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Reflections On My Netflix Queue

Comments on my recent rental history. Spoilers ahoy for all titles herein.

The Legend

I wonder if this film gets any better after the first four minutes. Alas, I shall never know.


Brokeback Mountain

Watching this film, I couldn't help but think that this was going to be the go-to movie for a whole generation of gay, in-the-closet teens, much as my formative years were spent surreptitiously fast-forwarding through Meatballs 3 in search of the topless scenes.

Then I remembered that, since my youth, this zany thing called Teh Internet up and got invented, which means that all the good Brokeback scenes are probably available online, possibly as animated gifs. They may even have their own Facebooks pages, who knows?

Still, as a public service to any of you kids out there want to do it old school, get your mitts on the DVD and refer to this cheat sheet:

TimeScene
27:20Drunken wrasslin'.
31:04Jake Gyllenhaal wearing nothing but boots.
33:10This is the scene you are looking for.
1:03:25Some serious making-out
1:05:16Shirtless, post-coitus (or whatevertus) cigarettes.
1:09.28Naked Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger jumping off a cliff into a lake. If you watch the scene at 1/32 speed, you can make out three or four pixels of wang.

And just in case any heterosexual males inadvertently stumble upon this page: Anne Hathaway's knockers, 57:55.

Good movie. I expected it to mostly be a gimmick film (Gay cowboys!), but it was solid and well-made, far exceeding the controversial premise. And while some people had told me that it was boring, I found it pensive (where "pensive" is defined as "enjoyably boring").


Little Miss Sunshine

Studio exec: All right, you've got thirty seconds. Go.

Michael Arndt: What do Americans love? I'll tell you what Americans love: dysfunctional families. The Simpsons. The Sopranos. Supernanny. People love 'em.

S.E.: Okay.

M.A.: So, how about a movie ... about a family ... where everyone is really, really dysfunctional?

S.E.: Seems like it's been done.

M.A.: No, but we're gonna make 'em really, really, really dysfunctional. Like, the brother is suicidal. And the son won't talk. And the grandfather is addicted to heroin. And the little girl likes porn.

S.E.: The little girl likes porn? I don't know ...

M.A.: Well, okay, so the grandfather also likes porn. Doesn't matter, we'll hammer out the details later. Take home message: really dysfunctional. You with me so far?

S.E.: So far.

M.A.: Okay. So, what if we took this family, the whole family, and put them all in a VW bus. And made them travel across country. Huh? Think of it! Hijinks!

S.E.: Where are they going?

M.A.: Doesn't matter. To some dysfunctional thing, doesn't matter. The important thing is that they are all together, in a VW bus, for a long, long time. And totally--totally--dysfunctional. Do you smell sleeper hit? Because I smell something that smells like sleeper hit to me.

S.E.: How does it end?

M.A.: Oh, you know, whatever. We'll just tack the end of Napoleon Dynamite on there, people seemed to like that.

I mean, I liked it. But, still.


Arrested Development: Season 3

I didn't watch A.D. when it was originally airing, so I wasn't one of those people who was crushed when it got canceled. And, to be honest, three seasons seems like the perfect amount to watch on DVD.

Not that I don't love the show. But how many programs managed to demote themselves from "great" to "just okay" by virtue of running too long? Twin Peaks, for sure. The X-Files. And now, to hear my friends tell it, Lost. With only 53 episodes, Arrested Development avoids this fate-worse-than-cancellation, and actually gets funnier as it goes.

By season three they must have known they were on borrowed time, because they pull out all the stops. The show becomes so self-referential that only the devoted fan could hope to catch all the references to previous jokes, and it gets exponentially dirtier. (Michael's three second pause after the line "Who'd want to go into that musty old clap-trap" made me laugh until my stomach hurt.)

If you've only seen a few A.D. episodes here and there, rent season one and watch them in order. Though the second year doesn't live up to the first, plow your way through it so you can watch the third -- you won't regret it.


Superman Returns

Cripes, where to start with this mess? Let's just take it in order:

  • Tip to aspiring filmmakers: make sure your audience can figure out what the hell is going on during the first 10 minutes.
  • So let me get this straight: astronomers thought they saw the planet Krypton, so Superman spent five years flying all the way out there (in a spaceship?), only to discover that, nope, they were wrong, it's still a-blowd up. Um, jeeze astronomers: this seems like it would have been one of those "measure twice, cut once" situations, seeing as how you deprived the world of Superman for half a decade. What, smudge on the telescope?
  • The airplane saving bit was really exciting! A shame, almost, in that you can't help but unfavorably compare the remainder of the film to that single, engrossing scene.
  • Man, when did Clark Kent get to be such a cad? Using his x-ray vision to stalk Lois, trying to mack on another guy's girl, etc. Not to mention that he's a deadbeat dad. He's gone from defender of the American Way from Guy You Wouldn't Want To Sit Next To On The Bus
  • I'm sorry, but this is the stupidest evil plot I've ever seen. Lex is going to destroy a perfectly good continent to make a pointy, unlivable one? And he'll get to be king of the new landmass because he was on it first? Yeah, that worked out great for the Native Americans.
  • Superman is now flying around carrying a literal mountain of kryptonite? I think we're done here.


An Inconvenient Truth

Dear Al Gore: please run for President and select Obama as your running mate so I can vote for you the end.

Posted on February 20, 2007 to Movies





Comments

If Pixels of Wang opened for Fountains of Wayne, I'd buy floor seats.

Posted by: carmen on February 19, 2007 10:43 PM

Perhaps you should remove the comma before "here" and after "done".

Unless you are handing something to me at that point, in which case it should stay.

Posted by: anonymous on February 19, 2007 10:49 PM

The cabin... yes! That would be difficult, too.

Posted by: adam on February 20, 2007 12:58 AM

Jeez Matt. I loved you with all my heart, and now I have to go ahead and hate you because of your Superman Returns haterade. Heros shouldn't fall, but you just proved that they all do. (I'm talking about you here, not Sups.) Now I'm tearing up. Great. Thanks.

Posted by: alex on February 20, 2007 6:08 AM

And how can you even explain how Superman's Supersperm did not just destroy Lois' merely mortal egg? Seriously.

Posted by: Kathryn on February 20, 2007 6:34 AM

Superman was original styled to be a total dick.

http://www.foldedspace.org/weblog/2005/02/superman_is_a_dick.html

I know, strange but true. It sorta makes sense if you think about how conceited any super human would become.

So maybe "Clark Kent as cad" is supposed to me homage?

Nah, pro'ly just bad writing.

Posted by: Ben on February 20, 2007 7:04 AM

Oh, Kathryn hits on the old Larry Niven point...further, how did mortal Lois handle those superfetal kicks?

Hey, wait a minute...is that my sister Kathryn? She's the only person I've ever had this conversation with...

Posted by: braine on February 20, 2007 7:17 AM

Thank You DY!
'Superman Returns' was probably the most disappointing film of the year. I really fell for all the hype (and reviews as well) that this was the best Superman ever. I came away with a meh...
Also, Larry Niven's 'Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex' (referenced above):

http://www.larryniven.org/stories/Man_of_Steel_Woman_of_Kleenex.shtml

Posted by: evilelf on February 20, 2007 8:33 AM

Holy Cripes. For someone who I think is hilariously funny, your reviews of movies I love have all been "they suck". Amazing. Little Miss Sunshine was so awesomely awesome that "awesome" doesn't even cover it. The details in that movie were wonderful and surprising and hilarious. And I also very much enjoyed Superman Returns. I just don't know what to say.

Posted by: Kimberly on February 20, 2007 10:18 AM

The other thing that got me about the Superman movie was the constant product placement through out the entire thing. I've always wondered but now the mystery is solved, Superman drinks Budweiser.

Posted by: AZDave on February 20, 2007 10:39 AM

Let me add to the criticism of Superman Returns:

1. Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane? She looks too young, not just to play the part - but to have a five-year-old kid. Parker Posey would have been a better choice: She's older, but not too old; she's pretty, but not too pretty; and most importantly, she's capable of pulling off the nuances of portraying a woman in Lois Lane's situation in this movie.

2. A friggin' kid? What the hell?

3. The whole Lex Luthor real estate scam that kills millions (BILLIONS!) of people is just a re-hash of the plot of the first movie. Even if you're not going to pick a new villain, at least give him a greater ambition than owning a bunch of land.

4. This movie is supposed to take place after Superman II - shouldn't the villain be harder to defeat than General Zod?

5. A friggin' kid? What the hell?

Posted by: Assman on February 20, 2007 10:55 AM

The Legend is a terrible movie. However, I finally got around to seeing Kiss of the Dragon this weekend, and that is a quite good movie.

Posted by: Lala on February 20, 2007 12:33 PM

I wish there was a mathematical or logical function you could apply to movie previews to determine if a movie was actually worth seeing, for example, (human faces*cliches/instances of Christopher Walken)

Posted by: rob cockerham on February 20, 2007 1:55 PM

If it's 'superman is a dick' pics you're after, check out www.superdickery.com - their section on comic book sexual innuendoes kicks ass.

Posted by: stringman on February 20, 2007 2:55 PM

Superman derives his strength, et al, from our yellow sun (from what i can remember.) So:
1. the kid would probably need some years in the sun to get powerful, maybe it's cumulative or lois applied to much sunscreen.
2. So he gets his power from the sun and then flies millions of miles from it? Does the radiation stuff stick?

As for super-sperm, superman seems capable of controlling his strength - like he only breaks the picture glass by getting all emotional and out of control. So, yeah, the superprostate can probably be regulated.

My biggest beef with the movie was the heavy handed christ-figureism. Marlon Brando keeps saying "You're my son, my ONLY son who I sent to this world to save it..." He dies (mostly) and rises again. I was expecting the writers to just start overlaying "Superman = Jesus" title cards.

Posted by: muddylemon on February 20, 2007 5:14 PM

Lol...sorry about the hate post, but if you knew me you'd know that I talk through my ass a lot and say things exaggerated for laughs to make fun of myself. I don't really hate you (although not liking the movie does not help you at all)....just wanted to clear that up.

And also, I didn't really like Batman Begins, I'm a Superman girl...and I won't hear a word against that movie. (Clearly)

Maybe I'll put you back on my list.

;)

Posted by: Ashley on February 20, 2007 5:46 PM

Aressted development is key. I would pack that if I was going to be in Nova Scotia for 3 months out of the year, yeah I definetly wouldnt want to be without that then.

You have inspired me to re-watch all mine.

Posted by: jeNNIFER WEISS on February 20, 2007 8:35 PM

I pretty much agree with everything you said. Espically the Superman Returns, they should erase that movie from time. It was just so awfull i dont know how they even got money for it.

Posted by: V on February 20, 2007 10:22 PM

Brokeback had some decent acting and there are some interesting elements to the direction (what I thought of as telling the early part of the story in condensed visual telegrams).

That said, overall it was more of an essay than a movie. It also shows that a whole bunch of heteros can't make a romantic movie about two guys without imposing a lot of clinical distance on it. I also found it almost impossible to like Heath Ledger's character whose sudden ability to communicate with his daughter at the end was ridiculously arbitrary.

Posted by: Leroy on February 21, 2007 7:43 AM

Are you kidding me? Season 2 of AD was absolutely hilarious! Savor it, not plow through!

Posted by: ism on February 21, 2007 10:07 AM

Oh dear Matthew, pensive is far too an innuendo-inducing word to use in a review of a gay-optimised cowboy film!
Rob - South Africa

Posted by: Rob-e on February 23, 2007 4:50 AM

Bwahahahaha! What's better, the reviews or the enraged comments over them? Who knew so many blog readers were Superman addicts....

I thought Superman was o.k. Didn't blow my socks off like I thought and Luthor's entire goal of creating more real estate that was made up of large, graphite-like, rock was disappointing. Park Posey ruled! She should be digitally added into all the Superman movies. I suggest everyone take in the Brian Singer podcasts about making that movie and subbing in for Peter Jackson on King Kong for two weeks at the same time, hysterical.

I haven't seen sunshine or truth yet, and I will avoid The Legend (which at first glance I thought you were talking about Legend, with Tom Cruise and Tim Curry as The Lord Of Darkness, great character name, do the call him Darkness for short?http://imdb.com/title/tt0089469/ - and if you were talking about Legend, we were going to have to throw down. There are only two unicorns left, hello?!). I pretty much agree with the rest of it, so you can hold on to that.

HERO - is a great Chinese martial arts movie that is insanely beautiful to watch, get that instead of The Legend. Or get Legend and watch that again, oooo, creepy dude from Children of the Corn go away!

And I don't know if BB was pensive, I would call it emotionally repressed and muted, which I think was the point, right?

And finally, a super-kid? I don't even think that's genectically possible. First of all, Superman isn't super-human, he's Kryptonian, we don't know what kind of crazed hybrid this kid is going to be? Totally lame-o. When he got shot in the eye was cool too.

I'm out, great blog, I always come here when the man has me feeling down and find something to "actually LOL" at... there's another topic right there.

Posted by: TBW on February 23, 2007 9:50 AM