Monday, December 22, 2008

Cheech and Chong: Roasted, Rolled and Smoked

Cheech and Chong Roast Reviewed By a Guy Who Never Even Saw The Roast.

Recently resurrected and reunited for a new comedy tour, aging dopers Cheech and Chong tolerated a tepid roast by a bucket brigade of washed up entertainers without once looking even mildly amused. That’s what happens when you quit pot. You didn’t have to be stoned to enjoy the roast because it really didn’t…I mean wouldn’t have helped anyway. With the likes of Tom “Throw Me-a-Bone” Arnold and Greg ‘Can-You-Hear-Me-Now” Giraldo, Geraldo Rivera ended up being relevant and funny. Sure, it’s that gay porn mustache, but he actually did say a few funny things, too. OK, nothing memorable, but with the level of the room teetering between the brain-dead “Still Smoking” and the undead “Corsican Brothers” even Bill O’Reilly would have been a laugh machine at this gig.

Rev. Al Sharpton was originally in this hack line-up, but a no-show, replaced at the last minute by a black guy with a sign around his neck like a piece of “Plug-and-Play” hardware without a soundcard. A notable video appearance by Martha Stewart failed to legitimize Cheech and Chong but did create a lot of speculation about what bad habits she may have picked up in prison. Shelby Chong was present primarily as eye-candy, in a well-preserved candy corn kind of way, but also served to raise the question: “Hey, where’s Cheech’s wife?” They could have put a box of pop tarts in a chair along with a Yoko Ono soundtrack and no one would have noticed, really.

One confusing set of participants were Penn and Teller. Not known for comedy as much as magic, Teller apparently tossed the rabbit in favor of pulling a bong out of his ass. Even the jokes made at their expense by the other roasters barely got above the “you guys are gay” level. Putting those two in this forum was like putting the Olsen Twins in Snoop Dogg’s “Girls Gone Wild.” Yeah, you can hear Snoop now:” Aw, HELL naw! Somebody rub those skinny bitches together and make me a fire so I can light this blunt.”

Greg Giraldo would have had more laughs if he quit trying to yell a joke like a carnival barker. Seriously, dude, Sam Kinison still owns that gig, dead or not, so there’s no need to wake him up. The surprise of the evening was Andy Dick on good behavior. For once, his routine was topical and not rabid, proof positive that Cheech and Chong really do bring the “good stuff”. Steve Carrell, meanwhile, was self-serving and someone you WISHED would get stoned enough to see the banality of his entire shtick outside of “The Office”. But, at least he was recognizable….Wilmer “Who Dat” Valderrama from “That 70’s Show” appeared to be either in the middle of an image make-over from hell, or an episode of Ashton Kutcher’s “Punk’d”.

Host Brad “Please-Kill-Me” Garrett was serviceable in his role and sufficiently large as not to invite TOO many jokes at his expense. He had some good lines, but it was all too plain to see that without his “’Till Death” co-star Joely Fisher’s ubiquitous knockers to act as his straight men, his timing was waaaay off. I suppose in lieu of Fisher’s boobs, Penn and Teller could have sat in since their act is starting to sag with age anyway.

But the surprise of the evening was the nonchalant manner in which Cheech and Chong dispassionately endured this menagerie of schlock without killing each other. Sometimes resembling two men preparing to enter the Thunderdome, it wasn’t difficult to discern the absence of camaraderie between these two newly “reunited” stoner icons. Tommy Chong was not only the more glib of the former duo, but also the most restrained. Doing time will do that to you. Cheech, on the other hand, looked bored with the entire spectacle, simply going through the motions for the free advertising. A successful TV series will do that to you. He was lucky he didn’t get shanked. Needless to say, if the chemistry between these two doesn’t improve, not only is Dave not here, he won’t be coming back.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Righteous Kill: Reviewed by A Guy Who Never Even Saw the Flick

I don’t know what the big deal is with all the hype surrounding the pairing of these two former screen tough guys. Both were pretty young when they were in the “Godfather II” together, long before they developed the kind of bad habits that landed them in a film like this. They generated marginally more heat than two wet sticks being rubbed together when they appeared in “Heat”, but this time, they couldn’t even get a fire going with a BIC lighter and a gallon of gasoline. I could see this ending coming a mile away…and I didn’t even SEE the flick. But, I’ve seen the trailers, listened to the voice-overs and recall the catch phrase: “Some people respect the law, but everyone respects the gun.” Yeah, well nobody respects a rip-off.

What we have here are two jaded, veteran actors playing two jaded, veteran cops who just won’t retire. Sound familiar? Well, it should, and if you insert original names like “Turk” and “Rooster”, you’ve got a regurgitated script that tries to pass itself off as original. The plot? Well, I don’t know if you can really call it a “plot”, but the premise is Turk is under investigation for going all Death-Wish-Charles- Bronson-Style on some street scum that have escaped the justice system. Meanwhile, Rooster is misdirecting the audience under the guise of backing up his long-time partner. But, you can see the butler did it before you’re halfway through this Robitussin fueled thriller. At first I thought it was Curtis Jackson a.k.a. 50 Cent, but they didn’t use give him near enough to do in this flick for that to be the case. So by the process of elimination, it became obvious the real shooter was…aw, come on, you already know.

I love these guys, but rather than being dragged through a by-the-numbers plot, punctuated by standard misdirection and false leads, I think I’d rather watch one of their old flicks instead. If you can imagine what a botched up mess a script for “A Taxi Driver Named Serpico” would have been back in the 70’s, do not walk, but RUN away from any theater showing this unholy union. We’re not talking “The Usual Suspects” here, and after the “Dark Knight”, you couldn’t destroy enough sets for this movie to jack up our endorphins past, “mundane”. I suppose at the end, you could discover that Turk was really dead, or that Soylent Green was people, but somehow I doubt it. Not only do I not know whodunit, but I don’t give a f**k. That’s why I didn’t even bother to see the flick. Still, I give it two bug-squishing thumbs down on general principle and the remote possibility that it might contain scenes of nudity involving one or both of the stars. And that just ain’t right.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

OPRAH DEFIES BOYCOTT: Reviewed By A Guy Who's Never Even Watched Oprah

The Florida Federation of Republican women plan on boycotting the Oprah Winfrey show for refusing to have Sarah Palin on her show until after the election. Already a pariah for supporting Obama over Hillary during the primaries, Oprah finds her female fan-base rapidly diminishing. Consequently, Oprah has plans to replace her core demographics with male viewers.

When asked how she intends to attract men to her afternoon show, the television Queen smiled demurely and said, “I have a couple of ideas that have been bouncing around. I asked myself what men want to see and I plopped a couple of those ideas on the table. One or two may fall out of favor with a handful of women, but I’m sure the men will continue to tune in. I think they’ll be pleased when they see the hefty set of issues I’ve got for them.”

When asked if he intended to start watching Oprah, one male remarked, “Well I have to say she made a couple of huge points with me. I never watched Oprah before, but given her unabashed support for Obama plus a very nice pair of humanitarian projects, I’m more than willing to give her a chance.”

Some women’s groups see Oprah as pandering to her male fan-base, which is ironic considering she is being boycotted for NOT pandering to them. However they point to Oprah’s association with a political action group called Barack Obama and Oprah Block Sarah (BOOBS) as the undermining force behind the ostracizing of Sarah Palin. But a BOOBS spokesman read from a prepared statement. “Oprah Winfrey overcame tremendous challenges to become one of the most successful women ever in the world of media. Her charitable projects are too numerous to list. To boycott her show for refusal to have Sarah Palin as a guest will ring as hollow as the boycott she endured for not having rappers on her show. Until Rush Limbaugh consents to have Ice Cube on to discuss his NWA days, we will consider Oprah’s refusal to be politically bullied something we can relate to.”

The BOOBS spokesman hoped that as a confident, liberated woman with a great sense of humor, the ultra-wealthy Ms. Winfrey wouldn't have him hunted down and killed like the others who have displeased the Queen. He added that Oprah is an icon, not only among women but all people. The fact that she has a nice pair of howitzers just makes her “all that and a bag of chips.”

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Star Wars: The Clown Wars. Reviewed by A Guy Who Didn’t Even See the Flick (But Heard About it in Line at the Dairy Queen)

At first, I thought I’d unintentionally walked in on an advertisement for animation courses being given at the community college. Later I was wishing I had, because the writing would have probably been better. It begs the question, just how much freaking money does Lucas need before he’ll stop this madness? Not only was Lucas’ depiction of the Clown Wars factually incorrect, it also took great liberties with Anakin’s first padawan Ahsoka Tano.

As we all know, Ahsoka Tano disappeared mysteriously mid-way through the Clown Wars, leaving behind only a bucket of confetti and a Oogah Horn. The only verbal account of the circumstances surrounding her disappearance was a gibberish filled diatribe by a clearly intoxicated Yoda shortly afterwards where he expresses the opinion, “Snotty, unfunny little twit she was.”

For those of you that not familiar with the Star Wars mythos, this animated subcutaneous lesion takes place between “Attack of the Clowns’ and “Revenge of the Syphilis.” A trade war has broken out between the Republic and the Trade Federation, severely curtailing shipment of over-sized shoes and small clown cars to Count Dooku’s breakaway republic.

Throwing billons of pissed off clowns out of jobs is a sure formula for anarchy, so Dooku takes action by kidnapping his arch-enemy Jabba The Hutt’s son. As Dooku lies in wait, the storyline bogs down while Obi Wan and Anakin play a game of “What’s that smell", frequently checking their shoes to determine the source of that Stinky odor. They discover about halfway through this septic system of a plot that it’s the writing!

Furthermore, Lucas tried to pay homage to everything and everyone in this flick. A scene reminiscent of “Brokeback Mountain” was designed to show us how close Anakin and Obi Wan had become over the years, but the intimacy of that scene falls flat after Yoda staggers in drunk, with a holo-recorder. Obviously, Lucas has no reverence for his characters, preferring to prostitute them shamelessly for a quick buck.

Although the scene of Anakin and Obi Wan trying to infiltrate Dooku’s stronghold disguised as clowns and walking in on a mime convention was hilarious, it still never rose to the level of Hans Solo’s, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” They did use that same line countless times, including during the film credits at the beginning the film, however it seemed to lose its effect after a while. Other lame attempts at humor such as, “I smell Dooku,” and the retort, “Well, I didn’t step in it,” left a lot to be desired.

The Clown Wars shamelessly rips off other animated documentaries chronicling the cosmic clown conflict, such as “Tripping the Rift” and “Futurama”…but I usually like that in a film. All in all, I felt this film was simply an hour and half long advertisement for the animated television series coming this fall. While I do not expect it to last the entire three-year run of the actual Clown War, it may find a niche in a time-slot opposite “Lost”. Otherwise, unless the actors lose their “big heads” and the director lets Samuel L. Jackson’s character cuss up a storm, this series has about as much chance as an Ewok in Wookietown.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Coming Attractions of a Flick I Probably Won’t See

Oh great. Another horror flick.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

"Meet Dave": Reviewed By A Guy Who Never Even Saw the Flick

Famed vampire hunter Gabriel Van Helsing has come out of retirement to end Eddie Murphy’s reign of terror at the box office. It was revealed this week that Eddie Murphy, humanely "put down" shortly after the release of "Norbit" last year, has been mysteriously reanimated and is continuing to make movies. In declining comedic health since his near-fatal accident with "Pluto Nash", Murphy freakishly returns like a zombie in search of brains in "Meet Dave". Paying subtle homage to "Weekend at Bernie’s", Murphy shuns the sophomoric, manual corpse manipulation for more sophisticated "tiny human technology" using Dave as a vehicle to elicit more laughs than a celebrity picking up a transvestite.

Joining Mike Myers’ still-born brain-child, "The Love Guru" and Adam Sandler’s messed up "Don’t Mess with the Zohan", Murphy’s latest offering proves that there’s still plenty of room at the bottom for former SNL cast members. "There’s obviously an expiration date on post-SNL success", said David "The Shill" Spade, whose cinema career only marginally exceeds Murphy’s latest marriage. However, Martin "Will-Work-For-Food" Short, currently working on an Ed Grimly script, still believes "you can do it" if you purge yourself of absolutely all shame. Fortunately, as Van Helsing’s crossbow bolt to Short’s chest suggests, some dark secrets are best left unknown.

Even dead, Murphy still shuns singular roles and deftly plays a human sized ship as well as its captain. Bug-eyed and jerky, Murphy digs deep and brings his undead experiences to the screen for mobs of zombie fans, still looking for brains but failing to find them here. Wandering aimlessly from theater to theater, most eventually gorged themselves at "Iron Man". But genetically prone to over-eating and sluggish digestive systems, the multitudes of undead soon required a laxative and were observed later at "Sex in the City." In an interview last week, Van Helsing emphasized that part of the reason he came out of retirement was prevent, "movie hacks of the night from ruling cinema. Ooooo, look Angelina Jolie!" he exclaimed as he loaded his crossbow.

Part of the promotional gimmick for "Meet Dave" included a giant head resembling Murphy parked in Times Square. But according to director Brian Robbins, "That’s the REAL SIZE of Murphy’s head…maybe a little smaller, really." Some have suggested they bury the head at a cross-roads in hope of stopping Murphy’s self-destructive, living-dead movie making career. "Maybe he can finally rest in peace," said Chris Rock, direct recipient of Murphy’s early 80’s stand-up comedy style. "If I ever become a cinema zombie like that, somebody just shoot me," said the star of "I Think I Love My Wife". Rock’s funeral will be Thursday.