I WALKED INTO Savages with pretty tempered expectations. The movie opened nearly two weeks ago, and I’ll admit that the middling reviews it’s been receiving almost prevented me from seeing it. It’s not that the story of a weird California love/pot triangle seemed uninteresting or lacking in shock value. It was more the idea that a movie with such a ridiculous storyline could somehow manage to miss the entertainment value mark.
Savages has all of the elements of a truly entertaining film. Its lead actors, Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson, are two up and coming young actors with some solid acting chops. There are explosions, scenes of graphic torture, Salma Hayek in low-cut dresses, and some pretty decent dialogue for a movie where the protagonists spend a somewhat absurd amount of the film cracking lame marijuana puns. Benecio del Toro and John Travolta give great performances as a cartel enforcer and crooked DEA agent, respectively, and Blake Lively even manages to shed a bit of that Gossip Girl image of hers. Any other director would be able to take material like that and sculpt it into something worth paying money to go see. The problem is that Oliver Stone is not just any other director.
WHAT DO A PIZZA-EATING WOLF, a bathtub filled with human feces, old ladies getting their fingers cut off, near-pedophilic interest in young boys, and John C. Reilly all have in common?
If you can’t think of anything, don’t worry. Until a few days ago, the answer was nothing.
Now, however, every item on this list can be found featured prominently in Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim’s new full-length film, Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie. The movie, which debuted last Friday, promised all of the incredibly quirky, stutteringly glitchy, and insanely inappropriate humor that has turned the duo into cult heroes, and it delivered in spades.
UNLIKE FINE WINE, some things just don’t age well at all. A glass of milk on a warm day; clothing from H&M; that hot, cigarette-smoking chick from your high school—each may have it’s moment as the object of your desire, but it’s all downhill from there. Perhaps more disappointing than any of these haggardly maturing archetypes, though, is the foul stench of a slowly dying movie franchise.
There isn’t much worse than helplessly watching as a once well-spun story spins listlessly into superficiality and eventually irrelevance; it’s one of the most frustrating aspects of being confined to the consumer side of the entertainment industry. Yet it happens again and again to far too many good films. How many times have you slunk down in your cushioned seat at the theater, hand over your eyes in empathetic embarrassment for the veritable train wreck in progress onscreen in front of you? And as you commiserate with the actor whose career the film will surely kill, you can’t help but think, Damn, even I could’ve done a better job than THIS.