31 October 2010

Shocking, Detestable, Horrific, Loathsome, Revolting (and other words that don't describe my general movie going experience)

It takes a lot to shock me in movies these days. My boss was recounting a story about her 13-year old son to me yesterday. He tried to see “Paranormal Activity” but was turned away once he got to the theatre. Instead, he and his friends saw “The Stepfather”. He’s been having nightmares ever since. I couldn’t help but giggle. I loved scary movies! Sure, when I was 13 there were a lot of things that scared me. I never learned my lesson and as a result had a lot of nightmares. (Sorry Mom and Dad). However, they were also supernatural in nature- dolls come to life, tiny demons stealing my breath, something wicked in the closet or under the bed. Human killers didn’t bother me at all.

So I laughed and said the line that opened this post. She replied, “Based on the kind of movies you rent, I’m not surprised!”

You see, I’d recently recounted the premise of “Blood Car” (please don’t see it), about a car that runs on human blood some how, and the bumbling government spooks watching it all go down. Sounds promising right? That’s what I thought! Here’s a sample dialogue:
“What’s he up to?”
“Well, he just killed two people.”
“Okay. Keep an eye on him.”

Seriously? God bless Netflix for having an outlet to what I hoped was student work (it wasn’t), but there should really be a warning. Perhaps you’re thinking, “They do warn you. They rate all the movies. The estimate what you would rate it!” That’s well and good for most movies, but it fails to take into account the movies that are so bad they’re good.
[side note: It received a 2.7. Hardly an indication of bad or good]

But, I digress… Back to my point- shocking me. It takes a lot. I was the girl who fell asleep during “Hostel”, mind you. (Loved part two though). I watch “Un Chien Andalou” (IFC’s #1 scary-non-horror movie) and never cringe. Give me what you got, your best shot! Get Greg Nicotero and Tom Savini together and we’ll have a great time (I think I just came a little thinking about that mash-up), but I’m still not going to be shocked or really scared. The last time I remember being scared was watching “The Strangers”, and that was only because the wind almost blew the door in and things kept tapping against the glass. Seriously, watch it next time it storms- totally different experience.

Now, it’s reality that scares me, not monsters. As we grow up, the demons and witches and ghouls are replaced with sadistic Hitchcockian killers; people who smile as they wipe your blood from their face. I feel it, it’s scary, but is it shocking? Not yet.

When was the last time? Maybe “Blood Car” should count even if it was just shockingly bad! Okay, now I’m going to have to say more about this movie. Synopsis: Vegan loser schoolteacher (who wears homemade t-shirts with vegan dogma slogans embroidered on them to work. In what universe is that appropriate work attire?), tries to invent a car that runs on wheat grass be buys from Anna Chlumsky (oh yea) at a “Peanuts”-esque tofu stand in the middle of a parking lot. It doesn’t work, surprise, until he cuts himself and a little of his blood mixes with the grass and VOILA!
Chlumsky's in love with him, but he only has eyes for the girl who sells meat in an equally ridiculous cardboard stand across from Anna's. (Uh huh). So, why does the car suddenly run on blood? How does installing a propeller in the trunk to slice up bodies get the blood in the tank? Doesn't this car smell? In the end, spoiler alert (as if that's even possible), the government guys make him president of his own country. (yep). It's bad when the Troma looks like Miramax in comparison.

Okay, so there was another tangent. Seriously though, when was the last time I saw something shocking? I've got a couple in my queue that may do it, including "Cannibal" based on the true story of the German guys who found someone to eat, literally, on Craigslist; and "In the Skin" about a girl who likes to self mutilate, a lot. Maybe I'll have something to report.

Maybe I'm just desensitized. Is that a bad thing? Some politico's would have you believe it is. I'm not very good with empathy, but I can certainly feel pity. I understand right from wrong. I don't want to emulate anything I've seen on TV or the movies (again, thanks to the folks). What's so bad about desensitizing America?

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