January again, and that means Hollywood will
treat our eyes like porta-johns at a Phish concert, onto which
they can spew out a rainbow of tainted bile and shit out the bad
mushrooms. Then, while still clinging to the bowl, the grassfuckers
stretch out a bony hand and utter "Where's my ten dollars, maaaaan?"
is the time of year when those jackasses in Hollywood are waiting
to receive golden dildos from their peers for doing their God
damn jobs. They can't be bothered to put together anything decent
between releasing the only movies they are proud of and getting
patted on the back for them. And in the low-attendance months
of winter, Hollywood turns raw product into shit faster than a
Noise is so fucking bad in so many ways that I bet using that
title feels to Don Delillo the way it would to me if some medical
instrument company named its new rectal scraper "The Filthy Critic".
Sure, "white noise" has been used to describe a million things,
but this radioactive turd is so potent it retroactively taints
everything within its range.
Keaton plays an unappealing, self-absorbed yuppie with a blond
wife whose ass he likes to videotape and who writes trashy romance
novels. They live in a ritzy bay mansion with a gated driveway
to keep out all the upwardly aspiring assholes who someday dream
of such superficial examples of success. They are preparing to
celebrate the conception of another whiny, unattended, spoiled
child when she dies, apparently while changing her tire on a steep
gravelly coastal embankment. I guess she's smart enough to write
bestsellers and try changing her tire by herself, but too fucking
stupid to have even the slightest clue where to do it. Also, too
fucking stupid to call her husband on her prominently displayed
cellphone to tell him she's having car trouble and will be late.
At every turn, the movie strains credulity the way Candy Bottoms'
strains the seams of her size 4 bustiers.
over the loss of his trophy wife and her tight ass, Keaton mopes
through his stylish architecture career for a while before the
movie completely forgets he ever had a job. He moves from his
mansion into a new, fancy eye-candy apartment and gets involved
with a crackpot (Ian McNeice) who claims to be able to record
the dead speaking to him through the white noise on static channels.
McNeice doesn't ask for money, yet he drives a new Land Rover.
This is because the movie is more interested in displaying aspirational
products for materialistic assholes than it is in making sense.
immediately believes that some stranger can recognize his wife's
voice from a snippet in static and know exactly who she is and
how to contact her husband. He doesn't question the thousands
of other potential causes of the voice messages. He then buys
an Ab-Cruncher and forwards an e-mail to all his friends that
promises $500 from Bill Gates if they forward it on.
should mention the movie starts out trying to legitimize itself
with some quotes about how hearing the dead in static is an "increasing
phenomenon" and one that is receiving serious scientific inquiry.
Well, good; someone's gotta keep the In Search of... crew
busy. Anyway, even if you take that bullshit claim at face value,
the movie proceeds to make a mockery of science, pseudo-science,
plausibility and even probably pisses off the peanut-butter fuckers
who listen to George Noory from the homemade pyramids in their
brings me to something that cheeses me. White Noise claims
to be about some shit called E.V.P., electronic voice phenomenon.
But the movie is mostly about people seeing ghost images on TVs,
seeing specters and electronics turning themselveson and off.
That's not E.V.P., it's B.H.M.C., Bad Horror Movie Cliches. And
if these ghosts are smart enough to send pictures over airwaves,
why aren't they smart enough to transmit a decent signal? Hell,
they can probably get their own cable channel. Golf can. How can
the afterworld be so great as these ghosts keep claiming if everything
looks like the scrambled porn channels? Seriously, I thought heaven
is when that shit would finally be free.
the death of McNeice, Keaton goes on to try to contact his wife
by himself. An amateur, he sets up his own small television lab
made up exclusively of prominently labeled Sony recorders, TVs
and computers, and begins obsessively recording what he thinks
are empty channels. At first, he has no success, seeing and hearing
only the static. And then, one day he gets something. A ghost
image appears on one of his tapes. It is a woman, surrounded by
the horrifying sounds of a crying child, ringing bells and barked
orders from unseen men. She calls out through the darkness, begging
and pleading for someone named Calgon to, please, take her away.
by this discovery, Keaton discovers that at 2:30 a.m. every night,
the exact time his wife died, he is receiving signals. He deduces
that they come from living people in harm's way and it becomes
his obsession to save them. Yes, that's right, the idea of hearing
from the dead through white noise is reduced to yet another cornball
story of a man trying to rescue unknown living people through
scattered clues. Boring? You bet! But at least it saves us from
another half hour of Keaton staring at TV screens.
slowly pieces together the bits of images and words he can translate
from his recordings, all the while neglecting the young boy who
plays his son and whose role in the movie is entirely pointless
until the final, cheesy and retarded three minutes. Keaton learns
of a group stranded. They are lost, unable to communicate with
the outside world, and in constant fear of dying before being
rescued. There is a cruel, fat man alternately terrorizing and
encouraging the group. There is a wise man able to alleviate their
plight through innovative uses of raw materials. Two women in
the group are beautiful and the most in danger. Then there is
a wan, jittery man who is most in danger and frequently calls
out for mercy from the fat man. He cries, "Skipperrrrrrrr!" before
leaping into a lagoon or pedaling off in a coconut powered golf
cart. Keaton is desperate to save this misfit band, although he
must confess, they make him laugh.
tries to enlist the aid of a policeman and a platonic hottie who
owns an independent bookstore and thought Keaton's first wife
was a "wonderful writer." Yeah, those independent bookstore types
are big on the Harlequin scene. It isn't until the end of the
White Noise that a TV repairman reveals the truth to Keaton;
that it's just bad reception and Gilligan's Island was
cancelled over 30 years before.
is, of course, an approximation of what actually happens in White
Noise. Although, I must say, my version is way more believable.
In the actual movie, it turns out that some arbitrary character
who has only one line before the end is a serial torturer who
is imprisoning women, torturing them and sending the images to
Keaton through his own set of Sony televisions and computers in
one of the many derelict warehouses that pop up in bad horror
movies and still have working electricity. I think we're supposed
to be shocked not by how lame a device this is, but because we
didn't immediately suspect the elevator repairman who had one
line an hour earlier. What a twist! Man, that must have nearly
broken the screenwriter's brain to think up.
bizarre idiocy to the crap already served up, the repairman is
being forced to do the dirtywork of three ghostly specters. Don't
ask why because I have no fucking clue and don't really care.
Clearly, neither do the film's makers. It's not revenge or punishment
as far as I can tell. What's even more mystifying is why these
specters would have this man do their work since it's quite clear
they can and do inflict physical harm of their own. Or why specters
would be so keen on torture.
White Noise, Keaton's wife dies. Then, he's the first on
the scene when the nutjob psychic is killed. Based on a tip from
the static channel, he wanders to the middle of nowhere and comes
upon a car crash and rescues a baby while the mother dies. Then,
the platonic hottie leaps off her balcony right in front of him.
Yet the cops never think to suspect him of anything? What the
fuck? Is it because of his great alibi: "The TV told me?"
movie not only asks us to believe that the dead communicate through
TVs, but also through ladies who do seances. And they give damn
accurate information. What a sloppy hose job. Lazy, convenient
writing by Niall Johnson, and stunningly unimaginative direction
by Limey Geoffrey Sax. First it's a yuppie's wet dream of fancy
houses, high-paying glamorous jobs and nice furniture. Then, it
devolves into a dreadful cliche of horror movie settings: lots
of gray skies, rain and water; dim, abandoned warehouses, glowering
priests thrown in for the hell of it, a serial torturer with access
to tools and exquisite knowledge of human anatomy; and characters
like a blank-faced policeman who wander in and out of the script
solely at the plot's convenience. The only scares in this floater
come from sudden loud noises and things jumping out of the dark.
Otherwise, this is the ass-numbing story of a man watching TV,
and there ain't even anything on.
it. One Finger. I hope that lady found Calgon. She's the
only one I worried about.
Filthy || Want to tell Filthy