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This week:

Filthy says:
"Fancy ass bullshit."

Somewhere, a film school is missing the kid who sits alone in the first row and wears the turtleneck. Holy shit, has there ever been as academic and masturbatory a movie as Brick that escaped from a university's film festival? What a boring, pretentious and pointless hunk of contrived crap.

The entire time I watched this tough-talking, feeble stab at noir set on a high-school campus I kept thinking of Bugsy Malone, a crappy 70s gangster movie for kids starring only kids and with pie fights where the gunfire would be. Well, the time I wasn't wishing I were at home in bed, that is. Bugsy was all cutesy and creepy like a beauty pageant for toddlers. Brick is fake and forced, like a twelve-year-old strutting through the Country Buffet in his brand new leather jacket.

On a San Clemente high school campus, a loner (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) gets a cryptic message from an ex-girlfriend and pieces together a mystery involving bands of drug-dealing thugs who hide in dank basements, molls in old Thunderbird convertibles, and labyrinthine plot twists about a tainted "brick" of heroin, backstabbing and a lousy sidekick who just happens to know any necessary information to push the plot.

What the movie is missing is any reason for the audience to give a shit. I mean, other than if you're a film school student who marvels at dazzling exercises in jerking off, or you're just an average joe who likes the same shit. And I'm not talking about dazzling clitoris diddling like you get in Candy Bottoms' brilliant XXX classicMe Loves Me 36, even if she doesn't look like she loves herself in much of it. Especially the parts when she cries.

The movie kicks off with Gordon-Levitt acting too fucking cool for school. He has no backstory and he shows no emotion. The mystery he is tangled in is too abstract to give a shit about and the fact that Gordon-Levitt is so flat only inspires you not to dig deep. It's fancy and convoluted for sure, but if twists and turns were enough then I could get people to pay ten bucks to look at my lower intestine. I doubt writer-director Rian Johnson bothered thinking about whether we'd give a shit. He was too damn busy dazzling himself with all the tricks.

Brick also struts around like it's hot shit, completely oblivious that it's not the first leather jacket in the Country Buffet, or that the kid underneath ain't very mature. Like nobody ever thought of this crap before. There is a bad noir with self-conscious tough talk strapped to synthetic teen scenario. Neither the noir nor the drama are clever; it's just all that duct tape holding them together makes you think you're seeing something new. Sort of like a jackalope.

Another reason this movie sucks major ass is how inconsistent it is. It wants to be cool and noir, but a billion elements of it are none of that. Instead, they are just some undisciplined hack's idea of cool. Take, for example, the cool retro cars that no high school kid will ever have, or the hideous retro clothes that high school kids never wear. At least, none who aren't screaming for attention. Worse is that these fucking brats are supposedly in high school, and the setting is largely the campus, yet they don't act, speak or respond like high schoolers. Instead, they chirp barely comprehensible tough talk of the bad, flashy moviemaker. The action is driven by some invisible hand and never by any logical reaction to an incident.

What would have made a way better movie is taking a noir plot and play it out with typical lazy, shy teens with no self-confidence and limited vocabularies. The kids would have been more sympathetic and less like some freakish test-tube mutation. That might have hidden their lousy acting too.

One Finger for Brick. Pushing a twenty-pound baby out of a 90-pound women would be less labored and painful. Maybe someday Rian Johnson will make a good movie, but it won't be until he's more interested in entertaining his audience than impressing his film school pals.

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Shawn Edwards of Fox TV

Scary Movie 4 is "The best Scary Movie yet! The laughs come fast and furiously funny"

Kinky Boots is "Four Stars! The feel-good movie of the year!"

ATL is "a totally off-the-hook crowd pleaser!"

Filthy's Reading
Raymond Chandler - Collected Stories

Listening to
The Replacements - Sorry, Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash


It's All Gone, Pete Tong