Signs (That M. Night Shyamalan is a Hack Filmmaker)

Signs (2002) — written, directed, produced — by M. Night Shyamalan

Dumb movie cover, too.

Signs is not a steaming pile of dog shit. It’s a pile of dog shit that has been frozen over in a cold Philadelphia winter, pissed on by a rival dog, and slowly eroded by hungry flies. It’s really incredible that Shyamalan could spew this 106-minute-long piece of shit out after he wrote and directed The Sixth Sense. It really blows your mind, doesn’t it? Should I start with the unfair casting of Joaquin Phoenix, the tawdry, predictable aliens, or the sickening espousal of blind faith and coincidences/miracles?

(1)   Little did Joaquin know in 2002 that only two years later he would star in an even bigger vortex of shit by M. Night Shyamalan: The Village (otherwise known as: the movie that was so egregiously bad it actually made my nachos taste like suck).  Joaquin in Signs is the obligatory failure-brother: a sports star that couldn’t make it big. He set five home run records in the minor leagues and hit a 507-foot home run. Likely story, M. Night. Maybe you don’t know that Vladimir Guerrero, or, as I like to call him, Predator With A 34-Inch Stick of Wood, hit a baseball 501 feet in the 2008 home run derby. To have your backcountry yokel subordinate-brother-stereotype hit a baseball 507 is, frankly, a statement in the realm of denying the theory of gravity. Which I encourage you to do, prove, and apply to yourself. The planet earth will cheer in unison as your cameo-happy face belies terror, your vocal chords struggling fruitlessly against the vacuum of space, your body drifting outwards into the void.

We live in a universe in which it is a fact that no human being can hit a baseball farther than Vladimir Guerrero. This simple error of semantics by Shyamalan removes any believability from a movie that rests entirely on the premise that it could theoretically happen to invoke terror.  But, then again, I already had to suspend my disbelief to unbelievable levels as soon as I read on the movie’s Netflix sleeve that Mel Gibson is in it. I would later read that Shyamalan saw his performance in action movies and thought his emotion should be harnessed in something more significant–so he had his emotion harnessed to grieve for a wife who was severed in half, yet still alive, pinned to a tree by a pickup truck. As if this were not farcical enough, she was just “taking a walk.” Who the fuck walks in the dark? Idiots, that’s who.  And Mel Gibson received $25 million for his contrived role, compared to Joaquin’s paltry $1 million. Fuckin’ a.

(2)  Let’s move on to the aliens. Or should I call them “tall humans with skin that can change colors.” O0o0o0o0oh! My reaction to the sudden scene when Mel Gibson looks out the window and sees a vaguely humanoid form standing on his barn was drastic, that’s for sure. I didn’t jump out of my chair or yell, though; I projectile vomited all over my friend’s copy of The Village. Which actually worked out well, because I was trying to figure out a way to get rid of that disservice to directing without offending my friend (He doesn’t want it back now that I threw up fried catfish and romaine lettuce on it). I projectile vomited because your imagination is so weak, M. Weak like your casting choices (Rory Culkin as Gibson’s son kept reminding me of Home Alone because he looks exactly like his brother), your plot development, your… fuck it. The entire impetus behind the alien invasion was just so ridiculous, I couldn’t help sending you an email referring to War of the Worlds. In that movie, the aliens harvest human beings to eat them–Okay, understandable. In Signs, the aliens kill humans with poison gas and then…harvest them for what? You don’t just harvest something. The word harvest connotates a later use, which you, in your infinite wisdom, failed to provide. The ambiguity might have been frightening if you hadn’t already taken my suspension of disbelief and sodomized it with a splintered 2×4. And you copied H.G. Wells again, with the “primitive weapon” solution to the invasion…but you used water. We’ll return to this dumb concept in the next paragraph.

(3)  You are just so fucking sure that coincidences are “meant to be,” aren’t you, M? The fact that the kid who is poisoned with gas by the aliens doesn’t die because his asthma closed his lungs, the wife utters last words “Swing Away” to the brother who just so happens to be standing next to a baseball bat when the alien takes the kid, the daughter has a total OCD problem with her water, which, obviously, kills the aliens, is not a coincidence, no matter how hard you try. It’s just statistically improbable. Nothing happens “for a reason,” you simplistic, lazy fuck. And by the way, stop saying “for a reason,” to everyone who says it. You’re confusing “reason” with “design,” which are two completely different concepts. “A reason” would be the cause that affects a situation; a “design” implies that the situation has been deliberately orchestrated in such a way. And then you go from this to justifying belief in not only a deity, which I could stomach, but a deity that actually gives a fuck if you whine to it and places everyone in odd coincidences for its own amusement. If God loves coincidences so much, why doesn’t he entertain himself with Scrabble or something—or better yet, orchestrate the falling of an immensely heavy object on M. Night Shyamalan? By the way, who says that God (in the unlikely event of its existence) would fight for mankind and not the aliens? That’s a fuckin’ dubious claim, to say the least, and arrogance of extreme proportions at worst.

(4) As I watched Signs, I had the eerie feeling that it felt like a Hitchcock movie–except shitty. Turns out, M. Night Shyamalan wasn’t going to put a score to this movie, but was inspired by Psycho to do so. I could tell the first time the music blared out during the fucking opening credits. Only difference is, M. Night Shyamalan doesn’t know how to appropriately use a score. To make matters worse, he’s obviously infatuated with cameos of himself, like Hitchcock. The only difference is, Hitchcock knew how to make cameos as easter eggs, while M. Night Shyamalan actually projects himself into cameos of characters that are important to the plot, concomitantly shitting on the same plot with his 8th grade acting skills.

Let me save you some time: Wildly unoriginal aliens invade, stereotypical characters act predictably, M. Night Shyamalan convolutes logic to bring Signs to an unbelievably ridiculous conclusion. Two “I BET U THA ALIENSS LOOK JUST LIK HUMANS LOL”-designed alien thumbs down.

(Edit: Before anyone says anything, I loved The Sixth Sense.)


CNN: Can’t (Fucking Comprehend) Non-retarded Notions

In a distinctly out-of-character move, I turned on the television tonight while I was eating, only to see a breathtaking display of incompetence and stupidity by Wolf Blitzer. Let me preface my thought with the disclosure that while I was eating lunch today, I stumbled upon CSPAN caught in a rare moment of excitement: Rep. Patrick Kennedy screaming and pointing in a tirade against the media’s coverage of the war and of Congress. Kennedy was expressing frustration at the fact that political news had been covering Eric Massa’s labyrinth of inanity for nearly two days; Kennedy decried the fact that the war in Afghanistan receives almost no coverage nowadays.

Later, at dinner, Wolf Blitzer brought up the video to two “political analysts” who Blitzer had been asking to give advice to President Obama. Blitzer played the video (embedded in page) , in which Kennedy steamed,

If anyone wants to know where the cynicism is, there’s two press people in this gallery! We’re talking about Eric Massa 24/7 on the TV. We’re talking about war and peace — $3 billion, 1,000 lives — and no press, no press. It’s despicable, the national press corps right now.

The responses of the two guests were tepid and uninspired, as if they were hungry and wanted to go home and play in their cribs. Then, immediately after the video showing this forceful tirade against the failure of the press, Blitzer turns to his side: “Next, we have actress Reese Witherspoon on to talk about women in the world,” or something—-I threw the channel-changer at the TV as soon as I saw Reese Witherspoon. Really, Wolf? You just heard Patrick Kennedy screaming about the press covering petty, puerile shit like the Eric Massa debacle, and then you immediately cut to Reese Witherspoon, a CELEBRITY who doesn’t know DICK about, well, ANYTHING? I don’t even have anything to say. So I drew a picture.

CAREFUL! Don't let your cursor get to close to Wolf's face. You may get stupid.

Dear Wolf Blitzer,

Fuck you.

Sincerely, all thinking human beings

On Weedbeating

Dearest Jonathan Thomas Bonfiglio,

How naive of you to voice such opinions on the beating of weeds (weed whacking, for those unfamiliar with landscaping vernacular), the esoteric discipline underlying all believed “basic tenets” of the American Dream. When you said these things to me, blasphemous as they were, I did not turn my back on you–nay, I held my tongue in order to better present to you the heavenly visage of weedbeating. Shall I start with your obvious lack of weedbeating experience Your ungrateful opinion of a long day spent whacking plants? Or your hasty stereotyping of a concept so existential, you cannot wrap your thick neck around it, let alone that vacuous head of yours. And, for your own sake, I will not delve into your nascent view of protective eyeglasses, so that none of our contemporaries, save me, will ever have to look upon that hideous eyewear more befitting for an insectoid version of Frankenstein. Continue reading

Size Doesn’t Matter

Growing up, I figured I would probably get to 5’8 or so. Respectable size. Choice of small or medium shirt, depending on the tone I wanted to give off. Small: I’m tough/Medium: I’m tough, yet casual. Unfortunately for me, I’m done at 5’4. I don’t even hit the 5’4 mark on most rulers. It’s really my dad’s fault–he should’ve swallowed his pride and married a woman of equal/greater height. With my mom being 5’1 (and shrinking daily as she ages), I was invariably doomed from the start.

But really, being short isn’t bad at all. There’s just one thing I’ve yet to come to terms with: t-shirt sizes. You’ve surely noticed that XXL and above will run you an extra $2 when buying a run-of-the-mill t-shirt. But why the fuck should I pay the same as some fat motherfucker who needs a large? There is certainly a discrepancy in material used, perhaps as much as 45%. The whole world’s against me, and there’s nothing to do but give the deadbeat cashier tramp a scornful look as I watch my Hanes ring up at $5.99, while peering over to the next counter, where a 5’8 200 pounder, diabetes and heart disease affiliate, gets his XL for the same price.

Sliding Down a Slippery Slope

Life doesn’t always have to be an uphill battle. Some people just make it that way. Take, for instance, those who elect to use the poorly laid-out and time-consuming ramp at Ralph’s ice cream in Lincroft. (Refer to image 1-A for situational layout. Ramp route is shown by red arrow, and is conducted on a 52 degree incline.)the-ramp1

Customers at Ralph’s are privy to two choices of ascending the 7 foot platform that the ice cream fortress sits upon. Most people, upon stepping down from their cars onto the gravel parking lot, will instantly realize the efficiency of the 5-step staircase that leads up to the ordering window. Others, whether unconsciously or by an errant thought process, will inexorably take the ramp. I always want to say something to these antichrist figures that ruin my faith in humanity…but I never will, mainly because I am a staunch proponent of natural selection, but also mainly because I am probably engaging in some form of tobacco and I know they’ll just judge me. But if I could jsut reach out to them once to ask them…WHAT ARE YOU DOING? SOMEBODY GET HIM OUTTA HERE. EVERY FUCKING TIME I COME TO THIS GODFORSAKEN ICE JOINT AND I’M SITTING QUIETLY AT ONE OF THE WROUGHT-IRON ROUND TABLES ENJOYING MYSELF I SEE ONE OF YOU FUCKIN IMBECILES TRY TO TAKE THE RAMP. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? DO YOU WANT TO DIE? DON’T YOU REALIZE GOD WILL PUNISH YOU FOR YOUR DISGRACEFUL ACT OF WASTING 15-20 SECONDS OF YOUR TIME? SERIOUSLY, GET OFF THE GODDAMN RAMP AND JUST GET BACK IN YOUR CAR. YOU NEED TO TAKE A GOOD HARD LOOK AT WHAT YOU’RE DOING WITH YOUR LIFE AND RE-EVALUATE YOUR PRIORITIES. YOU’RE A DANGER TO SOCIETY AND A THREAT TO OUR CHILDREN. I HOPE THE NEXT TIME YOU TAKE THE RAMP ITS PLANKS CAVE IN AND YOU FALL INTO AN ENDLESS ABYSSAL PIT OF SULPHUROUS FIRE AND TORTURE.

So get your Vanilla Swirl and get the fuck out of my town. Don’t trip on the way down, asshole. I hate you.

Should’ve Starved (Michael Rossi)

Me and a couple of my dudes are sitting in my ‘86 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme on brisk Monday night listening to the newest mixed-tape by Lil’ Wayne. Seems to be the newest trend. Which is white teenagers to be heavily involved in the rap scene. Whatever, I’m starving. My dude in the front passenger seat is rolling a bount,… Continue reading

Trials and Tribulations of the Altoids (Michael Rossi)

I was coming home from work when I came across one of my co-workers. He was slumped over on the side of the road with an altoids case in his hand. I was confident he was dead and because of the fact I didn’t like him, I walked past him. I’m about ten feet away from him when suddenly he’s right behind me asking if I wanted to do something sweet. This is where my life will completely change, forever. Main reason…: Continue reading