Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The World's Most Boring Vigilante

Has it been over two weeks since I last visited the LaGrange Theatre? Perhaps I should have waited another week.

Tonight, the weather took an abrupt turn into winterville. The wind picked up and the temperature dropped. Part of my drive to the theater took place behind a person barely pushing 25mph. They kicked up a lot of leaves into the beam of my headlights, which both calmed and cheered me, and counteracted my impulse to haul ass and lean on my horn.

As I parked in downtown LaGrange, I noticed that Christmas lights were all strung up on trees, signposts and storefronts. Some people don't like these early-bird Christmas decorations, but I got a happy feeling from them.

Okay, okay, enough warm and fuzzies, what were my choices tonight?

The Bourne Ultimatum - Seen It!

Hairspray - John Travolta is in it, the start time wasn't until 9:40pm, and John Travolta is in it.

Mr. Woodcock - No, I don't think so.

Which left me with:

The Brave One

Oh my. How boring was this movie? Let's put it in perspective. It wasn't quite as boring as Fracture, but it was more boring than Ocean's 13. What I'm trying to say is that the place on the shelf for The Brave One is comfortably bookended by two equally shitty and boring movies.

I mean, c'mon. Look at Jodie Foster in the poster. She looks bored, and she was paid to be in it!

Jodie Foster plays verbose public radio talk show wiener Erica Bain, who, while walking her dog in Central Park with her fiancée (played by Lost's Naveen Andrews), gets beat up by a gang of generic young toughs. She is badly hurt, but Mr. Andrews gets killed. As the violence unfolded, I thought of a more interesting scene, where instead of these toughs inflicting the beatdown, it was a bunch of fed-up former Lost fans.

"What is with the goddamn smoke monster?!!"
"Why does Locke completely change his motivation every goddamn 3rd episode?!"
"Statues with f*cking four toes??! Are you f*cking kidding me?"

Anyways, Erica Bain physically recovers, but she's all emotionally on the edge and stuff. She goes to a police station to check on the progress of the investigation of Lost guy's homicide, but is told to sit down to wait for a detective to come out.

Unfortunately, she waits too long, so like any impatient person promptly goes out and buys a gun. I tell you, the filmmakers are onto something with this -- it's a surefire solution for a long wait, whether at the ATM machine or in the doctor's office.

She puts on dead Lost guy's cross necklace and then ever-so-slowly gets to the killin' of people. One thing I noticed in the poster was that she's not wearing a cross necklace. What is that, a Freemason symbol?

Honestly, a lot of the killings are done purely in self-defense. The first occurs in a convenience store where a guy is going to shoot her if she doesn't defend herself. The second is on a subway where a guy is going to knife her if she doesn't defend herself. Really, Ms. Bain? You expect me to call that vigilantism? I think not.

There are absolutely no shades of gray in this film. It's made clear to the viewers that everyone killed by Bain had it coming. The main dramatic conflict involves us waiting for Bain to realize she is above the stupid law.

Terrence Howard plays Detective Mercer, who eventually figures out Bain is the one doing all the "vigilante" killings. Yes, he's fine with what Ms. Bain is doing, thank you for asking.

Okay, so the female Ira Glass that is Erica Bain has been killing loads of one-dimensionally evil New Yorkers, but what about those young toughs that started the whole movie on its boring, mopey course?

Ahh, Detective Mercer luckily gets a tip which leads to the gang. Bain is brought in to identify the suspect. BUT SHE DOESN'T. Oh no. She is going to kill the S.O.B.

As she pulls up to the guy's apartment building, I got to thinking, I wonder what happened to her dog that she was walking at the start of the film. Sure enough, we see one of the young toughs holding it by a leash outside. Those goddamn dog stealers!

Bang, she kills the guy with her dog. Bang, she kills another guy. She goes for one more guy but he gets the drop on her. Detective Mercer busts in and now once again the "good guys" are in command. So, what does Mercer do?

Of course, he gives his gun to Bain to shoot the guy lying on the floor. Which she does. Then Mercer has her shoot him in the arm with her gun. You see, he realizes that Bain is doing some damn fine work, and he's going to frame the toughs for Bain's previous murders, and make it look like they killed themselves, or shot at him, or something. The important thing is, this is the good kind of frameup, folks, not the bad kind.

So he tells her to skedaddle, and she does. Her dog runs after her. I'm not kidding. Her dog runs after her. So everything ends okay. Oh wait, there's one more thing that could make this ending even a little bit more perfect.

A Sarah McLachlan song kicks in.

Oh, mercy.


Cup said...

I admire your stick-to-it-tiveness in telling us (warning us) about the tedious plot. Where should I send my dollar, Splotchy Ebert?

Randal Graves said...

I don't think a dollar would cover the pain endured in watching what seems to have been a horrid movie. Kudos for suffering so the rest of humanity doesn't have to.

Jess Wundrun said...

I giggle at the idea of Ira Glass on a killing spree. I'm guessing he can handle a gun better than David Sedaris, tho.

Jenna said...

I'm so glad someone else hates John Travolta. I thought I was the only one.

Splotchy said...

beth, give that dollar to Joel Schumacher, and say it's to encourage him to not make any more movies.

randal g, Two Buck Schmuck is all about suffering for the greater good.

jess, yeah you're probably right, though David Sedaris' resulting story about his failed vigilantism would be a hoot.

gizmorox, hate is such a strong word. It's more of an involuntary gag reflex.

dguzman said...

WTF is wrong with Jodie!? Why is she making these shitty movies? Oh wait--I've figured it out. Closet-case issues. Of course. The lady can't come to terms with herself, and it's completely fucked with her sense of judgment.

Okay, I feel better now. Thanks for reviewing the movie, so I can not rent it in good conscience. I hate these stupid vigilante movies, especially when the cop helps them out. Or when they don't help them out. Both ways, the movie is almost guaranteed to suck.

I'm laughing at the idea of Sedaris on a vigilante spree: realizing he can't do it, he breaks into his dead-on Billie Holliday version of My Man. Roll credits.

BeckEye said...

You should've waited until 9:40 for John Travolta. I don't understand how saying "John Travolta is in it," TWICE, has a negative impact on your decision. And you will never make me understand it.

Gizmorox - you are the only one.

I can't talk about this anymore. I have to find some balm to put on these hives.

Splotchy said...

d, vigilante movies only work when Chuck Norris is involved.

beckeye, let me preface my response to your comment to say that in these movie review posts I am wearing my "Schmuck" hat -- I'm a little snarkier than usual.

With that out of the way, let me respond to your objection to my use of Travolta as a reason to not see a movie with an incomplete list of movies, in descending chronological order:

Wild Hogs
The Punisher
Lucky Numbers
Battlefield Earth
Mad City
Broken Arrow
Look Who's Talking Now
Look Who's Talking Too
Look Who's Talking
Two Of A Kind
Staying Alive

GETkristiLOVE said...

When in doubt, always go with Mr. Woodcock. Yay!

BeckEye said...

Wild Hogs - haven't seen it...YET.
The Punisher - okay, this was bad but it was more the fault of the script and Thomas Jane.
Basic - eh, it wasn't that bad.
Swordfish - not my favorite but I can't fully dislike any movie that prompts me to dream of being the meat in a John Travolta-Hugh Jackman sandwich.
Lucky Numbers - I'm in the minority, but I liked this movie. It was set in PA, and based on the host of "Bowling for Dollars," who rigged the PA lottery many, many years ago. I still remember that...he weighted down all 4s and 6s and the number came up 666.
Battlefield Earth - the easy dig. No one likes this. I've only seen 20 minutes of it.
Mad City - hmmm, I kind of liked it.
Face/Off - loved it.
Michael - loved it.
Phenomenon - loved it.
Broken Arrow - over the top, but I enjoyed John as the campy villain. And I can't fully dislike any movie that prompts me to dream of being the meat in a John Travolta-Howie Long sandwich.
Look Who's Talking Now - the dog one? Haven't seen it.
Look Who's Talking Too - bad. It's not John's fault that movie studios have to milk a good idea for all it's worth.
Look Who's Talking - now, come on. That was a good movie. Very funny. And John basically played himself, which I'm fine with.
Perfect - not good. I hate Marilu Henner. But, THE BODY. Wow. Nothing wrong with watching John work out in little, tight shorts.
Two Of A Kind - Again, I'm in the minority but I like this one. It's stupid, but it's cute-stupid. John's best hair year.
Staying Alive - pure '80s cheese, therefore I love it. And the awesomeness of this flick really all boils down to one word: loincloth.