Sunday, June 26, 2011

Catfish, plus other movies and ephemera

Note: Absolutely no spoilers in this post.

If this is the first thing you're reading about the documentary Catfish, make sure you read nothing else. See it cold. Do not have anything spoiled for you if you've manage to avoid any thus far. I didn't link to any other info about it for that reason. If you hunt for Catfish the documentary, chances are you'll get it. Here's what the box looks like:

The only thing I'll reveal - that is still not a spoiler - is it resonated with recent ruminations of mine around internet identity, particularly anonymity. Which appears to be a topic that's on other's minds as well: here and here.

This is one of the most touching, human documentaries I've seen in a while.

Oh, and speaking of documentaries, if you get a chance, make sure you catch How to Die in Oregon. Though, if you've lost someone to cancer recently, you may want to wait.

In other movie news, The Opinionated Homeschooler (she's back! yay!) asked why I didn't see Thor. After seeing The Green Lantern, I've re-discovered something I realized back when I read actual comic books: you like the ones you like and the rest are just lame. Or, the premise of the super hero clicks with you or not.

I didn't read many of the main superheroes as a kid because I found most of them silly, particularly Batman. A guy in a suit? With his little teenage orphan adoptee in another goofier suit? Hey, I'm here for the super powers. I read Superman, though I tired of all the alternate universes and stories that spanned two years worth of comic books, with an "Ed. note: See issue #425." every other panel to help you keep track of the story, a near impossibility. Spiderman was fun because the stories were usually self-contained and he was a smart-ass; and don't get me started about Mary Jane who probably launched her fair share of pre-pubescent boners. X-Men was and is laughable because all of their mutant powers are deus ex machina on crack. Need to walk through walls and freeze balls? We've got that mutant right here!

My favorites were: E-man (his girlfriend was a stripper!) along with Rog-2000 - a recurring co-feature, Fantastic Four (a babe, two smart-asses and a nice dad, what's not to like?), the She-Hulk (it was so soft-core, given the issues with ripping out of clothes), the Man-Thing (like Swamp Thing but uglier, scarier, and more existential - like Hamlet without the ability to soliloquy) , and the Harvey comics characters.

My brother and I benefited from the unique circumstance that my grandmother was best friends with another elderly lady who loved comic books, and she ordered so many the local drug store that stocked comics let her tack on the ones she wanted to their order, and she loved the Harvey characters. Casper was kinda interesting at times, and Hot Stuff the Little Devil was surreal, especially when some adults adopted his visage as the representation of a badass.

So, to circle around to The Opinionated Homeschooler's question, Thor never struck me, har har. I didn't like comics that had no levity whatsoever. The couple times I thumbed through a copy, it looked grim, dull, and (though I wouldn't have been able to articulate it at the time) somewhat homoerotic. Though having read "Little Dot" and "Wendy the Good Little Witch" I probably wouldn't have much of a defense of the machismo level of my reading at the time.

Iron Man? Another guy in a suit. Meh.

Now, I enjoyed the Green Lantern movie that's fresh out; his abilities have a similarity to E-man, my all-time fave. And I've loved the Iron Man and Batman movies. I even enjoyed the X-Men flicks, thought still rolled my eyes at the convenience of having a mutant who does just what's needed right when it's needed. I will see Thor when it's out on DVD, prolly.

None of those worked for me on the page, though.

I find myself synchronicitly in the midst of a Ryan Reynolds movie festival (he being the star of The Green Lantern).

I picked up The Nines simply because I've like most of his work so far, save for what was supposed to have been his vehicle to stardom, Van Wilder. His character in Blade III essentially is the movie. (In one of the most inexplicable take-downs ever published, Salon offers an extended snark on why Reynolds shouldn't even be a movie star, which skirts libel, imho.)

Anyway, The Nines was a pleasant surprise. Again, no spoilers, and this is one of those you should see totally cold if you're going to see it, but of all the unique twists in this flick, the actress Melissa McCarthy is the biggest (forgive me, Lord). You NEVER see a fat person as one of the major characters in a flick, outside of John Goodman. McCarthy is so damn funny and charming she outshines Reynolds, which is surprising since his main gift as an actor is the synergy of those two qualities. Her first line acknowledging that she's fat made me laugh so hard I had to rewind to catch the next few lines.

In researching The Nines, I came across several other Reynolds films I missed, and have them queued up at the library. I'll keep you posted.

Thus far my favorite, and my family's favorite movie this summer is Super 8. You've seen the plot before, but then again, you'd seen the plot of J.J. Abram's Star Trek reboot before, too, and that was a blast, right?

TLD: Again with the synchronicity: Elle Fanning is one of the stars of Super 8, and I had seen both it and The Green Lantern before I saw The Nines. It was weird seeing the two stars of the big summer movies together in an older one, particularly given the subject matter of The Nines.

One thing that's wonderful about Super 8 is the actors are given room to act. There are whole portions of the story that just play across someone's face without them having to spit dialogue back and forth. I hadn't seen that in a while and it was refreshing.

And, like Star Trek, Abram's writing throws the characters into situations where you are frightened, thrilled, and laughing all at the same time. That's a gift, my friend.

If it's still in a theatre near you, go now. At least put it on your Netflix queue.

I'll say it again (as it's the theme of this post) see it COLD! Don't let anyone tell you a single thing about it. Don't read anything. Btw, this movie is OK for kids 10 and over. Or even 8 and older if they're more mature, can handle some scares, and you don't mind them hearing some mild profanity that nearly every TV show drops anymore.

Which brings us to Drive Angry, apparently yet another bid by Nicolas Cage to find a super-hero franchise. And failing yet again.

Yeah, it's mildly fun, but it's such a hard R that is so obviously inappropriately directed at teenage boys, moral prudes like me will find it off-putting. One sex scene was go graphic, my wife and I both gasped, and she asked me what it was rated. This is not a spoiler, because screwing so often is not a plot point, and it ain't here.

But, here's what you see: he's sitting, clothed (which is a plot point), and she's lying on her back pistoning her hips up and down. I've surfed past the porn on the free premium channel of the month that showed less. It dawned on me later they must've digitally removed her vulva, because you see it clearly, but there's not the standard topography of the same, which would've been visible in an un-altered shot. Instead it's smooth like a Barbie doll. Still, the scene is so graphic, I wonder how they got away with an R rating.

I see on that it was originally in 3D, which explains some of the scenes, including the one above. While all 3D movies have the gratuitous 3D scenes, this one appears to have been created nearly completely out of scenes that would look cool in 3D, but are flat otherwise.

So, if you don't mind over-the-top sex and violence with your bubble gum, and can imagine how cool it would've looked in 3D, you might enjoy the time spent. Don't expect Tarantino though.

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