Clapping demons, seriously?

the conjuringPerhaps the meme says it all.

The thing is, I didn’t find The Conjuring as scary as friends and netizens have led me to believe.

Granted, the stage was set for horror when I watched this latest James Wan screamer on my netbook. It was a rainy Sunday night, the wind was howling outside, rattling the windows and making the house creak and groan as if in pain. Still, poof! I didn’t have trouble sleeping or going to the bathroom alone afterward.

My friend Lot pointed out that maybe I’d have a different opinion if I saw the film on a big screen complete with Dolby and all. Arguable, at least. I saw the Woman in Black on my netbook last year, on a fair-weather night, I must say, and that shit still freaked me out.

The Conjuring is not a bad movie per se. It has its moments. Wan is good at building up suspense even if he tends to overdo it sometimes. It’s just that, having spent my younger years gorging serial killer biographies, Stephen King, and sick heavy metal, very few things outside of true day-to-day evil shock me anymore.

To conclude, it’s not the movie, it’s me. And thousands of overexcited netizens who think mysterious unseen entities clapping in the dark are freaky.

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The awesome, the okay, the awful

The awesome: Bro movies aren’t really my cup of tea. I couldn’t care less if I haven’t seen a single Vin Diesel or Jason Statham film. I figure there’s only so much entertainment one can get out of exploding cars and armed macho men running around being, well, macho. But that’s the artsy fartsy freak in me talking. After seeing The Losers (2010) last week, I realized the error of my ways. Man, this movie has so much testosterone I think my body developed ovaries watching it. That part where Chris Evans blows away an office to the tune of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’”? Hollywood can’t get any more bad-ass than that, methinks. An A-Team knockoff, you say? I watched The A-Team after this to compare and thought the only thing it has over The Losers is star power. But fuck that. Truth is, I find The Losers’ simple-mindedness and wham-bam action refreshing. No lessons and messages and all that corny shit.  Just bros having fun blowing things up and shooting bad guys. Hot!

The okay: Here’s another violent whodunit thriller set in paradise. You know the type: backpackers take a road trip to a pretty but isolated place, one or two turn up dead, and then they find out the killer is not the Charles Manson-obsessed weirdo but is actually Taylor Swift. Something like that. (For a hilarious take on this, check out the 2010 splatter comedy Tucker & Dale vs Evil.) The trick for these movies to work is to keep the guessing game going for as long as needed, and then sucker punch the audience with the big reveal. In that sense, A Perfect Getaway (2009) works. But not much. Though it’s pregnant with interesting twists and turns, things took a nosedive once the big secret was revealed, and the surprise became short-lived. Still, it’s refreshing to see Milla Jovovich, as one-half of the couple on an adventure trek here, take a break from chasing post-apocalyptic zombies in those bloody Resident Evil flicks. Also Timothy Olymphant, my favorite onscreen asshole.

The awful: Just Go With It is a romcom movie with a bad com. And my heart bleeds because it stars Adam Sandler, who I like in The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates (both with Drew Barrymore, incidentally). Is it me or is he really losing his mojo? I mean, Don’t Mess With the Zohan is mildly funny, Grown Ups is execrable and beyond saving even with the help of Rob Schneider, Chris Rock and Steve Buscemi (can’t believe there’s going to be a sequel!), and this one’s a total lame-o, man. Too bad because Sandler and Jennifer Aniston seem to have a good, unforced chemistry (but then again, Jennifer can have good chemistry with a slug, she’s that cool). Sandler, with all his preoccupation with poops and boobs, is creatively bankrupt here. Having Nick Swardson as his sidekick only makes things worse. Man, that dude has the charm and humor of a dead frog. The only surprising thing here is Nicole Kidman. Why she allowed herself to be dragged into this mess is anybody’s guess.

Perversely cute

After watching Ted, a movie about a talking, pot-smoking, whore-humping teddy bear named Ted (duh), Charmaine and I became instant fans. She now wants a Ted teddy bear (perhaps a merchandise from the movie), while I go a step further — I want Ted himself! Sorta like Giovanni Ribisi’s character in the film. Will stop at nothing to take possession of the adorable little fucker.

Anyway, Ted is from the same demented genius (Seth MacFarlane) that gave the world Family Guy and American Dad, so expect the same twisted, raunchy, adults-only humor. It has a happy, feel-good ending… but it’s the bawdy parts (and Mila Kunis!) that bring this baby to the finish line.

Rainn on my parade

Because it’s downtime at work and I feel like writing about serious, scholarly stuff. Like Hollywood comedians.

I have a beef with Rainn Wilson. I don’t find him funny at all. I think he’s stealing roles from Jack Black, who’s never unfunny in my book. Either that, or Rainn is just picking up roles Jack had rejected, although Jack doesn’t look the type to turn down roles unless perhaps extremely necessary. I once saw him in a children’s show called Yo Gabba Gabba, and despite the fact that he was garbed in a silly orange suit there, dancing and singing and bouncing around like a human beach ball, he was actually giving his all, like his whole career depended on it.

The first time I made that impression against Rainn Wilson was after watching the 2008 movie The Rocker. In that film (which also stars a younger looking and then-virtually unknown Emma Stone), Rainn plays a bitter ex-rocker who quit the music business after being booted out of the band he co-founded. If that role sounds familiar, it’s because Jack Black played it in School of Rock five years prior. In fact, as I was watching The Rocker, part of me was convinced Rainn was imitating Jack, only not doing a very good job of it. But I could be wrong. Maybe he’s just naturally lame.

Tale of two onscreen rockers: Rainn Wilson (L) in ‘The Rocker’ ends up a poor duplicate of Jack Black’s character in ‘School of Rock.’

That’s not the end of it. Last night I saw Super (2010), where Rainn is a lovelorn cook who creates a superhero alter ego named Crimson Bolt to save his wife (Liv Tyler) from the clutches of a drug syndicate. When I saw him in his ratty superhero costume, I remembered Jack as a fat Mexican wrestler in Nacho Libre, and thought, Darn, this dude has done it again, playing a role that should’ve gone to Jack. Jack could’ve injected more tragic humor into that poor-ass superhero role. With Rainn, the character was just… tragic. And so is the movie. Super convinced me to skip the next Rainn Wilson film that may come my way.