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The King of All Bad Movies: The Box

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 0
I wanted to like this movie.

Before I begin telling you why the worst movie ever is Richard Kelly's The Box, let me say outright t

The Box
hat I really, really wanted to like this movie. After seeing the preview for it when I went to watch Surrogates, it looked absolutely riveting. As you can probably guess by the nature of this review, however, I was largely disappointed. Largely disappointed doesn't even begin to cover how I feel about this movie.
If you, at the end of this, decide to watch it, just remember that the amount of trauma and mental disruption the characters feel is nothing compared to what you'll feel when it is over. As the slogan goes, "You are the experiment."

The premise
Although I'm not sure I can promise you that The Box even has a premise, I'll try my hardest. This bad movie is based off of a short story called "Button, Button" by Richard Matheson, which was later evolved into an episode in the 80s version of The Twilight Zone. Cameron Diaz and James Marsden play Norma and Arthur Lewis, a southern couple with a child trying hard to make ends meet in the 70s. Actually, I think they are a southern couple half the time, since Norma's accent only comes out about that often. Norma teaches at a school that her son attends (and thus her son gets a discount). She is also the teacher of an incredibly creepy boy who has a foot fetish. We're off to a good start already.
Arthur Lewis works for NASA doing office-type jobs. He hopes that, with his qualifications, he can go on a space mission.

Sadly, both of their careers take a hard one down the crapper, with Norma's ending with her boss's face becoming very unemotional, and his nose suddenly bleeding. As The Butterfly Effect demonstrated, nose bleeds are a side effect of supernatural activity.

As the couple is desperate to find a way to make money, they get a mysterious note that says, "Mr. Steward will call upon you at 5:00 pm." Surely enough, when the clock strikes five, Mr. Steward, a man with a burnt face, shows up at the door and presents Norma with THE BOX. In case you haven't seen the previews, the box contains a button that, if pressed, will kill someone they do not know (prompting Norma to ask her husband
in the most cliché way possible, "Do I even know you?", to which he replies, "Better than I know myself."), but in exchange, they will get $1 million. Like any good salesman, he proceeds to tell them that they get a $100 bill just for having the box! He also asks that they do not talk about the experiment.

After much deliberation with her husband, Norma suddenly pushes the button, and absolutely nothing happens. She then begins to go into a minor panic, but Arthur manages to calm her down long enough for the ultimately bizarre and nonsensical events to begin. Surely enough, Mr. Steward arrives with the $1 million.

The ensuing plotline
This is a truly impossible heading to fill, because The Box didn't have a plotline. It
has a plot-irregular-polygon-on-the-imaginary-number-line. They go to a wedding party, Mr. Steward gets very angry, foot fetish boy threatens them, they hit Santa Claus, another nosebleed happens, a girl walks down a hotel hallway for aliens, and a giant rectangular prism of water bursts and the couple falls on top of each other.
I guarantee you that watching the movie will not increase your understanding of the above events.

So, we'll skip to the end that makes some sense. Bear in mind that, at this point while watching the worst movie ever, my mind has turned into soup. Nutritionless Campbell's soup.

The couple's son has become blind and deaf, and is currently locked in the bathroom. Mr. Steward offers a final deal: they can keep the million and let their son be blind and deaf forever, or Arthur can shoot Norma, their son Walter will become normal again, and the money will be put into a high-interest bank account for Walter. With all the cheese factor in the world, the couple lovingly stares into each other's eyes as Arthur shoots her in the chest. Another couple pushes the button on the box. I got goosebumps because it actually made sense.

But, of course, logical coherence had to come to an end quite quickly. This is The Box we're talking about. Now, at this point, Arthur leaves the house, and the camera zooms out. Mr. Steward shows up at another couple's door, and you get a good look into the bathroom window, where a man (Wikipedia reports this as the grandfather) stands behind Walter.

The end.

What in the world Mars?
And with that, you are left with an incredibly injured mind that can never seek repair. The Box is the worst movie ever because it does not seek to provide a basis for anything it throws at you. The strange people that let this movie get a 44% on RottenTomatoes argue that it is the mystery of this movie that is so intriguing. I'm not sure what mystery they're talking about. This movie comes off as one that was made as the production crew and scriptwriters went along, with very few transitions between scenes. It's quite common to be in the couple's bedroom at one point and suddenly be shown Arlington Steward's office with a spaceship being operated on in the background, without either scene resolving itself.

In short, although the idea of a movie about human morals vs. selfishness placed into a sci-fi theme is quite invigorating, the delivery fell way too short. The Box earns the title of worst movie ever for its lack of coherence in virtually any scene, leaving me to believe that very little planning other than "make it weird" was put into it at all.
Watch at your own risk.



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