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We spent last weekend in Oneonta, New York, our go-to vacation point. In addition to unspoiled natural beauty and excellent garlic knots, Oneonta is home to the cutest little movie theater you’ve ever seen.

In the cutest little mall you’ve ever seen.

Stick a Toys ‘R Us with a bunch of cabbage patch dolls in there and it’s like returning to childhood.

So since our evening plans were wide open, we decided to hit the theater for Blade Runner 2049. Wait – you say – the sequel to that movie you hated?

Yes, but we had a good reason. It’s true, Blade Runner (classic) is a terrible rapey mess. But it could’ve been good – it had the Phillip K. Dick cred. it just needed a protagonist. And writing.

This new reboot/sequel was directed by the guy who directed Arrival (which I did like, and is certainly not rapey). So, I reasoned, maybe they fixed all the problems and created an interesting, thinky, story set in the Blade Runner world.

I was sadly mistaken.

Key points:

1. It’s not because of the director

Because, bless his heart, he tried. There’s some very lovely visuals and artsy stuff happening, but the problem is with the writing. Because….

2. Theater kids designed the villains


There’s this bizarre trend in popular movies of creating bad guys that are positively vaudevillian. Think big overdone gestures, Nicholas Cageish facial expressions, campy speeches designed to project all the way back to the cheap seats… It’s like the garish stage makeup of acting methods. I first put my finger on it with Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Before that movie disappeared from my memory like wet cotton candy, I couldn’t stop thinking about how off-tone Adam Driver’s performance was. It was like they cast a cocky theater kid who just memorized the “to be or not to be” speech.

WHETHER ‘TIS NOBLER…!

So Blade Runner has not one, but TWO broadly drawn villains. First, there’s Jared Leto as the creepy owner of the multi-gazillion-dollar replicant manufacturing company.

He’s the primary baddie, at least in the first half of the movie. Then his previously-neutral replicant assistant is ALSO revealed to be dramatically evil.

I cannot for the life of me remember that this character’s name is ‘Luv’ so I’ll just call her dominatrix terminator because that’s basically what she is.

What’s kind of interesting is how Jared Leto straight up disappears from the movie once dominatrix terminator arrives on the scene. Then we get scene after scene of dominatrix terminator kicking people with her super strength. But she’s just a robot girl (with no real motive). Where did Jared Leto go? He’s supposed to be the Mark Zuckerberg of robot slavery, and then he just like… goes to the bathroom and is never seen again? It’s remarkable how graceless this is, I can only assume it was a rewrite after the fact.

3) Apparently we think plot arcs are for squares
I suppose we can blame AI for the idea that movies can have plot arcs shaped like the path of a squirrel crossing the street. Is this the ending? No wait. Okay, false ending. Then more stuff. Fake out happy ending. Sad bleakness. Credits.
Call me old-fashioned, but I want a movie to END. Preferably in under 3 hours. Blade Runner 2049 fails on both counts. It’s butt-numbingly long and there’s no climax or even a real resolution. It’s just stuff happening in sequence. Slowly. Jeez, I have regular life for that.

4) THIS

This is in the actual movie. I couldn’t find a real picture of this, so I had to make it: it appears on Harrison Ford’s desk and it’s a framed photo of the original love interest using a picture that I swear is straight off the 80s movie poster. Cringe with me.

5) Harrison Ford


Harrison Ford is a lovely man, but there is no reason for him to be in this movie. No one demanded a check-in with a geriatric Rick Deckard. I think even fans of the original were probably hoping for a brief, studio-mandated cameo. But no, they hook old man Deckard right into the main plot by making him the (spoiler alert) FATHER of the mysterious replicant child. Making characters be secret family members of other characters is amateur screenwriting at its absolute worst. I wrote a short story in 3rd grade that involved long-lost cousins, and I knew it was crap then. Let’s leave those plot devices in childhood where they belong.

6) Also Harrison Ford


Mainly because there’s a 20 minute sequence that involves him sitting down, I think because he just wanted to sit down for a while.

7) Also Harrison Ford


Harrison Ford reads aloud some passage about ‘toasted cheese’ to Ryan Gosling and it goes over like a pie in the face joke. People in the theater looked around in confusion. Is this supposed to be funny? Weird? Is it like that scene in Moon where the clone guy starts dancing around and you think, oh okay I guess whatever this is is happening now? Baffling.

8) It’s going to be The Neverending Story 2
What Hollywood doesn’t understand (read: care at all about) is that terrible, made-years-later sequels occupy only one place on the mantle of history: The Neverending Story 2 spot. Sure, it’ll make you some cash. And, for a few years, HBO will own the rights for cheap and an entire generation of children too young to know better will think it is good. But eventually studio hype and quick bucks will fade away and all you’ll be left with is the Rotten Tomatoes ratings. And they will be bad.

Sorry Ryan Gosling! You seem like a nice young man. You’ll get through this.

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A while back. I dragged a group of friends and coworkers out to one of those retro movie nights at the local theater. They were showing Blade Runner, a celebrated sci-fi masterpiece that I’d never seen. A modern classic according to pretty much everyone.

It was gonna be great! And for about the first 5 minutes, with those wide expansive shots of a futuristic city and the retro synth score, it was. Then the plot started and I wanted to be out of there faster than a Beatles fan skips over ‘Yellow Submarine.’

I searched the Internet for ‘Blade Runner overrated’ and found no significant results. What?

I took to Twitter and was quickly rewarded. I can always count on Lena Webb:

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But Twitter isn’t enough – there needs to exist a full-length article that breaks down the badness of this absurdly overrated movie. So, like the kind souls on Stack Overflow who add helpful things to the Internet for no reason other than pure altruism, I’m going to make the world wide web a better place with this:

6 Reasons You Don’t Actually Need To See Blade Runner

1. It is not Logan’s Run.
10 minutes into Blade Runner, I was already confused. What’s this crap about replicants? Isn’t this the movie where they kill everybody before they turn 30? Wait – is it the one about memory implants?
Answer: Neither. Because both of those movies (Logan’s Run and Total Recall) are about actual things, and Blade Runner is about nothing. Okay, fine, I guess it’s about ‘replicants’ but we only know what those are from a one-paragraph title crawl. Mostly it’s about nothing.

Here’s the thing with sci-fi movies: the sci-fi piece is usually just a backdrop. It’s a way to present a dark mirror of our current world, or make a statement on how society might progress in the future. When you take away the spaceships and tricorders, that’s usually the point. When all you have are noir-esque visuals, there’s nothing meaningful or memorable about the movie.

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Even if she’s pretty!

2. It will ruin your crush on Han Solo.

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If you’re a lady of a certain age, you probably developed a fondness for Harrison Ford via the likable scoundrel Han Solo. Well get ready for Blade Runner to kill your crush dead because Harrison Ford is GROSS in this movie. But, you ask, “It’s Harrison Ford, the lovable carpenter! How is that possible?” I know. It’s hard to believe. But he’s a bad, bad dude.

Why? Well….it’s because…

3. The character was written by Michael Scott.

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Remember that episode of The Office where they made a movie from Michael Scott’s terrible screenplay, Threat Level Midnight? And they had Jim play the part of the villain? And Instead of being a normal take-over-the-world type villain, they had him talking about weird dark shit like humping a corpse? The joke is that Michael Scott was too dense to know that necrophilia is, like, way over the line even for a villain. That’s how it is with Blade Runner. You can tell that the writers were going for a rough around the edges anti-hero. So… they had him smoke cigarettes…

…and drink….

And murder unarmed women in cold blood.

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No, Michael Scott. Just no.

This leads me to my next point:

4. It has a problem with protagonists. And women.
So, given that Harrison Ford is AWFUL in this movie, who is the protagonist? Is there even one?

Some background: The basic plot is that Harrison Ford is a detective brought out of retirement to catch some on-the-run replicants. The replicants are like android slave type things that look human. Okay. So we’re watching the detective go about his gritty investigating, until he catches one of the replicants- a half naked, unarmed prostitute — and shoots her in the back AS SHE IS RUNNING AWAY.

This was the moment where I was 1000% sure the movie was going to completely shift: Ford would be revealed as the real villain and the innocent replicants would become our protagonists. A bait and switch — like how the dude in I am Legend was revealed to be the real bad guy at the end. So imagine my surprise when instead we stayed with Harrison Ford:

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Crackerjack prostitute murderer.

I can’t even begin to described how deeply fucked this movie is about women. At the top of the list of gross things is the skin-crawly combination of violence against women and naked dead body ogling. At the bottom is the personality-free “love interest” character. In the middle is the super rapey scene where Ford traps said love interest in his apartment and force-kisses her.
Seriously, guys. I know the outfits are cool. I know the cinematography is striking. And who doesn’t love 80s synthesizers? But – come now – this movie is totally the worst.

5.It is actually quite boring.
Look, I have a lot of patience for pacing. I like plenty of slow, arty shit. But this movie CRAWLS.

As evidence, the ‘enhance’ scene:

This scene is over 2 minutes long. And everyone in the audience can spot the stupid thing in the photo that he’s ‘enhancing’ in the first 30 seconds. Why does he have to say ‘enhance’ like 100 times? Is it purely to make this scene take as long as humanly  possible?

6. Underneath the glitz, it’s a bad Rutger Hauer movie.
In our post-film parking lot skull session, Mr. Max hit on the truth: Blade Runner is nothing but a dressed up Rutger Hauer movie. Hauer was in a whole bunch of garbage films throughout the 1980s, usually playing the same spooky bad guy in basically the same way. And this is no exception! He just does crazy eyes and hops around. And Daryl Hannah does gymnastics moves in a fight sequence. Does that sound like something that happens in an acclaimed sci-fi masterpiece? Or some straight to VHS trash?

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You know the answer.