Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bateman Begins

(this is a continuation of a blog entry that started here, regarding the seminal 80s classic Teen Wolf. We now continue by viciously mocking its terrible, terrible, terrible sequel)

Sexy, until you realize her coat is made from the pelt of Michael Fox's character from the first film.

This flick tells you how vestigial it is right up front. "Teen Wolf Too." It isn't done out of some attempt to be clever, as far as I can tell. It isn't a pun but in the most loose sense. This is literally one step from "Teen Wolf Oh Yeah This Other Guy Went Through The Exact Same Shit."

This is a film so bad that it makes good, funny people seem uninteresting and bland.  Case in point: the film's star, Jason Bateman.

Shown here mustering up his most bland and uninteresting expression for the occasion.
Teen Wolf Too does Jason Bateman no favors. To judge him based solely on this performance (as so many of us did at the tail end of the 80s), you'd be forgiven for thinking he was just one of a million interchangeable dudes who are technically competent at acting, able to hit marks and deliver lines and wear outfits. You'd have no reason to think he was especially capable of, say, playing the lead in one of the most ingenious, subversive, clever, downright hilarious television comedies ever broadcast and pulling it off with aplomb, self-awareness, crack comic timing and a flawless deadpan, all of which helped him stand out even amidst a murderer's row of talent in the show's ensemble.

Maybe the best sitcom of all time, folks.
It's somewhat of a minor miracle that he was able to ever show us this side of him.  And I largely blame Teen Wolf Too for keeping that hidden for so long. It is just one of hundreds of things to hate about this film.

To say Teen Wolf Too is the perfect definition of "unnecessary" is a slap in the face to American Idol, but it's a shoe that fits. It is the perfect movie to watch if your only goal for the evening is to make the first Teen Wolf film appear well-paced and nuanced.  It is a tired, cynical, wheezing attempt to recapture what people inscrutably liked about the first flick, calculated right down to the bitterness you can feel wafting off of the screen from the producers' ire that they couldn't talk Michael Fox into a cameo.

Every chance they had to remind you of Teen Wolf, they took. The film never had a chance to stand on its own merits, partly because it had none but also because the whole script appears to simply be an all-caps edict to "MAKE 'EM REMEMBER THAT ONE GUY OR SITUATION FROM THE OTHER MOVIE THAT HAS THE GUY WHO IS A WOLF."

For instance, the main dramatic through-line is once again about "Regionals," which I'm pretty sure colleges don't give a shit about, but they'd already set a movie in high school and, y'know, didn't want to repeat themselves.

At the very least they trade basketball for boxing, as we're told in the opening scene by the college's dean, Gomez Addams, that his reputation as an educator somehow depends on how his boxing team does at the regional championships.

Not the short road to accreditation that he thinks.
To that end they've given a full-ride sports scholarship to Jason Bateman due to a clerical error, as Bateman is an egghead with designs on a degree in science, and possesses absolutely none of the genetic skill in athletic competition that previously benefited his cousin, the Lilliputian basketball phenom from Beaconton named Michael Fox.

Perhaps Bateman put "the sweet science" on his registration form and they misinterpreted.
We meet Bateman as he's being driven to college by none other than Michael Fox's dad from the first film, because that makes total sense. They discuss this briefly to cover for how unlikely it is, but manage to muddy the waters ever further by alluding to what will happen when the university inevitably discovers that Bateman is attending the school under quite faulty scholarship pretenses.

"I promised your mom and dad I'd look after you, but that doesn't extend to making a phone call to the college to clear up why you have an athletic scholarship and are likely to have your higher education tied up in bureaucratic red-tape as a result. Have fun!"
They also discuss the possibility that Bateman has the wolf gene or that it has once again skipped a generation, as every billboard they pass reads "FORESHADOWING!" in giant letters, and Bateman is certain that he isn't lycanthropic, and that his parents love him and haven't just abandoned him.

In a twist no one saw coming, these are his parents.

And they aren't at the university for five minutes (indeed, we're only seven minutes into the film) before Bateman runs afoul of this film's version of The Pop-Collared 80s Prick, who tries to pick a fight with Bateman over a parking spot.

Averting a confrontation, Bateman and his uncle carry some boxes of belongings to his dorm, where we're shown that his uncle clearly doesn't give a shit about the kid's welfare whatsoever since Bateman is to be roommates with everyone's favorite sociopathic piece of shit, Stiles! And Uncle Dad knows what a Cancer this prick is, and how his own son barely escaped having his life ruined by his association with this dickhole, but somehow doesn't run across the room and strangle him.  Perhaps he just doesn't recognize Stiles, as a different actor is playing him this time around.

For whom exactly one picture exists on the whole of the Internet.

Chubby is also attending this very college, and is sitting in this very room, and is being introduced to Bateman by that very nickname. The fucking guy isn't just called "Chubby" by his friends, it's how he's introduced to complete strangers. Perhaps the most cruel unspoken undercurrent of this whole series of films, that.

So, fuckwad Stiles has somehow changed all of Bateman's classes, already fucking over Bateman's life just moments after meeting him. Bateman heads to the registrar's office to change them back to what he originally signed up for rather than just leaving his college education to the whims of a sociopath. After standing in line and watching the old battle-axe lady in the office shoot down every schedule-change request, Bateman takes his turn and trots out an old tried-and-true trick to get the job done.

"...and also, a keg of beer, if there's one back there. I'll wait."
Bateman heads to one of the science buildings and meets one of his professors to straighten out his class enrollment, and while he's there he meets-cute with some girl who, unless I missed it, isn't given a name for nearly an hour of the film's run-time.

"Yeah, it's Science Girl. My parents were weird hippies. Good thing I wasn't into the arts, huh?"
Bateman makes a strong first impression on Science Girl by helping her with the microscope she's using by finding the Lubris Protozoa slide she was looking for. He makes a lot of eye contact and really enunciates as he says Lubris Protozoa to her, which is maybe the worst double entendre ever, but it seems to lubris her right up, so maybe I'll just defer to Bateman's panty-dropping prowess here.

"That's right. Slide this slide right into the microscope , where it fits perfectly and feels so good..."
That taken care of, Bateman heads to the gym to meet with the bizarrely Aspergers-esque boxing coach, who happens to look eerily like the late 1980s porn legend John Leslie.

Shown here appreciating a really good jab-uppercut-jab combo.
Coach is a bit unhinged, which we knew from when he already coached high school basketball at Beaconton High, but in this film it was obviously decided that whatever was mildly amusing in small doses would be GODDAMNED HILARIOUS in giant heaps. So the coach is given nothing coherent to say at any point in the film, in the hope of recreating the "never get less than twelve hours of sleep per night" speech from the first film. Indeed, he goes off on a bizarre rambling anecdote about a kid with birth defects, because that's wacky and quirky and not depressing in the slightest!

Oh, and of course Chubby's on the boxing team. There is no fat person in the history of the world who is as active as Chubby is, otherwise they would be string-bean thin in a year's time. You cannot name an occupation or hobby that Chubby isn't depicted doing in these two films. He's a true Renaissance man.

They weren't all "mainstream" hobbies.
That interlude behind us, Bateman runs into Science Girl again, this time in the library as they each reach for a book through both sides of a bookshelf (because that's a natural thing to do; just reach through all the books on your side of the shelf so you can grab at some book whose title you can't even see because its spine is facing the way it should be) and proceed to tug-of-war for it for an awkward and medically impossible few seconds. Seriously, look at the 21:00 mark on the DVD and tell me how human beings can do that given where we can plainly see their elbows. Inspector Gadget would have had difficulty pulling it off.

Bateman has had a bad day, between being forced to box for scholarship money, rescheduling his entire freshman class plan, and being made to cohabit with the ambulatory piece of human feces that is Stiles. And now, on top of all of that, he can't check out the book he wants! College is ruined!

Maybe pick up Elementary Psychological Coping Mechanisms. Audit it, at least.
Worse still, he'll never be able to check it out, since Science Girl doesn't bother to check it out herself, instead just stuffing it in her bag and walking out of the library without a clear understanding of how a lending library works. Moments later she confronts him on the front steps and gives him the (stolen) book as some sort of fucked up olive branch, or perhaps just to make him the fall guy to cover her escape.

They make up and decide to go on a date, and Bateman's flirting here makes my brain hurt when I try to remember that this is the same guy from Arrested Development.

It's no "I like grass because it isn't sand," but what is?
Bateman and Science Girl bond by sitting in a concert hall and making flirty almost-eye-contact as they listen to three violinists and a cellist somehow playing synthesized keyboard music (I couldn't make this up), and I realize with some horror that Science Girl still has no name.  Given his unquestionable mastery with the ladies, what is Bateman going to yell out at the height of ecstasy later tonight or, hell, two songs from now in this very concert hall?

Before you even try, he's heard every "Master Bateman" joke you could think of.
I don't really understand what happens next, but it involves Gomez Addams forcing Bateman and some girl to dance together during some sort of fancy cotillion. I don't have a fucking clue what any of this means, and I'm not about to research the plot intricacies of the Teen Wolf sequel to nail it down. Just suffice to know that Gomez Addams evidently arranges marriages in his spare time, given his utter insistence on getting his way with this weird matchmaking skill he thinks he has.

"Now, Ass To Ass!"
I guess this was the filmmakers' attempt to inject a blonde obstacle a la Pamela Wells, to gum up how easily Bateman is charming his way into Science Girl's pants heart. The difference then was that Michael Fox was actually interested in Pamela Wells, which made for friction with his childhood friend Queef. This time it's literally, "Here, dance with this pretty blonde with an off-putting exaggerated Southern accent! Now look over her shoulder to see Science Girl sadly leaving with a stabbed-through-the-heart look on her face! Oh, and if you can, grow some creepy Hot Topic fingernails as you watch her go! Yes! It's perfect!"

To her credit, Off-Puttingly Southern Blonde slow-dances with him with all the enthusiasm of a woman being made to play Twister with her rapist. Perhaps this is not the first time Gomez Addams has had her dance with a random dude at a cotillion to serve some macabre means only he can understand.

Now Bateman undergoes the full transformation to werewolf, presumably due to the stress of watching Science Girl leaving. All of this seems very familiar to Chubby, who looks on with worried recognition that this, yet again, will mean having his own achievements dulled by a werewolf who can do everything better than he can.

Which, of course, is now "first-chair tuba playing." This man is everywhere.

And finally, nearly half an hour into the second film in the series, we get something approximating an honest reaction to having just watched someone turn into a werewolf in full view of the room, when Off-Puttingly Southern Blonde disgustedly remarks, "You're a dog. I've been dancing with a dog." No quick-acceptance-now-let's-play-a-game-of-basketball for her. She genuinely looks revolted.

It's an expression which serves her well just seconds later, when Bateman hurries out of the room and somehow manages to launch a bowl of slime (punch? Nickelodeon Gak?  I have no idea) into the air and onto her dress and hair.

Well, it beats what Gomez Addams was going to spray on her after the cotillion, at least.
Confused and in dire need of a friend, Bateman makes the tactical error of daring to share any aspect or moment of his life with 519th-trimester abortion Stiles, who rolls right into his self-serving spiel about how much money he'll make off of this, assuring Bateman that "everything will be fine if you just wander around campus as the wolf, because I didn't learn jack shit from when this happened to my buddy in high school, all of which will make sense years later when I take my first glimpse inside the DSM-IV and start reading the symptoms for sociopathic behavior."

Not everyone on campus is as "supportive" as Stiles, though. We see one scene of some irascible punks sliding a petri dish filled with fleas (because every college has those, right?) beneath Bateman during a lecture, which miraculously makes only him itchy and antsy while leaving everyone sitting around him unaffected and watching him judgmentally as he makes a quick scratching exit.

And then, finally, blessedly, Science Girl is referred to as Nicki, merely 33:45 into the film.

Hookers offer their johns their real names more freely than this gal lets us in on it.
As you'll see, this will have no bearing on nor further mention in this write-up.

Science Girl may have her reservations about the wolf, but they are shouted down pretty thoroughly by her desire to have Jason Bateman's tongue in places her dad would not likely approve. Lots of pre-sexual banter follows, none of which is as clever as what my lady and I came up with on the fly while watching them ineptly flirt their way toward the bedroom.

"You're not neutered yet, are you? Come tap this before Bob Barker finds you."
"It's college. I'm allowed a beast-curious phase."
"We're not limited to just doggy-style, are we?"
"Something about Milk Bones and doing it."
So, freshly fucked and ready to concentrate, Bateman remembers the whole boxing-for-scholarship subplot of this alleged comedy, and heads back to the gym to take part in a fight. Of course, Coach is randomly flossing his teeth while he discusses things with Bateman pre-fight, in accordance with the edict that he now always has to be saying or doing weird non sequitur shit.

Bateman's team is going up against a much-better-prepared looking team from another college. Frankly, though, Gomez Addams wouldn't have to worry about regionals if he just put Chubby in for every fight, as we're shown when Chubby hops in the ring and proceeds to confuse collegiate boxing with Thunderdome cage fighting, stopping just short of ripping his opponent's head off and drinking from his neck hole.

The other team's coach boastfully tells our Coach that "That's the last fight you're gonna win..." in an attempt to intimidate him.

Except for the fight against gingivitis, of course.
Then the other team's coach brings The Pop-Collared 80s Prick into the ring, I think. Might not be the same guy who tried to beat Bateman's ass over a parking spot, I don't know. Either way, this guy is the clear villain of the piece, unless you count the screenwriter, director, and every single one of the producers.

I'm not remotely joking when I tell you that this douche enters the ring while wearing a pair of shiny reflective aviator glasses, and I found myself hoping against hope that Teen Wolf Too would abandon the last vestige of logic to which it was desperately clinging, and let this clown engage in a boxing match while wearing his stupid fucking glasses. Alas, I would go wanting.

Just BARELY, though. The shades came off roughly three seconds before the opening bell.
Now the film resumes the proud series tradition of providing us with the worst film depictions of a given sport ever put before a camera. Wildly telegraphed haymaker punches, no sensible footwork or foot planting, barely any attempt at blocking... just like a disciplined boxer does it.

If I may digress for a moment, it really is never explained why merely being a werewolf makes Michael Fox and Jason Bateman better at sports. I'd really like at least a token explanation, even in the form of Boof sauntering out with a cooldown cigarette and her hair all tousled as she purrs about how "he's better at everything, girls. Trust me on this..."

Needless to say, we don't get this. Instead Bateman turns into a wolf and beats up a dude, and everyone is bizarrely accepting of this. At no point does anyone raise the question of whether turning into a wolf and suddenly being good at boxing is some sort of NCAA substance abuse violation. Lance Armstrong can't get a good race time in Super Mario Kart without accusations of performance enhancing drug use, yet this fool can improve as a fighter in a split-second before everyone's eyes and we're all just fine with it. And in this insane world, we still are denied the opportunity to watch a dude box in aviator glasses.

I'll never forgive you, Teen Wolf Too.
Now Bateman is unsure how to proceed, now that everyone is keenly aware of his wolf status. "Luckily" for him, he knows the walking pustule known as Stiles, who assures him, "Have no standards*, Stiles is here!" while coming to his aid with plans for a big party.

(*may have actually said "fear")

At said party we're shown that Bateman evidently had time between his classes, his boxing schedule, and wildly rutting with Science Girl to choreograph a dance number with a team of backup dancers to accompany his embarrassing lip-sync karaoke display he puts on at this college party, all actions that we know lead to popularity and continued invites to future parties.  Seriously, when did they have time to rehearse this Fly Girls dance routine? Since the boxing match earlier that day?

And of course Chubby is the fucking DJ at the party, spinning records like a lucid nightmare that DJ Jazzy Jeff once had, and hoping the party finishes in time for him to get to his other past-times as a tuba player, boxer, basketball player, gynecologist, butcher, baker, candlestick-maker, and rodeo clown.

The Dark Rodeo We All Walk, In The End.
Then a bunch of students randomly destroy a table filled with snacks, and the party descends into rioting, evidently solely because of bad karaoke and a sloppy shot of film run backward to make it look like Bateman leaped from a makeshift trampoline and landed perfectly on a second-story windowsill. That, or they just really hate Chex Mix.

Evidently this counts as a success, for we now see the embodiment of mankind's suffering, Stiles, making a killing by selling all of the unsold merchandise he can finally roll out again, which he's been holding onto since he was in high school and which he brought with him to college just in case he met another werewolf, I guess.

Or so I thought. A closer look at the shirts and stickers and cock rings in Stiles' collection shows that it's all branded with the "Too" that lazily serves as the film title's appendage. This begs the question of what Stiles is going to do when he selfishly wishes to profit from his friends' lycanthropy after they are no longer teens. Surely even this prick knows that no one will be clamoring to buy a "Legal Drinking Age Wolf" tee-shirt.

No time for logic, though, as we're quickly swept into another wacky montage of Being Popular With the Student Body Because You're a Werewolf!  This begins with perhaps the most absurd shot of the series, in which the reason the terrorists hate us, Stiles, seriously plays a game of Frisbee with Jason Bateman exactly as a dog and its owner would, introducing a terrible subtext to their relationship that I cannot bear to think about.

Especially when there's so much laughing to be done at the 48:30 mark on the DVD. DIGNITY!
This rapid-fire montage continues with a quick shot of Bateman, as the wolf, clearly breaking a fellow collegian's spine by punching him out of the ring like Mike Tyson, onto the scorer's table, as everyone cheers the horrific paralysis of one of their fellow man.

We then speed through a litany of opponents getting their asses handed to them in the ring by Bateman.  "Honey, it's my dream role! I'm gonna be the seventh boxer who falls to the mat during the 'Bateman Always Wins' montage! Surely this will open some doors and I'll finally book that local tire-retread service commercial I auditioned for!"

You see how it jump-started the career of the guy playing the referee.

We also see insert shots of The Aviator Glasses Prick looking unenthused, which may or may not be related to anything happening in the film. Pop-Collared 80s Movie Pricks are rarely happy with anything in life. At one point he growls, "Every dog has his day, and his is mine..." as if that's supposed to be menacing rather than indicating a recurring concussion problem.

We're also treated to Bateman driving like a maniac in a sports car provided, for some reason, by Gomez Addams. This joyride, with Chubby riding shotgun and alternating between looking thrilled and alarmed, includes an attempted Vehicular Manslaughter perpetrated on Patrick Duffy, who Bateman cheerfully runs down from behind while Duffy rides a bicycle around campus. I'm not sure how this scene was designed to make us laugh or think that Bateman is cool, because he just flat-out runs a cyclist off the road and nearly kills him.

In my notes I have written that my lady, at some point in this montage, spat, "What's wrong with his makeup? He looks like a retarded werewolf." I don't recall which moment this refers to in the montage, though that's probably due to it blending in so thoroughly with the tapestry of retardation that went into every aspect of this film.  Although I imagine I'd look pretty deranged with joy if I'd just almost run over Patrick Duffy.

Try surprising America by coming out of the shower after that one.

Immediately after this, Bateman ejects Chubby from the car to make room for some sluts who are eager to get railed by a dog and have gone into heat themselves to help facilitate that happening. Hos before bros? Not cool, Bateman, not cool.

Although I know at least one dogg who'd condone it.
Back in class for frog dissection, Science Girl tells Bateman off for his cavalier and careless womanizing ways, all while dipping her hair in the formaldehyde dish in front of her. At this point we're asked to believe that someone attending college actually yells, "FROG FIGHT!" and everyone responds by standing up and throwing their frogs around the lab instead of looking at this person sideways and silently hoping he flunks out sooner than later.

Hardly the strangest thing to occur in Bateman's life.
Bateman escapes the frog fight and tracks down Science Girl on the steps outside the building, likely tracking her by the scent of fresh formaldehyde in her hair, and they continue to argue. At one point Science Girl says, senselessly, "I never thought I'd say this, but I miss the old Todd."

To which my lady cried out, "Why did you never think you'd say that? You're head-over-heels for 'the old Todd' and you don't like the wolf!"

Perhaps dazed by this airtight statement, Bateman apologizes and they make up, heading straight to the local miniature golf course so that at least half of their planned evening is wholesome and able to be described in mixed company.

"Yeah, 'wheelbarrow-style.' Twice."
Invariably the Aviator Glasses Prick is playing mini-golf at the same time, and he and his entourage storm up to talk shit to Bateman.  Aviator Glasses Prick is just about to throw a punch when one of his buddies grabs him and yells, "NOT HERE, GUS! We can't have you shit talk at Putt-Putt! Is nothing sacred? Save it for a roller rink, at least!"

Aviator Glasses Prick, who we now know is named Gus, proceeds to hold up a golf ball before Bateman and crush it to rubble in his fist, which we know is physically impossible and thus forces us to ask if this clown just carries Styrofoam balls around with him everywhere. What if he wants to intimidate someone but there's no mini-golf course nearby? Does he have to carry Styrofoam likenesses of dozens of items to cover for every contingency? I guess that explains his need for a large entourage.

Back at the dorm, Bateman once again makes the critical error of engaging in conversation, rather than repeated abdominal stomping, with Stiles.

I told you photos of him were in short supply.
Stiles, who somehow got into college in the first place despite his pride in every D minus he received in high school, is now qualified to give life advice. First off, the scene begins with someone referring to him as "Mr. Stilinsky," which is exactly the lazy naming convention you'd expect, while also raising the chilling question of whether the film's shepherds have also determined that a "Mr. Chubbinski" rooms in this dorm.

Secondly, Bateman asks what he's become, and Stiles, with great meaning and import, says, "A jerk."

The day that fucking Stiles tells you you're a jerk is the day you should probably just walk into the ocean. The movie should have ended right then, with one final scene of Bateman heading to the bathtub with a straight razor.

Instead Bateman recognizes that his family has truly left him for dead, and so he calls the one member of his extended family who returned for the sequel. Because the filmmakers had very few sets and probably a very short shooting schedule, Bateman and Uncle Dad meet in the gym where we've seen every boxing scene in the film.  Glad you drove all the way here, Uncle Dad, so we could meet in the gym at my university instead of just talking on the phone, but hey, it gives you a bit of screen time, so whatever!

For what it's worth, Uncle Dad believes in Bateman and wants him to compete in the regional boxing championships as a human being.

"I watched my five-foot-four son win a regional basketball tournament a couple years ago, so anything's possible. The less we say about how badly they got slaughtered in the state tournament afterward, the better."
Uncle Dad brags about how he used to box back in the Spanish-American War or some such, and then proceeds to teach Jason Bateman the fundamentals of boxing in a single evening that still proved so unremarkable that it didn't even get a montage in the film.

Now re-dedicated to boxing, classwork and his love life, Bateman confronts Science Girl and tells her he loves her, despite that I'm pretty sure they met roughly a week ago.  Newly together, they retire to the quiet privacy of a dorm room for a night of feverish cramming.

"We should also study for finals, if there's time after."
During the "cramming for finals" montage we are treated to Bateman wearing perhaps the single worst sweater of the 1980s. I combed the Internet for it. I'm genuinely sorry I can't show it to you, because the alternative is recommending you rent Teen Wolf Too, and there are limits to my misanthropy.  You'll have to get by on our knee-jerk comments as we watched him study in this eyesore:

Me: "What is that fucking sweater?  Is this Spider-Man cosplay?"
My lady: "Spider-Man Cosby-play, maybe."

And then we arrive at
The Single Creepiest Scene in The Film, at the 1:14 mark on the DVD, as Bateman is in the locker room preparing for his regional boxing championships. At once he is accosted by Gomez Addams, who sneaks up behind Bateman with a deranged "time to get my murderin' on!" look on his face and grabs Bateman by the hair on the back of his head to better intimidate him, then yells into Bateman's face for nearly a minute about how he'd better wolf out and win this championship or else, spitting wildly on Bateman the whole time.

So, in summary, Gomez the Rapist storms in while in a crazed rage, holds a student by the hair and sprays body fluid on him while growling about how "I still run this school!"

Late 1980s porn legend John Leslie approves, as long as it's consensual.
So, shaken up by almost certain sexual assault, Bateman heads into the ring to box as a human being rather than a wolf, and we're given yet another showcase of a sport being depicted in a manner that is wholly convincing, if you aim to be convinced that the filmmakers have never heard of nor seen the sport they're depicting.  I've seen characters in the Rocky movies blocking punches more often than the participants in this supposed regional boxing championship.  The fight choreography in The Bridges of Madison County was tighter.

So, Gomez Addams watches as Bateman enters the ring as a human being, and yells to Bateman that his college education is done for. On his way out, though, Gomez Addams is stopped by the nice lesbian professor who had told Bateman that she saw something special in him, earlier in the film. She is in protective mode, telling Gomez Addams to lay off of Bateman and let him earn his education, or else. Then she gives him some tail, which is far less erotic than it sounds.

Unless you're a furry enthusiast, that is.
Never mind that none of the other werewolves we've seen so far have tails. This film has not the time for logic! Nay!

The fights continue, and I don't know what happened to Chubby, but he is quite simply not the roaring gladiator we saw in the ring earlier in the film. With a big assist from the film's foley artist I can tell you that Chubby's match at regionals consists of him taking NINETEEN uncontested punches before bothering to throw his first punch, which is then immediately rewarded by his being punched twelve more times. Then he starts swinging the sort of wild haymakers we've come to expect from this film, landing maybe five of the seven he throws, ending the fight in his favor. Chubby is the greatest and worst boxer who ever lived.

Other fighting happens, but it's all a blur as we speed to the big final match between Jason Bateman and none other than Gus the Aviator Glasses Prick.  Now, I know this movie was a bit slapdash, but I'm not shitting you when I say that the actor playing the ring announcer introduces Steve "Gus" Gustavson using at least twice as many syllables as you just did in reading it.  No one on the set bothered to teach him how to pronounce it, nor correct him once he got it wrong every time they rolled a camera?

And, as you might expect, a guy who has actually earned a legitimate boxing scholarship is faring far better than the dude whose only advantages are based on lycanthropic performance enhancements he's no longer relying on, and who just got taught how to box last night by his uncle.

Gustoffississon is just whaling on Bateman, but it's hard not to think of him as the hero of the film for one bright shining moment, what I like to call
The Absolute Highlight Of Either Of The Teen Wolf Films.

Bateman has just been backed into the corner, and Gustavvissiffissivon is moving in for the kill. For some goddamned reason, Stiles pops up at ringside to offer moral support to Bateman, and then Gustaffissivission gets to live the dream of every human being who has had to watch this prick exist in an unpunished state for the past two films, at exactly the 1:22:35 mark of the film, when he punches Stiles in the face and sends him flying out of frame.  Maybe the most satisfying single second of film I've witnessed.

Such euphoria.
It seems that Gustaffissississon's best move, though, is to point at his chin as looped dialogue yells "COME ON!" and "HIT ME!" more clearly than anyone could ever enunciate around a mouthpiece. This happens endlessly throughout the match. Maybe he's trying to bait Bateman into going on the offensive so that Gustaffiffississon can claim self-defense.

Watching his friend get pummeled, Chubby picks up a pebble and throws it at the bell, prematurely ending the round. Everyone seems fine with this Looney Tunes approach to problem solving, and no one at the scorer's table nor in the crowd seems to care that the previous round lasted roughly half as long as it was supposed to.

The crowd has bigger fish to fry, though. Bateman looks ready to collapse, and his corner men are Chubby and Stiles, who couldn't even benefit from a quick day's training from their uncles in how to be boxing corner men beforehand. So things are dire.  What does the crowd do?  Unbelievably, they're rallying by chanting "TEEN WOLF TOO! TEEN WOLF TOO!" again and again. I was in disbelief, certain I was hearing it wrong, but the subtitles confirmed it.

This room full of people are cheering on a guy who's making a point, and a very risky stand, in persisting in boxing as a regular guy rather than a wolf... by yelling the name of the goddamned movie at him.

The next round begins, with the estimated punch tally decidedly in Gustavifivifivison's favor by a roughly 4723 to 5 margin. Seconds after the round begins, Todd is on the mat and the ref is counting.

We then get one more reaction shot of Gomez Addams, way too happy to watch a kid get beaten nearly to death.

"He's so sweaty... glistening... hit him again!...nngh..."
We then sweep through quick shots of Chubby, Freshly Punched Stiles, Uncle Dad, Science Girl, and Lesbian Professor, each shown looking on with worry in their eyes. Science Girl makes eye contact with her possibly brain-damaged boyfriend and mouths "I love you," giving Bateman the strength to get to his feet as the ref's count reaches nine. Re-energized by the power of love, Bateman releases a heretofore unseen flurry of competence, knocking Gustaffivifivifivifivifississoffivvosson out and winning the match.

And the film's not yet run out of ways to carbon-copy its predecessor, as Bateman makes his way out of the ring and absently pushes aside the Off-Puttingly Southern Girl everyone forgot about an hour ago, to get to Science Girl.  Because that was such an indelible moment when Michael Fox pushed Pamela aside to go hug Boof, it was worth recreating shot-for-shot, y'know?

And it's all a happy ending, unless we count that the college is still run by a corrupt rapist, that Stiles is still allowed to attend the school and reside within 500 yards of an elementary school, that Bateman's parents are off somewhere living their lives completely unaware and uncaring of the accomplishments of his life, or that this film exists in the first place. We can all pretend that things were better back in the day, but we all have to live with the shame of having allowed Teen Wolf Too and its aggressive mediocrity to be wrought on society. Our childrens' childrens' children will look back on us as such simple creatures, and they'll do so with no small amount of pity.

There's more creativity on display on those fake book spines than in the entire film advertised.

1 comment:

  1. Moments of brilliance, Witty, moments of true brilliance. And your write-up was good, too.