Thursday, April 10, 2008

Come back, flesh-eating zombies, all is forgiven!

Boy, if there’s one thing that watching all those clips of the recently departed Charlton Heston’s movies has brought into stark relief, it’s what a bad actor he was. Witness:

Wowzie. You have to admit that the man was in a league of badness all his own. Even the Shatner has a kind of overblown brilliance about him, but Heston, man, it’s just brutal. Bad brutal. Like your high school drama club in Technicolor ECU.

But before y’all go assuming that I’m just hating on the late great Chuck Heston for the whole NRA thing, let me set you straight. I don’t disrespect him for letting the NRA make a doddering, rifle-waving fool out of him, I disrespect him for very nearly ruining one of my favorite movies of all time, Touch of Evil. In it, Mr. Heston, under a thick layer of Max Factor - Swarthy #23, plays a Mexican lawyer named Ramon Vargas.

In terms of credibility, I’d rank his performance right up there with Sean Connery as a Russian submarine commander.

And speaking of bad Heston films, I just watched the recent remake of Omega Man, this time called I Am Legend, and starring Will Smith. Like the first version, the only really interesting part of the movie is pre-zombie. Once the zombie shit starts blowing up, all the carefully constructed premises of the first half of the film are quickly abandoned in order to make shit blow up louder, faster, and bigger.

One thing that really bugged me about the movie, I have to say, is the boring chick that shows up for the second half. It’s completely unbelievable that such an excruciatingly tepid gal could’ve survived in zombie land for one day, let alone 3 years. They should’ve gotten a chick like Sigourney Weaver in Alien to play the part, you know, all tall and sweaty and kick-ass, and instead they got one like Audrey Tautou in Amelie - this chick’s idea of wounding you is to give you a really hurt look with her big brown eyes. And of course the plot demands that the hero (WARNING! SPOILER AHEAD! DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO SEE I AM LEGEND, AND FEEL THAT YOU ARE INTELLECTUALLY INCAPABLE OF GUESSING THE ENTIRE PLOT FIVE MINUTES INTO THE FILM LIKE EVERYONE ELSE DID!) die via self-inflicted hand grenade during a massive zombie attack, so that the snooze-inducing chick can go on to save humanity with the antidote to the zombie virus. Which is fine. I mean, lame, but fine, except that she also thinks that she is on a mission from God. I mean, literally, on a mission from God. She can’t shut up about it, in fact. And so then when this walking advertisement for Nytol makes it to the zombie-free camp safe in the wilds of Vermont (I know, could it be any whiter?), and hands off the antidote to the authorities, the camera cranes up (settle down, it’s CGI), and we see this huge white steepled church in the center of the compound, and, oh, just…arrrrrrgggh.

Seriously bummed out. Seriously.

Because, well, you know, humanity’s got a chance to start all over, with a clean slate, and no assumptions, and goddammit, they’re all going to be CHRISTIANS again?


You know, that would be just my luck, that I would survive the zombie-making plague, and then the flesh-eating zombies, only to find out I have to live in new world that’s even more Christian-y than the previous one.

Ooh, what a brave new world to look forward to, filled with people like Warren Jeffs, whose mission from God is to provide a place where old men can fuck and impregnate young girls with impunity.

And no doubt Illinois legislator Monique Davis will be there too, marching on in the name of the Lord on her mission to make sure that atheists everywhere are silenced and banned from public speaking, so that the innocent children of the earth shall never know that there are those for whom “reason” is not a dirty word.

And let’s not forget the Bush Administration, and their collective mission to establish their own version of Christianity where a secular government once stood. In this new world, no doubt they would succeed in funding a database on world health that denies that the word “abortion” even exists.

I sure hope that Mr. Legend saves one of those grenades for me.


Dad E said...

Nice post.

One must ask, "what would Starbuck do in the role?"

Seems as though one of mankind's deepest flaws is the need to silence those that deviate from their faith based religions.

Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

Sounds awful... Yet, the part where you said, "in order to make shit blow up louder, faster, and bigger" actually sounded good to me.

dguzman said...

oh my GOD I love your brain!

Glad I overcame the slight temptation to rent this one. Thanks for the warning.

Grant Miller said...

I think Heston's overblown acting style greatly influenced Shatner among others.

Spooney said...

I would throw myself to the zombies.

vikkitikkitavi said...

DadE: Religion was no doubt invented so that we could explain the universe. Now we don't need religion to do that. So what happens to religion in this new world? A lot of things, and most of them lousy.

BSUWG: No shit?

DGuz: It just tickled me, you now, that the end of the movie was supposed to be all peaceful and reassuring, and instead I'm bouncing up and down on the couch and yelling "Noooooo!!!!"

Grant: I guess he did sort of write the book on sci-fi acting, at least.

Spooney: Baby, if you broke your leg, and couldn't throw yourself to the zombies. I would throw you myself. That's how much I love you.

Some Guy said...

Vikki- I'll say it again. Your writing is among the best I've found on the internet. Awesome. If you ever decide to write a book or anything, I'll buy one.

SkylersDad said...

Another awesome post Vikki, please don't let the zombies get you. The world needs some coherent thinkers out there.

Jess said...

I agree about the movie. Loved the first half. The SECOND the zombies showed up: LAME. What a bummer. And the HORRIFYING religious ending?!?! WTF?! I left the theater feeling dirty. I had been looking forward to this movie for a long time. Oh well.

Distributorcap said...

you never cease to amaze me......

and crack me up

you want to see a BAD heston film (and there are TONS of them) -- try Earthquake or his role in TV's The Colbys. even there he was a characticture (sp?) of himself.

as for I am Legend -- so how do you feel about "Night of the Living Dead"


vikkitikkitavi said...

Some Guy: Thanks, and geez, do you EVER run out of adorable class pictures from your childhood?

SkyDad: Unfortunately, according to the zombies, coherent thinkers have the most delicious brains.

Jess: You know what got me about that, is that they made Legend sort of this existentialist thinker, but then they never had the confrontation of philosophies. It's like, I wish they wouldn't go there, but if they are, at least make it worth my while, at least verbalize the conflict. But the way they did it, it was the equivalent of having the religious chick give the Sermon on the Mount, and having Legend respond with "Oh yeah? Well says you!"

DCap: How do I feel about "Night of the Living Dead"? Why, I LOVE the Republican National Convention!