Monday, December 19, 2005


1. Rollerball (2002)

I used to waste time arguing over what I considered to be the worst film ever made, but when I saw “Rollerball,” my life got easier. There is not one single moment of this entire movie that makes any semblance of sense, be it in terms of story, appearance, or worst-dialogue-ever-written-having. Here’s the dill. Chris Klein is a star hockey player coaxed into moving to eastern Europe to play Rollerball, a sport where, as far as I gathered, the object is to put a steel ball (why are balls in the future metal? Re: “Starship Troopers”) through some Aztec hoop while on rollerblades and some players are on motorcycles and people don’t get penalized for killing each other. The mastermind behind this is Jean Reno, whose all-encompassing accent allows him to count as Russian (as long as he’s shady), who dreams of getting his ultra-violent sport on North American cable, because people certainly wouldn’t be horrified by constant on-field deaths as long as the sport was also completely unfollowable. Compounding this chaos is the fact that the movie was edited by a cartoon samurai who threw the reel into the air and diced it up real fast with his sword, but the technical failures of this film could fill a whole other dissertation, so let’s concentrate on the plo (I just can’t in good conscience call it a “plot”). Reno tracks the sport’s popularity with a futuristic “instant ratings” system; as Roger Ebert puts it, “Whenever something tremendously exciting happens during a game, the rating immediately goes up. This means that people who were not watching somehow sensed they had just missed something amazing, and responded by tuning in.” For the climactic final game, Reno declares “all rules are off,” which I guess is referring to some offsides rule, seeing as murder had always been legal, but furthermore, who the hell would want to play this game anyway? If you could make $6 million as a star US hockey player, would you really rather move to Indeterminate-Soviet-Place and make $8 million in a sport you’ve never played where people get decapitated regularly? Klein scores one goal at the beginning of the final game, the crowd cheers, and the game instantly devolves into people killing each other with bladed motorcycles, then Klien triumphs by killing Reno and some other evil dude with a machine gun (is murder illegal anywhere in the future??) The ending is mercifully abrupt, albeit even more jaw-dropping than the preceding action scenes; Rebecca Romijin (whose ten minute apology to the audience got cut in the film’s final edit) makes a winking pass at Klien about spending the night together, Rob Zombie shouts “Yeah, my Durango!!!”, blackout, this song kicks up, credits, audience standing-O, Oscar nods come rolling in.

One final anecdote to close off this list: When promoting “Deliver Us From Eva,” “Rollerball” co-star LL Cool J was on "Conan" and claimed, “This new movie’s really good, and I mean actually good, cause sometimes you shoot a film then see it afterwards and you know you’re going to have to go on tv and lie to promote it.” Conan responded, “Wait, so you’re saying you’ve sat in that chair and lied to the American people?” To which LL Cool J simply replied, “Rollerball sucked, Conan. It sucked.”

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


This is a new feature on Internet Follies where I will review the definitive list of the greatest movies ever made. This ain't your AFI's Top 100.

Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach

The 5th, and best, movie in the Police Academy (PA) series premiered in 1988 to little fanfare. It would take over a decade and thousands of afternoon airings on HBO to cement its status as one of the greatest movies ever created. To the casual fan, Assignment: Miami Beach was just another installment in a tired franchise. No one made a sequel Citizen Kane but thats because Police Academy is better. It took them 5 movies to achieve perfection.

Of course the film maintains some classic dogmas of the series: Tackleberry loves guns, Jones will confuse people with sound effects, Capt. Harris is a dick, Callahan has huge tits, and Hooks will be required to scream through a megaphone at some point, etc. Hey why fix something that ain't broken? But first time PA director Alan Meyerson had the audacity to alter one element that was essential to the previous four films. The infamous Sgt. Mahoney (Steve Guttenberg) would not be making the trip to Miami.

He was replaced by Sgt. Nick Lassard (Matt McCoy), the Commodant's nephew. It doesn't matter that the character was essentially the same person as Mahoney. Some may argue that Guttenberg terminated his involvement in the PA franchise because at this point he had a "career". I, however, think that PA got rid of the Gut (pronounced goot). This was an enormous risk. Casablanca without Rick? Meyerson stuck his neck out and created a masterpiece.

The plot is pretty simple and unimportant. Cmndt. Lassard is retiring and being honored as the "Police Chief of the Decade" at a convention in Miami. Lassard invites the whole force along with him. While at the baggage check in Miami, Lassard accidentally picks up the wrong bag. This wrong bag is full of stolen diamonds! The criminals have a whale of a time trying to sneakily switch their bags back. This movie has more plot contrivances and pratfalls than a Moliere! Frustrated with this unexpected difficulty, the criminals reach the only logical solution. They kidnap the most prominent police officer in the city of Miami! This ignites a madcap series of events that ends up in the Everglades on air boats. The Cmdt. is saved, the criminals brought to justice, and there is a graduation type of awards ceremony at the end. This isn't the one with the hot air balloon though.


4. Tackleberry scares an enormous great white shark away with only a hand gun, as he says one of the greatest quotes in the history of cinema: "Leave the swimming area NOW, mister."
-This is rivalled by the time he shoots the smiley face when engaged in a bullet shooting competition in the inferior PA 6.

3. Replacement Guttenberg character Nick Lassard writes DORK on Harris' chest in sunscreen while he is asleep on the beach. Harris being the dick he is doesn't realize this and walks around the beach for awhile and has no idea why everyone is referring to him as a DORK, including the mayor of Miami himself!

2. Cmdnt. Lassard thinks the kidnappers are actually policeman practicing a kidnapping simulation! Though they are incredibly inept at kidnapping, Lassard provides them with incredibly helpful tips that help evade the police that are actually trying to save him. This makes the rescue attempt incredibly complicated. But hey it wouldn't be a PA movie if it was easy. If they were real cops, the Chicago fires would still be burning and the South would still be segregated.

1. PA 5 Assignment: Miami Beach is the first motion picture to use sound.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


2. Batman & Robin

I’ve heard people defend “Batman and Robin” by calling it an attempt at a pure realization of a comic book on the screen, a claim which caused the comic to reply “Whoa, hey, do not mention my name, I want no part of this.” Even so, the movies “Casper” and “Richie Rich” were also based on comic books, and dumber comic books, and John Larroquette was in one, and they weren’t half as inexcusable as the fourth Batman film (more like Joel P-U-Macher, am I right?) For starters, the movie opens with Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) stealing a diamond by having goons in skates slap the diamond around with hockey sticks instead of just grabbing it, and suddenly, there's a tidal wave and Batman & Robin are surfing on disc things. The movie’s two villains are respectively motivated by possibly the two greatest overreactions in cinematic history; Mr. Freeze’s wife is suffering from a mysterious disease so he vows to freeze the entire world, while the half-plant Poison Ivy—who comes to be when a shelf of neon chemicals with dry ice in them falls on her—decides she wants to clear the earth for plants by killing ALL LIVING ANIMALS. Ivy’s only power is pink dust that makes people jealous about loving her (this ain’t exactly Thanos these heroes are going up against), but she does employ the freakish Bane (David Boston) to aid her grassroots campaign against all life. How bad is the dialogue? Bear in mind, The Simpsons used “Ice to see you” as an exaggeratedly bad Schwarzenegger one-liner three years before this movie actually made Arnold say “Chill out,” “Cool off,” “The iceman cometh!” “You’re not sending me to the cooler!” and the topper, “What killed the dinosaurs? The ice age!”, a delicious combination of shitty writing and ecological speculation. I won’t ramble on any further, except to mention that Arnold does freeze the entire city then gets defeated and the city’s instantly fine, but I will tell you what you already knew: this movie’s plot has more holes than a porcupine’s leotard. Yes, I’m running out of these.

Monday, December 05, 2005


3. Judge Dredd

That’s right, back-to-back Stallone, and if you’ve seen “Judge Dredd,” you know it’s warranted. Stallone plays the titular character, one Joseph Dredd (a judge, no less), the most respected seat in a legal system which, because it’s the future, is inexplicably restructured to be like some mystical Roman senate. The roving judges are “Judge, jury, and executioner in one,” because the future justice system has been based on concise taglines rather than moral principles and logic. Cities also don’t have names anymore; the film takes place in Mega City One, a crammed collection of monolithic space-buildings and streets full of constant riots, cause people are pissed off that it’s the future and are showing it by attacking cars on their own blocks. So what happens? Check this. Joey D gets framed for murder and is found guilty because the gun used in the crime is a special “judge gun” programmed to read the DNA of the gunholder’s hand and if it doesn’t match Dredd’s DNA, it blows their hand off. The perfect crime?? Well it turns out, the one who framed him, corrupt rival Armand Assante, is Dredd’s CLONED BROTHER, so he has the same DNA. He managed to pick up a judge gun at a black market which has judge guns, and he also acquires a giant gold robot, and for the rest of the movie no one notices or cares that Assante has this giant fucking robot walking around with him, even though it’s the only robot in the movie. Fortunately, Dredd escapes from prison with help of Supporting Actor nominee Rob Schneider, and gets his revenge on Assante (that’ll teach him to get a role in anything ever!) to the tune of the one-liner “court is adjourned.” You betcha, this plot’s got more holes than a Whack-a-Mole game full of “Caddyshack” gophers.

Sunday, December 04, 2005


4. Demolition Man

“Demolition Man” provides a gripping glimpse into a dystopian future (that word means “retarded,” right?) where a government made up of one old cleric dude has created a perfect society where guns, swearing, and meat have been outlawed. Shockingly, some people are upset by these rules (in the year 2032, so the world’s going to change and get used to that change in 25 years) and now live underground and are led by Dennis Leary, who doesn’t so much lead them as complain about how difficult it is to order in a Starbucks. Enter John Spartan (Sly Stallone)—is he based on John the Savage from “Brave New World,” you literate movie makers?—whose crass 1990s customs baffle the people of the future, much as people nowadays have absolutely no idea what occurred in the 1970s. Stallone is brought in to battle Simon Phoenix (Blade), a killer from the past hired by cleric dude to kill the revolutionary Leary, cause he smokes and doesn’t care who cares that he smokes! Cleric-o didn’t think too far ahead, cause Phoenix kills him, and Stallone and Sandra Bullock—whose character is named Lenina Huxley, a combination of a character from and the author of “Brave New World”… look at you, you do know books exist!!!—track him to a museum where they each acquire dozens of loaded, ready-to-fire guns in the “Steal Guns From the Past” exhibit. Cleric later invites Stallone to dinner at Taco Bell, which (I’m not making this up) is the ONLY restaurant in the future; lots of movies have product shots, this one’s a fucking product A-bomb. Stallone wins by freezing Snipes, kicking his head off, and quipping “heads up!” even though they’re the only two people in the room and Snipes is frozen, but that's the least of the anyone’s concerns. My biggest concern, however, is that unlike futuristic flops like “Timecop” and the more obscure “XChange,” “Demolition Man” doesn’t have the decency to throw you some nude scenes to distract you from the fact that its plot has more holes than a kitchen sponge receiving acupuncture.

Friday, December 02, 2005


5. Anaconda

Though its special effects may be special in the same way the Special Olympics are special, 1997’s “Anaconda” has enough script problems to make a snake vomit its prey and consume it again, which is something snakes actually do (this fact displayed on screen is the first thing that occurs in the movie). Jennifer Lopez, Owen Wilson, and a host of superb imdb links comprise a cast of documentary filmmakers who are shooting a film about the native peoples of Snake, a country in Southerner Centrally America. Along the way, they pick up veteran of being grizzled Shades McBackstabb (Jon Voight) from the town of Vagueaccent—birthplace of Ariana Huffington—who calmly imparts onto the crew his wisdom that everything they do near the river will kill them, and also a bunch of giant neon snakes live there. Like all species of animals (i.e., Jaws, the bear from “The Edge,” Bunnicula, etc.) these anacondas constantly attack everything, eating not for sustenance but because they are consciously evil, in addition to being the fakest goddamn things this side of ED-209. Almost every line in this movie is treacherously funny, from the part where a wasp gets stuck Eric Stoltz's snorkel to the part where Wilson betrays the group and decides to hunt anacondas to rake in them big anaconda-huntin’ bucks. To borrow a classic hip hop phrase, my Andaconda don’t want none unless you got plotholes, Hon, and this plot's got more holes than a Tommy-gunned piece of Swiss cheese.