Movies That Were Waaaay Darker & Crazier Than Advertised
Between all the oranges and teals you could be forgiven for thinking that every damn movie to come out of Hollywood lately is the same. But it turns out that some recent movies weren't as simple as advertised. Yes, a bunch of seemingly normal Hollywood flicks were Trojan horsing moments of pure insanity that look like Michael Bay snorted David Lynch's brain. And since you probably skipped some of these, for better or worse, let us be your Sherpa to cinema's Mount What-The-Hell-Were-They-Thinking.
WARNING: Spoilers galore!
Passengers Is A Love Story (That Should've Been A Horror Movie)
Passengers (aka Chris Pratt And Jennifer Lawrence: The Movie) looked like a story about two good-looking people who only take breaks from space-adventuring for intergalactic doing it ... but that's not exactly how it goes down. You might have an idea of what it's really about if you saw all those thinkpieces about how surprisingly creepy it was.
The movie begins with Pratt's character, Jim, accidentally waking up from cryo-sleep with the kind of panic that makes you wonder if he was dreaming about being chased by dinosaurs and slathering himself in poop.
"GOOOOLDBLUUUM! Aw dammit, I need new undies."
Jim is now alone on a luxury spaceship bound for a new Earth-like planet to colonize. Unfortunately, the ship won't arrive there until long after he's dead. And because the ship's computer is as helpful as a Kinko's employee, there's no way to put him back into cryo-sleep. Like one of Facebook's many lurking weirdos, Jim starts watching videos of his fellow slumbering passengers, becoming obsessed with one called Aurora (Lawrence).
Because Jim's life is ruined and he doesn't want to be alone, he decides to ruin Aurora's life too, waking her up and pretending that her pod also malfunctioned. It's a horrible thing to do, but to be fair, Jim mulls over this ethical dilemma for a good 45 seconds or so. Then our brave protagonist starts hitting on this scared lady, because remember, he's a giant piece of shit. They even sleep together in what we can only assume is the ship's Tron-themed suite.
Hopefully he put a suit on his little Tronguy.
The only person to talk to onboard is a robot bartender who dresses like the ghost bartender in The Shining -- another story of isolation and men being abusive to women. Probably because they had to delete his deception subroutine to make room for how to make a Slippery Nipple, one day he blurts out the truth to Aurora.
"Also, X-Men: Apocalypse sucked ass."
Aurora understandably gets upset, even likening Jim's actions to murder. But then, when Jim almost turns into a handsome chunk of burnt flesh ...
"YEAAAAAAH! THAT'S WHAT YOU GET!" -- not her actual dialogue, sadly.
... Aurora decides that she loves him after all, forgoing an opportunity to get back into cryo-sleep so that she can stay with Jim, marry him, and for some reason live in a crappy wooden house they build in the middle of an otherwise fancy ship. Had the movie been titled Passengers: A Space Stockholm Syndrome Odyssey, maybe everybody would have been less horrified.
The Trolls Movie Is All About Genocide
A lot of popular '80s and '90s toys are being transmogrified into feature films these days, from G.I. Joe, to Transformers, to the extremely loose interpretation of Teddy Ruxpin that was The Revenant. So it was only a matter of time before Hollywood turned its attention to Troll Dolls, those free-wheeling nudists with colorful hair and the cold black eyes of a great white shark.
The movie is predictably cute and cuddly ... for about two minutes, until a bunch of grotesque monsters show up and start murdering and eating those adorable Trolls.
"We hate your naturist lifestyle, but murder's totally cool."
It turns out that the Trolls were originally farmed and feasted upon by this race of monsters. Luckily, the filmmakers find clever ways to strike a balance between establishing the Trolls' history as victims of a genocide and delivering kid-friendly fun ... such as having a decapitated Troll gush rainbow-colored blood.
This is what the monsters' shit looks like, too.
Bizarrely, this is all because the monsters can only feel happiness after eating a Troll, leading them to devour the flesh of their cute prisoners once a year to stave off their depression -- a surprisingly elaborate mythology for those genital-less hunks of plastic used to perk up office cubicles.
Though this does explain a lot about your grumpier co-workers.
The Trolls eventually escape their prison, but their lives are still tinged with tragedy. One Troll refuses to sing because he was singing while his grandmother was murdered.
"Hey Giant, Come Eat My Grandma" was an unfortunate song choice for more than one reason.
In the end, the Trolls teach the monsters that they don't need to eat them to be happy. They can be happy on their own! At this point, you have to wonder if this entire project was secretly bankrolled by Scientology to turn children against the idea of antidepressants.
This all results in a big dance party to the sweet sounds of Justin Timberlake, who it seems has the power to make people not care that they're doing the conga with the literal monsters who committed acts of genocide on their ancestors.
Why are the streets still covered in blood, though?
The Blair Witch Sequel Was A Time Travel Movie (With No Witch)
Gaslighting you into thinking that Book Of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 was one of the witch's sinister early 2000s illusions, the world recently saw the release of Blair Witch, a direct sequel to the '90s classic. Judging from the box office receipts, a lot of you sat this one out, so please allow us to fill you in on all the shaky-cam wackiness you missed out on.
Blair Witch begins with James, the brother of Heather from the original movie. For some baffling reason, James thinks his sister is still alive after almost 20 years of being lost in the woods, presumably surviving on wild berries and residual checks from the first movie. One day, he comes across a creepy-ass YouTube video shot in the same woods where Heather disappeared and decides that a blurry, filth-encrusted face in it kinda looks like her.
Not the worst context in which you can find a video of your sister online.
Instead of switching to YouTube videos of kittens riding turtles, James uses this flimsy evidence to organize a posse of friends and head out to the woods. Of course, they also decide to make a documentary about it. To be fair, if there's one thing the original Blair Witch nailed, it was predicting young people's obsession with filming every goddamn thing they experience. We should probably be glad this movie wasn't sewn together from Snapchats.
Naturally, the gang get lost in the woods. Less naturally, some of them get lost in time. Yup, while the first movie toyed with the idea of space and time not quite adding up in these woods, the new one has people straight-up getting temporally displaced from the rest of the group. The best explanation for this is that the evil witch is a big fan of the later seasons of Lost.
"OK, if you're in the future, who's president?"
"It wouldn't make my story any more believable if I told you."
The time-displaced guy freaks out and runs away ... only to show up later after more time travel, now with a beard, years of grime on his face, and an unspoken plan to use the witch's magic to amass sports almanacs.
"Anyway, got change?"
In the end, it turns out that the YouTube video that inspired them to go out there was their own footage, which somehow traveled back in time and lured them to their deaths. This means that the opening text about finding DV tapes in the woods really buried the lede by not proclaiming, "Holy shit, this footage contains evidence of a goddamn time warp! Prepare to have your preconceived notions of reality shattered! I think I might win the Pulitzer for this."
On top of everything, the characters end up running into a goddamn monster who, according to the writer, is not the witch -- meaning that all these movies may in fact be about dipshit campers rudely crashing a private Monster Mash.
Wait, that's Brad Garrett from Everybody Loves Raymond coming out of the shower. Case closed!
Alice Through The Looking Glass Has A Big Mental Institution Plot
Unless you have children who hate you, you probably didn't see the last Alice In Wonderland movie. While the first one found Tim Burton loosely reworking the classic story to include CG effects and what is presumably his personal collection of wigs and amusing hats, Alice Through The Looking Glass seems hellbent on making Lewis Carroll spin in his grave. Which we're cool with, since he was likely a huge creep.
The plot sees Alice returning to that familiar fantastical realm, only to learn that the Mad Hatter has become depressed and delusional, though sadly, he looks exactly as annoying as in the first movie. The Hatter thinks his family is still alive, even though they definitely died in his newly revealed, Batman-like secret origin.
"How I miss my dear brother Jake, with his delightful 'HAHAHAHA' tattoos."
Rather than teach the kids in the audience an important lesson in grief by helping the Mad Hatter heal his emotional wounds, Alice steals a time machine and ventures into the past to prevent his parents from being murdered by the Jabberwocky. Alice thinks this will make him sane again in the present, because his delusions will now be real. Yeah, we're pretty sure that's not how mental health works.
There's a strange aside wherein she runs into Mark Wahlberg raving about Ape Lincoln.
The most disturbing part comes when Alice wakes up back in the real world ... in a goddamn mental institution. That's right, it turns out she hasn't been disappearing to Wonderland. According to her mother, she's been ranting incoherently while stumbling about the furniture, which seems like conclusive evidence that she's been hallucinating Disney's whole franchise. If that wasn't upsetting enough, she then gets a visit from creepy old Doctor Professor Moriarty, who wants to stab her in the face with a syringe.
To be fair, "stabbing you in the face with a syringe" was a legitimate psychological treatment back then.
Alice ends up stealing the syringe, injecting the doctor in the butt, and running away ...
... back to Wonderland (which we now know is a psychotic delusion) to continue necromancing a monster's victims using a magic time-travelling sphere in order to restore a Juggalo's sanity. Man, any kid who tried to cheat on a book report using this is going to fail so hard.
Batman: The Killing Joke Shoehorns A Godawful Batman/Batgirl Romance
Because Hollywood is seemingly determined to turn every Alan Moore property into a movie until his head bursts like a balloon filled with rage, this past summer saw the release of an animated adaptation of the classic graphic novel The Killing Joke. The original 1988 comic finds the Joker shooting and sexually assaulting Barbara "Batgirl" Gordon to psychologically torture her father. Now, there are a few wrinkles in adapting this story. For starters, one of comics' most important female characters spends most of it unconscious. Also, it's like 50 pages long.
Looking to kill two birds with one stone, the movie's first half is an all-new story that focuses on Batgirl and her relationship with the guy who's usually her Bat-father figure.
"Is there something in your utility belt, or are you happy to see me?"
"Sorry, that's a can of shark repellent."
Yep, we meant "relationship" in that sense. In a scene straight out of a 13-year-old's erotic notebook doodles, Batman and Batgirl fight ... then get it on, all under the leering gaze of one of Gotham's pervy gargoyles.
Look at him. He's rock-hard.
Afterwards, Batman doesn't return her calls or acknowledge that they slept together, which understandably pisses Barbara off. Less understandably, this leads to her quitting life as Batgirl, and even straight-up attacking a guy who's breaking up with his girlfriend.
"You're welcome. Also, if you say anything to the police, I'll break your neck."
Adding to the bad rom-com-ness of it all, Batgirl spends most of her time gabbing with Reese, her sassy, advice-filled gay best friend, who speaks mainly in catchphrases.
Not Alan Moore dialogue, believe it or not.
So Batgirl can't do her job anymore because her clingy emotions have turned her into an emotionally charged rage monster -- and this was the part of the story that was meant to fix the sexism. At least the gritty ending in which Batman may or may not break the Joker's neck doesn't find Reese popping out of the bushes to yell "Oh, snap!"
The Collateral Beauty Script Is The Rambling Of A Crazy Person
Presumably because some studio executive pitched a version of A Christmas Carol in which Charles Dickens was fucked up on bath salts, the world was subjected to Collateral Beauty. Will Smith plays an advertising executive who -- still mourning the loss of his young daughter -- writes letters to the abstract concepts of Death, Time, and Love, only to find them answered by some kind of demigods who embody those ideas. Sadly, Smith and Jazzy Jeff weren't up to the task of trying to turn all of this nonsense into a lucrative tie-in song, which would have made it all worth it.
While some of the advertising presents this as a magical Christmas miracle, the movie is in truth about how Smith's business partners are conning him, hiring three actors to pretend to be those concepts he's pen pals with. Merry Christmas, jerks.
Damn, how much money did they have? That's Helen Mirren right there.
Their plan is to hire a private detective to videotape Smith, then digitally remove the actors he's talking to in order to make him look insane, thus forcing him out of the company. Yeah, you know it's a convoluted scheme when Industrial Light and Magic has to get in on it. Plus, couldn't you digitally erase anyone he's talking to so he'll look crazy?
If all this wasn't enough of a Christmas-y shit sandwich, there's a whole other storyline in which Smith meets a woman who lost her daughter too. They hit it off and even go out on a date. But because this script was written by the Hallmark equivalent of M. Night Shyamalan, it turns out that she's his estranged wife, who's treating him like a stranger because that's what he wanted, apparently. And he's in so much denial that he doesn't recognize her or something.
If this movie took place in the Men In Black universe, it would make so much more sense.
And then, in the rare and coveted double plot twist, the three actors disappear ... because they were real magical beings all along. Which is mind-boggling, especially since Love (Keira Knightley) was hired while auditioning for one of the agency's commercials. Yeah, why be satisfied with being an immortal being roaming the ethereal planes of existence when there's the possibility of landing the role of "Frustrated Mom" in the latest Pop-Tarts spot?
For more things you might've missed in movies, read 6 Movies That Didn't Realize The Villain Really Won and 5 Films That Are Horrifying If You Switch Their Perspectives.
And be sure to check out 9 Types Of Coworkers To Make You Want Your Head To Explode, and let us know about other headsplosion-worthy employees we may have missed.
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Imagine being trapped aboard the doomed Titanic on an icy Atlantic. . . with the walking dead. Check out Chris Pauls and Matt Solomon's Deck Z: The Titanic.