Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.
God bless Vern. He's proof positive that anyone can turn their life around if they try. For those of you who haven't enjoyed his writing here or on his own website, Vern's a former convict who has channeled his post-prison energy into writing movie reviews. He loves bad-ass films, but he'll write about the most surprising stuff sometimes. In the last few days, he's sent me two great reviews, so I decided to run them together. I'd agree with him on one, but not the other, and I'll let you figure out which one I mean. Vern... take it away.
Harry, I guess I don't read your sight closely enough. I never heard of this picture other than it was playing the seattle international film festival and some people said it was good. I didn't know what it was about but I remembered the title so I pulled it out of a box of garbage like wishmaster 3 and children of the living dead. This was a box of artisan entertainment's straight to video garbage that not even my video store connection was going to consider watching. They were just gonna dump em off to charity.
So this is the story of the teen horror picture that almost got away. The one that played a couple film festivals and then got dumped straight to video in the US by Artisan Entertainment, due October 23. I mean you can understand with all the high quality pictures showing this summer there's really no room to put another really good one out there. What good is another good movie. They are so abundant right now what really is the point, right? Can't think of more than one or two good ones off hand, but I'm sure I'm forgetting something.
GINGER SNAPS is not a movie about cookies. It's GINGER SNAPS as in THE SNAPPING OF GINGER or GINGER FINALLY SNAPS or THE STORY OF GINGER ACTUALLY SNAPPING. This is a horror picture for the strong independent women. That doesn't mean it's for pussies, 'cause it's gorey and intense.
Ginger and Bridget are sisters, age 15 and 16, who have no friends but each other. They stand on the sidelines during gym class, hiding in their hooded sweatshirts. They made a suicide pact when they were younger and they fulfill it by doing a photo essay for school where they stage spectacular suicides. Also did you know dogs keep getting killed in the neighborhood? They keep getting mauled and I don't want to give anything away but I'm guessing it's by the werewolf that bites Ginger in the beginning and by the way this is the story of Ginger slowly transforming into a werewolf and how her little sister tries to be there to support her.
The director of this picture is a man, but this isn't one of those teen-girl pictures where you can't help but think the Writer was jerkin off the whole time. Alot of men directors wouldn't've made Ginger and Bridget sisters. the chasing amy dude for example woulda definitely made them lesbians, and made 'em alot cuter. To avoid that kind of crap this director went out and got an actual woman to Write the script.
In one of horror's greatest traditions the filmatists here use the supernatural to deal with real life problems that people can relate to, and in this case teenage girls. This is a movie about werewolves eating people and dogs but it's also a movie about menstruation, and fuckin for the first time, and being jealous when your sister starts dating or hanging out with different people. Not as much jealous that she has those friends as that she's being taken away from you. And it's about girls not wanting to talk to their moms no matter how understanding their moms are, and about the intensity of emotions that you get at that age that make you just want to whoop somebody's ass and/or bury them in your backyard. Or eat a dog I guess, I don't know if that's something kids do now or if it's just a werewolf thing. I'm gettin old so who knows.
I gotta say, Artisan, you really blew it by not releasing this in theaters. If garbage like THE CRAFT can get a following of smart young girls then I guaran fucking tee you this one will be treasured for years to come. It's gonna take longer to catch on thanks to you boys fuckin up but once the word spreads they'll go nuts over it like they do with HEATHERS and HEAVENLY CREATURES. Guys won't be able to relate as much on a literal level but I liked it so I'm sure you can find something to compare it to. Ain't It Cool Newsies, you can compare it to if your friend starts reading only DC Comics, even though you grew up reading only Marvel together. Or whatever you nerds can relate to, I don't know.
Something odd about this picture. It's canadian. So they pronounce "sorry" wrong and the kids practice hockey out in the street, instead of real sports. And Ginger calls Bridget "B" for short which is corny by america's more stringent cultural standards. But otherwise you wouldn't know. I thought David "Davey C" Cronenberg and Atom "The Bomb" Egoyan were the only known canadians to make good Cinema, but the individuals who made this picture certainly know their shit.
Canada is always supposed to be a couple years behind the US so maybe that helped out here, because they've avoided the trend of trying to make their horror funny and self-referential. There's not a single horror movie reference here unless you count when the drug dealer holds a syringe in his mouth which reminded me of the opening scene of George Romero's MARTIN. Instead the filmatists just concentrate on creating a gloomy atmosphere and characters and relationships that are believable. People will especially relate to Bridget because she is smart and cynical without fitting a stereotype. She does not look like a product of Hollywood (or whatever they have in Canada.)
Seriously, don't skip this one just 'cause it's straight to video. I know what I'm talking about. As an outlaw film Writer, excluded from the critical mainstream and even rejected by the Online Film Critics Society (!), I've started reviewing alot of straight to video crap. If you thought you had it bad trying to find a decent movie in a THEATER, just try this stunt.
I'm not stupid, I know the rules. The main one is to avoid any straight to video picture with a rapper in it. I got nothing against rappers acting on the big screen, unless they're doing an unneccessary remake of a classic (and I'm not talking about M you doofuses, I'm talking about DOLEMITE). But straight to video is different so I avoid Ice-T, I avoid Coolio, I even count Mario Van Peebles as a rapper due to his appearance in the film RAPPIN'. Even taking these precautions I have ended up sitting through some real doozies. THE CROW PART 3. CRUEL INTENTIONS PART 2. I've seen REPLICANT (Ringo Lam's Jean Claude Van Damme clone picture) and MIMIC 2 (which is a sequel to MIMIC 1, would be my guess) and SOUTH OF HEAVEN, WEST OF HELL which is directed by Dwight Yoakam and stars Billy Bob Thornton, Bridget Fonda, Vince Vaughn, Pee-wee Herman and etc. but is only a little less boring than FINAL FANTASY.
So I know of what the fuck I speak. This is the first one besides ED GEIN that was really worth seeking out. ED GEIN is good for a straight to video but GINGER SNAPS is good period.
JAY & SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK
WHAT IN HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU YOUNG FUCKERS TODAY, ANYWAY?
So I just got back from one of these preview screenings they have to pass out promotional materials and start some "buzz" and "word of the mouth" on some movie they want the young kids to pay money for. The movie was JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK and the kids slurped it right up. They loved this movie, hooting and hollering and laughing real hard, and leaving with big smiles on their faces.
So if you are one of those people who was looking forward to this one, you will probaly like it. I know alot of the aint it cool newsies really love this sort of crap so if you love this sort of crap then don't worry, you will pay your money for this one and then there will be laughing.
But for the rest of us - look out! If there is a buzz on this movie, if they tell you it's funny and you might like it, DON'T LISTEN. Avoid eye contact. Distract them with a simple gesture like plucking a flower petal or unscrewing the cap on a salt shaker, then escape to a neutral area such as a theater playing Takeshi Kitano's BROTHER. I don't care if they say "He's an independent filmmaker making one last lowbrow comedy before moving on to sophisticated adult fare!" Or, "It's a witty satire about the internet and the age of celebrity!" Or the old, "He writes comic books!" It's not true. This one is STRICTLY for the hardcores who want to clap and go "whoo" whenever a character from clerks comes on.
For the rest of us - let's have a meeting here boys. What in fuck's name are we going to do about this young generation anyway. You won't even believe how this movie starts out. With a starry sky and letters that say some crap about "Long, long ago..." blah blah blah.
(You know. Like star wars.)
If there are any young aspiring filmatists out there hoping to follow in the footsteps of the fella who made this picture, I would like to have a few words with them. You see kids, that is not a joke. That is a reference. If there is some african bushman or something out there who might watch this movie, it may be the first time they have seen a star wars reference. Maybe to him it's funny, I don't know. But we're not him, are we? We live in america and surrounding countries. We have tvs.
Star Wars came out in 1977 (have nerd verify date). And it was real popular so the actors started making appearances on the muppet show and saturday night live and etc. so everybody could join in the fun. Ha ha let's all have fun, it's star wars, ha ha. etc.
Then many years passed. Twenty four I believe. And there was Austin Powers 2, and Revenge of the Nerds 2. And there was Hardware Wars and Hardware Wars special edition, and Spaceballs and Spaceballs special edition. And there was George Lucas in Love. And christ knows how many times mad magazine and garfield and ziggy dealt with this material. Enough time has passed that there was a ripoff of star wars called battlestar galactica, that is now receiving nostalgic remake treatment. Enough time has passed that there are adults now who when they were kids saw star wars jokes on Muppet Babies, a spinoff made years after the Muppet Show did star wars jokes.
You know those figures they have about how many violent acts kids have seen on tv, or how many times a guy thinks about fuckin in one day? Well I'm not gonna do the scientifical research but I'm betting there's some number in the gazillions about how many limp dick star wars parodies americans see in their lifetimes. And now here's this movie where, again, you got some young jackasses jumping around like star wars, swinging lightsabers, only nope, it's a bong! (joke) And these young fuckers are laughing like a laughing hyena on laughing gas with a feather up his ass watching Richard Pryor Live In Concert and Dr. Strangelove at the same time. Like this is a new joke, or even a joke period.
A WARNING TO FILMATISTS IN THEIR 20s AND 30s: Enough is e fucking nough. It ends now.
Look, I know I was one of a handful in the theater that weren't laughing. But Jesus had, what - twelve, maybe thirteen disciples? We're in this together, people, and we're gonna make the difference. We might have to take these young fuckers aside one by one and teach em what fucking comedy is. Each one teach one. Give a man a fart he'll laugh for a day, give him Richard Pryor he'll laugh forever. Or whatever.
Let me mention the plot of the movie to satisfy the needs of the talkback folks. Jay and Silent Bob are two pot dealer guys that there is a comic book made out of, and miramax pictures is making a movie out of the comic book. But bob and jay find out people on the internet are saying that they lick each other's balls. So they try to go to hollywood to stop the movie from being made. Along the way they dress up like star wars, charlies angels, planet of the apes, and scooby doo.
You know that joke about there's a character from one movie, but he dresses up as a character from another movie, but he's still not in the other movie, he's just in this movie, but he looks like that other movie, and that's why it's funny?
(You know, like in Naked Gun 33 1/3, Jane Austen's Mafia, Spy Hard, Silence of the Hams, Plump Fiction, etc.?)
THAT'S NOT A JOKE! I don't care WHAT movie you dress Leslie Nielsen up as, it's still not funny! JAY AND SILLY BOB is a Leslie Nielsen movie without Leslie Nielsen. It's all about context. Take out leslie nielsen, throw on the "dimension" logo and somehow college kids think that makes it funny. But it's still the SAME fucking scene from Star Wars that you've seen EVERY JACKASS IN THE WORLD make reference to OVER ONE THOUSAND TIMES just since the release of the last star wars movie. It's the SAME scene from Planet of the Apes that you remember, and your friend remembers, your grandma probaly even remembers, and all of them have made bad jokes about it for years, and even they don't think it's funny anymore, and probaly wouldn't laugh if they saw this movie. Because they fucking know better.
STOP DISRESPECTING YOUR GRANDMOTHERS YOU LITTLE FUCKERS.
Then they arrive at "Miramax Studios" and it turns into a retarded version of that first Pee-wee Herman picture, Pee-Wee's Baaaadaaaaass Song I believe it was called. They run around the studio and sneak onto the movie sets and even use some of the same jokes and similar music and a bicycle chase. Only they inject alot of gay jokes and that insidious circa late '90s, early 2000s self-referential post-modernist pop-cultural reference type bullshit.
Remember in scream part 3 how they had Carrie Fisher, and they keep saying "Hey, you look like Princess Leah!" and that was supposed to be funny? Welcome to this movie. You got Ben Affleck playing different characters talking about Ben Affleck. Get it? He's ben affleck, but he's not ben affleck! And then you got Ben Affleck and Matt Damon as themselves. Do you think they'll be filming a sequel to Good Will Hunting? I don't want to give it away, so I won't say either way. Maybe they do, maybe they don't. Who knows? It sure would be funny, though, wouldn't it! You'll be surprised and delighted, either way!
They keep parading in all the different actors from the different movies that this individual, Kerwin Smith did. And they'll say stuff like, "Why didn't they make a movie out of that other comic, Chasing Amy? Oh no, that would NEVER work as a movie!" And we're supposed to go, ha ha, but they DID make a movie called Chasing Amy. Ha ha if only these characters knew what we knew! But they don't, and that's why it's funny! Ha ha!
You get the idea.
Underneath this glaze of clever there's the politics of the picture. I don't want to take it too seriously but they actually got Chris Rock to play a character named "Shaka Luther King". Oh well, I guess he knows what he's doing, but jesus.
There's a bit of controversy you might've heard of, that some people say it's an anti-gay movie, just because every two minutes they call each other cocksuckers or pole smokers or buttfuckers or gay or fag or etc., and they use gay as the lowest possible insult and laugh at the very idea of being gay, sucking dick etc.
But in defense of Mr. Smith, there is one part near the very end where Dawson's Creek makes fun of another guy for being homophobic. And that makes the rest of it okay.
Also, if you have a black friend it makes it okay to say nigger.
I won't lie. I had a few chuckles. This fella who played the wildlife marshall or whatever, he was pretty funny. I liked seeing Gus Van Sant acknowledge publicly that he's a big fat sellout who makes garbage now because he likes money and doesn't mind making garbage if he gets money. Occasionally matt damon or the dawson's creek fella would have a good line delivery or what not. etc. You can't really blame most of these celebrities who do cameos, I'm sure they had fun.
But please, youth of america. Hear my plea. There was a young fella who directed a critically acclaimed independent feature last year who was asked if Kelvin Smith was a big inspiration to up and coming filmmakers, and he said that no, Smith was just creating a "special olympics of film" and lowering the standards for everyone. Please, kids. Let's raise those hurdles just a LITTLE tiny bit. Let's go to the six foot hoop instead of the little adjustable plastic one. Let's take off the training wheels. Let's at the very least NEVER, EVER AGAIN do a fucking movie parody and pretend that it's funny. And make up some new jokes every once in a while.
PLEASE PEOPLE. I'M BEGGING YOU.
Please. I can't take much more of this garbage you're making.
then fuck you, jack: the Life + art of Vern
P.S. Seriously guys. No more.