Tag Archive | Alphabetical Movie Project

Alphabetical Movie – Looper

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?

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Alphabetical Movie – Looney Toons: Back in Action

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.

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Alphabetical Movie – Look Who’s Talking Too

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.

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Alphabetical Movie – Look Who’s Talking

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.

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Alphabetical Movie – Lolita

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.

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Alphabetical Movie – The Lodger

Hitchcock’s The Lodger is loosely based on the story of Jack the Ripper.  It seems possible that the ripper will continue to be the most famous serial killer of all time for the simplest of reasons – he was never caught.

How many stories can you tell about Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer?  One.  There is no rampant speculation about who they were or what they did.  We all know.

You can make one movie about Ted Bundy and you’ve pretty much covered the story.

Jack the Ripper, on the other hand, could be anyone.  He could be a time travelling alien!  He could be professor Moriarty!  He could be a lady! He could be Abraham Lincoln (the assassination was faked so he could emmigrate to England and fulfill his darkest desires)!

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Alphabetical Movie – Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

It isn’t often that I watch movies in English with subtitles.  The accent needs to be pretty thick for me to give up on my own powers of comprehension.

I don’t actually need to watch Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels with subtitles.  Not anymore.  Those first couple of times watching the film were pretty challenging, though.

I don’t know what to make of Guy Ritchie, honestly.  This film and Snatch are an awful lot of fun.  I like his Sherlock Holmes films.  But I just don’t feel like he produces great movies.  Fun movies, sure, but fairly slight.

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Alphabetical Movie – The Living Daylights

What a difference twenty years makes.

The Living Daylights was made in 1987 and while it doesn’t have the best of Bond villains, I think it is a solid film in the franchise.  I’ve already defended Timothy Dalton as Bond so I won’t bother to do that again.

Watching the film now, what I’m struck by is the depiction of the Mujahideen as heroes and freedom fighters.

I’m not making any value judgements on whether or not that is right.  Rather, I’m thinking that to a post 9/11 audience, that depiction might not make any sense.  I can think of a few reasons why.

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Alphabetical Movie – Live and Let Die

The cliché that a Bond villain can’t just fucking kill James Bond is rarely more evident than in Live & Let Die.  Bond is constantly surrounded by bad guys with guns and yet not a one of them seems capable of  pulling the trigger.

When Bond gets home at the end of this one, I really feel that he’s got to consider himself lucky that the bad guys he faces are so fucking stupid.

Let’s look at a few examples, shall we?

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Alphabetical Movie – Little Shop of Horrors

When I was seventeen, my family took a trip to Europe for summer vacation.  We spent a week in France, a week in Germany, a few days in Amsterdam and a week in England.  Mostly London.

At the time, I was about to go to college as a theatre major and all I wanted to do in London was go see plays.  My parents wanted to go to all sorts of historical buildings and stuff and I resented it at the time.  One play a day hardly seemed fair.  Who gave a crap about the Tower of London?

The Tower of London, by the way, was pretty cool.  I regret it took me several years to realize that.

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