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This film is part Natural Born Killers, part Falling Down, and part Idiocracy. It ought to be compulsory viewing as part of highschool… with teachers drilling home the idea that being rude, uninformed, or media whorish are crimes that will be punished by radom & violent deaths.
It’s dark, hilariously funny, and remarkably well made for something with such a small budget.
The film revolves around Frank, an insurance clerk that hates what society has become, full of self-entitled prats that can’t even understand the difference between entertainment and debate, that justify anything so long as it’s entertaining. Likening America to the Roman empire in its decline, as the show has some brilliant satirical swipes at current TV shows like TMZ with “TMI” or the weekly hype cycle that turns a laughing stock into a national celebrity in the space of three days, Frank finally snaps when he realises that with his diagnosis of a terminal brain tumour he has nothing left to lose and decides to commit suicide… until he sees Chloe on a “reality tv” program being a product of the times, and decides he finally has a purpose.
Frank charges himself with ridding the world of people without basic courtesy and the minimum level of awareness to even be a nice person, and the cultural pustules that enable and even advocate such behaviour.
It’s interesting to see Bobcat Goldthwait (Z from Police Academy) work as a writer and director. What a lot of people don’t realise is that the guy is actually an amazingly bitter intellectual, which informs a lot of his standup… which most people have never seen as they’re mostly interested in hearing him talk oddly and scream while wearing silly clothing. A big issue with this film is that the character dialogue isn’t natural. The actors do a lot to make it flow more realistically, and even some of Goldthwait’s directing helps with this, but his writing is… I’m not going to say preachy, but it definitely feels like the kind of dialogue you’d get from Rand’s or Heinlein’s characters: the characters who are Right are witty and erudite, while the characters who are Wrong are craven, base idiots who can only fall back on strawmen and non-sequiturs. To be fair though, that’s exactly what the film is raging against – the dumbing down of society. To be fairer, I’ve personally seen this (and some of the exact debates) in action. Here’s an example:
Frank: Oh, I get, and I am offended. Not because I’ve got a problem with bitter, predictable, whiny, millionaire disk jockeys complaining about celebrities or how tough their life is, while I live in an apartment with paper-thin walls next to a couple of Neanderthals who, instead of a baby, decided to give birth to some kind of nocturnal civil defense air-raid siren that goes off every fuckin’ night like it’s Pearl Harbor. I’m not offended that they act like it’s my responsibility to protect their rights to pick on the weak like pack animals, or that we’re supposed to support their freedom of speech when they don’t give a fuck about yours or mine.
Office Worker: So, you’re against free speech now? That’s in the Bill of Rights, man.
Frank: I would defend their freedom of speech if I thought it was in jeopardy. I would defend their freedom of speech to tell uninspired, bigoted, blowjob, gay-bashing, racist and rape jokes all under the guise of being edgy, but that’s not the edge. That’s what sells. They couldn’t possibly pander any harder or be more commercially mainstream, because this is the “Oh no, you didn’t say that!” generation, where a shocking comment has more weight than the truth. No one has any shame anymore, and we’re supposed to celebrate it. I saw a woman throw a used tampon at another woman last night on network television, a network that bills itself as “Today’s Woman’s Channel”. Kids beat each other blind and post it on Youtube. I mean, do you remember when eating rats and maggots on Survivor was shocking? It all seems so quaint now. I’m sure the girls from “2 Girls 1 Cup” are gonna have their own dating show on VH-1 any day now. I mean, why have a civilization anymore if we no longer are interested in being civilized?
It’s a great speech, but very few people are this eloquent without it being a prepared speech. Even if they could come up with the words, the precise and flawless delivery from Frank, whilst great in the context of a movie, just doesn’t gel with me as being something anyone could actually do with such ease.
There is another part of me that feels that Goldthwait made this film also in part due to the virtual burying of Idiocracy by FOX, a company that’s known for it’s keen sense of keeping anything that might make its audience feel intellectually threatened or present them with alternative points of view that aren’t clearly labelled as “jokes”. This is a film clearly aimed at the sort of people that realised Beavis & Butthead wasn’t a hilarious cartoon of idiots doing idiotic things for their entertainment, like Jackass, but a stark warning on what happens when you spend all your time watching MTV and never aspiring to anything (The only redeeming features of B&B was that it spawned two rather good, thought provoking spin offs in King of the Hill and Daria). MTV and the majority of its audience clearly missed that message, because Judge got booted from the show, and MTV continued to tone down the intellectual and musical content to the point that it had to make a spin-off channel of its own for music, and teenagers today are surprised when MTV does play video clips.
Much like Idiocracy, the film makes me want to weep for showing precisely how ugly society truly is.
It even has that feeling of prophecy about it, considering that Anders Breivik has even used similar rationale in the recent days of his current court case, and people are similarly using his current infamy/celebrity to bolster their own.
Sorry folks, no drink recipe today… More of a treatise on how, when and why I chose to drink.
To begin with, a lot of people tend to get the impression that I’m some kind of pisshead due to my obsession with the booze. As you’ve pro0bably noticed, there are a lot of cocktail recipes on this blog. At last count I think I’ve got 53 recipes. That’s enough to not only fill a book, but probably hit on something that people actually enjoy drinking!
Then there’s also my rather large collection of liquor miniatures (there are a lot more not photographed) and liquor cabinet that used to contain enough to fatally poison most of a football team, but now only contains enough to kill the girl they’re mass raping. At least she’ll not have to deal with the memories. Hooray! (more…)
When the Times of India tells you that vampires are actively moving to your city you have a bit of a chuckle to yourself, and think “Oh those silly little tamagothies!”
When a credible news source gives you a substantially expanded version of the article, it’s time to reconsider where you live. Adelaide maybe. (more…)
But only because Vince Colosimo can’t speak around fangs.
Something that a whole mess of people don’t realise is that sometime last financial year, a rather large swathe of our tax dollars got was released as a vampire movie. It was an Australian vampire movie, with most of the cast of Neighbours as terrible extras, and Sam Neill pushing something a bit more than just red meat. But for all the terrible acting, the cinematography and actual script, plot and concept of the movie are astoundingly good. Unlike the extraordinarily large precedent set before it by almost every Aussie film I can think of that had to get government backed financing, however, this movie didn’t actually suck. Only the characters in it… and *Vince Colosimo’s acting.
The idea behind the film is that in about a decade’s time, vampirism sweeps the land. Like zombieism to some degree, as everyone is now either vampire, or an industrially kept sack of fluids and vampire nutrients that are kept in large farming towers to have their vitals tapped somewhat reminsiscent of the way that we’re all currently powering The Matrix. Of course, the problem with this is that in reality, people confined to such conditions are most likely going to die due to muscles being kept immobile. Their muscles would atrophy, the body would become less and less healthy, and then simply cease to sustain its own life. This is precisely what’s happening to the human farms in the world Daybreakers, and the stock of free range humans that the vampire military can find is rapidly running out. This is highly problematic, as all the blood substitutes that the large vampire corporations are attempting to cook up simply don’t have the… desired effect.
Generally speaking, when you go and eat something, if it makes your head explode instead of nourishing you, that’s what the current pharmaceutical industry calls “undesirable side effects” (as opposed to Viagra, which was originally intended as a heart medication, having a side effect that was way better than what it was intended to be primarily used for).
As the blood becomes scarce, vampires begin to riot out of panic. Why? Because if they don’t get human blood, they devolve into bat like animals that attack anything, but look way cool thanks to WETA. Dog blood won’t do. Can’t have coffee. Must be people, but not Soylent Green! It’s a brilliant commentary on energy crisii type situations, and no doubt the future food shortages we’re likely to experience as the temperate zones move further towards the polar regions.
Eventually, a cure is found, which in turn causes complications. In yet anotherdig at modern day situations, a cure is no good because there’s no money to be had in a cure. The large corporation within the film is only interested in a human blood substitute, so that everyone must become a long term client. As pharmaceutical companies in real life are similarly disinterested in cures, but rather treatment regimes, as cures do not provide long term customers.
And for good measure, there’s also a couple of fascist dictatorship references. Fun!
The entire film is dark, set with a cool filter over every scene that takes place in the city to emphasise how cold and dark is the night. Sadly, the city isn’t terribly memorable or impressive… It’s Surfer’s Paradise after all (not exactly a place that screams “Vampires live here!”). To counter that, every scene shot in the country regions where not-blood-cow humans escape to is warm and sunny, made more so thanks to a rather obvious warm colour filter. A more critical person would say that the juxtaposition is also there to show how unnatural city living is and that it’s the death of us all as we devolve and feed on our fellow man but that’s the kind of wankery one picks up after having done a semester of film analysis at university… *cough*… Whilst this kind of videography is pretty standard for modern vampire films, it really hammers home the (intended to be) subtle messages of the film.
Willem Dafoe was actually rather week in this film, I felt. He plays “Elvis”, the vampire that somehow manages to cure himself (and in turn becomes a weak, pathetic human again). Dafoe normally has this seedy hyper activity about him, like Steve Buschemi on crack but with nice teeth. He seemed rathe flat and lifeless in this film, which, considering he’s actually alive again, should be the exact opposite of his characterisation I feel. To make matters worse, this isn’t even the first vampire role he’s been in. He was Max Schreck in Shadow of the Vampire, the archetype for what the vampires in Daybreakers basically turn into without blood, and yet he was off the walls in that film. A bit of a disappointment to my mind.
Ethan Hawk manages to ensure that this isn’t the massive let down it could be though. He plays Edward Dalton, Hematologist man! It’s his job to find a cure for vampirism… or at least a substitute for blood. But he also happens to be a filthy human sympathiser! With clouded thoughts of “perhaps humans are people, too” this sick deviant not only saves a pack of the filthy things, he actively goes to live with them for a time to discover his cure! Degenerate filth!! And he’s believable in this sort of characterisation. You genuinely believe he feels sorry for the fact that people are no longer human, and that he actually thinks of them as an endangered species, rather than what he used to be. There’s a kind of sadness about him, until he basically fucks over Sam Neill.
Sam Neill is rather convincing in his role as Charles Bromley, an evil bastard in charge of an evil pharmaceutical company. Perhaps this is based on his many many roles as a self absorbed narcissist that happens to be better off than those around him, or maybe it’s a side effect of all the meat he’s been trying to get kids to eat lately. I’ve got to say though, having seen this film, it really does all make sense now.
All up, I give this film three and a half swinging blue cocks.
*No, he really wasn’t so bad in this. It’s just that I hate Colosimo for some reason, and the bar has been set pretty low on Australian actors that aren’t Sam Neill. Name me one other local actor that’s pulled out their own eyes. That’s commitment to a bit!Newer Posts »