This is your warning… do not continue reading until after you’ve seen the movie Signs, starring Mel Gibson and corn stalks. If you haven’t seen it, don’t read this column and then complain that I ruined the movie. I’m telling you right now that I am going to ruin the movie for you. Even the part when Mel Gibson gets shot for having rabies. Okay, just kidding… or am I? Seriously, I will talk about all the big parts of the movie in some detail. Still interested? … Last chance… okay, c’mon then.

Let me say up front that I don’t really fancy myself a movie critic, but it does take a lot to impress me at the cinema, especially if a movie has been hyped out of control. Like when you’re stuck in interstate traffic moving at the pace of a sloth on pot, thinking “there has to be a wreck up there” only to resume normal speed with no sign of an accident. “What was the hold up?!” Not that I want to see damage, but you follow me (I hope you do). Anyway, last weekend I took in a matinee and wasn’t at all impressed. I’m no expert, just an average Joe-Movie-Goer, but I’m here to tell you… Signs was stupid. Okay, not entirely stupid. There was some decent acting and a couple of funny lines, but overall it left a lot of question marks.

“What?” you ask. “What question marks could there possibly be in a film about crop circles? It’s so cut and dry.” Crop circles aside, here is my list of the top three things that just didn’t make sense:

  1. Mel Gibson’s character hates God after watching his wife die yet he still has a moral problem with cursing. My brain was envisioning his rationalization. “God isn’t with us, dag nabbit. There’s just too much pain in the world, golly gosh.” It was like watching the Saturday matinee showing of Pulp Fiction on the PAX network-“My wallet’s the one that says ‘Bad Mother Farmer’!”
  2. These space aliens have mastered intergalactic travel. They can camouflage themselves and their ships. They can even plot an elaborate invasion using intricate crop circles on a global scale. Yet they can’t escape a pantry if there’s a chair against the door.

    “Crop circles? Check.
    Poison gas? Check.
    Passport? (Oh, wait… that’s the other kind of alien.)
    Alright… looks like we’re all set to take over Earth… wait a minute… is that a chair? Holy crap! This always happens to me!!! When will I learn?”

    After this scene, you begin to wonder about that alien. The poor guy had to feel embarrassed back on the mother ship.

    “How did you get caught, son?”
    “Well, sir… you know how I like peanut butter, right? Well… um… I went into this guy’s pantry to find some Skippy and maybe some crackers, and the next thing I know, there’s a chair against the door.”

    This is the part when the aliens began resembling Matt Groening’s version from The Simpsons. “Your superior intellect is no match for our puny weapons! AH! Run… he’s got a board with a nail in it!” God bless Matt Groening.

  3. The aliens hate water. It’s like acid to them. An army of wicked witches, if you will. So when the alien “scouts” were doing their little reconnaissance missions, they must have missed the fact that our lovely planet is approximately SEVENTY FIVE PERCENT WATER. How do you chalk that one up? Rookie mistake? Did a young, impressionable vampire ever walk into Italy and say “Hmmm… crosses, garlic…okay, looks good, Dracula. Wait a minute… is that a chair against the door? Dag nabbit!”

I know what you’re saying. You’re saying “Keith… it’s a movie about space aliens. Have some imagination. Did the film really lose credibility after the pantry scene?” Yes. Yes it did. Hell… Field of Dreams was about a corn field and was, on the surface, more far fetched (dare I say… cornier?) than the idea of an alien invasion. But they made it work. It was a great story, even if Iowa was Heaven.

All in all Signs was just another overrated movie by M. Night Shamalammadingdong. His movies-yes, even The Sixth Sense-tend to be like blind dates: you first hear the previews that tell you how great this movie is; you get yourself all worked up, excited to see what the fuss is about; then the big night comes and you find yourself swimming in a pool of disappointment, constantly looking at your watch, yet at the same time wondering if there’s going to be a big payoff at the end (wink-wink). But the end arrives and alas, once again, disappointment reigns and you go home thinking of other movies you wish you had seen instead. Time to watch the movie Booty Call (nudge-nudge).

Categories: Columns