do I find a movie that is so appalling if not outright insulting to all
of humanity (and particularly, in this case, womankind) that it gives
me a stomach ache. I prefer popcorn over Tums, so I intentionally stayed
away from "The Human Centipede" (1 and 2) since the plot descriptions alone
were enough to make me queasy.
It’s true that "Scent of a Woman" gave me a nausea -inducing headache,
but that was caused more by Al Pacino’s shouting (damn those obnoxious
“Whoo-hahs”) than the actual story. And I came down with the flu during
"The Fifth Element", but there wasn’t enough evidence that Chris Tucker’s
outlandish Ruby Rhod caused my fever (besides, I would forgive Tucker
even if he was behind my illness on the basis of his subdued
wonderfulness in "Silver Linings Playbook").
"Locker 13" really put me off the Cobb salad that I had intended to dine
on at lunch. I actually was looking forward to sinking my teeth into a good
old-fashioned anthology flick in the style of "The Twilight Zone" that
might allow for some reflection upon life, one juicy chunk at a time.
Turns out, it’s more of a "Don’t-Go Zone" type of movie.
might have been a warning that this project that features four
vignettes surrounded by a wrap-around tale was Kickstarter-funded,
boasts no fewer than 21 producers at varying levels of blame and took a
number of years to get off the ground. But how bad could it be since
its massive cast includes that cute Ricky Schroeder of "Silver Spoons",
that sweet Tatyana Ali from "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air", that funny
Curtis Armstrong from "Revenge of the Nerds"–not to mention David
Huddleston, as in THE Big Lebowski himself? There is even the "Baywatch"-able Krista Allen, who used to date George Clooney several model-actress moons ago.
about amateurishly acted, illogically plotted, cruelly violent and
needlessly sexist bad? Any film that starts in an Old West theme park
and isn’t called "Westworld" immediately signals a problem. Especially
since the cowpoke serving as our guide isn’t Yul Brynner or even Rod
Serling, but a self-satisfied philosophizing supervisor played by Uncle
Rico from "Napoleon Dynamite", who aims to teach a lesson in making the
right choices to the new nighttime janitor, an ex-con named Skip (Jason
Spisak). After going on a bit about the phrase, “Know thyself,” Uncle
Rico begins to bore Skip and the audience by spinning a quartet of
yarns, all supposedly tied together by the presence of a locker bearing
the number 13.
what really draws the narratives together is a warped vision of the
universe where men drive all the action and women are reduced to being
on the sideline as either hookers, strippers, mistresses, gold diggers
or victimized wives. The only female character shown in a less than
demeaning way? Skip’s online tutor when he was in prison, who isn’t
smart enough to know this scowling dude isn’t exactly dating material.
up: “Down and Out,” a washed-up boxer (Schroeder) becomes the unlucky
owner of a pair of cursed gloves that causes him to win every fight not
just with a knock-out, but by basically pummeling his opponent to death.
The choice to not show us too much of the action inside the ring is
probably a smart one, considering the vicious outcomes–along with the
fact that Martin Scorsese did not direct this segment. But the only
chill you will get watching how it all plays out is if you left your
sweater at home.
Did I mention this is the best-told story of the bunch?
No. 2, “The Byzantine Order,” we are suddenly thrust back to the early
1900s to witness the gathering of a Shrine-like club of lodge members
preparing to initiate a new member. Amid much phony quaintness is the
suggestion that something truly twisted and sadistic this way comes.
Instead, it is something confusing and stupid, most notable for
featuring a trombone-playing exotic dancer who stashes her baby in a
giant cake–the one she uses to jump out of in her act. Huddleston at
least returns to his Lebowski glory days as a grand poobah who bosses
everyone while ensconced in a wheelchair.
third vignette concerns a nervous mental patient who is considering a
leap from a tall building onto the city streets and a carny-like fast
talker who suddenly materializes nearby and claims to be a member of a
“Suicide Club,” in which bets are placed on those about to take their
own lives. The fourth and most off-putting of the chapters, “The
Author,” features a hit man with a horrendous Cuban accent who taunts
and terrorizes three women chained to a wall to find out which one hired
him to shoot a sleazy owner of a girly mag.
all comes round again to the faux Old West, as we see whether Uncle
Rico has gotten through to Skip in any way with his feeble fables. While
the finale at least puts the notion of an evil locker to some practical
use, it might have been better if the filmmakers simply stored all
the copies of "Locker 13" inside the haunted contraption and threw away