(second overly-long post of the night)
Okay, so I just threw Scream 3 into the old DVD player, and if you've got a problem with spoilers, well... too bad, because the movie's like three or four years old. For example, if I go and do a running commentary on Se7en or The Usual Suspects and I ruin the ending, it's your own damn fault, because you should've seen the movie.
Anyway, we're three minutes into the movie and Liev Schreiber, who played Cotton Weary -the convicted non-killer from the first movie- is rushing home to his girlfriend, who is unknowingly trapped in his house with the masked killer. She's fairly attractive, and in classic 90's style, she changes her clothes with the camera cutting away as she drops the towel. Also in 90's style, bad music by a then-really popular band is playing, and in this case it's Creed. Anyway, the killer finds her, says he's actually Cotton in disguise, Cotton's running up some stairs, she actually thinks he's the killer, and thus falls into the killer's trap. Cotton arms himself with a fireplace poker, which -if you call yourself a fan of movies- is probably the worst weapon in the world. You can't do shit with a fireplace poker, we all know that. It's no match for a butcher knife, or even the nine-iron being wielded by Cotton's girlfriend. And, of course, this being the beginning of a Scream movie, Cotton and the girlfriend die.
Cut to Sidney Prescott (yet another name that you'll only find in movies, sort of like 'Cleopatra Jones'), who's off living in the wilderness of god knows where. She's doing crisis-counseling. And then Gail Weathers is off on the lecture circuit, telling college kids how to be bad journalists. And then we bring in Patrick Dempsey, the classic red-herring kind of "maybe the cop did it!" kind of character. Strangely, I just now notice that I've got Patrick Dempsey hair. I should really just be thankful that I don't look like he did in that pizza-delivery movie.
So, now we go into the set of Stab 3, which is the movie within the movie, where we get into a too-short discussion on violence in movies. And then you've got the cast, which -except for the Token Black Guy- you just don't care if they all die. And then there's Parker Posey... I can't stand Parker Posey. I want her to die sooner than anyone else in this movie. At least her bodyguard is played by Puddy from Seinfeld. And then we've got Dewey, who's now walking with a limp, since he got all fucked-up at the end of the last movie... but lived. I swear, I actually hate all of these characters, and I want them all to die.
Enter Jay & Silent Bob in what's actually the funniest moment in the movie, although I have to say that it's a pretty sad publicity stunt on the part of Miramax/Dimension/Weinstein Empire.
And then we get into this dream sequence where Sidney's mother is coming over a hill, and the camera keeps tracking in on this picture of her mother, and you look at this picture, and -even though she's smiling- Sidney's mother is a VERY scary-looking woman. Anyway, it turns out to be the killer, then it turns out to be just a dream, and then it turns out that I still want Sidney to die.
And now Jenny McCarthy comes to the office looking for the director, who's played by Scott Foley. She looks at his music-video awards, breaks one, and I realize that Scott Foley's character really looks a lot like the real-life video-director Dave Meyers; like shockingly like him. Anyway, she's running lines with the former-Mister Jennifer Garner, and he goes all nuts and goes into killer-mode, and she hangs up, and goes into the wardrobe room, where there's at least thirty killer-costumes. She tries to call security on her cell phone and no one picks up. She goes into the prop room and pulls out a knife, but it's a rubber knife, and that's a cute little laugh. Anyway, to quote my old history teacher, "And then she died."
So we get back to Gail and Dewey. They're both retarded. Gail's still looking for a news story when people around her are getting killed, and Dewey's still looking for Gail... and -shit- they go back to Parker Posey's house, and she just annoys the fuck out of me. This isn't because she's Parker Posey and she's a good actress; it's basically because she's Parker Posey and I've never liked her in anything. But at least Puddy's funny.
So Patrick Dempsey's trying to figure out who did it, and Scott Foley's bitching about his career, and Parker Posey's bitching about her career, and the cops come after Scott Foley. See, the thing is it's a little bit too easy to buy that everything's a red herring in this movie, because everyone's got cloned cell phones and the killer's got a device that could make him sound like Donald Duck if he wanted it to.
So, Scott Foley's been taken away by the cops and Sidney gets a phone call on her private line, and it's her mother, or it's actually the killer. Sidney pulls out her gun and starts carrying it like a girl, rather than like someone who's ready to use it.
Okay, so we've got three of the remaining actors, Puddy, Dewey and Gail at the same place, having some sort of "production's been shut down, so this is the wrap party" kind of thing. Dewey sees a clue that becomes fairly important, and we find out that Sidney's mother went off to Hollywood for two years at some point. And then Puddy gets stabbed in the back, knocked around by a pan, which leaves Dewey and Gail defenseless to the classic "the door suddenly flies open, but no one's there!" gag. Strangely enough, Puddy doesn't actually die until he makes it all the way up to the front porch, and the three actors come out of nowhere, which means it could be any of them.
Now, let's go with a quick little deconstruction of the rest of this scene: They're getting faxed a new copy of the script, which is to say that someone in this world is just all kinds of fucked up. The script says the killer's outside or soemthing, so they all go outside. The lights have gone out, and so the actor kicks on his Zippo, and the house explodes. I mean, it just fucking explodes, like something out of Lethal Weapon or something. Which begs the question, if there was that much gas in the house, how is it that no one smelled it?
Everyone rolls down a hill, and Dewey puts a few bullets into the killer, who rolls under an SUV, and is apparently equipped with a bulletproof vest, which is standard knife-killer issue these days, because if you're going to go out on a murderous rampage and stab people, you'd better be prepared to get shot at. And the killer the killer leaves behind yet another picture of Sidney's mother, which says, "I killed her," and that sort of brings it all back to the beginning of the series.
So Sidney comes back to reality and goes to Hollywood and meets with Patrick Dempsey, and then she's off to a back-lot and then... gah! It's that girl from Welcome to the Dollhouse, who is apparently Randy's sister. So, Randy comes back on VHS, because he's the horror-genius and knew he was going to die in the last movie. So he disregards the rules for horror-movie sequels and sets up the three rules for film-trilogies, most notably the manner in which the past comes back to bite you in the ass.
And Randy mentioned Return of the Jedi a minute ago, and -well look who it is- we get to Carrie Fisher's cameo. But she's not really Carrie Fisher, she's just an unknown-actress who never made it in Hollywood, who bitches about how "the girl who got the part was the one who slept with George Lucas." Turns out that she knows all of the unknowns in the studio archives, and that Sidneys' mother was once Rina Reynolds and acted in several of John Milton's movies. Yes, John Milton. One of the most over-used names in cinema.
Now, if we want to get right down to the name 'John Milton', we have to go back something like five-hundred years to find the blind poet who wrote 'Paradise Lost', which is a profound work of staggering genius, 'Paradise Regained', which isn't nearly as fun, because it lacks the whole Heaven Versus Hell angle, and 'Areopagitica', which just has a really cool title. The name John Milton was also used to much better effect in the movie Devil's Advocate, which is actually a pretty good movie, even though Keanu Reeves should never play a lawyer (wasn't he a lawyer in Hardball? and that one was no good, too). But it had Charlize Theron and Al Pacino, and that's good enough.
I'm just going to interrupt this for a second and talk about how insane the set budget must've been on this movie, in that they managed to rebuild Sidney's house from the first Scream film, both interior and exterior, on a film set. And she dukes it out with the killer, and we're only about halfway through the movie. And Sidney's haunted by the death of her mother, she complains that the killer was trying to get her, blah, blah, blah.
So, Milton. John Milton this time around is played by Lance Henriksen, who is talking to Scott Foley, who has a really hysterical piece of dialogue: "Not only did they kill the film, but they killed my cast! Nobody's going to want to work with me. Variety called me a 'pariah.' I don't even know what a pariah is. Why couldn't someone have killed the cast from Stab 1 or Stab 2?" Lance Henriksen's an interesting person, with a career going all the way back to Dog Day AFternoon. I read in Premiere Magazine once that he didn't even learn to read until he was something like 35 years old. Guy had a rough life. Anyway, I hear he's doing Aliens Versus Predator right now, but I'm not sure about that.
In the next scene, we get into the preponderance of exposition and back-story that Randy warned us about, and Sidney asks Patrick Dempsey what his favorite scary movie is, and he says, "My Life," which I think was an all-too depressing film starring Michael Keaton. Maybe Dempsey meant that his life is scary, but I think that Michael Keaton movie's pretty scary, too, in that sort of way that Dying Young or Showgirls are scary movies.
So we get into the fantastically long sequence in which the killer goes about knocking people off one by one in the house, and I'm hungry, and so I'm just going to cut this commentary right here. My only question is, why the hell is it that these people don't just make an announcement when they find out the killer's in the house that says, "There's a killer in the house! We're going to save ourselves and leave! Nice knowing y'all!"
Anyway, I'm probably one of the few people who was actually totally satisfied with the ending to Scream 3, in that it managed pretty well to bring it all back to the beginning of the original Scream. Actually, quite a bit before the beginning of Scream, and it worked in a nice little piece of backstory that provided Billy Loomis and whatsisnuts with the motivation to kill Sidney Prescott's mother. No, it didn't seem terribly far-fetched to me, and kept the movie from being just a sequel about copycat killers.
ICQ, MSN, Yahoo: Yeah, right, like I use those.