March 19, 2009

Gina Gershon can control THE WEATHER.

Gina Gershon is always watchable. Sometimes she is fucking amazing in acclaimed and wonderful movies (The Insider, Bound), sometimes she is decently amazing in questionable box office smashes (Face/Off), sometimes she is the only amazing thing in otherwise craptastic cult hits (Showgirls), and sometimes even she is really not fantastic in a wretched waste of film (Three Way). But she is always watchable. To quote Family Guy, "Is she hot hot or Gina Gershon hot?"

Having exhausted such little-seen gems as Black and White, This World Then the Fireworks, Legalese, and even Cocktail in my viewing of Gina's body of work (pun halfways intended), I decided it was time to locate a copy of Category 7: The End of the World. And then watch it. Which is the greater challenge by far.


Category 7: The End of the World, not to put too fine a point on it, is entertainingly bad. It was a made-for-TV mini series that effectively took every disaster movie thus far known in the cinematic world and combined it in a mash-up of CGI chaos, NYPD Blue cinematography, and B-list stars to, arguably, glorious effect. What you get out of it depends entirely on what you expect from a film called "Category 7: The End of the World". Subtle it ain't. There's a long pseudo-scientific explanation behind the events depicted but as we learned from Star Trek, complicated technobabble does not necessarily make a thing so. The basic premise of Category 7 is that the world is experiencing storms of heretofore unseen intensity that are leveling major cities around the globe. Chicago? Blown away. Paris? Upended. Giza? Bye-bye pyramids. Not content with having Very Bad Weather rip the Eiffel Tower from its base however, Category 7 steps up the disaster quotient by having hurricanes combine force with some form of uber-storm that seems to also involve elements of tsunami and, bafflingly, explosions. And naturally this giant mess of seething weather tears through New York and onward towards *gasp* Washington DC where basically the seat of all known civilized power will be threatened.

The tagline for Category 7 is: The Ultimate Superstorm is Back - And This Time It's Deadlier... Because last time, in the prequel, the "ultimate superstorm" was only sort-of deadly. Maybe it was having an off day. Maybe it was only MOSTLY deadly. Miracle Max would know.

The cast for Category 7 (and this is probably the most awesome part) is as follows... Gina Gershon, Shannen Doherty, Randy Quaid, Robert Wagner, Nicholas Lea, James Brolin, Swoosie Kurtz, and Tom Skerritt. Gina plays head of FEMA (that's Federal Emergency Management Agency to you) Judith Carr, Robert Wagner plays her US Senator father, Shannen Doherty is some kind of rocket-building weather science maverick, Randy Quaid is Tornado Tommy, James Brolin and Swoosie Kurtz are prime time gospel preacher/swindlers, Nicholas Lea is some sort of criminal religious fanatic, and Tom Skerritt is an air force pilot. A maverick air force pilot. I kid you not. The cast is some kind of parallel universe awesome. Like Spock with a goatee alternate universe A-list, I'm sure.
(Gina as head of FEMA Judith Carr - when politicians are hot.)

In between all the category 6 storms that are building up into one motherfucking category 7 behemoth hell-bent on obliterating the seat of government, there is a religious apocalyptic swindle side-story that segues into a kidnapping plot so asinine you sort of wish the storm would just hit already and clean up the fetid mess that is the bloated "plot" of the four hour long epic. But aside from the "plot" (Twister meets The Day After Tomorrow meets Independence Day minus the budget double the running time), the weirdness of the casting and the total camp of the storms and dialogue makes for, I have to admit, a very entertaining ride.

Sample dialogue:

Melody: Boss, we got nothing in reserve. We get hit by a second weather disaster, we're gonna need a FEMA to look after FEMA.
Judith Carr: Boy, did I choose the wrong week to get promoted.

Faith Clavell: Lady Liberty just tried to mace you with her torch.

But the best part of all is how everyone in the movie insists on referring to the bizarrely intense storms as "extreme weather". EXTREME WEATHER! If I still drank I would make a bitching drinking game out of "extreme weather", I assure you. You'd be slaughtered before the half-way mark.

Category 7 should be approached with all due cynicism and bottom-feeding expectations. It's not a good movie. It's not really even a good bad movie. But if you set aside your stubborn and insistent need for things like plot, character development, tight special effects, and tidy camera work, you'll have a good time. On the Gina Gershon film scale I'd say it's not as bad as Three Way. It's about on a par with Driven really. And it's got less rape than Showgirls. So there's that.

In summation the lesson I took away with me is that Gina Gershon can control THE WEATHER.
All other concerns seem pointless and extraneous in light of that.

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