Execrable: Santa’s Summer House/A Talking Cat!?!

Santa’s Summer House/A Talking Cat!?! (2012/2013)

Directed by David DeCoteau
Written by Andrew Helm
Produced by Marco Colombo, Kathy Logan, Gregg Martin
Starring Cynthia Rothrock, Daniel Bernhardt, Christopher Mitchum, Gary Daniels, Kathy Long, Jessica Morris, Rachel Rosenstein, Elijah Adams, Yung Woo Hwang; Johnny Whitaker, Kristine DeBell, Justin Cone, Janis Valdez, Alison Sieke, Daniel Dannas, Squeaky, Eric Roberts

Synopsis

With Christmas magic in June, Kris Kringle routes a vanful of vacationists to quarter at Santa’s Summer House, where St. Nick and his wife (Mitchum, Rothrock) minister miserable careerists (Daniels, Long) and their dweeby son (Adams), catering sisters (Morris, Rosenstein), and a prickish rocket scientist (Bernhardt), who patch and plant relational bonds as secret Santas. Subsequent shifts of A Talking Cat (Squeaky, vocalized by Roberts) introduce a lunky, retired programmer (Whitaker) and his timorously bookish son (Cone) to a caterer (DeBell), her ambitious daughter (Valdez), and aimless son (Dannas) as he counsels most of them.

Script

During his time here on Planet Earth, Helm has developed a rudimentary understanding of intraspecific human relationships and interactions, those interspecific with lower mammals, the English language, and technology in industrial societies. Alas, the limits of his knowledge are exposed by his characters’ unaccountably abnormal disorientation, behavior, vernacular, and idioms thereof. As hashes of terrestrial fiction, these are terrible screenplays, but actual humans have written worse.

Direction

No living filmmaker so personifies quantity over quality as DeCoteau, a cloddish, tireless cheapjack of gore and homoeroticism who’s currently churning out dreary domestic depravities for Lifetime. This pudgy perpetrator of pap perfunctorily forayed these family-friendly features: many shots simply dolly or zoom in, then out, those latter often jerkily. Even in scenes that are competently shot, his casts are clearly on their own when grappling with Helm’s bewildering scripts.

Cinematography

By reducing its brightness, boosting its contrast, and bluing his video, DeCoteau produced the most unconvincing day for night simulated in post-production since that seen in Deliverance.

Histrionics

No combat happens in the Summer House, despite its occupancy of four martial artists. They owe little longevity to dramatic talent, so what can one expect from screen shellbacks Rothrock, Mitchum, Bernhardt, Whitaker, and DeBell when they’re saddled with screenplays that read like poor translations of Soviet comedies spoofing American society? Fat feline Squeaky lazily upstages his bipedal peers. Roberts sounds plastered while literally phoning in his lines, but who can tell?

Score

He’s lifted from better music for decades, so Harry Manfredini was prepared to quote classic Christmas songs for a score that would’ve been better suited to a studio’s holiday comedy in the ’80s than this barely-budgeted video. For Talking Cat, he composed the best tunes for a circus’s clown act, theme park’s ride, and animatronic mariachi that you’ve yet to hear from the preprogrammed song bank of a consumer-grade Casio keyboard.

Highlights

Fans of Roberts are sure to enjoy his specially slurring, swaggering anthropomorphism of Squeaky’s vagrant quadruped. Every actor under 30 in these movies is quite attractive; one can only hope that Adams, Cone, and Dannas knew better than to fraternize alone with DeCoteau.

Flaws

Cloudy, sylvan, littoral, and residential B-roll (and especially establishing shots thereof) are glaringly recurrent in these pictures, constituting perhaps a fifth of both. A laser guiding Squeaky is thrice visible. DeBell’s chef removes a baking pan filled with cheese balls from a hot oven with her bare hands less than a minute before its tangency scorches those of Whitaker’s bumbler. An interminable croquet match at the Summer House drags on and on. Every scene contains some baffling incoherence or other.

Conclusion

Both of these videos are inoffensively horrendous, shot successively at a hideously furnished mansion where pornographic productions were staged. If you must watch these, do so with the commentaries of professional masochists.

Execrable: Filth

Filth (2013)
Directed by Jon S. Baird
Written by Irvine Welsh, Jon S. Baird
Produced by Mark Amin, Christian Angermayer, Jon S. Baird, Will Clarke, Stephen Mao, Ken Marshall, James McAvoy, Jens Meurer, Celine Rattray, Trudie Styler, Jessica Ask, Christopher Billows, Alexander Denk, Alex Francis, Benoit Roland, Berry van Zwieten, Sean Wheelan, Tyler Boehm, Rachel Dargavel, Jona Wirbeleit, Alexander O’Neal, Guy Avshalom, Tony Bolton, Jane Bruce, Charles E. Bush Jr., Mohammed Hans Dastmaltchi, Karin G. Dietrich, Ralph S. Dietrich, Stephan Giger, Stefan Haller, Marc Hansell, Jon Harris, Robin Houcken, Steven Istock, Zygi Kamasa, Pierre Lorinet, Benjamin Melkman, Nick Meyer, Matt Petzny, Yasin Qureshi, Marc Schaberg, Judy Tossell, Jean Pierre Valentini, Irvine Welsh, Paul Andrew Williams
Starring James McAvoy, Jamie Bell, Eddie Marsan, Imogen Poots, Brian McCardie, Emun Elliott, Gary Lewis, John Sessions, Shauna Macdonald, Jim Broadbent, Joanne Froggatt, Kate Dickie, Martin Compston, Iain De Caestecker, Shirley Henderson, Joy McAvoy, Jordan Young, Pollyanna McIntosh, Bobby Rainsbury
Akin to his American obverse Chuck Palahniuk, Irvine Welsh fares best when concocting humorous metaphysical mishaps and exploiting memorably crude conceits; when either delve too deeply into existential excogitation, their immanent immaturity issues as mundanely as the most formulaic romantic comedies. Trainspotting and The Acid House are audaciously appealing for their attention to Welsh’s fantastical degeneracy (notwithstanding the former’s maximal overestimation); the same can be said for only a few moments in this adaptation of his eponymous novel, which ebbs from goatish mischievousness into cloying moralization and introspective angst-by-numbers, affirming once again the propensity of Anglos to misrepresent masochism as moral play, and glamorize vice as a self-serving pretense of expiation. If he weren’t so preoccupied with pranks and gossip intended to undermine his constabulary’s other inspectors (Bell, Poots, McCardie, Elliott, Lewis) and invalidate their eligibility for a coveted promotion, a coked, boozing, madly misanthropic detective (McAvoy) might attend to the case of a Japanese tourist murdered by a thuggish gang (Compston, De Caestecker, McAvoy, Young). Instead, multiple addictions exacerbate his haunted, schizoid psyche until he desolates what’s left of his life and mars those of associates and acquaintances before committing suicide. The End!
Perhaps the best filmic evidence that GenX have become as obstinately ossified as Boomers is the junk constituting this pic’s rancid rubric, which was scarcely tolerable when Britain’s film industry was first infected with Tarantinism in the mid-’90s. Baird hoarily regurgitates by rote the obligatory, introductory strut in slow motion and abounding, artless exposition in pestiferously prolix narration and presentational shots. Just as wearying to watch and hear are edgy vitriol delivered by a supporting cast who overplay their one-dimensional roles like teenagers at drama camp, sluttishly overripe wives (Macdonald, Dickie, Henderson) among those, hallucinatory episodes where Broadbent and McAvoy retread unamusing references to A Clockwork Orange, Clint Mansell’s niminy-piminy music, and McAvoy’s fatuous breaches of the fourth wall. Filth was a domestic hit where a preponderance of ignorance and political correctness have lowered the popular threshold of transgression, so its moderate violence, harrassment, drinking, snorting, sexism, racism, homophobia, transvestism, erotic asphyxiation and disloyalty aroused Scottish critics and viewers to acclamation and animadversion unknown to other markets. Nothing sates the immoral appetites of a softened society as decadent froth with a syrupy center.

Instead, watch Bad Lieutenant or Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Execrable: Tales of Halloween

Tales of Halloween (2015)
Directed by Dave Parker; Darren Lynn Bousman; Adam Gierasch; Axelle Carolyn; Lucky McKee; Paul Solet; Andrew Kasch, John Skipp; Mike Mendez; Ryan Schifrin; Neil Marshall
Written by Dave Parker; Clint Sears; Greg Commons; Axelle Carolyn; Lucky McKee; Molly Millions; Andrew Kasch, John Skipp; Mike Mendez, Dave Parker; Ryan Schifrin; Neil Marshall
Produced by Axelle Carolyn, Mike Mendez, Shaked Berenson, Patrick Ewald, Sarah Gorski, Charles Arthur Berg; Mike De Trana, Jace Anderson; Tada Chae, Michael Arter; Vanessa Menendez
Starring Adrienne Barbeau; Cameron Easton, Daniel DiMaggio, Austin Falk, Madison Iseman, Hunter Smit; Barry Bostwick, Marcus Eckert, Christophe Zajac-Denek; Casey Ruggieri, Trent Haaga, John F. Beach, Tiffany Shepis, Mia Page, Marnie McKendry, Clay Keller, Kennedy Fuselier, Sage Stewart, Bianca Rose Miller; Keir Gilchrist, Gracie Gillam, Booboo Stewart, Noah Segan; Alex Essoe, Lin Shaye; Pollyanna McIntosh, Marc Senter; Dana Gould, James Duval, Elissa Dowling; Nick Principe, Amanda Moyer, Jennifer Wenger; Sam Witwer, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Ben Woolf, John Landis; Kristina Klebe, Pat Healy
It’s a fait accompli, so any ordinance dictating that 80% of all motion pictures produced in Los Angeles county must be idiotically infantile and scored to the hacked hilt would meet with sweeping, immediate compliance and probable applause for its foregone success by Ellay’s dim and demented Board of Supervisors. Of course, such a rescript betrays a self-awareness that would forefend the unsatirical majority of those prescribed movies, as this omnibus of ten edgily adolescent chapters about a gluttonous revenant (Easton/Smit), mayhem instigated by a cartoonishly dapper demon (Bostwick), trick-or-treaters (Page, McKendry, Keller, Fuselier, Stewart, Miller) who wreak bloody vengeance on two married couples (Ruggieri, Haaga, Beach, Shepis), revenge realized by the conjuration of a timorous victim (Gilchrist), a single woman (Essoe) stalked by a story’s spirit, the psychotic downward spiral of a wretchedly childless couple (McIntosh, Senter), altercating Halloween decorators (Gould, Duval) who come to blows over their clashing bedizenments, one hulking, rural serial killer (Principe) confronted by a tiny extraterrestrial, abductors (Witwer, Cantillo) who struggle to ransom the seeming son (Woolf) of a wealthy industrialist (Landis), and a police detective (Klebe) who pursues a sentient, rampaging jack-o’-lantern. All of these demonstrate Hollywood’s inability to tickle or terrify, now that it’s overrun by unimaginative drug addicts straining to rekindle but a spark of the magic plied by American wizards like Romero, Carpenter, Raimi, et al. before their output in the ’90s declined, anticipating this dreck. For this, an embarrassment of obvious references to genre classics, lovable Barbeau’s mellow narration and cameos by Barbara Crampton, Stuart Gordon, Felissa Rose, John Landis, John Savage and Joe Dante are more dispiriting than diverting. This is almost unwatchable in toto, an example of what happens when gruesomeness and frivolity are accorded anteriority, absent substance.

Instead, watch Trilogy of Terror or V/H/S.

Execrable: The Diary of a Teenage Girl

The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015)
Directed by Marielle Heller
Written by Phoebe Gloeckner, Marielle Heller
Produced by Miranda Bailey, Anne Carey, Bert Hamelinck, Madeline Samit, Debbie Brubaker, Corentin De Saedeleer, Shani Geva, Amanda Marshall, Amy Nauiokas, Michael Sagol, Jorma Taccone
Starring Bel Powley, Alexander Skarsgård, Kristen Wiig, Madeleine Waters, Abby Wait, Austin Lyon, Christopher Meloni, Margarita Levieva, Carson Mell, John Parsons, Quinn Nagle
In a fraction of the time trifled to view this plodding drama (adapted from one among umpteen interchangeable graphic bildungsromans authored and illustrated by introspective nudnicks), one could instead dive headfirst into a wading pool to experience a comparable depth and discomfort suffered. A homely, naive, adolescent cartoonist (Powley) in 1976 San Francisco doodles ceaselessly, idolizes Aline Kominsky, languishes in self-absorbed insecurity, and thrills to initial trysts with the sordid boyfriend (Skarsgård) of her sluttish, alcoholic single mother (Wiig), then a cute classmate (Lyon) unprepared for her lasciviousness. Successive clichés compose the bulk of Gloeckner’s quasi-autobiographical pablum: teenage defloration with an adult, animated sketches conveying immediate passions, a miff with responsibly uncool dad (Meloni), Mom’s coked-up capers and dancing wassails, a midnight screening of Rocky Horror, sapphic and whorish dalliances with skanky friends (Waters, Levieva), a fanciful acid trip, and that requisite assertion of feminine independence, which has for decades empowered and enkindled privileged white women the world over to irreparably wreck their lives. Mustachioed Skarsgård and ginchy Wiig lend odious believability to their roles as the sort of unseemly couple with whom anyone’s boomer parents might’ve made acquaintance, but Powley and some of her coetaneous co-stars too often diverge from naturalism to overact. Passable production design by Jonah Markowitz benefits from exteriors shot on location in San Fran, Carmen Grande’s largely hideous, accurate costumery and Emily K. Rolph’s nostalgically tacky appointments. However, Susan Alegria’s set decoration spoils each interior’s realism with a surplusage of the latter, arranged as characteristically millennial clutter uncommon in middle-class households of the shaggy ’70s. Everything in this unfunny, unsexy story has been done exhaustively before with a proficiency and profundity to which tasteless Gloeckner and Heller merely aspire, but if nothing else, it’s a fine reminder first of how tired the illogic, postures, dysfunction and repercussions of the sexual revolution and its creaky counterculture have become, and second just how effortlessly one can separate visionary rips (like Crumb or Kominsky) from commonplace degenerates, most of whom are as noisily boring as they’re portrayed here.

Instead, watch Slums of Beverly Hills.

Execrable: Liquid Sky

Liquid Sky (1982)
Directed by Slava Tsukerman
Written by Slava Tsukerman, Nina V. Kerova, Anne Carlisle
Produced by Slava Tsukerman, Nina V. Kerova, Robert Field
Starring Anne Carlisle, Paula E. Sheppard, Susan Doukas, Otto von Wernherr, Bob Brady, Elaine C. Grove, Stanley Knapp, Jack Adalist, Lloyd Ziff, Roy MacArthur, Sara Carlisle
Squalid tommyrot ensues after a little flying saucer lights upon the roof of a tiny penthouse occupied by a fashion model (Carlisle) and a performance artist (Sheppard), and proceeds to terminate numerous sleazeballs therein by harvesting their endorphins during orgasms or narcotic highs. Tsukerman’s script, direction, production and editing are aggravatingly amateurish, but the Soviet expatriate’s slipshod execution slipped the attention of gaumless hipsters, junkies and critics whose patronage made this stupid, slapdash sci-fi the most successful independent feature of 1983. Lenna Rashkovsky-Kaleva’s, Marcel Fiévé’s and Chris Evans’s imaginative makeup, flashy costumes fashioned by Marina Levikova, Yuri Neyman’s and Oleg Chichilnitsky’s briefly intriguing special effects and a few amusing moments can’t at all compensate for how poorly this picture was shot, cut, scored and performed. Carlisle woodenly created dual male and female roles as though to stress her absence of charisma as either, but she isn’t a tenth as nettlesome as Sheppard, who plays her pretentiously pettish poet with the condescending comportment of a villainess from a children’s cartoon. Despite their heroin chic, Tsukerman’s one-dimensional characters — inspired by his superficial conception of NYC’s new wave — are as crudely unsophisticated as his style. His movie’s consequently edgy in the tiresome manner of huffy teenagers transported in their mom’s minivan to a performance by Nine Inch Nails, KMFDM or Type O Negative, circa 1996. Fatuous whenever it’s supposed to be clever, this is unique in the worst way, for the ingenuity of so many unappealingly bad ideas. Eschew it for the sake of precious time and forbearance.

Instead, watch I Come in Peace.

Execrable: Je t’aime moi non plus

Je t’aime moi non plus (1976)
Written and directed by Serge Gainsbourg
Produced by Jacques-Eric Strauss, Claude Berri
Starring Joe Dallesandro, Jane Birkin, Hugues Quester, Nana Gainsbourg, Reinhard Kolldehoff, Gerard Depardieu
Ever the trailblazer, Gainsbourg baked cinema’s first great queer turkey years before that particular platter was served annually as Oscar bait. In a rural pseudo-America, the relationship of two strapping, gay garbagemen is disrupted when that twosome’s hunkier homo (Dallesandro) falls for a boyish gamine (Birkin) employed as the barmaid of a remote roadside cafe, to the chagrin and eventual, violent ire of his embattled boyfriend (Quester). Lest he deviate from wont, their transitory romance is consummated with shrieking sodomy, for which they’re ejected from several hotels. Trite (if not tame) by contemporary standards, Gainsbourg’s foul fiasco hasn’t much to recommend it save the considerable, concerted screen presence of its attractive stars. Alas, Quester is the only one among them who can actually act; the camera loves them both, but Little Joe is almost as stiffly unfit when dubbed as usual, and hasn’t any chemistry with the director’s scrawnily curveless mistress. Their adorable bull terrier Nana steals her every scene, mayhap because she’s spared any lines. As in all his pictures, some tackily gimmicky shots are sprinkled throughout elsewise technically sound direction, and ham-fisted symbolism abounds in most scenes, uttered often as daft dialogue verifying that Serge’s verbal verve was strictly lyric. Just as wearisome are his patently sham American trappings: a Mack truck, hamburgers, bluejeans and a rock band that performs during and after a horrific competition of dumpy ecdysiasts. Depardieu’s briefly squandered in the role of an addled equestrian, as is perennial nebbish Michel Blanc. Nearly a decade after its controversial release, voxless variants of Gainsbourg’s classic, celebrated, titular, trademark signature single serenade the leads as they kiss ineptly. Lingering shots of a dumpsite and a climax wherein Birkin and Dallesandro generate minimal erotic heat via anal intercourse in the bed of his garbage truck remind us what this movie is, and where it belongs.

Instead, watch Going Places.

Execrable: Perfect Sisters

Perfect Sisters (2014)
Directed by Stanley M. Brooks
Written by Fabrizio Filippo, Adam Till
Produced by Juliette Hagopian, Fritzi Horstman, Damian Ganczewski, Cathy Rollo, Nate Rollo, Tony Rollo, Michael Rotenberg
Starring Abigail Breslin, Georgie Henley, Mira Sorvino, Jeffrey Ballard, Zoë Belkin, Jonathan Malen, James Russo, Rusty Schwimmer, Stephan James, Zak Santiago, Caleb and Braden Pederson
Certain crimes obviously oughtn’t be romanticized, but such impropriety didn’t inhibit Brooks — a seasoned producer of lurid pablum — from distorting a notorious matricide committed in Mississauga by twain siblings (whose insensibility proved nearly as scandalous as the murder itself) as nauseatingly sympathetic schmaltz. One needn’t view this drivel to score well in the following quiz; in fact, you’re better served to eschew it under any circumstances.

Insular, inseparable, self-obsessed daughters (Breslin, Henley) of an unregenerate boozehound (a bleakly haggard Sorvino) intolerably blabber bullshit, banter and braggadocio in the obnoxious parlance and bearing of:

  1. Dim, catty gay men
  2. Changelings who actually say “cyberspace”
  3. Adolescent millennials
  4. All of the above

Sorvino’s lush is less nurse than souse, and too plastered to attend:

  1. Her nightly shifts
  2. Parent-teacher conferences
  3. This movie’s hilariously miniscule premiere at the Toronto Ritz-Carlton
  4. All of the above

Henley’s equally eDgY, g0tHiK boyfriend (Ballard) resembles:

  1. The by-blow of Pete Burns, Nate Silver and Ellen Page
  2. A deficient lacking testosterone
  3. Both

Their wealthy, obese aunt (Schwimmer) is clearly:

  1. Indifferent to diseases symptomatic of gluttony
  2. Implausibly Jewish
  3. Fyvush Finkel in drag
  4. All of the above

An overfed sissy (Malen) who’s assumed beta orbit about Breslin must be:

  1. A ginger
  2. Jonah Hill after devouring Max Perlich to gain his power
  3. A fat boy
  4. A lousy snitch!
  5. The possessor of mankind’s worst profile
  6. People’s Sexiest Man Alive!
  7. All of the above (except perhaps F)

The object (James) of Breslin’s pongy libido is:

  1. Apish
  2. A vacuous jock
  3. Racially selected to maximize a clumsily propagandistic import
  4. Almost able to pronounce “ask”
  5. All of the above

The latest reprobate (Russo) in their mother’s adverted string of abusive boyfriends is:

  1. A bizarre anachronism
  2. Also a sponge
  3. Essentially any pugnacious pissant from one of Spillane’s novels
  4. In no way representative of any obverse in reality
  5. Icky
  6. All of the above

After one instance of sexual harassment and two of domestic abuse committed by Russo’s miscreant, Henley’s goffik edgelord phones a social worker to report his crimes, but can’t be bothered to mention them when interrogated because:

  1. She’s an inarticulate clod
  2. Filippo and Till didn’t know how to concoct this entirely fictional call
  3. An intercession by social services would foreshorten this story
  4. All of the above

Their (untypically uncredited) father can’t subvent them because he’s:

  1. Gutless
  2. A ginger
  3. Balding rapidly
  4. Hopelessly ineffectual
  5. All of the above

Their little brother (the Pederson twins) is:

  1. A cipher
  2. Heinously neglected
  3. An occasional punching bag
  4. All of the above

Whenever the girls are visited by their freaky, maternal imago (again, Sorvino), she’s always:

  1. Aglow
  2. High
  3. Probably incorporating the effects of hallucinogens
  4. All of the above

Weary of their mother’s bibulous irresponsibility, resultant unemployment and sleazy swains, the sisters resolve to:

  1. Report her to social services so that she can be consigned to rehab while they reside pro tem with their rotund aunt
  2. Escape
  3. Drug and geld one of her boyfriends as an object lesson
  4. Garner employment in their apparently ample spare time so to afford their own residence
  5. Kill her without any especial consideration of repercussions
  6. E (see above)

Whilst plotting and performing their mother’s murder, they:

  1. Cautiously keep to themselves
  2. Behave normally
  3. Publicize their crime in advance to everyone in their school so to thoroughly implicate themselves

Breslin’s blue crinal extension is:

  1. Hysterical
  2. Idiotic
  3. Trashy
  4. Typical
  5. All of the above

Garbed with an eyepatch in ill-fitting suits, a detective (Santiago) investigating their mother’s death is:

  1. A satisfactory substitute for Poirot, Malgret or Columbo
  2. Some oddball who’s successfully impersonated a police lieutenant for years
  3. A character from a yakuza drama

Convicted as minors, both girls served:

  1. A life sentence
  2. Twenty years
  3. Ten years
  4. Five years
  5. Less than two years

Sloppily shot, mindlessly overacted and glaringly disingenuous, Brooks’ mawkish misrepresentation of two famously callous murderers as piteously tortured and confounded victims is almost as outrageous as their early release, and less indicative of white trash than his own stereotype.
Instead, watch Affliction.

Scorecard
16 You’re the winner!
13-15 Well done.
9-12 Nice try. Obviously, you don’t watch much dreck of this grade.
5-8 You couldn’t predict the conclusion of a romance novel.
1-4 You’re a failure (but at least you weren’t involved in the production of this turkey)!!

(Answers: D, D, C, D, G, E, F, D, E, D, D, E and F, C, E, C, E)

Execrable: Gate 2: The Trespassers

Gate 2: The Trespassers (1990)
Directed by Tibor Takács
Written by Michael Nankin
Produced by Andras Hamori, H. Gordon Woodside, Peter Bray, John Kemeny
Starring Louis Tripp, Pamela Segall, James Villemaire, Simon Reynolds, Neil Munro
Lightning hardly struck twice for Takács and Nankin, bankrolled with well over twice The Gate‘s budget to miscreate this charmless, plodding flop, which earned not a thirteenth of the preceding hit’s passing yet profitable box office returns when finally released first to European, then American theaters a few years after its completion. Spurred by curiosity and discontent with his father (Munro), a widowed, stereotypically alcoholic aviator, the unsightly nerd (Tripp) from the first flick stupidly opens the transdimensional passage through which his suburb was terrorized a couple years anterior. As every disaster resulting is worsened by the follies of an interloping, shiftless punk (Villemaire) and his brainless buddy (Reynolds), the former’s cute, inexplicable girlfriend gravitates to Tripp’s geeky amateur magus. Some decent stop-motion and makeup effects imaging one of the many monstrous little minions who harried Stephen Dorff in the prior picture and some larger counterparts are squandered on a senseless script that enlarges trifold a plot fit for a half-hour with asinine antics and asides. Tripp was scarcely satisfactory when paired with Dorff, and hasn’t the personality or proficiency to carry the lead of a sitcom episode, much less a feature. Still, he’s tolerable compared to Villemaire and Reynolds, who enhance their churlish cretins with the most peeving possible performances. Only Segall exudes any amenity whatever (just enough to salvage her close-ups); given her love interests, hers seems almost a doughty effort. This movie’s as much a waste of any viewer’s time as it was its production’s resources; avoid it scrupulously.

Execrable: Wetlands

Wetlands (2013)
Directed by David Wnendt
Written by Charlotte Roche, Sabine Pochhammer, David Wnendt, Claus Falkenberg
Produced by Peter Rommel
Starring Carla Juri, Christoph Letkowski, Marlen Kruse, Meret Becker, Axel Milberg
Filth flows from and unto every orifice of a pretty, putrid provocateur (Juri) who vaginally absorbs muck from toilet seats, masturbates with phallic vegetables, slums with a fetishistic immigrant, contaminates provender and utensils with bodily fluids, face-paints with menstrual blood and swaps tampons with her unsightly best friend (Kruse) until an anal incision inflicted during a shave induces her hospitalization — a condition she meditates to prolong so to reunite her divorced parents (Becker, Milberg) and flirt with a timorous nurse (Letkowski). Wnendt adapted Roche’s daft novel as a pastiche of exquisite fatuity, plying flourishes of pinchbeck Tykwer, Boyle and Ritchie to ineptly offset its deficiencies: equivalencies are substituted for insights, snark for sport, posturing grotesques for appealing characters, obscene yet overworked anecdotes for a plot. Naturally, our grubby exhibitionist discountenances every authority figure who indulges the cheek to admonish her with outrageously feculent feats of idiocy, but for all its desperate endeavor to shock and nauseate with her sexual, narcotic and septic exploits, most of this adolescent feature’s 110 meandering minutes merely comprise a deadly longueur scarcely punctuated by rare moments of human sentiment or musty metaphysics. A critical and commercial success, Wnendt’s picture represents the infantile German cinema of Emmerich, Boll and Alexander that supplanted the disregarded Neuer Deutscher Film decades ago. Few archetypes are so mortifying as the stilted German striving to demonstrate countercultural irreverence, and ultimately substantiating just how impressible he or she is to degenerate American influence.

Execrable: Tideland

Tideland (2005)
Directed by Terry Gilliam
Written by Mitch Cullin, Terry Gilliam, Tony Grisoni
Produced by Gabriella Martinelli, Jeremy Thomas, Wladyslaw Bartoszewics, Nick O’Hagan, Paul Brett, Peter Watson
Starring Jodelle Ferland, Janet McTeer, Brendan Fletcher, Jeff Bridges, Jennifer Tilly
If Gilliam’s beveled and floating shots identify his professional low-water mark as idiosyncratic, they certainly can’t redeem this tedious tale of two horse junkies’ vociferously imaginative daughter (Ferland), who repairs with her father (Bridges) to the aging rock frontman’s derelict childhood prairie home when her mother (Tilly) finally succumbs to the strain of methadone addiction. At a snail’s pace, she cultivates acquaintance with a grimy, neighboring weirdo (McTeer) and her fretful, doltish brother (Fletcher) whilst immersed in fantasies far removed from her grim circumstances. Technically, nothing’s objectionable here: Nicola Pecorini’s photography is lovely, Jeff and Mychael Danna’s score sounds some memorable themes, tawdrily cluttered production design by Jasna Stefanovic provisions as much an eyeful as one could expect in a pic from the veteran Python, and all the players are well on their marks. Yet aside from a few striking, wasted hypostatic visual effects, nearly 100 minutes of these two charmless hours merely focus on rollicking hicks yabbering loudly to themselves and at each other. By treading diegetic water and drubbing the slavish stereotype of the whimsical redneck to a pulp, Gilliam’s only proved that oddities for their own sake are a screaming bore.