The Year 2010 as a Frequent Movie-Goer [part 3]

I wouldn’t go as far to say going to the movies 23 times last year makes me an expert. This doesn’t happen often, but occasionally, I will look at the movie as people who are acting rather than the movie being part of a world outside of reality.

Those who’ve read The Catcher in the Rye [and understand it, preferably] know what I’m talking about. Holden says he hates movies because actors are generally phonys.

One of my favorite books also happens to be among a list of banned books from libraries and schools. Oddly, the list includes a lot of books I read in high school… I guess they’re not banned here. I can understand the likes of 1984, Animal Farm and The Giver (my ultimate personal favorite). Even Huckleberry Finn because it has the issue of language like “Catcher” does.

But Farewell to Arms and The Great Gatsby as well. What the hell? There’s nothing that horrible about The Great Gatsby that I picked up and Farewell to Arms is a compelling story… I gotta rediscover that someday because Hemingway’s exposition starts the book and I gave up after page 20…
Both happen to be part of our 11th grade reading list. Our student teacher took the helm around the time we started Gatsby and that’s the reason why Farewell to Arms was easier to get through. I’m not gonna lie, even as a writer and considering the avid reader I am now, Honors English was HARD. Our first two projects were The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible, which have to do with adultry and witchcraft, respectively. The earlier of the two probably is worth another look through after seeing “Easy A” a couple days ago… still love that movie, even more than the first time, which was awesome half an hour in to the end.

I know why Catcher in the Rye was banned, like the several mentions of the f [dash dash dash] word and something to do with the fact Holden dropped out of prep high school and is kinda dissing society in general… like for similar reasons why they wouldn’t let them dance in Footloose and why Elvis stirred up controversy, bringing sexyness to rock n’ roll. It was that turning point of pop culture where everything wasn’t nearly as formal as it was before the 50’s. How I can best describe it… more or less it was when women weren’t restricted to wearing dresses and skirts all the time, they could sport t-shirts and jeans just like the guys. Society ironed out the wrinkles and loosened up. It began with Elvis in music and The Beatles [and the rest of the British invasion] was the boiling point.

Odd, I didn’t mean to bring The Beatles into the conversation quite that way, but I was already heading in that direction.

I can’t help but think about John Lennon when I think about the unbalanced individual behind the shooting in Tuscon. He looks just as psychotic as the guy who killed John Lennon. Although I don’t know what he looks like, nor do I care to. This Loughner character, I know he was an alienated individual that wasn’t really part of society the way the rest of us are… then there was this one song by Drowning Pool he posted on his YouTube channel about bodies falling down and such… creepy stuff.
Before I did my research perhaps six months ago (out of curiosity), I believed that the Lennon killer heard voices in his head from listening to certain Beatles songs. Supposedly there is a movie called Chapter 27 that was about how he gained the motive to commit his criminal act. For a reason I can understand and can’t understand at the same time, he became obsessed with the Catcher in the Rye until the point he thought exactly as Holden did. He was after John Lennon because he thought he was a phony… I don’t know why he’d think that, but that’s why he was put away on account of insanity. For the record, the book only has 26 chapters.

Some things, I really didn’t appreciate as much as I do now. 9/11 will be a difficult day this year once I acquire the appropriate mood to properly mourn those who died that day… anything to make up for the past 8 years of feeling next to nothing.


Now onto to the next set of movies.


Descipible ME– starring Steve Carell, Jason Segal, Miranda Cosgrove and Julie Andrews
Grade: A

The beginning had me going for a while. We know from the previews that Gru (played by Steve Carell’s brilliant voice acting) plans to pull off the ultimate crime… to steal the moon.
My judgement slips a little bit on this one because it was brilliant aside from a couple miscues. There was somewhat of a rap song at the beginning of the movie after the previous ultimate crime was committed. I suppose the title is also “descipible me” but I found it very off-putting, put up the wrong image of what I expected from the movie.
After getting his morning coffee, Gru returns home and shooes away three girls collecting money for cookies for their all girls orphanage. Then after finding out about the crime committed, he decides to top it so he would become the #1 villian. Therefore, steal the moon. First he needs a shrink ray or the bank would deny his loan. He runs into the current #1 villian, Vector, who is a complete loser who comes up with some of the stupidest inventions (guns that launch sea creatures, pirhanas and squid)… but after Gru steals the shrink ray, Vector steals it from Gru’s ship.
Seriously, is there some kind of code for that? I mean, Vector “just kidnapped” what Gru had “rightfully stolen” (Princess Bride reference, lol). One of the earlier teaser trailers shows Gru’s many futile attempts to break into Vector’s fortress to steal back the shrink ray.
So he adopts the three orphan girls hoping to use them to infilitrate the fortress. He has his own plans and they have theirs, delivering cookies and practicing for a ballet recital. The three of them kinda do have the oddest names, though. Margo, Agnes and Edith… all those strangely sound like old ladies names… although Margot was the name of Anne Frank’s older sister, not entirely outlandish.
Naturally, the minions steal the show. First, because they’re just totally cute. And second, they’re just hilarious. One guy did the majority of their voices (they all speak their own language, btw, its called Minon-ese). But it gets to a point in the movie where you see Gru falling in love with the girls and they had become such a part of him… and I don’t want to spoil the rest here. Let’s just say it probably set the record for me for the movie with the most “awwww” moments that I saw this year.

The Sorceror’s Apprentice– starring Jay Baruchel, Nicholas Cage and Alfred Molina
Grade: B-

Now, this may be my imagination, but for some reason, Jay Baruchel looks so much younger here than he did in “She’s out of my league”… as if he had filmed this first, then that more adult film. I’m not sure how Kirk is supposed to be, but in his movie, he’s supposed to be at least 20. Maybe some of the attraction is lost because of that. That was one thing that bothered me.
Another, the beginning takes place the day of a 4th grade field trip where Dave (his character) is 10 years old. The note he’s getting back from his crush, Becky Barnes blows away and ends up at an old antique star called the Arcana Cabana (something like that). Here he stumbles across Nicholas Cage’s Balthazar Blake, one of Merlin’s three apprentices.
Flash back 1,000 years, Merlin’s apprentices were Balthazar, Veronica and Horvath (Molina). They sought to defeat his enemy Morgana. Because Balthazar and Veronica became romatically involved, Horvath betrayed all of them and vowed to help Morgana bring to pass The Rising where all the spirits come back from the dead to overrun the living. Veronica drew Morgana’s soul into her body and Balthazar trapped both of them in a grimmhold (more/less a nesting doll) until the day he found the Prime Merlinian, who was the one to inherit Merlin’s powers.
Back at the antique shop, Horvath gets released from his outermost shell of the nesting doll and both he and Balthazar get trapped in a giant vase that can hold someone inside its walls for 10 years… so supposedly Dave freaks out and runs out of the store. His field trip group finds him and he’s a complete wreck, not helped by the fact none of the trouble that went on in the shop was backed by any sort of evidence.

It’s a little off-putting when Balthazar finds Dave and Dave tells him about all the years he’d been in therapy getting over what happened in the store. A reluctant hero is one thing, I’d seen it so many times, but hadn’t he been through enough already? I just felt like it was a little much on the psychoanalytic side of things.

There is some cool stuff in the movie like certain special effects and there are some great lines. And with the title, they couldn’t not do a real life dance of the mops and brooms. Dave is somewhat of a psychic nerd and he experiments with Tesla coils in his laboratory. At one point, he makes them “sing” a song that is played several times in the film.
This ticks me off… One Republic’s newest single “Secrets” was played at least three times in this movie… it didn’t make it to the radio until 6 months later… hello?
Great song, by the way, although it gives me a sinking feeling that they’re just a one-beat-band. The synths that create the drum pattern, I’d heard them in some of their other songs, like what Ryan Tedder had written for other artists.
The storyline holds well, psychoanalysis aside. And now I’m thinking its too bad I didn’t go out to see “How to tame your dragon.” I could have had the Jay Baruchel trifecta.

Vampires Suck– starring Diedrich Bader, Ken Jeong and several unknown actors I don’t care to remember
Grade: C

For the record, this is the lowest grade I’ve given any movie this year.
And I’m taking this from a Twi-hard’s perspective. My friend Andrew loved it and after our animé club’s trip to the midnight showing of Twilight, he’s all for ripping this series apart. Let’s just say he’s a die-hard old-school vampire fan… forget that a vampire’s skin in sunlight reflects like several diamonds faceted together… if he thought Louis of “Interview with a Vampire” was boring and whiny, Edward wouldn’t stand a chance in his book.
“Meet the Spartans” was the best movie by this spoof company since “Scary Movie,” despite the fact they made fun of Prince in the beginning.

Some may argue that reading the Twilight series kills brain cells… I wanted to salvage all the ones I could from watching this piece of crap of a movie. I knew they were making fun of it in every way possible, but some parts were more overdone than others. It made me lose whatever respect I had for Diedrich (very little in the first place) as a spoof on Charlie… ugh, I can’t stand that guy. He’s tolerable at best in Outsourced (new comedy on NBC). Even a mention of Jersey Shore was overkill. Jessica, her best friend, wasn’t nearly as self-absorbed as she was in this spoof… to the point she was getting annoying, and Annilese Van Der Pol was so much nicer in “That’s so Raven” way back when.
More or less, its a combination of Twilight and New Moon. There were some funny lines. In response to not liking “cold, wet things,” Edward’s clone assumes Bella’s clone doesn’t like slurpies.
The interpretation of the wolf pack was just plain ridiculous. Playing “raining men” while they were prancing around in ripped up shorts and Jacob’s clone saying something about “I have to take off my shirt every 10 minutes, it says so in my contract.” Then things are accelerated where the time Bella’s clone meets the fake Cullens, its her 18th birthday… and they met in the first book. Also, it wasn’t just Jasper but everyone else wanted her blood after she got that papercut.
Yes to Edward’s clone having a segway, I’m all for segways. And actually, Bella’s clone’s reaction to Edward leaving is much easier to watch because she screams into a megaphone rather than suffering from nightmares…. that alone is part of the reason I can only watch New Moon so many times, depresses the hell out of me.
The movie ends with the Team Edward and Jacob crowds going at it until the lead Team Jacob girl knocks Edward’s clone upside the head… I literally screamed “what the hell” at the screen when it went to credits. Luckily, Bella was a newly transformed vampire and she and Edward took care of business. No way is Jacob winning this round.
So yeah, some parts made me laugh, but the rest, it was hard to get through because I didn’t want to think there were more people who hated Twilight than Twi-hards… I back the series up 110%, always will.

And for the vault (opposed to just “for the record”)… that particular time of the summer, I was getting depressed again. Work was getting to be a living hell, more than usual and I was stressed out. Plus, no movies I really wanted to see. I went out to see this because I was bored out of my mind and at least it soothed my curiosity. But never again.

Alpha & Omega– featuring the voices of Justin Long, Hayden Pattinere and Chris Carmack
Grade: B

Much like “Letters to Juilet” before it, it was hard to go to a movie without seeing a trailer for this movie. But unlike “Letters to Juliet,” it wasn’t a large gap between when the preview was shown and when the movie came out, only about 3 months difference.
Those who don’t know how wolf packs work, packs are led by an alpha pair, a male and female who dominant and run the pack. There are betas that are in second command, should anything happen to one of the alphas and there are omegas at the bottom of the food chain. For this sake of argument, its the story of the lowly guy on the school food chain who has interest in the prom queen.
When they were pups, Humphrey and Kate were best friends. But when she went to alpha school, Kate gained several ranks in the back, therefore she and Humphrey couldn’t rightfully be together. Although he’s thinking about it more than she is, she just wants to follow the order of the pack.
There’s competition for the caribou and the only way for two packs to coexist is for Kate to get together with the alpha-in-training of the other pack, played by Chris Carmack (I only know him as Luke from “The OC”).

By sheer coincidence, Humphrey and Kate are in the same place, wrong place, wrong time and are captured by humans and relocated to Idaho to “repopulate.” She wants to get back home because a war could break out if she doesn’t. Although it was kind of clear she wasn’t too interested in the other alpha. Which brings me to my main grievence of the film and this comes from being very close to wolves in general. They’re among my favorite creatures in the world, absolutely beautiful. But their howling is portrayed as them singing rather than what you’d expect a howl to sound like. That’s something I miss in this movie and I dunno, it seems off to me for that particular subsitutiton.
The reason why Kate didn’t go for the other alpha was because he apparently couldn’t howl too well, like he was tone-deaf. In turn, he starts to spend time with her little sister, Lily, a white omega wolf played by Christina Ricci.
Despite what others say throughout the movie, alphas and omegas can howl together if they want to. The story had some nice twists and turns and hey, its Justin Long. What else could I ask for? The howl of a wolf.

Easy A- starring Emma Stone, Amanda Bynes, Cam Gigandet, Aly Michalka, and Lisa Kudrow
Grade: A

The majority of the movie is a narrative courtesy of Emma Stone via webcast. It took me maybe 20 minutes to get used to her sense of humor, but once I did, I was completely suckered into the film.
I forget which particular movie it was, but early that year, I saw a trailer for this during another movie. A couple of movies, actually, and even then, I thought it looked really good.
So rarely does that actually work out… I like the look of a movie according to its preview and actually like the actual movie. Especially rare this past year. I suppose for every “Letters to Juliet,” there is one of these rare gems.

I find the character of Olive Pendergast to be an easily relatable one. She breaks the 4th wall constantly, but that doesn’t tend to bother me. She brings a sarcastic charm to the entire production that I could definitely share sentiments with. But not to the point where I’d listen to “Pocketful of Sunshine” a million times in a weekend, although her progression from hating to loving it to the point of making it a ringtone was enjoyable.
Then there’s the other side of the picture that includes Amanda Bynes and Aly Michalka, both are nasty in their own ways. Like who calls their best friend “bitch” all the time, its not a term of endearment, certainly not when I use it. Amanda’s character on the other hand is probably as bad as the most faithful people of faith. They shove their “divinity” in everyone else’s faces. She’s concerned about Olive for her reputation of sleeping around with everyone in the school, in the way that adultry is a sin, that sort of thing. Yet I am a person who doesn’t believe in multiple partners and pre-martial sex… I suppose it helps that I’m on the inside and I know from Olive that its all an act that made her infamous in the first place.
And a weird love triangle comes to the surface when one of Amanda’s followers finds out he has clamydia and says he got it from Olive… when he had gotten it from the school guidance conseulor (who becomes a very high-strung Lisa Kudrow) who is married to Olive’s English teacher. Stranger things have happened and will happen in the movie. So I quote Coach Carr in “Mean Girls,” “you’re gonna have a lot of urges. You’re gonna want to take your clothes off and touch each other. But if you do touch each other, you will get clamydia… and die.” I’ll stay ignorant of that disease a while longer, can’t hear it without thinking of Mean Girls, tee-hee.

One thing I will say is that I think its best if I watch how many times I watch the movie because the guy Olive ends up with (the guy she spent 7 minutes in heaven with a couple years back and lied for him about them actually kissing… Woodchuck/lobster Todd) does something special for her and it involves playing the theme song of “The Breakfast Club.”
I LOVE the tribute, but I’d like to keep some of it with the original movie. Though she did say earlier that John Hughes didn’t write her life’s story, its nice for one of his types of endings. May he rest in peace, the true genius of high school movies.

I’m betting for Easy A to one day join that legacy.

My next blog may/may not be the home stretch. I have 5 more movies to cover. All of which, I rated really well… although Due Date may have some lingering bias.

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