“Visions” (2015)

Cinematic crap is never a good thing, except when it is. As horror fans in particular can attest, there are occasions when garbage movies manage to transcend their own stink and enter the Army of Darkness or Fist of Jesus zones. At such times crap films can be fun, but they still have to satisfy certain basic requirements of entertainment. They have to be funny, or visually interesting, or something. You can’t just film a literal pile of rotting cabbage and empty Spam tins and expect people to enjoy it ironically. (Unless you’re doing an art piece, I guess.)

Visions does not transcend its own stink. It doesn’t seem aware of the stench at all, and that oblivious, self-satisfied quality is what makes this film not just bad, but insulting.

The film stars an insufferable Isla Fisher, whom I’ve never seen act before, as Eveleigh, a name I’m not sure is real. Evie–I don’t remember if they called her that or not but I refuse to type out the whole thing again–is a young mother-to-be who’s just moved into a beautiful new house in the Napa Valley with her beardy beard-man husband David. Their plan is to revive the flagging wine business of their home’s previous owners, and as David sets about tending to the grapes, Evie settles into her new life of flopping listlessly about, volumizing her hair, and posing for endless closeups. Because what this movie is really about, more than ghosts or horror or whatever you expected, is Isla Fisher’s goddamned face.

So, I don’t know, there’s Weird Stuff that starts happening (our old friend!), and Evie is the only one who sees it. It’s all quite generic and hardly worth recounting. The Unnecessary Complicating Factor this go-round is that Evie had a car crash at the film’s start, and the other person had a baby that died, and Evie went on antidepressants, and apparently the filmmakers have a thing against antidepressants because the whole damned conflict is that Evie doesn’t want to take her pills because she’s pregnant. So everybody thinks she’s crazy and hallucinating, because Hollywood doesn’t understand depression at all, but the larger issue is that I hope you like babies because apparently this movie is all about ladies having babies.

Nearly every scene in this goddamned film has one or both of two equally irritating things: a super closeup of Isla Fisher’s two-emotion face (the emotions are GOOD and BAD); and some overt reference to the fact that she is pregnant. Every other line out of her mouth is about her pregnangy or her baby, because maybe you forgot that SHE IS HAVING A BABY. Evie starts going to a prenatal yoga class and becomes besties with Britta from Community who’s also having a baby and 74 Isla Fisher closeups later the movie ends thank god.

Ghosts or whatever, and somebody died in the past, maybe, and furniture moves around. Eva Longoria shows up, and Q from Star Trek: TNG, and the most annoying guy from that insipid show The Big Bang Theory. They throw in an ethnic stereotype for good measure, in the form of a Mexican lady who knows about supernatural stuff because in Hollywood minorities are all magic. Then there’s a stupid and unnecesary twist because bad movies always depend on twists, and christ this is a piece of garbage.

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Halloween Meltdown ’16: More Junk Food

When you walk into my local Marunaka (a big grocery chain), there’s a display of Halloween junk food right at the front. So naturally every time I go there I cave and buy at least one Halloween-branded thing. This time the main event was this bag of cookies with the hilarious brand name “Country Ma’am,” which in Japanese is pronounced “kahn-toe-ree ma-mu.” (That’s not a proper romaji rendering, for all you language nerds, but an accurate phonetic one.)

These are another ordinary thing made super great by the application of tacky Halloween graphics, and I couldn’t be happier. The best part is, for mass-produced garbage snacks, these cookies are really good. They’re just normal chocolate chip cookies (with both regular and chocolate dough), but they’re slightly chewy in the middle and the chocolate chips melt in your mouth. Not sure the tiny silver dollar-sized cookies need to be individually wrapped, but whatever, they scratch that chocolate chip itch.