Did I want to be the person who hated the movie that was based on the true story of Sam Childers, a former drug-addicted criminal who turned from bad-ass "hillbilly" (his word, not mine) to African child-saving martyr? No. Was I that jerk who left the theater groaning instead of giving a standing ovation? You betcha. I want to be clear that every awful thing I'm going to say about this movie has nothing to do with Childers as a person, because I'm certainly not writing this from my self-built orphanage in Africa. I'm not really here to criticize the man's Machiavellian philosophy about whether or not extreme violence is ever justified -- not today, anyways. So when I say Childers from now on, it will be referring to the actor who portrayed him in Machine Gun Preacher, Gerard Butler, who, given the role of playing an extremely angry man with a questionable sense of right and wrong, did a fine job. The movie's content, however, made me feel compelled to write a big WARNING label for anyone interested in this film who fits into the following categories:
As an office full of Crank fans, we're psyched to see Gamer, the next project from Crank and Crank: High Voltage directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. Maybe it's because it looks like it has a lot in common with the Cranks, as far as hyperkinetic action and video game iconography go, but it may also be that the plot reminds us of some of our favorite movies of the past. In Gamer, a convict named Kable is a remote-controlled soldier in a real-life video game, and he only needs to win three more games to win his freedom. Maybe it's on purpose, maybe it's just coincidence, but here are a few of the films that we think of whenever we watch the Gamer trailer.
In a world where prisons are overcrowded, and reality shows have gone too far, and men are made slaves for our amusement, and Michael C. Hall is extremely creepy... there are these two guys named Omar and Pablo who have a show where they talk about movie trailers. That show is called "Trailers Without Pity," and this week they're talking about the trailer for Gamer, starring Gerard Butler, Kyra Sedgwick and Michael C. Hall. In it, a kid is able to remote-control convict Butler through a kill-or-be-killed real-life video game, until Butler decides that he wants out to see his family. See what Omar and Pablo think of all this below, or click here!
Don't get me wrong; I think Gerard Butler is a talented enough guy. I also think he's handsome, funny on talk shows, generally inoffensive, and I found him to be one of the least annoying things about The Ugly Truth. So it's not like I don't think he should be a movie star, because, sure, why shouldn't he? It's just that I'm worried his career path is increasingly molding him to be a lesser Jason Statham in the end, and whether he's been trying to rival the Statham or this whole thing is just a coincidence, I still don't like it.
If you thought Neveldine and Taylor's previous film outings, Crank and Crank High Voltage, were like live-action video games, Gamer takes it to the logical next step. Imagine the kinetic violence and sex of Crank combined with that Chappelle's Show sketch where Dave goes on the Internet, a nondescript mall where Ron Jeremy shows you his junk and people give you free illegal movies, and you start to get an idea of what this movie is like.
I didn't go into The Ugly Truth with very high expectations. I had watched the scene of her with the vibrating underpants a few weeks ago, which tipped me off to the fact that this might be worse than your standard rom-com. But I tried to put all my pre-judgment aside, muster up all the Katherine Heigl goodwill I had leftover from Knocked Up and that scene in 27 Dresses where she tries on all the hideous bridesmaid gowns (her in ugly dresses makes me laugh), and remind myself repeatedly that Gerard Butler is awfully attractive and can sometimes be the best thing about a not-very-good movie, like Timeline for example, before I headed to the theater.
If anybody is planning on nominating Katherine Heigl for an award for her work in this new, fairly formulaic-looking rom-com, don't. She's just going to turn it down, because if she didn't think her Grey's Anatomy work was worthy of an Emmy nomination, then she can't possibly believe this familiar-sounding drivel is worthy of an Oscar, or a Golden Globe, or even a Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Award. Or maybe she does -- we've found a set diary that seems to be hers, and in it she gushes about the cleverness of the film and the creatives behind it. Still, we don't think she'll receive any nominations for the part, unless you count the Razzie, and we don't think you can turn those down anyway. Check out her secret Ugly Truth set diary here!
We get it, Ricky Gervais -- you were very funny in The Office. But what have you done for us lately that wasn't annoying? We thought as much.