By Nathanael Griffis
Nate made poor choices last year and subjected the Buried Cinema crew to bad movies, so his punishment is in kind, and he must watch bad movies of the crew’s choosing from a Walmart $5 dollar action pack.
When I started doing my prescribed penance, I figured I could write it off with quicky ironic articles like my previous one. Yes Nate, I said to myself, but not in the mirror after showering, because that would be insane, all you need to do is make a joke out of this. Then you’ll frustrate those who are punishing you; thereby turning the punishment into a prize, and in a weird way everybody wins. But, it turns out we must all pay for our sins. My sins were watching bad movies and so I was forced to watch bad movies. Still I’m surprised it only took till the 2nd one for me to throw away an semblance of pretense. Here’s Brian for why I had to watch Men With Guns
Brian: “I don’t know. We did this stupid bet. You had to watch a movie. This one seemed awful.”
I’d like to start by talking about fruit cake, because I don’t want to talk about the movie. You see Men with Guns is so loathsome I would rather talk about fruit cake. Here’s the problem with fruit cake. On paper it sounds yummy. Do you like cake? Check. Do you like Rum? Check. Do you like Butter? Check. Do you like jellied fruit? Maybe we could add nuts too. Sure why not, nuts would be fine. Alright, now let’s put that in a bread loaf pan. Well that seem’s strange why not a typical round cake pan, but I’ve been with you since rum and butter, so continue. Well we have all this great stuff, so I’m just going to jam it all together and see what comes out.
And here in lies the problem with fruitcake. It’s got to much stuff stuffed into it. You kinda of stare at it and wonder how and why someone made that, and also how is it not getting moldy (oh the alcohol…or wait is mold another ingredient). Then somewhere along the way some senile baker started throwing vegetables into it to make it healthy or something, and thereby sealing the coffin on the the most despised of bakery treats. Now before all you fruit cake defenders come rushing to it’s defense don’t waste your time, the fruit cake battle was lost long ago. People don’t like it; stop whining and go cower in your corner like the proper defeated. Besides I must now relent and discuss the movie.
Men with Guns is fruit cake. It has every film making idea and technique shoved into it, and the director seems to just have yanked it from the oven, left it on a counter till it gathered a nice inch of dust, and then tried to pass it off as a serviceable product. Oh but man it’s artsy and gritty, and it’s daring, it’s trying to do something other movies don’t. Agreed. And it fails, because perhaps those things shouldn’t be tried. We should not try to stuff every small berry in jellied format into an already soggy pastry. Just like you shouldn’t have a car chase scene with a slow acoustic romance song. Ray LaMontague is for staring at women through steaming panes of glass not gangsters chasing down Johnnie Boy in The Outsiders.
Okay I’ve complained about pastries and inconsistent music, but haven’t given you any reason to avoid or despise this movie. Trust me it stunk. I have no clever quips, and I was trying, really trying to make fun of it. But I found myself so frustrated…here for your benefit I will now attempt to explain the plot:
We open on an illuminated waning moon, so my mind immediately goes werewolf, and then the credits roll by in Jokerman font, because that just screams take my experimental film seriously.
We then open on two men, somewhat-less-respected-now character actor Donal Logue, playing Goldman and ‘crazy eyes’ Gregory Sporleder, playing Richard. Who are having a heart felt conversation about bullying. An important and present issue, but it’s written like a Tarantino conversation, which misses the point of Tarantino dialogue, which is to deepen character by intertwining the heavy topics of life with the routine. Thereby showing that philosophy and the mundane, coexist creating this bazaar we call speech. Two hit men don’t talk about the morality of their profession. They discuss the silly nature of foreign languages, because real people will avoid heavy topics for anything else if they have the opportunity. Now the director apparently got mixed up with Tarantino and Oliver Stone, easy to do in some respects, because next they light the whole conversation in negative lighting, like some dream sequences in Stone’s Natural Born Killers. But instead of thinking about what scenes to light negatively it’s just random, because what this movie needs is the sense that just behind that screen door The Predator is watching Donal Logue cry about having his bike stolen.
The movie of course continues, and we find that these two men are going to collect payment in a poorly lit strip club. Like literally poorly lit, not seedy or hard to see. No this strip club apparently takes place after hours at an accounting firm. The men try to get their money, but the guys who owes their never-to-be-seen-or-mentioned-again-boss tricks them, like a mean bully would, by taking advantage of their stupidity, which is mean, and sends them to a farm in the middle of night to ‘collect’ the money. We are then subjected to two minutes of Donal Logue mispronouncing the name Richard, because that’s friendly banter, and Richard’s crazy eyes are supposed to react appropriately, but well they just kind of are stuck somewhere between the light-at-the-end-of-tunnel and baby-tastes-a-lemon-for-the- first-time.
Yep if you watch this movie you get to stare at that for 3 hours. It’s only an hour and a half, but those eyes stay with you. I’m sorry to have to expose you all to that, but it’s cathartic for myself. Right so, after they reach the farm Richard goes to investigate their chances of getting the money, and with his crazy eyes in tow we figure he’s got a shot in hell maybe right. Well we get to wait for a literal two minutes and watch Donal Logue swat mosquitos and pee. It was at this moment I realized this movie was trying to be realistic, and place us in the moment. It wanted us to experience what would really happy to two strung out junkies who face off with the mob. The mob returns with Richard and we get our first taste of action in a movie called Men With Guns. Except it’s at night and this is a realistic movie, so it is literally not lit. We see and hear grunting objects swearing at each other, and they roll around the mud, are beat presumably, but I literally can’t be sure, because there is no lighting. No that’s not clever or interesting, or daring, or edgy, or gritty, or transcending the genre. It’s stupid!
I get why people hate art movies and love Michael Bay, because at least in slow motion explosions I know exactly what happens, and there’s some small comfort there. The rest of the movie was a blur for me, and I don’t feel like writing with the necessary ire that this movie deserves, so instead here’s a basic outline of what happens next.
- Grown men, after being beaten in worst lit scene of all time, are forced to kiss.
- The moon is again awarded screen time, making me long for any other movie involving a moon.
- Two music montages of men crying with different music styles.
- Enter Callum Keith Rennie crazy eyes runner up.
- Tilt your camera that’s what director do.
- Continually echoing of the dialogue and scenes reminds me that I’d rather be on drugs.
- The actors try hard in the same vein that middle school soccer plays try hard.
- Buy guns from a 9 year child. Man the world is sure messed up huh.
- Shoot at fireworks, because a fence and beer cans has been done to death.
- Get revenge on mobsters by forcing them to have sex with each other at gun point.
- While showing forced rape scene intercut it with stylish dance scene to 80’s keytair, just so no tone is left balanced.
- Bullets fall literally from the ceiling and start slow motion killings.
- Ohhh change the music in slow motion killing to country folk, because we haven’t used that yet.
- Kill dog in the hallway, because we want these characters to be despicable.
- While watching realize that sometimes ugly characters aren’t redeemable, they’re just ugly.
- With their stolen cocaine, jump through a series of five music montages, moving from the account firm strip club, the most graffitied bathroom ever, outside on a typcial afternoon, & drug crazed apartment.
- Oh hey two coked out prostitutes for obligatory sex scene.
- No Donal Logue keep your clothes on!
- I said No!
- Introduce gangster who infers at least 5 times using differing euphemisms that he will kill you.
- With revenge set up, waste the next fifteen minutes with more montages including classic Rock, because how’d we miss that one, and Fransican Monk chanting, because well we’re running out of music genres.
- Dissolves can cover up the need to write dialogue. Just write the problem. Then dissolve to them disagreeing.
- Richard needs a love interest, and she should work at a lamp store. Oh and the gangster should just show up, because we almost forgot they existed.
- The gangsters run an evil A.C. Moore, oh hahaha silly gangsters making flower arrangements and swearing.
- In a chase scene flashback and forward, that’s innovative confusion.
- Oh and slow motion falling down, but don’t let Richard get caught when he falls down.
- Richard runs all the way to the sea and I’m now left asking what city is this.
- Meanwhile Goldman, Donal Logue, tries to sell his coke to a buyer…oh busted undercover cop…who’s also a junkie, and come on!
- Cop sends Goldman to take down gangsters, because the coke and his testimony won’t get the cop a warrant.
- Goldman and crazy eyes junior, remember him, no me neither, but he returns, go to the evil A.C. Moore after breaking into a house and threatening a random teenager.
- Oh no wait this teenage turned you over to the gangsters, oh okay. And he also turned Goldman over to the cop, and is now helping them rescue Richard, so wait…
- At Shadow A.C. Moore teenage books it, because he’s smart and has avoided being in this movie so far.
- Donal Logue forgets to shot the gangsters after busting through the door, but he sure gets that wall.
- Crazy eyes Jr. shoots everyone and then himself.
- Hey a Zombie. Wait seriously a zombie? Blithering sounds, brains leaking out, gray skin, and slow lumbering movement. Yeah a Zombie has just entered the scene.
- Grab Richard…and oops forgot someone, and now Richard is shot. Let’s go up two flights of stairs and then ride the elevator down.
- Maybe to avoid the zombie.
- Elevator has more gangsters, yuck.
- But no zombies, what happened to that zombie.
- Don’t shoot me…blah, blah…no one has to die…get on elevator repeat dialogue…ride it down two flights that you walked up…get off elevator…repeat dialogue…gangster shoots anyways.
- Evil Cop shows up to save the day, except Richard dies, and Donal Logue now takes the stairs.
- Outside Donal Logue rambles around a playground and falls into a kiddie pool and lays there all messianic like.
- Wait no, he’s not dead he’s a zombie?
- No he’s just being put into the ambulance, forget about the zombie thing.
- Play Gospel musical over the credits, so all music genres are covered.
- Oh and the movie needs a theme, so let’s cut the Gospel music with long strings of Donal Logue mispronouncing Richard, because now we know the theme of this movie is these guys are screw ups.
I HATE THIS MOVIE, AND I’M DONE.