Everything stupid about The Purge, part one

April 8, 2014 § 12 Comments

I went to go see The Purge in the theaters during opening weekend. It was one of the rare times over the last few years where I was actually excited enough about a movie to go see it right when it came out. All three of us thought it was going to be a really fun horror/thriller due to a good trailer and a fascinating concept:

Once a year, all bets are off. For 12 hours, you can do whatever you feel like and there won’t be any legal consequences.

Seems like exactly the type of original story from Hollywood that people beg for on a daily basis, but there was one glaring problem: The Purge is one of the stupidest fucking movies I’ve ever seen. All three of us came out of the theater half appalled and half in tears from laughter because of the sheer amount of stupidity. It seemed like it only got dumber and dumber as it went on.

Just when you thought the movie couldn’t get any stupider, it did. In that way, The Purge is worth the viewing. In another way, it’s simply one of the dumbest movies I’ve ever seen. Not quite “so bad it’s good” like The Room or Birdemic, but as far as concepts and character decisions go, it’s more outlandish and ridiculous than anything I’ve ever seen.

I tried to fit everything stupid about The Purge in one post, but I barely made it into the second act before I had filled up a really long post. Here’s the first part of what’s so stupid about this movie.

The opening title:

America. 2022.

Unemployment is at 1%.

Crime is at an all-time low.

Violence barely exists.

With one exception…

“Blessed be the New Founding Fathers for letting us Purge and cleanse our souls, Blessed be America, a nation reborn.”

Why it’s stupid:

According to the Bureau of Labor, the current unemployment rate is 6.7%. That’s down from a high of 10% in October of 2009. The lowest it has been in the last 10 years is 4.4%, as recently as May of 2007.

Isn’t it reasonable then to see our country get down to 3% unemployment… without allowing them to murder and rape and violate each other once a year?!?!

“Crime is at an all-time low… except for that thing where we’ll look the other way, even if you dismember your own children and eat their flesh. As long as it’s only on this one night! Thank God we eliminated crime though, am I right!?”

We have laws to protect us from being murdered and raped and pillaged for a reason, and I don’t know why “Having a little patience before you kill someone” is a reasonable excuse for ignoring that. I agree that The Purge had a great concept, but assuming that it would happen as a way to curb violence (and raise employment? I don’t understand the connection) is stupid.

Opening credits:

We see “Purge Feed” footage of people killing each other in the streets on March 21st of every year (this is also supposedly going to start happening within five years, you guys! Fuck, who did we elect after Obama? He sounds like a son of a bitch.) while Clair de Lune plays.

Why it’s stupid:

Beautiful classical music playing over violence is so fucking cliche. Ugh.

Also we set the scene for this happening every year on March 21st. Maybe I’m picking nits,  but why not set it for the summer? As we see later on, the kids are coming home from school that day. So on the day of the purge, we let our kids go to school, and presumably, it’s a school night! What if one of your kids misses the bus and has to walk home that day?

Oh fucking well, your son is dead!

And I think we’re burying the lede here a bit: Everybody gets to watch CCTV footage of the entire city. Is that a year-round thing or just on one night? Seems like some costly infrastructure to set in place for just 12 hours of viewing every year. I want to see the movie that takes place on a regular day, do people just watch CCTV footage of the local bar, strip club, grocery store, restaurant and jerk off? Tell me more about that!

“You’re number one sir!”

We see our lead, Ethan Hawke, and he’s driving home in his nice car, through his nice neighborhood, and quickly he establishes on a phone call that he sells home security systems for the purge. After that he calls his secretary and asks her if she’s heard the news yet.

She says, “Yep, you’re number one. You came out on top.”

Why it’s stupid:

This is supposedly one of the biggest moments of his career and he found out after the work day was over, on a phone call with his secretary. Why wouldn’t his boss tell him during the day, in a meeting, with a big celebration and a gold watch or some bullshit? This is how he finds out?

AND WHY ON THE DAY OF THE PURGE?!?!

“Great news everyone, we did it. Go out and celebrate! Hope you don’t die though, seriously.”

Talk radio:

Hawke then turns on talk radio and it’s your average DJ taking calls from around the country to find out how people will spend their purge. There’s even more pounding home of how people love their security system. A guy talking about how he’s going to kill his boss.

Then he pulls up next to a neighbor and is like “Yeah, you do your system check like I recommended?”

and the dude is like “Yup, it works great” (remember this stuff for later)

And he’s like “Great, I have the same one. Only the best, my dude!”

Why it’s stupid:

This is what I’m talking about with the whole concept of the purge not working. This guy is like “Yeah, I’m gonna hunt down my boss and kill him.” Would anyone blame him for that? No. And yet the opening title sequence says, “Unemployment is at 1%.” What it should say is “Unemployment is at 1% and bosses being murdered is at 43% so that’s why we keep having to hire new people.”

The concept of the movie is that people need to release all their tension of not being able to murder people by being able to murder people one night a year. It also assumes that everyone is going to murder a stranger.

It’s pretty common knowledge that you’re much more likely to be killed by someone you know than by a stranger. “Hey fuck you, dad! I hate you, mom! Okay, now lock us inside the house together so that nobody will come kill us.”

Also, what are the insurance laws about murder on the purge? Can you kill your wife and collect the insurance money? I’m imagining that on purge night, people just kill their spouses in record numbers.

But thank god you bought that security system from Ethan Hawke!

(By the way, I honestly don’t think that very many people have bloodlust. I fear what the writer of this movie thinks about the rest of us. Or what he secretly wants to do to us.)

The odds of being murdered are very, very, ridiculously low. It was recently ranked as the 16th-leading cause of death in the U.S., and just 1% of deaths a year ago were a result of murder. Out of those, only 30% were the result of an attempted felony, like robbery.

If the number was more like, 15%, then maybe I could see a need for a night of death and destruction. But we’re honestly putting EVERYBODY at risk, to appease like 30,000 people that really wish they could kill someone and get away with it.

Yeah, that makes so much fucking sense. GOD THIS MOVIE IS SO STUPID.

DID I MENTION THEY MADE A SEQUEL?

“Release the Beast”

The tag line for The Purge, the day not the movie, is “Release the Beast.” People keep saying it to each other and on the radio.

Why it’s stupid:

God, that’s so fucking stupid.

“We got an hour before commencement.”

There are 62 minutes until the start of The Annual Purge and Hawke gets home and kisses his wife Lena Headley, who is just making dinner all la-dee-frickin-da and having a great, wonderful day.

Why it’s stupid:

This is like the fifth or sixth year of the purge, you know, that night where you can rape and murder people and do whatever the fuck you want, and this family is acting like it’s just another day. Like it’s the fourth of fucking July.

How could you possibly be used to the purge already? THIS ISN’T A FUCKING JOKE, YOU COULD BE MURDERED TONIGHT.

This scientist:

Lena Headley then sees her attention turn to the TV of this scientist talking about why the purge is necessary to “contain societal violence.”

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 12.46.48 PM

Why it’s stupid:

Oh, five seconds ago you were acting like the purge was no big deal and now you’re interested in what this scientist has to say about it?

Also, fuck this scientist.

Purges: How do they work?!

Lena also tells Ethan that their daughter Zoe has been a real bitch all day and he needs to take care of this “Henry situation.” Really? Hasn’t she been at school all day? As we’ll see in a second, she’s also in her room with Henry, so how much have you actually seen her today? For like, two seconds before she ran up to her room to fuck her boyfriend?

“Let’s growl”

We see Zoe and Henry kissing up in her room and I’m pretty sure he’s about to fingerblast her when she says, “I love you.”

Then Henry says, “Let’s growl”

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 12.50.22 PM

Why it’s stupid:

Henry suggests that instead of saying “I love you” like everyone else, they should growl at each other.

I seriously want to jump off of a bridge.

“You have to get home before lockdown”

Zoe tells her stupid boyfriend (If Ethan Hawke doesn’t kill this growling moron, I will. This is the only reason for a purge; to kill douchebags like this one. “Let’s Growl”!? Holy fucking shit.) that he has to get home before lockdown. Which must be like 50 minutes away by now.

And he’s like “Aww man.”

Why it’s stupid:

Seriously, how can Ethan sell all these home security systems when it seems like nobody is actually all that concerned about the one night a year where I’m legally allowed to do whatever I want to you and your entire family?

Not that I have the bloodlust, but apparently some people do!

Get your ass home and be with your family, and hope they don’t kill you, you fucking idiot. “Let’s growl” fuck you!

“Let me sharpen my machete here in the backyard”

As Henry is leaving, we see Zoe’s neighbor sharpening his machete in his backyard.

Why it’s stupid:

Even if it’s legally allowed, doesn’t anyone in this purge universe have any moral obligations to themselves and everyone else? Or am I the only one that doesn’t want America to turn into the Tutsis and the Hutus?

“Oh, hey Mr. Smith! Nice looking machete! Whatcha gonna do with it?”

“This little thing? Gonna chop off my wife’s arms and legs tonight while I have the chance!”

“Okay great! Good luck! I totally don’t think you’re a creepy weirdo, since it’s the night of the purge and all.”

“That makes total sense.”

“Agreed. Total sense.”

My goodness. So stupid.

“I made you some fucking cookies, I don’t hate you at all, look at how much I’m smiling, this isn’t weird!”

So then the neighbor-lady Grace comes by bearing cookies as gifts for Lena Headley. Seriously it’s 30 minutes to the purge, get in your fucking houses.

Then this other dude and his wife drive by and they are all smiles too. Seriously, everyone in this movie is so damn “happy.” “Those cookies are crazy-good” says the guy driving the car.

Then Lena grabs the cookies but the bitch Grace won’t let them go. (Hmm, what’s that about?!) and they start walking up to the house. Grace is like “Oh wow, the new addition to your house is sick as fuck. You guys had a really good year, much better than the rest of us. Your husband sold a security system to everyone in this community. Some people think we basically paid for the addition to your home. We bought this shit and what did you do for us? Just gave us the security systems we asked for.”

Then she literally does say to Lena, “You’re too sensitive.” because she got offended by the fact that all the neighbors hate them for selling them shit. What a bitch.

Why it’s stupid:

Beyond the fact that the movie is now giving us all this seemingly-needless exposition (spoiler alert: why the fuck would they keep bringing up the money, the success of the family, the security systems, the cookie plate she won’t let go of, the false niceness, if it wasn’t coming back for an even more pointless “surprise” later on?) it’s also just really fucking stupid.

“You’re a real sensitive piece of shit. All I said was that the whole neighborhood hates you for selling us stuff. We’d have more money if we hadn’t bought stuff, and you’d have less money if we hadn’t bought stuff from you. Bitch.”

Charlie

So Lena and Ethan also have a really stupid-looking son named Charlie. He creeps up behind his mom trying to look up her dress with this creepy looking doll on wheels. It’s like a Roomba for Charlie Manson.

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 1.11.01 PM

He’s controlling it from a hidden little cubbyhole in his closet. I’m sure this won’t come back again later.

Why it’s stupid:

Who wouldn’t worry about their son if he took a doll, burned half of it off, added a red LED light to it’s eye, put it on wheels, added a spycam to it, and drove it around the house sneaking up on his mom and seeing what she’s up to?

At least Lena Headley is used to “family fun” from her days on the Game of Thrones set.

“It’s stupid”

Ethan and his family are sitting around the table and says, “Okay, everybody tell me about your day.” and then Charlie has some sort of heart condition and says “It’s nothing to worry about” but has to check his vitals or some shit.

Then Ethan is like “Okay Zoe, tell me about your fucking day.” and she says “I don’t want to do this anymore. It’s stupid.”

Why it’s stupid:

Finally, somebody says something in this movie that is fucking reasonable. I like to think that the actress playing Zoe was actually looking at the director when she said that. It wasn’t a line in the script. She was just speaking openly and honestly:

“I don’t want to do this anymore. It’s stupid.”

Also, Lena says that there are “no carbs” in their dinner that night (This is exposition that I actually think we DON’T need) but I’m 99% sure that the only food I definitely see is carrots.

Carrots have carbs, honey.

“I did it.”

But Ethan Hawke actually just wants to tell the family HIS news.

“I did it. I did it. All sales are final, and I’m on top. My division sold the most upgraded security systems.”

He’s so fucking excited. Like, it’s the best thing that has ever happened to him. And the result is… “Way to go, hon.” “Good job, dad.” and that’s it. Even Ethan is like, “Okay, what’s next.”

Why it’s stupid:

It reminds me of the scene in Birdemic where Rod makes a sale for a million dollars (with a 50% discount) and is like “Yes. Sweet. I did it.”

The Purge is, on many levels, as stupid or dumber than Birdemic.

The Ferrins are having a party

Grace’s family is having a party on the night of the purge. It seems like people can go in and out.

Why it’s stupid:

…..

…..

…..

…..

THE FERRINS ARE THROWING A FUCKING PARTY! ON THE NIGHT OF THE PURGE! BECAUSE WHAT A FUN FUCKING NIGHT TO PARTY AND HAVE ALL YOUR GUESTS OVER AND GO NUTS! WOOOO! PARTAY!!!!!

Lockdown!

Finally, it’s time to lockdown. Honestly, it seems like a lot happened in that “62 minutes until Annual Purge” but whatever. Ethan and his family look over the neighborhood with their many, many security cams (but hmmm… could they have still overlooked something? He’s only THE SECURITY GUY.) and they lock shit down and he gets his gun.

Also, this is a gun that Ethan Hawke owns.

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 1.25.06 PM

Jesus, man.

And I’d also note that this is the year 2022, but really all of the technology seems in line with what we had in 2013. They lock shit down with iPads, basically. Man, we really stopped trying after Steve Jobs died.

Why it’s stupid:

Because this whole movie is stupid. I’m exhausted. I’m only 15 minutes into the movie but I’ve been writing for two hours.

What a stupid, piece of shit movie.

“Police, fire and emergency medical services will be unavailable until tomorrow morning at 7 am, when the Purge conclues.”

That’s a message, word-for-word, on the TV screen at the start of the purge.

Why it’s stupid:

I have a couple of questions. First of all, what’s going on with time zones? Did we eliminate them? 7 am ET? Is it a rolling purge, like New Years? Can I start in New York then if I still feel like killing more people, start heading west? How does this make any sense? Is school and work cancelled for the next day? What if I have to go to work at 5 am? WHAT THE FUCK IS THE POINT OF ANY OF THIS?

Second of all, YOU’RE TURNING OFF 911 and ALL MEDICAL, FIRE SERVICES? I understand police, I guess, but what if my grandpappy has a heart attack?! It’s 12 whole hours, how many thousands of people will die of accidents and other shit that they didn’t deserve? I guess you’re just absolutely FUCKED if anything happens to you during the 12 hours of purge, even if it’s not due to the purge.

Jesus. JESUS. WHAT THE SHIT!? WHAT THE JESUS?!!!!!!! GOD DAMN THIS MOVIE.

I am only 17 minutes into the movie and quickly approaching 3,000 words. I need to take a break. We’ll see if I can even bother to continue this, but look at how much stupid we already have… and Oh God, the ending is the stupidest part.

 

 

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with movies at KENNETH AUTHOR.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,955 other followers