They used to make
movies from true stories. Then they made shit "based on a true
story." Now, Hollywood's grassfuckers are serving up flicks
"inspired by true events." What the fuck does that mean? This
sentence was inspired by a true event, that event being that
I just wrote some other sentences that I may or may not later
proofread. I think what it means is someone read a book or a
blurb and thought, "This would make a great story if it were
entirely different and way more schmaltzy."
Measures is a thriller starring Steven Seagal as a maverick
cop who must go against his chief to bust a ring of drug-dealing
cops. Wait, no, it's not. Sorry, Extraordinary Measures
is the partially true story of a football coach who fights the
establishment to start a black running back in 1950s Alabama.
Oh, shit, sorry, it's a Lifetime Channel movie about a mother
who goes to the ends of the Earth stop her daughter from being
seduced and murdered by a charming serial killer.
Nah, just shitting
you. Extraordinary Measures is none of those. It's just
that those brilliant and creative motherfuckers in Los Angeles
dared to give this movie a title that could fit so many awesome
movies. In this case, however, it's applied to a made-for-TV
movie about a rich fucker with sick kids who bends the pharmaceutical
industry to his will to find a cure before his kids die. Man,
those grassfuckers must have a box they stuff all the orphan
movie titles into. Extraordinary Measures languished
in there beside Strong Medicine, Big Achievement
and Important Moment until a movie as generic as this
one needed to be adopted.
Brendan Fraser is
the rich guy. He's shaped like the Pillsbury Doughboy nowadays,
but he's not as good an actor. Seriously, have you ever seen
the Doughboy's Othello? He and the Keebler Elf as Iago
kick ass. Fraser looks a shitload more tired than Doughboy,
too. And weepy. His young kids suffer from a Muscular Dystrophy-like
illness that confine them to wheelchairs with breathing tubes
jammed into their necks. They'll be croaking soon unless a cure
In his quest for
a cure, Fraser comes across a well-revered but hammily crotchety
medical researcher played by Harrison Ford. Ford is supposed
to be pegged as a grumpy iconoclast because he listens to oldies.
Holy shit, I had no idea oldies listeners were anything more
than sorry losers stuck in the past because their present sucked
so hard. I need to re-think KOOL 105 and its Monkees Brunch
every Sunday. In one of Extraordinary Measures' many
scenes of inelegant and workmanlike exposition, Fraser reviews
notes about his children's disease (to teach us about it) that
include "Does not return calls - try after hours," in regards
to Ford. Fraser does and Ford ignores him again.
Fraser flies to Nebraska to hound Ford into magically concocting
an elixir for his children. Ford says, "Fuck you unless you
give me a shitload of money." Fraser establishes a "foundation"
to raise money for Ford. I never got the sense Fraser gave a
rat's ass about other kids with the same disease. Rather, he
raises money from other parents at their wits' ends to help
himself. That's a big fucking problem with this movie: it never
makes the problem seem any bigger than Fraser and his own kids.
I spent a lot of time bored in the theater thinking, "What makes
this asshole think he's so special? Why is it more important
to rush a cure for his kids than to simply have one to help
all similar kids?" It's not a case of a man empathizing with
other struggling parents and wanting to help them. Fraser just
wants to help himself.
The movie then got
a little weird. Rather than find a cure, Ford talks Fraser into
starting a biotech company and develop the cure Ford has only
in theory. Fraser pays lip service to the face he has to give
up his healthy insurance and not spend time with his sick kids.
It's only lip service, though. In fact, the movie glosses over
Fraser having to do any of the hard things a parent must do
to raise sick kids., Extraordinary Measures makes it
mostly look like a lot of fun family outings and a van with
wheelchair access. There is no bathing immobile kids, cleaning
up their shit, feeding them, getting them dressed, changing
their IVs. That stuff, while real, is too messy for this piece
of fluff. And I know that stuff is hard because Mrs. Filthy
says so every time we role-play and I pretend to be Fetal-Alcohol-Syndrome
Fraser and Ford quickly
sell out to a giant pharmaceutical and make a shitload of money.
So, Fraser buys himself a big-ass, fancy house on the hill.
This was an incredibly weird thing to do: to go out and buy
something conspicuous when the movie should be focusing on,
well, the story. I can think of a few more sympathetic uses
for the money. First, since Fraser's now a high-risk entrepreneur,
maybe use the money to make sure his kids get their half-million
dollars worth of medical support a year. Or, God forbid, give
it to the foundation he created earlier in the movie. But no,
the movie wants us to care about Fraser while apparently not
even realizing what an asshole he seems like.
The movie spends
a great deal of time showing the inner working of a pharmaceutical
company and how Ford and Fraser become cogs in a giant, impersonal
machine. This is, at least, a little different from the regular
made-for-TV movie. It's also pretty fucking implausible. Ford
and Fraser have regularly scheduled shouting matches on their
inevitable way to understanding each other. Ford's grumpiness
is as hokey as a Billy Big Mouth Bass. Fraser follows up every
argument with a scene where he has puffy eyes and looks about
to cry. That culminates with a scene of him crying in his office
that's so fucking cheesy--and poorly acted--I laughed out loud
in the theater. I wasn't alone.
The movie continues
its argument-cry-sick kids going to park cycle over and over
until we get to the part where Fraser's kids get a cure. It
doesn't really change in emotional tone, mostly because the
characters never grow or change. They just keep doing the same
shit while the plot moves around them. Fraser also jeopardizes
al of the research and the chance to help other kids by trying
to sneak his own kids into a research study. Yet, we're still
supposed to care about him?
curing his kids buying himself a classic convertible and then
driving his disabled daughter around in the front seat. I'm
pretty sure that's an unsafe way to transport a kid who can't
walk. But, hey, I'm not a Hollywood asshole more concerned with
how pretty shit looks then whether it makes sense.
Poor Harrison Ford
just sucks in this movie. He's old for sure, but he is not believable
as an old Ford truck driving medical researcher who likes bass
fishing and yelling at people. He's grumpy and growly, but it's
about as believable as I am when I tell my wife I love her vegetarian
chili. While his beat-up old truck is supposed to represent
his personality, he abandons it in the end for an enormous,
unbelievably fancy new truck. It's like the makers of this movie
think really nice, expensive shit trumps any sort of ethics
Measures is a stupid movie, too wealth-obsessed to tell
the story it pretends to tell. It is, at heart, a lame-ass made-for-TV
movie that doesn't even have the balls to stick to its feel-good
plot. No, it also needs to be a movie about wealth and how great
it is to buy expensive shit. I guess it's made for that niche
group that flips between Lifetime and Home and Garden TV, but
nobody else. Two Fingers.
to tell Filthy Something?