Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Happy Vampsgiving!

Oh, right! The picture... Anyway, big surprise. The latest and greatest Twilight entry is #1 again. On the other hand, George Clooney's latest non-crowd-pleaser is #10 again! Not going to make my one-week wonder list! Yay! But back to Twilight. See, they COULD have released it near Halloween, but wisely chose close to Thanksgiving instead. Maybe next year they'll pick Christmas. Vampires aren't just for Halloween anymore, you see... nah, still the week before Xsgiving, according to the notoriously unreliable IMDb, my go-to source for movie information. Oh, is Jacob going to do like Puss in Boots and get his own spinoff series? Might as well! But really, who wants to read about wolfmen's mid-life crises? Totally not sexy.
In second-place news, The Muppets reboot takes 2nd place, if not Manhattan. Yes, despite the hip critics protestations, Disney still knows how to make the box office its b'eatch when it wants to, as long as they spend more on advertising than they expect to earn on opening weekend. Meanwhile, the latest lamprey attaches itself to Christmas: this time, a non-tipsy Arthur. Lousy Brits. And a PG movie, no less! The war on Christmas begins, with the adults taking Christmas joy away from our tiny tots. A Silent Night, Deadly Night reboot is surely next. If he played his cards right, what's-his-face could've had that plum role. Arthur, son of Santa... time for the next generation to tentatively take the reindeer reins of power... JESSE EISENBERG! That's it. Sorry, Jesse, but I guess you're not a crucial part of my personal neural net. Let's face it: James McAvoy's no spring chicken anymore! Jesse would've been the perfect post-modern hipster wise-cracking son of Santa. Try again next year when the sequel gets released.
And finally, Martin Scorsese, the patron saint of violent, R-rated movies, finally felt the need to make a film his young relatives could watch. Universally loved by the critics, all-but-shunned by the movie-attending public, Hugo comes in fifth with only 11 million dollars. Well, that's half way there! Only 159 million more to go, and you've covered the film's budget... as for advertising, distribution costs, etc., well... I'm sure the studio thinks of it as a long-term investment. After all, this is not Transformers we're talking about! Might as well see what Michael Bay's up to. Nothing new on the director part yet, but... The Hauntrepreneur? I gotta go.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Movie Review: The Maiden Heist

Whatever The Onion says about it, that's what I say.

Good double bill with: what else? The Cooler!

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

N'yuks and bolts

Once again, we stumble across a Stooge short that needs no introduction. Without a doubt, A Plumbing We Will Go is one of the (Stooge) greats, and deserves its place amongst the top 10 or 20 Stooge shorts ever made... then again, there is that whole Dudley Dickerson subplot, which I find to be unnecessary. Oh, so you're saying you prefer NO black people to a bug-eyed black person? No, I'm not saying that. Not too many dignified black roles in these Stooge shorts... then again, not too many dignified roles of ANY ethnic stripe in a Stooge film exist. Sure, the rich types start out dignified, but live to see their stations quickly eroded, usually right out from under their feet. Still, there's the whole plumbing sub-plot.  Let's focus on that, shall we?


It seems to have been a while, but once again the Stooges find themselves in the loving arms of the wrong side of the law where they squarely belong. Of course, as an amateur lawyer, even I have to object to the prosecution's argument. "Evasive attitude?" Where is that in the Constitution, exactly? If we started locking people up for "evasive" attitudes, there'd be no one left in the world! Then again... well, for brevity's sake, let's leave aside the fact that the three of them are on the witness stand together as one unit, with Curly and Larry sitting in Moe's lap. Kinda gay? Or very, very gay? Personally, I think Brett Ratner should apologize to GLAAD not for his comments, but for Rush Hours 2 and 3 at the very least. Probably Red Dragon, too. Anyway, back to the trial. The Stooges are on trial for looting a chicken coop that belonged to a woman with a good comedy name. The judge throws the case out, leaving aside the fact that Curly's hat is apparently full of chicken down. Curly lets out a ripe n'yuk n'yuk, then a nyaah-nyaah as he attempts to pluck all the feathers out of the air. Gossip, indeed. Bud Jamison gives Curly a good, swift kick in the ass, and they're off to get locked up a second time. Bud immediately spys the boys trying to fish a fish out of a display bowl in front of a pet store called "The Doggy Pet Shop." Moe gives Curly the ol' Oliver Hardy treatment. You know how Oliver Hardy's always slapping Stan Laurel's hand for one offence or another? Anyway, Curly runs afoul of a mannequin dressed as a cop, and he goes to town on it. Let the slippery slope begin! Guess what happens next... no, go ahead! Guess! That's right, Bud Jamison steps in front of the mannequin, but he manages to hit Curly first. Let the chase begin. Meanwhile, that dirty ol' bastard Monte Collins is performing a magic show that the Stooges get tangled up in. The cop sees them in a magic box and storms the stage. The Stooges eventually get away in a plumber's truck. Trucks were easier to steal back then, apparently. And car accidents were more common. The cop grabs on to ... you know, a thing with wheels on it that gets towed behind the truck? Larry tells Curly to cut it loose, and Bud Jamison ends up in a vat of watered-down plaster, or something. As good a place for an act break as any.


The boys stop in front of a house. Larry and Curly fall out of the back of the truck. "Why don't ya call your stops?" asks Curly. A butler comes out and admonishes the Stooges for being late. (He thinks they're plumbers, you see... well, he's about to go to the School of Hard N'Yuks!) The way I figure it, it's time to apply my "Jerk Mandate" rule. Because the butler acted like a jerk, it's okay if the boys trash the house. Another good example of the "Jerk Mandate:" the demise of Abigail Craven in the first Addams Family movie. Because she acted like a jerk to Fester, she clearly deserves what happens to her... I forget what happened to her. Anyway, back to the Stooges. They see Police Officer Bud Jamison riding after them on a bicycle, grab a bunch of plumbing equipment, and storm the house. They perhaps should've taken one turn in the road while making their escape.
The butler informs them that there's a leak in the basement. Betraying their extreme ignorance, Larry asks "Where's the basement?" Curly compounds the ignorance, and exclaims "Upstairs!" Oscar for Larry, anyone? Nah, his Oscar moment comes a little later on. They eventually end up DOWNSTAIRS in the basement. Moe takes a rather nasty tumble in the excitement but gets right back up again. (Moe 5:08) Professor Moe, at 5:17, for once, has questions of his own: "What do you know about plumbing?" So much to learn. Larry's Oscar moment happens at 5:24 when he says "How can you fix it while it's leaking?" Curly and Moe get sidetracked in a competition to see who can nod their head the most, after which Curly is off to wreak his own havoc. Moe and Larry proceed to destroy the basement, but they do it in small steps. Another Oscar moment for Larry at 6:46. (Larry 6:46) Curly has a moment where he f... messes with the censors at the Hays Commission as he interrupts the shower of some snooty dude. Maybe he's the token Brit, who knows. After the guy wrapped in a towel leaves, Curly proceeds to destroy the upstairs bathroom. They seem to have dubbed in Curly's voice at 7:42. God stops the water once to get a laugh, but after that, Lord here comes the flood. Curly is powerless to stop the water coming from the knob, and the hole's a little bigger than one finger, and the water's more powerful than Curly's hat.
Back to Moe and Larry. Larry suddenly gets inspired to wander off and cause his own damage. But before he goes, he manages to hurt Moe in the process. Moe gets hit twice, then Larry, in a fit of panic, gets hit twice, but I think Moe got the worse end of the deal. Maybe Larry's Oscar moment is at 8:38, who knows. I'm obviously not the one to make the final decision about something this important. (Larry 8:38) Meanwhile, Curly continues on his plumber's journey. It pays off later on, trust me.
And now... enter Dudley Dickerson, the token bug-eyed black dude. He earns his stuntman credentials on this one, as he ends up falling on his ass about twenty times too many for my taste. Oh, I just hope I didn't laugh too much at it when I was a kid. If so, I can never run for president.


I don't know where to break between acts two and three, but perhaps Curly's final plumbing job is a good place to start. Curly managed to get ahead of the water for a few seconds, but alas, his labyrinthine piping could only slow down the water so much. Curly's Oscar moment surely happens at 0:27. (Curly 0:27) Followed immediately by Larry's Oscar moment, when he puts that snooty butler in his place: first in words, and then, with a FACE FULL OF DIRT!! Heh heh heh... actually, it looked more like a square piece of foam... hopefully, it was. Meanwhile, Curly finds his way back to Moe... the hard way. Curly ruins Moe's plumbing work, and Curly has another Oscar moment at 1:28 by screaming "I resent that!" Good line reading. One for the books. They dub his voice again at 1:39, I'm afraid. Curly goes to get another piece of pipe, like he said, and then proceeds to destroy the house's electrical system. Fortunately, he's dried out quickly, after being soaked to the bone, so he'll stave off electrical shock for a while. More capering with Dudley Dickerson. Needles to say, the science of comedy is stretched to its limits in this one, but how can you not be won over by the genial nature of this film? It just wants to entertain! Something like that. Oh yeah, and Larry emerges from the ground like some kind of bald-headed mole. I think they used that clip again in a Shemp film. Most expensive shot of the whole movie right there.

Maybe this is where Act Three begins, even though there's not much left. The Stooges take an early swipe at television, a medium they would eventually conquer. But for now, it provides a good laugh. This is where the comedy dividends pay off with the initial investments made. Oh, the indignities that Bess Flowers has to suffer. It only gets worse, especially after Curly emerges from the basement. Curly patches up the hole he made in the upstairs bathroom with a throw rug. And, of course, as often happens in films like this, we find out that everything's connected. Guess who's house they trashed? Well, I just hate to spoil it, but needles to say, the Stooges never give up hope. The three of them are all in the basement now. Larry tunneled his way back, apparently. Moe tells Curly to "go up and collect for the job." Is he serious? Apparently, deadly serious. When the owner of the house ends up in the basement the same way Curly did a few scenes ago, Moe is rightly enraged. Why, look at the damage they caused by falling into the basement! The magic act also makes a return appearance, and the hole that Larry dug comes in handy, but it also suffers from a plot device: I thought he dug only one hole! Also, the special effect of the final shot: I wonder how it played on the big screen back in the day? Probably not as well as it should have, but sometimes you have to take those visual risks for the sake of the big picture.

And so, is A Plumbing We Will Go better than the sum of its parts? Arguably, not all of the parts, but you gotta admire the effort of the good parts. I understand James Cameron used this film as inspiration for Titanic!... okay, maybe not.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Auteur Watch - Josh and Jonas Pate

Apparently they're twins, which makes sense from the picture... sort of. They've still got their whole professional lives ahead of them, but there's probably enough to apply my handy decade theory. If pressed, the brothers would probably say that the 90s were their favourite decade. Just starting out, lean and hungry, rubbing elbows with the greats, and getting the best cast of 1992 together for their debut feature, The Grave. I'm sure Maxim magazine would say that it's Gabrielle Anwar's greatest role of all time, and they'd wonder aloud why she can't get more roles like that. Then came 1997's Deceiver. What is it about having Ellen Burstyn in your movie? Or Faye Dunaway? It's just not the 70s anymore, guys. But it'd be the last time a decade was so clearly defined by the tacky, tacky clothes.
And so, the Pates survived their cinematic adolescence, trying in vain to be the next Coen brothers, deciding against it, and going full bore into TV production in the 2000s and beyond. But they're not going to make the same mistakes that, say, Rod Daniel made. No, their superhero/supernatural projects will be a cut above the average dreck. And judging from their respective resumés, it appears that Jonas is the alpha brother. Harder working, more stuff on the plate. Why, Josh doesn't even get credit on Shrink! For shame. Hate to see that. I dunno; maybe I'm naive, but what I saw of Shrink I liked. I know the Onion didn't care for it, but frankly, they're just too damn picky. If Tina Fey's not in it, it doesn't get an A. Another complaint was that the germophobe guy in Shrink wasn't consistent. The germophobe guy would wash his hands all the time, sure, and yet he slept with a germ-friendly prostitute, if I remember correctly. Well, that's the thing about love. When the little head does the thinking, all bets and rules are off. The most primordial biological impulses will not be denied. Ever. Case in point: The Grave!
As always, the 2010s are looking to be the bestest decade ever, because in the midst of all the dreck they're producing for TV, I smell a pet project! Something called Way Down South. Way Down South, resting in my arms, I've been waiting all night long just to talk to you. Way down South, do you have to leave so soon... sorry, got sidetracked again. These blank.gifs are rearing their ugly heads again. The Pates were born in North Carolina, which I guess is technically part of the South. Same reason Brad Pitt's character in Inglorious Basturds was from Quentin Tarantino's home town or state. There's just something about that damn South. Must be a yin yang thing. Us snooty Yankees are either the yin or the yang to the South's deliberately unsnooty yang or yin. Emmy Rossum, gotta like her! Fuhgettaboutit...

Hey, get a room, guys!

Oh, right... I shoulda figured that the latest installment of Twilight would make the box office its bitch. Typical. Well, it's for the kids. The kids are all right, when it comes to the movies. I guess George Clooney's just not the draw he once was, as with the Ocean's Eleven movies. No one wants to see him in About Schmidt, except maybe me, but I can't get to the theatre these days. Gotta work on that. The other debut this week is Happy Feet 2, another sequel. Lotta sequels on the chart this week! Harold & Kumar 3, Puss in Boots (Shrek 4.5?), Jack and Jill... I think of it as a sequel. I think of it as Billy Madison XII... something like that. Close enough.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Rock, Paper, ... Avalanche?

Time for this week's Stooge film: Rockin' Thru the Rockies. It's a rather nondescript one, if I do say so myself. Not in my regular Stooge short regimen, or pantheon. The problem could be the presence of too many Stooge staples: the swinging branch, the running to dinner, the running afoul of a wild beast during sleep... let's take an in-depth look, shall we?


You do have to give them credit. At least the setting seems unique. It's a period piece, such as they are. The Stooges were on a tight budget as it was, but fortunately the props they work with are pretty ancient as it is. The Stooges play guides taking a troupe of three lovely ladies and their battle ax manager across the country to an engagement in San Francisco. It's apparently the post-Civil War period and they've got a covered wagon, so it's basically the blind leading the blind. Now, like any seasoned film star, the Stooges believe in a good segué as much as the next guy. Here's the segué we get to introduce the Stooges: the battle ax says "Where are those three SUN BAKED HAMS?" Cue the swinging branch gag! The third one always does the trick. To further set the setting, Moe says "Quiet! You want the Indians to hear us?" As always, Curly provides the counter-intuitive genius: "Yeah! I'm sick and tired of looking for Indians! Let them look for us for a change!" Ever the parrot, Larry repeats this line, which Moe finds to be the bigger insult, apparently. Thank God the battle ax rings the dinner triangle. She's strong enough to knock their three heads together, and she does, further threatening to shoot them if they don't get them to San Francisco in time. Tough crowd! Moe does the lousiest job of sweet-talking ever, and spares their miserable lives for 13 more minutes, long enough to indulge their love of food. To the corn beef we go! Right after Curly almost kisses Moe on the mouth.
The boys... well, Curly, runs afoul of a stubborn can of corn beef. Curly tries opening the can with an axe... gee, I wonder what's going to happen. Moe and Larry go double-team on Curly's ass: Moe with a fist to the stomach, which causes Curly to bow forward, and Larry with a fist to the head, which causes Curly to stand up straight again. Oh, dude! So harsh. You may never see this move again! But circumstances were dire, and you'd think Curly would get the message. No such luck, and he ends up causing further damage. Long story short, Curly ends up shooting Moe in the foot and scaring the horses. After the ruckus dies down, one of the goils says to Curly, "Well, if there ARE any Indians they certainly know where to find us!" Curly doesn't quite espouse his logic on that particular topic, but he does make another desperate attempt at an actual joke. Larry gets a big line at this point: "Indians, Indians. Hah hah! Why, there isn't any of 'em for miles around!" I understand that this part was submitted to the Oscar committee. Alas, they didn't think Larry was Oscar-worthy that year; Jimmy Stewart in The Philadelphia Story would just have to do. Politics. But this might as well be the unsubtle transition between Acts One and Two. Judgment call on my part, I know.

We meet the Indians. Since they're movie Indians, we don't have to feel as bad... something like that. Well, they are comedy Indians, of the "Escrow" tribe... get it? New Stooge character actor Dick Curtis will just have to do as the chief Indian. He says "How," of course. Curly says "How do you do," giving us a glimpse into future post-stroke Curly line readings. The eviction notice is given: the Stooges and company have two sundowns to get going. Far too lenient. The Indians leave, but the seeds of future plot developments are planted: one of the Indians fancies the white chicks. Dick Curtis makes an interesting grunting noise , and says "You keep-um mind on business. Make-um whoopee later... not bad!" They're only human!
The "Indians" leave and the boys return to the business at hand: going from the frying pan to the fire. Curly ends up firing the rifle again, and the horses get so scared, they loose themselves from their connection to the wagon and run off. Curly ends up killing three ducks. Everyone else exclaims "Look at the horses!" Curly, the lone voice of insanity, says "Look at the ducks!" Moe and Larry say "Never mind the ducks." Frankly, it's sloppy direction. They should've had Curly say it three times, and on the third time, have EVERYONE say in unison "NEVER MIND THE DUCKS!!!" Hopefully, the Farrellys won't make the same mistake with their crappy reboot.
The battle ax tells the boys that the only thing keeping her from shooting them is that she's out of bullets. Curly helpfully says "Oh, I've got plenty of bullets! I'll be glad to lend you some!" Curly eventually comes to his senses and takes his bullets back.
Using a blatant plot device, the Stooges manage to build half-decent shelter for the night using scenery from the girls' show. Curly also manages to ruin two guitars, using them as "snow shoes." We don't see him actually wrecking the guitars, though. I guess technically the Act Two break should've been when night fell and the boys were asleep. As we find out, Curly also barks in his sleep! What would Freud say about that?
Anyway, how to get a wild animal into the plot? Genius, that's how. Curly is given a bear hyde as a blanket, but he needs a mattress as well, so he goes out into the snowy night to get one out of the wagon. He leaves the door to the temporary shelter open. Cue the REAL bear. Long story short, this leads to a variation on ANOTHER classic Stooge theme where the boys think their fellow Stooges can make animal noises. Curly reaches for the real bear, thinking it's the bear hyde. The bear growls like the MGM lion. Curly yells "Hey! Quit snoring so loud!" Long, long story short: Curly scares off the bear by barking. Brother bear scared off by evil, insane white man, in other words. Finally! I'm putting my Native American college courses to work. Curly's stunt double leaps in between Moe's stunt double and Larry's stunt double and promptly goes to bed. Fade to black.
Now, this should probably be the act break between Acts Two and Three here, but I'm going to wait until the ice fishing gag for that.
The next morning. Moe and Larry find that Curly has hogged all the blankets sometime in the middle of the night. Retribution is swift and in the stomach. Curly notices the ceiling is pregnant with many snow babies. Moe tells Curly to brace it up with a pole, but what good would it be if we didn't have the Stooges covered in snow? I'm assuming it's fake snow made out of asbestos. Well, it was lighter and looked better on film. Also, real snow might be too heavy. Curly makes a good Woo-Woo noise here. (Curly 1:31) Whew! Haven't gotten a blank.gif message yet. Curly bad-libs again, saying "I'm sorry, Moe! A lizard! I mean, a blizzard!" Long story short, the Stooges rudely wake up the girls, and shock them with the threat of changing clothes. Such gutter behaviour, indeed. Darwin must be spinning in his grave. The Stooge love affair must be at an end, or at least at its first seven year itch. Case in point: Curly beans Moe with the non-blade end of an axe, and when he comes to, he ends up telling Curly "I hate you!" Sounds like the proper Act break to me.


Here's another good screenwriting tip... maybe not. Still, the Stooges found it necessary to justify a close-up shot. Larry's pumping water into a bucket, but because it's cold, pumps ice cubes instead. Moe sees this in the wide shot, and looks rightfully shocked and disgusted. We then get a close-up of the pump coughing up a whole bunch of ice cubes. Oh, but it doesn't end there, my friends. Moe tells Larry, "Look! Gold!" And of course, like an idiot, Larry bends over and looks for gold, and Moe proceeds to dump all the ice cubes into Larry's pants. The battle ax is not amused by any of this, of course, and orders the boys to get breakfast for everyone. The Stooges love food more than gold and proceed to break into the canned corned beef once again... gone! All the food's gone! Larry says, "Bears! They've eaten it up! Nothing left!" Maybe that was the Oscar part, I don't know. In his delirium, Curly gets the idea to rig a sail to the wagon, in the hopes that it will act like a boat on land. The battle ax, weary from battle, agrees to try it. I almost hate to hear that level of resignation. Moe starts barking orders and generally gets caught up in the moment. For once, Curly brings HIM back to earth! (Curly 4:09) I dare say the whole film's worth it for just that moment. Sorry, but I don't know how to make a hyperlink to a YouTube video go to the spot I want it to. Work on that, Google nerds!
Next scene: the sail's built, and people keep saying "Well, all right!" Finally, we get that unison we should've had earlier. Now, some might mistake Moe's line at this point for love of country, but I think of it more as just the latest in a lifetime of Curly rebuttals. Here's the scenario: Curly says "Hey! Maybe we'll be like Columbus and discover a new country!" Moe says, "This country's good enough for us." Well, you gotta feel national pride some of the time. Larry keeps the madness going by saying he'd like to "discover" something to eat. Time for the big fishing scene. Now, you probably know what's going to happen, but there's at least one surprise on the way. Oh yeah, and at 4:50, Moe says "A blue... who's talkin' to you?" Gotta like that. But the surprise is at 5:34 here. The not-so-surprising part, well... let me put it this way: Curly ends up saying "Hey! This fish looks like Moe." You'll see a play on this theme later on in "A Bird in the Head," and it's done a little better there, in my humble opinion. Or maybe I'm just saying that because that's the second Stooge short I ever saw.
Now, since they squandered so much time already, there's 90 seconds left in this picture. You can do the math on this one: is that enough time to squeeze in a kidnapping subplot? I didn't think so either. But the Indians were decent enough to leave a note... in English no less! Apparently they refer to the battle ax as "Hatchet Face." They kidnapped the three girls, and apparently didn't do a very good job of it, because we hear screams as soon as the note's read. All in all, it's handled far too efficiently, but there's just enough time for Moe to suffer another massive head injury as the wind picks up, and carries the besailed wagon away to God knows where.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Auteur Watch - Charles and James Parrott

Am I the only one who cares about these two? Maybe, except for those Sons of the Desert types. They might know who these two are. They worked with Hal Roach a lot, probably with Laurel and Hardy a lot. I tell ya, those non-Laurel and Hardy assignments were just the pits. Absolute pits. Working with animals, and sub-par Laurel and Hardy humans. Long time between prestige gigs. Oh, but that's, like, old! At least three generations ago! Get with the living, dude! I can't, I just can't. That's why I'm a film fan! That's all the life I can handle!

Tarred, feathered, and singed by the box office

Slight pun on the director of Immortals. But for me that's not the real story of the box office this week. The latest manly Lord of the Rings clone isn't news. That's what people don't like about Lord of the Rings: both chicks and dudes can find characters to relate to when watching it. That's no good. 300, Thor, Watchmen, Immortals... all for the dudes. As it probably should be. And probably how the new Superman movie will be. No, the real story this week is guys in drag. There was a Yahoo! list last week called "Drag Gone Bad" which probably should've just been called "Movies with guys in drag in them." See, because the "Drag Gone Bad" list included Norbit and Some Like It Hot: two movies that could only be together on a general list like this. I personally don't consider Some Like It Hot to be Billy Wilder's best work, but it's probably up there for most, if only because of Marilyn Monroe. If the list wasn't just for films, they'd include these Miller Beer commercials with these guys dressed up as ladies to take advantage of Ladies Night at their local bar. And how about Sorority Boys? Why didn't THAT make the list? I guess it wasn't bad enough to make the list, or funny enough. One of the two. Anyway, in the picture I have there, there's J. Edgar under the Adam Sandler pic... ANYONE ELSE SEE THE IRONY OF THAT? Or is J. Edgar Hoover's personal public file now been purged of any and all eccentricity? Simpsons time, gotta go......................

.....oh, that was not a good Simpsons. Marge, Bart and Lisa blogging... I guess it was inevitable. They're changing Homer too much. He can make stuff now! There's stuff he doesn't eat now! Then again, I think it's the principle of it. Homer will eat anything, but it has to be his idea. Anyway, I think I covered all the debuts: Immorals, J. Edgar and Jack and Jill. Let me just say that Clint Eastwood got DiCaprio away from Scorsese somehow. Would Scorsese have made a better J. Edgar biopic? Hard to say. The Onion wasn't crazy about it, but Ebert was. Oh, those two are always disagreeing. I gotta go. Tax time!... no, wait, health care recertification time. I just don't know what's worse.

As Nazty as they wanna be

You know, there's a whole other version of Wikipedia out there for right-wingers. I'm not going to give the name of it, but I did browse it a little bit. It certainly lived up to its name, if nothing else. I browsed about three different topics, and then the following question came up: "Should the United States have entered World War II?" They've expanded since then to include World War I, and probably the Civil War, for all I know. Now, I already know I'm not smart enough to debate, or even ponder, such deep, philosophical questions, but from a movie standpoint I can answer that easily: How about Raiders of the Lost Ark? And the third one? Schindler's List? Saving Private Ryan? Hope and Glory? Those are my reasons we needed to enter World War II.
Of course, this was before Obama was elected president when I saw that web page. I'm sure the argument now is that, well, Hawaii's not really a state anymore. The continental U.S. wasn't attacked, Pearl Harbor was! Besides, if Germany did win the war, Fatherland would be a biography and not just perverse historical fiction TRYING to be a legitimate biography!
And, of course, all the great comedians of the time had this terrible anti-German bias, making fun of Hitler and what not. Jack Benny with his To Be or Not to Be, Chaplin with The Great Dictator, and the Stooges with this week's entry, You Nazty Spy! (Damn... I've fallen behind just a smidge)


Even the Stooges knew that Hitler had help. A Hitler cannot exist in a vacuum, and the Catholic church and some industrialists were champions of the chancellor's cause. And so, we begin with some bored job creators sitting around (in the fictional country of Moronica) deciding to oust the king and replace him with a dictator. The Stooges are "paperhangers" doing some work in the house of the industrialists. There's no time for them to destroy the place, as the gears of the plot turn quickly in this one. A lot to cram into 16 minutes this time. Moe (Moe Hailstone here) transforms himself into Hitler before our very eyes, also with the help of a prop moustache and messed-up hair. It's not long before Moe's giving a speech before a crowd, with Curly decked out as Mussolini, I'm assuming, and Larry as... Goebbels? I forget his comedy name already.


Sorry, folks, but I gotta keep this one short. But I promise I'll spend more time on I'll Never Heil Again. All seems to be going well for Hailstone until his secretary turns out to be a double agent. I'm functionally culturally illiterate and don't know who her historical counterpart is, but she has a magic eight ball and uses it to tell Moe Hailstone's fortune. Moe grabs the ball and hits Curly on the head with it. The ball breaks into three large chunks, and turns out to have an incriminating note inside it. The secretary's plot is foiled and she makes her escape. Wacky comedy stormtroopers are called in, and they march off, kicking each other in the ass. The guy on the end always has it easy.


There's a big meeting of delegates. The new secretary, a ballerina, comes dancing in. Moe and Curly start dancing. Curly laughs in his regular voice at one point, and says "I'll bet you tell that to all the boys." Oh, and of course, we dwell on the comedy map shown in the picture for a little while, a Stooge comedy motif to be seen later on as well. Why, the Simpsons even had one once! Can't remember when. And so the delegates come in. The three dictators say "Peace! Peace! We want peace!" The delegates are wise to the Orwellian nature of this statement... or maybe they're just jealous worm-eaters taking a break to do some self-loathing out in the open for a change. The boys give 'em the works. Curly gets out the golf clubs and hits them on the head. Finding this not sporting enough, he gets golf balls out, puts them on the rug and hits them at the delegates. Some of the delegates get hit, but Larry gets a golf ball in his mouth. After the four delegates are defeated, the knuckleheads' fortunes go from bad to worse. The townsfolk of Moronica (about 99% of them, if you will...) riot and start to storm the Hailstone headquarters. The three decide to release the lions. And so, down they go to release the lions. They should've gotten someone else to do it, because, well... I hate to spoil it for you, but there ends up being some very full lions in dictators' clothing emerging from the corner they went behind. Something like that. Too bad this kind of thing doesn't happen in real life to real-life dictators.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Auteur Watch - Charles and Vlas Parlapanides

Somebody get those boys a Chocofreta! Sorry, folks, gotta keep it short this week, which won't be hard in the case of the Parlapanideses. Charley's clearly got the leg up of the two brothers: he's younger, he knows Demetri Martin, and hell! Look @ that smile! Sky's the limit, but alas, they're not astronauts. Charley cut his teeth under Scott Rudin on The Royal Tenenbaums, among other things, but clearly the 2010's will be their most awesome decade ever. They've got Immortals under their belt! How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people? There's no turning back now. Careful, though... better keep fetching coffee for the rest of the demigods if you don't want to get banished again!

Puss does the booting

That's where I've seen that face before! Sorry, had to go for it. Well, Tower Heist's probably #1... it's a couple hours yet before the polls open... I mean, before the box office tallies come out. Maybe I should try to get some sleep. Wait, wait, gotta do my Farmville chores first...
(next day) Shoulda known! Guess if you're a professional critic, you must be baffled! The realistic drama about the Iranian family trying to get by in rural Kansas should have been #1 this weekend! It's going to win several Oscars, right? No, if you're a professional critic these days, you know the dumb Adam Sandler pic's going to clean up on a certain weekend, or the latest Pixar-ish film. Don't kid yourselves: the technicians behind these movies are putting everything they got into making a smart, technically accomplished film you've never seen before. If it's a remake, there'll be a twist on it. Or in the case of the new Footloose, no twist at all! A complete, faithful remake with a fresh young cast! THAT'S the twist! Same old, moldy screenwriter, but still! No, Tower Heist will just have to settle with #2. Poor wealthy Brett Ratner. That's the price of Hollywood success: the more money you make, the more you're hated. Just ask Michael Bay! You gotta strike back however you can. The other debut this week is Harold & Kumar 3D. How they get smoke to be three dimensional I'll never know. Someone's going to get a technical Oscar for it, I'm sure. Must be computerized then.
Well, that's all the debuts, so my job is done. Johnny English 2 looks like it'll be joining the short list of one-week films. I'll explain at the end of the year...