Is It Safe?

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Zombie boobs are all right.

Is it over? The apocalypse, I mean. The mass media zombie apocalypse apocalypse. For a while there, it seemed those slow, stupid fuckers were everywhere. I’m not talking about the zombies themselves but, rather, those shitty ass zombie apocalypse renditions in the mass media. It’s like the general public one day just up and declaimed — and rightfully so — that zombies were awesome, and then the next, every unimaginative hack came out of his own patch of the woodwork with his own particular brand of zombie drivel. For a while, there, you couldn’t turn on the television, go to the movies or pick up a book (especially of the comic variety) without seeing it. The zombie apocalypse apocalypse has wormed its way into art (both performing and visual), music and games (both video and board). Some smartass came up with zombie parodies of those trite family stickers people adhere to the back windows of their trite minivans (the vehicle of choice during any zombie apocalypse). There are even zombie apocalypse social movements and activist groups, and don’t get me started on that fucking Jane Austen mashup.

Now, zombies symbolize the mindless banality of a conformist pop culture

If you glean from this diatribe that I hate zombies — well, I didn’t used to. George Romero has always ranked among my favorite directors and still does. The utilitarian killing of a mindless and implacable enemy in “Night of the Living Dead” was metaphorical of cultural outrage over the Vietnam War and of a general Cold War unease. Now, zombies symbolize the mindless banality of a conformist pop culture. I used to love zombie movies. At one point, I even had recurring dreams of the zombie apocalypse. Now, they are so played out that I can stand neither sight nor sound of them. Thanks, general public for even hinting that you liked zombies, thereby fucking up zombies for everyone. And thank you, you talentless, banal hacks who capitalized on zombie consumerism with your mass media zombie apocalypse apocalypse.

“The Walking Dead” is all right, though. That is, unless AMC pulls the same shit they did last season and runs damned near seven episodes before anything even happens. For about six weeks there, I thought I was watching British television.

When Shitty Movies Attack: Rourkachu, I Choose You!

“I want you to make Mickey Rourke look like a goddamned Pokemon, even if it kills you!”

Rourkachu, I Choose You!

OK, here’s the bad news: I watched “Immortals” (2011, running time 110 minutes). The good news? I was only half watching it, so that’s only 55 minutes of my life that I will never, ever get back, right?

I mean, I watched the trailers, and they looked cheesy, all right. But they in no way prepared me for the sheer depth of cheese. In an interview with British film rag Empire, director Tarsem Singh described the look he was going for thusly:

“It’s a really hardcore action film done in Renaissance painting style. I want to see how that goes; it’s turned into something really cool … I’m going for a very contemporary look so I’m kind of going with, you know, Renaissance time with electricity.”

I can somewhat see the Renaissance style in the backgrounds, but in what paintings does the sort of idealized version of the complete Renaissance man wear golden underpants? I mean, where are the tassels? “Immortals” just — well, it mystifies me. I mean, what happened, Tarsem? “The Fall” was awesome! What’s even more mystifying is Eiko Ishioka’s work as costume designer for the film. How exactly does someone like Ishioka, who has been praised as “Japan’s leading art director and graphic designer,” come up with something like Mickey Rourke’s costume? He looks like a goddamned Pokemon or, worse, this squid herder (man, I hate fucking squid herders).

Squigachu, I choose you!

Make no mistake. I will not place blame for this $75 million piece of shit on Ishioka; no, that distinction is Singh’s alone. I imagine the conversation in which he commanded her, “I want you to make Mickey Rourke look like a goddamned Pokemon, even if it fucking kills you!”

“I want you to make Mickey Rourke look like a goddamned Pokemon, even if it fucking kills you!”

And, sadly, it did kill her! The movie released Nov. 11, 2011, and Eiko Ishioka — Academy Award and Cannes Film Festival Award winner and Art Directors Club Hall of Fame member — died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 73 on Jan. 21, 2012. This wouldn’t have been the first time that working on a complete piece of shit movie killed an otherwise outstanding artist. Look at Raul Julia. His work on “Street Fighter” combined with receiving lower billing than Jean-Claude Van Damme for same killed him in 1994. Then there’s Stanley Kubrick. Directing “Eyes Wide Shut” and working with Tom Cruise (Nicole’s all right, though) killed him dead, and that film was his baby. At some unknown point, American entertainment rag Radar Online quoted R. Lee Ermey as saying:

“Stanley called me about two weeks before he died. We had a long conversation about ‘Eyes Wide Shut.’ He told me it was a piece of shit and that he was disgusted with it and that the critics were going to have him for lunch [especially that fat fuck Pete Hammond]. He said Cruise and Kidman had their way with him — exactly the words he used.”

Ermey’s statement would later be refuted by Kubrick’s friend and fellow filmmaker, Todd Field. But, let’s be honest here. If it comes down to it, who are you going to believe, Gunnery Sergeant Hartman? Or this guy?

Let me close this rant on a positive note.

Dear Tarsem Singh,

Titans are supposed to be large and strong, not small and cagey and — scampery. Hence, words like “titanic.” Just thought I’d throw that out there.

Love, Sufab