Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bad Parenting at the Multiplex

I didn't realize that someone was revisiting the world of John Carpenter's The Thing until I saw the preview a few weeks ago. That was a good thing because like all fanboys who have a handful of sacred favorites, I don't like seeing my babies messed with.

But, they had the music, they had the look, and they had Mary Elizabeth Winstead, probably one of the most drop-dead gorgeous actresses of the day. (To recycle the Moms Mabley classic: She's so pretty it hurts my feelings.) I have to admit they topped the first movie twice: the first reveal when it pops out of a human, and when it all goes very badly near the end when they're trying to figure out who's human and who's not. Verdict: I liked it a lot and will purchase it when it comes out.

A couple weeks ago, we sat down with our daughter and her best friend and watched the original Thing (John Carpenter's, not the 50s version where the sheriff from Gunsmoke channels Frankenstein in the form of a giant carrot). They sorta dug it, but it had the taint of being an old movie, and one with a sad ambiguous ending as well.

Like all good Americans, my wife and I are letting our 15-year-old see the occasional R-rated film only as long as the R is due to language and hyper-violence. If it's sex, no mas. Though we are raising our daughters in a more European way regarding sex (in that it's not inherently bad and in fact is wonderful in the right context, but is something that belongs in the adult world), we think sexual imagery is too charged for younger viewers. However, kids experience violence from the age they are able to walk or crawl over to another kid. Granted, it's not blood-spraying horror violence (usually), but they tend to have an emotional handle on it, and viewing fictional stuff appears not to cause harm. In addition, most of us in the Midwest are either hunters or raised around them, so we've seen an animal processed, which is the definition of gory.

So even though I hadn't previewed it first (a usual step for us regarding R-rated flicks), my wife and I thought it'd be OK to take our daughter, who also liked it a lot.

But that night when she went to bed, I found her with her covers pulled to her chin. (Darn.) We talked about how the monster in the movie couldn't exist in our world; that it defied the general laws of basic physics and known biology, which seemed to help. It gave her nightmares anyway. So, FAIL on the thinking it would be OK thing. Alas.

My wife went and said it even scared her. That's a sum total of maybe three movies that have ever given her the willies. My daughter went again (the damage was done) with her mom, her best friend, and BF's mom. I guess her friend sat through most of the movie with her ears covered and her jaw hanging from shock. Her mom exclaimed out loud a few times, too.

So, if you've seen the other one, it's a great companion movie, and if you haven't, it might be one of the better horror flicks you've seen in a while. You might want to mind the R-rating though.

We also watched the wonderful Kristen Wiig's triumph: Bridesmaids. At least this time we were warned about what to hide from our daughter (the first 5 minutes). My wife and elder daughter loved it. I laughed a few times. I was thrilled to see Melissa McCarthy, who I thought was awesome in The Nines and hoped she could find her way to a long career; this is a pretty good start. Bridesmaids is worth a few minutes of your time, provided you like crude humor.

I caught Martin Scorsese's George Harrison: Living in the Material World on cable, when my family was out of the room. One of the ironies of my life is that I thought I would avoid driving my family nuts via the TV because I don't care for sports so don't watch them, but none of them have a tolerance for music documentaries, so my favorite thing to watch is the bane of their existence anyway.

I thought it was very average for the genre, but did learn some stuff about the quiet Beatle that I didn't know, and am now more impressed with his legacy regarding guitar craft and riffage. For fans only, I'm afraid.

Finally, I happed across this deleted scene from Will Smith's Hancock. If you didn't see it, the story explores the concept of a superhero who's become cynical and alcoholic because he realizes he can never do enough to fix the world.

In the deleted scene, we are finally able to witness the dramatization of the famous quandary that would face Superman should he ever try to have sex with Lois, as described by Larry Niven in his infamous essay, "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex" (some wiki goodness here). Ironically, the original script for Hancock was titled "Tonight, He Comes.", and dealt with his sexual frustration along with his cynicism. So, of course, the one scene that reflects the origin of the story was cut.

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