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Ross Anthony of "Ross Anthony's Hollywood Report Card"
Hey whore, how's the whoring?

Meggido: B

Zoolander: B+

Hardball: A-

Rock Star: B+

Bubble Boy: B+

Glitter: 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 grade scale?

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This week:


Filthy says:
"Valentine- shaped horseshit."


 "Old before it's over."


 Joy Ride

 "The pick of the litter."


The Hooligan 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 Serendipity.

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 goods.

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 brains.

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 playing.

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 way.

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 cool?

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 to get.

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, grand finale.

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 a joke.

But, it's no joke, it's a decent thriller. It could use some nudity, but that's a minor complaint. Three Fingers for Joy Ride.

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.

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