Old Man always had this thing about comedies. He loves everything from the
classic Caddyshack to the 1990 Crime Against Humanity Spaced Invaders.
And there were plenty of other milestones and turds in between, but as I watched
a lot of the ones that fell into the latter category with him, he would sit
there and howl like a banshee if he wasnít giggling like an idiot. He looked
like he got hit with the smilex from the first Batman movie, it was
so bad. And through most of these movies he would look over at my unamused
face and tell me, ďitís so stupid its funny.Ē
Needless to say,
I never understood it. I just thought he lost his mind and was willing to
let it go at that. But lately in my older age Iíve come to understand my father
a bit more. I comprehend more and more why he did the things he did when I
was younger, and when I watched Nacho Libre, I finally understood what
my father meant when heíd shriek to the point of embarrassment as he said
a movie was stupid.
stars Jack Black as a Mexican monk who secretly becomes a pro wrestler
to make better food for orphans. The concept in itself is pretty dumb and
could go either way, but when you have Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite)
directing, thatís when things get enjoyably effed up.
of completely random humor is necessary to enjoying Nacho Libre. Jack
Black doesnít play the traditional unofficially coked-out screwhead that he
holds a pending patent on. His character Nachoís idea of hitting on a woman
(a nun, no less) is asking her back to his quarters to enjoy some toast, which
would flop in any other movie made by almost any other director. But when
tossed onto the screen by the director of Napoleon Dynamite, itís gold.
If you watched
Napoleon Dynamite and spent more time scratching your head or mentally
composing a shopping list, you shouldnít bother with Nacho Libre. Itís
just as disjointed as Hessí last movie and relies or bizarre humor just as
much. If youíre a wrestling enthusiast, Iíd recommend huffing some paint thinner
and drinking cosmic quantities of Red Bull for maximum enjoyment of this movie.
Just remember that itís illegal for anyone over 14 to wear a mask, if youíre
feeling Ray Mysterio at any point.
Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
I saw the trailer for The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift all I could
think of was some drunken, coked out bet between some Hollywood studio executives.
If you havenít seen the preview for the movie, itís inherently ridiculous.
First and foremost, itís the third in the series where the actual actors co-star
with muscle cars. Yeah, a real staple in the IROC (Italian Retard Out Cruising)
community. Strike Two comes from Lilí Bow Wow not only starring in it, but
playing a character named Twinkie. (By the way, I know he goes by Bow Wow
now, but heíll always be that pint-sized wannabe thug to me and I donít care
if Master P is his daddy.) But probably the worst of Tokyo Driftís moving
violations is the fact that itís seemingly based on of the idea of greasing
your tires with Crisco as you change gears and jerk off the emergency brake.
Drift was a lot like watching Cowboy Bebop after shotgunning three cans
of Jolt back to back before mainlining coffee and Pop Rocks. Part of what
helped me eventually focus was pondering the possibility that no one in the
states would let the producers make another Fast and the Furious movie
in the states.
If you ever do
some stream of consciousness web surfing, youíll eventually end up at a website
called Engrish.com. Itís dedicated to the phenomenon of misconception that
the Japanese have of American culture. Kind of like when you see some dipshit
with a Japanese character tattooed on his neck. He probably doesnít know what
it means. Oh sure, he truly believes that it means strength, but in
all reality it probably means garbageman or Pathetic Roundeye Gaijin
Douchebag. Engrish.com proves what little the Japanese know of our culture
through a hilarious gallery of T-shirts, billboards and other cultural artifacts.
Tokyo Drift shows that Americans are equally guilty of cultural misinterpretation
as well. We get a peek at the western perception of eastern bathhouses, sumo
wrestling and girls in schoolgirl uniforms. Iíll admit that I know next to
nothing about Japanese culture and as far as itís concerned I donít know what
the hell Iím talking about.
But Osaka Bob
does. Osaka Bob lived on the streets of Tokyo for a year and a half back in
the Ď90s. I donít know why they donít call him Tokyo Bob instead, but
who am I to screw with a nickname? He infiltrated every aspect of their culture
and thereís nothing you can ask him about that he wouldnít be able to explain
in great detail. He drank snake sake from a bottle as he (presumably) swore
in Japanese during transitional scenes that were (Iím guessing) supposed to
develop the characters and show off the country. If he wasnít swearing he
was laughing like a fool. Like a goddamned fool!
After all, The
Fast and the Furious movies amount to is a rehash of a horrible Ď70s movie
premise that only pouring ice water down your pants can erase from your consciousness.
I mean, what does it tell you if even Vin Diesel wonít come back for a second
movie and pretty boy Paul Walker wonít come back for a third? As far as the
cast, it consists largely of people youíve never heard of and when the verdictís
out, you will probably never hear from again. But if kung fu legend Sonny
Chiba is lucky, you wonít spot him through the exhaust fumes.
And on a closing
note, I was privy to the spectacle of dingbat motorheads/NASCAR enthusiasts
in the parking lot after the show. God knows I just had to see and hear them
talk shop and revved the engines on their tricked-out Ford Focuses. And they
alwaysóand I mean ALWAYS tear ass two blocks to the nearest Dennyís so they
can look tough as nails while styling wifebeaters and eating a Grease Loverís
Skillet. A friend of mine who is just as into music as I am into film admits
that he doesnít hate most bands, just the fans and Iíll admit the same here.
I didnít hate Tokyo Drift. Donít get me wrong, it was terrible and
sitting in on an AA meeting seems more appealing in retrospect than sitting
among the Tokyo Drift crowd. But I just didnít see the point when all
was said and done. After all, what do you think would be more funódriving
like an idiot or watching people drive like idiots? †
much as I donít like admitting to it, Iím an on again off again fan of Keanu
Reevesí work. Heís done some decent action movies, like The Matrix and
Constantine. If youíve seen Point Break, The Devilís Advocate, Johnny
Mnemonic, Bram Stokerís Dracula, Much Ado About Nothing or Speed,
you know the manís an accomplished comedian. And if you caught The Gift,
youíre aware that he can even act from time to time.
But itís the
sagging-ass romantic dramas that Reeves occasionally does that really get
to me. Not because theyíre romantic dramas, but because theyíre romantic dramas
that star Keanu Reeves. Iíve seen spokesmen for Big Tobacco who were more
convincing as moralists than Reeves is as a leading man in a romantic drama.
I donít and wonít buy that at any price. No, sir.
But the producers
of Reevesí newest romantic drama The Lake House have a new trick up
their sleeves. They realize a story that only tugs at the heartstrings alone
isnít enough. Desperate office working women who are depressed that American
Idol is over until the fall need more than a truly happy ending or an incredibly
tragic one to rope them into the theaters. No no, they need a gimmick! Every
movie needs a gimmick these days. Pick a movie, any movie. Every movie listed
on the marquee these days is a sequel, computer animated, a remake, based
on a video game/comic book or otherwise gimmicky.
In the case of
The Lake House, it not only stars Keanu Reeves, but it re-pairs him
with Speed co-star Sandra Bullock. You knowóbecause seeing those two
in a crappy action movie together twelve years ago wasnít bad enough, so lets
stick them in an even worse romantic drama as either a punishment against
them or their audience. I donít know. Maybe Reeves is still under the impression
that itís still 1990 and he has to keep doing this sort of movie to retain
his Tiger Beat cover boy status.
So what do we,
the audience, get for our trouble and overprices tickets? We get a dumpy rehash
of the Christopher Reeve/Jane Seymour sap trough Somewhere in Time.
The plot goes something like this: Reeves is an architect with daddy issues
who goes to live in a house his aloof architect father built. Bullock is a
doctor who goes to live in the house two years after he moves out. But heís
living there exactly two years before she moves in. Somehow they have the
same dog and send love letters to each other through a mailbox that can raise
its own flag and send mail years into the past or future. Eerie. Very eerie
At some point
of my viewing The Lake House, I started thinking about how I wish I
watched Donnie Darko again and how much more rewarding The Lake
House wouldíve been if the two main characters involved were uggos. Think
about itótheyíre mailing each other and when they finally do meet, theyíre
both attractive. Or supposed to be attractive, but whatever. Itís kind of
like if youíve ever posted or answered a personal. You correspond with this
person forÖ oh, letís say a couple weeks, a month if youíre cautious. Youíre
obviously interested enough to write back in one form or anotheróbut when
you eventually meet and you see those fat little sausage fingers, the lazy
eye, the resemblance to Darlene from Roseanne, the rose tattoo on the vein-ridden
ankle and get called ďdudeĒ more times than you care to remember? Well thatís
when biology takes over and youíre running for the hills.
The Lake House
would be a vaguely interesting movie if it didnít have more holes in
it than Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. Time travel is usually an intriguing
enough concept, but itís also one that a screenwriter has to really think
through before laying it out. But instead of, I donít know, ACTUALLY THINKING,
writer David Auburn seemed to rely on star power as opposed to critical and
rational thought. Considering these starsí lowbrow appeal, this is a commercially
wise move. I can picture (not really) running into this guy and asking him
how half the crap in this movie was actually supposed to happen and I see
this guy stammering or quickly replying something to the effect of it not
mattering then telling me that ďSandyĒ looked angelic. Bah!
A Tale of Two Kitties
you go to www.tomcruiseisnuts.com,
one thing is for certain---you will laugh yourself sterile. In addition to
your dayís required intake of random nonsense, youíll also uncover some true
nuggets of wisdom. Take this one for instance. In the quotes from Tom Cruise,
namely in the Tom on Tom section, the first one reads, ďIím usually
nervous to meet people that I admire because what if theyíre not cool or something?Ē
If thatís not pure gold I donít know what is.
be right if I actually thought of this and actually stood a chance of meeting
people I admire. At least in a celebrity capacity. Iím talking about Bill
Murray here. The manís always struck me as incredibly cool and when he did
the first Garfield movie, I told myself that at least he didnít show
his face in it. The movie was generally dumb and anything thatís got Breckin
Meyer and Jennifer Love Hewitt as two of the main characters has got to be
the stuff that nightmares are made of. It was like the part in Ed Wood
where the one producer looked at Woodís footage and thought it was a joke
concocted by Billy Wellman. But this was cleverly disguised as a kidsí movie,
and because Bill Murray had something to do with it all was forgiven. †So
now we toss the fat, decades-too-late computer-animated cat over the drink
to Europe and throw in a case of mistaken identity and weíre all supposed
to piss ourselves with laughter. Iím not sure what brought this on, but I
donít like it.
Speaking of what
brought this on, what couldíve brought this on? Not only do we have Bill
Murray voicing a computer program when thereís clearly no need, but weíve
got another would-be grade-A disappointment if you look at who co-wrote Garfield:
A Tale of Two Kitties. It was co-written by Joel Cohen. I saw this and
I started having chest pains. I thought of the director and co-writer of such
latter-day classics as Fargo, Millerís Crossing, O Brother Where Art Thou?,
Raising Arizona, and The Big Lebowski. Part of me died when I saw
his name in the credits and I quietly sobbed throughout the entire feature.
I watched Garfield through teary eyes. I knew that his resume started
dropping off over the past few years, but I had to ask myself if things really
got this bad. Fortunately, I did a little research and found that itís a completely
different Joel Cohen. This guy wrote Cheaper by the Dozen. BEAST publisher
Paul Fallon is currently preparing a frivolous lawsuit I have every intention
of filing against the producers of A Tale of Two Kitties.
I didnít enjoy
A Tale of Two Kitties for the near-death experience I went through
for nearly an hour and a half. Iím all for an emotional reaction when I see
a movie, but you donít pull cheap shots during the credits and send people
into panic attacks. Iíve got to call bullshit on that one. Then thereís the
title. Come on! When youíve got to resort to a sorry play on words while referencing
a Dickens novel that the vast majority of your audience hasnít and probably
wonít read, youíre either suffering from a case of big fish in a small
pond syndrome or you need to adjust your dosage. However, there is good
news. If youíre a parent, youíve probably seen movies such as A Tale of
Two Kitties a dozen times already and your soul is all but dead. Youíve
lost the will to live/fight and on your kids 18th birthday youíll
find out it was never yours.
Prairie Home Companion
a heads up, and you can take this any way you want, but this is going to be
a pretty short review. Reason being is I donít really have anything bad to
say about A Prairie Home Companion. The few episodes I caught of the
Prairie Home Companion radio show Iíve enjoyed very much and itís always done
its jobóto make me and its listeners forget it was going to be over soon and
also about our generally mundane lives as it entertains in an incredibly witty,
warm and correct way.†
Home Companion tells the story of the last episode of the show (donít
worry, its not going off the air) and its best efforts of creator Garrison
Keillor to keep it business as usual before a parking lot is made out of the
There are a lot
of great performances by Woody Harrelson, Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, Kevin
Kline, andÖ Lindsay Lohan. Yeah, I thought I was in Bizarro World when I saw
Lindsay Lohan in a Robert Altman film let alone an actual movie, but more
likely itís a sign of the upcoming apocalypse. Either way it was nice.
of great improvisation, namely between Streep and Tomlin, but itís definitely
Altman whoís running the show. He creates this incredibly warm atmosphere
despite the impending doom the show is facing thought great characters and
Keillorís wonderful dialogue which returns from the brink of pretentiousness
on just a couple of occasions.
I was really
surprised as to how much I enjoyed this film. But what surpassed my enjoyment
was my puzzlement as I canít for the life of me figure out what a hell a treat
like this was doing being released in the Season of the Blockbuster. I guess
A Prairie Home Companion is the prize at the bottom of that box of
sugar-coated, indigestible Cracker Jacks.
means schoolís out, which also means that there are leagues of ADHD-ridden
kids demanding extracurricular entertainment. There was a time when this problem
was remedied with a summer reading list, summer camp or Ritalin. Now, instead
of mental activity, physical exercise or a somewhat socially unacceptable
medication, you can sit the little bastards down in an air-conditioned theater
and treat the symptoms instead of the problem.
CGI extravaganza is Cars. Itís basically the same milquetoast kids
crap rehashed from last summer except instead of being about humans, ogres,
toys or insects, all the characters are, well, cars. A hotshot car that gets
knocked back to the boonies to get its groove back with all the other burnouts
and blahblahblah. Oh sure, the animation was impressiveóactually, it looked
just like the Pixar animation that every other computer animated cartoon employs.
All execution and no real style.
But I had a real
problem with Cars. I couldnít figure out if it was a recruiting film
for the next generation of NASCAR fans or a remake of the 1991 Michael J.
Fox vehicle Doc Hollywood. Owen Wilson plays the hotshot car that ends
up in the backwoods of a ghost town with some yokel residents voiced by Paul
Newman, George Carlin and Bonnie Hunt.
I had the fortune
of taking a mouthy kid to this, to see if Iíd enjoy one of these newfangled
movies with someone for which it was intended. I took my friendís 8-year-old
daughter Sarah and all she did was bitch about how ďgayĒ it was. She complained
that Cars had none of the oomph that other Pixar films such
as The Incredibles and Toy Story had. She just wanted to go
see An Inconvenient Truth so she had some idea what her future held
and whether she should bother aspiring to anything in this life. And she was
the one who brought the Doc Hollywood comparison to my attention. Sarah
was kind of a drag throughout most of the event, but the thing that made the
whole day worthwhile for me was that she also found it funny that Larry the
Cable Guy played a retarded tow truck in Cars. She threatened to leave
if she heard the words ďgit Ďrí done.Ē Now that I think about it, I did briefly
date her mom for a spell there back in the Ď90sÖ