I’m not saying that to brag. I mean, if I was trying to brag, I wouldn’t admit that I look at this poster every time I poop, would I?
OK, fine. I’m bragging just a little bit.
I’m not a big memorabilia collector. When it comes to autographs, I place far more value on a genuine interaction with another human being than I do on their signature. Still, it’s pretty damn cool that I got to see an advance premiere of Return of the King with Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson and Peter signed a poster for everyone in the room.
The story is a lot more interesting than the autograph, actually. I could’ve forged the autograph. It could have been stamped on by a printer.
When I watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy for the Alphabetical Movie Project, I made the choice to watch the extended editions. I don’t believe they are better than the theatrical editions but one of the most remarkable things about the universe Jackson created is how excited I was by the prospect of seeing more – even if the extra bits didn’t add all that much to the story.
If I’m watching a movie for the first time, I’m pretty much always going to try to see the theatrical cut of the film. If I don’t like that version of the film, why would I want to watch a version that has more stuff I don’t like? If I like the film, I want to establish a baseline and I feel that baseline should be what everyone else has already seen.
Besides, the theatrical cut is almost always better. Most movies don’t need to be longer. Most movies need to be shorter. As much as I love the extra stuff in the LOTR movies, I don’t feel like any of the movies are improved by the additional material. The theatrical versions exhibit better pacing and storytelling than the extended editions. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that the avalanche of skulls really makes Return of the King better.
Let me tell you about what convinced me I was watching a truly great work of cinema when I first watched this film.
It wasn’t the extraordinary characterizations by the lead performers. Although they were extraordinary.
It wasn’t the scope of the film that seemed to stretch beyond the frames. Although that was brilliant.
No, what sold me on the film was the way Peter Jackson managed to make an inanimate object terrifying.
I’m pretty far behind on Alphabetical movie blogging and I blame this film.
See, I just don’t know what to write about this movie. Every time I sit down to write about the movie, I can’t figure out what angle I want to take.
The Alphabetical movie blog is all about angles. Make no mistake, it is not about the movies themselves. There have been hundreds of thousands of words written about most of these movies so I don’t feel as if I can add anything particularly insightful.
Instead, I like to write about how the movie makes me feel. Or what the movie makes me think about.
You’d think I could do that with just about any movie. Yet somehow, this movie has resulted in a void. I’m blocked.
So I’ll write about writer’s block!
Time travel is probably one of the most tricky conceits for any movie. The moment you decide your movie will involve time travel, you are immediately faced with the unavoidable fact that you can’t write such a story without creating a paradox.
How can the Terminator possibly succeed at killing John Connor since he already hasn’t?
If you are going to tell a good story about time travel, you have to embrace the paradox. You have to just accept that it doesn’t all make sense but if time travel were really possible, it wouldn’t all make sense.
If they can go back to the exact point in time they want to get some whales, why couldn’t they come back five days earlier so they wouldn’t be crippled by the probe?
Look, I know that this movie isn’t all that good. It spends a good portion of it’s incredibly short running time recalling funny moments from old Looney Tunes cartoons in ways that make them nowhere near as funny.
When Marvin the Martian said “where’s the Kaboom? There was supposed to be an Earth shattering Kaboom” in “Hare-way to the Stars,” it was funny. When he says the same thing in this film, it feels kind of desperate.
Back in my youth, I fell in love with the Looney Toons on Saturday morning. For 60 or 90 minutes, they would play the best of the classic cartoons. A lot of them were shortened or they would splice together a couple of road runner cartoons to make a really long road runner cartoon in which Wile E. Coyote really got the shit kicked out of him.
I imagine the pitch for Look Who’s Talking Now went something like this:
“Boys, we need to strike while the iron is hot and get another ‘Look Who’s Talking Film’ into the theatre!”
“Hot, how do you define hot…?”
“Great Idea Sir!”
“Problem is, the kids are growing up. And Willis won’t sign for less than ten million dollars on anything these days. How do we keep the voiceover gag. Do they have another baby?”
“No sir, that’s played out. We need another angle.”
“What’s your angle Johnson?”
“I’m thinking DOGS, sir!”
“We could have TWO dogs! And one could be a classy dog. That would obviously be the bitc….uh….female.”
“I love this!”
“Are you guys even listening to yourselves?”
“Shut up, Wick.”
I’ve always been puzzled by Kirstie Alley’s career.
I’m not saying that I think she’s a horrible person. I don’t really know her.
Nor am I saying I have a problem with the fact that she has, from time to time, had weight issues.
Because seriously, there’s all sorts of unhealthy body issues going on in the Entertainment industry and the fact Alley gained a few pounds was actually something to be celebrated rather than vilified. She may have been heavy for Hollywood but she still weighed less than most Americans.
My problem with Alley’s career is that she is a comic actress whom I never found particularly funny.
I think I set a record with the Look Who’s Talking trilogy.
As has happened a few times before, I was gifted this trilogy of films by a friend who enjoys the fact that I’m a stickler for the rules of the Alphabetical movie project. If I own the movie, I will watch it.
Even if I hate it.
So what better way to screw me over than to give me a trilogy of films that get progressively worse until you reach one that is inexplicably awful. How it failed to kill John Travolta’s career (again) is beyond me. Kirstie Alley’s career has always been beyond me.
I’m getting ahead of myself.
Since Lolita is a story about pedophilia, I’m going to tell a story about pedophilia.
Doing Vilification Tennis at the Renaissance Festival is a dicey proposition. We are doing a show that is pretty vile and vulgar and the audience likes it that way. However, we are doing it at a venue that is advertised as appropriate for all ages. That means you have to walk a pretty mean balancing act between offensive humor and trying to ensure parents who are walking by don’t have to explain too much to their kids later. Because parents hate that. More on that later.
Most days I think we do an admirable job of walking that tighrope. Every now and again, though, there is a complaint. I take the complaints seriously and I do my best to keep the performers from getting out of hand. Our show is best if we flirt with the line without merrily skipping across it.
On occasion, we get an instruction from the festival management about the kind of material they would like us to avoid. Most of the time, the request is a little odd and when I ask for clarification, I find it was one joke that caused the problem.