Archive for the ‘4 Mutant Smileys’ Category

Planet 51

It’s not often that you watch a cartoon that is just so cool that you don’t care about the sickly sweet kiddie friendly plot, or the message that the producers tried to shoehorn into it about how we’re all the same underneath the different colour skin and how we can all live together in peace and love and rainbows and puppies and all that other crap.  (There are “puppies” in this film, but they’re cool and we’ll get to them later)  Planet 51 manages all this, and it’s just great.

The film revolves around some kind of plot in which the human astronaut lands and becomes the alien.  Something that was done before in Monsters Inc.  But that’s all besides the point.  The point of Planet 51 is to be a complete mockery of “the Ameican Way of Life” in the fifties, and, all the cool big budget horror/sci-fi films that have happened since then.

There’s even a scene in which the citizen’s patrol are being instructed on how to deal with the Alien invasion through a series of instruction manuals, two of which were attacked by sea monsters and attack by a 50 foot woman.  Planet 51 is even better than Monsters Vs. Aliens. (and i loved that film more than I should probably ever admit).

Cartoons really have to overachieve to reach 5 on the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man scale, and while Planet 51 often had me going all Keanu Reeve’s “whoa, that was cool!”  it never had me going “wow, that was fucking dodgy”.  There isn’t really a dodgiest moment, but rather dodgiest characters, and the award is shared.  Both characters are “puppies”.  There’s the alien dog from whichever alien movie had a dog infested with an alien (I think it was Alien 3 but feel free to correct me in the comments), complete with acidic urine and a tongue that was basically a face hugger.  The second dodgiest character was Rover, an unmanned probe that had the personality of a dog.  It was basically Wall-E, but with more personality.  The meeting of the two of them, complete with butt-sniffing had me falling off my chair.

Planet 51 got a gigantic 5 alien smileys.  It rocked.  I just wish I had’ve found it sooner so I would have more time to appreciate it.  As it is, I suspect that each time you watch it there are going to be additional alien movie cliches that you pick up.

The film’s script is alright.  In general, it’s not fantastic and is suitable for kiddies.  however, it does contain some real gems.  “Your daily dose of Chuck” is one of them, but the real winner in the most memorable quote is “The whole planet is full of alien life and you send back pictures of rocks.”  I’m sure this is what happened with the Mars Rover.  The sent the thing there to get interesting pictures of the rocks, so that’s what it sent back.

Normally, this is where I have final comments.  But there is something that needs to be added.  Planet 41 has the best use of “The Macarena” I’ve ever scene.  It starts playing when the aliens drop Chuck’s ipod and all of them fall to the ground holding their ears in agony (think Mars Attacks style, without the exploding heads) until someone shoots the device.   It’s even referred to as a “Heinous weapon” and if that wasn’t sufficient as a cruel sadistic device.  Stop the Madness indeed.

Planet 51 didn’t get nearly as much hype as it deserved, but fortunately, I managed to watch it before it descended into obscurity.  You should too.

Thank You For Smoking

Thank you for Smoking is directed by Jason Reitman, Ivan Reitman’s son. Now, coming from such a dodgy pedigree, you’d think aliens, ghosts and giant marshmallow men would be a standard fixture. There’s none of this, not even a lone ca-caw. There are, however, a lot of people talking. Normally, this would result in a snooze fest and not even register on the domodar ™. However, the great script coupled with some fantastic acting by Aaron Eckhart and William H Macy make it a shining beacon of dodginess in the low budget quagmire that it would otherwise be relegated to.

There isn’t really a plot in the standard guy has to save the world from evil kind of way. If anything, this is a guy having to inflict evil on the world and save it from the hands of the do-gooders. Nick Naylor is a smug bastard and in any other film he would be the bad guy, and quite a detestable one at that. Aaron Eckhart manages to make Nick a likeable character, to the extent that you feel for him when he gets screwed, in all senses of the word, by the journalist (Katie Holmes).

There’s a point where if the film stopped it would have really sucked. The protagonist (calling him a good guy would be a bit of a stretch) would have lost, and would have resulted in the film having a serious moral as opposed to promoting satire. Fortunately, Nick gets a chance to make things right, or at least inflict some kharmic retribution.

There are no big budget special effects, and yet, surprisingly, this one still rates a 4 on the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man scale. There are five moments that compete for the venerable title of dodgiest moment; 2 instructional type safety videos, 2 television talk shows and Bobby J Bliss walking through a metal detector. And the winner would have to be the opening sequence, featuring “Cancer Boy” (a sucky superhero name if ever there was one). This really sets up the film, and while the moments coming after are possibly more dodgy, they don’t have the same shock impact.

This has got to be the most light-hearted intense film I’ve ever watched. If you’re looking for something that makes you think, it’ll fit the bill. If you’re just looking for a few laughs, it will provide that too. The only thing it won’t be suitable for is if you’re looking for something that allows your brain to switch off while your eyes go “ooooh, pretty!”, you’ll have to watch an Ivan Reitman film for that.  As a result, Thank You For Smoking gets 4 Stay Puft Marshmallow Men of dodginess.

A film which consists almost entirely of people talking is always going to have a number of great quotations, especially when it has superb source material. It was incredibly difficult to pick the best lines out of the sheer number in the film, but I’ve managed to narrow it down to three, all of which tie for first place. “After watching footage of the Kent State shootings, Bobby Jay, then 17 signed up for the national guard so that he too could shoot college students, but, the national guard recruiter was out to lunch so Bobby J ended up shooting Panamanians instead.” This gives you all the knowledge you need to understand Bobby Jay’s motivations in life. The second one describes the way we all feel about politicians “I’d like him to feel immeasurable pain and humiliation.” “That’ll be tough, he’s already a senator.” Finally, and this one just made me laugh “Michael Jordan plays ball. Charles Manson kills people. I talk. Everyone has a talent.”

This gem of a film almost slipped under the radar with it’s lack of publicity and short time on the circuit. Fortunately for you, I caught it before it descended into obscurity. This one is a real thinking person’s dodgy film, but despite that, most of you should enjoy it.

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Hot Fuzz

Having recently had Shoot ‘Em Up inflicted on me, I felt violated and dirty. And not the good chocolate-smeared-on-naked-body kind of dirty. No, I’m talking the kind of dirty that makes you need to take four showers with a wire brush. So, I decided to watch good Gun Porn and reached into the cabinet and pulled out Hot Fuzz, and got all warm and tingly.

The sole purpose of Hot Fuzz is to provide a reason for the concluding gun battle between Sergeant Angel and the NWA. But, unlike Shoot ‘Em Up the setup is executed perfectly. From From “You can’t be the Sheriff of London!” comment to Angel riding into town on a white horse with shotguns strapped to his back and bandoliers across his chest and the short interest sequence with fencing to the sword fight in the middle of the film climax. Hot Fuzz is proof that good writing can take one idea and make a film out of it.

However, Hot Fuzz does suffer from a bit of multiple personality disorder.  It moves jumps around from Serious Cop Film, to buddy cop film, to teen slasher flick, to buddy cop film, to British Humour,  to buddy cop film before finally settling on Gun Porn.  Which is just as well, the voices in my head were getting tired trying to keep up.  It may have been better had a single style been settled on earlier, but then the Gun Porn would not have been so highly anticipated, or so effective.

Despite the kick-ass climactic gun battle, Hot Fuzz only manages to get 4 Stay Puft Marshmallow Men.  This has more to do with Shaun of the Dead setting the bar so high than any failing on the part of Hot Fuzz.   Perhaps an extra gun fight or two may have resulted in an extra marshmallow man, but it may also have cost them points on the rewatchability rating.

Hot Fuzz also scores a respectable 4 Mutant Smileys.  It requires a little too much brainpower to keep up with the multiple personality disorder to watch as frequently as a brain death inducing film like Evolution.  But contains enough lighthearted moments and the best gunfight of all time to warrant multiple viewings.

The biggest problem with good British humour is that so much of it is situational.  As a result, there are very few lines that work out of context.  The repeated “The Greater Good” is memorable, but probably not the best quote, although the Gregorian way in which it was said was amusing.  However, the comment on Bad Boys 2 “But there is no way you can perpetrate that amount of carnage and mayhem and not incur a considerable amount of paperwork.” is why you don’t want to be a cop.  Villains don’t have paperwork.

If you like British Humour, buy Hot Fuzz.  If you like action comedy, buy Hot Fuzz, and, If you’re reading this, I’m surprised it doesn’t have a designated spot in your collection already.

<—- Here is the affiliate link to buy Hot Fuzz.  Buy it by clicking there and help me fund my addiction to Dodgy Movies.  They’re less expensive than crack and can be reused

Boondock Saints

The Boondock Saints is pure unadulterated Gun Porn.  It has minimal plot, marginal character development, but lots and lots of guns, most of the time in slow motion. As gun porn, you would expect a number of things, bodies flopping around like breasts on Baywatch, spent cartridges ejaculating everywhere and The Money Shot.  In Boondock Saints this is fairly easy to spot.  Il Duce, sporting enough guns to supply the cast of the Matrix, up against the McManus twins and Rocco.  Chaos, gunfire and the removal of appendages follows in some glorious tribute to western faceoffs.

While plot is normally a hinderance in a dodgy movie, some plot is required.  There seems to be plot at the beginning, then a large stretch of plotless wasteland while they get the gunfights out the way, and then some plot at the end to try and fool you into thinking it was there all along.  This is successful the first time you watch, but the second time, you start asking questions.  How did they know the Russian Mobsters would be in the hotel room?  How did Il Duce find them? And why were there not more gunfights?

Based on the sheer volume of gunfire, Boondock Saints would qualify for 3 Stay Puft Marshmallow Men.  Add in Willem Dafoe as a gay-hating homosexual detective, and you bump it up to five.  Convince Willem Dafoe to dress in drag and it gets full marks, 5 Stay Puft Marshmallow Men of dodginess.  Of course, just because they managed to convince Dafoe to dress in drag doesn’t mean he should.  I suspect the wardrobe brief was to make sure he was the ugliest transvestite in cinema history, and they succeeded admirably.

My big criticism of this film is the slow motion.  I don’t think I always had a problem with it, but since 300 my tolerance for the use of slow motion has declined dramatically.  In fact, I didn’t realise just how much my tolerance had declined. Fortunately the use of slow motion was minimal when compared to the atrocities inflicted on film by Zack Snyder and so, I can give Boondock Saints a respectable 4 mutant smileys out of 5.

While I suspect that the Willem Dafoe line, “Television. Television is the explanation for this – you see this in bad television. Little assault guys creeping through the vents, coming in through the ceiling – that James Bond shit never happens in real life! Professionals don’t do that!” is probably my favourite in the movie, it isn’t really snappy enough to warrant the most memorable quotation award.  The snappy line “We could kill Everyone” is the one that surfaces when I think back to the film.  Not only is it short and sweet, but it’s an accurate summary of the plot.

Fortunately, gun porn is something you can admit to liking in public and the worst you’ll get is people rolling their eyes at you.  And occasionally, you can find someone with which to discuss which is the best gun porn, The Matrix, Equilibrium or Boondock Saints.  Of course, if you’re reading this, you already have an opinion and you;ve found a safe place to air it, so let us know in the comments.

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