"Everything is as it should be."

                                                                                  - Benjamin Purcell Morris

 

 

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4th Slip-Me-A-Mickey™® Awards

Estimated Reading Time: 69 seconds

The Slip-Me-A-Mickey™® awards are a tribute to the absolute worst that film and entertainment has to offer for the year. Again, the qualifying rules are simple, I just had to have seen the film for it to be eligible. This means that at one point I had an interest in the film, and put the effort in to see it, which may explain why I am so angry about it being awful. So any vitriol I may spew during this awards presentation shouldn't be taken personally by the people mentioned, it is really anger at myself for getting duped into watching.

The prizes are also pretty simple. The winners/losers receive nothing but my temporary scorn. If you are a winner/loser don't fret, because this years Slip-Me-A-Mickey™®  loser/winner could always be next years Mickey™® winner!! Remember…you are only as good as your last film!! 

Now…onto the awards!

WORST FILM OF THE YEAR

Kong: Skull Island: King Kong is awesome, Kong: Skull Island is decidedly not. Riddled with a cavalcade of career lowlight performances from the likes of John Goodman, Samuel L. Jackson and Brie Larson, this movie is heart-stoppingly bad. Too bad those awful performances won't be career ending. Watching a gorilla eat his own poop at the zoo is infinitely more entertaining than this movie.

Detroit - An unmitigated shitshow of a motion picture, Detroit, or as I have become fond of calling it - Detritus, is so awful as to be stunning. Kathryn Bigelow's amateur-hour direction coupled with community theatre level performances from the cast, demean a vitally important story of race in America and turn it into a redundantly repetitive exercise in the repetitively redundant. 

Downsizing - Alexander Payne manages to take the interesting idea at the heart of Downsizing and reduces it, pun intended, to a politically flaccid, dramatically impotent and incoherent showcase for bad acting and directing. Matt Damon looks like he may have been in the midst of a raging bender during the shooting of this insipid loser…for his sake, I sure hope he was.

AND THE LOSER IS

DETROIT I have only walked out of a film once in my adult life…and that was a free screening, but Detroit is so repulsively awful that I was ready to bolt out the door on numerous occasions. Multiple times during this movie I prayed aloud that a riot would break out and burn the theatre down with me in it. An excruciating abomination of a dramatic endeavor and a new low for cinema.

 

WORST PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR

Brie Larson - Kong: Skull Island: Brie Larson won an Oscar a few years ago and has followed it up by consistently being a bad actress in every thing she's done. Larson hits new lows with her wooden acting in Kong: Skull Island. This is the most lifeless and charisma-free performance I have seen since my ill-fated jaunt into the world of Funeral Home Theatre. 

Seth McFarland - Logan Lucky: Seth McFarland wears a wig and has an accent in Logan Lucky, but that still doesn't cover this steaming bag of shit of a performance. For someone who has made mountains of money making comedies, McFarland seems to be allergic to being funny. I think it is safe to say that Seth McFarland is not a threat to become America's next great actor.

Carrie Fisher - Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Sadly, Carrie Fisher died before Star Wars: The Last Jedi premiered. After seeing her performance in the film, I am seriously wondering if she didn't die before, or at the very least during, the shooting of the film. 

AND THE LOSER IS...

BRIE LARSON - Brie Larson has the uncanny ability to be able to say words in front of a camera with all the charisma of a used wet mattress left by the side of a road. When Ms. Larson's acting career is over, which can't happen soon enough for me, I think she may have a wonderful future ahead of her as a piece of furniture…or as a cigar store wooden Indian. 

 

MOST OVERRATED FILM OF THE YEAR

Call Me by Your NameOk…I will call you by your name…Poorly Made Self-Undulgent Pedophile Story.

Get Out: The critical love for this over-hyped film is baffling as it is a moderately entertaining popcorn movie. The highest praise I could give the film is that it is maybe a little bit clever. The writing, directing and acting are all fine but not the least bit remarkable. But to listen to critics speak of this film, you'd think it was a cross between Citizen Kane and The Godfather

Lady Bird: Another critical darling that was nothing more than an excruciatingly long 90 minute sitcom. A collection of comedy "bits" that never coalesces around a coherent dramatic narrative, Lady Bird is an insipid art house phony. Critics loved it because they are so enamored with their manic pixie dream girl Greta Gerwig…I am not so enamored.

The PostSpielberg's attempt to make another serious movie that falls flat on its mustached and side-burned face. This movie is a shockingly poorly made  piece of agit-prop for establishment democrats. Spielberg's direction is so inept that there are moments when I literally laughed out loud, and other moments when I groaned at the heavy-handedness of it all. 

AND THE LOSER IS...

TIE - GET OUT and LADY BIRD

Get Out is not a terrible film, it is a mildly amusing episode of The Twilight Zone…but because it dealt with race and was written and directed by an African-American, Jordan Peele, critics made it out to be the greatest film ever made. The critical hype for Get Out was fueled by the politics of the moment which all have to do with identity and diversity/inclusion. It would be nice if critics could judge a film simply on its merits and not on its ability to satiate the identity politics du jour, but that is certainly wishful thinking on my part. 

Lady Bird also benefitted from the politics of the moment, namely the #MeToo movement and the desperate desire of critics to celebrate a female director for making something of value. Director Greta Gerwig is every critic's art-house manic pixie dream girl and so she was chosen as the flag bearer for female excellence in film this year. The problem though is that Lady Bird, the movie she wrote and directed (which to be clear is NOT her directorial debut), is a flaccid John Hughes imitation (or as my friend Mo Danger astutely describes it - "a bad version of Napoleon Dynamite crossed with Little Miss Sunshine") without any cohesive narrative or dramatic infrastructure. More akin to a collection of high school sketch comedy skits than a feature film, Lady Bird is the poster-child for critical virtue signaling and the bigotry of low expectations. Shamelessly over-hyped, Lady Bird is nothing more than a second rate, conventional Hollywood sit-com masquerading as an art house darling. 

 

***SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATIC MALPRACTICE AWARD*** 

AND THE LOSER IS...

WORST DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR

Kathryn Bigelow - DetroitKathryn Bigelow has a Best Director Oscar for her work on The Hurt Locker. Detroit is so poorly directed that she should be forced to give that Oscar back. A tone-deaf, ham-fisted shlock-fest of posing and preening that is so ineptly made it sets back moviemaking at least fifty years. Congratulations Ms. Bigelow, you've made the race drama equivalent of The Room

 

P.O.S. HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE

Harvey Wienstein - Even if you put aside all of the raping, sexual assaulting and harassing, Harvey Weinstein is still a raging fuckface of a douchebag. Weinstein is notorious for strong arming filmmakers and taking a machete to their work…and not just any directors, but all-time greats like Martin Scorsese. He is also notorious for being an unconscionable bully who would threaten anyone who stood up to him. And when the threats didn't work, he would play the victim and cry anti-semitism. As top-notch reporting from this year shows, Weinstein is literally a limp-dick asshole.

Weinstein would be a P.O.S. Hall of Famer even without the rape…but when you add in the rape he becomes an all-time, historically great, Ted Williams level P.O.S. My dream for Harvey is that he ends up like The Colonel in Paul Thomas Anderson's masterpiece Boogie Nights, his final scene being him crying on a prison cell floor with blood coming down his face as his over-sized cellmate yells at him to "shut up!". My other dream is that I get fifteen minutes in a room alone with Weinstein…and can make him pay accordingly for all the rapes…and his disrespect to Mr. Scorsese and his butchery of The Gangs of New York

P.O.S. ALL-STARS

KEVIN SPACEY - Kevin Spacey has been overacting for nearly thirty years, but his worst performance of all was in trying to play a straight man all that time. Everyone I know in the acting world, myself included, knew Spacey was gay. I even heard some pretty sordid stories about him when I was living and auditioning in New York and he was on Broadway in the 90's. The word was Spacey would have "casting sessions" with young, beautiful men/boys in which he would, in a room by himself, "work with the actor". Yeah…right. 

When Spacey got into hot water this year when a collection of men came forward to report that he had groped or sexually assaulted them when they were teens or young men, Spacey pulled a truly All-Star Piece of Shit move by trying to make his response into a brave coming out of the closet story. Not surprisingly, the gay community said no thanks to Spacey's bid to join them, and the rest of us simply thanked our lucky stars we won't have to watch this psychopathic narcissist butcher any more movie or TV roles. 

MATT LAUER - I try to never watch morning television…it seems like one of the worst circles of hell to me. Sadly, a few years ago, during the Rio Olympics, I was at a breakfast place and they had a big screen tv on with the sound blaring and it was the Today Show. I watched maybe ten minutes of the programming and had to leave because my colon was twinge-ing so bad from the false laughter and empty journalistic preening. Matt Lauer struck me then, and now, as an entirely self-serving, self-absorbed, talentless and dim-witted douchebag. I wasn't sure which shocked me more about Matt Lauer, that he was the highest paid person on morning television or that hadn't killed himself in man-scaping incident where he sliced off his own scrotum and bled to death. 

When news broke that Lauer was a serial sexual harasser I was not exactly shocked because he obviously thought of himself as quite an amazing guy and a remarkable catch, so in his mind he was doing these women a favor by whipping his little anchorman out for them to worship. With all of that said, I do think Matt Lauer has enough skill, charm and brains that he could do very well for himself as a parking garage attendant one day…and if he is smart he'll put this election to the P.O.S. All-Stars on his resume, at this point it couldn't hurt, right? 

And thus ends the fourth annual Slip-Me-A-Mickey™® Awards!!! To the winners/losers…don't take it personally…and God knows I hope I don't see you again next year!! To you dear reader…thanks for tuning in and we'll see you again next year!!

©2018

Detroit : A Review

****THIS IS A SPOILER FREE REVIEW!!! THIS REVIEW CONTAINS ZERO SPOILERS!!****

My Rating : 0 out of 5 stars

My Recommendation : SKIP IT. DO. NOT. SEE. THIS. MOVIE. This movie is the cinematic equivalent of something you'd find floating in your toilet. It is awful beyond words. An absolute and unmitigated disaster of a film. 

Detroit, directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by Mark Boal, is the story of a racially motivated police brutality incident at the Algiers Motel during the infamous Detroit riots during  the summer of 1967. The film's ensemble cast includes John Boyega, Will Poulter and Anthony Mackie among many others. 

I had high hopes for the film Detroit. The reason I was so intrigued by Detroit is that I am a very strange person who is fascinated by the history, psychology and cause of riots in America. Be it the draft riots during the civil war or the riots a hundred years later in Newark, Watts, Philadelphia and Detroit, or the infamous Rodney King riots in Los Angeles in the early 90's. What sparks a riot? What is its fuel? And how do individuals and society react when the crowd loses control? Are all topics I could learn and talk about for days on end. So a movie about the 1967 Detroit riot is right up my alley, count me all in. Then I went and saw Detroit

I say this without any glee, but Detroit is not only a terrible movie, it is easily the worst film I have seen in recent memory (it makes Kong: Skull Island look like Citizen Kane). Detroit is so appalling it is difficult for me to articulate the scope and scale of its deplorability except to say that as I watched it I fantasized that a riot would break out in Los Angeles and someone would light the theatre on fire with me in it so I'd no longer have to watch this pile of garbage.

In my adult life I have only walked out of one film, that being Mel Brook's Robin Hood: Men in Tights in 1993, and I walked out of it because it was horrendous and it was a free screening so I didn't pay for it. It took all of my might and fortitude not to walk out of Detroit. The only reason I stayed and suffered through its entire two and half hour running time was because I felt a duty to watch the whole thing before I wrote a review of it. In other words, I did it all for you, my dear readers….so you owe me…big league!!

Detroit opens with a jaw-droppingly tired and corny animated piece meant to give context to the Black experience in Detroit that led to the riots. I cringed when I saw it because it was such a frivolous and vacuous explanation for such a complex and compelling issue. I should have walked out right then and there. As the absurd little animation ran I got a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that this was going to be bad…but I convinced myself that this was just one small misstep and things would get better. I was wrong…things went down hill from there. Then, after suffering through nearly two hours of vapid nonsense, just when I thought the film had bottomed out and could not become any more ridiculous, monotonous and redundant, then Jim from The Office strolls onto the screen to play a shark of a lawyer in the final third of the film that was already way too long. John Krasinski is so miscast as a defense attorney it left me muttering and shaking my head wondering when this nightmare would be finally over.

Why is Detroit such a catastrophe? Well, let's start with the basics, the writing, casting, directing, acting, cinematography, sound, lighting, costuming, make-up and editing are all appallingly atrocious. Besides that how was the movie, Mrs. Lincoln? 

Just from a filmmaking perspective, Detroit is so dreadfully made it is shameful. The film is completely devoid of the most rudimentary storytelling skill and craft. The movie is an amateurish, sloppy, incoherent, interminable disaster area with absolutely no redeeming value whatsoever. None. The technical aspects of the filmmaking are no better. The cinematography is muddled and flat, the sound sub-par and the make-up and costumes so atrocious as to be cringe-worthy. 

Kathryn Bigelow won a Best Director Oscar for The Hurt Locker, but her direction in Detroit is so abhorrently lazy, unimaginative and trite that I think her Academy Award should be revoked and she should be exiled from filmmaking forever. Bigelow proves herself to be a careless, craft-less and unskilled director with her disgraceful work on DetroitDetroit should be a serious film, but Bigelow is an unserious director. She is incapable of even the most rudimentary of filmmaking skills, and along with her screenwriter Mark Boal, proves herself to be intellectually shallow and artistically incurious by reducing the characters and narrative to a contrived Manichean melodrama.

There has been some debate as to whether a white director (Bigelow is white) should direct a film like Detroit because understanding the Black experience is so integral to the film. I think artists of any color or gender should direct whatever stories they want, but they need to be at least remotely proficient in their craft. Bigelow is not proficient, she is staggeringly deficient and her lack of talent and ability are made all the more egregious by the fact that she soiled and degraded what is such a potentially fascinating and worthy subject matter. Bigelow's ineptitude reduced the dramatic bombshell of civil unrest and racial strife in 1967 Detroit to nothing more than a hackneyed, contrived, maudlin, unmoored, unbelievable and ultimately cinematically insipid and dramatically flaccid endeavor. If she had the slightest bit of artistic self-awareness she would be utterly ashamed, but I am willing to bet that isn't the case. 

Some have assailed the film for being pornographically violent, which I find laughable. The violence would need to be compelling or even interesting for it to rise to the level of pornography. The problem with Detroit is that since there is zero character development, the viewer has no attachments to anyone on screen, therefore the violence is not jarring, but tedious. Add to that the fact that the choreography of the violence and the make-up are so second rate as to be embarrassing, thus rendering the scars and blood more chuckle-worthy than horrifying. If Detroit were violence porn it would at least rise to the level of being interesting or repulsive as opposed to being dull and boring, which is what it is.

The cast may be fine actors, but they are certainly wasted here. The acting feels more like little kids playing make-believe in their parents basement more than anything else. Will Poulter may be a good actor, I don't know, but he is so bad in Detroit I actually felt bad for him. He looks like he's twelve years old, and he is supposed to be this menacing lunatic who lusts for Black blood. It is an eye-rollingly horrendous performance. Frankly it isn't all his fault, the character is so poorly written and one dimensional that they might have been better off just propping up a cardboard cutout of a White cop and having it stand there in each scene. 

John Boyega is the lone bright spot in the film. I have only seen him in the Star Wars movie and thought he lacked charisma in that film, but in Detroit he hits a sweet spot and even though his character is poorly written as well, Boyega fills him with a believable and palpable inner life. After reading about the actual incident at the Algiers Hotel, it seems that Bigelow and Boal both dropped the ball on Boyega's character, as he is infinitely more interesting, complex and more nuanced in real life than they make him out to be in their film. 

As mentioned in the last two paragraphs, the writing of Detroit is grievously unacceptable. Mark Boal who wrote Bigelow's last two films, The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, turns in an execrable script. Boal's script is so incoherent and ungainly that it didn't just need dozens more edits, but rather to be trashed entirely never having seen the light of day. It is almost incomprehensible that anyone read this script and thought that it was even remotely screen-worthy. Boal has exactly one more Academy Award for screenwriting than I do, but good Lord he churned out a steaming pile of dog mess with Detroit

After bolting from the theatre the very second the film ended, I sat in the lobby and looked online to see what critics were saying about the movie. I never read reviews, but I had to see if people hated the movie as much as I did. I went to Rotten Tomatoes and saw that the film was at 98% critical praise (it has since gone slightly down). I was rendered shocked and speechless by that revelation, and also remembered why it is I never read reviews. Detroit is so awful that it is inconceivable that anyone with even the most remote understanding of the art and craft of filmmaking would think it is worthwhile. Then after meditating on it for a few moments, I understood what was happening. 

Reviewers are saying they like Detroit not because it is well-made or a top-notch film, they are saying good things about it because they do not want to be labelled racist. This is a common occurrence when it comes to racially themed films. When Spielberg made Lincoln, which is an abysmal mess of a movie, reviewers bent over backwards to say how great it was in order to avoid being branded racist. One slightly critical reviewer explicitly stated that even though he didn't love the film, he still was against slavery. He literally said that…out loud. And so it is with Detroit. You are not a serious cinephile or film connoisseur if you think Detroit is an even average level film. You are demeaning the art of filmmaking if you do not clearly state the rancid awfulness of this movie. Hating a poorly made film about racism does not make you a racist, it makes you an honest, truth-telling critic. 

Another reason critics are tentative to trash the film is that it is directed by a woman, and the fear of being labelled a misogynist is almost as strong as the fear of being labelled a racist. The bottom line is this, Kathryn Bigelow is not a shitty director because she is a woman, she is a shitty director because SHE IS A SHITTY DIRECTOR. It isn't complicated. I understand that critics are not exactly known for their intestinal fortitude, but if any reviewer recommends Detroit to you, instantly know that they are a spineless shill who do not care about cinema but about their delicate reputations. 

Obviously Detroit frustrated me no end. The reason for that is that the subject matter is so relevant and vital to our current times. Understanding the why’s and how's of the Detroit riots, and the atrocity at the Algiers Hotel, are crucial if we are to move forward as a nation and culture. He who forgets will be destined to remember, but with Detroit we are given a false and vacant memory absolutely devoid of insight. Bigelow's failure to bring any clarity to the narrative or understanding to the topic, are not only egregious filmmaking errors, but cultural and historical sins. She should not be forgiven for this, or for the shameless propaganda piece she sold to America with Zero Dark Thirty

Detroit, or as I have taken to calling it Detritus, is exactly that, a piece of cinematic detritus that should be banished as quickly as possible. The film will no doubt get lots of Oscar nominations for the sole reason that it is directed by a woman, and the Academy wants to push movies directed by women, and also because it is an "important" film about race, and God knows the Academy wants to embrace movies about "race" lest they suffer the idiotic wrath of the factually nonsensical #OscarsSoWhite campaign again. But do not be fooled by the sycophants at Rolling Stone or the New York Times of Washington Post, Detroit is a cinematic abomination. It IS about an important topic, but that doesn't make it important. Think of it this way, Donald Trump is President, does that mean he is presidential? 

In conclusion, Detroit is the worst movie of the year, if not the decade and possibly the new century and the old one too. The film's only value is to expose the critics of the big, mainstream publications for the charlatans and shills that they are. Ignore those critics and ignore this film. If I ever have to sit through Detroit again, I will unleash my pent up rage and burn not only Los Angeles, but all of America to the ground. On the bright side, I promise you that my one-man riot will be infinitely more interesting, insightful and entertaining than the shit sandwich that is Detroit

©2017