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This week:
Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest

Filthy says:
"Don't fuck with the pirates, man."

You know how those sandwiches from Subway look really good in the commercials? They're so big and fat, so packed with meats and cheeses that you can't wait to sink your teeth into one? So, you wait until Mrs. Filthy falls asleep watching Mother May I Sleep With Danger 2: The Nap on the Lifetime Channel, get down the kitten-shaped glass jar she keeps the laundry quarters in, and ride your bike to the Subway, hoping the entire time that that kid with greasy hair who threw you in the dumpster once isn't there this time.

Thank God, he's not. So you park your bike where you can see it because you lost the key to the lock, you think in a wishing well when you wanted something really bad but didn't have any pennies. You go in and drop a fistful of quarters on the counter and ask for a sandwich called the Italian BMT, even if that's the same name you mom used to give a bad case of the squirts. When they hand it to you, it looks and feels as big and fat as the ones in the commercial. Your mouth salivates to the point that a little spit leaks from the corner of your mouth. You can't wait to taste all that juicy goodness stuffed inside the "Rosemary Parmesan Artisan" bread . How can something so heavy not be delicious? you think, until you take a bite.

That's when you realize that, sure it's stuffed, but with cheap, flavorless shit--like weird, slimy white cheese and way too much shredded iceberg lettuce--piled one on top of the other until it gives the illusion of being good by virtue of size without delivering any goodness. Your hopes are dashed, but worse still is you've got about 50 more bites of this crap before it's gone.

Pirates of the Caribbean 2 is like that sandwich: stuffed to the gills at an ass-numbingly unnecessary 160 minutes, and looking good enough that even a former lardass and current dumbass like Jared could get you to try it. It's a bunch of nothing, though. Although, if special effects are the equivalent of pepperoncinis, Disney didn't skimp on those.

It's hard to figure out the plots of Pirates of the Caribbean 2, but nobody involved in making it cares if you do. Just like you aren't supposed to open up your Subway sandwich to find out that only ten percent of all that weight is stuff you actually want to eat. Just keep chomping down on that doughy bread; don't spend a lot of time thinking about what's inside and you're fine.

Johnny Depp is back as soused pirate captain Jack Sparrow, who kicks off the movie by escaping the gallows in an already occupied coffin (an homage to The Count of Monte Cristo) to start the movie. Twin dullards Kiera Knightley and Orlando Bloom, who helped Depp in the first movie, are elsewhere, awaiting their deaths. The local magistrate will have them executed if they don't hunt down Depp and take his magic compass. Apparently, the compass points at whatever the holder most desires, and it fits into the magistrate's plans. Or whatever the fuck his job is. I never really figured that out.

That part of the movie mostly made sense to me, but things got a little thick and silly after that. Depp owes his soul to Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), the undead, part-octopus captain of the Flying Dutchman, in exchange for letting him be captain of the Black Pearl for 13 years. But Depp doesn't want to die, so instead plots to find a chest containing Jones' still-beating heart and hold it ransom. To find that chest, he must use his compass.

After a bunch of running around and slapsticky pratfalls, Depp, Knightley and Bloom reunite in different couplings. The plot is also deeply confused and convoluted plots by a rampaging sea monster, Knightley's out-of-nowhere lust for Depp, Bloom reuniting with his dead father, the return of many uninteresting and easily-forgotten characters from the first Pirates, and Knightley pretending she's a ghost. All of this leads nowhere important or interesting, but helps to inflate the movie's running time, and keep the actors in scrapes.

Even at it's grueling two-hour-and-forty-miute length, though, the story's heavy lifting is done in clumps of expository dialog. First, there is a voodoo queen (Naomie Harris) who has nothing to do but explain a ton of details meant to further confuse the story, and give Depp devices to fight the new problems she introduces. All the creepiness they surround Harris with in the swamp doesn't hide the mechanical nature of her role. And, it's surely bad moviemaking when a character is introduced only to complicate a story for no good reason. These scenes have the feel of a drunk caught in a liw who tells more and more ridiculous bullshit trying to save himself.

The second plot device is a dead sailor whose entire role is to literally come out of the woodwork, tell Depp how to solve the movie's next problem, and then disappear again. That is, to find the key to the chest. I guess it was beyond the makers to have Depp figure it out for himself.

The movie so actively switches between special effects shit and the heavy exposition that it has no core or sense of urgency. Not only does it not build to an ending, it doesn't have an ending. Instead of emotional and conflict resolution, you get a teaser for Pirates 3.

The action sequences are pretty damn good: plenty of swordfighting and monsters from the deep, cannibals and carnage. The humor, though, sucks balls. The simplicity of the pratfalls and puns made me think of a 70s Disney live-action comedy, but with a bigger budget. The gags and doubletakes would fit quite well in The North Street Irregulars.

Depp is very good, again. Bill Nighy makes a fine Davy Jones. But way too much time is spent with the dimwitted, slowfooted duo of Knightley and Bloom. Holy crap, are they boring. They should do print ads for the Gap, because then they don't have to talk or emote. To pile onto the misery of watching them, both are given stories that are meant to involve us, but don't. In the beginning, we're supposed to be sympathize that their wedding has been cancelled by the mean, mean villain. Then, halfway through the movie, while we're still supposed to be rooting for them to reunite, Knightley gets an incurable case of lust for Depp. Any reason we had to feel for Knightley goes down the shitter. Maybe that's part of the setup for the third movie too.

Too damn bad, really. Pirates, the undead and cannibals should make a great movie. Maybe Pirates of the Caribbean 3 will be one. Pirates 2 is so sure it will be, it sacrifices itself to prepare us. Two Fingers.

Help Filthy || Want to tell Filthy Something?



Christy Lemire of the Associated Press

The Devil Wears Prada is "Fun, flirty, spirited, sexy. You can't take your eyes off it. You've gotta have it!"

Nacho Libre is "Hysterical!"

Strangers with Candy is "Joyfully twisted, gleefully weird, and politically incorrect!"

Filthy's Reading
Patricia Highsmith- The Selected Stories of...

Listening to
Woody Herman - Verve Jazz Masters #54


To Kill a Mockingbird