I have neglected this site, I know, though I am very active on Tumblr. I’m not going to offer excuses, I’ve just been busy.
Let me catch you up on some writing things. I wrote about Paula Deen (and got asked to appear on CNN but was too scared) and Wendy Davis and Twitter (and talked to some nice guys on the Sirius XM radio channel POTUS). I interviewed Alissa Nutting. I wrote this review and that review. I have an essay about the complexities and necessity of feminism in the Iron Horse Literary Review. I have fiction in the current issue of Copper Nickel but you can’t buy the issue online. If you really want to check the issue out (and it’s great, not cuz of me, but in general, hit me up and I will tell you how). I profiled Philipp Meyer. Other things happened that I can’t remember. In July I will be at the Antioch Writers Workshop and the Midwest Writers Workshop. Other upcoming appearances can be found here.
Blah blah blah. Whatever.
Guys, I am in love with Channing Tatum. I just am.
Now, since I last posted here, I have seen many movies. I have started posts about several of those movies but then lost interest because the movies, generally, were not good.
Oblivion was visually pretty but ridiculous. These aliens can come to earth and pillage her resources and clone humans but they need humans to maintain the drones? They can’t just use robots for that or something? IT MAKES NO SENSE. There is not one single thing in the movie that makes sense. It’s worse than Prometheus. And Tom Cruise, bless his heart. He tries hard but gives the same performance in every single movie. He has this great running face in action movies, where his skin is so tight against his face you can just tell he is exerting himself. That’s no stunt double running, okay? Regardless, Oblivion was basically, Jack Reacher: Earth Apocalypse.
Peeples was better than I expected it to be. I wrote an essay about it but it needs a home. Pain & Gain was decent, funny, strange, not terribly memorable. Iron Man III was awesome–just a spectacle of the highest order. World War Z has some really interesting subtext and I rather enjoyed it. Fast & Furious 6 was perfect and I wrote about it for a new website debuting on Monday. Stay tuned.
Olympus Has Fallen was… one of those movies that is so bad you start to respect the badness. Everyone involved lost their minds completely and went with it. It’s all explosions and killing and stuff. Whatever. I was going to tear the movie apart but then I thought about it and realized that mostly I was just sad for the movie. There, there little movie. It’s going to be okay.
Anyway, back to Channing. Last night, I went to the first possible showing of White House Down, a movie I have been anticipating for many weeks. I will see any movie starring Channing Tatum. Here’s why I love him–he gives no fucks. He looks good in a suit. He looks good in a white tank t-shirt. He will appear in anything. He’ll do The Vow and Side Effects and Magic Mike and mix it up a bit with GI JOE and White House Down. It doesn’t matter. Channing just wants to be great and movie studios let him. Bless.
White House Down is actually an action comedy. I laughed and laughed and laughed–happiest I’ve been in a long time. The movie also stars Jamie Foxx as the president of the United States. He loves Abraham Lincoln, like a lot, and as we know, Abraham Lincoln loves a good shawl.
So, Channing is Cale, John Cale (LOL), and he is a Capitol police officer who has dreams of joining the Secret Service because his daughter, Emily, is super-obsessed with the White House and presidency, etc. His ex-wife is that lady who was in the first Twilight movie but not the next ones–Rachel Lefevre. I don’t even know why I know this.
Cale is a vet, did three tours, and is not known for finishing things. As the movie opens, he is escorting the Speaker of the House (Richard Jenkins) and as he waits for Jenkins, he engages in witty banter with some squirrels, using his square, muscular voice. I was tingling EVERYWHERE. He was straight up talking to squirrels.
Later, he goes to pick up his daughter who is mad because he missed her flag twirling performance at her talent show. Stick a pin in this detail, the flag twirling business, because it comes back in the silliest way possible, in about two hours. He wants to be father of the year, so he takes the kid with him to the White House where he interviews with Carol Finnerty, who is a secret service agent (Maggie Gyllenhaal). Thus begins the fakest secret service interview possible. They did not even TRY to approximate what an interview for the protection detail of the leader of the free world might be like. It was hilarious and I couldn’t stop giggling. First of all, the interview would not take place at the White House, right? Wouldn’t it take place at the Treasury Department? I TOOK CIVICS!
Turns out Cale and Finnerty know each other. They went to college together at GW though Cale only finished a year. He went to night school after the war but still… follow through, man, get you some. Finnerty doesn’t fuck around and is all, “No chance, buddy.” Dejected, he tries to put on a good face for Emily, and she coaxes him into taking a tour of the White House. Look, whatever it takes to put the child in danger and the hero in the White House.
The White House tour guide is an appropriately nerdy fellow who is “Donnie the Guide.” He knows everything about the White House but so does Emily so there’s a bit of rivalry there. At one point, the President shows up and Emily asks him a question for her YouTube channel. Before and during this, there are some lame dialogue moments regarding the relevance of blogs and other Internet terminologies like it’s 1997 or something.
A seedy looking redhead, straight out of “White Supremacist Bad Guy” central casting, pushes a janitor cart into the rotunda of the capitol building and walks away. Seconds later, there’s a big explosion. Oh snap! Chaos ensues. It’s the end of the world!!! What do we do?
James Woods plays Walker, the head of the president’s security detail. He is sad and bitter because his son died during a covert military incursion into Iran or some such. It’s his last week on the job. There’s also this barely engaged backstory about how President Foxx (that’s two xs) is trying to solve the whole Middle East “problem” with compromise and conversation. Silly president! There’s also this conspiracy involving the military industrial complex, trying to stoke tensions in the region so they can keep making that paper.
Anyway, long story short, Walker betrays his country and position and helps a band of mercenaries, lead by a guy named Stenz (Jason Clark) take over the White House with astonishing ease. It’s a bit of a relief that this movie sidesteps plausibility and rushes right into the land of the absurd. You can reserve your common sense for other mental tasks, is what I’m saying. In this movie, the White House is easier to breach than my apartment. One of the mercenaries is, as you might expect, heavily tattooed and crazy because only crazy psychopaths have tattoos. I should know.
As the mercenaries take over the White House, they kill everyone in sight. This movie’s disregard for the sanctity of life is also eye-opening. They are clearly working from the first person shooter school of thought. Use all the bullets! All of them! Also with the mercenaries is a hacker, Tyler, who gets access to the secret presidential bunker beneath the White House and says, “This is my Graceland.”
The remaining survivors in the White House, mostly tour folk, are holed up in the Blue Room along with assorted cabinet members who just happen to be chillin’ at the White House including the head of Homeland Security. Lame jokes are made about this. Emily, that rascally gal, had left the tour to use the bathroom, and she gets some video clips of the mercenaries being mercenary on her iPhone. The future is amazing. Channing must find his daughter though and he sets out to do this because, of course. Along the way he finds the president and they become besties.
There’s my man, just strolling through the White House with a semi-automatic weapon.
Here are the new besties, spending some quality time in an elevator shaft. At one point, they are nearly crushed by the ceiling as the elevator rises. This is mandatory for movies involving people hanging out in elevators shafts. MOVIE RULE.
Finnerty and the Speaker of the House are holed up at the Pentagon with a military guy. The vice-president is in Air Force One, floating somewhere above the United States, much like George Bush was on 9/11. They try various things to solve this major terrorist threat. Accusations are thrown. The vice-president invokes the 25th Amendment but it doesn’t end well for him. Intrigue, etc.
Action things happen as the mercenaries secure the premises. They lug a bunch of missiles to the roof. They install a video camera in the basement. Let’s just fast forward here. In the end, it turns out that while the mercenaries are in it for $400 million from the Federal Reserve, Walker is in it to aim all of the nuclear weapons at various targets in the Middle East. He is encouraged by his wife who says to him on the phone, “You do what you have to do to make them pay for what they did to our boy.” RIDE OR DIE, MOFOS. The daughter posts the video of the mercenaries to her YouTube channel and it goes viral and everyone knows who the masterminds of the plot are (mostly). There’s a twist involving another inside man. Channing saves the day and gets to join the Secret Service. The End.
What I really want to talk about are the highlights.
1. Jamie Foxx wearing Jordans and a suit and when a bad guy tries to grab his shoes, Foxx kicks him in the face and says, “get your hands off my Jordans.” Hehehehe.
2. Channing when he takes off his dress shirt and jacket and is left wearing only a tank top and every single scene where we can see his amazing arms. Why does he take off his shirt? WHO CARES?! DEM ARMS!
3. The car chase across the White House lawn where Channing and Foxx are in a presidential limo and the bad guys are in these SUVs with guns on the top and LOL, everyone can see because all the newscasters are perched around the White House perimeter. This particular chase ends with the limousine in the swimming pool.
4. The joke about Kennedy and Marilyn and secret tunnels. This is de rigueur for any movie involving the White House.
5. The fight scene between Channing and Stenz, with all the sprinklers flooding the White House because Channing started a fire (long story), and it’s kind of like that shower fight scene in Eastern Promises, only they’re wearing clothes, which is a missed opportunity, as far as I am concerned.
6. Emily, just saved by her father, runs out onto the lawn and wait, what’s that? She sees the presidential flag and grabs it and begins waving it back and forth to make the fighter jets, about to bomb the White House, go away. Versions of this scene have appeared in SO many movies.
7. How the movie manages to set a scene in every single iconic White House room. And also Donnie the Guide trying to protect all the precious treasures in the White House and then killing the bad guy with a German clock. Hero.
8. This one time, Delta Force helicopters flew between buildings in downtown D.C.
As movie rules dictate, all the helicopters eventually crash. One of them crashes into the White House and, coincidence, the very room where the hostages are. Now, as we’ve discussed here in the past, when a helicopter is involved in an action movie, someone is generally eviscerated by the rotor blades. In this movie, there’s a twist! The rotor slows to a stop just millimeters from Donnie the Guide’s body.
9. This one time, Channing and Foxx are hiding out in a dumbwaiter and Foxx peeks out to see what’s happening.
10. CHANNING and the way he makes me feel.