The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


[cut to camera 3; sportscaster turns to face camera]

…and finally in high school sports tonight, our happy little burg’s varsity Goth team met the league champion Visigoths in the school cafeteria for a pentathlon whinefest. Events included the 100 meter angst, the black makeup hurdles to a getting a job flipping burgers, and the forty kilometer stay in your room with the noise playing so loud the neighbor’s cat can’t hear himself think while writing incredibly bad poetry about what awful snots your totally out of it parents are. The home team held its own until the fourth quarter, when the Visigoths stapled their eyelids shut while piercing their tongues with a white hot fork, which gave them the lead. They were able to hang on to the lead, despite a lackadaisical effort by the home Goths, until the clock ran out the door with the homecoming queen and win, 35-32. Afterwards, the band ritually slaughtered ‘God Bless America’ while the Austrogoths, the team of exchange Goths from Down Under put a mess of shrimp on the barbies for the fans. The two teams did not have any shrimp, preferring to go to their rooms to sulk for a while. And that’s sports. Brian, back to you.

Anchorman: Thanks, Charlie. There any chance of the home Goths going to the championships this year?

Sportscaster: I don’t think so, Brian, but my sources in the high school’s athletic program tell me that there’s a couple of real slackers on the junior varsity who can bitch, moan, and whine like nobody’s business. The coaches don’t expect much from them one way or the other, so there’s a lot of hope for next year.

Anchorman [gives that little insincere chuckle that tells you he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about a bunch of moronic pimply-faced teenagers who like to wear weird clothes; this two-bit tank town is just one more ticket to punch on his way up to the network.] : Well, wait’ll next year it is, then. Thanks, Charlie. [turns to Camera 1] A new action thriller opened at the Cineplex today, the much-awaited sequel to The Roach Ultimatum, and here is Todd Talbot with his review. Todd?

[cut to film critic, a man clearly driven out of his mind by the vast amounts of inane drivel he has to watch every year. This should come as no surprise to anyone, since motion pictures in our day and age are made for adolescents and therefore reflect an adolescent sensibility, if you can call adolescents sensible in any meaningful way and that’s always a debatable point, a sensibility formed by the vast amounts of inane drivel they watch on their televisions and their computers all day long, which accustoms them to the practice of spending large amounts of their parents’ money on inane drivel in movie theaters as well. You’d think they’d catch on to the fact that what they’re watching is little more than cinematic slop, but they don’t, what with their critical faculties dulled by years of modern education, and why should the producers spend money making a real motion picture with a real plot and real production values when car chases, massive explosions in Dolby surround sound stereo, and nubile young women wearing or not wearing, as the case may be, the minimum amount of clothing necessary to keep this dog from getting an NC-17 rating will cover any plot hole you’d care to think of?]

Film critic: Thanks, Brian. Yes, today marks the premiere of The Roach Supremacy, the much anticipated sequel to The Roach Ultimatum, and if you loved that film you will certainly love this one as well since the producers evidently decided that the last one was so successful, they ought to remake it, and so they did—there is basically no difference between this film and the previous Roach film except for the cities the producers used as background. The Roach Ultimatum was set in Vienna, London, and Prague; The Roach Supremacy is set in Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Jakarta. At least, the producers say they filmed in Jakarta—the longer I watched this movie the more I kept thinking that the Jakarta portion of the film was really the 1982 Mel Gibson film, The Year of Living Dangerously, with the new crop of actors digitally inserted. Hey, I’m all for Hollywood saving a buck or two here and there, but there is such a thing as overdoing it.

As for the plot, you have to ask: why bother? Tom Blattidae stars once again as Roach, the amnesiac insect secret agent who knows more ways to kill you than you know how to die but can’t remember his real name or where he left his car keys last night. I don’t know why Tom Blattidae chose to come back for the sequel and in a way, he didn’t; as far as I can tell, he phoned this performance in from whatever hole in the wall he's hiding from the paparazzi in this week. The movie begins with Roach trapped once again in a seedy roach motel, and is there any other kind of roach motel in these bug genre movies, fighting off a small army of Japanese assassin bugs who want to kill him. Why? They don’t know, and neither does Roach, and neither do I, and I stayed to the end of the film, unlike most of the audience, which decamped about halfway through this clunker to the auditorium next door to check out the newest remake of Pride and Prejudice starring Olive Oyl as Elizabeth Bennett and Popeye the Sailorman as Mr. Darcy.

The plot, such as it is, revolves around a super-secret CIA elimination squad and their attempts to kill Roach, whom they regard as a rogue bug. In a film dedicated to the scarcely believable, the rapper Mosca Def plays Phly, the head of this super secret detail, who for reasons best known to himself is rarely seen without a rolled-up newspaper in one hand just waiting for an opportunity to hit something with it. Why is he doing this? It’s a mystery to me and it will be to you too, but apparently Roach is having bad dreams about his secret agent training in Poughkeepsie, of all places, and the CIA doesn’t want him to put two and two together. There’s not much chance of that happening in this stunningly bad film, which involves Roach skittering pointlessly across half a dozen impossibly clean floors while trying to stay one step ahead of the assassin bugs and the praying mantises—there is a subplot involving the Vatican, which, someone should point out to the producers of this film, is located in Rome and has been for centuries, and not in Hong Kong or anywhere near Hong Kong—and saving the world from a suicide bombardier beetle with a thermonuclear device surgically implanted in its body. Don’t ask, it’s better if you don’t know the gruesome details.

The film has all the usual distractions to keep the audience from thinking about the plot too much and there is even Vanessa Cardui reprising her role as Roach’s hooker with a heart of gold girlfriend, but she gets killed in the first half hour of the film; I suspect that Miss Cardui, a lovely and talented actress with a bright future in Hollywood, read the second thirty pages of the script while on the set and decided to get out of this bomb with her career intact while she still had time. Tom Blattidae apparently didn’t have that option in his contract; he had to stay for the whole thing and so did I, and I advise you not to bother. The Roach Supremacy? Not likely. Step on it a couple of times and make sure it’s dead. This is Todd Talbot. Brian?

[cut to anchorman]

Anchorman: So you didn’t like it, Todd?

Film critic: That may well be the understatement of the year, Brian.

[anchorman gives another phony chortle; turns to camera]

Anchorman: That’s the news for tonight. Stay tuned here for a special investigative report on the effects of steroids on zebra mussels; are your children at risk? For all of us here at the news desk, thank you for watching and good night.

[dramatic music swells like the anchorman’s ego after winning an Emmy. Fade to black. Commercial begins.]

Labels: , , , ,



Post a Comment

<< Home