8 October 2012

Mighty Joe Young And Old

If I had a chance to chat to my younger self, I would most probably warn him about certain events that have unfolded since my birth. One of the more prominent, easily-avoidable memories occurred at the local swimming pool. This one time I had goggles on and so could see everything under the water when I noticed a pound coin at the bottom. Excited, I swam down to grab it, dodging loose verrucas and mouldy plasters as I went. When it was within reach, I picked it up and then proudly examined my winnings. As I glanced at my newly gained loot I was surprised and disappointed to witness the coin completely dissolve away. It was at that point that I realised that it wasn't money that I'd had in my hand but was in fact a little tiny lump of shit. Somebody around me had taken a crap, shook out their shorts and then left it for me to find.

If I did have a time machine, not only would I stop myself from reaching for the abandoned turd but I'd stop myself going into the pool altogether. A second after that, I noticed a middle-aged woman in a white swimming costume. For a start I could clearly see the silhouette of her wiry, black pubes but worst of all was the obvious outline of her sanitary towel. Being male, I deliberately don't know too much about periods however, if I am sure of one thing it's that I don't want to be swimming around in a pool of lady-clot soup. What a disgusting fucking species we are.

The film Looper was released in 2012 and depicts a different use of time machines to my above suggestion. Beginning in 2044 the world has predictably turned to shit with the streets being full of tramps and whores. I don't actually think I saw any whores walking about but that's probably just because they were off working, quite rightly. Considering hobos and prostitutes are like the ‘his and hers’ of murder victims, no future dystopia could be without the complete set. At this point, time travel hasn't been invented yet which is fair enough... They currently can't make a fully working cock for trannies, so time travel in thirty-two years seems unlikely. However, in around 2077 the mob are using time machines to send people back three decades to be murdered by somebody waiting for them in the past. So the basic set-up is a bit like being driven blindfolded to Manchester and then stabbed to death in a grotty pub car-park.

Joseph Gorden-Levitt plays one of the assassins who waits for a victim to be beamed back from the future. He then shoots them, takes some silver strapped to their back and burns the body. If it wasn't for the chap getting his head turned inside out by a shotgun blast to the face, it would basically be a victimless crime. The assassins themselves are known as Loopers and live a comfortable lifestyle amongst the widespread poverty. Joseph Gorden-Levitt uses his money to drive fast cars, take drugs and chill with strippers, meaning that he's basically living the “Charlie Sheen lifestyle”. Oh and just for the sake of clarity, I can't be bothered typing out Joseph Gorden-Levitt anymore so from this point on he'll be known as 'JGL'. For other examples of celebrity short-hand, Robert Downey Jr is 'RDJ', Daniel Day Lewis is 'DDL' and Piers Morgan is 'that smug, slimy cunt with the punchable face'. I know that last one isn't shorter but it just makes me feel less sick than typing his actual name.

Anyway, JGL is a Looper living the highlife but with one big downside... He had to kill his older self but instead let him get away. People say that going to jail is brilliant with its free gym membership, room-service and en-suite shit-can. They make the place sound great until you get there and suddenly find yourself being arse-fucked into oblivion by an angry, gay, murderer. My point is that there's always a catch, and being a Looper is no exception. One day somebody will get sent back in time for you to kill and as usual you'll put a bullet in their fucking head. Instead of silver however their back will this time be lined with gold. This means your contract has been terminated, you've just killed your future self and now have thirty years left to enjoy your life. I guess that would sort of count as probably the second weirdest suicide since David Carradine tied up his own cock and then wanked himself to death in a wardrobe.

I should also mention that at some point between now and 2044 certain humans have begun to develop minor telekinetic powers. There's no explanation as to how this has happened but I reckon it's got to be a result of all our wireless technology slowly fucking with our brains. I spend so long with a laptop resting over my balls that if I'm not infertile by now then any child of mine will definitely be born with some sort of genetic mutation. I'm hoping that my offspring will have powers to save the world but knowing my luck it'll probably just end up with four arms and autism.

Looper is directed by Rian Johnson whose first feature film, Brick, is probably one of my all time favourites. Beyond his ability to tell a complicated story in an entertaining way, that movie deserves to get him credit for simply making school-life look pretty interesting. I think I was in education for about seventeen years and the only time that I was less than completely bored was the day a teacher came in having had botched botox injections in her lips. I don't know why she did it but if her aim was to make her mouth look like King Kong's arse hole then the operation was a great success. With this in mind, another movie by Rian Johnson was therefore something that I was particularly excited about.

Anyway so I guess the first thing that should be said about Looper is just how phenomenal JGL's performance is. It's a credit to his acting that despite him being the main character, it feels a lot more like a Bruce Willis film. Not because Willis steals his scenes particularly but because JGL's replication of his mannerisms are absolutely spot on. In fact, JGL is genuinely as believable here as the young Bruce Willis as the current Pope is with his portrayal of the young Emperor Palpatine. There's a cool scene in which JGL meets Willis in a cafe and we get to see the two performances brilliantly match up for the first time. It's during this encounter that JGL angrily tells his older self that his, “face is on backwards”. Bruce may be looking old but that's clearly an insult written for Mickey Rourke. The first time I watched The Wrestler it took me ten minutes to realise the mouldy, tenderised bit of beef on screen was the main character.

I've always thought that Willis plays two different types of character which is either 'himself' or 'not himself'. Meaning that he basically either plays a variation of John McClane or he plays the complete opposite of it. I guess 12 Monkeys would be an example of the complete opposite in which he spends half the film dribbling like John Travolta's arse-hole at a massage parlour, allegedly. However, interestingly, in Looper, we kind of get a mixture of both performances. For the most part, Willis's character is understandably subdued. Not only is his younger self trying to kill him but he's also been sent back in time after the death of his future wife. I guess that must be as confusing as waking up the next morning and realising you've just started a restaurant chain with Arnie and Stallone. I've never owned a restaurant but if I did, I'd hope my business partners weren't a giant Austrian pervert and a down-syndrome chimp with a plastic forehead.

This mellow performance led me to question why it was they decided Bruce Willis should play the older character. It's not that he wasn't good but I just wondered what he was bringing to the table that any other actor of his age couldn't. About three quarters in, I got my answer when Willis temporarily becomes John McClane again and massacres about twenty people in ten seconds. The only other two actors with the baggage to believably do that are ironically Willis's Planet Hollywood colleagues. However despite Arnie and Stallone's action background, the one minor thing that Willis has over them is his ability to perform language. I do love Arnie but there's no denying that at times his voice does sound like a gay lion having an orgasm. Whereas Willis here exudes a combination of masculinity and vulnerability, the best Stallone could have brought to the table is an ability to grunt audibly through his odd face, which is like the backend of a misshapen ball-sack.

In terms of inspiration, Looper appears to borrow from a wide range of movie influences. JGL swaggers around like a character from A Bout De Souffle and Willis starts massacring children like a cross between The Terminator and a slightly late Vera Drake. For a film set in the near future, it could easily slip into the world of Blade Runner so it was interesting to see that the second half of the movie  takes place almost entirely on a farm. There was this one time I tried to Google the character 'Beast' from X-men and found a link to a bestiality website by mistake. I didn't want to click on it but it felt too wrong not to and so I ended up watching several tense seconds of a woman in a stable sucking off a horse. It's a credit to the originality of Looper that prominent farmyard movies are so rare, the only other example of one that I could think of involved a slut deep-throating Seabiscuit. As odd as I found that animal porno to be, just think how weird it must be for Sarah Jessica Parker to know her parents filmed her conception.

It's on this farm that Looper appears to change influence again and starts to become a sort of rural Akira. I don't want to give too much away but there's a child here who is the definitive definition of, 'a tiny little bastard'. According to SuperNanny, a child should spend one minute on a naughty step for every year of their life to punish them for misbehaving. However here I think I'd recommend that the stroppy, toddling turd should be held face down in a swamp for ten minutes and repeatedly kicked up the arse until it dies. After the film, both me and a friend argued the toss about whether or not we'd have murdered the little twat given the opportunity. You know a film is good when its conclusion results in a casual discussion about the merits of infanticide.

There's always a risk with time travel movies that they won't make sense, will contain too many paradoxes or will point to distractingly obvious plot holes. A huge one for me would be The Butterfly Effect in which Ashton Kutcher time travels by reading a diary. Beyond the obvious stupidity of that plot, I just don't find it believable that Kutcher would own any literature more advanced than a pop up book, let alone write something. After seeing Looper, the good news is that here it doesn't really matter- Jeff Daniels tells us not to dwell on such things and ever since he got his tongue stuck to some ice in Dumb and Dumber, I've been a sucker for his wisdom and philosophies. I do have certain questions about Looper’s logic, but that just makes me want to go back and re-watch it to discover the answers.

If there is any issue then for me it would be regarding JGL's actions at the end. I won't ruin it but for me he did something which seemed a little out of character. However I've only seen it once and so it's probably my own fault for not picking up on certain signs or hints. This reminds me of a video I saw online in which you're asked to count how many times a group pass a ball between each other. Afterwards, the video then asks if you saw the gorilla that casually wondered into shot and gave a little wave. Most people are so busy counting, the ape goes past completely unnoticed. It's an interesting experiment with the bloke in the gorilla suit giving a far superior performance to anything Danny Dyer could even dream of. My point is that Looper is such a layered, brilliant film, I'm sure JGL's character acts perfectly appropriately. Though, because there's so much to take in on first viewing, I'll just have to find out how it does all completely work together next time. Either way, it makes a nice change to see an intelligent blockbuster that requires repeat viewing to fully get to grips with it. I saw The Fifth Element once and the only question I was left with was; ‘what the fuck is Chris Tucker’ and ‘why is it allowed to live?’

Anyway, so obviously I was quite a fan of the film Looper. I've been waffling for a while now and not even mentioned everything from the great script to the performance by Emily Blunt. There are too few decent roles for women in cinema at the minute and so Blunt's complex but sympathetic character was also a refreshing change. I always find it odd that good female roles are rare as not only can women act but I prefer looking at the boobs on them to those on most male actors. Although having said that, I've noticed Val Kilmer has a cracking pair of titties on him these days so I guess it's all just swings and roundabouts. Either way I can't recommend this film enough to anybody. As movies go, it’s definitely one for the brain and contains the only bit of advice you'll ever need to know to survive the future; “Go to China”. Whilst I've got the chance, I'd like to pledge my allegiance to the Chinese government and ask them to simply show me mercy when they eventually decide to strike. So Zài Jiàn and Xie xie motherfuckers!

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