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Stock Watch: “White House” Way Down

by on July 19, 2013

“The President wants to do the thing.”  –Maggie Gyllenhaal, White House Down

I can’t decide whether this movie was trying to be terrible or not.

One thing’s for sure: It was terrible. I’m really conflicted, though, because if it was meant to be a caricature of action-disaster movies with the intent to be hilariously terrible, then it was successful.

But if this was a legitimate attempt at making a good action movie with the one of the two biggest under-40 movie stars alive (Bradley Cooper is the other, in my opinion) and a man coming off an Oscar snub from Django Unchained, then this movie flopped harder than LeBron James in the NBA Playoffs.

Roland Emmerich, the director of whatever this was, also made a shameless reference in “White House Down” to an older film of his, “Independence Day.”

The aforementioned movie stars, Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx, are not good in this movie. Perhaps they are just miscast, but by the end of the movie, I was questioning whether or not the attack to take over the White House was actually unjustified. President Foxx had a pipe-dream for a peace plan, let more kids die in battle every day and seemed to be doing a pretty terrible job overall. By the end, I was wondering whether I was rooting for the wrong side.

Nonetheless, the movie was just off. The acting was bad (See: White House tour guide), the script was trying way too hard,* and the action scenes weren’t even that exciting or cool (and some just dragged on and on and on…).

*This wasn’t a “Fast & Furious” script, where you enjoy all the terrible one-liners because they are intended to be corny. It felt more like the entire movie was made just so Jamie Foxx could say “Get…your…hands…off…my…Jordan’s!” or so the tour guide could say “Tour’s over!” and cock his weapon.

The movie took about 20 minutes too long to get to the action (because the story they tried to set up wasn’t all that compelling). It made it obviously predictable who the movie’s villain was from the very beginning (which took the punch completely out of one of the early “plot twist” scenes). The action was predictable and began to seem unnecessary as things repeatedly led back to the same place (figuratively and literally, with Foxx and Tatum still alive, still in the White House). And once the story realized how predictable it had become, it tried to throw in three or four too many twists at the end. Also, Tatum’s annoying daughter pulls off some laughable desperate measures that somehow work.

Maybe it was trying to be terrible. I can’t say for sure. But I definitely enjoyed watching it fall on its face repeatedly. I was thoroughly entertained by its terribleness and it is quickly rising up my rankings of 10 worst movies I’ve ever seen.*

*It’s somewhere around “Jack Reacher” and “Jeff, Who Lives at Home” for me, personally.

People have blamed the flop of this movie on the release earlier this year of Olympus Has Fallen—another White House destruction movie starring Gerard Butler—or on the overwhelming amount of empty apocalyptic/destruction movies that have been released this summer, but as someone who hasn’t seen Olympus and who has seen a lot of said apocalyptic/destruction movies, I can safely tell you that this movie is terrible on its own merits.

By the end, Channing Tatum says he might have to vote for Jamie Foxx as President. I wouldn’t.

And no, Mr. President, I don’t want to do the thing.

0.5/5 stars

What did you think?

From → Movie Reviews

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