Two for Tuesday

I’m unlikely to have time to post anything tomorrow, so here’s Tuesday’s post early. Don’t say I never do anything for you.

Our usual weekend routine chez Deathmetalflorist involves late night movies, regardless of whether or not we go out. If we go out, we just watch something when we get back; unless it’s one of those rare occasions where I, er, misjudge my capacity to consume alcohol.

The late-night trawl for horror movies on Netflix is a bit of a ritual, but lately it has become somewhat unrewarding. I don’t know what’s going on with Netflix, but there’s a bit of a dearth of content on there at the moment. Perhaps it’s a combination of a lack of capital, and other companies having exclusive deals, but my Netflix sub is getting harder and harder to justify to myself.

Anyway, we couldn’t find anything to watch on Friday so raided the DVD collection and came up with The Descent 2. Its been years since we watched it and probably that fact alone should have set alarm bells ringing. Hey, live and learn. We’re both big fans of the first movie so thought we’d give it a whirl.

Well, it sucks. I can’t remember disliking it this much before, but it’s really a bad film. Released in 2009, the film feels like it had no budget at all, but apparently it cost over six million bucks. The Room cost six million bucks too so it doesn’t mean much. The film starts off badly as main character Sarah, who we learn escaped the cave system via an abandoned mine shaft, is forced to return underground to accompany the world’s most incompetent rescue team. The film doesn’t explain why she has to go back, against her will, and nobody seems to have a real problem with forcing this deeply traumatized and possibly homicidal woman to go help the rescuers.

The rest of the team consists of a belligerent, fat old sheriff, his young female sidekick, and some cavers. It’s a singularly unattractive and uncharismatic crew and I found myself caring not one bit about any of them. The sheriff is particularly obnoxious and most of what goes wrong during the film is his fault. The only bright spot is the return of Juno (Natalie Mendoza), but her appearance is all-too-brief. The film ends in suitably bleak fashion but really the whole exercise just feels utterly pointless and essentially seems to have killed off the franchise. The existence of the film also kind of spoils the ending to the first film which is also a shame.

We had a bit of a surprise on Saturday night when we noticed that Anchorman 2 had been added to Netflix. Now, don’t get me wrong, we weren’t exactly excited. We’re big fans of Anchorman, but remember seeing the woeful trailer for its sequel and didn’t bother to look it up when it came out in 2013. But hey, it’s on Netflix, so we thought we’d give it a try.

I was shocked at how bad this film is, though not surprised. I read the book, Let me off at the top, which came out around the time the film was released, and I thought that was pretty good; but I’d heard nothing positive about the film from anyone I know. Turns out it is painfully unfunny and badly written. We had to stop watching after about half an hour, and for pretty much that whole time I was just sitting there trying to work out how this had been made. It feels like someone was challenged to write the entire script in an afternoon.

I don’t know, maybe they had to re-write everything at the last minute or something. It has none of the charm or humour of the original film, and instead is laced with mean and humorless ‘jokes’ that didn’t make us laugh but instead made me think the people responsible for this are just bitter old bastards. I don’t mind racial humour per se but this film is offensive and unfunny in the most uninteresting and banal way possible. It didn’t make me angry or anything, I just didn’t want to watch it.

I looked it up a bit afterwards and was briefly perplexed to see that Anchorman 2 actually has a fairly good critical standing. Then I remembered how venal and cynical most of the media is. Anchorman was one of the high points of that generation of “Frat Pack” films of the late 90s-early 00s, but I think this sequel really testifies to how artistically and culturally bankrupt that generation ultimately was. Zoolander, along with Anchorman, is probably the best of that bunch; if its sequel is as bad as this I think we will be able to conclude their legacy is moribund. They’re leaving us with a comedic landscape where Anchorman 2 is alleged to be a funny film, and where Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill are supposed to be entertaining. What a strange world we live in.

Both these films deserve no better than a 2/10 so that’s what they get.

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