Does <strong><em>The Last Airbender</em></strong> Suck?
Billy Appleton here! Standing at the equator. We're at the precipice. The halfway mark. It's been two months, and all we have to show for our summer movie going woes is one fairly entertaining cartoon about a bunch of dumpster-destined toys. It's summer week number nine, and it's time to tap that elusive suck-o-meter:

First up was Iron Man 2, which didn't quite suck, but it also wasn't the awesome movie-going experience everyone thought it would be. It was met with a meh-shoulder shrug and quickly discarded into the wastebasket of "So-What?" The only remnant that still lingers weeks later is an image of Black Window on our Diet Dr, Pepper cans. Babies had a bunch of hipper-than-thou Inter-critics pontificating its sullen, quiet-like weirdness. But for those of us not into eating toddler flesh in the midst of a heat wave, it sucked! Then came Robin Hood, which sucked without a doubt. In fact, it was so boring and limp, it might be the suckiest movie of this summer thus far. On its heels came the summer-time romance Letters to Juliet, which tween girls couldn't even muster up any energy for. And Just Wright, which proved that Queen Latifah should stick to the winter months if she wants us to care one iota.

Shrek Forever After was expected awful garbage. It sucked big time. The first truly entertaining, and quite hilarious film to hit this summer was MacGruber. But it bombed so hard, its hard to wash the stink of burning flesh off its promotional materials long enough for most people to get a good, clear look at it. That's too bad, but it will now be enjoyed in the late fall, on DVD, where it belongs. Sex and the City 2 was an incoherent mess of old lady musk and horny knock-knock jokes that wouldn't make sense to a retarded catfish. It went beyond suck into the realm of pure torture. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, though, only sucked in spurts of mediocrity. Again, like Iron Man 2, its another big summer epic that was forgotten before it's opening weekend even called closed.

Get Him to the Greek landed with a dull thud, proving itself to be a sex and drugs PSA disguised as a good old fashion party comedy. No one wants to be preached to in this steamy weather. Gag! And Killers? Um, hello? Did anyone even see this? Who knows if it sucks or not. That's a mystery that won't be solved until my Grandmother stumbles across it late one afternoon on the Lifetime channel. One look at Marmaduke's first teaser trailer, and you knew without a doubt that it was going to suck. That was a no-brainer. But then we have Splice. The first unique, original thriller of 2010 that isn't a sequel, prequel, or reboot, and its shunned into the dumpster. It's the second good film of the summer, yet, it too, bombed. WTF? People? If this keeps up, Hollywood isn't going to create fresh, entertaining material ever again. Which is scary.

Right?

The younger crowd seemed to love the warmed-over remake The Karate Kid. But for adults, especially those who grew up with the original, it sucked nasty balls! What sucked more, you ask? The truly atrocious and obnoxious The A-Team. Heck, they couldn't even get that right, giving us a cartoony explosion of stupidness that was hard to relate to or care about in any way, shape, or form. But then, dear Lord, we were slapped in the face with the golden turkey known as Jonah Hex, this summer's very own Howard the Duck. Luckily, the summer 2010 suckitude curse was broken by our Pixar saviors with Toy Story 3. The first great film of the year so far. Loved by critics, audiences, and hobos alike. Cyrus came out the exact same weekend. And it too is a comedy worth mentioning when the best of the year comes knocking about. But its hardly been seen by the masses.

Finally, last weekend, we had the very mediocre and tired Tom Cruise stinker Knight and Day. And the absolutely atrocious Adam Sandler vacation comedy Grown Ups. Which sucked almost as bad as Robin Hood. It's a very close call between the two. So, out of twenty movies so far this summer, only one has been great, and three have been good. That leaves sixteen big time movies that sucked the chrome off a trailer hitch (guess it's the summer of your mom)! If you took a test in High School, and you only got four correct answers out of twenty? You would fail that class!

It's mid-term, Hollywood! And you get a big, fat, red-inked F. Not even a D or a C. An F. Well, guess what, folks? Hollywood doesn't care. And Hollywood only goes to prove that this weekend with two more horrible doots on our collective movie-going faces.

Look, the truth is, you can't slam The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. It's already the biggest release of the year, and the weekend isn't even over yet. It has a locked and loaded fan base that doesn't care about quality. And the term "better than the first two" does not a good movie make. This is landfill. It's a secret club for tween girls and middle age women whose marriages have been drained of eroticism and romance. It's not for the rest of us. I don't need to go through every review on the internet to find that out. Instead, I will go to one voice. Our own Brian Gallagher. He summed it up perfectly this week. Here's what he had to say:

Our Own Brian Gallagher:

"It saddens me that I can't like a movie which has vampires fighting werewolves because they spend most of the movie having those classic monsters fighting over a girl who seems about as interesting as a thumb tack. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is actually the best film of the three thus far...How sad that fact is, since it's still just a pile of adolescent garbage that I will apparently never fully understand or care about. It's sad that something this trite and boring can be considered the best of anything. The fact of the matter is, though, these films are arguably the most critic-proof movies in at least the past decade."

Quite well put, succinct, and on the nose. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse serves its purpose. It is what it is, whether you like it or not. The same shouldn't be said about M. Night Shyamalan, though. The guy was once refereed to as the next Steven Spielberg. And he had a good run of it for a while, there. We loved him and his unique storytelling methods. We adored his surprising twists. Then he faltered with Lady In the Water, which wears its "film critics are evil and must die" metaphor on its velour sleeve like a crust of week old greening snot. Next came The Happening, a piece of schlock that would make Edward D. Wood Jr. quite proud. After it hit, and critics panned it, M. Night insisted that he'd made a bad B-movie on purpose. That was the twist. It wasn't meant to be a real thriller, but a goofy spoof reserved for the second bill of a drive-in double feature.

Well, then, how does that account for the similarly dreadful filmmaking techniques on display in this week's The Last Airbender? It's a teen friendly fantasy epic. Not some Z grade offal. Yet, it adheres to the same poor, off-handed direction Shyamalan used in his last suck-bomb. Is The Last Airbender bad? God yes, its fucking awful. Don't take my word for it. Listen to what some of the critics across the Inter-globe are saying (and remember, the entire review can be accessed by clicking on the link provided):

Chud's Devin Faraci:

"The Last Airbenderis a bad movie. It's one of the most catastrophically bad movies ever made. Director M. Night Shyamalan seems to have continued his process from The Happening, in which he apparently intentionally makes every wrong choice. He has cast the film almost exclusively with terrible actors incapable of even delivering lines. I feel bad railing on kid actors so much, but they are just so completely fucking terrible. Many of his shots are listless, and without life. The film is filled with jagged, rotten edits. A non-movie."

The Chicago Suntimes' Roger Ebert:

"The Last Airbender is an agonizing experience in every category I can think of and others still waiting to be invented. It puts a nail in the coffin of low-rent 3D. You know something is wrong when the screen is filled with flames that have the vibrancy of faded Polaroids. Its special effects are atrocious. This plot is incomprehensible. Shyamalan has failed."

The San Francisco Chronicle's Mick LaSalle:

"He has made a really bad movie. He has made a dull, boring, poorly acted, limply written and thoroughly unappealing fantasy, featuring bland characters locked in a struggle of no interest. It's off track from its first seconds. The movie is in 3-D, and it's the worst use of 3-D in the modern era. It's unimaginative, not eye-catching and ends up actually emphasizing the fakeness of the effects and the landscape. Scenes are shapeless, without punch and usually without point."

New York Post's Lou Lumenick:

"Mind-numbingly dreadful live-action adaptation of a popular animated TV series. Shyamalan finally hits rock bottom here. Stilted dialogue, wooden acting, glacial pacing, cheesy special effects, tacky-looking sets, ugly costumes, poorly staged and edited action sequences, all shown in murky, cut-rate 3-D. Tweets suggest its fans at early screenings hate the movie. It's easily the worst of the many overplotted, would-be fantasy franchises launched. It all anticlimaxes with a boring, confusingly filmed attack on a city of waterbenders"

Time Magazine's Richard Corliss:

"The dearth of racially appropriate casting in the U.S. simply means that fewer Asians were humiliated by appearing in what is surely the worst botch of a fantasy epic. Oh, the humanity! Where is it in this movie? The lack of vitality and even surface plausibility numbs the senses. Actors wander through sets, speak their lines and battle computer-generated beasts without ever convincing the viewer that they are the characters they're playing, let alone that these characters are worth investing an evening in. bland and murky; it's not a world that rewards the search for visual grandeur or eccentricity."

The Detroit News' Tom Long:

"Stiff, fuzzy-looking, cloddish and disastrous in nearly every way. Simply stupendously bad. It never connects emotionally, offers little if any character development as it races through its ridiculous plot lines, screeches to a halt with little resolved and looks absolutely awful. A movie about magic that is wholly lacking in magic."

The Village Voice's Robert Wilonsky:

"Lousy filmmaking. This is one muddled attempt at franchise-making: confusing, drab, sluggish. Written entirely in fanboy shorthand. But to those of us who lose patience quickly with blurry, poorly acted, clunky kung-fu movies, (this) appears to have been shot using stereo instructions. Worse still: This could have been directed by anyone. Or no one."

And Christ, that is only the tiniest tip of the iceberg when it comes to the loud, grating ruckus being heaped upon this kid-friendly fantasy epic. If we're to believe the critics, The Last Airbender is not only the worst film of this summer, its also the worst film to ever hit on 4th of July weekend.

Will Smith? How could you let this happen? We trusted you. Now...We hate you. Mr. 4th of July my asshole. Eat a dick. And yes. It is your fault. Big Willie failed to save us. It hurts. Where are the fireworks? Where, God, where?

B. Alan Orange