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


This week:
The Hitcher

Filthy says:
"The shit runs down your leg!"

If The Hitcher were a person instead of a movie, he'd be an obscenely fat, friendless slob in a greasy T-shirt, underwear with holes in it and stringy thin hair matted on his head. And he'd be watching the 1986 The Hitcher on TNT, conscious enough only to tell people in commercials they were fat, stupid or hot. The only physical exercise he'd get would be putting on some sweatpants so he can drive to Wendy's to buy a Biggie fries and a Biggie Frosty. And he'd be trying to come up with a way to avoid getting dressed.

The Hitcher would whistle through his nose when he exhaled, and critique his farting while alone. Which would be almost all the fucking time, because he's so damn unlikable, tiresome, worthless and soul-crushing.

If The Hitcher were a person instead of a movie, you'd wish he were dead. See this movie and you'll wish you were.

I'm not going to spend a lot of time pondering why in the world anyone would want to remake such a dumbass, thinly premised movie as the Rutger Hauer original. The diversity of human experience, and all. I can't help wondering why, given that they did, they chose to make it even stupider. That's like saying you can't keep up with the mongoloids.

In the 2007 The Hitcher, Sean Bean plays the crazed hitchhiker who torments a young couple who get everything they deserve. It is never clear why Bean is crazy or what he is trying to do, and that may be the product of lazy screenwriting or some misguided effort to be obtuse, as though Bean is not just some guy but something much larger and more sinister. Like a bad case of gas.

The kids, Zachary Knighton and Sophia Bush, are generic, whiny and more retarded than the guy at my cousin Larry's home who communicated through bubbles in his milk. They're on their way from Texas to Lake Havasu for spring break when they run afoul of the teeth-gnashing, stubble-faced Bean. (Knighton makes a speech about his humble roots, yet drives a pristine $40,000 1970 Oldsmobile 442.) That establishes them as trash as pure white as the driven snow. Once they meet Bean and he tries to kill them-- for the first time, they stumble along, either hoping to die by making mistakes of monumental imbecility, or by being so fucking stupid that the miracle is they find their mouths to put food into.

After surviving Bean's first attack and slowly becoming aware he's a psychopath, the kids see Bean has caught a ride in a station wagon with a Christian family. Of course, their reaction is to pull up beside the Chevy and yell, "Hey, you've got a psychopath in the back seat!" loud enough for all to hear. Uh, yeah, that's surely gonna be good for the family well-being.

Who, surprise, surprise, gets killed shortly thereafter. That's followed by a long and tedious game of cat and mouse between Bean and the kids. Actually, mouse isn't right. They're more like lobotomized pikas or something. Maybe some other tiny lab mammals who gave their brains to science. You know, the kind who get an electrical shock for making bad choices, keep making them.

Every time Knighton and Bush close a door between themselves and Bean they open it a minute later to see if he's still there. Guess what: he is. When they hide, they speak in conversational voices. When Bean wears a black bullet-proof vest outside his shirt, Bush shoots at his chest. And that's the only time either of them actually shoots when given the chance. Oh, there are plenty of opportunities but mostly they just look at him. When they can run they don't, or at least not very far. The delay between him disappearing from their site and them come out of hiding is never more than ten seconds.

In perhaps my favorite scene, Bean stalks the young couple in a rusted-out trailer park. They talk in conversational tones while hiding they in a trailer with big holes in it, and both prance about not like they're scared, but like they really need to piss. I didn't want to scream "Look out! He's behind you!" but I did shout "Take a leak for fuck's sake."

As a villain, Bean is about as believable as that little guy who used to steal all the Cookie Crisps. Even without a car he manages to stay ahead of the kids. He kills four more cops in a police station without them making a sound. That's followed by Bush running through the station to free her boyfriend with no regard for whether he is still there or not. He is able to kill four more officers with rifles while racing a Trans Am, and then also shoots the pilot of a hovering helicopter. Through the glass... with a pitstol... while driving. There must have been no budget to show the chopper blow up, though, since it just sort of just flies away with its dead pilot.

Bean doesn't have to act much. He just glares and talks like he's got too much gravel in his gizzard. Knighton and Bush don't have to act much either, yet they fuck it up. Knighton has zero personality and comes across as the frat guy most likely to cry. his big acting moment is when he tries to stem the bleeding in a victim, but he mostly says "you'll be all right, oh my God! Hang on, you'll be all right, oh my God!" At least he has the good sense to be drawn and quartered by a semi. Bush keeps her top on, which is silly. The only career she'll ever have is in exploitative shit like this, so she might as well get used to gratuitously exposing her tits rather than later. One late addition to the movie is a state trooper played by Neal McDonough. He wastes no time, though, in making sure that all scenery gets chewed down to splinters. He's a weird fucking dude, playing the good guy as though good guys normally have four or five rods of rebar shoved up their asses.

The movie looks as cheap as plywood. The action is paced with no flair or imagination. Worse is that the drama never escalates. Bean proves to be a psychopath ten minutes into the movie and the next 75 are spent watching repetition on that theme. The climax is when Bush, the wimpy, whiny girl, kicks out a locked van door, immediately knows how to use an assault rifle, is somehow not noticed by Bean looking straight at her and holding a pistol himself, and kills him.

What a fucking turd. One Finger for The Hitcher. Maybe it should have just stayed in the basement, watching the original Hitcher on TNT and eating another bag of Cheetos.



Paul Fischer of Dark Horizons

Seraphim Falls is "A majestic and glorious work! Featuring two great performances by Neeson and Brosnan!"

Filthy's Reading
George Kalogerakis - Spy: The Funny Years

Listening to
Damned - Damned Damned Damned


Out of the Past