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This week:

Filthy says:
"Man, someone wake me when being dead gets better."

What a load of hokum. I didn't know what to expect going in to Hereafter, only that it had to be more tolerable than sitting with ill-mannered teenagers at the latest turtle-humping Saw. After seeing it, I still believe it was better, but barely, and only because it draws an audience who either doesn't have cell phones or know how to use them. Hereafter is a turd, a lugubrious, slow, dour pile of dogshit dressed up like it's got something to say. It doesn't, though. Not anything important or deep, anyway. It may inspire people to debate the existence of an afterlife, but that's a stupid fucking debate that boils down to personal belief, not facts, where few people are likely to be swayed. Especially by a turd that treats the matter as a foregone conclusion.

In full-blown epic mode, Clint Eastwood stages Hereafter in multiple countries with three storylines, and with the slow and ponderous pacing of either wounded pill bug or a flick that wants you to think it's a big fucking deal. The first story is of a sort-of-hot French business news anchor (Cecile de France) who, while on vacation, gets a bump on her head during a tsunami. She then has visions of a girl who drowned. The second is Matt Damon as a San Francisco psychic. He's not a charlatan, though; he's the real fucking deal. At least, that's what Hereafter tells us. The thing is, Damon hates being a psychic because he hates knowing people's intimate details. So he wants to escape to a normal life. The third story is of an English boy (Frankie/George McLaren) who loses his twin brother and is as mopey as a nympho the day the dildo factory closed. Eventually, all three stories twine together, and that's meant to bring closure to the story. It doesn't, though, because it's done so sloppily. The answers the movie cooks up are easy and trite and blow any fucking chance Hereafter had of saying something other than "There's not a lot to say here but we're going to spend 130 minutes to do it."

Hereafter, like all of Clint Eastwood's movies, is out to win one of Hollywood's golden dildos. It feels and looks stately, expensive, ponderous and purports to be after something huge. Like his other movies, though it's only profound or thought-provoking when compared to the other crap shitted out the Los Angeles movie asshole. Compared to real thought or intellectual discourse, the movie is a hollow shell that brings up an idea without having the balls to explore it.

Cecile de France goes on a mopey, inert quest to discover whether her visions are real and whether there is an afterlife. She quits her job and writes a new-agey text about it for a publisher based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The publisher location and name is a hint that the movie believes in new-agey horseshit; that the crackpot titles they publish about chakra, copper bracelets and the like are as real as de France's story. One minute she's an anchor, next she's at a book fair reading aloud her published work, with very little time spent on what she discovers while writing it. There is a subplot about how it ruins her news career, but she's so damn drab it's hard to give a hamster ass about it. A thoroughly-researched book about the hereafter would come across conflicting information when being written, but we don't see that because this is a poorly-researched movie that isn't reaching for any truth.

Frankie/George McLaren, the British twins, are inseparable, living with their smack-addicted mom in a crappy house. They care for her and protect her, until one is killed while picking up her detox medication. The remaining twin is heartbroken and spends his time seeking out someone who really can talk to the dead. He meets a few frauds, and this is Hereafter's only nod to skepticism. The thing is, though, the frauds are as cartoonish as Huckleberry Hound. The flick doesn't give middle ground to the possibility that all psychics are frauds or that some frauds are very clever or that some psychics are frauds who don't even realize it. It only confirms that in its world there is an afterlife and people who bump their heads or get sick in the head can see it. It's silly, narrow point of view that brings jack shit to the debate.

Damon's character was once famous, a successful psychic, with his own web site even! He quit all that because it was too emotionally devastating to hang around losers who couldn't let go of the past. He still has the power, though, and everyone wants to exploit it, from his business-minded brother to the cute chick he meets at a cooking class. He calls his ability a curse and the movie works hard to prove that point. For example the cute girl likes him until, at her behest, he channels her and finds a dad who molested her.

The movie throws the characters together at a book fair in London. Damon is there to escape his past and to hear a guy who does the audio book adaptation of Dickens novels. The boy is there to see a security guard who was once a foster like him. And De France is there to promote her book. It's pretty fucking hokey, too much for a movie to bear. And then it gets worse. Damon hears de France read and falls instantly in love. She feels likewise, long before they speak to each other. McLaren sees Damon and recognizes him from his web site. He then hounds Damon into giving him a reading. In exchange for that, the boy tells Damon where to find de France. Damon writes her a love letter, they fall in love. The boy reunites with his rehabilitated mother. The end. Bullllllllllshiiiiiiiiiit.

I wish I could say the ending is more profound than that, but it's not. It can't be because the movie never opens the doors to anything but its straight ahead vision of the afterlife. Hereafter mopes its way through 90 minutes with some suggestion that a deep revelation will be coming. Yet, in its last act, the loose ends are tied together as sloppily as a knot by the Cub Scouts at the special needs school. The conclusion flimsy and adds no depth to all the preceding morosity. More like someone said, "Well, shit, we got 90 minutes in the can, we better end this bitch."

The Talking Heads said, "Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens." I guess Clint Eastwood agrees, but takes 125 more minutes in doing so. Two Fingers.."

See you suckers in a month. Don't forget to write a fucking novel in November, and tell me about it. It's NaNoWriMo time. I'll be kapping tabs on the pussies who try it.

Want to tell Filthy Something?



Venerable hack Pete Hammond

Megamind "Soars! A hilarious comedy event. A mega-funny movie loaded with laughs, action and heart."

Filthy's Reading
Don Delillo - Point Omega

Listening to
No Age - Everything in Between


Evil Dead 2