Thursday, September 22, 2011

Witz Flix: Buried

Finally. 94 uninterrupted minutes with Ryan Reynolds. Because my number one complaint with films starring Ryan Reynolds has always been, "Why are there all of these other people and events between scenes with Ryan Reynolds? Are these really necessary?" From what I understand, Buried is about a guy who is literally buried in a box for the entirety of the movie-- I'm assuming because he was either responsible for splitting Netflix into two sites or for the recent Facebook changes. Let's find out: 

3 min: The movie begins and all we hear is breathing and thumping. The screen is completely dark. Right now I'm wondering, "Is there ANY chance that the lights are gonna come on and Owen Wilson is going to be there?" 

5 min: A lighter flicks on, revealing Ryan Reynolds: hands bound together, gagged, and kicking at the box he has been buried in. Yeah, that's for "Just Friends," asshole.  (Who are the heroes who nailed that tagline?) 

6 min: Oddly, it takes him a minute to realize that his arms aren't tied down, so he's able to take his gag out. It's gotta be a change from his superhero roles, as his newfound power appears to be grunting loudly and shouting, "Help!" to nobody in particular. 

8 min: He uses a nail to cut the rope which was binding his hands together. I don't care how clever he is in this movie, he still wasn't smart enough to avoid being in "Blade: Trinity..." 

10 min: A phone begins ringing at his feet, so he scrambles and moves it up to his hands, but misses the call. He uses it to call 9-1-1 and tries to explain his situation to the woman. We find out that he was a truck driver who was contracted in Iraq and his group was attacked. The operator sounds particularly skeptical, as if she's thinking, "Suuure, the old buried in a box in Iraq stunt," so he hangs up on her. 

12 min: A quick look at the battery reveals about 60% left. Time to start tweeting, bro. 

13 min: I wonder if Facebook would consider his status, "Buried in Iraq, help!" a top story...if he dies, it's gonna be because everyone moved over to Google+ 17 min: Um, he's on the phone with the FBI in Chicago now, and not to be obvious, but...HOW THE FUCK IS HE GETTING RECEPTION??  
("You're calling from where? Uhh, ya know what, I actually can't hear you...") 

18 min: He keeps turning his lighter on to look at his cell phone which is already illuminated by its screen. I'm starting to understand how this is the kind of guy who would get himself buried in a coffin in Iraq. 

20 min: Hey, when's the other guy, girl, and pizza place gonna get there? 

22 min: At least the terrorists gave him the best upside-down-writing-on-wood pen I've ever seen. 

24 min: He calls a number which he doesn't recognize in the history and it turns out the be the guys who buried him (awwwwkwaaaard!). They say they want 5 million dollars by 9pm. He explains that he's only a B-List actor masquerading as an A-lister, but they say, "Then how come you were in The Green Lantern?" 

25 min: He calls the man a terrorist and the guy says, "What? Because you're terrified, I'm a terrorist?" Uhhhhhh, YYYYUP! Also, the ransom thing. Also, all the murder. 

26 min: At some point, bugs, or a spider, or a snake is gonna come into this box, I just know it, and I'm gonna lose my shit. 

30 min: Hahahah, he calls someone back in Michigan and she answers, "Hello? Hi, how are you?..........Got you-- I'm not here right now! Leave a message at the beep!" 

32 min: He starts to leave a message and she answers, says she's busy and can't look up a number for him because she just got back from the supermarket. He gets angry and she hangs up on him. He screams, and calls her a, "Dumb fucking cunt!" which would have also been an appropriate response if, oh, I don't know, his boss forced him to marry her so she could keep her green card...  
("Weee-oooo, weee-ooo, awesome tagline police: freeze!") 

35 min: He talks to a guy named Dan at the State Department who is working on it, but not able to do much. He says that these types of things have happened before and people have been saved. Reynolds asks him to name one and he does: Mark White. Reynolds writes the name on the wood, probably so they can connect on LinkedIn when he gets home. 

36 min: The terrorist calls back and says they will accept 1 million dollars, but he has to make a video with his phone and send it to someone. Everyone's gonna be all, "It was ok, but a little too Blair Witch for me..." 

38 min: Annoyingly transparent political commentary: Dan says something to the extent of, "These people aren't terrorists. They're just hungry and desperate. Wouldn't you do anything to feed your family in the same situation?" to which Ryan Reynolds replies, "I wouldn't kill someone!" to which the rescue guy says, "But how can you know for sure?" It's like, "Dude! WHY are you taking their side on this? Stop being a dipshit and come get me out of this coffin in Iraq!" 

40 min: He finds a bag at his feet with some glow sticks, a flashlight, and a pocket knife. I'm beginning to think he's just at Burning Man. 

45 min: He talks with Dan again who's trying his best to find him. Reynolds gives him the terrorist's number from the phone. He then plays Angry Birds. Two battery bars remaining. 

50 min: Honestly, it's only been 50 minutes, but I feel like he's been buried for 127 hours...


52 min: He's calling his mom in a nursing home because I'm supposed to care about a b-plot. She has Alzheimer's and says that she's been playing gin rummy with her husband every night. Reynold's replies, "Yeah, um-- I don't think pop's there with you," and follows it up with, "This might be the last time I talk to you." Wow, were you just calling your mom to shatter her fragile world before you died orrrr? 

55 min: The terrorist sends him a picture of some woman with a gun to her head. He freaks out and tells them that the woman has two kids and the terrorist tells him to make the video now or she dies, so he does. I gotta say, he seems pretty reluctant to make this video for a guy who had no qualms about making "Buying the Cow." 

57 min: GAHHHHHH!! BLEH! YAH! MWUH! MMMMMYUCK! Snake-in-the-box! I knew that shit would happen! To his credit, he doesn't kill himself immediately like I probably would, but does go an interesting route in that he starts a fire in the box using some alcohol and the lighter. The snake leaves, but the box is on fire, so he has to flail around and eventually manages to kick sand on the fire before it gets too big. This guy just likes making things more difficult for himself. 

62 min: Ya know what, Van Wilder fans? I'm starting to think there aren't gonna be any tits in this film. 

63 min: Back to his phone again-- I mean, talk about a Crackberry, am I right? Anyway, he figures out how to change the language settings to English and is able to figure out his own cell number, which means it can be traced to his exact location. He only has one bar left, and is sent a video of the woman from the picture being shot. He suddenly understands what we've been watching for the last hour and almost kills himself with the pocket knife. 

68 min: Easily the number one grunting film of all time. Take out the grunting and this is not a feature length film. 70 min: Explosions sound above him and the boards of the coffin break. Sand is pouring in and given that he still has cell service, I don't understand why he can't just dig upward. 

71 min: The contractor's Press/HR guy calls and is interviewing him about his background so he won't sue the company. They inform him that his contract was terminated that morning because of a relationship with his co-worker, the woman who was just shot. He says that they were just friends and he is misinformed, but the guy informs him that, "I'm just a stereotype being used to heighten the drama of the film!" No insurance money if he dies... 

75 min: I gotta say, this DOES seem like a fair and proportionate response for The In-Laws.


77 min: He keeps wondering why nobody's answering the phone when he calls, but c'mon man, nobody answers the phone anymore when they don't know the number: "Hey, do you know what 075 area code is?" "Uhhh, yeah, I think it's Iraq." "Pfff, eff that, dude, I'm not donating any more money." 

78 min: Not a great movie, but easily the best Zippo commercial I've ever seen. 79 min: I wonder when he's gonna try calling Harold & Kumar... 

80 min: The guy trying to find him admits that the terrorists have been killed and there's nothing else they can do so it's over-- he's going to die. He makes a video as his last will and testament to send to his family. "Zippo: Lighting Your Horrorscape Until Death Seizes Your Terrified Corpse." 

84 min: Ohhhh snap! The phone rings and it turns out that the terrorist is still alive and ups the ante: he wants Ry Rey to cut his finger off or else the terrorists will kill his family in America. He asks if he does this will they let him go, and the terrorist is like, "Definitely, Maybe."


85 min: ME: Ohhh-ho-ho-ho-ho, I think he's gonna do it! TERRORISTS: AWWWWW SHIT! He did it! He cut his own finger off! What a freak! 

88 min: Right after he cuts his finger off, Dan calls saying they are almost there to get him. "Cool, I'll be the guy with nine fingers." His wife finally calls him back and he says he's about to be rescued and promises he'll be home soon. The box is filling up with sand and the guy says they're digging and almost there. 

94 min: On the phone, Dan and company are digging frantically, while Ryan Reynolds is almost completely buried in sand. I-- oh, hey, "Buried"-- I just got that. Anyway, they're digging and he's shouting and they're digging and he's kicking, and just as the box is about to bury him completely they get to the box turns out to be a different box with Mark White dead inside. Dan apologizes (to us, I'm assuming), Ryan Reynolds takes a few last breaths, and everything goes black. Well...I guess it wasn't called, "Almost Buried." 

Other box, really? I gotta ask, does the "Bury an American in the Sand" trick EVER work because they're at least 0 for 2. How come terrorists always think they can negotiate with the United States? Watch ONE MOVIE...EVER, and you'll know that's not gonna happen. Isn't there a single person who can be like, "Ah, but the problem with that plan is that the US doesn't negotiate with terrorists, kind of for this EXACT reason, so..." 

For a not very interesting movie, the ending is actually pretty disturbing. I guess it's because a) I can imagine myself dying horribly that way, but also b) for all the shit I just gave him, Ryan Reynolds is goddamn affable and charming, and yeah, can be quite funny, and it's tough to watch him fake die. Couldn't they have just cast Dane Cook instead? They're practically identical and then everyone would have been cheering as the sand poured into his open maw, filling his mouth, so all anyone could hear as the darkness set in would be a muffled, desperate, "Pickles..." 

The Change-Up is Actually Great, 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Witz Pickz: Sometimes Life Hands You Oreos

Sometimes, when I'm not writing, it's because I feel like there is just nothing worth writing about in my life and I don't want to bore you. Other times it's because I suddenly remember the utter futility of life and the weary redundant cycle of waking and eating and working and drinking and sleeping and wasting of time that exists while we all omg wait for our inevitable, meaningless lol deaths....

...but then, just when I think there's nothing left to write about, The Universe smacks me across the face and points as if to say, "Seriously? How are you not seeing this?" and I remember that it's all gonna be alright.

When I woke up on Tuesday morning, the last thing I thought I would be doing was licking an Oreo with Shaquille O'Neal. It's just not one of those things that you count as being in the realm of possibility. So imagine my surprise, when three hours later, I found myself getting paid to lick cream filling with four other teammates while Shaq yelled things like, "lick faster," "drink your milk," and, "there's no crying in Oreo licking!" in our faces. Flash backward a couple hours:

(I can't help but notice that just like the Triple Double cookie, they lined us up as white stuff, chocolate stuff, white stuff, chocolate stuff, white stuff, with Shaq's arms like the big Oreo wafers on either side)

I signed onto a freelance event gig knowing only that it was an Oreo Cookie branding event and that I would be contractually obligated to eat an Oreo; a stipulation which I'll be adding to all of my future contracts.

I showed up and was told to put on a jersey which was a little too small for me and had the letters "DSRL" on the front. A quick peek at The Urban Dictionary and you'll understand why I was somewhat nervous about what was about to happen (I assumed R stood for "red" or "ripe" or "regal."). It was therefore no great comfort when the guy in charge walked in and announced, "Those of you in the jerseys: you're my lickers."

It was then explained to us that we would not, in fact, be starring in a Nabisco themed adult film called, "Fluffernutters," and that DSRL stands for "Double Stuff Racing League." We would be competing as two teams in an Oreo licking contest to promote the new Triple Double Oreo in front of some press. And oh, "Shaquille O'Neal and Venus Williams will be coaching the two teams."

Flash forward to me and my teammates, desperately trying to remove the two layers of double-stuff from between the three chocolate wafers while getting yelled at by the guy from Kazaam. Add an Andrew W.K. sounding song shouting, "D-S-R-L! D-S-R-L!" over and over again and you'll understand why it all felt incredibly surreal.

The thing of it is, I never ever thought I would meet Shaq. Ever. I didn't even really have ambitions to meet him, and it was so unexpected that I wasn't starstruck so much as baffled. At one point he leaned over to me and said, "Man, this song sucks, right?" referring to the DSRL theme, and fighting back the urge to reference his illustrious rap career, I replied, "Yeah...but it's gonna be stuck in your head all day..." which made him laugh. Shaq. This was the man who was on television slamming home points in NBA Championships. This was the guy from NBA Jam; the man responsible for Shaq Fu-- and now this was the guy who had us "bring it in," so, "on three," we could give a team cheer of, "Twist, lick, dunk, eat!"??

There are varying levels of fame: there's the level where you sell products, the level where you have a product named after you, and then there's the top level, where your name is used as a pun on a product. Shaq is so famous that when my family went to Kennebunkport, Maine for vacation, I would order the Chick-quille O'Neal grilled chicken sandwich. And somehow, despite all logic and the probability of a single linear reality, all seven feet and one inch of him was standing behind me with his arm around my shoulder, dunking OREOS, and berrating me to go faster.

As my Oreo incompetence was becoming increasingly apparent, one of my team members finished and our team was declared the winner. We got our pictures taken with Shaq, ate some more Oreos, and were sent on our way, getting paid for the full four hours, despite honestly "working" for about fifteen minutes. Just as quickly as it had started, it was all over, and I couldn't help but wonder if it had all been a dream.

"You have cream on your beard," one of my teammates said.
"What?" I replied.
"Oreo cream, you have some by your mouth," I was told, and putting my hand to my mouth, I came away with a small touch of sugary white stuff.
"Thanks," I said, and smiled at The Universe, assured of the fact that I would write again.

Twisting, Licking, Dunking, and Eating,

P.S. I think it's a glaring oversight that they used this DSRL song instead of having Shaq redo the lyrics to his song, "Shoot, Pass, Slam." They could have really easily changed it to, "Do you want me to TWIST IT? (YEAH!) Do you want me to LICK IT? (YEAH!!) Do you want me to DUNK IT? (YEAH!!!)"