Rush and the Endangered Adult Film

I’m not gay. But I’d totally let those beautiful blue eyes fuck the shit out of me. No homo.

I harp on this a lot. But it bears repeating: cinema is in a very dangerous loop with no end in sight. There’s a startling lack of originality going on, recycling of brand names, and general dumbing down of anything resembling intelligent in Hollywood. And, yes, to a certain extent that’s always been the case with populous art. And I don’t want to sound like the cranky old fart railing against a changing system. But this is different. The system isn’t changing. It’s dying.

How did we get here? Easy. Movies became more expensive to produce. Ticket prices rose. And the American public became more picky about what films they went to. And, by picky, I mean Americans would only plunker-down a couple of Lincolns if the movie was about something they were familiar with. Thus, Hollywood started making sequels. Hard. Those made money. So Hollywood made more sequels. Those also made money. So Hollywood started mining the well to see what other famous brands could be rebooted or sequeled. That’s how Robert Downey Jr got cast as a sexy, hip Sherlock Holmes. That’s how Spider-man got remade not five years after the last Spider-man ended.

And now we’re here. The well is running dry friends. Fast and Furious is getting a seventh film. Disney plans to put the last bullet into Star Wars’ already decaying body. And Ron Howard, not the greatest of directors but a sturdy one with enough clout, has trouble bank rolling new, non-sequel films like Rush.

Rush stars Thor and this Racer Dude. They both drive fast. Thor believes racing is a natural talent. You’re born with it or you’re not. Racer Dude believes races come down to science. So he studies cars a lot. The story is basically about their rivalry and how deeply one person can affect someone’s life.

It’s a fine film. A damn fine film. A film that doesn’t rely on aliens or cgi boogie men. It’s all about character. And, another point I always try to make on this fuck-filled blog, character is always paramount to a movie’s success.

Yet, flicks like this are becoming harder and harder to come by. Smart writing, writing that’s fun and original, is slowly moving to television. That’s where smart and discerning adults have been turning to. Which means they don’t spend money on smart character pieces like Rush. Which means He-Man and Ninja Barbie Go To Disney isn’t far from getting made.

So I write this as a plea. Please, please, please save the Endangered Original Film. Don’t wait until flicks like these come to Blu-Ray. Don’t sit at home and watch Breaking Bad for the millionth time. And, especially, think twice before giving your hard-earned money to anything with a number behind its name.

Because, by supporting the sequel, by saving our money for Avenger’s 3 and Star Wars 38, we create the perception that we like this shit. And we don’t. Believe me, I’ve scanned enough internet message boards to know that we’re tired of sequels. We want new ideas. We’re just blaming the wrong people. This isn’t Hollywood’s fault. Hollywood is a moneymaking venture that will happily make anything we’re willing to pay for. And right now we’re handing them money to create stupid sequels and boring reboots.

We can do better.

Grade: A-

Red Dawn

When we shoot you, you’ll know it because our PG-13 violence demands you drop to the ground without a single wound.

If I hate one thing in this world it’s my neighbor’s dog. (Seriously, dude, I know it’s you shitting in my yard. And, even if you say differently, I can hear you barking at five in the morning. LAY OFF MY NUTS, MAN!!! Don’t make me fight you.) If I hate two things in this world, the first is my neighbor’s dog, the second is the invention of PG-13 films.

I’m not even one of those DudeBros that will only be satisfied watching an R film. So, slam your trap shut if you think that’s where this is going. G and PG have never offended me. Hell, some of my favorite films are PG and G. The Toy Story franchise has built a sturdy home on parental guidance. And Back to The Future is, hyperbole aside, the greatest film ever created in any known universe.

For some reason the MMPA (If I had a third thing that I hated, it would be the MMPA, if you’re keeping track.) needed a new rating that straddled the line between the super rad sex and violence of R and the candy colored happy fun times of PG. Thus, BOOM, PG-13 was created in 1984 to suit a film called Red Dawn. And that rating has been making bland movies even blander up until today, when PG-13, took a role in fucking up the remake of Red Dawn.

The new Red Dawn highlights everything that’s wrong with the entire ratings system. The plot follows the same plot of the original: America is overrun by enemy soldiers and a group of teens form a bad ass militia and start killing enemy soldiers. In the first film it was Russians because the Cold War was still raging. In the new film, America is overrun by Chinese soldiers with badly CGI-ed North Korean flags stickered to their uniforms. Because, apparently we can’t afford to anger China anymore for fear they might actually attack us. Thus, a North Korean enemy was created for the film despite the fact that North Korea would never have the manpower to feasibly attack us. From there the film devolves into two hours of bloodless, boring fights.

But let’s get one thing clear: I didn’t want this film to be a violent blood bath. It, conversely, REALLY wanted to be dark and edgy without the actual cost it takes to be dark and edgy. Believe me, I know dark and edgy, dark and edgy gets me laid on the nightly and it requires a certain amount of work to pull off.

This film wants real stakes, life and death shit. And, the death toll is high, major characters take bullets to the head often. Enemy soldiers get shot down in hails of gunfire. And skateboards strapped with explosives blow up a lot of tanks. The director does a great job of creating a sense of dread but failed to follow through.

The first time soldiers get shot in this film there is no blood. They get a least seven bullets to the stomach and fall over dead. Now, again, I don’t care if they don’t want blood in their film. The Dark Knight didn’t have a drop of blood but the camera was used effectively enough to create REAL dread. Red Dawn shows you everything, without blood, and it’s confusing. I actually didn’t even know the soldiers had died, or that they even got shot. I just assumed they dropped to the ground out of fear. But then it kept happening. Someone will be shot and just drop dead without any physical damage.

That’s why PG-13 sucks. It wants to be an adult R but is too queasy to deal with adult themes. Red Dawn is all about kids pretending to be adults, facing hard choices, and it’s very fitting that, as a PG-13 movie, it can’t quite live up to them.

Grade: D+