My girlfriend and I recently made the tragic mistake of refusing to not see the movie "The Grudge" around 7:30 PM last Friday. In case you're out of the pop culture loop and you somehow missed the many, many commercials for this fine feature-length film about a boy who accidentally swallows a cat despite the protests of his rapidly shedding mother, it conveys the harrowing tale of a haunted house which murders roughly half of Japan and causes Sarah Michelle Gellar to adopt a facial expression best described as "somewhat concerned or possibly constipated." I'd like to offer up a mini-review of this wonderful American film remake of a Japanese film remake of a made-for-television movie which cost $19 to produce, including the cost of dustbusters to clean up the tumbleweeds of black hair which constantly rolled through the set, knocking over backdrops and crushing small children:
BRIEF REVIEW OF "THE GRUDGE"The horrifying "shower scene" from "The Grudge."
Sarah Michelle Gellar plays the role of Sarah Michelle Gellar in the Hollywood remake of the Japanese horror film "Ju-On: The Grudge." When a woman and her small child are murdered by their very hairy husband, their ghosts prowl throughout the house and downtown Tokyo, killing every single person who enters for some reason which is explained in a scene that can best be described as "very white and blue." Every horror film produced since "The Ring" has taken advantage of the glorious "white and blue" cinematic technique which guarantees their film will be at least 238% scarier, as it's a proven fact the colors blue and white are the most terrifying of the color wheel. For example, Booberry is white and blue and that guy is scary as all hell. I mean, a ghost that haunts breakfast cereals while wearing a derby and bow tie? Enough said.
The famous white and blue film technique is very simple and cost-effective for even the most amateur of Hollywood directors. Basically the filmmakers shoot their movie, edit it, and then run it through a giant rusty machine built by Martians which miraculously transforms every color into either blue or white. Red apples? Hope you like blue apples! Hey, is that a rainbow over there? No, it's a big blue floating horseshoe which has traces of ghost semen in it! I love blue and white, please Hollywood, keep eliminating every goddamn color of the rainbow because when I pay money to see a movie, I want it to look like I'm watching the reflection of my television set showing static inside a pan of antifreeze!
Bill Pullman has a wonderful supporting role as "some guy who does something" and kicks the film off into high gear by killing himself in an attempt to escape being in the movie. His death also marks the first of many unintentional comedic moments that causes the audience to laugh uncontrollably, a hallmark of any great horror film. Gellar is visiting Japan, taking courses at a local university when her boss, Ted Raimi once again playing the role of a man whose face was mutilated in a printing press, gives her a job taking care of an old woman who sleeps in the aforementioned haunted house of doom. Somehow the old woman has an immunity to ghosts that Japanese girls and married couples lack, and she takes advantage of this by staring at the bedroom wall for a good three days or so while a couple ghosts walk around and toss Snickers bar wrappers all over the floor.
Gellar soon discovers that there's something strange going on in the haunted house, mostly due to the fact that it's haunted but also because roughly a half a million people have been murdered there and are decaying all over the place. After cleverly using the Internet and asking a Japanese detective why he was standing on a roof, she mashes the pieces of the puzzle together and realizes the house contains restless spirits of a mother and her son, both murdered by their husband years ago. It turns out that when you die in Japan, and you were experiencing some tremendously powerful emotion at the time, your ghost haunts the area where you were murdered because, well, it's Japan and that's just how things work. So if you're some really fat dude and die from a heart attack while eating a cheeseburger, your spirit will float around and make everybody who approaches very hungry for McDonalds. Likewise if you die using the Internet, your ghost will start making people act retarded and talk nonstop about Firefox and the .ogm file extension.
Simulation of what "The Wizard of Oz" would look like if made with modern horror film white and blue miracle technology.
Soon sleepy blue ghosts (not Booberry) begin appearing all over Japan and somehow kill every single person who ever entered the house except the extras who weren't important enough to warrant their own death scenes. I think they only haunt you if you physically walk in through the door; that is, if you're playing in the yard, you're probably safe. Or if you check their power meter outside, you're safe too. But if you walk in to fix the cable or you're there to deliver some flowers, then you're screwed. "Never deliver flowers to a haunted house" is one of the most prevalent mottos in the floral industry. To make matters worse, getting killed by a ghost makes you become a ghost as well, and then you are forced to murder Sam Raimi's brother, a man whose fight-or-flight reflex fell off a horse during an episode of "Xena: Princess Warrior." Gellar, who visited the ghost house to pick up trash that the dead Japanese girl before her left behind once she was murdered in a closet, realizes that the she's next on the ghost's hit list, so she must act quickly and do something before something else happens and it's too late to do something else.
Unfortunately, the ghost already has her targeted, and it causes very scary things to occur like grow a hand out of her hair (which disappears before she can notice it) and have her ghastly son hang out on every floor of an apartment complex while she uses the elevator (and never sees him). I've always wondered why ghosts in movies were so goddamn ineffective. I mean, they spend a ton of time ensuring scary things appear behind characters and in mirrors, but the people they're trying to scare never even see them. If I was a ghost and I was attempting to scare somebody, I wouldn't devote all my energy to doing crazy stupid things behind my target; I'd make damn well sure they saw me when I was materializing and sticking my own jawbone up my ass while projecting morbid images of Tori Spelling's father with my hair.
The audience seemed to laugh more watching "The Grudge" than they did during "Napoleon Dynamite," although to be honest, folks seemed to cringe in disgust more frequently while watching "Napoleon Dynamite." Modern Asian cinema is known for creepy visuals, dark atmospheres, and terribly nonsensical plotlines which constantly require the viewer to suspend disbelief. Modern American horror is known for it's white and blue film, sound effects suddenly playing at 100 million decibels to signify something scary has happened and you should therefore be very scared, and telling stories about a bunch of annoying retarded teenagers figuring out mysteries by using the Internet. Combine both together and you get... well, I'm not exactly sure what you get, but it wasn't very good. The only frightening part of the movie occurred in the first 15 minutes, before I grew accustomed to seeing the ghost appear every 10 seconds, dictating exactly what to expect and when to expect it. "Horror" does not mean eliminating every non-blue color of the rainbow and flashing clips of a cat boy emitting screeching noises in a closet at ear-shattering levels, and the only "grudge" I had during this movie was one against Sam Raimi for tricking me into spending my money to watch a bastardized Asian horror film processed in Smurfette's vulva.
Despite my extreme displeasure with the movie, I can safely say that nothing, and I repeat NOTHING, was as horrible as the people around me watching the movie. We live in Lee's Summit, Missouri, a town populated by a bunch of high school and sub-high school children, all planning on going to college to earn a degree in "saying 'like' after every other word." In case you missed the memo, all American teenagers are apparently federally required to carry at least two cellphones everywhere they go. If they at any point fail to use these phones nonstop, the translucent electrical collar around their neck will detonate, showering the surrounding area with fragments of bone and Hot Topic clothing. Now some of you may claim I sound like a bitter old man, but if the desire to systematically torture and then execute every single teenager fucking around with their Nelly ring tone during a feature film makes me a bitter old man, then so be it.
With this in mind, I have decided to build my very own movie theater, which I plan on calling "The Something Awful Theater For Normal People." This movie theater will cater to us normal people, the folks that actually buy movie tickets so we can watch the fucking movie, and it will adhere by the following rules:
I don't know what's happening here, but it's in white and blue so it must be scary according to Hollywood!
1) Cellphone usage will be forbidden. Anybody caught even handling a cellphone will be forced to wear The Rainbow Assault for an hour. The Rainbow Assault is simply a pair of headphones that I bought at a garage sale in Lawrence, Kansas for 83 cents last year, a piece of highly advanced technology featuring a festive and decorative scene on the earpiece depicting what appears to be the Care Bears administering enemas to each other. The Rainbow Assault has the ability to spew out distorted sounds at volumes approaching 200 million decibels through a completely distorted and overloaded ear speaker manufactured by horribly insane Taiwanese engineers in the mid 1980s. If a repeat cellphone offender is caught again, we will upload a cell phone theme to their unit called "The Ring tone Virus," which, upon loading, murders the owner in seven days. Then we will attend their funeral and call each other on our phones, talking really loudly about "what Rebecca was wearing" at last night's party, despite the fact that we'll be standing less than five feet from each other. If one of their mourning parents complains about our behavior, we will all respond by playing the MIDI version of "My Boo" on our phones at once.
2) Any African American individual who shouts "funny" comments at the movie screen such as "YOU DUMB BITCH, DON'T OPEN DAT DOOR!" and "AW HELL NAW" will be forcefully strapped to a chair and escorted into the "Stereotype Reeducation Room," where we will attempt to help them break free from their painfully generic behavior featured in such hilarious standup comedy skits by Steve Harvey and every other black comedian in the history of history. It has become painfully apparently that black comedian stereotypes have developed into a self-fulfilling prophecy and it's simply impossible for some individuals to break free from the loud n' sassy moviegoing cliche they are commanded to conform to by every minority to ever walk into a spotlight. Treatment will be applied based on the effective methods demonstrated in "A Clockwork Orange," except the movie we force them to watch will consist of choice clips from "Friends" interlaced with stock footage of skinny white people playing football in the early 1900s with all those goofy pads and leather helmets. Any white people who shout at the movie screen will be summarily executed because, hey, white people watch movies LIKE THAT and black people watch movies LIKE THIS.
3) Popcorn will be sold with mandatory "chewing silencers," tiny little electronic devices which detect if a person is chewing with their cavernous 10-foot wide mouth open, showering surrounding patrons with moist corn particles and wads of saliva. If the chewing silencer detects an offender, it will spew a stream of dense caulking into their mouth, preventing it from opening for the next two hours. These chewing silencers will be both effective and environmentally safe, transforming into a harmless acid which will eat through human flesh and bone until it successfully oxidizes and, I don't know, turns into tree bark or something I guess.
All in all, it was a miserable moviegoing experience. On one hand, "The Grudge" was an absolutely terrible horror film which wasn't as much frightening as it was laughable, but on the other hand we really couldn't even pay attention to the film due to the fact that the movie theater was apparently built inside a giant Sprint store haunted by the hundreds of spirits who died in there while waiting to speak to an actual human being. Until the youth of America stop being so goddamn annoying, I plan on attending only NC-17 movies whose title has the word "nurse" or "engorged" somewhere in it. This may be a sacrifice, but it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make for America and our fantastic white and blue cinema experiences.
Game of Thrones has mercilessly killed off characters over the years, but these lesser characters are still waiting to meet their fate.
What movies other than Rat Race could be improved by the surprising entrance of Smash Mouth?
day 2: still working on the car
The Something Awful front page news tackles anything both off and on the Internet. Mostly "on" though, as we're all incredible nerds.