the ones over Vader (Tarkin outranked him, not just the Emperor), and all the americans are the grunts who can’t shoot straight and get beaten by Ewoks in battle. And what do you mean regressive on racial tolerance? We didn’t need a civil rights movement to force us to let black people get the vote. And need we remind you that we elected a female head of state decades ago? Admittedly, she was pretty thoroughly hated by all and was the inspiration for V for Vendetta…but dammit, at least we got one in!

  22. Along those same lines, though, could you see someone else stepping in if Sergio Leone had decided to do another Man With No Name movie in the 80s? The fact that Max is basically a cipher makes Mel’s contributions even more significant. Those raging yet soulful eyes ARE the character.

  23. From perusing AICN and here it seems like I’m the only person who is actively glad that Gibson isn’t in Fury Road. Gibson just hasn’t looked the same since the Mad Max movies. I don’t know what it is, he just looks and acts like a totally different guy starting in Lethal Weapon. Tom Hardy actually looks more like Max to me than present-day Gibson does, which is fucking weird.

    Also I’m not opposed to the idea of a 50 year old Max, but if so Max should look like a junkyard dog at that age, and Gibson looks like he’s been living on wine and cheese for the last 20 years. I’d much rather have a hungry new actor in the role over a guy who seems to have no interest in the character anymore. The fact that Gibson didn’t jump at the chance to play Max again makes me really glad he didn’t do it out of some sense of obligation. Nothing worse than an actor reprising one of their most famous roles and then looking tired and distracted the whole time. (Harrison Ford I’m looking at you here, buddy)

    Anyway, I think this will work out fine, but I know I’m alone on that.

  24. Stu – Nah I said that to get a rise out of ya. Nothing personal. After November last year, I’ve had a good time tweaking some Europeans on being a bunch of cracker mother fuckers. I mean those recent elections across the continent don’t exactly kill my hazing. Or the football games.

    Take Switzerland, with apparently the party in power there blaming the North African immigrants for making Switzerland actually sorta interesting for the first time in decades.

    And yeah you’re right about the superior officers. Us dumb Yanks lost both Vietnam and Endor.

  25. It depends on the script. If the scrpt deals with Max entering some kind ‘Unforgiven’ stage of his career then yeah, it needs Gibson or someone of Gibson’s type. But if its just another story, a new mission, then I think they could pull it off without him. At least they’re finally fucking making the thing, and at least it isn’t some prequel bullshit by some Hollywood hack company who just want a vaguely recognizable name to draw in the hordes.

  26. I’m fine if you want to keep bashing the English though, since I’m scottish. I’m very suspicious of the UK media’s portrayal of us. Especially the BBC’s. If you watch Doctor Who, you’ll see a the scottish star having to do an english accent, and most of the scottish characters who’ve appeared on it have been villains or victims. Even the most heroic scottish character on the current version of the show declared himself a traitor to the crown because his wife was being held hostage and he had to go along with a plot to capture Queen Victoria and figured he’d only redeem himself by running into a hopeless fight with a werewolf. And in recent spinoff Torchwood: Children of Earth, a busload of scottish orphans are traded to an alien race and later apparently killed.
    They’re just jealous really. We produced the best Bond and they can’t handle it. That’s it.

  27. Vern, if you like ‘Chopper’ so much, why haven’t you reviewed Dominick’s second film (‘The Assassination of Jesse James’) yet?

  28. Stu – I take it you didn’t receive DOOMSDAY well.

    Anyway, Scotland also gave us Golf, which indirectly also gave us CADDYSHACK. Did the Welch ever do that? Only thing they ever did really was give the world a useless language that needs ten words to say “No.”

    Though to be fair, I’ve laughed more than once at the jokes (from both sides of the ocean) that the recent “Nationalism” movement up there is all because of BRAVEHEART.

    So unfair, yet its funny because you all could like have Euros with Mad Max’s mug. that would be awesome.

  29. The night before we had a referendum on whethere scotland should get it’s own Parliament, there was a bunch of programmes on tv about the issue, rounded off by a showing of…Highlander. And the referendum passed and we got our parliament. I dunno how much that should be credited to a film starring a swiss actor as an american who’s really an ancient scottish warrior mentored by an egyptian with a spanish name, played by a scotsman who didn’t make any effort to cover up his accent…but it would be funny to think some.

  30. Hey the Welck gave us Roald Dahl, and he’s given us a library’s worth of stories to traumatize children in any language (has anyone here ever read his autobiography, Boy? Man, once you’ve read that, you’ll never wonder why he writes the stories he writes and has the opinions he does).

  31. Hey the Welch gave us Roald Dahl, and he’s given us a library’s worth of stories to traumatize children in any language (has anyone here ever read his autobiography, Boy? Man, once you’ve read that, you’ll never wonder why he writes the stories he writes and has the opinions he does).

  32. RRA-did anyone receive Doomsday well?

  33. I did. I love that stupid, derivative movie. Saw it twice the weekend it came out. Maybe that’s what I’ll watch tonight…

  34. Huh. I rented Doomsday on demand and before the movie was even over I had paused it, gone to my bedroom, pulled out Road Warrior and spent the remaining runtime sitting on my couch, waiting for Doomsday to end so I could watch a real movie. This was probably Marshall’s intent. So the movie is a successful failure. It’s the Apollo 13 of genre movies. Congratu-fucking-lations

  35. As above: Gibson as Max only works if Gibson had been knocked about as say, Rourke has been. Dirt and wigs will not do: it’s hard enough to believe Max is still living, still able to walk with the leg wound not acting up every other moment, much less able to drive cars in extreme conditions at that age.

    SirV

  36. Well, Gibson did a good job portraying a half-crazed rageaholic wack job in those movies and its not like he’s anything like tha- oh shit.

  37. Well, I wonder what the story is setting up to be for this fourth film. Every interview Miller’s given has reiterated that they’re still using Brendan McCarthy’s 2000 screenplay, more or less, but even then I’ve never actually heard the particulars of what that screenplay’s story actually was – only that it’s “just like a silent movie,” that it’s “going to be the action movie of the decade,” and so on. So, it’s probably going to run a scant bit longer than the previous three films’ average of 100 minutes, which is interesting, I think. Although, I have to wonder what the reason is for them moving the shooting location back to Broken Hill in lieu of Namibia.

    Personally, I’m just a little bit more interested in his sequel to Happy Feet, but only a little – you’ve got to wonder where he might go with such a thing, given all the opportunities the first film provides. I’m hoping it’s a similar case as with Miller’s other sequels – something that takes the core concept of the previous film or films in an entirely other direction, while still expanding organically on what came before.

    We’ll see, I s’pose.

  38. Well what I think what makes this all the more intriguing then the many other decades later sequels, prequels, reboots, whatever, is that through all the permutations (first it was going to star Gibson, then it was going to be a video game, then an anime, now back to movie but without Gibson) Miller has stood behind the same script for a decade. So clearly there is something to this thing that has him willing to keep pushing for it, across mediums and decades.

    I wish I could dig Happy Feet as much as other people seem to, but it carries way to many of the standard studio animation traits (pop songs, crowbarred in message, Robin Williams) that the well executed chase scenes and occasional deviations from the formula couldn’t add up to a really worthwhile time. Babe 2 was good though.

  39. Sir Vincealot – Thank you dude. Seriously, picture modern-day Gibson in black leather pants and a motorcycle jacket with one sleeve cut off. It’s so ridiculous and sad I don’t even want to think about it.

    Brendan – you’re cracking me the fuck up. Dead on about Doomsday. Ten minutes in and I was fantasizing about watching Road Warrior or Escape From New York. If that’s what Marshall intended then I say a job well done.

  40. Brendan – Alright you win with the Dahl mention.

    (Translated in Welsh with 87 words.)

  41. This made my top 3 of the year. Loved it. There was a point in the film for me where it no longer mattered what the film was about. I just wanted Hardy to keep going.

  42. Bana was my one and only pick to play Mad Max from the moment I heard Miller was taking it up again. I think Hardy will kick ass as Max.

  43. The Welsh gave us Richard Burton, Michael Sheen, Anthony Hopkins and Timothy Dalton. Diolch!

  44. You mean Richard EXORCIST II Burton, Michael TONY BLAIR FOR LIFE Sheen, Anthony WOULD RATHER LIVE IN AWESOME AMERICA THAN BORING WALES Hopkins, and Timothy Dalton…

    Actually, Dalton is awesome. I dare not mock him.

    OK Wales, you fuckers win.

    I guess I have to go mock Northern Ireland now. or Newfoundland.

  45. So Irvine Welsh is a Scottish writer. But his name is Welsh. That’s heavy.

  46. Isn’t Christian LIGHT TRASHER Bale from Wales as well?

  47. Vern, regarding your point about ‘The Man With No Name’, the kids call Max ‘Walker’ in Thunderdome. This is the name of the protaganist of the novel ‘Riddley Walker’, written by Russell Hoban, which was unapologetically ripped off for the film. The book is well worth a read, although it is written from the point of view of a character in a post-apocalyptic England who barely speaks English. The language comes across more like Chaucer than modern prose. The kids in Thunderdome speak in a similar fashion.

    PS In the book the Tina Turner character is called ‘Aunt Titty’, not ‘Auntie Entity’, because she has massive iron tits. Awesome.

  48. ‘Boy’ by Dahl is amazing. I read that fucking book as a kid and it nearly blew my tender little mind.

    Roald Dahl FTW.

  49. Dave – I’d heard the Walker part might be a reference to that book, but I didn’t know it was that similar! I wonder why they didn’t credit it? I’ll have to find a copy.

  50. Brendan –

    I think it’s the message behind the film, the execution of it as well as the particular message itself, that makes the film so unique, apart from it’s formal deviations from studio formula. It’s an extension of the same kind of utopian moral vision that’s found in all of Miller’s films, outside of the first Mad Max and The Witches of Eastwick, really.

  51. Speaking of which, did Vern ever write a formal review for “Happy Feet,” now that I think about it?

    Just out of curiosity.

  52. Yes HAPPY FEET, about Penguins singing and dancing about wanting to fuck.

    Vern’s sort of movie.

  53. Dude you sound like Massawyrm. I’ve seen Happy Feet exactly one time so I have absolutely no idea if what you are saying has any weight, I think I was baby-sitting and besides being vaguely amused by some of the jokes and enjoying the chases and the crazy-trippy scene where they drug the shit out of Frodo I don’t even remember the movie. For me the most worthwhile part of the whole movie was how crazy it made Fox News. That was good times.

  54. “Dude you sound like Massawyrm.”

    Brendan – Say those fighting words to my face. :)

  55. Brendan, you have gone too far. I know with good authority that our friend RRA IS MOST DEFINATLY NOT Massawyrm, or anythign like him. for starters, RRA is smart and with good taste on movies. Secondly, Massa hated Where The Wild Things Are and RRA didn’t. But really, should i say more? comparing RRA to Massa? Absurd!!

  56. Asimov Lives – Easy boy, easy.

    Brendan is cool, he was just fucking around with me.

    Besides, my negative reviews/opinions never encouraged people to go check out said movie. Unlike Massawyrm. :)

    Also dude, is your name conceived before or after you saw I, ROBOT?

  57. After.

  58. Regarding the Pusher series:
    to be honest I wouldn’t bother with parts one and three but you should definitely check out part 2, which I believe is also called “With blood on my hands”

    Dunno why this one is so much better, I think it’s just the central performance from Mads Mikkelson or however he spells his surname

    Outstanding

    First one is just your standard low budget “Oh fuck I’m in trouble” kind of drug dealer movie, lots of running about and advertising style editing

    Third one is boring enough that it made me fall asleep ater 20 minutes and not care to go back

  59. And as far as Fury Road goes, if Gibson can’t star can he at least direct?

    I don’t have much faith in Miller anymore but Gibson is one crazy, violence loving maniac

    Also, anyone know how they get around the ‘no gasoline’ issue?

  60. Let’s be honest – Gibson’s not really much of a director, either. “Apocalypto” was alright, I guess, but when you say he’s “violence-loving,” that’s true in the most literal sense.

  61. Massawyrm’s review of NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN might be one of the funniest pieces of unintentional humor that I’ve ever read. To this day I get a chuckle when I imagine his bewildered, angry face as he left the theater.

  62. Jareth if I hadn’t read the book before hand I probably would’ve agreed with him. The main character just fucking dies off screen, and the rest of the movie is “Hello there paying audience, I’m Tommy Lee Jones and fuck you if you wanted resolution.” Granted, looking back over the film it makes perfect sense, and having seen the movie a bunch of times it’s become the only logical ending, but if I had seen it cold, no book or anything, my kneejerk, walking out of the theater reaction would probably have been “Wow, I can’t believe they screwed up so bad.” So I’ll cut him some slack on that one. His other stuff…yeah not so much.

  63. Brendan: I guess what bothers me most about so much of the response to NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN was this emphatic insistence on the part of so many viewers that the film was required to follow the most conventional possible route to its resolution, as if any other way of telling the story is an elitist betrayal of the audience. A 1960s or 1970s audience would have tried to meet the innovations (modest as they are in this film) half way. But so many viewers just dug in their heels and flaunted their sense of entitlement.

    Now I know from your posts on this site that you’re a reasonable guy who would have thought long and hard about the film; I know you would have figured out what the Coens were trying to do, and that, even if you didn’t like it, you’d get where they where they were coming from and maybe even respect their choices. But guys like Massawyrm just seemed to throw tantrums and hold their ignorance of the rich possibilities of film narrative up like some kind of pride banner.

    Now that I think about it, I really wonder if the innovations in film narrative in the 60s and 70s have been entirely forgotten by mainstream audiences. We have so much media at are disposal at all times of the day. We can study ALPHAVILLE on the subway frame by frame or download Altman’s body of work in a few minutes, yet the vast majority of people seem to take the opportunity afforded by these developments to all watch fucking PAUL BLART MALL COP. I guess this wouldn’t bother me if they didn’t feel compelled to lash out at something that challenges them.

    But hey, like I said, nine times out of ten it’s good for a chuckle. I’m not invested in the Coens enough to go to war for them.

  64. Jareth I completely understand what you’re saying man and I agree. I like to think I would have taken the ride and gone with it, I’ve certainly done it with other movies that went to weird places. But I think there does need to be designation between “Filmmaker playing with storytelling/genre conventions to subvert expectations” and “Filmmaker losing their fool mind.” I don’t think No Country qualifies because, again, all of the ‘tricks’ the Coens used were straight out of the book.

    And if it was just another arty action movie from the 60’s/70’s, we’d be talking about it and measuring it against stuff like Point Break, or French Connection and it would seem a natural fit along that line-up. But part of why I think so many people had trouble swallowing it, is that for the first 3/4 No Country is the best, most effective thriller in years. So when they show their true colors by zagging where others would zig, it’s so much crueler then if the movie had been an ‘art’ movie from the get-go.

  65. Brendan: Vern made a great point in his review of the film:

    “I would bet that some people who didn’t like the way it turned out the first time will later go back to it and, with pre-knowledge of what’s gonna happen, appreciate more how it comes together. The way Llewelyn comes across these dead drug dealers, not ever seeing what happened to them, and later the Sherriff (and the audience) find him the same way. There’s some kind of symmetry to it. It’s not just a random sucker punch. It just seems like one.”

    And Vern also shared your concern about that “perfect” first 3/4 of the film.

    I hadn’t read the book before seeing the film and the narrative structure seemed perfectly realized to me as I watched it. All I knew about the film was that the tone was similar to BLOOD SIMPLE, which probably helped temper my expectations. I don’t actually consider the Coens particularly avant garde, just intelligent and competent.

    Of course, THE LIMITS OF CONTROL was one of the films I enjoyed most this year, so obviously my point of view leans heavily to the artier end of badass.

    I wonder what would happen to Massawyrm’s head if he had to sit through THE LIMITS OF CONTROL?

  66. Who knows? At least the guy is consistent. His opinions may be off, but at least they are HIS opinions and weren’t randomly picked out of hat with each review, which is the vibe I get off a lot of critics. That said, while there are certain reviews that make me want to throw me want to slam my head in a door, he’s nver on the same level of prick as someone like Dave Poland. I hate that guy. Massawyrm is at least hilarious when he’s dead wrong.

  67. I actually thought about copypasting the same passage you did, but I wanted to try and make the point on my own. Clearly I was not successful. *sigh* Jareth why you hurt me so bad?

  68. Brendan: You made the point just fine. I just figured you couldn’t have better backup than Vern.

    I guess I’m being a bit hard on Massawyrm. The guy is consistent, and I suppose trailer parks needs their perspective represented. I wish everyone at aicn would stop pretending to be a journalists, though.

    Man, I don’t even know if we should get into Dave Poland; given Vern’s history, Poland might actually show up if we say his name three times fast. Then we’d have to listen to him bitch and whine about how “inhuman” Eli Roth is.

  69. The thing I thought was funny about the review in question was that he went on and on about the Coens being mean to present it that way and never stopped to ask if it was from the book. I don’t blame anybody for not having read a book before a movie but I know if it had been me I would’ve tried to figure out if it was from the book or at least say “I don’t know how it’s done in the book, but for me this did not work in the movie.” I’m more a fan of his Happy Feet review though which was hysterical and very similar to what Michael Medved and Sean Hannity thought of the movie (though I don’t think Massa brought up “the gay agenda”.)

    He used to work as a barometer for me where I could pretty much assume I’d disagree with him, but I’ve found myself a few times in the last year liking a lowbrow movie that most other people didn’t like. There was DEATH RACE and something else, I forget the other one. So we’re not total opposites.

    I think he already reviewed and loved THE ROAD, that surprised me.

  70. Alright we’ll leave Dcave Pkoland out of it (I misspelled his name so it doesn’t contribute to any accidental summoning that may occur). Back to Massawyrm. You know what bums me out about him is that I think a lot of his points are valid, and even if I think he’s dead wrong, at least it makes me define my own opinions that much clearer. My problem is that he expresses his opinion in the most juvenile, poorly thought out manner possible it sours everything. Like his Disaster Movie review, there wasn’t a thing wrong with anything he said, its just that he decided to compare his reviewing film to “pulping the retared kid. Because he deserves it.”

    Yeah I was just messing with you on the ‘hurt me’ thing, pal. The only person who has ever hurt me is RRA. But he will PAY for what he DID! (DUN DUN DUN).

  71. Vern: as always, you set a good example with your fairness and generosity.

    I guess it bothers me when a guy sharing his view of a film to a large public fails to demonstrate a certain amount of knowledge about the subject at hand. I don’t expect him to appreciate LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD or RASHOMON, but he should at the very least know that they exist and that narrative invention has been a preoccupation of many, many filmmakers. I don’t doubt that the Coens chose this particular novel in part for this reason.

    Maybe if he just acknowledged that NO COUNTRY wasn’t his bag instead of getting all betrayed over it.

    Brendan: That DISASTER MOVIE review was insulting and juvenile. I had forgotten about that one. Not his finest hour. In fact, the whole internet suffered from that one.

  72. Oh yeah, I almost forgot: I predict that everybody is going to like THE ROAD. It’s going to get cast as that one movie that redeems a pretty shitty year in all genres. Sort of like THE ENGLISH PATIENT and FORREST fucking GUMP.

  73. It’s the Kanye West factor: guy fucks up, everyone gets angry and tongue-lashes him, guy turns thoughtful and speaks out, apologizing for his mistakes and then turning around and making another really stupid one.

  74. To bad, Jareth, Devin Faraci already panned The Road. Have you guys seen the new trailer for that movie? It’s replaced the hysterical tragedy that was the overblown disaster footage with the hysterical tragedy that is Merchant-Ivory uplifting violins and whatnot.

  75. A perfect theory foiled again by Devin Faraci.

    I just looked up the trailers you mentioned. Truth is I hadn’t seen either of them.

    They’re really scrambling to sell this film to their preconceived ideas of the niches that comprise the audience, aren’t they. From what I can see, the film has a visual style quite distinct from I AM LEGEND and 2012. It boggles the mind why they decided to market the film in the same way.

    One day they’ve got to just start letting the directors themselves make the trailers. Quit assuming the audience needs this stuff fed to them like pablum.

  76. Its fed to them because….it works.

    I’m reminded of VALKYRIE last year, you know that Tom Cruise Nazi picture. Decent, but anyway.

    First trailer which most people thought sucked, sold it as a drama. Well it certainly was a historical drama. But it didn’t get people’s attention.

    The second trailer played up the movie’s conspiracy/thriller filmatics…and yeah it was a thriller about a real conspiracy. Except that worked, and VALKYRIE surprised quite a few (even me) by actually making a profit in theatres. Shit even that poster looks like something you would expect from a recent heist picture like ITALIAN JOB remake or OCEAN’S 11 or some shit.

    OK not the best example. Look at BLADE RUNNER. Look at the trailers. Sold as an exciting balls-to-the-walls actioneer in the future. When you see it…well…its not really.

  77. I guess my problem with most trailers is that they are so formulaic. They tend to make the movies indistinguishable. For most movies, this wouldn’t be a big problem. But when a unique movie gets hammered into the trailer formular, it seems like a lost opportunity.

    The first teaser for the American version of THE RING just showed footage from the evil video tape. I liked that one. And there’s the famour trailer for TOYS which had Robin Williams pitching the movie to the audience. I’m not a Williams fan (to put it politely), but that was a clever idea for a trailer.

  78. Chopper vs. the Limey. Who wins?

    Trick question.

    The correct answer is Margaret Thatcher.

    Every time I see Eric Bana in anything else, for a moment I think, “Boy, they sure managed to make that dude from Chopper look like a wuss.”

    So. Who out there has the balls to make THE MARGARET THATCHER STORY into the ultimate biopic of a crazed subject of the crown?

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