Scream 4

Sidney Prescott is making a name for herself as the author of a series of books. Her publicist, walking through a lonely parking garage, gets a call. A call from Ghostface. When she asks if she can take a message for her famous client, Scream’s masked assailant warns, “you are the message.”

Is this some too-clever-by-half Scream 4 allusion to Marshall McLuhan (“the medium is the message)? Who needs the author of The Gutenberg Galaxy in an era where “nobody reads anymore,” as one character here puts it.

That may be so, but they sure do talk.

Kevin Williamson, the man responsible for the first two Scream flicks, returns as if he’s paid by the word. Jesus, nobody ever shuts up in this, the fourth and extraordinarily painful installment of the self-referentially-winking series.

Less is more, and this more is considerably less. If an endless word babble reference of every classic horror movie floats your boat, feel free  but it’ll capsize the rest of us.

Scream 4 is an appalling cash-in even by the seemingly bottomless well of horror sequel cash-ins.

But it’s notable for one thing.

Everything is meta. Its meta is meta, there’s even a reference to the act of being “meta” (sadly, no reference to ex-baller/LA Laker, Metta World Peace). Its meta drives an orbitoclast smack into your orbital lobe.

Scream (the original), was undoubtedly solid, sharp as Ghostface was stabby, and playful to boot. Unfortunately, its legacy is tarnished because for a while in the 90s, we suffered many films that tried to encroach on similar comedy-horror territory. So it’s odd that this installment, Scream the 4th, upped the “look at me, I’m so clever” ante, when it was meant to have been a return to form.

Featuring a bunch of ever-telegenic TV cast-offs (people from The OC/90201, etc, etc and even Anthony Anderson, pre-Blackish) the film’s saving grace is the steely determination of Neve Campbell. She’s quite excellent, even if she’s acting in a different movie entirely.

In 2013, Harvey Weinstein, while speaking at the Zurich International Film Fest, expressed interest in making a fifth and final installment of Scream. Luckily for all of us, he’s no longer in the movie biz.

*1/2 (out of 5)

[Listen to our chat about the original Scream on the Really Awful Movies Podcast]

Longshot

What’s next, a nail-biter about air hockey? Longshot is a feature-length (!) film about…foosball.

Jesus, Bald-headed Christ. Of all the misguided, stupid, pointless, obscure, un-marketable, premises for a flick…this has to take the cake.

Leif Garrett is Paul Rodgers. He wants to be the next Lionel Messi/Cristiano Ronaldo. An actual footballer. But for his field of dreams to be realized, he needs to finance a trip to Europe to train.* This requires seed money. So he turns his attention to that ultimate cash-cow: the foosball tournament circuit.

Who knew this would be so lucrative?

When people think foosball, they think being drunk. It’s a bar parlor game at establishments, large and loud enough to accommodate such things. And you’d have to have been under the influence to conceive of, and then finance such a film.

Paul passes on a scholarship to a US college and along with pal Leroy, plans an excursion to Lake Tahoe, the apparent epicenter of the Table Football universe.

Unfortunately, Leroy injures his spinning hand (um). So Paul enlists the help of 13-year old Maxine. Because that’s what 18-year-olds do, they cross state lines with minors and stay in motel rooms with them. WTF?

That’s a proposition that beggars belief. Much like passing on a scholarship at your post-secondary education to take a chance on some dopey tournament. Unless your competition had thalidomide arms, it’d probably be anyone’s game.

We podcasted Manos: The Hands of Fate, one of the most boring films ever committed to celluloid. And this is that film’s easy rival. It’s agonizing on every level you know, and on some you don’t. It’s impossible to make a filmable movie about foosball. Trust.

* (out of 5)

[Check out our podcast discussion of Longshot!]

[*Editors’ note: being 18+ is a little late in the game to be a professional footballer. Major clubs have academies and there are youth clubs, so if you’re an American eyeballing the beautiful game…you should probably start a decade earlier than Leif does here!]