Bang, Marry, Kill: Tarsem Singh


We’re deep into the summer movie season. Max’s have been mad, Avengers have assembled, and Chris Pratt had a topless, Top Gun-style volleyball montage with raptorsSo which director’s body of work should I be an immature jerk towards in a futile attempt to cope with my own crippling inability to accomplish anything of significance?

There’s lot’s of big movies left to choose from, so instead let’s look at the really obscure director that no one’s heard of because he keeps changing his damn name with every movie he releases.

It’s like click-bait reverse psychology. By practically daring you not to click the link, you’ll click it so fast that the server room (aka Maurice’s porn dungeon) will explode and release the souls of all those 1920’s bootleggers buried in his basement.

Subject: Tarsem Singh


Occupation(s): Director. Guy who always has that smirk when you cut a silent fart in a crowded elevator.

Heroic backstory: Tarsem Singh’s father was just a regular aircraft engineer who fulfilled his destiny one day after defeating the video game “Starfighter”. He was soon recruited by some dork in a fedora and bow tie to pilot the first flight of the supersonic Canadair CF-104 Starfighter, battle the Ko-Dan Armada and become the savior of Rylos. Tarsem Singh was born that very same day and lived the first half of his life as the celebrated interstellar Prince of Rylos.

He later left his home planet to direct an R.E.M. music video.

Hometown: Rylos, the oldest city in the Ko-Dan Empire.

Why?: Because you saw the trailer for one of his movies and felt an overwhelming sense of “meh”.

Next movie: Self/less



Career highlights: Much like P. Diddy, today’s subject is known by many names. He started his film career with the Hansel-hot name, Tarsem. Till he Paul Thomas Anderson’d it up with Tarsem Singh Dhandwar. Then he pulled a Snoop Lion into the more conservative, Tarsem Singh.

Like many directors before him, Tarsem Singh transitioned from commercials and music videos into movies. Some of his contemporaries are accomplished and well-respected filmmakers, like David Fincher. And some are Michael Bay. (I haven’t checked the internet in a while, but I assume I’m the first person to make a joke about Michael Bay’s artistic integrity. ZING!)

So let’s watch his movies together, while I do further damage to my liver because I write for movie Mixology and my psychopath editor confuses “branding awareness” with “mutually enabling group alcoholism.”

Spoilers, if you care.*

*You won’t.


The Cell (2000)

FYI Tarsem has a weird thing with horses.

FYI Tarsem has a weird thing with horses.


What the hell?: Vince Vaughn plays FBI agent, Fox Mulder. He needs help from Dr. Leonardo DiCaprio, played by Professor Jennifer Lopez. She wraps herself in a Twizzlers body suit so she can Inception Pvt. Leonard Lawrence’s brain,. Because that’s pretty much the least practical way to find a missing person, ever.

From the writer of the celebrated and extremely necessary remakes, Poseidon, I am Legend, and Oldboy.

Artsy fartsy?: JLo graphically rips the nipples off of Vincent D’Onofrio’s inner child, and metaphorically murders him in her own brain with arrows and a sword to actually murder him in real life… because reasons? Maybe the same reasons they didn’t arrest her for killing a prisoner in FBI custody?

Drink pairing: Molson Canadian (shut up, it was on sale) and Clamato. Ran out about 4 beers in and had to drink the final 2 beers without Clamato, like a common guttersnipe.

Fun Facts: 1. For no discernable reason this movie has the most bizarre horse killing ever put to film. So props for that!

  1. JLo and Vince Vaughn still get acting jobs. Weird, right?

Bang, Marry or Kill?: Visually dynamic with spectacular sets, effects and costumes. But basically you’re just watching the filmmaker sniff his own farts for 107 minutes. This movie is the equivalent of the Jenny from the Block music video. The rocks that it got looked sexy, but it felt like Ben Affleck was rubbing my butt the entire time.

Even worse, that crappy song is now stuck in my head. Kill.


The Fall (2006)

This horse had it coming. Just look at him! Douche…

This horse had it coming. Just look at him! Douche…


Fartsy artsy?: After getting out of director-jail for The Cell, our plucky hero directs a movie about a junkie stuntman who makes friends with an adorable, dead-eye’d little kleptomaniac. She has an unintelligible, gibberish accent that I’m mesmerized by and I want her to narrate my entire life. She’s easily the best/weirdest part of this movie and the rarest of rarities: a child actor that doesn’t make me sneeze blood into my popcorn.

What the hell?: Is that the hospital from The Frighteners? Man, that’s an awesome movie! I should BMK Peter Jackson if he ever does another movie that doesn’t involve ice skating monkeys or gay hobbits.

Fun Facts: 1. Produced by David Fincher and Spike Jonze.

  1. Tarsem kills TWO horses in this movie via their hearts exploding from exhaustion.
  2. Mickey Rourke’s costume was inspired by Frank the Bunny from Donnie Darko.
  3. Oracles are always hot virgins. Always!

Drink pairing: The slow start necessitated a few scotches. But once I got into it I just wanted to drop some morphin3 and enjoy the ride.

Bang, Marry or Kill?: This movie is Annie Edison from Community. Little Annie Adderall may have dropped out of high school due to a pill addiction and a nervous breakdown ending with her running through a plate-glass window screaming “everyone’s a robot!”, but she looks like Alison Brie.

So nothing else matters. Bang!


The Immortals (2011)

Don’t worry, both these horse jerks are going to get what’s coming to them!

Don’t worry, both these horse jerks are going to get what’s coming to them!


Artistic, fartistic?: After violating the terms of his director-probation by making the genuinely enjoyable, The Fall, our intrepid hero brings us a touching love story between muscular young men greasing each other up to fit into their tight booty shorts. A true hero’s journey.

What the hell?: Written by those twins from The Shining. At first I thought this was going to be that sequel to 300 that I’d never get around to watching because it looked like a low-budget, knock-off, cash-grab, fart-sniff. Turns out I’d actually have to wait three more years to never see that sequel.

Drink pairing: Started with Kalua-coffee. The unintentionally (?) goofy dialogue quickly upgraded me to whiskey-coffee. Then Scotch. I didn’t intend to get loser-pissed, but I needed something to keep me from playing with Tinder while this movie bored the crap out of me.


Fun Facts: 1. Produced by David Fincher and Spike Jones.

  1. Tarsem kills TWO horses in this movie via their hearts exploding from exhaustion.
  2. Mickey Rourke’s costume was inspired by Frank the Bunny from Donnie Darko.
  3. Oracles are always hot virgins. Always!

Mickey Rourke-ness: Mickey Rourke says “let me enlighten you, priest” before he sets a priest on fire. It was glorious!

There are some movies that Mickey Rourke’s weirdness just doesn’t work, like Iron Man 2 or The Expendables. This is not one of those movies. While I was mostly bored, it was never when Mickey Rourke was on screen. My editor completely failed to notice Rourke’s brilliance when he reviewed it. Bloody hater…

Bang, Marry or Kill?: This movie is that style-over-substance gal who yammers on about inane nonsense to the point that her inner ugliness starts to manifest into physical ugliness. The worst kind of ugliness!

She wants to be something she’s not (300), but comes off as desperate (Clash of the Titans) and Kanye West-y (Wrath of the Titans). Worth a drunken hook-up, but completely intolerable if you’re trying to have a conversation about anything deeper than reality TV or poop.

I’m creating an entirely new rating because this movie sucked, but I could watch Mickey Rourke’s scenes on a loop for hours: Walk of Shame.


The Mirror Mirror (2012)

Whoa, look at the teeth on this horse. She’s sooo gonna get it!

Whoa, look at the teeth on this horse. She’s sooo gonna get it!


Artistic, fartshmistmic?: There were two live-action Snow White remakes this year. This one has Julia Roberts as the evil queen instead of Charlize Theron, so I’m already pouty and would rather just watch Mad Max: Fury Road again.

Helpful tip: Instead of watching this movie, read Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman and imagine what could have been. Sure it would have scarred kids for life, but tell me you wouldn’t rather watch Snow White as a terrifying vampire who sucked blood from the king’s “male member” and “the insides of her thighs were stained with wet black filth”?

It also has a far more romantic subplot where the young Prince is a necrophiliac, pays off the dwarves to have his way with Snow White’s lifeless body, and saves her by fornicating loose the poison apple from her throat.

Fun facts: 1. Armie Hammer was great in The Social Network because he played a boring dong. The same way that Heather Graham was great in Bowfinger because she played a terrible actress.

  1. Watching this movie interfered with me playing Arkham Knight. You can tweet me about this review if you want, but I’ll still be too busy playing Arkham Knight to care.

Drink pairing: I drank this whole thing. It was delicious! Like eating a condemned man’s final meal in front of him while they strap him to the electric chair.

Why the hell?: Because money, I guess? I would argue that Tarsem’s movies before this (even the 300 ripoff) were done with some sort of unique vision or artistic merit. But this looked like a cheap ass TV-movie that mysteriously had Julia Roberts in it.

Bang, Marry or Kill?: This movie is the equivalent of that 28 year old virgin who’s trying to give you relationship advice while she works on her application to adopt a child. Yes, you read that correctly.

There is no telling how much that level of delusion will warp a child’s fragile mind, so you politely hint that cats are less work, plus they allow lunatics to adopt as many as they want! Plus no one asks questions when a cat has mysterious bruises and there’s almost no risk of turning a cat into a serial killer through bad parenting.

But if logic and reason were ever part of the equation, they wouldn’t let single virgins adopt kids, and I wouldn’t be watching a Snow White reboot alone and drunk in my underwear. And like the Prince in the movie will soon find out, banging a virgin is a horrible, pointless affair that leaves all parties involved disappointed, confused and bloody. So don’t bother trying. Kill.


Next Movie: The Self/less

Well… there you go. They put the whole predictable plot in the trailer for your convenience, so you don’t even need to see it now. That was nice of them.

Chaser: Based on the above trends, this will be visually amazing but boring as hell. There will also be weird hats, bad performances from otherwise good actors, and horse murder. So, so much horse murder!

The scene that inspired Tarsem to enter film school.

The scene that inspired Tarsem to enter film school.


Starring Green Lantern, Ozymandias and the Mandarin. It looks like it’s taking itself way too seriously. Movies like this need to be full-on goofy-ass schlock. Remember Face/Off? That movie was stupid as hell, but because they turned it into over-the-top action silliness, it’s one of the most enjoyable and re-watchable bad movies ever made.

One for the road: Skip every movie on this list except for The Fall. I’d recommend watching it on date night, as she’ll be all over you for being deep and sensitive and artistic n’ junk.

Then immediately make her watch Kung Fury to set the mood for love!

2 Responses to “Bang, Marry, Kill: Tarsem Singh”

  1. […] followed suit with the director pre-emptively apologizing for things that made no sense. With some of the directors I’ve looked at on this site, the apologies would be longer than the […]

  2. […] tortured artists: Rob Cohen, The Wachowski Siblings, George Miller, Tarsem Singh and J.J. […]

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