Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


The Brass Teapot (2012)

I have a small confession to make. I hate comedy movies. Watching comedy on TV is barely tolerable, and I certainly won't read 
what's supposed to be a funny book. Especially if there's a moral to be taught or pushed as a result. I'm not devaluing comedies - I think my view of them has to do with my sick psycho childhood and not the genre itself. In fact, I'm sure of that. I have friends who are perfectly happy to sit with some popcorn and watch Gilligan's Island or The Brady Bunch for the billionth time and still laugh. Nothing wrong with that at all. I just prefer horror - maybe because the icky world of the horrible is what I'm comfortable with, not the slapstick of buddies getting drunk and hungover in Vegas and then making several movies about it.

With that being said, I probably wouldn't have looked twice at this movie if I hadn't noticed the movie description. In short, an ancient teapot pays out extraordinary amounts of money - for those willing to suffer for it. In other words, stub your toe, get a hundred bucks. Go higher, get more. That was almost interesting. This low budget movie was introduced at the Toronto movie festival and didn't do well, probably because what they tried to do is take what they wanted to be a light hearted comedy and smush a ton of morality and ethics into it. Oh and mix up a bunch of mythology that made absolutely no sense whatsoever.

We start with a 'very nice' couple - in this movie that means losers - named John and Alice. They're young, very much in love, and the typical couple in today's economy. No matter what they try to do to improve their financial circumstances, it seems they are destined to be on the outside looking in as their 'peers' are living the good life and looking down on them. 

Except for one couple they have been friends with since high school who are also destined to permanently be 'blue collar'. In this movie, blue collar equals loser and that rubbed me the wrong way from the start. It's part of what's wrong with the work ethic today - if you can't get rich off it, it isn't worth doing. Talk to Mike Rowe - he'll give you the REAL picture of who builds this country and how valuable they are.

What Mike Rowe was taught in school was NOT smart...
Mike Rowe, who hosted a show called Dirty Jobs (the show always made me flinch but was great) is quoted often for saying, "We are lending money we don’t have to kids who can’t pay it back to train them for jobs that no longer exist. That’s nuts." He's even talked with Congress how we are teaching our kids that white collar is what they should strive for, when the blue collar work trade is suffering for skilled people. And since the average college student debt loan right out of the gate is around twenty grand, I'm inclined to agree with him.

Whoops, sorry, got off on a tangent there. So John and Alice are very nice. One day they're out in their POS Pinto (again, not knocking Pintos - it was the first car my husband and I owned for years) and are sideswiped when a car, not seeing a stop sign, hits them. The stop sign had been chopped down. While they're figuring things out with a police officer, Alice notices across the street an old woman and a broken down antique shop. She notices the woman pick up a teapot she had hidden outside and run into the building. Alice follows, finds the teapot and steals it. Oh she's a real nice person. Real nice.

Okay, this is where everything gets really... dumb. Not because this is too convenient (it is supposed to be a comedy about a teapot after all) but because this 'ancient' teapot clearly has the Star of David on the side (the old woman is a Jew). Nothing wrong with that - but during the movie it is discovered that the teapot has been around the world, in the hands of lots of people of several civilizations and time periods. Umm, then why is the Star of David on it? Wouldn't it have something more... otherworldly - or at least a different type of symbol on it?

Sorry - another tangent. So Alice quickly discovers the correlation between pain and payoff. John comes home to find her beat to a pulp. On purpose. And carrying a whole lot of money. Soon both are in the pain game and find different ways of making those hundreds pop out of that pot. But this pot is greedier than the humans coveting the moolah and the payoff for pain gets smaller and smaller. 

Soon they are attacked by the Hasidic Jew sons of the owner of the teapot (she survived WWII and had supposedly stolen it herself from Hitler) who want the money but not the pot 'cause they know what it does to you - it was their mother who had sawed off the stop signs hoping for car crashes and other people's pain. Also targeting them is a brainless ex-jock who wants to know why the people he hates most are suddenly rich. 

They've also been contacted by an Asian gentlemen who explains he does not want the pot for money, but because the men in his family for generations have been hunting the damned thing to get rid of it once and for all. Why his family have been even bothering with it is not explained.

The 'nice' John and Alice start abusing each other emotionally because that's what it wants now. After being bored with the emotional pain of our couple, they go out looking for other people to 'hurt' for bigger payouts. After stopping herself a second before revealing to her brother-in-law that her sister had actually cheated on him before they were married and their child was not his, she decides (remember, she's a NICE person) that if they just kill one or two people who deserve it, like a child molester or a drug dealer, they can stop. 

John then realizes she will NEVER stop and goes to see the Asian gentleman, Dr. Ling, about what to do to get rid of the teapot. Dr. Ling sadly tells him that it's too late - the teapot will make sure both are completely destroyed (morally as well as physically I guess) before moving on to another person.

So they've dissed the only true friends they had, spent oodles of cash on themselves made from the pain of others, and his wife wants more more more. He decides the only option is to give her what she wants. To her horror, he holds the teapot and leaps from their bedroom window.

To both their surprise he lives and she comes to her senses. They plan to give the teapot to Dr. Ling in the morning. But the ex-jock, stupid but not THAT stupid, figures out what gives them so much money and steals it. They show up at his trailer house (and I resent that too - living in a single wide trailer does NOT mean you are trash - I've lived in one most of my life and they are perfectly fine when they are well taken care of) and he pulls a gun on them, figuring that killing them will make him and his, uh, wife incredibly rich. 

Just then (to keep with the completely convenient theme of the movie) the two Hasidic Jews show up with guns of their own - they have decided they want the pot after all. As John and Alice duck behind a couch (sorry people, that will NOT stop a bullet) all four greedy idiots shoot each other inside the trailer, as the pot spouts money like a whale. Like a whale spouts water I mean - money does not come from a whale. Just in case you didn't know.

All four die and the place is covered in money. The two grab the teapot (and all the cash - blood or no blood it still spends) and head outside. Standing there waiting for them (another massive and unexplained duh) is Dr. Ling. As they give him the pot he gives THEM the speech that makes this a worthy lesson for greedy bastards who steal old lady's magical items (so saith the movie): 'Kings, queens, dictators, priests, peasants and generals - thousands before you have held it. So few have had the strength to let go.' Well yeah, but not until they got a massive wad of cash and caused the death of four people. Duh.

Our ending scene is the true-but-dissed friends of John and Alice receiving a huge check from them (Blood money still spends, remember?) as our good-as-it's-gonna-get couple ride off in their Pinto - she's pregnant and their future is wide open. In poverty. I guess. What a nice story for the kiddies.

And the teapot? Well I had thought Dr. Ling was gonna take the thing to Vegas and let it ride (small chuckle) but he was true to his word - taking a cruise on an unspecified ocean he drops the pot into the water and we see it sink to the depths of... the possibility of a sequel.