All posts by Everett Steele

Mass Effect 3: Reinstated

Mass Effect 3: Reinstated

In which Jason and Everett Steele, co-creator of Bon-Rappetite, discuss the Mass Effect 3: Reinstated Trailer.

J: I haven’t seen a soldier this threatened by an enormous squid since Beetle Bailey’s girlfriend made him try an Ika Maki roll at Benihana. And by Beetle Bailey’s girlfriend, I mean Sarge. I have to say, the female Commander Shepard in this trailer looks a little like a grown-up Pippi Longstocking. Which explains why the two newest companions in her squad are a spotted horse and a monkey named Mr. Nilsson. Don’t worry, the horse is a biotic and the monkey keeps Medi-gel packs under his comical straw hat.

Look At Mr. Tired Shovel With The Droopy Eyes: A Review Of Sucker Punch

You know that thing where you feel like it’s too late to watch a movie, because you have to get up in the morning and clean out horse stables at the racetracks or whatever, but then you end up watching seven straight episodes of Sons of Anarchy, and then four Futurama episodes you’ve already seen at least three times each? The whole process takes six hours, and keeps you awake until 3 a.m., but hey, at least you didn’t watch that movie or you’d sure be tired today, and then the other stable hands would be all like “Look at Mr. Tired Shovel with the droopy eyes!” Then you get called Mr. Tired Shovel all the time and they dump buckets of old apples on you, and then you’d have to quit your job. That happens to me at least once a week.

Did that last paragraph seem scattered, poorly written and frustrating, yet full of delightful imagery? BAM! You just got sucker punched by a review of Sucker Punch. Turns out, Zach Snyder’s (Watchmen, 300, Man of Steel) new flick, Sucker Punch, is full of jaw dropping scenery, insane genre-based action, and a script that I can only assume was written via Ouija board or refrigerator magnet words. It’s like The Changing Light At Sandover for the mentally challenged. Look it up.

Sucker Punch brings the A game when it comes to action, and that game is worth watching. From 30 foot samurai-bots to steampunk Nazis and spaceship based train heists, Snyder summons up all of your adolescent archetypes and makes them do battle with young school girls armed with swords and assault rifles. Unfortunately, the epic battle scenes only make up about 30% of the movie. The remaining 70% is crammed full of sloppy writing, awkward sexuality, and frequent yelling. It’s like getting a handjob while watching Jurassic Park III. Sure, no one likes hand jobs, but I’ll take what I can get, plus: dinosaurs.

[Editor’s note: Many people prefer hand jobs over dinosaurs. For example, Jeff Goldblum.]

SPOILER ALERT: Okay, so here’s the plot in a nutshell: A sexy orphan (the best kind) gets locked in an insane asylum for sexy orphans by some sort of evil uncle/stepdad/Monopoly man character. The asylum’s rehabilitation methodology features a combination of dance therapy and full frontal lobotomies, administered via the steely icepick of Jon Hamm, travelling lobotomist. To escape from this hellish world of music/icepick therapy, our heroine, Babydoll, reimagines the place not as an asylum, but as a stylish and abusive whorehouse. No idea why that’s better. I would have probably gone with something like Alpine ski lodge or beach house, but that’s why Snyder makes the big bucks and I write articles about movies and handjobs for an online magazine.

So for reasons that remain unclear to me, these fancy hookers have to recover some items at the behest of a very bad David Carradine stunt double. They run around going into dance based trances and generally being little monsters to everyone in the asylum. They kill some Nazis, smash some windows, do a bit of stabbing, a whole lot of shooting, and a fair amount of grunting. Ordinarily, I would either tell you what happens in the end, or make some elusive reference that you would get once you see it, but frankly, I have no idea what happens. Either Babydoll gets some old fashioned brain surgery from an inappropriately sexy Jon Hamm, or she doesn’t and something else happens.

What matters here is this: If you like watching scantily clad sexy women pilot spaceships, kill steam-filled Nazi-bots, heist trains, fight ninjas and occasionally do some pre-ballet practice stretching, this movie is going to fill you with delight. If you prefer movies with complex characters, painstakingly crafted dialogue, and any sort of plot whatsoever, this probably isn’t for you. [Editor’s note: And if you like scantily clad sexy women reciting painstakingly crafted dialogue, you are probably Philip Seymour Hoffman.] The End!

Uh Oh, Is That Anne Heche? “Cedar Rapids” Reviewed

Author’s note: I wrote this entire review thinking that the movie is titled “Cedar Falls” and the fact that I don’t care enough to hit “Find and Replace” to change it to “Cedar Rapids” should give an initial indication of the quality of this film.

A cranky editor once crankily told me that when reviewing a book, movie or band, you have to lead with some praise for your subject material, no matter how awful it really is. Success, it would seem, is contingent on the overall positivity of your paper. Based on personal observations of said editor, it is also contingent on how much schnapps you can drink in your office during lunch. I don’t quite understand why either of those things contributes to newspaper sales, but that’s why I’m the apprentice, and he has three DUIs. Because I’m not a grandparent, I don’t have any schnapps in my house, so I’m substituting whisky. The true mark of talent is the ability to improvise.

Cedar Rapids is a movie starring Ed Helms and John C. Reilly. That is the only positive thing I can think of about this movie.

Ignore the glowing reviews, the 6.6/10 IMDB rating and the 85% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. This movie is awful. Ed Helms is an irritating, unlikeable sap who toils away in thankless anonymity for a deplorable company. I don’t know exactly what they do at this company, but it involves selling stuff and being an asshole. I think they sell insurance, or penny stocks, or CD club subscriptions or something, either way, it isn’t important. It’s about sales, it’s about the Midwest, and it’s about the most awful thing I’ve watched since either The Last Airbender, or Spiderman 3.

Ed Helms plays Tim Lippe, a something salesman living in the shadow of the company’s top dog, played by Rob Cordry. The top dog, whose name I don’t care about, is a terrible person in every regard. Like every other character in the film, he’s a gross caricature of a Midwesterner, combined with the predictable, stereotypical traits of a pushy, boorish salesman. Then, all of a sudden, he dies. Now Tim Lippe, the idiot that everyone hates, has to go to the big convention in Cedar Falls. I’ve never run a successful company, but if I did, I would have a strict policy stating that if the top guy in the company dies, the worst employee doesn’t have to take his role as the top guy. That’s common sense.

For some reason that is never explained, Tim is dating his 7th grade teacher, played unenthusiastically by Ripley from Alien. If starring in a movie where monsters routinely explode from inside people’s torsos is a big part of your career, starring in a movie where nothing happens ever and everything sucks is probably a letdown. Weaver emotes this sentiment with her face and wardrobe.

So now we’re in the big city of Cedar Rapids, watching some very predictable fish out of water scenarios. They have telephones in the rooms? What? A TV with a remote control? How can small town Tim Lippe deal with all this modernity? Fast forward about half an hour, unless you want to watch a terrible pastiche of Borat and Pleasantville. Uh oh, is that John C. Reilly?

Unfortunately for us all, it is. Like everyone living near an ocean, JCR clearly had no desire to be in the Midwest, or in this movie. Reilly’s character is another cookie cutter Midwestern asshole. He’s a loud, fat lothario whom I hate. Hit fastforward again, or endure another half hour of Reilly harassing Helms, women, and my sensibilities. Uh oh, is that Anne Heche?

Once again, unfortunately it is. Heche plays another salesperson, but somehow manages to craft a character so two dimensional character that it makes her Lois Lane look like Jessica Rabbit. Is she a love interest for Helms? I don’t care, and neither will you.

From here on out, you can pretty much guess where this goes. Fish out of water, sexy lady, obnoxious John C. Reilly. It toils on in that direction for another 45 unpleasant minutes. Ed Helms gets himself into some pickles, has sex with that lady, enters a talent show, for some reason, and then learns a valuable lesson about something. I think the lesson is about spreading your small town wings and learning to fly, or realizing that the most precious gift of all is love, or that the thing you were looking for was with you all the time.

In the end, Cedar Falls/Rapids is an very lengthy piece of phoned in acting, crude jokes, awful writing, and unmemorable characters. It is boring, tremendously clichéd, and completely unwatchable. The worst part is that it squanders the talent of a hilarious character actor like Reilly, a strong leading lady in Weaver, and a great straight man in Helms. In a single word, I would describe this movie as “completely terrible in every way.” The End.

Everett Steele is a full time partner at Baby Robot Industries, an infrequent writer, and a part time lover. You can harass him via Twitter, at Everettsteele.com, or email him, unless you’re proposing a sequel to either Cedar Rapids or Cedar Falls.