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First Anniversary Craptacular! – Terrawars: New York Invasion, Game Tycoon, Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star, Norbit

January 28, 2012

When I first started, I did not think that I would have the support to keep this crap up for a year. I really thought I’d do it for a few months, and then I’d run out of things to talk about. One year, more than fifty reviews, 1600 page views, and fourteen followers later, and I’m still doing this.

Thank you.

I’m dead serious. None of this would have ever been possible without any of you. Back when I started this, if I’d gone a month with only a few hits, there’s a decent chance I would have just given up and abandoned the site. But now…now I couldn’t imagine not doing this kind of stuff every week. I love doing this. I actually kind of view it as a badge of honor, being able to sit through…well, crap.

This actually isn’t my first attempt at reviewing. I tried once earlier, back in the summer of 2010, although back then I tried jumping feet first with a video review…that never went up, due to a couple of factors: crappy camera, bad audio, incompetent lighting, and my constant corpsing. But the plan back then was to decide what to review based on how low they were on Metacritic. So, for my first anniversary, I am going back to that original plan: Ladies and Gentlemen, a small sampling of the worst games and movies on Metacritic!

Terrawars: New York Invasion

It’s a fairly obvious Half-Life rip-off. Specifically, Half-Life: Opposing Force. Aliens invade New York City and the military is sent in to fight them. That’s pretty much it. The graphics look similar to Half-Life, which is a shame because this was released in 2006. The AI is horrible, notably for – hang on, I have to switch to my epic voice for this.

And lo, the message was relayed from city to city, state to state, and nation to nation, until finally the alien invaders were defeated by Earth’s greatest weapon: Circle-strafing.

I am, sadly, not kidding. The aliens will stand there and let you literally run circles around them, pumping their bodies full of lead.

And speaking of voices, the voice acting is…well, it’s hilarious. Oh, it’s bad alright. Every word of every sentence just comes out wrong…but it is so hilariously out of place to hear it all in a French accent that I just can’t help but to smile. The textures are…generic, but if you ever decided to hold a bad game night, I think this is your first one up. It’s just so enjoyably awful.

Game Tycoon

This is actually one of the games that I was getting ready to review a year and a half ago. I never did get around to playing it. Well, I have tried it out now.

Game Tycoon starts in January of 1982 and is, fittingly enough, about owning your own video game company. And that’s about it. It’s not really…it’s not good, but it’s not bad either. It really occupies some sort of nebulous and ill-defined middle ground. The graphics are decent enough, and the idea has a certain self-referential charm, but the execution is rather lacking, in specific lacking time control, which essentially makes the game about sitting around and waiting for stuff to happen. Also, the only copies I’ve ever found were in German which, being a Czech-Irish-American born in New Jersey, I do not speak. A little localization would be nice, is all.

Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star

I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to review it.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Bio-Dome for the 21st century, Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star.

Let me just briefly illustrate how painful this movie is going to be: The opening vanity cards last about thirty seconds. After that, there’s about ten seconds of Iowa farmland. These are the last pleasant images in the movie. From here, you have drunken hicks shooting the head off of a scarecrow in the middle of a wheat field, a drunken farmer being pulled over on his tractor and taking a field sobriety test, and a goat farmer smearing peanut butter on his genitals so goats will come lick it off. Dear God, how I wish I were kidding.

The title comes up, and we get a shot of our hero, working as a bag boy at a generic supermarket. And he’s working at a check-out lane with Curtis Armstrong as the cashier. We are now roughly a minute and a half in, and this movie is completely wasting an actor. Look, I know that Revenge of the Nerds was a long time ago. But he’s in American Dad!, and that’s doing pretty well still.

Curtis Armstrong’s character gets Bucky fired by hitting himself with an order divider and claiming that Bucky hit him. Reminds me of the time that Christopher Walken cut his forehead with a huge knife.

Oh? You haven’t seen that? Hang on, I’ve got a picture around here somewhere…ah, here it is.

He helps his last customer out to her car with her groceries, and she tells him that he’s destined for greatness. Later, he’s at home, eating dinner with his parents who happen to be the two dullest people on the face of the earth. You could replace all their lines of dialogue with the noise adults make in The Peanuts and it wouldn’t have any affect on the scene.

He tells them that he’s going over to a friend’s house because the have a movie that they think will cheer him up. So he gets on his bike…to ride next door. I’m serious, it’s a hundred feet door-to-door. His friends tell him that they have a pornographic movie, or in their terms, “nude movie”. And then they proceed to tell him about masturbation. Oh, Adam Sandler. You’re wittiness is comparable only to a bowl of moldy grapes.

And then, his friends offer to walk him through masturbation! Yet another sentence I never though I’d have to type. And oh comedy of errors, it turns out that the actors in the movie are Bucky’s parents! Oh, it is to laugh!

I – and this is in all sincerity – I think Adam Sandler needs to see a therapist. What mentally sound person would write something like this? What kind of person would come up with this premise and, rather than say to themselves “That’s messed up. I should seek help.”, would draft it as a comedy film? This is the kind of horror and disturbing mental trauma that serial killers are made of. Sure, it starts by jerking it to a movie your parents are in, and then you wind up on the side of the interstate burying a hooker whose brains you’ve just smashed in.

Not that I have any kind of experience with that kind of thing.

He goes home and tells his parents that he knows about their…”works”, and they take the news surprisingly well. Well, not surprisingly well, more horrifyingly well. They bring out a box full of their movies and show them to him.

What.

I’m going to stop for a moment and just count the number of things that are wrong with this movie, keeping in mind that we are just short of ten minutes in (I’m going by roughly when they occur in the movie):

One – Not everyone in small-town Iowa are drunks or perverts! I’ve never been, but just based on any kind of statistical probability, there has to be more to the state than hicks, drunken farmers who ride their tractors through town, and perverted goat farmers! You’re acting as a proxy for audience knowledge; if that’s all you show, THEN THAT’S ALL THERE IS IN THE FILM UNIVERSE!

Two – Since when has the check-out cashier ever– and I mean that from the development of the modern supermarket to today- ever had the authority to fire people? It’s clear from the building that it’s some kind of chain store, and yet somehow the cashier gets away with firing an employee, on the spot, with no managerial intervention, on his word, despite having no proof in his favor, and a witness and possible camera footage against him.

Three – It’s implied that Bucky is the same age as Nick Swardson (we’ll get to him later), namely thirty-five. For someone who is thirty-five to be this naïve suggests some kind of mental disorder. If that’s the case, then assuming that the cashier DOES have the power to fire people, then the individual store and the chain as a whole could be liable to civil action under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

There. That’s three grossly horrible things about this movie in the span of ten minutes. I have never known a movie to be so bad so frequently. Battlefield Earth was bad. It wasn’t bad like this. There’s only one thing I can think of that comes close, and it’s coincidentally a movie I’ve already reviewed – Postal.

Bucky’s parents tell him the story of how they became porn stars. It started with them driving out to California…

No, no; that’s a much better movie than this one.

…where they are approached by a man while making out on the beach-wait, wait. Just have to get over how creepy that is.

Okay. This inspires him to go out to California to become a film star. His parents give him a send-off before he gets on a bus, and travels with a farmer and his pig. They all get off the bus in Hollywood, and the farmer wishes him luck…and then immediately picks up what may well be a transvestite hooker. This scene’s actually kind of funny.

He stops in an erotic video store, and the clerk there tells him that to be in movies he has to go to the valley. A girl he meets in a diner sets him up in with an apartment rooming with Kevin Nealon. Dear God, man! You were on Saturday Night Live! You hosted Weekend Update! YOU ARE BETTER THAN THIS!

He finds an advertisement for an open audition – not for a pornographic film, but for a macaroni and cheese commercial. And then he whips down his pants and starts masturbating. Another proud moment in Adam Sandler’s career. As it just so happens to turn out, one of the directors for the commercial has connections in the porn industry, and they’re having a party.

At this party it’s revealed that he is very small down there. But they manage to find a washed-up porn director who is willing to put him in a movie. Bucky winds up being the “Wild Thing” of porn, just spraying everywhere. And that’s the premise of the other half of this movie. Him just convulsing and spraying like he’s in The Exorcist the moment he gets mildly aroused.

He sweeps the porn awards, and in the end marries the girl from the diner who had been with him the entire time, and they go back to Iowa and open a steak house. And then Kevin Nealon comes back, saying the Bucky owes him rent money. And then there are four and a half minutes of credits. I know, because I sat through them. And mark my words, I’m coming for every one of you fuckers. You are all on the enemies list.

Now, I believe I said that I would talk a little about Nick Swardson. He is the reason that this movie makes me a little sad. I really enjoy most of his better known work. I thought he was very good in Reno 911! as Terry, the homosexual prostitute, and I think his stand-up routine is fairly strong. And then, this happens. And it isn’t like he’s tried to distance himself from the movie – oh, no. He defends it. These are his actual comments, first on the poor box office performance:

“To promote an R-rated movie, with commercials, with this character, it was just really, really hard. It was hard to get the movie across to people. The trailer in theaters was really tame because we couldn’t show any of the insanity, and even if we did it, it wouldn’t hit because it had no context. It was just really frustrating.”

Yeah, allow me to call bullshit on that one right now. This movie was released by Columbia Pictures, which is owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment. They made seven point three Billion-with-a-B dollars in 2010. It was easily within the realm of possibility for them to make a decent, G-rated trailer with how relatively tame this movie is. The issue with the trailer isn’t the fact that “we couldn’t show any of the insanity…[because] it had no context.” Trust me, the insanity doesn’t have any real context in the movie either. The problem was that Sony has people who actually care. And beyond that, even some movies with bad trailers end up being hits.

And there’s another problem: The internet. You see, children, the internet is a magical, wonderful land made of tubes (We miss you, Ted Stevens.) where any doofus with a connection and a keyboard can make crackpot comments on culture. If a movie is good, word gets around and people subsequently want to go see that movie. If a movie is bad, word spreads even faster. And if a movie is Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star, the negative buzz approaches 99.9% light speed.

And on the topic of negative buzz…

“I knew the critics were going to bury us … None of those reviewers was psyched to see Bucky Larson and laugh. They go in with the mentality ‘fuck these guys for making another movie.’ They go in there to kind of headhunt. It makes me laugh because it’s just so embarrassing. It makes them look like such morons.”

I assume that he’s talking about Happy Madison Productions, and if that’s the case, then I am safely out of his gunsights. You may be wondering how; Well, the fact of the matter is that, until tonight, I have not seen any Happy Madison movie made since 2002. And the four that I saw before that time were pretty good: Little Nicky, is to me some of Adam Sandler at the top of his game, Joe Dirt, which I enjoyed despite the lack of Chris Farley, Mr. Deeds, which was a loose adaptation of an earlier film, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, and Eight Crazy Nights – yeah, it’s kind of crude, but there’s actually a reasonably decent story behind it, and it’s not just animated Adam Sandler being an asshole for the sake of being an asshole.

I really wanted to end up liking this movie – not in a this-movie-is-great kind of way; I kind of knew going in it was going to be bad. More in a this-is-awful-but-it’s-entertaining way. I like Nick Swardson. I like his work, even Nick Swardson’s Pretend Time. You’re capable of more than this, which is why it makes me sad to see you in this huge honking turd dumped on the public. I was really hoping to laugh, but there was just nothing to laugh at. These jokes have been done a million times before (and most of them more competently), like a dead horse that you beat all the way to the crematorium, and then put the ashes into a horse-shaped pinata just so you can beat it one last time.

Norbit

The movie starts with the titular Norbit being dropped off at an orphanage and Chinese restaurant from a moving car as he narrates about how hard it must have been for his parents to give him up for adoption. He lays on the doorstep all night until picked up in the morning by Mr. Wong, who says to himself “Oh, crap. Another brack one. Can’t give these away.” Racist against two cultures! I’m sure we’re in for a light-hearted comedic romp!

We see scenes from Norbit’s childhood, including his interaction with his friend Kate. They do the normal kid things, with one notable exception – going to the bathroom together. There’s a scene of them just sitting there, holding hands, on adjacent toilets. They decide to get married under the old oak tree and exchange ring pops. Two weeks later, she gets adopted. And then we see him getting beaten up at school by two boys, and is saved by a big girl named Rasputia, who claims him as her boyfriend.

She takes him home to meet her father and brothers, who run a construction company in addition to general mob activities (racketeering, beatings, and the like). As Norbit and Rasputia get closer, she gets him a job as an accountant for her brother’s construction business, and eventually the two marry.

To make a long story short (too late.), Rasputia starts cheating on Norbit with her dance instructor, played by Marlon Wayans. Norbit meets Kate again while putting on a puppet show for the kids at the orphanage, where she reveals that she’s going to be married to a businessman. With the help of his two former pimp friends, Pope Sweet Jesus (Eddie Griffin) and Lord Have Mercy (Katt Williams), Norbit wins her over and she falls in love with him.

He then discovers Rasputia’s brothers’ plot to buy the orphanage and turn it into a strip club. He reveals that Kate’s fiancé is in on it, planning to marry her and divorce her, taking her money. Their plans now in ruins, Rasputia and her brothers set out to kill Norbit, but the townspeople defend him, driving away the four. Norbit and Kate buy the orphanage and get married under the old oak tree, while Rasputia and her brothers flee to Mexico, where they open up the “El Nipplopolis” strip club, featuring Rasputia as their most popular and lucrative dancer.

Was this movie bad? Oh, hells yeah…buuuut some of the performances, notably Eddie Griffin, Katt Williams, and Marlon Wayans, are actually pretty good. The real problem, at least that I have, with this movie is the wasted potential. Eddie Murphy plays three roles in this movie. His role as Norbit? A likable guy, if a little cowardly. No complaints here. His role as Mr. Wong? Holy crap, that was him? A little more raunchy and rude, but nothing we haven’t seen before. Think Buddy Love in the second Nutty Professor. His role as Rasputia? This is where it all comes tumbling down. Eddie Murphy in another fat suit. It’s sad that that is all I really have to say. On the slim chance that anyone who is somehow connected to Eddie Murphy reads this, I have a message: We want the old Eddie Murphy back. The man who would roll around on a cart and sing Roxanne in a holding cell. The fat suits were a funny gimmick, but their time has passed. Please, return to your former glory. We want to go see you in a movie that our kids can’t see yet. We want more of the Beverly Hills Cop and less of the Daddy Day Care Eddie Murphy. Please. For your fans.

Whew, I am bushed! Here’s to another great year!

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One comment

  1. Good site! I truly love how it is easy on my eyes and the data are well written. I am wondering how I could be notified whenever a new post has been made. I’ve subscribed to your RSS which must do the trick! Have a nice day!



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