When watching Major League, I can’t help but think of a time when Charlie Sheen and Wesley Snipes weren’t punch lines.
I’m not suggesting that this film represented the finest work of their careers. But they sure come off as likable guys, you know? It doesn’t seem like they will just slip into obscurity or insanity. I think they both show a kind of charisma that suggests they are unlikely to burn out.
Snipes was Blade for goodness’ sake! He and Sandra Bullock are the reason that Demolition Man isn’t a complete disaster. Snipes kind of wills his audience to enjoy that movie.
By the time Sheen makes this movie, he’s been in Wall Street and Platoon! For both of these guys, this dopey baseball film should be little more than a speed bump. Sheen ran over it twice because he appeared in Major League II. His career then migrated to Television, where he did very well until – well – we all know what happened.
Snipes, for his part, decided to skip paying taxes for a while. So he spent a little while in jail.
He’s in Expendables 3 so things are looking up for him. Good news there. The Expendables franchise is not at all about featuring action stars past their prime in mediocre films. Should work out great.
Sheen’s got another show on television so I’m pretty sure that he’ll be able to spend another few years swimming in a pool of cocaine on his days off.
The first thing I think about every time I hear the name of this movie is how you can conveniently turn it into a porno version without changing the name. Actually, you probably wouldn’t have to change the plot all that much.
Harry Ballahan is a tough cop who doesn’t play by the rules. He and his partner are upset because a gangster beats the rap in court so they double team the court reporter.
At the same time, a cop shows up and kills the gangster and everyone in the car. Then he goes home and his wife gives him a blow job.
Ballahan goes in to talk to his boss, Lieutenant Bangs, who is having sex with his secretary. They talk about the murder of the gangster while Bangs is having sex. Because he can multi task.
Then a couple of female cops have sex. Just because that sort of thing happens all the time during a murder investigation.
We switch to a gigantic orgy. For like fifteen minutes. Just tons of people having sex. They switch partners. They don’t use condoms. It’s just insane. And strangely boring.
Then the party blows up because it turns out all those people having sex were gangsters.
Ballahan is stumped. He has no idea who could be killing all of the gangsters in town. In fact, he delivers this exact line: “Damn! I have no idea who is killing all the gangsters in town!” He pounds his fist on the table and takes a swig of beer for emphasis.
So he orders a pizza. For some reason, it takes two women to deliver a pizza. And Ballahan doesn’t have any cash for a tip…
He goes to a really nice house with a pool in the suburbs to ask some questions. While he’s on his way, one of the killer cops breaks into a prostitutes room. She doesn’t have any information for him so they just have sex. Her pimp breaks in and he shoots the guy while he is still having sex with the prostitute.
The sex scene lasts for another two minutes and the entire time the pimp is lying on the floor dying. He’s still able to masturbate while watching them have sex. He ejaculates and then expires.
Ballahan arrives at the house with the pool and there is a beautiful naked woman swimming in the pool. He asks her if he can ask her a few questions. She unzips his fly and he says he has no time for that right now.
Literally. His line is “I have no time for that right now.”
Turns out he does though, because they have sex in the hot tub.
Cut to Ballahan’s partner, who is having sex with his wife. At least we assume it is his wife because she’s the only other black person in the entire movie.
They have sex for a while and then he goes to the bathroom while she masturbates. As soon as she finishes, there is an explosion and she screams. What I mean is there is an explosion in the bathroom. Like from a bomb.
Cut to Ballahan comforting his partner’s wife (his partner didn’t have a name because he was black). She tells him that she’s so lonely so they have sex. She feels a little better.
Then we cut to Lieutenant Bangs office. Harry tells Bangs that he knows who did it. Bang says really, who?
Again, that is the exact line. “I know who did it.”
“It’s you Bangs.”
“You’ll never catch me!”
“Like hell I won’t.”
Then Ballahan punches Bangs in the face. Actually it looks more like he punches Bangs in the shoulder. But Bangs falls down as if he was punched in the face.
Then the two lesbian cops show up wearing really short skirts, high heels, and shirts unbuttoned to their navels. He tells them to take Bangs away but they say they have a better idea.
The movie ends with Bangs handcuffed to a chair watching Ballahan having sex with the lesbian cops and complaining that he doesn’t have a hand free to masturbate.
After the credits, there is a credit cookie where the two pizza delivery girls show up. Ballahan looks at the camera and says “A cop’s work is never done” and we fade to black as the pizza girls start to take off their pants (but not their shoes).
See? Practically the same movie.
I don’t really care when a critic savages a movie I love. Critics are paid to write about film and be interesting. As Anton Ego says in Ratatouille, negative reviews are fun to write. Magnolia, however, is the source of the worst negative review I’ve ever read.
My issue with the review (which you can read here) is not that City Pages critic Rob Nelson hated the movie. That’s totally fine. He has the right to hate the movie and it is his job to tell people what the thought.
My biggest issue was that the review, at least in its reference to the character played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, is completely misleading. He refers to Hoffman’s character as nurse who “who nervously orders porno mags for home delivery.”
While this statement is true, the statement’s implication of why he is doing this is far different from his actual motivation. We read that line and we conclude that he is probably ordering these magazines for his own personal use. We are given the impression he is some sort of pervert who is reading porn and jerking off while a man lies dying nearby. He clearly doesn’t give a shit about his patient and cares only about his own sexual gratification. Maybe he’s a closeted gay necrophiliac or something.
In fact, Hoffman’s character is the kindest and most compassionate person in the entire film. He treats his dying patient with care and respect and when he is asked to do that patient a favor, he goes far beyond his charge as a nurse.
He orders those magazines as a way to help him search for a man’s estranged son. That is what the review carefully doesn’t tell you.
Those who have been following my Alphabetical Movie Blog closely might have noticed that I’m writing about Madagascar 3 without having taken the time to write about the two films that, presumably, preceded it.
Thing is, I don’t own either one of them. The rules of the project clearly dictate that I’m only watching movies I own. It just so happens that the only movie I own in the Madagascar trilogy is the most recent.
I think that the explanation is simple. Here it is:
I don’t own the other two Madagascar films because I think they are OK. And my kids think they are OK. We simply haven’t had any pressing need to pick up a copy of either one of them.
That Circus Afro song, though. That constitutes a “pressing need.”
If you would like me to explain why I cannot get enough of a fifteen second song sung by Chris Rock voicing a polka dotted zebra, I have no words. It is, simply, an absurd moment that fills me with primal glee.
My admission should not be taken as some sort of shame. I’m not the only person who was totally gaga over a fifteen second joke in a 90 minute movie. Once the film was released, they made a new trailer that basically acknowledged the fact there was a subset of their audience that was interested in only one thing.
Because I have kids, I’ve seen most of the “kid” movies in my house multiple times, even if it is just in the background. So it is with this film. I know there are other parts to the movie and yet I can’t remember them because they are eclipsed by a gigantic rainbow colored clown wig.
I love it even though it was the only song my children sang for at least a week after we saw the film on initial release. Generally, that behavior makes me want to find every copy of the song in existence and smash it with a hammer.
Yes, I believe there is a way to smash an iTunes version of a song with a hammer.
But something almost sinister happened with this particular snippet of music. I wanted to sing along with my kids.
Look, there are very few movies that I can recall scene for scene. The best movies have slow points. And movies I love more than anything might get re-watched once a year at most. I may not be able to recall most of Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted but the truth is, I like it enough that I’m willing to watch the rest of the movie for that moment.
It isn’t even that a singing zebra clown is the funniest thing ever featured in an animated film.
But it is silly and absurd and (if you haven’t seen the trailer) unexpected. It stays with you and makes you like the rest of the film just a little bit more.
There are few enough scenes like that in any movie. Don’t judge me for enjoying that scene in this movie.
The central argument being made by Jurassic Park and The Lost World is if we bring dinosaurs back from extinction, they will destroy us. Humans, we learn, are just too puny to survive the return of the giant lizards and we will become a buffet for T-rex and Velociraptors.
Not being a biologist, I can only speculate that there are gigantic problems with this assumption as the current climate on most of the Earth is not actually compatible with dinosaur physiology. Sure, Velociraptor infestation would a problem in New York but could they survive the winter?
Science aside, here’s the big problem with this premise: Who cares? Dinosaurs!
If a scientist stepped up to a podium tomorrow and said “I can re-create dinosaurs but there are going to be a few problems…” every reporter in the room would miss what came next because they would be envisioning parks where you could saddle up to ride an Apotosaurus, go Pteranadon gliding and feed goats to a T-Rex.
I enjoy Kung-Fu Hustle a lot but I’ve always faced a bit of a dilemma about the film because it wasn’t quite the film that I wanted it to be.
The film itself is a Kung-Fu film set in a world that could best be described as the Warner Brothers cartoon version of a Kung Fu movie. There is even a chase scene that would appear to be straight out of a Road Runner cartoon.
Yet the name of the film and the opening scene made it seem like what was about to be shown was a King Fu musical. Thing about that for a minute. A kung-fu musical. By Stephen Chow. If the concept doesn’t make you salivate, you need to educate yourself on Stephen Chow. Go and watch Shaolin Soccer.
I know a few people who really hate Tom Cruise.
Not Tom Cruise as an actor in a movie, mind you. They just fucking hate Tom Cruise.
They hate him so much that they don’t ever want to watch a movie starring him, featuring him or possibly even associated with him. I think that they would avoid movies with the word “cruise” in them. That’s cool, I guess. Everyone has their own opinions.
You can’t really escape sexism in most movies but the older the movie, the more likely that the sexism will be overt. Just like the racism in classic films, though, everyone involved in making the films was oblivious to what they were doing.
Nobody was trying to be sexist. They just were. The fact that women weren’t actually delicate flowers who would faint at the slightest provocation didn’t change the fact that women in film were that way. Easiest way to facilitate the monster carrying his victim? Have her faint!
That isn’t really sexism, right? It’s just practical.
Every generation has at least one comedian who ends up being popular in films in spite of the fact that they are almost universally despised. Or so it would seem.
Take Martin Short, who stars in Innerspace. At the time the film came out, he was a fairly popular comedian and most of the people I knew could never figure out why. His spastic characters grew tiresome very quickly and while he had the likable nerd thing going on, Rick Moranis did it way better.
Francois Truffaut famously said it is impossible to make an anti-war film.
His meaning, I think, was to suggest that any film about war – no matter the perspective of the filmmaker – ends up glorifying war to some degree. I see what he meant although I don’t agree with him. One needs only watch Paths of Glory to see a film about war that doesn’t glorify it in the slightest.