Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Rambling Review of The Happening

So I decided to watch The Happening. I figured M. Night Shyamalan had to have a good movie left in him. I mean he keeps getting the green light to make movies and it is inevitable one of them would be good again. Surely he did not kill all of his creativity making The Sixth Sense. I mean eventually he has to make a good movie again, right?

I have seen almost all....

The Sixth Sense - Talk about a crazy movie. I did not see that ending coming. It blew my freaking mind MAN!

Unbreakable - I liked this movie. I did not love this movie but I could see what he was trying to do and I decided to forgive him. Besides Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson as super hero vs. super villain? It was meant to be. He just managed to get it wrong enough.

Signs - Water kills aliens? Really? Of all the retarded events ever! I could almost like this one except for the frigging water killing the aliens.

The Village - Holy crap! Talk about vomitorama! Even though I fell in complete love with Bryce Dallas Howard this movie sucked.

Lady in the Water - Really? I skipped this one. Did you see the ads? They were completely stu!

Which brings us to The Happening..... and here is my review.

***SPOILER ALERT: The whole movie is below this line.***

"Let's stay ahead of the wind." - Elliot Moore (played by Mark "Marky Mark" Wahlberg)

So we begin the movie in a park and the wind is blowing. Some chick turns to her friend and asks what she is reading. Her friend laughs and tells her. A second later this idiot asks the same frigging question. Then she kills herself. We flash across town as people are killing themselves. Oh my goodness must be terrorists!

Next we find ourselves at a high school where Elliot Moore (M. Wahlberg) is teaching science to a bunch of high schoolers. Remember that Mr. Wahlberg is a science teacher.... it's important. The vice-principal pulls him from class and has already done so with all of the teachers so they can hear the news. Yes... she pulled all the teachers from every class and brought them to one room to tell them people are dying. Yep, no supervision for the kids at all.... just a big meeting to tell a bunch of bad actors that there is some sort of epidemic hitting a major city. Sure let's leave the kids to their own devices... no need to protect our wards! Really? When they finally get back it appears that they don't tell the kids anything. School ends with Mr. Moore telling them to make sure and work on their science projects because they are due Monday. I guess the teachers are not worried because all the dying was happening in New York. I think they are in Philadelphia... and they figure terrorists are responsible for these deaths and then they assume the terrorists won't bother with Philly. Either way Mr. Moore and a co-worker, Julian, decide to go to the co-worker's mother's house, who is frantically trying to get everyone to get out of dodge.

Elliot brings his weird wife Alma with him, she is played by Zooey Deschanel (very cute). Apparently Zooey has one look because she makes it the entire movie.... whether she is mad, sad or happy.

Of course, her character does not "feel comfortable sharing her emotions with others" so perhaps she is a good actress in other films. You certainly have no idea from this movie. Oh and Zooey and Mark have terrible chemistry... they seem more like strangers then married people even if this particular marriage is going through a "tough time".

They meet up with Julian (John Leguizamo), the co-worker at school, and his daughter Jess. Apparently there is bad blood between Julian and Alma.... which was a stupid storyline. Julian thinks Alma is incapable of loving anyone. Alma just so happens, conveniently, to have hung out with a male co-worker after work and lied about it to Elliot. It was "only dessert", perhaps this little lie is is the reason she dislikes Julian. No one likes proving someone right about being a bad person. Either way I didn't care.... which as a storyteller is the completely wrong reaction for the audience to have.

At this point in the movie I like Julian, as John Leguizamo always does a fantastic job in everything I have seen him in. I think the reason he seems compelling in this movie is he actually displays emotion. None of the other stars do. This is where we find out his wife is not going with them on this train but will catch the next one. Once again no one is expecting "the terrorists" to strike good ol' Philly, since that wouldn't be respectable. So they get on the train and they keep hearing more and more stories about it spreading to big cities. Then the train stops because the train conductor can't raise anyone and is not sure it is safe to go on. After sitting around in some Podunk town for a while the whole train load decides they better keep moving. So Elliot finds a crazy dude and his wife to give passage to the 4 of them. Meanwhile Julian is looking to go save his wife and gets passage for one and leaves his daughter with Elliot and Alma. Really? I am not a father but I am imagining that I would stay with my daughter and hope my wife is OK. I am also assuming that if our roles were reversed I could rely on my wife to protect our children and not leave them behind to rescue me. I mean who leaves their kid behind to look for someone they have not heard anything from in the last 2 hours? Did I fail to mention that he had not spoke to his wife in 2 hours? Yeah... so Julian runs off to 'save her' because he has not heard from her. Even the dirt knows that faceless woman is dead. Hello! IDIOT!

Not having started off well you figure the movie will either climb back out of the ditch or at least will not get any worse, but you'd be wrong. So the crazy couple decide to stop at their home to get food. They don't really spend anytime getting food but somehow in ten seconds they do. Then the crazy guy is talking about hot dogs and then starts rambling about plants being behind this attack. Everyone figures he is crazy (which in a movie like this it means you know the crazy guy is finally right for once) but, even thinking this guy is crazy, they still get in the car with this idiot. We flash to Julian who is in the town his wife is supposed to be and we see some landscapers have hung themselves in trees. Some chick starts freaking out in the car Julian in because of the hanging people. Julian is yelling at the others to roll up the windows and seal up the car. To calm this girl down he tells her to do a math problem to take her mind off what is going on. The problem with the math problem he selects is that it is not one she can figure out without a calculator... how giving some one an exponential math problem to calm them down is a good idea is beyond me. You might as well ask her to explain flight. Sure an expert could rattle on and sound like they know what they are talking about but I sure as heck have no clue and neither did she when confronted with this problem. This would have had half the desired effect as it would stop me from screaming because I would be strangling the math dork.

"Oh my God! Oh my God!"

"OK calm down. Seriously! I know what will calm you down here is a math problem. Say I give you a penny today and tomorrow I give you 2 cents. Then the next day I give you 4 cents and each day the amount doubles. How much would you have after 30 days?"

"Well heck Julian I have no frigging clue but I sure feel calm now..."

"Of course you do, you silly goose! Now let's go off ourselves!"

This scene did not happen like this in the movie but it might as well have.The problem I site is the one he uses in the movie. She was screaming out stupid answers like "Ten dollars!" and he is staring at a rip in the fabric roof of the jeep. Then he finally gives her the answer and the driver drives full speed into a tree. I am figuring the driver did not want any more frigging math problems and felt killing himself in a collision with a sturdy looking tree was the only way out. Can you really blame him? Anyway since Julian died we flash back to Elliot, Alma and Jess. They just discovered everyone in all the roads going in any direction are dead. So all these people, coming from several different directions are in one spot trying to figure out their options. They decide to go to less populated areas because big cities and large towns are being "targeted". The crazy guy is still rambling about frigging plants and everyone is still nodding and smiling politely at him. When suddenly a giant oak tree bites his head off.... just kidding but that would have been a heck of a lot cooler.

They decide to travel to a town that is not on the big national map because apparently only locals care about the town. They walk in two groups, one group heads out right away but the others are grabbing items from the car. Elliot, Alma and Jess are in the first group, this is when Alma reveals her devastating dessert secret (yawn). The second group is walking and then the wind starts blowing and they start offing themselves. The first group argues about what to do and some of them want to go back and help... Alma is one of them (still wearing the same sullen expression, refer to above picture). Elliot, the science teacher is yelling at them to let him think, as he is the de facto leader of this group. "What if it is the plants? We can't go back there." He decides and notices that the wind s blowing near those people offing themselves. "Let's stay ahead of the wind!" Remember when I told you that he was a science teacher? This is why it is important. How many science teachers would utter "Let's stay ahead of the wind!" I mean forget that in this movie the wind only picks up when the frigging plants go all homicidal on people. What is with that? It can't just be a windy day? Are you telling me Mr. Shyamalan thinks plants make wind? Are you telling me that a science teacher seriously believes he has a chance of outrunning wind? IS EVERYBODY TAKING CRAZY PILLS!?

Either way they all start running as the wind picks up. They split off into smaller groups and now it is Elliot, Alma, Jess and two teenage hooligans. Trying to outrun the wind.

The wind calms the heck down and they see a home. They decide to get some food and a moments respite. The family in the home wants them to leave and keep their "poisonous gas" to themselves. The hooligans get themselves killed by these crazy hillbillies when they demand some food from the people locked in the house and then there were 3. The three survivors run away and keep traveling when they finally see another house. Before checking out the house Elliot decides to share a deep dark secret, which is the best part of the movie. He talks about asking a cute pharmacist where the cough syrup was even though he did not have a cough and that he nearly spent 6 dollars on cough syrup he didn't need. Which I guess was his way of telling her that she is forgiven but the line was actually clever and I am not doing it justice. In the house they find a crazy old lady and shack up with her and then in the morning she goes even crazier then she was before. Then the wind picks up while she is freaking out in the garden and she kills herself by bashing her head into the house and Elliot realizes the plants are killing all humans regardless of how many people there are. Group size no longer matter. Of course he and Alma (who has Jess with her) are in separate parts of the crazy lady's place and can't reunite. They finally act like they love each other and decide if they are going to die they should be with each other. Of course they don't die and life begins anew.... Jess is going back to school. Alma is pregnant and scientists are telling the world the plants are warning us to change out ways and no one is listening. Then it starts happening again in another city... dun dun duh!


Anybody feel like outrunning wind? Holy crap, this movie is terrible. I am really sorry we dragged you into this little girl.


Anonymous said...

You seriously need to rent and watch "Tideland" or rather I want to read your take on it..hee hee

Michael Williams said...

The way you talk about that movie scares me.... It can't be any good.

Anonymous said...

It's very disturbing, to say the least. On second thought, don't watch it because you don't need those images, or that story line to haunt you...It's very surreal, sad, disturbing, and disgusting...It's like someone dragging their fingernails across your soul.

Michael Williams said...

Sounds positively chippe!