Saturday, November 21, 2009

Eric Reviews Everything He's Ever Seen (Numbers 400, 420, 440, 460 and 480)

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the five reviews every single day. What a work load. If I had homework this would be difficult. Thanks, end of the semester relaxation. Thanks, you old building and loan. What else can I quote in this introduction? I'll save it for another time.

400. Mulan (Directed by Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook)

I could be found giving Mulan a resoundingly bad rap early this year. Buried beneath pounds of other Disney memories I was stuck thinking of Mulan as "that one with the scary Genghis Khan and an Eddie Murphy-dragon." It deserves more credit than that. I honestly can't remember much about the full movie, but I've listened to the soundtrack again, and the music is teeth better than I remembered. 

"I'll Make a Man Out of You", "A Girl Worth Fighting For", "Honor to Us All"... their catchiness is astounding. Another giant Western production company's take on ancient Eastern civilization could not go better musically. My Mom had the cassette on repeat for months following its release, and I'd always be at the edge of my seat when Jerry Goldsmith's instrumental pieces came on. They're sweeping, suspenseful works of art. 

I wonder if it hurts the crew to never see little girls dressed up like Mulan for Halloween when there are droves of Belles, Cinderellas and even Ariels. Is a cross-dressing warrior not pretty enough to earn a costume? Mulan has honor. She's a selfless patriot. This is exactly the character American girls should be emulating. Especially the going off to war part.

I'm sorry this post isn't more about the movie itself, but really, I'm hard pressed to think of much beyond the musical numbers. She goes to a spirit box in the rain at one point, and she gets so injured she has to nearly show her breasts, and there's a thrilling conclusion where the villain dies during a fireworks display. Those are the scenes I half remember, which bodes better for Mulan than Hercules, because I remember so many scenes from that movie and I hate them all.

420. The Puffy Chair (Directed by Jay Duplass)

My very first mumblecore review and the first mumblecore of my life, years before I knew what a mumblecore was, or where to find other mumblecores. If I type it enough it will lose all meaning, and then it won't be a subgenre. They'll be free to be movies, gone from the shackles of that damning label. Mumblecore. 

It's a pretty good film about a couple and their friend road-tripping a puffy chair cross country. Most of it made me smile. Occasionally I chuckled and laughed. When it wasn't making me happy it was busy scaring the hell out of me. Being in a serious relationship with a girl never looked so unappealing. It presents the couples' sad demise without a bit of uncomfortableness missed. The Puffy Chair leaves no unpleasant stone unturned. Jay Duplass directs the action so convincingly it feels more like an unfortunately real home movie than a feature film, with performances from Mark Duplass (co-writer and sibling), Katie Aselton and Rhett Wilkins remaining equally powerful switching between comedy and drama. Watching it was time well spent.

The special features menu offered me more from the Duplass brothers: short films This Is John, Scrapple and The Intervention. I liked the last best but enjoyed all of them. They were fine companions to Chair. They also made Baghead. That was good.

440. 101 Dalmatians (Directed by Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luske and Wolfgang Reitherman)

Ah. Finally. A little classic Disney, circa 1961. That would make me... negative twenty-nine when it came out. I'm glad the Disney vault doesn't forbid these movies from being crammed down every new generations throats or I'd have missed out on the greatest children's films ever made. True story. 101 Dalmatians is a favorite. Inside my exclusive top five favorite Disney cartoons, definitely. 

There are over one hundred and one adorable puppies in this one movie. That's as precious as gold to a once dog-enthusiast. And for the villain-enthusiast I still am there's Cruella de Vil, who transforms into a road-raging demon after approving of mass dog slaughter. On counts of cute and terrifying it almost can't be beat. 

Starting off as a cute movie about family 101 Dalmatians turns into a sprawling adventure, set against the backdrop of a dark and dreary London Winter. The darling little animals face Death square in the face, and laugh at him. All of this factors into 101 Dalmatians earning my undying respect, and mad props.

460. Balto (Directed by Simon Wells)

Balto... I have nothing to say about Balto. It was meh when I was five, and it doesn't ring any bells at nineteen. I can't even remember the bare-bones of the plot. He was a dog sled dog, right? Maybe he wanted to be a sled dog, but didn't get to because he was gray. Is it about racial tension? That poster looks like it has a mean dog. That must be his opposition. Alright. I give up. What was this movie about?

In the Leave It to Beaver movie Beaver pulls out Balto and is excited beyond reason to watch it with Eddie. Was I as excited as the Beave when I saw the trailer for Balto? I'm positive I was. Oh man! I just stomped my computer. I tried crossing my legs and knocked it off the table. That wasn't cool. 

Interesting fact: Simon Wells is also the co-director of well-liked sequel to An American Tail, biblical Prince of Egypt and nightmarish We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story plus the upcoming adaptation of Mars Needs Moms!. You can't keep this guy away from exclamations. 

480. Dumb and Dumber (Directed by Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly)

I thought Dumb and Dumber was immature back when I was immature. I never sought it out on my own, but watched snippets at my friend's house quite a bit, and caught moments during my Dad's surfings. About every time TBS or TNT had it playing I'd end up seeing a minute more than the last time. It was on one of those very similar channels a lot in the mid-90s. It's one of the worst movies I've ever seen. Why do I feel this way? "Gasman" and X-Lax. Terrible movie.

Bad movies getting one paragraph feels right. The better the movie the more I'll say about it. Or... maybe I shouldn't speak so soon. My shortest post yet. I don't know how that makes me feel. Quality over quantity. Something over something.

 - Eric T. Voigt, Only a Twenty

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