Tuesday, February 17, 2015

SCIENCE TEAM (2014)


If I understand Neil Degrasse-Tyson correctly, science is the balls. Without it, we would all be neanderthals stumbling around an untamed earth, leading an aimless, pointless existence bereft of Katy Perry blasting iPods, beer cans that change color based on temperature, and of course, the meat dehydrator, that marvelous invention of science that allows one to be able to make beef jerky at home without the hassle and judging eye of society when one takes a trip to the supermarket in order to buy nothing but outlandish amounts of beef jerky. However, people have taken advantage of the buildup of goodwill that has resulted from the fruits of science and technology. Take, for example, Scientology. It gets the rub from the smartiness of science by putting the word “science” in its title in order to fool people into thinking that it’s not, like, the dumbest thing ever.


Another such group is Science Team. Oh sure, Science Team is nowhere near as illegitimate as some religion invented to line the pockets of a shitty sci-fi novelist, but after watching this movie, I have come to the conclusion that this particular team of science is not purely rooted in the spirit of the self critical pursuit of knowledge. They’re a group that utilizes public and government funding in order to indeed tackle the problem of invading aliens and such, but something is askew. For example, the science teamers in training are all hot bored young ladies who perpetually do calisthenics while wearing matching t-shirts and shorts, leading me to believe that president and crippled nutbagger Dick Willington III is partially using Science Team as a front to realize his dream of overseeing an all girl pseudo-sleepaway camp where everyone is perpetually doing an Aubrey Plaza impersonation. I can’t say I blame him. 

Instead of an Aubrey Plaza impersonation, here is Aubrey Plaza impersonating.  It's the best I can do.

Anyway, angry douchebag Joey is in charge of field operations for Science Team, an interstellar diplomat in charge of extraterrestrial inquiry. He is the type of “diplomat” that inquires of an alien’s purpose for visiting earth by swearing at them at the top of his lungs and saying things like “do not fuck with me” without provocation. One gets the feeling that Joey spent less time in high school innovating in the chemistry lab and more time knocking lunch trays out of the hands of dweebs. Nevertheless, he convinced an insane cripple to hire him, and like many a corporate stooge, his only real skill is confidence. His approach to “diplomacy” ultimately proves ineffective with the alien as you might imagine, and this leads to people bleeding from their heads coupled with the tragedy of gamebreaking scientific knowledge slipping through the hands of humanity on account of cock-fueled antisocial bureaucracy. 

On the flipside is our hero Chip, a struggling writer who deals with his literary impotence with anger and yelling and breaking things. One gets the feeling that Chip was the kind of guy in high school that attempted to write the most epic poem ever during his lunch hour but some jock came by and knocked his lunch tray over and ruined his composition book in the process, and Chip has vowed ever since to skullfuck the world with his words. The skullfucking hasn’t gone as well as he had hoped, so he takes the frustration for his failures out on his passive girlfriend and destroys everything in their living room. Chip ditches her and tries to move in with his mom, acting like his girlfriend has given him no choice but to enter in the most desperate living situation imaginable despite doing nothing but sitting on the couch and eating from a giant tub of ice cream. His plan of rethinking his approach to writing while watching Japanese tentacle porn in his boyhood room goes astray when he finds his mom’s headless corpse and a blobby alien that just sits around. It stands to reason that the immobile blob alien and the headless mother are interrelated somehow, but to what extent is part of the plot that Chip seeks to unravel. 



Joey and his hazmat underlings eventually find their way into the home of Chip’s mom to investigate. As MTV’s The Real World has taught us, two angry douchebags cannot stay in the same house together for any significant length of time, which means that Chip and Joey are headed to an inevitable showdown.  In this case, it’s a knock out, drag out, “we can’t have sex so we’ll just fuck punch each other” tussle of epic and deadly proportions. While hero and villain on the surface, ultimately Chip and Joey are two sides of the same angry repressed male coin. The main source of scorn for both are passive entities (a girl and an alien), probably because they both don’t actively placate the respective egos of Chip and Joey and instead have the gall to just sit there and kind of ignore them. 


Rather than being a nonstop Troma fest of exploding heads and one-liners and exploding tits, Science Team takes the time to show how the two main characters react to the various situations with angry unhinged gusto, however unsympathetic they may be. This is punctuated with Cronenberg-esque bodily violence, lines like “I made you toast and you go and have sex with Donald”, and side characters like the cop who screams in horror about how much less pussy he’ll get with a melted off face as his face is melting off. The humor comes more from the characters being themselves rather than necessarily some forced titty pun like you might expect. It’s just that the world of Science Team is a patriarch of angry douchebaggery fused with cutting edge interstellar technology, and it’s only natural that a combination like that would lead to a clusterfuck of swearing and melting body parts instead of the actual pursuit of real knowledge or whatever.

P.S. Director/Writer Drew Bolduc was previously responsible for The Taint.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

SUPERGIRL (1984)



America needs heroes.  Sure, terrorism, child trafficking, Ebola, unkempt hooliganism, and general chicanery hang over Americans like a belligerent cloud of tense uncertainty.  Luckily, these fears can be channelled into a movie villain, usually a deadly serious British actor with devious eyebrow control.  A musclebound, spandex-clad, whitebread hero comes along and shoots CGI into his uppity face after 2 1/2 hours of posturing, lackey pummeling, and whatever plot, after which all is right with the world and the audience can leave the theater and head over to Walmart to pick up a garden hose, a pallet of frozen corn dogs, and a pillow for a morbidly obese cat without fear of being wiped out by a foreign plot from a plotting foreigner.  Of course, watching a movie doesn’t make it any less likely that one would be indiscriminately blown up, but fear is the more insidious enemy, eating at the souls of many men instead of exploding a few to bits. 


This, my friends, is the superhero film in my nutty nutshell, and Supergirl could be seen as a subversion of this basic plot dynamic, however accidentally it achieves this.  Superman is the purest embodiment of the desire of the American spirit to witness the decimation of anglo-villainry via CGI and spandex.  Supergirl clads her cousin’s spandex but lacks the heroic force of his computer effects, instead content to partake of girlish endeavors like changing outfits and talking about boys.  It would be easy to decry the lack of a strong and forceful female hero, but after all, she’s a Supergirl and not yet a Superwoman.  There’s the old adage “with great power comes great responsibility”, but she’s still an irresponsible teenager with plenty of the former and little of the latter. 


Well, let’s back up a bit.  On a planet deep in outer space, a drunk Peter O’Toole is wearing what looks to be Star Trek Cosby sweater; that is, if the cast of Star Trek wore Cosby sweaters.  Whether he got so drunk that he just didn’t care whether or not he was wearing a Star Trek Cosby sweater, or indeed if he had to get cosmically sloshed in order to be able to stomach putting on a Star Trek Cosby sweater is a mystery that I fear will remain hidden within the darkest corners of the galaxy for as long as time persists. Anyway, he borrows a magic ball from the “gods”, and it’s basically a hippie version of the ball from Phantasm.  Instead of drilling a hole in some poor bastard’s head, it powers a hippie planet, and I’ll let you the reader decide which is preferable.  Needless to say, it’s not something you would want to, say, drop on the floor or spill beer on, being that it is the life blood of an entire race of people.  Why these gods would let a drunk dude play with it is beyond me, but O’Toole is truly a charming motherfucker that could probably sell a sombrero to the headless horseman.


Mere seconds after whipping out the hippie Phantasm ball, a not yet super Supergirl uses an orange wand to create a dragonfly that rips a hole through her planet and sends the ball hurtling into space. I hate when that happens. I should have mentioned that the planet is basically a bio dome made out of saran wrap.  Either way, Supergirl has a couple of days to retrieve the ball before this balllessness unleashes a space holocaust upon her own people.  I don’t want to tell aliens how to live their lives, but perhaps you might think about child proofing your planet. Holocausts should not be in within easy reach of children. 


This is quite different from the typical superhero dilemma, being that the hero is the colossal threat against humanity (or an alien race that is indistinguishable from humanity), but borne from naivety and not out of some dumbass twist ending where the superhero and the supervillain are actually two sides of the same personality.  It’s basically a setup for a morality tale for kids, sort of like a superhero version of a 70’s after school special where a kid accidentally sets fire to his parent’s house after falling asleep while smoking weed, and as a result has to raise money by staging a musical inspired by Foghat lyrics in order to raise enough money to build a new house before his parents come home from vacation. The lesson in both cases is that you should always be mindful of any consequences that your frivolous actions may reap, and the absence of malice is no excuse.  You’re not going to be lucky enough to be bailed out of setting large domestic fires by unlikely and frankly moronic plot machinations.  Instead, you’ll probably be charged as an adult for involuntary manslaughter. 


Anyway, the ball plops right into Faye Dunaway’s lap, a power hungry witch who lives above her means and guzzles down champagne and caviar despite being behind on her bills.  The hippie Phantasm ball pretty much gives her power to do anything as soon as she gets the hang of it.  In the span of 5 minutes, the ball has gone from a toy to the power source for a planet to a magical device that allows you to cast any spell you want.  It’s sort of like a perpetual deus ex machina in spherical form.  More importantly, a power hungry witch with vague but maybe unlimited powers is a dangerous threat to humanity, and the alien race is at the brink of extinction without the ball, so this is clearly some important plot shit if I’m putting the pieces together correctly.  

Thankfully, Supergirl shows up to save the day.  However, the first two human beings she meets are truck drivers that try to rape her, so she beats them up in as inoffensive a manner as you can beat up two truck driver rapists because kids are watching and whatever the fuck.  It seems like an odd sequence in a film with a naive innocent hero seemingly aimed at young girls, but I think it functions in a similar way to the cliched action movie scene where the hero beats up some rowdy rednecks at a bar in order to show them off as an asskicker.  It’s like every Steven Seagal movie where he walks into a bar and some fat drunk lumberjack makes fun of his ponytail so he snaps his arm and makes his elbow go off in a direction that defies space and time.


Naturally, Supergirl immediately frolics through nature and takes a nap next to a bunny. She then notices that a female boarding school is right next to her nap spot, so she naturally decides to enlist in school, utilizing her special power of clothing changes to go from her Supergirl outfit to a schoolgirl outfit. Again, she is stuck in immature girly mode, frolicking with bunnies and nature and changing outfits instead of taking responsibility for her actions.  She quickly integrates into the schoolgirl milieu despite being an alien, becoming more popular in her first hour of school than I did during my entire run at high school.  She ends up rooming with Lucy Lane, sister of Lois Lane, and one of her teachers is Peter Cook, pseudo-boy toy of Faye Dunaway.  So, through no direct effort whatsoever, she ends up getting an "in" towards the evil villain and also securing an ally that might help her enlist Superman to help at some point, which doesn’t happen though because Superman is “on a peace keeping mission millions of light years away”, so Lucy could have been anybody really.  This might seem like an unbelievable coincidence, but you can look at it as a karmic upturn after almost being double raped the night before. Some days you get raped by truck drivers, and some days, the truck drivers get raped by you.  So to speak. 

Meanwhile, Dunaway is chilling in her crib, an abandoned amusement park blasting Howard Jones presumably because Rob Zombie wasn’t around yet. How one acquires legal residence in an abandoned amusement park is a mystery that I hope to solve exclusively in order to secure residence in an abandoned amusement park and be able to mock those who lack the awesomeness of being able to live in an abandoned amusement park. Among her posse is Peter Cooke, resident stuffypants and fashion fuddy  ruddy.  Here is the film’s best line of dialogue: 

Cook (wearing a ridiculous leather jacket): “I want to make a serious proposal.” 

Dunaway: “In that outfit?” 

Brenda Vaccaro is her other friend, bringing the catty thunder in an anachronistic but no less fun acting style that resembles a veteran tough-as-nails actress in an early 60’s musical whose advice to the young ingenue with boy and stage problems is to have a stiff drink and maybe another and maybe seven.  Because this is a conflict between a catty milf and a naive girl, the movie quickly revolves around a dude, namely Hart Bochner.  Dunaway uses her powers to taint some Schlitz beer (that is, more tainted than it already is) to create a love potion to snag Bochner, but he wanders off, leaving the carnival and wandering through town traffic before locking eyes with Supergirl and falling in love with her instead. Love potions surprisingly gets a pass when roofies get no pass whatsoever.  I think it’s in the name.   If they were called “rape potions”, I doubt most people would find them romantic and cute.  

Anyway, this battle over Hart becomes the focal point of the movie instead of, you know, saving two separate civilizations and whatever the fuck. This might sound stupid and offensive (well, it is kinda stupid), but bear in mind that the naive selfish girl hero would presumably run off to the mall with Bochner and make out with him in his LeBaron in the parking lot and say “like whatever” to being a hero.  However, she instead chooses the grown up choice of ixnay on the space holocaust, taking responsibility for her actions and powers and becoming a woman in the process. Dunaway, on the other hand, is stuck in her girlish selfishness to the end, revealing that being a grown up is not a matter of age, but rather about taking responsibility for your actions and caring for those around you, instead of just catering to your immediate desires.