©2008 Big Empire Industries and Randy Shandis Enterprises
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This week:
The Big Bounce

Filthy says:
"Lazy fantasy for the dull.

A shitty-looking movie starring an appealing actor is like Hell with free donuts. Yeah, I know, everyone says it's hot and that whole eternal damnation thing sucks. But, come on, man, free donuts. How bad can Satan be if he's giving away free donuts?

In The Big Bounce, Owen Wilson is free donuts. The rest of the movie is Eternal Damnation. Just like I can't go past a dumpster without rustling around inside for a few minutes, I couldn't resist the offer of free chocolate long johns. And now I pay forever.

Did you ever want a Jimmy Buffett song to come to life? Me neither. Fuck that "Cheeseburger in Paradise" shit. His fans are mentally lazy, and dream of being physically lazy. Seriously, if you're going to fantasize, why limit yourself to a world where sucking umbrella drinks on a tropical beach is the goal? You can be anything in your own fantasies. Me, I dream of finding the cure for cancer--with my dick... sandwiched between two naked Red Rocks College coeds sucking Tootsie Pops. And sometimes I fantasize that I can stop bullets with my nuts.

Tropical beach dreams are the low-rent fantasies of dullard secretaries and boorish engineers whose real delusions are that the "You Want it When???" posters and Hawaiian print shirts they wear on Casual Fridays make them fun and laidback. You know what's fun? Taking a crap in their desk drawers. Then you see how laid back they are.

The Big Bounce isn't based on Jimmy Buffett's output (it's Elmore Leonard), but it's the sort of lazy, postcard-deep horseshit his fans pay him to dream for them. No depth, no meaning, no Tootsie Pops. Owen Wilson plays a petty thief living in Hawaii, a place where apparently even the poorest dirtbag can afford an apartment opening onto white sandy beaches. After being fired from his job as a construction worker for taking a baseball bat to the foreman, he connects with his rich ex-boss's mistress (Sara Foster). Morgan Freeman plays a local judge who doesn't prosecute Wilson for his bat attack and who takes a curious attachment to him. Well, it's supposed to be curious, but in a "con" story this bad, the most innocent-looking character is always the biggest schemer.

Foster schemes to steal $200,000 from the rich developer and talks Wilson into aiding her. Once that slim bit of story is established, the movie wanders like a drunk in quick sand. It's supposed to be establishing Wilson and Foster's chemistry, or showing it off. In either case, it's pretty fucking awful. How much chemistry can you have between an actor who clearly doesn't care and an actress who does all her line readings like she's talking to a mirror? A lot of time is squandered showing us that Foster is "turned on" by the criminal type, and Wilson stealing cars and breaking into homes to get her juicy wet. Not that we get to see anyone actually doing it. The scenes pile up like dirty laundry; each smells a little but the accumulated pile really stinks.

This is a really short movie. Maybe 80 minutes. I think that's because they left all the plot on the editing room floor and just kept in the sunset and moonlight shots. Some of them would actually be decent scenes too, if there were tension connecting them to what precedes and follows. Every now and then I heard a line of dialogue or an idea that deserved a better movie. In The Big Bounce, the decent ideas and half the subplots are dropped faster than a devout Catholic girlfriend.

The story finally culminates with the obvious big scam in which, of course, everyone is involved and Wilson gets away with the money. I think we're supposed to be wowed by the trickery and backroom dealings, but I was left first asking "What the fuck?" followed quickly by "aw, who gives a shit?" Maybe the Buffett fans will, since the story is as lazy and shiftless as they wish to be.

Owen Wilson's charm is his loose personality and semi-stoned delivery. That's funny in good movies. Here, though, he's not even trying to be lazy and it gets old fast. Foster sure is pretty, as pretty as any freckly supermodel with lanky limbs. She gets a shitload of close-ups because someone on the crew loves her. She's a shitty actress, though; fun to watch for five minutes, and overstaying her ability by 75 minutes here.

You know, I really hate movies where pretty girls are nothing more than pretty, and their personalities and actions consist solely of them knowing they're pretty. I have yet to find a girl (or guy) who isn't fucked up for his own reasons, no matter how beautiful on the outside. Why can't the hot girls be portrayed as fucked up, insecure or at least more than just pretty? I think shitty writing like this is done by hacks like screenwriter Sebastian Guttierrez who never get to fuck pretty girls and then bitterly assume it's because the girls are too stupid to hump them.

Morgan Freeman clearly mails it in. If he tried any less, they'd have had to write the script around him snoozing on a sofa. He laughs and acts light, like somehow if we think he's having a good time we'll forget how shitty the movie is. That doesn't work. No matter how classy Easy Reader is, he can't turn shit into gold.

Director George Armitage can capture nice sunsets and pretty vistas, but so can a thousand postcard photographers. He either has no sense of story and character or let the movie get edited by some Hollywood grassfucker who thinks making sense is less important that looking pretty. And that name; it sound like the label on a line of dress clothes from Sears. One week only--15% Off our Entire Collection of George Armitage Sweater Vests and Polyester-Blend Slacks.

I'm sure there's a better version of this movie out there, one that didn't have its nuts chopped off in the editing room. I ain't gonna wait for the DVD to find out. Once someone whacks me in the head with a sack of heavy shit, I won't jump at the chance to get whacked again when they promise less shit the next time. I learned my lesson on that one.

Two Fingers for The Big Bounce. I learned a valuable lesson, and that is not to fall for the free donuts. Run the other way when you see them because one bite and you're going to hell.

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Filthy's Reading
Peter Biskind- Down and Dirty Pictures

Listening to
The Breeders - Title TK


The Ladykillers