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This week:
Year One

Filthy says:
"A remembrance of how movies used to suck."

What a rotten, maggot-infested piece of shit. I have seen some dreadful movies this year, but I haven't seen anything as limp and lame as this sloppy, tired, lazy heap. It's like walking in the rain under an umbrella made of dog shit. The damn thing already smells, and then it falls apart and drips crap all over you.

I have a huge collection of National Geographics from the 70s. I can look at the tribeswoman with the saggy boobs any time I want, which is way better than nudie magazines because the tribal ledies had no idea they would be ogled. Hell, they might not have even known what a camera or a magazine was when they let a strange little white man point his metal box at them. That's so fucking hot. Anyway, I've looked at the pictures and I've read a few of the articles. One of the things I learned is that some animals make a distinctive signature sound when they die. When they unleash that noise, you know they are at the end.

I heard a death cry in the theater today. It came from Jack Black, David Cross, producer Judd Apatow and director Harold Ramis. It was the last sound of their productive careers. All were once funny, now they make a sickly sound as they are swallowed by a murky pit of ego, poor choices, age, indifference and squandered talent. What's saddest is they don't seem to know it.

The last time I heard the death-wail so loud was Cannonball Run II, which is, sadly, a very fair comparison to Year One. In that tired old piece of shit, as in this new one, once heralded and hip stars who had let the muscles of their talent atrophy went through the motions, so surrounded by sycophants that they had no idea how flabby and unbearable they'd become. Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Burt Reynolds and Dean Martin were near the tail end of productive careers, and also surrounded by fans. They had been praised so long they had forgotten what made them beloved to begin with. They no longer had to work hard, and it shows. They smirk their way through that movie, thinking their shit don't stink.

Year One is the same deal here. It is filled with comics who are either very impressed with themselves or happy believing that everyone else is impressed with them. So, Ramis, Black, Cross and Apatow sleepwalk through the movie, putting in the absolute minimum effort and showing off their flabby comic guts. The result is a hackneyed, third-grade potty humor bummer with little plot and even less visual appeal. They don't care that it sucks, that it could have been done better, or that it shouldn't have been made at all. This is all the effort they want to muster as they get older, more comfortable and let their careers die.

Other movie comparisons for Year One come to mind. The very worst of the Hope-Crosby road movies and Caveman starring Ringo Starr. In the former, the two stars thought charm and mugging could get them past bad, formulaic material. In the latter, an actor of such limited intelligence and talent had no idea he was making a ten-megaton shitbomb. Year One feels like both, and Cannonball Run II. Somebody involved had to be oblivious, but others had to know this movie was gonna suck, but didn't care. And then there are those involved who wee too busy appreciating their cult of personality to even consider whether it's be any good.

Michael Cera and Black play mopey cavemen who get kicked out of their tribe for eating forbidden fruit and setting a hut on fire. They wander out into the wilderness, with Black on some sort of mission to prove he is "The Chosen One". Once out of the village, the two wander through gags that look too cheap, too poorly timed and too obvious to fit into a late-career Mel Brooks movie. Think Spaceballs or History of the World Part 1, only more obvious, slower and more childishly crass. Black eats shit, literally. The two watch Cain murder Abel in what must be the longest five minutes in movie history. They pose as centurions, go to Sodom--where the sodomy jokes just don't stop. While they've been banished, their former tribe has been enslaved, including the two cavegirls they like.

Black, still believing he is the chosen one, plots to rescue the girls and overthrow the king of whatever ancient civilization this is supposed to be. Maybe Mesopotamia? I have no fucking clue because the gags are just the easiest, most obvious kind and are not tied to any history or anything we may know of. Apparently, homophobia, ball-kicking, boners and hitting people with rocks (multiple scenes) are comedy gold that transcend civilizations. The gag about rubbing hot oil into a fat, hairy man is just a bonus for masochists. There are also two separate scenes where a character yells to an attacking adversary "Look behind you!" The enemy of course says, "I'm not falling for that." And then, Wham! He really does get clocked from behind. Tee hee. Man, it must have taken a lot of dudes watching old Bugs Bunny cartoons a long time to write that joke, twice.

Year One looks cheap. Everything was done as simply and as close to home as possible. The cradle of civilization looks a hell of a lot like the Sierra Nevadas and California's deserts. The costumes could easily be from a grade school play, consiting mostly of fake fur and ripped T-shirts. Swords and helmets look and sound like cheap plastic. The direction looks just as cheap. There are some facial closeups that are way too close, especially of that fat, ugly, obnoxious Black. The landscapes are tiny and claustrophobic, probably because there are fire roads and National Forest campgrounds just outside the picture frame.

Worse than how cheap it looks, though, is how cheap it feels. Year One, like Cannonball Run 2, feels like every aspect of it was done as easily as possible. Not as simply, but as easily. Meaning, there isn't a single frame of this movie that feels like anyone gave any extra effort. Black is his manic, unclever self. Hell, if you can club the audience with volume and mugging, why bother being clever, right? Cera sleepwalks through it, doing a bad and devaluing impression of himself. The other bit actors, like Cross, Oliver Platt and Hank Azaria have nothing to do but mug like they were Dom Deluise or Bob Hope in some bad comedy of yesteryear. They don't have funny lines to say, but act as though if they moon at the camera enough maybe something magical will happen.

Year One is just fucking dreadful. It's a throwback to a kind of bad comedy that I thought Hollywood learned from and was embarrassed by. I guess, though, they can make movies about history, they just can't learn from it. One Finger for a movie that signifies the death of a generation of comics who got fat and lazy.

Want to tell Filthy Something?



Evergreen Pete Hammond of Hollywood.com

The Proposal is "is without question the year's best comedy!"

My sister's Keeper is "Exceptional! This film is unlike any other you will see this summer!"

Filthy's Reading
Cormac McCarthy - Blood Meridien

Listening to
Beck - Modern Guilt


The King of Comedy