Monday, January 19, 2015

We are really awesome at this.

I didn't do whatever it is you must in order to make them official, but I guess I made a couple of New Year's Resolutions for 2015.  I'm not a big fan of arbitrarily setting goals, nor am I fan of reaching said goals, but this year I wanted to keep things simple.

  1. Spend more time with my kids
  2. See better movies
  3. Increase my efforts on Two Dollar Cinema (and in the blogging community)
Now #1 and #3 are clearly at odds with each other, I get that. But that second one? Well, that one I could probably stick to rather easily. I mean, it's not like I'd go and renege on all three of those resolutions just hours into 2015.  Not on purpose, anyway...

On New Year's Day, my wife and I opted to bring our son to the movies, instead of making it an afternoon among adults. And with that fateful decision came an afternoon screening of Penguins of Madagascar. Truthfully, I don't think any of us were really dying to see it. But damned if we don't all enjoy salty popcorn and dark rooms, you know?

Being that it's been almost three weeks, I don't really recall much of Dreamworks' latest animated flick. I remember it being the right kind of silly and featuring some fantastically goofy voice work, but this clearly isn't one of those movies like Up or Wall E that will resonate a decade later. This flick's sights aren't that high.

Branching off from the successful Madagascar franchise, Penguins follows the wacky foursome as they ditch the sidekick act and head off on their own adventure. It turns out a giant octopus/fellow ex-zoo attraction has decided to rid the world of penguins, after being burned by the loveable birds years prior. Skipper, Kowalski, Private and Rico are the only ones that can stop him, and concoct countless ridiculous plans to foil the eight-legged villain. As a wise man once said, hold on to your butts.

Even though the movie stalled after awhile, I still fully appreciated the fantastic comedic writing and voicework that Penguins featured. The four leads, well, the three that talk anyway, deliver consistently hilarious readings of the clever script. Many of the gags are blink-and-you'll-miss-them, but there are so many even someone drifting in an out of a coma will probably crack up a few times. While it might not be worth your nine bucks theatrically, it certainly warrants a buck and a half at Redbox, if not an outright purchase for those of you with little ones.

Speaking of the wee ones, here is an abbreviated version of the Yays and Boos. They've had so much time off, they're not even sure how this goes anymore.

  • Dave. Not only is Dave a pretty fantastic villain, but he looks exactly like John Malkovich. And the only thing cooler than looking like John Malkovich? Well, it's sounding like John Malkovich. Dave does that, too. Probably know...he's voiced by John Malkovich.
  • The initial scene when the penguins were younger was hysterical. Werner Herzog's brief cameo almost brought me to tears I was laughing so hard.
  • Even the Penguins are sick of Afro Circus.
  • I don't remember what it was, but the passcode for Ft. Knox was awesome.
  • As was the chase through the canals of Venice. Very well done.
  • The elite crew of arctic animals, the North Wind if I recall correctly, was pretty cool. As much as I liked Benedict Cumberbatch as their leader, Peter Stormare stole the show.
  • There's a bit when the Penguins think they are in Ireland that really cracked me up. Sorry, laddy.
  • Sure, the whole everybody's good at something angle is kind of played out, but it worked well here. Poor Private.
  • And finally, the ongoing bit with the celebrity names was all kinds of awesome. 
    • Helen! Hunt them down. 
    • Robin. Write this down.
    • Drew! Barry! More power!
    • Elijah. Would you please take them away? (to name a few)
  • I will never blame anyone for taking a job, but can I blame someone for offering one? Can we please impose some sort of voluntary moratorium on hiring Ken Jeong for voicework? Please.
  • Damn it. I wish I could remember the passcode for Ft. Knox. 
  • Sea lions. Though not nearly as terrifying as in Happy Feet (that whole movie makes me cringe), these bastards are the worst.
  • And finally, holiday sequels. For a little family was either this (which is essentially the fourth Madagascar movie) or the third Night at the Museum. C'mon, Hollywood. You can have your way with me, sure, but at least look me in the eye, you know?
We are three weeks into the New Year and Penguins of Madagascar is still the only thing I have seen theatrically. No Oscar flicks, nothing. But worse? I've only watched one movie at home, too. 

I watched it by myself. 
And it was awful. 
And I haven't posted a single word about it. Anywhere.

Is it too late to add a fourth resolution? I was thinking be remarkably consistent in failures. That and lose weight.


  1. Dude...I MISS YOU!!!!!!!!!

    That said, I took the kids to see this a few weeks back and also just posted my review for it last week. I shamelessly loved this and said that it was the funniest movie to come out last year that didn't star Rose Byrne, and I mean that. Like...that script was FULL of lines that all worked, I was floored.

    1. No, no, man. I miss you.

      I'm totally glad you liked it (and I will check out your review asap). It certainly had some funny parts (and the voices are hysterical), but it didn't slay me like I wanted it to.

      Dude. Why do you always have to bring up Byrne? I'm trying to keep a clear mind, here. Not just daydream about R-r-rose....Byr.........wlbj flj wrnj'lfn '42v

      Sorry. I think I blacked out.

  2. So glad to see another post from you. And it's probably for the best you don't remember the pass code for Ft. Knox. Gotta keep that place safe, ya know?

    1. Wendell Ottley: Man of Wisdom.

      (thanks, man)

  3. I am so glad to see another post from you and I am glad that you are bonding with your children.

  4. YAY! YOU'RE BACK! :-) I have missed you.

    This looks like a movie my daughter P. really would've dug when she was younger. She went through a "Happy Feet" phase where she'd see absolutely anything with animated penguins.

    1. Aww...shucks. I missed you, too.

      Your daughter sounds sweet, but sweet Jesus did Happy Feet essentially terrify me. My wife and I saw that in the theater (when we didn't even have kids?? what the shit?), and I remember thinking the whole thing was just sooooooo weird.

      I think I'm going to go lay down.
      Maybe cry for a little bit first.

  5. You're back!!

    I took my son to this too, he enjoyed it. I thought it was pretty stupid, but it had some funny parts. It took me forever to place John Malkovich's voice. It's kind of embarrassing now that I know he did it, I should've recognized it immediately.

    I did like how the Penguins took off because they are sick of that song. I am too. My kid sings it all the time.

    1. I liked it enough, I suppose, but it seemed like it was longer than it needed to be. My son is pretty much only interested as long as there is warm popcorn to be jammed in his mouth, so he was ready to roll at about the hour mark.

      That Afro Circus dig was genius. Matty used to love damn song.