For those of you who don't know, The Redbox is one of the coolest inventions of the last year.  Here's a picture: 

Basically, it's a vending machine in the grocery store that shoots out DVD's for a dollar a night.  This is amazing for a few reasons: 

1.  It's super easy to pick up a movie when you're at VONS at three in the morning and buying a frozen pizza and for some reason, renting a movie distracts me from the shame of buying a frozen pizza at three in the morning. 
2.  It's only a dollar. 
3.  There is no public judgment of your movie choice. 

The judgment factor is pretty important.  You see, before the invention of the dvd-robot, you had to actually hand a person the movie you wanted to rent.  This wasn't such a problem at Blockbuster, where the employees were all blank-eyed, soulless husks of people that were either A) too stoned, B) too apathetic or C) too illiterate to judge your movie selection, but the human interaction of renting a movie was problematic at regular video rental stores. 

For example, when I used to live in Berkeley, there was a video store downtown that I used to go to.  I hated this goddamn place for the following reasons. 

1.  The employees were judgmental assholes.   

Yeah, that's about all.  The selection of movies was fine and all, but I really don't need some pasty dude with a beanie snorting at me because I'm renting "Wild, Wild, West."  (Yes, the one with Will Smith and Kenneth Branagh and the giant scorpion spider...it was for a play that I was writing, I swear). 

I spent the next two years trying to rent a movie that was obscure or arty enough to impress the clerks, eventually got frustrated with crappy french documentaries and just alternated watching my VHS copies of "Hook" and "The Muppet Movie" (college was a lonely and confusing time). 

But you don't need to worry about all that with the Red Box.  The Red Box won't judge you.  You just tap the screen, swipe your credit card, and the robot will shoot out whatever movie you want to watch. 

Of course, this also presents a new problem.  Let me represent this with a formula: 

Lack of public judgment + minimal financial investment + DVD robot full of obscure movies = questionable movie selections. 

In the past year, I have watched some insanely awful movies from the Redbox, and I would like to share some of my favorite discoveries with you. 


It came from The Red Box #1:
     
The Civilization of Max Bright

The Civilization of Maxwell Bright

Okay, this movie had a few things going against it from the beginning.  It breaks two of the most fundamental movie laws: 

1.  Movies with long titles usually suck (see: "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End").   
2.  Movies with a character's name in the title usually suck (see: "Patch Adams").
3.  Longish titles with a character's name in the title that star with "the" usually really suck.  

Actually, The Wendell Baker Story is the only other movie I can think of that qualifies for number three, and that movie was awful (with the exception of the fine work of Joe Wilson as a member of the Aryan brotherhood). 

Well, The Civilization of Maxwell Bright is even worse than that.  A lot worse.  Let me hit some of the highlights: 

Summary of the movie:  Puddy from Seinfeld (Patrick Warburton) plays an asshole named Maxwell Bright.  The movie starts with him having a naked argument with his girlfriend in the front lawn, ending with him getting hit with a rake and arrested by two female cops (female cops are all over this thing, by the way.  I think the director was trying to say something about emasculation or feminism or some such thing.  It got pretty weird).

Puddy gets out of jail, grows a beard, lets his life go to hell (as evidenced by the pizza boxes stacked in his apartment) and has his other asshole friends over to play poker.  Somehow Puddy gets it in his mind to get an Asian bride, then there's a really obnoxious montage of guys playing poker. 

He orders the bride, she comes over (the chick who played the Chinese bride is unbelievably hot, by the way), her and Patrick Warburton have sex for about twenty minutes of screen time (it was surprisingly horrifying to see Patrick Warburton in a sex scene, by the way.  Not like William H. Macy in "The Cooler" but still pretty uncomfortable.  I can't imagine it was much fun for the girl who played his wife, either...sorry, I lost my train of thought.  God, this movie was terrible). 

Okay, so some more stuff happens, Patrick Warburton does asshole things, the hot asian wife is really nice, Patrick Warburton does more asshole things, the hot asian wife is still nice, Patrick Warburton rips her clothes off in front of his poker buddies so they can see that she doesn't have a sideways vagina (yes, this actually happened.  It was one of the most surreal moments in a movie that I have ever seen), the marriage broker guy gets  mad (played by the villain from Ace Ventura 2 with a really bad ponytail.  It's good to see him working), it's revealed that the hot Asian wife used to be a buddhist nun...uhh...Patrick Warburton's still an asshole...something happens where he goes bankrupt...holy shit, the next part was insane. 

For some reason he barricades himself in his electronics store and starts shooting all the TV's, and it becomes this big hostage situation with all these cops outside (and they're all women, because that's how the director rolls) and then Puddy steps outside with a gun and him and the cops start yelling at each other and then he has a heart attack for some reason and goes to the hospital...

And nobody ever mentions the whole hostage thing again! 

It was completely insane!  I mean, waving a gun at the police has to be some kind of felony, right?  Not to mention the whole shooting a gun in a store and keeping his employees hostage.  I can understand that the cops would feel bad about him or whatever, but still, I don't think a heart attack buys you that much good will. 

This wasn't quite as surreal as the "sideways vagina" conversation, but still pretty damn close. 

Okay, so then Patrick Warburton goes to the hospital and the doctor (played by Jennifer Tilly, looking pretty frisky.  I'm still not sure if she's hot because of her voice, or in spite of it.  She should work more) tells him that he has cancer.  And not just any cancer, but movie cancer.  The kind where you only have three months to live. 

The movie then crams in a redemption story with a bunch of religion stuff (with a surprisingly good cameo from Lex Luthor's dad from Smallville playing a creepy preacher.  It must be difficult for that guy to find work that doesn't require him to play someone "creepy").  Eventually, Puddy finds buddhism, the Chinese wife falls in love with him, he shaves his head, she shaves her head, he dies, she says some more buddhist stuff, and then she goes back to being a nun. 

The end. 

Wow...I can't believe I spent this much time writing about "The Civilization of Maxwell Bright."   


Three good things about this movie

1.  The Chinese wife (Marie Matiko) is ridiculously hot.

I may have already mentioned this. 


2.  Eric Roberts. 

He has a supporting role as Patrick Warburton's best friend, and he basically plays the thing exactly like Forrest Gump which was awesome on many levels.  I love that Eric Roberts career has been turning around (well, with the exception of this particular movie). 

Does anyone remember "Best of the Best?"  How awesome was Eric Roberts in that movie?  Plus, it also had the late Chris Penn as the hill billy Tae Kwan Do expert...man, I really need to watch that movie again.


3.  The Chinese wife's ridiculously bad bald cap.   

Because it reminded me of this girl's equally bad bald cap in Shaolin Soccer

And that was a good movie. 

10/23/2010 02:06:20 am

He never goes to prison -- they arrest the gf after he is hit over the head. His life has gone to hell before this point as well. The fact he hates women sort of makes the presence of all these female professionals various easy to explain -- he has a thing about women with power. He says why -- there is this speech and everything -- he orders the wife. There was no "hostage" situation. He was in there shooting tvs so they couldn't be seized. Again, this was explained. He then collapses and goes to the hospital, finds out he is dying. Don't know why the cops don't arrest him for, what, shooting up his own tvs?

Not saying the movie was great, but what is with this business of it having such great mysteries or something?

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