Final Destination

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By Mark Ramsey | 2000/03/16

Having lost a slew of Oscar ballots and a couple crates of award statues, frustrated Motion Picture Academy officials were further embarrassed today when they declared: “We can’t find our keys.”

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Don’t look for stars in Final Destination, pal, unless you count the ones sailing around your dizzy head. You’ll recognize America’s Most Wanted before one of these kids, believe me.

Here’s the deal: Our hero Alex and his buds board a plane to France. He freaks out when he discovers it’s a Robin Williams film festival all the way to Paris! Suddenly, he has a vision of the plane going down in a ball of doubtfire.

Naturally, his hunch is right. Fortunately, Alex and his pals escape with their lives – and the queer tendency to call all drinks “beverages.”

But death does not surrender so easily; it must take life or legroom! So everyday housewares conspire in ever more creative ways to kill, kill, kill. Like a daisy-chain of tumbling dominos, kitchenware goes homicidal with such fine-tuned choreography, the teapot might as well sing tunes from The Little Mermaid.

In one scene water leaks from the toilet to chase a guy around the house. Who wouldn’t run from that? Who taught the plumbing to heel, anyway? Can it fetch my paper and slippers?

Alex gets a crush on a survivor-girl named “Clear,” whose name speaks volumes about her complexion and her driving record, not to mention her calendar once the grosses for this turkey are tallied. I get the attraction; Clear’s hip-hugging jeans and navel are enforcing a legal separation agreement of epic proportions!

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Pity the sensitive moment when Clear begins that tell-tale dialogue which is the universal signal for a concession stand break: “When I was a kid….”

Skating a thin line between tribute and insult, Alex and the gang are named after legendary horror movie directors. There’s “Browning” who brought us the horrifying Dracula, “Lewton” who brought us the horrifying Cat People, and “Hitchcock” who brought us Tallulah Bankhead horrifyingly overacting in Lifeboat.

Eerily, Alex knows which famed horror director’s going to die next. How? Because he traces a diagram of the plane on an isosceles triangle and uses the quadratic formula to calculate the optimal distance between Clear’s bare belly and membership in the mile-high club. Or something like that.

My favorite part comes when the gang inexplicably busts into the morgue to view the cadaverous remains of a dead pal. Who should be mysteriously lurking over his body but the Candyman himself, Tony Todd. After making everything he bakes satisfying and delicious and killing off Virginia Madsen’s career, Tony is now the resident morgue philosopher. “In death there are no accidents,” he whispers, ominously.

Easy, Tony. This ain’t Othello. You’ve been doing too much Shakespeare in the Park – or is it the Parking Lot? Tony even cribs Brian Dennehy’s best line from the Arthur Miller classic, Death of a Salesman: “You don’t want to F— with that mack-daddy!”

It’s not long before Alex is convinced that death has a design for him and all his friends.

Unfortunately for the audience, death’s architect is Frank Lloyd Wrong.

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