Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Decade of Dreck #6: A Sound of Thunder


Charge Shot!!! is celebrating the end of the decade in the most masochistic way we know how - by watching and writing about the 100 worst movies of the last ten years as defined by film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Click here to see RT's complete list, click here for more about the Decade of Dreck project, and click here to see all of the movies we've done so far.


It's parents weekend, freshman year. Saturday night, when absolutely every parent has arrived.

The best Mexican place (margaritas: cheap 'n strong) near Kenyon College is full up. So perhaps the most awkward parents' weekend group (myself, my mother, my long-distance-girlfriend-who-was-visiting-for-the-weekend-creating-all-sorts-of-problems-I-won't-go-into, my roommate, and his wonderfully wacky parents) jump in the rental car and go restaurant-searching. I'm a freshman who doesn't know shit about the town, so I can't offer any insightful recommendations.

After driving around for what feels like 3 or 4 hours (what the hell does my roommate's mom say to his son's roommate's long-distance girlfriend?), we stumble upon another Mexican place that I'd never heard of. More out of desperation than taste, we settle. A Cuban guy who lived on my hall later told me the name of the place (La Paloma) means "the pigeon" in Spanish. Bad bad bad bad choice, for us and for them.

Luckily for us, there's no one but (excuse my crudeness) townies inside. And an all-white staff. Bad sign at a Mexican restaurant. No one says anything. Why be rude when you can suffer silently?

The meal, to this day, remains one of the most infamous moments of my college career. My roommate and I get a laugh anytime either one of us mentions La Paloma or how we should have "merced" immediately (that was Ben's Boston slang for "leave," "steal," or, according to Urban Dictionary, "kill").

Nothing was good. The, uh, ambiance was less than ideal; dead-eyed patrons and fluorescent lights. The tortillas were stale. When we asked for chili sauce, they brought us chili. They insisted, even, that it was chili sauce.

My roommate's mom (that outspoken mom who everyone thinks is wonderful except her son) thought about complaining. Everyone at the table spoke up this time.

What change would we possibly have effected by complaining? Telling them to re-sell Taco Bell would have been the most helpful suggestion. The food was bad, but it wasn't a Cordon Bleu enterprise. Depressingly, they might have been doing their darnedest to make good food. You know, lemonade (crappy Mexican food) from lemons (no cooking skills).

A Sound of Thunder is the La Paloma-est movie I've ever seen. The concept (going back in time changes everything in the future) isn't bad, but neither is Mexican food. In concept.

The CGI looks like they, Roger Rabbit-style, tried to mash Reboot into live-action footage. I'll link a trailer, but the editing does a decent job of making the movie look decent.

The direction is inept (did they only do one take?), the sound is awful, half an hour could have been trimmed from the first act, and the script is horrendous. When "the gang" finds a future-car that has a condenser that needs to be remodulated/techno babble bullshit, the English doctor guy smashes the window with the butt of a gun and says, "How do you think I got myself through medical school?"

What what what? Just try to figure that out. Please leave suggestion comments.

Tellingly, the opening is a sort of "mission statement" for how crappy the movie's going to be:

(and here I'm paraphrasing)

In the year 2054 (or some other bullshit future-year), a technology known as TAMI is created that allows man to travel backwards in time.

Charles Hatton used it to make money.

COME ON. Only spelling errors could make that any worse.

And I, stupid blogger, kept watching. Even though I could see that this Mexican place had an all-white staff and was empty on the busiest night of the year, I walked in.

Serves me right for working for this stupid brilliant blog.

And, oh yeah, the production company went bankrupt during post-production. (Rancid) lemonade out of lemons?

Fuck you for screwing up Ray Bradbury.

A Sound of Thunder is ranked #93 on the Rotten Tomatoes Worst 100 list with 7% freshness. Its RT page can be found here.