When I was a
member of the Moose Lodge, there was a hell of a lot of gambling
going on. There were all sorts of quasi-legal "fund-raisers."
I don't remember all of them , but I recall a few examples: you
could lose your money playing shuffleboard against the wily Herndon
Boys, you could blow a bundle on Night at the Races (until it was
shut down by the cops), or you could get drunk and dump your paycheck
There were two
Waynes in the Lodge and they lived in a rented mobile home together.
This story is about Wayne One and the pull-tabs. Because of his
living arrangements, he made an extra effort to let you know he
liked the ladies. So much, in fact, that he not only got a vasectomy
but he had it reversed. He kept a bottle of Canadian Mist under
the counter of the Lodge because they didn't have a liquor license
and you had to supply your own. He hounded me to play shuffleboard
with him. When he'd get drunk, Wayne told campfire stories so horrifying
and bleak that they'd make a pack of Boy Scouts cry. And I'm not
talking about little baby Weeblos or anything. I'm talking about
the grown up Boy Scouts, the ones who stay on a few more years than
most boys. You know, the ones who come up with all sorts of awkward
sleeping-bag wrestling games and try to sneak peeks at your wiener.
The other thing
Wayne did when he was drunk was gamble with BooBoo, a federal employee
so fat that it looked like his ass was a phagocyte devouring the
barstool every time he sat down. BooBoo drank hard liquor and smoked
Swisher Sweets. He was a mean son of a bitch, and if he stared at
you with those tiny sunken black eyes it felt like someone shoved
ice cubes up your ass. Between the liquor and folds of skin choking
his windpipe his words came out garbled and indecipherable. Round
about midnight, he'd lean over to Wayne and say "Huzza we spl
youns thnu wanna?" Wayne always said "Sure."
And so they
would split a bag of pull-tabs. Pull-tabs are like primitive lottery
scratch tickets. Rather than rub off that silver shit, you pull
on tabs to reveal whether you won or lost. In a bag, I think there
were 300 pull-tabs. You could buy one for a buck and hope for some
cash. You could buy ten for ten bucks and improve your chances.
But everyone knew that for every 300 tabs, there would only be $250
in prizes. The Lodge made $50 for "charity." Rather than
worry about prizes, BooBoo and Wayne would give the barkeep fifty
bucks, she'd hand over the bag and the two of them would just start
pulling. They knew it was stupid, but they were bored and not creative
enough to think of anything else to do until closing time when they'd
go into the parking lot and call each other fags.
That's how Men
in Black II is. You pay your money, you get a quantifiable dose
of mindless entertainment that is less than paid. When it's over,
it's all easily be swept into the trash bin never to be thought
of again. That's not to say this is a terrible movie, because it's
as competent and efficient as a good washing machine. Tip to tail,
it's only 88 minutes long and, better still, it only feels like
84. The problem is that not only does it mean nothing, it's supposed
to mean nothing, created to disappear as quickly as a dry fart in
the high desert.
Will Smith is
once again Agent J of a top-secret alien police force. His partner,
Tommy Lee Jones' K, has been retired, deprogrammed and shipped off
to serve as a rural postmaster. That is, until Lara Flynn Boyle
shows up on earth as a menacing alien in search of the Light of
Zardoth. The light has some vague "end of the world"
complications if the light isn't found. Only Jones knows where the
light is hidden, so he is returned to duty and goes on a treasure
hunt with Smith, bouncing from one wacky alien encounter to the
next after gathering a very easily collected piece of evidence.
Smith also falls in love with the very cute Rosario Dawson. His
job requires him to wipe the memories of anyone who sees alien activity,
but he can't do it to her because then she'll never remember him.
As luck and a crappy script would have it, Dawson turns out to also
be an important piece of the puzzle for Jones and Smith.
Men in Black
II looks like it was designed by Apple Computer with lots of
cool colors, sleek objects and smooth textures, everything in the
right place. Under all that, though, there's nothing. It's just
a calculated cash in by director Barry Sonnenefeld. He sat down
and said "What did people like about the first one?" The
answer was how original and new it was. So Sonnenfeld decided "Okay,
then, let's imitate that." He didn't fuck with the formula
or add anything new. He stuffs more of the same shit into the same
sleek package, this time not bothering with anything but the gewgaws
we'll be just as amused every time we see a new wacky alien, so
rather than make sense, the story just strings along scene after
scene of encounters. A few are funny, like the ballchinnian who
has, well, balls hanging from his chin. But mostly they're as tired
and busted as the ass on a Mexican farm. For example,a dog-looking
alien sings "Who Let the Dogs out." This was funny to
whom? Probably not even the moron who liked that sone two years
ago. I mean, how hard is it to use all those fucking supercomputers
to come up with crazy-looking aliens that exist solely to be punchlines?
They were amusing the first time, but, as my friend's parents used
to warn her, "The first time it's funny. The second time it's
silly. The third time it's a spanking." Mr. Sonnenfeld, you're
one movie away from a sore fanny.
are as underdeveloped as German gymnasts. Smith and Jones have sass
mouths and are always quick with some glib comment. They mostly
just fill in the black suits, though, driving the car that takes
them from alien gag to alien gag. Boyle gives me the willies, and
not in the good way that pretty ladies do. You know the willies
where you sort of wig out thinking about how bad you want to have
sex with them. Here she just demonstrates her humorlessness, pastiness
and how painful a push-up bra looks on a flat-chested girl. She's
the least convincing femme fatale since hunchbacked Sister Roseanne
filled in as Carmen in the high school play after Julie Philips
got knocked up by one of four football players. Johnny Knoxville
makes an unnecessary, unfunny and unpleasant extended cameo. His
ability to do stupid shit isn't put to use, and all we're left with
is a whiny bad actor. Why use him instead of an actor who needs
the work? I guess to sucker stupid kids into the theater.
comes across all right, though, because she's got soul. Big tits,
too, but that's beside the point, unless you like big tits as much
as me. Then it's like two heavy, firm, upturned-nipple layers of
icing on the cake. (Note to fellow boob lovers: she is not topless
in the movie; I was "imagineering" her boobs from the
information the movie provides.) She makes something out of a role
that's the cinematic equivalent of Argon: inert and not allowed
to react. She's just supposed to stand there and look good while
Smith cracks jokes and wiggles his ears. But, she sneaks in the
only feeling in the movie. We need to see more of her.
Overall, I sort
of wished I were back at the Moose Lodge. Buying a ticket to this
or a bag of pull-tabs is the stupid investment of the bored. But
watching Wayne and BooBoo was pretty damn entertaining. Two Fingers
for Menin Black II.
to tell Filthy Something?