Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Don't See Teeth!!!!

Yeah, forget what I may have said before now, I saw Teeth and it was terrible. It is a movie about the biggest wasted opportunities in life. Every possible point of interest they establish in the first half is completely destroyed by the stupid humour in the second. Ok, when one hears of a plot so outlandish as this - a toothed vagina - the mind races. 'OH, THE POSSIBILITIES' it says. Well when I saw Teeth by Mitchell Lichtenstein, 'ARE YOU KIDDING?' is how my mind replied. It starts well enough: a creepy chastity-vow girl lives in a town where giant computer generated smoke stacks run at all hours of the day and night (this by the way is supposed to be our explanation for said teeth). She meets her dream boy, who turns out to be a sleaze bag and introduces her to the real reason she's been subconsciously celibate all these years. Then it's frat-boy, black-humour all the way to the sickening, stupid, powerless conclusion.

by Mitchell Lichtenstein

I don't often draw lines, but when a films attempt at subtlety is an anal sex joke, I just can't help but feel like I've been cheated. Look up the plot elsewhere, I'm too mad to fucking recount this dumber-than-hell story. This movie could have been incredible. It could have been the first smart, feminist, atheist horror movie of the new millennium. Instead it turns out to be a riff on a really stupid sex-as-a-weapon theme filled with severed dick jokes. Oh I never tire of the dawning-realization set-piece! Or how about all those severed penises, right? HAHA! This movie isn't in favor of women, it stands before them and shouts "I'm still afraid of you and don't know a thing about you! Hope you like dick jokes!" The big mistake it makes is to play every second of it's second half time for laughs. This has the effect of making every dramatic element set up in the first half fall flat on its face. You can't tell us its a comedy and then ask to feel anything but contempt for it. Laughing at a woman being tricked into sleeping with someone is not only tired, stupid and painfully unfunny, it's pretty fucking appallingly insensitive. I'm sorry I don't find tricking someone into losing their virginity all that funny, especially when we were shown a rape scene not 10 minutes ago. Make up your mind, cause this in limbo nonsense isn't working. What's especially galling is that Lichtenstein seems to think he can get away with laughing at women's misfortune by piling even more misfortune on top of an already unjustifiable awful story and that it's all going to even out. Sorry, not having it. I don't see how any movie that hinges on a tattooed ape-man finding his sister attractive as the basis for a dramatic climax could be anything but unwatchable shit. You want to make a movie that supports women? Fine. Don't waste my time and money on unbelievable character development and personality changes that wouldn't fool an 8 year old. Just because you found something in a history book while studying for midterms and you and the kids on your floor thought it was funny, doesn't mean it warrants a movie. America and its black humour! Give it a rest, already! I haven't been this disappointed by 'jokes' ruining a good premise since Eight Legged Freaks. If I wanted David Arquette interacting with spiders, I'd feed him to a pack of them! I want to be SCARED, you hapless dipshits! Stop trying to be so clever! You are not that funny! It's like the 40s all over again. When a horror movie of this gravity is predicated upon humour, it condescends its subject matter. When that subject matter is currently the subject of torture and violence as we speak, those who joke about it deserve to be shot into space where their ignorance can't do any harm.

(Added several days later) A brief addition to my notes on teeth. Firstly, women have been mistreated in ways that outstrip the atrocities of the last century for the last two millennia. To make light of that is tasteless and cheap. Here's a tip, think about the fact that girls were and continue to be raped by men who don't understand how HIV works every day for years and years. Second, I've seen my fair share of rape revenge movies (I hope never to have to pull that piece of information out again) and none of them have been this dumb and mean. I've seen I Spit On Your Grave, Irreversible, Ms. 45, Thriller: A Cruel Picture and all of them manage to stick with their original message; Women are mistreated by big, stupid yahoos and the only fitting way to deal with them is to castrate them, pull their heads off or gun them down. Don't misunderstand me, watching rape is never easy, nor do I ever recommend making it the subject of a film where it has to be shown. It happens, it is real, women fear it, so inevitably, it will end up on movie screens. For the most part, these films tread the fine line between horror and just plain tastelessness, but next to this horny piece of shit, even Last House On The Left has more sensitivity. Rape in the movies has been around since 1929 (Alfred Hitchcock's Blackmail is incidentally one of the boldest movies ever made for this reason, and did a much better job than most films on the subject) and so to have people resurrect a myth that has caused so much suffering for women everywhere and then have a female character embrace it, embrace the kind of bullshit that's been responsible for mass rape and death and ruined lives...well that's just the ugliest thing I've ever heard.


Beccah said...

So, funny story. I'm reading for my masculinities class, and what should come up, but a chapter on immasculation/ castration complexes entitled "Vaginas with Teeth and Castrating First Ladies". So yeah, I just read a full analysis of the 'vagina dentata' folklore phenomenon...it's disturbing just how many cultures have a variation of it...and that someone made a horrendously shitty movie based on it. Odd and funny coincidence, no?

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