Click (2006)

While the movie's point is clear enough from frame one, it's so blatant and comes at such a high price that you feel mostly battered by its end.


Director: Frank Coraci
Cast: Adam Sandler, Christopher Walken, Kate Beckinsale, Blake Heron, Allen Covert, Peter Dante, David Hasselhoff
MPAA rating: PG-13
Studio: Sony
First date: 2006
US Release Date: 2006-06-23 (General release)

Granted, Adam Sandler keeps making the same movie. In which the Sandler manchild meets a pretty girl and learns to be a slightly more attentive, nominally more mature manchild. Applied to any number of basic frameworks -- waterboying, wedding-singing, Winona Ryder's deceiving, Drew Barrymore's forgetting, Jack Nicholson's raging -- the formula, as we all know too well, has been profitable and then some.

The Click version begins with a feeble twist. Sandler as ambitious architect Michael has long ago met the pretty girl, here Donna (Kate Beckinsale), and married her. (This suggests the maturation process takes longer this time, or maybe always takes longer, but you've never had to suit through the post-marriage part before.) They have two adorable Twinkies-loving children, Ben and Samantha (played at first by Joseph Castanon and Tatum McCann), and he has two doting parents, Trudy (Julie Kavner) and Ted (Henry Winkler).

Though Donna is a "hottie" (a point made by sundry observers, and the primary point in her characterization) and he sincerely likes his children, Michael finds a way to act out the Sandler plot, initiated by his belief that he is miserable. He's ragged by his arrogant and frankly idiotic boss, Ammer (the newly resurrected David Hasselhoff), annoyed by conspicuously consuming neighbor (another O'Doyle, as per previous Sandler films), and threatened by his son's affection for swim speedo-ed swim coach Jim (Sean Astin). When you put these pieces together, you see the problem: everywhere he looks, Michael sees his own inadequacy.

What better solution than to purchase a universal remote? Frustrated by yet another assignment that has put the kibosh on a family camping trip -- not to mention Donna and the kids' disappointment -- Michael drives off into the night in search of salvation. When all the mall stores are closed save for Bed, Bath & Beyond, he enters, making his way past the linens and the plates to a back door marked "Way Beyond." And here he discovers Morty (Christopher Walken), a technician with oogly-glasses and mad scientist's hair who offers him a magical remote, all blue-glowy and special, and oh yes, non-returnable. Quicker tan you can say "Clarence," Michael agrees to the deal and so begins his nightmare.

This would be another high-concept nightmare concocted by the Sandler crew that's ripped off Frank Capra (another being Mr. Deeds). Here the foundation is It's a Wonderful Life, where Clarence (Henry Travers) is the angel who grants George Bailey's (Jimmy Stewart) wish that he'd never been born, then proceeds to show him the effects of such an undoing. Here, while Morty cackles a bit and assumes the usual wacky-Walken demeanor, the catalyst is inanimate. The remote allows Michael to reorganize his life, affording him all the controls you'd imagine: fast-forward, rewind, chapter search, freeze-frame, and slow-motion (this to observe a jogger's breasts bounce). He also has a commentary track voiced by James Earl Jones, a joke worn out the first time you hear it. The remote also briefly serves the most predictable purpose, appearing beneath Michael's pants as an erect penis. Ha ha ha.

As such gags suggest, the film's worn-outness is incessant. Click has Michael short-cutting more than an occasional argument with Donna or a long work weekend. Soon he's missing time with his kids and his parents (though subjecting the rest of us to a flashback sequence in which he observes them "make" him under covers, then his own infant's view of the birth and various comments on the teeny size of his shmeckel). At the same time, as the domestic setting apparently disallows the usual Sandleresque overload of adolescent boy joking, Michael spends demented time at work, or at least at the office (say, watching Ammer perform a wholly horrific "anti-sexual harassment speech" that includes inappropriate comments and repeated shots of girls in tight tops and short skirts).

As Michael continues to speed through the parts of his life he deems unpleasant, the remote retains in its magic memory his "preferences." And so, for instance, his one night's decision to fast-forward through sex with the wife becomes a repeated two-minute exercise that leaves her "confused and unsatisfied," according to James Earl Jones. Donna's reactions to any of her husband's shenanigans are mostly limited to brief smiles or sad faces, as she's less a reason for his transformation (as, say, Barrymore has played more than once) than an occasion for his superficial self-reflections. Donna does have a best friend and potential confidant, Janine (Jennifer Coolidge, playing yet another version of the character she always plays), but she serves mostly as the butt of Michael's judgmental-jokes, and so even her relationship to Donna is lost in his big shuffle.

Soon enough, he's found his way into his own future, where circumstances are dire (even aside from the scene-setting news bulletins that Britney Spears has had her 23rd child and Michael Jackson has not only cloned himself, but also is charging himself with molestation), as Michael is in ill health and even more miserable than he was at Click's start.

While the movie's point is clear enough from frame one, it's so blatant and comes at such a high price -- relentless childish sex and beat-down jokes (cute little Sam asks her dad if he's smoking crack, Michael and Donna have fast-sex again and again, the family dog repeatedly humps a stuffed duck, Michael freezes Jim so he can kick him in the crotch, Michael freezes Ammer so he can fart in his face) -- that you feel mostly battered by its end.

Click - Theatrical Trailer


From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.

60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

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The Best Dance Tracks of 2017

Photo: Murielle Victorine Scherre (Courtesy of Big Beat Press)

From the "shamanic techno" of Parisian duo Pouvoir Magique to Stockholm Noir's brilliant string of darkly foreboding, electro-licked singles, here are ten selections that represent some of the more intriguing dance offerings of 2017.

In June of 2016, prolific producer Diplo lambasted the world of DJ's in an interview with Billboard, stating that EDM was dying. Coincidentally enough, the article's contents went viral and made their way into Vice Media's electronic music and culture channel Thump, which closed its doors after four years this summer amid company-wide layoffs. Months earlier, electronic music giant SFX Entertainment filed bankruptcy and reemerged as Lifestyle, Inc., shunning the term "EDM".

So here we are at the end of 2017, and the internet is still a flurry with articles declaring that Electronic Dance Music is rotting from the inside out and DJ culture is dying on the vine, devoured by corporate greed. That might all well be the case, but electronic music isn't disappearing into the night without a fight as witnessed by the endless parade of emerging artists on the scene, the rise of North America's first Electro Parade in Montréal, and the inaugural Electronic Music Awards in Los Angeles this past September.

For every insipid, automaton disc jockey-producer, there are innovative minds like Anna Lunoe, Four Tet, and the Black Madonna, whose eclectic, infectious sets display impeccable taste, a wealth of knowledge, and boundless creativity. Over the past few years, many underground artists have been thrust into the mainstream spotlight and lost the je ne sais quoi that made them unique. Regardless, there will always be new musicians, producers, singers, and visionaries to replace them, those who bring something novel to the table or tip a hat to their predecessors in a way that steps beyond homage and exhilarates as it did decades before.

As electronic music continues to evolve and its endless sub-genres continue to expand, so do fickle tastes, and preferences become more and more subjective with a seemingly endless list of artists to sift through. With so much music to digest, its no wonder that many artists remain under the radar. This list hopes to remedy that injustice and celebrate tracks both indie and mainstream. From the "shamanic techno" of Parisian duo Pouvoir Magique to Stockholm Noir's brilliant string of darkly foreboding, electro-licked singles, here are ten selections that represent some of the more intriguing dance offerings of 2017.

10. Moullinex - “Work It Out (feat. Fritz Helder)”

Taken from Portuguese producer, DJ, and multi-instrumentalist Luis Clara Gomes' third album Hypersex, "Work It Out" like all of its surrounding companions is a self-proclaimed, "collective love letter to club culture, and a celebration of love, inclusion and difference." Dance music has always seemingly been a safe haven for "misfits" standing on the edge of the mainstream, and while EDM manufactured sheen might have taken the piss out of the scene, Hypersex still revels in that defiant, yet warm and inviting attitude.

Like a cheeky homage to Rick James and the late, great High Priest of Pop, Prince, this delectably filthy, sexually charged track with its nasty, funk-drenched bass line, couldn't have found a more flawless messenger than former Azari & III member Fritz Helder. As the radiant, gender-fluid artist sings, "you better work your shit out", this album highlight becomes an anthem for all those who refuse to bow down to BS. Without any accompanying visuals, the track is electro-funk perfection, but the video, with its ruby-red, penile glitter canon, kicks the whole thing up a notch.

9. Touch Sensitive - “Veronica”

The neon-streaked days of roller rinks and turtlenecks, leg warmers and popped polo collars have come and gone, but you wouldn't think so listening to Michael "Touch Sensitive" Di Francesco's dazzling debut Visions. The Sydney-based DJ/producer's long-awaited LP and its lead single "Lay Down", which shot to the top of the Hype Machine charts, are as retro-gazing as they are distinctly modern, with nods to everything from nu disco to slo-mo house.

Featuring a sample lifted from 90s DJ and producer Paul Johnson's "So Much (So Much Mix)," the New Jack-kissed "Veronica" owns the dance floor. While the conversational interplay between the sexed-up couple is anything but profound, there is no denying its charms, however laughably awkward. While not everything on Visions is as instantly arresting, it is a testament to Di Francesco's talents that everything old sounds so damn fresh again.

8. Gourmet - “Delicious”

Neither Gourmet's defiantly eccentric, nine-track debut Cashmere, nor its subsequent singles, "There You Go" or "Yellow" gave any indication that the South African purveyor of "spaghetti pop" would drop one of the year's sassiest club tracks, but there you have it. The Cape Town-based artist, part of oil-slick, independent label 1991's diminutive roster, flagrantly disregards expectation on his latest outing, channeling the Scissor Sisters at their most gloriously bitchy best, Ratchet-era Shamir, and the shimmering dance-pop of UK singer-producer Joe Flory, aka Amateur Best.

With an amusingly detached delivery that rivals Ben Stein's droning roll call in Ferris Bueller's Day Off , he sings "I just want to dance, and fuck, and fly, and try, and fail, and try again…hold up," against a squelchy bass line and stabbing synths. When the percussive noise of what sounds like a triangle dinner bell appears within the mix, one can't help but think that Gourmet is simply winking at his audience, as if to say, "dinner is served."

7. Pouvoir Magique - “Chalawan”

Like a psychoactive ayahuasca brew, the intoxicating "shamanic techno" of Parisian duo Pouvoir Magique's LP Disparition, is an exhilarating trip into unfamiliar territory. Formed in November of 2011, "Magic Power" is the musical project of Clément Vincent and Bertrand Cerruti, who over the years, have cleverly merged several millennia of songs from around the world with 21st-century beats and widescreen electro textures. Lest ye be worried, this is anything but Deep Forest.

In the spring of 2013, Pouvoir Magique co-founded the "Mawimbi" collective, a project designed to unite African musical heritage with contemporary soundscapes, and released two EPs. Within days of launching their label Musiques de Sphères, the duo's studio was burglarized and a hard drive with six years of painstakingly curated material had vanished. After tracking down demos they shared with friends before their final stages of completion, Clément and Bertrand reconstructed an album of 12 tracks.

Unfinished though they might be, each song is a marvelous thing to behold. Their stunning 2016 single "Eclipse," with its cinematic video, might have been one of the most immediate songs on the record, but it's the pulsing "Chalawan," with its guttural howls, fluttering flute-like passages, and driving, hypnotic beats that truly mesmerizes.

6. Purple Disco Machine - “Body Funk” & “Devil In Me” (TIE)

Whenever a bevy of guest artists appears on a debut record, it's often best to approach the project with caution. 85% of the time, the collaborative partners either overshadow the proceedings or detract from the vision of the musician whose name is emblazoned across the top of the LP. There are, however, pleasant exceptions to the rule and Tino Piontek's Soulmatic is one of the year's most delightfully cohesive offerings. The Dresden-born Deep Funk innovator, aka Purple Disco Machine, has risen to international status since 2009, releasing one spectacular track and remix after another. It should go without saying that this long-awaited collection, featuring everyone from Kool Keith to Faithless and Boris D'lugosch, is ripe with memorable highlights.

The saucy, soaring "Mistress" shines a spotlight on the stellar pipes of "UK soul hurricane" Hannah Williams. While it might be a crowning moment within the set, its the strutting discofied "Body Funk", and the album's first single, "Devil In Me", that linger long after the record has stopped spinning. The former track with its camptastic fusion of '80s Sylvester gone 1940s military march, and the latter anthem, a soulful stunner that samples the 1968 Stax hit "Private Number", and features the vocal talents of Duane Harden and Joe Killington, feels like an unearthed classic. Without a doubt, the German DJ's debut is one of the best dance records of the year.

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