Thursday, March 12, 2009

Because I'm Thorough, I Watched "Disaster Movie"

You may recall that back in July of last year my girlfriend, my brother and I marathoned Date Movie, Epic Movie and Meet the Spartans. I suspect that for them it was mainly an exercise in irony as well as a chance to laugh at something they felt superior to. And while I did the same thing, I also watched them out of a perverse fascination with the films' apparent shittiness that bordered on joy, and a scholarly interest in analyzing exactly what about them sucked so much dick. I thought maybe I'd gain some new insight into their terribleness, but it turns out that the movies were terrible for exactly the reasons I had guessed by watching their trailers.

Andy's home for spring break, and we all decided it was high time to finish what we started, and watch Disaster Movie. I suspect it may be the final film of it's type that Jason Friedberg and Adam Selzter will write and direct. America is a fickle country, and the box office returns were dismal enough for Disaster Movie that we hopefully will be spared any future entries in the series. Apparently we've reached our threshold for objectively terrible spoofs. Fool us once, Friedberg and Selzter, shame on you. Fool us four times, shame on us.

So if you read my posts about our original marathon, you'd have found out that, while all three movies were awful, the series seemed to improve as it went along. Not by a whole lot, but by Meet the Spartans I could at least recognize a handful of jokes, unfunny as they were, whereas Date Movie was a jokeless, incompetent mess. More noticeably, the movies improved on a technical level. As their budgets went up, I guess Friedberg and Seltzer were able to throw more money into the inematography and the editing and include better special effects, and finally came up with something that at least looked like a real movie.

So I was assuming that, following this trend, Disaster Movie would be even "better" than the last one. Not so. I'd have to re-watch Date Movie to be sure (not gonna happen), but Disaster Movie may be the worst piece of shit in the entire latrine that is the Movie Movie series. Holy shit, I was not prepared for a movie this bad.

Imagine every gripe I had about the last 3 movies amplified tenfold. There are so many nonsensical, forced references to pop culture without any apparent joke that it becomes kind of amazing. I don't know how they managed to write a screenplay this densely packed with intertextuality. You'd think they'd have stumbled upon a joke by accident at some point. No such luck.

Worse though is just how shitty the filmmaking seems this time. It came out only 8 months after Meet the Spartans. The other films came out more like a year apart, so Disaster Movie was clearly a rush job. It shows. Hell, it fucking reeks of it. It's most noticeable in the awful, awful special effects. (Amazing how a movie can cost $20 million and look like shit because that's a low budget. I mean, $20 million? That's more money that any of us will ever see in our lives and yet it's barely enough to make this movie look better than an Mad TV sketch). I can conceive of a way in which the shitty special effects could actually make the movie funnier, but here they strike a perfect balance of being too shitty to be effective while also too good to be laughable. The highlight might be when Alvin and the Chipmunks are represented by a bunch of crappy puppets. Or perhaps when Kung Fu Panda is played by a dude in a suit. Oh or when The Hulk is just a muscular dude that they painted green, although he doesn't even look as big as Lou Ferrigno. I guess they didn't have the time or money to do all these characters up in CG, but making them tangible creates a kind of cognitive dissonance that distracts you from being amused by any of it. Not that it would be funny any way.

The weirdest part of the movie is that they make a reference to No Country For Old Men, which isn't the kind of silly pop culture stuff they usually include. Anton Chigurh shows up at a party at the beginning of the movie and actually murders someone with his cattle gun. It's not funny, but it is fucked-up so I'll give it some credit.

The towering achievement of this film is it's finale, where the entire cast sings a parody of "I'm Fucking Matt Damon." Right away that's pretty fucking incredible because the song was already a joke that they did on Jimmy Kimmel's show, and then it already had been parodied on his show with "I'm Fucking Ben Affleck." I don't know how taking someone else's joke song and plugging in new names counts as a new joke. It's like doing a cover of Weird Al doing a parody of another song only you insert slightly different fat jokes or something.

Anyways, it gets even better because they have every single pop culture reference character that showed up in all of Disaster Movie sing about how they are fucking another pop culture reference. Kung Fu Panda is fucking Hellboy, Hellboy is fucking the cast of High School Musical, etc etc. It perfectly sums up this shitty series because it literally becomes a list of pop culture references. It doesn't get funnier, they don't think of any new spin on it, they just keep naming characters. It is the entire series in microcosm. I didn't time it, but I would guess that the song goes on for about 5 hours. At least it feels that way. The only thing that could have made it better was if they went through all the references they made in all four movies.

It so perfectly sums up it's own shittiness at the end that I really do hope the series ends here. I mean, even if it didn't have this ending, I would still not want them to make any more movies, but this puts such a perfect little button on the whole ordeal that it seems like the ideal place to stop. Here it is America, you paid these assholes millions of dollars to remind you about other movies you saw. Choke on it.


Shenan said...

i think the best example of the "non-joke" in the whole movie was when they just had one character-who-vaguely-resembles-some-pop-culture-icon-being-referenced after another walk out into the street, get hit with a cow, have all the other characters wince and groan, then have another character walk out and go "all right, i'm sick and tired of this- I'M gonna save the world!" then THEY get hit with a cow. like four or five times. and that was supposed to be funny. because...cows.

Dan said...

and I guess the cows are a reference to "Twister" which is odd because that movie is from the mid 90's.