The Spirit is not a very good movie

I've seen A LOT of movies in my time - literally thousands. Just as with anything else, if you plotted all the movies I've seen into a Bell curve they would range from good to mediocre to bad - with a few outliers that are either excellent or ludicrously bad. The ones I deem excellent I'll watch over and over again, the enjoyment I get from them never diminishing with repeated viewings. A good example of a movie like this is Ghostbusters. I saw Ghostbusters twice in the theater when I was a little kid and fell in love with it immediately. Over the years I've revisited it again and again, I never get tired of it. At this point in my life I've seen it over 100 times, it may be approaching 200 but I quit counting years ago. To most people that probably seems sad but I'm a geek and we're passionate about the things we love.

But being passionate is a double edged sword - for every Ghostbusters or Lost In Translation there's an equally terrible movie that provokes in me violent fits of rage and contempt. Films that fall into this category include such drek as 300, Boondock Saints, Charlie's Angels, and Star Wars Episodes I & II. These aren't just bad films, they're crimes against humanity. Luckily movies this bad are as rare as the really good ones - probably more so. If I may be so bold, allow me to provide some unnecessarily flowery similes to illustrate my point: If seeing Kill Bill for the first time is like glimpsing a bald eagle soaring over the treetops - graceful and majestic - then, certainly, viewing Armageddon is like witnessing an elderly woman get struck by a car and die a slow and agonizing death from internal bleeding, while lying in a filthy gutter. My list of these awful, awful movies is mercifully short, but tonight a new one joined the fold. That movie is The Spirit and when I tell you to avoid it like a syphilitic prostitute you'd do best to heed my words.

There are several reasons I hate this movie and the first is that it made me feel like I'd been betrayed by someone I love. The Spirit comes with a strong pedigree: it's based on a Will Eisner comic and was written and directed by Frank Miller. The previews promise a Sin City-like experience but the only thing I'm able to compare it to after seeing it is the time I went to the doctor and he surprised me with a rectal exam - I feel violated. I feel like I gave Frank Miller eight dollars of my hard earned cash, then he knocked me unconscious and pooped right in my mouth. Frank Miller teased me with a few well written passages of hard-boiled noir diologue then dumped a crap load if inane banter right on top of me, and kneed me in the balls to boot.

But the ridiculousness of the dialogue is only the beginning of my hate affair with the film. The villain, played by Samuel L. Jackson, has an army of cloned henchmen who have names like Pathos, Logos, Jeuvos, and Rancheros. To top it off, the names of the henchmen are conveniently embroidered on their t-shirts. Jackson's character also has an inexplicable fixation on eggs. In one scene he's dressed like a samurai and in another he's dressed as a Nazi SS officer... seriously. During a fight scene he (Jackson) wields what appears to be a giant crescent wrench and a toilet, both pulled out of some mud. The whole film is a swirling miasma of insanity - and not the good Alejandro Jodorowsky kind either, it's the Joel Schumaker Batman kind.

I'm struggling to make this coherent but I don't think I can. The movie itself wasn't coherent. I still have no idea what was supposed to be going on. At one point the Golden Fleece is even involved in the plot. The freaking Golden Fleece from Greek mythology...WHAT!

Look, I'm going to be blunt(er) - DON'T BOTHER WATCHING THE SPIRIT. Think of something else to do. I guarantee that literally anything you can think of is time better spent. Ever wonder what it would feel like to slam your hand in a car door? Use the time you could be watching The Spirit to find out. Cook a nice dinner, right a love note to your sweety, play video games, eat a fluorescent light. Any of these things beats subjecting yourself to The Spirit by leaps and bounds. If given the choice between watching this movie again or having someone place a flat head screwdriver between my two front teeth and then slowly tapping the other end with a hammer I'm going with the latter. On a scale of 1-10 The Spirit is rectal cancer.

Still not convinced? Fine, go see it. I'm sure you're probably the type that's still telling themselves that voting for George W. Bush a second time was a good idea anyway. Or better yet, just give me the $8 and I'll recreate the Goodbye Horses scene from Silence of the Lambs for you live. I guarantee it'll be 100 times less disturbing and uncomfortable.

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