Friday, January 9, 2009

My snarky movie summaries (Part 1)

Throughout this year, I'm going to post older material--like unpublished writing I've kept buried in my computer or transcripts of interviews from my days on terrestrial radio.

Earlier this week, Lionsgate, the studio that's most famous for the Saw franchise, spent $255 million to acquire the TV Guide Network and TVGuide.com--the first things that come to mind when I think of torture porn. So the first oldie-but-goodie that I've dug up from my own archives comes from my years as an HTML coder for a local newspaper's Web site, when I would try to stay awake during my boring then-job by spoofing the movie summaries in TV Guide and sneaking snarky or jokey descriptions of upcoming releases into the site's movie listings section.

I always wondered how the anonymous writers who typed up all those little movie summaries in TV Guide really felt about some of those flicks.

One of those writers would say the following about Titanic:

A socialite (Kate Winslet) falls for an impoverished artist (Leonardo DiCaprio) on the ill-fated 1912 Titanic voyage.

But he was probably thinking the following:

Kate Winslet gets naked. Otherwise, I can't believe I let my then-girlfriend drag me to this. L.A. Confidential was robbed at the Oscars.

From 2006 to 2008, I got the chance to fulfill my lifelong dream of being like an anonymous TV Guide movie synopsis writer, but I did it my way, which was to be silly and snarky:

More like American Dankster, judging from the shitty weather in this scene.

American Gangster
Russell Crowe takes on mobster Denzel Washington in his own unique way. He throws a phone at him.

Arthur and the Invisibles
This CGI-animated feature semi-reunites Robert De Niro with his Mean Streets co-star Harvey Keitel. If you watch carefully, the reunion takes place during the scene when Maltazard calls Arthur a "mook" and Arthur beats him with a bat.

Atonement
Keira Knightley gets wet in a movie again. Meanwhile, Mr. Skin reads this on his laptop, yawns and wonders if Santa's gonna get him that DVD of Jackie Bisset in The Deep that he always wanted.

Babel
Another upbeat crowdpleaser from director Alejandro González Iñárritu.

Black Sheep (2006)
Features some of the nastiest sheep in movie history since that one that slept with Gene Wilder.

Blood Diamond
Why does Djimon Hounsou always play oppressed or abused characters? He's like a black Meredith Baxter Birney.

The Break-Up
Vince Vaughn breaks up with Jon Favreau. The most wrenching depiction of a split between buddies since the breakup between Siskel and Ebert during that episode of The Critic.

Cars
Pixar reportedly asked Speed Buggy to do a cameo, but he's fallen on hard times and was last seen living in a homeless shelter in L.A. while trying to kick an addiction to propane.

Charlotte's Web
It's cool that the filmmakers stuck with the original sad ending: Wilbur finds Gwyneth Paltrow's head in a box.

Conversations With Other Women
Director Hans Canosa uses a split screen for the entire movie. Somewhere, Brian De Palma is creaming his pants.

The Descent
You know what would make that awful reality show Starting Over more watchable? If the show's producers sent the shrill and whiny women off on a spelunking trip. In a monster-infested cave.

Down in the Valley
Edward Norton romances the much younger Evan Rachel Wood. Rated R for R. Kelly-style urges.

Employee of the Month
Jessica Simpson as a superstore cashier? Does she even know how to add?

Factotum
Matt Dillon plays a drunkard who can't hold down a job. The guy's half Mel Gibson, half Star Jones.

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
Better Luck Tomorrow director Justin Lin joins the franchise and brings a mostly Asian cast with him, because making these street racing movies without a predominantly Asian cast is like whenever Woody Allen does a movie set in New York and all the black people have mysteriously vanished.

Fast Food Nation
Richard Linklater and Eric Schlosser expose the sordid side of the fast food industry, from the harsh treatment of illegal immigrant workers to Mayor McCheese's fondness for crack cocaine.

Flags of Our Fathers
This is Clint Eastwood's first of two Iwo Jima movies. It's a miracle how he managed to see what he was filming during those combat scenes because the guy won't stop squinting. Clint, you keep squinting your eyes like that, they're gonna stay that way.

Georgia Rule
Lindsay Lohan got spanked by the producers for her unprofessional behavior during the shooting of this movie. They should have also spanked the singing career out of her. You haven't lived until you've heard Lohan mangle "Edge of Seventeen."

Ghost Rider
Nicolas Cage's latest film is about the phenomenon of dancing on top of your car while it's in neutral.

Next: Parts 2, 3 and 4.

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