Thursday, January 31, 2008

Week 33: Waitress

Well here’s a cute little film…

...and that’s about all I can think to say about it. It’s really, really cute. Kind of bordering on cloying. And while it’s not quite an indie film, it’s not exactly mainstream either. I did adore Cheryl Hines as a post-modern Flo from Mel’s diner. Kiss my grits! When she told fellow waitress Dawn that, with make-up, her face looks just like a normal person’s, I cracked up.

On a bitter note, our Netflix disc was scratched within an inch of its life, meaning we had to skip two or three chapters along the way and we never actually got to see the end of the movie. I resorted to looking up the ending online, and it ended exactly how I would have guessed, so no great loss.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Week 33: Big Love Season 2, Disc 2

Is there anything better than an evil Mormon? If there is, I can’t think of it. At this point in Big Love Season Two, not only do we get some delightfully evil interplay between runaway child-bride, Rhonda, and her would-be husband, the 80-year-old prophet, Roman Grant, but there is also an entirely NEW evil Mormon cult leader! Jesus Christ, pun intended! These two rival polygamy cults are setting up to battle it out Bloods and Crips style. And I can’t wait for the bloodshed. Okay, so maybe there won’t be bloodshed, but we can at least expect a few long French braids to become disheveled.

Did I mention that Rhonda is the very face of evil? She is quickly becoming my favorite character on the series because she’s so sweetly conniving. You just can’t predict who she’s going to turn on next.

It also seems like half the town – including at least one police officer -- is now aware that Bill and his family are Polygamists hiding out in the suburbs. And yet, there is no fallout from this. Does that strike anyone else as strange? It seems like someone, perhaps the officer of the law, would be more inclined to make a bigger deal out of this. But then again, maybe that’s coming on the next disc.

All I know is that if Big Love continues on this brisk pace, it’s quickly going to be my official favorite show on TV right now. Sorry, The Office. I still love you, but the writer’s strike is making it very hard on our relationship. I also love this crappy show on TLC called “Say Yes to the Dress” but that is not exactly love, more like the show I drunk-dial on my DVR. But I digress…

Monday, January 21, 2008

Week 32: Big Love Season 2, Disc 1

Dear Creators of Big Love:
I respectfully request that you end this show immediately. I understand that this program is well-loved by many and that you have reportedly created a wonderful portrait of a Mormon man and his three wives trying to live a respectable, normal existence in a modern suburb.

However, I think I speak on behalf of the country at large when I ask you to cease immediately. Your portrayals are bringing much unwanted attention to – ahem – things that, well, just should not be brought to the attention of the voting public. Or any public, but the voting public is just one example that came to mind for no particular reason at all.

Perhaps you could consider putting the show on hiatus until, let’s say, any time after November 4, 2008. Just a meaningless date I pulled out of a hat. That being said, if the whole “Mormon thing” could just lie low until then, it would probably be best for everyone. The pulse of the country is definitely saying, “let’s put Mormons on the back burner. We do not want to hear about Mormons at all. Not one bit.”

I thank you kindly for your cooperation.
M. Romney

PS: I’ve heard that Evangelicals have started drinking the blood of white Christian babies. Republican babies! Now THAT is an idea for a new show that would be perfect to air any time between now and November 4, 2008. And I’m giving this idea to you totally free of charge. You’re welcome.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Week 32: Spiderman 3

[The Motley Queue observes Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst at their first script reading of Spiderman 3]

Tobey: So, uh...

Kirsten: Wow, this is...

Tobey: Yeah.

Kirsten: I mean, is it just me or are there seven or eight villains in this script?

Tobey: And isn't one of them is Thomas Hayden Church? How are we supposed to pretend to be frightened of the goofy mechanic from Wings? And Eric from That '70s Show? That pipecleaner is playing a villain too? What's going on here? Was David Hyde Pierce busy?

Kirsten: I take it you haven't gotten to the strutting scene yet?

Tobey: The what?

Kirsten: The part where you strut down a public sidewalk.

Tobey: I WHAT?

Kirsten: And dance.

Tobey: Am I still playing Spiderman or did I accidentally join the cast of Rent?

Kirsten: [sighs] I wish.

Tobey: I mean, I recognize that I play a guy who got super powers from a spider bite, but I'm finding the rest of this script just a little hard to believe. What are the odds that some evil black space goop just happens to land on Spiderman of all people in the entire city? And Thomas Hayden Church is made out of sand? Sand for christsakes!

Kirsten: You think that's bad? I have to act completely bored and sullen through the whole godawful mess.

Tobey: Isn't that kind of your thing, anyway?

Kirsten: What? I wasn't paying attention.

Tobey: I've got to get out of this movie.

Kirsten: Do you think I should get bangs?

Tobey: I'm getting a new agent.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Week 31: The Eyes of Tammy Faye

In a word, how does one describe the late Tammy Faye Bakker-Messner?


She is 100% certifiably crazy. But oh how I love her. I dare anyone to watch this delightful little documentary about Tammy Faye and not walk away simply adoring the woman. She’s like that retarded little inbred Chihuahua that became popular a few years ago. A complete train wreck, hideously cute and certainly shy of a few key brain lobes, but otherwise loveable.

The Eyes of Tammy Faye is narrated by RuPaul Charles. Yes, THAT RuPaul. And each segment is set up by a pair of deluded sock puppets, so you know I was loving it right from the start. To say that the documentary was one-sided is like saying that Jim Bakker is a little bit corrupt. It paints Tammy Faye as a total victim and a near-saint, but you can’t help finding all that okay. She BELIEVES she was 100% innocent and the documentary doesn’t try to hard to disavow her of her beliefs.

The film doesn’t dig too deep but it does give you a nice overview of her rise and fall. We were left wondering just how destitute Tammy Faye really was in her final years. She lived in what appeared to be a cheap apartment filled with QVC seconds, but at the same time drove around a Jaguar. It does seem a perfect metaphor for her contradicting personalities: humble Christian servant and over-the-top materialistic juggernaut.

We both loved the film even for all its shallow faults. If you don’t love it too I’d dare say you’re probably Jerry Falwell.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Week 31: The Simpsons Movie

Oh, happy day for hubby. He who named our two cats Duff and Moe after the Simpsons. He who wanted to name our first-born Apu, Smithers or Santa's Little Helper -- take your pick.

I am happy to report that The Simpsons Movie didn't suck. It was actually pretty good. I'm a fan of the show but was worried that the big-screen adaptation would lose some of the sharpness that makes the show great. Happily, it didn't. It was funny, clever and not too long. And I was happy to see that even though the creative team had full reign in the "we can do things we normally can't do on broadcast TV" department, they didn't go overboard. Although, we did giggle at seeing Bart's full-frontal nudity and Homer raising the obligatory middle finger. Marge also has the best use of a curse word since Mrs. Weasley's "You Bitch!" in the final Harry Potter book.

Could we have lived without The Simpsons Movie? Most definitely. We could also live without wine, Ruffles potato chips with sour cream dip and pork sausages [aka: a perfect night in heaven for me], but what's life without a little guilty pleasure?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Week 30: Letters from Iwo Jima

Pop Quiz!!!!

What do you get when you mix the following?:
  • One sick baby vomiting in ludicrous quantities every half hour through the entire night
  • Four loads of laundry running overdrive as there are no towels, sheets or baby clothes left in the entire house which are not covered in said ludicrous vomit
  • Two exhausted and faintly vomit-smelling parents, including one would-be movie blogger, limping wearily through the next day on three hours of sleep
  • One unbelievably serious, dry movie that is ALMOST THREE HOURS LONG

Give up? Here's the answer:

  • You get eighteen minutes of us blearily watching as Japanese soldiers dig sand trenches before turning to one another and saying, "Didn't we also get The Simpsons Movie in the mail?"

Sorry, Clint Eastwood. I'm sure Letters from Iwo Jima is a bang-up film. We really had the best of intentions. But there was all the vomit. And the going to bed at 4am. And the hours and hours of laundry. Did I mention that for eighteen minutes all we watched was men digging trenches?

And last but certainly not least, I still smell a little bit like puke.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Week 30: Everything is Illuminated

What a very Elijah Wood year we're having here at the Queue. First we get his creepy cannibalism in Sin City and now we've got him being equally creepy in Everything is Illuminated. Maybe it's just that he's wearing nearly identical glasses in both movies. Oh, and and his jaw is four-feet wide. What is up with that? The thing is enormous.

Anyway, back to the movie. This is a few years old and I always meant to rent it. It's just that every time I got to the description, "An American Jew hires a Ukrainian translator to help him locate the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis....ZZZZZ....ZZZZZ"

Oh, sorry, I fell asleep there. It sounds boring, right? And not a little depressing. But here's the wonderful thing: this movie is delightfully entertaining and funny. Any movie in which a main character is a dog named The Seeing Eye Bitch/Sammie Davis Junior Junior (not a typo, but two Juniors) is all right by me.

Everything is Illuminated was touching and funny and very sincere. And even though Grant couldn't stay awake past the first twenty minutes, I'm confident he would have loved the idea of a blind man and his seeing eye bitch driving a jowly little American Jew around Ukraine.

Liev Schrieber directed and wrote the film. You know Liev. He was the killer in one of the Scream movies. And he stuff? Forgive me. He's one of those people you know but can't remember him from anything. Well Liev, I'll remember you for this great little film even if you are totally forgettable in every other way. Which you are.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Week 29: Sopranos Season Six, Final Disc

David Chase: whither thou proper ending?

My first reaction to the end of this amazing series was, 'how could you end the greatest drama in the history of television with a .... well ... a whimper, David Chase?'For those of you who don't know, the final episode of the Sopranos ends with a very abrupt cut to black in the middle of a Soprano family dinner at a restaurant. It feels like getting a case of cinematic blueballs.

But over this long holiday weekend I've had a lot of time to mull it over. And this is what I've come to: it was the right ending.

Because let's be honest. No matter how dramatic; no matter how much bloodshed, tears and treachery Chase could coax out of the Soprano clan, it would never be enough for us. Fans of the series are bloodthirsty for an ever-climbing escalation of drama and mayhem. And there is simply no way to satisfy us. The series could have ended raining blood and we'd still be saying, 'but what about....?" I think Chase recognized that no ending would satisfy his fanbase, and so he played the "Choose Your Own Adventure" card.

By simply cutting us off at the moment when Tony is facing possible indictment and a sketchy-looking potential hitman enters the same diner where Tony is having a family dinner, we're left to contemplate how the series might play out. Some of us might imagine the would-be hitman was simply a man hungry for a burger. Some of us might imagine that Tony was killed in a bloodbath. Some of us might imagine him facing a life-sentence in prison.

And I guess in the end, that's what's beautiful about this show. It's so layered with rich texture that the possibilities for Tony and his family are myriad. Here's hoping that in another ten years, David Chase comes back on the scene with a new series picking up where this one left off. Hint, hint, Mr. Chase. Hint, hint.

Week 29: Superbad

An Open Letter to the Estate Managers of the Late Chris Penn:

Dear Sirs and Madams:
It has recently come to our attention that the late Chris Penn has indeed fathered a child. His name is Jonah Hill and he most recently starred in the comedic film, Superbad. It was a delightful movie, and Mr. Hill's (nee Penn's) performance was hilarious, although we still prefer his co-star, Michael Cera (better known as George Michael Bluth on our beloved Arrested Development.) Our point; however, is that Mr. Hill is most definitely the offspring of one Mr. Chris Penn, and DNA evidence is not needed to prove this claim. One only needs eyeballs.

Sirs and Madams, we know you are not aware of this child, but we at the Motley Queue feel it is our duty to inform you of his existence so that you may bequeath him his rightful possessions from the Chris Penn estate, which we presume to be the following:

1.) One (1) battered Lazy-Boy
2.) Assorted half-drunk bottles of whiskey, bourbon, gin, vodka, port, sherry, rum, beer, moonshine, cough syrup, antifreeze and Colt 45, too numerous to count
3.) Four (4) Gold's Gym membership cards, never used
4.) One (1) unfinished memoir entitled "My Brother Is Overrated and I Want a Pizza" by Chris Penn
5.) One (1) lifetime platinum membership card to the Stardreams Cathouse & Titty Palace, Hoboken, New Jersey
6.) Eight (8) Customer of the Year plaques from Dominoes Pizza
7.) One (1) rolodex labeled "doctors willing to prescribe me oxycontin"
8.) One (1) mint-condition collection of Precious Moments figurines

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
Motley Queue