Letter From The Editor - Issue 69 - June 2019

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At The Picture Show
January 2015


If you will it, it is no dream

Bruce Willis stops by to tell us all about his latest movie, 'Vice'

Director: Brian A. Miller
Screenplay: Jeremy Passmore and Andre Fabrizio
Starring: Ambyr Childers, Thomas Jane, Bruce Willis, Bryan Greenberg, Charlotte Kirk, Johnathon Schaech and Don Harvey
Rated R / 1 hour, 36 minutes
January 16, 2015
(out of four)

by Bruce Willis
Guest Critic

Hi. I'm Bruce Willis and I'm an internationally renowned movie actor. You're probably familiar with my work. Maybe you've heard of a little movie called Die Hard? The Sixth Sense? Armageddon? Any of those ring a bell? I thought so.

You know who else was a fan of Die Hard? Ingmar Bergman, that's who.

But nevermind that. I'm not here today to talk about those classic films, nor any of the other ones I've made, like Pulp Fiction or The Whole Nine Yards or The Last Boy Scout. No, today I'm here to talk to you about my newest picture, an exciting science-fiction thriller called Vice.

I know what you're thinking: "Hey Brucio, I've never even heard of that movie. What did you say it was called? VICE? What kind of a title is that? What's this movie all about? Tell me more!"

Well first of all, don't call me Brucio. Secondly, it's a great title. I mean, lots of other movies have used it, so it must be good. And third: Why, thank you for asking! Vice is an exciting movie set in a futuristic America in which thrill-seeking citizens can pay to live out their darkest fantasies in a corporately controlled resort populated by humanoid robots programmed to fulfill your dreams, and it is in no way an inferior knockoff of the plot of Westworld.

Let me say that a little more clearly: You can kiss my ass, Westworld. You can pucker up and kiss my Golden Globe-winning ass.

Anyway, if you're a moviegoer looking for some action-packed excitement this weekend, boy have I got some ad-vice for you: Go see this movie, it's really great!

I play a character named Julian Michaels, a ruthless businessman who runs the resort - which, coincidentally, is called VICE, just like the title of the movie - and will stop at nothing to keep the secrets of his organization away from the prying eyes of the local police. As the creator, owner and CEO of the company, I - Julian, that is - basically rule over my own little android fiefdom. You might even call me the vice-roy of the whole place.

The Vice-roy. Haha.

All kidding aside, I'm kind of the bad guy in this movie - that is, if you really buy into the whole good/evil binary. The "good guy," if you will, is named Roy, a cynical, broken-down cop played by Thomas Jane, who had previously never before played a law-enforcement officer of any kind. He's got long, stringy hair (I let him borrow one of my wigs from Bandits - y'know, to save money on the budget and all, because I'm gregarious) so you know he doesn't care what anyone thinks. And he walks around with a matchstick in his mouth all the time, so you know he means business. He's a very complicated character.

Roy is against the whole idea of Julian Michaels' dream-fulfilling resort, which is basically to say that he's against free enterprise. He's probably a damn socialist, if you ask me, but that's a discussion for another time.

Remember when I said that my - that is, Julian's - company used humanoid robots? Well, the main character of the movie is one of those, only she looks like a totally real chick. She's named "Kelly," played by Ambyr Childers, and she's the main character of the movie. I mean, you could say that I'm the main character too, because you basically feel my presence throughout the movie even when I'm not on screen. But hey, I'm charitable - I'll let our leading lady have her moment in the sun.

Like all of the humanoid robots at my facility, Kelly's hard drive is reset every day. Her memory completely refreshes, over and over again, every morning, with her day playing out according to the whims of VICE's clients. But she becomes self-aware or something, and escapes from the facility, and finds safety in the warm embrace of Evan, the scientist who designed the robots in the first place, using the visage of his late wife as the model for "Kelly." Evan is played by Bryan Greenberg, who definitely has lots of talent and charisma. (I mean, he's no Bruce Willis, but who is?)

Look, I don't want to spoil all of the crazy twists and turns the story takes, but let me assure you that this movie will have you in a vice grip of suspense. I also think you'll really enjoy my performance as Julian Michaels, which is fierce and commanding and rad and powerful. Most of the time when I'm on screen, I'm either sitting down or standing by myself reading my lines, so you can really tell I was giving it my all for this performance and definitely not mailing it in. But there are a few times when I actually get up off my chair and walk around a little bit, or even interact with another actor. (I got performance bonuses for each of those times.)

OK, OK - I get it. I can see that some of you still aren't convinced. You want to say to me, "Brucey, I don't get it. Just in the last three years you've worked with Wes Anderson, Rian Johnson and Stephen Frears - and you've reprised or taken on roles in no fewer than five separate franchises. What are you doing in a critically reviled movie that's hardly getting any kind of theatrical release at all?"

Let me answer that by telling you a story. Back when we worked on the classic buddy-cop comedy Cop Out (the title, if you really think about it, actually has a double meaning - did I just blow your mind?), my close friend and collaborator Kevin Smith told me that the only reasons "critics" hated our movie was because it wasn't Schindler's List.

Wise words, and I've taken them to heart. There's really no rhyme or reason to my acting choices anymore, because hey, they can't all be Schindler's List, can they? I don't even know what I say yes to anymore. Right now I'm looking at my IMDb page - as I do every morning while eating my cereal - and I frankly don't know what to tell you. Do I remember what Fire with Fire is? No. No I do not. Can I confirm that the paycheck I got for The Cold Light of Day cleared my bank? No. No I cannot.

But I hope my trusty fans and viewers continue to be as loyal to me as Ingmar Bergman would have been. As you may know, my two most recent pictures - Vice and last fall's The Prince - were made by the same director and the same two screenwriters. And you may have even noticed that both movies have an unblemished zero (0) percent score on the website Rotten Tomatoes. But come on, those critics are only saying mean things about this movie because of the "cheap production values" and "bad acting" and "horrible direction." But last time I checked, I'm still Bruce Willis, and Vice is still a Bruce Willis Joint, dammit. And that means it's a riveting, high-octane adventure thrill ride that may or may not be appearing in one of your local theatres but will definitely be appearing at your local Redbox in a few weeks. This movie may only have zero percent on the Tomatometer, but I believe it will capture 100 percent of your heart.

I'm Bruce Willis.

Read more by Chris Bellamy

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