9 February 2011

So The Butterfly Effect Was... Interesting…

This contains spoilers. Just letting you know.

Just to get this out of the way at the beginning- I don’t like Ashton Kutcher. In all honesty, I don’t entirely know what he is. I mean, I’m pretty sure he’s human... and I think we can safely say that he’s male but as soon as you get to any description more specific than that, then things start becoming a little hazy. The things that I know he’s done are few; present the T.V. show Punk’d, act in a few shitty films and marry Bruce Willis’s ex-wife. I’m going to assume that he’d say that he is an actor, but bearing in mind that pretty much everything he’s been in is shit, this seems like a bit of an exaggeration.

He’s kind of like a retarded version of Keanu Reeves, only less likable. You know that bit in the Matrix where they shove that cable into the back of Neo’s head for the first time and he’s suddenly plugged into the system? Well imagine if rather than plugging him in, that cable just pierces his brain and leaves him half dead in his chair. As far as I can tell, that is basically what Ashton Kutcher is.

However, Kutcher’s lack of a soul or any acting ability isn’t quite the worst thing about The Butterfly Effect. I think it’s biggest fault is really just how stupid it is. For a start, try and think of those poor fucking kids in the film. I mean how much can really can wrong in one child’s life? By the time they’re in their teens, they’ve already been abused by their paedo Dad, blown someone up, and set a dog on fire. I mean what the fuck is wrong with the kid that does that? Does he not know he’s in a movie? As far as movies go, you never kill a dog. It’s just not done. I mean, Jesus Christ! Could he not just have killed something else that we don’t care about, instead? Like- I dunno… a baby!? Oh no wait hang on he does do that as well. What a fucking psycho.

We need to understand what these kids are going through- whether it be horror, terror, fear or whatever. So the way the story goes about this, is by having the most extreme circumstances take place. One kid needs to be 'bad' so, okay, lets have him kill a dog. We need the kids to experience something horrible so lets have them get abused. Oh, and also we need them to arse around a little and have that go wrong. So what do they do? They play with dynamite and blow up a mother and her new born child. In my humble opinion, this all just seems too extreme for any one person to have legitimately gone through. It’s all just way too manipulative (with regards to the audience). It has absolutely no subtlety to it and is just taking the easy path by twisting the viewers' emotions.

Once the whole time-travel thing starts, things just get a little too out of control. Kutcher just can’t let things be okay, they have to be perfect. So he keeps going back in time to 'fix' something, only to fuck it up even more. Over and over again this happens, with him never learning his lesson. He doesn’t stop to think that maybe he should just accept how things have turned out and let life take its course. Obviously if he had just left things alone, the film wouldn’t be quite as interesting, but there's generally no logic to what he’s changing in the past. He doesn't think things through before he travels to try and make it fool-proof. He just grabs his books, starts reading and hopes for the best. How his actions might change the future is literally just a lucky dip. If this film had any sense of humour they would have had a scene were he gets back to a perfect world and then donuts start raining from the sky. I mean, if you are going to steal your film's plot from The Simpsons then you may as well steal some of their jokes as well.

My next point isn’t really going to go anywhere, but regarding things being perfect, Kutcher did almost have it at one point. He was going out with the girl he loves and he was fairly popular. This all ends however when the girlfriend's brother turns up and attacks them. Kutcher disarms the guy, restrains him and the police are just around the corner. Despite all this however, what Kutcher decides to do next is cave the fucker's head in with a baseball bat and end himself up in prison. Bye-bye perfect world. Not only is that the stupidest thing ever, but whilst he’s in prison, we’re meant to sympathise with him. It’s like, 'I don’t think so, mate. You destroyed a guy's head with a bat. You deserve to be in that rape-cage. You weren’t framed, or anything like that- you actually killed another human man. Now, get into the cell and shut the fuck up.'

Anyway, so now we get to the end of the film, when its stupidity reaches its greatest heights. Kutcher wakes up in a mental home and we’re told that everything that has happened so far has been in his head. All of it was made up just to help him get over the death of the girl he loves. This is sort of fair enough, I suppose. A little bit clich├ęd, but I’ll go along with it on the grounds that it’s nice for there to suddenly be a little bit of ambiguity. Unfortunately, this leads him into going back in time to when he was in his mum's womb. Here, he uses his own umbilical cord to strangle himself.

After this act of self abortion, we’re given a little montage of everyone else growing up to have happy lives. When watching this, I was struck by two thoughts. One was of how interesting this idea was... the concept that one person's existence, no matter how good they may be, will always cause others misery. Not particularly due to their actions, but rather of how those around them react to their presence. The other thought was: 'what the fuck is going on? Why is that baby committing suicide inside the womb with its own umbilical cord? This is both fucking ridiculous and hilarious'. If it was me making this film, I’d have had that baby die by eating himself alive. It would just be this deeply intense scene were all of the doctors crowd around the monitor and watch the baby chowing down on its own head, whilst simultaneously shitting out apologies. Let’s face it- if you're going to go as stupid as they did, you may as well go so far that you might accidentally get praised for being intentionally surreal.

In conclusion, the film is so stupid that its stupidity was a far bigger fault than having Ashton Kutcher in it- which is saying something. If you want to see something like this but better, check out that Simpsons episode, or if you want to make life easy, Donnie Darko. Everything that is right about Donnie Darko is basically what has gone wrong with this film. Probably could have just said that at the start of this really, and saved myself about an hour typing it. Oh well... never mind.

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5 February 2011

Jackass 2: Moron Propaganda

Just seen the second Jackass movie, and for some reason... I’m a little shocked. I’ve not really seen that much of Jackass in the past but I’d always assumed it wasn’t my kind of thing. It just looked like a bunch of retards intentionally hurting themselves to make a bit of money.  Having now seen the second film I think I can confirm that I was right. It is literally one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen. How those guys have the brain power to move their limbs in order to hurt themselves is quite surprising really. Just when you thought they couldn’t get any more moronic they managed to out-do themselves. The way they laugh at each other and the way they laugh at things such as the existence of the fart, the more you kind of wonder if our species really is the most intelligent thing on this planet. The infantile level of humour makes it seem like a group of out-of-control mentally disabled children have grabbed a camera and decided to record what they get up to in their unintentionally gained adult bodies.

To call it a 'movie' as well, is false advertising. It’s not a 'movie' in any way whatsoever. It’s just a series of sketches prolonged over the running time of an average film. Having never seen it, I can’t be sure for definite, but I’m going to guess it’s exactly the same as the TV show, but a bit longer.

Despite all that though, it’s still fucking funny as hell. I don’t think there was one thing in there that didn’t make me laugh. Everything from people being hit in the face as they ring a doorbell to the dodge-the-bull see-saw. The taxi/terrorist sketch, as well, was amazing. With the amount of twists and turns in it, watching it unfold was like watching the Ocean's Eleven of practical jokes.

Maybe it’s not a movie, but I don’t care. It's more like a cross between the best behind-the-scenes documentary with the best blooper reel. I’d rather see that on the big screen than so many other pieces of shit that make it up there. Mamma Mia may have made a lot of money but that doesn’t stop it being bloody awful. Not only that, but this is funnier than most films as well. I laughed a hell of a lot more during Jackass 2 than I did during anything by Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider or those fuckers who keep making those shitty spoof films like Disaster Movie.

The people in Jackass are idiots- there’s no denying it. The things that they do are not in anyway the actions of normal, sane, non-brain damaged people... but in a way they are also a kind of genius. The pranks that they dream of are so far-fetched that they are borderline surreal. I don’t know if what they do should be classified as art but if it is then they are completely dedicated to it which is something that should, to some degree, be respected. The thing as well, is that as Jackass 2 went on, I found myself starting to like them. They just came across as mischievous which makes a nice change to all the maliciousness out there today in comedy. They seemed to genuinely like each other and at least they were enjoying themselves. When any one person was being sick or bleeding, there was at least five or six people checking they were okay whilst pissing themselves laughing. I guess it’s true that laughter is infectious.

They might be doing this for money but they’re also doing it for another reason- because they want to. Because of this, Jackass 2 is also surprisingly uplifting. They might be stupid, but they can’t be in anyway accused of being pretentious or anything like that. They’re just out there somewhere in the world making a kind of You’ve Been Framed for adults- and I’m glad. It was nice to just watch a group of guys with a few loose wires and a great sense of humour. Now it’s time for some catch up. I’ve got another few Jackass films and several series to get through and I can’t wait to get to know these guys a little better...

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