GOTHIKA (2003)

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Elizabeth (spoilers!)

Something we see so often in terrible movies is that it takes place in what is supposed to be our world (ie, not science fiction or fantasy) and yet bears no resemblance to our actual world.

Like in Gothika, when psychiatrist Dr. Miranda Grey (Halle Berry) is accused of killing her husband not only is she placed in the same mental hospital where she works, but placed under the care of her close personal friend and co-worker, Dr. Pete Graham (Robert Downey, Jr.). I’m sorry. No. So much of the conflict in this movie comes from “OOoo the doctor is now the patient how is she going to deal with that!” but considering that would never fucking happen it really takes a lot of the suspense out.

Here’s another thing: one of Miranda’s patients, Chloe (Penélope Cruz), who is in the hospital because she murdered her abusive rapist step-father, constantly claims that she is being raped in the hospital. Miranda dismisses her every time, as does everyone else. But . . . would you really dismiss claims like that without checking? As Chloe’s doctor, doesn’t Miranda have an obligation to Chloe to check it out? Chloe is already a mental patient so it seems unfair to just write it off as her being crazy. And it’s not as if this is a fortress in which men cannot enter. Because surprise, surprise, Chloe is being raped, but Miranda doesn’t believe her until she’s a patient and sees it happening in Chloe’s cell herself. Way to drop the fucking ball, Miranda!

Turns out, Miranda got possessed by a ghost who then used her body to kill Miranda’s husband. Miranda remembers murdering him, but nothing else about motivation. Conveniently, Miranda escapes from the hospital and also remembers this cabin she and her husband bought that apparently she never really went to. She goes there and finds a bloody bed in the basement with all kinds of scary tools and a camera. She rewinds the camera (and clearly sees her husband in the frame while she rewinds but I guess we just pretend that she didn’t see it) and plays it back, only to find that it’s showing her husband torturing and presumably murdering a girl. The cops break in to catch Miranda, but when they do a not-dead girl pops up from the basement where she’s apparently somehow been hiding the whole time after being a victim of Miranda’s husband.

Miranda goes to jail where she talks to her husband’s best friend, who’s a cop. She starts giving a “profile” of someone who would do the things her husband did, which basically is like “Tortured animals when he was a kid,” which isn’t something you need a degree in psychiatry to guess about. Lo and behold, Miranda realizes her husband’s friend fits the profile and also has the same chest tattoo of the man he saw raping Chloe. He attacks Miranda and she kills him.

CUT TO MIRANDA AND CHLOE JUST CHILLIN ON THE STREET!! Yes, at the end of all of this, Miranda and Chloe are just back in the outside world, totally well-adjusted and ready to live life. Every time we saw Chloe before this she was barely functioning and acted like she was on PCP or something. And Miranda straight up murdered two people (albeit one in self-defense). Because their quick release would, again, never fucking happen, it feels like the filmmakers just cut to them walking around on the street instead of trying to explain how that could ever happen. I mean, the entire movie we see Chloe like this:

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Only to suddenly see her in the end like this:

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Okay cool, makes sense!

This movie really isn’t bad enough to be funny or interesting. It’s just really fucking stupid.

Christopher

I really only wanted to watch this movie because I vividly remember when the trailer for this came out. From what I remember it was Halle Berry’s first movie after Monster’s Ball and I feel like people were anxiously awaiting this hoping it would be another hit. After watching the movie I can see why it went nowhere.

This movie was bad but the worst part about it was how often the film wanted us to ignore stuff so they could continue the story. The worst part about this movie is how EVERYONE is connected. Halle Berry’s character is a psychiatrist and she works with mentally unstable people all day long. However, one day she is possessed and ends up in the mental hospital herself. However, instead of going to another one she just ends up in the one she worked out. So her friends are now her doctors and nurses and she is now caged up with all the people she was helping. I am all for supernatural elements in a film but to add in all this other unbelievable real life stuff was just way too much. It was hard not to think, ”This would never happen” in every single scene.

The most shocking part of the film was how many celebrities were actually in the film. Not worth watching at all, however, I’m glad I saw it just so I can talk shit about it. Cause everyone still talks about this movie, right?

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SHATTERED GLASS (2003)

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Christopher

I had never really heard of this movie so I was down when Elizabeth got really excited saying we needed to watch it. The movie is extremely intense in a great way because you don’t necessarily like or trust the protagonist. I find that pretty interesting because it kind of turns the main character’s enemy as the real hero of the film, Peter Sarsgaard, who is a complete badass in this film. I guess I really don’t know Sarsgaard from a lot so it was nice seeing one of his most memorable roles. I think this is a film I’m glad I watched when I was older though because I don’t think I would have been as into it when I was younger. I think I would have seen Stephen Glass more as a victim than the annoying kid he is.

If you have not seen this watch it now!
Elizabeth

Recently Chris and I were having some kind of conversation about movies that are really good at having tension and Shattered Glass was the very first movie that came to mind, even though I hadn’t thought about it in a while. Thinking about it made me get excited about it, so we watched it almost immediately. IT IS SO GOOD.

It’s a true story about Stephen Glass (Hayden Christensen), a young journalist who writes for The New Republic and how a big story (and many, many others) of his turned out to be a complete lie. I saw it when it first came out, when I was a sophomore in high school. It had a real impact on me. I felt like I could feel what Glass was going through so well; not in a sympathetic way, but in that it made me physically nervous to watch him go through the process of getting caught. I’ve never plagiarized or been accused of plagiarism, but my 10th grade English teacher did ask to see a book I cited for a paper, I assumed to verify that it was real. And even though I had the book at home, I was so overcome with anxiety that maybe this teacher thought I might make up a source that I brought him the book and also offered to take out the whole section of my paper that cited it. He obviously didn’t think it was that big of a deal because he flipped through the book once and said everything was fine. But that feeling was very strong and when I watched Shattered Glass for the first time it was like watching that feeling play out in front of me. I can take or leave Hayden Christensen in almost everything, but he’s perfect as Stephen Glass, mostly because Stephen Glass is portrayed as kind of a pathetic kid in the end.

Shattered Glass also introduced me to Peter Sarsgaard (I’m not counting Boys Don’t Cry because that movie did not make me want to have anything to do with him). Hayden Christensen is good here, but Peter Sarsgaard is incredible and given the subject matter of the movie (sounds kinda boring) it might seem like I’m exaggerating but I’m reallyyyyy not. He plays Chuck Lane, Stephen’s co-worker who then replaces Michael Kelly (Hank Azaria_ as the editor of The New Republic. Michael Kelly is so beloved by his staff that it makes it impossible for Chuck to get any kind of respect or camaraderie out of the staff when he replaces Michael. A rival magazine finding holes in one of Glass’ stories happens as Chuck is just beginning to find his footing as an editor and the subsequent investigation into Glass’ work puts Chuck against the entire staff because they all love Stephen Glass, too. It’s just beautiful watching Chuck’s character evolve through Sarsgaard; the first mention we hear of any suspicion from him is when he casually knocks on Stephen’s office door and asks if he can see copies of his notes and sources, not an atypical request from an editor like that. Immediately Stephen says “Are you mad at me?” clearly expecting the kind of response he would get from Michael Kelly, one that would reassure him. Instead, Chuck seems totally put off by the fact that this grown man, his employee, so quickly starts acting so defensive and childish. It’s a small moment that makes Chuck stand out as a realistic guy, someone who’s trying to be a good editor, not someone’s dad. And the best part is that Chuck wants to believe Stephen. Although Stephen pretty much hates Chuck, we get the impression that Chuck actually really likes Stephen and wants him to succeed, not to mention the fact that he wants Stephen to be right for obvious reasons. But eventually, the evidence against Stephen is so great that Chuck has to completely abandon personal feelings and just be Stephen’s boss, even if it means yelling at him while Stephen cries, even if it means his staff hating him, and even if it means firing Stephen. Because as he tells Chloë Sevigny in a great speech after he fires Stephen, they’re journalists first and if they took one look at Stephen’s work with their own journalistic eyes it would be so clear that he was lying and it’s something they’re all going to have to answer for. She really can’t refute that.

Shattered Glass is incredibly paced and is seriously one of, if not the most tense movies I’ve ever seen that doesn’t have to do with horror or war or anything crazy. The first time I watched it I identified with Stephen, this kind of weak seeming, well-liked young writer. Watching it now, I identify with Chuck and how satisfying it is to see him stand up and take care of business. Especially now that I have a job where I have to manage people, seeing Chuck be such a badass, awesome boss is actually kind of inspiring, as cheesy as that sounds. I feel like Shattered Glass isn’t talked about much, but it is insanely good.

LOVE ACTUALLY (2003)

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Christopher

I did not want to watch this at all. Before we watched it I imagined my post just being, “Elizabeth at least likes it.” But after watching it it’s not awful. Some of the stories are pretty stupid and I think it would have been a far more successful movie story-wise if they got rid of a few storylines but in the end this movie was fun to watch.

I also found out that Elizabeth has this giant crush on Huge Grant? ahaha she nearly fainted when he showed up!! I really haven’t seen ton of movies with him but whenever I see him I just see Rob Brydon. So she might make fun of me for secretly liking Helen Hunt but her reaction to Huge Grant is far beyond anything I’ve seen from her before!

Elizabeth

I’m not sure why I pushed so hard to watch Love Actually, but I think it was because I just wanted to see a movie that was, generally, nice. Sure, Love Actually is sad in some parts but overall, it’s just a nice romantic movie and it takes some convincing to get Chris to watch those with me.

I definitely loved it when I first saw it when I was probably 14, and I’m sure most of that has to do with Hugh Grant, who is particularly cute here. Seeing it now, I don’t dislike it, but I realized how distracting all the storylines can be. There are major storylines and smaller storylines, but in the end there are a shit ton of stories. That’s probably why I was surprised when I realized the movie is over 2 hours long, because each story is relatively short, there’s just so many. And why I do appreciate that it wasn’t just filled with 100% happy stories, some of the stories, especially the one for Laura Linney’s character, were almost too sad to bear. And especially seeing Liam Neeson cry at his character’s wife’s funeral . . . god I will be happy if I never have to see Liam Neeson cry ever again.

But all in all, it was nice to just watch a nice romantic movie. We should probably watch them more often . . . (although, admittedly, so many romantic movies are either too sad, stupid, or sexist for me to enjoy them).

HOUSE OF THE DEAD (2003)

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Christopher

This was the second time I watched this movie? I saw it first with my dad whenever it came out on DVD. I remember then that it was bad so I was more than happy to revisit it since I really didn’t remember it.

The worst part about this movie is that the end finale is a fight between two main characters and some zombie scientist. I can see this being okay except for this scene the director decided to film it in broad daylight? The effects are bad enough but for some reason daylight horror scenes just aren’t as scary.

The best part about this movie is that there are a ton of boobs in the beginning. But that quickly goes away when everyone dies.

Probably don’t waste your time with this movie.

Elizabeth

Well, I know I’m not the target audience for House of the Dead. First of all, I didn’t even realize this was based on a video game. Second of all . . . well, I’m not a 12 year old boy? That’s who this movie seems to be geared toward, although I think even 12 year old boys deserve a little more credit than that.

House of the Dead is bizarre, but not in the way it wants to be. It just doesn’t make any sense. It’s also a movie that made me pretty sad, because Jürgen Prochnow of Das Boot is in it (and his character’s name is Captain Kirk, which doesn’t help anything). Also, one of the main characters is in an American flag jumpsuit the entire time and I was pretty convinced I had seen her in a few pornos before, but I guess I was mistaken. Still, I think House of the Dead is too boring to really make it worthwhile to watch in any sense.

HOW TO DEAL (2003)

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Christopher (spoilers!)

SPOILERS***********************************************But let me say, that does not matter for this movie cause trust me no one is ever going to really want to see this. It’s so awful, mostly in the way that everything is so shitty for everyone in the story but all the main character cares about it that she, a 16 year old girl, isn’t sure about marriage and love? VOMIT. Okay, so the story goes that the main character, I don’t even remember her name cause she’s a moron, but she is a girl that is confused about love. We find out quickly that she has a friend who’s madly in love with a guy, and they have a wonderful relationship. Her mother is getting divorced while her sister is getting married. Her dad is a radio DJ and left her mother not for a young sexy girl, just for another woman that tries to be smexy? The main character kind of likes a boy.

So the story goes; her main friend’s boyfriend dies cause of a heart defect. Her mother is insanely lonely cause her dad left. Her dad is just kind of a bro, we’re supposed to hate him but he’s just kind of a guy. And her sister is in a relationship with a guy that’s nice but they argue all the time. So everyone is miserable (except for the guys, except the dead one . . .) And while everyone is in so much pain around her she gets mad when people don’t help her out with this “love” thing. And she not only gets upset, she literally runs away! So what finally helps her understand “love” thus ending the movie is her finally loving a guy. So literally the answer to the title is that in order to deal, you need to find a man for your life. SO WEIRD? AMAZING! Oh, also, somewhere in there she and her love interest get into a car accident and he bails on her at the hospital, but they quickly mend that.

Okay, so now that you know the story, here is my real theory about this movie. Everything just goes so downhill for all of these characters in such awful ways, the only real answer for this movie to make sense, is that it is seen through the eyes of a high school girl that overreacts to everything. And everything that happens in the movie is a result of her being upset and multiplying the damage a hundred fold. So, for example, the friend’s befriend dying all of a sudden, in real life he just broke up with the friend. Her getting into a car crash, in real life her mom just had to pick her up at a party. The parent’s divorce, well that was probably real, but it also could just mean the dad worked a lot. So the whole movie is a strange illusion. So this movie is kind of one of the best bad movies I have seen in a while (since An Invisible Sign) . It’s so bizarre!!

Check it out!

Elizabeth

I distinctly remember seeing this in theaters the summer after my freshman year in high school and while I’m not sure what I was expecting, I was super disappointed in it. I was disappointed that it had music from The Flaming Lips and Cat Stevens, I was disappointed that they expected us to believe Mandy Moore was a 16 year old “weird” girl, but most of all I was disappointed that in the end, “how to deal” is just find a boyfriend who falls in love with you, and all of your problems are solved! Great advice.

This movie is hard to watch because it reminds me how awful 16 year old girls are, no matter what. I know this because I was one and was around them and I don’t really need to watch a whole movie about it. How to Deal suffers from similar tonal problems as Big Money Rustlas in that it seemed like no one really knew what the point of the movie was. Halley (Mandy Moore) doesn’t have a lot of problems, but she thinks she does. On the flip side, her best friend Scarlett (Alexandra Holden) falls in love, watches her boyfriend die, and gives birth to her dead boyfriend’s baby all in the span of the movie. Why is the movie not about Scarlett? Who gives a shit about Halley’s bullshit problems?

I guess for the entirety of the movie we’re rooting for Halley to finally start believing in love and marriage, but I have no idea why. I guess she finds it in the end, but it also doesn’t matter because they’re 16 year olds.

THE ROOM (2003)

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Christopher

It’s hard to talk about The Room in any kind of negative way. I believe that no matter what kind of films you watch, you could find something humorous and enjoyable. Even if it is just talking about how bad it is. The best thing about The Room is the fact that it’s better than most movies! It’s easily better than Transformers (I like that I keep bringing those movies up as awful, because they really are bad). To me a movie needs to be entertaining and The Room does that so well with only having a few locations and not really having an interesting story. It’s really kind of like every day life, except everyone involved is fucking insane.

I think this is only the third time I’ve watched this but I really want to go to a midnight screening with Elizabeth sometime. It seems like it would take this masterpiece to a whole new level.

Elizabeth

Oh, The Room. What is there even to say about Tommy Wiseau’s classic tragicomic/dramedy/fiasco? The Room is sort of the quintessential modern movie of the watch-it-only-because-it’s-so-bad genre that Chris and I are (obviously) so fond of. Our friend Fred is moving away soon, and because he had never seen The Room, we both thought it was time to bring it out again.

The Room is glorious in its total absurdity. There’s gratuitous and gross sex and nudity, confusing relationships, unresolved conflicts, among other things . . . plus there’s no mention of the titular room, or what it is. The Room exists in a universe where no one questions Tommy Wiseau’s accent, women seduce men by immediately telling them they love them, parents getting cancer is no big deal, and having a man-child follow you around, including into your bed, is totally acceptable. It’s a magical world, really. Plus, for whatever reason, Johnny (Tommy Wiseau) patting the dog in the florist shop on the head and saying, “Hi doggy,” kills me every time.

NATIONAL SECURITY (2003) – WITH SUPER SPECIAL GUEST POST!!

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We watched National Security with our friend Ben. Here’s what he had to say: 

I imagine that stuntmen have to be a pretty professional bunch since what they do requires so much precision, attention to detail, and general competence to avoid injury. Even in crappy movies, the stuntwork usually feels pretty seemless. I mean, I know that’s not really Shia Labeouf dangling from that giant hip-hop robot’s scrotum in Transformers 5, but I’m rarely taken out of the movie in such instances. So it felt really weird to notice all the stuntwork in National Security.

I’m a total know-nothing when it comes to stunts, but I was constantly distracted by the stunts in this movie. For example, early on a character jumps through a 2nd story window for no reason, and the man jumping through the window in no way resembles the human being we saw two seconds earlier (he doesn’t even seem to have the character’s trademark mustache!). I don’t know who’s to blame, but I imagine it’s probably the director’s fault for pointing the camera in the direction of the stuntman’s face in the first place. The other stunts in the movie are similarly weird, including a tensionless and bizarre door-swinging on-a-semi-on-a-freeway scene, and one with a random crane on a cliff face, which saves the day in the most predictable way possible. I didn’t expect much from National Security, but its total lack of care in the stunts, (or in any respect, really), must have been pretty insulting to the people who paid to see it in 2003.

Christopher

THIS MOVIE IS SO GOOD! What I like and find interesting about this movie is how it’s changed in my mind from when it came out. I remember watching this movie in middle school and genuinely thinking that it was good comedy. Middle school was the time when I kind of based what I liked off of the people around me so it’s crazy to watch this movie as an adult and see how insane and weird it truly is.

This just came out on Netflix so if you had a bad day please let Martin Lawrence and Steve Zahn melt away your troubles.

Elizabeth

When Chris told me he thought National Security might be the most unfunny and racist comedy he had seen, it was clear that I had to see it. And he really wasn’t exaggerating.

Martin Lawrence plays Earl, a cocky, racist asshole who commits perjury in order to imprison Hank (Steve Zahn). I’m not going to waste time going into details about that, but let’s just say there was a bee involved. Anyway, after Hank swiftly gets out of prison for whatever reason, he sets out to avenge the death of his partner at the hands of . . . a blond Eric Roberts? Luckily, Earl wants to get back at blond Eric Roberts, too, because he called Earl a monkey. I was so stunned that a white person called a black person a monkey in this movie AS A MOMENT OF COMEDY that I couldn’t pay attention at all for a few minutes. But don’t feel bad for Earl, as he continually is an awful, practically evil human being while Hank just sort of flails around, helpless and angry.

PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE.