Tuesday, June 17, 2008

88 Dog Minutes

A person such as myself is always looking for the Citizen Kane of shitty movies. I thought I had a decent chance to hit Rosebud tonight at the LaGrange.

What were my choices?

Forgetting Sarah Mar...

Oh, forget about it. I was here to see one movie, and one movie only.

88 Minutes!

You may or may not know the plot of this film. Al Pacino plays an extremely wealthy, poofy-haired forensic psychiatrist that is constantly badgered on his cellphone, where some voice-modulated knucklehead says he has eighty-eight minutes to live. Pacino's character is also a professor who does not have the common courtesy to set his phone on vibrate during class when he is getting menaced by voice-modulated knuckleheads.

Apparently the knucklehead is not aware that most cellphones usually come prepackaged with some form of timekeeping mechanism, and that's it not necessary to constantly remind Pacino of the time as it elapses.

"You have seventy-six minutes."
"Sixty-four minutes."
"Sixty-six minutes. I'm sorry, I mean fifty-six minutes."

At the start of any cheap movie I subject myself to, I'm usually poised for the first sign that a movie is undeniably bad. This sign came rather early in the film, when an attractive woman, a conquest of Pacino's from the night before, is shown brushing her teeth. Naked. While doing some sort of yoga pose with one of her legs pulled over her head. Hubba hubba?

Now there's good bad and there's bad bad. I'd say 88 Minutes falls squarely in the middle of that range.

I don't mind the premise of the film:

1) Something bad is going to happen to a character played by Al Pacino
2) It will only take 88 minutes of time for that bad thing to happen

When you set up an impending catastrophic event within a limited timeframe, that can immediately create a sense of urgency and excitement for the viewer. For example, the Johnny Depp film Nick Of Time operated within a limited timeframe where Depp's character had to accomplish something or a terrible thing would happen. The running time of the film actually corresponded to the events transpiring in the narrative. Wait, wait. I'm giving a bad example. Nick Of Time was terrible. Did you know that Johnny Depp's character *wasn't* named Nick O'Time? How much cooler would the movie have been if that were the case?

So here's the first problem with this movie. 88 Minutes has a running time of... 108 minutes. I see some dork has posted on the Trivia section of this film on the IMDB that from the time Pacino gets his first threatening phone call, it's eighty-eight minutes until the end of the film, including the end credits. Including the end credits? What the fuck -- you think you can count the end credits? The guy who wrote this horseshit is the same stoner who bugs you to watch The Wizard Of Oz with Dark Side of the Moon in the background. Give him some Cheetos and send him on his way.

This film reminded me of Michael Mann's Heat due to the appearance of some common actors. Amy Brenneman reminded me of her shitty romantic subplot with Robert DeNiro's bankrobber character, and Al Pacino reminded me of the shitty parts of Heat with Al Pacino in it.

There were many, many red herrings, with a multitude of tired characters cycling through implausible motivations and actions. Why again did that motorcycle leather guy appear in Pacino's apartment stairwell, pull a gun, and promptly get shot by the killer who was also in the stairwell for no particular reason? Oh, because it was in the script. I get it now.

Why did the killer blow up Pacino's Porsche before the eighty-eight minutes had elapsed, which could have very well resulted in him dying before he was supposed to? Oh, because it was in the script. And trailers are better with explodey things. I get it now.

I was hoping Al Pacino would get more and more Pacino crazy as the movie progressed, but I was sadly disappointed. The most scenery-chewing thing he did was angrily throw a cellphone. But damn, what a fine cellphone thrower he is.


The Imaginary Reviewer said...

I'd never before considered how much better Nick of Time would have been with a main character called Nick O'Time. I actually feel like watching it now and imagining it to be so.

Falwless said...

Wow, this movie sounds great. Can't wait to see it.

vikkitikkitavi said...

How old was Pacino's love interest? Because I find that the age difference between them is inversely proportionate to the quality of the movie.

Splotchy said...

Vikki, Pacino actually had two or three love interests, probably all in their early 20's. Do we add up all their ages?

vikkitikkitavi said...

Um, no. I think I know all I need to know about that movie.

domboy said...

I was once visiting Santa Fe and I bought a cowboy hat and had had a fight with my girlfriend and I was walking through a room of virtual strangers who had rented this film and were watching it, and I paused a moment to watch it with them, and I enjoyed it and made a mental note to watch the full movie in the future. Does this make me bad?

Splotchy said...

domboy, that's not bad at all. As someone who reads other people's newspapers on the train, I salute you.