Monthly Archives: August 2011


Boring: Los Angeles (Hoorah!)

So, every once in a while, I like to live-blog a movie as I watch it. I wasn’t going to for Battle: Los Angeles, but I was complaining about it so much that it seemed only natural. I should warn you that I started blogging about 20 minutes in, so it starts abruptly.

For background (according to IMDB): “A Marine Staff Sergeant who has just had his retirement approved goes back into the line of duty in order to assist a 2nd Lieutenant and his platoon as they fight to reclaim the city of Los Angeles from alien invaders.” Rottentomatoes has Battle: Los Angeles sitting at 20% with the Top Critics (who the hell would care about the other critics?), and rightfully so. It’s all kinds of stupid, as you’ll see. Let’s get this over with.

• Oh look, the dorky redheaded kid is a virgin AND he vomits. For the rest of my life, I will always remember dumb-looking soldier #4.

• They’re walking down a smoky street and they can’t see. The suspense is killing me—what if something happens to one of the 15 interchangeable main characters??

• Ah, the tension is broken because it was a dog. I’ll bet that’s totally all it is and none of these people are going to be killed. This is like Horror Movie 101 for Dummies.

• And an alien fires an explosive device and kills a couple of Marines. Shocker.

• A little tip to all you directors out there—battle scenes that are entirely shot with medium shots and close-ups are painfully difficult to watch. There are  these things called establishing shots and a long shots, both of which can be used to give some kind of bearing for the audience so we know where the hell the characters are in relation to one another. You taking notes, Michael Bay? Share them with whomever screwed up Quantum of Solace—I don’t care enough to look it up.

• That’s it—shake the camera even more! “Wow! It’s like I’m right in the middle of the battle too! It’s so realistic!

• No worries. Aaron Eckhart got them out of that nasty situation. Aaron, what the hell are you doing in this movie? It seems like the role was meant for someone else. Like John Cena.

• Oh no, one of the Marines isn’t with them. So they’re going to go find him. Oh shit, it’s the dumbass redheaded kid! How could I forget about him??!

• And he just spilled laundry detergent all over himself. Shouldn’t there be like wacky music playing whenever he’s on-screen?

• He found an alien! And they killed it together. Ummm…yay?

• Oh gods, Ana Lucia is here. And she’s sassy! “I didn’t get here just because of my good looks.” ZING! Wait…zing?

• Now they’re searching a police station that is deserted…or is it??? Probably not.

• Nope, they found civilians…including kids. You know what improves every action movie ever? Kids. Just ask Jurassic Park.

• The helicopter took off and left Eckhart, Lucia, and some others (including the kids!). Then the helicopter was destroyed by aliens. Subtle, daring message about how you shouldn’t leave kids behind to be killed. But will America listen????

• This thing is like paint-by-numbers. Now two Marines are arguing about how it’s no one’s fault that the chopper blew up. Apparently, they lost some good men up there.

• Aaron Eckhart wants his commanding officer to be more assertive. Aaron Eckhart is The Decider!

• Now we’re being introduced to the kids. The director has officially given up on having us care about the main characters and hoping that some kind of paternal instinct will kick in and deep down we’ll care about the children out of some evolutionary obligation. Nope. I don’t want to sound like I’m exaggerating or anything, but I would rather see the entire human race extinct then suffer through crappy kids thrown into movies.

• I am absolutely amazed at how much movies like this cost to make, and yet how stupid the alien special effects look. District 9 cost a fraction of this budget, and it looked (and was) absolutely badass

• And the little girl is coloring. Do you get it, people?? She just wants a return to normalcy!

AUTHOR’S NOTE: You’ll notice a bit of a jump here. I’m dead serious: I nodded off. Yeah, I did. Los Angeles is being destroyed, and I was bored to sleep. Let’s see if I can dive back into the action and somehow pick up this oh-so-complex plot.

• More running through the streets. Yawn.

• And now the kids are running.

• And the firefight continues. Jesus, I don’t think I’ve ever been this bored watching a movie filled with explosions.

• The civilian man grabs a gun and is shot. But not before taking out an alien. So easy, a civilian can do it!

• You know, movies with quasi-incompetent aliens aren’t scary. Alien aliens? Scary. Predator alien? Scary. Hell, even Independence Day aliens were badass in their own way.

• Now the lieutenant is decisively dying. But he’s dying bravely like a MAN, so I guess it’s okay.

• Seriously, he shouts out “Hoo-rah” over the radio before he dies. I never understood the phrase, “War is hell” until I watched this movie.

• Now everyone’s sad. Well, not everyone. I’m nodding off again. Come on Josh, you can do it!

• Now Aaron Eckhart is in charge. I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise.

• The civilian is dying and makes the Marines promise to save his son. Save me instead.

• They see news footage of a ship and determine that must be controlling the aliens. If they destroy that ship, the humans win!

• They’re back at the airfield, but everyone has been killed. Seriously, I’m not even joking—they could somehow kill me on-screen (hopefully via CGI), and at this point I would just kind of shrug my shoulders in relative indifference.

• The kid is holding onto the hand of his dead civilian father. Just imagine how much more I could care if: 1)   I had the slightest clue who the guy was 2)   The kid could act 3)   The writers gave me a reason to care about this person other than the fact that he wasn’t an alien trying to destroy Los Angeles 4)   The kid could act

• God, the kid is “crying” because his dad died. Well, it looks like laughing, but I think that’s supposed to be crying. Man, if I didn’t hate the aliens for destroying half of Los Angeles, I certainly hate them now for killing ol’ Whathisnuts! Think of the children!

• Aaron is delivering a soulful speech to the kid that starts off, “Marines don’t quit.” Was this guy really in Thank You For Smoking?

• You know what’s better than a stirring monologue? Another one that follows roughly 45 seconds later. Totally effective.

• Holy shit! Eckhart knew one of the Marine’s brothers who died in another battle. Eckhart rattled off the dead guy’s serial number or whatever. Tears were shed. Eyes were rolled.

• Ana Lucia after running over aliens: “They’re going down like bowling pins!” Is that an actual expression?

• An alien just landed on the hood of her Humvee. She shot it and the head exploded, spraying slimy stuff all over her. Ana Lucia: “I got that nasty stuff all over my mouth!” Guy driving the Humvee: **laughing** “You let him do you on the first date??” I literally almost vomited. Was this movie written by like a computer or something? It has all the necessary elements—textbook, really—but nothing seems to fit together. Seriously, that was disgusting.

• They’re evacuating. Throw those damn kids out of the helicopter and salvage this movie.

• Seriously, say “civilians” one more time. We get it, you’re Marines.

• Now they’re going to recon where the alien headquarters might be, in the hopes of taking out the alien drones so the military can win. In second grade, I wrote a 14-sentence story about a blue whale that learned how to walk so he could play with dinosaurs. This movie makes that look epic in comparison.

• Alien ambush!!!! But the Marines killed them. You know, for as grave a threat as these things are supposed to present, these guys don’t seem to have too much trouble killing them.

• Now they’ve found the main alien ship that, if destroyed, will win the war for the humans. Again, I have to go back to the invincibility of aliens being directly related to the how scary they are. Entire race being immobilized because one ship is destroyed? Not scary.

• Oh noes! They killed that one nameless Marine!

• The aliens have a tank-like thing…that was destroyed by a grenade launcher. How in the hell are these creatures winning the battle?

• Ana Lucia kills another alien. I should have been counting how many aliens this ragtag group of misfits have killed. It’s a lot. I mean, there are like, what, 5,000 aliens? Maybe? Seems like a decent-sized army could make short work of them.

• The Marines are trying to destroy the ship by calling in air support by using a laser-targeting device. They have to put the laser beam on what they want the missiles to hit. I’m sure it’s supposed to be dramatic, but it looks like a gigantic slide projector. QUICK! SOMEONE LOOKS AT THESE PICTURES FROM ALCATREZ  ISLAND! SEE? THERE I AM IN A PRISON CELL! NOW THERE’S MY SISTER IN A PRISON CELL! NOW HERE’S ANOTHER SHOT OF US BOTH IN THE PRISON CELL!

• The last missile brought down the ship, and now all the aliens are dead. For realsies. All gone.

• Generic congratulations from a generic commanding officer.

• Wait a minute—did that officer just say “Hoorah?” Are these Marines? Why didn’t they hint at this earlier in the movie?? I had no idea!

• Ahhh, and even though the Marines are supposed to take a break, they’re going right back to the front lines. This is like boot camp porn. And that’s the end. Thank god.