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This week:

Planet of the Shit-flinging Apes

Filthy says:
"A wet load in the pants of cinema."

The other night when I was walking home from the Arvada Tavern, I saw this sign on the marquee outside the church in my neighborhood. I don't remember the exact wording because I was drunk but it was something about how life is good and bad shit and we just need to wade through the bad shit to enjoy the good. It didn't mean much to me when I read it. I just assumed it was another church scam, you know, where they say something really profound and affecting, and next thing you think it's great fun eating a dead guy and buying shitty homemade bread products in a gymnasium bake sale.

This week, that church got me in the noggin. There really is good and bad, and you have to roll with it. You have to enjoy the good times, be happy and grateful. And when things turn sour, you can be uncontrollably angry and violent. That's life. Maybe some of you already figured all this out, but it was a revelation to me, and this week kept proving it true.

The reason I was walking home from the Tavern was because I learned they have Pabst Blue Ribbon in bottles, definitely one of life's highlights. Ergo, I got so fucking drunk I thought someone stole my bike, one of life's lowlights. I was so sure of it that I went back inside and accused Lloyd, then I accused Marty, and then the Harelip. That's when she tried to bite me.

It turns out my bike wasn't stolen after all. It's just that in my drunken haze I forgot I locked it behind Steve's Meat Processing, next to the sign that says where to unload deer carcasses. See, there's a bunch of shady skater kids always hanging out where I used to lock my bike. I know they're untrustworthy because they ride those fucking pussy rollerblade things. Never trust a person on rollerblades, especially shirtless grown men.

Anyway, I am getting a little off track. The main point was that when I discovered my mistake, I went back to the Tavern, not to apologize, but to make a big deal about something else so those jackasses would forget I accused them of being thieves. I never go to the Tavern on Thursday nights because that's the Mrs. and my meatloaf night, but this was an exception. I brought along my pal Stinky in case things got ugly.

And it was Lesbian Night. This is one of life's highest highlights. Who the fuck even knew the Tavern had a Lesbian Night? And not lipstick lesbians or the pretty kind, or the phony kind from porno movies. These ladies are as real as dirt, Chevy trucks and pot roast. They're the burly, butch, hairy lesbians in jeans and flannels that challenge you to arm-wrestling, knock over shuffleboard tables, know how to kill gophers and play softball like their lives depend on it. They're the hottest kind of lesbians, the kind that scare the shit out of me, the kind who will put me in my place. These lovely ladies are the Arvada Tavern softball team, a well-oiled machine, and judging from the screeching and the volume of Melissa Etheridge and the Indigo Girls on the juke box, they just got back from enacting the Mercy Rule on some other bar's scrawny lesbians. The Harelip wasn't there, neither were Lloyd or Marty. It was just me, Stinky and 2,500 pounds of sweet lady meat.

Needless to say, we sat quietly in the corner as the ladies did their thing. We were interested in nothing more than Marlin Perkins was in Africa on Animal Kingdom: observing, and maybe later sending our friend Stan in there to wrestle down a straggler. Sure, we hoped there'd be some hot girl-on-girl action and some groping in the translucent phone booth where we'd be able to see just enough to fuel our fantasies for the next six months. But there was none of that. That's not to say there won't be on some future Thursday, because if I've learned one thing at the Tavern, it's that drunk people do regrettable things.

On Friday, I was still floating, and I thought momentarily that life wasn't ups and downs, just lofty highs. Then I saw Planet of the Apes and I crashed. What an embarrassing, classless, thuggish hack-job Hollywood has done of raping an old story and its fans. This is as ugly a mess as the time my retarded cousin Larry lost control of his bowels on the McDonald's PlayPlace slide. And, unlike that, more than a few kids will go into this thinking it'll be fun, only to exit smeared in shit.

I'm no fan of the original Planet of the Apes. To me it's a cheesy morality tale with a message of tolerance as ham-fisted as Sally Struthers at a Country Buffet. It's boring, the dialog is corny, Charlton Heston is over the top, and Roddy McDowell's comic relief's about as funny as reruns of Canadian game shows. But people call it a classic because it's easier to agree with the sci-fi geeks than sit through it again. Really, is there anyone not holding a Mountain Dew in his hand right now who doesn't laugh at it?

WARNING: If you are a big, fat baby who wants to find out firsthand how shitty this movie is, stop reading right here because I'm going to give away the lame middle, the preposterous end and the other shit that annoyed me.

In the near future, Marky Mark is a pilot on a space station where they appear to be doing a lot of very important chimps-finger-painting experiments to better mankind. His job is to explore the galaxies, but not until they send a trained chimp out in a probe to make sure it's safe. When Marky's probe chimp is lost in a magnetic storm, he goes after him and is transported in time and space to a planet not unlike our own, but ruled by mostly uninteresting apes who hold tedious dinner parties. The humans on the planet are sold as slaves and relegated to living in the wild.

As the classic Mummies song recounts, the apes treat humans like shit, those filthy apes, those stinking apes! But not all apes are bad, you see, because the movie has a moral that it wields like a two-by-four, smacking us hard and often. That moral is that all races should get along despite our differences. I guess we're supposed to get more out of the message since they replaced one race with monkeys. Of course, the movie pretends to promote a message of tolerance, but it can't resist making a lame and sadly dated Rodney King "Can't we all just get along" joke. What the fuck, did the opening comic from the Laff Stop circa 1994 write the script?

The plot is a dull, thudding chase with an ending that's never in doubt and not much on the line. Marky escapes the big bad apes. His transponder shows a rescue ship on the planet. So he and a small band of humans, including Kris Kristofferson, wander off. Kristofferson doesn't wear any makeup, but I'm still not sure if he plays a man or an ape. The transponder leads them to Kalima--"the forbidden zone" as the clumsy script tells us. This is the birthplace of the apes and their god, Seemos (or something like that).

Kalima is the space station! It crashed on the planet hundreds of years before while trying to rescue that dumb Marky. Then the painting chimps got loose and took over.

Get it? Isn't that fucking clever? Who would ever guess a space station full of chimps shown in the first five minutes of the movie would play a part in the end?

But wait. The twists aren't over. First, Marky and the other humans have to battle the monkey armies. Here's where the movie could have been cool, but the goddamn screenwriters just crapped out. The fight is boring as they come. And just when the humans are about to lose, a light bursts in the sky. Why, it's the chimp Marky went after in his space pod! The apes think it's their god returned, and they stop fighting.

I'm not sure who knows what Deus Ex Machina is, but it's a story term meaning "a god introduced into a story to resolve the entanglements of the plot. Any artificial or improbable device introduced into a story to resolve the plot." Whenever you see some cheap trick used to solve a plot problem, you're seeing Deus Ex Machina, the lazy bastard's best friend.

Most writers at least have enough class to invent their own cheap solution. But the not here. In Planet of the Apes, the Powerbook-and-goatee boys were so lazy they used the literal definition and ran with it. No, wait, they walked because it hurts too much to run with studio executive hands up their asses.

And, it gets worse. For whatever reason, the chimp is traveling through space with a pistol, which is then conveniently used for the one-millionth scramble-for-the-dropped-gun scene. Marky and the chimp hold hands causing all the apes to decide they were wrong to ever mistreat humans. That's followed Marky stealing the poor chimp's pod and flying back into space. He returns to earth back in the present where, for no good reason, modern-day earth is ruled by the exact same apes (down to the nams) who were ruling some distant planet hundreds of years from now. Hollywood expects our minds to be blown.

Those thieving grassfuckers in LA think we're so Goddamn stupid that the "surprise" of this ending will outweigh the sheer disbelief of even the dumb teenagers behind me. Note to studio executives: a twist only works if it makes some sense. Any sense. A ripe pile of shit out of left field just makes you look desperate. And you obviously were.

The root of the problem is beyond the super-bad acting from synchronized-swimmer Estella Warren and Mr. Mark, the indifferent hamming of Helena Bonham Carter, and the Tim Roth's prolonged audition for the role of "Man Suffering From Massive Headache After Wearing Ape Costume All Day" in some future Excedrin commercial. It's above the long list of uninteresting characters given no personality that we're expected to care about only when it's convenient for the movie. It's even farther than the Ape City that looks like the cheesy soundstage from the Wizard of Oz with dirt dumped on it. The problem is the apeshit script.

One day maybe two or three months ago, some executive ran down his checklist, "Let's see, costumes-check, wardrobe-check, actors-check, marketing- check, nostalgia to milk-check, script-oh, shit! We better slap something together fast!" Then, when he learned the script sucked, he ordered "well then, make the apes look better!" This mutt is limper than an old man's dick and it's powered by Hollywood's assumption that if people are dressed up like apes, we won't ask why a chimp is traveling through space with a pistol, why some hundreds-of-years-old spaceship still has power ("power that lasts forever," the script says), how the fuck horses got on the planet, or were they on the ship too, or how the fuck so many species of primates spawned from a small group of chimps on the spaceship?

Hollywood doesn't even think we deserve characters to care about. There are some half-hearted attempts at making these stiffs interesting, such as an underdeveloped man-woman-ape love triangle that goes nowhere, and a boy who doesn't say a fucking word until the end. Then he has to become brave and do something stupid so Marky can endanger himself rescuing him. This is a shitty dot-to-dot plot written by screenwriters so lazy they have to cheat between points.

This is shit, a depressing load in the pants of cinema, a truly rotten remake. This One Finger stinker is a lowlight, one of life's saddest moments. It would be enough to bring me down if I wasn't already looking forward to next Thursday at the Tavern.

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