December 27th, 2008

ELVES (1989) ****

For the past 9 years I have watched Elves on Dec.23rd as a Christmas Holiday Double Feature.  The second film is usually Jack Frost (the killer rapist snowman one not that Michael Keaton bullshit) but this year we decided to watch Christmas Evil afterwards.  Every year I mean to write the “definitive” Elves review and every year I always end up not writing it because there is no way to definitively review Elves.  You have to watch it at my house with about a dozen or so of my closest friends and family to get that experience.  We sit around the tube, rip it apart Mystery Science Theater style, and laugh, laugh, laugh.


Elves is the 80’s equivalent of Plan 9 from Outer Space.  It is a movie so bad on so many levels that it defies logic.  During the film you doubt your sanity so many times that by the end, you are truly convinced that you have just watched a work of genius.


Basically there’s this girl named Kirsten who “bemoans Christmas” and tries to have some sort of Anti-Christmas demonstration out in the forest with her two bubble-headed girlfriends.  For reasons too stupid to even mention, she ends up cutting her hand and when her blood hits the ground, it causes a rubbery looking elf to emerge.


If you’re waiting for any more elves to show up, forget it.  Despite the title, there is only one damn elf in the whole damn movie.


Anyway, Kirsten’s wheelchair bound grandfather slaps her around a bit before she takes a shower.  Her little brother catches her toweling off and proclaims, “You’ve got fucking big tits and I’m going to tell everybody I saw them!”  During the night, the elf sneaks in and attacks her brother but nobody believes he saw a “fucking ninja troll!”


The next day Kirsten takes a break at her job at “Golem’s” department store to sit on Santa’s lap.  Santa is a perv and she slaps him.  “SANTA SAID ‘ORAL’!”  Santa gets chewed out by the store manager and goes to snort some coke.  Unfortunately for him, the elf has a big time vendetta against him for touching Kirsten so he stabs the Santa repeatedly in the crotch with a butcher knife.


This scene is great not only because of the gratuitous crotch stabbing but for the fact that there’s a greasy looking two foot tall elf running around a department store AND NOBODY SEES IT.


About this time, Grizzly Adams starts hanging around the film as the chain-smoking ex-detective, Mike.  Because Grizzly Adams is fat and has a beard, he’s called upon to be the new Santa.  First kid on his lap mistakes him for a urinal.  “Ho-ho-oh-my-God!” 


While Grizzly is cleaning himself up, he talks to the chalk outline of the deceased Santa (with fresh blood stains on the crotch).  Grizzly also notices a symbol that looks suspiciously a lot like Prince’s former insignia.  He tells himself, “You’re not a detective anymore!”, but still tries to solve the murder. 

Grizzly is homeless so he duct tapes the lock on the back door of the store so he can live in his dressing room.  Kirsten gets her idiot girlfriends to hang out after hours at the store so they can party it up with some guys.  There’s a lot of rigmarole about the damn duct tape so every time you see someone putting the duct tape on the door or taking it off, feel free to take a shot of eggnog.  You’re going to need it.


It’s around this time that we learn that Nazis have bred the elf so it can mate with Kirsten on Christmas at the stroke of midnight.  Their offspring will be the Anti-Christ and will bring about the end of the world.  If you all know me, you know I’m a sucker for a movie in which the titular monster has to mate with the leading lady.


While the girls are shacked up in the department store, the elf shows up with a Santa hat on and...  Look folks, words just aren’t cutting it here.  You have to see this movie for yourself.  Words can’t describe how great the “Elf-Cam” is.  I’d love to express to you how wonderful Grizzly Adams is when he emotes, “What forces?  Who’s trying to destroy me?”, but I just lack the vocabulary.  As much as I want to share with you details of the classic dinner table scene, I know full well that the only way to experience what makes that scene so awesome is by letting you watch it for yourself.


I want you to fully realize how great the final shot of the film is.  I want your mind to boggle at the Chinatown-esque incest angle.  I want you to experience every second of the immortal bath tub death scene.  No matter what I say here people; it just won’t do the movie justice.  You have to see this one for yourself.  If you can’t get a hold of a copy, maybe you can join me next Christmas to watch it.

MILK (2008) ***

Okay, so I’m like really backlogged on getting these reviews done.  I’d love to honestly say that I haven’t had time because of the holidays, but the truth of the matter is that I’ve been spending most of my time playing Wii Fit and trying to figure out how to use my new Digital Recorder.  Because of these constant distractions (and the fact that I kinda forgot that I even saw this movie), I’m going to keep this review short and sweet.


Sean Penn plays Harvey Milk who was the first openly gay man ever elected into political office.  While in office he fights for gay rights and cleans up a lot of dog shit from the streets of San Francisco.  Then he gets gunned down by a mentally imbalanced co-worker (Josh Brolin).


Gus Van Sant directed this flick and I dug his style a lot.  He intersperses the film with real news footage which effectively creates a real sense of time and place.  He certainly made up for that shitty Psycho remake with this one.


I ain’t saying this flick is perfect though.  Uh-uh.  It runs on way too long and gets kinda redundant after awhile.  Seriously, all Penn does in this movie is make speeches and lead protests.  This is all well and good, but after about the 8th time he marched his gay brethren down to City Hall, it got kinda old.


The performances are uniformly great.  Penn gets to show off his acting chops and James Franco handles himself quite well as Harvey’s boyfriend who likes to dip his cookie into some Milk.  It’s Brolin though who takes the acting honors as the dude who guns down Milk.  He does some of the finest Drunk Acting I’ve see this millennium and delivers the best line of the movie when he runs into Milk’s Latin lover while extremely intoxicated:  “I don’t even know who you are, Latino Man!”

HAMLET 2 (2008) ***

Hamlet 2 is all about a former actor turned high school drama teacher (Steve Coogan) who writes a sequel to Shakespeare’s classic play.  When its lurid subject matter (handjobs, lightsabers, time traveling, and a “sexy” version of Jesus) sharply divides the community, Coogan is forced to put on the play elsewhere.  With a little help from a snarky ACLU lawyer (Amy Poehler) and some of his cast’s gangbanger homies, the play goes off without a hitch and everyone in the town gets to enjoy Sexy Jesus in all his glory. 


The film was co-written by Pam Brady who is a writer for South Park and it features a lot of that show’s potty mouth humor and great songs.  Like South Park, there is an undercurrent of satire running throughout the film.  On the surface, Hamlet 2 primarily pokes fun at high school drama types, but the movie’s main theme is that no one has the right to censor the arts; no matter how bad the final product is.


Coogan is good as the blustering drama teacher.  While he’s funny while interacting with his gangbanger students, the brief glimpses of his character’s early acting career will give you the biggest laughs.  (Especially the herpes commercial.)  David Arquette also gets some solid chuckles as the dude who knocks up Coogan’s wife and although his role is small, he makes his screen time count.  Probably the best performance in the bunch though comes from Elisabeth Shue, who plays herself.  Playing yourself in a movie is a difficult task but Shue straddles the line of playing a real character and parodying herself nicely.


Hamlet 2 is a bit uneven.  The scenes between Coogan and his wife aren’t very funny and kinda gum up the works.  Even though the laughs get fairly sparse during the middle section of the film, you probably won’t care by the time the cast starts singing “Rock Me Sexy Jesus”. 


Coogan gets the best line of the movie when he remarks, “I feel like I’ve been raped... in the face!”


In the opening scene of Feast 2:  Sloppy Seconds, a major character, someone we are supposed to “root” for, guns down a dog in cold blood.  This is about the most humane thing a main character does in the movie.  Feast 2 features more loathsome characters I’ve ever seen in a horror film.  Or any film for that matter.  And I’m using the term “film” loosely here, people.


During the course of Feast 2, cowardly characters will feed another character to the flesh-hungry humanoid monsters with the sole intent of saving their own necks.  Normally this would be OK, but the characters who get sacrificed are (in reverse order) a midget, an elderly grandmother and a baby. 


The scene where the cowardly character throws a baby to the monsters is probably one of the most repugnant scenes in film history.  We see the baby floating happily in the air in slow motion until it splats down on the pavement in a pool of blood, crying.  THEN the monsters rip it apart.  Midgets and grandmothers are one thing, but a baby is just too much.


Usually I love my movies gory and disgusting, but this baby scene was going too far.  I don’t even have kids (that I know of anyway) and this scene even offended me.  Now I don’t want to sound like Roger Ebert when he condemned I Spit on Your Grave or anything because I Spit on Your Grave is a classic.  Feast 2 on the other hand is a steaming pile of shit that is depressingly devoid of any humanity whatsoever.


I was a big fan of the original Feast and was hopeful that part 2 would be just as much fun since it was from the same writers and director.  I was wrong.  None of these people should ever be allowed anywhere near a camera (or a baby for that matter) again.  It should also be noted that this film features some pretty decent midget Mexican wrestling.  You know I must really hate a movie is it features midget Mexican wrestling and I’m still giving it the No Stars treatment.


It took me 362 days to find the worst movie of the year.  Auld Ange Syne.