Monday, July 18, 2016

It's poo poo with a dash of ca ca.

My daughter Violet is two weeks shy of turning three.

People will often describe tiny demons kids this age by using the old saying of the terrible twos. But every parent knows that phrase got traction because adults adore alliteration. Terrible threes doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, you know? Now, I love my daughter, damn near more than anything else in this (currently horrible) world, but I'll be the first to admit that wrapped up in that adorable exterior is an, at times, unrelenting disaster. Incessant whining, feet stomping, selective hearing is just the start of it.

Luckily, surrounding all that unnecessary drama? Tiny moments of pure brilliance and bliss.

Even though the family and I caught The Secret Life of Pets last Sunday, here I am, a (summer!) week later, posting about the number one movie in America! And being that the oldest three members of our clan didn't really care for it (I'd ask Violet, but it might set her off), I'm kind of surprised that it's still raking it in. I figured Americans would reject such a one-note project bringing very little to the table, right? least 40 forty percent would. Currently.

Unless you've been living under the heaviest of rocks, you've seen all the good bits this movie has to offer. Billed as a look at what our precious pets do when we're gone, Secret Life is instead, as my six-year old son put it, a shittier version of Toy Story (fine, maybe I punched that up a bit). But Woody and Buzz this ain't.

Max (voiced by Louis C.K.) is an adorable little dog, totally (and rightfully) worshiped by his childless owner. One day, poor ol' Max is blindsided when she comes home with another dog, a giant fuzzball named Duke. Duke (Eric Stonestreet, doing his best John C. Reilly) is kind of a dick, honestly, and treats Max like the second banana he's quickly becoming.

One day, during a break from being walked with a shit-ton of other dogs, Max and Duke inadvertently end up on the mean streets of NYC only to get lost and ultimately, you guessed it, caught by the dog catcher. If these two buttsniffing leghumpers have any chance of getting home...*lowers voice* they're going to have to work together. 

What? The two dogs that hate each other have to team up? No way! Next you're going to tell me they become best friends, too. Wow, writers. You. Totally. Nailed. It.

Well, they did in the stellar first five minutes, anyway (where we actually get to see what our pets do while we're gone). After that, it's a bunch of stupid scenes rammed together with the cohesion of a typical episode of Saturday Night Live. And probably just as funny, too. Some bits are spot on and might make you laugh out loud, but there's a large section where it's all random filler. Eventually, Max and Duke end up in some underground cult where discarded house pets are plotting the murder of their owners, and let's just say, the laughs are a little less, um, frequent.

If this cat had spilled the ketchup, my daughter would have peed her pants from laughing so hard.
(private joke with  my two-year old...sorry)
Speaking of bad ideas and infrequent laughs, here are the Yays and Boos. I assume my dog Dodger really does just lay in the same spot all day, you know? Well, after he's licked his junk while laying on my pillow, of course. That jerk.

I was always told to keep my wiener away from the mixer.
  • Even though I basically hate them at this point, the Minion short was pretty solid.
  • Max in his little, doggy raincoat? Adorable.
  • The soundtrack is intermittently fantastic. Major love to the inclusion of N-Trance's version of Stayin' Alive (I always dug that song...[but I just saw the video for the first time and it's frightening])
  • Kevin Hart, let's be honest, can be equal parts annoying and hysterical. Here, he toes that line as Snowball, the angry bunny leading the revolution. His battle plans are pretty sweet.
  • Rest in peace, Ricky!
  • Not featured in the previews, is this scary falcon dude, the always hungry/slightly homicidal Tiberius (voiced by animated film mainstay Albert Brooks). Okay, he actually kind of sucks, but it's Brooks, so screw you.
  • We get a pretty sweet Mario Kart reference that made me want to shoot ink all over everyone's screen. Same too for the Alien bit. Shoot. My heart almost burst out of my chest!
  • I hate Duke. But...puppy Duke? Awwww.
  • It's a little excessive, and way too Rafiki-esque, but the final fight scene on the bridge made me laugh out loud. Gidget loses her mind, Unikitty style.
  • And finally, the end, much like the beginning, is the kind of thing that I wanted to see more of. This is the moment where all the humans come home and snuggle up with their animals and the world is right again. In the film, it's especially sweet. At my house, not so much. Sometimes my dog gets so excited, he vigorously humps the air while spinning in circles. Like, graphic, red-rocket thrusts into an invisible, likely overwhelmed partner. Just like your dog, right? Right? I'll take this awkward silence as a yes.

Good, you've got the key. Now...before you turn it....
....jam it in my eye.
  • As usual when I go to the movies with my family, it was a Home Alone-ish mad dash to the cinema and we had already bought our tickets. 
  • Those first five minutes that I loved so much? That's where they got every single frame of the ubiquitous previews that had been rammed down our throats for the last six months. Kinda took the wind out of the laughs, you know?
  • Well, except for the little kid sitting next to me. He laughed (and twirled) like a maniac. Seriously, this screwball was freshly from either: a) a home without a TV (which is fine) b) another planet (also fine) or c) a gigantic womb (uh...I'll get back to you).
  • It's fitting this is the first time I recall seeing animated animals having buttholes, as that's something that, like this movie, exists, but also like this movie, I'm not super psyched to look at.
  • The sewer is a perfect setting for the scenes about the revolution, because this whole angle is pure shit. Seriously, the giant viper? Huh?
  • Look, I love Grease as much as any other entirely straight man, but what the Hell was that sausage factory scene all about? And why was it set to We Go Together of all songs? This whole bit really rama lama'd my dinga da dinga dong.
  • So...Duke kinda goes all mental on that family, doesn't he? That was uh...terrifying.
  • That hamster in the walls? Stupid. Only to sell toys, I'm sure. Same with pretty much all the animals not named Max, Duke or Gidget.
  • Currently, as I'm writing this, my daughter has me in a UFC-style chokehold, asking me repeatedly to scroll up, so she can see Buddyyyyy in the mixer, please? This isn't a Boo in the least, but I'm not going to scroll up there and add it to the Yays (which would also reveal Buddy, thereby letting her run up the score which is currently Daddy: 0 Violet: 17 billion). Okay, now she's positioned herself back-to-back with me and is trying to launch me off the couch...
  • Remember that awesome highway escape scene in Finding Dory [review]? Well, just in case you don't, you totally get to see it again. Except with animals you don't love.
  • And finally, the fact that this movie is absolutely killing it at the box office. One, it only encourages the creation of more totally-average talking animal movies, which seems like the work of Satan. Two, it guarantees there will be more of these, where one was already more than enough. And three, it further reminds us all that if you advertise something enough, they'll readily devour it over and over again, no matter how bad it is. Welp, off to McDonald's...again. (to get the creepy Happy Meal toys, of course)

My wife just scooped up Violet and now I'm able to actually concentrate on finishing this post. Turns out, it's a lot easier to write when there isn't an almost three year-old girl stomping around and making fart sounds, cracking herself up.

And a whole lot less fun, too.

Because, like this movie, when my daughter's home without anyone else (mom, brother) around, she's all kinds of fun. But take her out in the world when she doesn't want to go?

Good luck with that.


  1. Your daughter sounds like all sorts of fun. I know she's convinced she can launch you off that couch, too.

    From the trailers I figured this was a Toy Story rip-off. Now I see it's a Toy Story rip-off...with a twist. Maybe I'll see it. Maybe not.

    Animated animal buttholes? Sigh. I know animation has come a little ng way, but there is such a thing as TOO realistic. What's next? Graphic, red-rocket thrusts into an invisible, likely overwhelmed partner?

    1. I'm telling you, man, she didn't give up. It was commendable, honestly.

      I'm always for seeing everything, but this one really wasn't anything special. If you wait awhile, it actually may be pretty entertaining. I saw it immediately after the incessant commercials had finally brainwashed me into thinking this was going to be brilliant. Yeah...not so much.

      I think there was only one butthole, but that's at least three too many, quite honestly. Oh man, if they ever animated my dog's reaction to my wife coming home? 2 billion at the box office.

      Opening weekend.

  2. Three year olds are the worst lol. Mine is 4 and that's still pretty hard at times too. Two was nothing.

    Great review! My husband took my son to this while I was at work so I missed out. They loved it though. Especially the rabbit.

    1. Seriously. The sass level is off the charts. And she's so mean to my son! I'm pretty much banking on her finally getting out of princess mode...sometime around her thirtieth birthday.

      Thanks! I'm glad your boys liked it. Violet was a big fan, my son a little less. My wife and I? We we're basically like 'f--k this noise'. Well, we would have been, if weren't huge squares.

  3. Oh dammnit. Wherever I look today I feel old. Pajiba tells me Clarks 2 is 10 years old. Your blogs tells me your kid is almost 3. My mirror tells me I look like shit.

    VIOLET IS ALMOST THREE?! I remember when your wife was still pregnant and you found out you're gonna have a girl!

    I think the film is still a winner if she liked it this much.

    "Max (voiced by Louis C.K.) is an adorable little dog, totally (and rightfully) worshiped by his childless owner."

    me and Gustav should star in life action remake. Except it would be a horror movie.

    1. Shit, really? I saw Clerks 2 in the theater the day it came out. When I was 26. And still had dreams....and no gray in the beard. Aw.

      Hahaha...yeah, my little girl is a small person, fully capable of cracking my up while bossing me around. Actually, I was reading this comment when she asked me for some juice. I said, yeah, sure...and attempted to finish reading. Then she said, Daddy. Stop reading. You need to get the juice.

      You have an excellent memory (shocking no one) and I can't believe you're still coming here all these years later. That's wild! I'm super grateful for that!! is a win if she liked it. Totally. I just want these damn non-Disney movies to be better. Especially because I know I'm going to eventually watch them over and over and over again.

      I'm up for your live-action remake. Hopefully it releases sometime around Halloween and is really terrifying. I can bring Matty!

  4. I do hope you got that juice!

    Yeah I loved that post when you posted a pic of a piece of paper with the reveal it's a girl. I don't remember what review it was but it was such a great, funny and moving post. Unlike the horrific filth on my website :)

    1. Oh, you know I got that juice. This little chick gets hardcore REAL FAST.

      You're the best, my goodness, it was my Croods review (of all things), and it's one I occasionally go back and read. What a dork.

      Whoa, whoa, whoaaaaa. I love that 'horrific filth'!