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All reviews - Movies (2)

Havoc review

Posted : 1 month, 4 weeks ago on 19 January 2018 10:53 (A review of Havoc)

it stars Anne Hathaway and Bijou Phillips, and also Rico from Six Feet Under, it never saw a theatrical release. It was screened at some film festivals, and was picked up for DVD distribution, and it is bad, but this is not one of those situations where rules are made to be broken. The reasoning behind the theatrical release requirement for Hunt nominees is that in order for something to truly be terrible, it has to have the capacity to affect the culture. It’s expressly the mistaken idea that a bad movie is worthy of your 11 dollars, that it can compete in the marketplace, that it deserves an audience, that takes it from your standard bargain bin cult movie disasterpiece to genuine The Worst territory. What I’m trying to say is who cares how bad a movie is if no one sees it? Trees shitting in the woods and stuff. That being said, Havoc seems to have slipped through the cracks. It was written by Academy Award-winner Stephen Gaghan. The director, Barbara Kopple, has two Oscars. And Anne Hathaway shows her tits in the movie. THREE TIMES. So, although we’re all on the same page–my page–that this movie is by our own definition–my definition–out of the running for the Grand Prize, let’s talk about it, because yikes.

Havoc is about rich white kids from the Palisades who love hip hop so much that they talk like Poser Mobile and get together in parking lots on the beach to pick fights with poor Hispanic kids, because thug life. One night Anne Hathaway and her boyfriend and also Bijou Phillips drive to East LA to buy drugs from some real life gang members, and Anne Hathaway’s boyfriend pees his pants, literally, and then Anne Hathaway falls in love with Rico from Six Feet Under because he has a ponytail. So then she starts hanging out with real life gang members, because that happens, and one night her and Bijou Phillips decide that they want to become part of the gang. The way to become part of the gang is you have to roll a die and whatever number you roll is the number of guys you have to have sex with, and Bijou Phillips rolls whatever number you have to roll to get gang raped. Then Anne Hathaway decides that she doesn’t want to be in the gang anymore and she goes back to being a rich white kid from the Palisades. Bijou Phillips has a little bit of a rougher time of it, because of the whole getting gang raped thing.

The movie makes sure that you understand how complex the characters are by including the conceit of a high school kid shooting a documentary about Anne Hathaway, because that way she can just actually spell it all out for you: r-i-c-h-k-i-d-s- a-r-e-l-o-n-e-l-y-a-n-d-l-o-v-e-i-m-p-r-o-v:

Aw, maybe if her parents loved her they would pay for acting classes. Look, Anne Hathaway has really carved out a niche for herself with movies like The Princess Diaries and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, but listening to her speak “gangsta” for an hour and a half is The Unbearable Diaries. More than that, it’s embarrassing. It’s so bad that you stop feeling bad for Anne Hathaway, and move on to feeling bad for the loved ones of Anne Hathaway, who had to try and think of something nice to say to her.

Havoc obviously wishes it was Kids, but the problem with wishing that you were Kids is that Kids isn’t really that good of a movie in the first place, so what does that say about a subpar Kids? Both are filled with After-School Special caliber messages about parental neglect, although what sets Havoc apart is the fact that the parents don’t actually seem neglectful. They’re smart and tan and rich, and while they’re two-dimensionally unhappy, because every middle-aged wealthy parent in a movie about Los Angeles is “unhappy,” they actually seem to care about their kids and want to do right by them. This could be an interesting commentary on how kids grow up so fast these days that it doesn’t matter how good of a parent you are, they’ll still be left to navigate very adult dangers all on their own, but it’s not an interesting commentary on that. It just seems poorly thought out. And boring. Are we really supposed to believe that anyone actually keeps a list like this on their refrigerator?

But despite the heavy-handedness of the movie’s morality, and Anne Hathaway’s dialog, and the deeply flawed attempts at showing what life was really like on the mean streets of East LA, things don’t get really bad (and really weird) until after Bijou Phillips gets gang-raped. Because Anne Hathaway, the film’s protagonist, the film’s “heroine,” claims that Bijou Phillips wasn’t gang-raped because she asked to be in the gang, and those are the rules. It’s like the old saying goes: “if someone rolls dice, it’s never gang rape.” (What?) At first it’s like, huh, OK, that’s kind of weird, because your friend did just get gang-raped, so you’re kind of being a dick about this, but then the movie just keeps pushing on this point, and Anne Hathaway never backs down from her position, going so far as to tell Bijou Phillips’s parents that the reason she won’t help Bijou by testifying to the police is because Bijou Phillips basically asked to get triple-penetration gang-raped by rolling dice so its her fault. Her fault! But to make things more complicated, when Anne Hathaway tells Bijou Phillips’s parents that it was her idea to get gang-raped in the first place so that makes it not a gang-rape, Bijou Phillips gets really upset, as if her plot has been foiled? And Anne Hathaway is like “I’m sorry about letting everyone know you love being gang raped, but we should always be honest,” and Bijou Phillips is like “I want to kill myself because of how right you are about it being my idea to get gang-raped,” and suddenly it’s all just like UM, WHAT?

Speaking of what, what is it with Stephen Gaghan movies and the depiction of upper-middle class white teenagers’ casual experimentation with crack?

To be fair, though, the movie is doomed from the beginning, because the first line of the whole thing is Anne Hathaway saying “So you want to know about life in the Palisades?” And the answer to that is “no,” but they never give us time to answer.

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Spread review

Posted : 7 months ago on 19 August 2017 04:56 (A review of Spread)

How much money does Ashton Kutcher have? Is it ALL of the money? He’s got to at least have most of it, right? I mean, That ’70s Show is still popular in syndication, there was Dude Where’s My Car?, which I think some people must have liked OK, and he both produced and starred in PUNK’D, which despite anything else you might say about it, was a very big hit. Then there are those really stupid Nikon ads where he is, like, stealing cameras out of women’s purses in hotel lobbies and taking pictures of his dick or whatever. (LOL?) On top of all that, of course, there is the weekly allowance that Demi Moore gives him after he’s finished his chores. The point is, Ashton Kutcher has lots of money. So when trying to come up with a reason for why on Earth he (or anyone else, really) would star in the movie Spread, it feels like money can’t be the motivating factor. Besides, the movie looks like it was pretty cheap to make, so I’m not even sure BIG BUCKS was an option. So clearly something else is at work here. My guess: Ashton Kutcher lost a bet. Or maybe it was a dare. “I dare you to make Spread.” “Oh, you are on, son!” (In my head, Ashton Kutcher ends most sentences with the word “son,” even when he is talking to his mom, or his wife who is as old as his mom.) Whether or not it’s true that Ashton Kutcher starred in Spread because he lost a bet, it certainly feels true. It kind of feels like we ALL lost a bet on this one.

Spread is about a very handsome young man named Nikki living in Los Angeles. We know this because the very first line of the movie is an Ashton Kutcher voice over explaining that he is very handsome and lives in Los Angeles. This sort of sets up the narrative development of the rest of the movie. If the writers/director thought it was important information for you to have, someone will just say it to you directly with zero subtlety so that you don’t get confuzed. Anyway, Ashton Kutcher moved to Los Angeles to live in beautiful mansions and drive fancy cars and sleep with models, again, all of this explained in voice over, and now he is doing that, he says, but you get the feeling that something’s weird about it. He says it weird, you know? Well, what is weird about it is that Nikki is actually homeless and broke, so the way that he lives in beautiful mansions and drives fancy cars and sleeps with models is by preying on wealthy women and fucking his way into their stuff. Uh oh! I’ve already got some problems with the basic logical tenets holding together the plot of this movie!

Anyway, he has recently stopped sleeping with one wealthy woman in order to live in her mansion, so now he needs to find another wealthy woman and sleep with her in order to live in her mansion. There is this one club that he goes to regularly that is just filled with beautiful, wealthy women who very much want to sleep with someone and pay for their clothes? Is this a real club? Where is this club? Ashton Kutcher sees Anne Heche and is like “Bingo!” Two minutes later, he is fucking Anne Heche in the ass while she's wanking his dick into her face. And when I say fucking I mean FUCKING. This movie is very graphic! Children, leave the room! The adults are watching a terrible movie that even you would find plenty of fault with in terms of the emotional reality and the plausibility of some of the dramatic developments. And did I told you there were a lot of sex scenes in this? Because there's A WHOLE FUCKING LOT. Like for instance,
2 minutes after Ashton Kutcher and Anne Heche meet, she sucks his dick.Then he fucks her very hardcore in bed, in a theatre and in a shover. And Jesus Christ, that's the beggining. An hardcore anal sex scene, a threesome blowjob including a cumshot, masturbating in a dinner... And Heche is old enough to be Kutcher's mother! I'm surprised this movie didn't got an NC-17 rating. Actually, this movie should be banned from downright pornography and incest sex. So, where was I again? Oh, right, after full five minutes of anal fucking Anne Heche, he has apparently moved into Anne Heche’s incredible mansion. Sure. I mean, the idea of a very wealthy, very powerful, independent woman trusting a stranger to just live in her multi-million dollar mansion in the Hollywood Hills immediately after making the initial poor decision of sleeping with him after meeting him at a club is very insulting to women and difficult to believe in general, but it’s clearly important to keep the story moving so sure. I mean, if Nikki doesn’t prove what he is capable of, then how will he ever meet his match?

Soon, he meets his match. She is a waitress at a diner. Oh, wait, before that we see what happens when Nikki meets a new woman. He moves in. He orders sandwiches on her credit card. And milk?

She takes him clothes shopping. Eventually, they are boyfriend and girlfriend, which honestly seems like more work than just actually doing work, but anyway, she invites him to come with her to New York, but he says he can’t, so she lets him live in her mansion alone? This guy she does not know at all? Cool lady. Definitely deserves to own nice things. Nikki, in classic Nikki fashion, throws a giant party while she’s gone in order to…trick other women…into sleeping with him…in exchange for more sandwiches and glasses of milk or something? Anyway, that’s basically what Nikki is about. Sandwiches and milk and blowjobs and fucking asses. (AND WHO ISN’T?!) But then, like I said, he meets his match.

She is a young waitress at a diner who is NOT impressed with his flirting. So, in order to win her over, he writes his number on his check and then…leaves the diner without paying?! And eventually she comes to his house angrily to get the 9 dollars or whatever? No. This is the part where the movie really starts flying off the rails because even though everything else was unbelievable and stupid, it was all within the world of mansions and Hermes, and who really knows what goes on in there, but I know for a fact that a waitress making minimum wage who is unimpressed by your flirting is definitely NOT going to find it cute when you run out on the bill you stupid piece of shit, that is what she is going to call you, a stupid piece of shit, and you will never see her again, but if you do, she will murder you. Anyway, Nikki eventually wins a date with her (before the food arrives, he is going on this loud rant about CAMP DAVID?) but she is playing very hard to get and also she drives a Porsche even though she is a waitress at a diner, and eventually it will turn out that she is basically the female version of Nikki, but she will actually have to tell him this to his face, he will never figure it out on his own.

Oh brother. Meanwhile, in case you have forgotten, he is still having VERY GRAPHIC SEX with Anne Heche (?!) CONSTANTLY. A foursome in a pool, fucking while driving a car and having phone sex at a meeting. Geez man, don't you think that's a little too much? And this is actually the director's cut. I don't know all off this was at the theatrical cut because I have no idea why all of those scenes are in the movie. I don't want to see Anne Heche get fucked by 3 guys! And the director of the movie made the excellent Hell or High Water later, so... WTF?!

Eventually, Nikki breaks up with Anne Heche who really lets him have it for all of the ways in which he has been analing her (yeah, that's a word spoken in the movie), even though if you think about it they have both been analing each other (don’t bother thinking about it). But Nikki doesn’t have anywhere to go! Oh no! There is this long montage where he is just wandering the streets of Los Angeles, trying to sell his Prada shoes at a thrift store, and having a melt down, and it is very confusing because I thought his whole thing was that he was constantly just moving from one woman to the next because that’s how he stays off the streets? So why is he so surprised to be homeless when in reality he has been homeless the whole time? Surely this can’t be the first time he’s had it a little rough? Very very confusing. I would say something like “strike 2!” or “STRIKE 3 YER OUT!” but honestly at this point we just have to play this game through until the end.

Oh, I have not even mentioned that Nikki has a friend, Harry, played by the dude who played Carter Baizen on Gossip Girl, and that this is hilarious because if you will recall, what Nikki does is move from one predatory relationship with a beautiful rich woman to another, without ever having any money or mailing address, but he just has a friend? Who we’re supposed to think is, like, a pretty regular, cool enough dude with a good head on his shoulders who just happens to be friends with a nightmare male prostitute? What? What is this friendship? Do they gchat every day? What’s going on here? If one of my friends started doing even the most basic of Nikki’s behaviors (fucking Anne Heche from behind) I would block them on Facebook.

Later, Nikki founds Emily, the girl who litteraly said this: "We know each other Nikki, I'm the first person who shaved your balls, you're the first guy who took my virginity and fucked me in the ass..." Jesus! Anyway, Emily doesn't let Nikki into her home because she's fucking a girl now! Yay...

So, Heather catches Nikki turning tricks with a woman at a hotel pool (fingering her under a towel I’m not joking what is this movie?) for a sandwich and a glass of milk (no joke).

Now they are best friends and now they are sex friends and now they are in love.

He moves in with her. They team up and turn tricks with wealthy people together for awhile. But now they are thinking about giving up the life all together, maybe. One morning, Heather gets a package from DHL (cool product placement!) filled with rose petals and Nikki comes out on the porch to find her crying. She explains that she’s going to break up with her fiance. Wait, she has a fiance? Yes, she is engaged to THE OWNER OF THE NEW YORK RANGERS HAHAHHA WHAT IS UUUUUUUPPPPPPP?! Nikki is angry that she had a fiance, but she explains that she is going to break it off because she is in love with Nikki now. For some reason, he gets mad about this and storms off? Oy. When he comes back (after a half hour) she has gone to New York to figure things out. Stuff happens. Don’t worry about it. There are 15 minutes that I think are supposed to be funny? Like a comedy? Where Nikki, like, rallies his troops to help him win Heather, and they get him a cheap engagement ring and drive him to the airport and are like “GOOD LUCK, BUDDY!” It’s a really weird 15 minutes because it shows that someone seems to think this is a romantic comedy and it’s not a romantic comedy. Anyway, he goes to New York to get Heather back, but she is living in a mansion now and she is like “you shouldn’t have come here,” and he tries to explain to her that they are in love and they shouldn’t be together, at which point she says: “You’re a dreamer, and it scares me.” Is he? IS HE A DREAMER? Please, Heather, in what way is your male prostitute boyfriend with one earring and a frayed backpack a DREAMER? Again, he urges her to come back with him, at which point she lays out the movie’s whole philosophy. “What are we going to do?” she asks. “Get an apartment? They’ll want first and last month plus security deposit. That’s five grand. Where are we going to get five grand? Be realistic!” So, just to explain what is happening here, life is made up of two options: either you have enough money for the security deposit on an apartment, or you have to trick the owner of the New York Rangers into marrying you. Those are the only options.

It would be worth pointing out that they already HAVE AN APARTMENT back in Los Angeles, where they were JUST LIVING TOGETHER two minutes ago, but just kidding, why would that be worth pointing out? No, it’s worthless. Ding dong, it turns out Heather already married the dude. He walks in and Heather pretends that Nikki is the grocery delivery boy.

Awww. And I really wanted these two horrible characters who use sex to manipulate and rob people to stay together! So, Nikki goes back to Los Angeles and ACTUALLY BECOMES A GROCERY DELIVERY BOY (uhhhhhhhh) and then he feeds a mouse to a frog and the movie ends. Like, the end credits play over footage of a frog eating a mouse. That can’t be real? That is real.



Obviously, this movie makes no sense. But far more important is the question: who on Earth could possibly want this? A movie that features 45 solid minutes of Ashton Kutcher just analing, cunting and litteraly fucking Anne Heche? How did that pitch meeting go? “There are going to be 45 solid minutes of Ashton Kutcher just butt fucking Anne Heche.” “Who do I make this novelty sized check for 100 billion dollars out to?” It’s genuinely confusing. I cannot for the life of me imagine a single kind of person who would actually want this. I’m sure the original concept of the movie was basically OUR generation’s Midnight Cowboy, but a) no, and b) Midnight Cowboy isn’t actually that good, our generation probably doesn’t need its own?

The question of who could possibly have WANTED this movie looms large and unanswerable, but there are plenty of smaller questions that are equally impossible to answer. Like, how come when Nikki and Heather are eating a fancy dinner they can’t afford, and in order to get out of the bill, Nikki slips a piece of tinfoil in his mouth and then pretends like it was in the food, and then Heather says “Waiter, I don’t want to cause a scene, but there is garbage in his food, we’re leaving,” how come no one stops them? Because you can’t just do that? Like, maybe the restaurant will comp you a bottle of wine, or if you’re lucky, they might even comp your meal, if you’re lucky, but you can’t just say “we’re leaving” and walk out? How come all of this movie’s short cons revolve around skipping out on restaurant bills? And some of the questions I have already raised, like who is the “normal friend” of a “male prostitute”? What’s that all about? And how come Nikki is so completely dejected and miserable when he leaves Anne Heche’s house because he’s homeless when I thought the whole premise of the movie is that that is what he does? Why doesn’t he just get another Anne Heche?

Perhaps the answer to all of these questions are more simple than we think. Perhaps the answer to all of these questions is: who cares, this movie is very stupid and very very lazy. At one point, one of Nikki’s ex-girlfriends says “You’re a good person, Nikki, this [being a whore thing] can’t make you feel good.” Except, there is nothing that happens at any point in the whole movie that suggests he’s a good person. The only way we know he is a good person is because someone says it one time, without even bothering to give an explanation. Right. He’s a great person, I’m sure! (He is a despicable shithead.)

OF COURSE he reads USA Today.

To be fair (to the make believe character?) everyone in the movie is horrible. Nikki is obviously horrible, but so is Anne Heche, and so is Heather. What a clown car full of terrible monsters. But if everyone is horrible, and trust me, everyone is horrible, then you can’t actually care what happens to any of them, and we don’t. At the end of the movie, everyone is basically miserable. Now, this is one of the ways to end a movie, and one could even argue that it’s truer to life in the sense that a lot of times the guy doesn’t get the girl, or whatever, and things don’t end neatly with everyone getting married. The problem with this interpretation is that nothing in this movie is even remotely close to depicting real life, so the idea that a sad ending is somehow more truthful doesn’t really hold water. So, it’s just a sad collection of poorly imagined lies with a sad poorly imagined ending. Neat!

Let me tell you about this one part that is completely inconsequential but I think says a lot about Spread. At one point, Ashton Kutcher is in the hot tub at the mansion on his Bluetooth, the morning after he threw a rager. Anne Heche is in New York on business. Ashton is making calls, setting up dates with other women. Heather calls. They decide to go to dinner. As soon as she hangs up, it cuts back to Ashton Kutcher who rolls off a ledge and flops into the pool. What a life! But wait, wasn’t he wearing a Bluetooth headset two seconds ago? Yes. So he rolled into the pool with a Bluetooth earpiece in? No, he is visibly not wearing it when he rolls into the pool. Your honor, if it please the court:

Oh good. You wouldn’t want him to ruin it! But here is the point: when your movie, which is already pretty gross and stupid and entirely unrealistic, is willing to create continuity errors involving Bluetooth headsets, that’s a dealbreaker ladies. Jesus! Just fuck this movie. I hated it. HATED IT!!! Don't watch it, for the love of god, it's awful. Except if you like to watch an anal fucked Anne Heche, a talented actress which is old enough to be your mom, go ahead. You'll like it. But to everyone else, DON'T EVEN WATCH IT!!!! Just, please, don't.

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