What a Waste of Time...

On September 12, 2008 a movie co-starring Al Pacino and Robert Deniro hit the big screen. Not unlike many movie goers, I was eagerly anticipating this release. I thought, what could be better than two of the greatest actors alive performing together once again? There was so much potential, so much to be hopeful for.

Then the movie came out...and the reviews, well they were nothing to brag about. But, being the objective person that I am -- and often someone who disagrees with the critics anyway -- I was still determined for a good outcome.
This is the point in my post where the carefully constructed and witty sentences stop. From this point forward, I am officially deeming this post a rant...


Let's start with the writers of this horrible mess of a movie. Can anyone say plot depth? Because there was no trace of it whatsoever in this film. You don't care about the characters, you don't care about what they're doing, you don't care about right and wrong, you don't even care about what this paper thin storyline is...trust me, all you will be caring about is how many minutes, seconds, milliseconds you have to watch hell reincarnated on the massive screen in front of you.
Since I am avidly pleading with you all not to see this movie, I really don't feel guilty giving away the would be plot. The movie is about two cops (Pacino and Deniro, but I'm sure you knew that already...) who are determined to bring down the bad guys. At what cost? Well, apparently at the cost of planting evidence. Deniro plants a gun in the apartment of a child sex offender who got off. The guy didn't commit the crime he was charged for, but Deniro figured it was justified because he had committed a crime at some point in his life.
(quick side note: yes I will be using Deniro and Pacino's actual names. Two reasons: 1. I would like to keep you with me on this. 2. I honestly for the life of me can't remember their names in the movie)
After the evidence planting, things start to go "haywire". A series of murders start to occur, all the victims, interestingly enough, are felons themselves. In an act to appear clever, each new scene is complete with a little poem about how the person is going to die. They sound a little something like this...hem hem "I saw a cat. And then I hit you with a bat. You were wearing an orange hat. But then it was taken by a rat."
At first, they want you to think that some new serial killer is on the loose, not soon after though they want you to think that Deniro, in his self-righteous effort to bring the bad guys down, is committing the murders. Oh, and by the way, Deniro's girlfriend gets off on rough sex...just thought I'd throw that in there even though it really doesn't have anything to do with the story. Hmmm, maybe THEY should have thought about that!
At this point we are about 20 minutes into the movie and they are desperately pushing Deniro as the killer into our brains. Here's what I want to know, how stupid did they really think people were? Isn't the first rule of a murder mystery that the first real suspect is never the actual killer? It's too obvious, it's too blase! I would have even been a little bit impressed if Deniro actually had ended up being the killer, because by the way they were shoving it in your face he was so obviously NOT THE KILLER!
But, for some reason, they are very confident that this outcome will keep movie watchers satisfied, that people will actually sit there and go "Oh no! Deniro! How could you?!" and be totally baffled by the real outcome which is...dun Dun DUN!!!....PACINO IS THE REAL KILLER!


And let's just wrap it all up with the attempt at a redemptive ending. Once you finally realize that Pacino is the killer there is an "intense" why-did-you-do-it conversation between the two main characters. His reason is because he lost faith in his partner, Deniro, when he planted the evidence. Yes that's right. This murderer starting killing because his partner planted a piece of evidence that sent a child sex offender to jail and he lost all faith in humanity. I know what your thinking, and yes you're right, that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

So back to the writers. I am a writer myself, so I do not like to criticize other people's work to harshly since it had to be someone's brainchild. But come on! Who wrote that and then actually wanted to see it come to life? Who penned the last sentence, stared at it, and thought PURE GOLD!

And even worse? The producers! The Director! Everything that went into this movie! All the pre-production, production, post-production...no one thought to say "wait a minute, this movie sounds like a horribly cheap rip-off of a Boondock Saints-esque "vigilante justice" movie minus any substantial, beyond the surface meaning. Maybe we should stop."

Deniro, Pacino? WHY?!!! When you found out that 50 cent was your supporting role didn't you begin to question the quality of the production?

So to wrap it all up, I'm going to tell you how this should have played out. We will pretend that the writer of this film actually did like it. He sends it out, and, obviously, it gets turned down by every producer with a brain. Pacino and Deniro do not do the movie because it has zero substance and lacks emotional, character, and plot depth. The writer finally gets picked up. Yay for him! Lifetime channel wants to pick up his script for their next "Lifetime Original Movie" as long as he will concede to Deniro's character being utterly depressed and on medication, becoming addicted, and then having an affair with the Police Chiefs wife. The end.

Dragonball Comes to Life

So, the day has come. I knew it would someday. I had even hoped one day that I would be the one to do it. A live-action Dragonball movie made for U. S. audiences. I guess I join the ranks of comic book nerds around the world who shivered at the prospect of their heroes being jammed into a sellable 90-minute Hollywood flick. Don't get me wrong, I love movies, and I've always thought DBZ would make a great one (think more complex, Japanese version of Superman.). I just hope they don't lose the aspects of Dragonball that made it great.

They've already changed Goku from a young child to an older teen. I don't really mind the change (I realize it's hard to sell an action movie staring a 6-year-old alien with a monkey tail). The only thing I'm worried about them losing is Goku's innocence. It isn't just the innocence of a child, because Goku remains almost ignorant of evil his entire life - even becoming a child again in his old age, fighting for good with his granddaughter. Many may find Goku's attitude a little silly and stupid, and it kind of is on the surface, but it is through his innocence and humility that he is able to become the best fighter in the universe. He defeats many stronger and wiser enemies, who are finally brought down by their pride. Goku never judges anyone, but only stops those who harm others until they can be taught to be good. This is shown throughout the Dragonball series as many of Goku's arch-enemies become his allies later in life. His childhood enemy even going so far as to die for Goku's son.

On the surface, Dragonball may seem like a silly, odd and over-the-top Japanese soap opera, but there are deep story-lines of humility, forgiveness and good vs evil running underneath. These aren't your usual modern 'evil is inside us all' stories. In the Dragonball world, everyone has the chance to be good, and it is through their decisions and pride that they are made evil. It is my fear that these deeper storylines maybe ignored in the U. S. version, creating just another bad Martial Arts movie that will be forgotten as soon as the video game is released.