Do you hear the sleigh bells ringing,
a ting-tingling-too? Probably not because Hollywood has rammed them
so far up our asses that shit got all over the little ball thingy.
Yes, it's December, and every fucking movie magazine is starting
to cackle and crow over the "Holiday" season movies. These
are the ones we're supposed to want to see. For 11 months, Hollywood
holds back the goods and delivers what they believe are award-unworthy
drivel; pap to pacify us dumb hicks.
And then, rather
than reward us for our loyalty, Hollywood uses December to say "Fuck
you" to everyone outside of Los Angeles and New York. They
say: "Sure we made some films we're proud of, and sure we're
glad you spent billions on the shit we crammed down your throats
all year. That's why, for Christmas, we're giving you more of the
same while our sophisticated friends in superior cities on the coasts
get to see our best products. You see, Denver, Chicago, Pierre and
Spokane, we think you folks are incredibly stupid. We want the really
smart people in Los Angeles and New York to tell you dumb hicks
what to think."
want to show its best goods to the 90% of us who actually make up
their box office week in and week out. We don't get to open our
Christmas presents until January, and then not until after they've
already been opened and manhandled by the coast fuckers. You bet
your ass Hollywood isn't eager to do limited releases of The
Hot Chick for their snobbish friends. But if the movie's good,
they tell us to suck donkey dick and wait in line while their buddies
get their greasy fingerprints all over it.
On the coasts they're watching movies I am actually
interested in seeing: About Schmidt and Adaptation,
to name two. In Denver, we get Drumline and Maid in Manhattan.
Fuck you, too, Hollywood. From now on I'm stealing as much as I
can from you pretentious pricks.
This past Friday, with a long open stretch of hours
before me, I paid for Drumline and then snuck into Maid
in Manhattan. Some may remember Hitler, Jr., the buzzcutted
overeager teen who patrolled the multiplex in search of sneaks.
He once busted me. Well, I guess now he's too busy writing his manifesto
"Meine Filme" and recruiting for his youth brigade to
continue hassling people for the AMC 24. His absence made slipping
into a second film as easy as stealing candy from a baby. Seriously,
if you've ever actually tried stealing candy from baby you'd know
it's not just a saying: it really is super easy.
The problem is that sneaking into Hollywood movies
can be like stealing a mean old lady's colostomy bag. Sure it causes
some hardship, but all you get is shit.
is about a college marching band. Actually, it's about every fucking
sports cliché ever filmed, but with the hope that making
it about playing snare drums and wearing silly costumes makes it
fresh. It's doesn't. It's just fucking stupid to know exactly how
every scene will play out with the added aggravation of it not even
being about something interesting.
(Nick Cannon) is the hottest young snare drummer in the country.
He gets a scholarship to Atlanta A&T to be on their drumline.
Immediately, his arrogance gets him into trouble. In fact, it gets
him kicked off the team. Don't worry, though. His aphorism-belching
band leader (Orlando Jones) lets him suit up for the big game...
oops, I mean big beat-off. Along the way, Cannon makes his single
mom proud, learns a valuable lesson about humility (off-screen,
apparently), learns that his absent father really does love him,
and wins, loses and win back the heart of the prettiest cheerleader
on campus. The cheerleader (Zoe Saldana) is an upperclassman. Cannon
is an incoming freshman. They have nothing in common except they're
in the same script and there has to be a love story.
After a falling
out with his bandleader, Cannon is lured to a rival university and
almost enrolls there until he learns that they—SHOCK--want
to know what music his old school will play in the big showdown.
Cannon must also overcome a secret shame: he can't read music. Wow!
What drama. Ultimately Cannon has to learn that the band is about
all the musicians, not just him.
wants us to think black college marching bands are just about the
coolest fucking shit in the world. I'm skeptical; if black marching
bands were cool, us white folks would have ripped them off years
ago. Seeing as how Vanilla Ice and Eminem aren't twirling batons,
it's safe to assume that marching bands, white and black, are equally
doesn't miss a single sports cliché. In fact, it turns its
characters inside out and arbitrarily flip-flops their motives just
to hit them all. The problem is, they feel really absurd when you
replace athletes with marching bands practicing their choreography.
Oh, jeepers, will the fat kid make the turn at the right moment
so they successfully spell "1970" on the field? I just
wanted to scream "Get a fucking life!" but I know they
can't hear me. They're movie characters. Maybe that fat guy who
was drumming along on the back of my seat would, though.
The sports formulas
are so tired that we know what will happen next at every turn. In
a sports movie, at least there are sports to watch. Here, the only
thing separating us from the inevitable conclusion is a bunch of
drumming. I honestly had no idea whether the good or bad guys drummed
better. They all made a hell of a racket, but the big trophy went
to the good guys.
Here's the thing
about marching bands. In sports, the cream of the crop is skimmed
at each level. Only the best grade school players play in high school.
College takes only the best high school players. In band, it's the
exact opposite: college bands will gladly take any adult who is
willing to lug a tuba case around campus.
Kids in high school bands are called "bandos,"
a label used with the same affection and endearment as "leper
with the clap and a club foot." College bands are for the very
few losers in high school who have visions of being even bigger
losers. They still haven't reached puberty, or haven't realized
they reached it. They're often unhealthy, lazy, lonely and half
their conversations consist of dialogue from Monty Python. The other
half is correcting each other's slight errors in said dialog.
I'd honestly rather see another movie where a dog
saves a basketball team than the hoary old formula imported to another
activity this pathetic. Two Fingers for Drumline.
I didn't sit through all of Maid in Manhattan.
I saw enough, though, and I will make a guess at the ending. I'm
pretty sure that's what the screenwriters did too. Jennifer Lopez
is a tough-talking, street-smart maid at the most fun hotel in the
world. It's so much fun that she spends more time dancing and singing
acapella with the other maids, sass-talking the pouty customers
and wearing the guests' clothes than she does cleaning. In two hours
of movie, she barely manages to change the sheets on one bed. Never
mind sponging up the vomit between a mattress and boxspring, pulling
hair out of the drain, mopping up semen and blood or putting talcum
over the spot on the carpet where a guest lit himself on fire. This
is either the filthiest hotel in the world or the moviemakers aren't
telling us something.
Lopez has a
stock-issue precocious son with an uncanny knack for saying unbelievably
wise things at just the right moment. One day, after a long and
boring explanation of why it's okay for Lopez to be trying on clothes
that aren't hers, her son introduces her to weasel-faced Ralph Fiennes
(properly pronounced as Ralf Fee-enn-is by everyone but the man
himself). He mistakes her for a guest of the hotel and invites her
for a walk. He is madly in love, and she is smitten with him. She
can't tell him she is really just a crummy old maid.
Fiennes is an
assemblyman running for senate. He is, we're told, a very charming
and handsome man. Damned if he isn't a real charmer for a guy whose
mouth doesn't move when he talks, has fucked up teeth, and looks
like he's about to fall asleep or ready to whip out his dick and
start masturbating in front of us. He's so charming that he's running
for senator, but actually doesn't care. See, politics are icky,
but being powerful is dreamy.
Their love is
complicated. Could he ever possibly love someone so common? Wouldn't
it hurt his political chances? I walked out when, after several
unfunny close calls, Fiennes finally discovered Lopez's true identity.
Here is what I think happened next: He called her a gutter slut.
Mad, she snuck into his room and used his camera to take pictures
of her shoving his toothbrush up her ass. After developing the film
and then puking, Fiennes retaliated by kidnapping her son and harvesting
his kidney. He left the boy in a bathtub full of ice and wrote on
the mirror with his lipstick "Call 911!" Upon discovering
this, Lopez hurries her son to a hospital, but it's too late. Fiennes
wins his senate seat. Then Lopez and her co-workers dance some more
but then are shot dead for flashing their high beams at an oncoming
car at night.
The movie feels
like a commercial for Lopez. Here is the world's biggest primadonna
playing the girl from the block, and getting to make a lot of speeches
about what it's really like to be poor. It's image control, not
character. Fuck her. And Fiennes isn't charming or dashing or good
looking. The guy's just a constipated creep.
Maid in Manhattan
is supposed to be a fairy tale story for women. I don't know which
women but I sure as hell don't want to meet them. It depicts a blue-collar
worker, but it's afraid to show the work she'd actually do. Hell,
even Cinderella had to scrub a stone floor. Maid in Manhattan's
message is supposed to be empowering: that love is more powerful
than class distinction. And yet, the prize is a creepy rich guy
who can run for senate. If Fiennes weren't rich, he wouldn't have
been staying at the fucking hotel Lopez works at, and he sure as
hell wouldn't be running for senate. If she were so God damn beautiful,
he would have noticed the several times she was wearing her maid's
outfit, not when she wore some other lady's expensive coat. Essentially
the message is not that class doesn't matter but that in this fairy
tale world, poor ladies should aspire to marrying fabulously rich
Finger for Maid in Manhattan. Next time I'll really rip
off Hollywood: I'll stay home.
to tell Filthy Something?