Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Goofy Movie

This is one of those movies that I watched repeatedly as a kid. Be advised, despite what the title and mood of the poster may suggest, this movie is not all that goofy.

As a kid, I recall being a bit put off by the irascible nature of the characters. The incessant aura of boiling tension maintains a foreboding sense that yet another awkward argument is going to begin at any moment. Not unlike the feature-length debuts of many other cartoon icons, the script presents a story that less resembles a lighthearted comedy and more a tear-jerking drama.  When developing such film adaptations, a writer's overarching hurdle to overcome is determining how to prolong the insouciant 11-minute antics of a particular cartoon cast to a feature-length without boring the viewer.  Their solution, simply put, is to construct the story around a turbulent emotional arc. Doing this requires the writer to fabricate an enormous amount of emotional baggage for a usually unsophisticated character.

With this, we often times see these adaptations mutate a familiar fun-loving cast to aberrancy, presenting the viewer with an unfamiliar collection of erratic players who are offensively more contentious and discordant than they would ever appear in their respective shows.

There are at least three perplexingly detestable examples of a cartoon series being adapted for the screen through this mechanism which inevitably disrepute its franchise. Namely, the melodramatic catastrophes known as The Powerpuff Girls MovieThe Rugrats Movie, and Pok√©mon: The First Movie.  I'd like to note that The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie is a shining counter-example, where emotional arcs are present but artfully shrouded in humor, allowing the audience the freedom to laugh at even heaviest moment.  A Goofy Movie, which is based on a television show I've never seen called Goof Troop, falls somewhere in the middle.

Can a cross-country buddy road trip movie succeed when the two heros are immersed in an almost immutable discord that doesn't resolve until the last fifteen minutes of the film?  The short answer is, yes.  Complete with stupendous animation, enough dry laughs to keep anyone with a decent sense of humor entertained, and fitted with songs that will get stuck in your head for days, the movie overall is actually quite good.

The film certainly is not intended to be a laugh out loud comedy with a joke at every turn, which is probably why when a gag hits, it hits hard.  Much of the humor in the film is wickedly dry, which is always a perk in a children's movie, since the parents are going to have to sit through it as well.  The grace with which the adult humor is inserted without furtively interpolating sexual innuendo intended to fly over the young viewers' heads is commendable.  The film's most amusing moments are not the punchlines thrown in your face (there really aren't that many), but rather in things like a character's demeanor, or the framing of a shot, or even the facial expression of a nonspeaking extra (e.g. Fat Elvis in the diner, or the hysterically lugubrious woman dropping off her kid at the portrait studio).  Watching the film again as an adult, I'd say the best gags emanate from a wonderfully meta viewpoint of overly jubilant Disney heritage. Goofy is allusively the embodiment of an oldschool Disney fan, while Max is your exemplar of angsty teen who wouldn't be caught dead enjoying a Disney flick, not to mention taking his photograph with a cartoonish mascot or singing along to a Country Bear Jamboree-style animatronic stage performance. Their clashing temperament serves as a hotbed for

It's impressive that a 1995 Disney film could be so blatantly self-referencial; although not nearly as impressive as a film like Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988). Not unlike Roger Rabbit, albeit not as explicitly, we're immersed in a world where recognizable cartoon characters seem to exist both as tangible creatures and as the brain-children of animators. Evidence of this includes an emblem with the Disney "D" logo hanging from Goofy's keychain, and a 20-questions style guessing game between Max and Goofy concluding in the answer being Walt Disney.


In easily one of the most hysterical lines of the movie, Max makes mention to fact that Donald Duck is Goofy's best friend. And at one point .  Presumably, in this world, characters such as Micky Mouse and Donald Duck still exist as icons of popular children's movies and shows, as their image serves as the subject matter of toys and appliances (e.g. The Mickey Mouse telephone in Max's bedroom, and the stuffed animal of Bambi in the portrait studio).

 but that being said, nothing hateful or derogatory seemed to slip through the cracks.  All jabs at Disney come from a respectful place which feeds off of a common knowledge of well-known Disney characters, memorabelia, and attractions.

Hellraiser

I've always wanted to watch this movie, ever since I walked by the box in the video store as a child.

It was cool in that the premise was simple and creepy. But like all horror movies, there just wasn't enough beyond the creep-factor to  keep me interested. I was almost more entertained by the camp, which was clearly not what the film was trying to go for at all.

5/10

Enter the Void

Unique, beautiful, and surreal.  Looking back at the film as a single complete work of art, it's great. It's showing something we've never seen before. It's worth sitting through... once.

The shots where the camera may fly outside of a building for 5 minutes just to float around and float back into the building is unique and necessary to add to the realism of trying to represent what the "trip" of death may be like. But if you're sitting down ready to watch a movie in any convention sense of the word, you're going to be bored out of your mind.  I'm sure the director himself wouldn't disagree with that.

6/10

Brazil

Showed my family.

So good. Best movie.

10/10

The Comedy

Showed it to my brother.

I liked it better, and felt like I understood it more the third time I watched it.

8.5/10

The Comedy

Watched it again, sort of.  Only watched the parts with dialogue, which cuts the length of the movie by about half.

Specifically asked Rick Alverson how he felt about piracy. He said obviously he was against it, but was indifferent in regards to pirating enormous studio productions.  Then I immediately went and pirated this.  Ooopz.

Oh well he got my initial ticket price, and I bought him a beer.

8/10

The Comedy

Screening at BAM including Q&A with Tim and Rick Alverson.

Then ran into Rick Alverson on the street the next day and had beers with him.

In my opinion the movie wouldn't have worked with anyone else but Tim.  Rick didn't agree.

8/10

Brazil

Amazing!

10/10

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Skyfall

First fifteen minutes were gold. The opening credits sequence was great.

Absolute shit after that.

3/10

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Punch-Drunk Love

Highly recommend!

I really like how Paul Thomas Anderson sets up his movies in such a way that things can happen that don't have to make sense.  You're just always plopped into a universe that's a little off.

Beautifully shot.  I love that shot where the camera is attached to the door of the car as it shuts. I also love the shot where the camera is dollying beside Lena as she walks through the garage, but the camera is outside of the garage and for most of the shot all you see is the camera moving across a plain white cinderblock wall.  Great.

And the opening shot when the garage door opens and it's early morning.

9/10

Safety Not Guaranteed

I still can't believe this movie exists.

8/10