Possibly the worst film ever
July 4, 2013 2:52 AM   Subscribe

The Lone Ranger is now in movie theaters. Currently rated an amazingly low 23% at Rotten Tomatoes, this film is a train wreck. Even the horse is lousy. It could be worse.
posted by twoleftfeet (307 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Nowhere near the worst film ever. People, critics and the general public alike (at least according to my physical and social media circles), are getting caught up in the negative hype.

Sure it's too long, but pretty much every movie released in the last couple years is ten minutes longer than it needs to be. I thought The Lone Ranger was just fine, even if too predictable for me. But I like Johnny Depp almost always and it's very well shot and worth seeing on a big screen (the vistas!).
posted by dogwalker at 3:00 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I went and read most of your links. This was my favourite bit:

According to the internet, the Lone Ranger used them to symbolize the weight of firing a gun.

I am old enough to have watched the original black and white reruns in the afternoons (zorro too!) and to get a cheap thrill on reading that bolded phrase, oh wow. We're a thing.
posted by infini at 3:03 AM on July 4, 2013


23% is a pretty impressively bad score, but it's pretty common to see something that low. I don't start taking note of a movie's ability to repel all critics far and wide until I see some single digit scores happening.

And even then said movie will usually rake in millions and get greenlit for a sequel. Sigh.
posted by Aznable at 3:06 AM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


The image of the horse in the tree is hilarious. Any chance that this Dope-Buttham screen infestation could become a good bad movie?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:09 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thankfully, at least the people who matter appreciate what the film is trying to do.
posted by R. Schlock at 3:09 AM on July 4, 2013 [13 favorites]


Adrienne K. at the Cultural Appropriations blog really digs into all the reasons it's terrible: I saw the Lone Ranger so you don't have to.
posted by mokin at 3:16 AM on July 4, 2013 [33 favorites]


When I was a kid, they used to show Lone Ranger reruns on one of the local stations (this was the 70's). I always remember being excited to watch it, but can't recall a thing about it. I think I'd watch for about five or ten minutes, get bored, and go back to legos.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:19 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's not the movie. Every movie critic on the planet has already panned the movie. It's about shutting down the relentless marketing that makes pablum like this common fare.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:33 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have to admit I enjoyed the io9 review.
posted by longbaugh at 3:34 AM on July 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


It's a little weird that the GQ reviewer believes that depicting the genocide of Native Americans is "left-wing propaganda." It might not belong in a light-hearted family film, but it's a huge part of American history, not just the disputed opinion of liberals.
posted by mokin at 3:37 AM on July 4, 2013 [101 favorites]


Also - is this where I point out that my favourite Lone Ranger related media of recent memory is from Warren Ellis' Planetary which so clearly deserves a mini-series.
posted by longbaugh at 3:38 AM on July 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


It sounds like one of the major complaints is that it makes white people feel guilty? Like from the io9 article:
What makes the Lone Ranger finally embrace the need for his mask, and hence the whole "secret identity" thing? In a nutshell, he realizes his fellow white men are corrupt, and complicit in the mass murder of Tonto's fellow Native Americans. If he takes the mask off, then he too will wind up becoming complicit. Yes, that's right — in this film, the Lone Ranger's mask is made of White Guilt.
I wonder what people outside of the US would think - would they see it as another goofy/strange historical movie movie like Pirates if they didn't have the same baggage.

Not that I thought it looked good - I remember seening some scene where a horse was running on some awning and jumped on a train. It looked totally fake, like the horse was completely weightless.
posted by delmoi at 3:57 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like to see NPR, The New York Times, and The Guardian all basically shitting on this film.

I'm just sick of really crappy films getting promoted without any oversight. I end up watching the films these publications promote, so I want them to be honest when there's a film that will only leave a big hunk of stinking poo if I pay attention to it.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:08 AM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Bitch Magazine agrees that 'Disney's "The Lone Ranger" is So, So Bad'
posted by eviemath at 4:11 AM on July 4, 2013


Whilst we're on the topic. I absolutely love the silver bullet mythology of the Lone Ranger. The official explanation given by the creator is that each bullet has a value, the same as each human life has a value and that the Lone Ranger would not throw either away. Ellis suggests in Planetary that the silver bullets were tainted with mercury as a byproduct of the silver mining process and that, despite him shooting to wound, his targets would "die of shame" (i.e. from mercury poisioning).

I think you could make an interesting and above all serious film with the Lone Ranger as the subject that would work to address the American need for capital-J-Justice and vengeance with the national obsession with firearms (and hey why not just tie in the massacre of natives whilst we're at it?). Seeing the licence thrown away on some shitty Pirates of the Mojave is just depressing as I genuinely believe you could make a great movie with a really awesome message without going all grimdark.
posted by longbaugh at 4:28 AM on July 4, 2013 [17 favorites]


When Verbinski was last directing and Depp was a cartoon lizard, they crafted a far better Western in “Rango.”

Rango is good.
posted by Pendragon at 4:38 AM on July 4, 2013 [21 favorites]


Whilst we're on the topic. I absolutely love the silver bullet mythology of the Lone Ranger

The silver bullet was often the only weapon effective against a werewolf.

Maybe that masked man knew something.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:41 AM on July 4, 2013




And something else that offends me, Tonto is a derogatory term in Spanish.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:45 AM on July 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Rango is good.

Rango is very good. I'm a bit surprised it's been sort of forgotten already. That's a western Depp and Verbiniski can be proud of.
posted by zardoz at 4:51 AM on July 4, 2013 [16 favorites]


Minstrelsy. That's the word I was looking for.

You can't redeem racist archetypes with irony. You can call them out, but only if you don't foreclose an absolute rejection their irredeemable ugliness.

Johnny Depp used to be an impressive actor. Now he's an aging freak. Ain't seeing this, so I appreciated Adrienne K's take, and am delighted to see her blog suddenly getting cited a bunch on metafilter, where we have some work to do bringing our awareness of anti-Indigenous racism up to the level we take for granted around other categories of oppression and bigotry.
posted by spitbull at 4:56 AM on July 4, 2013 [16 favorites]


Johnny Depp used to be an impressive actor. Now he's an aging freak.

Hey, there's no reason to get all ageist about it; I'm pretty sure Johnny Depp was a young freak, too.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:59 AM on July 4, 2013 [21 favorites]


"Possibly the worst film ever" --- anybody remember Ishtar?
posted by easily confused at 4:59 AM on July 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm damned sure not giving money to watch redface.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:05 AM on July 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


Tonto don't go to town.
posted by bukvich at 5:05 AM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


anybody remember Ishtar?

Definitely a pioneer in high-budget bad films.

Anybody can make a bad film, but it takes a special alignment of cosmic forces to make a really shitty movie on a budget of $250,000,000.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:08 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Several notes.
I had always assumed Tonto came from the Tonto tribe of Apaches.
Unfortunately this Tonto is Comanche, so he doesn't get that pass.

Tonto can also be affectionately used as "fool" in Spanish.
I was listening to a Native American station last week in which they had a call-in program discussing this movie. Most Native American callers were defending it, but that was probably based on pre-release publicity and Depp making the rounds to sell it to Native Americans. It would have been interesting how the conversation played out if it were a semi-decent film.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:08 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Say what you will about the TV series and original movies, at least they had a real Indian play Tonto. Johnny Depp? Come on.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:10 AM on July 4, 2013 [9 favorites]


So, if 73% of the people who saw the movie liked it, but only 23% of critics gave it a positive review, who should I listen to as I make a decision about plunking down the $$$'s to see a movie?

This happens so often that I've come to the conclusion that Critics seem to be very good at the performance art of, well, being "critical", but have really become worthless in terms of judging what the general public will like and consider "good".
posted by HuronBob at 5:10 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, if the review at the "even the horse is lousy" link is anywhere close to the mark, I'd watch something else.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:12 AM on July 4, 2013


I've always quietly wondered if Helena Bohnam Carter's, Johnny Dep's, and Tim Burton's careers would all simultaneously collapse, like a three-legged stool suddenly becoming a two-legged one, if any of them decided to abandon the others.

One or two movies is a bit hasty to make a judgment, but I can't help thinking Ol' Tim will pop back in any second now.
posted by GoingToShopping at 5:16 AM on July 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


So, if 73% of the people who saw the movie liked it, but only 23% of critics gave it a positive review, who should I listen to as I make a decision about plunking down the $$$'s to see a movie?

This happens so often that I've come to the conclusion that Critics seem to be very good at the performance art of, well, being "critical", but have really become worthless in terms of judging what the general public will like and consider "good".
posted by HuronBob at 5:10 AM on July 4


It really depends on what kind of film you like. Transformers 2 was panned by critics but made a killing at the box office and was highly rated by viewers. Personally I couldn't watch more than 5 minutes of it, but I am not a 17-21 yr old male with a jubilent love of explosions and 3 second cut scenes... YMMV.
posted by Vindaloo at 5:21 AM on July 4, 2013 [6 favorites]



I was listening to a Native American station last week in which they had a call-in program discussing this movie.


You were probably listening to the important and nationally syndicated Native America Calling program. Here is a link (m3u streaming audio) to their segment on this execrable film.
posted by spitbull at 5:21 AM on July 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


Johnny Depp is a good actor provided you have a strong director to stop him from becoming too "Johnny Depp".
posted by sixohsix at 5:22 AM on July 4, 2013 [11 favorites]


Johnny Depp's hair is a bird. Your point is invalid.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:26 AM on July 4, 2013 [17 favorites]


Also, there are no fish in his pants.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:27 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, if 73% of the people who saw the movie liked it, but only 23% of critics gave it a positive review, who should I listen to as I make a decision about plunking down the $$$'s to see a movie?

The movie hasn't opened yet in theaters across part of the U.S.

It's a Fourth of July roll-out (people have a four day weekend.)

That 73% will probably go up. This film has everything; action, romance, train wrecks, social commentary... pretty much everything you paid $$$ to see.

No soul though.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:28 AM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


weird monster rabbits with big carnivorous fangs

Those are certainly young Jackalopes , the fully grown were much more dangerous and hunted to extinction. My great grandfather shot one of the last. We had the mounted head growing up.
posted by sammyo at 5:28 AM on July 4, 2013 [9 favorites]


Possibly the worst film ever

Everyone is just jumping on the bland wagon.
posted by pracowity at 5:29 AM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


So, if 73% of the people who saw the movie liked it, but only 23% of critics gave it a positive review, who should I listen to as I make a decision about plunking down the $$$'s to see a movie?

Transformers II excepted (because that was an awful, awful film), a high user score with a low critic score is usually a sign that the film is OK. (e.g. Speed Racer)

The opposite (good critic review with poor viewer reaction) is ALWAYS a reason to stay away from a film. (e.g. Cosmopolis)
posted by zoo at 5:30 AM on July 4, 2013


...a high user score with a low critic score is usually a sign that the film is OK. (e.g. Speed Racer)

The opposite (good critic review with poor viewer reaction) is ALWAYS a reason to stay away from a film.


So, what you're saying is that we should pretty much ignore the critics.
posted by HuronBob at 5:34 AM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


longbaugh: "Also - is this where I point out that my favourite Lone Ranger related media of recent memory is from Warren Ellis' Planetary which so clearly deserves a mini-series."

Which I heartily agree with. I mean, come on now, it's a weird world , let's keep it that way!
posted by Samizdata at 5:34 AM on July 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Funny they set the carnival where Tonto is introduced in 1933..

In that year, the Chicago Century of Progress exhibition drew millions of visitors to come gawk at an exhibition called "Indian Village," where groups of Native American performers re-enacted traditional life on display. Many were dragooned (by the railroad companies, in fact, although esteemed anthropologist Franz Boas had a role too) to come and spend a year there, in sweltering heat and freezing cold, shitty living conditions, and with their performances framed by the gleaming towers of the future America exhibit on either side, sponsored by GM, and meant to project an image of Indians as being part of America's pre-industrial, pre-"progress" past. The Indian Village exhibit (featuring several Southwestern and Pacific Northwest tribes) was wildly popular.

The Exhibition was meant to boost American confidence in the future at the height of the depression. Plenty of elite and well off urban sophisticates enjoyed the performance of near-captive Indians, and scholars (such as George Herzog) and documentarians (such as Burton Holmes) took advantage of the ease of access to record all kinds of sacred and traditional music and knowledge they would otherwise never have gained access to.

It was a human zoo.

The many babies and children put on display probably included a few who are still alive today as elders.
posted by spitbull at 5:35 AM on July 4, 2013 [64 favorites]


Its not like the PotC films were any good? And i dont just mean the last three, the first one is also. So what else was likely? Absolutely could've seen that coming.
posted by PaddyJames at 5:36 AM on July 4, 2013


So, what you're saying is that we should pretty much ignore the critics.

No - the reviewer score is critical. It's the difference between reviewer and critic that provides the most information as to whether the film is rubbish or not.
posted by zoo at 5:37 AM on July 4, 2013


You can't redeem racist archetypes with irony. You can call them out, but only if you don't foreclose an absolute rejection their irredeemable ugliness.

It's interesting that people get away with making slightly absurd statements like this and get away with it. Racist archetypes are omnipresent in Hollywood fare.

In a previous comment on MetaFilter in a thread about "The Help," somebody wisely stated that Hollywood doesn't do (or typically touch) direct racial commentary very well, maybe because audiences can't handle it. People have these "rules" about what you can or can't say. Indirect racial commentary - movies like Planet of the Apes - are typically considered "thought provoking," i.e. no problem.

Ultimately with movies, the audience is always right. I haven't seen Lone Ranger nor am I familiar with the mythology. But from the comments I'm a little surprised this got green lit and I can glean from the lack of marketing that maybe this was expected to bomb from the get-go.
posted by phaedon at 5:37 AM on July 4, 2013


I always get the Lone Ranger and Zorro confused because they both wear a mask.

Why is it that when I do a Google Image Search today for "lone ranger" I mostly see images of Johnny Depp?
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:39 AM on July 4, 2013


What's absurd about my statement? It's a statement of opinion. It can't be wrong or right. I say the archetypes are irredeemably racist. You disagree. That doesn't make my view "absurd." But I guess I "got away with it," right dude?
posted by spitbull at 5:39 AM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, I have a username, phaedon, so I'm not "people" "getting away with saying" something. Passive aggressive phrasing is also something "people" "get away with" here, apparently.

How do you propose to redeem the racist caricatures in this film?
posted by spitbull at 5:43 AM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was invited to a free screening, it was no worse than most superhero films. I wasn't bored, there were clever moments, the chase scenes were appropriately gigantic and impossible to survive. It does have the incredibly beautiful vistas, which work well on a big screen.

<SPOILER>It even had an authentic "save the cat" scene </SPOILER>
posted by sammyo at 5:44 AM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I liked Ishtar.

I wouldn't have paid $250,000,000 to see it, but nobody was asking me to.
posted by mazola at 5:46 AM on July 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


"Possibly the worst film ever" --- anybody remember Ishtar?

I recently rented Yellowbeard, an early-eighties movie written by Graham Chapman, and featuring about half the cast of Monty Python, half the cast of Young Frankenstein, and with Cheech and Chong thrown in for good measure. 'With these people involved, there's only SO BAD it can be, right?', I thought to myself, and boy, was I wrong. John Cleese has apparently said that it's one of the six worst movies ever made. I'm not sure he was specific about the other five.

Anyway, yeah, Lone Ranger might be the worst film ever released this week, or something, but let's not lose all sense of perspective.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 5:51 AM on July 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


I was invited to a free screening, it was no worse than most superhero films.

I think I saw the same film. I liked the romantic parts, but I was a little on edge when for a moment it wasn't clear which way things would go. But when it evened out at the end, I felt a lot of satisfaction.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:51 AM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, just popping in to say I liked Ishtar too. It's one of my favourite flicks, actually. Watch it every couple of years or so.
Ishtar was a situation where the negative press the movie received became the story, and then the film's quality seemed to be irrelevant to the discussion.
Maybe the same thing happening here? I haven't seen The Lone Ranger and probably won't until it becomes available for home consumption.
posted by annekenstein at 5:56 AM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Possibly the worst film ever

Battle Royale 2.
Matrix 2 or 3.
Police Academy 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 or 7.
posted by Wordshore at 5:56 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wordshore: "Possibly the worst film ever

Battle Royale 2.
Matrix 2 or 3.
Police Academy 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 or 7.
"

Wait a bloody minute here, you liar! They only made ONE Matrix movie. I suppose you would have me believe there was a sequel to Highlander!

Your caddery knows no bounds, vile wretch!
posted by Samizdata at 5:58 AM on July 4, 2013 [16 favorites]


Ishtar arranged sideways spells I trash.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:58 AM on July 4, 2013


Arranged sideways?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:04 AM on July 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


Here's some film from the 1933 Century of Progress by Haskell Pruett. At 13:45 there is brief footage of the Hopi Pueblo and some dancers who are (I think) Winnebago. (YouTube, from Oklahoma Historical Society).
posted by spitbull at 6:07 AM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


These movies aren't even aimed at people in the U.S. anymore. More money is made in international markets. To succeed, it is important to have a recognizable face and to have dialogue which is simple and easy to translate. It is important to have a theme, and a conflict, and it is important to have a chase and some explosions.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:11 AM on July 4, 2013 [9 favorites]


How do you propose to redeem the racist caricatures in this film?

Seeing the movie would probably be a good start, although a less-framed question I would like to answer would be, "Do I think racist caricatures need to be redeemed in film?" or, "Does Lone Ranger not work as a film because it employs ugly, racist archetypes?"

And I think I acknowledged that your opinion is as right as anyone else's on this matter. People ate up Crash, Driving Miss Daisy, and The Help. Those films did well in the box office and won awards, which is shorthand for those movies were "socially acceptable." In fact now that I'm thinking about it, I'm not even really sure what "redeeming a racist caricature" consists of. A happy ending? The oppressor loses or reforms his ways?

Regardless, you would have to agree that the more "based in reality" a movie is, the more accountable it tends to be. The point I was making is if a film employs a racial metaphor, it is able to explore the topic of racism more critically (or even more loosely) without invoking a "this is the what you can or can't talk about with regards to race in movies" response. Which was what you were doing. Using words like can or can't.

As for the passive aggressive stuff, I'm not even out of bed yet, I can't believe I'm already offending people! Woo, that's a new record.
posted by phaedon at 6:13 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


From the Indian Country Today Media Network, Put a Bird on It: Johnny Depp inspired Native American Fashion. More seriously, also from the ICTM: Depp's Tonto 'A Major Setback for Native American Image'.
posted by jokeefe at 6:13 AM on July 4, 2013


I've always thought that the 'popcorn' Flixter scores were made up and payed for by the studios.

You can't fake the published critical reviews (although you could fudge the algorithm I suppose) and the reputation the critics are exposing by stating their views.

The popcorn viewers scores? So easily tampered with and so often completely *wrong* about whether it's a good movie or not, that I personally, summarily dismiss it as noise on RT.

Even if they're not tampered with... I really couldn't give a fuck what the general public thinks is a good movie. So many people have *terrible* taste (and aren't adults yet like I ended up as).

I'll stick with the critic's metascore. I'm not a published critic, but I am an armchair critic... not a popcorn munching blockbuster coke guzzler.
posted by panaceanot at 6:16 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


These movies aren't even aimed at people in the U.S. anymore. More money is made in international markets. To succeed, it is important to have a recognizable face and to have dialogue which is simple and easy to translate. It is important to have a theme, and a conflict, and it is important to have a chase and some explosions.

Those damn foreigners, bringing down American film making standards with their ignorant ways.
posted by dng at 6:16 AM on July 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


And here is a Flickr set of photos posted by The U of Illinois Chicago digital collections folks of images from the 1933 Century of Progress. Indian Village photos are toward the bottom (this is the second page of the set, scroll back to the first to see the gleaming steel "future" with which quaint old Indians were being juxtaposed).

My point is that it wasn't just backwater carnies who were making bank off rubes gawking at exhibition Indians in 1933. So were millions of urban, middle-class and wealthy Americans. This is the visual history this film ignores, and from which it springs. This is the legacy of bigotry being ironized in the movie.
posted by spitbull at 6:17 AM on July 4, 2013 [14 favorites]


This is the legacy of bigotry being ironized in the movie.

And, you know, this is probably the way Johnny Depp thinks about it.

I like the guy. He's a good actor.

But he has no idea what a shitstorm he's in for when this movie opens today.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:23 AM on July 4, 2013


It is my understanding that the Lone Ranger used silver bullets and had a horse named Silver because the original radio serial was sponsored by Silvercup Bread...
posted by jim in austin at 6:24 AM on July 4, 2013 [15 favorites]


Don' t dismiss specific points by specific users as "absurd" points "people get away with" and you won't offend said "people." If you concede my view is an opinion, it can't be simply dismissed as wrong on a factual level. I speak for myself. I don't find racism funny when it is shielded by irony.

I have no intention of seeing the movie. There is plenty of evidence right here in this thread and its links (not to mention I've been following his issue in Native media for months) to determine that it is irredeemably Redface Minstrelsy. I don't give money to irredeemable bigots.

I said it in the last thread on Native issues just yesterday, but if we applied the same standards of discourse to Indigenous topics as we do to issues of sexism, trans/homophobia, and other kinds of racism on metafilter, these threads would go very differently indeed or the corresponding MetaTalk threads would be an inferno. I guess there are no Native Americans here, or none willing to stand up and say so. Not that I would blame anyone for not wanting to deal with the level of ignorance here.
posted by spitbull at 6:25 AM on July 4, 2013 [14 favorites]


twoleftfeet, the joke is on all of us because Kemosabe=quien no sabe.
posted by CincyBlues at 6:26 AM on July 4, 2013


Funny they set the carnival where Tonto is introduced in 1933..

In that year, the Chicago Century of Progress exhibition drew millions of visitors to come gawk at an exhibition called "Indian Village," where groups of Native American performers re-enacted traditional life on display. Many were dragooned (by the railroad companies, in fact, although esteemed anthropologist Franz Boas had a role too) to come and spend a year there, in sweltering heat and freezing cold, shitty living conditions, and with their performances framed by the gleaming towers of the future America exhibit on either side, sponsored by GM, and meant to project an image of Indians as being part of America's pre-industrial, pre-"progress" past. The Indian Village exhibit (featuring several Southwestern and Pacific Northwest tribes) was wildly popular.

The Exhibition was meant to boost American confidence in the future at the height of the depression. Plenty of elite and well off urban sophisticates enjoyed the performance of near-captive Indians, and scholars (such as George Herzog) and documentarians (such as Burton Holmes) took advantage of the ease of access to record all kinds of sacred and traditional music and knowledge they would otherwise never have gained access to.

It was a human zoo.


The early Disneyland had something similar going on.
posted by hippybear at 6:29 AM on July 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


But he has no idea what a shitstorm he's in for when this movie opens today.

It's a shitstorm that is already happening, at least in some places. Here's an interview with Sonny Skyhawk, founder of American Indians in Film and Television: "Disney has been marketing and re-writing the history of our people -- American Indians -- without their permission, ever since the company was born and to my knowledge has never paid a penny for it or even thanked us. Yet it has the gall and audacity to knowingly cast a non-Native person in the role of an established Native character." Further: Depp to Native Youth: 'You're still warriors, man'. Sample comment: "Thanks for the patronizing bullshit Depp."
posted by jokeefe at 6:32 AM on July 4, 2013 [13 favorites]


To be fair, a whorehouse madam with an artificial leg made of ivory is a pretty good high-concept pitch.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:32 AM on July 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


Also, looking at the reviews, it's like the film makers wanted to take everyone who cares about racism and Native Americans and enrage them while simultaneously enraging everyone who will get upset by "crude left-wing propaganda" suggesting that maybe the US isn't the happy melting pot, leaving only a core audience of... people who don't care? Which, I guess, for a holiday weekend opening, is going to be a pretty big segment, but, still....
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:37 AM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's a shitstorm that is already happening, at least in some places. Here's an interview with Sonny Skyhawk, founder of American Indians in Film and Television:

That's nothing compared to what Hollywood is going to do to him.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:41 AM on July 4, 2013


Is Flash Gordon ready for a Depp remake of childhood halloween costume based franchises?
posted by panaceanot at 6:42 AM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Has Depp developed some sort of stagefright that forces him to act in heavy makeup?
posted by 445supermag at 6:44 AM on July 4, 2013 [11 favorites]


I was wondering what the fuck was going on with Depp on the cover of Rolling Stone. I expected something terrible, but I never expected this.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:44 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


For my money, the best ironic treatment of how the Native Americans have been treated in the US across history, complete with white men playing Natives and even Hollywood's treatment of Indians, is Firesign Theatre's Temporarily Humboldt County.
posted by hippybear at 6:47 AM on July 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


I recently rented Yellowbeard, an early-eighties movie written by Graham Chapman, and featuring about half the cast of Monty Python, half the cast of Young Frankenstein, and with Cheech and Chong thrown in for good measure. 'With these people involved, there's only SO BAD it can be, right?', I thought to myself, and boy, was I wrong.

I am astonished. Never have I come across someone who thought that Yellowbeard was a bad movie. Maybe they didn't care for it personally, but a bad movie? Never. It's a bunch of talented goof-offs joking around carelessly, grabbing onto both highbrow and lowbrow at every turn, not always succeeding, but not caring and quickly moving on, making a silly, faulted, wonderful epic that's gloriously quoteable. It's like an English blend of the original Oceans Eleven and Airplane!

Oh well. More Yellowbeard for me, then.

"Will you give me two farthings for a lump of shit?" I hate myself for laughing. But I laugh. Every time. And it's wonderful.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:48 AM on July 4, 2013 [9 favorites]


Why didn't they just get an Indian to play an Indian and cast johnny depp as the lead? I mean shit why don't we just do a Malcolm X movie with Ryan Gosling while we're at it.
posted by ishrinkmajeans at 6:49 AM on July 4, 2013 [20 favorites]


I guess my takeaway is: buy up the Lego "Lone Ranger" setpieces, because the movie's gonna flop and the sets will be worth money?
posted by notsnot at 6:50 AM on July 4, 2013


I am a really good hater. I've noticed that when I hate someone, eventually everyone around me wakes up and hates them too, even if it takes years. I hated Wyclef when he was in the fugees - it took a while, but most people are on my side now. I hated Lance armstrong when he was winning tours and suspicions about his drug use were only vague - I saw him and heard him speak and said "this man is a lying psycho". BAM, I was right about that. Here's the thing: I also hate Johnny Depp.
posted by Teakettle at 6:50 AM on July 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


Ryan Godling

/imagines what that would be like...
posted by longbaugh at 6:51 AM on July 4, 2013


"Ryan Godling" *laugh* I bet that's how he views himself, too.
posted by hippybear at 6:51 AM on July 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


goddamnit fixed.
posted by ishrinkmajeans at 6:53 AM on July 4, 2013


Nnnnooooooooooooooooooooo! It was so much better as Godling! The Whelk would totally be up for writing a tale of young Ryan Godling, youngest of his pantheon I've no doubt.
posted by longbaugh at 6:55 AM on July 4, 2013 [10 favorites]


ON THE COSTUME: "I wanted him to be no joke. ... First of all, I wouldn't f*** with someone with a dead bird on their head. Second of all, he's got the f***ing paint on his face, which scares me."

I want to give Johnny the benefit of the doubt on this. That in his mind the dead bird isn't representative of traditional dress, but is instead a personal choice of the character he is playing. Of course the only reason I feel this way is because it isn't my heritage they are fucking with.

I like Johnny. I hate it had to be him.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:58 AM on July 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


Tangent...

Always liked Hallucinogen's album title 'Lone Deranger'. Imagine if this film had *that* as a title, and that Tonto was renamed Otnot who kept saying "Wasabi" and was actually someone from the Indian subcontinent and Clint Eastwood was dragged through horse poo. Helena Bonham Carter would have an ivory prosthesis that shot bullets.
posted by panaceanot at 7:02 AM on July 4, 2013 [10 favorites]


Ishtar was a situation where the negative press the movie received became the story, and then the film's quality seemed to be irrelevant to the discussion.
Maybe the same thing happening here? I haven't seen The Lone Ranger and probably won't until it becomes available for home consumption.


Can't speak to whether The Lone Ranger is good or bad but:

Joe Queenan said this interesting thing a few years back about a bad movie. It may have been Gigli, but Queenan asserted that while it was bad, it wasn't that bad, not worse than a lot of other films. He went on to say that critics often hold back from giving poor reviews, because if they were too critical too often, their access would get cut off, they wouldn't to see previews, etc. So they do a lot of softball / "it was okay" reviews. But every once in a while, there's a film that gets the reputation of being terrible, which everyone is rubbishing. Then the gloves come off because the criticism can be delivered with impunity. "They can't cut us all off!"

In summary: film critics do pile-on certain movies, almost regardless of how bad they actually are.
posted by outlier at 7:18 AM on July 4, 2013 [13 favorites]


writing a tale of young Ryan Godling, youngest of his pantheon I've no doubt.

Hey! You can't make me do things!

( plus he's clearly Baldur...wait no shut up.)
posted by The Whelk at 7:19 AM on July 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


And something else that offends me, Tonto is a derogatory term in Spanish.

There are a lot of criticisms that can be leveled against the Lone Ranger, but they were careful about addressing this one. Tonto is likely named after the Tonto Basin in Arizona, and is probably an Apache word meaning "wild," which dovetails with show cocreator George Trendle's explanation for why the name was picked (he remembered it from his childhood).

Knowing that the word has a different meaning in Spanish, the character was called Toro, or "bull," in Spanish language versions of the Lone Ranger.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:23 AM on July 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


Is this the one where Depp dresses up funny with longer hair, makeup and acts kooky?
posted by tarvuz at 7:24 AM on July 4, 2013 [20 favorites]


I'm pretty much convinced Depo has a " ridiculous hat " rider in his contract.
posted by The Whelk at 7:26 AM on July 4, 2013 [12 favorites]


I recently rented Yellowbeard, an early-eighties movie written by Graham Chapman, and featuring about half the cast of Monty Python, half the cast of Young Frankenstein, and with Cheech and Chong thrown in for good measure.

Personal story time here. As a kid, i LOVED this movie. Years ago when it came out on DVD, i bought it as fast as i could and watched it. I couldn't make it through the whole thing. It was painful, the cast was awesome, the jokes had potential, but it just felt like i was watching a poorly done tv movie. It was a cruel revelation to me how much nostalgia can really taint memories of things.

Nate and Hayes on the other hand, while not perfect was still fun to watch.

Say what you will about the TV series and original movies, at least they had a real Indian play Tonto. Johnny Depp? Come on.

The problem though is that without Depp, the movie probably would have never been made. (for better or worse). So many times, movies are driven by who they can get to star in them. If Depp wasn't Tonto, the budget would have been a small fraction, if ever made. While i'd love to get away from this, and cast more unknowns in things, i know the realities of it all. Movie goers will flock to well known people staring in films they liked before.
posted by usagizero at 7:28 AM on July 4, 2013


I hate this movie simply because I can't escape the marketing campaign. It's like a mental manifest destiny.
posted by srboisvert at 7:29 AM on July 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


I never liked Depp.

I seem to remember the 1981 version having a more plausible and less ridiculous backstory of the Ranger and Tonto's meeting. Sadly, aside from that the movie was boring as hell.
posted by jonmc at 7:30 AM on July 4, 2013



Possibly the worst film ever

Battle Royale 2.
Matrix 2 or 3.
Police Academy 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 or 7.


It's hip to hate Matrix 2 and 3, but honestly, they are just the same as the first and no matter what they did, they would never live up to what people wanted them to be.
posted by usagizero at 7:32 AM on July 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


Armie Hammer has a great jawline, however.
posted by The Whelk at 7:32 AM on July 4, 2013


I seem to remember the 1981 version having a more plausible and less ridiculous backstory of the Ranger and Tonto's meeting. Sadly, aside from that the movie was boring as hell.

I would have been in about first grade, and I remember a kid at school having a Lone Ranger lunchbox around then...but I don't remember the movie ever being out. Like, to a degree where I wonder whether its release wasn't regional, and they decided to just cut their losses by the time it would have come to Cleveland.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:34 AM on July 4, 2013


I am an armchair critic... not a popcorn munching blockbuster coke guzzler.
Wait a second? Those are my only two options? Erudite or Overweight?
posted by zoo at 7:35 AM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hey now, literally the only time I have soda is when I go see a big fun dumb blockbuster. Don't knock my simple pleasures man.
posted by The Whelk at 7:38 AM on July 4, 2013


Rango is very good. I'm a bit surprised it's been sort of forgotten already. That's a western Depp and Verbiniski can be proud of.

Depp's also got Dead Man.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:39 AM on July 4, 2013 [10 favorites]


I worked on Hudson Hawk AND Hook, don't talk to me about bad movies.
posted by dbiedny at 7:39 AM on July 4, 2013 [25 favorites]


I only have soda when I play D&D. And Vachon flakeys.

OKOK, once in a while I have soda at the movies; me and the wife share a small, which is still a lot of soda.
posted by Bovine Love at 7:39 AM on July 4, 2013



"Possibly the worst film ever" --- anybody remember Ishtar?
posted by easily confused at 7:59 AM on July 4 [1 favorite +] [!]


Pearl Harbor.
posted by etaoin at 7:41 AM on July 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


Here's an interview with Sonny Skyhawk, founder of American Indians in Film and Television

That's a great interview to read there--gets across a lot of important points really quickly.
posted by gimonca at 7:42 AM on July 4, 2013


Hook is a fucking cinematic masterpiece.

You take that shit back or Rufio will cut you.
posted by ishrinkmajeans at 7:42 AM on July 4, 2013 [15 favorites]


Hook was Spielberg's first dinosaur film, so sue me.
posted by dbiedny at 7:48 AM on July 4, 2013


Time to rewatch Rango I guess.
posted by Artw at 7:51 AM on July 4, 2013


Hudson Hawk is a post-modern masterpiece.

"Sprinkler systems set up in the back! Can you fuckin' believe it?"

"Yeah, that's probably what happened!"
posted by longbaugh at 7:52 AM on July 4, 2013 [10 favorites]


Hook is a fucking cinematic masterpiece.

Hook ? No. no. no. Robin Williams was far better in Popeye.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:53 AM on July 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


So, if 73% of the people who saw the movie liked it, but only 23% of critics gave it a positive review, who should I listen to as I make a decision about plunking down the $$$'s to see a movie?

Listen to your own tastes and preferences.

You may not like things that are wildly popular. For example, Nickelback has charted and have sold millions of albums. They're awful to me. The fact that they're wildly popular to others is irrelevant in this case so as usual, your mileage may vary.
posted by juiceCake at 8:05 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like Popeye.

You know what got panned that I think is absolutely fantastic? Gentleman Broncos.

The altime worst movie would probably have to be Pay it Forward or similar treacly mawdlin shite.
posted by Artw at 8:07 AM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


And something else that offends me, Tonto is a derogatory term in Spanish.

Wait until you find out what "kemosabe" means.
posted by orange swan at 8:09 AM on July 4, 2013


Ishtar is actually a great movie that is widely misunderstood. What most people don't get about it is that whole thing is a metaphor for sex as a defiant act of rebellion.

So, Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty –- who write show tunes together in the movie, I mean, the symbolism could not possibly be more clear -– they get lost in the desert, right? So they’re stuck out there, dying, and the whole sequence is an obvious representation of "being in the closet". But then they manage to get ahold of a cache of INCREDIBLY PHALLIC weapons. And they use these weapons to basically defeat the entire U.S. government. It’s about sex as an act of revolution. And that is why Ishtar is a great movie.

Really, it's all there. Just pay closer attention next time.

Watch it over and over if you need to.
posted by kyrademon at 8:19 AM on July 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


Hudson Hawk is a post-modern masterpiece.

"Looks like you won't be attending that hat convention in July."
posted by playertobenamedlater at 8:19 AM on July 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


FWIW, the very smart Matt Zoller Seitz liked it.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 8:24 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Reid, a district attorney who arrives in the frontier town of Colby, Texas, with high ideals of justice and a copy of John Locke’s “Treatise on Government” under his arm

Which treatise?

Because if the Lone Ranger periodically launches into diatribes against Patriarcha, I could maybe go see this turdburger.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:27 AM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I can't of course say anything about this movie, but it would take legendary amounts of suckage for it to be worse than this year's own personal abomination, The Frankenstein Theory.
posted by Iosephus at 8:27 AM on July 4, 2013


I once had a first (and last, and only) date with a guy who told me he thought Pearl Harbor was the best movie ever made. I looked it up, and found it got 25%, so still higher than this one. Then I got curious about what would be the lowest possible rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Wikipedia's list of the worst movies ever made contains a few that got a rating of 0% (one of those movies only had three reviews, but another had 32).
posted by orange swan at 8:30 AM on July 4, 2013


usagizero: "
Possibly the worst film ever

Battle Royale 2.
Matrix 2 or 3.
Police Academy 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 or 7.


It's hip to hate Matrix 2 and 3, but honestly, they are just the same as the first and no matter what they did, they would never live up to what people wanted them to be.
"

I am going to agree to disagree. The (hypothetical) two sequels would ruin all the enjoyment, by coming up with an incredibly lame attempt to explain why Neo is special, instead of him just being a geek turned superhero. It is the same lack of logic that lead to CE3K Special Edition where they actually showed the inside of the alien ship, which was an incredibly idea, since my imagination was far, far superior to Spielburg's vision.

What bothers me is that movies nowadays can't just let a hero be a hero just because. Let's let movie goers have a little imagination instead of rushing out explanations that insult the most dim of viewers and end up breaking the hell out of the plotline as the writers did NOT want to explain things, but were told to make it so.
posted by Samizdata at 8:31 AM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Say what you will about the TV series and original movies, at least they had a real Indian play Tonto. Johnny Depp? Come on.

Hey, now. Depp may have a bit of Native American in the family tree: "I guess I have some Native American [in me] somewhere down the line. My great-grandmother was quite a bit of Native American, she grew up Cherokee or maybe Creek Indian. Makes sense in terms of coming from Kentucky, which is rife with Cherokee and Creek." [link]

-------------

I've only seen the trailers in the theater and on TV, but I can't recall a film in recent memory that used so much green in its color timing. I'm guessing Verbinski and Bruckheimer were shooting for some sorta Steampunk night vision?
posted by wensink at 8:38 AM on July 4, 2013


I am astonished. Never have I come across someone who thought that Yellowbeard was a bad movie.

Heh... well, both Cleese and Idle have publically apologized for it. More importantly, though, its Rotten Tomatoes score sits at 22%--ONE POINT below the critical Lone Ranger threshold, which empirically proves that it IS, non-subjectively, a bad movie. There--I've run rings around you, logically.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 8:41 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wikipedia's list of the worst movies ever made contains a few that got a rating of 0%

Wait, some people still think The Garbage Pail Kids Movie is one of the worst movies ever?

The Garbage Pail Kids Movie is often deeply misunderstood, almost as badly as Ishtar. The Garbage Pail Kids Movie is a scathing critique of late stage capitalism. It touches on our crumbling infrastructure, underfunded schools and a generation of inner city children often alternately ignored or vilified. These kids are literally and figuratively from a garbage pail. At least Oscar got a garbage can not just a pail.

The argument that the film undercuts its own message of tolerance is myopic at best. It is not the job of the Garbage Pail Kids to ape socially acceptable behavior to in order to fit in. It is society's job to adapt to the Garbage Pail Kids.

Satire this cutting often makes viewers uncomfortable so it is understandable that like It's A Wonderful Life it was panned on release but this film is worth a revisit.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:45 AM on July 4, 2013 [11 favorites]


Hudson Hawk is a post-modern masterpiece.

I'm on the fence about that. On one hand, that choreographed Swinging on a Star is so much fun to watch! On the other hand, Andie McDowell.
posted by headnsouth at 8:48 AM on July 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Depp's also got Dead Man.

He now has the distinction of being in one of the very best westerns and the worst.
posted by cazoo at 8:48 AM on July 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


What's up with the film trend of having amputees hide firearms in their prostheses?
posted by Renoroc at 8:57 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


The (hypothetical) two sequels would ruin all the enjoyment, by coming up with an incredibly lame attempt to explain why Neo is special, instead of him just being a geek turned superhero.

Even in the first movie Neo was The One. The movie was very obviously a Gnostic gospel, and in the original Gnostic gospels The One (or Son) was sent by the Oracle (Holy Spirit) to free humanity from the cruel lie which we call reality, spun by the cruel and/or insane Architect (Father). But as far as the Gnostics were concerned he failed.

Since that ending is kind of a downer the only way for the W brothers to go on with the story was to have Neo die to save the human race, fulfilling the purpose for which he was deliberately created.

Now I have plenty of issues with how they set that up, but to complaint that Neo isn't an Everyman is just failing to understand the whole point of the story, which was very clear even in the first movie.
posted by localroger at 8:57 AM on July 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


Only God Forgives is reviewing pretty badly - I'll be seeing that one anyway.
posted by Artw at 9:05 AM on July 4, 2013


localroger: "The (hypothetical) two sequels would ruin all the enjoyment, by coming up with an incredibly lame attempt to explain why Neo is special, instead of him just being a geek turned superhero.

Even in the first movie Neo was The One. The movie was very obviously a Gnostic gospel, and in the original Gnostic gospels The One (or Son) was sent by the Oracle (Holy Spirit) to free humanity from the cruel lie which we call reality, spun by the cruel and/or insane Architect (Father). But as far as the Gnostics were concerned he failed.

Since that ending is kind of a downer the only way for the W brothers to go on with the story was to have Neo die to save the human race, fulfilling the purpose for which he was deliberately created.

Now I have plenty of issues with how they set that up, but to complaint that Neo isn't an Everyman is just failing to understand the whole point of the story, which was very clear even in the first movie.
"

It ws okay with me with Gnostic philosophy. My point is LET IT BE. Don't explain EVERYTHING. Let us wonder a little.
posted by Samizdata at 9:05 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


... the joke is on all of us because Kemosabe=quien no sabe.

"You know nothing, Lone Ranger."

(Actually, I think this may be one of the few slash-proof male pairings out there.)[1]

[1] maudlin knows nothing about Tumblr.
posted by maudlin at 9:06 AM on July 4, 2013


Ishtar's director Elaine May also directed and starred in A New Leaf, which in it's own quiet way is one of the funniest movies I've ever seen.
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:07 AM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Depp may have a bit of Native American in the family tree

That only makes him like every single white American I've met ever then.
posted by Artw at 9:08 AM on July 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


Let's not forget what Elvis Mitchell said in May, 2000:
"It may be a bit early to make such judgments, but "Battlefield Earth" may well turn out to be the worst movie of this century."
posted by acrasis at 9:14 AM on July 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


It is indeed fucking terrible, and I will watch any old shit with spaceships and lasers.
posted by Artw at 9:16 AM on July 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


(Actually, I think this may be one of the few slash-proof male pairings out there)

I mean no offense, but that may be one of the most naive statements I've read this year.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:18 AM on July 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


I am dreading when this movie comes out over here in the UK. Just, ugh, it'll all be "Indian" feather headdresses and praise for Johnny Depp and aaaaaagggggghhhhhh. We still have the "dirty Mexican" and "mystical Asian" as standard stereotypes on our TV commercials, fuck only knows what this pile of excrement will bring.

Thank fuck it has an August release date. Hopefully the Internet and US press will be so so dire that nobody will want to see it.
posted by Katemonkey at 9:19 AM on July 4, 2013


Ishtar's director Elaine May also directed and starred in A New Leaf, which in it's own quiet way is one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. posted by bonobothegreat

I did not know that! A New Leaf is a terrific movie.
posted by faineant at 9:19 AM on July 4, 2013


I will chin any bastard that doesn't acknowledge the slow-burn genius of Hudson Hawk.

Evil Catholics, Bruce Willis in "Return of Bruno" mode and a pork pie hat, Richard E. Grant and Sandra Bernhardt are married, David Caruso as Harpo Marx, James Coburn as "Fuck You, I'm James Coburn", and Danny Aiello as the all-singing, all-dancing version of Tony from The Professional (I like to think it's the same character). I mean holy GOD, people.
posted by Shepherd at 9:21 AM on July 4, 2013 [19 favorites]


It ws okay with me with Gnostic philosophy. My point is LET IT BE. Don't explain EVERYTHING. Let us wonder a little.

But, but, midichlorians!
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:24 AM on July 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


I mean no offense, but that may be one of the most naive statements I've read this year.

Are you familiar with the concept of lighting your cigarette to make the bus show up?
posted by maudlin at 9:24 AM on July 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


Depp may have a bit of Native American in the family tree

That only makes him like every single white American I've met ever then.


Certainly if your "local" bloodlines go back three or more generations. There just weren't that many European born women-folk around the Americas at first. Of course, it's only recently that anyone would brag about having such mongrel blood. I guess it speaks to a certain degree of progress.

Unlike this movie apparently.

We're now more than forty years on from Little Big Man ... and still waiting for something/anything that's capable of picking up on its wit, wisdom, rock solid revisionism.
posted by philip-random at 9:27 AM on July 4, 2013


From the GQ review:
As for Barry Pepper, I'm pretty sure he's never been worse in a movie, but what are you going to do when your false beard is literally flecked with saliva as you give the command to open up with the Gatling gun?

Barry Pepper was the lead in Battlefield Earth. So Barry PepperLone Ranger < Barry PepperBattlefield Earth. That's the kind of career low most actors don't even have the opportunity to to attempt.
posted by Svejk at 9:34 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ishtar's director Elaine May also directed and starred in

Elaine May is someone who, if you don't know, you need to get to know. She has had deep influence on film and comedy in the US over the past half-century.

*looks at above link* She is an uncredited co-writer for Labyrinth? That's a bonus gold star for her!
posted by hippybear at 9:43 AM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


The silver bullet was often the only weapon effective against a werewolf.

Funny you should bring that up. Apparently one of the reasons Disney briefly canceled the film back in 2011 was because the original screenplay included supernatural elements that would've necessitated a larger FX budget; one of those elements was rumored to be Native American skin-changers, i.e. werewolves. Apparently, the idea was to justify LR's use of silver bullets by shoehorning in random stuff that had never been part of the character's mythos in the first place.
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:46 AM on July 4, 2013


I find it hard not to love movies with Gatling guns. But, see: spaceships and lasers above.
posted by Artw at 9:49 AM on July 4, 2013


Are you familiar with the concept of lighting your cigarette to make the bus show up?

Only if I'm eating a cheeseburger.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:50 AM on July 4, 2013


I got as far as the Vietnamese resteraunt in Birdemic, but that's stunt watching, like Andy Warhol films.
posted by Artw at 10:08 AM on July 4, 2013


I opted out of this at the last minute yesterday... I had to admit to my S.O. that I found Tonto inherently offensive and did not want to see the movie because of that whole deal... I'm glad to see that even from a pure cinematic quality perspective, I made the right decision.
posted by Selena777 at 10:10 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I miss Ebert.
posted by like_neon at 10:14 AM on July 4, 2013 [25 favorites]


I usually enjoy Depp, and my wife loves him.

We will not be touching this...thing...with a 10 foot pole.

(Reading these reviews has lead to this thought - really think they should've cast Depp as the reluctant lone ranger, cast a Native American actor as Tonto, and gone into this as straight as possible - not as a big action movie, but more as a serious drama about injustice and the need to stand and fight).
posted by nubs at 10:31 AM on July 4, 2013 [9 favorites]


I guess if I had done this (and I am ridiculously far from being in a position to do that) I would have cast Depp as the Ranger, done away with the mask until the very end of the movie when circumstances would have had him forced him to, had a real NA play Tonto and let him have a real NA name, keep the steampunk but limit the explosions, and keep it under two hours.
posted by Ber at 10:32 AM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Curse you nubs for beating my by a minute!


;)
posted by Ber at 10:33 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that's the movie I'd like to see.

The turkey we got, though, no thanks.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:34 AM on July 4, 2013


Curse you nubs for beating my by a minute!

You have to be quick on the draw in a thread about Westerns.
posted by nubs at 10:39 AM on July 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


>Depp may have a bit of Native American in the family tree

That only makes him like every single white American I've met ever then.


I'm at the point where I won't believe someone is part Indian unless they have Tribal membership. I'm calling Depp a liar, but too many white Americans say the same thing just to sound cool.

I mean, I love Senator Warren, but she totally deserved all the egg on her face from that mini-scandal.

Of course, it's only recently that anyone would brag about having such mongrel blood. I guess it speaks to a certain degree of progress.


Actually, it was fairly common in the 19 century for a white person to claim Indian blood, albeit distantly. Unlike with African blood, there was not a one drop rule that would exclude you from the rights that came with being white. It was kind of like claiming ancestors on the Mayflower; in a nation of immigrants, you were taking pride in having family in this country longer than most.

Winston Churchill, of all people, claimed Indian ancestry, and that man could probably be called a white supremacist.
posted by riruro at 10:47 AM on July 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Ishtar is kind of a mess, but the scenes where the two songwriters are trying to work together I think are very funny. No way it is the worst movie ever. I had an interesting experience the second time I watched it; the two women I was with really liked it, until I told them how much money it cost. Then they hated it.

p.s. You could tell this Lone Ranger was going to be a train wreck just by watching the preview.
posted by LeLiLo at 10:49 AM on July 4, 2013


It's probably a more enjoyable viewing experience than Transformers would be.
posted by Artw at 10:53 AM on July 4, 2013


I thought Rango sucked, but now I don't remember why. Maybe need to rewatch that one.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 10:53 AM on July 4, 2013


shoehorning in random stuff that had never been part of the character's mythos in the first place.

This is a Disney film! They wouldn't do that!
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:56 AM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


... keep the steampunk but limit the explosions ...
posted by Ber
A film executive about to sign Ber a cheque for $250 million stops and tears the cheque into little pieces.
posted by RobotHero at 10:56 AM on July 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


> Depp may have a bit of Native American in the family tree

That only makes him like every single white American I've met ever then.


So earlier this year, in a class I was sitting in on, some topic related to Indian history came up somehow and one of the students said "You know, I know a little about this from my family, because I'm part Cherokee..."

...and the rest of the room sort of collectively rolled their eyes and held their breath. And the teacher Very Carefully said something about how a lot of families have a story like that, and how maybe the story's true but it's usually a long time in the past, so we should be careful with cultural appropriation...

...and she was like, "Dude, no, for real. I've got tribal ID back home and everything." It was glorious.
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 10:57 AM on July 4, 2013 [16 favorites]


(Unrelated to Depp being a tone-deaf moron, but still glorious.)
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 10:57 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not even the worst of the month. See imdb for bottom feeders.
posted by blob at 10:58 AM on July 4, 2013


From imdb:

He has said in interviews that he is of Cherokee, Irish and German descent, with some Navajo as well.

plus:

Asked the origin of his last name, Johnny Depp said his name means "idiot" in German.

So Tonto's... the role he was born to play?
posted by progosk at 11:04 AM on July 4, 2013


You had me at "weird monster rabbits with big carnivorous fangs"...
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:09 AM on July 4, 2013


(Reading these reviews has lead to this thought - really think they should've cast Depp as the reluctant lone ranger, cast a Native American actor as Tonto, and gone into this as straight as possible - not as a big action movie, but more as a serious drama about injustice and the need to stand and fight).

Alternately you can just watch Dead Man again.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:11 AM on July 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Not that I would blame anyone for not wanting to deal with the level of ignorance here.

After complaining about someone being passive-aggressive, pulling out run-of-the-mill aggression seems pretty lame.
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:13 AM on July 4, 2013


Is it possible that this is Verbinski's studio-forced penance for Rango's underperformance?
Rango felt like a personal labor of love and this feels like Work.
I always feel inclined to give Verbinski the benefit of the doubt as there always seems to be a little more thought going on in his work than most studio hired guns would even bother with.
Maybe he was saddled (el oh el) with tis without much caring about it and tried to telegraph that from inside a bit?
posted by Senor Cardgage at 11:14 AM on July 4, 2013


"Dude, no, for real. I've got tribal ID back home and everything."

I'm not really up on tribal ID/Status politics ... but I've heard that with some tribes, it hues to the male side of the bloodline (ie: First Nations father, cool you're one of us; First Nations mother, maybe not). Anyone know more about this?
posted by philip-random at 11:44 AM on July 4, 2013


I love Johnny Depp, but this entire movie fiasco and his involvement in it makes me need to facepalm until my face falls off. Just. No. No, clueless arrogant white people, noooooo.

they should've cast Depp as the reluctant lone ranger, cast a Native American actor as Tonto, and gone into this as straight as possible - not as a big action movie, but more as a serious drama about injustice and the need to stand and fight

I would love this movie SO MUCH. Can we the internet rewrite reality to create this movie collectively and discuss it as though it already exists? Y'all come up with the details; I will write the Depp!Ranger/NDN!Tonto slash.

(how about a live-action Native-acted Ratohnhaké:ton (Connor) from Assassin's Creed 3? So much hot badassery!)
posted by nicebookrack at 11:44 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Possibly the worst film ever

You need to watch more MST3K.

People say that Manos: The Hands of Fate is the worst movie ever made, but it's not. It is indeed astonishingly bad (it opens with six uninterrupted minutes of a car driving slowly through the countryside for no apparent reason) but with commentary from the Satellite of Love it can be a grueling but enjoyable experience. There is a subbasement of films worse than that, films which obtained theatrical release despite being best described as failed attempts to make a film.

Let's talk about The Castle of Fu Manchu. Racism? Oh yeah, white guy in yellowface in the lead role and bizarre stereotypes everywhere. The plot of The Lone Ranger 2013 may be bad, but at least it has an identifiable plot. I'm willing to bet that The Lone Ranger is never out of focus. Even Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo couldn't save this one.

Out of focus, dude. Out of focus. You don't know the meaning of pain.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:51 AM on July 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


21 Jumped Sharks
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:59 AM on July 4, 2013 [4 favorites]



I'm not really up on tribal ID/Status politics ... but I've heard that with some tribes, it hues to the male side of the bloodline (ie: First Nations father, cool you're one of us; First Nations mother, maybe not). Anyone know more about this?


Wikipedia has a nice article. TLDR - it's a mess.

I had a relative* who was removed from his native family when he was very young and placed with white family to live. He found out the full truth many decades later, and sort of had to fight like hell to locate his real family, and be recognized by the tribe. I don't know specifics beyond that - and as he passed away about 20 years ago, all of this was quite some time ago. I can't imagine that it's gotten any easier for other people in similar circumstances.

*He married into my extended family, it was a different family that adopted him

posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:04 PM on July 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


Rango was good.

Matrix II and III stank. But no more than The Matrix.

As for Lone Ranger/Tonto being slashproof, weeellll... not only is this not actually the case, but it was the subject of a UK pop record which was a Tony Blackburn Record Of The Week in 1976 before being banned by the BBC, then revived in 1979 after being picked up by Kenny Everett and going on to number 6 in the charts.

And then there's this. But I shall say no more on that.
posted by Devonian at 12:05 PM on July 4, 2013


One of the reasons so many people claim a little bit of Cherokee in their bloodline is because the Cherokee (along with the Choctaws, Creeks, Chickasaws and Seminoles) actively pursued a policy of assimilation.

The tribal leaders believed that the only way for the tribe to survive, post-Jackson, was for them to intermarry and basically "become white". And as a result, a larger number than you'd think of otherwise lily-white families actually do have some Cherokee in their family, because a desperate tribe pursued a kind of ethnic Sophie's Choice to save themselves.

I'm married to a full-blooded Diné. Her parents, in the 1960s, experienced firsthand the kind of imperial ethnic brutality I'd only associated with slavery. It is impossible to overstate how appallingly the Native population has been treated in this country: the Trail of Tears was, at best, a median, rather than an extreme.
posted by scrump at 12:07 PM on July 4, 2013 [19 favorites]


Gonna go see it sometime this weekend. I definitely want to see if it justifies so much vitriol. People bashed my John Carter last year, and it turned out to be an awesome movie. I don't expect this to be an awesome movie, but hopefully, at least worth the price of admission.
posted by Atreides at 12:08 PM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Damn, Shepherd, you just made me remember why I liked Hudson Hawk so much.

MY NAME IS KIT KAT. THIS IS NOT A DREAM.

Now to see if this is on streaming somewhere.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 12:15 PM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


To say "same old Hollywood shoot-em-up" doesn't really say anything anymore, does it?
posted by telstar at 12:16 PM on July 4, 2013


John Carter is okay once it takes off, which in fairness to critics is about an hour into the movie. There's definatly such a thing as too many framing sequences.

Rightly or wrongly Pacific Rim looks on its way to be this years John Carter.
posted by Artw at 12:19 PM on July 4, 2013


Oh, and, interestingly, my in-laws (who are, as I mentioned, full-blooded Diné), went to see the movie yesterday and loved it.

I think it's simultaneously possible for many activists to be right about it being a disaster and for it to be entertaining for people who are looking to be entertained.

Put another way: my in-laws lived through a lot of apocalyptically bad shit having to do with Native identity. I've noticed that they don't spend much time talking about it or its effects; by contrast, my wife, who they vigorously insulated from many of the same effects, is much more activist.

They gave at the office, and I think at this point they husband their energies, because they know firsthand that a movie, however big, isn't going to move the needle one way or another. The problem is way beyond entertainment.

So they might as well enjoy the movie.
posted by scrump at 12:21 PM on July 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Rightly or wrongly Pacific Rim looks on its way to be this years John Carter.

BITE YOUR TOUNGE!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:27 PM on July 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


*ctrl+F* "Wild Wild West" *nope*

The Will Smith/Kevin Kline film from *mumblesomething* years ago was what I kept thinking of when I saw the trailers for this one. Loved the series, but man, even Kenneth Branagh couldn't save that stinker.

I was wondering if it might pass the fun movie test (though never the redface test) and the trailer actually looked interesting. Now I know better. Thanks, Metafilter, for keeping me from seeing a bad movie that will taint my childhood memories.
posted by immlass at 12:28 PM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Trust me, it's never been far from anybodies minds.
posted by Artw at 12:29 PM on July 4, 2013


As a summer blockbuster, this doesn't look any worse than a hundred other summer movies released in the last decade or so. I'd bet that it's better than The Wild, Wild West.
posted by octothorpe at 12:29 PM on July 4, 2013


Needs a song and a Burger King tie-in burger.
posted by Artw at 12:31 PM on July 4, 2013


...and the rest of the room sort of collectively rolled their eyes and held their breath.

I dunno, I guess it's one of those "had to be there" things, but I had a friend in Ottawa who was half Ojibwe and half Italian, grew up on a reservation and everything, who would lament that if he had kids with his then-girlfriend (who was white) that his kids would not have recognized status. It's really not necessary to go very far back at all, although I don't know the girl in your class but she could be talking about a parent or grandparent.
posted by Hoopo at 12:33 PM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]




"Possibly the worst film ever"

This is a road you should not travel down.
posted by JHarris at 12:39 PM on July 4, 2013


In Box Offices right now Hangover III and Scary Movie 5 score lower.
posted by Artw at 12:41 PM on July 4, 2013


I was wondering if it might pass the fun movie test (though never the redface test)

Daniel Snyder is bemused.
posted by wensink at 12:54 PM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Who is trying to kill Pacific Rim?

The title doesn't help. I'd forgotten about it and was wondering whether it was some sort of historical drama. Oh yeah, it's Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla but with $100 million dollars worth of special effects. I imagine people standing in line at a theatre looking at its poster will be more drawn to it than people asked about it over the phone.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:10 PM on July 4, 2013


Took my family & some friends to see an early showing on Tuesday. Everyone in our group enjoyed it. We stood outside the theater talking about our favorite parts. My kids (8 & 14) really loved it.

It's not a "serious" film by any stretch, but it's got good (if often over-the-top) action, some genuinely funny parts, and a good story. I'm with the 73% of the public who liked it. (For the record, I didn't like the last two Pirates of the Caribbean flicks.)
posted by Reggie452 at 1:13 PM on July 4, 2013


Now to see if this is on streaming somewhere.

Pardon me but by law you are required to watch National Treasure today.

1776 also acceptable.
posted by elizardbits at 1:22 PM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pardon me but by law you are required to watch National Treasure today. 1776 also acceptable.

Or, if you really like watching stock footage of mid-air refueling, there's always The Starfighters, a snoozer patriotic propaganda movie put out by the US Air Force. (8 minute highlight reel of pain)
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:35 PM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


OK, first of all, the "cherokee grandmother" is hilariously apocryphal and cliche -- of people who identify as white and claim Native ancestry, some vast supermajority of them claim to have a Cherokee grandmother or great-grandmother, specifically. Google "cherokee grandmother syndrome" for more.

But apart from that! Sometimes to make extra money I work for an outfit that records musical cues on spec that then get purchased to act as the soundtrack for movie trailers -- like, you have to have SOME music in the trailer, but the score isn't done yet because the score isn't ready until after the movie is ready, but the movie isn't out for six months, that sort of thing. I don't do it very often. But I finally heard one of the trailers I recorded "in the wild," on TV. And where was it? Yep. O my shame.
posted by KathrynT at 1:46 PM on July 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


Oh, I see in the trailer that the Lone Ranger said, "Let's do this," and then there's an explosion. And it ends with three consecutive shots where something is jumping off of another thing. That's a trailer, all right.
posted by RobotHero at 2:00 PM on July 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


It's also hilarious because it imagines this casting session where Verbinski and his producers and etc. are seeing all these First Nations actors come in and then Johnny Depp saunters in and is like 'Hey you're looking for a First Nations actor right' and Gore is like 'Oh who is this charming young fellow, perhaps he is right for my motion picture'
posted by shakespeherian at 2:02 PM on July 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


I thought "Pacific Rim" sounded like a West Coast version of "Spring Breakers," based on the title.
posted by raysmj at 2:55 PM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ishtar was good. As I've said here before, the vast majority of complaints I've seen about it were of two types: "It cost a lot of money and didn't make much in return", which is utterly irrelevant to me, and "The songs sucked", which is because they were supposed to suck.
posted by Flunkie at 2:56 PM on July 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Well, Pacific Rim has one thing Lone Ranger does not: Idris Elba. And that's enough for me.

It's nice to see so many people here hating on the Depp. I can't stand him and his mumbling and need to destroy everything I may have enjoyed about my childhood. But everyone I know adores him and has for years, and so I have to swallow my hatred. Pirates of the Caribbean was the most torturous 12 hours I ever spent in a theatre. Oh, wait, it wasn't 12 hours? I would have sworn it was.

I adore William Fichtner, but even he won't get me to a theatre to see this piece of shit.
posted by emcat8 at 2:59 PM on July 4, 2013


Everybody wants Pacific Rim to be great. But here's the thing: they can't actually afford to show you giant robots fighting giant muppets for an hour and a half. If they could, it'd be a slam-dunk; but they can't. So it actually does matter if the dialogue is excruciating ("at the edge of our hope... at the end of our time... we have decided to believe in EACH OTHA"), if the story makes any sense, etc., etc. Remember Prometheus? And how it seemed like it'd HAVE to be awesome, because it had great production values, and the premise was so cool, and it was being directed by That Guy? Well, what we have here might be Promethic Rim.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 3:17 PM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hollywood mystery: Who is trying to kill Pacific Rim?

Wah. If Pacific Rim goes down as one of the gigantic flops to end the tentpole era... I'll cry a river over gifsets of Idris Elba/Charlie Hunnam, I guess.
posted by fatehunter at 3:23 PM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


TBH if things are all action, all the time it sends me to sleep anyway - you need pauses, buildups and variations in pace.
posted by Artw at 3:24 PM on July 4, 2013


There fucking better be a porn parody called Pacific Rimjob or I will cut someone.
posted by elizardbits at 3:25 PM on July 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


(which is why I start falling to sleep during the last hour of any action film made in the last 10-15 years)
posted by Artw at 3:25 PM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Atlantic Rim.
posted by Artw at 3:26 PM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Even if Depp is NA, it's only a slightly less stinky kettle of fish. As the biggest NA star of his era (which he would be if he identified as native, which comes along with percieved community responsibilities within a minority group underrepresented in the media) and as an actor with full pockets and a wide choice of scripts, this would be a particularly bad and unnecessary decision. It's not like everybody's okay with it if he's a minority, it's just that he then becomes Stepin Fetchit (without the mitigating circumstances) instead of Al Jolson, neither of which is a good look. It's not like if John Cho were offered the role of Charlie Chan, he could just take it unthinkingly and without repercussions, and from what I've heard from his interviews, he wouldn't take it, even though he has a fraction of Depp's money and creative control in the industry. It's both an indictment of the Hollywood who would deign to present a modern man/woman with such a role, and the successful actor that would accept it.
posted by Selena777 at 3:26 PM on July 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


Pogo_Fuzzybutt: "shoehorning in random stuff that had never been part of the character's mythos in the first place.

This is a Disney film! They wouldn't do that!
"

And now we hit the reason for Samizdata's hatred of the vast majority of the Disney stable - blatant and horrendous revisionism.

Having read The Hunchback of Notre Dame a while back, I am confident my memory is not so bad as to be unsure if Hugo intended the addition of wise-cracking, flatulent animate gargoyles.

And, please, don't start in with the "But it's a kid's movie!" argument, because then I would have to ask what idiot though such a great tragedy was a good idea for a kids movie.
posted by Samizdata at 3:31 PM on July 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


And, FWIW, I do not claim nor am I aware of any NA background to me.

I'm pretty much whiter than Wonder bread.
posted by Samizdata at 3:38 PM on July 4, 2013


It's not like everybody's okay with it if he's a minority, it's just that he then becomes Stepin Fetchit

Yeah, I cringed like hell at the "You're still warriors, man" bit. If he is NA then he is not taking that responsibility seriously at all. He may as well be the pug-nosed old-school father at the PTA meeting insisting that the team name "Redskins" is meant as a compliment.

As an alternate approach to the character I saw somewhere, maybe if it turned out that Tonto was in reality a white man hiding out in Native American attire and plundered tropes. Or even better, that the Lone Ranger turned out to be the real Indian, passing in white culture....
posted by dhartung at 3:47 PM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I saw it yesterday because I had lots of time to kill and I wondered how on earth they'd handle the racial/cultural baggage of the old show (spoiler alert: poorly). It was so-so, enjoyable in parts, a bit too much CGI nonsense in the big chase scenes but the biggest problem was the 2h30m film length. There's absolutely no reason it had to go past 2hrs for a popcorn flick like this. There weren't obvious scenes that should be cut, it was more like every single scene goes on for five minutes too long and it all stacked up.
posted by mathowie at 3:53 PM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


The longer your film is the less screening time is available for OTHER movies, is how I've had this explained to me as to why all movies must now be 2 hours+
posted by The Whelk at 3:55 PM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Whelk: "The longer your film is the less screening time is available for OTHER movies"

Theater owners hate this.
posted by the_artificer at 4:02 PM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


The longer your film is the less screening time is available for OTHER movies, is how I've had this explained to me as to why all movies must now be 2 hours+

Aw man. Now that's just fucking awful.
posted by Artw at 4:03 PM on July 4, 2013


And now we hit the reason for Samizdata's hatred of the vast majority of the Disney stable - blatant and horrendous revisionism.

On the other hand, have you read the torturefests that are original versions of Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, etc?
posted by Artw at 4:05 PM on July 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


THAT IS WHY THEY ARE AWESOME
posted by shakespeherian at 4:09 PM on July 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


Random blinding at the end of Cinderella! WTF? The slicing off of bits of feet is thematically appropriate, but out-of-the-blue bird-based mutilation?
posted by Artw at 4:12 PM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's not a proper fairy tale without random animal based mutilation.
posted by The Whelk at 4:13 PM on July 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


And then it sahres DNA with this incest-fest, and what's that based on? This hand chopping weirdness. It's mutilation all the way down.
posted by Artw at 4:19 PM on July 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Matchstick Girl for harrowing nihilistic win.
posted by The Whelk at 4:21 PM on July 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


/offs self from depressing folklore.
posted by Artw at 4:22 PM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Child With A Mind Of It's Own is basically " talk back to your parents and they will bury you alive in the woods and they are right to do so you little shit."
posted by The Whelk at 4:25 PM on July 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


In the end, it's both and careens — like the speeding locomotives Verbinski's so fond of — between comedy and carnage.

I think Careening Between Comedy and Carnage should be the title of my memoirs.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:42 PM on July 4, 2013


I'd bet that it's better than The Wild, Wild West.

Lone Ranger did NOT have a Giant Mechanical Spider! (although I just bet a few effects guys suggested one)
posted by sammyo at 4:49 PM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I consider this to be the standard of bad movies. They should put a copy of it next to the kilogram and meter in Paris, so that we can calibrate accurately the badness of any other film.

Sometimes the buzz that a movie is terrible is unfair. Some say this is the case with Heaven's Gate; I have not seen it (I remember hearing that, as "Waterworld" spiraled beyond its budget, Hollywood people started calling the project "Kevin's Gate").
posted by thelonius at 4:59 PM on July 4, 2013


Artw: "And now we hit the reason for Samizdata's hatred of the vast majority of the Disney stable - blatant and horrendous revisionism.

On the other hand, have you read the torturefests that are original versions of Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, etc?
"

Aye, I have. I don't recall Ariel wincing with every step, as each step felt as she was walking on knives.

Here's a thought. Pick appropriate material to make a kid's movie. Or, you know do something ORIGINAL.

I won't lie. I liked Wreck It Ralph.
posted by Samizdata at 5:12 PM on July 4, 2013


Original Arial doesn't even get to die properly!
posted by Artw at 5:18 PM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


With any luck, this'll damage the career of "Armie Hammer" to the point where we won't have to hear his stupid name any more.
posted by joe defroster at 5:29 PM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I saw John Carter the other day and was surprised to find that it wasn't nearly as awful as I'd been warned it would be. Then again I went into it with low expectations, and it probably wasn't as good as a movie costing a quarter of a billion dollars should have been.
posted by localroger at 5:32 PM on July 4, 2013


Curiously, I enjoyed Depp's work in Neverland, but perhaps because it broke with his full-on freak image. When I see him play a character, I see him, not the character, and that is not acting, no matter how much you like the character.

And as for bad movies--nobody has even mentioned The Loves and Times of Scaramouche. I saw it as a kid, and even then I knew a waste of popcorn when I saw it.
posted by datawrangler at 5:43 PM on July 4, 2013


His Jack Sparrow is basically his Hunter S Thompson with a funny accent.
posted by Artw at 5:48 PM on July 4, 2013


Roeper's review reminded of the reception for "Heaven's Gate" and "Istar".

Hollywood today is genetically incapable of doing justice to Lone Ranger. I'm certain the movie would have been far better if someone had paid an Indy $200K to make it, and almost certain that'll happen sometime.
posted by Twang at 5:48 PM on July 4, 2013


Guys they'll stop making these things if everyone stops buying tickets to them.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:52 PM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's like nobody has heard the age-old tactic of "buy a ticket for a concurrently-running movie you want to support then go see the other crappy movie instead."
posted by nicebookrack at 5:59 PM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I mean they cancelled the Apollo program because of poor ratings, you don't think they'd stop paying Johnny Depp trillions of dollars to make fun of minorities?
posted by shakespeherian at 6:04 PM on July 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Worst film ever might be Manos: Hands of Fate. Even the title is one of the worst ever. Worst *major* film ever? I think it's a 1,000 way tie... at least.
posted by muppetboy at 6:14 PM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Again, if we were going for just badly made Birdemic deserves some kind of special prize.
posted by Artw at 6:36 PM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


John Carter is competently made, it's just incredibly boring and cliche on every level. I mean sure, it's cliche because it's being made from source material that INVENTED the cliches, but even so, boring as hell.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:49 PM on July 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also Wild Wild West is just the epitome of movies that are perfectly awesome if you can manage to turn your brain off for them.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:51 PM on July 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Datawrangler, that's a good point -- Neverland didn't make me want to rip my eyes out (although he still can't do an accent that doesn't make me want to stick chopsticks in my ears), but yeah. It's impossible at this point to not see Johnny Depp first, whatever character he is later.
posted by emcat8 at 7:04 PM on July 4, 2013


Every time a MeFi thread on awful movies comes up we end up making a list. Manos and Birdemic are frequently on it, as are The Room and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. My own additions (from MST) are Red Zone Cuba (anything by Coleman Francis really), Monster-A-Go-Go and The Creeping Terror. But recently there have been startling new finds in the field of bad cinema: Foodfight, Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny, The Amazing Bulk (which may have been made intended to be bad), After Last Season, and A Talking Cat?!
posted by JHarris at 7:58 PM on July 4, 2013


After Last Season is amazing. I will fight anyone who says otherwise.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:04 PM on July 4, 2013


Wow. Here's an irony for you - if you believe Ancestry.com, Armie Hammer's lineage includes a genuine Cherokee chief. Of course, it also includes his great-grandfather and namesake Armand Hammer, philanthropist, physician, coal/oil baron, illegal contributor to the Nixon campaign. "Armie Hammer" is a dumb name, as someone noted above, but it's probably easier to deal with than living up to the full-on family name (which some say is a play on words by Hammer's socialist father.)
posted by gingerest at 9:38 PM on July 4, 2013


Oh man, Santa And the Ice Cream Bunny is it's own special sort of terrible. It's also an excuse to link to this from the Rifftrax.
posted by gc at 9:57 PM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


twoleftfeet: “These movies aren't even aimed at people in the U.S. anymore. More money is made in international markets. To succeed, it is important to have a recognizable face and to have dialogue which is simple and easy to translate. It is important to have a theme, and a conflict, and it is important to have a chase and some explosions.”
Hollywood’s Completely Broken, Lynda Obst, Salon, 15 June 2013
posted by ob1quixote at 9:58 PM on July 4, 2013


When I read the announcement that this movie was going to be made with Depp as Tonto, I knew it was a bad idea. How could it not be? White guy (or mostly white) playing a Native American was just the cherry on top.
posted by deborah at 10:09 PM on July 4, 2013


Hollywood’s Completely Broken, Lynda Obst, Salon, 15 June 2013

What a strange article. Chernin left Fox in 2009 and yet Lynda Obst writes, "Once he decided in 2009 to leave the number-two job overseeing the News Corp. media empire, he became the biggest producer at Fox." Well, I mean, he went and started his own company, with a deal at Fox, where he formerly ran the entire film department. He produced Titanic and Avatar, so saying he became the biggest producer at Fox in 2009 is kind of ridiculous.

She also writes, "More recently, he released the smash Identity Thief, with Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman." How do you figure Identity Thief was a smash? She also had nothing to say about Parental Guidance, which was a bomb. Anyway, whatever. Otherwise interesting article. Everyone's talking about the light at the end of the tunnel being an oncoming train, include Lucas and Speilberg, the latter helming Dreamworks.
posted by phaedon at 11:31 PM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


How do you figure Identity Thief was a smash?

Uh, #1 movie first weekend it was out, far surpassing projections; #2 movie second weekend opposite A Good Day to Die Hard (with a stellar w/o/w decline of just 32%, indicating strong word-of-mouth); back into #1 as AGDTDH fizzles; and in week 4 still #2 and the first film of the year to surpass $100M as a, note, R-rated comedy (and with no franchise). It didn't start to really deflate until its seventh frame which is damned solid these days.

Nah, critics hated it, but it definitely seems like (haven't seen it yet) a critic-proof film if ever there were one.
posted by dhartung at 11:51 PM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hrm. Benefits to not having TV or internet at home: complete and utterly blissful ignorance that they were making this garbage. Seriously, I had no idea, and that's kind of awesome

So, uh, thanks for spoiling that winning streak, I guess..

(Hands of Manos sans MST3K is really, really painful. Like so painful I suspect that it was originally commissioned as a mind control or torture device for a secret program like MKULTRA.)
posted by loquacious at 11:56 PM on July 4, 2013


Wow, I had no idea Identity Thief did so well.
posted by phaedon at 12:02 AM on July 5, 2013


Rango is good.

You can have mine. Memail me.
posted by Namlit at 2:58 AM on July 5, 2013


After Last Season is amazing. I will fight anyone who says otherwise.

Amazing is one word for it. We tried watching it and couldn't make it through. It's deadly to consciousness.
posted by JHarris at 4:31 AM on July 5, 2013


We still have the "dirty Mexican" and "mystical Asian" as standard stereotypes on our TV commercials, fuck only knows what this pile of excrement will bring.

Um, no we don't. Regulation of TV advertisements is very much geared to avoid derogatory stereotypes - I work for a regulator and this year we all had trans awareness training, as trans people are much more visible than they were five or ten years ago.

The only Mexican stereotypes I know of are the Southern Trains lucha libre guy and the Doritos Mexicans, none of which have been complained about by the public.
posted by mippy at 4:55 AM on July 5, 2013


That's the UK. Everything bigger and different across the pond.
posted by hugbucket at 5:55 AM on July 5, 2013


Hey, now. Depp may have a bit of Native American in the family tree:

Whatever Johnny Depp's previous status, he is nowFirst Nations/Native American. He was adopted into the Comanche tribe by LaDonna Harris in 2012.

OK, first of all, the "cherokee grandmother" is hilariously apocryphal and cliche -- of people who identify as white and claim Native ancestry, some vast supermajority of them claim to have a Cherokee grandmother or great-grandmother, specifically.

You know, I know this is a thing that is often made fun of, but I don't think most people realize why this is such a huge deal, and why denying people heritage because "sure, whatever, Cherokee grandmother" is so awful.

The Cherokee Nation is massively fucked up in terms of who they allow in, in ways that are extremely destructive. And I mean massively - even for people who have, say, a Cherokee parent. They only count people who went on the Trail of Tears as legitimate Cherokee. If you were a Cherokee that for whatever reason survived and eventually made it West on your own, even if you only intermarried with other Cherokee, but for whatever reason are not on the Dawes Roll - a roll made by the conquerors - they will refuse to list you as a Cherokee. (To be fair, a lot of this is because it's how the Federal Government calculates heritage in its Certificate for Degree of Indian Blood, but still) There is also a huge issue with the Cherokee Nation disallowing Cherokee Freedmen from being a part of the tribe very recently. (Essentially, when the Cherokee freed their slaves, they became Cherokee, but now the Cherokee Nation is saying 'whoa, hold up a moment, you've been citizens for 100 years but no more!)

So when you make fun of the concept of someone that has a "Cherokee Grandmother" with no tribal status, you may in fact be making fun of someone who is a legitimate Cherokee/Cherokee descendant, but has been prevented by racist or oppressive policies from claiming their tribal legitimacy.
posted by corb at 6:13 AM on July 5, 2013 [20 favorites]


I had no idea, corb! Thanks for the post. Comment. You know.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:31 AM on July 5, 2013


Amazing is one word for it. We tried watching it and couldn't make it through. It's deadly to consciousness.

There are printers in the basement you can use.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:21 AM on July 5, 2013


INSIDE MOVIES Box office update: 'Despicable Me 2' crushes 'Lone Ranger' on Wednesday
Disney’s ultra-expensive western The Lone Ranger stumbled out of the gate on Wednesday, wrangling a terrible $9.7 million, which puts it on pace for a five-day debut in the $45-50 million range. The film, which stars Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer, cost at least $225 million to produce and could cause a major financial blow to the studio since westerns rarely play well outside of the United States.
posted by octothorpe at 7:27 AM on July 5, 2013


If anyone wants to see one site's estimate of the dramatic decline in DVD sales described in that Salon article, just click through the yearly charts here. It only covers 2007-2013, but the drop in the number of movies breaking $100,000 in DVD sales is pretty striking.
posted by mediareport at 8:22 AM on July 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Short version: in 2007, thirteen movies broke $100,000 in DVD sales, with three breaking $240,000.

In 2012 and 2013 combined (so far), *one* movie broke $100,000 in DVD sales.
posted by mediareport at 8:25 AM on July 5, 2013


mediareport, I think your dollar figures are all missing a ,000.
posted by localroger at 8:46 AM on July 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Cherokee Nation is massively fucked up in terms of who they allow in

...but the "Cherokee Nation" is not the only Cherokee nation. There's also the Eastern Band, in western NC, and the *looks* Keetowah Band.

So when you make fun of the concept of someone that has a "Cherokee Grandmother" with no tribal status, you may in fact be making fun of someone who is a legitimate Cherokee/Cherokee descendant

You might be, but that sure as hell isn't the smart way to bet.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:53 AM on July 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


mediareport, I think your dollar figures are all missing a ,000.

Yes. Yes, indeed they are.

*takes day's first sip of coffee*
posted by mediareport at 8:55 AM on July 5, 2013


The Pajiba review, In a Real and Tangible Way, The Lone Ranger Is the Most Important Film of 2013, is hilarious take on Depp as a kind of one-man stimulus package for serious actors.
This is an important movie, and if you want Johnny Depp to continue to do the important work of employing America, you should buy a ticket to The Lone Ranger, not because you want it to succeed (who cares? That money has already been spent!), but because it will allow Johnny Depp to continue providing jobs to thousands of people, and scores of otherwise thankless actors, who are typically paid scale (or less) to do artistic films which they then have to spend days and days promoting. Johnny Depp has given them a handsomely-paid vacation.
posted by Panjandrum at 10:22 AM on July 5, 2013


I doubt I'm the first to say this, but the internet has successfully misused, overused, and utterly killed the meaning of the concept of 'best/worst [anything]'.
posted by Mr. Crowley at 11:10 AM on July 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


KathrynT: "OK, first of all, the "cherokee grandmother" is hilariously apocryphal and cliche -- of people who identify as white and claim Native ancestry, some vast supermajority of them claim to have a Cherokee grandmother or great-grandmother, specifically. Google "cherokee grandmother syndrome" for more."

When I Googled that phrase, I got a lot of angry and contemptuous writing, but not a whole lot of actual academic support.

For reasons I gave in my first comment, I'm not sure it's a good idea to categorically dismiss these claims, because, well, it squares with what we know of history.

I could easily see someone inflating an incidental intermarriage into "my grandmother was Cherokee" or "my great-grandmother was Cherokee", because that's more romantic than "my great-great-grandmother was basically told to go find a white family and make babies because her tribe was being exterminated".
posted by scrump at 11:18 AM on July 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mr. Crowley: "I doubt I'm the first to say this, but the internet has successfully misused, overused, and utterly killed the meaning of the concept of 'best/worst [anything]'."

Worst comment EVER!
posted by Samizdata at 4:12 PM on July 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, on the "Cherokee ancestors" thing, I think there's at least four things going on.

1) For a lot of white-identified Americans, especially Southerners, it's totally true. That's good in some ways and bad in some ways but mostly it just is. It's a fact, and there's no sense denying it.

2) On the other hand, some of those white-identified Americans for whom it's true, there's also a lot of problematic family mythology built up around it — problematic because it erases the actual history and replaces it with convenient half-truths; and problematic because, at least the way it plays out in some families, there's a lot of racial essentialism built into the myth. ("Your grandmother always had a wonderful intuition. She was so spiritual. Her grandmother was Cherokee, you know.") That sucks a bit.

3) Sometimes (rarely, but I've seen it happen) those family myths crop up in a shitty "don't make me listen to your point of view" type context. "Don't lecture me about racism! I'm not some bigot! My grandma was part-Cherokee, you know." That sucks hard.

4) On the other hand, sometimes people who want to talk about their family history aren't doing the "I'm not listening" thing, but really do hear your point of view and just want to share some genuine knowledge of their own. "Yeah, I have uncles who grew up in a pretty traditional family on a reservation, and here's what they say about that." That's awesome.

So it's not like "New rule, nobody should ever talk about their Cherokee ancestors because That's Racist." It's more like, "Knowing about history is awesome, and repeating half-truths is not awesome, so let's all just listen more and read more and try to make sure we've got more than half of the truth before we open our mouths."
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 4:39 PM on July 5, 2013 [8 favorites]


For anyone looking to make their own Worst-Ever Movies list, I'd like to submit The Terror of Tiny Town, the world's only "all-midget" musical western..... and if you've ever seen it, you'll know why it's the only one. Think of a really low-budget Roy Rogers western with a cast of nothing but little people on Shetland ponies, a mind-numbing script and bad singing, and you're almost there.....

(The thing that really boggles my mind is that the year after they made this one, somehow the producers of Tiny Town raised enough money to make an all-black musical western starring Mantan Moreland called, I kid you not, Harlem on the Prairie. I've been trying to locate a copy of this for years: it's just got to be a world-class dog.)
posted by easily confused at 5:34 AM on July 6, 2013


That probably beats Tiptoes.
posted by Artw at 6:12 AM on July 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I own a copy of The Terror of Tiny Town. It's actually a pretty standard poverty row oater of the era -- a sort of overwrought melodrama about a range war being fought over greed. It's pretty poorly lensed and paced, but I actually like a lot of the actors in it a lot, and sort of wish that it hadn't been shot as a novelty, but just as an opportunity to show off what its cast can do.

I'm also a Mantan Moreland fan -- he's responsible for the "dick in the mashed potatoes" comment from the Beastie Boys, and I feel like he's never really gotten his due. He is, for instance, the real star of King of the Zombies, so I shall also have to track down Harlem on the Prairie, although I suspect it will suffer the same problem as Tiny Town, in that it will be more of a novelty than an actual film, which, again, doesn't do justice to Moreland's considerable talents.

I saw Lone Ranger last night. I can't really comment on the issues of Native American representation, and I think these issues are entirely fair and am glad we're sophisticated enough that they are being discussed. That being said, I don't think the film is faring poorly because a huge number of audience members are outraged by Johnny Depp doing redface.

There are some things the film does well. Gore Verbinski is an undeniable talented filmmaker, and I appreciate that he seems to have made it his mission to revitalize moribund film genres as action films -- nowadays, when westerns get made, they're typically treated like art films, which burdens very good films like 3:10 to Yuma with the weight of also having to be a profound meditation on the nature of violence in the west, or whatever. It's sort of a mirror image of Tiny Town -- instead of being undermined by their frivolity, they are undermined by their seriousness (Kevin Costner, in particular, seems to have made a career of turgid westerns that move at a snail's pace and consist mostly of men in big mustaches looking unhappy.)

But the western (along with the pirate movie) was Hollywood's first action genre, and Verbinski seems determined to return that to its roots, with some success. He doesn't have the genius for lensing action that Spielberg or Cameron has, but he has an undeniably genuine slapstick sensibility, and so even when his action scenes feel a bit confusing, there's all sorts of delightful bits of comic business happening.

Beyond that, at its core, The Lone Ranger is about the so-called Taming of the West, and revisits it as a massive landgrab supported by corrupt men in power, who repeatedly seized Indian land and invented wars with the Native population as a pretext to exterminate them or resettle them on worthless land. It's central metaphor is that the development of the steam train is not an act of progress, but instead simply a mechanism for making predatory capitalism more efficient. And the main character in this film really is Tonto -- John Reid is an unwilling and frequently ineffective hero, whereas Tonto has his own narrative arc which he pursues with dogged single-mindedness, often in conflict with Reid's simplistic sense of justice. At the film's climax, Reid, who has finally embraced being the Lone Ranger, spends almost the entirety of the protracted climax engaged in a cliche -- rescuing a woman and a child -- while Tonto goes about his business of destroying the men and machine of capitalism. They are, quite literally, on two entirely different trains, enacting a plan conceived of by Tonto, fulfilling a narrative need that is almost entirely Tonto's, and the climax relies on the audience agreeing that white men deserve to be punished extralegally for their part in the genocide of Native Americans.

That's a pretty radical message to put into a western, especially one that is a thoroughly created to be mass entertainment as this. But, alas, Verbinski gets too much of it wrong, and the film cost too damn much money, and I found the film more interesting than enjoyable, and interestingness isn't enough to carry two and a half hours.

It's an odd thing. These tentpole movies are so expensive, and any one of them could bankrupt a studio if it did poorly. And yet, again and again, they seem to be odd and idiosyncratic representations of individual filmmaker's weirdo visions of filmmaking. Disney already suffered from John Carter -- a film I actually like a lot, but, in a lot of ways, simply the most expensive pulp weird western ever made. And here we have another weird western. And Cowboys and Aliens cost $150 million and was also a weird western. What has happened to Hollywood? Why did it pick one of fantastic literature's oddest little subgenres in order to gamble its studios on? Is it because Avatar was essentially a film about an Indian hunter who goes native and helps the Native population fight of the cavalry? Is every studio aping the billion dollar success of Cameron's movie by saying, well, hell, let's make the freakiest western we can conceive of, that must be what worked?

If so, I can't really regret it. Sturgeon's law says 90 percent of everything is crud, and so if we have to sit through a few Lone Rangers to get to a Rango or a Django Unchained, I suppose I can live with that. I'm just worried that one of these films is going to cause a chain reaction that collapsed the studios like dominoes, like Spielberg and Lucas have been predicting, because Pacific Rim is opening, and I want to live in a world where Pacific Rim can happen.

Right now, I have a weird feeling that Pacific Rim might turn out to secretly be a western.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:30 AM on July 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


Why the hell do Westerns have this cost this much?
posted by The Whelk at 7:46 AM on July 6, 2013


I think there are a few reasons for this.

I suspect the decline of the western actually has a lot to do with the fact that the cost of making a western went up. When Hollywood was just a citrus grove, it was possible to have great clumps of skilled ranch hands with their own cowboy costumes and years of experience on horseback (many with special skills, such as lassoing and rope twirling) that would just clump up around a studio, looking for work -- there's a strip mall in Hollywood called Gower Gulch, and that's where these actor wanna-bes would congregate.

Hollywood is, of course, right underneath Griffith Park, and very close to all sorts of wild west looking shooting locations. Every studio had an old west town backlot, and there were actual Indian tribes that settled in Hollywood, getting work playing movie Indians (unfortunately, often also getting paired with swarthy Europeans in redface). In the early days of Hollywood, the resources to make westerns were cheap.

That all went away. Most studios no longer have entire western towns on their backlot (Warner brothers tore down the set they used for Bonanza just a few years ago). Trick riding and other western skills are now highly specialized. Los Angeles has grown so much, and it has become so expensive to film there, that studios must go on location to shoot (although John Ford often liked to shoot his exteriors in Monument Valley, which the Lone Ranger does as well, passing it off as Texas).

And westerns used to be kind of small affairs. You look at many of the classics, they are often set in a few locations and have only a few main characters. The more actors you add, the more expensive the film becomes. Lone Ranger not only has a cast of hundreds, but has dozens of cameos, each with dialogue (Rance Howard appears for one minute, Steven Root for five, etc.) Making a movie has always been about marshaling an army, but big movies are like marshaling the entire North African campaign of WWII. The number of people who work on a movie is incredible.

Beyond that, there are a lot of elaborate CGI shots in this film. Much of it was shot, I am sure, on a digital backlot -- which can be a money saver when you want to shoot in a studio instead of on location and just superimposing some actual background in (CSI does this all the time; a second-unit shoots some background in Vegas and they paste it into the background of a scene shot in LA), but becomes more expensive when you are creating the elements in the background from scratch. Much of the Lone Ranger's actual action sequences are either completely constructed in CGI or are complex composite shots. This really adds to the cost of a film. I am sure that many of the scenes with Silver, the horse, are created digitally. It was much cheaper in the old days, because they would just use practical effects, but, then, it was awfully bad for horses, who would die with alarming frequency on onset mishaps.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:49 AM on July 6, 2013 [8 favorites]




Back in the summer of '96 I subletted an apartment with a girl who stayed home and watched movies by herself a lot of nights. She almost never had strong opinions about them (most were "okay"), or if she did she kept them to herself, but one night she rented Money Train. When I asked her what she'd thought of it the next day, she paused, thought about it and said "That movie was everything I hate about Hollywood."

Ever since then I've been kind of curious about what it was about ol' Money Train that pushed her over the edge, but here it is *mumble* years later and I haven't quite gotten around to it.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:32 PM on July 6, 2013


Back in the summer of '96

I think you might be doing that backwards.
posted by localroger at 12:40 PM on July 6, 2013


The Summer of '96 was my Summer of '69.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:40 PM on July 6, 2013


I'd like to have a summer of 69. But most of my partners are all "ooo, too hot and sticky! get on your own side of the bed!"
posted by hippybear at 1:06 PM on July 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


From homunculus' link above:
During their conversation, she grimly agreed with the two moguls, predicting, “If, say, four huge tentpole [movies] were to go down at the same time in the same season, it would be catastrophic.”

You hear that? A possible way out of this Hollywood horrible movie quagmire! We have our objective gentlemen, let's get to work.
posted by JHarris at 1:55 PM on July 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've been hammering away for decades now.
posted by philip-random at 3:33 PM on July 6, 2013


We have our objective gentlemen

Better than having subjective gentlemen, certainly.
posted by hippybear at 4:09 PM on July 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


The projected gentleman is more common.
posted by The Whelk at 4:25 PM on July 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Really enjoyed Lone Ranger last night. It's a beautifully shot film and the only distraction I suffered through it was figuring out why so many critics bashed it. I had read about the "violence" aka "Don't take your kids to this movie!" but most of the examples that were given as to why it was "too violent" were events that happened off screen and were telegraphed to the viewer - nothing explicit. I read that Depp was rehashing Jack Sparrow, and saw nary a trace of that pirate captain. For the controversy concerning Depp's playing of Tonto, I saw a film that quite clearly lectured on how American Indian tribes were treated by the expansion into the West, and served in a manner to reach mass audiences. It's a film that uses a character born in the traditional Western world of Cowboy vs. Indian to lecture on the history of western frontier events, the the railroad, the search for precious metals, and the umbrella of "progress" is kind of radical, subdued only by the fact that it's not the first to do so.

It's one more movie that everyone decided in advance was going to be terrible, and such a conclusion lead them to view it negatively in every manner, or to write it as such without given the film a fair chance. It's a growing element in the world of movie criticism that is consistently leading me to disregard the "professional" reviews and rely ever more on the reactions of Joe Public.
posted by Atreides at 6:25 AM on July 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's a bad film. That doesn't mean it's not enjoyable or good entertainment, but it's a really bad film.

If you read the IMDB reviews right now, you see all these comments from real people (or maybe "real people") telling you to ignore the critics and think of this film as a the kind of film you'd want to pay $$$ to see.

But you shouldn't do it. It's a really bad film, on so many levels.

If you go to your local cineplex and spend all those bucks to see this, Hollywood will keep making crap like this.

Don't do it!

This is shit. Don't go. Make Hollywood make better movies!
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:44 AM on July 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's looking to be a huge flop but I doubt that it will change Hollywood in any significant way. They'll just keep making these giant movies hoping that enough of them are huge hits to balance the ones that bomb.
posted by octothorpe at 7:20 AM on July 7, 2013


I've been pitching my idea and I think one of the studios is going to go for it.

I want to remake Citizen Kane.

This time we get Big Stars. Brad Pitt is going to play that Kane dude. And we fix the ending, which was kind of a bummer. In our version, that Kane dude survives, although not without a great chase scene! Man, that chase scene will be awesome! We're working on a tie-in with Rosebud Perfume of Woodsboro, MD., so the product placement has been taken care of. We envision a line of action figures - young Orson, older Orson, old Orson - and McDonalds has signed off on distribution.

So all in all, I think it's going to be a great movie!
posted by twoleftfeet at 7:48 AM on July 7, 2013




Just need to figure out a time to feed the Hollywood monster machine again. Hrm.

Incidentally, Hans Zimmer scored this one and Man of Steel, two soundtracks I've enjoyed the most so far this summer. The question is whether the film choreographed gunfire and other action in the final action sequence to the Tell Overture? Did anyone else sense this or was all in my mind?
posted by Atreides at 6:09 PM on July 7, 2013


I want to remake Citizen Kane.

I feel like that's in part what Gatsby was.
posted by Artw at 8:01 PM on July 7, 2013


Coming back late to post this link: a visual history of "redface" stereotypes, beautifully done. This is making the rounds this week on Native social networks.
posted by spitbull at 11:01 AM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I highly, highly recommend the documentary Reel Injun. PBS has a trailer and some clips here, and NFB offers the full film for 48 hour rental, although they also offer an excellent 5 minute extended trailer.
posted by maudlin at 11:15 AM on July 8, 2013


Rich Hall's Inventing the Indian for BBC is also worth checking out, available in entirety on YouTube.

The most interesting thing about the series is that Rich Hall is part Cherokee, but never introduces himself as such, and has a number of Native Americans as coprsenters, who all treat him as an obnoxious white man.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:52 AM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Samizdata: "And, please, don't start in with the "But it's a kid's movie!" argument, because then I would have to ask what idiot though such a great tragedy was a good idea for a kids movie."

Before the rise of Disney, fairy tales were not known to sugar coat tragedy in life for an audience of children. Grimm's collection of often violent folk tales as well as Andersen's tragic tales were meant for children, but they have been revised and sanitized and re-told by Disney and others for modern tastes. I don't like the revisionism, but I can understand it at this point. However, just because the original work was less sanitized, it doesn't mean that the story was only meant to be known by adults, or that kids aren't the intended audience. Although Girmm's stories were collected and were mostly about warning children away from potential dangers, Andersen tried to write for a wide audience from children to adults and included death and tragedy, sometimes without heroic redemption we're so accustomed to in modern legends.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:25 PM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


BTW, I adored Rango, which is a classic story of heroic redemption as told through an animated spaghetti western, and I like a lot of work Depp has done (though not so much the blockbusters), but I have no plans to see this trainwreck. Maybe in a few years some group of comedians can deconstruct it or make fun of it, but in the meantime it looks like something to be avoided.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:32 PM on July 8, 2013


Can we clarify that half the population of the American south claims to be "part Cherokee" on less evidence than Elizabeth Warren ever presented?

"Enrolled tribal member" with a card to prove it is the relevant distinction in most cases. Not the one drop rule. There are edge cases and disputed disenrollments, but having a family story that great grandma might have had an Indian lover is not an edge case.
posted by spitbull at 9:51 PM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


(Even if you have long dark hair. Or high cheekbones. Or whatever. )
posted by spitbull at 9:54 PM on July 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


You know what, all I can see is that goddamn bird.

On some level I am dimly aware that it's a loud dumb popcorn flick with a really uncomfortable stereotype which was regressive even in the radio era when he was invented. I get that. I think it's awful and I won't be giving them any money.

But more than anything, I look at a trailer for the movie, I see TV spots, I look at the little Lego sets they put out for it, and all I can see is the bird.

It's my sincere hope that future generations, when cataloging our films, remember The Lone Ranger thus:

"It's a movie that is basically about a dead bird sitting on top of someone's head. Some other stuff happens and a fair amount of it is quite loud, but mostly what you're going to notice is the bird. It's just sitting on top of a guy's head. Maybe there's an in-film explanation for that and maybe there isn't. I wasn't paying attention. I was transfixed by the mountain of decisions - decisions I don't think anyone could ever understand - that led to anyone thinking they should put a dead bird on top of a guy's head in this movie. It practically dares your attention to go anywhere else. There could be a floating alligator vomiting up talking unicycles right next to him, and you'd still just be looking at that bird. That completely fucking inexplicable bird."
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:24 AM on July 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


I could easily see someone inflating an incidental intermarriage into "my grandmother was Cherokee" or "my great-grandmother was Cherokee", because that's more romantic than "my great-great-grandmother was basically told to go find a white family and make babies because her tribe was being exterminated".

You know, if Johnny Depp had mentioned his great-grandmother "who grew up Cherokee or maybe Creek Indian" as a way to draw attention to the lasting effects of cultural assimilation and the obscuration of Native heritage, I don't think there'd be much "lolcherokeegrandma" in here. It doesn't seem like that's what's going on in that interview. The problem people have is with claiming POC status to gain some perceived benefit, without ever having engaged in any serious way with a Native culture or its issues--or, worse, actively contributing to the trivialization and stereotypical depiction of Native cultures (seriously, facepaint and a bird?)
posted by kagredon at 10:37 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe there's an in-film explanation for that and maybe there isn't. I wasn't paying attention. I was transfixed by the mountain of decisions - decisions I don't think anyone could ever understand - that led to anyone thinking they should put a dead bird on top of a guy's head in this movie.

There is and the bird isn't distracting in the least. If it makes you feel better, they actually shoot it at one stage.

I think it's unfortunate that the focus on Depp's portrayal of Tonto is leading to almost a complete oversight to one of the main themes of the movie, that being the continual murder of and land theft from American Indians in the 19th Century. It's in a movie perfectly packaged to mainstream America, and perhaps we're at a point where this is a "known and shrugged that it happened" kind of deal, but I thought it was nice to see it incorporated on such a scale.
posted by Atreides at 10:47 AM on July 9, 2013


"Enrolled tribal member" with a card to prove it is the relevant distinction in most cases. Not the one drop rule. There are edge cases and disputed disenrollments, but having a family story that great grandma might have had an Indian lover is not an edge case.

I think the question is really: on what level are you comfortable with dismissing someone else's racial and ethnic identity based on your assumptions about the degree of their genetic makeup?

You mention the "one drop" rule, but the important thing to remember is that the worst thing about that rule is not the degree of blood but the degree of externally imposed oppression. It would not have been a problem if black Americans were identifying themselves as black by that standard - the problem was that Americans were being forcibly identified as other than they were choosing to identify by it.

Many ethnic and traditionally oppressed groups, including First Nations hold matrilineal descent systems - in part, historically, because they dealt with a good deal of rape and still needed a way to integrate those children into their society. Thus, the daughter of the mother would still belong to the mother's ethnic grouping, nation, tribe, clan, etc. If you will recall, the traditionally dismissed story is not "great grandma had a Cherokee lover" but "Great grandma was a Cherokee." In this case, each daughter down the line would have been Cherokee, regardless of the amount of "degree of blood."

It is really, really important to remember that heritage and membership in a nation was never considered by degree of blood until the US Government decided to impose that as a good idea. In particular, because adoption was considered a fully valid method of "citizenship", it was and is quite possible to be Native American without a single drop.
posted by corb at 6:51 AM on July 10, 2013


In addition, for the Cherokee* specifically, their matrilineal descent system meant that the fathers were actually irrelevant for determining societal status.
Perhaps most surprising to Europeans was the Cherokees’ matrilineal kinship system. In a matrilineal kinship system, a person is related only to people on his mother’s side. His relatives are those who can be traced through a woman. In this way a child is related to his mother, and through her to his brothers and sisters. He also is related to his mother’s mother (grandmother), his mother’s brothers (uncles), and his mother’s sisters (aunts). The child is not related to the father, however. The most important male relative in a child’s life is his mother’s brother. Many Europeans never figured out how this kinship system worked. Those white men who married Indian women were shocked to discover that the Cherokees did not consider them to be related to their own children, and that mothers, not fathers, had control over the children.

*Actually, the word Cherokee comes not from themselves but from the Iroquois, who called them cave people. The actual name is the Ani'Yun'Wiya, the Principal People.

So to dismiss someone's 'Cherokee kinship' is to view through a particularly Eurocentric vision - which is okay for some, but is something some others have been trying to move away from, preferring instead to accept people's own valuations and heritages.
posted by corb at 7:06 AM on July 10, 2013




Given one of the major themes of the movie, this isn't that surprising. It'll be interesting if he follows through, though.
posted by Atreides at 3:57 PM on July 11, 2013




Kim Newman: Every year, in the spirit of the Wicker Man, Hollywood offers up one blockbuster it’s all right to hate. Last year, it was John Carter. I liked that, with reservations. And I love The Lone Ranger, with reservations.
posted by Artw at 6:18 AM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Johnny Depp hints at an early retirement.

Might explain why he does so many terrible movies just to get a paycheck.
posted by octothorpe at 8:55 AM on July 29, 2013


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