Fifteen minutes in I began to ache for the good old days when that runt Anakin Skywalker and the irritating Jar-Jar Binks graced the screen. After 30 minutes I thought of Roger Ebert who wrote “You know a movie is in trouble when you start looking at your watch. You know it’s in bad trouble when you start shaking your watch because you think it might have stopped.” I haven’t been this bored since the last Star Wars movie. Someone should have pulled the plug after the second one.
1917 in 1.917 Hours
I just finished reading The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race Against an Epidemic by cousins Gay and Laney Salisbury for the third time. After I finished it in three days, I wondered why nobody has ever made this into a movie.
Well, it turns out Disney Plus released Togo just a week ago. And thanks to Timothy and Katie, we have access to the channel. Monday became Movie Night, and Lisa and I sat down to watch the true adventure of one of several dogs and his musher who braved 260 punishing miles of hurricane-force blizzard driving the wind chill to minus 85 degrees!
A statue of Balto stands in Central Park, and an animated movie celebrates the dog that helped carry the serum for diphtheria-stricken children into Nome. This movie gives overdue credit to the lead dog and his owner who carried the lifesaving serum eight times as far. I liked how the movie showed the development of Togo, a mischievous puppy that turned into the greatest lead dog ever. Willem Dafoe portrays the intrepid Leonhard Seppala. The resemblance is uncanny. The human acting is so-so, but the dogs are first-rate!
Every movie based on a true story gets something wrong. The debate over modern technology, in this case air flight, versus old-time dog sledding did not take place in Nome, where the epidemic broke out, but the capital of the territory of Alaska (it joined the Union 24 years later). It could have been better by showing the children suffering from diphtheria to heighten the drama. The mushers knew what was at stake. Why not let the viewers in on it? - December 31, 2019
Beavis and Butthead Go to the Movies
Oh, Mademoiselle from Armentieres, Parley-vous!
She got the palm and the croix de guerre,
For washin' soldiers' underwear.
Hinky-dinky, parley-vous! - February 17, 2019
"The Boring, the Bad and the Ugly" or "Million-Dollar Turkey"
Have you ever sat through a neighbor’s home vacation movies? Maybe that’s too Boomer for you Millennials. How about being forced to sit through YouTube vacation videos? The actual action depicted in this movie took up about ten minutes. What do you do with the rest of the hour and twenty minutes? Put them on a bus, a boat, an airplane and a train armed with backpacks and a selfie stick. If this were a college sophomore essay, a generous professor would have printed D-minus with fat red marker for “padding.”
The actual heroes of this true story played themselves. It might have been called a gutsy movie if it turned out all three of the main characters had the chops for acting. But they didn’t, and you wouldn’t need Roger Ebert to tell you that. I took a call in the middle of the movie – I know, I know, I used a cell phone in a movie theater, but like I said, we were the only ones there – and went outside to talk, and when I went back in I hadn’t missed anything.
After the gym class escapades, trips to the principal’s office, boot camp, and an hour of traveling which actually included a stop at an Italian ice cream shop with the heroes-to-be trying to decide what flavor they wanted, we finally get to watch our intrepid travelers take down a terrorist loaded with enough bullets to ballast an aircraft carrier.
Okay, that’s done. Now what? Let’s show them receiving an award from the president of France. They couldn’t find a decent suit to wear for this occasion? Hey, it could’ve been worse. They could have turned this into an opera with Hugh Jackman. - March 2, 2018
A mother! of a movie!
Have you ever seen a movie you hated so much you wanted to punch the guy in the nose who sold you the ticket? I had that feeling after sitting through American Beauty. I hated it so much I extended my disgust toward everyone in the movie – Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, even Thora Birch. The funny thing is I watched it at home, so instead of punching the ticket-seller, I punched the mailman instead. When I explained why I acted the way I did, he punched ME in the nose and said, “I watched it too, and I never got around to punching anybody. Thanks for reminding me.”
My wife also has such a movie in mind – Night at the Roxbury. Unfortunately, I was responsible for subjecting her to this. Fortunately, her arms don’t have the reach of a professional boxer. I’ve been able to dodge her critical opinion so far, but I think it best to let her pick the movie we’re going to see ever since. No sense in tempting fate.
On the way home from work, I listened to Michael Medved deliver his opinion of a new movie - mothers! (Lower-case, please. It’s on the movie posters.) He hated it. I mean, he really hated it. Interestingly, the same guy who made this movie also made Noah which Medved liked. I hated it.
intrigued enough to look it up on the internet this evening. I found one
deliciously-written scathing review by Rex Reed. He has been reviewing movies
for probably as long as I’ve been able to sit up and watch one.
Oh, but he hated it! He ripped it apart, and for good measure he ripped the producer a new one, and ripped the pretentious soi disant artistes and reviewers who approve of this kind of shit. Others agreed with Reed. The word “vile” seemed to be a common denominator among them. “Torture porn” was also applied. My wife put it best: “So, basically, it was a two-hour episode of Criminal Minds.” Perhaps. Only not as charming.
I'm reminded of something George Orwell once said: "There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them.” A movie that appeals to the kind of people I already despise can only have one reaction. You’ve been forewarned. - September 16, 2017