This Week, I Piss Off Everyone [July 15, 2011]

Damn, there’s a fuck-ton of movies coming out this week! I guess the return of Harry Potter didn’t scare anyone off. I’ve got a lot to talk about, so let’s just get on with this shite.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II is Going to be a Disappointment

Spoiler Alert! Harry’s a pussy. Which is rather fitting considering his name.

Because cats are fuzzy. Duh.

Throughout all seven novels, Harry Potter bumbled his way through adventure after adventure, constantly relying on one of three things to save him: 1) random abilities he “magically” had, such as speaking to snakes or being a natural at flying a broom; 2) his friends, who actually studied and worked for their abilities and often died to protect him; 3) pure fucking luck.

Not once did Harry ever do something on his own to accomplish anything, and he’s even worse in the movies. Yeah, he’s a nice, well-meaning guy, but he’s pretty useless. If you read the books, like me, you went with the ridiculous, convoluted storyline for the first six books, mainly, because you liked the other characters, and the magical stuff was pretty inventive. Still, by the time you reached the seventh book, you were about fucking ready for Harry to prove himself in some way. If not, you wanted him to die (and stay dead). Or, maybe, Longbottom would run in and claim the “chosen one” title from Harry, thus proving why Harry was such a waste of a wizard. They could at least kill off one of the main characters, like Ron. He was pretty useless.

Just because I use the word "useless" doesn't mean I'm referring to you, Beek.

The point is that none of this stuff happened. Rowling did her usual “Oh, Harry is Harry, so he wins by default, and he won’t die.” I guess that’s a spoiler, but trust me, it’s much more of a spoiler if you read the whole damn series.

If you’ve read the books before, then you’ll be disappointed when the movie leaves something out, and Harry still turns out to be a pussy. If you haven’t read the books before, you’ll enjoy the special effects, you’ll get lost when the movie glazes over plot points it assumes you already knew from the books, and you’ll get pissed off when it turns out Harry is a complete pussy. If they completely change the outcome of the movie, maybe then it could redeem itself. (If I were tasked with writing this screenplay, for instance, I would make Snape an asshole, have him kill Ron, and maybe Hermione, let Longbottom die as he fulfills his role as the chosen one, and leave Harry to realize that he’s pretty worthless. And he’s caused a lot of people to die.)

There's probably a reason I didn't write this movie...

All of this information can be gathered without even watching the trailer. I did watch the trailer, however, and it looks exactly like the previous trailer. The only difference is that there are a lot of lines and titles about how this is the end and how they have to “end this.” A friend pointed out that the final showdown between Voldie and Harry, as it is depicted in the trailer, is entirely wrong. They are all alone, and, for some reason, they are by a giant cliff. To this, I responded, “yeah, but Harry’s still gonna be a pussy, so why does it matter?”

I guess I wasn't a big fan of the final book in the series

The most disappointing aspect about this movie? I’m still going to go see it in the theater. I’ve already purchased my tickets for tonight. In fact, I would have seen it last night, but I was writing this blog. I know it’s going to go like the previous four movies.  I will be hollowly entertained for about 2 hours, start to wonder when they’re going to wrap it up, finally get out of the theater after another 45 minutes, mumble agreements as my friends discuss all the things the movie changed, and, then, completely forget it. I don’t care that these movies haven’t been worth seeing since Alfonso Cuaron directed Azkaban. This is the biggest movie franchise ever; I must be a sheep and flock to it (with a $12 ticket).

Harry's still a pussy. I mean... "Bah."

Winnie the Pooh or Something’s Wrong with Christopher Robin

Admittedly, I’m pretty excited for this movie. Not to the point where I’m going to pay to see it but excited nonetheless. I absolutely love computer animation, but it has forced traditional, 2D animation into the margins over the past fifteen years. While there have still been some great traditionally animated movies in that time, they have mainly been foreign and independent. With the exception of Miyazaki’s work, there just haven’t been any crisp, elegant (read: expensive), traditionally animated movies made. Even Disney’s Princess Frog left a lot to be desired visually.

I know this new Winnie the Pooh isn’t strictly traditional animation, but it’s mostly traditional and all 2D. Pooh does not feature the big, bubbly, large-eyed characters Disney has been relying on, either.

So, unlike Mickey, Pooh doesn't look soulless.

It shows the characters exactly as we remember them from the original movies. It is a very clean and beautiful merger of all of the technologies we have now. It is almost as if Disney took silver polish to the originally world of Winnie the Pooh and revealed all of the detail hiding beneath the surface.

That being said, the characters don’t quite sound right. For the most part they are dead on, especially Pooh and Tigger. Owl is a little off, but Craig Ferguson voices him so he’s not at all hard on the ears. Still… I think they missed the boat with Christopher Robin. IMDB has nothing on Jack Boulter, his voice, but I’m pretty sure he’s a creepy old grandmother.

Who will make sure Pooh eats all his Brussels sprouts.

I would like to hope that Winnie the Pooh is appealing to young kids, but I’m not sure if kids even still watch the original Pooh. This may only be nostalgia for a generation already grown. If that’s the case, there has never been much adult humor in Pooh, so I’d say the most enjoyment anyone can get from the film would be for a parent who takes their kid to go see it. If you don’t have a kid, like me, I guess you’d have to kidnap one for a few hours.

The Undefeated well, Except for the that One Time She Was Defeated In a Presidential Election

After being wholly defeated in the 2008 presidential campaign, destroying the political career of her running mate, quitting her gubernatorial position which she hadn’t yet held for a full term, and single handedly tanking her own political party, Sarah Palin released the appropriately named, self-aggrandizing film, The Undefeated. Fun fact: this is not a ironical title referencing her constant failures as a “political leader” (which, honestly, she has yet to be). No, this is a serious “documentary” that Palin has made to promote herself before she announces her candidacy for the 2012 presidential election.

Prepare for a lot of maverick winking. You betcha!

Obviously, no one besides Palin can tell her story; the liberal lame-stream media has a huge, raging, veiny vendetta against her. Yes, the media is a big bully who is secretly terrified of Palin. So terrified, in fact, that every major news outlet tries like hell to get a real, one-on-one interview with her, though she’s always unavailable. Instead, she promotes herself on her own terms. She claims to detest socialism, yet she has no qualms adopting the same propaganda tactics created by the Soviet Union and used by…well, let’s just say a German you don’t want to be compared to.

They used the same graphic arts company, perhaps?

The Triumph of the Will… er, The Undefeated seems to chronicle the massive fight Palin waged against “big oil” during her 32 months as active governor of Alaska. They make it look like she stood up for the little man and put those oil companies in place, but, then, I remembered the first fucking thing I ever read about Palin. Most presidential candidates have something that they did in their previous position that gives them street-cred in Washington. Her biggest Republican competitor, for instance, installed the foundation of a strong public health care system in his state and allowed the legalization of gay marriage.

Really? Republicans actually consider those negatives?

Then again, I suppose accomplishing nothing and maintaining the status quo for your campaign’s biggest investors is really the best route if you want to win the nomination, so good on you, Sarah Palin!

In my opinion, this movie looks like a pile of dog shit trying to dress up in a pretty princess dress. That being said, I don’t want to make this a political blog, so I’ll bring in a counter point from someone who actually saw the film. This is the only positive review currently on Rotten Tomatoes; it is not by an officially recognized critic, and it definitely wasn’t posted by someone in Palin’s campaign:

I take back what I said! Fly me to Alaska! I must see this movie!!

Lucky or Little Hanks is Killing People

Little Colin Hanks has bounced all over the place in his young career. He lacks his father’s voice and overall ability to act, but, most of the time, I really enjoy his work. Orange County was good movie, and he and Bradley Whitford were incredibly underrated Fox’s summer replacement, The Good Guys. 

Which suffered a similar fate of many quality Fox shows...

Again, I don’t think Little Hanks is all that good, but he definitely has his father’s charm. He knows how to make fun of himself, and he has good enough timing to handle sarcastic quips and one-liners. He seems like a nice guy, and I really don’t understand why he’s killing people in this movie.

For that matter, I really don’t understand anything in this trailer. Colin Hanks starts off as some office schlub who’s afraid to ask the receptionist to fix the printer. Then, he wins the lottery. He accidentally stabs the receptionist at his office’s celebratory “you won the lottery” party, but she doesn’t seem to mind being stabbed; she marries him in the next shot. After that, he starts killing people. Not people trying to take his money, just random blond women that he comes across. There are a lot of blond woman in this trailer, and I can’t really tell who is who, but I don’t think he intends to kill his wife. Or maybe he does. It isn’t all that clear. Then, Jeffrey Tambor shows up asking Little Hanks all these questions, I guess because there are people missing, and Tambor suspects Little Hanks is killing them. Pretty much all I can decipher is that Lucky is a comedy about the hijinks that come along with winning the lottery and then becoming a serial killer.

I was so confounded by this trailer that I had to read the synopsis to find out what is missing. Turns out a pretty big fucking chunk was missing.

Little Hanks was actually a serial killer before he won the lottery. Furthermore, (and this is the aforementioned “big fucking chunk”) the winning ticket was originally purchased by a woman he killed. Little details like that can make your trailer so much more understandable. Now it makes sense that Jeffery Tambor was asking him about when he purchased his ticket; obviously, he didn’t purchase the ticket and had no defense. It also makes sense that he was killing people, as he was a murderer all along. Leaving out a detail like this is kind of like describing The Godfather to someone and leaving out, I don’t know, any Mafia reference.

The heartwarming story of a man and his cat.

Knowing this about the movie makes me think it’s slightly more watchable than the trailer. But only slightly. The trailer does make it very clear that this is a comedy, and I feel like some depth and darkness needs to be mixed in to make it interesting. In the end, the idea of Little Hanks as a serial killer just doesn’t sit well. It’s like Christmas in the southern hemisphere or rooting for the Yankees.

It's just not natural.

Life Above All or I Would Go to Hell if I Made Fun of this Movie

Seriously. This is a movie about the prejudice, ignorance, and desperation that still surround AIDS and, specifically, AIDS victims. Chandra, the main character, is a young girl who recently lost her sister. Her mother, who is dying of AIDS, has been ostracized by their South African township, and she and her mother have to find a new place to live. What the fuck am I supposed to say about this? Ha ha, you don’t have proper sexual education in your country?

There isn't any funny image I could possibly link to this movie. So here's a baby owl in a hat.

90% of the dramas we make in this country are about middle class white people in America. I don’t know why we watch these dramas, considering over half the people in the country are living in worse conditions than the characters in the movie. When you consider the portion of the American population living below the poverty line, movies like Revolutionary Road begin to look like Hollywood is bitch slapping its audience for being average. That’s why it’s easy to make fun of American dramas; we’re so entitled and pretentious that, most of the time, these movies deserve to be a laughing stock. If it were a Hollywood film about AIDS, I could make fun of it; if they’re white and American, chances are they’ll be far better off than any other race in nearly any other nation. Black people living in absolute poverty in South Africa? I might as well be making fun of a kid with Down Syndrome.

Girlfriend or I’m About To Make Fun of a Kid With Down Syndrome

Nah, I’m just kidding. Well, somewhat. Did you know that Down Syndrome is named after the physician who described it back in the late 1800s? Why would you name such a sad and terrible condition after yourself? That’s a whole other type of vanity…

I'm pretty sure Lou Gehrig didn't ask to have the disease named after him.

Girlfriend is about a young man with Down Syndrome who is trying to win the love of a girl. The mentally challenged need loving too, as anyone who has ever worked at a mental health facility will tell you. That being said, I can’t speak for the likelihood the girl would actually sleep with the man, as this trailer suggests. However, I will say that the trailer is at least honest about the conditions under which a woman will sleep with a man with Downs Syndrome

There's a good chance I'm going to hell for this joke...

In this movie, the main character gets into his dream girl’s pants by giving her the money to pay for her house, which is facing foreclosure. That’s a few rungs above prostitution but just a few. Yes, their relationship blossoms into something more, but it starts with him giving her a shit ton of money. Again, I’m just saying.

Honestly, this isn’t a strike against the film. Girlfriend is an honest depiction of what life is like for a child with Down Syndrome, and all of the surrounding characters and reactions ring true. Also, the lead who plays the young man, Evan Sneider, is phenomenal in the role of Evan. His adaption to the character is unparalleled, and he is constantly in the moment and on key. I would say I see a bright future for this kid, but I have a strong feeling he is going to be type cast.

Just ask Peter Dinklage.

Salvation Boulevard or Christianity is Evil

Last week it was The Ledge; this week it’s Salvation Boulevard. One’s a drama, the other is a comedy. Both make the same, obvious point:

Christians just want to kill people.

In Salvation Boulevard, Pierce Brosnan is the pastor of a mega-church, and Ed Harris is an atheist theologian. On a side note, I’ve always felt sorry for the atheist religious studies people; imagine spending your whole life studying something you find empty and useless. Anyway, Brosnan and Harris decide to team up to write a book about religion. Greg Kinnear has something to do with this, too. I think he’s like their lab rat.

Brosnan gets pissed off because Harris shows him a formula disproving God’s existence (or something), so Brosnan kills Harris. Kinnear witnesses this, but no one will believe him. If it wasn’t enough that the three of them wasted time making this ridiculous religious comedy, it also stars Jennifer Connelly and Marisa Tomei. That’s right, this cast shares nine Oscar nominations and two awards. Where did it go wrong? Either by stereotyping all Christians as close-minded, murderous religious radicals, or by casting this guy:

You'll always be my favorite part of every terrible movie you're in.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan or Lesbians in Time!

The hilariously named Wayne Wang has made a movie that is definitely not about lesbians. At least not overtly. If you watch about 30 seconds of the trailer, though, you know it’s all about some lesbians. At one point, one of the main characters tries to tell her husband that she would rather spend the night with her friend than sleep with him. You don’t put that shit in your trailer without purposefully implying she’s a lesbian. In fact, this is about four lesbians, one couple in 19th century China and another couple in modern day. I could look up the book or synopsis and find out more, but I think my description of “Lesbians in Time” is adequate.

Except I'm now hoping the movie will be something like this.

Gunless, which is a Pointlessly Misleading Title

Seriously. The star has a gun in, like, every shot of this trailer.

I don’t know why, but the over-the-top voice over makes me think of the old Disney movie The Apple Dumpling Game. Not that that is a bad thing; I loved that movie as a kid. I have a sneaking suspicion this movie isn’t meant for kids, though. I think the main point of this film is to turn the Western genre on it’s head by placing our gunslinger hero in Canada. I’m sure our country’s lines were extremely distinct in the 1800s, and, as soon as an outlaw crossed into Canada, people were just wacky Canadians that don’t believe in crime and shooting things.

And they all have floppy heads.

On a side note, who is Paul Gross? The trailer throws that name around as if I should recognize it…

The Tree That is NOT “Of Life”

Right now there is a movie out called The Tree of Life. This is not that movie, so don’t get confused. This a movie about terrible children who enjoy torturing frogs.

"What the fuck did I ever do to you kids?!"

Tabloid or Cosmo’s Guide to Winning Over a Man

It’s recently been brought to my attention that everything Cosmopolitan has ever told women about wooing and keeping a man is absolutely, bat-shit, fucking insane. I’m gonna make it easy for all of you women out there. If you want to win over a guy, be yourself, touch his penis, and don’t read Cosmo. That’s really all there is to it.

Showing these off doesn't hurt either.

I’ve always thought that the editors of Cosmo were simply trying to sabotage relationships so that their readers will continuously be single and, therefore, never give up their subscription to Cosmo. However, it could be that the editors are all women like Joyce McKinney, the subject of Eroll Morris’ new documentary, Tabloid. McKinney, a former Miss Wyoming, allegedly abducted Kirk Anderson in 1977, chained him to a bed, and raped him. To be fair, Anderson was a Mormon, so simply touching his penis would not have worked. McKinney also makes a compelling argument against the rape charges:

Still, going to these measures to get a man is certainly on the Cosmo level. McKinney, you were a former Miss Wyoming; you don’t have to work that hard for sex. Perhaps this isn’t one of Morris’ most earth changing and moving documentaries, but it looks fun, entertaining, and (if you’re a Cosmo reader) educational.

Glenn Close prepped for Fatal Attraction by reading lots of Cosmo. True story.

* * * *

I’ve nearly compared someone to Hitler; made fun of Down Syndrome; possibly offended gunslingers, Hanks relatives, Lesbians and people with AIDS; and definitely offended Mormons, readers of Cosmopolitan, and republicans. On top of all of that, I thoroughly shat on the parade of every Harry Potter fan. If I didn’t offended you, I apologize. Please leave a comment, and I will try to get to you next week.

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