Roger and Me (1989)

Michael Moore uncovers the sad truth about whom I dated in high school.It’s easy to forget that, once upon a time, all the talking heads dismissed Michael Moore as a “comedian.” God only knows why. There are very few ha-ha moments in Roger & Me…unless the slow, painful death of a community strikes you funny.

On September 16, 1908, philanthropist William Durant opened the first General Motors plant in Flint, Michigan. With seventy-two years experience in ol’ fashioned, American car making, the company realized record- breaking profits in the the 1980s. It did this, in part, by closing eleven plants in Flint, leaving thirty thousand factory workers suddenly unemployed. The company considered this savings on labor-cost a profit, but it became death blow to the city of Flint, which entered a financial nosedive which it has not climbed out of to date. All attempts to revive the area have failed miserably. Today, Flint is as much an urban wasteland as anything this side of Detroit, South Africa, or Afghanistan. If you’d like a sneak peak at America’s future, hop a flight to Michigan…and bring some spare change for the guy standing on the highway with a cardboard sign. WILL WORK FOR FOOD. {More}

Alien (1979)

"Hi-ya! Howyadoin?"
“Hi-ya! Howyadoin?”

There are three films, more so than any other, that typify modern genre cinema. Ken Begg calls them “template” films, and while that’s a darn good phrase it falls short of describing the true end result of Hollywood’s slavish corpse eating. I hear “template” and I think of this massive assembly line, stamping its slow way to entropy. But the creative process isn’t quite like that. If it were, there’d be a lot more good movies out there.

Instead, for twenty years we’ve drowned in a seemingly endless barrage of rip-offs, plagiarisms, and bastardizations. It’s almost like a virus latched on to hundreds (if not thousands) of creative minds, churning out volumes of absolute shite that then go on to spread and mutate, each time loosing just a little bit more of what made the template what it was to begin with.

Alien is one of those movies you hate to review, but can’t bare to leave unmentioned, in favor of its dismal progeny. You fall into a cycle of Jesus, what could I possibly say about this that hasn’t been said? But that didn’t stop Dubbya, and look where he is now. I hope this will be interesting. Or at least functional. {More}

X2: X-Men United (2003)

"Well...are you coming?"
" coming? You do have a movie to star in, you know?"

I went into this farce with no expectations.  In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m a natural pessimist. So much of a pessimist I was prepared to write X2 off completely, like all the idiots I criticize for the blatant hypocrisy inherent in their dismissal “comic book movies.” Then the maintenance man comes by at nine in the morning, screwing my sleep schedule all to hell. And he tells me I should see this movie. It apparently “kicked serious ass.”

So off I go to Target. Twenty minutes, two cigs and one neutered anti-theft device later, I returned the proud (if ambivalent) owner of X2, second in what will no doubt be the epic superhero movie trilogy to end all epic superhero movie trilogies. For, like, ever.

As if. I say “ambivalent” whenever I’m faced with something like this…like almost any movie from the summer of ’03…with one notable exception…something that makes me feel anything but united. I love glitz and glamor as much as the next Red Blooded American Male, but I’m getting mighty tired of leaving a movie feeling hollow and gypped. After all, didn’t they used to make movies with something more than a few hundred million dollars of special effects? Something that engaged its audience? That challenged us? Was that just a dream? I swear they were still doing it a few years ago… {More}