Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Finding Nemo Sucks, and a Bunch of Unrelated Stinkers

“Nemo is killing me!”

There are a great many misconceptions surrounding Pixar Animation Studios, one of which is that they make animated movies primarily for thinking adults and another of which is that their personified animal/machinery movies are any more original than the personified animal/machinery movies of Dreamworks.  The biggest error by far in contemporary Pixar analysis is the continual belief that Finding Nemo is a movie about a fledgling fish that touches a butt and learns the value of family/obedience/something trite, when in reality Finding Nemo is a movie about an arrogant and sadistic Hollywood megalodon that savagely rams a heated rod up its audience’s butts and bullies them into submitting that they liked the experience.  From every technical and textual standpoint, Finding Nemo is one of the worst animated movies ever to be dumped upon the youth of this or any other country.  Even disregarding its obnoxious and persistently puerile lead, the film is riddled with colorless supporting characters who serve no purpose but to point the protagonist in the right direction and to rehash the same “jokes” over and over again – as in the laid-back surfer turtle who says “dude”, the surfer turtle’s laid-back son who also says “dude”, the seagulls that say “my”, the fish who talks to her reflection, the fish that blows up, the fish that sticks to the glass, the fish that freaks out all the time, the fish that mime everything by swimming in formation, the reformed vegetarian fish, the old, battle-scarred, wise mentor fish, the fish that forgets everything (unless the plot calls for her to remember something), and, of course, the bumbling and environmentally unconscious humans.

In the event that you do subject yourself to this torturous excuse for a cautionary tale, you’ll get to watch Nemo’s ironically humorless clown fish of a father and Ellen Degenerate’s appropriately irritating whatever-she-is swim through miles of boring blue CG backgrounds and occasionally confront such one-off obstacles as jellyfish, anglers, and whales, through which their bonds of friendship are predictably made firm.  It’s the kind of movie I could rip apart frame by frame, line by line, fin by fin, gill by gill, but I warrant that’s exactly the kind of sadomasochistic pleasure its creators intended to inflict on others and themselves.  Anyone who praises Pixar’s cockamamie finding of some woebegone fish brat as particularly daring or profound or inspirational I would implore to watch a truly thoughtful animated film, e.g. Rango, wherein the hero has to find an identity rooted in something other than personal fantasy, Shrek, wherein the hero has to find not only a princess but a reason to care about someone other than himself, Kung Fu Panda, wherein the hero has to find the beauty of his own uniqueness, How To Train Your Dragon, wherein the heroes have to find truth in an arena where thickheadedness reigns, Surf’s Up, wherein the hero has to find that friendship is the greatest trophy of all, Megamind, wherein the hero has to find the imprudence of doling out power to fools, Cars, wherein the hero has to find the shallowness of his own pragmatism, Lilo and Stich, wherein the hero has to find that mahalo means family, The Lion King, wherein the hero has to find a life of purpose and leadership (sorry) and humility while forsaking the hakuna matata, and many other greats I can’t expound at the moment.  Finding Nemo, by comparison, is but a banality of the cinematic deep, bastardizing childhoods and shamelessly abolishing the critical judgment of film.

If you liked Disney Pixar’s Toy Story, Disney Pixar’s Wall-e, or Disney Pixar’s Bug Movie, then you’ll probably like Disney Pixar’s Finding Nemo.  If you liked James Cameron’s The Abyss, Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, Ken Levine and Irrational Games’ Bioshock, or Spongebob Squarepants’ Atlantis Squarepantis, then you probably won’t like Disney Pixar’s Finding Nemo.

Reservoir Doggone

Reservoir Dogs has all the marks of a debuting writer/director who’s so preoccupied with carving out a distinctive visual style that he totally forgets about important things like a plot, or an emotional core, or a suspenseful sequence of events, and who thusly secures the former beyond a reasonable doubt while just as definitely fumbling the latter.  That’s because Reservoir Dogs is the work of a debuting writer/director, and not just any unseasoned writer/director, but one who would go on to spearhead such generally acclaimed icons as Pulp Fiction and the Author-approved Inglourious Basterds.  Reservoir Dogs is not an Inglourious Basterds, in part because there aren’t any good guys or bad guys in it, but mostly because there aren’t any interesting guys in it.  Whereas Inglourious was very much a character-centered and verbally witty piece in which one could easily cheer for the heroes and tremble at the villains, Reservoir Dogs is a relative cluster&!*@ of characterization, revolving around a bunch of mother*!&?ing gangsters who execute a #@!%ing heist entirely off of the #@!%ing screen and #@!%ing jib-jabber about it ad ^$@?ing nauseum because the script will never allow them to shut the &!^@ up or articulate a single *^%*ing sentence without saying the word “%!&@”.  None of the !♫%ers have a &%$#ing personality aside from a uniformity of nastiness and vulgarity, so when a Ω#@$ing mole $*!♪s with the solidarity of the group and ♪♫♪ing leads them right into a &$$ing trap, all the members go $#**ing insane and ♫Ω♫ each other up until only one dumb (&@? is left standing and the other puts a *!!*ing bullet through the head of the &@*♦ing mole, and that’s the final &*♥*ing shot of the movie.  Basically, it’s a really ♣$%#ed-up story, and by the end of it all, you’ll be wishing somebody cut off your own ♠^*^ing ear and ♫(♪)ing doused you in gasoline to kill the trauma.

Frankly, I didn’t give a .

Sharknado Blusters

As a made-for-TV monster movie/social media extravaganza waiting to happen, Sharknado could have been either an critical deconstruction of horrible moviemaking or, much more likely, a shameless revelry in that very thing.  Rest assured that Sharknado definitely falls among the latter set, and duly take this warning to heart.  I would say that its creators are sexist for giving their female stars nothing to do and nothing significant to wear, but then they don’t give their male stars anything to do either, aside from pumping a bunch of CG sharks full of shotgun lead, hiding out in the van set for half of the movie, and reading the action aloud for those in the audience too blind to follow it for themselves.  From irrelevant beginning to ludicrous conclusion, Sharknado exudes an aura of pompous and careless badness, communicating a palpable distaste for its audience’s intelligence and time, only one of which those idiot celebrities who tweeted about it have in any abundance.  Listen ye, therefore, to the sage counsel of Gandalf the Grey, who admonished Frodo, “All we have to do is decide what we do with the time that is given us.”  Any time one expends in watching Sharknado, even with strictly analytical intent, is time that one is consciously choosing to waste and to squander on dreck in the place of something with real, justifiable value.  Quite simply, it is an ungrateful and irreverent rejection of the greatest resource God affords us as His children, a rejection I’ll regret for the rest of my life until the blessed day when age wipes all memory of sharknados from my mind.

Like a Tarantula Bite to the...

The best thing to be said about the made-up Miller family of this occasionally raunchy, ever immature road trip through Mexico is that 45-year-old Jennifer Aniston puts on a surprisingly convincing show as a cheap stripper-turned-drug dealer (though she would prefer the term “smuggler”).  The worst thing to be said about it is that Jennifer Aniston has to put on such a show not once but twice just to sustain the audience’s interest in the brief lapses between the many oral and anal jokes that pervade the movie’s script, none of which are funny enough to pass muster under the standards of this or any other publication.  The paradox of Millers’ unfettered if mostly verbal vulgarity is that its blatant drive to shock nullifies its capacity for doing just that.  After all, there are only so many ways you can repackage an already unimaginative gag about genitalia without losing its initial thrust.

See what I mean?  You’ve read that same exact sex pun probably a hundred times in other media, so much so that you didn’t even raise an eyebrow at the previous sentence, and if you did it was only in the course of rolling your eyes at my rank unoriginality.  Now imagine sitting through what feels like two hours of this brainless and sophomoric excuse for humor; I leave it to you to determine whether such an excursion in debauchery and idiocy would be a worthy investment of your time.  We’re the Millers wages a concentrated campaign against wit and wisdom in storytelling, bludgeoning us with a malign and purposeful assault upon genuinely intelligent humor.  There is one funny line midway through deriving chiefly from the stupidity of the character above rather than from his sexuality; I’ll leave you with it because I’m a nice guy and always try to appreciate the good in everything, even if it doesn’t really exist. Not.

“We’re not doing what it looks like we were doing.”
“Really?  Because it looks like she’s teaching you how to kiss out of pity.”
“Oh… well, then it is what it looks like we’re doing.”

Batman and Robin Break the Ice (alternatively titled The Partypooper, Sub-Zero, What Killed the Dinosaurs?, Batman Gets the Splits, Batman... You Son Of A B____, Bane Of Humanity, or Sequel Prospects: Terminated)

The very pretense of writing a movie review for Batman and Robin is a self-defeating concept, assuming as it does that Batman and Robin is even a movie in any meaningful sense, when in fact it’s more a vignette of incredibly cheesy puns and childish comic book banter that wouldn’t appease even the least discriminating 7-year-old.  The damning sin of this bona-fide Batmobile pile-on is neither its ill-advised implementation of bat nipples and butts nor its appallingly cheap production design but its script’s total want of any reason for existing in the first place, save to revive the kind of weightless kid-friendly superhero fluff that thankfully expired long ago with the recession of the offensively inoffensive Adam West TV series.  From a more optimistic standpoint, though, you really couldn’t find a better cure for insomnia, even when viewing from a particularly uncomfortable and pillow-less couch.  Talk about the cold shoulder.

If you like this video, then you may just like Batman and Robin.  But probably not.

V For Vapid

If the idea of watching Natalie Portman prattling on in a feigned British accent or listening to a faceless Guy Fawkes poseur (we’ll call him Mr. V) lecturing about the virtues of anarchy in alliterative verbosity sounds appealing to you, then you’ll probably like V For Vendetta.

If, on the other hand – oh, I almost forgot: if the idea of watching Natalie Portman and Mr. V sitting on a couch and watching the news sounds appealing to you, then you’ll probably like V For Vendetta.

If the idea of watching government officials endlessly plotting and conniving inside their white-walled offices to extinguish Mr. V.’s noble uprising sounds appealing to you, then you’ll probably like V For Vendetta.

If the idea of doggedly jumping back and forth between the government detectives investigating Mr. V and Mr. V himself because the filmmakers can’t decide to focus on one or the other sounds appealing to you, then you’ll probably like V For Vendetta.

If the idea of one-dimensional stereotypes of Catholic ministers as power-hungry, chauvinistic theocrats sounds appealing to you, then you’ll probably like V For Vendetta.

If the idea of absorbing Natalie Portman’s boring backstory details through glowy flashbacks and voiceover sounds appealing to you, then you’ll probably like V For Vendetta.

If the idea of seemingly interminable political worldbuilding and historical setup sounds appealing to you, then you’ll probably like V For Vendetta.

If the idea of thinly veiled and distracting anti-Bush or pro-Islamic themes sounds appealing to you, then you’ll probably like V For Vendetta.  Likewise, if the idea of throwing in silly and logically contradictory homosexual subplots so ordered as to indict the tyranny of the Christian church (but not of the Islamists, whose anti-homosexual edicts are a bogey man invented by the capitalist tyranny) sounds appealing to you, then you’ll probably like V For Vendetta.

If none of these ideas nor the one of the evil Catholic guys shaving Natalie Portman’s head when they “process her” sound appealing to you, then you probably won’t like V For Vendetta.  If only half of your brain is committed to watching the movie and the other half is reviewing it simultaneously while juggling online social connections, blog work, and studying, then you probably didn’t care much about V For Vendetta.

* Spoiler * * Spoiler * Maybe I wasn’t paying very close attention (OK, I wasn’t), but I honestly hadn’t the slightest hunch that V was the one who cut Portman’s hair until the “you have no fear now” scene.  That was a pretty good twist.  There’s also a decent, somewhat bloodier Matrix-esque sequence where V systematically knives a bunch of guys ten-to-one in super slow-motion.  “The only thing we have in common, Mr. Creedy, is we’re both about to die.”  The rest of the movie, if you couldn’t discern, is kind of lame.

4 comments:

  1. It's "ohana", haole. "Mahalo" is what you say to your parents for sending you to an academic institution with, apparently, a plethora of lame movies to watch.

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    1. Would you really say that I have a plethora of lame movies? I would not like to think that a person would tell me I have a plethora if he doesn't even know what a plethora is.

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  2. and I was about to make some snarky comment about the miasma of morally defunct movies you're seemingly inhaling at that sweet Christian university, but I see your father beat me to it. - YerMom

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    1. My already defective nostrils have been so desensitized to the miasma of morally defunct discourse that they're no longer capable of recognizing it. The miasma, that is, not the moral defunctness, as it's precisely my awareness of the latter which enables me to call these out as the glittery, post-processed crap piles they are.

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