The Darwin Awards

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:34 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

The Darwin Awards
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: David Arquette, Joseph Fiennes, Winona Ryder, Juliette Lewis
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Fox Home Entertainment
Release Date: 2006
Kiddie Movie: Nah, being young they might get the wrong idea of The Darwin Awards and think they should win one.
Date Movie: It’s a nice movie to cuddle on the couch and screen-talk about how stupid people can be.
Gratuitous Sex: There’s some sex and some nudity. Nice.
Gratuitous Violence: Just seeing how people are stupid.
Action: Nope.
Laughs: There’s some laughs and chuckles.
Memorable Scene: The “being safe in the shower” scene.
Memorable Quote: Nah.
Directed By: Finn Taylor

DVD REVIEW – Add Cool Things
Someone mentioned to me that they saw the DVD “The Darwin Awards” in the rental store and wondered if I saw it. I told them I hadn’t, but then saw it on my own and decided, “What the hell, let’s see if this movie sucks.” It didn’t suck, but I can also see why it never made it to the big screen, but maybe the film folks should have at least given it a chance. Here’s the story…

Most of you know the story of The Darwin Awards. These are awards given every year to people who die in ways that are pretty stupid when you think about it, or find themselves unable to reproduce. It’s also a reference to “survival of the fittest” signifying that maybe humanity will thrive just a little bit more by losing these morons early. Anyway, in the movie “The Darwin Awards” we get Joseph Fiennes as Michael Burrows. He’s a police investigator in San Francisco being taped for a documentary. He’s also hemophobic (he faints at the site of blood). And he’s also obsessed with those who die or get injured in a “Darwin Award” manner. He’s hot on the trail of a serial killer but sadly the sight of blood causes him to faint and the bad guy gets away. Disgraced and booted from the force, Michael thinks he might find his next calling, working for an insurance company in determining high risk cases for them, or claims to deny based on the fact that the facts aren’t always what they seem, and now he is paired with Siri (Winona Ryder), traveling the highways and byways of the country debunking some insurance claims that on the surface seem open and shut.

So Michael and Siri find a dude crushed by a vending machine, a dude claiming someone stole his car, a missing dude (and car) who just wanted to go fast and be on TV, and all the while Michael is still obsessed with finding the serial killer he let get away. And, oh yea, he falls for Siri (but who wouldn’t?).

I really wanted to like this movie, and as a DVD rental it’s good enough for a rental, but the problem is that since we know what The Darwin Awards are, every time Michael and Siri get to a new town to investigate an insurance loss, well, the ending of the loss is really no surprise. It’s pretty obvious why the dude reported his truck stolen, most people will be able to figure out the demise of the stoner dude at the Metallica concert before it happens, the vending machine death is a “Duh!”, but the one adventure involving Harvey (David Arquette), who couldn’t seem to go fast enough for his wife Joleen (Juliette Lewis), where you might actually be sitting there watching the movie wondering what this bonehead did to kill himself, is ruined because the filmmakers gave it away at the opening of the movie. So much for any mystery during this movie.

In the midst of the deaths is the budding relationship between Michael and Siri, and the interruptions and non-interruptions of the documentary filmmaker constantly stating he can’t get involved. The love story is cute enough, but it is the quirkiness of Michael trying to not be a Darwin story that makes things funny during this movie.

I love Wynona Ryder, and would stalk her if she wanted me to, and she is just absolutely adorable in this movie. Joseph Fiennes was great as the quirky detective now obsessed with Darwin Award scenarios. But the underlying problem with the movie was that there weren’t any surprises.

In the end it’s 3 stars out of 5 for “The Darwin Awards.” There are a couple of funny moments in the movie intertwined with the deaths and shootings, but just please, remember, if you are going to use your gun to pull your buddy from the icy pond, make sure you unload the gun first.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Dead Silence

MPAA Rated – Unrated
It’s 1:30 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Dead Silence
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Donnie Wahlberg, Amber Valletta, Ryan Kwanten, Laura Regan, Judith Roberts
MPAA Rated: Unrated
Released By: Universal Pictures
Release Date: 2007
Kiddie Movie: Only if you want them to have nightmares about dummies.
Date Movie: Good for the both of you to snuggle to.
Gratuitous Sex: Would have added a star, especially in an unrated version.
Gratuitous Violence: Tongues get torn out, there’s blood, and people die.
Action: Some running and chasing.
Laughs: Nothing really.
Memorable Scene: I did like Jamie’s dad, all the way through the end.
Memorable Quote: None
Directed By: James Wan

I hate to start a review with a rant sometimes, but for “Dead Silence” a rant, I believe, is necessary, and this rant has to do with the folks who marketed the film when it first was hitting theaters, and even those marketing the film now coming out on DVD. The trailer for “Dead Silence” simply started with “From the writers and directors of ‘Saw’” and that, for me, says expect a lot of gore, blood, twisted-ness, and over-the-top horror fun. The DVD states “New Unrated Version. More Gruesome and Horrifying Than Anything Seen in Theaters.” The problem is that the movie isn’t more gruesome and horrifying than anything seen in theaters, and it doesn’t come close to the level of over-the-top, yet fun, gore as seen in “Saw.” Nope, “Dead Silence” is actually a decent thriller, with some nice twists and some horror gore (but no nudity, bummer), and I probably would have seen it in theaters when it first came out if they just marketed it as a horror/thriller and ignored the then “reputation” of “Saw.” I also would have liked my first viewing of the DVD if I weren’t waiting, for an hour and a half of watching, for more gruesomeness, horrifying-ness, and “Saw”-ness, instead of just wrapping myself into the story and thriller-ness of it.

Enough ranting, here’s the story.

It seems that in the town of Ravens Fair there is an old story about a ventriloquist lady, Mary Shaw (Judith Roberts), who haunts the locals. She never had any kids, only dolls, and if you saw her in your dreams you shouldn’t scream because she would tear out your tongue. Jamie (Ryan Kwanten) comes from Ravens Fair but has moved out of town with his wife Lisa (Laura Regan). One day a ventriloquist dummy gets delivered to his doorstep, Lisa ends up dead – sans tongue, Detective Lipton (Donnie Wahlberg) thinks Jamie killed her, and Jamie is heading back to the old homestead to bury his wife, investigate her murder, and confront his dad, Edward (Bob Gunton). He finds that pop has a new wife, Ella (Amber Valleta), is being trailed by the good Detective, and things are getting more twisted in his hometown. Dummies have been exhumed, the funeral director’s wife seems crazy, there are flashbacks to the downfall of Mary Shaw, her death, and the actual story of why Mary Shaw’s spirit is taking revenge on the town comes to light. In the end Jamie finds some secrets he might have done better without learning.

I’d go more into the story, but there isn’t a reason to. Most people find ventriloquist dummies kind of creepy to begin with, so them going on a killing rampage in a horror flick isn’t a surprise. Hell, most of us find ventriloquists a little creepy so them going on a rampage in a horror flick wouldn’t be a surprise, either, and “Dead Silence” builds on our general creepiness of ventriloquists and their dummies. The problem I had was because the way the film was marketed I really expected an over-the-top horror flick, with ghastly, brutal killings, rather than just the thriller it was. Sure, there were some twists and turns at the end, one which was totally obvious from the get-go, another I was surprised I missed, but for most of us who have grown up with the horror genre, “Dead Silence” is actually a better thriller than a horror/gore fest.

If you find ventriloquists and their dummies creepy, and you’re looking for a movie to snuggle with your honey on an evening, “Dead Silence” really wouldn’t be that bad a choice. There are some slow points, but most thrillers have them, and some of the killings won’t really be a surprise, but some killings aren’t always a surprise in most thrillers anyway. I give “Dead Silence” 3 stars out of 5. It’s not the most original of flicks but has its moments. Ignore the marketing because if you are anywhere between 17 and 50 years old, growing up between “Friday the 13th” through the “Scream” series and beyond, it’s not more gruesome nor horrifying than anything seen in theaters. Just enjoy the thriller for what it is, a thriller about creepy dummies with some moments of tearing out tongues.

As far as the extras on the DVD go, I found it funny because I actually thought the alternate opening would have been a better one then giving me the historical origins of the word “ventriloquist,” the deleted scenes were fine being deleted, it was interesting seeing how the film folks found a great choice for Mary Shaw, but maybe the marketing folks should have watched “The Making of ‘Dead Silence’” part that shows “Dead Silence” is really a tip of the hat to old-time horror flicks and not just a gore-fest, nor meant to be that gruesome nor horrifying, just thrilling.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:28 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Rob Schneider, Arija Bareikis
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Touchstone Pictures
Release Date: 1999
Kiddie Movie: Lots of bad language and adult jokes. Too young and they’ll ask too many questions.
Date Movie: It’s more a dude movie, but she might like it if she has a warped sense of humor.
Gratuitous Sex: Nothing gratuitous.
Gratuitous Violence: Some things breaking.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: It’s better on video.
Memorable Scene: None.
Memorable Quote: None.
Directed By: Sid Ganis, Barry Bernardi

I really didn’t like “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo” when it was in the theaters. Maybe I was just in a bad mood, but I didn’t find it funny, wondered why it was made, and just didn’t like it. Back then I gave it 1 star. But then I got the DVD and decided that this movie really isn’t that bad.

Rob Schneider plays Deuce Bigalow. He’s a fish tank cleaner who gets most of his enjoyment by making the girl in the fish store dip her breasts in the snail tank so he can see her boobs. He gives his fish bottled water and drinks rusty pipe water, and he ends up taking care of a cool, gigolo’s fish while the gigolo is out of the country. He accidentally trashes the place and needs to come up with a ton of cash or face the wrath of Antoine, the cool gigolo, and with the help of T.J., a man pimp, becomes a gigolo, or rather, a man whore, himself. But Deuce doesn’t score the hot chicks, nope, T.J. sets Deuce up with the “freaks” where Deuce charms the ladies with good verbal skills rather than being good in the sack.

Alright, to be a little more fair the movie does go deeper than that, sort of preaching the message that everyone is special in their own way, and maybe because I was in a better mood, maybe being a little bit older, or maybe being at home where I don’t try to engross myself in a movie most of the time, but this time I enjoyed “Deuce Bigalow..”. The scenes that gave me chuckles in the theater gave me chuckles again, like the narcoleptic girl who tied her hair to the light so she wouldn’t drown in her soup when she fell asleep, but also felt a little sorry for Deuce, especially as his relationship with Kate fell apart.

It’s an adult rental but remember to bring out the child in you when you watch it. If you do as I say it’s 3 stars out of 5. If you’re looking for an intelligent comedy, “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo” isn’t it, but if your looking for stupid fun, go ahead and rent it!

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!