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The Movie Scab: 2016 in Review, the Best, the Worst and Meryl Streep
"The scab you're picking at is called execution."
--American film producer Scott Rudin.
2016 in Review: the Best, the Worst and Meryl Streep.
Looking back from the relative safety of early 2017, it’s clear to Monkey Boy and me that Hollywood released a record breaking amount of bad movies in 2016. It was as if dope fiend Bela Lugosi stood over a naked, coked-out Hollywood and pulled the world’s longest anal bead out of its ass, screaming, “Pull the string! Pull the string!” And out came one crappy movie after another, pop, pop, pop! That was 2016 for the movies.
As you may recall, the year had a promising start, but then it took a nosedive into the Magic Christian’s feces filled swimming pool of mediocrity, inviting moviegoers to lay their hard-earned money down and join them in the Raw Sewage Backstroke. The stink lasted the entire summer and was so foul it created a black hole. As I said in the review of the only summer movie worth praising, Pete’s Dragon, “...Hollywood produced so much bad crap that its crap colon plugged up, backed up, collapsed under the weight of its own crappiness and then exploded, creating the black hole and the Big Summer of Suck.” Turns out, Monkey Boy and I should have applied that to the entire damn year.
2016, the Big Year of Suck.
There were some notable exceptions in the fall lineup, but not enough to save the year:
- Sully, directed by Clint Eastwood.
- French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve’s clever sci-fi trick-movie Arrival.
- Dr. Strange, a formulaic Marvel Comics movie raised to a higher bar because of its director Scott Derrickson and actors Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinson and Mads Mikkelsen.
- Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight.
- Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge, the best war film made since Saving Private Ryan.
That’s a pretty fine list of movies right there, but when you think about how many came out in the fall and the holiday season, and then you combine that with the rest of the movies released in 2016, the sheer amount of poorly executed films is astonishing. It becomes clear that the list of worthwhile movies is very, very, very small.
Here are some of the movies that somehow rose above 2016’s Hollywood crap monster:
- The Witch.
- Disney's The Jungle Book.
- Captain America: Civil War.
- Dr. Strange.
- Hail, Ceasar!
- Hacksaw Ridge.
Here are the top three movies of 2016:
- Zach Clark’s fantastic Little Sister.
- Hunt for the Wilderpeople directed by brilliant New Zealander Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows).
- And the best movie of the year goes to Pete’s Dragon, directed by master storyteller David Lowery who almost got me to believe in magic again.
The list for worst films of 2016 is so long it’s impossible to list them all here, but I can nutshell the worst of the worst:
- Suicide Squad: Mundane, poorly executed, poorly written, hyped-up acting that disappoints, repetitive, one of the most overrated and dumbest movies of the year.
- Sausage Party: A long, boorish, uninspired dick joke that blows the same message Seth Rogen has been pimping for years (that he and all his elitist pothead actor and writer friends are smarter than everyone else because they don’t believe in God and an afterlife).
- Independence Day 2: See Suicide Squad.
- The Lobster: Tries too hard to be clever and it’s too aware of just how clever it thinks it is, and it wasn’t very clever.
- Ghostbusters: Poorly written, uninspired and so unfunny its soul-killing, and you can blame director/co-writer Paul Feig and co-writer Katie Dippold for that, as well as the talented cast of women comics who, for whatever reason, totally dropped the funny ball. The movie flopped big time and Feig’s hubris couldn’t handle it, so he blamed Trump, but as Cassius said in Julius Caesar, “The fault, dear Feig, is not in our stars, but in our selves, that we are underlings.”
- Jason Bourne: Pointless, meaningless, powerless and uninteresting. What a way to kill a franchise.
- The Legend of Tarzan: The sorriest movie of the year because of PC SJW propaganda that attacked creator Edgar Rice Burroughs and made Tarzan apologize for being white, privileged, rich, colonialist, smarter than everyone else, heroic, perfectly built and for having a big, bulging ape-man package.
- Alice Through the Looking Glass: Mega-flop for Disney and its PC disciple and screenwriter Linda Woolverton. Why? Because she doesn't know how to tell a story and create characters you actually care about. She thinks PC messaging and pop psychology is a better substitute. What a sickening, manipulative and revealing mess.
So how could this have happened? How could Hollywood get it so wrong? How could they make an entire yearful of mostly craptastic movies? I can tell you.
Because: Meryl Streep!
Meryl Streep is emblematic of the problem in Hollywood. How do we know this? Because of the acceptance speech she gave at the Golden Globes, an award show where she was referred to as the Queen of Hollywood.
Big red flag!
Before Monkey Boy and I lay Queen Meryl Streep low, let me say that we don’t give a damn about her politics. I don’t care if she’s a condescending liberal progressive who hates President-elect Donald Trump--that’s her business. (She told us during the Golden Globe speech that a very large amount of the American public voted President-elect Donald Trump into office and because of that she’s in shock, horrified, can’t go on, oh, the humanity.) If she tells the world she hates President-elect Donald Trump and all the people who voted him into office during a self-congratulatory movie awards ceremony, well, at that point she is making it my business (if I’m watching the damn show), but still, who freakin’ cares? I don’t know why people watch these award shows anyway because they fail on every level, even as tedious, irrelevant entertainment. There is nothing more boring and meaningless than watching people who think they matter tell us they matter as they give themselves trophies that don’t matter or mean anything. These movie award ceremonies are ridiculous sideshows, carnival oddities and illusions that--at best--spark our curiosity because we can’t take our eyes off the freaks in the freak show. But I’d rather rub my eyes with salted hot buttered popcorn than watch the Golden Globes or the SAG Awards or the Academy Awards, and dear God in heaven, there are so many of these damn Hollywood award shows these days it’s beyond stupid.
It’s Meryl Streep’s lack of humility that bothers me. It’s her smug elitism that I can’t stomach. It’s her belief the business she’s in somehow makes her extraordinary, a unique gift to humanity. Meryl Streep is special and, golly, boys and girls, she deserves a special trophy to celebrate just how special and unique she is! We all wish we could be Meryl Streep! Yeah, it’s the fact that she thinks she’s right and good and holy because of who she is and what she does to make a living. She knows better than everybody else and everybody else is wrong.
The commoners are not pleased.
Because of that, Monkey Boy and I want to make a few things clear about the reality of movie actors and Hollywood, i.e., the movie making business.
Meryl Streep is a movie actor, a person who is paid obscene amounts of money to do what she did when she was a child. Adults call what she did as a child “playing pretend.” We all used to play pretend because we were all children once, so that means even though Meryl Streep thinks she’s better, smarter and more talented than we are, like it or not, she comes from the same talent pool as we do. (Sorry, Meryl.)
The big difference between Meryl Streep and us commoners is that when Meryl Streep grew up she kept on playing pretend and most of us didn’t. Most of us got jobs we didn’t like much, got married to spouses we didn’t like much, had children we didn’t like much and worked hard for all those things and people we didn’t like much. She didn’t have to do any of that. She got to play pretend all the time and have fun while getting paid lots and lots of money.
She is very good at playing pretend and that is why she is known as the Queen of Hollywood. (Ask fellow entitled pretender and sycophant Bryan Cranston, he will tell you!) Whether Streep believes she is Queen of Hollywood or not, I do not know. (I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that, yeah, baby, she does.) It is true, however, that she is part of that hateful group of people called the 1%. For those of you who don’t know, being part of the 1% means she is very, very rich. Only people as rich as her fall into the top 1% of wealth and net worth in the world. The rest of us struggle to pay our bills and eat and wash and pay our mortgages.
But it is also true and fair to point out that the rest of us willfully give our money to her every time we see one of her movies. When we do that, we make her richer.
See, the common people pay the Queen’s bills.
Like any queen worth her salt and sewage, she sits on a throne. Her throne is made of the most expensive porcelain there is. Every time Queen Streep needs to drop a duece, she adds to the crap pumped out of Hollywood’s crap colon simply by eating whatever she wants and then, after a while, squeezing her bowels and shatting on all the people who pay her bills, i.e., most of the moviegoing public, football and the MMA, which she considers beneath her--literally. She is, after all, the Queen Who Sits on Her Throne and Shats.
Back in Elizabethan times, actors--that is, adults who played pretend to make a living (like Queen Meryl Streep)--were looked upon as rogues, vagabonds, murderers, thieves, liars, drunks and prostitutes. People did not trust actors. They were considered some of the lowest forms of working people on the planet, a real threat to peaceful society. An actor’s life was a life of debauchery and excess, considered the most common of the common man, immoral and poor as they come, and only slightly higher than a dirty, filthy, stinking rat.
My, how times have changed. Well. In some ways, anyway.
I say that because Queen Streep may be a movie actor and she may so good at playing pretend that it has made her filthy rich and her very small circle of elites may feel marginalized, victimized and vilified by the common people who pay her bills because they voted for President-elect Donald Trump and are, therefore, beneath her, but the truth is, I think Queen Streep’s hypocrisy is showing.
Hollywood is no shining city on a hill. It is not a bastion of morality, decency, wisdom and art, a benign place of ultimate goodness. It’s a business that grinds out movies in order to make money. Sometimes good things happen there. Lots of times they don't, especially when you live in a place where people get what they want whenever they want. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and Hollywood's soul was corrupted a hundred years ago. If you’re being honest, Hollywood is a complex place, filled with good people who do good things and lots and lots and lots of bad people who do bad things.
The movie business has been a cesspool of depravity, intolerance, racism and sexism and just about every other "ism" there is since its inception. It has chewed people up and spat them out. Hollywood's elitism and goodness is an illusion it has created in order to keep the ugliness secret so that it can make more money and increase its power. At the end of the reel, it's always about power and control.
To keep the illusion going, Hollywood calls what it does art, but that's just doublespeak for making crap/poor execution or pornography or gratuitous violence or whatever. At least pornographers are honest. They don't lie about what they're peddling and why. Hollywood lies about what it's peddling and why every damn day. Stars like Meryl Streep believe the lies about Hollywood and themselves--that they matter--and so the illusion carries on. The truth is, Hollywood doesn't matter, stars like Meryl Streep don't matter and in time no one will remember her name. Queen who?
Hollywood is a big, fat turd that they shine up and then we, the worshiping public, the common people, bow before the Golden Calf of Mediocrity and eat it up, making them richer and ourselves poorer. The ugly truth is, Hollywood is one of the most intolerant places on earth. If you don't agree with the status quo, you're blacklisted like back in the good old days when McCarthyism was in full swing. Hollywood practices full-on groupthink. It's the intolerance of the tolerant. Even worse, terrible things happen there all the time, like, for example, the casting couch is as real today as it was at the beginning. Pedophile parties really do take place where boys and girls are passed around like cigarettes at campfires. (Ask actor Corey Feldman, he’ll tell you.) The abuse to animals is systemic and abundant. (Ask director Ang Lee and the Bengal tiger from Life of Pi, which almost drowned during the shoot, or the 27 animals that died during the filming of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey directed by Peter Jackson. They’ll tell you. No. Sorry. Maybe they won’t.)
At the same time, Hollywood is a dream factory where dreams come true sometimes. Beautiful things can come out of the polished turd. It’s magic, when it all comes together and an amazing movie hits the screen. It is real magic. That’s the only thing that can explain how movies like Pete’s Dragon get made--magic--and this is one of the reasons commoners love the movies. We see the magic and it gives us hope and allows us to dream. This means, then, that Hollywood is a modern day Mordor and Emerald City all wrapped into one. It’s Sodom and Gomorrah and Jerusalem. It’s an ugly, evil place that has some goodness, hope and magic in it.
That's the ugly truth and Meryl Streep has been in the movie business long enough to know it. She is up to her neck in it, and she wants us to believe her when she lectures us about goodness. Well. Clearly, she isn't as good an actor as she thinks she is because I don't believe her and neither does Monkey Boy. Mordor Emerald City is where Meryl Streep reigns as queen. This is her turf. This is her kingdom. All that depravity and goodness exists there today, right beneath her soiled feet. And she’s lecturing the commoners who pay her bills?
The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
But it’s not all Queen Meryl’s fault. As I have pointed out, every time we commoners go and see a crappy Hollywood movie, we lay our hard-earned money down and allow ourselves to be shat upon by said Queen of Hollywood. So, like director Paul Feig, the fault is also ours. We enable and empower actors like Meryl Streep, Bryan Cranston, George Clooney, the chick from The Hunger Games and crazy-eyed fanatics like Mark Ruffalo, a really good actor who just so happens to be unwilling to think outside his intolerant but well-intended box. He's just like Queen Meryl and we are the zombies that feed off the scraps they feed us.
I wonder what would happen to Hollywood if the zombies woke up one day? As millions of zombies stormed the city walls, hungry for entitled 1% flesh, I can hear Queen Meryl Streep say in a perfect French accent, “Let them eat cake.”
My rating for 2016: Let's hope 2017 is a helluva lot better.
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