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This week:
Be Cool

Filthy says:
"So uncool it'll shatter your nuts, or clitoris for the ladies."

I didn't make it all the way through Be Cool, because after an hour I started wondering what might come in the mail. I wasn't expecting anything, but the mystery of that day's mail still held my attention more than this hot load of crap. So I left before the end just to see what I got. I rarely do this, but I was just so fucking sick of the desperate neediness of Be Cool that the possibility of a Val-Pak was more exciting.

The last time I saw such a sad collection of washed-up actors trying to remind you of their glory days was my only experience watching "mature" porn. That movie was made by a bunch of senior citizens, and ended badly. After an hour of these old folks talking about how much they love fucking, the lead couldn't get a boner and ended up sobbing for a few minutes before taking his medications and watching the evening news with the volume turned way up. Naked.

Be Cool is sadder. This is as cool as a Members Only jacket. It's the moment that a whole range of A-list aspirers like James Woods, John Travolta, Uma Thurman and Harvey Keitel kiss all hopes of real coolness goodbye.

In this Elmore Leonard (the most overrated noir writer in the world) novel sequel, Travolta plays Chili Palmer, a somewhat fat and immobile former mob loan shark turned movie producer who doesn't do his job for one fucking second of this movie. After an "ironic" discussion with Woods (or a side of weathered bacon--I couldn't tell) about how movie sequels suck, he sees Woods get shot and killed by Russian mobsters. I say "ironic" because we're supposed to laugh about people in a sequel talking about how sequels suck. In the ultimate twist, though,Be Cool really does suck. Hard, like a ten-dollar whore late for her shift at Wal-Mart. Give director F. Gary Gray credit for proving his point about sequels. Sure the movie is an unbearable mess, but you can't say he didn't warn us.

Oh, unless he included that monologue because he was cocky that he would rise above the accepted wisdom about sequels. Nah, someone would have edited it out after seeing a rough cut, wouldn't they?

Woods was a record producer, and now Travolta somehow inherits his hottest prospect, a run-of-the-mill pretty singer songwriter (Christina Milian) in the mold of Ashanti, Aaliyah, Beyonce and Alicia Keys. Like them, she's black, blandly pretty and boring as a tit in a sawmill. The problem in Be Cool is that she's under contract to another record label, so Travolta can't break her without causing trouble. I have no fucking clue why she was dealing with Woods in the first place. But, this is the source of the movie's limp clothes line. Mostly, Be Cool just drapes weak cameos over the this plot. Along with Woods' widow, record label co-owner Uma Thurman, Travolta magically gets his unknown, unproduced star to open for Aerosmith (which this piece of shit thinks is the pinnacle of "cool" and also the best place to break a young black singer).

But, not if Milian's former managers, Vince Vaughn and Harvey Keitel can overact him to death. God knows they try. Oh yeah, and The Rock is here as a gay bodyguard. He really has nothing to do, but he's probably the best actor in the movie. What does that tell you?

I have no idea how it all turns out since I left. But I sure hope it involved someone pulling the rod out of Travolta's ass, giving Thurman her anti-epilepsy medication and shooting Harvey Keitel in the mouth. It must, because I didn't see anything in the paper about an audience burning down a movie theater.

I can't remember how Cedric the Entertainer and Andre 3000 got involved as "hilarious" gangsta rappers who are stereotypes despite all the strenuous jokes about rap stereotypes. Or all the details of Robert Pastorelli's performance as a wacky hitman who is always eating because I was too busy wondering if my Val-Pak would have a coupon for kitchen refinishing in it. They do try to add humor by mocking the broad stereotypes they are playing and being very loud. Yeah, that's fucking funny when a screenwriter makes fun of cliches he can't even rise above. This Andre 3000 is a shitty actor. The damn kid looks uncomfortable up there, like he's about to glance offstage for reassurance from someone.

For the most part, the movie is made up of unfunny sketches that are barely linked together, hardly make sense and even if they did, are nowhere as cool as everyone involved hopes they are. Aerosmith cool? Maybe to 50-year olds with bad taste. "Sweet Emotion" the best rock song ever? Yeah, probably if it's the only one you ever heard, or forgot 90% of AC/DC, Metallica, Led Zeppelin, Guns'n'Roses, and about 10,000 others. The are loads of B-list cameos, but even they feel sad, as thought he actors think they're A-list and their mere presence is gonna boost the movie. I see from IMDB that Gene Simmons, Fred Durst, Seth Green and Joe Perry are in it. Maybe they were in the part I saw. I wouldn't know because I wouldn't recognize them. But they aren't cool. They're hoping getting in this movie will make them so. Bad news, losers.

Ocean's Twelve sucked because all the assholes in it thought they were cool and didn't give a fuck what we thought. They just wanted to watch themselves strut around like fey peacocks. Be Cool sucks worse and in a sadder way. It's populated by assholes who don't even have a clue what's cool, suspect as much, and still try really hard to convince us they are. This is the Hollywood equivalent of a group of seventh grade honor students who perform an abstinence rap during pep rally in the gym. Only the teachers who bob their head and pretend they like it will think this shit is cool. And they'll say, "Normally, I don't like rap, but those kids had a positive message."

There are constant, self-conscious references to better movies in Be Cool. I think these nods are supposed to be cute. But this fucking movie is like a three year old who cracks his parents up when he says "fart" and then keeps saying it until you realize it wasn't even funny the first time. Then he says it some more. Give it a fucking rest, kid; we were only laughing to humor you. Thurman and Travolta dance, just like they did in Pulp Fiction. There is that shitty discussion of sequels. Steven Tyler says he has never appeared in a movie. There is a discussion in the movie abut how you can only say "fuck" once in a movie before it loses its PG-13 rating. And guess what? That's this movie's only reference to it! Oh, tee hee. It's a cowardly PG-13 turd and it knows it. If only there were real jokes where this self-referential dickwadding is.

I get the distinct feeling that screenwriter Peter Steinfeld has never written something genuinely funny in his lifetime. he has bad taste and he apes what he sees, only too deliberately. He'll keep trying, though, because there's another pep rally next week and maybe a few gags will make the kids more comfortable talking about herpes.

Uma Thurman puts in her worst acting performance since, oh, pretending she could stand Ethan Hawke. In one scene, she walks into a youth center where some black kids appear to be rehearsing for Electric Boogaloo 3 and she immediately begins bobbing her head like, "Yeah, I'm down with the kids." It looks as uncomfortable as a proctologist with a patient who just dined at Country Buffet. But it's representative of this entire piece of shit's fake desperate attempts at cool. Other than her, the acting is almost all bad, caricaturish. It all belongs to the "It'll be funny if it's louder" school.

Two Fingers for Be Cool. It probably would have gotten one if I had bothered to stick around for it all. By the way, there were coupons for resurfacing kitchen counters in my Val-Pak. Anyone interested, let me know.

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Earl Dittman of. ahem, Wireless Magazines

Robots is "More incredible than The Incredibles! Brilliant. Innovative. Spectacular"

Cursed is "Four Stars! A breathtaking, supernatural thriller!"

In Hostage "Bruce Willis has never been better! More electrifying than Die Hard!"

Filthy's Reading
Diana and Michael Preston - A Pirate of Exquisite Mind

Listening to
R. L. Burnside - Come On In


I Accuse My Parents