©2008 Big Empire Industries and Randy Shandis Enterprises
Every right imaginable is reserved.


This week:
Butterfly Effect

Filthy says:
"What the fuck? Seriously, what the fuck?

The Butterfly Effect was made by retards, the kind who think they know science without ever doing all that unpleasant reading and studying that real scientists bother with. What a fatheaded, boring-ass, unpleasant load of bad science posing as entertainment.

I'm no scientist, although I once had the crap beat out of me by two at the Rocky Flats Tavern. Let's just say I learned you don't make fission jokes unless you know what you're talking about. I'm not even scientifically minded outside of an ongoing fascination with how Budweiser gets all those tiny bubbles into bottles. But even with my limited technical skills, I can smell the bullshit pseudoscience of lazy Hollywood grassfuckers like a monitor lizard smelling carrion. These little shits like the idea of "science" as long as it can be turned into a high-concept script pitch. The details, facts and common sense, however, just get in the way of the easy story, so they make it up as they go and figure we're too stupid to know it.

The Butterfly Effect is a term for a simplified explanation of Chaos Theory. That is, the idea that it is possible to get completely random results from normal equations with only tiny changes in the initial values. Minor fluctuations in input can produce random and wild differences in the output. A butterfly flapping its wings on one side of the world may disturb the air enough to cause ripples that, by the time they reach the other side of the world, cause--or prevent--a tsunami.

That's where the movie gets its title. It's worth noting, however, that this piece of llama crap understands Chaos Theory as well as Alanis Morisette understands "ironic". Lazy ignoramuses, all of them. Butterfly Effect is a lame-brained time-travel flick ripped off from Ray Bradbury, H.G. Wells and some really shitty Christopher Reeves's movie whose name escapes me. In fact, the Simpsons already did a more accurate and intentionally funnier version of this story, and it took about eight minutes. All the horseshit about Chaos Theory is just a thick layer of crap smeared all over the story to make it look like someone came up with a new idea.

A college freshman (Ashton Kutcher) discovers he can go back in time, and does so to change the future for his miserable childhood chums. The changes in input are not minor; he makes enormous changes in the past. The impacts aren't enormous or random; the only people affected are Kutcher and the friends directly involved, and exactly the way you'd expect. So much for those poor fucking butterflies.

During a tedious, overlong flashback of the main characters as children, we learn that each suffers from problems described with the subtlety only a man who may or may not have skimmed the introductory paragraph of his junior college psych text book could muster. Pedophilia and bullies are handled in an after-school special kind of way, where one heartfelt speech straightens out the bad guys for life. Kutcher's character conveniently blacks out every time something terrible happens. That way he can remember it as an adult, and then go back and try to change it.

The only imaginative thing the script came up with is Kutcher as a genius college freshman, living in the dorms and studying psychology. First, the guy looks just a little older than a freshman; he has clear skin and can grow facial hair. Second, he's a fucking monosyllabic Neanderthal. Has grade inflation gotten this bad? The most intelligent thing he says is something about how he's studying the memories of worms to learn about humans. The screenwriter cuts it off there before he had to actually had to learn something to know what to say next.

In the present, Kutcher recollects what he lacked out as a child, and then, in a leap of logic about as successful as Evel Knievel's Snake River attempt, he discovers he can travel through time to change the past. If Kutcher's a college genius, I'm the Pope of England. Look at me, I've got a funny hat! If he's so fucking smart, why can't he figure out what every audience member, including the crying baby in the row behind me, can. Mainly, that going back in time to change the future is a really bad idea. He ignores common sense, goes back, makes annoying speeches to pedophiles and tells little girls they're beautiful and asks a bully not to kill his dog. Each change he makes creates a different and expected future, but only for the people directly involved.

Kutcher flashes back a number of times, exactly enough times to pad out a weak story to feature length. Each time he travels, he returns to a worse present. The most annoying instance is the time he returns to find he's lost his arms but everyone else is better off. The big fucking crybaby can't handle it. Hey, Kutcher, I like to whack off too, but it ain't that important. Let it go.

The main problem with Butterfly Effect is it has no tension. He does this little time travel trick, but the stakes are never raised. Each trip into the past is a vignette. I got the sense he could keep doing this shit into eternity, and the ending is just an arbitrary point where the writer, director and studio said, "Okay, that's probably enough." It would have helped if the characters portrayed were interesting enough to give a rat's ass about. But mostly, they are only as fleshed out as the minimum the story needs.

In a pretentious attempt at being profound, Butterfly Effect confuses being grim and depressing with being important. While it never tries to be original, it tries really fucking hard to be violent and dirty. I don't mean dirty in the luscious Candy Bottoms way. I mean dirty like covered in shit. It doesn't make the story more profound, but it sure as hell makes it unpleasant to watch. I think it's all the more unpleasant because the pedophiles, junkies, Goths and bullies don't even look real. They look like bad Hollywood impressions of them. You know, the kind of interpretation that comes from watching too many movies on Lifetime Channel.

The movie is the kind that crappy actors with bad management will take. They think that because they get to dress up in costumes, play junkies, armless guys and pretend to be miserable that it must be the meaty sort of shit that helps you "stretch." Only problem is that while Kutcher and his co-star Amy Smart get to play lots of roles, they all suck. Besides, Kutcher is a horrible actor. Maybe he knows it's a shitty movie and that's why he acts like a guy caught on a date with his fat first cousin by his friends. He averts his eyes and mumbles like he's making up excuses. Smart, as Kutcher's lost love who suddenly becomes important to him again, matches him shitty scene for shitty scene. She's got the range of a leafblower, either pumping out hot air or sucking.

This is bad shit. Only Hollywood thinks bad science coupled with bad acting is improved when it's rolled in dirt and shit. One Finger for Butterfly Effect.

Help Filthy || Want to tell Filthy Something?



Thelma Adams of Us Weekly

Win a Date with Tad Hamilton is "Funny and charming... make a date to catch it!"

Chasing Liberty is "A fantasy that will chase away your wintertime blues!"

Filthy's Reading
Jonathan Raban - Passage to Juneau

Listening to
Husker Du - Candy Apple Grey


The Caine Mutiny