Death Becomes Them



I loathe Dane Cook. How much do I despise the world's least funny funnyman? I spit on his abhorrent HBO specials and give two middle fingers to his stupid "superfinger" salute. More than anything, I hate that Major League Baseball hired him as the face of their postseason promos, in the meantime almost spoiling one of my most beloved annual events. (Of course there's only one "Actober," you insufferable dolt. Move it along.)

But in Mr. Brooks, the recent Kevin Costner serial-killer spoof, I loved Dane Cook. Why the change of heart? Had I suddenly begun to find Cook's blank stares and frat-boy flatulence amusing? Hardly. It's because — and I'd throw out a spoiler alert here, but really, do you care? — Costner murders him in the film. (Immediately I forgave him for Waterworld.) KC doesn't just kill him quickly with a knife or a gun or a soldering iron, either; he slashes his throat with a shovel and then proceeds to bury him alive. Talk about your satisfying cinematic endings.

A few nights later, while struggling to stay awake during 30 Days of Night, the recent Josh Hartnett vampire spoof, I came upon an epiphany: No longer did I need to feel such animosity toward those stars whom I couldn't stand. I simply needed to seek out the vehicles in which they die horrible deaths. Around the merciful end of Night — yes, spoiler, but come on now, it's a vampire flick starring Josh Hartnett, for god's sake — the Pearl Harbor prettyboy is ever-so-slowly burnt to a crisp. In no more than a minute's time, my opinion of the film completely changed. Ten bucks and two hours of lame bloodletting suddenly was a small price to pay to see the slackjawed Hartnett get s'mored.

This got me to thinking. If barbecuing one of our generation's worst actors and burying Earth's most annoying person alive was all it took to turn otherwise crappy movies into cathartic works of art, what's been stopping Hollywood directors all these years? How much better would Cruel Intentions have been if rather than merely being hit by a cab, Ryan Phillippe was beheaded in a freak convertible accident? Dismember Ben Affleck at the end of Gigli, and instead of a flop, right now J-Lo's working on a franchise.

Case in point: Which sounds like the better box-office draw, Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? or Tyler Perry's Why Did I Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef With an Open Wound? Exactly.

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