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This movie is Jennjamin Button.

That is all.

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Like, an Alice in Chains music video or something.

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Two hours of meaningless, empty, vapid, BORING plotless meandering emo bullshit. I fell asleep THREE times– on purpose! There’s that part In Amadeus where Salieri is explaining that if the Emperor yawned three times during an opera it would be a one-hit wonder and fail that same night.

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Here’s what I was able to glean from the movie in between naps. Tilda Swinton looks like Powder’s sister:

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Modern vampires are nothing more than loathsome bohemian hipsters who drink artisanal blood like Fernet and make whimsical blood popsicles:

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Oh, and there’s no plot.

A.O. Scott is weirdly gentle in his two-and-a-half star review:

“What sustains “Only Lovers Left Alive” is less a story than a sensibility, an attitude of nostalgic and somewhat cranky connoisseurship. Plots are for squares, which is not to say that nothing happens.”

Of course things happen– vampires mope around wearing sunglasses, looking for blood, feeling suicidal, playing the lute, looking like Robert Smith– but in the end, who cares? You can go to Brooklyn or a Whole Foods and see this shit in real life and STILL not care!

If Nihilism is the underlying theme here, then really embrace it and just stay home.

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Warning: I spoil plots without remorse.

I have a tendency to assume that science fiction movies will be smarter/more creative/more interesting than your usual big box explosion-fest. While that’s true in some cases (District 9 and uh…District 9?), a lot of what’s marketed as sci-fi is really just action schlock set against the backdrop of CGI space.

Gravity is a prime example. It stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts who are tasked with some boring scientific mission involving the Hubble Telescope. Everything’s going fine until BLAMMO – some random ‘splosion disconnects them from their ship (and mission control) and they have to fend for themselves in the cruel darkness of space.

Fun fact: Being stranded in space is a recurring nightmare of mine, so we opted for the traditional showing and not the PTSD-inducing 3D version. Plus I’m old so I hate all that gimmicky crap.

Gravity reminded me a lot of the TV show ER — and not just because they had Clooney doing the whole ‘cavalier hero’ thing. It’s because ER episodes always used to involve a ton of consecutive crises – like, it wasn’t enough that the whole series was set in an emergency room, there had to be a fire on the floor, and a shooter taking hostages in the reception area, and a power outage… and then something would explode for no reason.

Gravity’s basically a combination of a bad late-season ER episode and one of those Ben Stiller movies where the protagonist can’t do anything right. The lost-in-space premise is legitimately scary, but they ruin it by throwing in too many climactic disasters. By the time you’ve witnessed 67 OMG LEVEL 11 emergencies where our hero makes mistake after mistake after mistake but STILL survives, the whole movie has lost all credibility. And it’s just not scary anymore.

Sci-fi thriller or Looney Tunes cartoon? There’s really no way of knowing…

For me, the most unforgivable moment happened at about the halfway mark. After Sandra Bullock narrowly escapes a cabin fire and succeeds in manually detaching a parachute from the escape module via improvised spacewalk, she finds out that the reentry capsule she needs to get to the other space station is out of gas. OUT OF GAS.

And then her parents walk in on her having sex. And mission control hears it all! Aaaaaah!

But enough about the plot (or lack thereof). Can we talk for a minute about the boy shorts? I think we need to.

Because I call bullshit.

A quick googling reveals just how unsexy ACTUAL astronaut underwear is:

Q. When astronauts go up into outer space, what do they wear under their spacesuits?
A. Astronauts wear special long underwear with small tubes sewn into the garments. Our suits hook into the Space Shuttle and water flows over our body to help keep us cool inside the suit. [cite]

(It could be worse. Those could have been “pee tubes.”)

Also, Mulder was doing the whole gratuitous tiny panty thing WAY before it was cool.

Dude.

It’s an understatement to say that Behind The Candelabra is a Lifetime Movie. It’s more than that. It’s a Lifetime Movie as produced by HBO and directed by Steven Soderbergh. It’s a Lifetime Movie that dreams of being the cinematic cousin of Boogie Nights or, at least, Gia. And it almost succeeds, owing mainly to heavy mood lighting and the generous use of silent steady-cam shots. But when that quiet breaks with a line of dialogue like this:

Liberace: I have an eye for new and refreshing talent.
Scott (bitterly): You have an eye for new and refreshing dick.

BOOM – it’s like someone blew a fart in an empty room.

Behind The Candelabra is, in the words of Mr. Max, a bizarre, inexplicable movie. Instead of treading the standard biopic territory of fame/career arc, it focuses mainly on the creepy courtship of Liberace and his employee manservant child stand-in lover paid gigolo boyfriend significant other, Scott.

Their relationship begins when Liberace hires the foster teen — played with cornfed simplicity by Matt Damon – to be his “personal secretary” and chauffeur his enormous fur performance coat (which sounds like a double entendre, but actually isn’t).

Also, to look like a lost member of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Scott moves into the big mansion with Liberace and the rest of his Entourage of Insanity and assumes the role of head-of-household boyfriend prized Pomeranian. He spends his days poolside, making use of his new collection of bedazzled speedos.

Guess what’s also part of Scott’s job description? SEX.

Good thing Scott’s easygoing because it turns out that Liberace has a yen for some pretty freaky stuff. Because it’s HBO and they can’t help themselves, we get lots of scenes involving the singer’s porn addiction, patronage of sex clubs, and penis implants. Mom, if you’re reading this feel free to stop any time.

It’s not all about sex – there’s shopping and jewelry, too (thanks, montage). Liberace even promises to eventually adopt parent-less Scott, which is wrong on too many levels to explain.

Fretting about his aging face, Liberace decides it’s time for a consult with his personal plastic surgeon (played by Rob Lowe wearing a Kato Kaelin mask).


I bet Kato would have been in this if someone had asked.

Scott tags along for moral support and Liberace decides he’d like to front the cash for a new face for him, too. And guess what it should resemble?

A YOUNG LIBERACE, OF COURSE.

I think we can all agree that surgically twinning your romantic partner is unacceptably creepy. Scott recognizes this but is unable to say no to his powerful sugar daddy, so they both go under the knife.

At this point, Mr. Max said, “I think I need a ‘making of’ featurette on the prosthetics used in the making of this film.”.

However, even new faces can’t save the relationship. Horndog Liberace gets a case of the wandering eye and gives Scott the bogus “our relationship is strong enough for us to see other people” chat. They fight a lot, mostly over jealousy and Scott’s addiction to the cocaine “energy pills” the plastic surgeon prescribed for weight loss.

During an argument, Scott voices regret over giving up his dream of being a veterinarian to become Liberace’s kept boy, to which Liberace replies,

“Want to help animals? Clean up some of this dog shit.”

I don’t know about the real Liberace, but as played by Michael Douglas he seems more than a little sociopathic. “Hiring” a boyfriend and forcing him to have plastic surgery to look like you? Taking advantage of troubled youth?

Pretty cold, bro.

Liberace eventually finds other guys to hang with and kicks Scott to the curb. Scott refuses to vacate their palatial home, threatening first to call the police and then the mafia (!) before he’s dragged out of the house by Liberace’s goons.

TIL Liberace had goons. Who knew?

After that, they lose touch, reuniting only briefly before Liberace’s death from AIDS complications.

Serious aside: This part made me think maybe it’s gross to be exploiting a real person’s life story for campy TV schlock? Just maybe?

The final scene takes place at Liberace’s funeral, which dissolves into fantasy when the casket flies away to reveal a ghost Liberace talk-singing “The Impossible Dream.”

REALLY.

I waited until I finished writing this recap/review before I did any googling because I didn’t want to be influenced by (what I assumed would be) a flood of joke reviews and hate tweets. I was stunned to learn that a lot of people think this movie is actually really good. It even won the audience award at Cannes. Huh?

Well, I’m sticking with my story. After all, I predicted that Black Swan would end up on Lifetime even after it won an Academy Award and I WAS RIGHT. It’s only a matter of time for this one.