Saturday, March 2, 2013

I'd rather be juggling bananas.

While I'm not really interested in making any, I'm a sucker for a good list. One night, stumbling from movie blog to movie blog, I found a list of Eleven of the Best Movies You've Never Seen. Rarely do I see something that I don't know at least a little about, so instantly I was intrigued. I scanned the list and found that I had only seen one of the flicks mentioned, Peter Jackson's Dead Alive. Knowing that that movie kicks ass (for the Lord!, no less), the author had completely earned my trust. I bailed on the summaries and instantly began to add the titles to my queue.

About a week later, after watching director Dave McKean's MirrorMask, my first thought was, maybe there's a reason no one has ever seen this. For me, this movie turned out to be work. Of the rather arduous variety, no less. Maybe if I'd have seen the poster, I would've known to keep it moving. But I didn't. You? You still have time.

But, if you're still interested, here's the plot as far as I can decipher it. A young girl has grown tired of working in her parents circus, and in typical teenager fashion, says something offhandedly rotten to her mother. Sure enough, Mom ends up incredibly ill, and Helena, the aforementioned lass, descends into some imaginary dream world on a quest to help her ailing mom. Um, I think. Her quest lacked urgency, and perhaps even a little bit of coherence.

People who love this film will say the story is magical, and it's a visual masterpiece. Others, perhaps like me, who don't adore the movie, will say something to the effect of, not only did I not get/care what the Hell was going on, but it looked like a Cirque du Soleil version of The Matrix airing on French-Canadian Nick, Jr. I mean, obviously, right?

While I'm not entirely interested in trashing a PG film made by Jim Henson's Company and the talented people behind Coraline, I am moderately interested in expressing how I felt about it. Here are the totally confused Yays and Boos. They thought we were watching 1993's winner for Best Screensaver for an hour and a half, not the flick itself.

She was 21 years old when they filmed this. I thought she was 15.
  • The opening credits were pretty cool. I was still fully on board at this point.
  • The explanation of the history of Dream Land was interesting.
  • There were two really cool books in this one: First, The Complete History of Everything. And even better, The Really Useful Book.
  • The young girl who played Helena, Stephanie Leonidas, delivered an interesting performance. I especially liked the evil/anti- version of her.
  • The visuals, as off-putting as they were sometimes, can also be very clever and inspired. I liked the column made of locks and the all-consuming wave of darkness. I guess I was even into the dark version of her mom, even if she's got the same eyes as Uncle Charlie from Tha Crossroads. 
  • And finally, the mirror mask, was pretty f--king cool. 
I checked her resume. It's MirrorMask and every Tool video ever made.
  • I spilled a gigantic glass of water as I sat down to begin round 1 of 3 with this flick. An ominous sign, missed.
  • Just when you think you've seen the most bizarre thing MirrorMask has to offer, surprise! out trots the Turkey Brigade. On stilts.
  • Speaking of, what the Hell is up with the cats? I'm fairly certain they f--king terrified me. I won't even mention the scary dolls that sing a Marilyn Manson B-side of (They Long to Be) Close To You. Fine, I won't mention them again.
  • The easy-listening jazz station soundtrack grew tiresome. Incredibly.
  • Valentine. This guy was an annoying bastard, to say the least. He's the prototypical enigmatic sidekick, but he's also hard to look at/spend time with.
  • While I applaud it for being original, I also think it was just distractingly weird for weirdness sake.
  • The overall vibe, clearly, wasn't for me. At times I was thinking this is what we'd get if Trent Reznor directed a kids show for the BBC. And while that sounds kind of exciting, this movie was anything but.
Despite the lackluster results, I'm still going to roll the dice on seeing movies I've never heard of. But, if this was the best of the bunch, then I'm in for some real nightmares.

Maybe, I should embark on a magical quest and try to change that.


  1. Strangely enough, this actually sounds like a movie I could get into. :-) Hard to say. But I definitely don't want to miss that turkey brigade on stilts, because who knows when I'll ever get a second chance to see THAT?

    BTW, my daughter and co-blogger Sarah is a big fan of Dead Alive. My husband digs it too. I just can't feel the love. Although -- yeah, the dude who kicks ass for the Lord is pretty cool.

    1. You know, you probably should give this one a shot, honestly. I'd like to hear someone who isn't a heartless bastard review it. Oh, the turkey brigade? That's the tip of the iceberg. Regardless, go for it.

      Yeah, Dead Alive is a classic. Everyone love that guy! You have to.

  2. I've heard rumblings about this movie before but now I think you've put into perspective that I will probably be just fine never seeing this. Great review, as always.

    I've read that list before on Pajiba. I haven't seen Wristcutters: A Love Story but people always say good things. Sound of My Voice is a movie I both liked and didn't like, you know, one of those kind of movies. The Trip is funny but not a must see. It can feel a little repetitive at times. Headhunters is awesome and I wouldn't be surprised if it gets and English language remake.

    P.S. Yes, Dead Alive rules.

  3. At this point, I'm willing to give just about anything a try, because regardless of the results, it gives me something to post here.

    But, to your point, this one should have been a pass, but I rolled the dice anyway. I'm also always hopeful that somehow a movie that is boring me to tears will redeem itself with a kickass ending. Not so much here.

    I will try to check out Headhunters and possibly Sound of My Voice. I know zero about both (surprise!).