The Pajiba Axis of Evil
Over the years here at Pajiba, we’ve collected a few boogeymen and women, our easy targets, those Hollywood villains with which many identify us if only because it is these people who best bring out the site’s tagline. So, for convenience sake, and for those new to the site, I wanted to compile Pajiba’s very own Axis of Evil. I also wanted to be very selective about it, limiting the Axis to only six people, or one for each year of our existence. There are others with whom we have bones of contention, and have railed against from time to time, but it is these six people who best represent what we stand against. To put them in the Evil Hall of Fame, however, doesn’t mean we’re retiring our hatred. It’s just a way to memorialize our enmity.
Katherine Heigl (Also known as Rainbow Killer, formerly Skank Cancer): We’ll concede that Katherine Heigl is a serviceable actress, if given the right role. Cruella De Vil comes to mind. Romantic comedy leads, however, do not suit her. Why? Because behind those huge, gleaming fake smiles, she’s incapable of hiding her disdain for the rest of the world. In every single interview we’ve seen of her, Heigl does nothing but display a narcissistic egotism characterized by passive-aggressive pettiness. Putting aside her history of saying grotesquely insensitive and inappropriate things about the projects and people she’s worked with (often under the guise of feminism), when we see her, all we see is self-righteousness. She seems to posses the same stuck-up attitude of Gwyneth Paltrow, but we don’t feel as though Heigl has earned it, and she certainly doesn’t have the acting blue-blood of Paltrow to back up the snobbery. Heigl is spoiled, preadolescent beauty pageant brat stuck in the body of a 32-year-old actress. She believes that the world owes her a favor for blessing us with her presence, and despite what her faces says, her eyes always express disdain. We’re all for outspokenness, but how about backing up those goddamn words with actions instead of sliding into a bed of cash and fucking your brains out. At least the Four Starletards of the Apocalypse are honest about themselves — they own their whorish, drunken crazy — but Heigl wants to be a tabloid star and eat her cake of righteousness, too. Sorry. She’s about as transparent as a wet T-shirt. She may be pretty, but she’s about a sexy as a late-night doorstep fire left by empty-bowelled vandals and has all the goddamn acting talent of an empty wastebasket.
Paul Haggis: Paul Haggis is a Hollywood hack, who writes and doctors up scripts by using every tired cliché known to man. Just like you need to condition the sheep’s stomach for a day before actually cooking up haggis, it’s best to condition your brain for a day before watching anything Haggis’ golden pen has touched. We suggest steeping your brain in malt liquor the night before. Sure, it’s easy to dismiss a director who attains modest box-office success and the right to make another, hopefully better, film. However, when that subpar effort, Crash, is not only lumped into the same category as four infinitely superior movies (Brokeback Mountain), but is then declared the best, you begin to see why we’ve developed an unhealthy sense of hatred toward the man. On the spectrum of achievements and just desserts, Haggis lands so far off the charts that not even Phil Keoghan would await his return. It’s untenable, and for those in the business of judging the qualitative merits of film, seeing a criminally undeserving Haggis win an Oscar for Crash rightly inspired some borderline homicidal resentment in many of us. But, it’s not just the residual anger we have left over from the travesty of Crash winning the Best Picture Oscar last year (or that a rich, middle-aged white Scientologist was writing a film about racism), it’s that so many people have bought into his insufferable skill for cutting and pasting Hallmark cards into his cloying dialogue. His limited talents only befit his early career, which was largely made up of writing episodes of “Diff’rent Strokes,” “The Facts of Life,” “The Love Boat,” and a television movie, The Return of the Shaggy Dog. The man hasn’t mysteriously gained any newfound gift for writing since 1987; we fear, instead, that America’s collective IQ has simply dropped to Haggis’ level. Suddenly, the guy who created “Michael Hayes” and “Walker: Texas Ranger” is a legitimate screenwriter, which allows him to put his saccharine-and-douche imprimatur on films like The Last Kiss and Casino Royale (the latter of which was a perfectly good flick weighed down by Haggis’ heavy-handedness). Worse, he continues to be celebrated because directors like Eastwood pick up the considerable slack left by the sloganeering that he passes off as screenwriting.
Brett Ratner: There are few filmmakers we have more disdain for than Brett Ratner. The man is toxic. He’s a fucking blight. Somehow he went from directing the decently funny Rush Hour to a career made up of horrible films and hideously botched adaptations and sequels; he’s devoured every idea that was put in his path and shit out horrid, stinking piles of failure. Sure, at the end of the day, he might not be a terrible person; we’re sure he has a soul, however small and wrinkled and vaguely misogynistic it may be. But it’s not going out very far on a limb to say that Ratner makes some pretty bad movies. Ratner tends to get huge budgets (for hookers and blow) and at least mediocre scripts, which he ruins with his hands-off approach. And by hands off, he yells “Action,” and hides out in his trailer until the crew goes home. He got his start as a director of Mariah Carey music videos, and it shows. Yet, the thing about Ratner is, if weren’t so reviled, the only way anyone would know him was from his segment on “Punk’d” years ago. He gives studios what they want — serviceable, substandard fare with just enough flash to make a marketable trailer. He’s space filler. Loathsome, detestable space filler, and he ratnerfucks every blank space.
Tyler Perry: Tyler Perry, the successful director behind Racial Stereotype, Religious Exploitation, and Inspirationally Misogynist Piece of Shit, Too, is the man that some have apparently chosen to receive as their poet laureate. They flood the tabernacles of the local theaters to sing his praises. In return, he dons a Medea wig and spits in their faces, and they love him for it. Tyler Perry has no respect for his audience, and it is obvious by the way he blatantly stereotypes them in his films. Since nobody minstrels about in hood rat gear, wearing bling, talking about bitches and busting caps, somehow many in black America feel comfortable accepting Perry’s rosy portrayal. In Tyler Perry’s version of black America, all spouses are unfaithful. If a man doesn’t provide for his family, he’s not a man. If his wife calls him on that, it’s OK if he backhands her because it’s all about respect. It doesn’t matter what you say or do, just as long as you have faith in Jesus and you quote scripture. In Tyler Perry’s America, black people aren’t allowed to be successful unless they are willing to be underhanded, manipulative, or shady. But it’s OK, because the only noble black person is a poor black person struggling to get ahead. Perry doesn’t have to make exciting films. He just has to make the same film, over and over, and his audience is going to line up. To craft a Tyler Perry movie, the recipe is very simple: Boil a Lifetime movie. Add five jokes that relate to black culture. They don’t even need to really be jokes per se. You can actually just mention black people, but not rappers. They need to be people like Morgan Freeman or Oprah Winfrey. Say Praise Jesus a lot and set two scenes in a church; one has to have a gospel choir. Make sure you give it a Hallmark-safe message. Perry appeals to many of those the good people who go to church every Sunday, who understand the importance of conservative family values, who know a woman’s place is in the home, at her husband’s feet, and who understand that discipline comes at the end of a belt.
Michael Bay: We know far too many of you are prone to giving in to the ridiculous, bloated, overhyped, brain-torturing, senses-blasting, flag-waving excrement fire piles that are Michael Bay films. We don’t get it, except for Bad Boys, which is just flat-fucking-out. The rest of Bay’s oeuvre, however, makes our capillaries throb. Why bother with a storyline when you can just blow shit up? If it were just the explosions, though, we could cope. It’s the heavy-handed, faux-profound, red-state profundity that makes us want to crawl up our own ass to avoid sight of his films. Yeah: Mindless escapism and all. But if you’re going to give us mindless escapism, at least shove a shotgun up a guy’s ass, right? Do something besides blow up something big and then make out on top of the rubble. Everything the man makes is garish, loud, filled with obvious hints at his penis-envy issues (well documented on this site), and utterly ridiculous. There is no director working in Hollywood today who is more responsible for the detritus we have to sit through summer after summer than fucking Michael Bay, who essentially created the overly budgeted, plot-repellant, blow-some-shit-up blockbuster concept. Bay taught us that if you introduce enough conflagration to fill a three-minute trailer, cast a leading man who doesn’t give a shit about anything but a hefty paycheck (Nicolas Cage, Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, Shia LaBeouf), and then hammer us over the goddamned head with some overly bombastic, often shrill soundtrack ditty, then schlubs will fork over enough cash to turn a robust profit for the studio and leave the theater insisting that what they just sat through was awe-inspiringly killer because they have too much fucking pride to let themselves believe otherwise. It’s Michael Bay’s influence that is responsible for the celluloid offal that permeates our multiplexes now, from National Treasure to Independence Day to that god-awful Godzilla remake. Michael Bay epitomizes all that is rotten with a Hollywood studio system that extracts half a day’s wages from a family of four and offers little other than celluloid sewage in return. It’s chest-thumping, racially-insensitive, sexually provocative redmeat bullshit designed to get needle dicks hard. And that’s fine, if you’re a hormone-addled pubescent Beavis who gets his rocks off on blowing up frogs.
Uwe Boll: Uwe Boll, the Teutonic answer to Renny Harlin, has a one purpose in life: To be to make films based on video games that make us want to kill ourselves. In his “career,” German “director” Uwe Boll has become one of the most distinguishingly inept practitioners of film since the notorious Ed Wood. If you think that’s hyperbole, go watch Alone in the Dark or House of the Dead — the most skin-peelingly awful films we’ve seen since the last broadcast of “Mystery Science Theater 3000.” Those movies are truly astonishing: Risibly acted, edited, and shot, disasters on such a complete scale that they transcend failure and become things of sheer delight. Still, every year (usually in January), another Toilet Boll production lurches abominably into theaters, filled with an ill-fittingly large budget and a mix of good actors incomprehensibly slumming and bad actors happy that someone checked them out of rehab for the weekend and gave them enough ludes to get through their scenes. And guess what? They blow. And guess what? No one needed to be told that. And guess what some more? No one will go see it, and yet critics still go, weeping tears of sulfur for their lost youth and jamming needles into their Uwe Boll voodoo doll’s eyeballs and crotch while cursing this anathema to filmmaking and his German tax shelter. Look, here’s a tip: If you hold your Black Cat firecrackers for 12 seconds or more after lighting them, you get an extra special sensation. We here at Pajiba like to call that the Uwe Boll effect — try it! It’s as close as you can get to experiencing a Uwe Boll film without actually having to watch one.
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