Wednesday, December 30, 2009

So I woke up in some blood...

But it turns out it was only mine so everything was okay. I'm not sure exactly what happened; I put on Mutant Chronicles pretty late and next thing I know, Rob is barking at me for grossing up the floor. Which is outrageous; if you'd seen our apartment recently you'd understand. Suffice it to say, it is somewhat overdue for its monthly scrape.

Mutant Chronicles was considerably worse than I anticipated, and this is coming from a guy who not only went to see Doomsday but also owns it on DVD and will fight anybody WITH HIS FISTS WHICH ARE ALSO MY FISTS to safeguard its reputation. This movie can't decide what it wants to be: does it want to be a low-budget straight-to-DVD action romp, as indicated by its 100% blue-screened effects and spaztastic cuts during action scenes? Or does it want to be a big Hollywood "effects-driven event film," as indicated by its hiring of Jon Malkovich for a single scene? I don't really know the answer. Here's what I do know: this movie is now my official Jon Malkovich Conversation Starter.

What does that mean, exactly? Imagine you run into a famous celebrity on the street or at an airport. What is your reaction going to be? I'll tell you what it's gonna be: you're going to do a cartoonish double-take as you realize who that person is, and then you'll hesitate as you ask yourself "Should I talk to him? What should I say?" And then you'll either say nothing, or just gush and say you think that person is awesome and would they sign this napkin for you? The point is, you'll be unprepared and you'll look like a jackass. But if you keep an internal data bank of Celebrity Conversation Starters, you'll never be in this awkward position again! Let me tell a story that illustrates my point:

Last year, I was down in L.A. for BlizzCon with my friend Tim (not you, Tim. The other Tim.) I do this because I have a really great life full of exciting prospects. We went to lunch with a friend in Santa Monica. While looking for a quality restaurant, we rounded a corner and I almost literally bumped into His Imperial Majesty the Governator of SkyNet and California, Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger. I had to take a quick step to avoid the collision (which, let's be honest, probably would have killed me). He was out with his wife, the frigid and terrifying Maria Shriver. A number of thoughts rushed through my head and I will attempt to piece them back together in the order they arrived:
1. "Holy shit that's Arnold Schwarzenegger."
2. "Really? He looks too short." (This was a rookie mistake. Everyone in Hollywood is short as hell. I expected "short as hell" for Ahhnold to mean 6'3". In fact, he was maybe 5'10" in shoes.)
3. "Oh God that's his wife. Avoid her gaze!"
4. "Shit, what do I say? 'Afternoon, Governor?'"
5. "Awww they're gone, what a waste."

That's right, I ran into King Conan of Cimmeria and his gorgon bride and I blew the opportunity. As I munched my Subway foot-long minutes later (GOOD THING WE LOOKED FOR A RESTAURANT FOR 20 FUCKING MINUTES) I knew I'd blown it. When you meet a celebrity, particularly a movie star, you need to immediately reference as many of his embarassing career moments as you possibly can. I shouldn't have mumbled "Afternoon, Governor." I should have yelled, "You need to let off some STEAM!" "Let's kick some ICE!" "What is best in life: To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you and to hear the lamentations of their women!" I bet Maria would have loved that last one.

So that's the idea: whenever you see a truly embarrassing moment by a Hollywood actor, you need to tuck it away in your brain so you can use it to start a conversation in the event that you ever meet him. Because of Mutant Chronicles, I will always be ready for Jon Malkovich. I won't even yell lines from the movie, because honestly he doesn't have a single memorable line. It's the performance I'm interested in: a singularly wretched mail-in that really has to be seen to be believed. I'd ask him, "At what point did you realize this movie was beyond your help? If the deal was for three scenes as opposed to one, would you have still done it? Were the odd looks you and your co-stars exchanged in that one scene 'Holy shit we need to get out of this project ASAP' looks?" It's hard to really criticize Malkovich for being bad in one scene when Tom Jane and Ron Perlman shit it up for two hours, but this guy was in Burn After Reading! I'm supposed to believe his "pauses in dialogue = acting" farce? When I finally come face-to-face with Jon Malkovich on Judgment Day, I will talk Mutant Chronicles and only Mutant Chronicles. Honestly, unless he's going to put the blood back into my ears and eyes--that works, right? If blood comes out of somewhere, you can just pour it back in?--he owes me.

I will say that this movie broke some new ground. I personally have never seen so many people stabbed in the head in a single scene, let alone over the course of an entire film. Understand, the movie's titular mutants are just extras with makeup. They run around in fog (there is always fog in any "mutant" scene) and stab other extras in the head. They have big plastic claws, but it looks like the studio ran out of money so everyone only got one claw. This reminds me of high school, where in Biology class we never had enough money for gloves and every student only got one. The key to success in the dissection unit was finding a partner who was so grossed out that she'd let you use her glove. See, Adrian, I used the pronoun "she" so nobody will know that I'm really talking about your pansy ass. It's our secret.

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