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Real Steel – Shawn Levy, a supremely untalented director with way too much success under his belt, got really drunk one night and had himself his own little Sly Stallone film festival.  Buzzing on overpriced hooch with his friends and lackeys, everyone feigning enjoyment to some degree, Shawn was hit with what he immediately believed to be an idea of epic magnitude.  As Stallone’s crap opus Over the Top reached its dramatic apex, Mr. Levy thought to his overindulged self, ‘The only thing which could make this astonishing movie about arm wrestling any better would be robots!’  And thus we have the blisteringly stupid movie Real Steel to live with and tolerate for the rest of civilization.  A true to form Stallone 80’s tribute piece replete and abound with boxing robots.

Real Steel is quite comfortable in its own goofy, metallic skin.  It’s the story of a deadbeat, dickhead father (Hugh Jackman) bonding with the aggressively annoying son (Dakota Goyo) he abandoned so many years ago to pursue a skyrocketing career in robot boxing.  Steel envisions a future where actual boxing is even less revered than it is today and has been totally supplanted by large fighting robots who are cheered and rooted for by white trash rednecks.  Running with such a colossal pile of crap the filmmakers and cast just dive in and assume this asinine concept is going to fly.  I have to give them credit.  Real Steel is like watching the middle school talent show where the poor dork kid with no talent for anything fearlessly seizes the stage and proceeds to humiliate himself, blissful and without any sense of awareness that he’s humiliating himself.  It just plows ahead with its hair brained idea like nothing is wrong at all, but you know in the back of your mind something really awful is going down and it might be wise, even tasteful, to look away, but you don’t.  You sit there and let the confounding nature of it all just sink in.  You feel bad for yourself.  You feel bad for the poor people who got sucked into participating.  You feel like a chump for spending actual money to experience it.

Steel is an amazingly corny experience and if a mouthful of the Green Giant Whole Kernel makes your taste buds happy, feel free to ignore my observations.  But if you watched the preview I did and were struck like a Mac truck by everyone’s favorite, profane three letter shorthand, ‘WTF?’ then Real Steel lives up to every justified assumption you made about it.  It’s a schtickish, ridiculous exercise in sport movie cliche built up and assembled for a Transformer loving audience.  You’ve been warned.


Cowboys & Aliens – A rule from this point forward.  All movies in which the title consist solely of Genre Staple A vs./and Genre Staple B should be avoided at all cost.  It’s always a bankrupt washout of movie garbage.  Alien vs Predator?  Shit.  Freddy vs Jason?  Of course it was shit.  Anyone remember Ecks vs. Sever?  Didn’t think so.  I didn’t even like it when Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein.  And this time it’s no different.  As awash with creativity as the title implies, Cowboys & Aliens consist of some cowboys (Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford) and some aliens and the cowboys shoot the aliens and the aliens maul and kill the cowboys and that’s about it.  There are some motives and some plot but you won’t care.  Slash the budget and eject the shockingly major league talent and you’ve got a story and a screenplay perfect for your typical Sunday night SyFy Channel piece of shit.  The story is boring, routine and such a forgone conclusion it may make those of you with achy joints reach for the Advil.  A piss poor excuse for a tent pole action movie experience if there ever was one.  Jon Favreau once again shows he is a director of limited scope and ambition but a Hell of a conversationalist he must be.  How he got the notoriously picky and prickly Ford to join his ranks for this must have required such an epic spinning of dialogue that somewhere in the afterlife Homer himself wept and envied Favreau’s abilities to talk shit.  That or he just wrote Ford a great big fucking check.  Probably the later but it doesn’t matter.  This is a movie no one could love and I doubt anyone will be remembering for very long.


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