Hey Whore, how's
the whoring? According to this week's Quote Whore:
The Legend of
Bagger Vance is
"stunning, enveloping visual poetry!"
In Pay it Forward
"Haley Joel Osment is phenomenal!"
Charlie's Angels is "heaven Sent!Think James
bond meets Austin Powers with a little Matrix thrown in!"
A Hard Day's
Night is "The
best rock and roll movie ever!"
Rugrats is "funnier and more fun
than the first!"
Randy Shandis Enterprises. All rights fucking reserved.
"Who does Shymalan think he's kidding?"
This year , I was told not to come home for Thanksgiving because
I have a bad attitude (Hell, if I had a nickel for every time
I was told that I'd be in a pretty fucking good mood). So, the
lovely Mrs. Filthy and I chose to stay home and have a quiet,
elegant meal to spite my parents.
It was a joy, and unlike the annual disasters with my family
there was no hair-pulling (well, maybe a little), no wrestling
my father (he bites) for the TV remote, and we didn't have to
watch my mother lock herself in the bathroom, crying and screaming
she wouldn't bring out our Hungry Mans out until I stopped teasing
Mrs. Filthy lit up some citronella candles she found in the
cupboard, I chilled my beer, and the Stouffer's turkey dinners
were better than that Swanson's shit my mom feeds us. We ate
two each, with the Mrs. giving me her second helping of cranberry
compote while she wasn't looking.
After dinner, my wife went to bed because she had to work
early Friday at the annual Day-After-Thanksgiving Calico Print
Blowout at the fabric store. I stayed up, polished off my 12-pack
of Lowenbrau (special-occasion beer) and searched the Internet
for porno site passwords. We can all give thanks that so many
Before the Thanksgiving feast, however, I made the Mrs. join
me in an extra helping of overcooked turkey. Unbreakable
is a deadly-serious silly movie. It's like a funeral we once
had for a squirrel, way more somber, long and expensive than
it needed to be. The big difference, of course, is that my dog
won't go and dig up this movie and eat its head.
Bruce Willis is the only survivor of a train wreck, and he
is unharmed. Nobody understands how he survived, except Samuel
L. Jackson, a hotheaded comic-book collector with a bone disease
that makes him like a sheet of peanut brittle at my wife's book
club meetings; busted up instantly. Jackson wears flashy purple
suits, has a funky, nappy hairdo, a fancy cane, is called "Mr.
Glass" and drives a kooky classic Checker auto. He believes
there is a reason for Willis's survival and that he's never been
sick or injured, and stalks him to find out more.
Willis is in a struggling marriage, he doesn't know why it's
failing, but we know it's serious shit because he and his wife,
Robin Wright Penn, do a lot of moping and acting really serious.
This subplot is completely underdeveloped, magically resolved
in the undertow of events.
Willis slowly accepts that he's a superhero--invincible, powerful
and clairvoyant--and he is unhappy because he hasn't been solving
superhero crimes. In the last half-hour of Unbreakable,
he solves one crime, then learns who his arch-enemy is. Now,
I won't tell you who it is because that's supposed to be a BIG
secret. But, let's just say that it's a character I've mentioned,
and that character dresses like a super-villain, has a super-villain
nickname and super-villain hair.
Oh, my God, you'll never guess because it's such a big fucking
surprise. You'll even be shocked when the villain has to yell
"I'm your arch-enemy!" just in case you couldn't figure
The whole movie is fucking preposterous and pretentious. Shymalan
sets the audience up for the story of a man's complex dealing
with guilt and confusion as the only survivor of a terrible accident.
Then, slowly (very slowly) he adds ludicrous elements, until
the whole fucking thing topples over as a cheesy comic book punchline.
It's totally unsatisfying and actually irritating that Shymalan
tries to sell his crappy twist as mystical bullshit. A character's
problems being resolved when he discovers he's a superhero might
pass for genius on the pages of "Archie Double Digest"
but it smells like shit on the screen.
I'm sure there are thousands of overfed, socially-retarded
comic-book collectors out there who will find Unbreakable
to be brilliant, some sort of validation of their hobby as socially
acceptable. But, this review is for normal people, folks who
know how to talk to other adults, leave home before age 27 and
The story crawls. It's supposed to appear atmospheric and
moody, but so little happens it's really like a half hour of
story stretched into 100 minutes, with the extra seventy minutes
used to repeat the obvious and give Willis multiple opportunities
to stand there and stare at stuff. We get a gripping ten-minute
sequence where he finds out he's never been sick from work, and
another long powerful shot of Willis eating cereal. Wow, that's
pretty artsy shit.
Like in his overrated mope-epic The Sixth Sense, Shymalan
must have written the "surprise" ending first and then
jury-rigged a story to it. And it's some corny shit. It's absurd
that a man would just now realize he's never been injured or
sick, or that he is clairvoyant and inhumanly strong. It's ridiculous
that, in a world of six-billion people, the villain finds his
exact opposite in the same city, and so easily (he kills about
500 people to find one who survives that's approximately
a better than one in 10,000,000 chance). One brutally awkward
scene has Willis's son, Spencer Treat Clark, point a gun at him
to prove he has superpowers. It's a ridiculous and unbelievable
scene, and I wasn't the only person in the audience laughing
my ass off at it.
Willis adds nothing to a character who is written as sad.
Shymalan has nothing else for this character to do. He mopes
with less emotion than a zombie in Night of the Living Dead,
or my wife when I tell her I'm feeling frisky. He underacts so
badly it becomes a bizarre form of overacting, like a desperate
plea from a rich fucker "How do middle class people look
when they're sad?"
Jackson does better with what he's given, showing both weakness
and his patented reserved anger. He comes across as a strong
man trapped in a frail body, just like almost all comic book
villains (oops, did I give it away). He is allowed to play it
more campy and it's the only air injected into this dull story.
Penn does nothing but act sad as the wife. Maybe she is sad because
her character is practically discarded so Shymalan can play with
his action figures more.
The ending of this movie, where the arch-enemies finally confront
each other, is where a good movie would start. That movie would
be a duel of wits and strengths, not a fucking loser moping around
wondering why he isn't happy. Instead, Shymalan pusses and gives
us a confrontation with less fight in it than a thalidomide baby.
Some fucking arch-villain, when his whole goal in life was finding
a hero to oppose, and once he does he has no other evil plans.
And, when they confront each other and Jackson has to explain
in lengthy detail that he's the bad guy, Willis only needs to
make one phone call to get him locked up. Very clever, Mr. Shymalan.
Your bad guy put up quite a fight, there.
Dark, slow and moody does not mean something's intelligent.
Sometimes it just means it's dull. And in Unbreakable,
it's an expensive mask for an inane and pretentious story. Two
fingers for this ludicrous floater in Hollywood's bowl.
to tell Filthy something?