Nicholas Cage and Neil LaBute Owe Me $7  

MissAnnThrope 56F
11679 posts
9/6/2006 5:45 pm

Last Read:
3/8/2009 10:29 pm

Nicholas Cage and Neil LaBute Owe Me $7

Well, $10.75 if you count the soda I bought at the concession stand.

Don’t read this if you plan on seeing the movie, and you haven’t seen the original. Or if you want to form an opinion on this hysterically funny remake by yourself. It is full of spoilers.

Saturday, I went to see the remake of “The Wicker Man”. Before I even went in the theater, I knew they didn’t go for the cop-out. A woman was leaving saying, “I can’t believe they let my Nicky burn up like that!” She was also practically on the verge of tears. “Cool!” I thought to myself. But I also realized I was in for a bad movie, just from the votes at the IMDb. But as I’ve been trashing the idea of a remake on the boards there, I felt I should at least see the movie to trash it properly. Which I have been doing over there, since I got home from seeing it.

The first thing fans of the original will notice is, there are no corn rigs and barley rigs over the credits, but a generic Hollywood, trying to be scary soundtrack. All the songs are gone, as Neil LaBute didn’t see them as hymns or music sacred to the islanders. He saw them as hippie folk crap. I swear, this man would remove the music making a documentary about the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

On the credits, if you count, there are eighteen producers. That is never a good sign. In this case, it was a really bad sign. It’s also a very bad sign when the entire audience laughs through the movie. Well, except for the group of 13 year old girls, who were determined to scream at everything and then giggle. But yes, for all the warnings of how bad this was, I discovered the comedy hit of the year! OK, so all the laughs are unintentional, they were trying to make a scary movie. But this is one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a while!

The movie opens with Cage, who is a highway patrol officer in California in a truck stop, looking through the self help books on tape. Yes, he’s one of those “I’m OK, You’re OK” types. He spends his days riding around on his motorcycle, on practically deserted roads, writing tickets. Nope. He’s no Sgt. Howie. His name is actually Edward Malus in this. Malus is a type of apple, which is one of the few references to the original.

Next is the scene in all the commercials and trailers. The car crash. He’s such a good boy, when a little girl flings her doll out the window of a moving car, he picks it up and stops the car, as mom is too much of a bitch to pull over and get it herself. How do I know this? Mom knew the kid tossed the doll out the window and when she’s pulled over, she asks if he got the doll… Yeah, parents just keep driving when their kids throw things out of windows.

Well, the kid does it again right after she’s given her doll back and while Malus is retrieving her doll, the car gets hit by an 18-wheeler head on. It explodes as he’s trying to retrieve the child.

Well, this turns Malus into a pill popper having hallucinations straight out of “Don’t Look Now.” He’s taken a leave of absence from the force. He’s visited by a female cop from the station, who brings his mail and asks if he‘s taking the promotion to detective. Included in the mail is a letter from his ex-girlfriend Willow Woodward, (she’s far from the landlord’s daughter in this one,) who is living on a small island in Puget Sound called Summersisle. Not Summerisle this time, but Summersisle. As someone on the IMDb boards pointed out, the extra S stands for superfluous. In her handwritten letter written with perfect calligraphy, she tells him her daughter has been kidnapped. Yeah, an island off Washington State, in the sound and she’s writing to a CHIP for help? But he’s in such a drugged out haze, that he feels the need.

When he goes back to the police station, he visit’s a good friend who’s a detective. Look sharp for a missing poster at the police station, with a picture of Edward Woodward on it. The ONLY person from the original who didn’t publicly denounce this remake, so tribute is paid to him with the character names and the poster. His friend tells him to tell Willow to inform the father of the missing child. Malus is more interested in the fact it arrived without a stamp than anything else. None of these cops are too smart. She left him six years earlier and it’s her six year old daughter who is missing. Nope. No one is putting two and two together.

Well, pill popping Malus decides in his drug haze to take off to Washington. While he’s on the ferry, he tries to call his detective friend, but of course, his cell cuts out. He bribes a pilot into giving him a ride to the island. It’s not official police business this time. Then again, I don’t think the California Highway Patrol would allow their cops to use the helicopters to take off to Washington.

Well, Summersisle is different to say the least. As soon as he walks up from the docks, he’s surrounded by women who want to know what he’s doing there. Women who look like lumberjacks, actually. No men in sight. This scene is about the ONLY scene in the movie where lines from the original aren’t used badly and actually work. But of course, they add to the scene, which has everyone at the IMDb asking, what’s in the bag? While he’s talking to the women who greet him when he arrives, two of the drones come on the scene, holding a dripping, squirming bag. It’s obvious something human is in there, but Malus is such a GOOD detective, he flinches when he tries to look in the bag and it moves and we never discover what’s in there.

Well, the new Summersisle doesn’t grow fruit, it doesn’t have world famous apples. The only source of income for the island is organic honey. So when he gets to the inn, all they serve is mead. Because you know, in the original, as they grew apples on Summerisle, all there was to drink was Boone’s Farm Apple Wine. *cough*

Well, most of the women are named after plants and trees. The innkeeper isn’t MacGregor, but Sister Beech. The exceptions to the rule are Sister Honey, the innkeepers’ helper or daughter, we never know and Sister Summersisle, the queen bee of the island, who is revered as a celebrity in this one, instead of being a woman of her people as Lord Summerisle was a man of his people in the original.
The inn is nice and quiet. The women are sitting at tables, chatting quietly as they drink their mead. So what does he do? He starts banging on the bar to get their attention, like in the original, but there is no singing and dancing going on that he has to do that. Which is one of the funniest moments in this remake. No one is singing the praises of Sister Honey in this one, even though the island is inhabited by mostly very butch looking women. Ah, but the scene in the inn is where we find out Malus is allergic to bees. Good thing honey bees have stingers that can’t penetrate human skin, right?

Well, after Willow arrives at the inn, with so much collagen in her lips it looks like she’s been had at by Africanized honey bees. The innkeeper gives him a room, grudgingly. He listens in as they talk downstairs about the day of death and rebirth. May Day is never mentioned in the movie and he has no idea what May 1st means, as he’s lived under a rock his entire life.

In the morning, he’s trying to get the last bit of honey out of a bear shaped container. He asks why they’re using store honey, when honey is the main product of the island. Sister Honey tells him the honey harvest failed the previous season. Um… Did the bees go on strike or something? Bees will produce honey no matter what. Then again, there didn’t seem to be the favorable honey bee plants on the island, I saw no red clover or goldenrod. I saw lots of high non-flowering grass. It’s especially funny as the beekeepers of the island are pulling honey out of hives in large masses in other scenes. So the bees must have been on strike.

This is one of the things that really bugged me with the remake. While in the original, Sgt. Howie was a detective who actually did detective work to unravel the mystery, every bit of information is spoon-fed to Malus. I’m amazed the man could even tie his shoelaces by himself. Every time Malus tries to say it’s a police matter, they have to remind him, Washington State is out of his jurisdiction and he really has no right to be on the island, too.

All the women on the island are blonde. Except for Sister Rose, the schoolteacher, who is dark haired. And a real royal bitch. The scene at the school there are no boys doing the Maypole dance, as boys don’t get educated on this island. Only the girls. Yet there’s a Maypole that’s already been danced around in the schoolyard.

Sister Rose is a royal bitch. She’s not one bit gracious as Miss Rose was in the original. She tells Malus that Sister Willow is in denial, that Rowan is dead and buried. He goes off to the graveyard and who is waiting there to tell him that that grave isn’t Rowan’s? Why, Willow, of course. Who tells him that Rowan is his daughter, something the audience already knew. No shocker there. She also tells him she knows they’re holding Rowan hostage, that something bad is going to happen to her and that he has to find her. He still doesn’t understand why she should have called the FBI or the Washington State Police to come investigate.

He also learns this mother of the year reject went to the store for a half hour or so, leaving Rowan alone. When she returned, she was gone and all her possessions were gone too. Kidnapped without a trace. Yet she calls a man who is out of his jurisdiction to investigate and he still doesn’t get he’s being set up for anything.

Well, he goes to see the doctor, there are bunches of pickled fetuses in the office. We have to assume these are the boys born on the island. She tells him Rowan is dead, burned to death, to exhume the body, he has to go talk to the queen bee, er, I mean Sister Summersisle.

Well, somewhere in here he goes wandering the island and is attacked… By killer bees! Obviously they’re keeping Africanized honey bees, as he’s stung to the point of not being able to give himself his shot. And get this… All the hives in the field are set up in the shape of a honeycomb! Ooooooh! Spooky! Or so the music wants us to believe!

He wakes up surrounded by drones and the doctor. He’s told he’s in Sister Summersisle’s house. That they didn’t give him his shot, they healed him using the old ways. That they almost lost him, stealing dialogue from “The Wizard of Oz.” He finally gets his audience with Sister Summersisle. Who tells him how the island was founded by her ancestors. They left Ireland to escape persecution of the witches. Yeah, the Ireland witch hunts were ever so famous, weren’t they? They reached the fevered pitch of the hunts in England, Germany and Spain. *coughbullshitcough* So of course, the Summersisle clan settled in Salem, Massachusetts, where they were made to feel unwelcome too, not to mention persecuted. Um… The people accused of witchcraft in Salem were good Christian folks. Historians and scientists have pretty much proven already that the witch hunts and the symptoms of being bewitched were due to ergot poisoning, after a very wet summer, where the rye went moldy. LaBute may know all about beekeeping from his Mormon roots, but he knows nothing about the history of the witch trials, or how the biggest trials involved rainy seasons and the symptoms of ergot poisoning.

But I digress. After Salem and the witch trials, they moved to this outpost off the coast of Washington State. Reaching it before anyone else went westward. Uh-huh… Which is why all the women and children are from “Village of the Damned” with their blonde hair and blue eyes. There were lots of big, blond Swedish men living in an island in Puget Sound when they got there, so they didn’t have to interbreed with the local tribes.

He asks about the men on the island. He’s told, “men are a very important part of our community. Breeding, you know.” One of the funniest scenes in the movie. But wait, it gets funnier! She uses lines from the original, telling him she thought she already had given him permission to exhume Rowan. Then she tells him his transport has arrived. Is it a horse and buggy, like in the original? NO! It’s a bicycle that the butler drone is wheeling up for him!

Well, he goes to dig up the body. No one helps him this time. Every time he hears a noise, he starts yelling, “Rowan? Rowan? Rowan?” By this point, it’s gotten very grating. But he gets the coffin dug up and is there a march hare inside? No! There’s a burnt doll! That looks just like the burnt doll from the car wreck! Cue the spooky music and noise from the crypt!

The crypt that was locked when he was there with Willow. But this time, it’s unlocked. So, he goes in. There’s a well with a heavy metal grate over it in the crypt. Odd place to keep the well, if you ask me. He finds a sweater that belongs to Rowan. So he decides she’s done a baby Jessica and is down the well. He takes the grate off, and dives in. While he’s swimming around looking for Rowan, someone puts the steel grate back on and locks him in! He has to hold on for dear life, until morning when Willow finds him and rescues him! I couldn’t understand her mumbling, so I don’t know if it was Rowan’s doll or not in the grave.

But it is now morning and it is May Day. Er, I mean the day of death and rebirth. He bike jacks Sister Rose at gunpoint, when she comes wheeling by on his bike. He pulls a gun and tells her to step away from the bike. Everyone in the theater was dying at that point. He then starts looking in every house to try to find Rowan, as Willow has told him straight out she thinks they’re going to sacrifice her.

Once he’s done searching, he goes back to the inn. There are Sisters Honey and Beech getting ready for the celebrations. He starts beating women at this point. He punches Sister Beech in the jaw so hard, she passes right out in a bloody heap. Then Sister Honey attacks him and it’s a huge fight scene that’s pretty damned brutal. After bloodying her up, he steals sister Beech’s bear costume for the procession. Because, they can’t have the fool costume in this one, as the fool is king for the day and this movie is every bit misandrist as it is misogynistic.


So, onto the procession. Everyone in animal costumes, except for Sister Summersisle, who has on Braveheart face paints as she leads the procession. They get where they’re going and there is Rowan. Malus beats the shit out of another woman and takes Rowan and runs. At one point, he loses the bear costume, but keeps the fuzzy slippers on. That just adds to the humor. Finally, Rowan, who is awfully quiet for the scene leads him right to the den of bitches, er, I mean witches, er, I mean bees. They tell him that he has to die, he’s a sacrifice. Now, instead of as it was in the original, where he came to the island of his own free will, a virgin, a man of authority, a fool and king for a day, in this version, he came of his own free will and he’s a good candidate for sacrifice because the sacrifice has to have a blood tie to the island. That tie is Rowan, his daughter. We also learn that Willow is Sister Summersisle’s daughter!

He’s told once again how the honey harvest failed miserably. He says, “Killing me won’t bring your goddamned honey back!” We’re all rolling in the aisles at that. Then he starts screaming, “Bitches, you bitches!” Intense laughter from the audience.

Well, as he tries to fight his way out, he karate kicks the drones in his bear slippers, which had the audience in stitches. He’s finally captured and this is where the MPAA made them delete scenes, as they didn’t want a dreaded R rating, they wanted a PG-13 rating. So while we don’t see them breaking his legs, we hear a nice Hollywood post production voice over: “ARGH! You broke my leg! NOO! You broke my other leg!” We’re all dying. The scene that is the most intense, the audience is howling with laughter. Then they tie his legs to a pulley and haul him up to the head. Yet in spite of him being pulled up by his broken legs, he’s no longer screaming.

Well, guess who gets to light the thing on fire? That’s right, Rowan! It goes from him yelling, “Don’t do that sweetie,” to him using intense profanity towards a six year old child. Well, there is no joyous singing of “Summer Is A-Cumen In” in this one, but instead, a vicious, evil chant of “Kill the drone!” He’s not a good Christian, he’s into self help, so instead of him singing “The Lord Is My Shepherd,” we get Hollywood screaming. If this movie was a little worse, it would really be high camp.

Well, that’s not the end in this one. Oh, no. Flash forward six months. Sisters Honey and Willow are in a bar on the mainland, looking to pick up men. One of whom goes to the police academy. As it ends, you all but expect to see them winking at the camera.

This is going to win all sorts of awards, I’m telling you. If it doesn’t sweep The Razzies, there is no justice in the world. This is the worst movie of the year. They should invent a Ed Wood, Jr. Award just for this movie.

Fluffies have been complaining about this movie all over the IMDb boards. One went so far as to say, she can’t have a bonfire this year, as the neighbors will think she’s roasting cops. It is so obvious they haven’t bothered to see it. No religion is named, the religion is made up for the movie. Bees are venerated by Mormons. Honey is sacred to the Orisha Oshun. Santeria is an offshoot of Catholicism, therefore, not Pagan at all. But all the fluffy Wiccans have been out in force, screaming about this movie. If they had seen it, they would see it’s insulting to Mormons, women and beekeepers.

Nicholas Cage insisted as one of the eighteen, count them eighteen producers that this movie be dedicated to his good friend, Johnny Ramone. It was his favorite movie. If he saw an advance script of this remake, he probably died in self defense, so he wouldn’t have to answer questions such as, “what did you think of it?”

BaronessK 52F

9/7/2006 2:43 am

Like Titanic, I have to say, "They actually spent time and money to MAKE this?!" Makes you feel almost like you're wasting even more time to trash it, which it deservedly does if nothing else, but did you manage to sit through it? I so...would have gone to sleep! OH! I just figured out why they make the theatre seats so damn uncomfortable!

MissAnnThrope replies on 9/9/2006 4:01 am:
You know, I laughed all the way though "Titanic" too.

I forced myself to sit though it. Because, well, the IMDb boards for the movie tell the story. "The neighbors are going to think we're burning a cop if we have a bonfire this year!" "Pagans don't do that! We worship nature!" (which is why they're burning fossil fuels to provide electricity so they can be online.) But the arguments by people who haven't seen it are ridiculous, so I was determined to sit through it so I could call the fluffies on being the assholes they truly are. And of course, so I could trash it here.

This movie so deserves the Golden Raspberry this year. In all categories. Cage's acting is so over the top, he's so miscast, his hairpiece and glowing white teeth seem to indicate he had the same makeup person Johnny Depp did for "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." I just had to sit through it, to see him die. And then fantasize they were really killing him.

(What the fuck is this shit..?? *rolls eyes*)

9/7/2006 2:11 pm

    Quoting rm_Dysgyzed:
    About the only merit I can see with this film is that one could take 5 year-old children to it, make them keep their eyes open during the wreck scene, and then tell them in low tones..."See what happens when you throw things out of the car?"

    Thanks for the laugh...I enjoyed thinking about Cage screaming about his broken legs! HEHEHEHE...They want scary...they should ask US!

    *Still Giggling!*
AdultFriendFinder comment...O.K. fine now I'll have to go rent both and see for myself...Thanks just one more thing on my shit I need to do list that won't get done....Ready


MissAnnThrope replies on 9/9/2006 4:05 am:
The original has just been re-released by Anchor Bay. But only the theatrical version. You want to see if you can find the extended version anywhere, which I think is only on VHS, unless you know someone with the wooden box boxset. The remake is still in theaters, wait for the DVD. Don't waste the price of admission on this one.

OboesHonedIambs 62F

9/7/2006 9:30 pm

Nah.. I'm NOT wasting my money on crap. I LOVE the original Wicker Man! Thanks for the warning MissAnn. And good luck on getting your money back!

Instant Human -- Just Add Coffee

MissAnnThrope replies on 9/9/2006 4:06 am:
The original is one of my favorites, but the fluffies are screaming about that one too. How never in history has a Pagan actually sacrificed a human being. They really don't know their history very well. But they're incredibly amusing in their self-righteous, Christian hating, morally superior way.

OboesHonedIambs 62F

9/9/2006 12:02 pm

MissAnnThrope replies on 9/9/2006 5:06 am:
The original is one of my favorites, but the fluffies are screaming about that one too. How never in history has a Pagan actually sacrificed a human being. They really don't know their history very well. But they're incredibly amusing in their self-righteous, Christian hating, morally superior way.

Now, I'll join you in being irritated at that. But the fluffies are part of a broader American problem with the propensity toward being ahistoric and ascientific. When I saw the Wicker Man, the first time it was evident that it drew on ancient practices. I remember thinking at the time that the ideal sacrifice would have been Sgt. Howie giving it up to the lovely Willow. One of the subtexts of the story was around the opportunities he was given to do just that and his upright one-way rigid Christian certitude that self denial was the proper course of action led him to his doom because of his inflexibility of mind and an ungiving spirit. Just my .02

Instant Human -- Just Add Coffee

MissAnnThrope replies on 9/12/2006 1:05 am:
The original movie drew on the written chronicles of Julius Caesar and Robert Graves, "The White Goddess" for most of their information. While Caesar's account of the burning wicker man was second hand knowledge, fluffies tend to forget that he was a pagan too. Wasn't it the Roman pagans who fed the Christians to the lions? But no, if you listen to fluffies, pagans never practiced live sacrifice, no Christians were fed to lions, the Thuggee cult of Kali weren't technically pagans, as they weren't worshipping the sun and the moon, etc.

Now, as far as Sgt. Howie giving it up to Willow, he did have to use every ounce of strength and prayer not to do so. But had he given it up to her, then Rowan would have ended up the sacrifice, as he would have no longer been suitable. So, by being sacrificed, he actually did his job. He found the girl and he saved her from being burnt to death. The real question is, as he was incredibly guilty of the sin of pride, did he take his place with the saints as a martyr?

Steel_Legs 58M/F

9/13/2006 4:09 am

And people say I write long posts!?! You're a genuinely entertaining writer. You're completely wrong about everything, but you're talent is unmistakable.


PS - If you read my comment to your comment re: "The path to stupidity", you will recognize this comment as sarcasm, perhaps even self deprecating sarcasm, as the fist five words of the second sentence completely undermine the point of my comments ref. to earlier, (and that may be the worst sentence I've ever written - sorry).

PPS - I STILL Really do like your blog.

MissAnnThrope replies on 9/13/2006 8:46 pm:
Um, thanks. But could you stop with the Ann Coulter School of Debate crap?

Steel_Legs 58M/F

9/24/2006 9:58 pm

    Quoting Steel_Legs:
    And people say I write long posts!?! You're a genuinely entertaining writer. You're completely wrong about everything, but you're talent is unmistakable.


    PS - If you read my comment to your comment re: "The path to stupidity", you will recognize this comment as sarcasm, perhaps even self deprecating sarcasm, as the fist five words of the second sentence completely undermine the point of my comments ref. to earlier, (and that may be the worst sentence I've ever written - sorry).

    PPS - I STILL Really do like your blog.

Wha.- ! - huh,.&???

O, sorry - I tried re-reading your post thinking I might have erred in my interpretation and I inadvertantly dozed off. Lady, you are a painfully boring writer.

Hey, I tried compliments and only pissed you off. The weird thing is that I'm being sincere now, just as I was then.

You've acused me of being a stupid redneck right wing dolt, (not your exact words, but I think I got the gist about right) and all I've ever done is write that I think you're not 100% correct. I never said I had all the answers. I only said that you don't and the fact that you have no clue that you are not omniscient scares the hell out of me.

I don't believe you're being pissed the fuck off has anything to do with me or my comments, I'm fairly certain you're pissed off all the time, for whatever reason is convenient.

Oh, and who is Ann Coulter and why would I need her help to debate you?

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