Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I'm Not a Film Critic, I'm Just Crabby

Spiderman 3: Oh, how I wish I could unsee this movie.

Possible spoilers follow.

Kirsten Dunst was merely so-so in the first movie, a vague background annoyance in the second movie, and the worst thing ever in this movie except for Tobey Maguire and his extra chin. That chin should have received second billing. But Kirsten Dunst has two expressions in this movie: "Silly schoolgirl" and "stricken." THAT'S IT. I can't act for beans, but even I could manage to portray two entire moods for 2-1/2 hours. I might even be able to do it for an entire day. Now I'm tempted to try! People will ask, "What is wrong with you?" and, stricken, I will tell them, "I've got a bad case of the Dunst." Or perhaps I'll give them silly schoolgirl and giggle, "Dunst! I've come down with the Dunst, can you believe it?"

There is singing and dancing in this movie. I like singing and dancing. I like Spiderman. I like garlic. I like peanut butter. BUT NOT TOGETHER.

There is Topher Grace in this movie. Would someone who has some authority on the subject please sit me down and tell me whether Topher Grace can act or not? Because I have no idea. I think he makes a good bad guy, but I'm worried that I only think that because every time I see his face on screen I yearn to kick it. Does it count as being a good movie villain if the sole reason everyone hates you is your highly kickable face? "Starring Topher Grace's face"--that would tell me all I'd need to know.

The most human character in the movie is made of magic sand. I love Thomas Haden Church. I have loved him since he was Lowell on Wings, also known as "the only reason I watched Wings, so shut up." I also love comic book physics.

In the first two movies I thought, "James Franco is playing this for camp, like he's on a soap opera. Knock it off, Franco." Now, I just think he was ahead of the curve. He knew where this was going to end up and he made sure to get there first.

Everyone in this movie acts like they're auditioning for the original version of Melrose Place--the one before Heather Locklear, back when the producers still thought everyone would tune in weekly to see Andrew Shue and Courtney Thorne-Smith deliberate endlessly over whether fucking each other would ruin their friendship. I remember thinking, "You have the most boring friendship ever! Just fuck already!"

Everyone has an opinion about Peter Parker becoming a dick in this movie except me. I don't have an opinion because this is all that went through my brain during those scenes: "Wash that hair. Lose that chin. Wash that hair! THAT CHIN. Hair is beyond washing. Shave it. The chin is showing signs of independent behavior. HAIR! CHIN! Hair exacerbates chin! Rock smashes scissors! Eyes hurt! Brain hurts!--Ugh, I hate when movies show men hitting women. Then again, it's Kirsten Dunst. HIT HER AGAIN, CHIN!"

By the time Venom had Spiderman tied down and Sandman was whaling on him, I was rooting for Sandman. How many direct whole-body blows do you think you could take from a gigantic sandbag? Even if you were blessed with superhuman spider strength, two should be the limit.

Everyone in the audience laughed at inappropriate moments during this movie except me. I was too busy cursing everyone on screen for making me hate their characters and becoming accessories to the murder of my childhood.

I would like to see a cheesy-death-scene-off between William Shatner and James Franco. I'll bet ol' Bill's still got it, but Franco is definitely a contender.

No one in the audience laughed during the Saturday Night Fever-style strut scene. I didn't exactly look around to check but I suspect it's because they were all doing what I was: Wincing so hard my bones ached. I'm still sore today.

I wouldn't piss on Sam Raimi if he were on fire.


Twisted Ovaries said...

GOD. I wish I'd seen your post yesterday, when my friend and I parted with hard-earned cash to see this film. I thought the exact same things as you did, down to the hero worship of Thomas Haden Church and the blinding desire to get some Head and Shoulders into Petey's hair. And wash off his eyeliner. And then kick him in the balls. And wash his hair again.

Ditto on the Saturday Night Fever seen. I'm never going to see my toes again it was so cringe-worthy. Also? I didn't laugh once. Also? I hated every single person in that film and hoped they'd all just die (Church excepted.)

Kirsten Dunst does have another facial expression, though-it's the one where she narrows her eyes, shows the crooked eye teeth, and is meant to portray "I'm in deep thought about your character. And I need to wash my hair, too."

They also totally wasted Bryce Dallas Howard's time, and I like the girl (pretend you don't know about the crappy M. Night Shyamalan film she was in, the water one. It makes it all better.)

In short, kill me if I think about seeing any more of these films, because the bad news is out: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/6630521.stm

I know this summer is the summer of the sequel and all that, but don't you want to look at some of these directors and say: Just because you CAN make this film doesn't mean you SHOULD.

Twisted Ovaries said...

Er, that should be "Ditto on the Saturday Night Fever scene".

More coffee needed.

ira said...

remember superman 2? and its crazy climax which was read as a subversive destruction of consumerism, the way all the huge billboards were zapped? what IS it with these reviewers who claim that spiderman 3 is the most nuanced and complex yet? a film that gratuitiously reinforces the Christian God and the American Flag? Apart from all the other problems discussed here, the bad acting and the chin-hair trouble...

Marcy said...

What you said about the camp make sense when you think about it. Sam Raimi is also the guy behind Xena and Hercules. I never watched Herc, but I watched Xena, and Sam could only go so many episodes being serious. Every so often, he'd have a campy episode. Even some with singing and dancing.

So, I think he goes for a while and then his camp gene kicks in.

Chari said...

That has to be the best film review I've read EVER.

ACM said...

man, my theater laughed during the loopy walk -- yes, the cringing too, but it was clearly a comic scene, not just an Awkward Geek scene. that, along with the Birth of Sandman were the best moments in the movie (which, while hardly a gem, did not actually scoop out a noticeable portion of my brain)...

Amanda Marcotte said...

Oh man, I lost it. Can you post this on Pandagon?

JackGoff said...

Marcy, don't forget, he also did the Evil Dead series.

Either way, after the cheesy crap in S-M 2, I figured they would screw the pooch with this one. They were so close with the last one, it was just a matter of time.

Crys T said...

" a film that gratuitiously reinforces the Christian God and the American Flag?"

I totally missed the bit that reinforced a Christian god, and maybe it was just that I watched it here in a UK cinema, but the entire audience (including me) understood the bit with the flag to be ironic.

I didn't think it was a work of art, certainly, but I didn't go in expecting one. In fact, the thing about the film that surprised me the most is that it was the most morally-complex Hollywood blockbuster I've seen in I don't know how long.

Yes, Kirsten Dunst's role as a sulky whiner who only existed to be saved by the men in her life got up my nose, but my god, it was actually a mainstream Hollywood film that DIDN'T advocate vigilante justice and summary execution of the guilty--and in fact came out explicitly against those things. AGAINST vengeance and punishment....in a mainstream American film!! I nearly fell out of my seat.

OK, it did so in a soppy, heavyhanded way, but......it's a freaking Hollywood blockbuster!

Compared to most of the mainstream crap I've seen in the past few years, Spiderman 3 was virtually a radical political statement.

Crys T said...

And yes, I do realise that Spiderman is actually a vigilante. What I meant is that the film didn't glorify actual killing in the name of vigilante justice.

magniloquence said...


I can take a lot, when it comes to badly done really commercial movies. I swear, sometimes I think I'm That Girl. The one they make this shit for? Yeah, her.

But... I spent the entire movie wanting to reach through the screen and smack people. Ow. That is one kickable face he has there. Was it this bad last time? I remember being vaguely annoyed, but with the film, not the faces.

I just wish someone would pin down whether MJ has agency or not. Because she gets written both ways in the books, which, whatever. But either she's smart enough and strong enough to jump around and try to save herself while she's stuck on the giant web thing, or she's too dumb and scared to move. It makes little sense to have her quivering and cowering one moment then strong and brave the next, only to flop back... without anything else changing.