Saturday, May 15, 2010

Leprechaun 4 -- Oh Danny Boy, Shoot Me Now

Facts: In 1996, Compuserve and AOL battled it out for computing supremacy. The American public was so distracted by this raging war that they barely noticed a certain harbinger of the end of cinema: a little movie called Leprechaun 4. One can hardly blame the masses for being blindsided by this disaster of epic proportions. Just three years previous, Jurassic Park set a new standard for special effects. In 1996, Leprechaun 4 rewound the special effects clock to 1852. Additionally, the arts of key-gripping, directing, and acting were similarly affected. To put it in perspective, The Birth of a Nation was more advanced film-making. Starring Warwick "I Need Coke Money" Davis, and a bunch of other people whom you've never heard of before (a blissful ignorance for which you should be thankful).

Summary: Somewhere in space, on the same sound stage where they shot Charmin commercials, an evil leprechaun has captured a princess. His foolproof plan is to marry her and become a galactic leprechaun king. Her plan is to get rich with his gold, which she must really want because he looks like Freddy Krueger's hard-drinking Irish cousin/detached conjoined twin. This wily duo teams up to fight crime, and by "fight crime" we mean "kill a team of Marines sent to capture them for a crazed robo-scientist." We should also mention that this elite fighting force couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. Your tax dollars at work, folks. Love blossoms, blood flows, clothes are lost, chasing ensues: "I wants me gold, or just a lobotomy please." Meanwhile, the intrepid movie-blogging duo of Ang & Crabs is seeking a new intern...the defense lawyer's only defense was to enter the entire film into evidence. Ang & Crabs went free.

In lieu of key moments of interests (which we are not including because to do so would indicate that this movie did in fact include anything interesting), we are pleased (okay, contractually obligated) to introduce a new section...Ang & Crabs' spectacular never before seen Filler Material Section Event. We would like to thank our intern for his work on this section.

Laughable special effects: Paper-mache cave, CGI spaceship, Doom-inspired door noises, disco ball lounge (every spaceship has one!), paintball gun pistols, visible wires (a leprechaun swinging from a rope is not scary), bad puppetry, paint by numbers stars.
Wise-cracking black guy: This one speaks for itself. (What'cho talkin' bout, Willis?")
Gratuitous nudity/sexual content: Boobs = a death sentence, cock that grows into leprechaun. (Yes, really, hot pans being torn asunder to reveal highly-practical French-cut panties, make out session in toxic waste dump, including Marine issued lacy bra, random and uninteresting drag show.
Glaring inconsistencies:
Uninspired (and ludicrous subplots): Robo-scientist is spliced with tarantula/scorpion DNA (predicable hijinks ensue), "romance" between insecure Marine grunt and inexplicably hot biologist, Sergeant who turns out to be a cyborg, slutty Marine.
Boss fights: Giant leprechaun in the airlock (blown out of airlock) and Dr. Mittenspider (destroyed by liquid nitrogen and shattered like T-100).
Terrible "acting": First scene through end credits, unexplained leprechaun soliloquies, consistently horrible drill Sergeant barking orders to motivate his troops, lack of acting abilities covered up with unbelievable "German" accent, disappearing/reappearing and morphing mystical Irish/English accent (as illusive as leprechaun gold).
Questionable scientific content: Friction in space, lightsaber leprechaun cane, regenerative powers of blood, robo-doctor's body, tarantula/human hybrid ("Somebody alert President Bush!"), a spaceship computer that runs on DOS, Honey, I shrunk the gold machine, guessing a password to stop auto destruct sequence.
Synthesizer-generated soundtrack: Seriously, in 1996? Devo must've come out of retirement and tricked out their Lite Brites to generate this tour de force soundtrack.

Snarky movie discussion:
(Introduction: ICBIWT is proud to announce that they are the recipients of the 2010 Irish Heritage Award, presented to those who best represent the spirit of the Irish people. We used the money to pay for a seance to contact the spirit of James Joyce. Some money was also spent on whisky and loose English lasses.)
CRABS: I see the leprechaun character as being a spiritual and physical representation of the "little man" in society. His constant quest to re-obtain his beloved "gold" could be seen as a metaphor of the middle class struggle to achieve material comfort and societal acceptance. Do you believe the consistent destruction and resurrection of the leprechaun is representative of the current pervasive bourgeoisie "never say die" ennui?
JASON (THE INTERN): The Irish are but one of countless waves of immigrants in the rich tapestry that is American culture. The Irish experienced prejudice as they struggled to obtain their "gold" in America and so many other immigrant groups have experienced the same. For example, the recent immigration bill in Arizona is but the most current backlash against these hard-working wannabe Americans. He therefore represents not only the bourgeoisie attitude but the desire by immigrant groups to achieve the bourgeoisie American dream.
ANG: The leprechaun this movie seeks to gain material riches rather than spiritual enlightenment. The Marines seek to stop him, in what I believe is a socialist plot to redistribute the means of production among more equitable terms. Please discuss this important movie plot as it relates to President Barack Obama's plan to turn our great nation into a Communist/Socialist/Fascist state.
JASON (THE INTERN): It is a common misconception among the uneducated filthy masses that fascists, who rule through military might, are the same as socialists, who work for the greater good fo the community. In Leprechaun 4, the Marines, with their large guns, seek only to oppress the leprechaun, and stand in the way of scientific progress, much like the fascist. They was no plan to redistribute wealth equitably, which as we all know, is President Obama's goal for America. It is truly unfortunate that so many Americans don't understand the glory and safety that a socialist state offers.
ANG: How about a question for the Ghost of James Joyce?
CRABS: The leprechaun is clearly a fan of gold. So given the current economic situation and the sky high price of gold, I would say he's a pretty prudent investor. So Mr. Joyce, what are your stock tips for long-time fiscal security?
JAMES JOYCE: Clouds and clovers, said Molly Bloom, as she put on her petticoat and entered the sodden Dublin streets, seeking fulfillment in the arms of young Steven, who worshipped her like pretzel salt wheat allergies, unfolding the crushing despair of her knowing existence, the playbill on the wall peals off.
JASON (THE INTERN): How would you relate the betrayal of the Irish people in this film to historic portrayals of the Irish potato famine in the tradition of western satire?
JAMES JOYCE: A ray of light on the kitchen stove illuminated the copper pot with a sheen as dull as the knife-edge of the British empire. Potatoes today, potatoes tomorrow, always potatoes. Peeling potatoes is like peeling your soul: raw and bitter and crunchy inside. Boil the pain, water the hurt, one of these days we'll make it to London. Maybe Jack will be there to say hello.
ANG: How would you place the context of this movie in post-9/11 perspective, considering that when this movie was released, 9/11 had not happened yet?
JASON (THE INTERN): When ugly foreigners with accents are allowed into your structures, or nations, they will inevitability try to destroy them and murder your loved ones and friends. The leprechaun stated he wanted power and when he was thwarted in this goal, he wreaked havoc by destroying property and ending American lives. You might say if more people had seen Leprechaun 4: In Space, 9/11 possibly could have been prevented, with its timely and eerily prescient warning about the future.

For next time: We're going to tempt fate and fly close to the cinematic event horizon.

Rating: nine sticks in the eye, laddie.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

2012 -- Apocaplyse WOW (plus John Cusack)

Note: Ang & Crabs are proud to announce that this is the first post which includes the whit and wisdom of our new intern, Jason.

Facts: I'm no Mayan, but if I was, I would be shitting my loincloth right now, for as a Mayan in the know, I would be privy to the end of the world as we know it, which just happens to be in two years, so get ready. Late in the fall of 1952, Professor Indiana Jones and a small but loyal cadre of associates (including Nicolas Cage; okay, John Cusack) were exploring an isolated set of ruins in the Yucatan peninsula and discovered something so devastating that it took 57 years to come to fruition. In a small nook at the heart of a blood-stained temple, Dr. Jones et al found the screenplay for 2012. Released in the go-go year of 2009 (as in go-go to the unemployment office), 2012 would prove to be the emotional salve unifying a distraught nation and providing the impetus for the economic recovery and prosperity that we are enjoying to this day. Starring John "Nicolas Case" Cusack, Woody "I'm Playing Myself" Harrelson, Amanda "When You Can't Afford Any Other Talent" Peet, Danny "I've Really Sunk to a New Low" Glover, and Thandie "Backless Beyonce" Newton. And a host of other Julliard junkies (all non-union).

Plot summary: In 2008, scientists in Bollywood discover a pool of boiling water two miles under the earth in a coal mine. This proverbial "canary" is a neutrino detection device that shows massive solar flares are bombarding the earth with neutrinos. The world's sole black scientist is on the case, however. Four years in the future, Nicolas Cage (Cusack) is a limo driver and gigantic failure of a father and an author who takes his kids camping in Yellowstone National Park, where he meets batshit crazy radio host Charlie (Harrelson) and discovers that the earth is literally about to explode. His ex-wife (Peet) and her shmuck of a boyfriend (some guy) join him on his quest to escape certain death. Oh, and they meet up with an insufferable Russian billionaire and his trophy girlfriend, with his bratty twins in tow. Trust us, you don't care about a single one of those people. Cue two hours of disaster porn and an ending straight out of a script writing for dummies book.

Key moments of interest:
Cue exploding solar flares. (straight out of Galaga, circa 1980).
The sun is menacing us from afar. (For years man has yearned to destroy the sun...)
India's hot, but this is ridiculous! (Ouch!)
(Our science advisor, Dr. John, decided to leave the movie after about five minutes.)
A scientist goes to the ball to talk to the president, but shockingly, no one believes him.
Thirsty anyone? Dr. Anheiser, the president's douche-baggy advisor, is eventually persuaded.
(After less than a minute of convincing, the scientist is our world's most important person. He's subsequently shipped off to a briefing session.)
Character development:
Jackson Curtis (Cage/Cusack) is estranged from his ex-wife and kids. His son hates him (with good reason) and his daughter still wets the bed. (Dysfunctional family alert, number 1!).
He also thinks a limo is a good vehicle for camping.
Jackson takes his kids to Yellowstone to show them his and his wife's make-out spot (what?). He also happens to have written a book about the end of the world, panned for its optimistic and happy ending. Foreshadowing rocks!
There they meet Charlie (Harrelson) in the forest/Ground Zero. Charlie is full of gems, including flash animation prophesying the end of the world.
He also tells Jackson that the government is building spaceships, the location of which he just happens to have lying around. These maps will not be important later...
Back in Yuppie Town, the earth (evidenced by a grocery store) is splitting in two, and mom Kate demands the return of her kids.
At some point we're introduced to a lovable odd couple on some random cruise ship, the members of a godawful jazz duo.
The second Jackson returns to California (to pick up his kids, and for some reason, his ex-wife and her boyfriend) the earth begins to crumble.
Cue half an hour of limo jumping and wreckage. This dude should be driving for NASCAR.
The limo drives through buildings, under buildings, over buildings, and through freakin' time.
Much to the delight of everyone outside of California, California falls into the ocean.
The only people to escape are the morons in the limo, because it just so happens that Kate's boyfriend is a pilot (sort of).
Now that the world is literally falling to bits, where should we go? Back to Yellowstone!
After random chicanery involving an RV, Jackson obtains a map containing the locations of the spaceships. He nearly falls into the center of the earth, blah blah.
In the only scene worth watching in the movie, Yellowstone explodes just as our intrepid heroes fly away in their stolen plane.
Cue superfluous, non-special effects laden dialogue in Washington, DC.
The world's only black scientist turns out to be in disgrace because his timeline is a bit off.
Turns out the world is ending a bit earlier than expected.
They upgrade their crappy plane, by way of the Russian billionaire (who's watching a boxing match while the world burns).
Unfortunately, his girlfriend and stupid kids come along too.
One of our jazz duo is the father of the aforementioned scientist, and they have one last conversation before a tsunami hits the cruise ship.
For some reason, the newly-acquired jumbo jet is full of cars (none of which will come in handy, of course).
This is your captain speaking. Our stop in Hawaii has been delayed due to the fact that the entire island is on fire.
Next stop: China, the savior of humanity.
Ze plane has no ze landing gear. We have to land ze plane on ze glacier, comrade.
Instructions for exiting plane on glacier: step one, get in sports car; step two, bounce on ice; step three: drive sports car out of plane; step four, watch plane fall off of cliff, killing Russian pilot (who happened to be giving the ole party line to...oh, who cares?).
In turns out humanity's grand plan to save itself involves building a series of giant boats that will presumably float on the thousand-mile high tidal wave coming at them.
Why they didn't bother to simply build an underground vault is a matter for debate and military contractors' budgets.
(At this point in time our science advisor was found in a corner loading bullets into a revolver and had to be restrained for his own safety.)
However, there is not enough room in the arks for all rich people, and thus begins a ham-fisted morality play about including everything. Our Russian billionaire thankfully dies.
Note: When designing a humanity-saving ark, an important safety feature is to make sure the engines cannot start until all doors are closed.
This leads to another tiresome twenty-minute subplot about closing the door. (Yes, really.)
Jackson is part humpback whale, because he can hold his breath for, like, 20 minutes.
This is apparently a genetic trait, because his son, who loves him all of a sudden, can do it to.
Report, Captain! Engines inoperative! Mount Everett looming!
Jackson saves the day and wins back his woman (after her boyfriend dies lubricating giant gears with his body).
Meanwhile, the scientist hooks up with the president's daughter (whose father goes down with the ship and is subsequently killed by one).
The scientist is promoted to the Secretary of Pimping.
Then humanity sails off into the sunset, bound to repopulate Africa.

Snarky movie discussion:
CRABS: A common lamentation these days is the decline in American schools of a science curriculum. Given the propensity of today's youth toward digital entertainment information, do you think 2012 and its esteemable science content, could be used as a supplement to traditional teaching methods?
JASON: 2012 includes many elements that appeal to modern youth, including chases, explosions, earthquakes, airplanes, cars, fake boobs (a major plot point), and Russians. As such, it is the perfect supplement to any science curriculum, and in fact should be put into a time capsule for future generations to enjoy should the Mayans' prediction turn out to be true.
CRABS: The disaster movie genre teaches us, among other things, that the surefire way to reconcile a dysfunctional and/or estranged family is through worldwide cataclysm. Do you foresee "disaster therapy" becoming a viable form of couples' counseling?
JASON: "Disaster therapy" works because disaster films, and the subsequent healing of families therein, is a metaphor for the healing of the human race via weeding out the weak. The human "family" always survives, even if it is one "Adam and Eve" couple, therefore, in this doctor's esteemed opinion, couples seeking counseling should first be forced to live through a global cataclysm (including, but not limited to floods, zombie attacks, nuclear war, and Kevin Costner movies).
(Note: our new intern, Jason, despite his delusions of grandeur, is not an actually a doctor of any kind.)
CRABS: Perhaps the most riveting sequence in the movie involves the eruption of the Yellowstone super-volcano. Given that this is a known and obvious threat, do you feel that FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security are doing enough to protect us against this imminent disaster? In particular, at what point in time would a pre-emptive nuclear strike against this subterranean menace be justified?
JASON: Human kind's greatest mistake was building the Large Hadron Collider 180 degrees across the planet from the Yellowstone super-volcano. This is evidence that FEMA is not doing nearly enough to protect us, and in fact is in cahoots with the aliens to encourage the volcano's eruption. A pre-emptive nuclear strike is therefore unlikely, as the government only wants to hasten our demise.
(You're doing a heckuva job, Jason.)
CRABS: I'd like to thank your intern for putting in a jolly good effort, and I just have one final question for him. If you were to survive a worldwide disaster, which disaster would it be? And also, what would your stereotypical role be?
JASON: I would choose a killer plague because then there'd just be a lot of shit lying around that I could pick up and do things with. And it would be my responsibility to repopulate w the earth, with my wife who would have also survived. Because we have shared immunity, which I acquired when I was a firefighter on the International Space Station.

For next time: Leprechaun 4: In Space. There better be a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow. Maybe we can get Jennifer Aniston to guest-blog with us.

Rating: seven and a half sticks in the eye (and a 2.6 on the Richter Scale of Atrocity).

Ang & Crabs have defied corporate culture and hired a new intern.

We here at ICBIWT Headquarters have been in the hunt for an intern for quite some time now. Despite working with several temp agencies and wading through thousands of applications, we were beginning to think our search was futile. All of the applicants had unreasonable demands such as "no sexual harassment" and whatnot. But fate intervened, and Ang & Crabs found themselves wallowing in a rank pub in the middle of Pioneer Square on Easter night 2010. There we found a young man wallowing in an alley behind the pub. Lo and behold he would become our new intern. You can learn more about this lucky young man below.

1. Please explain your interest in crappy movies utilizing a post-9/11 worldview.

It is a well-known fact that America is hated by pretty much everyone non-American – terrorists, Indians, Canadians – for our freedoms. American freedom is the greatest gift that America and God have bestowed upon the entire world, and our freedom is directly linked to our culture, notably that most American of all cultural icons, the movie-film. When American-French invented the Lumiere in the late 1800s it heralded a new means of entertainment for the world, echoed today by American-Indians making films in Bollywood.

However our heritage and freedoms are at risk from those who hate both. They want to destroy American films and the only way to preserve them is to watch these movies for God and Country. In fact, I would go so far as to call them Freedom Films, because that’s what they are – symbols of America as much as the crying bald eagle and Fox News logo are symbols of America. In short, if we don’t watch these Freedom Films, the terrorists have already won.

2. Please describe your unique brand of snark and how it would benefit the blog.

I found my snark in a back-alley in Istanbul. I was shopping for carpets, which as everyone knows is the best place in the world to buy a carpet, and having tea with a friendly merchant who kept looking at my crotch and licking his lips. I asked if he had anything ‘special’ if you know what I mean, and he showed me his box of unique items. Inside was a snark and I paid €900 for it, which I felt was a great deal. It benefits the blog because there’s no other snark like it in
the world.

3. What's the worst movie you've ever seen? What qualities make it especially godawful?

The worst movie I’ve ever seen was a movie you’ve already reviewed: Crossroads. I was a professional FEELM CRITIC then, and I got into the movie for free to review it. 20 minutes into the film I had enough material for my review and walked out, and then demanded a refund to
my free pass just to drive home to the manager of the cinema that he was an accomplice in crimes against humanity for agreeing to show the movie in his business.

4. How does your interest in the worst cinema has to offer relate to your studies in existentialism and/or Buddhism?

Buddhism and The Princess Bride both show us that ‘life is pain,’ and anyone who says differently is selling you something. The worst cinema in the world is a way to encounter and experience that pain head-on, similar to repeatedly running into a wall of broken beer bottles. Sure you might get a little cut up, but in the long run it’ll be better for you because at the end of the experience you’ll know how to tie a tourniquet.

5. What snack foods do you enjoy eating while suffering through shitty movies?

Does cheap whisky count as a snack food? If so, that’s my answer. Just ask Crabs how well that works out.

6. Please explain in detail why you think Ang and Crabs are especially hilarious bloggers?

I’ve dubbed Ang and Crabs the Queen and King of Funnytimes because their blog consistently makes me ‘laugh out loud,’ or ‘LOL.’ Sometimes it makes me ‘roll on the floor laughing,’ or ROFL, and occasionally I even ‘laugh my balls off,’ or LMBO. This has only happened twice
because after that I didn’t have any more balls. I had to get them from under the couch and the five-second rule had already passed so I was kind of out of luck in that regard. Still I owe allegiance to the Queen and King of Funnytimes.