Category Archives: Film

I Wanna Grape With Somebody

This list was compiled over a few bottles of wine and one idea. To be fair, this isn’t for sensitive readers or the faint of heart.

A fancy sticker to anyone who can name every derived movie/band/book/tv show. Also, a million apologies.

Grapeless in Seattle

It Happened One Grape

Life According to Grape

The Curious Rape of Benjamin Button

The Children of The Rape

Braverape

Grapeology

Tomb Raper

Enter the Grape

sex, lies and grapes

Curious Raper

Idle Rapes

Edward Graperhands

Edward Rapehands

The Hitchhikers Guide to Raping

The World According to Rape

Burn After Raping

No Country for Rape Men

There Will Be Rape

… And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Grapes

… And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Rapes

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Rapes

The Greatest Rape Ever Told

…As I Lay Graping

The Neverending Rape

Of Mice & Rape

The Rape House Rules

Buffy The Rapist Slayer

The Rapist-Sitters Club

Reality Rapers

Raping Mrs. Tingle

Rape Intentions

Cruel Intentions (To Rape)

Clarissa Rapes it All

Hey Rapist!

Rape Arnold!

Boy Meets Rape

Charlie And The Rape Factory

Charlotte’s Rape

Next Stop, Rapeland

James & The Giant Rape

To Rape A Mockingbird

While You Were Raping

When Harry Met Rape

I Know What You Raped Last Summer

You’ve Got Raped

Ten Things I Graped About You

Rape It To Beaver

The Things They Raped

Cloudly With A Chance of Rape

Where The Wild Things Rape

Rapey-Dick

Rape of 1,000 Corpses

The Rape of the Mohican’s

The Rape Lmtd.

America’s Next Top Rapist

Rape My House

Jurassic Rape

Wallace & Rape

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Rape

Punch-Drunk Rape

Honey, I Raped The Kids

sex, lies and rape

The Neveraping Story

Rape of Arabia

Rape Over The River Kwai

Citizen Rape

The Color of Rape

Dawn of the Rape

The Sun Also Rapes

Old Rapey

The Iron Rape

Grapevita

Love in The Time of Rape

Love in The Time of Grapes

Divine Secrets of the Rape-Rape Sisterhood

Waterrape

The 40-Year-Old Rapist

I Am Rapist

Before Rape Falls

The Rape Candidate

Gentlemen Prefer Rapes

Dirty Raping

The Breakfast Rape

Tender is the Rape

Stand By Rape

Devendra Rapeheart

Rape It To The Bone

Rape Hard 2: Rape Harder

Night of The Living Rape

Nightmare Before Rape

When A Man Loves A Rape

The Good, The Bad and The Rapist

I, Rapebot

Rapeward Bound

Raping Arizona

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Threads on the IMDB “Dogville” board that I read late last night

On occasion, I’ve been to cure my insomnia by reading asinine messages boards on IMDb on movies I like or the talkbacks AiCN for shows I’ve never seen. The amount of work that goes behind some of these posts calms me and brings me to a soothing rest like a child; it is comforting to know that I don’t waste my time arguing on the internet.

Here’s what I read last night, for the batshit movie “Dogville.”

WHERE ARE ALL THE WALLS!?!?!?!

WHERE ARE ALL THE WALLS!?!?!?!

 

 

“Why was Lauren Bacall cast as a townswoman?”

“paralells between grace and britney spears”

“I lost brain cells watching this film *spoilers*”

“An ode to Brechtian/Epic Theatre if I ever saw one”

“[Post Deleted]”

“What’s with the 10 mililons budget?”

“This movie isn’t about the USA. stop being so egocentric”

“What the word pedantic means”

“Old Testament God…New Testament God”

“awww grace, you coulda been my hero”

“This movie scarred me for life”

“what are the alligations?”

“They all deserved it, *spoilers*”

“She sure got raped a lot.”

“I fell asleep 30 minutes before the end, what happened?”

“Romance?”

“I want my money back.”

That is all. Cheers!

Will Ferrell, Zealotry and Pride

Will Ferrell has a new comedy coming out with John C. Reilly this weekend, but the exercise is far from new. I haven’t seen the movie, but in this day and age, you don’t have to actually experience something to judge it. I am going to discuss Ferrell’s previous career choices and how they have planted him at the perilous position he is at right now, a place where his schtick is tired and his appeal has waned.

When Ferrell was on SNL, I thought he was hilarious. His era on SNL is the one that I grew up with, and I have fond memories of his playful execution of the Spartan Cheerleaders gag. He could play the straight man as Trebek, and be the wacky flake Harry Caray just as well. The Ferrell that played the strongest was his sweet clueless goof, tweaking his voice with a big smile, Ferrell could make a laugh just with the twitch of an eyebrow. And surely, no self-respecting SNL fan will ever forget the Cowbell sketch. Keep in mind that all of these bits were in small doses. He was never completely the center of attention, and had seasoned familiar comedians surrounding him in a comfortable situation. Ferrell was teh strongest player on SNL during those years, and his transition to film wasn’t a big surprise.

 My earliest memory of Ferrell is the cameo in Austin Powers. The one scene roles turned into supporting roles, like in Dick and The Ladies Man. Then he stole the show in Jay and SIlent Bob Strike Back, in what was to be Kevin Smiths View Askew swan song. These roles bring the first juxtaposition of his strongest comedic personas. The sweet goof that I described before that he mixed surprisingly well with vengeance In Jay and Silent Bob and the screen debut of his surly, mean, still clueless, hairy sociopath in The Ladies Man. The latter of these characters is funny, but for odd reasons. He is this harmless bully, who is oblivious to his own harmlessness, who scowls and growls with a gaping jaw and empty eyes. It works here as the Greco-Roman wrestler with revenge on the mind, but it is a temperate version of this character, he is clean shaven, well dressed, and participates in a sophisticated Olympic sport. This guy isn’t the grungy alcoholic with tattoos and lurid sex stories ala Blades of Glory. I almost forgot about his best supporting role, Mugatu in Zoolander, this was the stronger debut of the villainus delusional narcissist. I always was fond for the Ferrell villain. But again, these are supporting roles in mid to low level comedy features. In either of these movies he has no more than 20 or 30 minutes of screen time. The novelty of the material is still fresh to mainstream audiences, and there isn’t enough to fully lead astray.

Then came the big break. Old School. His depiction of the irresponsible binge drinking Frank the Tank was nothing short of spectacular.He simply carries the entire movie, the storylines with Vince Vaughn and some Wilson brother sink behind Ferrell. The streaking scene, the blow dart scene, the mascot on fire scene; all either cemented or soon to be cemented classic moments in comedy. The film opened the way for the rest of the “frat pack” movies, which is despicable or hilarious, depending on who you ask. But as I rewatched Old School a couple weeks back, I found myself genuinely liking Frank the Tank. He may have a penchant for beer bongs and overzealous partying, but at his heart he is a sweet guy. He is the kind of guy who says “I love you Dad!” at his wedding, looks forward to the “nice little Saturday,” going shopping with his wife, and tells Wilson “I love you,” in his note explaining the eviction. Frank the Tank may not be a responsible person, but he is an admirable one. The reason why is character works as well as it does, is because he isn’t the whole movie. The weakness of Luke WIlsons character and the middle ground of Vince Vaughn elevates Ferrells appropriately. Frank the Tank is not at the center of the plot arc, but somewhere on the side, where his goofy boorish behavior is acceptable and believable. His moments are the relief from the other scenes, we wait for his to start, not for it to end. Patience is an incredibly important factor in comedy.

 

Another movie that was in development the same tim at Old School was the charming Christmas comedy Elf. The reason that this movie works so well, is because it functions on many levels. It is not just a vehicle for Ferrells childish destructive habits, but it is the story of Buddy, the only adult sized elf, and presents the stronger of the two Ferrell personas at its best. Ferrell isn’t running his usual gags, but is moving with a wide eyed innocence, every line is coated with a sugary silliness. I mean just fucking look at this guy!

Buddy is an absolutely ridiculous character; at that is what makes him so endearing. The lack of awareness to his over zealous Christmas spirit, alienates the people he surrounds in New York, for example the security guard at the Santa station, the incredulous reaction of the family at first, the look on the wonderful Peter Dinklage’s face during the pitch meeting. Buddy is profoundly disturbing, but not in a negative way. His priorities and beliefs are slanted, but with good reason. The absurdity of his character allows some of the best scenes to be plausible. The rapid snowball firing machine is funny because it would be plausible if Buddy was real. The wild extent of his decorations would be plausible if Buddy was real. The genuine pain that Buddy feels when facing the negative reactions would be plausible if Buddy were real. These moments are not just plausible, but affecting, because Ferrell makes it real. This is likely going to be the magnum opus of Ferrell’s career.

 

 

 

The commercial and critical success of Old School led the way for studios to believe that Ferrell could carry a feature role all on his own. Anchorman was the proof of that. Anchorman rarely had a scene that he wasn’t in, and if there was one, the other characters were plotting around him. The aura of Ron Burgundy stinks up the whole theater. Personally, I like Anchorman, and not because of Ferrell’s antics. The camraderie of the news team works well, the shocked reaction to the rise of feminism is hilarious, and the best moments of the movie – the news team battle royal, the Jack Black puppy punting, the party scene at the beginning- may all revolve around Ferrell, but do not rely on it’s star for the biggest laughs.

The template for Ferrell’s success in Old School is mirrored in Anchorman. Ask any person who has seen the movie, and they will tell you that Brick Tamland is the funniest character in the movie. Steve Carrell finally finds his moment to shine, in a supporting role in a mid to upper level comedy feature, just like Ferrell, leading to his own starring role in a feature – The Forty Year Old Virgin. Carrell has executed the rise of his own popularity with much more promise than Ferrell, though he is beginning to suffer his own backlash at the moment, much like Ferrell during this point of his careers trajectory. But that’s a whole different post.

Next came the beginning of the sports trilogy – Talladega Nights, Blades of Glory and The Basketball One. This is where Ferrel found the two essences of his comedy formula; (1) Stupidity – the characters in this movie aren’t always stupid people but they act in stupid or immature ways, RIcky Bobby is irrational and irresponsible with his career and finances, as well as Chazz Michael Michaels who nixed any chances at long term success because of a rivalry and clear substance abuse issues. (2) Zealotry – Whatever mantras these characters subsribe to, they do not do it out of personal faith to their subject, I believe they do it because they do not know what else they can do. They cling to these tired foolish ideas – misogyny and pride in Anchorman, competitiveness and pride in Talladega Nights, partying and self-image in Old School, because the idea as well as the act of changing is overwhelming to their systems.

There is also a repetitiveness in the arcs of the characters in each movie. Each starts with Ferrell being at the top of his game and proud, he is then confronted by worthy competition and begins to falter, only to have the story turn due to a huge embarrassing mistake caused by the error of his ways, i.e. always reading right off the TelePrompTer, even if it says “Go fuck yourself San Diego.” He then hits rock bottom, only to find solace in long lost friends, to then quickly rise back to the top and surmount the insurmountable odds. Happy ending, roll credits.

My problem with these characters, is that this presents these unfortunate traits as admirable traits. The sweaty hairy narciccist is getting laid in all of these movies. Young men have begun to think that acting boorish and egotistical is the way to act to get women and to be funny. In reality this is neither; it is a way to act like a man child with stubborn and selfish interests. This doesn’t work out in the long run.

I am very curious to see how the rest of Ferrell’s career will play out, I hope he will return to the sweet charming doof that charmed me ten or so years ago, or at least continue to stretch his chops with films like Stranger Than Fiction. I just hope those future films will be better than the garbled mess called Stranger Than Fiction

The Dark Knight and The Thrill of Lofty Expectations

I am going to take a break, perhaps an extended break, from using this blog as an outlet for my usual tawdry earnest “literature,” or whatever you want to call it I’m going to try to get back to what I usually write, or what people usually are accustomed to be reading from me, which is an opinion piece. Because something has been on my mind, for a long time.

And that has been The Dark Knight.  I am excited, I have been very excited, for about a year, or since the day I heard about Heath Ledger being cast as The Joker. As the release date approached however, I found myself feeling an anxiety about the movie. Perhaps this is due to the amount of talk about the movie as of late, the tragic death of Ledger, the fact that this is a sequel, or more likely an accumulation of all of these things and other unmentionable factors.

I love movies. And not for the typical reasons of being taken on an adventure, or being told a story, or to escape from reality. Don’t get me wrong, all of these things are great, but the part that has always affected me the most is going to the movie, sitting in a dark auditorium with a group of strangers, and being shown something together. The movie itself can be crap, but the experience – hearing strangers hoarse laughs, listening to children talk or most of all the looks on peoples face as the lights come back up and we go back to normal. Seeing a movie on the big screen brings a new set of possibilities into the experience, and also closes critical ones as well.  When I watched Babel with a group of friends at home, we cracked jokes the whole time about Brad Pitts overacting and the uneasy weirdness of the deaf Japanese girl. This would not have happened in the theaters.

But back to my point, which is the Dark Knight and my anticipation. I have been counting down mentally to the release date, the 19th of July became a foundation for my summer planning, and the fact that I could see it five days after my birthday was nice as well. But here’s the weird thing.

I avoided the movie like wildfire all weekend. I changed the subject of every conversation at work leading up to the release, and ran with my hands covering my ears from two girls talking about their favorite scenes. Not that I didn’t want to have the movie ruined, I wanted to avoid hearing about the movie at all. Because hearing about it at this point only reminds me that I haven’t seen it. Reminding me that I have been cowardly avoiding the potential of disapointment. My lovely girlfriend and I have been talking about the movie for months. The Ledger factor, the sheer awesomeness of the trailers (I love how acceptable awesome has become in mainstream culture,) the brillance of Christopher Nolan how he can maintain an artistic edge and still sell hundreds of millions of dollars in an opening weekend. There is nothing bad that has happened to knock this movie off of it’s perch of potentially the greatest blockbuster of all time. And that is what scares the bejesus out of me.

I used to work for a theater as a projectionist. Every week a couple of new movies would come in, and the other projectionists and myself would have the fine opportunity of watching the movie before the audience could, the preview the print and make sure that Donald or Erich didn’t fuck anything up. The staff would talk and talk about upcoming releases, reminded ominously by the rotation of posters and billboards and promotional statues. We were a five screen in an upper class town, so whatever was popular was showing. And time after time, I would build my expectation up for a movie, only to be quickly disappointed by the product. When I reflect on a movie, I sometimes reflect on how excited I was, then demur myself after I remember painful scenes or awkward dialogue, or just pitiful stunt casting (Nick Nolte in Hulk anyone?) So recently, whenever my girlfriend and I would talk about The Dark Knight, I would ask her to not say things that are overreaching like, “It’s going to be the greatest movie ever,” or “Heath Ledgers role is going to be the best,” or “It’s going to be so good that Christian Bale will climb out of the screen and blow a massive load on the audiences chest, and we will like it and ask for more!” I just can’t stand being disapointed, so I’ve lowered my expectations from          

“Unfuckingbelievablyinsanelygood,”

to

“Itsgoingtobegoodnomatterwhatbutifitsunfuckingbelievablyinsanelygoodthenitwillcomeasasurprise.”

I always want to love a movie. Especially with this one.

Heath Ledgers death has cast an unfortunate specter over the film itself. People have been talking about the sad circumstances surrounding his death rather than the incredible talent and charm he possessed. Consider the fact that the guy said he straight up he had no idea how to act after doing A Knights Tale, and that he wanted to be taken seriously and get serious roles. Look how quickly he turned himself around from one week teen hunk, to serious actor, getting seriously good roles. The sky could’ve been the limit with that guy.

So I am going to go see The Dark Knight tonight, at the 9:35 showing on the Westside. The guy I am going to see it with tonight, I have only seen one movie with before, and that was Spider Man 3 at a midnight showing (I have a theory that midnight showings tend to dilute your true feelings of a movie.) Paul and I may not have the best track record for movie going as it stands, but it can only get better after that massive abortion of a comic flick.

Maybe my expectations of what a movie can be has changed as I have aged, or maybe the potential for the market to unleash a movie that works on all counts has been lost. Maybe the hoopla surrounding this movie is too much for the movie to overcome. Either way, I am ready to see it.

I’ll write something tomorrow about how I felt about it. I already feel alot more excited by writing this.