|$26 A MONTH / 52 DVDS = 50 CENTS A MOVIE.|
|By Devin Clark||
I am a movie addict. I can watch movies all day every day. I can and will watch anything from a tear-jerker family flick to B-movie gore fest. It doesn't matter to me. I'll watch it and even if I hate the movie, I'll love watching it.
So, when I found out that Blockbuster had this new deal to compete with the NetFlix people, with a subsciption service of their own called The Freedom Movie Pass, I was in heaven. Now, I can rent as many movies as I want over the course of a month for $26. So, with the Freedom Movie Pass I can only have two movies out at a time, but when I bring those two back, I can take out two more, as many times as I want.
I issued myself a little movie watching challenge. I was going to watch 52 movies in 30 days, making each film rental cost a mere 50 cents. My intent was to pepper that 52 with as many crappy B-movies, schlocky horror flicks and bizarro Japanese films as possible. Now, it must be understood that, like most working schlubs, I have to spend 8 hours a day, five days a week in an office pretending to be busy. Luckily, I do video work and I am usually hidden away, out of site, in a secluded back room. So I was able to knock out some of these flicks while at work. Yes, I was that determined to finish the challenge. I knew I had the time.
The question is did I have the stamina and mental fortitude to survive the psychological assault of 52 movies in 30 days. Here is how it went.
It was easy going the first couple of days. By day four, however, I was surprised to find that I was already feeling a bit drained by the experience. Hell, the average American watches 4 hours of television a night so this should be a breeze. But, there is something about movies. They draw you in, keep you locked into the story, even if it's as shitty and inconsequential as Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever. I think the demand for active participation in keeping up with the plot and the empathetic response to the characters is far more draining than the mind-numbing activity of watching television. This would take a bit more resolve than I initially thought. Regardless, I forged ahead and made it through the week with flying colors.
WEEK ONE: THE MOVIES.
To Make A Monster
I got over the initial hump of the movie excess and have developed something of a rhythm now. I've found that it is all about balance.
After absorbing three or four horror films you need to throw in a comedy or a drama in order to cleanse the palette. I was also surprised to find it was easier to watch the films during the weekdays than the weekends. I felt a greater sense of guilt wasting my precious free time Saturday and Sunday than watching movies while at the office or when I got home after work. I reconcile this by getting so drunk every Friday that I have no other recourse but to stay in bed the next two days watching DVD's.
Watching them at work is still the best. But, my work ethic has always been a bit questionable.
After watching so many films I'm becoming keenly aware of the patterns and reoccurring themes. The plots start to just wash by and all I see are the tricks they're pulling on the audience, what gets a laugh what causes a shock. I hope this doesn't end up ruining movies for me. It's the escape I like so much and it seems movies are one drug where upping the dose does not increase the high. However, I do think this challenge should be required in film school.
WEEK TWO: THE MOVIES.
15. Code Hunter A nerdy hacker must save the world from a weather controlling computer. Like the Matrix with no budget and bad writing. Watching this crap was truly painful. But, for some reason both Coolio and Tone Loc liked this script. (2002 - Terry Cunningham - Sci-Fi) 16. Better Luck Tomorrow Some honor roll asian kids turn bad. The Moral: If you want a girl, kill her boyfriend. (2002 Justin Lin - Drama) 17. Revelation Udo Kier versus Jesus! Oh, and apparently in order to clone Jesus you need to have sex in the basement of a church. (2001 - Stuart Urban - Drama) 18. Anger Management Sandler is angry, Nicholson helps. No flippy-flops or angry masterbating. (2003 - Peter Segal - Comedy) 19. Versus Zombies, samurais, and yakuza killing the fuck out of each other. What more could you ask for? (2000 - Ryuhei Kitamura - Action) 20. Pistol Opera Japanese assassins battle for the number one ranking. The visual sensibility is a stunning homage to Japanese theater. But, is it legal to show an underage girl's tits? (2001 - Seijun Suzuki - Drama) 21. Wishmaster Arg! Why doesn't anyone ever wish for more wishes!? This one definitely knocked off a couple IQ points. (1997 - Robert Kurtzman - Horror) 22. Wishmaster 2 An evil Djin must grant wishes in exchange for souls in order to take over the world. Andrew Divoff stop it. (1999 - Jack Sholder - Horror) 23. Kung-Pow In this flick the Chosen One must fight...hell, does it matter? This dubbing gag is only funny for 10 minutes. Wait did I say funny? (2002 - Steve Oedekerk - Comedy) 24. Cradle 2 Tha Grave DMX and Jet Li must stop the sale of nuclear materials to terrorists. The Moral: Using a midget as a club is an excellent idea. Faith. (2003 - Andrzej Bartkowiak - Action) 25. Holes Kid goes to juvie camp, shuts it down, breaks family curse. I laughed, I cried, I... Jon Voight! (2003 - Andrew Davis - Family) 26. The Hot Chick A hot high school chick and a shlubby criminal switch bodies. I'm sad that I laughed, but that pillow fight was just... I'm sorry. I'm an idiot. (2002 - Tom Brady - Comedy) 27. The Hunted A trained military killer cracks and must be stopped by his survival teacher.They stop in the middle of chasing each other to make knives! (2003 - William Friedkin - Action)
I'm still going strong. But, now it has almost become an annoyance to watch all these movies. It is like a job. It has become so much of my life over the past weeks that it is all I can talk about. Movies, movies, movies. It is definitely hindering my ability to enjoy them. I went and saw Kill Bill opening day and I left the theater feeling unenthused and overly critical, and immediately started picking it apart.
How do movie critics keep their perspective?
The up side is that the Blockbuster employees all know me now and ask me my opinion on my recent viewings. Most of the time I can't even remember what I watched the night before but I humor them by saying "It was good for what it is". I am surprised however that none of them has made any comments about my voracious video appetite. I wonder if they think I'm some kind of a shut-in?
Unfortunately I slacked off big time during the third week. It wasn't so much that I was getting tired of the films, I just didn't have enough time. A couple nights of interacting with real live people completely cut into my marathon. It was a welcome break, especially since my movie watching had caused a serious deficit in my social interactions. But, it was a big price to pay. I would have to watch three or four movies a couple days next week in order to catch up and finish on the mark.
WEEK THREE: THE MOVIES.
Italian Job Norton takes Wahlberg's gold, Wahlberg takes it back.
This movie hurt my brain and my feelings. And, I'm pretty sure Seth Green
is gay. (2003 - F. Gary Gray - Action)
Irrefutable Truth About Demons A professor of the occult is pursued
by a demon cult. The Moral: Always listen to the crazy goth chick... then
do her. Also, you can live without a heart for at least a day. (2000
- Glenn Standring - Horror) 30. The
Pit & The Pendulum An evil Inquisitor hates himself and tortures
others in the pit, which looks like a dance club from the 80's. Stuart
Gordon can't make a film without putting tits in it. And for that I salute
him. (1990 - Stuart Gordon - Horror) 31. Cujo
A big dog gets rabies and kills people. Can no one see that this
dog is sick? Call the frickin vet already! (1983 - Lewis Teague
- Horror) 32. End
of Days Arnold fights the Devil. But, the Devil just wants a little
poon-tang. Is that so wrong? (1999 - Peter Hyams - Horror) 33.
18 Weapons Of Kung-Fu This dude fights these other guys. My Question:
Where are the 18 weapons? (???? - Chen Hung Man - Kung-Fu) 34.
Since I fell behind during week three I needed to really bite the bullet and pull some double shifts this fourth and final week. I did this by watching four films all day Saturday with two of my fellow idiots.
Unfortunately the films we chose were probably the worse four films one could watch back to back. Watching movies 38 through 41 was basically like going through what Malcolm McDowell is subjected to in The Clockwork Orange. It was eight hours of blood, gore, violence, rape, and more blood. All those to those fantastic people that brought us Rape-Man and Animated Demon Porn the Japanese. They say its healthy to watch this stuff. Its supposed act as some kind of release so that you dont have to repress those fucked up thoughts we all have.
But, I never contemplated what it was like push an ice pick through someones
face and then throw boiling oil on them until I saw Ichi The Killer.
No, this stuff is definitely not helping my psyche. And, to top it off
we split up the movies with two episodes of Lids Ville, a show
about a kid that gets trapped in a world of giant talking hats and an
evil gay wizard. All three of us left that day feeling as if we had sunk
into a world of depression and fear. I was physically ill and had to go
home and purge my mind with some intensive television watching before
I could fall asleep.
This whole thing was taking its toll on me. Not only was I losing my ability to enjoy movies, but also other more crucial things were starting to falter. I had developed an acute sensitivity to daylight, paranoia, and my sex drive bottomed out after movie 41. I also have developed an unhealthy obsession with the smell of plastic DVD cases, such a luscious vinyl bouquet. Otherwise, the week went fairly easily, even with the added movie watching. I think it was the excitement and anticipation of being so close to finishing the challenge that spurred me on. The challenge had been met.
WEEK FOUR: THE MOVIES.
38. Ichi The Killer Loser gets brainwashed into killing Yakuza members with bladed sneakers. Good lord, the titles came out of a puddle of jit! Takashi Miike, I love you. No, I hate you. Ack! (2001 - Takashi Miike - Action) 39. The Day Of The Beast A priest, a talk show host, and a rocker must stop the devil. I like that in order to talk to the devil you need to beat up mimes. But, what I want to know is what did goats ever do to get associated with satan? (1995 - Alex De La Iglesia - Horror) 40. The Gate Of Flesh A band of prostitutes fight over the love of a thief in post WWII Japan. The answer is beating. Rapu, disparu, trucku. (1964 - Seijun Suzuki - Drama) 41. Organ Police try to track down a group of Yakuza run organ thieves. Yes, thats right organ thieves, as in abducting people and taking their organs! This was the breaking point folks. I think I'm insane now. (1996 - Kei Fujiwara - Horror) 42. The Kid Stays In The Picture Robert Evans' life in the movie business. Fame is a lonely place, but it stills looks like fun. (2002 - Brett Morgen - Documentary) 43. Cronos Insects are immortal. Grandpa is a vampire. (1994 - Guillermo Del Toro - Horror) 44. Mimic 3 Alfred Hitchcocks The Rear Window, but with giant cockroaches. Sadly, I had already seen the first two. So, renting this one seemed like the logical thing to do. And, now I am convinced that Lance Henriksen and Christopher Walken are competeing for being in the most B-movies. (2003 - J.T. Petty - Horror) 45. Naqoyqatsi In this third "Qatsi" installment we learn that we are living in a culture of war! Julia Louis-Dreyfus? Are we supposed to hate her now? (2003 - Godfrey Reggio - Art House) 46. Wrong Turn Some kids get attacked by West Virginia mutant mountain men. Yeah, the mountain men are scary and all, but I wanted to see their mommy. (2003 - Rob Schmidt - Horror) 47. The Eye A blind lady gets cornea transplants and starts seeing ghosts. I see dead people... Asian dead people. (2003 - Danny Pang - Horror) 48. They Apparently, shadows are evil and want to eat us. The movie might suck, but at least they kill everyone. (2002 - Robert Harmon - Horror) 49. American Pie 2 Would you jerk off another man in order to watch two girls make out? Even Stifler can't pull this turd out of the shitter. I expect more from you Sean! (2001 - J.B. Roberts - Comedy) 50. Wrath of the Ninja Ninjas fight eachother a lot. Well, it's no Legend of the Overfiend. (1989 - Osamu Yamazaki - Anime) 51. The Scorpion King The Rock as a massive lumbering "silent assassin". Works for me. The Rock can do no wrong. I recommend watching this and the Run Down back to back. (2002 - Chuck Russel - Aciton) 52. 28 Days Later A plague makes everyone in England very angry. This is the birth of fast zombies. (2003 - Danny Boyle - Horror)
Was it Worth It?
Well, I came out the other side of this experience with two valuable lessons.
One: there are a fuck-load of shitty ass movies in the world. This is especially apparent when considering that most of the films I watched were made in the last three years and on the whole they were god-awful.
Two: Watching too many of these shitty ass movies has serious and detrimental
effects on the human mind. As in I have most definitely become stupider
in the last 30 days, which if you know me is really something.
Not to say that all the movies I watched were bad. Some were quite excellent and those rare gems are probably the only reason I retained my sanity through out all this. And, there is a certain satisfaction with having completed the challenge, even if it was self imposed and completely moronic.
It is even more impressive when you add in the five films that I saw in the theater, bringing the total to a whopping 57! Dang! The real lesson is that movies like any enjoyable experience are best in moderation. And, unless you are a total masochist like me I don't recommend this type of overkill. Even a total movie lover like me has his limits. I think I'll wait a couple days and then go see Kill Bill again.
Maybe this time I can actually enjoy it.