So the idea here reflects back on the entry in this series from 5 posts ago, where I talked about the seven movies I’d stock my apocalyptic bunker with. You can read it here. But in this case, it turns out that not only am I in the middle of some sort of global apocalypse, but also I’m in the darkest timeline.
(Incidentally, this is #41 in a series of 47 posts about movies, with topics selected by my friend, each given to me after the previous one is written. For more information, check out #1 here.)
The Darkest Timeline is a Community reference. The idea is that I sit down to watch one of my favorite films in order to idle away the hours of post-apocalyptic living, and I find out that somehow Evil-Ben has replaced my films with the ones the most designed to fill me with misery and despair. I picture that the DVD’s or digital files have all been purposely mislabeled, so it’s not until I’ve settled back and am all ready for some cinematic goodness that I realize what has happened.
I hate Evil-Ben, he’s always so nasty, and he knows me so well.
Incidentally, part of the rules of this post is that it has to be films I’ve already seen, and that also I can discount anything that I wouldn’t watch simply for general content reasons: eg. stuff with nudity, explicit sexual content, excessive violence or cursing, and in general horror movies.
Anyway, Here is the list of what Evil-Ben would stick me with, given the opportunity.
Project Almanac (2015)
Substituted for: Summer Time Machine Blues
Connections: Both about a groups of young people who find themselves traveling through time and concerned about changes to the timeline.
• Found Footage style betrays evident cheapness of production
• Movie takes a looooong time to actually get to the time travel stuff
• Time Travel plot blithely disregards logic (for no particular reason, the time travel device allows you to go back and revisit the same period over and over again, but doesn’t explain how you never bump into yourself)
• Storyline covers tired “butterfly effect” ground without offering anything new as far as plot, characterization or thrills
• Found footage movie includes scenes of people actually watching footage they have found – shots of screens where footage is playing, including footage from earlier (and later) in the movie.
Reaction: Discovering that the cheap and unsatisfying thriller Project Almanac is there instead of my favorite time travel movie ever would make me wonder whether humanity deserves to eventually reclaim the earth from the nuclear destruction that it has suffered, for fear we would continue to produce such monstrosities.
Substituted for: Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Connections: Both show two unlikely people who are forced to work together as they are pursued by relentless lawmen and criminals alike
• Tired action movie plot about two fugitives chained together make you wish you were watching a far superior film, The Defiant Ones
• Tired action movie characters. One of them is a hacker named “Dodge” who likes to make movie references.
• Boring action is devoid of heart
• Sexy girlfriend of main character shows up to dance in one scene and then get shot in the head…but don’t worry, he gets over her pretty quickly
Reaction: The laughs I’m anticipating from watching Hunt for the Wilderpeople are replaced by a depressed and vacant stare at the boring and stupid action playing out before my eyes. Eventually, I give up on life and wander outside to allow myself to be eaten by the carnivorous plants that have overrun the earth.
Alvin & the Chipmunks (2007)
Substituted for: O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Connections: Three characters embark on an epic journey and find success as singers
• Children’s movie that is made for children to watch while the parents are busy with housework, and thus caters for the lowest common denominator on every level.
• Formulaic plot and uninspired humor produce nothing of any interest whatsoever for adults
• No matter how effectively rendered CGI chipmunks are, they just make us question the value of the civilization that has produced them
• Chipmunk voices are just as annoying as we remember them
Reaction: Realizing that I’m now living in a world where I haven’t just watched Alvin & the Chipmunks once, but twice, or even over and over again, drives me out of my mind. I slowly lose all coherence, and after the alien invaders are defeated, I’m eventually found huddled in a corner singing Christmas Don’t Be Late over and over again, whilst demanding that somebody give me a hula-hoop.
All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989)
Substituted for: Singin’ in the Rain
Connections: Characters sing, occasionally against some bizarre fantasy landscapes
• Bizarre animated film is a combination of sickly-sweet kids fare and nightmare fuel imagery of hell
• Dodgy theology and deus ex machina storytelling has main character Charlie the German Shepherd who can never go back to heaven after stealing his “life clock” and escaping back to earth, but then later he can because he died sacrificially
• Heaven is full of clouds and a pink whippet angel that sings and speaks in an annoyingly high and squeaky voice
Reaction: The sight of that annoying pink dog causes my foot to reflexively go through the TV set. Instead of watching bad movies, I while away the apocalypse building of models of famous landmarks on earth out of matchsticks and then destroying them like the giant kaiju that lurk outside my bunker.
Pearl Harbor (2001)
Substituted for: The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek
Connections: Both are love stories featuring romantic confusion and soldiers who go missing
• Shameless rip-off of Titanic, which wasn’t that good of a movie in the first place.
• The real life attack on Pearl Harbor is turned into a small subplot in this film about two childhood friends who fall for the same woman
• Only good bit in the film is when Ben Affleck gets hit in the eye with cork from a wine bottle
• Plot resolves itself in an all-too convenient manner by having one of the guys die and hand off his wife and son to his friend.
Reaction: Watching this movie brings distortion to my whole view of human history, so when the new ice age recedes the world that is rebuilt is a cartoonishly shallow version of the original.
Random Hearts (1999)
Substituted for: The Apartment
Connections: Both love stories about two troubled and broken people. Marital infidelity is involved.
• Tedious and boring plot makes you think it’s going to be a police thriller, but really it’s just a romantic drama about people who discover their spouses were having an affair before they died, and then talk a lot
• In order for the movie to have a climax of some sort, someone suddenly shows up and tries to shoot Harrison Ford
• Boring movies are always bad, but somehow a boring movie with Harrison Ford feels like a more egregious injustice
Reaction: I’m sitting there, watching Random Hearts, and thinking how literally any other movie starring Harrison Ford would have been better than this one. I fall into an emotional and intellectual stupor, which leads me to accidentally open an airlock which exposes me to the ravages of the deadly plague that has ravaged mankind.
Batman & Robin (1997)
Substituted for: The Dark Knight
Connections: Both movies feature people dressed up as animals and fighting criminals, but that’s about it.
• Can’t focus….can’t focus….ice puns….terrible Bane…chipper Bruce Wayne…bouncing action stunts….aaagh….atrocious costumes and gaudy design work……nooooo
• Help me….
Reaction: Batman & Robin comes up on my screen. I try to watch. But eventually, I find myself picking up a baseball bat and turning to the door of my apocalyptic bunker. I open it up and step outside. Hordes of robotic killing machines that have risen up and turned on their maker begin to approach. I raise up my bat and yell out in a guttural cry, “Bring it, robotic killing machines!! Bring it!!!”
Runner Up: I considered Back to the Future part 2, but I’m afraid that I’d get sucked in and start liking it.