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by Noel Wood

As we all know, the movie industry makes it a habit to have two "on" seasons and two "off" seasons. the first "On" season starts around Memorial Day and winds down around Labor Day. This Summer Season generally includes the majority of the year's big blockbuster-type films. The second "On" season, much shorter than the Summer season, starts around November 1st and ends promptly at the end of the year. This is better known as the Holiday movie season, and is usually rife with big Oscar hopefuls and family fare.

But forget the "on" seasons; I find joy in the "off" seasons. These periods are more or less the dumping ground for studios, a place to drop the turds that they don't foresee making a ton of money or garnering much critical acclaim. Oh, sure, there are exceptions to the rule, but for the most part, you can expect to see the biggest stinkers of the year nestled snugly in these off-seasons. The first "off" season, which I covered previously on this site, is the late winter and early Spring months, usually beginning on January 1 and wrapping up in mid-to-late May. The second is the period we're sliding in to now, the Fall months.

I've decided to take a look at some of the incoming turkeys from this Fall movie season and show them for what they are: prime examples of the suck that is the post-summer haze. I've methodically decided to only pick only one movie from each week in September and October, for some reason other than the fact that I don't want to be tryping for the rest of my life.

Oh, and before I get into it, let's all bow our heads for Johnny Cash, John Ritter, and Harry Goz, who all passed away within the last 24 hours of me writing this.

DICKIE ROBERTS: FORMER CHILD STAR (September 5)
Well, It was about time David Spade got another big starring role, right? I mean, after all, LOST & FOUND, 8 HEADS IN A DUFFEL BAG, and JOE DIRT were all such critical successes, right? Okay, so I'll admit it, I found JOE DIRT to be marginally amusing, but only in a sense that I swear to Bob I know people that are Joe Dirt. Of course, I also for some inexplicable reason watched the series premiere of The Mullets last night, which was by far and large the worst television show I've ever seen. Not since Law and Order debuted has there been a television program this humorless. They actually used "dain bramaged" as a joke on the show. In the year 2003. In other words, it was no JOE DIRT. But anyway, back to the new David Spade movie, DICKIE ROBERTS: FORMER CHILD STAR. If I were to see this movie, it would only be for the deluge of washed-up child stars who make cameos: Willie Aames, Danny Bonaduce, Dustin Diamond, Leif Garrett, Emmanuel Lewis, Maureen McCormick, Rob Reiner, Barry Williams, and MCFTR's favorite punching bag himself, Corey Feldman. Some might argue that Reiner isn't washed up, but c'mon, ALEX AND EMMA? But other than that, this movie looks to have no redeeming qualities whatsoever. The previews are almost as funny as that episode of The Mullets last night, and that's saying something.

CABIN FEVER (September 12)
Right now, this movie is running neck-amd-neck with UNDERWORLD as the movie preview I'm most sick of seeing on television. Seriously, I'll be watching a program that lasts an hour, and this preview will not only come on in each commercial break, but two or more times during each break. And despite the fact that I can't seem to get away from it, I still have no desire to see this generic-looking thriller that looks like it should be premiering on the USA Network rather than in major motion picture theaters. Oh, and I don't care how many times you try to shove it down my throat, just because you can quote Peter Jackson saying one nice thing about your movie, it doesn't mean it's any good. Cabin Fever may be a nice little B-movie studio and all, but it doesn't look like a movie I have any interest in ever seeing. Do we really need horror flicks about flesh-eating viruses?

UNDERWORLD (September 19)
Feh. I've been so inundated with ads for this film that even if it did look remotely interesting to me, I'd boycott it on general principle. The trailer has appeared before every movie I've seen theatrically for two months, the commercial is on only slightly less often than the one for CABIN FEVER, and the pop-up ads on every website I visit are maddening. Not to mention the fact that the studio has been spamming me trying to get me to put ads up on my site for it for months, because, you know, I'm in a position to give them exposure. But beyond all that, just look at this desperate attempt to capitalize on fads. It's THE MATRIX meets BLADE, which, of course, was already done in the bastardization of QUEEN OF THE DAMNED (the one with Aaliyah), and that's coming from someone who can't stand Anne Rice. I'm so sick of the kung-fu nonsense, I hate vampire movies, and I despise techno music. Now, I hear the movie isn't as Matrixy or Bladey (or whatevery) as the trailers make it out to be, but the advertising is what creates decisions on whether or not people see movies, so anyone who shares my same bleak and cynical views is bound to skip it.

THE RUNDOWN (September 26)
Okay, first of all, I'll confess: I'll probably see this movie. If, for any reason, for the "what the fuck?" casting decisions alone. THE RUNDOWN stars WWE superstar The Rock, gross-out-comedy king Seann William Scott, and God among men Christopher Walken. The cast alone is probably enough to carry the movie to a modicum of entertainment value, but other than that, I'm sure this film will rank pretty close to a zero on the redeeming quality scale. Peter Berg directed it, first of all, and his only other credit as a feature director is VERY BAD MOVIE, er, I mean, VERY BAD THINGS. And I really have a beef with the title, which may seem trivial to you, but it's really a big deal to me. The original title was HELLDORADO, which was a pretty good catchy title that really stuck in the ol' craw. The title was changed to WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE, which is kinda wordy, but at least it had the advantage of being associated with a great Guns N' Roses song. So then they went for THE RUNDOWN, which is about the most generic title you could attach to it. I couldn't even remember the title the first couple of times I saw the trailers. So yeah, I'll probably see it, bad title and all, and I may even enjoy it, but it doesn't mean it's going to have any artistic merit whatsoever.

THE SCHOOL OF ROCK (October 3)
Okay, cue the hate mail. I know, I know, this has all the makings of something good. It stars Jack Black. It was directed by Richard Linklater. Its subject matter is rock music, something that both the star and director are passionate about. But I have a sinking feeling that the final result here will not be pretty. Okay, first off, Linklater. Yeah, he broke ground with SLACKER. But he's progressively deteriorated ever since, with examples like SUBURBI@ and THE NEWTON BOYS. Nobody I know ever saw WAKING LIFE or TAPE, so it's hard to pass judgment on them. But I really can't say I'm that sold on Linklater as a filmmaker. My other problem, and I'm sure I'll read some nasty comments from saying it, is Jack Black. Because, as funny as I think he is, as often as I listen to my Tenacious D CD, Jack Black has a terrible track record when it comes to big movie roles lately. I saw ORANGE COUNTY. I saw SHALLOW HAL. Hell, for some inexplicable reason, I even saw SAVING SILVERMAN. Jack Black is good at playing Jack Black, but until he can show me that he knows how to do something else, I'll take his work with a grain of salt. And I'll definitely see SCHOOL OF ROCK, I'm just not going in expecting a classic or anything.

KILL BILL: VOLUME 1 (October 10)
Okay, if SCHOOL OF ROCK doesn't get me hated, I'm sure this will. I can practically hear the swords sharpening now as I prepare to tell you why I think this will suck. Now, I realize that Chad worked on this movie, and I'm cool with that and proud of him for it. And I realize that the splitting of KILL BILL in to two seperate films is nothing that Tarantino himself had to do with, but rather Harvey "Fat" Weinstein's excuse to make more money. And you all gotta know that I'm one of the biggest Tarantino apologists out there. But KILL BILL, part one or part two or whatever, looks like it's more Tarantino masturbating than filmmaking. He's slipped in some Sonny Chibas and David Carradines to fill in his nostalgia quotient, as well as rehiring his previous collaborators Uma Thurman, Sam Jackson, and Michael Madsen. But my real problem here was outlined in my UNDERWORLD diatribe above: I'm sick of martial arts movies. Period. The trailer for KILL BILL from many moons ago before it was multiple movies that blew everyone else I know away just made me feel like I've been waiting six years for nothing. I'll see it, probably opening night, but Q better blow me away with (what's left of) his grand opus.

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (October 17)
Well, well, well. There's a shitload of hype for this remake of the 1974 Tobe Hooper horror classic. Considered the father of the modern horror movie, the original TCM broke tons of new ground and is loved by millions. A few years ago, there was a similar straightforward remake of Hitchcock's PSYCHO, directed by Gus Van Sant. While that was a bad idea (and colossal failure) to begin with, at least it had a competent director in the chair. The 2003 TCM is under the direction of Marcus Nispel, a first-time feature director. Why they'd hand such an ambitious project over to him is an interesting question in its own right, but the bigger question is why they decided to do it as a straightforward remake to begin with. I often accuse Hollywood of having run out of ideas, but stuff like this really makes my point for me. I will go on record and say that the trailers for this movie are very well-done, but the fact remains that I can still go to my local video store and rent the original and know I'm getting a good movie, so why would I bother paying 8 bucks to take the chance on a remake?

SCARY MOVIE 3 (October 24)
It was a tough call to decide which one of this week's movies to pick on, because both SCARY MOVIE 3 and RADIO are coming out that week. RADIO stars Cuba "Tanked since the Oscar" Gooding as a retard, so it was hard to pass it up, but you really have to be a retard to have made it this far on the SCARY MOVIE series. I've always felt that it doesn't get much sillier than doing a parody of a parody, but the Wayans Brothers managed to do it. I saw the first SCARY MOVIE, and wasn't very impressed. I skipped the second, and will undoubtedly skip the third. If the fact that it's SCARY MOVIE 3 isn't a bad enough omen, the movie's origin is such a clusterfuck that it's just bound to be a stinker. The Wayans, who created the series in the first place, are gone. In their place are the whitest men ever to walk the earth: Director/Producer David Zucker and Writer/Exec Producer Kevin Smith. And even though there's still tons of horror movies to satirize, it looks like they're stretching the series to parody STAR WARS, LORD OF THE RINGS, HARRY POTTER, and SIGNS. Oh, and expect plenty more MATRIX jokes as well. What is really scary, though, is that there's already a SCARY MOVIE 4 planned for next year. Maybe it'll be subtitled The Franchise that Wouldn't Die!

Unfortunately, there's nothing announced for October 31 that's really worth noting, but that's okay, because you should all be out celebrating All Hallow's eve that night instead of going to see crappy movies. Well, ALIEN opens that night, but they already have that at Blockbuster. Maybe I shoulda just dropped a synopsis of RADIO in here just for good measure, but I can pretty much tell you it's basically just a serious version of THE WATERBOY.

Anyway, these titles should keep us occupied with things to ridicule before the Thanksgiving and Christmas season makes us jolly and full of holiday cheer, so I hope I steered you in the right direction on what to see this fall.

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All Material Copyright 1998-2006 Movie Criticism for the Retarded.

For questions, comments, or the occasional stalking letter, send mail to Noel Wood. Please give proper credit when using any materials found within this site.


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