Tag Archives: Billy Zane

Guest House

Remember Pauly Shore? If you’d forgotten and I just reminded you, I’m sorry. If you’d forgotten and prefer to keep it that way, read no more.

Pauly’s back and he’s the exact same as ever, except worse because now he’s old and I’m not high.

Blake (Mike Castle) and Sarah (Aimee Teegarden) are a young couple who’ve just bought a new home with a beautiful backyard. There’s just the one problem: there’s someone in the guest house. And yes, it’s Pauly Shore. He’s calling himself Randy Cockfield in this movie but doing absolutely nothing to disguise himself. Pauly Shore never could act, except in the “acting like a demented ass with no filter and no taste” sense. Anyway, Randy is the tenant from hell, throwing obscene parties, damaging property, and violating boundaries like they don’t even exist in the first place.

Blake, apparently a reformed party boy (though Sarah’s dad, Billy Zane, still does not approve), vows to wage war against their squatter, but in truth he somehow gets sucked in. And then out. And then back in, and so on. Which is a problem because when Blake and Randy are buds, they party together, and things get so wildly out of control, Sarah winds up picking him up from the police station. And when Blake and Randy are enemies, their juvenile pranks get so wildly out of hand, Sarah winds up picking him up from the police station. In both scenarios, she’s threatening to leave.

But she doesn’t. Because Sarah’s pretty shitty too. Maybe not as shitty as Pauly Shore and her no good, Pauly Shore wannabe boyfriend, but since she’s agreeing to marry at least one of them on the very same day she was tearfully telling Billy Zane she just couldn’t do it anymore, she doesn’t get a pass. Plus, she has some pretty shitty friends. I mean, so does Blake. Definitely shitty. And so does Pauly. Ugh. So shitty. They have shitty friends because they’re awful people and they all deserve each other and there’s absolutely nobody in this movie to root for.

Guest House is an absolute mess of things that don’t make sense and things you wish you could unsee. I had no problem with Shore being alive when he wasn’t bothering me by making movies, but if he’s threatening to “revive” his “career,” I’m going to suggest we bury him Encino style, deep enough to make sure that if he’s ever unearthed, I’ll be dead and gone and he can’t hurt me anymore. His weasel persona had a 3 movie expiration date in the 90s and his resurrection is both unwanted and offensive – especially since he seems to be bringing Steve-o along with him? Double ugh. Go ahead and dig that hole big enough for two bodies and toss em both in. And while you’ve got the shovel out, go ahead and give my head a big ole whack – I know I can’t get these 84 minutes back but the least you could do is try to brain injury the memory away.

Ghosts of War

In 1944, a team of five allied soldiers are assigned to protect a French mansion that the Nazis recently vacated. They are late arriving to relieve the current watch, who are suspiciously eager to leave. Almost immediately after they do, weird things begin happening to each of the five as they split up and check out the mansion. Clearly, this house is haunted, and it’s no surprise since the Nazis seem to have ritual-killed the family who once lived there (the pentagram in the attic is not just decorative, it’s fully operational).

From the moment Billy Zane appears on screen, it is clear that Ghosts of War is not going to be a good movie, and is not even trying to be one. Its goal appears to be to make you jump in terror, with it settling for mild twitches of surprise. Which kind of works, in its way. The house is mysterious enough to keep your attention, and the weird things happening within are clearly not random. These patterns hint that there is a solution to be found somewhere in the house, and our five soldiers are focused on figuring it out.

But then, things go sideways in a hurry, and that is because Ghosts of War has one other secret goal, ripped directly from M. Night Shyamalan’s playbook. Namely, to blow your mind when the truth behind these strange events is revealed. And as in most Shyamalan films, Ghosts of War’s twist feels like a cheap gimmick. Not only does his particular twist make no sense, the movie would have been better if it had just been left out.

That ill-conceived twist turns this uniquely-set haunted house movie into something we have seen done many times before, and seen done better just as many times. Especially because Ghosts of War’s ending seems to have been misplaced, or else it disappeared into thin air. Where did it go? Perhaps Billy Zane can track it down, but until he does, what’s left is a movie that is both a half hour too long and 20 minutes too short.