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Hey Whore, how's the whoring? According to this week's Quote Whore:

The Next Best Thing is "The Next Best Thing is a funny and fabulous date-movie with a twist! Blah Blah Blah!'"

Drowning Mona is "A comedy classic!"

Rear Window

Yo La Tengo - And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out
Drive Like Jehu - Yank Crime

Big Empire

Post-it Theater

Las Vegas

The Gift ElectroniquÈ

Big Empire Buddies


©2000 by Randy Shandis Enterprises. All rights fucking reserved.

This week:

Mission to Mars

Filthy says:
"It's Out of Their Fucking Asses!"


I have been to Mars, and I know what it's made of: pure, unadulterated crap, just like we have on Earth. "Mission to Mars" is monumentally stupid. It will stand for all time as a monolithic tribute to Hollywood's elite and their colossal egos. It is, to date, the worst movie of 2000. It's worse than "Down to You" because that movie was the testament to the incompetence of a few while this flick speaks for an entire industry that is creatively and intellectually bankrupt. In other words, it's worse than sucking wooden dildos until your lips are covered in splinters.

"Mission to Mars" starts slowly enough with a bunch of mini-van yuppies from the future eating barbecue and talking about how they're leaving for Mars the next day. That this scene takes, oh, about three hours of screen time, should be a tip-off to the tedious adventure ahead. But I guess I'm stupid because I sat there hoping it would get better. Gary Sinise is a crack astronaut who can't go on the mission because he went bonkers when his wife died. So, Don Cheadle and a bunch of unknowns certain to die, go in his place. On Mars, they encounter some mysterious life form that kills everyone but Cheadle.

Sinise, Tim Robbins and the rest of the movie's real stars have to go and rescue him. After a series of really forced incidents that put the rescue mission in jeopardy, our heroes reach the surface of Mars, find Cheadle living like Robinson Crusoe in a greenhouse, and then make contact with the Mars life form through a series of increasingly stupid plot machinations. I mean, Jesus Fucking Mary on the Couch Christ is this shit lame.

High-budget shitslinger Brian de Palma doesn't succumb to incoherence, but he slavishly follows a script that must have read like bloody stools on paper and manages to make it look like that on screen. Although he gets nothing right, the worst element of this movie is how serious he makes it all. That fucker wants us to believe this is an IMPORTANT MOVIE, and he's got important shit to say. Important shit like Martians cry and hold hands a lot. Important shit like, um, like this is not just a stupid, expensive pussy-fart but a revelation about, um, how Martians are the source of overly-sentimental life on Earth, and we can thank them for "Ziggy," "Family Circus" and "Love Is..."

Several hacks wrote the script, and not a single one of them had the common sense to take his name off. I don't know how many times characters said "Oh, my God!" and "Dear God, no!" but it was in double digits. And every time they said a line that lame, it was to tell a numb audience to be shocked or worried. The writers with 100 million bones in budget couldn't find any visual way to convey this message. My tip to them: if the audience isn't going to be wowed, don't tell them to be. It only makes you look stupid.

Add to this the long stretches of dialog meant to explain the plot in brutal detail, a plot that even the fucking moron sitting behind me understood. The characters spend 75% of this dog repeating what was already said or explaining what we already saw. And they do it with dialog more wooden than the dick of a teen boy watching the scrambled porn channel.

The scenarios this cavalcade of overpaid assholes comes up with are so awfully boring. First, there is a meteor storm that breaches the hull of the spaceship. By using a multitude of products carefully placed with the label to the camera, the crew is able to find the breach and repair it. Where this could be a fast action sequence, it takes forever, and we know it will be fixed. It's all filmed with the drama of a documentary about the secret life of apples. The next crisis burped out of the screenwriting machine is the destruction of the ship. This requires the movie's yuppies to go into space in their suits. It's another scene that might have worked had it not taken so long and been taken so seriously that it gave me plenty of time to reminisce about "The Black Hole," "Supernova" and other vastly superior space movies.

The actors are constipated, like their butts are plugged with pulpy chunks of script. I couldn't tell if they knew they were in a terrible movie, or if they were playing along. In any case, they are never more interesting than the parents on the sideline of a YMCA soccer game. Gary Sinise looks freaky and does nothing to expand his limited acting range. He is dreadfully emotionless, but one of his scenes is spectacularly framed. He is watching his dead wife on his computer, but from the angle, I thought he was sitting on the pot, trying to shit and Tim Robbins stood in the doorway, anxious for him to finish up so he could take a crack at dislodging his own script.

Tim Robbins gets a special "fuck you" for being such a pretentious, loud-mouthed political activist. What kind of fucking phony goes around talking about the plight of the common man and how they're getting screwed at the same time he's shoveling this horseshit down our throats. Robbins probably feels pretty good about himself for being such a terrific humanitarian, but that fucker has already cost me $15 this year, money I would have rather given to some kid in Mozambique. Next time, Mr. Robbins, look at the fascism of your own acting choices before you start preaching.

There is no nudity, which is okay because the actors are all ugly and boring. Jerry O'Connell is plugged into the movie to attract the Down Syndrome movie-going public under 40. He's the comic-relief, a young computer whiz with the personality of a lobotomized frat boy. Really, he's just a 60-year old screenwriter's interpretation of a wacky young guy.

Part of the reason the "Mission to Mars" is so limp and lame is because the characters get along wonderfully. There are no disagreements or fights, just a bunch of yuppie friends who might as well be loading up their Jeep Grand Cherokee for a trip to the outlet mall. It's great they all get along, but I would have rather seen them take space-hatchets to each other in zero gravity.

This movie is further hampered by its lame special effects and the organ soundtrack. The effects don't even work as well as the ones they are ripping off from "2001." Mars looks like an Arizona desert, and space looks like a black matte background with people hanging on wires. The alien, when we finally meet him, is cheap and hokey, except he sparkles. He also cries (this scene is so fucking funny I practically pissed my pants) and needs lots of reassurance. Ennio Morricone's organ music makes the movie feel even cheaper than it looks, like they turned out the lights at roller rink for the "couples skate." It's super-corny.

One finger for "Mission to Mars." Like the movie, I hope to have the chance to meet the producers and shove it into their outer limits.

A special congratualtions to last week's trivia winner. To be fair "Mission to Mars" was his choice not mine, and then he fucking cheated at shuffleboard at the Arvada Tavern. He also was hitting on this drunk broad with four teeth. Well, what do you expect from a Filthy Reader? We'll have another trivia contest some time in the future. The answer will be "The Vapors."

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