Saturday, December 30, 2017

You can hit me if you want. But leave the flower alone.

I'm not a fighter.

Got kicked around by my older brothers a bunch when I was little, had a few minor altercations (with friends, mostly) in high school, but since then, the only thing I fight is my desire to quit my job and live under a bridge.

But, if you're a fighter? Good for you. Get yours, regardless of the wake of destruction you may leave, you know? We need a little of that fire in the world. Me? I'm good.

I'll be outside, enjoying the view and smelling the flowers.

Well, trying to anyway.

Just like my ability to discern scents would be rated somewhere below good (likely a nice way of saying piss-poor), the same could be said for Blue Sky's latest animated flick, Ferdinand. Based on a cherished children's book published some eighty years ago, there's a lot to like in this sweet story about being yourself. But outside of John Cena's voice-work, there ain't all that much to love.

Ferdinand, or Fernando, as he's somehow known around my house, is a simple guy. Er, bull. While his size is nothing short of enormous, it's his heart that's truly gigantic. He's basically a massive puppy dog, content on spending his days smelling flowers, chilling with his lame brother Paco, and taking an eye on Nina (sorry, that's how my daughter puts keeping an eye), the lovely little girl from the poster.

But after a series of unfortunate events at the local flower show (which he wasn't supposed to attend), ol' Ferdinand ends up shipped off to a bull farm. The plan is to sell him to Spain's most legendary bullfighter, some pendejo known as El Primero, if Ferdinand can demonstrate his ferociousness with the other bulls. The problem? Well, if this was Fight Club, Ferdinand is most definitely breaking rule number one. And not only is he talking about Fight Club, he's talking about everything. Including, because he's such a nice guy, your feelings.


Look, there's a reason the character of Ferdinand still exists today, and the heart and message of this wonderful story is as relevant as ever. But in order to make this short book a one hundred and eight minute feature film (sweet Jesus), many things were added, and almost all of them are terrible. Basically, anything that isn't Ferdinand and/or Nina makes you wish a bull would burst into the theater and gore you straight in the brain using your left eye-socket as the point-of-entry. Okay, fine. Your own death might be overdoing it, but I wouldn't blame you if you went home and killed a goat or two.

Also being a small business owner, this old lady reminds me of Mrs Hasagawa in Lilo and Stitch.
Speaking of annoying creatures that aren't nearly as funny (or dead) as you'd hope, here are the Yays and Boos. I told my son I'd take him to Wonder and Jumanji over break, but it looks like all he'll be getting is The Greatest Showman and Ferdinand. Tough luck, kid. Might want to get used to dealing with bullshit while you're young, you know?

It's going to take a minute, but Machina (top right)... easily the best non-Ferdinand character in this movie.

  • Ferdinand's dad. The good news? He's a solid dude that really loves his son. The bad news? Well, this is animated film, aimed at kids. So yeah, he gon' die.
  • I'm not sure I'd want to sleep with a giant anything, let alone a giant bull...but it does look cozy. And adorable.
  • Heavily featured in the trailer, but easily one of the highlights of the film, the whole bull in a china shop routine was all kinds of awesome.
  • The generally bankable Kate McKinnon shows up as Lupe, the annoying goat (from Hell). While almost everything about her is a hard boo, I certainly appreciated her calling Ferdinand F-bomb on at least one occasion.
  • Maybe it was the fact that it felt like nothing had been happening for over an hour, but there's a pretty rad dance-off that still cracks me up days later. Oh, and if you haven't learned this about me, I'm powerless against dance-offs. Even ones featuring annoying talking animals.
  • Machina, the frankenbull. Hopefully the internet makes a cut of this movie that only features him. Seriously. It'll be the greatest 93 seconds of my life.
  • And finally, let it be known that this film is basically Hacksaw Ridge [review] for children. Good, pacifist-type dude surrounded by violent jerks, who somehow manages to triumph in the end? Yep. It all checks out. The only catch? I loved Hacksaw Ridge. 
This goat is not the GOAT.
Unless we're ranking things that will drive me to murder.
  • Did I mention that this movie was long? Oh, I did. Twice? My fault. I could just edit this unnecessary Boo out, right? I could make this post just a little shorter and more manageable, but instead I'm making it longer and far worse than it should be. Hmm. Wonder where that idea came from...
  • Jerrod Carmichael is a pretty funny dude. Well, he was
  • If you can believe it, Peyton Manning is in this movie. Yeah. Peyton Manning. I actually didn't even mind his character, but as a Patriots fan, I see this guy's smug face, I boo. It's basically out of my hands.
  • The chop house is essentially next door to the bull farm. Seems kinda harsh, doesn't it? Kinda reminds me of work, honestly (my school ain't all that far from a prison).
  • Dude, speaking of the chop house, it's incredibly gnarly in there. Like, none of the bulls get killed in there, but good God, if they did? It would be the most grotesque thing ever.
  • I expected to really hate those three hedgehog things. And I didn't. Wow, right? Sometimes that Boo hunts you down like the gosh darn Terminator.
  • As tame/boring as this movie can be, I hate to Boo the fairly great chase scene near the end. But when you're watching animals poorly driving cars down the highway for comedic effect, and said movie is NOT Finding Dory [review]...welp, that's a Boo.
  • And finally, even though it's not exactly glorified or anything in the film, can we just all agree that bullfighting cracks the top ten of worst things humanity has routinely celebrated. Honestly guys, how is this still a thing? How was it ever? I know, I know...other cultures have their traditions, but I simply can't fathom watching some dude prance around and murder an animal with flare. Next you're going to tell me there's a culture on Earth that celebrates the best time of year by cutting down trees.
I'm trying to finish 'reviews' for all the movies I saw in 2017, and now that this one is about to be finished, that leaves me with only two more to go. Not bad, right? Well, it would be, except for the fact that there's just over twenty four hours left in 2017, leaving me quite the fight to get 'em done.

And worse, absolutely no time to stop and smell the flowers.


  1. Awww man, I had high hopes for this one. I'm really skeptical now since I wasn't too fond of Hacksaw Ridge. However, as a non-Pats fan, any sighting or hearing of Peyton Manning is an automatic yay.

    1. It's probably not as bad I'm making it out to be, but it's alarmingly...unspectacular?? I don't even know what I was expecting, really, but after being subjected to the preview for the better part of a year...I guess I thought it would be a lot more fun than it was.

      You like Manning? Dell. Dellllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll. We have to talk about this.