Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Plate of Cocktail Wiener Movie Reviews #1

  • American Reunion (2012)
  • The Night We Never Met (1993)
  • Terror in the Aisles (1984)

"American Reunion" (2012)

The Short Version? The characters from that movie get back together for a weekend.
What Is It?Sex Comedy
Who Is In It? The cast of American Pie
Should I See It? Fuck no.

In the decades before the internet, it was really difficult for minors and inhibited souls to get their mitts on pornography, so it was often smuggled into shit like horror flicks. American Pie was heralded as the return of "the great American sex comedy," even though it was actually Canadian like one of its best precursors, Porky's. It was also as much of a last hurrah as a revival, since there's no need to alienate the growing female moviegoing audience while guys spank it to Jizztube in between X-Box sessions instead of pretending a pair of rubber boobies every half hour could get their jaded pricks up anymore. Toilet humor has trickled down the bowl into the greater cesspool of acceptable popular culture, so there's no need to structure entire movies around dipshits with their cocks in hand falling into hijinks now that Cameron Diaz's crunchy mousse can play into an only slightly ribald romcom that hits more key demographics.

In defense of American Pie, supportive friends in a homogenic suburb so safely whitebread that a Korean gets the token black role is as much of a wish fulfillment for some as banging the super-hot foreign exchange student. I don't know about you, but I grew up with creeps would have formed a Trenchcoat Mafia if they had some of that sweet Lockheed money. Young horny dudes wanted to relate to the soft-peddled hassle of getting juicy ass, instead of copping to frustrated homo experimentation with that friend of your dads they called your uncle but totally wasn't. Meanwhile, three official sequels and a fuckton of D2DVD schlock later, these creatures in American Reunion are more alien than anything Spielberg ever wrangled with (including the A.I. screenplay.)

The guys in this movie have unbelievable, unrelatable lives that I can't see anybody envying. There isn't a single female role that isn't Gaspar No├ęd in a French subway tunnel by the screenplay. Natasha Lyonne got fat after she dried out, so Dania Ramirez has to pretend like she'd ever fuck Finch while Lyonne only gets to come out in one scene for a dyke joke. Alyson Hannigan, star of one of television's most popular sitcoms, beats the undersexed nag drum for probably five minutes of total screen time. Nobody likes Shannon Elizabeth, so it's okay that her cameo exists only to build up Jason fucking Biggs, but it's just painful to watch Mena Suvari pretend to long for that guy who impregnated Katie Holmes with herpes until she agreed to a sham marriage to Tom Cruise. We won't mention Tara Reid, except to point out that American Pie is the only reason you ever knew her name.

Goddamn, this movie is terrible. It isn't relevant to anyone's life, and is a vacuum that will suck anything resembling laughter out of the room. The actors, with the possible exception of Eugene Levy (whose unfortunate dialogue may make your skin crawl,) have no careers anymore because they're not at all good, but even they deserve better than the icons of cyphers written. Seann William Scott, the only saving grace of American Wedding is spent. Stifler makes faces, grunts and curses like he's trying to lift the entire weight of this beast on his back, but all he does is collapse with an extruded hernia. You could have crowd sourced a screenplay from random shouts at a local movie theater and still had a better script come out of it. We have to band together, as a nation if not a global community, to stamp out the American Pie franchise like we did polio and smallpox. If not for are children, then for ourselves and a memory of a nineties generation that need not include James on its fucking soundtrack. Besides, there were hardly any boobies at all.

"The Night We Never Met" (1993)

The Short Version? The Apartment with way more '90s
What Is It? Romantic Comedy
Who Is In It? Matthew Broderick, Annabella Sciorra, Kevin Anderson
Should I See It? Yes

Three people rent a time share in New York. None of them have met one another, as it's all arranged through a separate party and they take different days. Two are urbane, attractive, and slowly fall for one another from afar. The other is a slug who helps to insure that the first two won't share more than a couple or three scenes together for the whole movie. Actually, pretty near every single person in this flick is an awful example of humanity, with the leads simply being far more appealing than the rest. Significant others are thoroughly demonized to keep the audience rooting for our couple, who have surprising chemistry despite rarely being in the same room, or even hearing one another's voice. Garry Shandling, Greg Germann, Justine Bateman, Michael Imperioli, Lewis Black and Naomi Campbell have thankless, miniscule, sometimes positively subliminal supporting roles. Doris Roberts fares slightly better, thanks to her Remington Steele cache, as does Christine Baranski. Jeanne Tripplehorn and Billy Campbell fare far worse, as inexperienced actors meet wretched straw-characters. There's a xenophobia against anything beyond the five boroughs that only intensifies with distance. Still, writer/director Warren Leight offers a good sense of mood and an unusual structure that strands Ferris Bueller outside the narrative for something like twenty minutes. That said, contrivances abound, and the failure of this and Dear God sent Leight to television procedurals. I'll likely always have a soft spot for Broderick when he's got his beard on, and Sciorra is quite fetching outside of the usual domestic/bitch ghetto her career circled around. I hadn't seen this in probably fifteen years, but it held up, which is more than I can say for most rom-coms.

"Terror in the Aisles" (1984)

The Short Version? Clip Show.
What Is It?"Terror Films"
Who Is In It? The best of '70s/'80s horror, excepting Jason, Wes Craven, etc. etc.
Should I See It? Maybe.

From a time before the term "horror movie" was codified into the vernacular of pop culture, before the universality of VCRs/cable allowed people to watch most any m movie at any time, came Terror in the Aisles. Donald Pleasence and Nancy Allen narrate a supposed discussion of the whys of the growing wave of "terror films," but really, they just help to stitch together sweet spots and spoilers from hundreds of flicks for a That's Entertainment of the monster scene. A lot of this material is very dated, but the presentation is fun, and it works as a primer for the neophyte gorehound. It's also a time capsule holding images from films long forgotten by all but the most devoted crypt keepers, and a pleasant enough distraction/trip down memory lane. You can also watch the whole thing for free easily online, if that helps.

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