©2008 Big Empire Industries and Randy Shandis Enterprises
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This week:
Rocket Science

Filthy says:
"Fuck this shitty shit."

What a crock of shit. Rocket Science is a God damn Rival crock pot overflowing with crap. Almost everything in this movie represents the worst instincts of phony fucking frauds in the indie film community. The movie has no original thoughts, no genuine characters and no emotional arc. It's just a hackneyed plot lashed together with so much fucking quirkiness that it dazzles the intellectually bankrupt into confusing it for art. Good fucking God, what a shitty excuse for a movie.

I saw this blast of piss to the eyes at the snooty Landmark Mayan, which is where they show the artsy-fartsy crap in Denver. In fact, I walked into the theater after waiting for a couple of stringy-haired future auteurs working the snack bar who were more interested discussing which of the three reggae bands they knew the names of was their favorite than selling me a Mr. Pibb. Walking in late meant I missed the first couple of previews of grainy movies shot in gray European cities. Not to worry, though, there were plenty more. Some shit about factories closing, pasty lesbians staring each other down and stoic fat Germans with cancer. Man, I can't wait to pay see that shit on the big screen.

Rocket Science fit in perfectly in this setting. It's the sort of phony, quirky horseshit that phony, quirky assholes gobble up like iced coffees and those annoying fucking phone earpiece things. Seriously, this turd will be huge with guys who wear bowlers and girls who actually put flowers in the vase in their New Beetles. And with the nails-on-chalkboard chick in the audience with me who laughed too hard and too artificially at quirky tidbits generously sprinkled across the movie like rat droppings in the alley behind the Tavern.

Fuck, I hated this movie.

Hal Henfer (Reece Thompson) is a stutterer a quirky name. He lives with his quirky mother (Lisbett Bartlett). She has a quirky Korean boyfriend (Steve Park) with a quirky gay son (Aaron Yoo), who also has a quirky name, Heston. Thompson also has a quirky brother who steals stuff and rants about "agendas". Oh yeah, he also maked a friend, who is a quirky kid with a Kama Sutra and a bra that he likes to put on. Oh, and parents who play quirky versions of Violent Femmes songs as chamber music for the cello and piano.

Here is what Thompson's character doesn't have: a personality, anything beyond his stutter to distinguish himself, a reason for us to root for him. But, hey, there's so much unfunny NPR-caliber silliness around him that we're not supposed to notice. Please, you Sundance Wannabes, realize that just because shit is odd and weird, that doesn't mean it's funny. If you aren't a funny person, don't try making comedies.

For a reason that feels contrived and still irrelevant, a top student (Anna Kendrick) at Thompson's high school encourages him to join the debate team and be her teammate. He does because, apparently, he's attracted to her or so overwhelmed by the attention from a girl. He falls in love, but she's so into debate that she doesn't match his obsession.

In fact, she was just using him to help herself. She knew he'd never be a good debater.

To get even with her for breaking his heart, he recruits her former boyfriend and legendary debater to team with him. Yes, Rocket Science hinges on a "legendary" debater. The movie never bothers to show us any fantastic debating, just kids talking very fast. Why not? Well, maybe even Jeffrey Blitz understands the incredible boringness of his central conceit.

Ultimately, the movie peters out by never having a confrontation or a showdown. It just putters to a stop, then drifts until it's sunk, like an Amphicar in a lake. Thompson has a brief discussion with Kendrick that resolves nothing. Then he wanders around a shitload and his father, who walked out early on, says some hackneyed words about life.

The soundtrack is largely comprised of music by the Violent Femmes, from an album more than 20 years old and a bit of a cliche for teen angst by now. So much of a cliche, in fact, that Wendy's uses it in a commercial. There is no music that could better underscore what a pathetic attempt this donkey dung is, than a soundtrack even the lamest among us know has worn its welcome as a teen anthem.

None of it feels real or genuine. It all feels hatched by some asshole who really just want to be on This American Life but either isn't clever enough or hasn't had interesting enough experiences of his own to qualify. I'll guess that writer/director Jeffrey Blitz reads McSweeney's a lot and isn't real good at nuance, but is real good at telling when shit is weird. He's watched Rushmore and Election and apes them without really getting the point. It's soulless bullshit and I fucking hate it.

One Finger for Rocket Science.

Want to tell Filthy Something?



Bill Bregoli of Westwood One

Rush hour 3 is One of the best screen pairing ever! They will have you on the edge of your seat laughing!"

Filthy's Reading
Raymond Chandler - Playback

Listening to
Apples in Stereo - Her Wallpaper Reverie


Inland Empire