Sunday, June 8, 2008

Something New, and Still Really Old, Under the Sun

(note: the sister review of this fine feature film can be found over on the hamster's site)

(another note: some of this review should be a bit, um, graphic. Fortunately, I've tastefully removed any possibly offensive terms and replaced them with the word "Chewbacca." If your curiosity gets the better of you, click the link. But don't say I didn't warn you.)


If I told you that the movie I'm about to review concerns a centuries-old, cross-cultural, mythological phenomenon that has roots in Egyptian, Greek, Christian, Native American, and African folklore, would that make me seem scholarly? Professorial, even? 'Cause it does come from those traditions. Really. I promise. Look it up.

I've seen lots of horror movies and I've seen lots of blood and guts and pretty much every conceivable way of killing some poor Hollywood schmuck. But this is a first. I can sit through SAW and HOSTEL without flinching. I can watch Freddy Krueger invade the nightmares of unsuspecting teens with nary a bad dream of my own. But this, this myth called Chewbacca, this is the hardest to watch. This made me look away.

Throughout the history of our vast world, patriarchy has always been the status quo. Men have always held the power. Owned the land, made the money, voted the votes. That's where the root of this Chewbacca myth comes from. It's a story where the script is flipped, a feminist dream. Men become the victims, the helpless ones. In a situation where they believe the power is theirs, they find in one quick, sickening second, that they are powerless. And a bit lighter.

TEETH is a cautionary tale for boys. Remember that time in middle school where the boys are separated from the girls and each gets to watch a "special video?" I don't remember the video we watched 20-some years ago, but I know this: TEETH should be required viewing for all pubescent boys who are considering becoming "active."

Our heroine, Dawn, a high-school age girl who trumpets celibacy to young people everywhere, saying things like, "That's what the ring is all about. The way it wraps around your finger - that's to remind you to keep your gift wrapped. Wrapped... until the day... you trade it in for that other ring. That gold ring. Get it?", has come to realize that perhaps there is something that is... let's say "unnatural" down there. Through no fault of her own, she is forced to confront this... umm, mutation. Her first victim is a fellow save-it-for-later fellow she genuinely likes, who decides to get a little too frisky and ends up as crab food. Then there's the perverted OBGYN who loses a few fingers and, hilariously, writhes on the floor screaming, "Chewbacca! It's real!", but won't tell the doctors what actually happened to his hand.

When she discovers that she can, in fact, control her... um... gift, Dawn comes to realize the potential she has, not only the potential to defend herself from sick and unruly boys, but also the ability to be pro-active. To punish stupid fellows who think first with head #2. She becomes something of a feminist superhero, or, at least, vigilante. Her mission (and by the end of the movie, we believe that she has chosen to accept it) is to destroy those males who would use their superior physical strength to take advantage of the "weaker" sex.

It's a moral tale in the vein of the slasher films of the '80s. Just like Jason chopped up the campers at Camp Crystal Lake (and on a cruise ship, and, oh yeah, in space - I'd forgotten about that one) for sins as varied as fornication, pride, and gluttony (or just being the funny guy), Dawn enacts justice on the predators in her town. It's really a tale of the evils of sexual exploitation of women. Every guy who gets... um... shortened, absolutely deserves it. The moral of this morality play is this: Treat women as objects and suffer the consequences. The horrible, terrible, life-altering, gruesome consequences.

TEETH owes as much to the '90s teenager movies - CLUELESS, HEATHERS, BRING IT ON, etc. as it does to Jason and Michael Myers. The teen caricatures are typical - the geek, the bully, etc. It's campy (the good kind), smart, and biting (ha!). It's really a B-movie that lives above its means. Some of the effects betray the budget, but that's forgivable. Mostly it's a lot of wince-inducing fun.

Husbands, don't show this to your wives. They might get ideas.


Janna said...

No, John is not allowed to watch these kinds of movies around our children. And I haven't seen it either.

My questions have to do w/ tampons. So glad this is a "myth."

the hamster said...

highlights here:

-pubescent boys required to watch this movie for permission to pube
-"crab food"

i sign my name to bottom of this: gladly. my only sadness, sir john, is that few will take us seriously. they will laugh. they will snicker. they will nervously itch at themselves while reading this and sigh as they say, "not me." but few will ever view the beauty of the TEETH.

i do, however, have myles werntz scheduled for miller lites and a viewing of TEETH at my place this friday night. God bless 'im.

by the way, i'm watching FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER while writing this. crispin glover is a camo-genius. the little dance he does to the heavy metal music is pure movie magic. too bad he had to get it in the kitchen with the corkscrew and the butcher knife - and right after he kindly lost his virginity.

yeah, these films are capital F - phun.

ps. thanks for co-writing with me. let's do it again sometime.

Myles said...

Dude. I'm watching this with Kevin this weekend. I can barely wait.

Doubtful Muse said...

"Chewbacca." LOL! Mike had better NOT rent this movie.