Do you ever eat foods that you know you don’t like, just to remind yourself why you don’t like them? I think that’s a good thing to do sometimes! The worst case scenario is that you might momentarily have a taste in your mouth that you continue to find unpleasant, but there’s also a chance that you will realize that your tastes have evolved and that you like this food now! Or, at the very least, you can reconfirm that your long-held idea about something remains accurate and feel confident that your worldview has been tested and holds up. I used to do this with honey mustard-flavored Combos a lot? Granted, I’m an adult now, and I don’t need to remind myself that I don’t like honey mustard-flavored Combos anymore. But the general idea is the same. Which is why sometimes I will watch scary movies even though, for the most part, I hate scary movies. What I’m saying is that I have already seen Funny Games. At least the original Funny Games of which this week’s Hunt nominee is a remake.

But sometimes in life, apparently, you have to watch Funny Games again. You know, to remind yourself why you hate watching Funny Games.

Funny Games is about an upper-middle-class (or maybe lower-upper-class) family who go to their vacation home to do whatever it is that upper-middle-class (or lower-upper-class) families do in their vacation homes. But before they have even unpacked their bags (literally, there is a scene in which Naomi Watts is distraught and goes upstairs to change her clothes, but her clothes are not upstairs, because they had just pulled in the driveway a few hours earlier and the bags are by the door), two young men come over wearing tennis clothes and white gloves and ask to borrow some eggs. Long story short, asking to borrow the eggs leads to breaking Tim Roth’s leg at the kneecap with a golf club, and then spending the rest of the movie torturing (both physically and pscyhologically) the couple and their child and, eventually SPOILER ALERT murdering all of them. As becomes apparent during the film, and at the end of the film, the boys have been doing this all over town. It is what the Germans call “ein murder spree.”

Funny Games (2007), directed by Michael Haneke, is a shot-for-shot remake of a film from 1997 called Funny Games, directed by Michael Haneke.

This guy knows what I’m talking about:

Now, I don’t know why Michael Haneke did a shot for shot remake of his own movie. It seems like kind of a pointless exercise. I also think that the remake dilutes the point of the original, and I also think that at least as an American viewer, there is something more interesting and more surprising in watching the original, which had actors that I did not recognize. No offense to all the hard work everyone did here, but I’ve already seen Naomi Watts get tortured a billion times. It’s like her thing.

But one thing is for certain: when Michael Haneke sets out to do a shot-for-shot remake, HE REALLY DOES A SHOT-FOR-SHOT REMAKE!

See?

He even got the bourgeois fridge right. Silk? The yuppies would kill (get it?) for that shit.

If anything, I was surprised HOW much the remake matched the original. Which I guess makes sense, since the original was supposed to be a satirical (I’m sure both I and Michael Haneke are using that word correctly) counter-point to the American obsession with violence. And so the references are often to American culture. Like, Michael Pitt and Brady Corbet start calling each other Beavis and Butthead at one point, but that’s actually taken directly from the original. And I had thought that the NASCAR on the TV during a particularly rough scene was clever, not even realizing/remembering that this was already right there, back in 1997, in Austria.

I remember when the remake came out, David Edelstein reviewed it for NPR, and he said that after he had watched the original, he “removed the DVD and snapped it over my knee.” Haha. Come on. I remember this review because that is so hilarious and ridiculous. What a little prince! David Edelstein is an adult who reviews movies for a living.

But anyway:

It seems to me that the reason that people nominated Funny Games for the Hunt was in an effort to challenge me on an argument that I made months ago that no one has ever set out to make a bad movie on purpose. And I maintain that position! Michael Haneke may have set out to make an upsetting movie, or a movie that is painfully uncomfortable to watch (and I think many would say that he succeeded, on both counts!) but he certainly didn’t set out to make a “bad” movie. He set out to make the best movie he possibly could, that had all of the effects that he wanted it to have.

One of those effects, of course, is to constantly have the characters talking to the camera, and undoing the action, and forcing the viewer to confront both his/her passive participation in the murders that are taking place, and also to suggest that movies–even nice movies–are dishonest, and manipulative, and “dangerous.” And the thing is: it works. I mean, you can complain about Haneke’s Brechtian deconstruction as being too grad-student-thesis statement, and you can question what the difference is between Funny Games and torture porn*, but he definitely achieves his ultimate objective, which is to make you actually think about what you are watching.

And this is where Funny Games differs from honey mustard-flavored Combos: I actually like this movie. I mean, I hate this movie. It’s scary, and it is mean. This movie hurts your feelings. But I think that it is an interesting movie. And I think that it works really hard, harder than most, to DO something. I’m not sure that it always succeeds. I’m not even sure I understand exactly WHAT it is trying to do (a matter made more complicated by there being two of them, in different languages, with different actors, made 10 years apart), but I respect it for its effort. This is a smart movie. There should be more smart movies.

STATUS: CASE DISMISSED!

That being said, I will never “taste” this movie again. Twice was more than enough. Ciao, bella.

Next week: In the Land of the Women. As always, please leave your suggestions in the comments or in an email. And if you haven’t done so already, please consult the Official Rules.

*I think this is a stupid argument. There is a world of difference between this and many of the films in the “torture porn” genre. For one thing, even if you feel that it is failed, or even if you find it more unpleasant as a visceral experience than its proposed intellectual exercise would warrant, it still has a POINT to it, which makes all the difference in the world. Nothing makes me more angry than the movie Saw, in which countless irrevocable nightmare images are put into my eyes for absolutely no point whatsoever. “He’s teaching people to value life by making them chew their lips off.” Huh? No I do not want to play a game. (Not to mention the fact that this movie is virtually bloodless.)

Comments (145)
  1. This film isn’t out on DVD yet, but please do the Hilary Swank Amelia ASAP, Gabe. It is awful.

    • Unless that’s an inside joke I don’t know about…. sure it is.. I own it because it’s a (I almost said good) movie worth owning.

      • I don?t think we?re talking about the same movie, Silvio. Perhaps you are thinking of the adorable French film Amélie starring Audrey Tautou, which came out in 2001? I?m talking about the 2009 Amelia that had wide release just two weekends ago and is still in theaters, starring Hilary Swank, Ewan McGregor, and Richard Gere. It is about the aviatrix Amelia Earhart and it is all kinds of terrible.

        • Yikes, werttrew, I’m sorry. I told myself a long time ago that I was NOT going to open my ‘mouth’ in this arena while inebriated. This is the third time I’ve broken that rule and the third time I’ve looked like a wiener for it. 3/3

  2. Honey mustard flavoring is win.

  3. This movie doesn’t sound very funny! Refund!

  4. Not so Funny Games, Chris.

    • In all seriousness, Chris Brown beat his girlfriend (probably while wearing white clothes and white gloves), and actions like that are shocking, like the film. The movie demonstrates that brutality in American (and British) cinema is used too often and to little effect, it’s accepted as a norm. Funny Games made brutality uncomfortable to watch, like IT SHOULD BE. I mean how is okay for the Governor of California to star in a film in which somebody is stabbed through a milk bottle, but this film is too brutal? Violence should be uncomfortable to watch at anytime.

      • I think the main problem is that most people who’ve seen this movie, including myself, are already on board with the idea of violence in film being far too ubiquitous and end up feeling gaining nothing from the experience, while the kind of person who actually needs to see this film would probably just skip it and watch Saw 64 instead.

        • It’s so true and that’s this movie’s biggest problem is that it’s not reaching the people it’s supposed to. But then you could argue the whole thing would just go straight over it’s target audience’s collective head…

          • See, I think the opposite. The theme of the movie is essentially a lesson for all of us. People keep bringing up Saw fans, but the fact is, we don’t hate the Saw movies because of the violence, we hate them because they are just really terrible films. On the other hand, I’m sure there are are film buffs out there that could go on for pages about this movie’s lesson of accepted violence, but would also claim to enjoy something like Audition, which is ten times more disturbing and violent than any commercial horror film and doesn’t seem to have any reason for that violence and gore except that it makes the film really fucking scary (which is the whole point). Violence in movies has become so common place that there’s probably not a person out there that could watch this movie and claim to not count a violent movie as one of their favorites (with even films like The Godfather and Goodfellas following under the “violence-as-entertainment” umbrella). Which could be the actual biggest problem with this movie: it’s preaching to the choir because everyone watching wants to believe they are part of the choir.

          • I don’t know about everyone else, but I hate the Saw films because they are both terrible and full of gratuitous violence.

          • What about Cannibal Holocaust? Extremely violent has some meaning I guess, similar to Haunted (a book, sorry this isn’t Bookgum) by Chuck Palahniuk

      • Nothing my poor state’s horrible governor has done or will do is OK. EVER. Fuck that guy.

  5. I remember when the remake came out, David Edelstein reviewed it for NPR, and he said that after he had watched the original, he “removed the DVD and snapped it over my knee.”

    Maybe if we had done this to Saw it wouldn’t have spawned 14 children…

  6. Every review I have ever seen about this movie, both negative and positive, have said the same exact thing. That same sentiment was basically how I felt about the movie after watching it. For something that makes you think so much, it isn’t really open to much interpretation. I don’t know if that’s bad or good.

  7. I have not seen the original, and from the looks of it, it seems that it is the more interesting version when you look at the surrounding factors. 1997 – USA culture was hella spreading, the idea that America was the future of the world was being force fed to everyone who had a TV worldwide, and then some. An idea that a film would satirize it so much to the point of using NASCAR as a backdrop for a horrific murder sounds pretty genius.

    The problem is, when you move a satirical thing back into the thing that it is satirizing, but not all the way (moving from Germany to America but not from 1997 into 2007 completely), you lose that edge. And not knowing this, I was forced to watch the movie while judging it on the merits of similar films. And what I got was that the movie is made by a man who clearly hates both movies and his audience. Knowing about the remake is further example of this, even!

    Comparing it so something like, say, Devil’s Rejects was my first thought. Both are movies about dudes killing dudes for no reason. Both movies make you feel icky. Both movies, the bad guys win. Thing is, I didn’t feel like Rob Zombie hated me after the credits started rolling.

    I think the reason is the last 15 minutes – the rewind sequence. That was the biggest fuck you in cinema I have seen in a long time. Bad, stilted acting, I can take. Smug actors who act smugly all the time, bring it on. But throwing middle fingers up at your audience? I understand where he’s coming from, doing that, but to do it in such an unnatural way? I guess, like Gabe says, the film is trying to say something, but doing it in such a goddamn batshit insane way that makes no sense given the reality the film establishes is pretty anger-inducing.

    • I agree with you, but I feel like that was the point of the film. He builds it up so that you feel bloodlust for these two dudes who pick on an innocent family, like in American Westerns where the villain does some unspeakable act (Pale Rider in the opening sequence or in Funny Games where they kill the dog etc) so you will hate them. Then what he does is he gives you the satisfaction, because at that point that is the only reason you continue to watch Funny Games; the thought that these guys will get their comeuppance in a violent and grisly finale. Only after you feel satisfied that one of the guys has been served up hot metal justice American style, they undo it in a fourth wall-breaking rewind sequence that leaves you feeling empty and for me somewhat ashamed.

    • the bad guys don’t win in devil’s rejects..

  8. I continue to be on the fence about this. In theory I very much appreciate what Haneke was trying to do (original and remake), and I agree that in concept it’s a smart movie that really subverts the passive voyeurism innate in the cinematic experience.

    But in actuality, I really didn’t enjoy watching this movie, which is the point! But I don’t know where you draw the line at what constitutes a “good” movie (which is loaded anyway since it’s subjective and varies from person to person). I think most would agree though that a very large requirement of a movie being “good” is to get some kind of personal enjoyment out of the viewing experience, which is why many people have such a vitriolic reaction to it.

    In the end, I think it’s just okay! It’s interesting, but I wouldn’t recommend it to any friends, and I’d definitely recommend several other Haneke films over it (Code Unknown, The Piano Teacher, Cache).

  9. Is there any Videogum etiquette on how many times you should nominate a film? Wait. What am I talking about? We’re all monsters here!

    Gabe, please do eXistenZ. I will even mail you my copy I bought on a whim that time because I’d just gotten my discount from work and it said Callum Keith Rennie was in it and I’d totally just fallen in love after watching Hard Core Logo #needlessdetail
    It’s also ridiculously .gif worthy.

    • What? Is eXistenZ widely ridiculed? I think I might be starting a one-man #ilovemovieseveryoneelsehates club. Because that was an uber-effective piece of organic sci fi in my book.The Chinese Restaurant sequence alone was worth it — very next-level stuff with organic technology. Really gross and absorbing cinema. Hmmm.

    • I haven’t seen the movie, but I’m upvoting you because I like Callum Keith Rennie as well.

  10. I haven’t seen either Funny Games, but I did see The Strangers, which I had quite a few similarities. In my award-winning review (my mom said it was “very nice, but don’t you have applications to work on?”) I called it “PSYCHOLOGICAL torture porn”. Instead of simply grossing out the audience, which you can really just do with a tour of a KFC plant, it puts you on edge, as you said, for better or worse.

    • the home invasion genre will always be so much more terrifying than simple torture porn, like Saw. REAL TALK. (i’ve never seen a single Saw… but The Strangers is retardedly scary.)

  11. I’m going to go ahead and throw a nomination for Pearl Harbor out there.

    • I think Gabe is resistant to Michael Bay movies? Armageddon is at least as bad as anything ever made but it’s not quite in line with this game’s theme. That’s fair. What can Gabe say about Pearl Harbor or Armageddon that he hasn’t already said about Transformers 2 and probably Bad Boys 2 in articles unrelated to the WMOAT.

  12. It seems that by translating a German-language movie into English, you automatically make it ten times less scary.

    • Leave that kind of hateful rhetoric to Jeff Dunham and his puppets.

      • I find that there’s something about a foreign language that makes everything seem fancier. So I am willing to believe that he(?) simply meant that when you understand what is being said vs a subtitled movie, it makes the experience less an arty intellectual movie and more a pretentious slasher flick, if that makes sense.

  13. Gabe, please do Mission to Mars in the next round of the Hunt.

  14. Well said Gabe, I enjoyed the film, it was different, it did make me think about what I was watching and continued to disturb me days after watching it. I’ll probably never watch it again because it is very depressing and scary, but I can say I appreciate it.

  15. Gabe, on behalf on my country. I nominate Braveheart.

    • This might get some downvotes, but in j-bone’s defense, Mel Gibson’s accent is terrible and kilts didn’t exist for about three centuries after the movie’s time period. The more you know (about how to use Wikipedia)!

    • If I was Scottish I would probably hate Braveheart. I am not so I don’t. I upvoted you anyway because it felt nationalistic not to.

      • Seriously, as a Scot and a historian the film just makes me want to cry.

        Mirren who is the women who good ol’ Mel has sex with in the film, was actually four at the time of William Wallace’s death. Now, I’m not saying that the real William Wallace didn’t have sex with her, but it would open a massive can of worms on my countries hero if he did.

        I know I made a typo but how can I get downvoted?! Imagine if they made a massively inaccurate film about America with a Brit playing the protagonist. You wouldn’t like that :(

    • As a staunch Mel Gibson-hater and general supporter of historical accuracy, I second (third?) this motion. Fuck Mel Gibson, too. All of his movies are the worst. I WILL BROOK NO ARGUMENT.

  16. i love that all the shots have updates in them. portable phone becomes a cell phone, overalls becomes an eagles shirt, etc. except for converses! because that shit stays the same. i feel like it could be an ad for them if it wasn’t one of the WMOATs

  17. The original is one of the strangest cinematic experiences I’ve endured, but I haven’t seen this version. In my mind, the remake, set in America, for the audience it was originally intended for, might make for a more enriching experience. Because Funny Games 1997 is one of the most infuriating films I’ve ever seen.

    Look, I get it. I’m a film major (qualifying his opinion with experience!!!) and I understand the point Haneke was trying to put forth, and I appreciate it. Gabe explained all of it perfectly. “All cinema is voyeurism”, I know. And I think Funny Games is probably the most effective way to put forth such a point.

    But if you’re a filmmaker who makes violent films to decry filmmakers who make violent films, and wag your finger at the audience who consume violent films, my head explodes and stop it.

    Problem is, that in any sense, Haneke wins–if you love “Funny Games”, his point is proven. If you hate it, his point is still proven. And I kind of do admire that on some level.

  18. This movie basically punishes you for being aware of it.

  19. Vampire Weekend comes over and kills everyone. #rejectedtaglines

  20. I still nominate Smokin’ Aces (Especially for the fact that it is now getting a sequal) and Domino. Terrible movies.

  21. The combination of Videogum and “Funny Games” now makes me wish that there were an episode of “My Boys” in which all the characters were tied up and tortured, so that it could be described as TBS Very Funny Games.

  22. Do “State of Play.” It is the film equivalent of Rusell Crowe’s hair.

  23. And here I had all but put on my “Professor Defender” hat.

    “STATUS: CASE DISMISSED!”

    YAY! Thank Jeebus.

  24. 3 Reasons This Movie Works 1. It’s extra creepy to watch a dryly exacting replica of a movie that is itself a replica of a replica of violence and soulless entertainment. 2. Haneke parlayed his US payout into more creepy European filmaking. 3. Michael Pitt is very unsettling in the remake — what if a cashier and Abercrombie was serial killer? Now I know what that looks like!

  25. I saw* the original and hated it. Yes it’s disturbing and yes it’s critic proof and post-modern but so what? You can make the same film school point by showing Jeffrey Dahmer torture kittens for two hours. Yay. “Hey, remember that scene when the kitten escaped and Jeffrey Dahmer picked up the remote and hit rewind so that he could stop the kitten from escaping, and then he looked at the camera, smirked and then murdered the kitten? That moment was so meta that I’m going to go write an important essay.” Yuck. Fuck that noise.

    *no pun intended

    • I could not fucking agree more. Yes. I get it. I will never watch it. I make the same point without making you watch people get tortured. I’m off to cuddle a kitten and eat some ice cream. Fudge vodka martini, I am comin for you!

  26. Gabe, am I allowed to nominate Stephen Gaghan’s shot-for-shot remake of Havoc?

  27. Once again, I’d like to nominate ENVY, the alleged comedy from 2004 starring Ben Stiller and Jack Black. Not even Christopher Walken could save this steaming pile of poo (it’s about poop, sorry)! Also, I’ve never seen honey-mustard flavored Combos, but that sounds delicious! I just tried the new jalepeño cheddar flavor the other day and it is the junk food dreams are made of.

    • I SECOND THE HELL OUT OF THAT. Oh my God, Gabe. Envy. I have walked out of two films in the theater in my life, and Envy was one of them. UGH UGH UGH UGH UGH. And Rachel Weisz is in it too! She’s so good! Why was she in this! It is not bad or stupid in the ways that you think a movie with Ben Stiller and Jack Black would be bad or stupid. It’s about 1000 times worse than what you are imagining, I can promise you.

    • Holy shit do I third this. It is SHOCKINGLY bad. This was the one and only movie I have ever walked out on. Also I refuse to even say “flan” anymore unless absolutely necessary.

  28. Who needs a knee to break a DVD? I mean, why not just use a homemade anvil as a fulcrum (correct usage?) and then get family members to jump up and down on the opposite halves! Eventually, it would break! Besides, your hands are too close together to get your knee in there anyway. It just doesn’t make any sense! And he mentions it twice in the review!

  29. I have not seen either version of “Funny Games”, but the movie already kind of pisses me off from what I’ve read about it.

    It’s a graphically violent and self-aware movie intended as a commentary on our acceptance and desensitization to violence. Correct? Is that it? Because if so, that is a ridiculously simple and kind of pretentious premise for a movie. Yes, there is a lot of violence in American films and we’ve all become quite desensitized to it. Am I not supposed to be aware of this? Did Haneke think that we were all sitting here with no awareness of this fact and that once “Funny Games” was remade for American audiences, the producers of the Saw franchise would realize the error of their ways and throw themselves into an overly complex death trap of some kind? I get the impression that this is mostly just an icky movie based around some kind of obnoxiously moralizing premise about how icky we ourselves are and how ashamed we should be of ourselves. Remember when Gabe reviewed “Goodbye Uncle Tom”, that insane movie about slavery? I may not be remembering things correctly, but it seemed like this is exactly the argument he was making against that movie.

    I think it all just seems very unnecessary and gross. I mean, I’m taking a class on philosophy in film right now and writing a paper on Bergman’s “Persona”. “Persona” was my first exposure to a Bergman film and I found it almost traumatic. I mean, I’ve watched some pretty disturbing movies – particular moments of “Man Bites Dog” come to mind – and they’ve definitely made me squirm, but a monologue in “Persona” actually had me tearing up, because of the intensity of it. It felt like the emotional equivalent of having someone yell in your face for six minutes. And it was just words. Words in Swedish that I couldn’t even understand without subtitles! But it was so skillfully acted, directed, and written that I was drawn in and absolutely horrified. It didn’t take some snarky kid in khakis killing an innocent family to seriously, seriously disturb me. In comparison, “Funny Games”‘ attempts at disturbing its audience just sound very shallow and predictable, in service of a pretty pointless and annoying message.

    • Well said, Moonmaster

    • It’s actually not “graphically violent” as the violence is mostly off camera.

    • America is to Europe as Middle America is to the Coasts.

    • First off, you should check the film out.
      Second, I think the film illustrates how susceptible and disturbed we can be by violence, no matter how desensitized American audiences claim to be. I think the amount of people that spit vitriol at this film(s) are far more sensistive to REAL violence? violence that takes place MOSTLY OFF-SCREEN? than they ever thought they were.
      As long as the violence is glorious and the bad guys lose, everything is hunky dory for America. Git-R-Done. So it seems.

      I haven’t seen the original, and as much as I’m in the same camp as Gabe as far as not being anxious to watch these films again, I would like to watch the original now. Especially with the context of when it was made and where the U.S. was in 1997.

    • The thing is that every moment of the film takes away the thrill of a horror film. You don’t see the gore and the violence, you see the emotional repercussions… It would be like if instead of seeing all of Michael Myers’ murders, you just saw everyone reacting with honest agony over the death of their friends are loved ones… It’s unrelenting in Funny Games. You aren’t supposed to have fun watching it. It’s not like they are exploiting violence to show that violence is bad… It’s a much more subtle film than that. So I don’t find the film hypocritical at all… There is none of that “Aww, YEAH! That Lady just got killed”, and the one moment that you DO think you have that moment, when it seems one of the two kids have been murdered, Haneke takes it back from you.

      I still think its a more interesting film than it is a good film, but its interesting enough to me that I definitely still like it. I like the issues it raises even if it doesn’t make a solid point, I find it a fascinating exploration of how capable the film medium is of manipulating the audience.

      • Okay, I was wrong about the violence, but I still feel like the whole premise is silly.

        I love horror movies and have probably seen thousands of horny teenage girls murdered on screen but I am fully aware that actual violence is really, really bad and gross in infinite ways. I do think about violence in film and how it affects me and others and about desensitization. I’m sure there are some people too dumb to understand this stuff, but as has been pointed out, they probably won’t watch this movie. The fact that Haneke feels he needs to explain all this to people strikes me as condescending.

        (And hello Strangefate. INTERNET WORLDS COLLIDING.)

    • I feel like a moron commenting on a film I haven’t seen either (TOO SCARY!), but I should point out that Funny Games is famously NOT, in fact, all that graphically violent. It is, as Gabe points out, “nearly bloodless”; only three characters die, all of them offscreen, but it’s done in such a way that the audience still walks out feeling horrible. Compare that to any mainstream Hollywood picture, in which a dozen innocent people will routinely be murdered right on camera, to the indifference?or cheers?of the audience.

      While I’m commenting, I’ll mention something everybody seems to be wondering about, which is why does this American remake even exist. The answer, of course, is $$$$$ (dollars). The story I heard is that somebody owned the rights to produce an American remake of this movie, Haneke lacked the clout to stop them, and so?envisioning a standard-issue Hollywood horror remake, which would’ve defeated his whole point in making the movie in the first place?he offered to direct film himself and then created an exact copy of the original.

      • I actually heard somewhere that he originally wanted to make this movie in America, in english, with American actors but he didn’t have the clout to do so.

    • Am I not supposed to be aware of this? Did Haneke think that we were all sitting here with no awareness of this fact
      It is good that, like probably 90% of the Videogum community, you were already aware of that. But do you honestly think most of America is aware of that?
      And I would argue that most of the films you, I and everyone in this Monster’s Ball enjoy have pretty simple premises. District 9 = racism is bad. But it was still done in a clever way.

  30. I was ready to come and type a whole bunch of stuff about this, but it seems everyone has already done a really good job of discussing it both fairly and smartly. As a bonus, most of us are even on the same page!

    I love you, Videogum.

  31. Saw grosses out my brain. This film grossed out my heart

  32. I found the violence in both movies acceptable because it was perpetrated by puppets.

  33. Lol, well if makes you feel better it would seem I’m rather in the minority! I just thought it so ridiculous (and I’m usually one to eat that shit up!), that I had to pause nearly every scene to go look it up to see if this was supposed to be actually serious or not. The organic tech slayed me. And the fucking dog at the end? Genius! If there’s one thing eXistenZ did well was give my family comedy material for days. I’m sorry Cronenberg fans!

  34. David Edelstein: fffrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrt

  35. Funny Story: It was Easter Sunday and I went to see this with my wife and a good friend directly after church. LOL.

  36. I nominate Identity starring John Cusack.

    • Haha. I was fourteen when that movie came out and I thought the ending was the most clever thing ever written. In hindsight, it may not have been the most clever thing ever, but it was definitely written.

  37. I actually really liked Funny Games and so did a friend, so I recommended Piano Teacher also by Haneke, and he hated it, even though they both have very similar themes, Funny games being about gratuitous violence and Piano Teacher about a woman’s unusual sexual desire, and he hated it. I think it kind of proves Haneke’s point, that he loved it when people were being killed in a movie, but when it turns to a non-normative sexual kind of violence, then he was grossed out by it

  38. I want to mention C’est arrivé près de chez vous (Man Bites Dog, oh I see that moonmaster already mentioned it), because it is fucking brilliant, and what I gather from this review it has the same theme. It is also very funny, which makes you all the more complicit as an audience. I shall write my favorite part backwards, because it’s a spoiler:

    !améniC uA .rehto hcae no nrut yeht dnA .werc aremac rehtona htiw rellik rehtona otni snur ,werc aremac a yb dewollof ,rellik eht nehW

  39. Gus Van Sant’s Gerry

  40. I’m just glad to see that there’s now an “Ulrich Muhe” tag — so many sites make you use the Search function to aggregate all their Muhe coverage.

  41. Also, I think that moderation is the best guard against desensitization. I’d rather watch an extremely violent movie (voluntarily) every month than have a little violence forced on me every day.

  42. I think it is interesting when critically acclaimed movies are actually awful. I recommend either ‘The Aviator” or “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

  43. So Funny Games has the same ending as Wayne’s World?

  44. Ya know maybe if you actually tried the product you wouldn’t knock it so much. Sheesh.

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  45. Here is my weekly request for Gabe to do Chasing Amy. In these tough times, isn’t it nice to know there are some things you can still count on?

  46. I’d just like to say that I actually thought Funny Games was a good movie. As in, well constructed, tense, and scary. One of the scariest movies I’ve seen in forever, because home invasion is pretty fucking scary. Upping the psychological ante on the viewer by showing only the repercussions of the murders and not the act = me invested more completely in the story. Sure, there’s the commentary on violence that everyone has mentioned, but I never felt like Haneke hated me as a viewer. If he had made Transformers 3 I would have thought that he hated me as a viewer, but I think FG is pretty effective as a movie, too, not just as a piece of propaganda or art school wankery.

  47. The 2007 version would have been a tad better if Ulrich Mühe kept his role from the ’97 incarnation. On a similar note, RIP Ulrich Mühe. Everyone needs to see him in The Lives of Others

  48. i don’t mean to harp on this but you should do the women! seriously! it has an all-women cast yet somehow (or perhaps, predictably?) it makes you hate some women! meg ryan, ohmygod!!!

  49. I watched the remake just so maybe the two psychos would spare the mother. Ugh. But is it bad that I wasn’t squirming during this? I think the few minutes I saw of Saw desensitized me.

  50. I can’t wait for next week and read about In the land of the Woman. I’ve seen it twice.. and it never got any better…

  51. Whatever your thoughts on Funny Games we can all agree that whenever it’s been mentioned we get the best, most civilized discussions in the comments.

    Also – can no one second my nominations of Bounce and Frailty?? Take your pick – The Gwyneth and The Affleck in a plane-crash-leads-to-love rom-com OR the batshit insane religious fever dream that is Bill Paxton’s directorial debut.

    Who’s with me????

  52. I don’t know if it’s been said before, but I nominate both Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes and Vantage Point. Two terribly unnecessary remakes, if you consider Vantage Point a remake (it’s not, I know).

  53. A LOT LIKE LOVE.

  54. Antitrust. “The compression is awesome!” Also – WATCH OUT! PROGRAMMER KILLED IN CAR ACCIDENT! Subtly in forewarning of upcoming plot points…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THN42GYtWrw&feature=related
    Hate hate hate.

  55. The Mark Wahlberg classic “the Truth about Charlie” which carries the following plot keywords on imdb.com: divorce, diamond, stamp collecting, bathroom, fleamarket.

    I think I just woofed up my woof flakes.

  56. Has anyone nominated Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist yet? If not, let this comment serve as a nomination.

    • Seconded. Nick and Norah was jone wrong turn after another and all in an effort to disappear up its own arse. It’s kind of like a dramatisation of a 14 year old’s poetry. Please Mr. Gabe.

  57. All this ruminating on violence, blood thirst, and anticipation in American cinema is leading me to nominate SILENT HILL, which bears an enormously ridiculous splatter sequence that hinges on the audience’s dislike of the main villainess. It’s cheap and immature and stupid!

    • Seconded!
      Although, as a nerd, I still think the game & SOUNDTRACK stranged the hell out of “Ester” and movie!Pyramidhead. Blah.

  58. I really want Redemption: A Mile from Hell, (featuring the worst acting I may have ever seen) but I don’t think it follows the rules. That being said, I really need you to sort out Pacific Heights featuring Melanie Griffith and Michael Keaton.

  59. It’s Tommy Gnosis!

  60. Seconded. Nick and Norah was one wrong turn after another and all in an effort to disappear up its own arse. It’s kind of like a dramatisation of a 14 year old’s poetry. Please Mr. Gabe. It’s perfect for here. For you. For us.

  61. Why not do one of those elephant-in-the-room horrible movies that we’re all avoiding? Why not view one of those torture-porn films that no one loves? Or how about a film that really shoves down the viewer’s throat what Heineke wanted to do? I would like to read Gabe’s vivisection of the film and the entire genre and the society that pays for product like it.

    I hereby nominate “Saw” and “Irreversible,” but only with the stipulation that you skip “Irreversible” because it does plant some nightmare scenes on your eyeballs and your brain. Irreversible should have all copies collected and burned, including the negative. That film made me hurt. Anyway, there it is.

  62. To be honest, I hate the whole “movies are too violent” arguement. Studies show that anyone can seperate reality from fiction, even children. The marginal fraction of a percent of violent people who are influenced by violent movies is so small that it renders the entire argument ridiculous. Infact the connection cant be made because, sure violent people watch violent movies, but so does everyone else in the god dam country. Fin

  63. I really liked Funny Games and Funny Games Redux. They were satisfying and thought provoking. However, I do take some issue with Haneke focusing his admonishment on American audiences. Violence, particularly gratuitous violence exacted for the viewer that Funny Games finds so corrosive, is not constrained to American film. I think the argument that American consumers are somehow less aware or contemplative of film violence seems really reductive. Why are American audiences more desensitized to violence than British, Korean, or Swedish audiences?
    The torture porn subgenre that seems to be invoked as the target of Haneke’s ire did not yet exist when he made the film (Funny Games was released in 1997; Saw in 2004). It is more like he is taking issue with our desire to watch people under duress–that we are lustful for watching people at the worst moments and complicit in creating those horrible moments. So, you know, we should be ashamed of Die Hard.
    I am not certain I agree with him, but I certainly disagree that this is an American convention (or even more common in American entertainment.) I think, in that way, Irreversible seems a more effective indictment of our thirst for violence and vengeance. Noe is not afraid to show audiences what they ‘want’ to see (and much, much more). So, you are horrified by the end, the same way we are horrified by the close of Funny Games, but where Haneke shows us senseless violence so we will condemn ourselves for liking violence, Noe shows us violence that has some justification- and we are horrified by the both the violence and the justification. Plus, you have these haunting visuals-not so much with the offscreen violence. yikes. I can watch Funny Games again; it becomes academic. I could not (and will not) watch Irreversible again. nope.

    • well…that’s not entirely true, torture porn existed and kind of was a u.s phenomenon, in B-side horror films and was a subsection of horror since probably the early 70s? I don’t think it was directly called torture porn though, i don’t know.

  64. I, for one, absolutely loved this movie, even though it made me feel like an asshole

  65. I’m not sure if Eugene Levy counts as a B grade actor but there is an awful Canadian movie called Gooby that has had a theatrical release (limited I’m sure). You won’t believe how bad it is. Hope this counts because I’d love to read the review!

  66. Oh for pete’s sake, review ENVY already! Your implied hard-on for this awful film is becoming troublesome, so just make a feature out of it and put some ice on that bad boy.

    P.S.: “Envy” is the name of the movie. If you are looking for the movie, it is called “Envy.” If you have trouble with that, it stars Ben Stiller and Jack Black, and also there is poop.

  67. i am not a psychopath and i’ve seen this movie twice and i liked it. as in i saw the original and the remake and i liked them both. they are hard to watch, and I don’t think Haneke went all out with deconstructing the film, it was still pretty easy to watch in terms of narrative progression. yeah the rewinding scene was like “gaah whyy?!?!?!?” but that’s what it was suppose to do so I think he did alright for himself with this one.

    Also torture porn, ugh. hate that everyone is in love with Crazy Eyes from Inglourious Basterds. Never forget that asshole brought mainstream cinema some of the most awful films ever made.

  68. There’s this movie called The Love Guru.

    I haven’t encountered many big budget movies like it. Its really not good at all.

  69. So I’ve already sent Gabe an email expressing my desire for him to review a certain movie, which, quite frankly, I’m surprised I haven’t seen it mentioned yet on here by anyone. But i wanted to get some more support on here from other people (grassroots movement?) and get the ball rolling and see if others agree (I don’t see how they couldn’t) as to how atrocious it is. That movie would be a wondrous pile of crap by the name of Knowing starring TWMOAT veteran Nicholas Cage.

    And…

    go!

  70. Terrible film. I was the only one in the theatre.

  71. What’s your problem? You probably know nothing about cinema! The original version of “Funny Games” is a masterpiece! It’s a Michael Haneke movie, all of his movies are masterpieces! such as “Benny’s Video”, “The White Ribbon”, “Caché”, “The Piano Teacher”, “Amour”, etc. He’s a genius! G.E.N.I.U.S.

  72. I think I’m gonna buy a bunch of shit from these guys.

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