Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Review: Looper

Movie studios play this little game where they try to pretend the source of movie piracy is people recording preview screenings on their cell phones. They post security guards at the door to make sure people don't bring their phones inside, then those guards stand in the aisles during the show, scanning the crowd for non-existent offenders.

Looper is so good that the security guards were absolutely useless. Instead of watching the crowd, they were staring at the screen the whole time. I wouldn't have noticed, except for the fact that it occurred to me every 10 minutes or so how amazing this movie was, and how impossible it was to watch the crowd instead of the screen. Just to prove myself right, I darted my eyes over to the security guards to make sure they were watching the movie just like I had been.

And then, in that tenth of a second in which my eyes were on the guards instead of the screen, I got insanely jealous of them for watching such a great movie when I wasn't, so I immediately went back to watching. At least until I needed to verify that they were watching the movie just like I should have been.

So oblivious were the guards to what was going on, I could have propped my phone on top of one guy and adjusted the picture by shining a light off the other one's forehead while doing a celebratory tap dance with a peg leg, while wearing a parrot on my shoulder and an eye patch.

I couldn't blame them. Looper takes parts from Terminator, Blade Runner, Inception, Back to the Future, Wanted and the three and a half good Die Hard movies, creating a super movie that shoots rainbow pixie dust out from the screen and makes viewers into better people.

Writer/director Rian Johnson, who wowed everyone with the fast-talking high school film noir Brick in 2005,  but hadn't done much since, lives up to his potential with a time travel movie that makes you wish you could go back to 2005 to show everyone who watched the awful time travel movie A Sound of Thunder to deliver the message "It gets better."

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who is contractually obligated to star exclusively in mind-bending sci-fi thriller and seminal Zooey Deschanel anti-romances, plays a Looper, which is future-talk for Guy Who Shotgun Blasts Dudes The Mafia Sends Back In Time To Get Whacked.

The work is steady and pays well, but there are drawbacks. Like, say, when future you is Bruce Willis, sent back in time to be murdered by you, who then roundhouse kicks you instead, then totes you around trying to convince you to murder 5-year-olds who may grow up to be Looper eradicators.  

Yeah, Loopers really need to unionize.

Then again, the downside of the job is canceled out by perks, such as the occasional moments when you're stranded on a farm run by a character named Hottest Single Mom Farmer Evaaaa! (Emily Blunt), who is not opposed to sexing up Loopers when she's absolutely certain her child, Five Year Old Whom Bruce Willis Wants To Shoot Like The Dog In Duck Hunt, is fast asleep.

The plot, though awesome, doesn't quite encompass what's great about Looper. What does encompass what's great about Looper is all the ramifications of hanging out with your future self. For instance, if you want to send him a message, you can text him. But if one of you doesn't have a phone, you can carve a message into your skin and it will show up on his arm in the form of a scar. Just wait until AT&T figures out a way to charge you for that.

The movie is set in 2044, a future of hover motorcycles -- Meaning season 37 of Sons of Anarchy must totally rock -- boomerang-shaped phones and tiny frog toys that Emily Blunt uses to make booty calls to Loopers.

Although the future is amazing, the people of the era will no doubt be nostalgic for 2012, back when that amazing time travel movie came out, and security guards were powerless to stop people from pirating it.

Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt and Bruce Willis. Written and directed by Rian Johnson. 118 minutes. Rated R.

My novel, Stormin' Mormon, is available as a Kindle book for $1.

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