Awfully Good #75
Jason's in San Diego for this year's Comic-Con, so in his absence relive what is probably the worst comic book movie ever forged!
The Spirit (2008)
Director: Frank Miller
Stars: Gabriel Macht, Samuel L. Jackson, Eva Mendes
Is there a plot?A cop comes back from the dead to fight Samuel Jackson’s stylist.
What's the damage?
We love you, Frank Miller. Really, we do. You’ve given us so many great stories, characters and artwork over the years. Plus, your permanent scowl kind of makes you the grumpy grandfather we never had. But please, don’t make anymore movies.
“Seriously, what am I doing in this movie?”
It’s obvious at this point as a filmmaker, Miller seriously needs someone else to reign him in ala SIN CITY. (The last movie he touched on his own was ROBOCOP 3, the one where the unstoppably badass cyborg cop helps people who’ve been wrongly evicted.) And thus we have THE SPIRIT, which is a complete Millerian creation, full of crass dialogue, harsh violence and oversexed women. Except that The Spirit was actually created by Will Eisner. And you can bet your red tie Eisner never had his Spirit do pantsless gymnastics or made The Octopus genetically engineer a foot with a human head on it. So while the movie may be authentic Miller, it’s not THE SPIRIT. Also, authentic Miller translates horribly to the big screen.
“Oh yeah, I’m getting paid for this!”
The director took the green screen lessons he learned on SIN CITY and went absolutely insane with it. The result is way too stylized, with a lot of shots looking like straight animation. Although that kinda fits considering the film plays like a cartoon, even with the wacky violence and zany sound effects. At one point, like Bugs Bunny, Sam Jackson pulls out a toilet from nowhere and smashes it over the Spirit’s head. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to bizarre and random stuff in THE SPIRIT. There’s the aforementioned living foot, a ten minute flashback with Kid Spirit, Greek mythology, a melted cat and more. There is humor in the film and the film is hilarious. But the two facts are not connected.
Gabriel Macht was replaced with a drawing of The Spirit halfway through the film and nobody noticed.
I feel bad for all the talent wasted in this. Scarlet Johansson is dull eye candy. Spanish beauty Paz Vega has maybe 2 minutes of screentime as a dancing French assassin. Eva Mendes might make cinematic history as the only character ever to be named after a font. And poor Gabriel Macht finally gets his big break as one of the weirdest superheroes ever, spending most of his time talking about his city as a sexual partner and mother. That’s right the titular hero has an oedipal complex with his zip code. However, the crowning achievement of THE SPIRIT has to be Samuel L. Jackson as The Octopus, a villain obsessed with eggs and fashion porn. At least that’s what I assume since he keeps changing in to random outfits including a Japanese samurai, a Nazi general, a sombrero wearing Mexican and a Russian makeup artist. Jackson seems to be having fun with all the overacting and receiving a paycheck, but you will spend most of the movie mouth agape with horror at the sheer lunacy of his performance.
Yes, this screenshot of a dinosaur actually came from this movie.
1) Samuel L. Jackson melts a cat.
2) Samuel L. Jackson finds his genetically engineered foot to be pretty damn weird.
3) I enjoy the ridonkulasticity of this gunfight, as well as The Spirit’s line at the end.
Eva Mendes’ perfect naked ass!
Play Along at Home!
Take a shot or drink every time:
- Sam Jackson talks about eggs
- The Spirit creepily talks about his city
Double shot when:
- Sam Jackson changes costume
Thanks to Donovan and Marcus for suggesting this week’s movie!
Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email and give him an excuse to drink.