Saturday, April 16, 2011

Netflix Dare: Sinners

SINNERS wants to be two things at once, the television show MIAMI VICE and the movie GOODFELLAS. The opening credits feature a wah-drenched guitar wanking over a calypso drum machine beat playing over shots of Miami beaches complete with boats and bikini-clad women. Then we are treated not to a voiceover, but a talking head doing his best imitation of Ray Liotta. This is intercut with gratuitous shots of men jumping away from explosions while firing guns. At the end of this, ahem, homage to Scorcese the talking head poses a question. "Sinners. Who the fuck ain't one?" Well, I'm happy to report that SINNERS does succeed in being two things at once. A steaming pile of garbage and a rancid vat of mule scat.

I think the movie is called SINNERS because all the actors in it look like porn stars trying to make a stab at a non-pornographic movie. The movie itself makes about as much sense as the in-between scenes in a porno. SINNERS is about fourteen different characters. Sinners, if you will. After about forty minutes, keen viewers will be able to extract two main characters from the jumble. Rizzo, a shlub mafioso type, is the talking head featured right after the opening credits. His longtime friend is a Rambo-type living a life of seclusion complete with tai chi and spear fishing in a tropical paradise.

It's an incomprehensible mess. The plot is so thin that it is constantly padded with non sequitur scenes of guys getting shot or a pair of tits. The sound is so bad that the characters are either impossible to hear or that the voices are totally fuzzed out from overdriving the microphone. And remember when I told you that SINNERS wants to be two movies at once? I lied. It wants to be at least forty-nine movies. I have compiled a short list of the many, many directions in which the movie tries to go. Give SINNERS a play and see if I'm not right--if you have the stomach.

19 minute mark: "At The Water's Edge" sounds suspiciously like "Under The Sea" from THE LITTLE MERMAID. Enough redundant footage of a boat to make even Robin Leach queasy.

20 minute mark: TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE . . . note the synth punching up the "scare."

21 minute mark: Wallowing in a dim room alone with a voiceover talking about mental instability is more than a little reminiscent of APOCALYPSE NOW.

24 minute mark: THE BLUE LAGOON

29 minute mark: Camera in trunk shot from Quentin Tarantino's . . . well, take your pick.

32 minute mark: The romcom of your choice.

33 minute mark: THE RED SHOE DIARIES.

33 and a half minute mark: LAST TANGO IN PARIS.

Is it just me or does the the Lilith Fair sounding song at the 34 minute mark say "apply your lip action?" Great lyrics from this tender ballad.

36 minute mark: Perhaps the actor playing Rizzo isn't as bad as I thought. He can do a piss-poor Ray Liotta and a piss-poor Joe Pesci. A nice bit of dialogue here: "Hey, did you forget who you're talking to? This is the Rizzo. The Rizz, baby."

36 minute mark: WAYNE'S WORLD. I didn't know the line "and monkeys may fly out of my butt" would work in any other movie.

47 minute mark: Shot of character running shamelessly ripped off from FORREST GUMP.

50 minute mark: Sleazy nightclub scene complete with cage dancers taken from perhaps the greatest bad movie of all time, ONE MAN FORCE. Only this time it looks like the club is set up in some dude's basement.

1 hour 9 minute mark: RESERVOIR DOGS style Mexican standoff.

1 hour 23 minutes: Assassination of clergyman a little reminiscent of THE GODFATHER PART 3. And this movie sucks almost as hard as THE GODFATHER PART 3.

Fortunately for me, SINNERS was bad enough to be at least somewhat entertaining. I would even say that it's so bad it's good, though most of the enjoyable parts take place in the first half. The last half an hour got to feel a little bit like slow torture, but it could have been worse. I could have been dared to watch JACK again.

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