Sunday, September 10, 2006

Crank or Crap: I Make the Call

Are they kidding me with this ?

I need to go read Faludi's Backlash again.

I fully admit to not having seen this film and never intending to see this film in the future. However, I was subjected to a trailer for Crank while watching tv last night, and I did look it up on today, so I will speak to what information I possess.

It looks like ten pounds of shit in a five-pound bag.

The entire premise reeks of hyper-(fake)masculine, sophomoric, Grand Theft Auto glorification of unmitigated violence and misogyny, all in the name of the ultimate stimulus high.

Exhibit A: Excerpt from the review:

With Crank, at least writers/directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor got the title right. Crank takes on multiple meanings, as it refers to the warp speed that fuels this adrenaline-pumped action thriller from its first frame, as if everyone involved was bouncing off the ceiling, high on crystal meth. Or it could point to doomed L.A. hit man Chev Chelios' (Jason Statham) increasingly erratic behavior. Or perhaps the title is purely descriptive of the minds that dreamt up this thing. At times, Crank is loads of fun and threatens to enter that golden territory of so-bad-it's-good, but the violence grows far too ugly and is so unrelenting that it becomes tiresome.

Chelios wakes up one morning to discover that he's been injected with the "Beijing cocktail," a poison that interferes with the adrenal gland and should shut down his heart within the hour. He knows this because his killer, Verona (Jose Pablo Cantillo), thoughtfully leaves a DVD where he describes exactly how he is a "f**king genius of sick" for having come up this fiendish way of destroying an enemy. Of course, considering that he took the coward's way out in attacking Chelios while he slept, it would have been more efficient to simply to put a couple of bullets in his brain. But Verona is a clever boy, to his ultimate peril.

Like a Dylan Thomas poem brought to large and bloody life, Chelios is not about to go gentle into that good night. If he's going down, he's taking as many of his enemies as he can with him. Advised by his physician, Doc Miles (Dwight Yoakam, who after years of presenting himself as a stud muffin on his album covers, seems to take a perverse delight in playing paunchy, balding middle-aged guys), that if he can keep the adrenalin flowing he'll be able to cheat death at least for a little while, Chelios turns to all kinds of stimulants: energy drinks, cocaine, epinephrine. And then there's defibrillation, car chases, running from the police, and demanding sex in the middle of a Chinatown plaza from his befuddled girlfriend, Eve (Amy Smart, an ironic name considering what a dumb bunny she's playing). And when Chelios isn't somehow doping himself up to stay alive, he's in the middle of ending someone else's time on the planet.

Racism: check. Asians are always killers in the movies. "Beijing cocktail" indeed.

Sexism: check. Dumb blonde sex doll "girlfriend." In the trailer I saw her only screen time involved bending over toward the camera and being spanked by our hero, Speedy McPriapism. And loving it, of course, because that's what we all truly want, a Real Man, a jumped up thrill seeker who will FORCE us to abandon our inhibitions and embrace our deep desire to blow him in public, preferably while he pops a cap in a few pedestrians.

Exhibit B: What the fuck is THIS ?

(I would post the photo here, but sometimes Blogger refuses, inexplicably, to let me upload images. Maybe when it deems them too loathsome? In this case I would have to agree.)

And now I'll sit back and wait for the inevitable comments about how I have no sense of humor and am a dried up dyke who clearly just needs a proper banging or whatever, even though I totally pulled off a Rousseau joke JUST YESTERDAY and have never been attracted to other women and even have a husband AND a kid, but none of that matters because only morose dried up bangless dykes are unable to find patriarchy as hilarious as it supposedly is. *yawn*


At 8:00 PM, Blogger Teacher lady said...

I would NEVER call a woman a dried up anything simply because she protest to women being blatantly displayed (and/or portrayed?) as nothing more than scenery. Women? You mean as people? Wow! What are you, some kinda bra-burning feminist or something? I don't know if I've yet recommended it on your blog yet, but I've been pushing Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture by Ariel Levy. If you haven't read it, you should; it's Backlash (I own that and have read it and re-read it dozens of times) for 2006.

At 8:01 PM, Blogger Teacher lady said...

I meant she PROTESTS women being blatantly displayed . . . etc., It's important to me that someone with a terminal degree in English not think I am an idiot.

At 8:18 PM, Blogger Shell said...

Heh, teacher lady. Don't worry--I can never type a comment correctly the first time. I can't even type those stupid word verification things right the first time.

And you're totally right about Levy's book. I got it from the library a few weeks ago and loved it. Well, it depressed the hell out of me, but you know what I mean.

I just want to shake some of these girls in my classes sometimes...

At 10:59 PM, Anonymous nicole said...

You're right about the overwhelming number of racial stereotypes and Hollywood cliches. Yet I admit I still enjoyed the film.

I also admit to thinking that Jason Statham's pretty cool.

At 6:09 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

You know, it is sad, but that photo didn't shock me or anything. I am so used to seeing this shit that it doesn't even register unless I am in a bad mood.

Continue your media awareness campaign. We need it more than ever.

At 10:05 PM, Blogger Tense Teacher said...

Please come shake the girls in my classes, too. We're getting ready to vote for Homecoming maids; you ought to hear the slander going on in the halls. Homecoming is terribly important in the overall picture of a girl's life, you know.

At 7:44 AM, Blogger CrankyProf said...

Oh, those bubble women?

If you package them in plastic ("Sanitized -- for your protection!"), you make sure you'll never get "damaged goods," or pick up a smelly social disease from one of those Uncleam Women.

You'll also make sure that they don't run around like the sluts they really are at heart. And hey! The plastic bubble is much more attractive than a burqua! Easier to clean, too.

Remember that control is the watchword, here.

At 5:12 PM, Blogger Shell said...

Well, tense, you know we can never get enough opportunities to be judged on our beauty.

michelle and cranky, my "favorite" aspect of that photo is how the women in the hamster balls (because we're animals, pets) don't look scared or angry--just kind of bored.

At 8:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

CRANK is AWESOME. How about that? You should see the movie. It's tongue n cheek, and actually is making fun of the LA nightlife scene. You are soooo wrong about one of the coolest movies I have seen in a long, long time.

At 9:37 PM, Blogger Shell said...

anonymous, I'm afraid I'm going to need a little more convincing. Thanks for stopping by, though!


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