Most of the time, of course, this approach only leads to heartache, disappointment, and pain. Sure, there are gems out there just waiting to be discovered- I hope, anyway. That's what keeps me coming back, what keeps me prowling the shelves at the video store. I'm a stubborn fucker and I was raised on a diet of Boston Red Sox games. I know what it is to hope, I know what it is to get kicked in the teeth, and I know what it is to hope a little bit more anyway. But damn, sometimes, after a movie has crapped on my neck, I stare at the box and I think "Why?" Then, if I've had some beer, I say out loud "Why?" After more beer I'll start yelling: "Why did you do this to me? I gave you a chance! I brought you home! Could been so beautiful...coulda been so right! We could've made a great pair, you and I, but noooo! You had to suck! Well, no more! No more fucking movies! I've had it up to here! Horror can just kiss my assssszzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz" and I pass out in a puddle of puke and DVDs. By the next day, however, I've forgotten completely about my drunken tirade and I'm suddenly making eyes at some new movie. Will my heart be broken? Most likely. But as Woody Allen says, "We need the eggs." He also sometimes says "Annie Hall is one of Stacie's favorite movies, but sometimes she thinks about my grossosity, you know, the whole getting it on with my lover's adopted daughter thing. This opens up a longstanding debate within her tortured mind about the separation of art and the artist, a debate that also comes to the forefront when she considers the works of Frankie Muniz."
My point is, I go to the video store and I read this on a box:
For ten years, the children of the world lay comatose, struck down by an eerie plague. And now, they've finally awakened to carry out a common mission: the complete annihilation of the adult human race. Viciously killing anyone over twenty, the zombie-like children spare no one, not even their parents. And as the few surviving adults run for their lives, the question still remains: who- or what- is behind THE PLAGUE?and I'm all over that shit. It's gonna be Logan's Run meets Dawn of the Dead meets The Bad Seed meets Children of the Corn meets Dawson's Creek! What...what, I ask you, could possibly be better than that? Yes, I said Dawson's Creek, for you see The Plague (2006) features none other than Dawson himself, James Van Der Beek.
The answer to "What could possibly be better than that?", unfortunately, is "Anything"...and the answer to "Who- or what- is behind THE PLAGUE?", unfortunately, is...err, well, we never find out.
Mr. Van Der Beek is Tom, a man recently paroled after spending many moons in the clink for killing a man in a bar fight...how very Roadhouse! Upon his reentry into society, Tom finds that all the children of the world are comatose. Society is virtually ready to collapse without the sweet sweet sounds of their laughter and their stupid baby tears. Before Tom can say "Wow!", however, the children wake up and go nuts, killing all the adults in sight, sometimes with guns but mostly by...umm...well, it looked like pressing. Tom leads a small yet ragtag group of survivors (including his ex-wife The 35-year-old Poor Man's Mischa Barton) in a race for, uh, survival. Armed with naught but a furrowed brow and a copy of Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, can Tom figure out what's going on and save the day? Yes...yes he can. And yes...I said The Grapes of Wrath.
The book, you see, plays a central role in the movie- perhaps the makers of The Plague fancied the film to be some sort of tribute or horror movie-style interpretation, I don't know. It's a weak analogy at best, although Tom (Ha, get it? "Tom"? Like Tom Joad? In the book? Holy fucking shit!) carries around the book in his back pocket all the time and the book ends up in the fucking back pocket of one of the children after Tom has nobly sacrificed himself. I tells ya, when the shot of the book poking out of the kid's back pocket came onscreen, I seriously wanted to punch everyone in the whole entire world. But anyway, check out this scintillating discussion of the book between Tom and his brother:
BROTHER: It's about the Great Depression, isn't it?
(15 second pause)
TOM: Oh yeah...and family, hardship, faith...
(15 second pause)
BROTHER: Huh. I thought it was about the Great Depression.
Isn't that meaningful and deep? It's like watching Oprah's Book Club come alive! Starring James Van Der Beek of television's Dawson's Creek! And those 15 second pauses I indicated up there? Wow, do they add drama! Like these exclamation marks! The more you use them, the better they are! Pause pause fucking pause! Wowee, those pauses dragged the pace of the movie down to such a crawl that I thought perhaps I had fallen into a coma myself! In fact I hoped I had so that I could soon awaken and...uh...press myself to death so I wouldn't have to watch the rest of the movie! EXCLAMATION MARK!
But no such luck. I was somehow awake through the entire thing, for which I guess I should be grateful- otherwise I would've missed the startling range of emotion displayed by James Van Der Beek of television's Dawson's Creek. I mean, get a load of this versatility, will you? It's so satisfying to watch a master of the craft at work.
1) Hey James Van Der Beek of television's Dawson's Creek! You've just returned home from a decade in The Big House. To your surprise, all the children in the entire world have fallen into comas, including your nephew! It's totally weird, right? Can you believe it? I mean, has the world gone mad? Am I right?
2) Hey James Van Der Beek of television's Dawson's Creek! All of a sudden, just like that, the children of the world have awakened from the comas and they're totally wreaking havoc! In fact, you just had to totally kill your nephew after he woke up, smashed your brother's brains in, and then tried to kill you, too! You must be wrought with confusion and grief, am I right?
3) Hey James Van Der Beek of television's Dawson's Creek! You've figured out somehow that in order to save the whole world you must sacrifice yourself to the children! You are about to give up your life, your soul, your Technotronic cassettes, for the good of humanity! How noble, yet how frightening! This is surely the biggest moment of your life, when you are about to step into the Great Unknown, the Great Beyond...but you're saving the whole world...wow! That's something! Am I right?
4) Hey James Van Der Beek of television's Dawson's Creek! The children have suddenly sprouted to be over 60 feet tall! And somehow, they've all turned into leprechauns who fart flaming unicorns whilst doing the Macarena! I mean, that's scary, but it's also funny, right? What a complex tapestry of emotions the giant leprechaun children weave into our hearts and minds...am I right?
See, people? That's range. That is what is called acting.
No, sadly the children did not turn into 60-foot leprechauns who fart flaming unicorns whilst doing the Macarena. If they did, this would be a very, very different review, and I have a feeling that I'd also be a very, very different woman right now. A happy woman. A woman who would be making out with the DVD box for The Plague, a woman who would walk down to the video store later on with her head held high, knowing that her eternal hope isn't always a burden- knowing that sometimes, just sometimes, dreams can come true.
But that's not today. Nosiree. Today, I hate The Plague. Today, I stick my middle finger up at the DVD box because I know that the best thing that came out of watching the movie last night was when this appeared on the screen:
and I made a joke about "Keenan Ivory Sheriff". Was it a good joke? No. No, it wasn't. I'm not ashamed to admit that. It was, however, the best thing about the movie. You shouldn't be surprised, then, when I give the movie 2 out of 10 shouldn't there actually be some kind of illness, epidemic, outbreak, infection, or...ummm...plague if you're going to call your movie The Plague?s.