Let me get real with you after I turn my chair around backwards: there are too many movies out there. There’s so many that I know I won’t ever see them all, or even all the good ones, or even just the ones that I would enjoy. There’s just too much! But I can’t deny the cultural impact of a lot of movies I have no intention of seeing, and this has put me in quite the dill of a pickle.
Thanks to my superior problem solving skills I’ve decided to compress the time I would have spent watching one of those movies into researching a whole bunch of them instead. Because my attention span is garbage, this means I pretty much just skim IMDB plot keywords until I get the picture, then cast judgment and move on. Not only is this process more efficient, but I also assume that these assummptaries (copyright 2015 Shaun Gannon) are accurate interpretations of the films.
For this first run, I’ve decided to review a bunch of Charlton Heston movies. This is mostly because he’s too macho for me to connect with him as a protagonist, but since I have different levels of familiarity with each of these four movies, I can showcase this incredible format in a variety of scenarios.
The assumptary format involves grabbing a bunch of the “Relevant” keywords on IMDB, then leaping to conclusions. If you don’t feel like sitting through thirty hours of bare-chested tentpole snorefests, here’s a roundup of reviews to skim and pretend that you fully read.
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956)
The Ten Commandments is up first because I’m very familiar with the story due to my unfortunate education in a Christian primary school, but I haven’t seen this adaptation. That means I can judge this version of the story by its merits in the best possible way, besides watching the movie.
I’m seeing the basics necessary to tell most of the Moses story – “egypt,” “pharaoh,” “chest whipping,” “wrath of god,” “desert” – but it seems to get sort of redundant after a while. If there’s a “depiction of god” then there’s clearly a “reference to god,” and “talking to god” is definitely considered an “act of god.” Besides the redundancy, “dead boy” and “festival” are a bit too close for comfort, so there are probably some poor choices in chronology and editing by deMille. One thing I didn’t expect, though, was “femme fatale;” not sure who that’s supposed to be. Maybe some hottie named “afi?”
The most important of this set of keywords are “golden calf,” “hero,” and “bully comeuppance.” These lead me to believe this adaptation finally shows how the cute cow mascot of the downtrodden people served just desserts to the biggest bully of all time: God. 6.5 out of 10.
Like The Ten Commandments, I have never seen this movie, but in this case I have no knowledge whatsoever of its story. At first I thought I had a little knowledge – that it had something to do with Spartacus – but then I remembered that that’s Spartacus.
Unless “Roman Salute” has more to do with “gay interest” than with “politics,” Ben-Hur is probably a movie about Romans enslaving people through wrongful imprisonment/convictions and forcing them to give victory parades in their honor. There are a lot of really messed up things on this list, the most of which is that both “jewish” and “jew” keep appearing together in these things. The redundancy of some of these IMDB keywords makes me suspicious that they’re compiled by some email-chain-spewing racist grandpas.
Other terms are less innocuous, though: “torch” and “oars” are pretty boring, but “antiquity,” “tile,” and “water fountain” sound kind of nice together. This would get a pretty mediocre score if not for three terms: “parade,” “gay subtext” (and just try to tell me a Gay Subtext Parade doesn’t sound awesome), and one of the best keywords I’ve ever seen, “talking to a horse.” 8.5 out of 10.
TOUCH OF EVIL (1958)
I was supposed to watch this in a film class when I was in high school, but didn’t because Charlton Heston in brownface is a load of bullshit. What follows is perhaps the best function of these assumptaries: making up shit about something you are disgusted by & want nothing to do with, then pretending that’s reality. It’s the American way!
Another movie rife with redundancy – if this is a “police procedural,” or even just a film including a “policeman,” it’s safe to say “police corruption” is involved. Not only that, but Touch of Evil is apparently so basic that the core requirements for creating a film, besides film, are included as a top keyword in “actor director writer.” Seems like the director could learn a thing or two from the classics….
All the police keywords explain the “law,” “murder,” and “drugs,” but none of the keywords explain Charlton Heston in brownface, considering “mexican” does not apply to the rictus-faced lead, or any other lead or secondary role in the film. (A little extra research shows that one guy in the movie is Maltese; that’s about as foreign as it gets.)
This all leads to a bad score. In fact, the only reason this film does not get an even lower score is due to the inclusion of, in ascending order, “throwing acid,” “turkey ranch,” and “shoe with severed foot in it.” Those alone could have led to a pretty good movie, but unfortunately that isn’t the case here. 3 out of 10.
PLANET OF THE APES (1968)
The final review of this roundup is for the movie of which I’ve actually seen the most: roughly two-thirds of it, in 15-30 second increments while flipping channels past AMC –
although not in any order that allowed me to figure out why people still care about this boring old skinfest. My mom has always been into the series for some odd reason, though, so I guess I’ll try to figure out why.
“hairy chest,” “nude swimming,” “male rear nudity?” Ugh, Jesus, Mom.
Well, even if I was into the barrel-chested “astronaut” look, the keywords “sole black character dies cliche” and “man forced to strip” are definitely not in my wheelhouse, so it seems like Planet is not so hot. Although “40th century,” “screaming,” and “lover” sound like keywords to an interesting, possibly even intelligent film, the utter stupidity of keywords like “caught in a net” and “writing in sand” show that it’s no surprise apes are the bosses of humans now. You’ve been in space, Charlton! That requires a degree! You should know what tides are. 4 out of 10.
Next time, I’ll review Michael Bay’s Transformers series, because I DEFINITELY have no intention of seeing those 2.5-hour metaphors of explosions as boners. Even though the first one is my brother-in-law’s “all time top-favorite movie ever,” according to his Facebook group memberships. It’ll be a BLAST!!
Shaun Gannon lives in the gun pried from Charlton Heston's cold, dead hands. His Twitter handle is GrouponFan888 and his website, with e-books and other available work, is shaunwow.tumblr.com. Goodbye forever
note: this is part of our Sight Unseen: a new feature of film reviews by writers who have not seen the films they are reviewing. Send submissions to [email protected]