Ross Anthony of "Ross Anthony's Hollywood Report Card"
how's the whoring?
Rock Star: B+
Bubble Boy: B+
In fact, Ross doesn't
give any recent release lower than a B (out of A to F) and only
one movie EVER reviewed by him scored as low as a C-. What the
fuck, Ross, are you scoring them on the rich-kid-private-school
Randy Shandis Enterprises. All rights fucking reserved.
"Valentine- shaped horseshit."
of the litter."
got married last weekend, which makes his friends happy because
he needed a stable woman in his life as much as a cripple needs
crutches. Like me, The Hooligan will see a dramatic decrease
in lonely nights sitting at home, wondering what to fix for dinner
until he's so damn hungry that he decides to just go get that
old popcorn he saw the neighbor throwing out, only to remember
on the way to the door that there are eight Olympias in the fridge.
I was never good with arithmetic and big numbers, so I can't
begin to count the number of nights I thought I was having dinner
with Orville Reddenbacher only to wake up, lying in a pair of
soiled boxer shorts on the kitchen floor. Since marriage, though,
I can count the times it has happened on both hands.
Like I di lo those many years ago, The Hooligan can say goodbye
to the fond traditions of the lonely bachelor. No more crying
himself to sleep, hugging a pillow and asking why nobody loves
him. No more nights flipping through the white pages in a drunken
stupor, trying to remember if any of all those goddamn girls
in there were ever his girlfriends and if their listings make
them sound lonely. No more hanging out in the Applejack Liquor
parking lot throwing pennies at pretty ladies. No more bidding
at the Arvada Tavern's Bachelorette Auction to raise money so
Tina's can remove her leaky silicone tit.
It's a whole way of life that disappears when you tie the
knot, and if The Hooligan is anything like me, it'll take a couple
years to adjust. It's worth it, though, to know that there is
someone there for you, someone legally bound to you, who will
help you throw up after you eat abandoned shellfish you find
sitting on a picnic bench, and to tell you that "non-toxic"
is poisonous and "toxic" means delicious, or vice versa.
Who the fuck remembers little shit like that?
Mr. And Mrs. The Hooligan, I salute you. And I salute that
expensive wedding. If your intention was to intimidate me, you
succeeded. And sorry about the mess I made of it. You have real
love and a real bond, not the romantic bullshit served up in
I love romance, and I love to see people in love. It makes
me want to fucking go up and hug them and shit. But I hate corny,
manipulative movies that start by assuming we think the actors
are adorable and never builds anything upon that. The whole movie
rests on Hollywood's assumption that nothing beats cute people
acting cute. As much as I enjoy love, I hate cute.
Serendipity is a fairy tale for full-grown yuppie women.
It's a whipped up steamer for an audience weaned on Friends
and idiotic ideas of men and women that come packaged in simplistic
books hawked by Oprah Winfrey. It's for people who will knock
you flat on your ass in the store because nothing can stand between
them and those "absolutely precious" teddy bears wearing
American flags. They are the swelling ranks of jerks and dickweeds
who think nothing in the world is more important than what they
want in the next ten minutes, and why the fuck aren't we all
working to help them get it? In some cases, it's the leather
interior for their BMWs, or the best parking space at the soccer
field, but in the case of Serendipity, nothing could be
more important than infatuation.
To enjoy Serendipity you have to believe that yuppies
deserve fairy tales. You have to root for shallow assholes who
can leave a trail of dead and wounded in their wake because they
got what they wanted just that very fucking minute. And you have
to believe that the world tips ever so slightly to let the improbable
and impossible happen simply so dullards in nice jackets can
fall in love over their mutual interests in high-end consumer
In a postcard-perfect New York, John Cusack--in "I am
very impressed with how cute I'm acting" mode--meets cute
with Kate Beckinsale when they both want the last pair of black
gloves at Bloomingdale's for their boyfriend/girlfriend's Christmas
present. After some tedious banter about who should get them,
they decide to split them.
The unbearably cute couple is so drawn to each other's good
taste that they have coffee, wander around and immediately fall
in love over a rapid patter of banalities. We learn of Beckinsale's
idiotic belief in "fate" and her love for big, fancy
coffee drinks. We discover that Cusack has one of those jobs
readily available to yuppies in movies: one that pays well, but
not too well, and suggests he's an educated guy, yet gives him
all the time in the world to run around. As they part, Beckinsale
insists that they leave their future together to fate.
Ten years later, neither of them have aged a day (a yuppie
wet dream), and both are on the verge of getting married to others.
But in a panic of what might have been, they cross the continent
in search of one another, narrowly missing each other on the
streets and elevators, oh, about eight times too many. It's a
frantic search and I think the audience is supposed to wonder
whether they will end up together. Duh, Of course they do, because
that's the kind of shit yuppies want: the instant gratification.
Anything morally complex might fucking frazzle their Ikea-programmed
You see, in Cusack and Beckinsale's adorable little world,
the happy ending has everything to do with them getting what
they want, and not a fucking bit to do with the two people they
leave at the altars, the families, the people who travel miles
to see Cusack's wedding, or anyone else they've trampled on the
way. That single moment of finding each other again is what they
wanted at that time, and to hell if others were hurt. Why should
they give a fuck if they agreed to marry other people, lived
with them, spent years building relationships with them? Who
cares that those people are thrown aside, bruised and wounded?
Can't we see? Two lousy yuppies found superficial love! Hoo-fucking-ray.
In the real world of Arvada, Colorado, at the tavern and in
the Ralston Amoco parking lot, love is a complicated, deadly
serious thing. It's not some magical path paved with the blood
of the people you ground down on the way to your destiny. In
my world, the people you hurt come back and bust your headlights,
slash your tires, piss in your shampoo bottles, put liens on
your property and spread rumors. It makes real love resonate
more when it overcomes these obstacles as Mrs. Filthy and mine
has. When two people can hang on as the world tries to beat them
down with anonymously mailed photos and calls at all hours of
the night, it's real love. But the fucking yuppies are no good
at dealing with adversity. They'd rather believe that a fat wallet
will get them through, and this movie caters to their simple
fairy tales. It's not about love, just attractive, rich fuckers
Even if you buy into this premise, the movie is still pretty
awful. It's the type of movie where characters on screen laugh
at the jokes, which is sad when those of us in the theater don't.
Cusack and his wacky sidekick Jeremy Piven are supposed to have
some sort of incredible chemistry and hilarious timing. Maybe
they do, but all that spills out of their soft, tiny mouths are
the kind of bon mots usually spoken by guys wearing turtlenecks
and who loudly tell people what books they're reading. It's crap,
sitcommy crap. Eugene Levy, God bless the man, delivers a few
yucks as an uptight sales clerk who likes to give impromptu backrubs.
Molly Shannon has the only laugh-out-loud scene, one that takes
advantage of her best asset, nervous energy.
Two Fingers for Serendipity. The perfect date
movie for couples tired of the gravity of a J. Crew catalog.
You know, I didn't even want to drink at The Hooligan's wedding.
I promised Mrs. Filthy I wouldn't. And I really had no intention
until we got there and I saw that everyone was wearing fucking
suits. This is the same Hooligan who offers to show his nipples
to bartenders for free drinks (never works) and once spent eight
hours arguing with me over which Spice Girl is most likely to
do pornos. But now he's Mr. Fancy Ass Pants, dressed sharp and
talking to old people in suits. I didn't want to drink, but I
was scared. I was scared that someone would make fun of my clothes,
or my Galaxie, or yell at me and say that Mrs. F. and I weren't
supposed to be there. And when I'm scared, I get really drunk.
There is no getting around it.
It's like I was in a room with hundreds of my parents, all
dressed up and angry because they'd been hauled down to school
to apologize for something I did. I'm scared by adults all dressed
up and acting serious because that's who puts you in jail, kicks
you out of school, and is omniscient about the bad things you've
done. I thought if I stayed sober, I would end up yelling at
some of them for being so fucking starchy. So, the booze was
just to shut me up and make The Hooligan's wedding go smoother
for everyone. That was the plan, but it didn't work out that
You know, the grassfuckers in Hollywood should have to let
someone chopped off a finger for every one-note joke they turn
into a feature-length movie. That way, only the ones those jerks
actually think are worth their fingers will get made. If we instituted
this rule, Ben Stiller wouldn't make Zoolander, the latest
example of a skit padded out to feature length with more worthless
filler than a 39-cent burrito. It's an idea that wasn't going
to survive unless it got vicious, and Stiller doesn't have the
balls for that. Instead, he and co-writer Drake Sather deliver
a lazy, sloppy script missing targets as fat and wide as the
asses of Mrs. Filthy's book club members.
It's story of a dumb male model who gets himself into 40 minutes
worth of trouble in 90 minutes. Ha ha. A dumb male model. How
clever. I bet Mr. Stiller had a hard time deciding whether to
make Zoolander or a movie about how middle easterners
work at 7-11, or an opus about how garbled fast-food drive-thru
speakers sound. Stiller plays Derek Zoolander, a model on the
backside of his career, replaced by up-and-comer Hansel (Owen
Wilson). After losing Male Model of the Year and then his model
roommates in an unfortunate gas fight, he tries to retire. But,
before he can, he is brainwashed by designer Mugatu (Will Ferrell)
to kill the Malaysian Prime Minister. Teaming with Hansel and
a "Time" journalist (Christine Taylor) who writes the
scoop of the century (male models are dumb!), they stop the devious
plot and get into a whole mess of dragged-out gags.
Stiller is Hollywood all the way. He's too big a pussy to
actually go for the jugular. After every joke he sort of nudges
whoever the butt is and says :"Hey, you know I was kidding,
right?" The result is that the movie isn't for us, it doesn't
rip new assholes into these overinflated egos, instead it's a
fucking lovefest for the dumb and vain people it claims to mock.
This is a movie that gives us fucker Fred Durst, some asshole
from N'Sync and a bunch of male models in cameos, not being made
fun of. What the fuck is that? Is that supposed to make the movie
To me, pointless cameos are like collecting autographs. They
are a lame person's desperate attempt to get some coolness by
association. But, any truly cool person wouldn't give a fuck
about autographs or cameos.
Give Stiller credit for at least being persistent for ninety
minutes. He pursues the joke with incredible consistency, never
once wavering from trying to tell the joke the same way. I guess
he hopes those of us who didn't laugh the first time will laugh
the sixtieth time. I wonder, what's the difference between acting
stupid and actually being stupid if all anyone ever sees is the
act? And even if you are making a character who is dumb, there
is still a lower limit to that stupidity. Stiller and Sather
keep writing gags that go beyond that. That the character would
not know what a computer file is, or that a model building is
not the real building, is just too fucking lame for words. These
gags show how poorly defined Zoolander is, that his stupidity
is not set or defined, he is as stupid as the stupidest gag they
could come up with, and maybe stupider if they think up even
lamer shit for the inevitable sequel.
The story has the limpest grasp on plotting and timing. The
plot just wanders wherever the next gag is, and these aren't
trips worth going out of your way for. There's a 2001: A Space
Odyssey spoof (how original!) and many scenes of Stiller's
father being as unfunny as the unfunniest prostate jokes. Stiller
telegraphs every punchline way before delivering it. This is
partly because every gag has to be extended to help the movie
reach feature-length running time, and partly because he's not
a very good director. What's even more annoying is the many times
that Will Ferrell has to explain the punchline while we're watching
it. Ferrell's a funny guy, but dressing in a funny wig and screeching
are in no way amusing, they are just failed attempts that come
after nobody could think of anything truly funny for him to do.
There are some funny moments, mostly thanks to Owen Wilson
and despite the script. That guy is just about the funniest actor
in movies, and he has been spinning shit into gold for lousy
directors and writers for a while now. Thank God for him, he
elevates this crap to Two Fingers.
Once I knew I had drunk enough at The Hooligan's wedding,
I sort of floated through the room for a while. I had reached
that perfect point that every drinker shoots for, an amount of
inebriation that allows you to laugh at stupid jokes, pretend
to be interested in boring people, and avoid blurting out how
much you like masturbating. I careened blissfully through the
rush of well-dressed people finding their seats. I swam against
a sea of wool suits, taffeta and lavenders, keeping my head above
the scrum. But I kept going past the bar. Maybe I was lost, or
maybe there were a lot of bars in the joint, but I'm not stupid.
I know better than to pass a bar giving out free booze. At
first, I thought I should show some restraint. But then I thought
maybe that was rude not to drink. You know, most of the weddings
I go to take place in backyards and I step in dogshit and have
to bring my own beer. So, all this fancy stuff was foreign and
maybe The Hooligan paid for all this booze before, so it would
be rude not to polish it off. After one beer I got sort of mad
at this fat guy who kept rubbing against me. After two beers,
I was ready to let him have it.
Joy Ride is the latest entry in the psycho-chases-kids-in-old-car
genre. The last was the worse-than-hemorrhoids pain-in-the-ass
of Jeepers Creepers.
That movie was an incompetent, laughably bad splash of diarrhea
across the face, but Joy Ride is pretty fucking decent.
It is almost definitely as good as this tired old genre is going
After their freshman years of college, the boring Paul Walker
hits the road to pick up his new girlfriend, Helen Hunt impersonator
Leelee Sobieski, and go home to New Jersey. On the way, though,
Walker must spring his good-for-nothing brother from jail, and
his brother ends up tagging along. Using an old CB radio, they
string along a lonely trucker by pretending to be a hot chick.
They tell him to meet her at a motel room directly next to theirs,
where an obnoxious salesman is staying. In the morning, the salesman
has had his jaw ripped off, and the lonely trucker is looking
to get even with the boys for the setup.
Jeepers Creepers was similar in that two siblings traveling
home from college in an old American car piss off a bad dude
in a truck and get chased all over. The main difference, besides
that Joy Ride's script shows better than average intelligence,
is that we never see the monster here. He's a trucker with low
self-esteem, but that's all we know. And that lets us imagine
him however we want. He takes on the shape of our fears. Is he
huge? Does he have a hook for a hand? Does he know about the
time I stole that church money in third grade? Is he whacked
to the roof on crystal meth? Creeper's bad guy had no
motive. He was just a boogie man with no grounding in the real
world. But Joy Ride's trucker isn't sure of himself. He
is afraid he's not attractive, and he's lonely. He's an innocent
guy who lashes out only after Walker and Zahn mock him. Yeah,
he's psychotic and violent and as scary as the Arvada Tavern
Harelip on payday, but not until the boys prey on him.
The movie is economical. It is never flashy or artsy. There
is almost no gore, and that's a pretty fucking ballsy thing to
do. Dahl trusts his material and delivery and doesn't have to
hope we'll get scared if he throws cheap stage blood on us. This
is the low-rent, good-quality psychological terror of two kids
who think they might even deserve what's coming.
The movie's biggest drawback is that, like a lot of horror
movies, some of the action is fueled by the boys doing stupid
shit, the kind of dumb actions that no halfway intelligent person
would do under the circumstances. There are many opportunities
for them to just ignore the trucker, but they don't. There are
opportunities for them to get away, but they don't. It gets really
fucking hard to care about people who don't avoid trouble. I
should know; it's why I don't have many friends.
The other problem is Director John Dahl's schizophrenia. Half
the movie is as tight as Candy bottom's snatch was back in 1982's
"High School Musical Confidential" in which she turns
the gay boys in the senior class production of "Oklahoma"
into orgy-obsessed horndogs who go straight using every hole
she has. In its good scenes, Joy Ride puts a scare in
you and then builds on it as this ominous, unseen thing closes
in with its unkoown plans for messing shit up. It's scary.
The other half is loose and sloppy, more like Ms. Bottoms
now that she's older and making the "Mature But Nasty"
series of home videos for creepy senior-aged men. The middle
of the movie is a boring sequence of establishing scenes necessary
for the second half of the movie, but they could have been a
hell of a lot shorter. And the ending drags on too long. It should
have ended with a climax in a corn field, but it doesn't. It
keeps going and lost me in the second, and overly elaborate,
Paul Walker is so God damn dull. Watching him act is like
listening to a CompUSA salesman talk about computer disks. He's
a warm body on the screen that the story has to happen around.
Sobieski is about the same. She's a chubby-cheeked, hen-nosed
teenager who talks like she's got toilet paper up her nose. Steve
Zahn is fantastic here, though. He's got shitloads of manic energy,
but he manages to keep it under control and not overact. He makes
the jerky, troublemaking brother a sympathetic character and
that's a key to the story. If he went over the top, it all becomes
But, it's no joke, it's a decent thriller. It could use some
nudity, but that's a minor complaint. Three Fingers for
I don't remember why I punched that guy at The Hooligan's
wedding. At the time I was pretty sure he was the asshole who
taught me Spanish in high school, or someone who looked exactly
like him. Same difference. Anyway, I remember punching that guy.
He was at this table, across the room, being an asshole minding
his own business. What I don't remember is the "dozens of
people" who tried pulling me off him, or how I slugged everyone
I could, including some ladies. That doesn't sound like me.
But, frankly, having blacked out, I can't say for sure that
I didn't. Apparently, Mrs. Filthy hauled me out of the room,
kicking and screaming, before I broke any more plates and glasses
or made a real ass of myself, because that's what spouses do.
It's one of the blessings of being married, as The Hooligan will
surely find out.
to tell Filthy something?