I've been banned from a lot of places. Fine dinning establishments. The mall. Wal*Mart. Certain petrified multiplexes. A few putrefied vaginas. Practically everywhere. Except two locations; one being a lesser-known commodity. First, no matter how wretchedly devious things might get. No matter how badly damaged the man's Donna Karen sweater vest is by the end of the night. No matter the cost of the wrecked window screen, or the number of limo accidents, or the super fast rate upon which we achieve both broken wrists and broken ribs…I've never been kicked out of Lee's quaint, million dollar townhouse in Aliso Viejo. We've done some damage. Last week, we covered the man in 7-11 nachos from head to toe. Yet, despite my abhorrent behavior, I'm always welcomed back. With open arms and another cold can of MGD. It's the real O.C.
A home away from home; "Oceans of Lee" knows no shame. He's my angry British mentor. My other home away from home would be the confined comforts of any given movie. A flickering, theatrical light. Fictionalized characters are my only true friends. And their cellular cage is my recital. I love and live for the home base operation, despite what I might say and spit-spray about certain tubercular thoroughfares of cinema. Sure, I've been ushered out of, and exiled, from many stand-alone theaters. But I've never been banned from one movie in particular. Never. Ever.
Maybe, in the past, I should have been. I've said some remarkably inconsiderate things about John Leguizamo. I'm surprised his REPs still let me thrash about the dying insides of his retarded outings. (Could it be; they know he's Down with the Syndrome, too? Probably.)
Movie PictureWell. It finally happened. The other day, I was banned from one singular film. That film is called Saw. A horrible title. Even Roeper agrees. (He's been stealing my shtick lately. I'm okay with that. I won't disallow my weekly sojourn to the TV set for his and Ebert's At the Movies just because he's a vocal plagiarist. I promise, Dick.)
I literally couldn't believe it. Lions Gate had commissioned a vast army of ticket retractors against me. My name was put into a system and through the phone wire. Right into the wall. If I went to the box office window, I'd be denied. An advanced screening? Forget about it. Even Gilbert (who got wrangled up in that LAPD bootlegging bust this last weekend, God bless his soul), was given a large sum of money and the promise of pristine prints (for all of Lions Gate's theatrical fare) if I was kept away from his DVD blanket. The news came as a disappointment. What else was I going to spend this five-dollar bill on? Huh?
Though, I don't blame him for taking the bribe. Did you see his copy of Cabin Fever? It was damn near unwatchable. The nighttime scenes were indistinguishable from one another (and that's more than half the movie).
Before all this "banned" business went down, I did have a chance to see Saw way back in late July. Or was it early august? I don't remember. The San Diego Comic-Con is nothing but a blur. While attending the Lions Gate panel, I was given a free pass for two. Blake Snyder and I were going to attend the midnight screening. Well, I'd forgotten to book a Hotel, and spent the entire evening looking for a place to crash. By the time I landed a soiled 6 dollar bed for the bargain price of 120 bucks, I didn't want to see anything but a bag of Taco Bell and a Sixer. So, I passed on the free tickets, which, at the time, slightly angered Snyder. (He would later agree that it was for the best. Go read his review. He hated Saw.)
I gave up my one and only chance to see the "best new horror film of the last ten years." Hype. Hype. Why would it be my one and only chance? Well, because, before I had an opportunity to see the stupid thing, I was asked to interview the director, James Wan, and the writer and co-star, Leigh Whannell. I told the asking representative for Lions Gate that I hadn't yet viewed their new wonder baby of cinematic greatness. "That's okay." they reassured me. So, I drove down to the Hotel where they were holding the junket.
I was greeted by this hot slice of cantaloupe. A tall blonde in power boots. She generously shook my hand, "B. Alan! We love you and we love your site. We're so glad you could come down and be a part of this today. You're so awesome. You're so great." The reception scared me. This was an unusually warm and comforting induction into the Lions Gate family. Or so I thought. I told her, too, that I had yet to see Saw. She didn't mind. She ushered me in, and soon I was sitting before the masters of the macabre themselves, James and Leigh. I told them that I hadn't seen their movie. They didn't seem to care, either. My questions were a little rude. I guess. Nothing too sacred. They laughed and seemed to be having a good time. You can go read the transcription right here.
I thought they liked me. I liked them. They were two nice guys. What went on in that room, between us, hasn't been doctored via movieweb in any way. I left the interview thinking everything was peachy keen. And, despite the fact that my On-Line Radio Co-Host hated their effort, I figured I'd probably like it. I usually give these types of fare a solid pass. Maybe not an A. But a B- to say the least (and that's not half bad). There was going to be one last advanced screening on the Thursday before it opened. James and Leigh had me pretty psyched to see Saw. I wanted to like it, because I liked them and their fraudulent ways so very much…
Cut to Thursday:
I give my name at the Will Call screening window. "B. Alan who?" The angry girl searches in vein for my stupid nomenclatcher. She then flips the clipboard over.
"Oh. You…I'm sorry. You can't go in."
She turned into a robot. A mean robot. Her monotone ate into my sternum like a mill worm squirming around a bucket of tuna fish, "It says here that you've been permanently banned from seeing Saw."
"No. You mean, just this screening, right?"
"That's not what it says. Officials from Lions Gate have informed us that your are forever banned from viewing the movie Saw. You are not allowed to buy a ticket, or a DVD when that becomes available. All other forms of seeing the film have also been vanquished."
"They can't do that…Can they?"
"They did. If you try to sneak in, if you try to rent it, if you borrow a screening copy from a friend, Lions Gate will know, and you will be punished accordingly."
"That's bullsh*t. Did they say why?"
"That information has not been provided."
Okay. Whatever. I didn't want to see their faggot fest of a movie anyway. F*ck those guys. They couldn't really keep me from seeing a movie…Could they?
Things got worse when I finally signed into a computer at work. There was a note from Webmaster B-2. In a fevered rush of worrying words, he informed me that I'd upset both the Director and the Writer of Saw. My interview had annoyed and alarmed them. They made this horrible, sick, depraved horror flick. Nothing could frighten these guys, right? Not a thing…Except B. Alan Orange.
Yeah. Those two school baggers were distraught over my one-on-one behavior with them. The REP from Lions Gate had written WMB2. He went on extensively about how I'd acted inappropriately during the junket. He basically made it sound like I walked into that hotel room, pulled down my pants, and slapped these two guys across the face with my cock.
B2 stuck up for me. We gave the guys at Lions Gate my phone number so they could call and I could explain myself. I had a tape of proof that I was willing to hand over to them.
"Look. Listen to this recording. We're having a good time. James and Leigh like me."
"No. They hate you. And they think you're an asshole."
They wouldn't call and talk to me about the matter. It was simple. I'd asked questions I shouldn't have. I was supposed to ask fluff questions. Not real questions. And I brought up Motel Hell and Magic. A strict no-no. There was no rectifying the atrocities I'd brought about their movie like a plague. The only true way I could be punished? All of my Saw viewing privileges were forever revoked. And all of my interviewing duties were turned over to Fred Topel. That bastard who shills for CHUD. His Leigh Whannell/James Wan scatfest overshadowed my awesome chatfest.
Like a disease. True. Now I wanted to see the film even more then ever. It was forbidden fruit. Drew Barrymore's tits. I'd have a better chance of tasting them. I went and stood in a small line on opening night. "They couldn't possible have me on a ‘can't see' list all the way out here in Garden Grove, could they?" I told the guy at the box office window that I wanted to see Saw. He asked for my driver's license. I gave it too him. "I'm sorry. I can't sell you a ticket."
I hoped in my car and drove to the Edwards 26 in Long Beach. I bought a ticket for The Grudge. My plan was to sneak into Saw. There were "If You See This Man" posters taped all around the inside and outside of the building. One of the ushers grabbed me on the way into the auditorium showing Saw. I was kicked through the parking lot by a dozen untied shoes.
The infamy never ends.
The next day, after drowning my sorrows in Quilmes at the Mantooth Estate, I wandered over to Gilbert's Bootleg DVD Blanket. Which is just a few blocks up from Mantooth Alley. That's when I learned of Gilbert's involvement with the mafia that is Lions Gate. I was up Shit's Creek with a turd for a paddle.
No Saw for me.
Not until earlier today. A week had past since Saw made its way into theaters. I grew out my beard. I donned my orange Remington hunter's safety cape and a bulky gray sweatshirt. I borrowed J. David Orange's credit card. I took it to that electronic Kiosk, and shock of all shocks, a ticket spit itself into my hand. Finally, I'd crossed the barbed wire fence. I was the fat man that crawled through razor wire. All I had to do now was make it into the auditorium and find a seat without anyone seeing or recognizing me.
I kept my head down when the ticket-ripper tore my given receipt. An older man; he was too busy listening to one of his co-workers describe a Team America joke to notice me, "Yeah. So, they changed the name of the Screen Actors Guild to the Film Actors Guild. Fag. Get it. It's funny because it's gay."
The old dude laughed.
I made it in to see Saw. Finally. Another Vision Quest achieved. Where's my personalized Madonna theme song? Sh*t. It's not too much to ask for. Is it?
So, here I sit, typing away like a refused glad bagger. I've finally seen the movie I was never supposed to see. What did I think?
I'm not sure. I'm feeling quite indifferent about the whole thing, to tell you the truth. For some reason, my mind keeps going back to William Shattner. And he wasn't even in this despicable blood bath (a running river of crimson stickiness that's only an inch deep; this is a kiddy pool of gore I tell you).
I'd read a hundred and one reviews before finally seeing Saw. Not all of them nice. Most of them crueler than I would have been. Sadly, I knew every twist and turn before flinging myself down into that cupholder seat. So, I'm not sure how I would have reacted to this as a fresh commodity. Sitting here, today, I feel like I chugged a chunky bit of spoiled milk. It's left a rotten taste in the back of my throat.
The shocks were folding laundry. None of them lifted me to a higher ground. It was the list. Each Rube Goldberg-esque contraption had already been extolled in detail. No wonder these two guys are so angry. The Internet has practically ruined their enterprise. Oh, well. It's not for me to care anymore. I don't even need to tell you about the more gruesome details. You already know. It's late in the day. You've either already seen the film, and even if you haven't, you know the plotted course. They Saw off ankles, dig in bellies for keys, escape a reverse bear trap that's taped to the jaw, and some jumbo lothario crimps through a barrel of razor wire like a sh*t pimp. The surprising thing is how bloodless this venture actually turns out to be. Sure, there's a guy lying face down in a pool of his own vein ejaculate, but as we learn, it's counterfeit blood and the JigSaw Killer is a good faker. How does he hold his breath like that for an entire movie? From 10 at night until 6 in the morning. F*ck if I know.
There are plenty of implausible plot holes for you, dear viewer, to ponder and plunder throughout the course of this crunching endeavor. It's all less than revolting. I was shocked. Yeah. I was shocked at how quickly the film throws us through the torture. Pretty soon, all the traps are over and done with, and we're left with Carey Elwes crying on the floor. The thing should just end, and it could at 45 minutes, but it decides to plod along like a sinner. A devil looking for a cracker and some cheese. I called these guys on riffing the Motel Hell vibe, but after seeing Saw, I'm okay with what they did. I think more directors should peruse this avenue. Let's put a butchered pig's head on Renee Zelwigger. I want to see that making love to Hugh Grant.
I think a lot of people missed the point of the film. It's about a rich old dude that discovers he has a brain tumor. He's mad at the world. He knows he's going to die. So, he decides to put his riches to good use. He better hurry up and make his sequel, though. That tumor is bound to grow out of control and push upon his frontal lobe. It will screw with his thought process, and he'll no longer be able to think up ridiculous face-tricks…
But, really…What else is an old, rich, lonely asshole going to do with his cash if he's got no one to leave it too and a whole country full of resentful ingrates that need to learn a lesson?
This is it. This is the only avenue he has. Sure, he could have given all that money to a charity. Or tossed it on an adoption home. Nope. That wouldn't make for a good horror flick. Or a Se7en rip-off. Imagine Crispin Glover pulling that Pig's head down over his cheery face and terrorizing Lil' Bow-Wow in Like Mike…Wait…
Come to think of it, the scene where Glover burns the only photo of little Jonathan Lipniki's mom while he has the kid tied to a chair is scarier than anything you'll see in Saw. Go rent that if you want to bolt upright in your chair.
I digress. People have already torn this clock chucker to tiny shreds of illuminated digi-bits. I'd rather applaud a rather indiscriminate faucet of the film. James Wan actually hired Asians as secondary characters. Sure, it would have meant more if they were central in the casting, but this is no small feat. We don't see Asians in too many prominent roles. Kudos, James. You've edged the black-white predominance.
Still. For Christ's Sake. What is Carey Elwes doing towards the end of this picture? His cry session on the floor is one of the most horrendous stretches of celluloid I've seen to date. I read Wan's interview over at Suicide Girls. It was done after my interview. I guess, by the time he got over there, he'd been put through the ringer. He claims the movie kinda sucks because he only had 18 days to shoot it. And that he really didn't feel comfortable asking Danny Glover or Carey Elwes for an extra take. That strong directorial presence is what's missing. Elwes needed to be kicked in the balls. Or maybe they should have really electrocuted him. Something. Anything. Some critics are chastising Leigh Whannell's performance. He acts opposite Carey. He's a first timer. I forgive him his grievances. How was he supposed to act against the thespianic force field being run through by Elwes? The kid had an impossible task ahead of him.
Wan needed to whip his actors a little harder. Watch Glover wander down that hall detective-style. He's doing Riggs. Plain and simple. Danny learned one way to cower down a stretch of plank boards while keeping his gun at eye level. James needed to kick this big, black mother f*cker in the shins. "This isn't Lethal Weapon 5, you hack!"
Okay, I'll admit…Pretending this actually was Lethal Weapon 5 brought about the only joy I could derive from the piece. Glover defeated the Predator 2. I'm supposed to believe this skinny hack of a wannabe serial killer is going to intimidate and scare him? F*ck, right.
It's too bad Lions Gate, Wan, and Leigh banned me from seeing their precious movie before it opened. I would have upped that Tomato meter. Yeah, I would have given it the okay. A buy. If I could, I'd purchase the Versatile disc. I liked watching this as much as I liked watching House of 1000 Corpses. And I own that. It's better than Gothika. And Ghost Ship. It is what it is. I didn't hate it. Even though I kind of wanted to after all that defectious noise they made about me seeing it…
Actually. No. You know what? Wan? Whannell?
"I hate you. And your faggot movie!"