For a long time I’ve been carefully watching for the end of the world. According to the Bible (the world’s most accurate and consistent book), the world will end in a fiery shit storm, ushered in by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Well, that time is here, albeit not in a form that anyone expected. In fact, all the pestilence, war, famine, and death are not coming literally, but figuratively in the world of cinema.
Horseman numero tres is none other than JAWSBUPS. Wait a second. Who the fuck is JAWSBUPS? Well, it actually isn’t a single director. It is an amalgamation of three small time, but horribly inept directors. Alone each of them is relatively harmless, but put together they combine to become the Voltron of shitty movies. JAWSBUPS breaks down to the original initials J.S., P.W.S.A., and U.B. Those initials stand for Joel Schumacher, Paul W. S. Anderson, and Uwe Boll.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “BUT BRIK THOSE GUYS HAVE MADE SUM GOOD MOVIES YOU DONT KNOW WHAT YOUR TALKIN ABOUT LOL!” You may feel like they have made some good movies, but you’d be wrong. Your memory is playing tricks on you. Let’s take a closer look at their combined efforts:
- Batman Forever (Schumacher) – Bat-Nipples.
- Batman and Robin (Schumacher) – Even more Bat-Nipples.
- Bad Company (Schumacher) – Generic black/white, old/young cop movie.
- The Number 23 (Schumacher) – Hurrr Durrr
- Mortal Kombat (Anderson) – MORTAL KOMBAT!!! Durr doo durr doo doodledoo durr durr doo doo! *dances to awesome 90’s theme music*
- Event Horizon (Anderson) – A spaceship goes to Hell and back. The twist is that Hell is actually the Republican National Convention.
- Alien vs. Predator (Anderson) – Movie based on video game based on comic book which was a spin-off of two franchises. Oh yeah, you know that shit’s gonna be good.
- All 4 Resident Evil movies (Anderson) – FOUR?! REALLY?!
- House of the Dead (Boll) – Not surprisingly, the acting in the video game was better.
- Alone in the Dark (Boll) – Car chases really enhance horror films.
- All 3 BloodRayne movies (Boll) – Again, not surprisingly, the acting in the video game was better.
- In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (Boll) – I think he was going for the award for longest movie title ever.
- Postal (Boll) – ………
Believe it or not, they have even more bad movies than that, but the above was a composite meant to exemplify their overall shittiness. Go ahead a take a second look at the list. Hopefully at this point you are beginning to understand how awful these guys can be. Now, let’s take a closer look at their directing “skills.”
Joel Schumacher started out as a seemingly legitimate director. He scored a few early hits with St. Elmo’s Fire, The Lost Boys, and Falling Down. After his movies earned enough money to get the studio’s attention, they decided to hand him the reigns of a major franchise in order to make even more money. That franchise? Batman. The studio made a twofold mistake. The first was that they wanted the series to be lighter, and told Schumacher to keep it “family friendly” so they could make more money. The second was that they allowed Schumacher to film his own vision of this “lighter” Batman series. That vision was an overly homo-eroticized Batman and Robin, complete with nipples on their suits, and plenty of close-up shots of their asses and crotches. He also cast Jim Carrey to play the Riddler, although he ended up just playing himself, as he always does. He also allowed the franchise to become a horrid piece of trash with a greater slant on selling action figures to kids than looking like anything resembling a movie. The plots made no sense, and the movies were bright and shiny and had explosions but no coherency to tie anything together. Schumacher stated he didn’t intentionally make the films “gay,” but he sure did a heck of job doing that on a subconscious level. Please note, I am 100% not homophobic, and I have no problem with gay people. In fact, I was more appalled with the casting of Jim Carrey than I was with the multitude of Bat-Nipples and ass shots. On the positive side, Schumacher has apologized for Batman and Robin.
At this point, you might be thinking this whole Batman ordeal was an isolated incident, and Schumacher only had a momentary lapse in judgement. If you thought that, you’d be wrong. Let’s take a look at some of the other cinematic turds he has dropped for us. Bad Company is a typical Hollywood buddy comedy with the usual old cop/new cop dynamic, and a dash of white person/black person stereotypes thrown in for good measure. Chris Rock portrays a CIA agent who is killed while working undercover. Conveniently, he has a long lost twin brother (is there any other kind?) who can take his place. A veteran CIA agent (Anthony Hopkins) reluctantly trains him. The movie is filled with plenty of Hopkins saying “I’m getting too old for this shit.” It also has Rock acting recklessly, because in the land of Hollywood you can’t get police/spy work done if you go by the book. And of course, it has plenty of Rock teaching Hopkins how to be cool, because in every black/white Hollywood comedy we need to reinforce racial stereotypes that all white people are stiff and boring and can only become cool with the help their naturally hip black friends.
The Number 23 was Schumacher’s attempt at making a serious suspense thriller. Those movies largely depend on strong acting talent and a densely-layered, well-constructed script. Unfortunately for Schumacher, this movie had neither. He brought back Jim Carrey to play the part of (himself) a man who is obsessed with the number 23, and feels everything is connected to it. The script tries to be clever, tries to have a number of strange connections, tries to surprise you, but in the end it simply falls flat in every regard. It isn’t suspenseful, thrilling, or even the least bit interesting.
Next on the list is Paul W. S. Anderson. Why he has two middle initials is anybody’s guess. Probably it is to help distinguish him from Paul Thomas Anderson who makes good movies like There Will Be Blood. Paul W. S. Anderson, on the other hand, strictly sticks with making pieces of shit. Mortal Kombat was a movie version of the popular video game series. Nothing says quality film-making like basing a movie on a one-on-one fighting game where you rip off heads, throw spears into chests, and transform your opponent into a baby as a finishing move. Don’t get me wrong, back in 1993, I fucking loved Mortal Kombat II. I was the king of that shit. But not for a second did I ever believe that it would make a good movie. Of course, I saw it anyway. It is a tired genre piece with lame one-on-one fights, a shoehorned plot to try to make sense of all the characters and their reasons for fighting, and of course it had cheesy acting and lazy directing. Anderson carried all of the same problems over to his next cinematic masterpiece(s), the Resident Evil series of movies. He took a video game with an extremely light plot, tried to give it a hokey, forced story, gave everyone a bunch of hackneyed lines, and featured logic-defying action sequences. Anderson’s directing style is non-existent. He sets the camera down on a tripod, starts filming, and has everyone “act” in front of it. He brings no personal flair to his movies. Hell, even Michael Bay throws in the occasional 360-degree hero shot. Anderson can’t even do that. His skill as a director is the same as a 12 year old kid filming a home movie.
Making him seem even more like a 12 year old kid is what he thinks will make an interesting scene. One example from Resident Evil is watching things from the point of view of a zombie dog. Oh yeah, good one Anderson, we were dying to see that shit. Another scene from the first Resident Evil is unfortunately burned into my memory forever: the main character, Alice, kills a pack of zombie dogs, but one is left alive. In order to kill it she performs a flip off a wall, roundhouse kicks the dog in the face, and sends it crashing through a window. I can imagine Anderson writing this piece of shit scene, huddled in front of a glowing computer monitor and hyperventilating while he mutters to himself, “Oh my god, this scene is so extreme! Nothing is more extreme than Alice doing a backflip roundhouse kick to the dog’s face! This is more extreme than the XFL and xXx put together! Let’s see anyone be more extreme than that!”
Aside from the Resident Evil shitfest that will seemingly never end, Anderson’s other movies like Event Horizon and Alien vs. Predator are also unbearably awful. For some unknown reason a lot of people enjoyed Event Horizon. Well, a lot of loud-mouthed forum dwellers and internet bloggers enjoyed it. However, if you take a look at Rotten Tomatoes you’ll see it sporting a cool 21%. So it seems like the majority of the reviewing community agree that it sucks ass. But anyway… The problem with Event Horizon is that it attempts to be frightening, but Anderson has no clue how to make something truly horrifying. He seems to think that if you have something jump out and startle the audience every 5 minutes (no exaggeration) it will be totally scary. That doesn’t work. In order to make something scary, you have to really get into the psyche of the audience. You have to spend a good deal of time setting the stage and creating an uncomfortable atmosphere with which to later unveil the scares. Watching something unsettling (like the chopped up twins scene in The Shining) is 10,000 times more “scary” than being startled by something gross every 5 minutes. This concept is completely lost on Anderson. Instead, his movie is about a spaceship that accidentally goes to Hell and back, and then he inundates the audience with non stop blood and guts and startles, and seems to think he made something worth watching. Every cliche in the book is thrown in, and absolutely no time is given to develop any of the characters. If the characters are nothing more than 2-dimensional assholes, why should we give a fuck if they get scared or killed? We don’t, and that’s why the movie was terrible.
Anderson’s next gem, Alien vs. Predator, suffers from the exact same problems. It was big, loud, dumb, had quick edits, and simple camera-on-tripod directing. The acting was wooden, the plot non-existent, and the action scenes rather boring. Just like Event Horizon, he spent zero amount of time setting up the atmosphere or letting us know anything about the characters. Instead, just like a 12 year old kid, he opted to go right for non-stop blood and guts, forgoing any chance to make an interesting movie. On a positive note, he did somehow manage to land Milla Jovovich as his wife, so he must be doing something right.
Perhaps separated at birth from Anderson is the final head of the Hydra of shit film-making, none other than Uwe Boll. Just like Anderson, the majority of Boll’s movies are video game adaptations with no time spent on characters, plots, acting, or directing. After all, why waste your time making something interesting to watch or with an intriguing story, when you can jump straight to shooting and explosions? Boll has been described as a modern day Ed Wood, the cinematic genius behind such memorable films as Plan 9 From Outer Space, Glen or Glenda, and Bride of the Monster. Personally, I think that’s an insult to Ed Wood. At least Ed Wood tried to make something good. He was genuinely dedicated to making worthwhile films (at least at first). He made a lot of mistakes that added up hilariously into a really bad movie. But I can’t fault the guy for giving it his best effort. Uwe Boll, on the other hand, has shown no such love for cinema or a desire to make something good. We have no evidence that he has tried his best and simply failed over and over again. All we have from him are cinematic turds like Alone in the Dark that make me think he couldn’t be bothered to even attempt to make a good movie. Original film screenwriter Blair Erickson put it better than I ever could:
“The original script took the Alone In the Dark premise and depicted it as if it were actually based on a true story of a private investigator in the northeastern U.S. whose missing persons cases begin to uncover a disturbing paranormal secret. It was told through the eyes of a writer following Edward Carnby and his co-worker for a novel, and depicted them as real-life blue-collar folks who never expected to find hideous beings waiting for them in the dark. We tried to stick close to the H. P. Lovecraft style and the low-tech nature of the original game, always keeping the horror in the shadows so you never saw what was coming for them.
Thankfully Dr. Boll was able to hire his loyal team of hacks to crank out something much better than our crappy story and add in all sorts of terrifying horror movie essentials like opening gateways to alternate dimensions, bimbo blonde archaeologists, sex scenes, mad scientists, slimy dog monsters, special army forces designed to battle slimy CG dog monsters, Tara Reid, Matrix slow-motion gun battles, and car chases. Oh yeah, and a ten-minute opening back story scroll read aloud to the illiterate audience, the only people able to successfully miss all the negative reviews. I mean hell, Boll knows that’s where the real scares lie.”
Oh yeah, that’s what an atmospheric psychological horror film needs, car chases. The fun doesn’t stop there. His other efforts like House of the Dead and Postal are just as bad. Boll chooses to use a lot of extremely sloppy editing, multiple quick cuts, zoom-ins over blood and gore, ridiculously bad acting, and the worst of everything to excess. I’d be surprised if the guy even used a script while filming. If you put all of the negative aspects of the 4 Horsemen together, you’d approximate Boll’s directing “talent.” Boll later tried to cash in on the Lord of the Rings success with his late entry to the genre, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale: With a Ridiculously Long Title. Somehow he manged to procure a number of decent, and at least somewhat respected actors including Jason Statham, John Rhys-Davies, Claire Forlani, Ray Liotta, and Burt Reynolds. That’s not to say any of them turned in amazing performances, but on the whole the acting in this movie is probably the best in any of his films. It’s a wonder with Boll’s track record how he managed to get so many known actors in this piece of shit. Again, it has all the same problems as his previous films. He typically operates on a shoe-string budget, and his extremely low budget props and special effects are laughable at best. Someone working with a budget like that should know their limitations and use them to their advantage, and not expect to make the next Lord of the Rings blockbuster.
Best of all, Boll takes himself way too seriously. On DVD commentaries he has called his critics “retards.” (I do the same thing, but I’m not an aspiring film-maker, so it’s OK.) Instead of learning from past critiques and attempting to improve future endeavors, he challenged his five harshest critics to a 10-round boxing match each. The guy is clearly delusional. Does he feel like if he beats up one of his critics they will suddenly change their opinion of his shitty movies? Even more amazing is that five people actually took up Boll on his offer. They all claim to have been promised some boxing training (as Boll is an amateur boxer already), so the fights wouldn’t be a complete massacre. That turned out to be a lie, and the competitors were each sent into the ring and defeated in turn. Wow, Boll, way to be a world class asshole. Apparently, one of the former hosts of G4 TV’s Attack of the Show, Seanbaby, who is an amateur Muay Thai fighter offered to fight him. Boll inquired as to his opponent’s height, weight, and fighting experience. Upon learning of them, and that he would likely lose the match, Boll declined the fight. No surprise there. Boll seems to act like a typical bully. He only fights people that he knows he can beat.
Given his track record of shitty movies, the fact that all of them have been box-office poison, and that he is a genuine asshole, it’s a wonder that he manages to get funding to make more box-office bombs. Case in point, his next movie will be Zombie Massacre, a combination of, “the games Crazy Taxi and House of the Dead, with a pinch of Blast Corps, thrown in for taste.” Looking back through his blog post, it seems that Schumacher and Anderson both had at least one redeeming quality. However, with Boll, I can find none.
Well, there you have it. JAWSBUPS is the third member of the 4 Horsemen of the Film-Making Apocalypse. Did I include three people in this blog post because I couldn’t just settle on one? Possibly, but that doesn’t change the fact that none of these guys should be making movies. Together, they form a pestilence on the world of film-making. The best advice I have for you is to stay as far away from their movies as possible.