Saturday, November 21, 2009

Eric Reviews Everything He's Ever Seen (Numbers 300, 320, 340, 360, 380)

I thought last post was going to be a struggle to get through. It wasn't that bad. It wasn't that bad. It wasn't that bad. I can't wait to review Red Dawn. I have to watch it more thoroughly than the first two times to count it as being watched... this is neither here nor there. I'm trying to get prepped to write about head-ache-inducing mediocrity. Pass me a gallon of Advil, ma'am. 

300. Evolution (Directed by Ivan Reitman)

Before I was obsessed with film I was obsessed with aliens and UFOs. It lasted for a few years, bolstered by the Men in Black movies and animated series, X-Files, various Godzillas, plus lots of recreational reading. Society wanted me to like extraterrestrial monsters, so who was I to say "no"? I was trusting. Why would they set out to hurt me? Because they knew I was an easy target. That's why they tricked me into getting my hopes way way up for Evolution, only to have them maliciously smashed. 

This movie was so boring. I don't remember what the aliens were even doing on earth. It didn't help that the creature designs weren't anything special. Even less of a help was the uninteresting to goofy acting. Ivan Reitman should have quit back in the 80s, back when he was ahead, raising a director son. This movie was lousy. I can't think of many specific scenes, but there's this looming vibe of disappointment hanging over Evolution that I can't shake. 

I was over at IMDb a second ago and noticed Julianne Moore was a cast member. What? I didn't know that was her. She's one of my favorite actresses. And Dan Akroyd was, too? And Sarah Silverman? All these surprises. Surprises that don't matter, because this movie was bad. I think. Hazily bad. 

320. Recess: School's Out (Directed by Chuck Sheetz)

Fond memories of Recess do I keep. I watched reruns most weekday mornings, and waited expectantly for each new Saturday episode. Recess was my favorite show in elementary school. It didn't talk down to us youths, and seemed to understand the workings of playground politics intimately. Were the writers fourth graders? They very well could have been, because they had their shit down. I think I'm going to go out on a limb and say Recess was like Seinfeld for children. Taking everyday problems everyone could relate to and spinning them into hilarious yarns. Man... this show rocked...

If only the end of the series had been the end of Recess. The show had capped itself off nicely already. No movie could capture the spirit of what an entire series had already given us. A movie was made, I was hopeful it would live up to everything coming before it, and I coaxed my Dad into taking me to see it. Sure, I laughed a little, and the familiar characters still held a place in my heart, but it was only good. It didn't compare to the better episodes, and left Recess to save its good name in syndication. Sigh... I miss you, Recess.

340. Road Trip (Directed by Todd Phillips)

I wish I could excuse myself from writing this review. 

The only good thing Road Trip has contributed to my life is its helping me realize not every comedy needs to be funny. Let me explain. Road Trip is, in essence, a comedy. It stars comedians and comedic actors, it sets up gags with wacky payoffs, and it managed to make some audiences laugh. It didn't make me laugh. See, I used to think if a movie was made to be funny and I didn't laugh it was my fault. After seeing Road Trip and having its jokes fall dead at my ears I fully understood different senses of humor. It wasn't that I didn't understand, it was that Tom Green didn't do it for me. Clouds parted, the sun came out and I think I caught a little bit of a rainbow winking at me.

P. S. Amy Smart was topless for a while, so maybe Road Trip contributed two good things.

360. The Emperor's New Groove (Directed by Mark Dindal)

This one's somewhat milestoney. Lilo and Stitch and Emperor's New Groove, from 2002 and 2000 respectively, are the last animated Disney films I both liked or watched. Atlantis fell between the two, and I didn't care for it. Following 2002 there hasn't been a single Disney cartoon to interest me without the partnership of Pixar to sweeten the deal. I wonder if some terrible accident happened at the production studios making everyone forget how to tell good stories, or if it was a conscious decision. It has nothing to do with a growing age gap either, because I'm just as excited for, say, the new Pixar movie as I am the next Coen brothers movie. Okay, not as excited, but I have no children's movie distaste. 

The message is this: Emperor's New Groove was a Disney movie I could still be excited for, and enjoy watching. It took the art design in an interesting new direction they haven't returned to. For a story about a shepherd taking care of a prince-turned-llama it had surprising poignancy. David Spade as a llama made me sad. How could something so goofy be so touching? John Goodman has such great chemistry with Spade, too. And there were awesome action sequences. And Patrick Warburton voices a character. This is a nostalgia rush. 

If I could go up to Grandfather Disney and convince him to make movies the old fashioned way, the way they made them when I was a whipper snapper, I would. Right now. To think of how happy Emperor's New Groove made me, and how only one Disney movie after has surpassed that happiness fills me with a dull bitter rage. Better move on to the next movie.

380. Pokemon: The First Movie (Directed by Kunihiko Yuyama)

The Pokemon movie?! Come on! 

This movie is straight up weird. As a fan of the show I was looking for more of the same, not a dark story about mistreated, forgotten super villain monsters tricking a bunch of teens into fighting for their lives on a spooky island. The tone is eerily different from the show. Many Pokemon are seriously injured in the movie. Like, permanently.

I got a free legendary bird card out of it, but even that was kind of a rip-off. Zapdos? I've never cared for Zapdos. Or Moltres. Articuno is the only bird I even liked. I'm kind of impressed with myself for remembering all of this. Unrightfully, probably, since I was a Pokemon junkie for a hefty chunk of my life. Collecting Pokemon was more of a job than a hobby. I invested years to Pokemon, and I'm repaid by leaving the theater feeling kind of violated? I'm not exaggerating. I felt depressed and unsafe walking out of that showing. They really pulled a fast one on me.

It's looking like beloved children's shows aren't doing a great job making the leap to the big screen. Will my review of Digimon: The Movie prove otherwise? Perhaps The Rugrats Movie was a pleasant experience? Find out in the coming installments. All 200+ of them.

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