It was 2:30 last Saturday afternoon when we strolled into Cinemark to view this year’s crop of Dumpuary showings. This affectionately (scatologically?) named season comprises the months of January and February, the period in which the Oscar nominations (check out some viewing tips from last year here) for the past year have already come out, but it’s too early in the season for films to be remembered for the following year’s nominations. So all the major studios dump the pictures that would never have gotten any awards onto the theaters, and we’re left with absolutely nothing to see when it’s godlessly cold outside. But don’t worry. We saw the three most atrocious selections, so that you don’t. Our trifecta has a combined score of 32% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
We first saw the Wayans Brothers’ 50 Shades of Black, a Scary Movie-style spoof on the already indefensibly horrid 50 Shades of Grey. The theater was surprisingly filled for a terrible movie showing on a pretty Saturday afternoon, and there were even a few little kids around to see the five on–screen shots of prosthetic male genitals. After sitting through terrible trailers for Zoolander 2 and some Tyler Perry movie about a barbershop that magically heals an entire community, we just wanted the movie to start. Lemme tell you: this movie had everything. White girls performing blackness and saying the n–word, pencil fellatio, a sex scene spoof of Whiplash involving drums, and the quote, “I licked six buttholes last week, and all I got was a Dell. Desktop.” And in the “BDSM” room, no one was safe. After the protagonist is waterboarded and asked about bin Laden’s whereabouts, she’s brutalized by listening to 50 Shades of Grey read aloud. But for some real pain, I wish they would have made her watch this flop.
Next came Dirty Grandpa, a Zac Efron and Robert de Niro flick that can only be described as all the worst parts of grandma’s funeral, wedding jitters and spring break combined. This time, the theater was practically empty so not even people–watching could distract us from the chaos that was to ensue. We weren’t sure whether to be more horrified by the swastika–shaped penis (dubbed a Swasticock) drawn on Efron’s forehead, by De Niro’s motto to “party till you’re pregnant,” or by the duo finding inspiration in an athlete whose hands were so big he was able to finger five women at once in the revered Playboy Mansion. Even the jokes that weren’t meant to be vulgar were cliché and stale. How many movies can feature a pushy bride trying to decide between the pistachio and sea foam–colored napkins? How many puns can be made about a WASP–y couple having sex, seeing as Efron’s wife couldn’t wait to be “Tommy Hilfingered”? Even the message was harsh. The only lesson worth taking away was that the way to regain your youth in old age is banging a washed–up college senior. No amount of shirtless Zac Efron scenes could redeem this full–on failure.
Last but not least came Ride Along 2. Our patience was thinning as we settled into the theater for a fully racist “action comedy” featuring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart. You know things are bad when two films with completely different premises follow nearly the same plot: bride and groom are set to marry in a week (both in Atlanta), groom takes reckless weekend trip amidst the chaos of wedding planning (both to Florida), groom royally fucks up by blowing up cars and repeatedly getting punched in the face. We found ourselves getting angry trying to figure out who comes up with this type of shit as Hart was chasing a hacker-turned-criminal through backyards filled with chicken coops and cougars tanning by swimming pools. We decided to leave after about an hour during the lightsaber bar fight scene, for the purposes of our health and sanity. You can only listen to Ice Cube say, “Imma shoot you in the face” so many times.