In the immortal words of Captain Kurtz: The horror... the horror...
Since Reid has decided to brave the waters of cinematic poo poo I have decided to follow him on his folly quest, entering into the dark, all-too-well-charted territory of pretentiousness, fart jokes and gratuitous gore. Dear reader, I beg your mercy in making your choice. Think of my weak constitution, my tendency for hyperbole and penchant for overreaction. Sympathetically picture the veins in my forehead, bulging forward with each horrendous minute of self-inflicted pain as the work of Von Trier, Lynch or (God forbid) Mel Gibson flickers mercilessly on my TV screen. Take pity, dear sir or madam, I beg of you.
As can be clearly seen, I am keeping a decidedly open mind!
1. The Passion of the Christ
When this film came out I was an avowed atheist, looking on from afar in horror as hordes of Evangelicals filled America's cinemas, reveling in some kind of weird sado-masochistic ritual by watching an over-glorified torture scene that takes up the bulk of the film's screentime. Having now converted to Christianity I am even more disturbed by the thought of watching this movie, which seems to me to be an over the top exercise in excess by the maestro of overkill. I hated Braveheart with a vengeance and I fear this film like the flames of Gehenna. Also, I am a complete and absolute wuss when it comes to on-screen violence, needing a pillow and stuffed animal at hand at all times when the threat of violence looms near. It would probably take me a bottle of Wild Turkey and a week in the Bahamas to recover from watching this film.
2. Freddie Got Fingered
Notoriously bad, the bottom of the barrel, the inevitable dregs resulting from the gross-out-humor era of the 90's, created by the most unfunny, talentless person this side of the Himalayas. Or so I hear. I had a hard time getting through Dumb and Dumber because I thought the jokes were in such poor taste. Imagine what this thing will do to my system!
I hate Lars von Trier. Yet, like David Lynch, I love to hate him. I also admire him a great deal. Even his worst output (see the piece of trash masquerading as a film called Idioterne) has moments of inspired brilliance (or, at least, insanity) which is more interesting than a great deal of the Timberwolves output that fills the multiplex every weekend. That being said, I have no desire to see this film, an all-out exercise in artsy-fartsy pretentiousness from the look of it, complete with genital mutilation (a double bill of crushed cojones and snipped clits) to outdo even Bergman and Heneke, a talking Fox (which I actually would like to see a great deal) and the outpouring of the subconscious angst of an over-grown Danish man-child.
4. Inland Empire
It's longer than Lawrence of Arabia, made by that pseudo-intellectual ubermensch of cinema, David Lynch, and apparently people walk around with giant bunny heads. But I think it may have boobies. So there's always that.
"Lynch attempted to promote Laura Dern's chances of an Academy Award for Best Actress nomination at the 2007 Academy Awards by campaigning with a live cow. She was not nominated for the award."
-From the Inland Empire Wikipedia page
I have yet to watch a single film that might fall under the categorization of torture-porn and I am proud of this fact. Gratuitous violence and gore in horror films truly is pornographic, appealing to nothing but our basest instincts, lowering our sensibilities to an almost animal-like level. Most horror films made in the past twenty years are pathetic junk due to the movement towards increased shock, meanness and torture and this development reached a sort of apotheosis (at least one hopes it did) with the slew of Asian torture films in the late 90's and early 2000's and their (much tamer, by all accounts) American counterparts. My contempt for these films is almost entirely based on prejudice, but a justified one, I would argue. If our readers choose this film for me to watch I guess I can put that hypothesis to the test (Oy!). With regards to Hostel, specifically, perhaps more irritating even than the gore is director Eli Roth, the most sleazy, disgusting and irritating personality in filmmaking in recent memory whose staying-power in Hollywood seems mostly attributable to the fact that he's drinking buddies with Quentin Tarantino. Roth has an aura about as pleasant as that of Emperor Palpatine, a tanned jock with enough gel in his hair to choke a penguin. And he's making movies. God help us all.