Rant Of The Day THIS RANT 05/09/96

Rant Of The Day is where I get to mouth off about whatever I feel like for however long I like. Theoretically, I'll update my whinge/opinion piece every weekday; in practice, maybe not so often.

Junk food and junk movies

I broke with midweek tradition and went to the movies last night. Among other things, this gave me the opportunity to try Hungry Jack's latest burger, the Western Whopper, featuring hickory-smoked bacon and a special sauce. As speciality burgers go, it was pretty good, although I'm disappointed to see that thickshakes and desserts have now disappeared entirely from the menu. The service was also pretty sloppy, although I've come to expect that from my local branch.

I followed this with another recently-added fast food treat, the Crunchie Sundae from McDonald's (well, where else can you go on a Wednesday night when your main burger joint canned all the sweet food?) This too was good, but again there was a rub: the sundae had a cavernous great hollow in the middle of it. I don't remember having encountered this with a Maccas sundae before, but maybe I just wasn't paying attention.

And so from junk food we move to the junk movie, which was, of course, ID4 (nothing else was showing, basically). I think I can safely say that my intelligence has never been so comprehensively insulted by a major motion picture. I went along expecting this movie to be crap, but its crappiness exceeded my wildest expectations. I'd been warned about the sickening patriotism, the leaky plot and the hokey dialogue, but no amount of warning can prepare you for just how dire this piece of celluloid garbage really is. Lest I be accused of being prejudiced from the start, my friend Arthur (who also went to see the film last night) has been hanging out to see the film since last December, was determined not to let critical pannings destroy his enjoyment, and still thought it was crap too.

With such a plethora of awfulness on show, it's hard to decide which aspect was the worst. The stunningly awful dialogue? The bombastic music? So many coincidences that even Jerry Seinfeld would say "Stop!"? The mindless regurgitation of every sci-fi plot ever seen, mixed in with the worst elements of war movies? The scene where the President is psychically attacked by an entrapped alien and instantly understands the entire invasion plan? The fact that the alien race can plan a major global attack but don't notice the entire global population sneaking round saying "Let's kill the aliens in five hours"? Or the suspect morality that says that a single death scene for the President's wife has to be exploited for maximum tearjerk effect but that the death of a few million people in the streets of New York is just entertainment?

What I really want is for the Medved brothers (authors of the classic Golden Turkey Awards) to get back into film criticism and just demolish the whole revolting pile of dreck. In the meantime, don't make the mistake I did and feel you have to see the film just to understand it as a cultural reference point. It will make you more depressed about the culture you live in than you may have thought possible.

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