Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Tusk

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! It's The Human Centipede...but about turning the Mac kid into a Walrus...and made by the guy who was Silent Bob.






Tusk – 2 out of 5

I consider myself a casual fan of Kevin Smith.  I like him more as a person who shares my interests than him as a filmmaker and writer (or as someone who can’t take criticism very well).  I can’t watch his old films anymore because the humor just doesn’t have the staying power for me, so things like Clerks and its sequel, Dogma, Chasing Amy, and Mallrats are unwatchable now and completely unfunny.  And don’t get me started on Cop Out.  However, I still like Jersey Girl (George Carlin’s performance in that film was incredible) and Red State might be the greatest film from the man I have ever seen.  But when I heard he was making Tusk and found out what it was about, I was sold because I love really fucked up films.  I was actually really excited to see it…and then the disappointment hit.
Ah, podcasting...just as annoying as blogging.  Wait, what did I just say?!?
Wallace Bryton (who is played by Justin Long and has a name that suspiciously sounds like “walrus”) is a podcaster with his friend Teddy (Haley Joel Osment).  One day, he heads to the Great White North to visit a viral video star but learns that the star is no longer around and he’s left without a story.  He stumbles upon a mysterious and worldly man named Howard Howe (Michael Parks) and thinks he found something to talk about on his next podcast.  Granted, he totally did but he’ll never get to tell his story because Howe wants to surgically transform Wallace into a walrus.  Now it’s up to his girlfriend Ally (Genesis Rodriguez) and Teddy to locate and save him.  On the way, they find themselves teaming with a mysterious lawman named Guy Lapointe (Johnny Depp) who has been hunting Howe for some time.  Can they reach Wallace before the transformation is complete?
They don't...hashtag Fuck Yo Spoilers!

I love ridiculous films and this one, based on a story that Kevin Smith and his buddy came up with on his podcast, sounded all kinds of insane and I instantly fell in love with the concept.  Not to mention, it’s pretty damn cool that Kevin Smith had the means to make this silly idea a reality.  Not all creative types have the means, financial support, or the faculties to get anything they come up with off the ground and made—so, the fact that Tusk exists is already something cool and I can get behind…of course, just because I think it’s cool that a movie exists or appreciate its existence due to its influence on free speech, creativity, and the advancement of storytelling and filmmaking doesn’t necessarily mean I enjoy it or think it’s a good movie.  I think The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was a revolution for horror films but I still think it's a terrible movie.  I also think Pink Flamingos is a bold statement in the world of filmmaking but that doesn't mean I find any entertainment value from it.
Typical guy, polishing his walrus tusk.

Tusk starts out fantastically…for the most part.  The premise is established and built upon terrifically and it feels like it is really going somewhere amazing.  Sure, it felt like a bad mockery of The Human Centipede but I found that film both unsettling and entertaining so I thought why wouldn’t I enjoy a film that feels like a silly parody of it?  Then, to add to it, Michael Parks is giving off an absolutely unbelievable performance and he makes the character of Howard Howe simply captivating and thrilling to watch.  However, it’s not long before the film starts to slip…
However, Parks made the film a must watch, I can't emphasize that enough.

The second the film starts, it’s obvious that Justin Long will not be a sympathetic character.  He’s brash, abrasive, disrespectful, loud, and an all-around asshole.  Within the first ten minutes, I wanted his character dead and gone and that is what makes the film and its story hard to deal with.  Part of the magic with The Human Centipede was the fact you felt sorry for the hell the nutso doctor was putting the victims through.  I had no sympathy for Justin Long’s character of Wallace.  I get that he is meant to be a parody of a travelling American and was there to annoy the Canadian characters but it was so hard to feel anything for him during the horror he was going through because he was so damn unlikable.  At no point is he redeemed either and, as the film progresses, we learn that he actively cheats on his girlfriend.  So, he doesn’t get better, he only gets worse.
I like you Long but, gawd damn, I hated your character.

Secondly, the film has some truly abysmal humor.  I was hoping for a great dark comedy and it definitely has its moments that are twistedly funny but so many of the jokes in the film are hack material.  Such gags can work when you utilize the whole “it’s funny because it’s really unfunny” kinda stuff that the alt comics love to do (and I am guilty of in my stand up) but when an overwhelming majority of the jokes in the film are cheap shots at Canadians with the intention of being unfunny so the jokes become funny, it starts to make the humor in the film look lazy and weak.
I tried to laugh at this terrible joke but all that came out of my mouth was sadness.

Finally, the film drags itself out to the point the whole joke of it has run its course very early on.  While it was cool to see Johnny Depp show up and play the French Canadian version of Inspector Clouseau, his character quickly starts to wear thin as all his scenes go way too long and all the humor that was in them starts to get repetitive and boring.  In fact, the whole story starts to feel this way as it very quickly starts to drag out its thin premise and pushes the boundaries of making it into a feature length feature.  Honestly, this probably could have work better and a hell of a lot smoother if it was a short film.
I'm assuming Smith got Depp for the film with promises of acting through make-up...
that's fucking catnip to Depp.

And I won’t bother getting into how disappointing the ending was…
And I won't get into the fact that somehow Haley Joel Osment still has a baby's face
when he's all grown up.

Tusk had a lot of potential thanks to an incredibly epic performance from Michael Parks and a strange and very wacky premise.  However, the film overstayed its welcome by stretching its limited premise too far and too many of the other performances are either annoying or aren’t under control within the film’s editing.  In the end, the film actually comes off worse than the film it is clearly trying to lampoon and isn’t a very good start to Kevin Smith’s Canadian Trilogy or True North Trilogy...or whatever it is being called. 

So...so the goal with Justin Long was to make him Norm McDonald's impression of Burt Reynolds?

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