Posts Tagged ‘Comedy’

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.


Evolution starts out with a lot of promise. Directed by Ivan Reitman and starring David Duchovny, dodginess is assured. Throw in a plot containing aliens, Dan Akroyd and Sean William Scott and you’ve got a winner.

The film opens with Sean William Scott saving a blow-up-doll from a burning building and just goes downhill from there. The burning building gets destroyed by an incoming meteor which conveniently happens to contain the alien organisms. With this, the thrill ride begins, taking in interesting sights along the way, including a giant alien bird hunt in a mall and the administering of an anti-dandruff shampoo enema to the giant alien.

The movie has a plot, which is nice and straightforward. This is good as it doesn’t get in the way. Basically, aliens land, they evolve, the military steps in, stuffs it up, and it’s up to the psuedo-scientific heroes to save the day, with a brilliant deduction about Arsenic and Selenium and carbon and silica based lifeforms that would make any movie scientist proud.

Essentially, the plot exists to move the film from one dodgy moment to the next, not that this is a bad thing. However, it does get a little tricky to pick out a favourite.  I have managed to narrow it down to 2 key moments. The first occurs while hunting the giant alien bird in the local mall. Sean William Scott steps up to the microphone and utters the now infamous phrase “ca-caw, ca-caw. Tooky tooky tooky.” The second, a career defining moment for all involved, is the administering of the head and shoulders anti dandruff shampoo enema to the giant alien creature using a firetruck. Despite the ensuing explosion being reminiscent of the giant marshmallow man exploding sequence in ghostbusters, it is no less memorable. As a result of these two scenes, the film gets a Staypuft marshmallow man rating of 5.

Evolution has firmly established itself as one of my top 5 movies of all time. I have yet to get bored while watching it, even though I can almost recite the script. This gives it a massive 5 out of 5 for rewatchablilty. If I didn’t already own this one, I’d have to buy it.

You’d think that the line “There’s always time for lubricant” would have no competition in the category of “Best Film Quote of all time” but, such is the strength of the script, that it doesn’t even win best quote in Evolution.  That dubious honour goes to “ca-caw, ca-caw. Tooky tooky tooky” and a well deserving winner it is.

Do yourself a favour, if you haven’t already seen Evolution, go and watch it, and if you have, go watch it again.

Little Shop of Horrors

Given my recent run of really bad choices I decided to return to the classics. Generally, picking just about any movie from the eighties is a guarantee of dodginess. The problem with movies from the eighties is that most of them have aged terribly and this results in the raping of happy childhood memories.

Fortunately, this choice resulted in my childhood memories not only remaining in tact, but being reinforced. The first time I saw Little Shop of Horrors two things were indelibly etched into the dodgy fibres of my being. The first was “Feed me, Seymour!” The second was just how much I wanted the Audrey II, or a plant just like it. It’s unfortunate that the catch phrase found it’s way into my vocabulary to be uttered whenever I insert my card into the ATM. But, it is probably fortunate that I never managed to get hold of a giant talking caniverous plant. If I had some way of getting rid of bodies, I suspect there would be far fewer people around that had the ability to annoy me.

Little Shop of Horrors, in case you didn’t know, is a musical. Normally, this would be a bad thing. However, the musical numbers are horribly catchy and you’ll find youself humming, whistling and in some extreme cases singin aloud after the completion of the movie. This is what makes it a really bad thing. The plot exists merely to get from one musical number to the next. Which is great because without that the dentist song would not exist.

But does it really deserve a 5 on the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man rating. Just the fact that the baddie is a giant talking caniverous alien plant would be enough dodginess to guarantee it top honours. Combine that with annoyingly catchy musical numbers, Rick Moranis as the hero (an unlikely event in anyone’s book) and Steve Martin as the sadistic dentist and you’ve got a veritable cornucopia of dodginess, and most of it is the good kind.

Despite all the praise, the film does still have a down side, which is why it only achieved a 3 on the rewatchability index. The female lead, she of the high pitched whine that borders on dog whistle, is one of these. The annoyingly catchy musical numbers also contribute to this. After one viewing they stick in your head for days. I suspect that multiple viewings may imprint them so firmly that they would require hypnotherapy or Spice Girls songs to remove, neither of which is an appealing option.

All told, Little Shop of Horrors is most chucklesome when watching it with polite company and hysterically amusing when watched with other afficianados of the dodgy movie.

And remember – We watch them so you don’t have to.

Step Brothers

Whenever you have a bad run at anything, you can tell whether you have optimistic or pessimistic tendencies. You look at new things and think either “Oh great, another in a long line of crap,” or “maybe this one will be the turning point.” Unfortunately, if you get disappointed often enough it doesn’t matter how bright and cheerful a disposition you have, experience will soon wear you down until you begin to think about giving up. This is almost the point that I have reached.

The movie that pushed me to this point, if you could call it a movie as opposed to a complete waste of pixels is “Step Brothers” This crowning moment in the history of dull cinema stars Will Ferrell and John C Reilly as 40 year olds who still live with their respective single parents. They hate each other, then they learn a valuable lesson and become best friends. And pretty much, that’s about it, the movie in one sentence, and not even a very long one.

Now, you’d think that 40yr olds acting like 10 yr olds would be amusing. Unfortunately the execution of the idea was lacking. It was like going to the Serengeti and missing the migration.

Being crude merely to shock the audience, is no longer enough. At the time American Pie was made it may have been, after all, the apple pie scene was incredibly risqué at the time. Now, however, that would classify as standard cinema fair, and this is one of the problems with the current crop of films. What the level of crudity in a film tells you about is the maturity level of the director and the creative brilliance, or lack thereof that the writers are able to summon.

Maybe I’m being too harsh, maybe I’ve finally outgrown this sort of movie, but then I look at the films in my collection and realise that the chances of that happening are about as good as anything starring Will Ferrell to have Oscar aspirations. Maybe I’ve just been incredibly unlucky in my choice of movies to watch and there are still some good ones around, or and this is my new theory, perhaps we are now getting all the movies that were made during the writers strike. The timing is correct, and it would explain why movies that seem to lack pace, direction and originality or formulaic humour are the only ones I seem to be picking up off the DVD rack.

On to the ratings. The fact that you’ve read this far and only seen a couple of sentences about the movie should tell you how I feel, but I’m going to spell it out just so you can’t turn around and tell me that I wasn’t clear enough and you thought I was recommending this and that I know owe you what feels like 10 hours of your life back. The movie sucked. It scores a 1 on both the rewatchability index and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man Scale.

I did however learn a valuable lesson while watching this film. If, at any point you find yourself thinking “I would rather be watching Aeon Flux” it’s time to turn off the DVD player or walk out of the cinema and go bang your head into a wall. At least that may have some point in that if you do it often or hard enough there is a chance that it could cause you to forget the pain and suffering you’ve just endured by something that is in clear violation of the Geneva convention and the people who green-lighted the film should be tried at the War Crimes Court.

The Promotion

We all have our gifts. For some it’s the ability to hit a little red ball nine times out of ten. For some, it’s being able to take a piece of wood and some metal wires and being able to belt out a tune that is remembered for generations. For me, it’s the ability to sit through just about any movie, no matter how dodgy it is. And recently, this skill has been sorely tested.

It all started with Leatherheads. This was followed up with Clerks II. I fail to understand how a movie that includes a donkey sex show could still manage to put me to sleep, yet it managed. Next came Hancock, more on that one at a later date, but what a sucky superhero weakness. Finally, came “The Promotion”.

From the cover it looked like it should be amusing. Sean William Scott and John C Reilly get to fight over a promotion in the cut-throat world of supermarket management. Hilarity and hijinks should have ensued, possibly coupled with the odd caw-caw and tooky tooky. Instead boredom and death defying dullness was what followed once play had been pressed.

The only part of the film that was at all memorable was during a speech in which it was promised that the supermarket chain, donaldson’s or stevenson’s or some name that you would remember if they had’ve inspired any degree of caring, would continue to provide trolleys with one wheel that doesn’t work. The fact that this is all I remember of the film speaks volumes.

Their may have been dodginess, but this has been wiped out by the overwhelming apathy, which is the only feeling inspired by the film. If given a choice between watching “The Promotion” or “Aeon Flux” I would have to choose the latter. At least that could be made amusing in a mystery science theatre 3000 way.

If you have to avoid one film this year, make sure that it’s this one.

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