The first whore to say "Yeah, I’ll suck E.T.’s cock" should’ve gotten some kind of medal, that’s for sure.

My attitude has changed over the years, and now I believe that you should let shit go, rather than try to agitate it into an argument or fisticuffs. You should live life assuming every stranger is a Navy SEAL or an Israeli, that way you won’t want to fuck with them. But when said stranger is a shaven-head man of raza, clad in a Raiders jersey and khaki shorts (not to mention the rather girly look of socks pulled all the way up), there is no need to make that particular assumption. That is because this man has already been nice enough to let you know — without having to say a single word — that perhaps taking things to the next level is not the wisest of choices. Firearms or knives may be introduced into the equation, and it won’t be coming from your side either.

So rather than turning around and going “Hey, I know you’re probably still upset about Proper Dos breaking up, but can you at least get a hold of yourself long enough to stop kicking my motherfucking seat for two goddamn seconds?”, I instead moved to the next row. That was the best thing to do, because I wound up getting a better view of District 9 on the movie screen.

You know that first minute or so of Alien Nation, right before it started to suck? The UFO hovering a few hundred feet above land? Well, that’s what happens here. An alien mothership drops in on Johannesburg and I guess these aliens are a lot like me and tempted fate one too many times by driving on Empty rather than filling that shit up ASAP. Now they’re stuck, left floating above the city, and the South African government will look like assholes to the rest of the world if they don’t do anything about it. So they fly up to the ship, break in, and discover a bunch of aliens just chilling out in there.

The humans bring the aliens down to the city, and somehow, they were able to figure out that these things are mal/undernourished, which kinda took me out of the movie a bit until I started considering that the humans probably had these creatures under quarantine for a while, then they did a whole bunch of tests on them, then they had to learn how to speak fuckin’ Alien. Even if they were fast learners, I bet you that took quite a while. So, of course the first thing to come out of those aliens’ mouths was going to be something like “HUNGRY!!!”.

With typical South African hospitality, the humans segregate the aliens and force them to live in a slum. I’m sure that decision came pretty easy; the whites were probably getting nostalgic for the good ol’ days of apartheid, and the blacks probably wanted to know how that shit would feel on the other side of the fence. You see what I’m talking about? The white man and the black man is keeping the scaly man down. That’s fuckin’ bullshit, man. Not right. At least in this country, Obama would’ve had the decency to have a beer with a couple of the aliens before kicking their ass to the curb.

Nearly 30 years pass, and the humans have now had enough of these “prawns” and want them the fuck out of their lives. They might have a point since a lot of them have resorted to committing violent crimes and doing business with some bad dudes, including trading weapons for cat food, which is like crack to them. Maybe the environment bred them this way, or maybe they were always naturally inclined to do that shit. These are the kind of questions that the movie brings up without actually bringing them up, since the filmmakers aren’t trying to make some fuckin’ polemic or Message Movie, they’re just trying to entertain you.

Look, I love George A. Romero and I kinda like Wes Craven, but when it comes to themes and subtext, you just fucking KNOW those guys would be rubbing your face in that shit like an asshole owner to a dog that didn’t know better. But if you’re the kind of person who likes to look for that kind of thing, then it’s a bountiful feast for you, mon frère, because the movie’s got enough parallels to apartheid, anti-immigrant sentiment, hell, even the Iraq War, if you want. But all of that takes a backseat to what this movie is really about, and that’s telling a hell of an entertaining tale.

What happens after all the complaints and protests is that the government decides to kick the aliens out of their shanties and move them to another camp further away. The guy in charge (and the main character of the movie) of all the evictions is this nerd who only got the job because his father-in-law hooked him up. I forgot the character’s name, but I remember it being one of those South African last names with more than one A in them, because they sure love using more than one A. I wonder if Charlize Theron used to spell it “Chaarlize”?

Anyway, the actor who played the nerd with a double-A name was really fucking good, reminding me of every other boss I’ve worked for; he’s got this really cheery attitude, but within the relentlessly happy Good Guy exterior beats the heart of an asshole. He’s the kind of boss who will ask you to work overtime and when you tell him that you can’t because you already had plans to attend your cousin’s wedding, he’ll basically tell you (without actually telling you) that you better do this shit or you’ll be fired, all the while keeping a smile on his or her face. These are the same assholes who then get canned for not being economically viable and start crying, going “Why? I did everything they asked me to! I never took a sick day or used vacation time!”. Let that be a lesson to ya.

There’s this moment during a sequence where Double-A takes a subordinate with him to the evictions. They’re accompanied by armed military (or police or whatever) and everyone is wearing bulletproof vests, but they forgot one for the subordinate. He gets nervous, and Double-A tells him not to worry, it’s not like anything’s going to happen, and you get the sense that this asshole really thinks he’s convinced him with that bullshit. Slowly, but surely, more of the ugliness comes out; one choice example is the manner in which he threatens an uncooperative alien by telling him that Social Services (or whatever the South African equivalent is called) will take away it’s child. Again, he’s got this fucked-up positive tone to everything he says, and you just want to see this motherfucker get smacked or something.

Well, “smacked or something” is what happens to this tool, and the rest of this flick follows Double-A as he gets some big time poetic justice or a dose of irony or whatever the fuck is the correct way to call what happens to him. What’s kinda cool about this flick is that he goes through so much shit, you actually start to feel sorry for him — until he starts acting up again, and then you’re like “Oh, I almost forgot that this guy’s an asshole.”

Part of District 9 is played out as a documentary, and the rest is a straight narrative that still keeps the hand-held, you-are-there aesthetic. It’s slightly reminiscent of Touching the Void, where you have this documentary that combined interviews with re-enactments of the events cut in, only in this flick, the re-enactments (if you choose to see them that way) make up a bigger portion of the movie. That, and I don’t remember there being any aliens in Touching the Void, I might have been using the restroom during that part.

They say the director was supposed to make a Halo movie, but that didn’t happen, so he made this instead. Now, I’ve never played Halo because I was too busy getting laid(*), but based on what people were saying after the movie, it sounds like the dude was able to get some of his Halo rocks off with the shit that happens in the last third of District 9. Some sci-fi fans might not like the way the story turns in the last third, the same way some sci-fi fans didn’t like the last third of They Live or the last third of The Matrix. These people are assholes. Okay, no, not really, that was harsh and uncalled for. My apologies. But I really liked those two movies and I really liked this one, so forgive me for being defensive.

This made a lot of bank over the weekend, and that’s cool to know, especially when you consider that this was a relatively small movie shot in South Africa with no stars. To my knowledge, there are no District 9 cartoons from the 80’s or no action figures for 18-35 year olds to get all nostalgic with. All this flick had was a cool hook and a clever marketing campaign — Ah ha! There you go.

I wonder how much of the younger-than-me audience in the Thursday midnight showing I attended expected the characters to speak with funny (aka Not American) accents? If this shit was made in the early-80’s you can bet dollars to donuts (I’m hankering for donuts right now) that the distributors would’ve Mad Max’d that shit. Also, it’s funny how G.I. Joe had at least three times the budget of this flick, and yet the visual effects here are fuckin’ flawless compared to that piece of shit. Maybe it’s because I’m a moron who can’t distinguish between fake and real, but goddamn, those aliens looked pretty fuckin’ real. I don’t know if they used some Andy Serkis motherfuckers in green suits to pull it off, but it looks really good.

Anyway, if you went to see The Goods this weekend instead of this, then you probably got assed out. The End.

(*) – replace “getting laid” with “watching movies alone”

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