©2008 Big Empire Industries and Randy Shandis Enterprises
Every right imaginable is reserved.


This week:

Filthy says:
"Why so loud when nothing to say?"

Holy shit is Sahara loud. That's not a compliment, but it's one of the nicer things I can say about the frat-boy buddy bombast of this piece of crap. In other words, it uses obnoxious and loud as generously as--and for the same reasons--a North Las Vegas whore uses makeup. There's some messed up shit underneath.

Sahara is sort of like seeing a lady pacing on a corner, wearing her underwear outside her pants, banging pots and screaming. From a distance, she looks like something interesting; maybe marriage material. But when you get closer, you find out she's yelling about this morning's "Cathy" comic strip and how much she loves Starbuck's.

Sahara isn't smart enough to actually make you think of Indiana Jones and James Bond, so it blatantly tries to link itself to them. The lousy soundtrack has tons of Bond brass on it, and the script tries really damn hard to ape the easy-going humor of Jones, only succeeding to feel like an Alan Quartermain movie.

Matthew McConaughey is Dirk Pitt, some sort of conveniently supersmart treasure hunter who believes an American Civil War ship is buried under sand in the middle of a war-torn country in the Sahara desert. It's a stupid gimmick that isn't worth the unbelievability. He convinces his cigar-chomping boss (William H. Macy) to let him and his wacky sidekick (Steve Zahn) go look for it. On their way, the two adventurers meet with Penelope Cruz, the world's most unlikely World Health Organization worker, unless they choose to hire me. She needs to get to the same area to investigate an outbreak of disease. This is one of the things that really torqued me: we're supposed to believe Cruz is a physician, but they don't even have the courtesy to make her the kind who takes her top off a lot. Some spectacular tits go a long way to helping me agree to stupid casting decisions. And I've seen enough porn to know that doctors get naked...a lot.

For no good or plausible reason, Cruz and McConaughey's missions are intertwined. What follows is a mix of absurd coincidence and the kind of bullshit that comes from laziness. The moviemakers assume we're too fucking stupid to know better, but I got news for them: yeah, we're stupid, but we save it for our own work. we expect better from others.

I can't remember the last movie with so many repetitive fights, explosions and shit that goes fast for no good reason. I swear to God that the director was afraid of going 30 seconds without something blowing up. Among the relentless violence are plot points predicated on things like Cruz and McConaughey happening upon the exact same abandoned town in the middle of the nowhere at the exact same time, and McConaughey's character being right about every fucking thing. The plot makes no sense, but someone was hoping we wouldn't notice.

What a shitty hero this Dirk Pitt is. Who gives a fuck about a guy who is always right? If people did, nobody'd ever listen to me because, honestly, I'm more entertaining when I'm wrong. That's when I'm likely to eat gravel or lose my shoes betting on who can punch himself harder. But Sahara is all about McConaughey making the right decision every fucking time. The audience viewer isn't left with any suspense because we know that no matter how big the explosions are, McConaughey will figure a way out.

And actually, McConaughey doesn't ever figure anything clever out. He usually comes up with a solution that kills a lot of people, makes a lot of noise and is so unlikely that it makes my nuts rise up into the body cavity. But hey, we're just the audience and we should shut the fuck up and enjoy all the shiny objects and loud noises.

Since I didn't have to ever second guess the hero, I had plenty of time to consider the absolute bullshit that substituted for logic and plotting. The plot reversals of this movie are so rote and predictable that there's never a surprise. The buddy relationship of Zahn and McConaugher is so textbook and based on our understanding of buddy-movie cliches that the skip straight to the painful one-liners. Cruz and McConaughey develop a romantic relationship so quickly it feels like someone edited out about a half hour of the movie.

The civil war battleship that McConaughey is going after is called "Ship of Death" by the locals, and apparently suffered some plague. This is brought up and never explored. The bad guys are so predictably bad they make Bond bad guys look subtle. In fact, like Bond movies and the old "Batman" TV show, this one relies heavily on bad guys who could easily solve their problems by killing the heros. Unlike in Bond or Batman,though, this movie isn't clever enough to make a joke out of the situation, though. In Sahara it's just shitty scriptwriting that they're hoping they can mask with a bomb or shootout.

To its credit, sahara is pretty cool looking for the first half. They moviemakers blow up shit on the Niger River, in Mali and across the Saharan desert. There are people and places normally not shown in movies, and it's pretty cool to see.

McConaughey is pretty damn uninteresting as an actor. He sort of mugs his way through the movie with the conviction that he's spectacular. He's not. Zahn is saddled with nothing but one-liners as the typical action-hero buddy who is as gay as a frat guy will admit. He must be in love with McConaughey, or else why would he spend all his fucking time with him, never have a girl and have no life beyond him?

I wonder why the fuck a writer would put his name on this sort of crap? He can't be proud. The author of the source novel, Clive Cussler, put his name on the books because he's a shitty hack who is worse at character development than the robotic Tom Clancy. And because there are enough sweaty fat guys who go on vacations to make crap novels like his profitable.

It's embarrassing, really. So much time, money and energy for something that'll never be anyone's favorite. Not anyone you want to know, anyway. Two Fingers for Sahara. One to stick in each ear.

Help Filthy || Want to tell Filthy Something?



Shawn Edwards

In Guess Who
"Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher are flat-out hilarious!"

Sahara is "Spectacular! Sahara is a big adventure full of major league action and clever surprises. It's Indiana Jones and James Bond rolled into one incredibly fun film to watch!"

This is as opposed to the incredibly fun films to sniff.

Filthy's Reading
Peter Biskind - Easy Riders, Raging Bulls

Listening to
Beck - Guero


Major League Baseball