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Published on May 12th, 2008 | by simeon

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88 Minutes

Good morning everyone and thank you again for joining our cooking show. Today we are going to learn how to make a “Box Office Flop”. Yes, I know, they’re quite common now-a-days and it seems that everyone in the industry is putting forth their own version. But this recipe, I assure you, is foolproof.

First, add an infamous actor. I would suggest one, such as Robert DeNiro, who’s a bit past his prime and has lost much of his former glory, but any aging star or starlet will suffice. Be sure to give this character the lead role and require nothing from him in return. No acting, no hard-work; nothing. This is the key ingredient here, folks. The whole point of the “Box Office Flop” is to deny the audience any sort of plausibility and effort.

After establishing the key ingredient we need to add a bit of eye-candy to the mix. Throw in a few unknowns, one or two teen-drama heart-throbs, and maybe a C-lister or three. Mix well. Give people like Kaj-Erik Eriksen, (you know, the kid from the “OC”) one of those hard-nosed roles, let’s say the “cynical student” role. Perfect! And we need a name that’s a bit well known. How about Leelee Sobieski? Sure we haven’t seen her much since “The Glass House” and “Never Been Kissed” but that’s neither here nor there. Just make certain that you give her one of those glaringly obvious roles. In this case, she’ll pull off the “Overly-Dedicated Student” role, you know, the kind that don’t require much diligence and gives the audience something to roll their eyes at throughout the entire movie. In this case, the more sappy and overdramatic her acting abilities are the better.

Now we need to find the sexy support role in all of this. Make sure to find a girl who is cute to look at but acts as dumb as a box of rocks. The more bimbo-esque, the better! Remember, this isn’t an Oscar-worthy performance by any means. We just want her to run around with big doe-like eyes and cute, bouncy hair. In this case, we’ll go with Alicia Witt. She’s young, perky, and has that fiery redhead look which should make the audience think twice about her role. See, we’re throwing in a bit of a twist here! Redheads acting as blonde bimbos! Talk about sheer brilliance on our account, no?

So now that we have a few of the main roles figured out all that’s left is our antagonist. Obviously we can’t have someone who can act better then our star nor can we have someone who falls entirely flat either. Who to pick, who to pick? Ah! Neal McDonough, of course! He can pull of that slimy, salacious demeanor perfectly! No need to give him a chance to really act; we’ll give him the role of a convict on death-row so he’s forced to do everything on the phone with Al Pacino’s character. Remember, we can’t have him showing up our main star!

Now we just need one of those deplorable plotlines, the type that is so bad they leave your brain literally searing in pain. How about we wrap it around the concept of a cell phone? A cell phone stalker – brilliant! So we have our convict who has been convicted of a heinous murder and this virtuoso-like forensic psychiatrist who can literally put a man behind bars by merely providing his testimony at a trial. Who cares about the legal aspect of it all, this is Hollywood, baby! We just need to give the antagonist a reason to seek revenge and now we have it.

Now for the location…where to choose? How about Seattle! Everyone loves Seattle! Let’s make sure that we do close-ups on newspapers and fire-engines to ensure that the audience knows its down-town Seattle. Never mind that our fair city doesn’t have a “Roots” department store or that our city-streets are rarely ever bare enough for a Porsche to cruise around at 40mph downtown. But this is a movie, remember? We can make up these things! Let’s remember that it rains in Seattle everyday too and that EVERYONE here uses an umbrella for everything. Never mind that aspects of the city look a bit too much like California; the audience won’t know the difference, right?

Okay, now we have the location and the main plot established, let’s jump into this fiasco. Let’s give the characters no depth and do our damn best to guarantee that no one leaves the theatre without having recognized the ending half-way through the film itself. We’ll call it “88” minutes but we’ll make it last nearly two hours long; we’ll give see-through ulterior motives and couple them with big explosions and over-the-top thrills, just to give the audience a kick in the pants. And if that won’t do it, then we’ll give such a bad-ass ending that everyone will have like the movie, no matter what!

So that, my friends, is how you make a “Box Office Flop”. Make sure to advertise it in such a manner that you reveal nothing of its true masterpiece. Market it as a murder-thriller but be sure to keep cater it to the younger genre as they will, most certainly, be far too stupid to realize how ludicrous the film’s pretense really is. When in doubt, Al Pacino’s name will be sure to bring in the crowds and that, my friends, is what really counts in this industry.

I gave this movie an easy “D” grade. It was awful, more awful then I can honestly begin to express. I left with a headache and I don’t think it was from the salty popcorn. It’s a long drop from some of Al’s previous masterpieces. Wait to waste your money – and your brain cells- when it comes out on DVD. 


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