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


This week:
Walk Hard

Filthy says:
"Walk funnier, please."

Man, what a warm feeling it is to wake up Christmas morning and find that the people you love know and understand you. How wonderful it feels to receive presents that show your loved ones know you well and care about your needs. I woke up bright and early Christmas morning, a twinkle in my eye and buzzing like a little boy about what might be under the tree. So, once I woke up, I wiped the debris off me, crawled out of the Tavern's dumpster, threw up just a little bit and walked home in a sparkling white snowstorm. I didn't know where my underwear were, or my pants, and my nads crawled up into my abdomen like a pair of scolded dog into the doghouse.

I got home just as Mrs. Filthy was finishing the Christmas coffee cake. Not baking it; eating it. A 9x13 pan's worth. Topped with two "Family Value" tubs of Cool Whip, one of which was my Christmas present to her. Our tree, a juniper I cut out of a yard one street over, twinkled and glittered with my wife's beautiful homemade ornaments. Beneath its boughs sat boxes, bags and cards, all wrapped in the loveliest wrappings that Family Dollar had on its clearance table. That is, hilarious "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" paper and, my favorite, "It's a Pia Zadora Christmas" tissue with flecks of blue glitter.

My wife grunted her love for me from the tilted back recliner. I reciprocated and then tore into my gifts. From the Mrs.: two twelve-packs of Hamm's, a quart of Robitussin and 14 expired vicodins. From my sisters: half a bottle of Jagermeister, a pint of smelly aftershave in a green glass bottle shaped like an antique car and twelve back issues of Cosmpolitan from when they sometimes had naked ladies in the ads. Best of all, from my parents: a letter disowning me and warning me to never come near them again. Man, that's a hell of a lot better than the bike with no wheels they gave me when I turned five. It's even better than the blowup doll with a leak my uncle Frankie gave me when I turned twelve. I spent the entire day soaking in our tub with some hooch and a few damp magazines. I also learned a little something about myself. I took a quiz from the March, 1981 Cosmo and scored 37 on "Are You Lovable?" Apparently, I am not.

I hope your Christmas was just as good. I seriously doubt it was, though, unless you got a retired circus animal as a pet.

I'm back to work now. I know Walk Hard came out a few weeks ago, but if you could smell the newer shit the movie monkeys were flinging at the screens around here, you'd understand why I chose it. The Oscar-bait flicks don't get to the sticks here for a few more weeks. So, our new movies are a super-shitty horror movie, a super-shitty sci-fi movie and what looks like an even super-shittier movie about Christian vegetables. Hell, the only way to make vegetables even less appealing to kids is if make them able to shove themselves up childrens' asses and then order the kids not to tell anyone about it.

I expected Walk Hard to be a lot funnier than it was. God damn, it's as tame and toothless as boiled goat nuts. Don't get me wrong, it's sort of funny, but nowhere near what was promised. The movie purports to be a satire of musical biopics like Ray and Walk the Line. My first problem is, why the fuck satirize those sorts of flicks? They're so predictable and corny that they don't need anyone pointing that out. It's like going to the Special Olympics and yelling at the kids that they're retards. Poor kid from the sticks pulls himself up from a tough childhood to be a star, just to prove someone in his past wrong. He succumbs to demons, has a dark period (which is the part where the nudity is, thankfully) and comes out to be even more valued and powerful than ever. My second problem is, if you are going to do a satire of these movies, you better have some pretty sharp sticks to poke your targets with. And my third problem is that a satire like this still needs some reason for us to keep watching after we the joke gets old thirty minutes in.

Walk Hard isn't a satire. It's more like a parody in the veins of the shit-sucking Scary Movie and Epic Movie. That stinks, because those nutsack-melting movies are created by humorless robots programmed to believe audiences will laugh at the mere reference to something from pop culture. No attempt at a joke is made, just a hope that shouting, "Hey, look! Britney Spears!" will make you laugh. This may be funny to the same annoying pricks who repeat lines from Saturday Night Live on Monday morning. But not to anyone with a real sense of humor. Walk Hard isn't as awful as that goat tripe, but the bulk of it isn't that far off. It's like writers Judd Apatow and Jake Kasdan thought it never occurred to us that Bob Dylans' lyrics were cryptic, that Elvis was wacky, or that psychedelic early 70s rock is excessive.

As Walk Hard meanders through fifty years of a fictional history, the only tether to reality is references to the celebrities of the eras. It would be great if it jabbed all those self-absorbed rock stars until they bled. Hell, they're all dead, after all. Especially the Beatles. Anyone can look at Paul McCartney and tell that whiny fucker's already dead and embalmed. And Ringo OD'ed eight years ago, but nobody's bothered to check on him. Walk Hard could make its mark by having an opinion about these eras and their icons. It doesn't, though. Instead, it does a low-brow Zelig by putting its own creation among them.

John C. Reilly is a good character actor. He's even funny. But all he's doing here is acting like a fucking doofus in wigs against a range of period backdrops. He's a dope around the Big Bopper. He's a dope around the Beatles. He's a dope around the hippies. What he never is in any believable way is a character to give a flying fuck about. The movie is so episodic that it's only narrative drive comes from the movies it is feebly trying to mock. Since we've already seen those movies, we already know how Walk Hard will end. And Reilly doesn't give us any other reasons to root or give a dick about him.

There are some funny scenes, like Reilly feeding his pet giraffe at the table, girls swooning and screaming when he sings the completely weightless "Take My Hand", and the opening scene of him slicing his more talented brother in half in a machete accident. Many of the gags, though, are repeated too many times. Like his father shouting "The wrong son died" or Tim Meadows as his hep drummer turning him on to the next bad drug. There are also a lot of scenes that are punctuated by sight or sound gags that feel as out of place as a steaming turd in the Sunday collection plate. They made me think director Kasdan could sense the scene was flat and tried to punch it up with someone making a funny noise, or an animal doing something silly. Well, some scenes were flat, but the correct fix was to make the characters more interesting, not to slap on a lame joke.

Walk Hard could have been a hell of a lot better. It could have been mean and funny and touching. It isn't, though. It's just a half-baked idea, fluffed out as harmlessly as can be. Two Fingers.

Want to tell Filthy Something?



Shawn Edwards of WDAF

Fred Claus is "One of the funniest comedies of the year!"

I Am Legend is "The best movie of the year! One of the most entertaining, exciting and intense movies ever made!"

Filthy's Reading
Steve Brennan - The Gigantic Book of Pirate Stories

Listening to
Heavy Trash - Heavy Trash


Eaten Alive