‘My God, Someone Paid For this To Be Made’ Entry — GI Joe: The Rise Of Cobra

GI Joe starts out in France in 1611. I know, because despite the fact taht I was drunk, I took copious notes. They are stained and festooned with question marks and mad scribblings, but overall still valid.

What kind of bullshit is that? FRANCE? WHAT?

Asinine. Who gives a shit about the historical heritage of Cobra. Please raise your hands if you were demanding historical significance from a movie based on toys that you played with in the sandbox or bathtub.

Once upon a time, I had a vision.

A glorious vision, the sort of vision that got people burned as heretics in the Dark Ages, yet was no less true for its ostentatiousness.

I dreamed I stood on a cliff, staring out at a roiling sea. Clouds skirted the horizon, the sun burned like a vengeful eye, and below me the cliffs were alive with plumes and torrents as the sea crashed and raged.

A sea of absolute bullshit.

 

And don't tell me, 'Oh, it was based on toys, what do you expect?' You know what else was based on toys and won buttloads of awards? 'TOYS.'

 

It’s possible I was biased against the GI Joe movie from the very start. Watching the trailers gave me a horrifying clarity, a window into what it must be like to be an epileptic who habitually gets trapped inside a washing machine full of neon lights, pleather, airborne vehicles and shitty laser effects.

Now, I played with Joes as a child, albeit I didnt’ play by the rules. For some reason I was stuck on monsters and aliens mode, so the only Joes I had were ones that had animal sidekicks, or some kind of weird mutation. I had Spirit Wind, the Military MP guy (his German Shepherd was a werewolf to my Lego people), Killer Croc, Outback (warthog accessory! BOSS!) Some kind of guy with a Cobra as a hat, and Big Boa, because he came with removable and adorable boxing gloves. I didn’t give a shit about patriotism, vehicles (Except that crazy ass Cobra Commander flying skiff, that was amazing) robots, guns, or tanks. It was also common for GI Joes to go to war with the mutants of Outworld, which were comprised of my He-Man and Ninja Turtles figures.

I went into the GI: Joe movie thinking ‘Well, I’ve had like nine beers, and even folding laundry has usually become fun by then. Therefore, this will be fun.’ Ipso, facto.

My fake Latin philosophy math was wrong.

Watching GI: Joe – The Rise of Cobra was incredibly similar to being in a car accident, and I’ve been in no less than 5 in my life so I know what I’m talking about. There’s a lot of noise, a lot of shit suddenly moves around, your whole perspective on life has changed but you aren’t sure why, you just know SOMETHING HAPPENED.

Which is what watching the film was like.

Usually, I pull my punches with hating on a movie, but By God and Sunny Jesus, I will NOT do so today. This movie was way, way too expensive to get the kid glove treatment.

 

This movie is also unforgiveable for wasting Adewale Akinouye -Agbage's time. I refuse to believe he doesn't have better things to do than this.

 

GI Joe starts out in France in 1611. I know, because despite the fact taht I was drunk, I took copious notes. They are stained and festooned with question marks and mad scribblings, but overall still valid.

What kind of bullshit is that? FRANCE? WHAT?

Asinine. Who gives a shit about the historical heritage of Cobra. Please raise your hands if you were demanding historical significance from a movie based on toys that you played with in the sandbox or bathtub.

Other scribblings from my note:

‘why is the military using a civilian H2?’ Nathan pointed that one out.

This observation was closely followed by ‘why are you questioning the logic of the GI:Joe movie?’

‘Duke- Dude can’t talk right. Sounds like he’s going blublubblubblub.’

Seriously. Channing Tatum, from his IMDB entry, seems sort of respected as an actor, and yet I could barely follow his dialogue because of his weird novocaine mumbly-mouth. Plus, the man’s eyes were so dead and glassy I could clearly see his paycheck reflected in their surface, because no other thoughts animated his corpus.

‘Science says emotions don’t exist? WHAT?’

Scarlett, that most cartoonish of hotties (and played by some girl with red hair and boobs, it’s totally not worth it to look her name up), makes this weird assertion as to why she won’t date Marlon Wayans (who MUST have better things to do than this movie, for christ’s sake, he was in REQUIEM FOR A DREAM) when he makes his move on her. This is not only story bullshit, it’s scientific bullshit. Science has no problem quantifying emotions–they’re caused by subtle synaptic shifts in hormones, by adrenaline, by all kinds of math and numbers and chemicals and things that ARE REAL. So being attracted to a dude is totally valid. She’s just a racist.

 

I was also enraged by the Baroness character.

Spies are also known for being inconspicuous, which involves wearing costumes rejected from the Underworld series as too cheap-looking and giant belt buckles.

A brief digression:

In the Preacher books, the villain, a scarred German psycho named Herr Starr, is teaching a course on how to deal with terrorists to some soldiers in an elite anti-terrorist recruitment facility. He begins his lesson with the words:

‘Shoot the women first.’

He goes on to explain that any woman who has worked her way up to the top of a terrorist organization has worked at least FIVE TIMES as hard as her male compatriots in order to have her skills and dedication recognized. In short, in any terrorist situation, you had best kill the va-jay-jays because THEY would pose the greatest threat to you, and kill you five times harder than a dude. Anything a dude can do, a woman has already done, alphabetized, collated, and buried in the backyard before he even thought of it.

GI:Joe posits that Cobra allows someone to totally half-ass their way to the top of the organization. In an elite, worldwide terrorist group, how does someone FAKE enthusiasm? HOW? Baroness’s residual love for Duke leads to the Cobra organization’s fall, suggesting that women can’t be trusted in these situations because they get all emotion-y and fall in love with men and shit. God forbid they handle firearms, their estrogen might gum up the firing pin.

Someone looked at this pic and said 'Yes! Cover one third of his face in burn makeup, the other half in a breathing apparatus, dress him in a shitty wig and hire him!'

 

Which  brings me to my next point:

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is adorable.

Just look at that face! So much spunk, so much character! You wouldn’t just have a beer with him, you’d want to take him home and show him your band trophies from high school.

He was the most fun thing about Rise of Cobra, and brought a much-needed feel of pseudo-camp to the shenanigans. After awhile, I realized I was patiently waiting for the ridiculous action setpieces to end so I could get back to the much more interesting story of Destro or whatever he was.

Dick move, Hollywood: if your film’s basically a multi-million dollar recruitment product for the armed forces, don’t make the villain more interesting than anything else happening onscreen. I even stopped giving a shit about Christopher Eccleston when Gordon-Levitt was onscreen. ECCLESTON.

Every few moments in GI:Joe, I found myself whistling or humming the main song from Team America: World Police. It’s a little ditty that goes something like ‘America…FUCK YEAH! Coming again to save the motherfucking day YEAH!’ What’s tragic is that movie, starring puppets and a metric ton of sarcasm, was a much more fun movie than this one, and it was much more honest about what was going on. It also got me a lot more excited about blowing shit up.

So in short–I know I watched the GI Joe movie, and I have all these residual flashbacks and strange images burned into my mind, but I just don’t know what actually HAPPENED. There was a desert and the Eiffle tower and an underwater city and some kind of nano tech mask or something. The sad thing is that I am smart enough to understand all this stuff–unlike a car accident, I can go back and relive the experience, articulating complex emotional ideas and pieceing together what actually happened.

I just don’t give a shit, though.

‘Jesus Christ bananas’ entry: Tommy Wiseau’s The Room

Logic has no place here. The film staggers to its conclusion less like a picturesque and drunken Irish poet than a paralytic hobo whose palsied fingers can barely hold onto his bottle of methyl alcohol.

I like a bad movie every once in a while.

There was a time when I spent a lot, a LOT of time on bad movies. Then I realized that my time on earth is finite, and that I’d rather fill that time with earnest films made by talented and creative directors than with films whose own makers were either slumming geniuses or complete whackos.

That said, I still like a bad movie once in a while.

The Room came at me sideways like a crack addict waving around the razor-sharp skeleton of a dead large-mouthed bass.

There was no way to see this coming. No warning, no review has yet captured exactly how execrable this film is. Nostradamus might’ve seen it coming, but he would have written it down as some vague ‘and there will come a stringy man of taut thews and stygian hair who is either madman or genius, who shall entertain and terrify in the same fell swoop. And that man shall not speak truths but mumbles.’  That could refer to any number of filmmakers. Hell, that could be Joaquin Phoenix’s recent dabblings with madness.

Yup. That's about it.

Anyhoo, I’d heard a few things about ‘The Room’ and when a friend invited us over to watch, I went willingly. For some reason I thought it was a horror movie.

I wasn’t completely wrong.

‘The Room’ is the story of Johnny (Tommy Wiseau, who is also writer, director, and executive producer), a man who loves his fiancee Lisa, has a job where he makes good money, and seems to be the risen messiah in every other aspect of his life. He ‘rescued’ a troubled youth and is sending him to college, no one can shut up about how great he is, and the only time people don’t like him is if he doesn’t loan them money. Otherwise, the rest of the cast stand around singing jeremiads for the man.

The inciting incident of the story is that the aforementioned fiancee suddenly decides she doesn’t love him anymore and that he is boring. The rest of the film unfolds (or maybe ‘metastasizes’ is a  better word) in a bitter lovers’ triangle with Lisa cheating on Johnny, having long boring conversations with her mother about it, and Johnny’s best friend Mark being sort of conflicted about diddling Johnny’s fiancee.

Logic has no place here. The film staggers to its conclusion less like a picturesque and drunken Irish poet than a paralytic hobo whose palsied fingers can barely hold onto his bottle of methyl alcohol.

Consider this scene: There’s Johnny (Wiseau) talking to his friend Mark (colleague Greg Sesteros) about Lisa.

Johnny did not hit Lisa, she just got him really drunk and then tried to convince him he did, and Mark is the guy she’s cheating on Johnny with. The acting on display here is on par with the rest of the movie. Erratic tonal shifts, bizarre dialogue, nonsensical actions taken by the actors, plot threads that never pan out or are abandoned (Lisa’s mother offhandedly  mentions she has breast cancer once and this is never again addressed) and sex scenes that make one reach for a bottle of Purell are all part of the package.

But while the movie is indeed embarrassingly awful, I can’t get into the spirit of mocking it as much as others have.  Mr. Wiseau spent five years of his life raising funding for the film, and it’s suspected he did so through ‘less than legitimate’ means: there’s a story about him importing leather jackets from Korea that sounds fairly shady, and other people have suggested the movie exists as an elaborate money laundering scheme for the mob.

Although now he promotes the movie as a Rocky Horror Picture Show-like parody and travels to midnight screenings where people throw spoons and footballs (it’s in the movie), some of the actors from the film indicate that Mr. Wiseau was absolutely earnest in his intent when making it in 2003 and that there was nothing tongue-in-cheek about his attitude.

I can’t help but imagine someone who managed to make his creative dream come true witness his film be reviled by the few critics who saw it, then embraced by an audience whose self-professed love of shit is damning praise. Maybe at that point he decided that any publicity is better than none. It’s my own secret dream (as it is most critics’) to make a film of my own, and since I don’t have the courage or means to pursue such a dream and I consciously know this, I can’t help but feel bad bashing the product of someone who managed to pursue it themselves. Even so, this is one incredibly bad movie. Let’s be absolutely clear on that.

There's a reason you always see this image in connection with the movie. You just have to see it.

I’m not someone who enjoys laughing at the efforts of others, unless they really want me to. If Mr. Wiseau convinces me of his earnest effort to create a black comedy, well, I guess I can laugh at his film then.

‘The Room’ is not available on Instant Watch but can be rented from Netflix or GreenCine. Check it out, but for God’s sake, know what you’re getting into!