20 February 2011

Movies: The Box

The Box http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0362478/
Premise: A couple receives a mysterious box with instructions: Press the button 2 things happen: Someone you don't know somewhere in the world dies. And you get $1million.

Well someone pressed a button somewhere and this movie died. I want my 2 hours back.

Donnie Darko made more sense than this movie - and it was written and directed by the same dude. Even Vanilla Sky made more sense than this movie. And, at least in Vanilla Sky, we're treated with the glorious vision of Cameron Diaz getting smothered to death which makes Vanilla Sky worth watching even once, even if you hate the movie. 

For some reason it is set in 1976, but you only know that because they tell you. I suppose it is to tie all the events together with the Viking landings on Mars. Which really isn't a necessary plot driver, except it's the Viking landings. oooh. Still worthless for the plot when you break it down. Then again, most of the rest of the movie follows that trend. My wife made a speculation about who was behind things early in the flick and I said "if that's what's going on I'm gonna be pissed." I figured she was correct, but I held out hope that she wasn't. Well, she was correct. Grrr. I hate movies that do that. And I don't mean movies that prove my wife correct, I mean movies that use that particular plot device in such a clumsy way.

I'm sure that some financier probably said "WTF? 1976? We have to pay money to rent 1976-era vehicles, set dressing, clothing? Are you high?" Then they talked him into it. 
This 1976 setting, of course, causes a problem in one scene that just bugged the shit out of me. 1976 - no cell phones yet, of course. So - some somewhat incidental dude just happens to call his wife in the middle of the day from a pay phone that's about 60 steps from his car, finds out there's an emergency at home, then races to his car and drives home. WTF? Clumsy clumsy clumsy. In 1976 NO self-respecting breadwinner is gonna call his wife out of the blue from a payphone near his car in a parking lot in the middle of the day. He'll get home from work damn well whenever he gets home and she better have a hot dinner ready for him. Period.

Oh and another early stupid scene. The chick-protagonist (Cameron Diaz) is a schoolteacher. They tell us this so that we know she's poor and there's more reason for her to want the money so then we as viewers can feel sorry for her and understand her motivations. Anyhoo - some little shit in her class asks her why she limps, what's wrong with her foot, show us, blah blah. (For the record I didn't even know she limped until the shit mentioned it - because that's how good an actress Cameron Diaz is). She caves and shows she's missing her toes, then she's all embarrassed. WTF? 1976? Come on! Get real. In 1976 a teacher woulda walked up and slapped him upside the head with a book and told him to sit down and shut up and nobody would've batted an eye. She gives in to his questions and cries inside? holy crap that's stupid. Of course this sets up for a later scene when her husband confronts the shit at a wedding reception (derp) and grabs him by the lapels and shouts at him. boo hoo. Well, see, that's not the real problem with the scene. A following scene we find out he has blood on his hands from a fight at the reception. Um - he didn't hit the kid. it wasn't much of a fight. Can you say "Bad editing, Bad post-production rewrite and cut?"

Being set in 1976 isn't ultimately what's wrong with this movie. This movie is what's wrong with it. A whole lot of stupid adds up to a bad movie.

Again - I wouldn't recommend this movie to anyone. But I'm sure there's folks who liked it and would recommend it.

(original post 23 April 2010)

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