Monday, June 2, 2014

'Cursed': How To Be A Werewolf 101

Netflix...I'm back. I left you briefly when Amazon Prime lured me with the siren song of all those magical TV shows they threw at us a few weeks ago. 'True Blood'. 'Sopranos'. 'Carnivale'. So many titties. So much awesome.

But sooner or later, I always feel a longing for the Instant, like a craving for Cheetos or a desire to read a John Grisham book. Sometimes all that well-written, well-crafted storytelling, shot and edited beautifully, just isn't enough. Sometimes, the roulette wheel spins, and the number that comes up is just a real piece of shit that satisfies like none other.

That, my friends, is what I found when I came back to the Instant the other day, and saw this:

Mind, I'd just come off of binge-watching 3 trashy, unhinged seasons of True Blood, so I was kind of like, Meh, werewolves, I dunno. My affinity for a werewolf story pretty much extends to 'Teen Wolf', Original Flavor. But in peering more closely at the above image, I spotted Pacey, and wondered if this was one of those late-nineties Kevin Williamson-style movies where everybody wears halter tops and chokers or some shit like that (TM Vickie Miner) and runs around slinging quips (I LOVE QUIPS).

First: Wes Craven AND Kevin Williamson. So, yeah. Halter tops and blood squibs. Check. Second: Shia le Boeuf Bourguignone. OK, I know it's not Shia le Boeuf Bourggignon, it's the other guy from the Face Books documentary, but whatever, at this point they were indistinguishable from one another because: hair, nerdy fast-talking, squirrelly, smells like child actor. Check. Third: 2005. 2005!? I continue to be astonished by movies that are released that either came out of a wormhole or sat in the can for 8 years before somebody decided to try to make money off of them. 2005!?

So you press play, and here's essentially what you get, right from the jump:

No, sorry, it's actually the "band" Bowling for Soup, "performing" for a crowd of fans on the pier who are trying really hard to rock out for the camera despite their obvious misgivings. Two young ladies - the girl from 'American Pie' whose name I can't be bothered to look up and Mya, playing the role of the R&B singer trying to become a legit actor - sit down at the gypsy fortune teller's table, said gypsy being: PORTIA DE ROSSI!?28*@(*#! Why are you in this movie, dressed like Radagast the Brown? Portia freaks out on the girls and starts spewing cliches like "The beast is coming!" and "Beware the moon!" Doom approacheth, I guess. This is boring already, right? Let's get outta here. Cut to! Wacky dutch angle shots of the super-crazy parts of Hollywood, like the Ripley's Museum, which according to this movie is the arbiter of weird. The Boeuf Borg Queen, wearing a Penguin jacket (which would be hipster now but was dorky in 2005 apparently) and a backpack with both straps over his shoulders (yeah, dorky, sure) tries to flirt with a hot girl but is shut down by her aggressively homophobic boyfriend, that one guy from 'Heroes'. Nowadays, an aggressively homophobic character in a teen film would obviously be a troubled gay youth afraid to come out, but back then, it was like "Dayum, that guy is, like, so homophobic!" BECAUSE WE DIDN'T KNOW.

Christina Ricci, the world's gothiest pocket person, goes to visit her boyfriend Pacey at the new club he's setting up, a place called 'Tinsel' - as in 'Town,' not the Christmas decoration - which is basically Planet Hollywood with horror movie stuff Wes Craven probably lent production from the shit he had in his garage. Pacey appears all scruffy and mysterious, and when Christina Ricci makes out with him she makes a stink face like she tastes something gross.

You taste like a burger, Pacey. I don't like you anymore. Probably because you're a werewolf. NOT A SPOILER.

Christina Ricci and her brother the Borg drive home on Mulholland (where the shit are they going from Hollywood that they would take Mulholland?) and get into a bad accident with American Pie, who's trapped in her car. The Borg helps free her just in time for something big and hairy to snatch her, drag her into the woods and eat her. Looks like Portia de Rossi was right! The Borg AND Christina Ricci get clawed, which according to the lame rules of bad werewolf movies means they're going to turn into werewolves; and just in case you didn't get it, the Borg's cute dog starts growling at him like Jonesy growling at Ripley's alien fetus.

Special plus bonus: this guy, playing a cop who doesn't care about werewolves:

So Christina and her brother go home, where some bad horror movie camera angles and some internet browsing of unsolved animal attack websites tell us shit is starting to get shady. Christina Ricci gets scared out of her mind by a fucking cuckoo clock (with Red Riding Hood on it, foreshadowing...?) and by the open front door with dead leaves blowing all over the place, which is because Pacey scruffily and mysteriously came in the house and left the door open for some bizarre reason. Shut the damned door, dude! Christina Ricci has a crazy dream where she bites him and a fly lands on her eyeball, while her brother wakes up outside, naked. He MUST be a werewolf. In case you still haven't realized this, he helps you out by eating deli meat with salt on it right out of the container for breakfast. Did you know salted deli meat was werewolf food?

The great Judy Greer shows up at Christina Ricci's office (I guess she works on the Craig Kilborne Show? Random). She is Scott Baio's publicist. Yeah, that's not a typo. She's REALLY concerned about this interview Scott Baio is going to do, and will Christina Ricci be dressed nicely enough and on time for it? I would rather know: why are all these awesome female comic actors slumming in this movie?

Christina Ricci is more concerned about stalking her way through the office huffing the air, because somebody has a bloody nose, and werewolves like bloody noses. I feel like this movie is truly a primer in understanding the biology of werewolves. She has to go meet Scott Baio at some rooftop party populated by halter tops and chokers, where Pacey scruffily and mysteriously shows up again (WEREWOLF MUCH), wanting to talk, because he feels badly about something blah blah who gives a fuck. Cheryl Tunt yanks Christina out of THAT awkward situation and sits her down with Scott Freaking Baio, the stupid unicorn of this movie. Scott gets really mad when Christina amusingly informs him he's going on for his interview with Craig after Ashton Kutcher and Carrot Top. Even if this movie were happening in 2014, that would still suck for Scott Baio, wouldn't it?

Down in the parking garage, more bad horror movie camera angles tell us that a werewolf's in the parking garage, ready to eat Mya, who's been in the movie long enough. When she sees oily werewolf pawprints on the floor, she smiles and tips her head, like, Yeah, sure, OK! Because it makes total sense, in the context of this movie.

So the thing that shows up to eat her was built by Rick Baker, the daddy of the badass werewolf from 'An American Werewolf in London':

Except THIS werewolf looks like a generic Halloween costume somebody bought at Aahs!!:

Somebody phoned it in! The werewolf eats Mya, which should surprise nobody. Later, the Borg tells Christina Ricci that 'the experts' in all the werewolf books he's been reading over the past couple of hours say that all signs point to them being werewolves. She doesn't believe him, but he's all-fired to take his place as a Teen Wolf, which means he comes to school the next day with a cool long-sleeved shirt on instead of his Penguin jacket and - I shit you not - a wig.

Let's do a quick character comparison here:

Yeah, sorry, guy, you lose.

Some butt-rock playing on the soundtrack accompanies Teen Wolf's wrestling tryout match against the homophobic boyfriend. Wait - I didn't accidentally put 'Teen Wolf Too' in the DVD, did I? I'm still watching a movie from 2005, right? Teen Wolf shows all the cheerleaders and mean jocks at school that werewolves are hardcore, while Christina Ricci is spazzing out at work because she sucked on Craig Kilborne's bloody finger ERMEHGERD. She's got a bad feeling about her werewolfiness because Portia de Rossi showed up at the Craig Kilborne Show (?) and told her:

She goes and hides in the bathroom, where a concerned colleague tries to open the stall door on her. What the fuck, lady? Can't a girl drop a deuce in peace? Christina Ricci is SO DETERMINED not to let her concerned colleague in that she hangs on to the stall door so hard her fingers dent the metal and get all bloody. All right, all ready! We get it, we'll let you work on that shit all by yourself.

Teen Wolf lets us know he's definitely a werewolf, in case you were STILL unclear about all of this, because he touches a silver pie server and his hand smokes. The homophobic boyfriend shows up at his door to profess his love for him in a scene which feels practically medieval in its offensive stiltedness (although upon further reflection....props for trying and failing, I guess). Teen Wolf's dog goes berserk on them, coz he got infected with wereness. In another movie this might have been handled as an interesting story element, buuuuut not here! The gay-not-homophobic boyfriend and Teen Wolf escape from the weredog by driving on Mulholland to get to Hollywood, which NOBODY DOES FOR CRYING OUT LOUD JUST TAKE THE 405 TO THE 101 THERE'S NO TRAFFIC THAT LATE AT NIGHT I PROMISE. At Pacey's club opening, Cheryl Tunt tries to push Scott Baio on everyone while Teen Wolf and Christina Ricci do a bunch of running around and hiding and investigating, the frantic hallmark of the climactic scenes in bad horror/adventure/fantasy movies. Who's the Big Bad? Is it Pacey? Is it Craig Kilborne's assistant? Is it some random girl in a halter top and a choker? When the werewolf goes on a rampage, Scott Baio (!?) saves Christina Ricci, yelling, "Come on! It's a fucking werewolf!" While everyone stampedes all over the place, Christina Ricci harasses a guard, demanding to know where her brother is. How the hell should that guy know?


Nope, it's Cheryl Tunt, who jumps through a silver lame curtain, flips her hair off her shoulders and announces per her contractual obligations to production, "Showtime!" There's a sad girlfight between Cheryl and Christina, replete with monologuing, which ends when Christina Maces her in a moment that's supposed to be triumphant, I guess. Pacey shows up and tries to reason with Cheryl, but she knees him in the junk, which is apparently enough to put him down and out for the rest of the fight! Did you guys know you could take a werewolf out with a knee in the junk?

Cheryl wolfs out in an exquisite display of fourth-tier VFX and chases after Christina and Teen Wolf, while they holler things like "We Gotta Get Outta Here!" (TM The Eighties) and "You're playing with us, aren't you? Well, play this!" The cops shoot the shit out of Cheryl, and then everything's OK, right? No way, man! Back at the ranch, Christina and Teen Wolf start to realize they're still wolfing out because O NOES MAYBE CHERYL WASN'T THE ONE, and then Pacey shows up and monologues like crazy about how you kill a werewolf, what he wanted all along, and blah blah so on and so forth. Forty-five minutes later, after Teen Wolf runs awkwardly around on the ceiling and Christina tries to take Pacey out with a pie server, she finally gets real and cuts his head off with a shovel after getting one last quip in. The last shot of the burned-up werewolf Pacey is a pile of goo surrounding the pie server. Who knew the pie server was so important?

The triumphant ending goes as follows:

1. The dog shows up accompanied by the hot girl from the beginning and the gay-not-homophobic guy
2. Teen Wolf makes out with the hot girl in front of everybody, which doesn't bother the gay-not-homophobic guy who was her boyfriend the day before because he's gay so it's all OK
3. The gay-not-homophobic guy says "Nice moves"
4. They walk into the night holding hands while the camera cranes dramatically over Christina Ricci, who starts, uh, cleaning up the house.

This movie does not get a Nickelback two-thumbs-up, because there is SO not enough Scott Baio in it!??!

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