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Friday, 27 May
I Prejudge Movies Again Because I'm So Very Lazy

So it's been a slow week here, huh? Sorry about that. After devoting about nine million words to the SF trip, I have found myself mired in the old routine of days, and as a consequence, I've been kicking at a rather large hunk of writer's block. Which I hate.

I hate it so much that last night I came very close to writing about this wretched game show I happened to torpidly watch called "Dog Eat Dog." Fortunately, I stopped myself before that happened, but I'll give you the short version: Racky host, racky and/or ripped contestants, pointless physical endeavors usually involving the contestants getting wet. Remember a more innocent time when girls swooned over croutons like Scott Baio and guys furtively jerked off to the bra section of the Sears catalog? Well, me neither. (I stole Oui magazines from gas stations.) But make no mistake, "Dog Eat Dog" is really just spank material as imagined by the good people at Circuit City.

And since we're on the topic of lazy writing habits and manufactured spank materials, let's prejudge some movies!

The Longest Yard

From a pure marketing standpoint, it makes a good deal of sense to pair up Adam Sandler and Chris Rock: they are both beloved by the Rohypnol crowd, and those people have money. It hardly matters that Sandler, who is not funny at all, and Rock, who certainly can be when he isn't being lazy, are totally immiscible--call them comedy's Black and Tan--this movie will nonetheless make a mint. And it's not like it took much effort: the film is a remake of a 70s Burt Reynolds comedy, for Christ's sake. It's almost too bad: the idea of a convict vs. prison guard football game could lead to some wickedly pointed commentary about race, homoeroticism, and all kinds of social fuckall, but I am assuming that those will all be swept away in favor of Sandler's eternal manboy obsession with the gunk that comes out of our bodies along with a thoroughly surgical defanging of whatever Rock might have to say about racial issues.

Do you enjoy watching Adam Sandler work up his usual tired spittle-flecked rage act? And do you also enjoy watching Chris Rock dutifully stitch on his high-wattage grin when he has nothing else to do? This is your movie.

Madagascar

This is Dreamworks' latest perverse attempt at demonstrating how inferior they are in every way to Pixar. Huzzah, Dreamworks! I applaud your ongoing Quixoticisms! Though I will never watch them. Why would anyone? (I realize I say this as someone who is not cursed with the yammerings of children.) Why eat at Arby's if the cost of the meal is the same as a good steakhouse? Dreamworks has failed every time with this shit, but again, you have to admire their moxie. Especially after such dreadnoughts of horror such as Antz and A Shark's Tale.

But maybe Dreamworks smells a hit here! After all, they shelled out top dollar for such vocal talents as Ben Stiller, David Schwimmer, Chris Rock (hey there!) and Jada Pinkett Smith. Me, I smell something else.

Is it incipient failure? Is it bottom-drawer talent? Is it Andy Richter?

BONUS I PREJUDGE MOVIES EXTRA!

IMDB tells me that yesterday was Helena Bonham Carter's birthday! That's nice. My wife absolutely detests you! Happy birthday!

Cinderella Man

It would be awfully easy to get irritated with Russell Crowe, given his overexposure in the media and his tendency to behave like an obnoxious boor, but the fact is--this always burns me--he's actually a good actor. No, he's really good, even when he's relegated to mindless horseshit like Gladiator, a film that is insulting on so many levels that it's virtually non-Euclidean.

No, the real enemy here is Ron Howard, good old Richie himself, who has somehow, impossibly, found a weird, unassailable perch in Hollywood from where he seemingly cannot be dislodged. He is a humorless gargoyle of cinema, and it seems that nothing can remove him, not even memories of laughable dreck like Backdraft, whose most hilarious claim on trivia is that its theme music was adopted by the original Japanese TV series "Iron Chef."

Look, I can't even deal with shit like this, honestly. Ron Howard is my total enemy in movies these days, and I've tried to keep my end up on this, but as I said before, I'm having trouble lately, so I'm going to cheat. Here's a verbatim comment from IMDB about this miserable fucking thing:

Howard makes the Depression a visceral reality with the scene of near-hopeless men at the docks, begging for a day's work; a stolen salami; Crowe's giving his daughter his breakfast piece of bologna, telling her he dreamed he was full.

Mmmmm, visceral. Thank goodness we've gotten past the days where men begged on the streets for work! Well, white men, anyway.

It suddenly occurs to me that I would like this film a lot more if it were a Ron Howard Huge Important Film In Burnished Tones Just Like All Of My Other Fake Important Films That Actually Have Nothing To Say Nor Any Viewpoint At All, and he could call it: Breakfast Piece of Bologna.

Actually, I'm a little suprised that the title didn't end up being He Dreamed He Was Full. Maybe because it would beg the question: Full of what?


Note: Comments are closed on old entries.

Comments

I dunno, the scene with Russel Crowe giving his daughter some 'stolen salami' sounds veritably rife with controversial subtext. Or perhaps I misread that bit.

Comment number: 005798   Posted by: Robin on May 27, 2005 03:36 AM from IP: 62.253.198.169

Where Backdraft may have been somewhat hard to stomach, Far and Away provoked complete gastric prolapse. Howards crowning glory in a long list of vapid fluff. Watching his movies is a bit like eating caramel-coated tripe.

Comment number: 005799   Posted by: Lung the Younger on May 27, 2005 06:00 AM from IP: 80.58.34.109

mmmmm... caramel-coated tripe. Didn't they make that on Iron Chef once?

Comment number: 005800   Posted by: Natasha on May 27, 2005 10:50 AM from IP: 67.94.34.194

I'm with Retha; I absolutely DETEST Helena Bohnam Carter, too. F*ck her and her birthday!

Comment number: 005801   Posted by: S on May 27, 2005 11:41 AM from IP: 66.235.0.193

The original Longest Yard is really quite good, though! Certainly better than any movie either Chris Rock or Adam Sandler has been in, even that delightful Dogma Mr. Deeds Down to Earth Little Nicky ah screw it.

Comment number: 005802   Posted by: Steve on May 27, 2005 05:11 PM from IP: 65.43.184.30

Fo'chizzle, Izzle. The Longest Yard was worth the price of admission just to hear my own black football player husband laugh out loud at effeminate wrestlers and gay black boys. I liked the close ups of Burt Reynolds' plastic surgery success. Sandler plays the straight guy anyway.

Comment number: 005803   Posted by: Lala on May 28, 2005 06:48 PM from IP: 67.68.19.145

I'm sorry to say that I had to chaperone a group of 15 girls ages 8 to 12 on a trip to that Madagascar movie. I'm not sorry to say that I fell asleep shortly after the beginning and woke up right as it ended (it was a 5:20pm showing). I'm assuming I would have woken if there were any laughter at all during that period. The beginning and the end were both horribly, mind-numbingly stupid. I can only assume that it was worse than Shark Tale which I didn't believe was possible.

If only Dreamworks would put their money into Seattle's live, outdoor theatre...where one expects and embraces mind-numbing, stupidity...

;-)

Comment number: 005804   Posted by: kbow on June 2, 2005 11:46 PM from IP: 208.12.29.3

Didn't you ever marvel at the balls it took to name a movie "Hope Floats"? My husband saw about 2 seconds of an ad for that movie when it was just released, and his immediate comment was, "Wait, doesn't shit float?" Why, yes, dear, it does.

Comment number: 005805   Posted by: Angie on June 3, 2005 03:19 PM from IP: 69.51.152.105

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