Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hancock

I realize that Hancock has been out for a while now, but I just watched it again on Starz, home of the hitz, and I feel the need to explain why I love it so much. Plus I didn't know what else to write about and I'm bored. I last saw Terminator Salvation and Star Trek and really don't feel like giving a negative review at the moment. Zing.

People didn't like Hancock because of the dramatic origin story tacked on the end. I, however, loved this ending. And it's really not tacked on at all. If you go back and watch the movie a second time, you'll notice little nuggets of origin from the very beginning.

According to me, there are two kinds of superhero movies. There's the origin story, like Spiderman, or any of the latest Marvel movies. Or there's the "continuing adventures of..." story which largely ignores any hero origin because it's not all that important to the plot. These can be superhero sequels, spoofs, etc.

Take a movie like The Incredibles, which I hated btw. There are no origins given. The characters are just super. And that's okay because it's not that kind of movie. The focus is on the present story, that whole retired-superhero-coming-out-of-retirement thing. It basically doesn't matter who they are or where they came from, the focus is on what happens when they get back to the hero business. However, if you leave out the origin story you better make sure your current story can stand on its own. In my opinion The Incredibles did not. They fight a bad guy. Awesome.

Now let's look at Hancock. You have a really funny story about a clumsy alcoholic superhero. He genuinely wants people to like him. He tries to help but just makes things worse. There is great action, great comedy, and some very touching moments. Will Smith is so perfect in this. He's goofy one minute and an action star the next. If you're thinking this sounds like typical Willienium-Era Will Smith you'd be wrong. This isn't Men in Black or Bad Boys. Hancock actually has some depth. Plus Will Smith has gained some biceps since those days, ladies. Jason Bateman is also funny in his dry Jason Batemanny way. Plus Charlize Theron is hot in some movies and this is definitely one of them. Basically, Hancock could do very well on its own, ignoring the origin. But, surprise there's a twist! We get an origin too. And it's original! He's not a mutant and he wasn't bitten by anything radioactive. It's creative and cool and hasn't been done before. I love Hancock and I'm not ashamed to say it. Even though that sounds dirty.

Let's see. What's next on Starz? Crazy Girls Undercover starring Nikki Ziering. Las Vegas strippers fighting terrorism. Am I that bored?

4 Awesome Eagles!!


Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

I finally saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button this weekend. There's nothing like a three day break to catch up on movies. In the beginning, I had a few thoughts:
"This movie is awesome."
"That tiny old dude is adorable. Where can I get one?"
"I should really admit that Brad Pitt is my favorite actor. But what will my friends say?"
Then about half-way through, I started thinking:
"Man this movie is really boring."
"Cate Blanchett sure likes to 'sleep' with people."
"Shouldn't he have turned into a fetus?"

Benjamin Button held my attention for a little while. Brad Pitt's portrayal of the little guy was truly endearing. I've always been a fan of Brad Pitt and I feel bad for the guy sometimes. I think the Hollywood hype surrounding him takes away his credibility as an actor. I think I should probably just stop watching Access Hollywood. He really is a fantastic actor. In addition to playing this little kid in an old man's body, he's played some pretty off the wall characters: There's the goofy trainer from Burn After Reading, Tyler Durden in Fight Club, the twitchy schizophrenic in Twelve Monkeys, Mickey from Snatch, and my personal favorite, Floyd from True Romance. Pitt's performance in Benjamin Button is no exception. He's funny and doesn't take himself too seriously. Several of his scenes require him to act using only his face, which was digitally grafted onto a child's body. I imagine that would be pretty tough to pull off.

The special effects were amazing as well. We've all heard about how cool the age enhancement technology looked. But more than that, the environments were beautiful. When Benjamin is working on a tugboat, the ocean and sky around him look like something from a Broadway stage. The buildings during the downtown scene appear this way as well, and rather than cheapen the look of the film, they bring a fantasy/storybook feel to it.

But after a while, these things start to fade. The audience is constantly reintroduced to the same characters over and over again, year after year, and it kind of gets old. And I could not care less about Daisy, Cate Blanchett's character. She's not nice, she's not cute, and she seems so uninterested in Benjamin. I'm not sure if that was the intention, or if Cate just phoned it in. I usually like Cate so I was pretty disappointed.

Button was written for the screen by the same guy who wrote Forrest Gump. So one should expect a moving, meaningful film full of classic one liners and memorable quotes. I mean, "Life is like a box of chocolates," is probably one of the most famous movie quotes ever right? This time, we get, "You never know what's comin' for ya." What does that mean? Something is coming for me? Well what is it? Freddy Kruger? That line is so generic, they could have just said, "Something is going to happen," but nothing ever does. The viewer is constantly reminded that something is coming, but we're left wondering what it is. At the end there's a really corny moment where he reflects on all the people he's met implying they've influenced his life in a profound way. But he doesn't say how. And the reason he doesn't say how is because they really didn't.

Button had so much potential, but the story was lame. The special effects were amazing, and Brad Pitt was great. But there wasn't a plot. People come and go, Benjamin talks to them, and that's it. So rather than anticipating the next twist in the story, I found myself waiting for Benjamin to get older/younger to see what he'd look like. At one point they made him look so young, I swear they used scenes from this movie:

What is the dark side exactly, Brad? Having to wear sunglasses? Yeah, that's a drag. But you showed them! You are so rebel cool.

Here are some clips if you can stand it... The Dark Side of the Sun

Oh yeah, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button gets 3 diapers.




Thursday, May 21, 2009

Chick Flicks

I like movies. You probably know that. But seriously, I like them so much. I like them, like them, you know? It's like, I now pronounce you man and movies.

It's sad. I'll watch any movie, anywhere, anytime.

I'll even watch chick flicks. Now, most guys won't go near a chick flick. And that's their perogative. But it makes me sad to think of all the movies they're missing out on. Most guys don't really know if a movie is a chick flick or not. I imagine this is how most situations go down...

Sally: "Will you see a movie with me? It's about a girl that..."
Johnny: "No way!"

Seems like Johnny might have the wrong idea about Sally's movie. You see, most chick flicks are often confused with romantic comedies or dramas. And romantic comedies and dramas are perfectly watchable for men. But how can anyone really tell the difference? I present to you, The Good Indoorsman Chick Flick Calculator. Sally can use this to decide if her favorite movie is a chick flick, before making Johnny suffer through it. And Johnny can use this, entering information he gets from movie trailers, reviews, or from what their other couple friends have told them. How many times have you been on a double date, and the other couple tells you about this fabulous movie you just absolutely must see. Well now you can put them to the test.

You may have predicted that The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants was a chick flick, but here's the proof.


You may have thought A Walk to Remember was a chick flick, but you'd be wrong. See?


For each X in the first section, you add a point. For each X in the second section, you take away a point. All 8 factors can be found in chick flicks, but more or less of certain criteria defines the genre. If you have 3 or more points at the end, your movie is a chick flick. If you have 2 or less, your movie is perfectly dude-viewable.
The calculator is pretty self-explanatory, with the exception of "2 Sided Romance". Let me explain this. Romance is completely acceptable in a non-chick flick movie, so long as it is reciprocated on both sides for the majority of the film. It can be an off and on romance, which is typical of some romantic comedies, but the "girl-tries-to-get-guy-but-guy-doesn't-notice-her-boo-hoo", is not a 2 sided romance and therefore points to a chick flick.

Much love to my wife for being an Excel wiz. I will post the actual working calculator online as soon as I can figure out how to post things online.

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