Saturday, December 29, 2012

This blog is about FREEDOM

Well, I gotta make a retraction. PROMETHEUS is no longer the shittiest movie I saw this year. I like plunging headlong into movies I know jack about, so when my good friend Tom suggested I do LAST OUNCE OF COURAGE, I thought “why the heck not!”

The only thing I could glean from its DVD cover:

187149

was that it was a movie about FREEDOM! Also a soldier whose corpse is going to be very hard to identify because he switched out his number thingies with the constitution and Bible verses. I hope your teeth’ll still be in one piece when they find ya, son!

The movie starts out with a long-ass quote about fighting for freedom by Ronald Reagan, THE 40TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. You gotta keep fighting for it, or it’ll disappear from one day to the next! Okay Gipper!

We meet our main guy, Bob Revere, who tells us in a VO that “he always considered [himself] a patriot.” I dunno, Bob, are you?

bobrevere

Note the cross on top of his flag. Bob doesn’t believe in half-assing things! He’s got a badass biker vest on with buttons such as 666 with a dash through it and also the name of the HELLFIGHTERS motorcycle club. At least I assume they are, he is not shown to be associated with any motorcycle gang throughout the film. Motorcycle gangs such as THE HYENAS do love him though, as they come to his pharmacy to get a guy’s gunshot wound patched up. Don’t worry though, he accidentally shot himself, the little person motorcycle gang boss informs us. The guy with the wound is also a comedically childlike fatty. They all hug Bob once he’s sewn the dude up and OH LOL the boss only gets to hug Bob up to the knee cuz he short. The movie was getting dangerously close to entertaining me at this point because lol fatties and midgets. DON’T WORRY it will show its true colors shortly.

I should actually back up and tell you that Bob isn’t just a happy-go-lucky pharmacist who patches up comedy bikers in between soulful jaunts on his Stars-n-Stripes-n-Cross bearin’ hog. No sirs, Bob is a man who bears DEEP SCARS. You see, his son died in an unspecified war against an unspecified enemy in an unspecified warehouse. Oh, that tearful goodbye as the boy got on that Greyhound bus all by himself, with only his parents, pregnant wife and a strange hobo to wave him goodbye. The filmmakers chose to artfully not show the guy’s death, but I think it was due to the fact that his platoon’s guns only shot little puffs of digital smoke. It must have been a massacre!

After the funeral, Bob’s daughter-in-law took his baby grandson to California for 14 years. At this point I noticed that Weird Long Hair Hobo was at the funeral too! His presence wasn’t acknowledged on either occasion, so either this movie had a serious dearth of extras or God was with this family in a very literal way!

14 YEARS LATER the daughter-in-law comes back for unspecified reasons, and she’s brought her son Chris who is now perhaps the biggest faggot alive! No, this doesn’t turn into a scare-em-straight subplot – the movie simply wants to portray the boy as with-it and cool and SO CALIFORNIA, but they simply manage to turn a scrawny boy into a very effete looking waif:

chrisrevere

When Chris brings his Bible to school, he gets busted for it. We just don’t wanna offend anybody, the weasely principal says. Bob the Broken Man mumbles an apology, until a wise black janitor tells him “ain’t no rules bout it! They just ‘fraida gettin’ sued!” Which leads to a frank family discussion. The meaning of Christmas is lost! It’s all about Santa and presents nowadays! Well gosh durnit, Mt. Columbus is gonna be decorated out the wazoo this year! We won’t stop until all across the country they refer to us as CHRISTMAS CITY! Oh yes btw Bob is also the mayor besides being a biker and a pharmacist.

This isn’t very much to the liking of Warren “THU HAMMUH” Hammerschmidt, a Washington FATCAT whose watchdog organization is all about “Civil Rights” and “equal opportunity” and other such liberal hogwash. The film tries to tug at one’s heartstrings several times, but it only really succeeds in showing tragedy once, in Hammerschmidt’s first scene. He is played by Fred “The Hammer” Williamson (hence the character’s nickname you see) in a shocking revelation of the state of Fred Williamson’s finances.

Williamson comes down to make Bob stop this Christmas foolishness once and for all. He doesn’t really bring any arguments as to why Christmas is evil, though. There’s some half-hearted stuff about Bob having to represent all the people, which Bob counters with Christmas being a federal holiday. There’s a showdown at town hall with a bunch of people in attendance, all 100% supporting Bob, as he politely refutes all the heartless arguments put forth by this big city politician. Hilarious: there’s a lot of footage of black people nodding as Bob makes his speech, but in wide shots of the hall, there is a supsicious lack of non-white faces. I think the filmmakers knew how it could come across if they had their Mitt Romney/Jay Leno hybrid putting this evil Christmas hater (who happens to be black) in his place. It’s a tough job, weighing whether or not you should get that one actual celebrity you can afford up against the need for stock footage from Oprah and Maury.

But ho! (ho ho) THU HAMMUH is not content to simply engage in honest debate! He will cut funding to the town’s veteran’s home and shut down the mission (aka where Botox Dottie Revere, played by NotMary Steenburgen feeds and clothes suspiciously well-kept poor people)!! No more charity for you fucking christians if you don’t quit it with that Christmas shit right the fuck now! Man, he even tears down Bob’s big ass Christmas tree in the middle of town square! At least, I think he does. A mysterious man does it who evilly treads on a downed angel ornament while the Reveres and other good christians celebrate their OG Christmas. This is never even referenced in dialogue again.

There’s a subplot where Chris and his buddies Madison and Lindsay try to sabotage the school’s secular WINTERPLAY and put on a REAL Christmas pageant. It sure helps that the school’s mincing drama teacher apparently just did a search+replace on the Nativity story and replaced all the religious shit with aliens and space paraphernalia.  The few bits of it that we see are actually not too bad. It’s a weirdly camp theremin-scored number reminiscent of Ed Wood movies and early Danny Elfman. Of course this shit needs to be STOPPED!

When Bob is IMPEACHED from his position as mayor (do you call it that when it’s a mayor?) for just being too goddamned adamant about Christmas, he can’t take it any more. He goes and drags the big ole JESUS SAVES cross to the now-closed mission and hauls that baby up on the roof where it belongs. There’s epic music and a crowd on the street and everything! Chris breaks from the crowd to go help his grampa. NO DON’T says Dottie IT’S TOO DANGEROUS!!! Ma’am, they’re really just putting up a billboard. If anything, it’s too dangerous for your husband to do it by himself. OOOoooOOOoohhhh Chris and Bob aren’t gonna make it that cross is just TOO DAMNED HEAVY (police and firemen are present but can’t help btw it’s illegal to hang a cross) Who will help our heroes??? THE COMEDY BIKERS, of course!

Once that JESUS SAVES cross is up, Mayor Bob gives an empassioned speech to his adoring constituents about how our ancestors came to these shores to escape religious oppression, and this country was founded on freedom to worship in any way you choose, even if you choose not to! If only modern laws were so understanding: Bob is dragged off to jail for his beliefs! But not before a tearful Chris can have a “…wait!” moment and hang grampa’s MEDAL OF HONOR around his neck before he gets into the squad car.

v( o_o)v v(o_o)v <= two people who live in the real world and are observing this spectacle

Oh man, now Bob can’t go see the WINTERPLAY… but don’t worry! The Weird Hobo is in the cell next to him, and he has a radio on which he can follow Chris, Madison and Lindsay’s plot to restore CHRIST to local junior high Christmas plays. They go above and beyond the call of duty in that, not only locking the fruity drama teacher in a closet (haha get it) with the help of Wise Black Janitor, they even show Chris’ Dad FINAL VIDEO MESSAGE FROM THE WAR which makes the entire gym break into tears and me into gutbusting laughter because lol there is the war warehouse again. I pretty much died when Chris literally started waving a flag and an actual armless veteran stood up to salute it.

FOR REASONS, Mayor Bob is released and is picked up by Dottie, Daughter-In-Law (NotOlivia Wilde) and Chris – Bob was so proud of Chris for what he did at the school play. He heard all about it on the radio! Huh… the play wasn’t broadcast… on the radio?

The masses of Mt. Columbus, seemingly without anything to do now that Christmas was taken from them, show up at the prison to cheer their mayor’s release. Hey, who can Bob see in the back but the Weird Hobo…???!! Weird Hobo gives him an approving smile and walks away, dissolving into pink and gold sparkles as he does so. Christmas is somehow saved!

Random Notes:

  • The Reveres get their Christmas-is-disappearing scares straight from Bill O’Reilly in a hilarious scene where they are all clutching their purses as they watch Fox News.
  • “When my son enlisted… I guess I knew what my father went through when I did…” The most tragic undercurrent of this movie is that “war” is just this fact of life that you endure, apparently. It’s the most holy and amazing thing to die in combat, which is weird for a movie that doesn’t even say “darn”. I can almost understand why the people this movie is for glorify war so much – combat (and maybe sports?) seems to be the only place where they can unleash any base emotions. It’s total STARSHIP TROOPERS stuff!
  • There’s an intentional laugh (I THINK) in there somewhere as the kids plan Operation Christmas, and a girl makes a stupid remark, which she counters with: “I onno, I don’t read the Bible.” to which Madison replies “It’s okay… it’s okay…”
  • Bob recounting a tragic war story to Dottie in a dramatic scene where a bunch of guys get to roll around with AKs in the most Midwest looking Vietnam I have ever seen.
  • Do not call Chuck Norris a badass ever again:

chuck

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