Friday, August 19, 2011


"SUPER" (2010)

At the recommendation of a friend, I watched "SUPER", starring Kevin Bacon and Rainn Wilson.

It is such a terrible movie, I am compelled to offer this warning-review to any dad out there that may not have seen it but is considering doing so. "Super" is one of the most child-inappropriate movies I've ever seen. Easily as inappropriate as "Drive Angry" with Nicholas Cage- both of which feature simulated sex. But while "Drive Angry" keeps it's sex in the consenting-adults, fornicating department, "Super" delves into depictions of Rape, and maybe even a little pedophilia.

By this point in the review, you are undoubtably thinking I'm some kind of religious zealot. Not at all. While I am a Christian, I don't shove my beliefs in your face. I respect the freedom of choice God gave you to choose whatever belief system you want. But I found this film to be particularly blasphemous.

I'd also like to point out that I love movies. When asked what my hobby is, I always list "watching movies" first. And I regularly watch crappy movies- particularly the saturday night schlock on the Syfy Channel. I love that stuff. However, had I not spent money on "Super" I'd have stopped watching it very early on. And I've only ever walked out on one movie: "Johnny Be Good" (1988). But at least I laughed in that one.

Before I proceed to rip this movie apart, and impart on you, why you, as a dad, should never waste your hard-earned dough or that nearly two hours of your life on it, I'd like to acknowledge the good things about "Super".

It is under two hours in length.

It has incredible acting from Rainn Wilson and Kevin Bacon. I knew Kevin Bacon was good, but I never knew the weird guy from "The Office" could actually act.

The movie is perfectly made. Fantastic Direction from James Gunn. Despite it's incredible offensiveness, I'd definitely watch a movie of his again, simply because he directed it. It looked good, was edited tight, and was masterfully done. Things I normally couldn't care about. Too bad the subject matter was such crap.

The special effects were top notch. I normally bitch about bad special effects right off the bat- sometimes as I'm leaving a theater even. But "Super" was superb in the effects department.

Liv Tyler is in it. Even made up to look like her crack whore character, Liv is still a beautiful woman.

Michael Rooker and Kevin Bacon are in it. Being the B Movie fan I am, that alone is enough to get me to watch it.

The opening credits are a cartoon... that is better than the whole movie.

It more accurately protrays firearms. I always hate in movies how firearms are often protrayed inaccurately merely because the writer is either an idiot, or too lazy to work around real world physics. In this film, firearms do damage that isn't 100% real-world, but a hell of a lot closer than you'd expect. I also liked that some of the characters were portrayed as if they knew how to shoot, with Weaver stances, aiming, and what not.

Okay, that's about it. You might notice I didn't mention it's funny. Because it isn't. I didn't laugh out loud one time. Not because it's offensive. "Hot Tub Time Machine" is pretty damned offensive, but I laughed so hard I was crying during that movie. "Super" just isn't funny.

Let me give you a quick synopsis of "Super".

Rainn Wilson's Frank is a cook in a local diner. He has married Live Tyler's reformed crack whore waitress. He chalks this up as one of the two greatest moments of his life- the other being the time he pointed where a fleeing robber had gone to a police officer. Frank is a weird dude with a history of being picked on, as graphically illustrated in flashbacks that include children urinating on him and his prom date having sex with another guy. One day, Frank's wife leaves him- going to shack up with Jacques (Kevin Bacon) the owner of a local strip club and an drig dealer. Frank tries to get Sarah (Liv Tyler) back, and gets the crap beat out him by Jacques' henchmen (which include Michael Rooker). Frank, after watching a parody of the Bibleman TV show, has a vision of God visiting him, touching his brain (after cutting open his head with tentacles). Frank takes this as a sign he should become a superhero. He sews together a shitty-looking costume and embarks on a vigilante spree- beating up drug dealers, child molesters, and some guy that tries to cut in line at the movies. Frank eventually reveals his secret to the 22 year old (but looks like she's 14) girl at the local comic book shop (Ellen Page). She creates a costume and becomes his side kick. Together, the Crimson Bolt and Boltie go out to fight more crime- beating up a guy who may have keyed Boltie's friend's car. In the end, Frank and Boltie do a ful scale assault on Jacques' mansion- during a very important drug deal. This is right after Boltie effectively rapes Frank in her home (that's the pedofile bit). During the assault, Sarah is raped by one of the drug dealers. Boltie is killed in the assault. Frank saves Sarah, who then leaves him a few months later, remarries, and has multiple children- who send "Uncle Frank" drawings regularly. Frank sits on a bed in his room, the walls covered with such drawings, narrating that his purpose was to save Sarah.

I just saved you two hours of pain.

Is this a movie about a mentally ill man who regresses into a comic book world when his wife leaves him? Is it a commentary on how ridiculous the concept of costume-clad vigilantes is? Is it an excuse to feature a 40-ish man having sex with a child-like girl? Is it an excuse to mock Christianity and Christian television and comic books?

A better question might be, what could have made this movie better?

A better ending for one thing. They made me sit through one and a half hours of highly offensive content, only to have the "hero" lose the girl in the end.

They could have let the sidekick live. Libby (Ellen Page) was clearly a disturbed kid herself. And even though the film takes great pains to point out she is 22, she still appears to be a child, and her complaining that she hasn't screwed anyone in some time, then forcing Frank to service her, was stomach churning.

Maybe "Super" was an attempt to sicken folks who normally like super hero films?

When you look at my synopsis, the movie has great premise. Scumbags being beaten by a crazy vigilante. Problem is, that's been done, and much better: "Punisher War Zone" (2008) is a movie about a mentally disturbed man who dons a costume and begins a serial-killing spree against criminals. I love that movie. It's great fun. "Super" on the other hand wants to punish me for liking the whole comic book premise. It shows me nothing but negativity.

I think the best part of "Super" was when Libby rams a bad guy with Frank's car, pinning him against a wall. It breaks the guy's legs, and almost disables Frank's car. Realism, with some gruesome, yet deserved violence. I liked it. Too bad that 4 minutes was smack in the middle of this hour-forty movie.

If you want a "realistic" super hero movie, see "Kick Ass" or maybe "Defendor". "Super" is more disturbing than it is entertaining.

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