R.I.P.D. - uhhhhhggggg
Premise: I was at a cottage in Michigan for the last several days with no TV and limited internet, and then one night it started raining (a lot), so I looked up the local theater to see what was playing. The menacing storm had managed to even infiltrate my phone's Fandango app, as R.I.P.D. was the only movie showing anywhere close to what time it was. That's not really a premise description, but more so just an explanation as to how I came to watch this movie that I wasn't all that excited to see in the first place. Besides, describing a rainy day is a lot more interesting than anything R.I.P.D has to offer.
-I think I chuckled three times during the movie. Once legitimately at a weird joke at the end of the movie where the lady from Weeds bites Jeff Bridges goatee, and he says "She billy-goated me!" Like, it was so out of left field that it actually got a genuine chuckle from me. Then the other two times were for small jokes that were so painfully stupid that I couldn't help but give pity chuckles. I laughed just because I felt bad for everyone involved.
-The Dude is *not* good in this movie, but I will admit Jeff Bridges is slightly interesting to watch in both a "why is he in this movie again?" kind of way and a "what is that accent supposed to be?" kind of way. It was more fun to think about Jeff Bridges' thought process while filming this movie, than it was paying attention to the movie itself.
-It's pretty remarkable that a film in development for so many years could have such a bad script. People have been reading this screenplay for a long time, and nobody has ever questioned anything about it? I can understand it slipping through the cracks if it were a cheap little movie that the studio plopped out, but this is a $130 million film wide-released in July. Why can't they just hire a guy like me to read scripts before they actually get made into movies, and kindly let them know that the story is going to be terrible? I want that job.
-I couldn't tell if this was supposed to be a comedy or an action film. Because they rarely blended the two genres, but merely put a comedy scene next to an action scene. It's a tonally stupid movie.
-The cinematography and editing are both awful as well. This is especially apparent in the big drug bust action scene in the beginning. We are literally looking out of Ryan Reynold's character's eyes with a gun in front of him as the camera looks around corners, hides, then looks back and shoots. It was a crappy shoot-em up arcade game. It was Time Crisis.
-The special effects were insanely bad. They looked worse than Ang Lee's Hulk special effects. And I'm talking about the mutant poodle part. All of the deados (what a dumb name to call them, by the way) had terrible character design, too. If you have to compare this to Men in Black (which I'll keep to a minimum, since that would be too generous a comparison), it's like taking all of the fun designs for the aliens, then having a bad high school artist redesign them all while high, and then only render the 3D models 75% complete in post production. There are video games out right now made for significantly less money that look 10x better than the CG in this movie.
-On that note, CGI Kevin Bacon KIND OF looks like Kevin Bacon, but looks just enough NOT like Kevin Bacon that it became slightly off-putting.
-Oh, you didn't know? Kevin Bacon is totally in this movie...! He was in 0% of the marketing. He plays THE MAIN VILLAIN. Since when did Kevin Bacon become someone who marketing tries to avoid like the plague?
-One last Bacon Bit (ha!), his character is built up halfway through the movie as this ULTIMATE dead guy; like his dead powers are so great that he needs to wear ancient protection just to keep his dead powers from destroying buildings simply from standing in them. Then it turns out later that he has no powers greater or worse than any other dead guy, and he can simply be killed with a gun. Well, a ghost killing gun. But it's a standard issue ghost killing gun.
-The hell-raising device that will bring the apocalypse to Earth that the deados are building can be stopped by dropping a tractor on it and smashing it. How thrilling.
-The ghosts show their "true deado form" by being exposed to Indian food. Why this happens is never explained. I think they wanted that to be a quirky joke, but it was uncomically confusing the first time, and just plain peculiar by the time at the end of the movie when the bad guy is sniffing cumin like cocaine to unleash his undead power.
-I think a lot of the jokes may have been funnier in the comic book (that I haven't read). That's just my guess. But then they were killed by poor comedic timing when it crossed over onto the silver screen.
-Ryan Reynold's was completely phoning in everything about this movie. He couldn't have had less charisma. I realize that he probably realized that he was in a terrible movie, as he was making it, but he was just awful in this. Bad enough that it made me question his already not-amazing acting skills even more. How many chances is this guy going to get to be the lead in a good movie?
-Sadly, the only showing was also in 3D, which was bad as usual, and it jacked up the ticket prices. We should have just stayed at the cottage and went to sleep early...
Final Thoughts: There was a woman two rows in front of us who was quiet the entire first half of the movie, then slowly started laughing more and more after the halfway point, finally culminating in tear-inducing, bent over cackles by the end of the film. She was losing her s*** at the dumbest, most obvious jokes in the third act. My only theory is that she took a slow acting drug right before the movie started and it didn't kick in until about an hour into it. I think she had the right idea. This is a clear front-runner for worst film of the year.
2 out of 10
But it's the last film starring the incredible character actor James Hong. Was HE any good in it?
"...To truly hock a loogie, one must retrieve the phlegm, not from the throat...
...but from the SOUL."
He's actually not dead, that was a hoax:
But yeah, he did good in his 2 minutes in the movie. If anything, you mentioning him gives me an excuse to post this Seinfeld clip:
Okay, if we're going down THIS road, James Hong's greatest role, indeed, one of the greatest roles in cinema history, is David Lo Pan in
BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA
...which also features the best role ever for the great, and unfortunately ACTUALLY dead, Victor Wong. Add those guys to Kurt Russell, John Carpenter directing a script by WD Richter (Buckaroo Bonzai) - magic.
Alas, a crappier trailer than the intentionally cheesy movie deserves, but still, a couple of nice shots of Hong in a couple of VERY different costume and makeup combinations. This really was a special role, and he played it to the full comic hilt. Makes me sorry that he's had so few turns in the spotlight.
Back to Dennis Farina in That Old Feeling, that also deserved a better trailer. This is a classic "tells 90% of the story" trailer, and still less Dennis than the movie actually has...but some idea of what he's up to - sweet, funny, sexy, and...well, since it's directed by Carl Reiner, it's also really, really loud, and really, really broad.
Alas, just one complete clip that I've found, and verrrry Carl Reiner.
Again, a classic French farce kind of movie, but I don't know that it's ever been done with stars this age. I'd also forgotten that it was written by Leslie Dixon, whose next script was Thomas Crowne, which also featured a very nice element of mature-ish attraction.
While closer to her scripts for Mrs. Doubtfire and Overboard, it's better than either of those, and overall still worth seeing for Dennis, on his own and for his fun with Bette.
Wikileaks just posted this transcript of the discussion that took place the Monday after RIPD opened to a dismal $13 million
(names have been obscured to protect the guilty, and also because I don't recognize any of them except director Robert Schwentke (Flightplan, Red, The Time Traveler's Wife (3 solid movies)))
Studio Exec 1
Bob (producer), I just looked at Variety, and RIPD is a piece of trash. Why didn't anyone tell me sooner?
Well, um you see, we umm, well, we hired the writers from Clash of the Titans, so I don't know where we went wrong. Didn't you see the movie already?
Are you kidding me? I'm the head of a major studio...I don't go to the movies! Marcia, get the director on the horn.
I've got Mr Schwentke on 2.
Hey, I shot the heck out of the script, hired great actors and...
Great actors? Who, The Dude? Who's the young kid? Bryan Reynolds?
Ryan Reynolds. He tested good against Jeff, but he's simply not as funny on playback. That movie with Sandra Bullock was funny.
That's because Sandra Friggin Bullock is a funny actress. You could put a bag of potatoes in a movie with Bullock and it would be funny. Hell, let's greelight that today and call it A Potato Love Story starring Sandra Bullock and a 10 pound sack of Yukon Golds. I'd see that in the theater in 2D!
Yeah about that. I never saw the 3D version. We locked picture without any effects and the whole thing was burned to disk and shipped overseas for conversion.
Why would anyone want to see a 3D movie? The purpose of 3D is to raise ticket prices.
Listen, let's write this off. We'll bring on the writers who did Lone Ranger and fast track this potato movie. I hear Sandra is looking for something different.
Great. Hire a director without a track record. We can't risk it.
this is where the transcript ends.
I'm sure that is just how it went.