Archive for the ‘Bottom of the Bottle’ Category

Bottom of the Bottle: That’s My Boy

TITLE: That’s My Boy
STARRING: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Leighton Meester, Susan Sarandon, Milo Ventimiglia
DIRECTOR:
Sean Anders
STUDIOS: Columbia Pictures, Happy Madison Productions, Relativity Media
RATED: R
RUN TIME:  114 min
RELEASED:
June 15, 2012

By Justin Polak
Co-founder, Ambassdor to the Mushroom Kingdom

Sometimes the most interesting part of going to a movie theater watching the audience reaction along with the film itself. It doesn’t matter if the experience is good or bad, I like to see how the room is doing. Granted, in my Jack and Jill review, I talked about how I wanted to fight every single person in the theater for laughing, but still.

Thanks to my car being out of commission along with minor health issues, I regrettably had to postpone seeing Adam Sandler’s newest attempted rape of the comedy genre, That’s My Boy. I really should have taken those two issues as a warning sign. I can imagine it now: “Justin,” a higher power speaks, “Jack and Jill was more than enough! Save yourself while you still can!”

If my personal troubles were signs to stay away from the movie, then maybe I should have listened. Before I get into that, though, I’ll come right out and say it: That’s My Boy wasn’t as bad as Jack and Jill. Sandler played it safe this time by going back to his bootleg, poor man’s  Rodney Dangerfield-like slacker hero bullshit we all have seen since the fucking ’90s. Don’t get me wrong, this movie is still like asking Adam Sandler to perform a simple task and watch him screw it up every step of the way. Say you asked him to serve you a drink, and instead he pisses on your favorite shirt while shitting all over your cat. It’s kind of in that general direction.

I should have listened to all the signs, because I was provided with one of the eeriest theater experiences in my life. I found it strange that a lone teenage boy, a mid-40′s male and three teenage girls were the only traces of humanity within my proximity. The teen boy looked as if I just caught him jerking off the second I walked in the theater. The older man kept getting up and pacing throughout the film, debating on leaving I imagine. The three teenage girls were presumably on their smart phones, only half paying attention to the movie. What made this weird to me is that — including me — there were six people in a theater…and it was clear that no one wanted to be there. Hey, I have my excuse. I am reviewing the damn thing! The only theory I had is that maybe the theater staff let someone else see the movie alone and he shot himself to put an end to his misery. They didn’t want more brain matter to clean up. Maybe all those people were decoys sent in to watch me?

I suppose I should stop delaying the inevitable and actually talk about the film itself…

Within the first couple of minutes, you get to see a kid hide his boner. That’s something I got to check off my to-do list when I got up this morning. Why did I see that, you ask? Well, a young student named Donny Berger ends up having a relationship with his hot, boner-inducing teacher. They — of course — get busted and she goes off to prison. But HOLD THE PHONE HERE! She was also pregnant with Donny’s child!

That child grows up to be…Andy Samberg. Actually, Samberg plays Donny’s kid Han Solo Berger. That’s not the booze writing for me. That’s the character’s name. Only the kicker here is that Donny’s celebrity life, thanks to technically getting raped by a teacher (I guess that’s how it works now) has driven Han to hide his identity by adopting the false name Todd Peterson all the while claiming his parents got killed.

However, Donny finds himself in the same place as many child celebrities: flat out broke and owing tons of money to the IRS. If he doesn’t find a way to get the cash in a week, it’s off to jail for him! If Donny can find a way to trick his kid into going to visit his mother in prison for a reality TV stunt, he’ll get the money and resume being a burnt out failure! Everybody loses!

I know that comedies — especially ones of this nature — aren’t supposed to be some visceral experience that will challenge you, but the predictability was off the charts here. I actually thought I had seen this movie before (and in a way I guess I have, since this is an Adam Sandler comedy). An older woman seems slightly sexually interested in Donny — boom — implied sex occurs. Han Solo Berger’s fiance acts like a bitch — boom — they don’t end up together. Donny brings up memories that annoy and embarrass Han — boom — he embraces his father for the flawed but fun guy that he is! Then of course: minor event that seems like a throwaway joke near the beginning of the film — boom — what do you know, the throwaway joke saves the day at the end!

Even Adam Sandler didn’t seem to be enjoying himself this time. As much as I hated Jack and Jill, I could tell that he was at least having a good time behind the scenes goofing around and treating the shoot like a vacation. Here, Adam Sandler’s character is constantly drinking, and while I am sure it is meant to be one of the many overplayed running gags, I am almost positive Happy Gilmore himself was drunk out of his mind. This film wasn’t shot too long after Jack and Jill got eviscerated by critics. Like a dog that got caught peeing on the living room rug, he knows what he did! America slammed its rolled up newspaper on Sandler’s nose, and his guilty look melted right through the screen. You can even see the beer mist spring forth out of his can during some scenes. Or, as this terrible thought just entered my head, they actually paid someone to add CGI alcohol condensation. That’s worse than anything the Transformers franchise could ever hope to accomplish.

The worst part of this film is how unrealistic they made an already unrealistic situation. Remember how I implied earlier how I feel these movies are a riff on the stereotypical Rodney Dangerfield film? In Dangerfield’s movies, he typically played an edgy individual that didn’t mix in with the upper class crowd, or didn’t fit in at all. Sandler tries to do the same thing with the Donny Berger character, but he skips the part where he has to win over the company around him. Only his own son, that has everyone believing that Donny is simply a good friend, tries to distance himself from the man at first. Younger ladies are still fawning all over Donny in the hot tub, he doesn’t offend rich/successful people while acting like a jackass and even the most uptight people are quick to accept Donny’s party hard lifestyle. I can’t believe I am thinking this hard about fucking That’s My Boy, but it begs the question on why Donny has hit hard times in the first place. The main obstacle in the movie is destroyed because of how accepting people are of this character. I suppose it truly takes talent to fuck up this kind of archetypical character. Yet at the same time Vanilla Ice and Todd Bridges appear as themselves, poking fun at the whole ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ cycle that the modern celebrity has evolved into in most situations. I can hear my brain cells screaming in pain as they are vaporized from existence trying to put thought into this whole movie.

Most jokes fall flatter than a 400lb man doing shots of Everclear when Adam Sandler says a line louder than an indoor voice. It was as if he studied the worst Saturday Night Live sketches for months preparing jokes that tried too hard, had poor timing, forced acting, etc. You know the drill. There were countless pauses for laughter too. It got to the point where I was expecting a laugh track.

You know what Adam Sandler could have done and accomplished the same thing? He, his friends, and SNL could’ve simply got together in one room while farting in each others faces. Throw in a few alligators in the room for some physical comedy. Have a few of the writers smoke some weed. Also, make sure they have some strippers doing things that they normally wouldn’t do, like talk about stocks and bonds. Have random celebrities (mostly has-beens) appear randomly in the room to collect a paycheck. Perform many more crazy antics in this room and keep the cameras rolling. Edit the film down to an hour and a half. That way Adam Sandler and company won’t have to pretend like they are making a film anymore!

RATING: Thoroughly Depressed/10

All images from rottentomatoes.com. 

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Bottom of the Bottle: Rock of the Dead

TITLE: Rock of the Dead
PLATFORM: 360, PS3
DEVELOPER: Epicenter Studios
PUBLISHER: Conspiracy Entertainment, UFO Interactive
ESRB: T
RELEASED: October 10, 2010

By Justin Polak
Co-founder, Ambassador to the Mushroom Kingdom

When I wrote my first Bottom of the Bottle article, I naively thought that I would have to watch terrible movies now and then while getting drunk a few sips shy from taking a trip to the hospital. I should have seen the fact that one of these days I would end up under the influence while playing a terrible game. In fact, this outing with an inferior product wasn’t even my idea!

As of this writing, I have only known about Rock of the Dead for almost three weeks even though the game has been out a year and a half. Occasional contributor Steve McCarthy found it online for five dollars. He knew the game would probably suck, but the concept interested him. In order to fight the hordes of zombies, bugs and other baddies you must defeat them with the power of rock. In other words, you use your Guitar Hero or Rock Band guitar controller to play this game (or drums it turns out). In other words, it’s like Typing of the Dead.

On a usual Friday night, Steve had a few friends over, including myself, and he tried out the game. I immediately didn’t like what I saw, and I recorded a horrible video of me complaining about it, drunken slurring and everything, with the intent of posting it at a forum that Steve and I frequent. We all had a good laugh, and I thought that would be the end of it.

Fast forward to next Sunday, and my sister comes home while I was visiting my parent’s house. While smiling like the Cheshire Cat, she reached into her coat pocket and pulls out a game. She then informs me that Scott, another friend of mine and who was present the night Steve played the game, bought the game just to fuck with me.

I was enraged. Right then and there I knew I was obligated to play through the whole damn thing and write this article. Luckily, Eric was nice enough to play most of the game with me (we both stuck to guitars). Our drink of choice for this outing was several heavy rum and cokes aided by our good friend Sailor Jerry.

The first thing I noticed was the awful voice acting. I know this game is supposed to represent those older arcade-like shooters, but I’m talking about early ’90s voice acting, when people were literally pulled from off the street and held hostage at gun point until they awkwardly read their lines. However, I later learned that Neil Patrick Harris voiced the main character and Felicia Day voiced a major supporting character. They are both better than this! Especially in NPH’s case; he has shown that he can ham it up and pull it off with flying colors. I considered the possibility that they might have been aiming for intentional bad voice acting, maybe even in the vein I just described, but it was simply too much in this case.

Here are the following phrases I have heard at least 5,729 times each during the course of gameplay: “Dude,” “Sweet,” “Sweetness,” “Easy peasy!,” “Rocked it!,” “Like this? I got more!” That’s just the tip of the iceberg; there were many more generic stock phrases. If Eric and I played a drinking game out of how many times we have heard any of these phrases we would have died of severe alcohol poisoning within the first level. It certainly doesn’t help that the game’s writing contains the most forced, awkward, pseudo-slacker humor that wouldn’t even be liked by some sort of Hipster God, a deity that would no doubt be living up a homeless man’s ass because like, no one would expect that, man.

As for the gameplay, I was honestly disappointed in it on all fronts. First, I felt that if actual effort was put into the game, it could have been something unique, an adventure game based in music rhythm mechanics. There are points where you do have to play a short Guitar Hero-like section to kill tougher enemies, but the action suddenly stops with a jarring transition that highlights the same modified section of the song. You usually kill enemies and perform other tasks by pressing a random pattern of fret buttons in order. This gets old — fast.

So, what music is in the game, you ask? Rob Zombie songs and lame covers of classical music — also known as public domain music. Now while I like some old White Zombie and Rob Zombie stuff, the good songs they used were overplayed and the others were forgettable garbage from his newer solo albums. Rock of the Dead also shows no shame in using several songs two or more times throughout the course of the game.

This all wouldn’t be that terrible if the mechanics even worked right. You don’t even get to choose your own target a lot of time when multiple enemies are onscreen. Also, Eric and I quickly figured out if many enemies needed to be rocked out, we did fine just by pressing random buttons and strumming faster than a guitarist in DragonForce who has taken a lethal amount of speed. Hey, the only penalty for hitting random fret buttons was less points, so why the hell should we even try when the developers didn’t? After the game was over, which felt like it was going to end more times than Return of the King, my hands felt like they masturbated for hours. I couldn’t exert that much energy naturally if I was a dildo in a fuck farm.

Even Eric, who has a much higher tolerance for poor entertainment than I do, looked like he was going to vomit all over his cats. It wasn’t the booze, either. We stopped drinking because we just wanted to beat the damn game already. I could have accomplished more by playing Space Jam with my nut sack. Yeah, I know I keep on making typical angry gamer analogies here, but Rock of the Dead has fucking earned it, my friends. Remember how I said the action stops suddenly for a short rhythm section, and that you have to listen to the same piece of music within said section? That happened approximately every three seconds during the final hour or so of the game.

On the game’s cover it has a quote from IGN that proudly exclaims, “Why didn’t anyone think of this before?” As far as I’m concerned, they might as well be posing that question towards something like castration, traffic jams, mosquito bites or LMFAO. I have played far worse games, but Rock of the Dead is offensive in the sense that it reminds me of that kid in school that you didn’t want to sit at your lunch table. You know, the one that would draw fan art of himself as Sonic the Hedgehog, steal most of your food even if he has his own lunch, try to sound extreme by parroting junk he saw on MTV and seemingly attempt to model himself after whatever current celebrity does to annoy people.

The only people that would get any enjoyment out of this game are the people who would let their dogs shit inside their houses. These are the same assholes who think it’s cute that they have no job because they saw a movie like that on TV once. They don’t use their turn signals in traffic. They’ll bring their twelve misbehaved children everywhere they go at all hours, use Lysol as a deodorant, bring laser pointers to movie theaters, cut in line, return scratched DVDs to rental outlets and a number of other annoying offenses. That’s what Rock of the Dead is: A collection of annoying traits strung together in the most horrifically inconvenient way possible.

RATING: Pubic hairs on the toilet rim/10

Front page image from psxextreme.com, interior screenshots from joystiq.com.

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Bottom of the Bottle: Jack and Jill

TITLE: Jack and Jill
STARRING: Adam Sandler, Katie Holmes, Al Pacino
DIRECTOR:
Dennis Dugan
STUDIO:  Happy Madison Productions, Columbia Pictures
RATED: PG
RUN TIME:  93 min
RELEASED:
November 11, 2011

By Justin Polak
Co-founder, Ambassdor of the Mushroom Kingdom

Eric, the site founder and my friend wanted me to see this piece of shit. I refused. However, he was determined to have me watch Adam Sandler’s latest opus. Obviously, I watched this “movie” and saw it. Why? Eric was convinced that me seeing this waste of film would make a great Bottom of the Bottle feature. He even paid for my ticket. I just came from seeing this “film,” and I am still drunk. Eric doesn’t care. He wanted a Bottom of the Bottle review. He is a terrible friend. So here it is. I am so sorry, this review is already terribly written. I can’t help it. Jack and Jill was so poorly made, that I don’t even want to try.

Some of you may have read my rant on The Zookeeper a few months ago. That movie is a godsend compared to the travesty I have just seen. Look, I realize that Adam Sandler wasn’t aiming to win any Oscars, but seriously, even he could do better than this. Let me get this out of the way right now — I actually am not that annoyed by Adam Sandler movies. In fact, I enjoy Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore. Yeah, yeah…they aren’t great movies when compared to other comedies. Having said that, they at least made me laugh and care about the plights of the characters.

Flash forward years later, and Adam Sandler has finally cracked and gone the Eddie Murphy route. That’s right, he is playing more than one role in this “movie.” Hey! YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT’S FUNNY?! ADAM SANDLER IN DRAG!! Seriously, Jack and Jill are twins, and every aspect of this film relies on laughter coming from the fact that Adam Sandler is dressing is drag. That’s it. Some of you reading this might say, “Well, no shit!” However, at least my other Bottom of the Bottle reviews were covering movies that actually had something going on! At least they had effort!

So, regular Adam Sandler plays some sort of advertising asshole named Jack. Dunkin’ Donuts, one of Jack’s clients, wants Al Pacino to star in a commercial about Duncaccinos. It’s funny because it sounds like cappuccino…and Pacino! You get the joke? However, it is nearing Thanksgiving, and Jack’s annoying twin sister Jill is coming to visit!

I seriously wish I had something past this point, but there is no point. I could write about anything else in this space, and it would make no difference. Why? Because there is no real plot or continuity at all. The first main scene is this awkward dinner skit that spirals down into a tailspin quicker than the worst Saturday Night Live sketch of the last 15 years. I suppose that makes sense, because a lot of out of work or retired SNL members make pointless cameos throughout Jack and Jill.

Hey, Katie Holmes is in this movie. Did you know that? The entire time she wants to shoot herself. I’m not making a joke. You can clearly see the gun concealed at her waist the entire time. Seriously, the best joke this movie can come up with during this dinner sequence is that Jack’s adopted kid taped stuff to his body. Even if I was sober that shit would sound like I was drunk.

Okay, let’s pause for a second. You want to know how I knew this movie was going to suck besides the obvious? Not far from where Eric and I were sitting, a normal family was just a few seats down from us. They had three kids with them and a couple of them were getting unruly. The father’s solution? He threatened to kick the kids out of the theater and make them walk home. These people were laughing throughout this entire film.

There was barely anything that happened that was remotely funny. In fact, the theater I was in had way too many people as it is, and they were all laughing. See, I got pretty lit up before we went to the movie, and for some strange reason, the more it started to hit me, the more I wanted to fight every single person in the theater to death. I’m not kidding. Eric kept on telling me to chill out, but these fucking mouthbreathers were laughing at Adam Sandler in drag and I wanted to murder everyone in the room. I’m normally a peaceful person too!

Okay, I hear you. I’m not talking about the movie. I am just ranting. Well, what do you expect? This movie had one simple plot that only was focused on for 25 percent of the movie. Al Pacino, as himself, wanted to win the heart of Jill. I guess those of you out there who always wanted to see Adam Sandler and Al Pacino together finally got your wish. Anyway, Jack’s Mexican gardener wants Jill too, but all he does is make immigrant jokes. IT’S FUNNY BECAUSE SOME MEXICANS CROSS THE BORDER INTO THE US!

Anyway, Sandler tries to make the universe collapse on itself by dressing as Jill to convince Al Pacino to do the Duncan Donuts commercial. You see, Pacino wants Jill, but — SHOCKING SWERVE  — Jill doesn’t find Pacino appealing. Pacino told Jack he would do the commercial if Jack can hook him up with Jill. Since Jill won’t play ball, we get to see Adam Sandler pretend that he’s a woman…in a movie where  he is already pretending to be a woman.

This reminds me of why Danny Glover can’t ever open a glove box. Did that make sense? No? Good, then you get how I felt throughout this whole film.

Anyway, eventually Jack learns the value of family, and convinces Jill she should abort a vampire. The vampire swiftly flies out of her vagina and rapes everyone in the bar they are in at the end of the movie. Yeah, so I am making shit up, but I bet you really thought that happened. Seriously, I got nothing. I’m not being lazy. I swear…this movie gave me nothing to work with, so why should I even try?

Shit, even Rob Schneider didn’t want to be in the movie! His name was mentioned, but he was conspicuously absent. You know what? I bet he was supposed to be the fucking gardener. Seriously, it seems like in just about every Adam Sandler movie, or in his own movies, he plays some sort of minority because, you know, minorities are funny…I guess. Point is, ROB SCHNEIDER turned this movie down. Think about that.

So where was I? Oh yeah, don’t see this movie unless you want to be stuck in a dark room full of the stupidest people in this country. Seriously, I didn’t expect my theater to be as full as it was. I know I already mentioned all this, but the WHOLE THEATER was laughing. This wasn’t normal laughter. They were seriously laughing at characters making barnyard animal sounds. There was even a bum in this film that enters a scene, leaves, and is only heard from in quick cutaway gags here and there. And you know what? THEY ALL LAUGHED. Even the bum was bored of the very film he was in…and they laughed!

Fuck it. Hey, maybe the nukes should have all hit us in the ’80s, because at least films like these would have never been made! Oh, and the best part? You know that slurry, lispy voice Adam Sandler puts on for all of his characters? Yeah, that’s what his female twin sounds like. Even if you were born in 2005, this would be very old news.

Eric may have paid for the movie, but I feel like I lost two hours of my life. Yeah, you all have heard that punchline before, but I would have rather had my balls smashed into a fine liquid and forced to drink them than rather see a movie like this. Even if you thought about watching this movie you should be publicly executed.

Long story short, I didn’t like the movie. Don’t see it.

RATING: THEY ALL LAUGHED…WHY???/10

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Bottom of the Bottle: Sucker Punch

TITLE: Sucker Punch
STARRING: Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Chung, Oscar Isaac, Carla Gugino, Jon Hamm, Scott Glenn
DIRECTOR:
Zack Snyder
STUDIO: Legendary Pictures, Cruel and Unusual Films, Lennox House Films, Warner Bros. Pictures
RATED: PG-13
RUN
TIME: 125 min
RELEASED:
March 25, 2011

By Justin Polak
Co-founder, Ambassador to the Mushroom Kingdom

Any frequent reader of ours might remember that Eric already wrote an official review of Sucker Punch back when it was released. Some of you might remember that Eric didn’t have too many nice things to say about it. When I visited his house the other day, it struck me as very odd why I saw a Blu-Ray copy of Sucker Punch. Oh, I pretended that it wasn’t a big deal. Plus, sometimes it’s fun to watch a bad movie here and there.

We had half a handle of near bottom shelf vodka at our disposal, so we drank a bit while we ate an early dinner. Eric then said he wanted to watch Sucker Punch, and I nearly left right then and there. I haven’t seen the film, but everyone I know who has hated it, plus there were many negative reviews to back up my prejudice. My “friend” basically ignored me while snickering manically, and my pleas to put on a good movie instead were shunned and ignored.

At this point I realized that I already had two heavily mixed vodka drinks flowing through my system, so I might as well watch Zack Snyder’s soft core porn. Well, that was what I gathered from watching the previews, anyway. I recovered from my experience with Zookeeper, so maybe this wouldn’t be such a bad experience in comparison.

Of course, the movie opens with a ho-hum cover of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” while the protagonist, who will later be known as Baby Doll, is saddened by her mother passing away. Not too long afterwards, her stepfather finds out that his newly deceased wife left her inheritance to Baby Doll and her little sister. The stepfather flies into a predictable rage while a storm intensifies in the background, and he throws crap around in slow motion. He locks Baby Doll in her room and immediately sets after the little sister who locked herself in a closet.

Fearing the worst, Baby Doll acquires a gun and climbs down the outside of the house from the second floor to stop her stepfather’s rampage. Right when he kicked down the door of the closet the little sister was hiding in, Baby Doll appears and holds him at gun point. She takes a shot at the stepfather’s head from maybe four or five steps away, misses completely and hits a steam pipe in the closest that ricochets right into her little sister’s neck, I guess? They never show the fatal hit, just Baby Doll leaning over the body in horror and blood appearing on her hand after she touched an area around the neck.

Already I’m not buying this. The bullet manages to shatter through an overhead closet light that is well above her little sister’s height, first of all. Secondly, what the hell is a steam pipe even doing in a closet? If I had a hot steam pipe running though my closet I would be freaking out! What if you wanted to put on a old shirt you haven’t worn in awhile and forgot about it? Naturally, the article of clothing would be in the back only for you to severely burn your hand or find a melted hanger all over your shirt! Alright, the movie shows it’s a rather decent sized walk in closet, but still. Would you want a steam pipe (two of them, actually) running through your closet? I thought not!

What really baffles me is that the pipe gets a nice, neat puncture hole and the bullet still bounded back AND downwards towards a small child’s neck! That’s one magic bullet! Jesus, was Baby Doll using the same weapon that killed JFK? Hell, the top of the steam pipe even looks like it’s well below the hanging closet light the bullet first hits. I seriously keep rewatching this scene as I am writing this, and I can not for the life of me figure out how this bullet hit the little sister. They don’t even show her in any shot after the gun is fired. The bullet abuses physics worse than any Matrix movie and then boom, sister’s dead. I’m not even five minutes in and none of this shit makes any sense!

Baby Doll then thinks about taking another shot at her stepfather now cowering on the floor, but drops the gun and runs to her mother’s grave, where eventually the stepfather and a few cops track her down. Baby Doll is admitted to a mental hospital because the stepfather paid off one of the orderlies.

In the middle of my third drink I drunkenly call bullshit. There was no actual investigation into this matter? The authorities just bought the stepfather’s story, which turns out to be Baby Doll going crazy and killing her little sister due to being distraught over her mother’s death, just like that? No one found it odd that a shooting incident took place near a man who recently learned that his dead wife left her inheritance to her children, one of them being a legal adult? No one saw a big ass shoe print on a door that wouldn’t belong to a bare footed 20 year old woman leading to a closet where a small child was found dead? Even if they took Baby Doll’s prints and found that she fired the gun, this was clearly a case of self defense gone horribly wrong. Yes, women’s rights were terrible in the 60s (the time period when movie takes place) at times, but Christ, this is a clear cut case of wrongdoing by the uncle if I ever saw one.

You could say the stepfather paid off someone up top, but why wouldn’t they explain or show it? He pays an orderly off two grand to lobotomize Baby Doll, so he had the money, but the film makes it look like the authorities bought the crazy little sister shooter theory.

It looks like all is over for Baby Doll, but right when it appears that she is about to be lobotomized, the movie suddenly switches to a perspective of a stage act in a brothel. What. At this point I was guessing this was some sort of dream sequence, but the rest of the movie carries on like this…up to a point. Much like in The Wizard of Oz, you see familiar characters in different roles in said brothel. I was already four heavy drinks in and I found myself not caring anymore. I also notice Eric keeps looking at me out of the corner of my eye. I think nothing of it as I continue watching the movie.

Eventually we learn that Baby Doll’s virginity is going to be sold to a man known only as the High Roller. She’s brought to a dance studio of some sort and is forced to practice.

After she begins to dance, we are then thrust into ANOTHER world where Baby Doll projects herself into weird, foreign and half-assed anime environments. Um, okay. So she meets some wise man aptly known as the Wise Man, who looks like a damn Vulcan, and tells her she needs five items in order to escape. A map, fire, knife, key, and a fifth item that would call for a great personal sacrifice. Did it just sound like I described the set up to a video game? Yeah, well, get used it. Also, get used to Wise Man saying a variation of, “Oh, and another thing…,”because he’s the type of wise man who thinks its really deep to give critical information at the last second in a desperate attempt to sound deep and witty. He says something like that in every scene the dude is involved in. Fuck you, Sarek!

Baby Doll then fights three samurai-like warriors about two and a half times her size in a snowy feudal Japan backdrop because that makes your fighting scene more serious. Also, these samurai-like warriors apparently follow jRPG rules since they have the courtesy to attack her only one at a time. Any viewer who hates obvious green screen should be pissing a flame trail towards the screen by now. It seriously looks like Baby Doll is running in front of a giant HDTV at several points with a video game playing in the background. I could almost smell the mixture of coffee, air conditioning and stage lights while this supposed battle was taking place. If you’re one to think the digital sets in the Star Wars prequels looked terrible, you’ll down right roll your eyes out of your sockets at how fake this action sequence looks.

Suddenly, Eric busts out laughing as hard as he can while pointing out that he should see my face. I take a look over at him, still laughing, while his face is looking so cartoonish that it would put Vince McMahon to shame. He then puts his hands up to this face with the back of them facing outward while he curls his fingers, laughter approaching maniacal levels. As he starts to rock back and forth, Eric screams, “I PUT THIS SHIT ON TO PISS YOU OFF!!! IT WAS MY PLAN ALL ALONG!!” I can only writhe in agony as I reach the point where my body is telling me to stop drinking, but my mind doesn’t give a fuck. One of my best friends has betrayed me with a movie about the kind of shit Zack Snyder masturbates to upside down hanging from his shower curtain. If Eric shat in his hand and threw feces at me as a practical joke, I would have been less offended. It all made sense now. The mysterious text I got the previous night, baiting me to hang out with him with promises of booze! Eric had my number and I was no ensnared in his trap! His pain is now transferred to me!

It turns out that the dancing in the brothel world is so good, the viewer conveniently never sees it. Oh, and Baby Doll’s dancing puts everyone in a trance. She then befriends four other women. Their nick names are Sweet Pea, Rocket, Blondie and Amber. They all reach an agreement to use Baby Doll’s dance as a distraction to get the items from her original dance vision in order to escape. However, Blue, a mobster who runs the brothel, and looks like the orderly the stepfather paid off, seems to be suspicious of the girls.

It’s worth mentioning at this point that Snyder meant for this movie to portray women empowerment partially. Personally, I think he’s full of shit for obvious reasons, like having most of the movie set in a damn brothel, and that when Baby Doll goes to her video game world, the other four girls and herself are dressed in preteen masturbation fantasy outfits. You could say Snyder was countering the imagery by having the girls kick all sort of ass during the video game sequences.

Not on Blue’s watch! Every time a moment of potential women empowerment moment builds up, he rushes in the room like a fat kid looking for free cake by threatening, taunting, smacking and murdering “his” girls to keep them all in line. The thing is, one of the girls considers giving up at one point, and another eventually betrays the team!

WOMEN EMPOWERMENT!!

Going back to the video game hallucinations Baby Doll experiences while she dances, there’s several different levels to be seen. She fights in a World War I backdrop with steampunk German soldiers, a Lord of the Rings like castle filled with orcs/dragons and a futuristic train ride to a giant city. I realize that all off this might sound cool if you haven’t seen it, but aside from general green screen problems I mentioned earlier, all of the video game-like action sequences are so damn boring. Only Zack Snyder can take hot women with various popular backdrops and make it look less exciting than wiping your own ass.

Long story short, only Sweat Pea and Baby Doll are left near the end of the movie, and they use the necessary items to escape the brothel. However, they get near the front gates and find many sleazy patrons are waiting outside (thanks to the fire alarm that was set off). It is then revealed that the fifth item was (surprise) Baby Doll’s self sacrifice to let Sweat Pea escape on her own.

The film suddenly shifts right back to the lobotomy scene, and Baby Doll was indeed lobotomized. However, while the brothel and video game scenes were in her head, it turned out that they had real life consequences. Baby Doll did actually set a patient free, set a fire and perform various other mission objectives in the real world. The doctor who performed the lobotomy immediately questions why the procedure was done as it turns out the real life Blue faked the signature by Dr. Gorski, who was the dance instructor for the girls in the brothel world. Of course she calls the cops as has Blue arrested.

Cut to Sweat Pea in real life at a bus station. Two cops stop to question her as she is about to board a bus, but a bus driver who looks like Wise Man convinces the cops to back away after telling them a fake convincing story. Sweat Pea gets on the bus and they drive towards the sun set with a conveniently placed scarecrow in the shot, as if you didn’t get they were still referencing the Wizard of Oz by now.

I know I kind of blew through the rest of the movie, but what the hell else am I supposed to say? When I poke fun at a movie, I sometimes like to go off the deep end and explain how I feel while making up obviously fake exaggerations. Turns out, Sucker Punch did all the work for me! One of the girls pilots a robot mech during the World War I scene! Two orcs get launched at a plane while our heroines assault a castle with conventional weaponry! A battle takes place on the set of Final Fantasy XIII with killer robots!

Some have said that Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch is like watching him play with a real expensive set of action figures in random intervals. Sorry my friends, Mr. Snyder goes far beyond that. He’s not playing with action figures, or even a whole toy set. Sucker Punch is watching a grown man burn money while waving his penis at you in the middle of traffic. He knows he can get away with it, and he doesn’t give a fuck what you think about it! He got a green light to make his personal sexual fantasies on the big screen under the weak mask of women empowerment! So allow me to close out this rant with just as much thought and effort as Zack Snyder puts into his films.

The REAL sucker punch is that Snyder can make shit like this film, and we have to look forward to his next project–the Superman reboot.

RATING: Zack Snyder Is Going To Totally Fuck Up Superman Worse Than Doomsday/10

Asylum photo from brightestyoungthings.com, all other Sucker Punch stills from nathanzensapien.blogspot.com. Pyramid Head from megabearsfan.net, Doom elements from smackaay.com, Ganondorf from gamerdna.com, Yamoto Man from megaman.wikia.com, Street Fighter elements from ms3306-michael-hall.blogspot.com, Smirnoff box from karanewman.wordpress.com, Zack Snyder photo from newsok.com.

 

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Bottom of the Bottle: Zookeeper

Primary Ignition would like to introduce to you a new type of column, one where dreams go to die. The life of a critic isn’t all fun and games, folks. From time to time, we see something so awful, so horrendous, that unfortunately it puts us in a state of depression only cured by the euphoria provided by a good rant. And thus, Bottom of the Bottle is born. 

TITLE: Zookeeper
STARRING: Kevin James, Rosario Dawson, Leslie Bibb, Steffiana De La Cruz
FEATURING THE VOICE TALENTS OF: Sylvester Stallone, Cher, Nick Nolte, Adam Sandler, Maya Rudolph, Bas Rutte
STUDIO: Happy Madison Productions, Relativity Media, Metro Goldwyn Mayer, Columbia Pictures
RATED:
PG
RUN TIME: 104 min
RELEASED:
July 8, 2011

By Justin Polak
Co-founder, Ambassador to the Mushroom Kingdom

I occasionally go to a drive-in with my friends, including a couple of writers on this very site. The reason we go there is because it’s cheap — it’s a double feature, and admission is only $9 a head for adults, and going to the drive-in is always an experience of its own anyways. We usually take it a step further than most patrons do by bringing in our own air mattresses, stereo system and other assorted items.  And those of us who like to drink end up getting hammered if we so desire. All around, my friends and I usually have a great time.

The downside to any of this is that sometimes we have to deal with an awful movie, which is usually the second feature. However, drinkers and non-drinkers alike have a good time ripping on the bad movie. There have been a couple of movies that were so bad that we nearly couldn’t keep up with making fun of the film. We stood tall and proud in the face of the bad movies in question!

That was until we came across Zookeeper, a film so horrendous that it caused me to get wasted out of my mind in grief. Look, I knew the movie was going to suck, and I even had a good amount of booze flowing through my veins to properly prepare for the disaster that was about to take place on screen. I still left the drive in (with a designated driver, of course) angry and violated. Not only was Zookeeper the worst piece of trash that I have ever seen at the drive in, but it has earned its place in my top ten worst films off all time.

I should clarify at this point that I realize that I probably shouldn’t take a “fun family comedy” so seriously, but some of the shit featured in this film was so god damned baffling I wouldn’t be surprised I lost more brain cells from the movie and not the vodka.

The film opens with this dumb blonde woman — the Zookeeper’s “girlfriend” — dumping him when he proposes to her. She refuses simply because she is bothered by the fact that he’s a zookeeper. That’s it. Within the first couple of minutes, I already have a huge problem with this movie. While dumb blonde explains that he thought he would change, there is no way someone that shallow would ever date a person in that position to begin with, especially if they looked like Kevin James. No offense to Mr. James, but women like the one featured in this film usually go for some meathead who spend their lives preying on guys like Kevin James, making sure they bench ten times for every cheese burger he eats, to prove they are the alpha male. By the way, I’m not even going to refer to him by his character’s name, because let’s face it, does anyone really give a shit? His name is Kevin James!

Flash forward five years later, and he is still working in the zoo, but Rosario Dawson works there too! Hey, any guesses who Kevin James is going to end up with by the end of this film? Anyway, he is still hung up on his ex, but now he has the opportunity to work at his brother’s car dealership. However, he is torn on making the decision because he honestly loves his job as a zookeeper. But, UH-OH! The blonde runs into James at a zoo function and sparks seem to fly again! Maybe he should take the dealership job after all!

THEN WHOA!! ANOTHER CURVE BALL IS THROWN!! Animals can talk and they let Kevin James know they want him to stay since he is such a nice dude! Why can they talk in this movie? Because they can. Why don’t they talk? I don’t know, I guess it breaks some sort of code. Um…okay. I honestly thought this movie would go the Doctor Dolittle route and make it so only the main character can communicate with the animals. I seriously would have been fine with a half-assed explanation like this: Kevin James has such awesome zookeeper skills, he has earned some sort of unexplainable higher power. Is that stupid? Oh, yeah. However, I maintain that it’s better than the lazy reason this movie came up with, which is that animals have always been able to communicate in perfect English! Really?

This begs the question: if animals could always communicate with humans, then why don’t they do so? Life would be easier for them! I’m not a member of PETA or anything, but humans do tend to give animals a raw deal for the most part. You’re telling me that thousands of animals can talk, but no cow or pig at a slaughter house has screamed, “I can’t fucking take this anymore! Stop killing us all!” Even the most heartless butcher in the world would have second thought of his choice in career. Keep in mind that when I thought of stuff like this, I was drunk out of my mind. You could probably smell my breath from several yards away. I almost wish I saw Zookeeper sober just to see if there was any more stupid shit I would have spotted.

Of course what follows are HI-LAR-I-OUS antics of Kevin James falling down more than my own drunk ass that night due to animal advice. Of course, this advice is supposed to help him win back his dumb blond ex, and they give him literal tips that animals actually do in the wild. A clever film would have either have Kevin James interpret the advice to apply to humans, or have the animals do it for him. Nope! Not in Zookeeper! A wolf tells him to piss on something to mark his territory, and by God we get to witness him pissing on a plant at a public function! He even gets caught and doesn’t get thrown out! WHY?!

Around this point, I stopped pouring myself drinks and just went straight to the bottle. I already hit rock bottom, so there was no saving my dignity anymore. I don’t clearly remember why for some strange reason, but Kevin James proceeded to grab two drapes, fly around the room, and — you’ll never guess what — run into someone! I forgot to mention that by this point there was the typical bully character (played by Joe Rogan) that is also seeking the heart of the dumb blonde. Again, Kevin James tries to take the advice of an animal in the most literal way to defend his honor. Of course this means squatting like a frog and trying to puff out. I guess this is supposed to be funny?

As said before, this movie is for kids, so maybe I shouldn’t be so harsh. However, another thing I noticed in my drunken haze is that I didn’t hear a single child’s laughter throughout the whole picture. No matter what movies play at the drive-in, there are always (sometime literal) truckload of kids. This night was no exception. If a person who is good at physical comedy, like Kevin James, fails to make a child laugh he has truly failed.

There’s also a sequence where Kevin James brings a fucking gorilla out to TGI Friday’s. He literally throws him a shirt and tells staff and patrons that they came from a costume party. When asked why the gorilla looks so realistic, he simply said that the costume involves a lot of wires and stuff. I’ll give the movie the benefit of the doubt that maybe, just maybe a couple of people might buy that story. I mean, the gorilla is talking freely as a part of his cover, and people would be more suspicious if the gorilla didn’t talk. But this movie is seriously going to try to pass off that not one person saw through the disguise? Hey, what about a customer that walked when the gorilla is sitting there eating fifty oranges he ordered (that really happens)? Wouldn’t the customer flip the fuck out and call animal control? I can’t buy any of this! It’s too stupid!

Maybe some of you don’t think those scenes were that bad. Well, allow me to explain the last third of the movie then. Kevin James does end up working at the dealership on the side to impress the dumb blonde. He quickly has a knack for it while using the techniques the animals taught him to be very successful. Obviously, Kevin James turns into a douche and decides to leave the zoo after all. The animals are seriously surprised at this turn of events.

Seriously. Think about this.

The animals knew that Kevin James got dumped by the dumb blonde because he was a zookeeper. So what’s their plan when Kevin James has a second chance at the dumb blond? TRY TO HELP HIM WIN BACK THE WOMAN WHO HATES HIS JOB AS A ZOOKEEPER!! What did they think was going to happen?! Their plan should have been to convince him to hook up with Rosario Dawson, but no, Zookeeper had to try to keep us on our toes and make us think that he might win the dumb blonde back when Dawson was the obvious fit for him. Give me a break.

At the very end of the movie, Kevin James suddenly realizes that he should stay with the zookeeper gig, and that Rosario Dawson is his true love or something. But OH NO!! She is on her way to Africa because the film needed a reason for Kevin James to chase her down with the gorilla. But first they had to stop by the house of an abusive zookeeper so Kevin James can punch him. Whoops, I guess they almost forgot to close that subplot!

Then something happens that made me genuinely laugh. Rosario Dawson’s cab is caught in a traffic jam on a bridge. I’m not kidding, I lost my shit laughing because not only did the film totally erase any pathetic tension it might have had, but Kevin James and the Gorilla are still rushing towards the taxi swinging around the bars like Dawson had any chance of getting off the bridge anytime soon. The next step in the master plan was to drop Kevin James from a fatal height so he can win Rosario Dawson’s heart.

But it turns out Rosario is really Cthulu. She reveals her true form under the pale moonlight and devours the rest of humanity in one gulp. She then throws the gorilla at the moon because it sounds too much like Nick Nolte. At least that’s how Zookeeper should have ended because that would have made more sense than any other scene in this movie!

This film is deplorable. It manages to make other predictable flicks seem like masterfully written psychological thrillers. I feel like less of a human being thanks to Zookeeper. It has erased my desire to go back to the drive-in. I don’t even want to see another movie because of my horrific experience! It’s the same sensation you may feel after getting in a car accident. You know that you won’t get into an accident every time you drive, but the negative experience makes you want to avoid the same actions.

Later that night, my friends and I got pulled over by a state trooper. Thankfully, the reason we were stopped was a case of mistaken identity, but I have a feeling he knew we saw Zookeeper and simply wanted to fuck with us. I couldn’t even have sex or masturbate later! What? Too much information? You feel a little dirty for reading that? Good! Now you know how awkward I felt after being mindraped by that film.

RATING: Too Drunk And Pissed Off To Care/10

All stills originally from rottentomatoes.com.

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