|Butt-Numb-A-Thon 8 (12.09.06 - 12.10.06, 11 movies)|
|12.09.06||Black Snake Moan||Craig Brewer||OK... last year my BNAT write-up was absurdly long. Like every review that comes into AICN combined. This year I've been putting it off for almost a week because there's lots of movies and I feel compelled to talk about each one. So this may end up being really short because now I just want to get it over with and back to normal. Plus round 2 of air guitar is next tuesday and I have to save my note-taking energy for that. so here we go.|
Happy to be in the line that's sure to get in. Poor Micah. I got cheated on my gift bag (no transformer!) oh well. Good seat except for that guy's hat right in front of me. starts with:
Chirpy. animated short about a little bird who eats mushrooms and has sex with a horse until he finishes and drowns her.
Trailers: Stunt Rock, Raw Force, Teenage Trampe, The Telephone Book (The World's greatest obscene phone caller ("I can seduce the president")).
Normally the first movie of the day would be vintage but this year Harry's mixing it up. In hindsight, I think this was a pretty big mistake. For me at least. It ended up hurting my enjoyment of all the vintage films. more on that later though, for now I was excited to see Black Snake Moan as soon as possible.
I think both of Craig Brewer's movies hinge on your ability to buy the main actor performing music. If you don't feel Terence Howard rapping or Sam Jackson playing blues, I bet the movie falls apart for you. Since I'm not particularly knowledgeable in the blues and am a pretty big Sam Jackson fan, i had no trouble buying it or the kinda loony premise or how it kind of baits and switches you (much like Hustle & Flow).
Thinking on it now, I think Brewer is like an anti-M. Night Shyamalan. Instead of setting up normal genre movies like alien invasion or ghosts to lure people into the theater then subjecting them to egomaniacal treatises on faith or storytelling or whatever, Brewer kind of dares people to see movies that sound really offbeat or cliche then rewards those who show up with an actual drama. I guess depending on how you feel about his movies he can be closer or further apart to Shyamalan but I think there's an element of surprise or bait and switch to both their work.
So I really liked this movie. I've never found Christina Ricci sexy but this is as close as I've gotten to being turned on by her, and I love Sam Jackson's hair and completely buy it when he plays the blues. I'm not sure I'd go on and on about how great an actor Justin TImberlake is, but whatever.
Craig Brewer was there for a Q&A and said he'd be styaing till 6am. that's cool.
|12.09.06||Dreamgirls||Bill Condon||So I don't really like musicals. I like some. I'm a huge fan of pretty much every Busby Berkely number, and like their container movies ok as well. What I hate and have never been able to buy into are the musicals where the songs pop up in the middle of scenes like opera... where characters are talking then all of a sudden they're singing. I hate that shit.|
Well this movie does both. It's chock full of motown-esque (but not as good) songs then it also has the "I'm so angry" songs as well... It's really long and predictable and constantly makes you want to hear the real, much better, songs that they're trying to resemble. I really only found two aspects of this movie interesting:
1)Eddie Murphy was good in it. maybe not as good as everyone's slobbering about, but good. I really think he should do a few more movies that are ensembles or in supporting roles instead of "eddie murphy movies." That kind of thing goes a long way in rejuvinating your career... it's also advice I'd give Arnold Schwarzeneggar if he ever acts again.
2) I thought it was interesting how they mention several times in the movie that Beyonce can't sing while the American Idol drop-out is like the best singer ever. Beyonce's management must find that thrilling.
So BIll Condon was there for a Q&A afterward. Very short and awkward. Only two questions, which is weird because the audience clapped after every song. And there are A LOT of songs in this movie. so that's a lot of clapping for a movie that no one's interested in afterward.
But that's BNAT I guess. I know this sounds really whiney and wrong to complain about an audience that's TOO enthusiastic and respectful of movies, but it got to be a bit much. Every movie, people are clapping for no reason. I'm all for clapping at the end if you like it or for special guests being here or for people you love in the beginning credits, but after every scene? With a normal audience that would be something pretty special, but here people were throwing applause out like an old lady playing quarter slots in Vegas. All day. ALl night. it got old.
|12.09.06||Once Upon A Girl...||Don Jurwich||So I didn't like Dreamgirls. That's ok, I'm not into musicals. It seemed like a good enough movie if you're into it... ok. |
So this next movie was just bad.
Harry explained that it got him horny and no one had ever heard of this movie and there's only one print in the world and he got it and it's an animated porn made by the Hanna-Barbera guys in their off-time with mainstay cartoon voice actors playing the roles of naughty fairy tales.
Trailers: Panorama Blue, Female Animal, Baby Love (going for the whole pedo crowd), Girls Are For Loving (a Ginger movie), and Underage (REALLY going for the pedo crowd).
Once Upon A Girl: There's a short live-action wrapper where Mother Goose (in drag) goes on trial for some reason and has to tell these stories which make the judge and jury hot (both literally and figuratively, everyone was covered in sweat). So there's three naughty fairy tales, each went on too long. My favorite quote was from Neil afterward when he said "I'm watching these scenes and each scene is going on a bit too long then it dawned on me: wait a minute! I'm supposed to be masturbating!" Ugh. It makes me wonder which parts got Harry Hot.
It's just bad. poor animation, lots of looping, little creativity. All the expected jokes repeated ad nauseum. It was maybe the longest 77 minutes ever.
|12.09.06||Inherit the Wind||Stanley Kramer||So two bad movies in a row for me. Hopefully the next one will get me back up. what is it? Inherit the Wind.|
Great. Am I back in 9th grade biology?
I won't really say this is a bad movie - I remember liking it ok when I was in school - but it's the exact opposite movie I needed right then. Sure the idea of an animated porn/evolution courtroom drama double feature is HIGH-larious, but actually sitting through it is a different story. So about 15, 20 minutes in I realized that BNAT is not a magical journey that transcends time and space... it's 11 movies in a row. So after the third reprise of "gimme that old-time religion" and the first time Gene Kelly makes a long-winded speech about freedom (to thunderous applause), i ent out to the lobby, walked around a bit outside, followed Jarrette to his car to look at how much cooler his gift bag was than mine (while he made a comment to the AICN talkback on his phone that would later create controversy) and chatted with the people who also decided to sit this one out.
I think this is the first entry to this journal for a movie that I didn't watch all the way through. Usually if i catch a half hour's worth on cable or something i don't count it... but since it's BNAT (and I actually did this twice), I'm including it for completeness' sake.
|12.09.06||Rocky Balboa||Sylvester Stallone||Finally, a movie I was interested in. With The Set-Up as the false title everybody pretty much knew this would be Rocky. My interested for this movie started at no-interest and raised to morbid-suriosity because of the trailer.|
Trailers: Rocky (re-issue), Rocky 2, Rocky 3, Rocky 4, Rocky 5.
A little bit into the Rocky 5 trailer, the motor stopped on the projector and a frame burned out. Tim League got on the mic saying they had installed a Dolby Shit-sensor for the occasion and apparently Rocky 5 was rejected, so let's watch this Sylvester Stallone video intro instead. I forget what he said but it's basically "yo, butt-numbers. enjoy my movie. happy birthday, Harry."
You know, I really liked this movie. I love it when actors are in roles that also mirror themselves in emotional or thematic ways. Like casting Shirley Maclaine as the used-to-be-wild grandmother in In Her Shoes or the scene in Road to Perdition where Paul Newman mourns the death of his son. In here, Stallone's Rocky is kind of used up in life, forgotten and out of the spotlight... but he feels an urge to prove that he's still there, still a point to existing. Of course Rocky isn't nearly that articulate to actually voice and of this... it all comes out in likes like "i think i could do something" or "ey."
So you apply the Rocky movie formula to this new portrait of him and it really comes off I think. Aside from the incredibly remarkable crowd experience (for this one i went along with the clap-happy crowd who all stomped their feet and sang along to the theme song during the training montage and cheered rocky along during tthe end fight scene like it was happening live), I really feel the maturity in Rocky and the movie. I've read on AICN that Stallone's ideal Rocky experience would be to play Rocky 1 then at the end fade to black for a few moments then come back up with the beginning of this one. Just a massive jump cut past all the glory and whatever the sequels were right from the beginning to the end.
My overriding memory of the last time I watched the first Rocky (a looong time ago) was that it's really a story about a loser. He meets a homely girl and finds a very small piece of happiness... kind of like a boxing version of Marty. And this one feels very similar to that. Most of it's pretty bittersweet and melancholy that acts in great contrast to the few moments of triumph and joy. It really worked I thought. Got a huge kick out of this movie.
|12.09.06||Knocked Up||Judd Apatow||Rocky made everybody happy. It's time for a comedy.|
Harry said that Fanboys dropped out due to reshoots but the guys were still there. Writer Ernie Cline (AIRWOLF!!!), director and producer all talked about the movie's inception and all that crap then showed a 7-10 minute clip show that was pretty funny in a very very geeky way. It went over huge for BNAT but... who knows what that means. We aren't normal.
Trailers: The Mafu Cage, The Buttercup Chain, Pepe (That's me! starring an assload of celebrity chairs), Matango.
So the replacement film... Jarrette walks up to me and says he just saw Seth Rogen in the lobby so it's Knocked Up. This was my biggest and most pleasant surprise of the entire event. Not in a loving-a-movie-i-thought-i'd-hate way but like a general life type of surprise. Knocked Up had never once been mentioned by anyone as possibly playing here, it's not coming out till June, and I saw it. I didn't believe it. i had to go out to the lobby and see Seth Rogen with my own eyes, then i went back and sat down and did a little happy dance in my seat. I am a huge fan not only of 40 Year-Old Virgin but Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared, the Ben Stiller Show, Anchorman, Talledega Nights... pretty much everything Judd Apatow's been a part of. When he was in town last year for Austin Film Festival and did a little presentation, i sat front row - probably a little too close for his comfort - and got to see his nose hairs while he talked about Virgin deleted scenes and showed a failed pilot of his called North Hollywood (which I thought was very funny). so... I'm about as big a fan as i can be without stalking or forgetting the last time i went up to someone i really liked and respected and made a complete fanboy fool out of myself and following him around like a puppy.
anyway. I guess you can sum that last paragraph up in one word: bias.
I loved Knocked Up. I didn't care that it was two and a half hours. I didn't care that it was basically Nine Months but funny. I laughed at every joke. Completely in love with this movie. Hopefully, after they trim it down for theatrical release, they'll bring it back to this cut for the unrated DVD (like 40 year-old virgin) because I have a feeling that the stuff that'll get snipped is stuff with the posse of stoner friends made up of Jason Segal, Jonah Hill, Martin Starr, and Jay Baruchel. That's a shame because I really loved every second of that stuff. In fact, I hope they someday get to make a movie together where they are exactly like they are here except the movie's about them instead of pregnancy.
But a couple of other people in small roles that are exceptionally hilarious are Alan Tudyk and kristen Wiig who play E! executives. Wiig especially... every one of her lines and her delivery are amazing. Loved this movie. Wanted to have unprotected sex with it to ensure another Judd Apatow movie 9 months from now.
|12.10.06||Black Book||Paul Verhoeven||The next movie was introduced as Teen Wolf. This little short guy Jeff Mahler had been asking Harry to play Teen Wolf every year so he finally broke down, saying that since Michael J. Fox was such a huge stem cell guy, that following a pregnancy movie would somehow make enough sense to program it. The light go down, Teen Wolf starts up, a few minutes play and the motor cuts out again, burning the Teen Wolf print! Tim's voice: Looks like that shit-o-meter just went off again, let's watch the new Paul Verhoeven movie Black Book instead."|
So... I was kind of bummed out. It's been a long time since I've seen Teen Wolf and was kind of looking forward to watching it. So it took me a few minutes to fully switch over to the somber WWII undercover resistance fighter movie that is Black Book.
Black Book is a great movie. I think it's a huge leap forward for Verhoeven, but I'm glad to see he didn't lose any of the blunt explicit...ness? explicity? awesomality of his earlier stuff (meaning American stuff. I haven't seen his early early stuff although I'm told it's good. If only the Alamo would do a retrospective...). The violence in here is sudden and brutal, just like dumping a vat of toxic waste on a guy then liquifying him with a truck. There's also some great nudity and the leading lady is wordlessly beautiful. I love how in Europe really hot leading ladies that are great actresses can get naked and not expect an Oscar for being so brave (fuckin' Mosnters Ball).
So I feel that this movie is pretty undeniably great. We were making fun of Tony for taking a while to warm up to thinking it's ok... I'd really like to see this again some time on its own though because for as good as it is, it's a very heavy movie and a pretty long movie. While I was fully engrossed the whole time and really impressed with how good it was, it did take up my excess levels of energy... a large part of that was probably ducking and weaving to read the subtitles around the guy in front of me's huge head. So it was just all kinds of good, but left me pretty used up.
|12.10.06||The Informer||John Ford||So after Black Book they passed out this energy drink called Cocaine. It was kind of a thing beforehand where they had this guy drive a cache of it down from Dallas or wherever so we could all have some... I checked out the website and it had a hilarious bit from The Daily Show making fun of the drink and the guy. When they passed it out, everybody I asked told me how horrible it tasted in a different way. I looked at it and it was warm and had lots of sugar so I opted for an ice-cold sugar-free red bull instead. Since I don't drink coffee or drink that much caffeinated soda much anymore, I felt it jolt through my bloodstream. I was wired.|
so the next movie harry plays is an early 30s John Ford drama called The Informer.
Trailer: In the Nick of Time
Now, I've never seen this movie, but even the best John Ford movies seem a bit deliberate and lengthy to me. Not that I don't like my John Ford, but they are not what I would call energetic movies. So I really think it's a cruel joke that Harry showed this now (the middle of the night). This movie is SO slow... and filled with nondescript foggy sets and people talking slowly and walking slowly and not saying much because they're drunk... it just has to be his idea of funny. At one point Tim walked down to the front of the theater which made me smile because it meant the movie's almost over so he's about to get on the mic again... but he walks back after a few seconds and mentions to someone (I just wanted to see how many people are asleep). Seriously, 75% of the audience slept through this movie. I still contend that the only people who stayed awake (myself included) did so due to caffeine rush instead of any interest in the movie.
I've heard that it's a great classic of a film and it very well might be, but I spent the entire time wishing for sleep. Harry spent 90% of the movie out in the lobby which also pisses me off, but since I hadn't seen it before and clearly wasn't falling asleep I didn't want to walk out on a movie I'd never seen.
|12.10.06||Raw Force||Edward D. Murphy||So Tim FINALLY heads back down to the front of the theater, signalling the end of the movie for real this time, and The Informer mercifully ends. Great... the deep middle of the night, Time for Tim's fucked up exploitation movie! Zack comes out and introduces Raw Force.|
Trailers: Challenge of the Lady Ninja, The Legend of Hillbilly John (look out for the Uglybird!), It Came Without Warning, Cannibal Girls, Curse (new favorite trailer).
Maybe if I hadn't seen it before, much less just two months ago so everything is fresh in my mind, I'd be excited. But as it is, I watched up until the party scenes then went out to the lobby and talked. Funnily enough though, moving around outside made me tired, which sucked because I spent the next two movies intermittently fighting my heavy eyelids. So my memory of both the next films are not 100% complete.
|12.10.06||Smokin' Aces||Joe Carnahan||There was supposed to be a Joe Carnahan video intro but it wasn't here yet so they just played the movie: another very pleasant surprise because I knew it was gonna be really energetic and keep me up.|
um.. well here's how the movie's structured. there's like a half hour of really intricate exposition followed by a half hour of really awesome violence followed by a half hour of really needless explanation. I tried my best in the first part, woke right up for the second part, and slowly faded for the third part. The violence is pretty damn cool... Tarantino/Guy Ritchie type stuff... but the ending got really unecessary and the beginning... I'll probably like the beginning more when I'm fully awake for it. Jason Bateman is great in the two scenes he's in though. Not a bad movie, pretty fun. I remember liking it ok, excusing a few little details.
|12.10.06||300||Zack Snyder||The Carnahan intro came while the movie played so they played it after. It was pretty funny, basically him singing happy birthday then shooting a PA who interrupts him. ha. then Zack SNyder was there to intro 300 in person ("I heard it makes a good morning movie") and did a Q&A afterward.|
300 resembles my memory of the comic very closely, although in quickly flipping through it again I see a fair amount of differences along with one very visual thing that i didn't see in the movie (maybe i was blinking during that scene though). But basically my memory of the movie is that there's a great slow-fast-slow battle scene followed by time-filling background stuff then more battle then more flashback back and forth for the whole movie. My other major memory is that everyone had 2 or 4 too many abs. I really think a lot of the abs in this movie are CGI. I can buy the pecs but not the abs. These spartans have 12-packs, which just isn't right.
So I kind of forced myself to stay lucid for the scenes I knew would kick ass, but the rest kind of degraded as my blinks started getting longer and longer. I will say that I think I was more with it for both Smokin Aces and 300 this year than I was for V for Vendetta last year, but it still sucks when you're not 100% awake to be able to relax and enjoy the movie. I remember liking 300 though. Snyder's comment that it's more of a Spartan fever dream than any sort of realistic historical drama is very apt.
So that was my BNAT. Except for Dreamgirls I liked every new movie and either didn't watch or didn't care for any of the vintage movies. If it were up to me, I would've showed The Informer first, dreamgirls in the middle of the night to wake the fans up (and let me sleep), and perhaps swap out some of the vintages... if you're gonna play Chirpy you really don't need Once Upon a Girl... but oh well. That's why it's Harry's birthday and not mine. That's what DVRfest is for I guess.
BNAT round up!
-A Man Called Flintstone
-Witness for the Prosecution
-I Was A Teenage Werewolf
-The Quiet Man
-Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires
-Black Snake Moan
-Once Upon A Girl...
-Inherit the Wind
Food & Drink
-Chicken Caesar Salad
-1 caffeine pill which didn't work.