Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Retro Review: Super High Me and The X-Files: I Want to Believe

 (editor's note: The Cap'n realized there was a series of Blogorium posts from 2008 that never made the transition from our old stomping grounds to the new one. As a result, it seemed like a good idea to share some other reviews that had been otherwise "lost" over the past four years).

Last night, I watched two movies:

    X-Files: I Want to Believe and Super High Me.

    Guess which one was surprisingly engaging and changed the way I perceived someone?

    If you guessed Super High Me, you're correct. As the title would suggest, the documentary is a parody of Super Size Me, wherein comedian Doug Benson (The Marijuana-Logues, VH1's pick something) finds out what the effects of smoking weed all day for thirty days straight are.

    This one joke premise actually gets expanded a little bit since Benson, a noted pot-enthusiast, has to stop smoking pot for 30 days in order to accurately judge a month of doing nothing but getting high. I was always kind of lukewarm towards Benson, because it seemed like he always had the obvious joke on Best Week Ever or I Love the (fill in the blank), but it does turn out that he just works better blue.

   During the 30 days of not smoking pot, Benson also becomes surprisingly lucid and more observational in his stand up (which he continues doing all 60 days), even if he doesn't notice it. It's actually quite interesting watching him go from stoned to sober to stoned again. I wouldn't call it regression when he hits the end of no pot, but there's a definite shift in his material.

    The rest of Super High Me is devoted to learning more about California's medicinal marijuana program. Benson meets people who run the dispensaries, the cameras are present when the DEA raids in the middle of the night, and he jokes with other comedians about getting high. As far as the "effects" go, there's not a radical difference in his medical tests, psychological profile, or psychic ability (you heard me), althoug his sperm count goes wayyyy up.

    Recommended as a renter if you like Doug Benson, are a stoner, or like stand up peppered with frequent drug use. Not recommended if you thought Super Size Me was a life changing experience.


    The most damning thing I can say about X-Files: I Want to Believe is that it's disappointing. After all these years, the best Chris Carter could come up with was a third rate episode of CSI featuring Mulder, Scully, and Billy Connoly playing a pedophile priest.

    Oh, excuse me - a possibly psychic pedophile priest. That, along with a ridiculous twist involving organ transplants and two headed dogs are what qualify this sub-par episode disguised as a movie as being "paranormal". What it really means are endless (and pointless) arguments between David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson about "the darkness" and "believing".

    Everything about the film is perfunctory, from the camerawork to the lackluster score and the grasping at straws way the film both tries to ignore the series but throw in as many "hey remember this" bits. For example, in the span of 60 seconds, we see Mulder a) walk to his "I Want to Believe" poster, b) eat sunflower seeds, c) a picture of his sister, d) the camera pan up to see the pencils in the ceiling, even though it doesn't make sense in the house they live in. Oh, and the basketball, just in case. All they were missing was an "X" on the window.

    There's a George W. Bush joke that's so behind the times that it wouldn't have been funny in 2004, let alone 2008. Why they dragged Mitch Pileggi in for such a pointless and unnecessary cameo is beyond me. He's literally only in the film because fans would've rioted otherwise, because there's no other reason for his totally wasted screentime.

    Frankly, everything about X-Files: I Want to Believe is a waste. It's nowhere as horrendous as the series finale; it's just unnecessary. The worst sin the movie could have commited was to exist for no good reason, but that's exactly what happened. If for some bizarre reason Chris Carter gets a shot at one more movie, they'd better make it a damn sight more compelling. Even die hards can only take so much abuse; ask George Lucas.

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