Well, that does it for me. Here at Visionary or Hack, I was the lone holdout for iconoclastic director Kevin Smith. I actually ranked him as Visionary, while Mr. Ridley and HakSnider33 both list him as Hack. Our highly scientific (hardly) ranking system requires a uninamimous vote, so Smith languished in the undecided area for a long time. That changes today. as Smith’s latest has made me seen the error of my ways. As far as I’m concerned now, based on this dreadful film, he’s a hack.
Don’t get me wrong, though, I still like the guy and think he’s tremendously funny. I remain interested in seeing what he does next. But following up the immensely entertaining Red State with the half-ass horror show that is Tusk is simply unforgivable.
Remember, hacks are often technically proficient, if not talented even, so don’t be surprised if you feel like seeing this dreck after viewing the trailer. Just don’t. Check out my 5 things after the jump:
1) I hated everybody in it. I don’t mean as real people, of course, just their stupid characters. Ironically enough, the one character that seemed to be most sympathetic was the villain/psycho/mad scientist Howard Howe played by Michael Parks. Parks had a great turn in Red State, and of course all those great roles for Quentin Tarantino. And he’s as strong as ever in Tusk, but Smith hamstrings him (and everyone else in it) with the ridiculous story. The so-called hero or protagonist or whatever you want to call him, was a smarmy, self-centered podcaster named Wallace, convincingly played by Justin Long. Yes, Smith’s story took the voice of Alvin the Chipmunk and made him an unlikable asshole. Better yet (worse yet?), Wallace’s podcast partner was a rat-terrier lookalike played by Haley Joel Osment! All that good work in A.I Artificial Intelligence and The Sixth Sense just tossed in the crapper. Even Wallace’s “love interest,” capably played by the lovely Genesis Rodriguez, was hard to like simply because she insisted on loving that jerk Wallace, for reasons even she had trouble explaining. Finally, Johnny Depp (yes, THAT Johnny Depp) turned in a cringe-inducing, uncredited performance as a discredited Canadian investigator named Guy Lapointe. Depp seemed to be channeling a mashup of Peter Seller’s Inspector Clouseau with Peter Falk’s Columbo. Not a bad concept actually, but all I kept thinking was, “Is this Joaquin Phoenix??”
2) That ridiculous story. And more irony: Kevin Smith is a great story teller, so it’s not like the story suffered from poor pacing or weak writing, it was just baldly, intentionally ridiculous. Absurdity for the sake of itself. And to tell the truth, it’s kind of hard to fault the creator of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back for telling yet another absurd story, but there it is… the fatal flaw underpinning this entire mess.
3) The music. I admit I was never a huge Fleetwood Mac fan, but even I was saddened by the possibility that their image may be tarnished in anyway by the inclusion of their song “Tusk” in the “climatic” fight/hobble scene. “Why don’t you tell me what’s going on?” Eee-yuck.
4) The makeup/special effects. Yeah, I know that true horror aficionados want to see the blood and guts, and Smith and his team put in a best-faith effort to deliver the goods in the most creepy way possible, but since the whole things is basically unbelievable, so is the result of all the latex and paint. What do you imagine a walrus suit made out of human skin looks like? Yeah, it probably doesn’t look like that. I think Smith may have been served better if he left more to the imagination, but that may be the problem: he may have run out of imagination at some unfortunate point.
5) The reason why this movie was made. Smith set up a poll on his podcast (“SModcast”) and his fans voted #WalrusYes on Twitter. And according to this article on HitFlix by TJ Dietsch, the “success” of Tusk secured financing for Clerks 3. Just what we need.
Look, if you’re the type of moviegoer that has to see bad things before you are completely convinced that bad things actually exist, then you probably have already seen Tusk. If you haven’t, don’t say you weren’t warned.
VOH now officially adds Kevin Smith to the Closet of Hacks.