Sunday, December 28, 2008


Holiday Movie Category: A Lump of Coal from a Comic Book Guy


Curly clones, Ham L. Jackson, Scarlett Juggs-hansson, Miss Isringhausen, shorts-filling Mendes goodness, Sin City table scraps, a screenplay by a 12-year-old chronic masturbator, and more dolled-up poontang than a Brazilian whorehouse.

More details here.


Denny Colt (Gabriel Macht) is a Central City cop who's murdered by evil geneticist/mobster/over-actor The Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson) whose corpse is injected with a drug that regenerates dead tissue. Colt returns from the dead as The Spirit, a mysterious and invincible figure who helps the cops clean up the city from crime gone haywire. While he's at war with this criminal mastermind who seems to possess the same recuperative powers as he does, a woman from his past reenters his life, Sand Saref (Eva Mendes). She was Colt's childhood sweetheart who turned into a notorious jewel thief with black widow tendencies. She's back in town to trade a valuable vase containing the blood of Hercules or some such shit in exchange for the mythical golden fleece of Jason flame that's in Octopuses' possession. Octopus believes that the blood of Hercules will not only make him invincible, but immortal. So The Spirit gets his ass kicked by Octopus' wacky-named clones (Louis Lombardi) and is thwarted left and right by his busty assistant Silken Floss (Scarlett Johannson), and is bitched out by his irritable police Capt. Dolan (Dan Lauria), and his lovesick doctor daughter Ellen (Sarah Paulson). And somewhere between the time I fell asleep and I went to the can, the movie found a third act and, um, ended.

Frank Miller was my pusher. And I blame him for my near financial ruin. I was a casual comic book reader as kid, occasionally picking through random issues of Godzilla or fumetti-style El Santo Mexican paperbacks. But the whole comic book thing never caught on with me, that is until 1985. That's when I picked up Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. From that moment on I was amazed, mesmerized, and hooked. Miller's bleak genre-transforming epic was my gateway drug and for twenty-three years I've spent more on comics than on sweatsocks, bottled water, and donuts combined. He kept me coming back for more with his Batman: Year One, Elektra Assassin, and Daredevil: Born Again, all brilliant books. But then something happened to him, I'm guessing sometime in the mid-90s. He got pissed. He started writing angry stories like the messy and gory 300 and the grisly but satirical Hard Boiled. He topped himself during this phase of his career with the Sin City books, a collection of ultra-violent film noir stories that led to the 2004 film of the same name. He wrote the script and co-directed the movie with Robert Rodriguez and the movie's success landed him less comic book gigs and a burgeoning film making career. But he's still pissed.

And this pissy attitude rubbed off on me as I exited the theater after watching Miller's The Spirit, a stab at updating a relatively obscure, seventy-year-old comic character with state of the art movie magic, profanity, boobies, and a shitty script. Seriously, every actor is trying their damnedest to do something with what little is here, but the dopey, ponderous, childish script is leading them nowhere. In all honestly, I was really looking forward to what Miller could with The Spirit despite the Gigli-esque buzz surrounding this thing like a yak's turd. What should have been a brainless breezy ride turns out to be nothing but a boring, tedious debacle. The little action in the film is broken up by long stretches of hideously long-winded and deadening dialog and exposition. The visual aspect is fine, but it's not anymore innovative than the Sin City look extended to one 110-minute story. The movie's only saving grace is exploiting the curvy figure and pant-tightening qualities of Miss Mendes, but that's it. There's no suspense, no intrigue, and certainly nothing of interest in this disappointing clunker.

My pusher needs to get back to the drawing board, scribe some funny books and get me a fix.

NOTE: OK, so this isn't technically an X-mas movie. But there's lots of snow, the seasonal color red is dabbed on-screen here and there, and I saw this movie on X-mas day. So there.

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