Nothing like a lazy typo to undercut your already mediocre joke.
“And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my beloved movie’s Tomatometer score. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my internet vitirol upon thee!”
For an event movie such as The Dark Knight Rises, nothing will cause more nerd blood pressure spikes than the early negative reviews it gets, collected on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes (which then assigns each movie an ever-fluctuating “Tomatometer” score, based on the current average of “fresh” (positive) and “rotten” (negative) reviews). I still vividly remember the shit storm that went down two summers ago, when Toy Story 3 was rocking a near-mythical 100% score, only to be blindsided by two late-entry negative reviews (more negative reviews have appeared since then, however). In all fairness, one of the “reviews” was from perpetual troll Armond White, a man with a lengthy track record of praising universally panned movies while criticizing good ones, presumably to draw attention to himself. [Side note: some have played devil’s advocate, claiming that Mr. White is, in his own weird way, satirizing modern film criticism with his “contrarian” reviews; even if that’s the case, he should not be factored with the rest.] Yet instead of offering up mature and intelligent remarks, many flooded the comments section with racial slurs, and other nonsensical shit that had nothing to do with the review or movie at hand. And let’s not forget the avalanche of misspelled words (typos and otherwise), and just plain horrible grammar, which obviously takes the wind out of the scathing remark you’re trying to make by outing you as an idiot.
With the embargo for The Dark Knight Rises lifted this morning, the first handful of reviews have trickled in. As of this writing (6:30 p.m.), 31 reviews have been posted, only 2 of which have been deemed “rotten.” And while each of the positive reviews have under 50 comments (most under 10, and many none at all), the two negative reviews are approaching 400 and 900 comments, respectively. Let’s take a look at some of them (with the exception of quotation marks added, everything is posted as is):
Disclaimer: I like me some Nightwish, at least when they’re assisted by a full orchestra, as they’ve been on their past few albums. But let’s be real for a moment: they’re also cheesy as fuck. Main songwriter Tuomas Holopainen is very much of the Wagner/Andrew Lloyd Webber/Jim Steinman mold, which means if you were to cut him open, he’d likely bleed Cheez Whiz. And so while I wasn’t necessarily paying much attention to the lyrical content while listening to their newest album Imaginaerum, occasionally a particular line would jump out in such fashion as to make me nearly chuckle out loud. After consulting my trusty liner notes (a benefit of still buying physical copies, people!) here are the album’s top 10 cheesiest lines:
I’m a huge Van Halen fan. I don’t talk about them often, because let’s face it – aside from a borderline-disastrous reunion with Sammy Hagar in ’04, and a tour with Roth in ’07-’08, the band has been less active than the surviving guy from Milli Vanilli’s manager. In short, it’s been tough being a Van Halen fan these past 14 years (and I actually liked parts of Van Halen 3). I’ve already shared my thoughts on who I feel is the group’s best singer in the long run, as well as my opinion of Eddie Van Halen in the wake of shit-canning original bassist Michael Anthony in favor of his teenaged son.
But after over a decade of being jerked around, I’ll take what I can get; at this point, I’d still have been excited even if they brought Gary Cherone back. So if it means getting new music from these guys, I’ll deal with the awkward site of a 20-yr-old kid jamming with a bunch of dudes in their 50s, knowing that at least Chickenfoot is putting money in Michael Anthony’s pocket (he deserves it).
My biggest fear with a full-on Roth reunion (new album ‘n all), is that the band would regress back to the more one-dimensional, party rock vibe that they did nearly exclusively during the Roth era. I love all periods of the band, but they didn’t exactly grow that much with Roth at the helm – who always compensated for his so-so vocal range and limited lyrical abilities with his over-the-top persona and wild stage antics. I feared that, though Roth’s vocals remain in surprisingly good shape, anything “new” the band does with him would seem trite and lightweight compared to the leaps and bounds the band achieved with Hagar (though they only did four albums with him, no two sound identical). It should be noted, however, that a relatively modern, forward-thinking Van Halen with Roth did exist to some extent, in the two songs they cut for 1996’s Best Of Volume I release. (“Can’t Get This Stuff No More” was largely forgettable, but “Me Wise Magic” was a winner.) Despite Roth back at the mic, musically the songs still sounded like a natural progression from their previous album Balance.
And so after being shrouded in secrecy, Van Halen 4.0’s new album, A Different Kind of Truth, is suddenly right around the corner (Feb. 7), but so far, the two songs I’ve heard have done nothing to absolve my fears:
When Stallone announced that he was actually going through with a sixth Rocky movie, people rightfully laughed their asses off. After all, Rocky-as-an-old-man jokes had been around since the mid-80s (“I hear in the next one he fights Alzheimer’s! Har har har”) – and yet, twenty years on, it was actually happening. Critics and Rocky fans alike had every right to feel skeptical, not least of all because by 2006, Stallone’s career was in the direct-to-DVD shitter (Eye See You, anyone?) and bringing Rocky back after 16 years of hibernation just seemed like a last ditch effort for Stallone to stay relevant and on the big screen. As it turned out, 16 years was the right amount of time Stallone needed to bring his saga to the proper conclusion Rocky V just couldn’t provide.
Rocky V (sorta) had the right idea, but the wrong execution. In order to appreciate anything about it, one has to first step back and realize how thoroughly preposterous the series had gotten, no matter how entertaining it was. Rocky had become an age-defying boxing superhero, and almost a completely different person than that scrappy underdog of the first film. Rocky V tries to recapture the spirit of the original by sending Rocko back to his Philly roots, but unfortunately it happens via an idiotic plot contrivance that involves hapless brother-in-law Paulie losing the Balboa family fortune to a shady accountant. It’s a simple but hackneyed way of trying to make Rocky the underdog again, as if robbing him of his wealth will make him more likeable. The ridiculousness doesn’t stop there: Rocky & Co. return home from Russia (this one picks up immediately after Rocky IV), only Rocky’s son has inexplicably aged five years since they left him home in the last one, and is now played by Sage Stallone, Sly’s son. What, did they stay in Russia for five years? Even worse, Rocky now has mild brain damage as a result of the Drago fight, and has to immediately retire. At first this seems like an excuse to change up the plot and keep him out of the ring (and it is), but it also becomes apparent that it’s an excuse to have Rocky once again act like the lovable but loopy buffoon he was in the first one. The whole setup smacks of desperation; surely there could have been more plausible and less dramatic ways of taking the character back down a notch or two, but then again these movies have never been too concerned with plausibility.
Rocky IV is, in some ways, the polar opposite of the original Rocky. Yet behind the original, it’s arguably the second most popular (often neck-and-neck, I’d say, with Rocky III). Some might argue that it’s the most superfluous of all the Rocky sequels; instead of advancing the character like previous sequels did, this is merely another “adventure” for him – much like how most of the Bond movies are just another adventure for 007. It’s certainly the leanest of all the Rocky movies; if you strip away the opening (which, like Rocky II‘s opening, recaps the previous movie’s ending), the multiple montages, and James Brown’s performance, the movie’s like an hour long. Supporting players (Adrian, Paulie, Apollo), though present, mostly fall by the wayside, and are reduced to caricatures: Adrian the worried but supportive wife, Paulie the perpetually complaining comic relief, etc. It’s all about Rocky’s quest to (once again) overcome the odds as he faces a new opponent, and there doesn’t seem to be much need for anything else. Like I said, by this point it’s like a Bond film, or a comic book: a new villain, a new challenge. And the entertainment value is through the roof.