Friday, September 23, 2005
Movies I Have No Intention Of Seeing, #16

A History of Violence

starring Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris, William Hurt, no Liv Tyler

directed by David Cronenberg (Scanners, The Fly, Dead Ringers)

Hey, does anybody else remember all the good news before Hurricane Katrina hit, that it was clearly weakening and then missed the city it was threatening?

Hey, guess what all the news regarding Hurricane Rita is about!

Does anyone else sense a pattern? Nobody? Just me?

And then today we find out that the only thing more dangerous than staying in Houston is trying to leave Houston.

I was on the fence about this for a long time, but I think my opinion has finally changed around. I don't care who knows it either. I've decided: I don't like hurricanes.

They seemed sort of cool when you would see them on TV, all organized around the "eye", the little empty spot of matter-eating null-space with the cute anthropomorphic name. And then the Discovery Channel people with their documentaries about the people who fly airplanes to track the storms and then fly into them to measure wind velocity, rain volume and the shit-bearing capacity of their pants... they made it all seem so romantic.

Hurricanes have always been the most telegenic of storms. That hypnotic turning disc of soft white destruction makes a Nor'easter, quite frankly, look like a baboon's ass by comparison. If a hurricane is this, every other meteorological event is this.*

No, the magic is gone. The love affair between me and hurricanes is over. It's like falling madly in love with what seems like the perfect woman, marrying her, and then suddenly realizing she was capable of 175-mile per hour winds, levee breaches that drowned a major city, killing thousands of people and displacing untold numbers of others. Those are qualities I just wouldn't be comfortable building a relationship on. And having children around a person like that... forget it. That kind of baggage is just going to lead to trouble down the road.

And like hurricanes aren't enough to worry about, we've got scientists cross-breeding people with mice. I warned everybody about the super-rodents, but nobody seems to give a shit. I feel like Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2, except less ripped and with slightly larger (and, one presumes, hairier) breasts. Nobody believes me. Nobody ever takes the man with the luscious rack seriously.

Didn't anyone in the scientific community read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? It's the white mice, man. It's the white mice.

I'm stressed to my limit, frankly. Between the hurricanes and the super-mice/men I feel like we're one step away from helpless, ruined, global dystopia.

But I can't get too down, no. I'm an American. We have ways of dealing with these things. We either a) bomb something or b) anaesthetize ourselves against the horrors of everyday existence with mass-culture consumerism.

Our bombs are all occupied elsewhere, so I guess we're going to have to go with B.

So hey, let's talk about movies! Even if we don't have babysitters to watch our kids, so we can't even see them, ever!

Hey, don't roll your eyes. If content or first-hand experience were required to talk about entertainment, there would be no Entertainment Tonight and that show's been talking about nothing for like 30 years. Don't be a hater.

This week's film, A History of Violence, is Viggo Mortensen's first non-horse, non-hair-extension role since 2000's Sandra Bullock flesh-eating zombie vehicle 28 Days. According to my wife, this should be the end of consideration. It gets maximum score, whatever you're measuring in, be it stars or thumbs or disembodied actress heads. I don't want to get into too much detail about how exactly she reacts to Mr. Mortensen, but let's just say the Aragorn mask works.

From a non-libido standpoint, the movie also has going for it the presence of Ed Harris, who is good in everything he does. Except Pollack, which was his vanity project that I found boring, boring and boring. Did I mention "boring"? It was boring. And dull. In fairness, I might have had trouble getting in to Pollack as I have no appreciable interest in the subject matter. Basically it was a movie about a guy who is famous for spilling things.

A huge negative for this film is the presence of William Hurt, who is in my estimation not only one of the worst actors ever to be inexplicably not recognized as such (you may have to read that description twice... I'll wait...), but he almost single-handedly ruins one of my top-3 favorite films of all time, Broadcast News, a sin that can never be forgiven. Luckily Holly Hunter's incandescence burns hot enough to light up everything else in that film. William Hurt is a giant charisma-hole on screen and oh yeah! a tremendously pretentious, pseudo-philosophizing prick in every interview he's ever given.

Anyway, the movie is about this guy who does some stuff which makes some other stuff happen. I don't know. The reviews have all been really good, so I'm down with it. Keeping in mind the Mrs. Pops influence, if we were to see a movie this weekend, this would almost definitely be the one. That said, I have no choice but to award it:

Image hosted by Three (out of 3) on the Hot Babysitter Scale.

Goodbye, Houston. We hardly knew ye.


*= the difference being that Angelina Jolie actually gets slightly more press coverage than city-destroying once-in-a-millennium super-storms.


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