Saturday, March 31, 2012

You live in terror of not being misunderstood.

You know what? I'll stay outside and keep an eye on your expectations for you.
On Thursday, my wife and I were halfway through Crazy Heart when we shut it down for the evening. The next day, Velvet Goldmine showed up in mail. It was looking like we were going to have a little music-based movie marathon on our hands. Not quite. She fell asleep early, so I was forced to start Goldmine on my own. First she marries me, then she misses out on this one? Talk about lucky. If only she'd played the lottery...

So, I basically hated this movie. It is frickin' work to make it to the end of this one - serious work. Sure, I started it entirely too late (just before midnight), but I'm not sure it matters. It is so long, so ridiculous and intermittently awful, I don't know where to begin. Actually, the beginning was my favorite part. I was still happy then.

Since I don't think this poster gives you the greatest heads-up, let me boil the plot down for you. Velvet Goldmine is some sort of weird love-letter to the glam-rock era of the 70's. The story focuses on three fictitious icons of the era, Jack Fairy, Curt Wild and poster-boy, Brian Slade (aka Maxwell Demon). Throughout the 124-minute runtime, most of these characters will sing obnoxiously awesome songs (if you could get Google translate high, this is the shit it would come up with) and have sex with one another. Buried in that man-sandwich is a tale of a reporter (an oddly, super-effeminate Christian Bale) researching a staged murder. I didn't research the specifics of the plot when I added this to my queue. Frankly, I needed a V movie. And the cast. On paper, the cast f--king rules.

A few more feathers and this would've been ridiculous.
You know, I'm not really a fan, but I respect David Bowie. I'm assuming this movie is loosely based on some of the shit he did with that whole Ziggy Stardust character. But seriously, I've never understood the allure. The music is weird as f--k and the accompanying visuals make me want to fight something. I'm not even sure if it's a person, really. I actually want to punch the idea in the balls.

Let's just get to the glitter-covered Yays and the feathery Boos, I should've just re-watched V for Vendetta style.

Does Courtney Love find this guy attractive?
  • Everybody delivers solid performances. I'll throw some extra love to Toni Collette and Eddie Izzard.
  • With horrible accuracy the glam-rock era is recreated perfectly. 
  • The music, even though it goes on way too long, is pretty sweet at times. 
  • It ended. There was a time where I thought it wouldn't. Crisis averted.
  • Everyone is dressed like my mom. Everyone.
  • Let's just say that Obi-Wan whips out his lightsaber for a three-way duel. His opponents? Decency and My Enjoyment.
  • Every woman in this movie sucks. Not in a cool way, either.
  • I sort of hate Jonathan Rhys Myers' face. And this movie doesn't. At all.
  • Though I like the song, I've always hated the video for The Killers' Mr. Brightside. Imagine if it were two hours long, about a guy instead, and you'd have Velvet Goldmine. Yeesh.
Hey, by all means, tell me that I'm an idiot and that this is a masterpiece. Do it. But there's a catch. You have to explain how the Hell you came to that conclusion. Good luck, you glittery bastard.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Does it work on guys?

When I first started Two Dollar Cinema, I couldn't come up with an angle. Obviously, I wanted to write about movies, but what the Hell was I going to say? I might've started out trying to be serious, perhaps even intellectual, but that didn't last too long. While there's certainly a need for intelligence and scholarly critique/examination, sometimes you have to say f--k it and just have fun. On a rainy Saturday afternoon, with the little one down for a nap, my wife and I opted for the film embodiment of that idea, 2009's Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.

If you read the trivia section of this flick's imdb page, you're in for a huge WTF.
My sister says that I don't have time to hate a movie. Basically, I'm so happy to be watching anything that I just end up loving it altogether. You know, there's some truth in that. Sure, I've seen some stuff that is truly horrible, but I can't muster up the hate like I used to. Maybe getting older and having a kid softens you. Or maybe, I just secretly love Matthew McConaughey. He's is pretty dreamy.

Anyway, I had a good time with this movie. It's ridiculous, it's unnecessary and it's utterly predictable. But it's also funny, charming and (briefly) emotionally resonating. Please, don't set the bar too high. Some Like It Hot, this ain't. But as far as recent rom-coms go, I think it's worth a spin. Keep in mind, I enjoy McConaughey's schtick (all right, all right) and find Jennifer Garner to be charming as well. Throw in a ridiculous Robert Forster and a painfully awkward Emma Stone and I'm good. I didn't even mention Michael Douglas yet, either. It might be worth it just for him. Although, he's pretty much playing Barry from Storage Wars. Yuuup!

So, perhaps my credibility is forever damaged, but press on we shall. Here are the Yays and Boos, how-else-could-we-rob-Dickens style?
Is Jennifer Garner hot? I'm going all in on I think so.
  • Dead Uncle Wayne's Stabbin' Wagon. Like an old school Pussy Wagon.
  • The wife and I called it, but the younger version of Garner from 13 Going on 30 reprises her role. What an odd niche.
  • You look like a gay pirate.
  • The numerous use of the word boner is always welcome. 
  • Seriously, I liked Breckin Myers' speech about his brother. It seemed genuine.
  • Speaking of speeches, Connor's last one was pretty good as far as douchey guy learns his lesson speeches go.
  • Another member of the movie soundtrack hall-of-fame? Cyndi Lauper's Time After Time. Yep.
I dare you to touch her boobs.
  • Okay, Emma Stone. I've vouched for your hotness and you're making me work here. Yes, you are very funny. But damn, girl. Just damn.
  • Robert Forster. I love you. I love the way you talk (bahdee cavitee). But let's pretend this never happened.
  • Old Breckin Myer. At first, it looked good. Then, scary. Very scary.
  • Whatever it is you call that post-end scene in a flick...the stinger? The Easter Egg, perhaps? Well, whatever. This movie features probably one of the worst in history. It's not all the way at the end, but just a few seconds after the credits start. It might be the reason that many people hate this flick. Or the movie just kinda sucks. One of those.
Bottom Line: If you want to tear this movie apart it will be insanely easy. But if you want to enjoy yourself on a rainy day with 100 minutes of goofy fun, that shouldn't be that hard either. In a word, this one is allriiiight.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Embrace the probability of your imminent death.

When I come home from the movies, my wife always asks me two things: Well, how was it? Nine out of ten times, I give her the ol' It was okay. This is the point where she rolls her eyes, suggesting that I've either wasted my time (or, the time I could have spent with her) or am the most indifferent person in the world (possibly true). Then she'll say, What did you see, again? I like how she adds the again bit, implying that she had an idea of what I went to in the first place. Last night my answer was, of course, The Hunger Games.

The Capitol is like a place that's perpetually celebrating New Years Eve, 1985.
If you don't know the plot by now, you should probably just power down whatever it is you're using and pick up a book. Any book. Actually, just turn on the television - it'll be faster. The anticipation for this damn movie had swelled to a level that was beyond absurd. I read the books and really enjoyed the first one (I think they get progressively worse), but I feel that they are being wildly over-praised. Our English department seems to consider them as the only books on Earth that will engage students. Ridiculous. Anyway, the hype (and my own misguided backlash) has hurt my enjoyment of the film. I just want that out there, because who knows? You may have a tattoo of a Mockingjay on your ass.

All that said, this movie is, as I told my wife, okay. I think calling it the best or worst movie ever will be greatly overselling it. While I thought it dragged a bit, overall I was pleased. Nothing was butchered, nothing drastically important left out. And any time spent with Jennifer Lawrence is a good time. Damn Katniss. You fine.

I see the hypocritical nature of being anti-hype and going to see it on opening night. I get that. But, like many of you, I wanted to be able to form my opinion before the general verdict has set it. I haven't figured it out yet, but it seems to be an overall positive vibe. Fair enough. I'm hoping the flicks do the inverse of the books, and get better as they go.

Well, guess it's time for the Yays and Boos? It might take a bit longer than usual as I'm having an Avox dictate this to me. That's a joke for the readers.
This seems rather suggestive.
  • Jennifer Lawrence. I'm so close to just typing her name repeatedly until I fall asleep, but I'll spare you/us.
  • The rest of the cast! Much love to Lenny Kravitz in particular. Thought he was a solid pick for Cinna.
  • But I have to mention Woody, too. Damn, I loved him as Haymitch. He was probably a bigger dick in the book, but Woodrow nailed it regardless.
  • Two-words: Training. Attire.
  • I was actually pretty moved when Gale swoops up Prim. Powerful stuff right there.
  • Caesar's theater was pretty badass. It was my favorite part of the capitol.
  • Ooh, I really dug the uprising scene in District 11. Looking forward to more of that.
These three all turn in solid performances.
  • Seriously, was it slow? Anyone got my back on that one? Hello?
  • All the CG seemed rather low-budge. C'mon Lionsgate, hasn't the Saw franchise made you some scratch? The Mutts looked terrible (but did make me jump, dammit).
  • Shaky Cam! I understand that it adds to the chaos. But, it also made me want to vomit on the obnoxious gay dude in front of me (sorry, but he wouldn't shut the hell up and he sounded like Rosie Perez in White Men Can't Jump).
  • Was Peeta this much of a bitch in the book? I forget.
  • And finally, I was walking out of the theater and I heard someone say excuse me, sir twice. I was convinced he was talking to an actual adult, not me. F--king polite-ass kids. Sir
I'll see you in a few with a review of a flick that we watched today. Here's a sneak preview: It was okay.

I want you to fight for me! That's all I ever wanted!

As a teacher, standardized testing is an interesting time of year. For a two-week period, the pressure of performance and effort actually shifts to the students. During this time we try to provide an environment where the students can thrive, and thereby perform extremely well on the mandated exams. When exams are over, generally we reward them with something special. This year, it was supposed to be a teachers vs. students basketball game, but the gym was too hot (especially for March) so we opted for old faithful: Movie Time.

The role is 900% ridiculous, but I still like Hugh Jackman. Dude's buried in charm.
Now, in Mr. Brown's class, we take movies a little bit more seriously than some of the other rooms. Some teachers will throw on whatever, but I'll usually give it a bit more thought than that. First and foremost, the me factorI want to be entertained. I know that at least a third of the students are going to be so bored (yes, they even complain when you show them a movie), so I can't put too much stock into their feelings. My next consideration, is the newness factor. To kids, two-years ago is an "old-movie." This means that Redbox is pretty clutch in these situations. Oh, and being a teacher essentially means I'm broke, so the $1.27 is just low enough to where I don't fire up Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for the twenty-seventh time. And finally, the is this going to get me fired? factor. Sometimes, you'd be surprised what sneaks into a PG-13 (or even, PG) movie. Violence is generally okay - but surprise! Naughty words aren't. Every shit and ass (and there was a bitch, too) hits you like a ton of bricks. Brief language, butt.

When I was a kid, I used to love to hose off my robot
Obviously, I thought Real Steel would be a crowd-pleaser, and a winner on numerous fronts. I hadn't seen it. It's relatively new. And I was convinced that it was PG (I um, misremembered) - oops. All that said, it really did go over well. Considering the weekend was staring them in the face - they were hooked. They actually clapped at times, and I don't think it was that sarcastic, jerk-face, middle-school mockery clapping. I think it might've been...<gasp> sincere.

So, I'm going to bypass the Yays and Boos for Real SteelIt's possibly one of the cheesiest movies ever made, but in a very endearing way. If you hated it - that's fine, I still love you. And if you love it? I wouldn't hate you for it. In honor of standardized testing, I present...

12 Things I Learned From Real Steel's NEAR FUTURE
  1. Very little is more awesome than a robot fighting a bull. I'm not joking. A robot punches an animal.
  2. When people speak in the near future all subtlety is absent. We only say exactly what seems obvious.
  3. Rich, old, white guys? They will still talk (and dress) like Mr. Howell from Gilligan's Island. Google that, kids. He's the grandfather of douchey white guys.
  4. Putting a mohawk on a robot will be thought of as a good idea. See also, cowboy robot.
  5. All cars will look the same as they do now. Except for Hugh Jackman's truck. It's oddly futuristic/ridiculous. Sort of.
  6. Robots will be capable of mimicking our every move. Technology has advanced so much. In fact, screwdrivers are now glowy.
  7. Eminem is the only music available. Either Em is still producing hits in his forties or everyone likes classical music.
  8. Kids screeching into a microphone is actually really, really hilarious.
  9. Dr. Pepper is the only drink available. And we have to talk about drinking them. Oh, and product placement is apparently alive and well. 
  10. If you are a patron of the Parkway Motel, it will not bother you that a 3,000lb robot is training outside of your room for hours on end. We're out of towels? Bullshit. But a robot being trained ten feet from my bed? No problem.
  11. Stereotypes haven't evolved. Douchey Texan? Check. Sexy Russian Ice Bitch? 10-4. Japanese Developer Guy (who wears a knit cap indoors)? Yep. Even in the near future, that guy is still convinced that his machine can't fail. Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto. Indeed.
  12. And finally, the rope-a-dope fighting technique isn't reserved solely for humans. Somebody owes Muhammad Ali a dollar. And an apology.
Oh, and thanks to our science teacher. She ran crowd control while I took notes. James, too. He ran lights.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sorry sir, I got shot earlier...

Are there any movies you've almost seen? Like, for whatever reason, it's just never happened. For me, it's usually that I fall asleep, or more likely, my son wakes up. A couple of times, I've even tried to see something theatrically more than once and it hasn't worked out. Last night's flick, The Man from Nowhere, is a perfect example of this phenomenon. I have owned this movie for exactly one year (don't ask), but finally managed to watch it last night.

...he was speaking another language. I'm pretty sure it was...Asian.
Since I'm kind of an hi-def slut, I limit myself to blu rays. Shit, I don't even have my DVD collection in the house anymore (it's in the shed). They are the bastard stepchildren of my movie-buying days (I'm proud to say, I've given that up for the most part). Anyway, had I opened this movie promptly, or had I removed the slipcover once, I would have read the quote "Greatest Knife Fight Ever. Period." Friends, I may be in my early-thirties, the father of a young boy, but don't think for a second I wouldn't drop everything for the promise of Greatest Knife Fight Ever. My rational mind wants to submit other movies, other knife fights perhaps, but then it says, Period. Well, f--k. Can't argue with that. I had wasted a year of my life watching movies that not only didn't feature the greatest knife fight ever. Some of those f--kers didn't have knives at all.

As for the movie itself, well, you've seen this one before. Recently in Drive (review) and before that in flicks like Taken and Leon: The Professional. This isn't a new story. Check this:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I'm telling you, this is the one.

Would you want to be the president? Really? I don't think that I would, honestly. Yeah, the power and the control would be unmatched, but so would the stress and the bullshit. Seemingly, you could make an actual difference, but as I get older I feel that's not the case. At all. Maybe it's the way the media frames it, or maybe it's simply the truth, but it seems like nothing truly important gets done. Ever. Maybe if I was dirt poor, I'd feel it. I'd know it. Or maybe (and this is a much less likely maybe) if I was really rich I'd feel it on that end. But being a decidedly average sub-middle class jerk? Business as usual, friends.

I'm pretty sure this is my wife's dream man.
My groundbreaking insights lead us to yesterday's political thriller, The Ides of March. Directed by and starring one George Clooney, this 2011 flick is tightly-paced and superbly acted. I don't watch a lot of political thrillers (although I loved The Phantom Menace), but this one hooked me rather quickly. Clooney hasn't taken a misstep since, I don't know, Batman and Robin? The guy simply delivers. Always. He's like a less-douchey Karl Malone.

Joined by a stellar cast consisting of consistently awesome actors, Clooney shines in the small(er) role of Governor Mike Morris. I know, I'm a Tiger Beat poster away from basically divorcing my wife and legally changing my name to Michael Clayton, but seriously, Clooney is the perfect guy to play a likable, everyman politician. Shit. I might even vote for this fictional character if given the chance. Just kidding. I'd never actually vote. That's for dorks.

She's definitely worth $900, right?
Okay, I'm drifting - let's reel it in here. I really enjoyed this flick, a lot more than I thought I would. It's timely, it's interesting and it's also very, very frustrating. Huh? Well, it clearly shows you how frickin' impossible it is to believe in just about any politician. Simply put, there are no good ones. None. It's just choosing the least horrible of the bunch. It's a lot like reading my posts actually...

On that note, let's break it down with some Yays and Boos, can-you-believe-this-guy-was-on-The-Facts-of-Life? style.
This guy.
  • I'll say it again - what a cast. Ryan Gosling, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marissa Tomei and, and my man Jeffrey Wright? Ridiculous.
  • Gosling's character is very kickass. Dude's so into the campaign it derails the love train. Don't f--k with this guy. Even if he doesn't have his scorpion jacket on, you don't want any...
  • You know a movie is good when it features the always awesome Paul Giamatti, right? Right. But when he gets worked up and vigorously scratches his beard? Oh, it's on motherf--kers.
  • Really enjoyed the zombie phone call. That's gotta sting.
  • The scene in the deserted kitchen between Clooney and Gosling. Setting? Ridiculous. Everything else? Fantastic. There's no note. Well, guess we should call Paul, huh?
  • Totally off-topic, but Marissa Tomei looks a lot like my aunt Nancy in this one. Being that I have a thing for Tomei...well, that's a Boo. Big time.
  • No one, no one in this movie has any real values. That's messed up, man. Faith? Shattered.
  • Cursing! Goodness. We started this when the little guy was asleep and everything was cool. Matty wakes up and all anyone has to say is f--k you and f--k off. C'mon, guys. Think of the children, you f--king assholes.
And on that, I'm out! If you have another minute in your precious day, take a peek at my sister's site. It's linked in the corner, or you can just click here. Oh, and I'll just apologize now for her antics. I don't know where she gets it.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Can't fight the devil without the armor.

You want to know scary? Have a child - be responsible for a life. But what's even worse than general worry? Throw illness on top of that. Specifically, unannounced vomiting. Yeah, that's shit's terrifying. Last night, I managed to watch The Last Exorcism. And while it had a moment or two of uneasiness, waiting for the next round of Linda Blair-style emissions from a two-and-half-year old is truly shudder-worthy. Truly.

Put a couch under her back and you get exactly how my son fell asleep tonight.
When I got this movie from Goozex, I thought it was something else. For some reason, I thought I was getting the yet unreleased (on blu ray), The Devil Inside. I know, what an idiot, but there are some similarities. Both are of the ever-burgeoning/dying slowly found footage variety. Both deal with exorcisms. And both, depending on who you ask, suck gigantic amounts of ass. Now, I didn't see The Devil Inside, but I can tell you now, this movie is not as horrible as the good folks at The Internet would lead you to believe. It's not great. Not at all. But, as a chaser to around seven hours of college basketball - it's not the worst thing ever. Matty throwing up on the couch? That's on the list.

The Last Exorcism tells the story of Cotton Marcus, a highly engaging preacher who is, well, completely full of shit. Oh, this isn't a secret at all, he tells us right out of the gate. He's a family man and, like the rest of us, has bills to pay. Exorcisms are his business, and business is good (that was my attempt to sneak in a Major Payne quote), Anyway, he and a camera crew set out to film all the shenanigans. He wants to expose the scams. So this should be cut and dry, right? Shockingly, not so much.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hey Anna, could you get the phone?

In middle school, I was in love with this girl named Heather. She had short, really-light blonde hair and exceptionally blue eyes. I loved her so much, it sort of crippled me. I became a shell of myself when I was around her. I was either painstakingly calculating something witty to say or staying absolutely quiet so as not to draw attention to my awkwardness. But while I was chasing (we didn't call it stalking yet) Heather, this other girl Yunji really liked me. Yunji was pretty too - still is, and super smart (she works for ABC News now - nice!). My friends endlessly badgered me about her (she had qualities that middle school boys could discuss for hours on end) but my infatuation with the unattainable Heather was too strong. The only time I ever felt anything for Yunji was, surprisingly, when she'd given up and decided to date some other chump. Then, being the 12-year old genius that I was, I would hang around her until she dumped Other Guy. And when she would, guess what I did? That's right. Ditch her and grovel after Heather (who I never, ever had a chance with). Oh, love. You fickle bitch.

I want you to want me. I need you to need me.
This silly anecdote leads us to yesterday's film, 2011's Like Crazy. Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones star in a love story so realistic and understated, it borders on documentary at times. No ultra-attractive people, no singing grand gestures, no annoying best friends - none of that. Just the intermittent joy and agony of giving yourself fully to another individual and trusting they won't rip your heart out of your chest. Like this.

Have you ever been in a really good mood until your significant other calls or shows up? Then you become this mush-mouthed a-hole? They, not knowing your ruse, genuinely ask you if something's wrong - to which you answer back in forced cheerfulness, No. You ever do that? Yeah, me neither - who would be such an asshole, right? Anyway, my point, is that this flick features many of those hurtful things that we do to the ones we love the most. If you don't connect with something here, then you kind sir, are a better man than I. And a lying sack of shit, too.

If you can't tell - I really, really liked this one. Not only is it very well done, but it also delivers on two celebrated fronts here at Two Dollar Cinema. It's quiet (this was a naptime feature) and it's short. A glorious/heart-wrenching 89 minutes. I take thee, Short Runtime...

Without further ado, let's head on over to the Yays and Boos, No, I-love-you-more style, shall we?

That's one of my moves right there, too. Douche!
  • The chemistry between the two leads is ridiculous.
  • Leaving notes on windshields! Classic move!
  • Remember making people things? So classy and heartfelt. The polar opposite of the giftcard.
  • Sweet sleeping montage. 
  • The text scene! close.
  • The Others. Simon. Dude, you're the man. And Katniss! Damn girl. You're understanding.
  • The ending. It's like Inception, minus the top.
You gotta respect that kind of display of affection, you know what I mean?
  • There is no way a Brit would count off 'mississippis'! Help me out, British reader(s). Erroneous!
  • Don't ever f--k with a student visa. Ever. Ever. Ever.
  • Questioning the end. Don't do it, dude.
  • The arch enemy of long-distance relationships? A tasty mix of curiosity and jealousy. And whiskey. And Simon. Dreamy, dreamy Simon.
  • You're asking a lot of me as a audience member when the backup girl is super hot! C'mon! I can't root for the old one when the new one is so fine.
Before I go, does anyone remember three-way calling? Holy shit, that was the ultimate in middle school reconnaissance. I bet kids never do that anymore, huh? That's like, crazy.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I don't think any word can explain a man's life.

Measuring quality of society? Use pant height.

Whatever you're into, I want you to imagine the ultimate example of that particular thing. Whether it's music or movies, books or paintings, architecture or hell, even video games - just think about the most revered example of the medium.

Got something in mind? Good. Now imagine you have a crappy blog, and you have finally graced yourself with the epitome of your interest. Regardless of how you actually felt, what can you say about it? It's great! Yeah, no shit. It sucks! You sir, are an asshole. Either way you're screwed. Royally.

Today's film, is none other than Citizen Kane, considered to be the best movie ever made. Best. Movie. Ever.

F--k. So...I guess there go the Boos.

In your circle of friends - you probably fill a role. You might be Funny Guy. You could be Strong Man, or even The Smart One. Me? Shockingly, I'm Movie Guy (you know, the one all the men want to be, and the ladies want to be with). Movie Guy, until today, hadn't seen Orson Welles' masterpiece. What a fraud. A sexy, sexy fraud.

All wishful thinking aside, I knew that I needed to see this film. I knew it. But like calling your grandmother to thank her for the birthday five-spot, I just kept putting it off. For years. See, I refuse to watch movies (especially good ones) on television, so honestly, my chances to see Kane were rather limited. You'd think that being a Mass Comm major (read: slacker) in college would've forced the issue, but it didn't. My film classes focused on more, well, random stuff, like The Night of the Hunter and Desperately Seeking Susan. Oh, and we watched Bambi, too.

Though I really don't want to, I guess I should speak to the film itself. At the risk of sounding even less intelligent, I'll keep it extremely brief. The story is very interesting and I enjoyed watching Kane's descent into solitude. Welles' performance was truly epic. What was really incredible though, were the visuals. The shot compositions would impress if they were crafted last year, let alone 1941. Shots were framed in a way that there was literally no wasted space. The scene where the reporter makes a phone call in the night club left me awestruck. So too, the scene where young Kane is playing in the snow outside while his parents are discussing his future thirty feet in the foreground. So cool. Additionally, the camera makes so many frickin' incredible movements. I know, I know. No shit, holmes. It's f--king Citizen Kane! Damn it, Italics Guy. You're a real prick.

Look, this blog wasn't created so I could show you how smart I is. No. This blog is about the proliferation of tomfoolery (and trying to say the word boner, often). Okay, it's not about those things, either. Whatever. I guess what I'm saying is, there's a lesson here. We should watch great films. Definitely. Review them, too. But the greatest film? No more words are needed. Not even Rosebud.

Or boner.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Let them know men did this.

I can't look at this guy and not want to say Jakesully in a goofy voice.
As a kid, I was enamored with Greek Mythology. I loved to hear stories about the Gods. In fact, when I was seven, my Dad took me to Greece. I remember visiting the Parthenon, Mt. Olympus and a few of the Greek Isles. There was also an epic heatwave. I remember people gathered under a tree as tightly as possible simply because it provided some respite from the sun. I also remember the beaches. In particular, the nude beaches. When you’re a kid and you’re staying with a family in a foreign country, it can be a bit of a shock. But when you go to the beach with said family and everybody drops trou? Well, that’s all together frightening. Excuse me, your balls are showing.

What does this have to do with last night’s movie? Nothing. Well, okay, if Clash of the Titans had some frontal nudity, yeah, it might have been more entertaining. But, honestly, I wasn’t really in it for that. I was actually boning up for the sequel, Wrath of the Titans, which hits theaters on March 30th. I'm going with people. Should be nuts.

This was my third attempt with Perseus and friends, but each time it knocked me the f—k out. Seriously, each time I started it prior, I ended up near comatose by about 25 minutes in. I can’t explain it. Maybe bad scripts make me drowsy.
If looking at her boobs turned you into stone? Well, I'd be screwed. Check that. We'd be screwed.
Anyway, this is a movie one of my co-workers has shown in his class a couple of times over the years. We teach middle school, so it was amusing to watch this and imagine their reactions. I bet it plays quite well in an eighth grade classroom. It’s loud, easy-to-follow and moves briskly. Perfect, right? Oh, and it has giant scorpions. FACT: Kids love giant scorpions.

Since this movie is two years old and nobody really seemed to care about it then, I won’t yammer on about the plot and such. I’d rather just get to the Yays and Boos, I-can’t-believe-I’m-going-to-see-part-2 style.

I will not look for you, I will not pursue you.
    • Liam Neeson’s Glowing Suit. It’s like the most badass prom tux ever. Or special armor you unlock after beating Soul Calibur for the 19th time. I call Kilik. Dude’s got reach.
    • The Gods conference room is pretty kickass. Love the flooring.
    • Zeus, you dog! Earth Girls Are Easy, indeed.
    • Flute humor. Priceless.
    • Even though they were kind of useless, I liked the two dudes who just decide to tag along. They’re like the Greek Frog Brothers.
    • Dude, Perseus. Your hot chick follows you everywhere and never gets old? High five on that, brother.
    • Medusa Battle! For PG-13, I was with it.
    • Do you think when Liam Neeson is in bed with a woman, and she reaches for his belt…do you think he ever whispers to her, Unleash the Kraken? I’m leaning toward, oh, yes.
    Much as I loved this guy, I also wanted to just punch him.
    • Okay, I kind of liked him (um, a lot), but what’s up with Charred Wood/Robot Guy? He’s nine feet tall, he drives a scorpion, and he can skip a coin like a bastard. All cool. But on the otherhand, he can say the word “together” but can’t announce his healing intentions? Hmm. Oh, and he’s also part bomb
    • Now I know what I should immediately do after my next giant scorpion battle. Gather my mates and have a hearty chuckle. And to think I was going to go with try to stop shitting.
    • Town Crier Guy. Wow, I really hated his face. Shouldn’t you be manning your post at Occupy Starbucks, I mean Argos, you worthless bastard.
    • I hate when characters are hiding in the frame. Yeah, I couldn’t see you from my couch, but someone actually in the scene with you? They should have seen you twenty minutes ago. But whatever. Wait quietly behind them and then stab them through the stomach. Fine. Damn Greeks. Always taking people from behind.
    • Killing the Kraken. Ridiculous. Turns out all he needed was a little head.
    • Hades. He didn’t look like Neeson’s brother. No. He looked like the brother of that dickhead train guy in Ghost. Remember that guy? I was/am legitimately afraid of him.
    • The very end. Turns out killing Hades will require only four things: A good one-liner, the Ben Franklin sword of doom, adjacent ocean (with glowing crack in floor) and about 15 seconds. Easy peasy.
    Wow, it almost appears that I had a good time with this one. Maybe I did. Or, more likely, I'm an idiot.

    Sunday, March 4, 2012

    You can just shut your mustache.

    TREE-D? Was this animated in Hawai'i?
    We made it. With a two-and-a-half-year old in tow, my wife and I actually completed an entire movie in the theater. This was our fourth attempt, so I guess we're batting a respectable .250. With one eye on my son, one eye on the big screen and both ears on the screaming toddler to my right (thank God that wasn't ours), we conquered Dr. Seuss' The Lorax. The verdict? Irrelevant. We saw the whole thing.

    Now, the good doctor and I are pretty tight. Hop On Pop, Ten Apples Up On Top! and my personal favorite, There's A Wocket In My Pocket, get a ton of play around these parts. I don't think my son likes them nearly as much as I do. That said, the movie versions of his stories have been rather hit or miss. The live-action stuff...yeesh. But at least the animated Horton Hears a Who! was pretty charming. The Lorax is entertaining and of course, visually dazzling, but not nearly on par with the upper-echelon stuff of Disney and Dreamworks. For animation, the bar is high. Really, really high. Maybe unfairly so.

    The little romance angle was pretty sweet.
    Presumably, not that many of you in blogger land have kids, but the frickin' 20+ minutes of previews got to be maddening. As my son sat there patiently, I grew more and more the opposite. In my lifetime of going to the movies, this was the first time I was actually pissed as each successive preview came on the screen. Half of the crowd could basically shit their pants at anytime, so you might want to get on with it, you dig? Made me think that all kids movies should probably call it at the hour mark.

    I knew the line was coming and I still laughed.
    As for the movie itself, unless you hate the environment, you'll probably enjoy the message. Though, they do lay it on pretty thick. In fact, at one point a little girl in the audience pleaded rather loudly to "Stop cutting all the trees down!" That probably makes the top 5 of Best Things Ever Said during a movie. Probably. Oh, and on the song front, there are only a handful of numbers and each one isn't overly annoying. I enjoyed the last one about planting the tree. That one was pretty rad.

    Look at this punk. I said cheese.
    Since it was such a miracle that we made it out of there with our dignity intact, I'll leave on a high note. Here's a few Yays, truffula tree-style.
    • Okay, the Lorax and my uncle Jack are the same person. Truth.
    • Ed Helms and his guitar magic strike again.
    • The river, er, bed scene is very well done. Why is digital water so awesome? I love it.
    This is the part of the post where I confess to having a hand in the eventual destruction of an actual forest in Hawai'i. Totally my bad. I'll leave that one for another day...

    How can you not be romantic about baseball?

    Sports movies are great because they boil all the trials and tribulations of life down to a single game or season. We follow a team or a player that overcomes some incredible odds to triumph in the end. I think the most iconic sports movies have to be the ones about baseball.  No sport has moments like baseball.
    Additionally, the baseball season is the ultimate metaphor for life. Both are long, grueling grinds. Both reward patience and practice. Both can make you scream in utter jubilation. And yes, fellow Red Sox fans, both can absolutely devastate you in mere seconds.

    It's gotta feel pretty good when you find out Brad Pitt is playing you.
    Last year's Moneyball exemplifies this metaphor even further. This Best Picture nominated film details the life and philosophy of Oakland A's GM, Billy Beane. For the uninitiated, Beane tries to reinvent the way baseball teams are constructed by using Bill James' system of sabermetrics. Now, it's about more than that, but that's the core. And as much as I loved just about every minute of it, I was absolutely floored that my wife felt the same way. Sure, Brad Pitt probably gets 99% of the credit there, but the story is told so well I think even ardent baseball haters will be on board. It's just that good.

    Now, being the dick that I am, I found myself wanting to dislike this movie. I have no idea why, but when it first got going, I was telling myself, Best Picture, really? Best Actor? Nope. and especially, Best Supporting Actor, are you f--king kidding me? I was expecting the greatness to come flying off the screen but it wasn't happening. Then my son woke up and we had to shut it down with about 25 minutes to go. So I got to think about it for two days. And when I came back to it? It had an absolutely fantastic ending. It ends how all movies should end, with the Red Sox winning the World Series. Okay, the Sox bit is a joke (sort of), but I really did love the ending. Did she actually write that song? You know what? Don't answer that.

    Before I get to my next review, let's walk-off with some Yays and Boos, Scott Hatteberg-style.

    • Brad Pitt is becoming Robert Redford. Not in a career-trajectory way, but like, actually.
    • Loved when he traded Pena. Great bit...
    • ...but the Rincón trade scene? Absolute magic.
    • Fenway Park. Best ballpark in the majors. Nothing else is close.
    • Okay, I'll admit it. Jonah Hill is excellent. Yeah, I kinda think he's an obnoxious prick. But an excellent quiet performance here.
    Whose nephew are you?
    • Damn you, prior knowledge! Not too many actual surprises in the baseball action.
    • Player likenesses. Um, I look more like David Justice than that dude.
    • John Henry. With all due respect, Movie Version is a pretty masculine dude. Reality...well, not so much.
    • Jeremy Giambi. Wow. You are actually worse than I thought you were. Impossible.
    • Eric Byrnes. Hate that guy, too. Get a haircut, hippie.
    After seeing this, I'm now ready for the 2012 season. There's no way it can be worse than 2011, right? Wait. Don't answer that, either.