Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My Indy Diary

TO GIVE ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF MY ACUTE MENTAL POWERS, before the latest Indiana Jones movie came out, about three weeks prior, I told the wife, "I bet it's going to be really good." She, of course, laughed, given my track record. By the time the movie hit the theaters, my enthusiasm had waned, and I never mustered up the energy to go see it. A few weeks ago, it showed up on pay per view, and by this time, I had more than heard the negative reviews. But there were also so many positive reviews. So many "it's not great but it's still worth the money" reviews, that I became convinced it was, at worst, mediocre.

Oh, if only that were true.

This installment is so bad, I'm shocked any reviewers gave it a thumbs up. It's so bad, it made me nostalgic about the first sequel. It's so bad, I kept a diary of my thoughts, a list really, while I watched the film. I called it:

QUESTIONS & COMMENTS THAT OCCURRED TO ME WHILE I WATCHED INDIANA JONES & THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL

1. Oh dear, the credits are still rolling and already I'm concerned. Why are the opening two minutes about some kids from the ‘50s trying to race an Army convoy? Unless there's going to be a twist. Is there going to be a twist? There isn't? The kids just drive on while the convoy turns down a dusty road? Those kids from the ‘50s don’t really have anything to do with anything? Well, that doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence.
2. The Russians are the bad guys? Really?
3. Are you kidding me? Are we really in Area 51? Seriously?
4. Indy was kidnapped in Mexico and brought here? Why didn't we start in Mexico? With Indy searching for relics and being kidnapped by the Russians? Just a thought.
5. Who’s this British guy Indy’s palling around with? I’ll just bet he doesn’t live another five minutes of screen time.
6. So this box is so magnetic that it will draw gunpowder from a hundred yards away?
7. Uh-oh, the British guy’s a Benedict Arnold. Now he’s working for Cate Blanchett, who’s psychic or something?
8. Oh wait, the box isn’t magnetic anymore for some reason! Suddenly, it’s not drawn to all the metal in the Jeep. That makes sense, I guess, Jeeps aren’t really made from much metal.
9. Indy’s trapped in the atomic blast zone moments before the A-bomb is detonated, really?
10. They really had the TV on in the fake town in the blast zone? Are you, the filmmakers, sure that’s historically accurate?
11. So Howdy Doody is on the TV? Is Spielberg worried that I’ve forgotten this movie is set in the ‘50s? We are just like 15 minutes into the movie.
12. He’s not going to climb inside a refrigerator for safety, is he? To save himself from an atomic blast? He's not going to really do that, right?
13. He is? Oh boy.
14. Fridges used to be “lined with lead for better insulation”, like this one conveniently says inside the door? Why don’t I believe that?
15. So, the fake town is destroyed, and the Russians’ car is blown to bits, but the fridge is just flung free of the blast site, left a little blackened, but Indy is okay inside? Are you sure about that? You sure you don’t want to rewrite that?
16. Look out! The FBI are after Indy now. This will probably cause a lot of complications.
17. Wait. Indy was a government agent in between the original movies and this one? Wha?
18. More than that, he’s a decorated hero? Hmmmm, this seems like a weird choice.
19. Now Indy’s back teaching his college course? I feel like the movie started over!
20. Nope. He’s not teaching anymore. The FBI searched his office, or so we’re told, so he got fired from his job at the university. Makes perfect sense.
21. Why is The Shy Beef (my wife's nickname for Shia LaBeouf) dressed like Marlon Brando in The Wild One? I mean, like exactly like him. So, that’s a joke, I guess? Oy.
22. So, one minute Indy’s on a train that’s leaving the station, is in fact almost out of the station, and now, because The Shy Beef shouted at him, he’s magically off the train? What about his luggage?
23. Okay, now we’re talking about the Crystal Skull? Now? Thirty-five minutes into the movie? I feel like the movie started over again. Again!
24. Wow. Now the KGB is after him too? Things are sure getting complicated for Indy.
25. Did Indy really just say “You brought a knife to a gun fight”?
26. Are they really having an all-out brawl between college kids and “greasers” set to a raucous version of “Shake Rattle n’ Roll”? Oh brother.
27. There’s an anti-commie rally happening on campus? Complete with a “Better Dead Than Red” banner? Spielberg must really think I’ve forgotten this is set in the ‘50s and the Russians are the bad guys. In fact, he must think I'm retarded.
28. So, the kid in the library is unfazed by The Shy Beef, Indy and a motorcycle sliding under his table? He just shrugs it off and asks Professor Jones a question about the assignment? Is that supposed to be funny too? Nah, couldn't be.
29. So The Shy Beef is going to fly all the way to Peru with his motorcycle? Sure, that makes a lot of sense.
30. Wow, this sound stage sure looks sorta like a Peruvian grave site. At least, like a grave site built on a sound stage.
31. Um, this movie looks really cheap. Did they not have money to make this film? I'm fairly certain they had more than a million dollars to spend on this movie.
32. I wonder if there’s going to be some new twist on the ol’ “snakes, why did it have to be snakes” bit?
33. I guess there doesn’t need to be an explanation why these weird guys are attacking Indy and The Shy Beef at the grave site?
34. Nope, an explanation is unnecessary. Especially now that the weird guys have left as suddenly and as inexplicably as they arrived.
35. How come Indy forgot The Shy Beef had a knife? Everyone else in the theater remembers, since we watched him do knife tricks in close up for about a minute of screen time earlier, not to mention the “knife/gun fight” line.
36. So, Indy’s looking for alien relics now? Aliens? In an Indiana Jones movie? That can’t be right, can it?
37. Ooooh! The Crystal Skull is super magnetic! So magnetic it even attracts gold? Huh?
38.
Uh-oh, the British guy is back with the Russians. Maybe now the movie’s on track to making more sense? How come I have no confidence in that?
39. Ah, the British guy isn’t in this for the politics of it, he’s just in it for the gold. Gosh, I wonder if the his greed is going to come back to bite him in the ass?
40. The Crystal Skull is the key to Russian “Psychic warfare?” Whaaaaa?
41. The Crystal Skull is a relic from “Saucermen from Mars?” Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?
42. According to Cate Blanchett, “The skull does not speak to everyone, it seems.” Yeah. No shit.
43. Don’t worry everybody, the Skull’s not magnetic right now.
44. It’s confusing to everyone in the movie that John Hurt is making a writing gesture with his hand. Because who can figure that out? Other than anyone over the age of three. But the Russians don’t get it until Indy says, “Get me a piece of paper and a pencil!” Then, duh, it’s so obvious! Of course! Or as Cate Blanchett says, “Auto-writing, I should have seen this.” Yes, you should have.
45. It’s helpful that Cate Blanchett has a hammer & sickle and CCCP on the back of her jumpsuit (like a team uniform), otherwise I might have forgotten that she’s a bad guy.
46. The Shy Beef is Indy and Marion’s son??? Wow, that was totally un-shocking!
47. There it is. The snake joke. Indy has to grab a snake to save himself from quicksand. Hilarious!
48. Ohhhhhhhhhhh! The British guy is a double-agent. So he’s actually on Indy’s side. That’s really zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Also, whaaa?
49. Don’t worry everybody, it turns out neither the FBI nor the KGB really have anything at all to do with this movie. We're past the halfway point and they have yet to return to the narrative.
50. In case you were curious, the Crystal Skull is still not really magnetic at all. That magnetic power that could draw a bunch of buckshot from 50 yards away doesn’t have any effect on metal swords or metal cars.
51. I guess vines in the Amazon automatically carry you upwards if you hang on to them?
52. Another important lesson learned: Monkeys are your friend…provided you are The Shy Beef.
53. So you can catch up to speeding automobiles by swinging through the jungle on vines now?
54. Hey! Monkeys hate Communists!
55. Yes. It is true. Vines in the Amazon automatically carry you upwards if you grab them. That seems to make perfect sense
56. Deadly CGI ants hate Communists too!
57. But they fear the Crystal Skull! Because of the Crystal Skull’s captivating power to look like it was made from plastic for a movie with a $2000 budget.
58. It is good to know that five out of five people can survive falling over a three-hundred foot waterfall. Not just once, but three times in a row.
59. After all of the hype about reuniting Indy with Marion (Karen Allen), it’s refreshing to see that after all of these years, they two actors actually have no chemistry whatsoever.
60. Hmmm, somebody is dropping little red flashing markers the size of nine-volt batteries. I wonder if it could be the British guy, who probably isn’t a double-agent, but a double-double agent. Wow! What a cool twist! Except that it doesn’t make any sense.
61. Oh no! They dropped the Skull in the water and can’t find it. Maybe now someone will remember its magnetic properties and that will help them find it?
62. Nope. It still doesn’t appear to be magnetic. The Shy Beef found it with little fanfare. Thanks, filmmakers, for losing the Skull for a few seconds and then finding it again. That really added to the film.
63. Sure, you would never notice these flashing red markers if someone in your party was dropping them. Why, they’re hardly noticeable! Except that they are noticeable, that’s why the Commies have no trouble finding them!
64. The prop department has conveniently left torches around the ruins for Indy to find. That was nice of them. They’re waiting for him, like umbrellas in an umbrella stand.
65. Whoops! Guess what, everybody! Yep, the Skull’s magnetic again! Magnetic even to gold. But only for a hot second.
66. Hmm, the British guy is getting greedy now that they’ve found a lot of gold. I’m sure that will end well.
67. Surprise! The British guy is turning on Indy! Jeez, is that guy ever capricious with his moods! It's a good thing his character is absolutely essential to this film, otherwise these mood swings might be more annoying.
68. Uh-oh, the Crystal Skull’s not magnetic anymore.
69. Whoops! John Hurt’s not crazy anymore! And for no good reason! Thank goodness he was a raving lunatic for over an hour of screen time.
70. Don’t worry, the Crystal Skull guys are not spacemen, they’re “inter-dimensional beings.” Whatever the fuck that is.
71. Why is Indy trying to save the British guy? He just pulled a gun on him. This doesn’t make any sense.
72. Whoops! Cate Blanchett’s eyes caught on fire because of too much knowledge! Let that be a lesson to you kids: Don’t learn too much!
73. Wow, that special effect shot of the buried spaceship taking off must have cost a fortune. I only wish that I thought it was a great idea to find out that Chariots of the Gods was right, instead of thinking that’s a terrible ending to an already terrible film.
74. Wait! Buried spaceship? Like in Spielberg’s version of War of the Worlds? Which was also written by the same screenwriter, David Koepp? Now you guys are really getting lazy. And I guess you think if a terrible idea doesn’t work once, it will probably work better a second time.
75. Ah, the spacemen (who aren’t spacemen) just flew off, “Not into space. Into the space between spaces,” as a now clearly sane John Hurt tells us. Wow. Deep. Or boring. You decide!
76. I don’t understand. It seemed very important for The Shy Beef to fly his motorcycle to Peru, but then he never used it. In fact, we never really saw it again. Um….what?
77. Yay! It’s ending with a wedding ceremony! Just like a terrible romantic comedy.
78. Guess it turns out that the FBI and KGB really didn’t have anything at all to do with the movie after all. Thank goodness we spent so much time on them early on.
79. Uh-oh, Spielberg is hinting that The Shy Beef will be following in Indy's footsteps. That's a terribly sad thought.
80. So let me get this straight, by the end of the movie, I’ve seen two iconic shots of Indy that had I read a description of them, I would have thought, “That seems incongruous and ill-advised.” Those being, Indy silhouetted in front of an atomic blast and Indy silhouetted in front of a spaceship taking off. Nice work out-horribling the second Indiana Jones movie everyone. Good job.
81. When it’s all said and done, I only want to kill myself a little bit.

2 comments:

futureantiquity said...

Hilarious. Thanks for taking the time!

Jon Stokes said...

Thank you for this!! I can't believe there wasn't more public outrage over this movie. Or the latest three Star Wars movies for that matter.

Have you seen the South Park about this topic? They have George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg literally raping Indiana Jones. Pretty sweet.