Happenstance

11 06 2008

Moviegoers!  Caligula begs you to cease your pop-culture assassination of M. Night Shyamalan.  True, he is no Hitchcock, as he is unable to chill the nether-regions of the loins and soul, but being bludgeoned by his stilted messages and cring-inducing cameos provides the sick thrill of blunter abuse, a heady mix of mockery and condescension.  He’s like a boyfriend that beats you until you cry and laugh with gratitude and acknowledge that he has every right to assume he’s the Messiah.  And “The Happening” will be his greatest triumph of audience flagellation yet.  SPOILER ALERT: a description of the film’s ending follows below this delicious custom Mark Wahlberg desktop.

Buzz about “The Happening” would have you believe that the twist is: there IS NO TWIST.  But the false prophets of Hollywood do not have the augury training of your favorite Roman sadomasochist.  I have read the signs (ha! get it?) of sparrows and bluejays in the sky, and I have learned what torture Shyamalan has in store for us.  The twist is that there IS a twist when everyone thought there was NO twist.  That glorious, swarthy bastard!  

The climax unfolds thusly: Just as Mark Wahlberg and his terrified family are about to be devoured by the King of Trees (it will make even less sense when you watch it), all will go black.  Slowly, Marky Mark wakes up out of a fog and finds himself on a couch in a room strewn with gauche costumes and hair products. The New Kids on the Block stand around him, and his brother Donnie leans down to speak: “Marky, buddy, wake up!  You were having some kind of terrible nightmare!  Now let’s go out there and ROCK!”

“Go out there?” Marky asks.  “But I quit the New Kids.  It’s over.”

“Yeah,” says Donnie.  “But this is our 2008 Reunion Tour!”

Marky looks at the camera with pure horror in his eyes: “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

And his wail crossfades into the sounds of a sold-out arena show by the New Kids on the Block. The last half hour of the movie is basically a low-quality concert DVD, and one of the most brilliant cross-promotional hackjobs you’ll ever see.

 

The New Kids on the Block need be neither New nor Kids to strike fear into your heart

Yes, Shyamalan could have really outdone himself this time.  Viewers would have found a new nadir for cinema.  The critics’ faces may have melted off when this ending rolls into focus.  

Unfortunately, even they will have vacated the theater in disgust by then.  

—Caligula

 

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Yeah. I Can Fly.

6 05 2008

I was hoping against hope that the Iron Man movie would fizzle and short circuit like one of Tony Stark’s prototype armored flight suits, but fate has a funny way of screwing over me specifically.

Let me back up. This flash-and-grab brouhaha everyone is paying $11.25 to sit through was supposed to feature yours truly. John Favreau approached me early on, but it wasn’t until Robert Downey personally took me out to lunch at Sardi’s that I was swayed to play a part that I had grave concerns about: a goose. You know how in movies where something that shouldn’t be able to fly—a killer whale, an Oriental rug carrying a monkey wearing a fez, Robin Williams—is flying? And then they fly past, say, a flying V of geese? And one of the geese maybe does a double take and makes a face like BRAWWWK?! I THOUGHT GEESE WERE THE ONLY THING THAT COULD FLY BOY WOW AM I SURPRISED TO SEE YOU UP HERE WTF?

The only thing America can agree on: punching the ground is awesome.

Well, I was supposed to be that goose for Iron Man. He would fire up and go careening through some CGI’d clouds, and I would be there to feign shock, thereby degrading my species, when he did. We did fourteen takes despite having a keeper on the third. I always say there are no small actors, only small wingspans, and I left everything on the table. I became my role, forsaking my responsibility to defy the stereotype that geese are small-minded and easily bewildered.

And I paid dearly. Didn’t even make the final cut. “A little cartoony,” Favreau said as my shot at the big-time landed on the cutting-room floor, I guess to save time for his cameo.

—Nero