once upon a time in venice


I’d like to start with a simple story.  One fine day, I started my morning by driving to a cafe for a cup of coffee.  After climbing back into my truck, I noticed the distinct odor of dog shit.  I thought to myself, “Hmm..that smells like dog shit.  I wonder what that smell could be?”  I proceeded with my day and even after an hour or so, I still had that perturbing scent dogging my nose.  Finally, I looked at the bottom of my shoes.  And there it was.  Dog shit, smeared on my sole.  All that to say that if it smells like dog shit, that’s because it is dog shit.  It shouldn’t take a person an hour to figure that out, but I’m just not bright like that, I guess.  And here I was, re-creating that situation, except that the dog shit was the new Bruce Willis movie and instead of an hour, it took me an hour and a half to figure out the smell.  So, all that to say that this movie stinks.

To illustrate how terrible, spiritless and lazy this movie is, I’m going to write a bit about the soundtrack.  The incidental music is typical filler.  It’s unobtrusive and forgettable.  What got my attention was the featured music, beginning with the track that opens the movie.  An embarrassing knock off of surf rock, the opening track is called, “California Surf and Sun.”  It’s an insipid song featuring wide vocal harmonies and a reverb-heavy guitar.  It made me think of a Jan and Dean tribute band that’s been condemned to musical lounge purgatory, probably in a smoky room in Reno.  Throughout the movie, more embarrassing knock-off songs get dropped.  One is a putrid nod to Roberta Flack’s version of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.”  Another is a shameless, generic-sounding rip off of Dick Dale’s, “Misirlou,” the unofficial anthem to Tarantino’s, Pulp Fiction.  There’s a particularly egregious case of stealing because it involves a 12 year old girl named Sophia Avocado.  She contributes a song (credited to her as the writer and performer) that is so obviously a plagiarized version of “All I Wants Is You,” by Barry Louis Polisar.  This little girl’s a musical thief.

The music can be overlooked, but not what’s actually presented on screen.  It’s an unintelligible mish-mash of stupid ideas purged from movies like Pulp Fiction and John Wick.  It’s laced with meaningless cameos from actors like David Arquette, Kal Penn, Adam Goldberg and Christopher McDonald.  Essentially, they’ll make you utter, “OK.  Who gives a shit?”  I figure that these actors owed a favor to someone that they couldn’t shake off.  Much like I suspect that this movie was made as a tax shelter for somebody’s shell company.  The directors, Mark and Robb Cullen (writers of the masterful comedy, Cop Out), are clearly lacking in artistry and talent.  Maybe they were collectors for the mob and decided to pinch their debtors to finance this hulk of crap.  I don’t know.  There’s just no good explanation as to why this movie was made.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter what this movie is about.  The Cullen brothers didn’t care, so I don’t either.  The movie is shot, directed, written and edited poorly.  I’ve already given you my two cents about the music.

There is one more thing to note.  Like some inane 1980s teen sex comedy, the idiot Cullens had one of the actors, Jessica Gomes, go nude in a throwaway scene.  If I were a 12 year old kid with no access to the Internet while living in a cave, I might have appreciated it.  Then again, I may not have, because even at that age, I would have recognized that the idiot Cullens were just overtly exploiting this actor.  It bothered me that these jackholes used the excuse of being filmmakers to use the set as their personal peepshow and forcing others to share in their giggly bro-fest.

You know, maybe comparing this movie to dog shit is really unfair to dogs.






1 Comment

  1. Man I love All I Wants Is You by Barry Louis Polisar… came across this site after hitting up Google to see if anyone else was annoyed this chick just blatantly stole an awesome song. Christ.


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