Saturday, August 30, 2008

I Know Everyone Is Tired of The Movie Movies...

Yesterday saw the release of the latest "spoof" movie Disaster Movie. In the past 8 years since Scary Movie came out, there have now been 9 films in the series. It started with the Wayans brothers, moved to David Zucker (of Airplane! and The Naked Gun fame), then to Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg for the Non-"Scary" Movies. Here's a list of the loosely tied together "series":

2000 - Scary Movie
2001 - Scary Movie 2
2003 - Scary Movie 3
2006 - Scary Movie 4, Date Movie
2007 - Epic Movie
2008 - Meet the Spartans, Superhero Movie, Disaster Movie

I don't know about anyone else, but this series is pretty much the worst ever made. I don't think a single one of them has a positive score on the Tomatometer or on IMDB. I'll be honest, I enjoyed Scary Movie and Scary Movie 2. They had the right kind of bad humor going for them, and at least they parodied horror movies for their blatant silliness. Even 3 and 4 kept a reasonable amount of the parody within its own genre.

Anna Faris legitimized the series to a certain extent, and when she left, the writers just went off the deep end. Things started to unravel to the point of lunacy in Date Movie, but there was still the mostly-genre parody only for romantic comedies. It was in the last four that things have just become absolutely out of control. Beginning with Epic Movie, there has been essentially no semblance of plot along with stupid parodies of recent films that had almost nothing to do with the genre. It's as though the creators of these recent ones just think people will laugh if you put a joke in with a reference to a recent movie, instead of creating context for the joke and a reason why their observation is funny in light of the original. There's no substance here, only recreation of moments from recent blockbusters.

Meet the Spartans starts with 300, but devolves into referencing Britney Spears shaving her head and including such terrible movies as Stomp the Yard and You Got Served, and borrowed its title from Meet the Parents, which has nothing to do with the haphazard, piecemeal, Frankenstein monster-like screenwriting that apparently occurred. It includes references to Nacho Libre and Snakes on a Plane, two at-the-time-recent but distinctly non-epic films. There's also an obligatory scene involving a Paris Hilton look-alike saying "that's hot" before being crushed by a woman falling from above.

The newest, Disaster Movie, might be the worst offender. In the trailer, it combines references to Enchanted, Hannah Montana, Sex and the City, Don't Mess With the Zohan, Juno, Hulk, Iron man, and Hancock. It even repeats the joke of Paris Hilton getting crushed by having Hannah Montana die under a huge rock and bikini-clad women getting killed. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but NONE of those are "disaster" movies. Hulk and Iron Man belong with superheroes, Juno and the Sex and the City girls have nothing to do with disasters, and those two are combined in a single scene which also contains the completely unfunny and unnecessary reference to Zohan. They are mocking jokes from films nobody even though were funny in the first place!

The Hannah Montana scene confuses me the most. It posits that the character wants fans to go out and buy "2 new albums" as she's crushed to death. Now while I understand that Disney has made a ton of money from releasing Hannah Montana albums, created a tour for those songs, released a film version of that concert, and then released a DVD of that movie of that concert in a Star Wars-like cash grab, but all of that possible commentary is completely lost in how lame the joke is. Couldn't it have been a list of what they needed to buy? It's just an unintelligent parody of what could be an interesting commentary. That's what is lacking all over the place, there's no thought put into these jokes to make them subversive or intelligent, they just are trying to ham it up and hope that people laugh.

The proper parody of disaster films is Airplane!; this is just a cruel joke gone horribly wrong. Check the reviews on RottenTomatoes: they're the worst I've seen since Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, the famed worst-reviewed film of all time on the site. The best to me comes from : "So ugly, unpleasant and devoid of laughs that the notion of releasing a film with such a title on the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is actually one of the least offensive things about it." Good lord does that sum up how it looks.

The box office can't sustain this, can it? There must be some semblance of intelligence in the American viewing public to stay away from the horrific downturn these films have been for our culture. Here are the numbers in domestic box office grosses, rounded to the nearest million:

Scary Movie - $157 million
Scary Movie 2 - $71 million
Scary Movie 3 - $110 million
Scary Movie 4 - $90 million
Date Movie - $48 million
Epic Movie - $39 million
Meet the Spartans - $38 million
Superhero Movie - $25 million

I'm thankful that the grosses have almost uniformly gone down, and that it looks as those this series could soon meet its end in the same way the Hostel films did, but we've gone on too long with all of this. There are fantastic indie films that have had total grosses less than the opening weekends of these disgusting excuses for film. Disaster Movie is predicted to make around $13 million this weekend, which is extremely high for how bad the film is. I can't believe that people would be so mindless that they would go see this steaming pile. That's not to say mindless entertainment doesn't have its place, but even in the category of mindless entertainment this ranks one of the lowest. Please, do me and everyone you know a favor, and do not see Disaster Movie or any subsequent film by these men. It's for our own good.

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