Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Stupidity Barrier.

2005, France
Roselyne Bosch

Well, the French are at it again. The Lumiere Brothers helped give birth to the motion picture as we know it through travelogues and the first narrative films, and the French New Wave helped nurture the art form through its troubled adolescence. And, now that film is entering its golden age, France is trying to smother it in its own fecal matter to avoid paying the nursing home fees. France has produced nothing but crap in the last two decades of film history, and movies like Animal are not going to change that. I never once in my life thought that I would hope a film I was watching would turn into a Rob Schneider vehicle, but no more than ten minutes into this one I was praying for Rob to show his bushy hobbit face and change this into a sequel to his irritating 2001 comedy of the same name. I realize that would entail sitting through a painful half hour set-up to a punch-line in which Schneider sniffs a woman’s rear end to the amusement of nobody except the black guy in the back row with pants that have the logos for all the Eastern Conference NBA teams sewn into them, but I was ready for it. You know the guy I mean, by the way. He checks his cell phone every ten minutes or so for text messages, like the annoying blue light from the display screen is on a magic wavelength only he can see, and he snaps his fingers every time someone on-screen makes a joke involving either flatulence or erections. He either always goes to the theatre alone, or is so frightened of being seen in public with another man that he makes his friends go see movies in different cinemas. I’ve named him Tyrell, but it might be Duane’ron.

Now also available with the faces of the Wu-Tang clan in stitched bas-relief.

Animal, the Schneider-free one, is a thriller that manages to borrow a half dozen clichés from stupid American movies, but mangles them up pretty badly by the time they make it on-screen, like when your ex-roommates borrow your Mondo Cane Limited Edition Box Set and return it with what appear to be coffee rings on some of the discs, as if they were using Africa Addio as a coaster while playing Halo until 5 a.m. The film revolves around a PhD student at a European university, who believes he has discovered the chemicals that drive men to murder, and has created an antidote which promises to end violence, promote world peace, and render the exponential replication of CSI spin-offs thankfully redundant. In order to test his drug, he must visit the cell of a serial killer, and have said killer walk around him in a circle saying all kinds of dramatic things while the camera spins around slowly, presumably trying to dizzy us into forgetting that we’ve seen Silence of the Lambs already. When that fails, the grad student scientist injects the killer with the cure, while dosing himself with the reverse-engineered murder-virus, in a dramatic example of what to do if you want to re-make Face-Off but don’t have the budget for any special-effects scenes. Why he does this ridiculous thing is unclear. Perhaps in Europe, thesis dissertations have to follow a strict three-act structure, complete with turning points and weakly conceived plot conceits. Regardless, things quickly go from bad to worse, both in regards to the story and the film, which features some of the most atrocious acting this side of Saved By The Bell.

The original Slater was killed in a fist fight with Screech over the Stanislavski Method.

The worst offender comes in the form of the film’s lead, Andreas Wilson. For some strange reason, despite its French origin, the film is shot in English, which of course leads to the inevitable question as to why they would chose to cast a Swede as the main character. I don’t have anything against the Swedes, though ABBA was almost enough to cross them off my ‘do not cleanse’ list for when I become President, but I can’t understand what they’re saying, even when they’re trying to speak English. And believe me, this movie’s weak script and heavy-handed direction are enough to make it suck with out me struggling to piece together dialogue that was already lame and wounded before being mangled by some Norseman with delusions of pronunciation. I suppose the French can’t be blamed for this, however. As usual, they’re just following the lead of the Americans, who have pioneered the use of inappropriate accents. The highlight of this practice has to be Highlander, my favourite immortal swordsman movie, in which a barely comprehensible Frenchman plays a Scot, and a thickly brogued Scotsman who plays an Arab raised in Spain. Of course, it has some stiff competition, like the IRA hordes of Macedonian soldiers in Alexander, or the fact that, according to Gladiator, Romans all sounded like Eton-educated ponces. Well, I suppose it’s better than the alternative, especially in this film, which would have everyone speaking French, a language that makes everything sound like an obscene sex-toy. Which is not something I’d like to hear Rob Schneider say.


Blogger Jerk Of All Trades 2.0 said...

Dude, Duane'ron goes to the movies with his homies.
They just have to sit in different rows with at lease two seat between them.

AH, the stinky French, with there "zhoo zjoo zhoo" language and their ability to fold like a house of cards during wars.
If it weren't for my love of wine they'd be completely useless to me......wait....I forgot, I HATE wine.


9:47 a.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

Yeah, I love how Duane'ron and his homies do that. It just means they have to speak louder when they tell each other what's happening on screen.

The worst part about the French is their haircuts. We get a lot of Frenchmen where I live, and they all have hair like David Spade. But their language is sugnificantly more pleasant than Quebecois, which is to French what Ebonics is to English.

10:08 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laetitia Casta !

10:38 a.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

Good point. They also have that dead porn star, Karen Bach, with the chin cleft like Gerard Depardieu's nose.

10:46 a.m.  
Blogger gretchkal said...

"Animal, the Schneider-free one, is a thriller that manages to borrow a half dozen clichés from stupid American movies, but mangles them up pretty badly by the time they make it on-screen, like when your ex-roommates borrow your Mondo Cane Limited Edition Box Set and return it with what appear to be coffee rings on some of the discs, like they were using Africa Addio as a coaster while playing Halo until 5 a.m. "

ash, this is the longest sentence i have ever read. i had to take a break half way through.

1:30 p.m.  
Blogger gretchkal said...

and btw, i love the french language. not necessarily the frech, but i love the language. aaahh, je l'adore ... that said, i have to agree that everything said in french tends to sound like it's sexual.

1:37 p.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

Hey, don't blame me, blame my jackass ex-roommates.

Et moi, j'aime le francais aussi, mais l'anglais est ma langue prefere, parce-que il y'a plus de profanite comique.

1:50 p.m.  
Blogger Sam Kahn said...

I haven't seen enough recent French films to agree, but very funny review. Good stuff.

6:57 p.m.  
Anonymous Je Suis said...

This is horrible. You appear to have made a terrible error in your review. You inadvertently slammed Saved By The Bell. That's okay. I know it was a mistake, and you're forgiven. Have a nice week-end.

7:14 p.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

The real test of mettle regards your feelings concerning Ready or Not re-runs.

10:09 a.m.  
Blogger Swedish Girl said...

My pet hate when it comes to movie accents is the Captain Corelli syndrome. You know what I mean - the film is set in some exotic, non-Anglophone location. Like France, or Indiana. And then the actors all speak English anyway.
Well, fair enough - if they spoke their own language, people like Ash Karreau would just get sexually frustrated.

BUT why do they have to speak English with a foreign accent?? I can just about make the leap of imagination that in this film, English = French. But why is broken English = French?

Yes, yes, we're foreigners. We speak funny. But - this will be hard to believe - we don't actually have accents in our own languages.


Uy, long post - sorry - esp. since Ash won't be able to understand it.

8:46 a.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

I have no idea why they do that. Like, if I hear Harrison Ford speaking in a bad Slavic accent, I'm going to all of sudden believe I can magically understand Russian? Or is it to indicate that foreigners have poor grammar. Anyway, if you're Swedish, I need you to get me Quorthon from Bathory's autograph. I don't care that he's dead.

10:20 a.m.  
Blogger Swedish Girl said...

Attans också, my window for communicating with the dead was yesterday (Halloween).

I suppose this means I can't get hold of the squiggly wee marks with which Quorthon would probably identify himself!

Who is Quorthon, by the way?

12:47 p.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

What? What do you mean, who is Quorthon? Aren't you Swedish? He's only the genius behind Bathory, the band that single handedly started the black metal movement, Scandanavia's biggest cultural export. I'm pretty sure that he wrote Sweden's national anthem, which if I'm not mistaken is 'Satan, My Master'.

6:14 p.m.  
Blogger Swedish Girl said...

Oh right.

THAT Quorthon.

Glad to see that you like Scandinavian music. May I also point you in the direction of the gentle troubadour Jens Lekman, who sings lines like "I'm not a political fighter, And I don't even have a cigarette lighter"?

4:46 a.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

Yeah, I've heard his stuff. Didn't he do Sacrifice, with that charming lyric "I summoned up the living dead and demons in the skies
I drank from chalice warm and red
and watched the virgin die

Present at ungodly births in holy paradise I spread eternal dark on earth And raped mother of Christ
(Oh, mother of Christ)"?

Wait. No. That was Quorthon again. Sorry.

9:04 a.m.  
Anonymous the mean spirited virgin said...


2:32 p.m.  
Anonymous the mean spirited virgin said...

you bloody lucky bastard.

6:35 p.m.  

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