So once again we have survived.

Setup

tn_setupBruceFrom the director that brought you BEATDOWN and the letters that brought you STEP UP comes SETUP, Bruce Willis’s first DTV action movie. (I’m not gonna count ASSASSINATION OF A HIGH SCHOOL PRESIDENT). So I raise a glass to you, Bruce, on this historic occasion. They might’ve meant it to be a theatrical release, but if so they should’ve told that to the guy writing the script (Mike Behrman, GHOST RIDER: INSIDE THE ACTION). Doesn’t seem like he was expecting that level of scrutiny.

The movie starts out with 50 Cent, Ryan Phillippe and some guy hanging out together. I will not give away which of these three actors gets shot during a diamond heist. Okay, it’s the third guy. And then 50 keeps talking about how sad it is his friend died and I can’t even remember what the guy looked like. He’s like the missing dude in THE HANGOVER.

mp_setupAnyway these three are old friends, they hang out on a roof together, this is where I go to think, you can see the whole city from here, etc. Then they go do the heist but one of them (SPOILER: Phillippe) shoots the other two and takes the loot. In other words he set them up. It was a SETUP! Or even a SET UP depending on your interpretation of the coloration of the letters on the logo, whether it represents two separate words or just an emphasis of certain letters in one compound word.

So the movie is about 50 going after Phillippe to get revenge. He doesn’t know where he is so he robs a mob poker game to get the attention of the underworld. They’re like Are you crazy, do you know whose money this is, etc.? and he says something like “Tell him an old friend is looking for him!” He’s bold, he’s confident… he’s fucking stupid, this money belongs to Bruce Willis who has nothing to fucking do with Ryan Phillippe. So if you as a crime outsider thought that sounded like a terrible plan for going after the guy then yes, you were correct. Beginner’s luck maybe but good guess everybody.

So mob boss Bruce should probly have some guys break all of 50’s fingers and toes while making him watch them melt down all his jewelry and remold it into the shape of a giant crossed out dollar sign or two guys holding hands or whatever would upset 50 the most. Instead he’s charitable, he sends 50 on a mission to retrieve $2 million that some Russians are about to dig up from a graveyard. If he brings back the money he’s free and clear. Good deal, he gets to live, although he’ll be no closer to getting revenge on his white friend from high school because, I cannot stress this enough, he had just a really, really terrible plan that has completely sidetracked him. He’s lucky it’s even turned out as well as it has. Then things go wrong between the graveyard and Bruce so now he has even more shit to dig his way out of.

Obviously I rented this for Bruce, and I’m happy to say that as far as his supporting player roles go this isn’t bad. Since he’s playing a crime boss it’s fair to expect Cold Bruce, the Bruce we usually see these days where he doesn’t talk much, mostly grimaces and stares people down. He’s great at it but it’s kind of a waste of his charisma that he used to be known for. To my surprise though it’s Wiseass Bruce that we get here. Not full on David Addison mode – there’s no sunglasses or singing of oldies – but he laughs and jokes around while dunking a guy in a tank of water to get information. There’s a pretty good moment where we hear Bruce’s muffled small talk about sports from the POV of the guy underwater. I mean he’s not the protagonist so he’s not in here enough to make the movie worthwhile but he does a good job, better than expected.

Since I didn’t expect much there I was actually a little more excited about UFC Hall-of-Famer/lightly used Expendable Randy Couture’s name on the credits. He plays Bruce’s henchman. Don’t get excited. He’s kind of funny and gets to inject a little personality, but let’s just say he doesn’t last long. No real action scenes either, if that matters to you.

I actually thought 50 had some appeal in this. Some stiff line deliveries (and check out that thumbnail above – he still can’t act even in a still photo) but I can see how he’s kind of likable when he’s smiling and stuff. It made me understand the 50nomenon a little more, I think. Still don’t understand his mumbly style of rap or his open boasting about being a business man who doesn’t care at all about hip hop as a culture or even as a craft, but I can see some charisma here. A little. And I like that he survives getting shot because the bullet hits one of those blinged out crosses he wears. It actually stays under his shirt the whole movie but I like that they worked that piece of his persona into the story, making it a true 50 Cent vehicle. It’s like in DOUBLE TEAM how Dennis Rodman has a basketball themed parachute or in DISORDERLIES they eat a bunch of cakes.

Even better, I like that the bullet still goes into him – the cross just slows it down, it doesn’t deflect it like in most movies. And who would Fiddy have to remove bullets from him? Why, his tattoo artist, of course.

(And yes, he does give him alcohol and then pulls the slug out and dumps it into a metal container with a dramatic clink. Alot of people don’t know that the dramatic clink is actually the main thing that allows a wound to heal, that’s why they have to do that.)

Weirdly it doesn’t really try that hard to make 50 look tough except in a scene where he goes to visit Phillippe’s dad (James Remar) in prison and tells him “I didn’t come to ask for your help. I came to ask if there’s anything you want me to tell your son before I kill him.” Remar flips out but later gushes to his son about how 50 looked him in the eye when he said that.

So I liked that, but now I’m about all out of nice things to say, because SETUP is a bad movie. I say that as somebody who can appreciate this type of movie. I don’t necessarily mind that it’s not original at all, but the execution has to be better than this. It doesn’t feel real at all. Putting an ugly tattoo on Ryan Phillipe’s hand and having him sometimes slip into a Channing Tatum “I’m from the streets” accent off and on doesn’t make me believe him as a threat (even if the real Channing Tatum’s wife, the girl from STEP UP part 1, plays his sister). He’s lucky though because all the other criminals are so bad at what they do he’s able to last longer. 50 gets sidetracked with that indirect way of going after him. Then Couture fucks that up by convincing him to “celebrate” between getting the $2 million and delivering it, then fucks around with 50’s friend’s guns and misfires his own head off. Even if he hadn’t had the gun accident I think The Natural would’ve probly met some other unpleasant end. He actually said out loud, “Who’s gonna know I have $2 million in my car?” while leaving it parked at the apartment of some weed dealer he doesn’t even know. It’s almost like the character didn’t want to be in the movie long and was trying to create opportunities to get out of it.

So 50 and Couture’s characters are stupid, but so are these Russians. You’d think it would be hard to steal $2 million from Russian gangsters, but all 50 does is park in plain sight, not even a block’s distance away, and watch them dig up the money. Then he gets out and points guns at them. Doesn’t even have to be sneaky about it. How did they let him get the drop on them? They really had no plan, they thought they could just dig it up and not watch their backs? It boggles the mind.

He does the same thing following the STEP UP girl, just drives right behind her, parks and watches her go into a place, and come back out, and she never spots him. She must have some condition where she can’t see over her shoulder. Or maybe it was supposed to be he’s a ghost and Bruce can talk to him but everybody else that talks to him is also a ghost. I don’t know, but it goes so well you have to wonder why he even waits for her to leave, he probly should’ve just walked in the front door and took a look around while she was there, I’m sure she wouldn’t notice him or would figure he’s supposed to be there.

What 50 should’ve done in my opinion, and hear me out on this, he should’ve brought Bruce the $2 million and said “here is your $2 million, I’m sorry that Randy Couture got shot.” Instead he disappears for a couple days and then comes to Bruce and lies and claims that he didn’t get the money. This is part of his master plan to play Bruce and his gang against Ryan Phillippe, but what I’m saying is that it is not necessary. It’s Ryan Phillippe. I think you can handle him, even if the hand-tattoo is intimidating, and get your share of the diamond money.

Instead 50 plays Bruce and gets away with it because Bruce’s character is just as dumb as everybody else. One mistake he makes is he just lets 50 disappear for like 3 days and thinks “Huh, wonder what happened to my money? Oh well.” Another mistake is that when 50 does show up he believes what he tells him. He’s weirdly trusting and loyal and he will live to regret it. Well, he will regret it.

Even the dead guy’s widow is dumb, she doesn’t slap 50 at the funeral when he says “I’ll make it better.” She should know that means “I’ll give you a bunch of stolen mob money which is of equal value to the life of your husband.” This creepily detached materialism also fits the 50 Cent persona, but I’m not sure that was a conscious artistic choice. It’s supposed to be normal I think.

Movies have a way of making you root for someone who in reality wouldn’t deserve your support. We root for bank robbers all the time. Just recently I rooted for the driver in DRIVE even though he’s a total psychopath. So it’s embarrassing for this movie to let me turn on the protagonist. By the end I disagreed with what he was doing. Sure, kill Phillippe, get back your money from the diamond heist. I get that. But he drags Bruce into it. He lies to Bruce and steals his money. Bruce’s only crime – well, his only crime against 50 – is to trust 50 and be good to his word. He is clearly the more honorable of the two crooks, and of course the most likable, but you’re supposed to be okay with him getting fucked over by this asshole.

I want to like scenes with Bruce making conversation about random things like his prayer habits or his feelings about the death of newspapers, but when you drop one of those into such a lazy, amateur hour crime story it doesn’t have much power. I already don’t believe in the characters or the situations, so why am I gonna give a shit what one character has to say about his ritual of reading the box scores with breakfast? It seems at best self-conscious, at worst pathetically fake Tarantino.

So the battle was probly lost from the script stage, but some of the crappier elements of the movie reek of postproduction producer suggestions. There’s alot of awkward first person narration, like a scene where he watches Randy Couture’s dead body get ground into hamburger while explaining to us that it made him think about such and such. It’s all supposed to bring the story together but mostly seems useless. Filmatically the movie is pretty restrained, not a bunch of Avid farts or anything, but there are some annoying digital zoom-ins, a dead giveaway that somebody in the editing room felt the movie was boring as shit and that nothing they’d actually shot was gonna change that but hey maybe the idiots who would watch this garbage would be hypnotized by me pushing this button here that makes it zoom in. Let’s try that.

But way worse than that is the freeze frames and text as each of the characters is introduced, with generic terms like “THE MOB BOSS” or “THE MUSCLE” or whatever. You see, it’s playing with archetypes. It seems like these are just empty cliche characters without much substance or personality, but that’s because it’s a tribute to the literary tradition of the– you know, it’s like the, I don’t know. Film noir or– you know… what’s that, ‘meta,’ do they say? You know what I’m saying.

In every single case I pictured the movie without those titles, with just the characters showing up and you gotta figure out from their conversations who they are, like in a movie. In every single case it would clearly work better that way. Man, you guys gotta stop doing that. I don’t know what makes you think that’s gonna add style to your movie.

Not that it was gonna work without that shit though. I’m just guessing here but this seems like 50 Cent (who is one of the producers) came up with the basic idea of it and the screenwriter had to halfway flesh it out and everybody was more like “Is this what you want, 50?” and trying to make him happy than trying to figure out the actual good  way to make it into a professional movie for people to watch. So competence and paychecks are about all anybody’s getting out of this, except for Bruce. He does pretty good, so good job Bruce.

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 Thursday, September 29th, 2011 at 11:43 pm and is filed under Action, Bruce, Crime, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

59 Responses to “Setup”

  1. I couldn’t even get past the 2nd paragraph without getting pissed off at the lack of trigger discipline displayed on that poster. I expect that from Fiddy, but c’mon, Phillippe!
    Sorry, carry on.

  2. remember when 50 Cent was a rapper?

    what’s up with every single rapper eventually getting bored and trying their hand at acting?

  3. One of my best snarling verses was directed at Fiddy:

    Here’s a little clue for you,
    a shout out to all my P.I.M.P’s
    what’s the average age of a prostitute,
    in NYC?

    Fifteen.

    So why would you brag about being a child rapist?
    Fuckin’ little children in their prepubescent anus
    It’s heinous, you’re shameless
    and morally aimless
    I’d recommend a bullet to the head,
    but you’re already brainless

    yeah, you’re a fuckin’ idiot
    I’m sick of it, get rid of it
    your flow is illegitimate
    our art form comes from beatniks and dissonants
    but all I hear from you is,
    “Like this? Like this? Like this? Like this?”

    Man, I hate club bangers,
    begging for sexual favors
    from complete strangers
    a fun Saturday night
    but six months later
    end up with fucked up abortions
    with bent coat hangers

    see all ya’ll players is really just haters
    of women and children
    and decent human behaviors

    and me? I’m not a (w)rapper, I’m what’s inside
    I draw strength from the places you put shit to hide

  4. I know those syllable counts don’t make sense on paper, but I can actually rap that pretty well.

  5. did you make those lyrics yourself? I’m impressed

  6. About 10 years ago, 50 spat these [approximate] lyrics :

    “Man, I done bought all these pistols /
    Let’s get it poppin /
    {unintelligible} wavin my {unintelligible} and shell cases get to droppin /
    Death is round the corner /
    I got too much pride to hide /
    I’m outside, /
    Gun in my pocket /
    You stuntin, I’ll stop it /
    I’m dyin to pop it /
    I’m young and I’m restless…”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wKYRzv713Y

    ^Those^ are probably the weakest lyrics from one of my favorite G-Unit tracks (Lloyd hits hard, then Tony Yayo’s embodiment of crack/cocaine in the middle verse is phenomenal, and I like 50’s last few lines.), “Catch Me In The Hood,” which I guess got co-opted by 8 MILE soundtrack, but those lyrics display how much 50 doesn’t give a fuck when it comes to planning & executing his crimes, as Vern repeatedly notes in this review for SETUP.

    Vern writes: ** . . . all 50 does is park in plain sight, not even a block’s distance away, and watch [the stupid Russians] dig up the money. Then he gets out and points guns at them. Doesn’t even have to be sneaky about it. How did they let him get the drop on them?**
    That’s what 50 does. Look at those lyrics – “I got too much pride to hide.” His idea of stealth, based on other raps, is wearing a ski mask, but then he’d probably forget to wear long sleeves to cover his many easily identifiable tats.

    And then Vern writes: **”. . .you have to wonder why he even waits for her to leave, he probly should’ve just walked in the front door and. . .”**
    See, this confuses me, as it clearly represents a departure from 50’s old g’d up ways. He raps all the time about “running up on” people and the price difference between the gangster services of a drive-by ($5,000) versus a home invasion ($10,000), and how they’ll even shoot up your momma’s crib for no extra charge. In this movie, apparently he’s matured past all that. 50 has either learned the virtue of patience or he’s subdued his innate bloodlust.

    I can’t find it, but I know 50 Cent had a song from like 10 years ago where either he or Lloyd Banks goes,
    “Didn’t think n*ggas would really run up in your house, /
    Hogtyin’ your motherfuckin’ kids and your spouse. . .”
    So, again, I can’t explain why he lets this STEP UP girl off so easy in SETUP. It seems Curtis Jackson is going softer as the years pass, due to character arc, maturity, redemption, Dorothy taught him he had a heart all along, etc..

    In conclusion, here is a tragically slept-on song, or verse at least, from Obie Trice’s Cheers album, where Eminem is so superior to his co-rappers it’s staggering (Start at 2:35) : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVtqT7wjpYI

  7. Wow…those were real lyrics in a commercially released song? Seriously? Where’s the consonance? Assonance? Internal rhyme? Seriously? He’s just doing masculine (one syllable) rhymes the whole time? Fuckin’ A. I only do spoken word, but I am literally a better rapper than Fiddy.

    Got no depth perception cause his left eye’s lazy
    still shot more fake gangstas than Martin Scorsese
    Slick like a Ghost, yeah he’s Pat Swayze
    He’s the Great Gatsby but his girlfriend ain’t Daisy

    Smashing in your face cause the motherfucker’s crazy
    Set your laser beam to ‘you don’t even phase me’
    Laying the favorite, yeah, he keeps shit racy
    leave you at the bottom like you’re Peterson, Lacey

    Cause Even though he’s a Yid
    He slang that rock like a Palestinian kid
    And plays punk rock like he’s Nancy and Sid
    So when he totes that glock, yeah you better stay hid
    Cause he don’t take no prisoners
    He’ll slit your wrists open with a pair of sci-su-sors
    he fuck you up and cut you into integers
    slicing on your guts and snipping off your fin-gu-gers


    Cause we push that rock like Sisyphus, Sisyphus, Sisyphus
    And all you bastards bitch and cuss, bitch and cuss, bitch and cuss
    Because you want to get with us, get with us, get with us
    But you just ain’t rich enough, rich enough, rich enough

  8. but just so ya’ll don’t think I’m some wannabe gangsta (if only there were some clever abbreviation for that term that could be used as the first single for a thug rapper, preferably in a video full of yellow hummers…hmm) here’s what I normally do.

    http://www.hitrecord.org/records/477198

  9. Mouth: 50 actually got most of his tattoos removed. It looked painful, too. He had a weird rash all over his arms that he kept rubbing lotion on the whole time I was interviewing him about that cancer movie he was in.

    He is kind of a flake and a pig but he does have some charm in person. And as far as the kind of uplifting shit you might find on Lifetime on a Tuesday night starring Judith Light (I can rhyme, too, fellas) the movie was, you know, it was okay. Mario Van Peebles was good. It seemed to sincerely care about the problems of people who couldn;t afford 14 metric tons of gold jewelry. And 50 really did lose a Christian Bale amount of weight to play the part. He looked like African-American E.T. laying up in bed with his ribs sticking out and shit. So it was clearly about more than money for him on that movie. I don’t know why he never put that much effort into his music, though.

    Speaking of music, Mouth, you probably don’t remember when me and my roommate played you “Funtime,” the finest track off of THE RETURN OF THE BRUNO, do you? You seemed pretty unable in your heroically inebriated state to process the transcendence of Bruce crooning lines like “Got a few jingles janglin’ in my pocket / And I got a couple that don’t make no noise / This time it’s like I fired up a rocket / And the stars above are just a few of my toys / Oh yes, it’s Funtime.”

    All this to say that I might start listening to 50’s music if Bruce suddenly became his Nate Dogg.

  10. Bruce Willis has gone the way of late phase Robert de Niro.

  11. We should probably discuss 50 Cent’s two forays into videogames – the universally panned 50 Cent: Bulletproof (Max Payne-esque urban shoot-em up that I literally couldn’t get 10 minutes into) and the sequel 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand. Wherein he somehow ends up in the middle east and singlehandedly takes down Al Quaeda. It’s a guilty pleasure, and sounds like more fun than this movie!

  12. It seems like 50 Cent is trying to distance himself a little from the gangster image. In August he was in Norway and a hold an free concerts for the survivors of the Norwegian massacre, and even met them after the concert. The best thing was that it was his idea to do it. So he tries to do more good, but I wonder what of his track he played, as I can’t see it’s fitting to rap about gangster shooting each other, and death etc.

    I think musicians have always tried to get into the film business, from Elvis Presley, to Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube, Ice T, Lyle Lovett, Tom Waits, Harry Conick, Jr, Chris Isaak etc.

    Of course actors have always also wanted to be music artist, but almost none of them have done well, Scarlett Johanson, Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thorton, Russel Crowe, Jada Pinkett Smith etc.

  13. “Nice… rhymes.” — Bruce, Die Hard with a Vengeance

    By the way, anyone else think that SETUP poster looks a lot like the COP OUT one? Maybe it’s the font.

  14. I interviewed Ice-T once and asked him why so many rappers eventually gave up music in favor or acting. He said, “Will Smith makes $20 million a movie. You can’t make that kind of paper making records.”

    He also broke down male/female relations using mathematics but my numbers game was not tight enough to follow the algebra my man was dropping.

  15. Tawdry, I hope you looped the NBC “The More You Know” sound in that pimp song.

  16. That ignorant prattle will get you herded like cattle.
    But now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

  17. “Even the dead guy’s widow is dumb, she doesn’t slap 50 at the funeral when he says “I’ll make it better.” She should know that means “I’ll give you a bunch of stolen mob money which is of equal value to the life of your husband.” This creepily detached materialism also fits the 50 Cent persona, but I’m not sure that was a conscious artistic choice. It’s supposed to be normal I think.”
    To be fair though, FAST FIVE did that too, and arguably worse because Dom didn’t even deliver the money in person, just left it there with a “see you soon!” note.

  18. I don’t really know what lyrics are supposed to say;
    This movie sounds shit, and why’d they always waste Philippe?
    “The Lincoln Lawyer” didn’t use him like I thought they must;
    They even cut all the good scenes from “Antitrust”.
    They wanted to cut a good thriller to PG-13.
    Am I the only one who thinks he’s better than we’ve seen?

    As for Bruce, to his fans, his past films make him a hero
    But if he doesn’t watch it, he becomes latter-day De Niro.
    Is it getting to the point where he needs the paycheque
    So much, that he’ll turn out any old dreck?
    Some of his recent work leaves a nasty smell.
    Endless “Die Hard” sequels constitute movie Hell.

    And as for “Fiddy”, all I can say is that it’s nice
    To have someone whose career gives credence to Vanilla Ice.
    If I had the choice of rappers I’d go with Ice-T
    (His stint in “Law and Order” was pretty good for me).
    Now don’t get me wrong, Ice Cube can do some things
    But I barely remember the dude from “Three Kings”.

    This is Zombie Paul, and this is my rap.
    It’s not very good, but at least it mostly rhymes. Sorta. Crap.

    **Bows**

  19. Dammit DocZ, I didn’t realise anybody else had made that De Niro comparison. You have spoilt the impact of my beautiful rap!

  20. It’s okay, Paul. I just imagined you rhyming like The Streets and it all made sense.

  21. Mr. Majestyk – Spot on analysis by the Drink Beverage, funny too since I think he’s actually a pretty solid actor. Too bad that his acting career basically consists of NEW JACK CITY and LAW & ORDER: THE RAPE SHOW*, and I might to blame Hollywood for not having the imagination to work him beyond the crime/cop parts.

    Of course what’s wrong with rappers doing acting jobs? There was a time when major music stars, the rare exceptions were those who didn’t do movies or parts or something. Hell thats why in the most random 007 stunt casting until Wayne Newton many years later, you had fucking Jimmy Dean in DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER. (Except to be fair, Newton works on a poor man’s William Shatner level of camp charisma. Also available for bookings as MC for underground Las Vegas fight tournaments.)

    That said, 50 Cent can’t act. That we know.

    *=Yeah and that other show too.

  22. BTW, what was that (awful) micro-budget DTV actioneers where Ice T tried to blow up the world with a Stealth fighter (with WWF’s Zeus as his partner)? Two things about that turkey I remember:

    (1) That “stealth” plane is shown once on the ground (not counting reels of stock footage) and its a giant mock-up made out of cardboard.

    (2) The other villain William Sadler, plays a Navy Colonel. You should know what’s wrong with that sentence.

    (on the plus sign, Ernie Hudson is the U.S. Presidnet. Why plus? I don’t know.)

  23. I hate to be the one who says this Vern, cause I love your reviews and regularly visit the site before deciding what direct to DVD to take a chance on… but it’s PROBABLY, not “probly”. For a long time I have thought someone else is going to bring it up so I don’t have to be the grammar nazi, but alas. Good review though.

    RRA, the movie you are thinking of is, funnily enough, called “Steath Fighter”.

    And Ernie Hudson is always a plus. See him in the turkey “Operation Delta Force” with Jeff Fahey as another example.

  24. Sounds to me like someone’s dictionary hasn’t been correctly corrected. You better get on that RT.

  25. RT:

    it’s intentional, dude. Just like how Vern always puts ,”*SPOILER*” after the spoiler, or how he adds, “In my opinion” to clearly factual statements. It’s a literary device. Did you also get pissed off by all the ‘typos’ in Huckleberry Finn? I mean, Vern calls it a Websight, fer crissakes! (see, I just employed the same vernacular tool).

    If you wanna be a grammar Nazi, you might wanna check your usage of hyphens in phrases like, “Direct to DVD”. Also, your use of ellipses is technically inaccurate. And you should have capitalized the next word.

    Furthermore, it is incorrect to use all capitals for words that are not acronyms. Instead, you should use a comma followed by quotation marks and capitalize the first word of the quoted portion. If the quote represents the end of your sentence, then the period should go outside of the quotation marks. If it is not the end of a sentence but the quoted portion represents a complete thought, then you should add a comma inside of the quotes. Though, I’m not 100% on that one because the AP Style Guide says different things in different editions.

    Also, also, there are several things wrong with the following sentence: “For a long time I have thought someone else is going to bring it up so I don’t have to be the grammar nazi, but alas.”

    Your use of, “Is” confuses the tense and your repetition of the phrase, “Grammar Nazi” is aesthetically unpleasing. Oh, and Nazi should be capitalized.

    Finally, you weren’t being a grammar Nazi at all, as your complaint was actually about spelling.

  26. For the record, that entire post was a joke.

  27. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    October 1st, 2011 at 1:22 am

    Wow Tawdry, those lyrics you wrote were easily on the same level as Fifty Cents. No offence.

  28. Wow, some people take grammar and spelling way too seriously. Chill out RT and Tawdry… you are both tools of the highest order, RT for complaining about Vern’s poor spelling and Tawdry for spending way too much time on a failed joke.

  29. Addition: Huckleberry Finn sucks balls (as do the Tom Sawyer series)

  30. Well, yeah. I’m fucking around with the form of mainstream hip-hop for shits and giggles. They’re entirely insincere.

    Though, I do think my use of metaphor is more creative and I employed a more developed sense of internal rhythm, consonance, assonance and meter. Also, I didn’t use offensively simplistic and obvious Mother Goose-style rhyme schemes like “poppin/droppin” “pride/hide/outside” “stop it/pop it”.

    Hell, rhyming, ‘pockET’ and ‘stop it’ and the loose, probably unintentional assonance of ‘bought’ and ‘poppin’ are literally the most complex uses of language in the song. Fiddy’s verse is less developed than most freestyles.

    I’m not even saying that I’m very good at writing rap lyrics, I’m just saying that Fiddy is ridiculously horrible at it. It says something about his skill set that I can write something that I legitimately think is at least on par with his work, (which is aided by several highly paid co-writers), in five minutes while I’m bored and waiting in line to buy a hamburger.

    Your comment reminds me of one of my favorite real lyrics that I wrote:

    “We bonded over bondage
    So when she slapped me across the face
    I took it as a back handed compliment
    If she were salt I would rub her on my wounds.”

    Of course, Fiddy is very good at a few things I have no aptitude for whatsoever. He can write a hook. I really suck at that. The best one I’ve got is probably, “It’s the last song of the last show/so, scream like your mouth was filled with Tabasco”. He can write something catchy, which is its’ own form of genius. Writing something ‘witty’ is not as valuable, ultimately. Also, I believe that he is actively involved in developing the sound of his songs, many of which are quite appealing. And he has great delivery. I can stay on beat, or whatever, but he has a great, distinctive voice. I’m not a performer. I’m a behind the scenes guy, if anything.

  31. Tawdry, no probs, champ. I appreciate the attempt at humor.

    As someone who makes a living as a screenwriter I should do better myself. But execs and producers aren’t as discerning as internet folk… thank God.

  32. Oh? You written anything I might have seen?

  33. Jeff:

    Way to negate the premise, man. You were supposed to follow suit by picking apart some of the grammatical errors in my post.

    In conclusion, go watch Blade II again.

  34. RRA- Are you talking about the imaginatively titled STEALTH FIGHTER? Our own Erika Elaniak was in it and SAWPICKET FENCES middle aged women favourite Costas Mandylor was doing his Budget store Stallone schtick. I think I found it kind of enjoyable, but I can’t really remember anything about it.

  35. Gotta admit, that 50 Cent game is quite a guilty treat. You get bonus points for swearing at your enemies after killing them and even get to unlock extra profanities for Fiddy to use as the game goes on.

    Subtle it certainly is not. In fact, it’s so anti-subtle that you can’t help thinking that the developers must have been in on a joke that poor Fiddy wasn’t.

  36. One of the most unrealistic ideas I have ever seen on screen is the notion that Ice-T couldn’t take down a fucking Leprechaun. I can only suspend my disbelief to a certain point.

    Anyone ever notice that Magic Stick and Candy Shop are pretty much the same fucking song?

  37. I don’t have much to say on Rap and Hip Hop, but I would like to express my annoyance at a formula that seems more noticeable in recent years which I call Rhyming By Reference, in which the second line of a rhyming set is structured “[Pop culture reference or quote, which doesn’t rhyme with the previous line]+[Explicit naming of the origin of said quote or reference, which does rhyme]”.
    Examples being Drake in the song “Bedrock”
    “I Love your sushi rolls
    hotter then wasabi
    i race for your love
    shake-n-bake (ricky bobby)”
    And more recently incessantly by british artist Dappy in his recent release “No Regrets”:
    “I messed my life up, yeah I’ve been down,
    I’m a changed man now… Chris Brown,”

    “No point in turning back, just to hit rewind,
    Back To The Future.. Ma.. Marty McFly,”

    “I came from nothing… Some kid in Camden,
    Now I’m flying with the birds.. Richard Branson,”

    “So please forgive me.. If I make mistakes,
    But I’ll blow the bloody doors off… Michael Caine”

    Dubious rhyming aside, that’s just fucking lazy.

  38. Jay-Z does that sometimes, Stu, but not in such a lazy way. Take his “Excuse Me Miss 2” from Blueprint 2:

    ** This ain’t Chris Rock, bitch, /
    It’s the Roc, bitch /
    And I’m The Franchise like a Houston Rocket /
    Nah mean? **

    If you’re not familiar with the lingo (and I don’t expect a UK citizen to know about NBA nicknames), Steve Francis was a great basketball player, and his nickname was “Stevie Franchise” aka “The Franchise.” He was a little bit hip-hoppish in how he carried himself and acted angry at the world, he came from a junior college to lead University of Maryland to a bunch of wins in a very tough conference (like a rapper moving from success on the streets to the big time business of music), and he dunked a lot for a point guard.

    And at the time of the song’s release in 2002, Steve Francis played for the Houston Rockets, so that explains that line in the song. And I like how Jay-Z shows some commitment to matching a name-drop (Chris Rock) with another name-drop (Franchise), b/c if it was just one name-drop it would seem weak, while together there appears to be a theme. It’s stronger that way.

    Then he ends the verse with a yelp of “Nah mean?!” This could also be transcribed as “Nawimean?” which is also short for “Know what I mean?” Makes sense and it rhymes. Great.

    But where it really starts to get brilliant is when you consider that that last 2-syllable shout is also a reference to another player on the Houston Rockets, even though with this interpretation it perfectly embodies what you, Stu, were just complaining about.

    Alternate interpretation:

    ** This ain’t Chris Rock, bitch, /
    It’s the ROC bitch /
    And I’m The Franchise like a Houston Rocket /
    Yao Ming! **

    He yells “Yao Ming!” for no reason except to refer back to his “like a Houston Rocket,” like all the examples you listed, but in this case the “Yao Ming” line also substantiates his theme of name-dropping with a purpose & with internal coherence, while it further reveals what he’s talking about with the “The Franchise” line, and on top of all that it could all easily be double-meta-interpreted, as both “nah mean?” and “Yao Ming” at the same time, thus making listeners feel double-triple smart when they think about all the many meanings.

    That’s a lot of shit going on in 12 and a half syllables! That’s not lazy.

  39. I also like how Lil Wayne occasionally tweaks the laziness Stu wrote about, like when he raps,

    “Too many Urkells on your team, /
    That’s why your wins low.”

    or

    “Too many Urkells on your team,
    That’s why you’re Winslow.”

    (Interpretation: Your team has a roster of unathletic nerds, so you always lose.”
    or
    “You are a fatass who lets nerds into your home too often.” Or something like that.)

    Not really the same thing, but it’s really fucking clever to me, using proper nouns & names for a purpose other than just lazy rhyming or name-dropping.

  40. The phrase you guys are looking for is malapropism or eggcorn. They are two of my favorite things, ever.

  41. My best use of those was:

    We met during senior year
    And shared a brief love affair
    Between winter and spring quarters
    Which is to say that all that occurred
    Was, inter — course

    None of it mattered of course
    She was a zero sum dame
    And frankly I was the same
    So we can share in the blame
    For a fling instigated by a pair of Exes

    Like we were drunk on Mexican beer.

    A dose of Equus, We were blind
    As I stood nude on the stage of her bedroom
    And since that’s a play about horses,
    I could make a play about being hung like a horse is
    But I won’t.

  42. Yes, those were clever enough examples (Jay-Z’s moreso, as Wayne’s was just a pun, but at least it flowed from the rest) to not be quite what I was referring to.

  43. That’s a Kayne lyric btw, not weezy. It’s from Can We Get Much Higher.

  44. Oh yeah, what the fuck is wrong with me?

  45. Yeezy/Weezy, my mind’s eye needs bifocals or something.

  46. Like my favorite Lupe Fiasco lyric.

    “I’m tryin’ to stop lyin’ like I’m Mum-Rah
    But I’m not lying when I’m laying on the beat.
    En Garde”

  47. Majestyk – well I’m Welsh (or at least live in Wales) so you are better to be imagining me rapping like my esteemed countryman, Tom Jones. A noted rapper, if every there was one.

    (Note: we are not ALL that orange. That is a serious case of fake tan abuse.)

  48. I never got the Kanye lyric. Who is Winslow?

  49. The cop from DIE HARD.

  50. The family in FAMILY MATTERS were the Winslows.

  51. “I’m tryin’ to stop lyin’ like I’m Mum-Rah
    But I’m not lying when I’m laying on the beat.
    En Garde”
    I don’t get that one. What’s En Garde got to do with Mum-Rah? Other than the fact Liono used a sword?

  52. Ok, so the “En Garde” is just to because I’m sure he couldn’t walk away from the Lyin/Mum-Rah bit, which is golden.

  53. Jareth Cutestory

    October 1st, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    One line that always bothered me:

    “So while you’re imitating Al Capone
    I’ll be Nina Simone
    And defacating on your microphone.”

    That’s simply no way to compare yourself to one of the classiest singers of the 20th century. Did Lauryn Hill think that using four syllables would dignify the bizarre ugliness of that phrase? Or is she mistaking Nina Simone for … some bizarre woman who righteously shits on microphones? Maybe she just didn’t know what “defecating” means.

    Too bad. I like that song.

  54. oh it wasn’t that bad. what did you expect? transformers 3?

  55. PacmanFever – Yup. And I might have to agree with you: It was an incompetently-made picture, but I didn’t hate it. More like the Ed Wood school of Bad Movies, where you laugh and giggle at shit the movie didn’t intend.

    Sometimes you can enjoy a “bad” movie.

    (on the otherhand, I can’t say I’ve ever done that for a Bay film. And he’s got the GDP of a small nation behind him. I can cut slack for shoebox-budget pictures, even if I have to point out the obvious. I can’t help it.)

    Come to think of it, IMDB says that STEALTH FIGHTER re-used submarine sets from DOWN PERISCOPE for the sub scenes. And that’s your random Movie Fact of the Day.

  56. Jareth – That line always gets me too! In my original manuscript of Yippee Ky Yay Moviegoer, before I had to cut it down to a reasonable length, I had the Dave Chappelle’s Block Party review mainly so I could include a long footnote about that lyric and why I felt that Nina Simone would not defecate on anybody’s microphone. But I agree, great song (and the line sounds cool if you don’t take it literally like we do).

  57. Jareth Cutestory

    October 2nd, 2011 at 9:17 am

    Thankfully we’ll always have the tour de force of “Fugee-La,” which, last time I listened, was free of all references to Lauryn Hill’s defecation habits.

    I suspect it’s actually a small cadre of singers who would engage in microphone defecation. Iggy Pop on a bad day, maybe. Or Rat Scabies from the Damned. But I’m just basing that on his name. Maybe Mr. Scabies frowns on that sort of thing.

  58. Never heard of this movie, but I just found out Samuel Jackson has a DTV movie coming out too called ARENA

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWSjYkyJ8bY

    Futuristic Undisputed? Not too bad. But where was Marsellus Wallace that Jules had to go and take his place in the world of DTV?

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