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88 Minutes Review
guest starring Michael McGee
Al Pacino refused to lend his voice to The Godfather Game yet thought 88 Minutes was a good use of his time and acting skills.
A thriller thrilling only if you have inoperable brain cancer.
Despite being released this year, 88 Minutes wrapped in 2005 and could've easily been released that year. Or 2006. Or 2007. Yet it got pushed back to 2008. Why? Well, you wouldn't find that question necessary to ask if you saw the movie. The first several minutes alone justifies the studio's cold feet. Nevertheless. Who would've thought a movie starring Al Pacino, Mr. Dog Day Afternoon, would be consigned to the theatrical equivalent of the bargain bin? Well, the Al Pacino of today ain't the Al Pacino of yesterday. He's tired, he's haggard, his face looks like a greased and creased glove hit repeatedly by a baseball bat. He bases decisions on which production to appear in on money, not merit. If you don't agree, explain S1m0ne. Explain. Yeah. Exactly. You fucking can't. Nor can you explain 88 Minutes, the worst of his career and the worst thriller I've seen in a long ass time. After watching it, you will understand why it sat on the shelf for so long (and why it should've remained unreleased forever).
Pacino's more hair than man at this point.
Puke-voiced Chihuahua Al Pacino is Dr. Jack Gramm, a FORENSIC psychiatrist (which means he solves crime and perpetuates an ersatz, Nazi science) whose first actions in 88 Minutes is clubbin' to some 50 Cent bullshit hip hop and necking with an unbelievably hot chick (and then fucking said hot chick). Jack's day goes downhill from there because a murder fitting the M.O. of a serial killer he helped convict, John Forster, has sprung up, threatening to call into question Forster's execution, which fortuitously is occurring on the same day. Soon after that, he receives a phone call with an electronically modified voice telling him he has 88 minutes left to live. This guy continually calls him, saying lame things like "tick tock, doc, 83 minutes". I guess his idea is to call Dr. Gramm so many times he offs himself out of frustration of being called so often. The guy also harasses by graffiti tagging Pacino's car with the number of minutes left. Petty vandalism, eh? For his next trick, the robotic voice dude will fill Gramm's inbox with dick enlargement spam. Hahaha!
No, this isn't a special circumstance. MSNBC just has a lot of programming gaps to fill.
After that it's a lot of Pacino barking orders into a cell phone to his tireless girl Friday (who likes girls! That's not meaningless sapphic lust, either; it's a significant, unerotic plot point. Reason your movie won'y be good #34: the plot hinges on a lesbian secretary fooled into having sex in her boss' office.) and involving himself in a lot of inane car chases, fires, explosions and other thriller bullshit you see on any fucking terrible movie played late at night on USA and FX. In fact, the film feels like something you'd watch late at night for no other reason than you have nothing to fill your empty, decadent life with but cans of Red Bull and godawful fullscreen, commercial-intercut with, anemic thrillers of profilers, murderers and bad, unrealistic explosions screened at 11 at night. 88 Minutes makes you think all of Jack's associates/friends are suspects in the kerfuffle, it becomes evident the student of his (Lauren) who's purportedly beaten by the copycat is the true culprit behind everything. The rationale's lame: she was Forster's defense lawyer, she fell in love with Forster, she orchestrated an enormous plan, one which involved her going undercover as one of Jack's students, to frame him for a crime he didn't commit. The only real suspense is wondering if the end will reveal the entire plot to be a practical joke the rest of the cast played on Gramm, on account of how convoluted, nonsensical and clichéd everything is.
"I told you kids, stop writing funny messages on the overheads!"
We're supposed to believe Lydia Doherty changed her identity to Lauren Graham, infiltrated Jack Gramm's class, seduced and had gay sex with Jack's secretary, timed cryptic, unfunny phone calls, planted car explosives, paid a prostitute to have sex with Jack, killed the prostitute, killed one of his students, took the semen from the prostitute's vagina and placed it in the student's vagina, faked an assault on herself...fuck, trust me, there's at least two more lines of bullshit we're meant to believe she did herself or orchestrated. The plausibility level in this movie's fucked. I should also mention a forensic psychiatrist known best for pop psychology which shoddily convicts suspected serial killers becomes Jack fucking Bauer when the plot needs him to be. He's yelling, he's getting Chloe to patch him through to people, he handles a gun as though he's a veteran NYPD cop sick of this shit, and he's remarkably calm about the prospect of his own death and the constant attempts on his life throughout 88 Minutes. Forensic psychiatrists do not equal action heroes. Come on.
Pacino doesn't have stunt doubles, he has latex puppets replacing him in scenes.
Even the very premise of Al Pacino having 88 minutes left to live derails into ridiculousness by the third or fourth time his mysterious assassin tries to kill him. I mean, if the real time death clock was intended to reach 0 upon his death (and why bother framing him for murder if he's gonna be offed anyway?), then why the fuck did the killer fucking rig the doc's car to explode? Wouldn't that defeat the very purpose of the clock? Did she expect superman Jack Gramm to deftly avoid all the bullets and fires and explosions she threw his way? Were they physical challenges meant to test DOCTOR JACK GRAMM's ability to cope and jump away from explosions? I suppose one could claim the filmmakers intentionally made it such that Jack is frazzled and paranoid at every turn, but he deals with problems so effortlessly it strains credibility unless the movie intended for it to be ridiculous. And the audience isn't meant to expect Pacino will die 20 minutes in.
"CHLOE! PATCH ME THROUGH TO CTU!!"
Fun fact: you can see the face of the Virgin Mary in Pacino's facial wrinkles.
So there is only suspense in 88 Minutes if you're an idiot, which I assume is the prime demographic for this shit before it got shelved for so long the idea of a demographic got lost in its marketing. Who would ever for a second suspect the character played by AL PACINO is the culprit, even in these days of the inane "IT WAS REALLY HIS SPLIT PERSONALITY" twists? People automatically root for Al Pacino. Not to mention the accused killer, played by Neal McDonough, is Hitler incarnate. Seriously. Look at him. Listen to his voice. Look in his eyes. He's pure evil. If you don't think, after seeing 12 seconds of him in 88 Minutes, he's capable of eating children with a spoon, I don't know what to say. The way he delivers lines in a persuasive overenunciated way, it reminds one of noted serial killer Tony Robbins. And we all know that fucker's pure evil. A thriller should have some sort of mystery to it. Or, at the very least, a narrative which does not require the audience to believe someone did some Al Pacino semen switching.
She wants to fuck Pacino. I don't know why. He's like 79 years old. His dick must look like deformed macaroni and cheese by now.
It would not be out of line to say 88 Minutes ranks as both Pacino's worst film and his worst performance, which actually does say a lot considering the amount of bad flicks he's been in recently and how many of those he's sleepwalked through for the paycheck (a lot of them). Pacino's such a terrible actor these days that when he has his big emotional scene in the movie (telling his gal pal about his poor, poor sister's murder), I thought his leaky discharge was evidence of him melting and not him crying. At other times he barks into his phone like a cross between some sort of hideous mutant dog and Jack Bauer. I kept expecting him to become a remake of the cult television series Manimal. Man, Manimal was a lot better than 88 Minutes, and Manimal was godawful. The sequences of Manimal becoming some sort of animal (all 2 of his possible transformations) appear more realistic even now when compared to Al Pacino trying to convey a real human being and not a gruff one-liner dispensing machine/sentient five o'clock shadow.
Accompanying Pacino in the cast are a number of sexy women with no discernable acting skills. Alicia Witt, who plays Doc's teaching assistant, asks so many go nowhere questions and spouts such annoying gibberish I was wishing all throughout Pacino would do the right thing and kill her and rape her (that's not the morally right thing, but it's preferable to allowing her to still live). No wonder she was the lead in schlocksterpiece Urban Legend; she plays bland and unappealing very well, although that's not a benefit when expecting a movie to reach even the lowest quality standards. The other actresses I can remember nothing about even though I'm writing this a mere couple hours after watching the movie. They're that forgettable and not even especially hot. The lesbian action which occurs isn't hot either.
But Michael McGee is the new hotness because it's McGee all over the place, everywhere, everywhen. He's like the Isaac Asimov of crazy aldermen named 'Thug Mike'.
Tick tock, doc. Tick tock, doc. TICK TOCK TICK TOCK MCGEE INVENTED THE REMIX. McGee, invented, THE REMIX. McGee is and was the remix as you know it. Oh, you better believe McGee associates heavily with 88 Minutes, for one could make the case that (or the case which) the film is based on McGee's life. Like Forster, I was framed for a crime I did not commit by the Jude cops and the racist Milwaukee justice system and then put away on false testimony provided by Al Pacino. You could say Al Pacino is the reason McGee is locked away in prison instead of serving as alderman for all you fine people. This is why McGee felt it necessary to kill Al Pacino in 88 minutes in 88 Minutes. Pacino dies, McGee's sentence goes away because forensic psychiatry only works if Al Pacino does it. But Al Pacino is superhuman and explosions don't kill him, because he is part of the McGee Corps. Was part of the McGee Corps. Back then he was known as Sinestro, McGee's trainer in the McGee Corps, but then he embraced the snitchin' impurity and became McGee's greatest enemy.
Thanks, McGee. What surprised me the most about 88 Minutes was that there was a script the actors and the director worked off of. I had thought there was no script and the lack of one explained why the movie was so fucking shitty (and why a character would be fucking named Guy LaForge). But apparently not! Gary Scott Thompson threw the script together 5 minutes before its deadline. How do I know this? He is the creator of Las Vegas and the executive producer of the new Knight Rider series. And, uh, Jim Belushi's K-911, he 'wrote' that. With those qualifications under his belt...he clearly does not know what writing is, nor does he know letters and how their use in combination creates words which convey ideas. I mean, it's likely the script was not in paper form and instead a compendium video of bad episodes of NYPD Blue and maybe an episode of The Commish thrown in at the end as a palate cleanser. The fucking guy doesn't know what reading is; that much is obvious. So how could he write a script? Exactly! Maybe "Gary Scott Thompson" is really a dog people give jobs to because he looks so adorable. It'd explain a lot, like how "Gary Scott Thompson" has stayed in Hollywood for such a long time.
Worst. Lesbo Action. Ever.
Jon Avnet directs 88 Minutes, and he's a very odd director because he does not seem to have any directing abilities whatsoever, yet he's done movies before this that exist. He did Fried Green Tomatoes and a lot of other rubbish, but all of it pales in comparison to the badness that is 88 Minutes. Really, you only need to make a flick of this caliber to get kicked out of the film industry. If some first time director directed something akin to 88 Minutes, he'd be dead by now. Avnet shows no ability to convey plot, character, action or even how to edit it into something even vaguely coherent. And what was with the inexplicable gangsta rap soundtrack? No wonder this fucking thing has like 8 different cuts. (I saw the European version; apparently the US version does not open up with Al Pacino turning a mother out at a party.) I would not be shocked if "Jon Avnet" did not exist and the name was a guild thing, a new Alan Smithee. I know no one would fucking admit responsibility for directing this piece of shit. But whoever this Jon Avnet is, I feel a little bit of sympathy because no one can make a good anything with dog hair foaming sociopath Al Pacino in the lead. Remember S1m0ne? If you received adequate therapy after seeing that atrocity, you shouldn't.
She is a woman and she looks self-assured. Therefore, she must be a villain.
Don't worry if you missed out on 88 Minutes or lacked the strong constitution to handle getting through it, though, since the Pacino/Fried Green Tomatoes guy pairing will continue and add a third gear later this year with Righteous Kill, the long awaited DeNiro/Pacino team-up vehicle. Of course, people wanted that to happen after Heat, when the actors still had serious acting talent and not decent-to-mediocre character actor chops (DeNiro) or Madame Tussauds looks (Pacino). But hey, I'm sure it can't be all bad! There will at least be some decent special effects making it seem as though Pacino and DeNiro can still fire guns and stand up. Oh, the wonders of technology.
How many drinks do I need for this to be good?: 1018