"I take orders from the Octoboss."

Rush Hour 2

"Victoria Secret, Spring catalog, page 22."
chapter 11: “Victoria Secret, Spring catalog, page 22.”

2001posterreleased August 3rd, 2001

I know, I know. Every motherfucker on the internet is putting up their essays marking the 10th anniversary of Brett Ratner’s RUSH HOUR 2 today. As fascinating a topic as we all know it is, I believe there could be a small chance that one or two of you are probly getting toward the area where pretty soon there is almost really not gonna be that much more to say about RUSH HOUR 2. And I know that for many of us this is a day when we want to be among friends and loved ones, thinking about how much they mean to us, and how much RUSH HOUR 2 means to them. But please, friends – if you have the time, take a few minutes to read my take. It would mean alot to me, just like this movie means alot to each and every one of us as movie fans, as thinkers, as sons and daughters, as mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, citizens, humans, spiritual beings.

Where were you the day RUSH HOUR 2 came out? If you said “in a theater watching RUSH HOUR 2” then we got the same answer. I’m not joking around anymore, that was all fine and dandy for the opening paragraph part, but after you click through to read the rest of the review there’s no fucking around anymore, now we’re into some serious business. So this is gonna make you lose respect for me if you have any, but RUSH HOUR 2 was honestly one of the movies I was most excited about in the summer of 2001. For real.

Although it’s kinda considered taboo among white people, it is a stone cold fact that I think Chris Tucker is hilarious. I know I’m definitely in the small club of people who like him in THE FIFTH ELEMENT, but it’s MONEY TALKS and of course FRIDAY that made me love him. I think his best jokes are sold with a natural acting talent, portraying a character that’s full of shit and trying to seriously convince you. So I also love him in his few roles that are more dramatic, one being DEAD PRESIDENTS and the other being his standout scene in the already all-time-great movie JACKIE BROWN.

I always think of the first RUSH HOUR as being a mediocre movie – Jackie Chan doing some stuff, but not as good as in his Hong Kong movies; Chris Tucker being funny, but not as funny as in an R-rated movie. And some corny “we’re from different ethnic groups so we don’t understand each other” jokes. But then the fucking thing comes on TV and I always find myself laughing at the shit Tucker says. “Yo, MC Hammer’s dad, put the gun down.” “I love when a G-14 be comin around.” Only Chris Tucker would do a cop movie where after the climactic death of the villain he says, “Whoooo! You know he dead.” Christian Bale would not be able to say that line. It’s the opposite of the climax of THE FIFTH ELEMENT, when Tucker storms off saying, “Every 5 minutes there’s somethin’, a bomb or somethin’. I’m leavin’.”

RUSH HOUR was a big surprise hit in 1998, which somehow turned Tucker into a guy that’s supposed to get $20 million per movie. Then he did something unusual: he didn’t cash in. He left a few projects over creative differences (Martin Lawrence still owes him a thank-you card for giving up BLACK KNIGHT), developed a few personal ones that never got off the ground, flew around the world on humanitarian missions, and was not on screen again until RUSH HOUR 2. So I was highly anticipating it. I think I enjoyed it at the time but, again, not the greatest.

mp_rushhour2Watching it again ten years later I’m surprised to find that the Jackie Chan element of this one is stronger than the Chris Tucker. Of course it’s no DRUNKEN MASTER 2, but I think they did put more work into the action than in the first one. But the comedy doesn’t hold up as well.

The best thing in the movie is Zhang Ziyi, cute little Jen from CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON. Here she’s cold-hearted bomber and asskicker Hu Li. Like CROUCHING TIGER co-star Michelle Yeoh her background is as a dancer, not as a martial artist, but she’s great with the choreography and they take advantage of her ballet flexibility, giving her impossible high kicks. Because she’s a petite little girl Carter keeps talking shit and threatening her, but every time he does that she gives him another wallop. She even gets the drop on Chan when a long, impressive indoor chase leads him into the dead end of her foot to his face.

The plot this time is partly a reverse of part 1. Carter (Tucker) is on vacation in Hong Kong visiting Lee (Chan) when these bombings start and they get wrapped up in the investigation. It actually ties in with part 1’s throwaway backstory about Lee’s dad, the cop killed in the line of duty. Now we know his partner Ricky Tan (John Lone) might’ve been involved in dad’s death as well as these bombings. Then there’s a hot secret service agent (Roselyn Sanchez) and some other stuff. I forget. Like in THE PROTECTOR, Jackie brings his buddy to a massage parlor or bathhouse or brothel type place where it turns into a brawl. They always get pampered by a bunch of women and then get their ass kicked.

Obviously Carter’s gonna have some cultural misunderstandings and what not. But some of it’s pretty funny. Wandering Hong Kong alone trying to find the massage parlor where he left his wallet he ends up wearing an outfit worthy of Steven Seagal and accidentally buying a live chicken. So he just carries it around with him for a while. I forget if they said what happened to the chicken. Maybe there should’ve been a spinoff about the chicken having to team up with a pitbull or something, and they bicker and then work together and learn from each other. “Never touch a pitbull’s water dish,” that kinda stuff.

There’s a big fight in a casino (The Red Dragon Casino, because the Money Talks Casino or the Nicolas Cage in Family Man Casino would’ve sounded weird) and one in a bath house, and one on a yacht, and they pretend like Carter kind of knows kung fu now, or knows how to fake it a little. There’s lots of Jackie Chan moves: money throwing, chair rolling, cabinet slamming, pay window jumping, tie grabbing, styrofoam box on feet water walking, bamboo climbing, pole dangling. It feels more like Jackie is free to do his thing than in the first one.

Some of Tucker’s comedy though seems a little more forced this time. He always works in Michael Jackson impressions in his movies, this time he does an entire karaoke performance of “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough” and then later busts some Michael moves on top of a blackjack table to cause a distraction. There’s some really corny scripted jokes like a “who’s on first” type deal involving the word “you” and the name “Yoo.” Carter and Lee’s re-introduction is a terrible scene where they reference jokes from the first one but with the characters reversed. I can just picture the meeting where they first discussed that this is why it’s good to do a sequel, because this way we can change it so Jackie doesn’t want Chris to touch his radio. The tables have turned, the shoes have been switched to the other feet, the snake’s tail has bitten its head. People are gonna love this. It’s familiar, it’s new, it’s an old favorite, it’s a new twist, it’s what part 2 was born to do.

But when Tucker seems like he’s just making up random shit off the top of his head that’s when he’s funny. Like when he needs to cause a big scene in the casino and he mock-righteously announces to the crowd, “This 7 I’m about to roll is for the 27 years Mandela spent in that prison and couldn’t get no justice and took all that crap.”

Of course Chan’s jokes aren’t gonna be verbal, his main thing is mugging. But I got a good laugh during the scene where he thinks Carter is dead and sits in his car solemnly nodding along to that Biggie tribute “Missing You.”

Since the first one was so successful this one gets more of that “this is a big movie” feel where they force in some sort of distracting guest appearances. At one point Don Cheadle shows up as a Chinese-speaking Shaolin practicioner from Carter’s hood. That part’s okay but I’m not a fan of Jeremy Piven’s cameo as a gay stereotype clothes salesman that makes Carter mad by touching him too much.

Alot of people misuse the word “hack” to mean “terrible director,” and accuse Ratner of being that. I think he’s actually a perfect example of the correct definition of “hack”: a for-hire director who doesn’t seem to have a strong artistic vision of his own. He worked in music videos and commercials and still does, but got his start on MONEY TALKS when Tucker had the original director fired for not letting him improvise (honestly a good move and career-saver for Tucker). Later Ratner was a guy who could come in at the last minute and direct X-MEN 3 using Matthew Vaughn’s preparation and whatever the studio told him. A professional more than an artist. He’s like a hitman in a movie who says he follows some code, but then it never gets to the part where he feels bad and breaks the code to save a girl or something.

So Ratner’s a hack, but at the same time I think he deserves a tiny bit more credit than he generally gets. He does provide a small amount of artificial flavoring. For example he’s a life long fan of ENTER THE DRAGON so he had all his early movies (including this one) scored in a retro style by Lalo Schifrin. I figure if people still give Bryan Singer props just for re-using the old Superman theme and font they oughta give Ratner some credit for the great opening scene of RUSH HOUR 2. It’s a nicely put together little dialogue-free scene establishing Hong Kong and showing a disguised Zang Ziyi delivering a package to the American Consulate, then eerily telling some guy “Someone should call the police” as the building explodes behind her. With Schifrin’s music it seems like some lost ’70s US-Hong-Kong co-production classic.

I even think there are some themes in Ratner’s work, at least the ones with Tucker. While the music is retro, he’s attempting to update the racial makeup of the 48 HOURS or LETHAL WEAPON type of movie. But the RUSH HOUR series has a weird combination of diversity and racism. On one hand it’s a clever tweak of the buddy-cop-movie formula. Usually you got Mel Gibson/Nick Nolte and a black guy, or Dolph Lundgren/Jay Leno and an Asian guy. The white guy is either supposed to be the cool guy or the audience surrogate. They’re supposed to be movies about how white people can get along with other races, and the white character is supposed to be either who the white audience can relate to or who they can wish they were as cool as.

In MONEY TALKS, Ratner and Tucker messed with that formula by portraying the white guy as a completely hatable douche (Charlie Sheen), but the black guy was still a motor-mouthed petty criminal, basically an update of Eddie Murphy in 48 HOURS. I think it’s hilarious but it’s not worthy of any NAACP awards. For RUSH HOUR though they took the white guy out of the formula completely. In most American cop movies these guys would be the sidekicks. They’re also teamed with strong Latina cops (Elizabeth Pena in the first one, Roselyn Sanchez in this one) and pretty much all the white characters are bad guys or uptight authority figures who don’t get it.

So that’s a nice change of pace, but unlike the even more diverse FAST AND FURIOUS series these movies constantly call attention to racial and ethnic differences and stereotypes. It’s the main ingredient of the comedy, with obvious jokes about the two characters misunderstanding or learning about each other’s cultures. Tucker of course is a comedian who’s constantly riffing, so he falls back on alot of “black people are like this” and “I only know Asian people from kung fu movies” humor. Usually the character is supposed to be an ignorant ass, that’s the joke. But you still get sick of him thinking Chinese people eat sushi or run from Godzilla or referring to sex as “hide the rainbow roll” or that kind of shit. That stuff and the Piven scene aren’t as much offensive as they’re just lazy comedy, just like the dumb references to jokes from the first one that weren’t even the funny parts of the first movie anyway.

Ten years later I guess my feelings about RUSH HOUR 2 haven’t changed that much. It’s kind of embarrassing that it’s a huge record breaking hit, but also it’s not as bad as people claim it is. Don’t get mad at me for not saying IT SUCKS or IT RULES. These fence-sitting reviews are the hardest to write. But I’m being honest:

1) it’s not very good

2) I somewhat enjoy it.

I guess if anything this decade has given me more perspective on how bad Jackie’s American movies could be. Back then you could still complain that it wasn’t a pure Jackie Chan movie, now you can be relieved that it’s not THE TUXEDO or THE SPY NEXT DOOR. Or, sadly, RUSH HOUR 3. It seems pretty dignified in comparison.

* * *

datedness: all the references to Michael Jackson and the Nate Dogg song on the soundtrack take on different meaning since they both died in the last few years. But also the sort of worshipful view of MJ fits more with the prevailing attitude of 2011 than it did 2001, when in American pop culture Michael was usually only used as a punchline.

would they make a movie like this today? Yeah I guess so. Jackie might not be able to do as much at his age, and Tucker’s head would look slightly wider. Judging by RUSH HOUR 3 it wouldn’t be as good. But the RUSH HOURs don’t really follow movie trends of their time periods, they don’t got MORTAL KOMBAT music playing during the fight scenes or us bullet time anything, so they’re not necessarily stuck in 1998 and 2001. They could come out earlier or later.

RUSH HOUR 2 was a huge hit (at the time the highest grossing comedy ever), so they made a part 3, but it took 6 years to get made. That’s still the only movie Tucker has done in the ten years since part 2.

Some time around this movie Tucker and Ratner became actual friends with Michael Jackson. Tucker appeared in one of Jackson’s last videos, “You Rock My World,” and also testified on his behalf at his trial (Tucker had befriended the family that accused Jackson before he had, and said he warned MJ that they were using him for his money).

Chan did some more American vehicles, including THE TUXEDO and SHANGHAI KNIGHTS, but luckily he’s still made plenty of movies in his native Hong Kong.

Ratner started doing alot of producing after this (including the TV show Prison Break) but has also directed 4 features since then. One is a gratuitous remake and two are part-3s.

Writer Jeff Nathanson hooked up with Spielberg, writing CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, THE TERMINAL and a draft of KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL.

I have not noticed RUSH HOUR 2 being particularly influential.

Important information: RUSH HOUR 2 has the same stunt coordinator (Conrad E. Palmisano) as MARKED FOR DEATH, OUT FOR JUSTICE and UNDER SIEGE.

Unfortunate information: according to Wikipedia, RUSH HOUR 2 is “second highest grossing martial arts film of all time, after KUNG FU PANDA.”


This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011 at 11:58 am and is filed under Action, Comedy/Laffs, 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.

108 Responses to “Rush Hour 2”

  1. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    August 3rd, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    There is nothing wrong with liking unliked movies. I really like X men 3. I’d go as far as to say I don’t really feel a step down in quality from the Singer one.

    But I didn’t like this. I’m glad you got something out of it though. Good review too, are those stats on the highest grossing martial arts true?

  2. I didn’t like the first one. I found it very bland and shit but I did like this one though. Pretty entertaining though I haven’t seen it since the cinema I still remember Don Cheadle’s character genuinely me laugh. So that says something there that I could remember something that random 10 years later. The less said about the last RUSH HOUR the better.

  3. *made me

  4. “I have not noticed RUSH HOUR 2 being particularly influential.”
    It was one of the films sweded in BE KIND REWIND.
    I think the biggest letdown with this was the fact a big deal in the promotion was made of how they were switching things from the first film and having Carter going to Lee’s hometown…but they only end up spending the first act of the movie there. I think they could have done more with Hong Kong being more dangerous, but Carter understimating that due to his ignorance.

  5. Vern, great review. I know from discussions on other posts about Ratner that you and I have the similar feelings about his work. I was also really excited about this movie when it came out. I am a huge Jackie Chan fan and at the time RUSH HOUR 2 was released his name on the marque still carried the expectations of his earlier works without the lowered expectations we became conditioned to as Chan embraced the “TUXEDO” phase of his career. Also, as you pointed out FRIDAY is a classic, and Tucker was coming off a four film streak of THE FIFTH ELEMENT, MONEY TALKS, JACKIE BROWN, & the original RUSH HOUR film. I remember really liking RUSH HOUR 2 when I saw it in theaters, but then watching it later on DVD and feeling a little underwhelmed and that was years ago. I caught RUSH HOUR 3 on cable a couple years back and it was so bad that I have been afraid to revisit RH2 again and tarnish the found memories I have of it.

  6. “it’s what part 2 was born to do.”


  7. I remember this being watchable and not at all bad!

    I also remember the movie studio and one of the big movie chains (Regal? I forget) having a a feud and because of that the independent theatre I worked at was one of the few theatres in Norfolk to get it. I think 5 of our 7 screens were showing this and it was packed for two weeks. It was pretty intense.

  8. “I know I’m definitely in the small club of people who like him in THE FIFTH ELEMENT”

    Vern, I am happy to tell you that you are not alone in this. I, also, am one of the few who didn’t hate Chris Tucker in “The Fifth Element”. When my mother found out, she told me she wished I’d been a no-good drunken inbred child-molestor instead; then she promptly went to her solicitor, disinherited me in her will, and blew her own head off. It was… distressing.

    So now I have a support group to help me with my affliction. There’s a small group of us who sit around in a local recreation hall after everyone’s left, sipping coffee and discussing how the sound of Ruby Rhood’s incessant high-pitched nasal wail during “The Fifth Element”‘s climactic fight-scene doesn’t make us want to tear our ears off and force them down our own throats. We’re quite happy to extend to you an invitation, if you happen to be in this neck of the woods; we all find that it helps to share the shame and humiliation with others who understand what we’re going through.

    So anyway… “Rush Hour 2”. Yeah, I did see it in the cinema, and yeah, I agree with your review for the most part. It isn’t bad, is it?

  9. Oh man Vern. You are the best.

    “What’s wrong witchoo?!! Whatcha screamin foh??! Every five minutes there’s somethin, a bomb or somethin….m’ LEAVIN. Bzzzzzz!”

    Ruby Rhod kills, and that last scene cracks me up like an idiot every time. Also when he does the “All night long” part in his spot-on MJ impersonation.

    Also, yes, the day Rush Hour 2 came out, I was in a theater watching Rush Hour 2. I love that damn movie. It took me a while to see part 3, and when I finally did I was happy I didn’t race out to see it, because it’s definitely not up to snuff with 2.

  10. Wait? Can somebody explain why how they don’t find Chris Tucker annoying in The Fifth Element?

  11. psh, we all know RUSH HOUR 2 was an inside job

    anyway I remember being in middle school and all the boys discussing this movie and all the “good lookin’ ladies” in it (particularly the brothel scene), yes we were all at that age in which we start to care more about girls than anything else

    also, isn’t Chris Tucker a Christian?

  12. Grim Grinning Chris

    August 3rd, 2011 at 8:12 pm


    Because he was hilarious in his level of annoying. His character is supposed to be annoying. And it’s fucking hysterical.

  13. caruso_stalker217

    August 3rd, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    Chris Tucker was brilliant in THE FIFTH ELEMENT. I love all the sound effects during his broadcasts.

  14. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    August 4th, 2011 at 12:03 am

    When I watched The Fifth Element on tv I thought Tucker was pretty funny, but when I watched it at the cinema I thought he was terrible. So I guess he fades from horrible white noise to an annoying buzz.

  15. I belong to the Chris-Tucker-As-Ruby-Rhod-Fanclub as well. When I re-watched the movie a while ago, I seriously laughed my ass off, whenever he was on screen. Every single movement and every single scream is so perfectly timed, I can’t believe that there are people outthere who hate him!

    And RUSH HOUR 2? I liked it. I keep saying for years that it might be Jackie’s best US movie. Haven’t seen part 3 though. It was on TV a while ago and I saw parts of a motorcycle chase, which had some awesome stuntwork.

  16. Maybe I’ve been lucky, since I’ve only seen solid Brett Ratner movies: Rush Hour 2, X-men 3 and Red Dragon. I haven’t seen any of his other stuff, but After The Sunset actually sounds interesting.

    No, he’s not a visionary. But to me he comes off as a competent journeyman director. I actually find it strange that people think it’s somehow shameful to be a good craftsman, which is what Ratner is.

    Maybe my opinion is biased because I work in the industry and I’m fully aware of how difficult it is to make a movie, let alone a good movie. It actually takes a lot of skill to make movies on the level of competency that Ratner has. The great majority of filmmakers never achieve that level – They just disappear without a trace, failing to establish any kind of continuity in their careers. Their films are usually not even properly released, and if they are released they end up being straight-to-video titles that we never hear about. And almost without exception, those movies range from horrible to average.

    It’s hard to make a solid movie. So I gotta give some respect to Brett Ratner’s of the world. There is nothing shameful about being a good craftsman.

  17. Talking about Brett Ratner, has anybody seen the trailer for his new movie TOWER HEIST, starring Eddie Murphy, Ben Stiller, Alan Alda, Casey Affleck, Matthew Broderick and Gabourey Sibide? Could be okay.

  18. I’m not really sure if I wanna look at a picture named “Brett Ratner Butt”.

  19. curiosity shall overcome you

  20. Sternshein – I know, right? There are also people on this forum who don’t think that Gary Oldman single-handedly murdered every scene he was in in “Leon: The Professional”. Nope, I don’t understand these weird, weird people either, but there’s no accounting for tastes.

  21. Griff: I hope Ratner was looking for a book that he could turn into a movie. I would watch this one. (What can I say? I can not lie.)

  22. My abiding memory of this movie is seeing it in an almost empty theater the day after 9/11.

    I just had to get out of the house and see something, anything and this was what I plumped for.

    It’s OK, I guess. I remember linking the HK bits more than the LA bits, with the final line about going to New York having the most awful irony at the time.

    Looking back, the RUSH HOUR’s put Jackie’s US career on a path that would make him a shit-ton of money but hem him into the kind of “chop socky” dimwit routine he must surely despise.

    Those particular few years seemed so promising for HK film-makers in The States – we had Woo doing FACE/OFF and looking like he was going to become a superstar, Chow Yun Fat came over for THE REPLACEMENT KILLERS, Kirk Wong had the awesome THE BIG HIT – but it all ultimately proved to be a false dawn.

    Can’t believe it’s been ten years.

  23. Up until now I wasn’t even aware that Rush Hour 2 was considered crap. I found it quite entertaining and better than the (rather generic) first one (RS3 was awful, though). Definitely one of the better action comedies of the noughties, IMHO. Then again, I also enjoyed “Showtime” (yeah, I’m that guy) and even “Bad Boys II”, so what do I know?! I guess I’m suffering from Lethal Weapon-withdrawal-syndrome…

  24. Chris Tucker was awesome in The Fifth Element. The mistake was keeping him around for the climax. When Willis left the ship, Tucker should have been out of the movie, and then I think people would look much more fondly on what he did.

    I rememebr seeing Rush Hour 2 and being shocked that the action was so exciting. The first was so-so, but in the second where Jackie’s flipping over couches and doing real JACKIE CHAN shit was great. I also wish they had kept the whole movie set in China, it would have been more interesting.

    It’s weird in each Rush Hour movie how they set up a kung fu supervillain yet they always fight Chris Tucker, and Jackie just pushes the old guy out of a window or something. Although in 3 I guess they finally let Jackie take on a real foe…who still died from falling off of something.

  25. Ratner is a competent director who makes reasonably enjoyable, if not very inspired movies.

    I don’t think he’s ever made an outright *bad* movie. The problem just is that while decent enough time at the movies, his movies are simply really forgettable. Easily digestible, does its purpose – Big Mac Cinema. Disposable entertainment at its best.

    I have zero memories of the first two RUSH HOUR films, although I swear I’ve seen them. I’m not even sure about the third. I don’t know if I’ve ever saw it or not.

  26. He gets a worse time than he deserves because a lot of interneters can’t accept that some movies are just made to be good, fun, or decent movies that people go and see. People tend to expect movies to be great and artistic all the time, like how there’s only “sucks” and “awesome.” Because most of the whiners are frustrated filmmakers who think that if THEY got the chance to make a movie it’d be the greatest thing ever, THEY’D never make a Rush Hour film. Nope, it’d be a Malick picture or something. But like the time Spiek Lee was bitching about his small budgets compared to Uncle Buck, and the studio guy said they’d give him a much bigger budget if he’d make Uncle Buck 2.

    Kind of like how writers are whipping boys on the net a lot of time…but usually they’re written and rewritten, and they hate what they’re writing but the studio demands the script to be a certain way so you do that or don’t work. But a lot of folks don’t seem to understand quite how it works. Transformers movies may be terrible, but do you think any of the writers think they’re really good either?

  27. I don’t really get the impression that most of the negative people I come across on the internet want every movie to be a Malick movie, or even know who that is. They just have very specific ideas about what pants Ghost Rider needs to be wearing or whatever.

  28. I too think that Brett Ratner is unfairly maligned, and I guess I’m not a big enough comic fan, because I enjoyed X-Men 3 (I’d even say I enjoyed it more than the first one). But….I cannot gel with Red Dragon. I just don’t see the point to it. It’s almost shot-for-shot a newer, less stylized Manhunter. I look at Red Dragon like I look at that Soderbergh ‘Psycho’.

    But aside from that, yea, Brett Ratner is harmless. I don’t get the internet vitriol.

  29. Vern, to an extent you’re right…but look at a little more “high-brow” boards where the posters hate everything, like the one Jeff Wells has, or CHUD. If a movie comes out that was made to just be an entertaining flick like Rush Hour or any romantic comedy or even something like Your Highness, people whine about the movie not being about anything or having no substance. They just can’t seem to accept that sometimes movies are made and they’re just pretty much okay. The same people complain about how movies are so bad now, not like back in the days when everything was Citizen Kane or Wizard of Oz. But they seem to forget all of those okay-ish movies made back then that no one remembers now.

    Like ANYONE who complains how bad horror is now, and then brings up Texas Chainsaw or Halloween as proof…okay, sure…but why isn’t anyone remembering H.G. Lewis or Ted Mikels in that dialogue?

  30. Because H.G. Lewis is AWESOME?

    Okay, maybe his filmmaking chops are of the point-and-shoot variety. But the man invented cinematic gore AND nudity, and he did it with a sense of humor. I’ll take that over technical competence any day.

    I cannot defend Ted V. Mikels, though. His shit’s just boring.

  31. Mr. Doctor – it’s been my impression that most interneters think everything either sucks or it’s overrated, if it’s not outright shit then it doesn’t deserve all the praise either, basically everything sucks according to these guys

  32. I think the general consensus here on Ratner is just about right. But I still can’t stand X3. Most of his other films are just kind of bland but watchable. I’ll never see them twice and sometimes it’s hard to remember them a few hours after they’re over. I will, however, admit that the trailer for Tower Heist actually looks fun.

  33. First off, I think H.G. Lewis movies are incredibly boring.

    Secondly, he didn’t invent jack. They were doing gore and nudity in movies made waaaay before Lewis…check out deleted scenes from Tarzan…full frontal nudity! They only stopped because they had to. And then the Japanese were doing gore before Lewis but actually doing it in good movies. And maybe MAYBE you could say Lewis sort of got gore going in the US, but then Romero stepped in and again, did it in a good movie. Although you could go slightly earlier and watch Brain That Wouldn’t Die and see a lot of surprising gore.

    Michael Bay invented new ways of telling movies, but unfortunately those suck too. I guess I don’t necessarily give a lot of dap for inventing something, if you do it in a way that totally blows.

  34. If you want Internet Rage; check out the postings when the newest installment of Call of Duty is released. I´m telling you, it is so much fun reading about idiotic complaints about shit that means nothing

  35. Ok, maybe I am dumb but who is/was H.G Lewis and what has he done? I could look it up on other sites but I trust you guys more than the rest of the web..

  36. ShootMcKay – oh my God, tell me about it, 90% of what gamers complain about is bullshit that doesn’t matter

    I mean I’m not a Call of Duty fan or anything, but the fact of the matter is that these days most video games are good, the biggest sin of gaming in this day and age is a lack of originality, fair enough, but it’s a rarity that a true stinker is released, I’m talking a game that barely even works on a basic functional level, but gamers have to find SOMETHING to bitch and moan about, they don’t want things to be too good

    the best example of this is some gamers irrational hatred of Bethesda, most of their complaints about games Like Fallout 3 or Elder Scrolls 4 (and the upcoming 5) make no sense at all, they just hate them for no reason

    sorry for the off topic rant, but that’s a sore subject for me

  37. I think people hate Ratner more for who he is then for his bland movies. When X-Men Last Stand was out he came off as a complete douche. He made comments about how he could do any shot that the big name directors could do but he chose not to. I have no problem with his movies, but he really believes that he’s in a class with Speilberg and not the for-hire-director that he really is. He’s hack by definition and nothing more.

  38. Herschell Gordon Lewis was an adman-turned-exploitation filmmaker-turned-adman again who is credited with directing the first American nudie film (LUCKY PIERRE) and the first American gore picture (BLOOD FEAST). This was in the early sixties. His gore was cheaply done and technically primitive (there was no real gore effects industry at the time, and he couldn’t have afforded it if there was) but a lot of it is still really disgusting to this day. It’s not so much that it looks real–it just looks so squishy and messy and gross. Even if you know its just red food dye and glycerine and some shredded balloons, you wouldn’t want to touch it. His movies are not in any way well made. The acting is of the “Read it off the piece of paper taped to your costar’s chest” variety and the cinematography is somewhere south of early Kevin Smith. But his films have an unpretentious quality and EC Comics-inspired sense of humor to them that, coupled with their breakthrough levels of onscreen gore, would influence the course of the exploitation film to this day.

    It’s okay to rag on his films. He does it all the time. Maybe it’s a case of right place, right time, but those little movies were huge steps for a lot of the things we all love. A little respect for the man would not be out of line.

  39. Thank you Mr Majestyk, you magnificent bastard, you have just filled a deep hole of useful knowledge that would feed me just as easily as an extensive meal would… or something like that

  40. That’s what I do. I fill holes.

  41. I don’t think XMen 3 is a great movie or anything but the problems with the movie aren’t with its quality but with its quantity. Had the movie been longer I think I would have liked it a lot more. It’s a well done movie that just rushed its story way too fast.

    I’m getting to the point where I’m becoming more or less done with the internet. I like this place because people actually enjoy movies and get excited by them.

    Outside of film I like to paint miniatures and I watch wrestling. Miniature forums are really sexist and full of complaining whereas wrestling forums are just full of people who fucking hate everything ever. At least here people actually like movies and are able to appreciate just about everything that has merit.

    But, yeah, I don’t get the hatred of Ratner. I’m not excited when his name is attached to something but if the premise or trailer looks interesting I’ll give it a shot.

  42. Casey – I like wrestling and I don´t hate everything about it. There are some things I don´t like and therefore I don´t pay too much attention to it ( at least i try not to),
    And I share your opinions about Ratner. He did good on RED DRAGON, but you know..fuck it! Whatever…. I don´t care if his name is on it.

  43. I kind of hated X3 the first time I saw it, but it clearly wasn’t Ratner’s fault. Although I did have some minor beefs with his action staging in many of the setpieces, his direction was passable and probably about as good as you could expect on such short notice. The script just got rid of practically everybody I liked (some of them offscreen and/or in incredibly lame ways) so that the last half of the movie was about a bunch of strangers in ugly motocross jackets. The second time I watched it, after the initial outrage wore, I found a lot to like. I still think a lot of the elements don’t work, but they were in place before Ratner got there. I don’t really get why he deserves the brunt of the blame.

  44. I like wrestling a lot, too! Even when it’s boring I still find something to like. It’s been exciting lately so it’s even better. Still, a lot of websites seem to be bemoaning how the CM Punk story is going to end at Survivor Series in a few months. I’m just enjoying the ride and can’t be bothered to get upset at how it is rumored to end in a few months.

    Mr Majestyk, I agree! I think a lot of those problems wouldn’t be problems if the movie was an hour later. It’s not a bad movie, it’s just rushed. Had they made some of the deaths more meaningful, built up some of the new characters, and otherwise let the movie breathe I think people would have liked it as much as X2.

  45. If the “general concensus” is that Ratner is a director, not an artist, then I agree.

    I am still firmly on the side of the X3 haters, though. Sorry.

  46. I don’t know Majestyk, I think Lewis deserves respect in the way that a director of Adam Sandler comedies do…I respect that they came up with a good scam to make money doing the least amount of work possible, but that’s about it. Of course Lewis makes fun of his movies, he doesn’t give a shit about them. He just made some garbage to make money, didn’t matter what it was. Just that gore was the gimmick.

  47. I’ll never understand why the internet in general is so pessimistic, is it just the times we live in? or is there just something about anonymity that brings out negativity in people?

  48. Everybody does everything to make money, Doc. It takes the exploitationers to figure out new ways to do it before everybody else gets there and tries to make them respectable.

  49. Ratner just gives one little reason to defend him. He doesn’t even have the decency to be hilariously bad. Just utterly lifeless. No one would care except that he keeps getting attached to projects which might otherwise have the chance to be interesting. X3 is not a catastophe and was probably doomed the minute Fox decided to rush it into the production and damn the torpedoes. But he hasn’t directed a single film which wouldn’t have obviously been greatly improved had someone cared even a little. So its much more frustrating than people who produce bad films because they simply can’t do any better. Ratner hasn’t ever really produced a film as amateurish as DYLAN DOG, and yet I like that one a lot more than anything he’s done.

  50. Brett Ratner gets some love from me because, based on the special features on the POLICE STORY dvd, he too is a total Jackie Chan fanboy. He seems to love Hong Kong cinema of the 80s, so maybe someday he’ll get more cred for being a RZA-style commentator than for being an okay director. I’m not familiar with the supposed stories of him being a darsh, and I care not.

    I saw RUSH HOUR 2 opening day as well. I remember running into a bunch of friends in the mall before showtime and around town after the movie, and it was just a completely fun, breezy day where everyone — girl & guys, cool kids & squares, drunks & DDs — was on the same page about how to have a good time. 10 days later I became a college student in another town hundreds of miles away, so RUSH HOUR 2 opening weekend was pretty much the last communal experience I had with most of my high school friends & classmates.

  51. I don’t really have a problem with Lewis wanting to make money, but couldn’t he at least have tried just the tiniest little bit? Like, when he’s doing one of his bad pans and the camera sticks, maybe shoot another take? Lewis was crap, while you can watch a real exploitationer like Russ Meyer do an exploitation movie that’s actually fun and entertaining and well made. And Lewis would agree!

  52. Anyone else think the soundtrack for the first Rush Hour rocked? Jay Z “Can i get a” and Dru Hill’s ” How Deep is Your Love” are classics. As far as part 2, Zhang Ziyi is unbelievably beautiful and it was good to see John Lone in a stupid action movie again (last one was the Shadow).

  53. Shit, it was just nice to see John Lone in anything. That guy is so good he stole a movie from Mickey Rourke once. Not just anyone can do that.

  54. Karlos! Thank you for mentioning THE BIG HIT! That movie to me epitomized Hong Kong cinema, the only American one to get it right except for Face/Off, which was the other kind of Hong Kong cinema. Big Hit was the kind where the only rule is: Be awesome. The craziest random shit is fair game and it’s all sincere. Bokeem Woodbine discovering masturbation, the King Kong Lives standoff, not to mention detailing exactly my confusion about women at the time, made Big Hit my favorite movie for a year or two.

  55. So now Ratner is doing the Oscars and people are upset, like he’s going to tarnish the good name of a ceremony where famous people get awards. Honestly, I think he’s the right guy for the job. As his filmmaking shows, he’s a guy who knows how to entertain, got the fundamentals and either can’t/doesn’t care about pushing boundaries.

    This is a worldwide broadcast. It needs to be accessible. The best Oscar broadcasts are funny and entertaining. The ones that try to be artistic are disasters. But even disaster is relative. So what if James Franco didn’t make funny jokes after Colin Firth won?

  56. 95% of studio films sucks. At least according to the Hollywood writers Robert Ben Grant and Thomas Lennon’s new writing screenplay book, “Writing Movies for fun and (fun and crossed out) profit.” And these guys knows because they have written a lot of script for crappy films like Night at the Museum, Taxi remake (they actually thought the script was good until they saw the film, and understand how bad it was) and Herbie Fully Loaded (but there was like 20 other writers, and the executive in charge was a real cunt (okay they might not say it but you could read between the line).

    In the chapter “Why Does Almost Every Studio Movie Suck Donkey Balls?” they say the short answer is development. Even thought there are a lot of smart people working in Hollywood (usually they are the studio head), there are a lot more stupid than smart people working in the industry. And they do a lot of damage. Of course most movies get destroyed by development, but there is some that survives even thought everyone at the studio hates. Also there are between four and twenty executives who have to approve the script, and that’s long before it gets to the studio president. Also a lot of executives want to put there finger prints on the script, and get their ideas into script (any one remember a giant metallic spider in Wild Wild West?).

    So there is a lot of stupid executives, but there is also stars, producers and director that has to give their touch to the film, and most of the time their ideas collide. Also a writer has to do every note that a star or a director says or they will get fire (there is a funny chapter of taking notes from stars, I didn’t know Martin Lawrence is a star, but they chapter is named after him).

    Whenever you get a good movie, it is because you have a director that both the studio, executives and star respect. You know Leonardo Di Caprio will not bring his own writer when he work for Christopher Nolan or Martin Scorsese, but Tom Cruise will. Bruce Willis will. So unless the star and director really loves the script, a film is usually going to be crap, or at least just average. The Bourne Identity almost happened to suck, because there was a struggle between writer Tony Gilroy and director Doug Liman. Liman kept undoing everything Gilroy had written, and not until Matt Damon said he would leave the film if they didn’t shot Gilroy script, did Liman stop doing it. Gilroy didn’t like to work with Paul Greengrass either, and only wrote The Bourne Ultimatum if he never had to talk with Greengrass. Which is the reason why several other writers worked on the film. Gilroy says he never watched the film, but he might have done know after he signed on to The Bourne Legacy.

  57. One more thing about the “High brow” message boards and shit. A few weeks ago I read an interview with Uwe Boll, where he talked about (among other things) how much he hated TREE OF LIFE and that it might be the worst thing that Malick has ever done, but critics give him a free pass because it’s Malick and they might be sure that even if the movie doesn’t make any sense to them, it must be deep and meaningful. Of course every commenter underneath the interview mocked Boll for saying something, as in: “Ha ha, the worst filmmaker ever is just jealous that he doesn’t have Malick’s talent”. That might be true to a degree, but I also doubt that anybody of the people who left a comment like that, has either seen TREE OF LIFE or would like it if they do. They seemed to me more like the “we want explosions in our movies” crown who would demand their money back, after watching a Malick movie.

  58. Ghost – weird, I think I saw that book on a Bookstore yesterday, I’ll have to check it out now…

    and yeah, it makes sense, too many cooks in the kitchen is what I’ve long suspected kills so many movies, a good movie is the work of the singular vision of the director and screenwriter

  59. When i saw Rush Hour 1 in the theatre, I felt like Bruce Lee watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s in Dragon. I’m not kidding. Just 90 minutes of Tucker making racist jokes, (thought he’s the freaking HERO of the movie), and the audience was howling with laughter, eating it up. One of the worst movie-going experiences of my life.

    Rush Hour 2 toned the “funny ha ha” racism down considerably, the action sequences are better, it had a stronger villain, etc.. I was pleasantly surprised. Not-so-fun facts: I remember reading an interview where Don Cheadle told Ratner he would only cameo if he got to fight with Jackie Chan on screen and not lose. And I was like “who the fuck are you???”

    Also not fun: I remember the DVD was SO Ratner-centric with the special features, with tons of interviews, some “film school tips” and even one of his student films (with ex Rebecca Gayheart, aka The Noxzema Girl). And again, I was like “who the fuck are you???”

  60. Mr Holden, as a fan of Uwe Boll I think he’s onto something. I like Tree of Life and was affected by it, even if it did take some time for it to sink in, but Malick is the kind of guy who probably does get an automatic free pass from most people because they would otherwise look stupid.

    The hatred Uwe Boll gets really baffles me. I think his movies are ridiculous but they never bore me. I know we’re a different sort here but I don’t understand why someone can’t appreciate a failed experiment more than a mediocre studio picture. Uwe Boll has nothing but failures but they are all ridiculous and special and totally stick with me.

    Rotten Tomatoes gives Tree of Life an 85%. There is no way that 85% of the critics that watched Tree of Life enjoyed it. It’s just not possible. I was affected by it but even still I would have a hard time recommending it to everyone.

    I think class definitely plays a big factor here, too. Malick is seen as high class and requires being accepted. Someone like Brett Ratner, however, is seen as being much more of a plebian director and almost warrants reactionary scorn.

  61. not to mention the fact that movies like the Tree of Life only play in arthouse theaters in cities, everyone else is shit out of luck

  62. There IS a double standard against “high-” and “low brow” films. Just look at the reviews of Boll’s movies. As soon as he stopped making video game movies and moved in to real-life-sploitation (TUNNEL RATS, STOIC, DARFUR), suddenly his movies get better reviews.
    To be honest, it’s been a while since I saw one of his movies, but I always thought he was negative overrated. His movies aren’t good, but not “the worst ever”. Seriously, even HOUSE OF THE DEAD, which IS his worst movie, is better than any ScyFyi Original Movie of the week! But even I doubt that he suddenly became a “good” director. It’s more likely that his critics are now, that he makes “important” movies, instead of that game ones, just lightened up a little.

  63. And btw, is Boll’s DUNGEON SIEGE sequel with Dolph already out?

  64. Mr Holden, I don’t think it’s out yet. Which is a shame.

    I actually think House of the Dead is one of Boll’s better movies. Or it’s one of his movies I had the most fun watching. I think the first Dungeon Siege is probably his worst, although Bloodrayne had a few clunky parts as well. I’m a Boll fan but I’ve missed his last few movies and I need to catch up.

    I live across the street from an arthouse theatre. I get to amble over there, get some Peruvian Chicken or some Pho, and go see a movie for $7 if its a matinee. I’m seriously spoiled. I actually have like 4 decent arthouse theatres within 45 minutes, too, and getting a chance to see Lawrence of Arabia or The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (with Eli Wallach!) on the big screen are some of my favorite experiences.

  65. Casey, I agree that HOUSE OF THE DEAD is a whole lot of fun to watch. Especially that 10 minutes long shoot ’em up scene is a hoot! But judged by just normal standards of moviemaking it’s pretty abysmal. From acting to editing, absolutely nothing works.
    I liked DUNGEON SIEGE better, mostly for reminding me of all those silly and not very original fantasy movies that I saw on TV as a kid or a teenager. I was seriously entertained. Also it has fucking Ninjas and ends with a song by Blind Guardian. None of the LORD OF THE RING movies had any of those and I doubt that THE HOBBIT will have them. Ninjas make every movie better. Blind Guardian not really, but it was a catchy song and came completely unexpected.

  66. Mr Holden, I like House of the Dead because nothing works in the movie. Seriously, nothing at all. Shots of a Coast Guard boat with voice overs? The Biggest Sega Rave of the Year? The Captain from Das Boot playing a smuggler named Captain Kirk (actually, that one works since it’s pretty funny)? It’s such a mess of a movie that it’s glorious.

    The only other movie I can compare it to is Shoot ‘Em Up. I really enjoyed Shoot ‘Em Up in the theatre but since seeing it at home it just doesn’t work for me. House of the Dead still works for me. It’s insane.

    I can appreciate Dungeon Siege like you. It’s not a good movie but it has lots of interesting touches and decent moments and some pretty okay action. Plus Blind Guardian came out of nowhere. I remember when Blind Guardian kept being rumored to do the soundtrack for the LotR films back in the day. Man, as a teenager that loved Tolkien and death metal (which Blind Guardian wasn’t, but I still managed to overlook their lame power metal) I kept hoping for that to happen.

  67. House of the Dead is a classic guilty pleasure, it’s endlessly entertaining. That shootout scene you guys speak of is legendary. Seriously, who cares if a character is holding a shotgun in one shot and then an Uzi in the next?

    But Boll lost me at Alone in the Dark, and Bloodrayne was atrocious. Fine, Lokken got naked but it wasn’t hot. I did enjoy Far Cry though. Did you guys see the Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations episode with Boll?

  68. I remember Alone in the Dark being really bad but hilariously so. The opening fight scene is pretty awesome from what I remember. It’s not as ridiculous as House of the Dead but it’s pretty OK.

    Bloodrayne is similar in that it’s not as crazy but it has some moments that are brilliant. Meatloaf in a vampire orgy or something? Classic.

    I’ll need to look up that No Reservations episode with Boll.

  69. I found it on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wipW_brszQw

    Also, I found this to be pretty funny: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWY97dlKjKc&feature=related

    Maybe it’s my exceedingly bad taste in comedy that makes me like Boll so much.

  70. That was classic, Casey. And while we’re all being honest here – we were rooting for Boll in that boxing match, right? I like how most of those internet dudes call shenanigans and claim they didn’t think it was a real boxing match even AFTER they saw the other dudes getting knocked to holy hell.

  71. neal2zod, it may not be the biggest distinction, but I remember Don Cheadle saying the same thing about only doing the movie if he got to fight Jackie…but I don’t remember him saying anything about winning. He just wanted to fight Jackie, who wouldn’t? And also to speak CHinese, I think, that was his other condition. I was surprised, he did a good job in the fight, he could have done a longer one I think.

  72. CJ, was that by any chance my interview with Uwe Boll where I asked him about Tree of Life? It was reposted on Hollywood Elsewhere. I knew whatever Boll thought of Malick would be funny. I kind of hoped he’d love it so it would say, “Here’s how deep Malick is. Even Uwe Boll likes it.” But that worked too.

    I remember the Rush Hour DVD having an amazing behind the scenes doc where Jackie’s pissed at Ratner for lounging around taking naps, and an amazing sequence where he creates a fight scene out of nothing. The Hollywood stunt guys are arguing with him and insisting he do what’s in the script, which is throw a gun out a window, and Jackie’s saying, “But I’m a cop. Why would I throw my gun?” So he came up with the gun getting kicked out the window and watching that scene emerge from nothing was pure art. Then I saw Jackie Chan: My Stunts which was 90 minutes of that.

  73. Fred, I try to find the interview again. If it turns out that it was yours, I would kinda feel like an ass for not noticing though.

  74. It was Mr Topel’s interview: http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/uwe-boll-the-tree-of-life-is-a-piece-of-sht/

    Great interview, by the way!

    I actually think Mr Boll has some good points. Tree of Life worked for me but it is such a purely emotional response that I can instantly forgive anyone if they didn’t like it. Arguing that Mr Boll did not “get it” simply did not understand the movie either and is trying to save face. I’m not a Malick fan and the only reason I saw Tree of Life was because I thought it’d be funny to see that and Transformers 3 on the same day.

    But, seriously, I like Tree of Life the same way I like the Beastie Boys. They make some good music and I really get into it, but I also acknowledge that when MCA talks about mowing down sucka MCs that it’s kind of ridiculous. I also acknowledge that any point Malick was trying to make in Tree of Life is at least a little silly and ridiculous. Still, it’s a beautiful film that I was engaged with the entire time. Like House of the Dead.

    Also, Mr Boll made a ton of those General Patton videos. This is my favorite so far: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAKq7tqdgG8&feature=related

    I voted for President Obama but I still thought that was pretty funny.

  75. I will give you guys one guess as to which three word description of “Bloodrayne” from the comments above has convinced me to see it.

  76. Was it “Meat Loaf in a vampire orgy?” Because that’s six.

  77. I say it was “atrocious. Fine, Lokken”.

  78. Note: If the magic words were “Lokken got naked”, please rent her season of The L Word instead. Infinitely hotter than Bloodrayne and you don’t have to deal w/ the movie around it.

  79. Speaking of nude scenes, maybe this is Nerd Shit, but Morena Baccarin has a great topless love scene in the Showtime pilot Homeland!

  80. I’ve gotten some chuckles out of all the Boll movies I’ve seen but the only one I truly enjoy is POSTAL. He’s just so eager to offend everybody in every way possible that it’s kind of adorable. It’s so colorful and oddly cast and deeply, deeply stupid that it’s strangely charming, in an entirely off-base and off-putting kind of way. It’s got a legitimate USA UP ALL NIGHT feel to it, as long as USA would be cool with showing Dave Foley’s cock for no reason.

    And the commentary track is a classic. He really believes that his goofy little bad taste comedy has made him the most dangerous man in cinema.

  81. yeah the Sega themed Rave in HOTD was hilarious, especially the topless Asian chick dancing around for no reason whatsoever

    and that shootout where they added footage from the games? brilliantly stupid

  82. Fred – long or short hair? She was GORGEOUS on Firefly but I lost all interest once I saw her on V. And I usually don’t mind short hair on girls!

  83. Fred, did you see this pilot for Homeland? Just make sure you see Bacarin’s face and any nudity in the same shot, I know they cast body doubles for her sex scenes. Maybe she did some of her own too. She was already naked in some movie, just one pubic hair away from full frontal nudity. The movie was HORRIBLE though, I don’t even remember the name. I’m sure in five seconds I could easily find out, but fuck that.

  84. Oh, and neal she was short haired so you might not like it.

  85. I support this discussion of nudity lol

    and fuck body doubles

  86. Rush Hour 2 was also one of my most anticipated movies of 2001, and I enjoyed it a lot, especially the Don Cheadle scene and the outtakes. I was 16, and all of my asian friends were really hyped for it.

    One thing that really stuck in my memory was how amazingly slow Chris Tucker was during his martial arts scenes, especially one towards the end where he was fighting Zhang Ziyi (I think – I haven’t seen it since it came out). I think he may have been the slowest dude I’ve ever witnessed win a martial arts fight in a movie.

    Overall I don’t think I’d want to watch it again, because I’m pretty jaded now and probably wouldn’t enjoy it much. Better to let it persist as a fond memory.

  87. Boy, I thought it was breasts and face in same shot but I’m told now they do facial replacement so who knows? I was totally fooled by Leslie Mann in The Change-Up and I read those were prosthetic.

    Shoulder length hair though, although when I saw her at the Showtime party it was still short, so maybe a wig.

  88. neal2zod: “Note: If the magic words were “Lokken got naked”, please rent her season of The L Word instead. Infinitely hotter than Bloodrayne and you don’t have to deal w/ the movie around it.”

    Actually I think I would rather deal with Uwe Boll than made-for-TV lesbians. Although I will grant you that most of what I’ve heard of “The L Word” has been fairly positive…

  89. Well, The L Word had some truly great performances and storylines, but I will have to say it probably had THE WORST ending to a series I can remember. As in, you will never complain about Lost or Battlestar or whatever again if you sat through this series to the end. It’s so bad I think most people are actually in denial about it.

    One thing I did love about that show was that it was a place for under-appreciated actresses to show they still had some chops, Travolta/Tarantino-style. I mean, we had Jennifer Beals and Pam Grier (as sisters!), plus Kelly McGillis, Rosanna Arquette, Kelly Lynch, Cybill Shepard, Marlee Matlin, and Anne Archer. If you were a guy growing up in the 80s, you’d like the show.

  90. wait a minute, what’s the deal with this whole “Leslie Mann in The Change-Up and I read those were prosthetic.” business? I’m confused

    are actresses in this day and age really THAT anal about nudity? *shakes head*

  91. Griff – yeah, it’s weird that in the span of two weeks, Olivia Wilde’s been working overtime to entice fanboys, claiming that she didn’t know her ass would end up showing in Cowboys and Aliens (yeah right – like her lawyers wouldn’t have been all over that shit) and also claiming she had a nip-slip/pasty showing in The Change-Up where they digitally added a nipple on top of it. And now I hear Mann’s got some CGI nudity too. Wasn’t she already naked in Last Man Standing? Wasn’t Wilde already naked in Alpha Dog?

    I guess patient zero for this trend was Jessica Alba “nude” in Machete. We live in sad times when they hype up a throwback “grindhouse” movie, then use state of the art effects to cover up the leading lady, and you STILL don’t get to see anything!

  92. it’s just fucking ridiculous (warning, rant imminent)

    my opinion on nudity is “if you’ve got it, flaunt it”, I think it’s absurd if you have a beautiful body to keep it forever covered up

    because I don’t believe nudity is shameful or dirty, look at classical nude art and sculpture? is that dirty? is that shameful? look at photographers like Helmut Newton, whose nude photography had a sexual context, but was still undeniably art

    I can only assume that this rise in prudishness is a strange side effect of the ubiquitous accessibility of pornography on the internet, that nudity is now only something “pornstars do” (you’ll notice that for example that most of the nudity in Piranha 3D was done by pornstars), that it’s not something a “respectable actress” does, but what about actresses like Julianne Moore? is she not respectable anymore?

    the fact that actresses are such prudes now that they’ve resorted to using CGI to trick people shows that something is SERIOUSLY wrong with this picture, I mean what the fuck? is it really that big of a fucking deal if people see your boobs? is your career going to implode the second your top comes off?

    we have gone seriously backwards in our culture in that respect, this is just 100% absurd

  93. Interesting thoughts, Griff. I bet it’s more simply just the technology to avoid nude scenes now exists, so the actors who were never going to do nudity have an easier way to fake it. I suppose I’ll take fake nipples over women having sex with their bras on. No woman in real life would ever leave wire straps on her chest while she has a penis inside her vagina, but movie couples have bra sex all the time.

    In Mann’s case, I think they needed to be larger, nursing mother boobs, so there is an artistic reason for it. Interestingly, the Platinum Dunes guys said that test audiences were really uncomfortable with the nudity in Friday the 13th. Decades later, audiences no longer wanted booby slasher movies.

    Also, from what I’ve seen of The L Word, it is far worse than watching an Uwe Boll movie. Great girl on girl scenes, but I thought the drama was so stupid and the writing terrible. I’m glad it gave all those actors a new forum and the gay community some positive representations, but they all deserve quality writing too.

  94. Fred – from my observations, it seems like modern American culture has a strange attitude towards sex, a “prude but not prude” stance, it seems like sex is no longer considered acceptable for the mainstream and has now been boxed up and regulated only to internet pornography, America has metaphorically stashed it’s Playboys under the bed so to speak

    I’m not surprised that people were uncomfortable with the nudity in the Friday the 13th remake, people are not used to being confronted by sex and nudity in a movie theater amongst other people any more, they’re used to viewing it on a computer screen by themselves in a locked room

    look at the controversy over the sex scene in Blue Valentine, which I have not seen, but I guarantee it’s no more graphic than what you would see in an R rated 80’s or 70’s movie

  95. Griff, America’s backwards view of sex is nothing new. You’re right that the availability of internet porn has developed it much further. It’s always been “all the violence you want but don’t show a nipple.” I like your metaphorical Playboy stash point. What do you think of all the sex on cable? Californication, L Word, Game of Thrones, True Blood, Spartacus…

    Blue Valentine may not be graphic but it’s actually brutally intimate, so it feels much more like we’re looking at a private scene we’re not supposed to. It’s a powerful film, I’m just not surprised it provoked people more than more graphic movies.

  96. Fred – I haven’t watched any of those shows, but I think the reason cable has more nudity than movies is for two reasons, 1. it’s still in your own home and not a movie theater and 2. they can actually get away with it, which brings me to my next point….

    I think the MPAA has become a lot more conservative in recent years, there’s actually a great documentary about them called “This Film Is Not Yet Rated” that points out that not only do they give sexual content a harder time than violence of course, but they’ve become more conservative over the years and a lot of stuff that used to get away with an R rating now gets slapped with a NC-17 (which is more or less banning something by proxy)

    so I think if a movie in this day and age tried to have as much nudity as a show like Spartacus it would probably get hit with a NC-17

    and as far as violence goes, maybe I’m just desensitized by video games, but it seems like although it gets an easier time than sexual content, the MPAA is still pretty strict on violence too

    I mean if Quentin Tarantino had to change the fight with the Crazy 88s in Kill Bill to black and white to avoid an NC-17 rating, I think that tells you all you need to know

  97. Biggest crime against movie nudity has to be Michael Bay not letting Scarlett Johannson go topless in THE ISLAND for the sake of a PG-13 rating. MOTHERFUCKER!!

    “I think the MPAA has become a lot more conservative in recent years, there’s actually a great documentary about them called “This Film Is Not Yet Rated” that points out that not only do they give sexual content a harder time than violence of course, but they’ve become more conservative over the years and a lot of stuff that used to get away with an R rating now gets slapped with a NC-17 (which is more or less banning something by proxy)”
    The MPAA’s gotten really weird. You know that Twister was “Rated PG-13 for intense depiction of very bad weather.”? Or that Ice Age got PG for “Mild Peril”?

  98. Griff, I’ve seen the Kirby Dick doc. Hilarious how they actually count thrusts. If you ever watch an unrated extended DVD cut, compare the thrusts to the theatrical R rated one.

    I’ll give a PG-13 movie that they can’t show boobs to kids, but there’s obviously a more artistic way to cover up than just leaving the bra on. That’s unrealistic. I don’t really believe Scarlett was really going to do a nude scene, but I don’t begrude her that. I take that story with a grain of salt.

    I’m glad cable shows are going all out there. I think Spartacus is Caligula: The Series. It gives us something outrageous to watch. Even FX shows push it really nicely. nip/tuck was awesome.

    Best explanation of a rating ever: The Simpsons Movie rated PG-13 for Irreverent Humor Throughout.

  99. I thought Season 1 of “Nip/Tuck” was fantastic, and I LOVE the casting of Famke Janssen as a pedophile. (She can do creepy better than just about any other ridiculously hot female actress. Seriously.) Damn, that show had some talent.

    If the only problem you had with Alba in “Machete” was her not going nude then I would think you’d have to be pretty forgiving. I thought she was terrible in that movie. The script called upon her to be a convincing badass FBI agent, and then – worse – a convincing badass rebel leader. It just didn’t work, to the point that it was almost cringe-worthy to watch her try and pull it off. And look, I’m not somebody who says that Alba is an actress who only gets by on her looks and has no talent; I liked “Dark Angel” as much as anybody did. But “Machete”… nope. The movie was one of those irritatingly overhyped Internet sensations, but it was still “ok”, almost rising to “pretty good” at points, as long as Alba wasn’t in it. When she was… oh boy. It was just awful.

  100. I don’t know Paul, Jessica Alba has pretty much always been a terrible actress

    and she’s a ridiculous prude to boot

  101. “I’ll give a PG-13 movie that they can’t show boobs to kids, but there’s obviously a more artistic way to cover up than just leaving the bra on. That’s unrealistic. I don’t really believe Scarlett was really going to do a nude scene, but I don’t begrude her that. I take that story with a grain of salt.”
    The original CLASH OF THE TITANS had boobs, but was PG. Why should one generation have that, and another not? I remember reading something where Scarlett was quoted as saying she did in fact want to do nudity and wasn’t afraid of it, but was waiting for the right project. She’s doing something called UNDER THE SKIN that sounds like it could be the one, but we’ll have to wait and see.
    (it’s a wonder there’s no regular female posters round here)

  102. You’re right, Stu. I grew up with Sheena and Splash. I was also allowed to watch Beverly Hills Cop, Stripes, The Terminator and Police Academy (1 was rated R, remember), so it was never an issue for me.

  103. Griff, I don’t think she’s ALWAYS been terrible, but she’s picked some awful projects. I mean, I’ve never seen “Fantastic Four” or “The Guru”, but their reputations precede them. I actually think “Machete” was pretty good, but she couldn’t pull off what it asked of her. This is the kind of thing that Stallone gets accused of – and honestly, what would you think if “The Expendables” was the only Stallone film you’d seen?

  104. I feel a need to point out that the mechanical spider in “Wild, Wild West” is practically the only thing I do remember about that movie–because it was the only awesome thing in that movie.

    If the mechanical spider was studio meddling, we need more of that kind of studio meddling.

  105. I never actually saw any of the RUSH HOURs. But last night I wanted to watch some Jackie Chan and my wife was hogging the tv with the DVD player and Netflix did not have much for me so I watched RUSH HOUR 1 and 2. The first one was pretty boring but I really enjoyed the second one. Very hot chicks, some great fights and stunts, and the humour worked for me (if Jackie Chan threatening to bitch-slap someone’s black ass back to Africa is not funny to you I can’t help you).

    As I was watching it, I did vaguely recall that Brett Ratner had been in some hot water. Had to look it up afterwards…yikes. I kinda feel bad for watching these now.

  106. Hey guys, we missed the tenth anniversary of this review! And to a lesser extent the 20th anniversary of this movie.

    To August 5th, 2011 8:10am neal2zod; I think it was the DVD for the first movie that was the big Ratnerfest. It was certainly there that I saw Ratner’s student film WHATEVER HAPPENED TO MASON REESE? when I was about 13, which I think was supposed to be funny but which I found deeply upsetting and still haunts me to this day. And not in a “y’know in retrospect…” way, it was really unpleasant in ways that have little to do with Ratner’s subsequent misdeads. But yeah, in retrospect it was weird that the DVD thought you’d be so interested in the guy, given that this was his second film following the middling success of MONEY TALKS, and that he barely got a mention in the reviews which pretty much just focused on Chan and Tucker.

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