Universal Pictures spent $200 million making a movie based on the Battleship board game. Go back and re-read that sentence.

Let that fucking sink into your skull walnut: a group of professional movie dudes dropped more money than you can even contemplate on creating a movie based on a board game nobody has played since 1992. Which did not have a plot. It barely had a concept.

The trailer was released on Friday. It seems to be about Transformers flying out of the ocean and playing Battleship against the US Navy, down to launching pegs into naval vessels. It's all a misunderstanding.


It's a tired canard that past eras of entertainment were superior and our current culture is debased and degraded. Every era has produced its pop culture debris. They made giant ant movies galore back in the 1950s, terrible gangster films in the 1940s and 1930s and have you even watched the Great Train Robbery? Thomas Edison, more like Thomas W.S. Anderson.

None of that excuses Battleship, which is so revolting because it represents the pinnacle, not the nadir, of contemporary mainstream culture. This is not a cut-rate Uwe Boll shitfest, this is 200 million worth of blockbuster. The trash which we merrily shoveled out for decades has become the best we have to offer: Hollywood's brain-shit bedazzled with tens of millions of dollars worth of robots and shock waves and probably in 3D. Things can fly at your face now. You can literally have Shrek blast jizzloads in your face or whatever it is he does to make people buy tickets to his nightmare circus.

Star Wars retold the monomyth with inane metaphysics wrapped in space dog fights and family feuds. It was silly, but it aspired to a narrative. Battleship retells a motherfucking board game nobody likes by literally re-enacting the board game. I wonder if you can win an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for adapting your script from staring at plastic game pieces and a one-page rules flyer? That's a question I fear might never be answered by the Academy.

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