On Sunday night, the highest awards in all of cinema will be handed out, as the 92nd annual Academy Awards take center stage. Dozens will win, more will be honored, for some ungodly reason Billie Eilish will be there, and I’m sure that given today’s news, there will be a heaping helping of tributes to Kirk Douglas.
But none of that matters here, no sir. All we care about is shit, shit, and more shit! Yes, the Oscars may be days away, but February is still part of the studio dumping ground, and that means there’s still some really, REALLY bad movies coming out.
To be fair, though, I will admit that this year feels a lot saner than previous ones. As I watched each of the trailers, I confess I found myself mostly more intrigued than annoyed. Even movies that based on the title I thought I’d hate, at least were able to pique my curiosity more often than not. Case in point, Wendy. My immediate thought was, “Oh GOD not another Peter Pan movie!” And sure enough, it is at least based in part on JM Barrie’s endlessly adapted source material. However, seeing the trailer, it looks more like a “Lord of the Flies” take on the Lost Boys with a much more modern vibe, and given that it’s made by the folks behind Beasts of the Southern Wild, there at least feels like there’s something there beyond a standard retelling of the Pan story. That said, retellings aren’t always a good idea. In fact, they’re usually terrible, as you’ll see in just a moment.
This is the February 2020 edition of “This Film is Not Yet Watchable!”
Fantasy Island – February 14
Me: Ooh, a Fantasy Island movie? Let me put on my Hervé Villechaize voice! *ahem* THE PLANE! THE PLANE!
*sees that this is somehow a standard-issue Blumhouse torture porn horror film*
Me (still in Hervé voice): THE FUCK?! THE FUCK?!
Seriously, who in the history of everloving Jesus fucking Christ thought this was a good idea? Even better, the “star” of the film is exactly the type of entitled dipshit we WANT to die, but clearly she’ll survive. Complaining about cell service, invoking the Tupac hologram as a means of making an intellectual point, having revenge at all as her fantasy? How are we supposed to root for her survival while everyone else gets eviscerated?
But back to the main point, which is why anyone would even come up with the idea of turning a lighthearted TV romp into a horror film. There’s bending genre, and then there’s just fucking around for the sake of fucking around, and no one asked for this. What’s next? A Growing Pains movie where the titular growing pains are broken bones stabbing through skin? A Gummi Bears movie where bears chew you into a gummy paste? Ooh, how about a Magnum P.I. movie where someone drinks a magnum of champagne and then pees in your eye? WHO MAKES THIS CRAP UP, AND WHO KEEPS SIGNING OFF ON IT?!?!?!?!
Oddly enough, it feels completely appropriate that the song playing over the whole thing is Ariana Grande’s bastardized half-parody of “My Favorite Things” where she only “sings” about all the riches she thinks she deserves. Take something good and pure, make it awful, profit.
Truly a perfect Valentine’s Day date movie.
The Call of the Wild – February 21
I loved this book as a kid. I love Harrison Ford. I will not see this movie.
Good god that dog looks fake as all hell. Seriously, those eyes will haunt my dreams. Is this what Disney thinks expression looks like?
Let me guess, Buck’s adventurous spirit will somehow make the gruff Ford more soft and likable? You guys realize they did the exact same thing in The Secret Life of Pets 2… and they did it with Harrison Ford AS A DOG… AND THOSE FUCKING DOGS LOOKED MORE REALISTIC THAN BUCK?!
So, was this the plan when Disney bought Fox? Did they really do this so they could make Fox put out shitty movies that look like 80s straight-to-video Disney movies to tank the studio? Cause this is some bullshit right here. I can only imagine Harrison Ford on set, talking to a laser pointer of nothing. He probably looked like Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair. This is what’s become of one of the greatest actors of his generation.
Brahms: The Boy II – February 21
A letter to all of Hollywood, from all of the movie-going audiences of America:
STOP MAKING MOVIES ABOUT KILLER DOLLS! THEY’RE STUPID, INSIPID TRASH AND THEY’VE NEVER BEEN EVEN REMOTELY ENTERTAINING, BECAUSE NO ONE EVER GETS KILLED BY A DOLL BECAUSE WE CAN EASILY DROP KICK THEM ACROSS THE BLOCK OR THROW THEM IN A FIREPLACE OR SHRED THEM IN WOODCHIPPERS YOU! IDIOTIC! FUCKHEADS!
*clears throat again*
Thank you for your attention in this matter. Sincerely, America. Fuck off.
As to the actual content of the trailer, the fucking kid’s name is Jude. I will actually give the studio a modicum of credit for not insultingly using The Beatles in the background. Also, the kid says, “It’s fun to be scared sometimes” after a cheap jump scare. He’s right, and that’s not scary. Fuck you.
I’d say Katie Holmes is better than this, but… *gestures vaguely at her entire career* How’d that gig as Tom Cruise’s arm candy work out for you? What’s your thetan level?
The Invisible Man – February 28
The only thing worse than a bad horror movie is a bad horror movie that recasts the monster as a gaslighting abusive husband. I know Elisabeth Moss has made her bones with The Handmaid‘s Tale, but is it like, written in her contract now that everything she does has to involve rapacious men?
I understand the idea of modernizing sci-fi and horror. I really do. But at some point you have to say enough is enough. The Invisible Man is one of H.G. Wells’ best works, because it properly characterizes Griffin as a fearful man destined to tragedy because of his own scientific hubris. Here, Moss’ husband, Adrian, is shown immediately to be a violent criminal in the first few moments, and then the rest is him using his invisibility as a means to convince people that Moss is not mentally competent, and thus can’t inherit the $5 million left to her in his will.
But think about that. None of this makes any sense. He makes himself invisible, so that he can stalk her and make her look crazy, and then presumably kill her for daring to walk out on him. First off, if you even have $5 million to leave in your will, you can just pay women to get your rocks off. Liam Neeson did an entire movie franchise based on the idea. Two, if you somehow do gaslight your wife (including literally turning up the gas light on a stove in case you needed to get slapped across the face with the metaphor) to the point that people think she’s crazy, all that does is forfeit the inheritance. No one has the power to commit her, no matter what manufactured bullshit the movie concocts for drama. Third, if the goal is just to kill her, then fucking kill her already. You have the power to be invisible. Just sneak in her apartment, grab knife, cut wrists and/or throat, job done. What purpose does it serve to make everyone around her think she’s insane? If she’s dead, it doesn’t matter, and if you’re invisible, you got away with it. Being dead means her mental state is null. There’s nothing to diagnose. At worst if they rule her death a suicide, like Adrian’s fake death, then maybe life insurance won’t pay out to her beneficiaries. That’s it. If the goal is to make her feel absolute terror in her final moments, I’m pretty sure just being invisible as you murder her will suffice.
But no, we have to go through this entire nonsensical exercise, where it’s clear he’ll have multiple opportunities to just dispense with his ex-wife but somehow won’t, all to basically get a revenge action movie in the third act, so that we can say “Woo, rah, women, woo! Get it girl!” Fucking shoot me.
H.G. Wells is spinning in his grave, and he’s already had to do a lot of that since the 2005 War of the Worlds movie.
Like the BASS next to the chair in one scene, how low can you go?
Join the conversation in the comments below! Do you agree with my judging books by covers? Will you still see these movies despite the warning? Are there other movies coming out this month that ought to be on this list? Let me know!