Posts filed under ‘Film’

The Lamentations of Lowry – Chapter 17: Wussification

One of my son’s favorite movies is The Incredibles. He fancies himself a speedster like Dash and loves to demonstrate how his little legs can move.

One of the themes in the film is how everyone loses when people are not allowed to be their best selves. It is a philosophical sibling in some ways to Atlas Shrugged.

The trend towards a toothless and bland populace may be traced back to the early 1980’s, with toys and films that affected an entire generation. From commentator Eric Snider

In the 1980s, the Care Bears were a major contributor to the wussification of America. Children who once roamed the streets barefoot, playing with broken glass and poking dogs with sticks, were now taught to share their feelings and to care about people. Fun cartoons like G.I. Joe reminded kids how satisfying it is to kill others; lame cartoons like The Care Bears said, “Let’s all sit around and talk about our hopes and dreams!” And what were the consequences? Everyone born since about 1975 thinks they’re “special” and “important” and “unique,” when in fact most of them are “ordinary” and “useless.” Thanks a heap, Care Bears.

Care Bears

The Care Bears Movie is a disturbing glimpse into an Orwellian future where caring reigns supreme and good old-fashioned misanthropy is forbidden. The Care Bears — emotionless, ambisexual drones who frolic nakedly in the clouds and giggle in a most unsettling fashion — rule Earth with an iron, furry fist, spying on citizens in a search for the slightest hint of uncaring. Each Care Bear is named according to its personality: Friend Bear, Cheer Bear, Tenderheart Bear, Pansy Bear, Wuss Bear, Big Fat Crybaby Bear, etc. There’s also the gloomy Grumpy Bear, who is clearly a genetic defect and must be looked upon with pity and loathing by the others of his species.

Much deep reflection is prompted by this pop culture cancer. It does make one wonder- What kind of bear would one be?

I hope none at all. Maybe the hunter who shoots the bear and makes a rug.


July 5, 2009 at 10:05 pm 2 comments

The Majesty of Rock, the Pageantry of Roll

I said I was going to do it, and I did it.  I attended Unwigged and Unplugged based on this blog’s recommendation.  It did not disappoint.

This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the movie “This is Spinal Tap” which is an iconic cult classic that ushered in a new genre, The Mocumentary, and IRF’s collective favorite film, the great unifier that brought us all together, Waiting for Guffman.  These movies aren’t for everyone, as the humor is dry, and well, smart.  Joe Miller describes this as having a high HIQ.  Well, as we all know, “you find people.  You FIND them” and I found people that share the same appreciation that I do. So my friend and I bought tickets to see Harry Shearer, Michael McKean, and Christopher Guest, live in the Oakland Paramount Theatre.

This is Spinal Tap is a mocumentary that chronicals the ’80’s rock band, Spinal Tap, often called the loudest band on Earth.  Christopher Guest, plays lead Guitarist, Nigel Tufnel and this scene describes him better than I ever could :

Some of my favorite Spinal Tap lyrics:

The majesty of rock, the pageantry of roll, the crowing of the cock, the running of the foal, the shepherd with his flock, the miner with his coal.

Big bottom, big bottom, talk about mud flaps, my girl’s got ’em.

You’ve still got your baby teeth.

In the show, they also showed this special youtube tribute someone else made to Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You:

Now the band didn’t only represent Spinal Tap, as they did come back in a Mocumentary about Folk Music called “A Mighty Wind”.  And the threw me a bone by performing the song from the Waiting For Guffman Outtakes, “This Bulging River,” which may be one of my favorite parts of the movie .  All in all the night was a success.  Upon telling Joe Miller about my concert, he replied, “I don’t care about trivial things like how you’re doing, all I want to know is, did they play Hell Hole?”  My response was in Joe and my common language, “Guffmanese” as I said, “ello, ow are oo?  ave you been to ‘artford?”  (Joe, clearly understood that this meant they opened with it).

I wish each and every one of you could have been with me for this special evening.  You were in my heart.

PS – I did procure a new baseball shirt with Spinal Tap across the front and the number on the back?  11.  (Because it’s one louder.)

April 25, 2009 at 9:05 pm 6 comments

Movie Review: King of Kong, A Fistful of Quarters

I recently caught this 2007 documentary on DVD. It was fantastic. Here is the trailer:

It’s an intriguing conceit, but the trailer doesn’t do it justice. There is a Guffman-like quality to the film, and you find yourself asking whether it could really be a documentary as opposed to a mockumentary.

It is indeed a work of non-fiction, and a delightful one. It’s hero is one of the rare gamers that could possibly fill the protagonists role and remain appealing to the general public. I think you’ll like it.

January 11, 2009 at 10:22 pm 3 comments

Movie Review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

I watched the new film by Se7en‘s David Fincher. I found it enthralling. I enjoy slow-developing movies, when the story justifies it and the execution supports it. At over 2 1/2 hours, Benjamin Button fits on every count.

I have always been drawn to the technical side of filmmaking. There is a technique used in the film that was first seen (to my knowledge) in Jurassic Park. In that film it was used to cover an accident, when a stuntwoman’s face accidentally was seen in a pivotal moment. They were able to take the young actress’ face and cover the stuntwoman’s. Later we saw something similar in the Lord of the Rings triliogy, when Elijah Wood and his fellow “large people” had their faces placed on the “little people” that stood in for them in group scenes. Each case has demonstrated huge advancements in the technique, and Benjamin Button used it seamlessly. There may have been one or two brief moments where you know you are not seeing Brad Pitt’s body, but they are insignificant, and never a distraction.

Aging is a major part of the film, and they also accomplish this very well. The makeup is fantastic, and at only one point did I find it somewhat unconvincing, but I am probably a tougher critic than many. There were parts where I found the passage of time hard to follow. With Benjamin’s age being hard to follow, and his connection to the conversely-aging Daisy a critical part of the story

I enjoyed the story. The performances are uniformly excellent. The characters are believable and well-developed. There is real humor, real emotion. The film’s ending is heartbreaking and poignant. Some have found the setting of portions of the movie during Hurricane Katrina distracting. I thought it was fitting considering the story being set in New Orleans.

I think this one is worth your time.

December 29, 2008 at 2:34 am 2 comments

Movie Review: Dark Knight

IRF is always in the know.  Between showing you behind the scenes pictures of Oscar Parties and American Idol Backstage passes, we have also brought you pictures of important movies being filmed, such as National Treasure (at Mt Vernon) and last summer, we told you of Batman – Dark Knight being filmed outside my apartment in Chicago.

Last night, I joined in with the pack to see the film (which will have one of the most successful opening weekends of all time).  I purchased my tickets 12 hours ahead of time, and showed up an hour and a half early to get in line outside the theater.  Did I do it for my love of Christian Bale?  Was it an homage to the late Heath Ledger?  No, my urgency in seeing the film was that I knew it was chalk-full of Chicagoness and I’m painfully homesick.

The Chicago scenes did not disappoint.  I was pleased to see the scenes that included the inside pictures I shared with you last August.  It was great.  Christian Bale is delicious and when he’s dressed like batman, he talks like GOB from Arrested Development.  The whole time I was giggling about the scene when Will Arnett and Alec Baldwin were having a face off on 30 Rock and both talking in their Batman voices and Tina Fey comes up and says, “Maybe we can settle it with a talking like this contest.”

Voice and tastiness of Christian Bale aside, let me reiterate how much I adore Morgan Freeman.  He’s great, as he is in every movie.  There was a scene when a smug little lawyer was trying to blackmail Wayne Enterprises and Morgan Freeman’s smug little smile was priceless.

The acting, action, and Chicago scenes all had me happy… My only critique is that it should have ended 40 minutes earlier, in the hospital, as it would have set it up there perfectly for the next movie.  Alas, I had Swedish Fish to keep me happy, so no REAL complaints.  Go see it. If nothing else, it will remind you of the mob presence in Chicago politics as you evaluate other Chicago politicians…

July 19, 2008 at 12:44 pm 11 comments

A Step Behind

As a blog that brought you a behind-the-scenes look at the set of National Treasure at Mount Vernon, it would have only been suiting that we do the same for the next Transformers.  But, alas, it was not to be.  On Friday I took my kids to the National Air and Space Museum (Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center).  Our $12 parking fee was waived because we were told DreamWorks LLC had everyone covered that day.  Half of the museum was blocked off for filming and since my son was getting “shh’ed” by DreamWorks staff during filming, we took off to the non-Hollywood half so as to not disrupt.

Figuring that it was a non-cartoon film for DreamWorks, I didn’t think it was a big film. I also didn’t recognize the three actors we saw from 50 yards away.  Come to find out the next day in the paper that it was Shia LeBoeuf and Megan Fox and that Shia was merrily signing autographs inbetween takes.

So close yet so far away.

June 9, 2008 at 10:29 am 2 comments

Taught Me How To Be a Man

Near disaster in church this Easter Sunday. And I blame this particular outtake from Waiting For Guffman:

The thing about Guffman, for those of you unfamiliar, is that it gets in your blood. You memorize the movie, and then when you hear things paraphrased… ie, CNN Money, it became apparent that the S&P chief economist was paraphrasing guffman when he said: “The Fed is trying, but they don’t have a magic wand to wave and make everyone confident again.” (Guffman scene: “We need you to wave your magic wand and make this town special again.”)

So, you may have noticed this little segment of the above song (a Waiting For Guffman deleted scene):

“You taught me how to be a man. How to pitch a bail of hay. How to rassle a steer to the ground and apply a firey brand to his hind quarters. And yes, you taught me how to love a woman. How she can find comfort in your strong arms. And how the gentle fragrance of her hair can drive a man wild!”

So, imagine me trying to control myself in church when the speaker was telling a heart wrenching story about his friend losing his father, and then said, “He taught him how to be a man.” Immediately my friend and I looked at each other and covered our mouths. I fought so hard to hold in my laughter that I had a coughing fit.

Economy? Church? What segment of my life WON’T Waiting For Guffman penetrate?

March 23, 2008 at 10:21 pm 4 comments

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