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Awfully Good #50

Oct. 29, 2008by: Jason Adams

ED. NOTE: "Awfully Good" is a weekly column, running every Wednesday at our sister site The DVD Clinic, that brings you the best of the worst in movies. This week Jason Adams came up with a column so (please pardon the pun) awfully good, I had to share it with you here. You can check out the full archive of "Awfully Good" here.

The Happening (2008)

Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, Mother Nature

 

Is there a plot?

Something’s happening that’s making people kill themselves in violent ways. And it’s not forced viewings of LADY IN THE WATER.

 

What's the damage?

Warning: I’m going to spoil the crap out of this movie.

I’d like to start the 50th edition of this column by giving a shout out to M. Night Shyamalan, as he’s obviously an Awfully Good fan. There’s no other plausible explanation for a single part of THE HAPPENING than to assume the director set out to make an unbelievable, laughably bad movie on purpose.


Mark Wahlberg talks to animals. This man is not Mark Wahlberg.

To explain its true greatness, we must enter spoiler territory . Ready….? In a twist that would make Al Gore rub his nipples with glee, it’s the plant life on Earth that’s rebelling against humans for their mistreatment of the environment. Yes, the plants are the villains here. And not in a cool Poison Ivy-killer vines kinda way; the greenery just sits there and releases invisible toxins. (This leads to some truly hilarious ominous shots of still trees and bushes.) And to make things exciting, Shyamalan adds another more kinetic bad guy…the wind. Yes, there are serious action sequences in THE HAPPENING that consist of the main characters running from the wind. In an open field. It’s like watching TWISTER without the tornadoes.

And at the very end, when our heroes finally get trapped and face instant death by chlorophyll, nothing happens. Marky Mark and Co. step in to the killer wind and there’s literally no explanation why they don’t bite the big one, except when someone says, “Oh, I guess the event must’ve ended.” That’s like having Freddy Kreuger come out at the end of NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and say, “You know, I don’t feel like murdering you kids anymore. I’m gonna go jump on a pogo stick.”


In this sequel to the 1993 Oscar-winning film, Tom Hanks is back and he is seriously pissed off about his AIDS.

But it’s not just the plot that makes THE HAPPENING a winner at losing. The film is generously helped by its cast. I like Mark Wahlberg. The guy can be a great actor given the right material, but here he turns every moment of tension in to comedy with his bizarre and high-pitched delivery. Even more impressive is Shyamalan’s magical ability to turn the adorable Zooey Deschanel in to a whiny bitch, a fact most scientists agreed was unpossible in the realms of physics. When she’s not yelling her emotions, she spends the majority of the movie looking bug eyed and confused. As if she was constantly contemplating the best way to fire her agent.


“Hi. We’re just gonna sit here until Rage Against The Machine makes a new album and decides to use us for cover art.”

Thankfully, Shyamalan possesses the delicate finesse to make all these elements work. His overarching message consists of near-subconscious subtlety, like when characters walk by a billboard with the words “YOU DESERVE THIS!” written on it in bold, or when a guy on TV yells “This is a warning!” at the end. Stuff like that. Oh, and at one point, Mark Wahlberg even whispers a heartfelt plea to a house plant. It’s the stuff dreams are made of.

 

Top Ten!

There are too many amazing things in this movie to only give you a Best Line or a Best Part. So here are TEN of my favorite scenes from THE HAPPENING:

 

1) Al Qaeda AND lions? Well, now we’re f*cked.

 

2) Ugh, I hate it when Shyamalan pushes his own personal hot dog agenda.

 

3) Shyamalan: Can you act naturally in this scene?
Mark Wahlberg: What? Nooooo.

 

4) In addition to wildlife, Mark Wahlberg also talks to plants. (BONUS: Marky Mark gives off “Good Vibrations!”)

 

5) A montage of Zooey Deschanel being confused as to how to answer a phone.

 

6) Marky Mark plays 20 Questions with himself.

 

7) Thank goodness Crazy Plant Man is in this movie to blatantly explain what’s going on. Otherwise I wouldn’t know trees can communicate with bushes and grass. They’ve done tests, you know.

 

8) People are dying and our hero stops to discuss science. He also says, “Be scientific, douchebag!”

 

9) With his first R-rated movie, Shyamalan is finally free to curse and use all kinds of filthy exclamations. Like…”Cheese and crackers!”

 

10) OMG teh wind!!!11!! (If someone could CG some fake tornadoes in to this scene it’d make a great trailer for TWISTER II: DOROTHY’S REVENGE.)

 

Nudity Watch

ELF had more Zooey Deschanel nudity.

 

Enjoyableness Continuum:

Be prematurely compared to Spielberg! Buy this movie here!



Play Along at Home!

Take a shot or drink every time:

  • The word “happening” is said
  • Zooey Deschanel looks bug eyed or confused
  • Marky Mark talks science

 

Thanks to Everyone for reading and writing in over the last 50 weeks!

 

Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email and give him an excuse to drink.

Source: DVD Clinic

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9:15AM on 10/29/2008
Uh yeah... I'll be visiting his column very soon.

The Happening was a good movie. Everytime someone knocks on the twist of a film where something inexplicable happens needs to either say what kind of smart idea they have for it or shut the fuck up.
And no mather how weird Zooey Deschanel was her cuteness makes up for it.
Shyamalan don't listen to these haters man. You rock like quarries.
Uh yeah... I'll be visiting his column very soon.

The Happening was a good movie. Everytime someone knocks on the twist of a film where something inexplicable happens needs to either say what kind of smart idea they have for it or shut the fuck up.
And no mather how weird Zooey Deschanel was her cuteness makes up for it.
Shyamalan don't listen to these haters man. You rock like quarries.
Your Reply:



+0
2:13PM on 10/29/2008
You can turn sand into glass but you ca't turn shit into gold billionair.
You can turn sand into glass but you ca't turn shit into gold billionair.
Your Reply:



2:53PM on 10/29/2008

ha ha ha

thanks for this- i've added the movie to my netflix q for the laffs.
thanks for this- i've added the movie to my netflix q for the laffs.
Your Reply:



8:10PM on 10/29/2008

YES!!

oh my god i love you.. absolutely everything u said, to every single scene was spot on as to why I hated this movie. Every single part. From the cell phone to cheese and crackers to the plant to the wind to Mark's delivery.. I said the same shit on this board a few days back. Thank god people feel the way I do.

I don't know how in gods name anyone can seriously think this is a "good" movie. It was fucking laughable. So corny and weird that it made no sense.
oh my god i love you.. absolutely everything u said, to every single scene was spot on as to why I hated this movie. Every single part. From the cell phone to cheese and crackers to the plant to the wind to Mark's delivery.. I said the same shit on this board a few days back. Thank god people feel the way I do.

I don't know how in gods name anyone can seriously think this is a "good" movie. It was fucking laughable. So corny and weird that it made no sense.
Your Reply:



8:51PM on 10/29/2008
God this movie was so awful. Seeing those clips again made me hate it even more.
God this movie was so awful. Seeing those clips again made me hate it even more.
Your Reply:



8:54PM on 10/29/2008
fuck this movie. this movie legitimately made me angry when it was finished. I literally wanted my money back. That has never happened before.
fuck this movie. this movie legitimately made me angry when it was finished. I literally wanted my money back. That has never happened before.
Your Reply:



+0
9:04PM on 10/29/2008

Really...DVD CLINIC.

Whoever made this column.

I know you are reading this. You can gladly message me back and let me know.

You must have really really like this movie cause you know all about it.

I dare you to come with a movie also and let me or someone else talk about it.

Since you already brought up THE HAPPENING, when is the next time you are going to bring "Zack And Miri Make A Porno", "PINEAPPLE EXPRESS" and other NONSENSE movies...?

Actually THE HAPPENING is a smart movie. It has a great
Whoever made this column.

I know you are reading this. You can gladly message me back and let me know.

You must have really really like this movie cause you know all about it.

I dare you to come with a movie also and let me or someone else talk about it.

Since you already brought up THE HAPPENING, when is the next time you are going to bring "Zack And Miri Make A Porno", "PINEAPPLE EXPRESS" and other NONSENSE movies...?

Actually THE HAPPENING is a smart movie. It has a great idea. Its sad to know that you didn't quite get the idea behind it. Do you care about the "PLANET" may be not. May be you are like "Talk", "walk", "Live" "Eat" "Work" Thats it...

Good way of wasting everybody's time. I thought you would come here on the net and tell everyone that how important the idea behind THE HAPPENING is for the future of the planet. ,,,hold on...why am I telling you all this..... ? I stop...



Your Reply:



9:41PM on 10/29/2008
LOL @ Rohan, the happening is one of THE WORST fucking movies i have EVER seen. its NOT smart, its fucking retarded on every level. you sir are an idiot
LOL @ Rohan, the happening is one of THE WORST fucking movies i have EVER seen. its NOT smart, its fucking retarded on every level. you sir are an idiot
Your Reply:



9:46PM on 10/29/2008

I Love The New Segment But...

The Happening Is not so bad that it's good... Teenagers from outer space is sooo bad it's good... The Happening is Just Plain Bad... What a Joke of a movie....
The Happening Is not so bad that it's good... Teenagers from outer space is sooo bad it's good... The Happening is Just Plain Bad... What a Joke of a movie....
Your Reply:



10:33PM on 10/29/2008
Rohan how could you think it was a good movie? It was the most boring movie. I mean "Spoiler Alert" should never be used when talking about this movie. You know exactly whats "Happening" from the get go. All the close ups of trees every 2 seconds instantly gave it away. Along with the dialogue like, "Hey, isn't a bit windy today?" then cut to the trees blowing and zoom in. Gee why'd they do that? I mean did any one for a second think it was terrorist? For an R rating i thought the deaths would
Rohan how could you think it was a good movie? It was the most boring movie. I mean "Spoiler Alert" should never be used when talking about this movie. You know exactly whats "Happening" from the get go. All the close ups of trees every 2 seconds instantly gave it away. Along with the dialogue like, "Hey, isn't a bit windy today?" then cut to the trees blowing and zoom in. Gee why'd they do that? I mean did any one for a second think it was terrorist? For an R rating i thought the deaths would be way more hainus. John Leguizamo had a terrible pussy death. The back of the gunshot wound kids head in Sixth Sense was worse than anything in this movie. Watching people die of old age would have been more exciting. And was the end suppossed to be the "bum bum buuummmm" part where the killer comes back? Just plain terrible.
Your Reply:



12:02AM on 10/30/2008
Rohan FTL.
Rohan FTL.
Your Reply:



+0
12:41AM on 10/30/2008
thank you for doing this!

it's one of the most retarded pieces of shit i've heard watched. i don't know how many times i said 'what the fuck?!' out loud.

i couldn't believe it was so bad. SO BAD. everything about it. it's like they did it on purpose. that's the only acceptable explanation.
thank you for doing this!

it's one of the most retarded pieces of shit i've heard watched. i don't know how many times i said 'what the fuck?!' out loud.

i couldn't believe it was so bad. SO BAD. everything about it. it's like they did it on purpose. that's the only acceptable explanation.
Your Reply:



12:58AM on 10/30/2008
Hilarious, but needs more wacky old woman. Hell, you could fill up another ten.
Hilarious, but needs more wacky old woman. Hell, you could fill up another ten.
Your Reply:



2:34AM on 10/30/2008

Sad thing is...

Rohan's response down there to this is still better written than this whole miserable film.
Rohan's response down there to this is still better written than this whole miserable film.
Your Reply:



3:59AM on 10/30/2008
It is a bad movie, though not as bad as you claim it to be. The ending (or lack thereof) really pissed me off, though.
It is a bad movie, though not as bad as you claim it to be. The ending (or lack thereof) really pissed me off, though.
Your Reply:



+0
5:02AM on 10/30/2008
I pity you, I really do.
I pity you, I really do.
Your Reply:



6:33AM on 10/30/2008
Am I in the tiniest of minorities that LOVED the movie, pure and simple, no quibbles whatsoever?
Am I in the tiniest of minorities that LOVED the movie, pure and simple, no quibbles whatsoever?
Your Reply:



10:41AM on 07/16/2010

It was okay.

Its wasn't awful. It wasn't great. It was just average. Like me. :p
Its wasn't awful. It wasn't great. It was just average. Like me. :p
Your Reply: