28 Hours Later

Screen grab from "28 Days Later." Patient in hospital greens walks through abandoned London streets.

I picked up some sort of cold over the weekend. I started feeling like hell on Monday. On Tuesday, my line of thinking was “If I want to get better, then I should stay in bed and rest.” Today, after a further day spent mostly sleeping, I thought “If I want to get better, I should keep moving around.”

This isn’t necessarily a positive step in my illness. After all, this is the sort of thing you must do with people who are dangerously close to slipping into some form of coma.

Well, luckily, it turned out that I’ve crested the hill of Deathly Ichors and am now speeding towards recovery. Diagnostic tip: if the patient is healthy enough to be bored senseless, then he’s probably healthy enough to go out and buy some more juice.

The medical industry should also research the healing power of deadlines. There’s a professional term for the amount of work I got done on Monday, Tuesday, and today. It’s on the tip of my tongue…something short…

Ah! Yes: “**** all.” That’s how much work I’ve finished this week. On Tuesday, I woke up, took care of an hourlong business call that couldn’t have been postponed, I did my podcast, and then I went back to sleep. Today I woke up, conducted an hourlong meeting via iChat, and then went back to sleep. Three, count ’em, three, things still need to be written and if my week hadn’t been such a Keith Moon pastiche of pills and aggressive unconsciousness I’d have finished them all by now.

So it’s my first evening back on the payroll. I’ve just about gotten myself caught up with all the emails I hadn’t read and now I’m getting caught up on all of the news that passed me by.

Imagine my reaction at finding out that I slept through a major Twitter panic. It looks as though someone has finally figured out a way to make money from Twitter: you just exploit a security hole to hijack a reader’s browser and forcibly redirect it to sites that could potentially install malware on the host computer.

Well!

And just about as quickly as the exploit went viral — in the “adorable video of a kitty finding its way out of a paper bag” sense, not the darker “you visit a hacked site and three days later, a Russian syndicate owns your house” kind — Twitter closed it.

I couldn’t help but think about all of the horror movies that use that scenario as a premise. You submit to some sort of no-big-deal medical treatment that puts you under for X days or hours. Then, aliens explode a spore bomb in the atmosphere. You wake up X+1 days or hour later and then there you are, the only one on the planet untouched by the madness. You’ve little time to piece everything together because if you don’t, you’ll get eaten by the half of the population that was turned into zombies. If you’re very unlucky, you’ll escape the zombies only to wind up in the hands of the half that was rendered completely blind; they’ll probably guilt-trip you into doing all of their shopping for them.

This will go very badly for you. I’m thinking about how self-pitying and entitled I feel just after two days of nursing a cold. Imagine how insufferable 150,000,000 people blinded by alien spores will be. There you are, clothes torn to shreds, skin scorched from the improvised napalm grenade you had to detonate to keep a pack of Walking Undead at bay. You brush away the zombie fingers and feet that got sliced off when you slammed the fortified steel door behind you, while giving thanks to your brutal and indifferent God that allowed you to get back to the safehouse alive with a bag of precious foodstuffs.

And then you hear the beneficiary of your heroism say

“‘Low-fat’?!? You make me wait here three hours for you to bring me low-fat peanut butter?!? I am not paying for this! How about you read the goddamn grocery list I gave you, just once? Jesus, now I know why you keep coming back alive. The zombies only chase after people with brains.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVdD0ZxPq_g

Actually, when I say I’ve gotten nothing done this week I forgot (in my flu-addled stupor) to mention that I finally saw “The Love Guru.” Or perhaps I’m just going through some form of PTSD. The reviews on this one were so bad that (1) I had to see it, and (2) I couldn’t retain my pride if seeing this movie required me to do anything more than pick up a remote and fulfill an impulse without spending a single sou.

It finally arrived on Netflix Streaming this week. It was…um…yeah, well, it was pretty bad. There are the kinds of jokes that just sort of lie there and don’t register any sort of reaction from the audience, apart from the realization that the thing that just happened had the form and the intention of a Joke. And then there are the ones that do provoke a reaction: hatred. It’s not just that the entire movie is packed with dick jokes. Even every male character’s name is a dick joke.

This is why I would have been kicked out of the Film Critic’s Guild Society of American Movie Critics. About fifteen minutes in, I’d lost all patience and was muttering “Oh, for God’s sake…” every time another dick joke came along. It was like the Rose Parade. They passed by in a nonstop, slow march. You’d first sense the joke at the far end of the street. When it was two blocks away, it was already in sharp focus. But then it took another minute or so before it rumbled to center stage and that’s when you saw Mike Myers standing on top of it, in a sash and tiara, waving proudly to the crowd. I wished I could have thrown a fire extinguisher at the man.

I found myself welcoming the epic “two-man combat with urine-soaked mops” scene. No, that scene didn’t work either. Nothing in this movie works. But it was at least nice to see some classy material up there. Relatively speaking.

There are bad movies that are entertaining in their pure naivete. There are bad movies that are entertaining as a forensic exercise in What Went Wrong. But this one was just bad. It reeks of the flop sweat of a studio executives that kept reminding each other of how much the Austin Powers movies made, and how many “Shrek” DVDs have been sold, and telling each other “Yes, the script is pretty weak…but just wait until they start shooting and Mike Myers starts sprinkling his magic stardust all over this!”

If this were a scene in “The Love Guru,” the next shot would have been of Mike Myers taking a whizz on the screenplay. The shot would go on for about four minutes before a cop taps him on the shoulder, Myers wheels around in surprise, and accidentally pees in the man’s face for thirty seconds more.

(On-set, Myers amends this to “The guy has to have his mouth open. That’s what makes it funny. Also, I’ll make funny faces and sputter nonstop apologies while it’s happening.”)

I’m taking bad. Bad enough to make me retroactively hate all of his previous work and wonder if he was ever actually funny to begin with.

I bet right now, Mike Myers is watching Joachim Phoenix’s appearance on Letterman last night and kicking himself. That’s what he should have done after his movie bombed. He should have gone on Letterman and said “We were really shocked that nobody saw through the joke immediately. We had done everything possible to intentionally make ‘The Love Guru’ the worst comedy ever made. We thought people would enjoy it as an innovative piece of performance art…”

8 thoughts on “28 Hours Later”

  1. Please take care of yourself Andy. You are the best in the business. If journalistic excellence was appropriately rewarded you’d have a team of sexy nurses bringing you aspirin on a solid gold tray. Get well soon dude.

  2. I’m just getting over a cold too, but I spent my convalescence watching Mad Men. (Which, of course, resulted in nights of fitfully dreaming I was in 1962.) All in all, I think it was a good choice. Glad you’re feeling better, but sorry you had to suffer through such an abomination of a film.

  3. Glad you’re on the mend. As a fellow Bugler though I need to know – how did John Oliver comport himself in that travesty? I myself have not yet been (and now may never be) sick enough to watch that flick.

  4. This review of this movie can be done in “1” Word..

    “AWESOME”

    Sing it Andy Tell the truth whether it hurts or not..

    ;-P

    Speedy recovery sir!

    Da-Chief

  5. Better late than never.
    Thanks for the tip-off on the movie. I hadn’t seen it, but had it in my cue. My 22yo Son saw it & said it was fairly good.
    HOWEVER; understand, my Son had just harvested several choice buds of his “medicinal” Maui Wowie…
    Maybe he should send Mom some if he thought it was “good”-(the film, I think we can conclude that the “medicine” worked well…. ;)

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