The Anger Parade is Sexually Confused by Bad Teacher

. 24 June, 2011

Before I get into Bad Teacher, I want to apologize to the billions of people who don't read this blog. I know you don't visit this site to read half-assed movie reviews, because you don't visit this site at all and I'm not really sure why I'm apologizing to you. Huh.

Bad Teacher is funny. At moments, its really fucking funny. In fact, it had the theater howling for much of its run-time. Like any time Jason Segel is on screen. He nails the irreverent, immature, self-satisfied Gym Teacher perfectly. Also, Phyllis Smith's quiet, uncomfortable Lynn, the side kick, brings the giggles. The jokes are raunchy, the situations ridiculous, and there fun to be had in abundance.

That said, the whole thing never quite congeals, for a few reasons. One, is the other characters I haven't mentioned. Timberlake's awkward, out of place rich pretty boy substitute teacher too often overshot funny and landed in strange. Likewise, Lucy Punch brings a lot of crazy, but it's not always funny. Her character is a balance of cute and crazy, and when she's being silly and pouty she is freakin' adorable, but the wackier she gets, the less funny the character is. And then there is the biggest problem with the movie. Cameron "I'm too old for this shit" Diaz. I mean, come on. She looks like Edward James Olmos, for cryin' out loud. Not to say that she isn't funny. In fact, she plays the part of raunchy, over-sexed Bad Teacher woman very well, but too much of the movie relies on her being sexy, which she. just. isn't. I couldn't see guys drooling while she attempted a sexy car wash, for example. Diaz ended up being a huge distraction for me, and I would have much rather seen someone else in the role. I never really figured out if she was supposed to be a young, fresh teacher or a middle aged woman trying to escape this life she never loved. Which isn't all Diaz's fault. There are a number of issues with the screenplay. While the jokes often work, the story is a complete mess. We don't know why people are doing what they are doing, and while the ending isn't a surprise, because we know what's going to happen because, well, duh, it's not in any way built up to or believable in the world of these characters.

None of this ruined the movie, not for me. It was still funny and entertaining, but it falls well short of the other raunchy comedies of our generation, and if I were you, I wouldn't bother with Bad Teacher in theaters, but would definitely check it out on the rental platform of your choice.

My Bad Teacher

. 18 June, 2011

Here is a little something I wrote up for @headgeek666 for his Bad Teacher screening next week. This is my bad teacher story. Note, the name has not been changed to protect the identity of this asshole. Also note, that some events may be dramatized or misremembered or complete falsifications, but as far as I'm concerned this is what happened:

This isn't one cohesive story, but rather an overview of two of the shittiest years of my life, also known as Jr. High School. I like to put much of this shittiness squarely on the shoulders of one Mr. Carr. Mr. Carr was both the Jr. High English teacher and the Athletics coordinator. And he fucking hated me and my best friend Laura. Looking back, I think he chose to single me out because I was smart and quiet and nerdy, while he was big and dumb and boisterous (and for a teacher, this guy really was dumb. Get to that in a bit). I don't know why he didn't like Laura. Maybe because she was pretty and strong willed and didn't flirt with him and the other little girls.

Anyway, Mr. Carr fucking hated us. Any time he had a trick question to ask, he called us out. Something we hadn't covered yet? He wanted to make a point? Did he just want to growl at someone? Always us. Every day. And this went on for 2 years. At one point, Laura's parents complained to the school board that he was harassing us. It only got worse. If we weren't in our seats with paper and pen in hand when the bell rang, we were tardy. He didn't do this for anyone else. If we opened our mouths when we hadn't been called upon, we got yelled at. He rarely punished the twenty other students in the class. He'd make jokes about us being slow, or stupid, or how I was fat and had awful hair (which was true, but fuck you Mr. Carr) and Laura had big tits. My dad asked me if I wanted him to go to school and kick Mr. Carr's ass in front of everyone, and I know that he would have and I love him so much for that, but just knowing he was in my corner was enough and I said no.

But Mr. Carr was also the assistant football coach. I tried out in seventh grade, and made the team cause I come from a small town and everyone makes the team. But he never left me alone there, either. He found some excuse to make me run extra laps every day. He would harass me and call me names and tell me to quit. Which, for some people, might sound like a normal highschool football experience, but on our team, I was the only one getting this kind of treatment. Luckily, football was optional, unlike English, so I did what he suggested and I quit. Not because he suggested it but because I couldn't take an extra two hours of his bulging eyes and his greasy smile every fucking day. So it was a victory, in a way. It didn't help with English class though.

Eventually I moved on to highschool and away from Mr. Carr, but that's not the end of his story. There are a couple other things you should know about the man to complete the creepy picture. First, when he would get frustrated or angry in class, he would stop talking, sit on his desk, rub the bridge of his nose, and sing the Mickey Mouse song. You know, M I C, see you real soon, K E Y, Why, because we like you! That shit is seared into my fucking skull, except I don't hear Mickey's voice, I hear Mr. Carr's ethereal imitation. He used to put this little show on a lot, at least once a day, and often as a way of embarrassing the person who'd been speaking immediately before. Often me. The other thing you need to know is that Mr. Carr used to shamelessly flirt with the girls in the class. The seventh grade girls. He often employed the One Leg Up on Something stance, so his crotch would be placed squarely in front of the victim. Of course, there were girls who enjoyed it and flirted back, which only encouraged him. At the time, it just seemed like another cheesy, creepy thing about him that I hated, but looking back if feels genuinely wrong, but maybe that's what happened later.

You see, it was around this time that Mr. Carr’s life and career took a downward spiral. First, he got drunk and went down on a student’s mom in the local brew house bathroom. This was witnessed by at least a dozen locals, one of which happened to be my uncle so I got to hear about it firsthand. This didn’t get him kicked out of the school, but it was also around this time that we got a new Athletic Coordinator, and his wife left him. Oh yeah, Mr. Carr was married.

It was a couple years later that the other shoe dropped. A rumor went around that the school board had Mr. Carr’s computer confiscated, and that they’d found buckets and buckets of porn on the thing. A lot of people were saying “Child” porn, but he never did jail time so I’m willing to let that go as pot stirring. But this time it was enough to see him permanently removed from his post. And I’ll tell you, I’m glad to know he’s not out there torturing some other fat little Jr. High kid right now.

My new favorite thing:

. 17 June, 2011

(Not pictured: Our cat)

Washing our damn cat.
There is something deeply satisfying about turning the shower head on the little feline she-demon. I think it's the same pleasure soldiers at Guantanamo get when they water board a terrorist. She has been a frakkin' pest lately. The hotter it gets, the more demanding Kona becomes. She's an indoor/outdoor cat, and she's taken to running around the storm drains under our neighborhood so she reeks something awesome, and has also gotten lazy about cleaning her own ass. 'Course, if I had to clean my shitter with my own tongue, I probably wouldn't do it either, but you know... So, Tarable gifted me with the chore of de-stanking Sheba, Queen of the Urban Jungle. Best present ever. I didn't know how much fun it would be. I chuckled at her piteous mewing as I hosed her down. I laughed triumphantly every time I blocked her sudden mad, wet dashes for freedom. It was like payback for every time she peed somewhere she wasn't supposed to, or clawed the door to be let in/out/in again. And in the end, I felt the heady rush of victory as I stood proudly over her shrunken, disheveled, but distinctly less stinky form. I think Kona is getting bi-weekly baths from now on, and I'm going to be much happier for it.

The Anger Parade fights the Fear with Green Lantern

. 16 June, 2011

Just got home from a small screening of Green Lantern courtesy of @headgeek666, AICN, the Alamo Drafthouse, and of course Warner Bros. I started getting feedback about Green Lantern yesterday while Tarable (don't tell her I call her that) and I were sitting in line waiting for seats to Attack the Block, also courtesy of AICN, when a few reviews from a local press screening started popping up. The crowd of movie geeks around us exploded with conversation about the reviews, which were all negative. Really negative. The word hate was thrown around. I was surprised. So I went into the movie tonight with all this negativity, this yellow fear, buzzing in my skull.

Then Harry takes the stage and talks for a couple minutes about how unreal it is to be seeing a Green Lantern movie (I'm not old enough or so well versed in GL to share his awe at this point), and how he hopes its the movie we all want it to be, even if its not the perfect movie. Then he asks who's wearing their Green Lantern Rings, which Tarable and I are, so the crowd shows off their geek gear, and then he said something that I thought was funny, incredibly geeky, and a little profound. Harry said, basically, that we should all WILL the movie to be what we want it to be. This was an interesting comment, and I think it has bearing on the critical reaction to the movie.

With that thought in my head, and the pre-conceived negativity pushed to the back of my mind, I was able to sit back and enjoy the film. Green Lantern is an entertaining flick that delivers on the looks and the action, but stumbles due to poor writing, cheesiness, and clumpy pacing. Ryan Reynolds should bring in a crowd, and he's predictably charismatic, even when he struggles with poorly written dialogue. Blake Lively is smoking hot, but spends a little too much time as the damsel in distress. I thought her first scene was completely flat, which had me worried, but her Carol Ferris grew on me as the movie moved forward. Which brings me to something I really liked about the movie: there are a number of scenes where people geek out about how cool it is that their buddy Hal Jordan is now a superhero. I thought these scenes worked, were funny, and were generally well integrated into the story. It translated some of the wonder the audience is meant to feel onto the screen, into these side characters, and these scenes got appreciative laughs and nods from my fellow viewers. My favorite parts of Green Lantern were the trips to Oa. They were visually fascinating, and I wish we had spent more time with the alien members of the Green Lantern Corps. I hope this movie succeeds, if for no other reason than I want a sequel that isn't an origin story, in which some of the real potential of the Green Lantern Crops is unleashed.

Most of Green Lanterns most dangerous failures are not what it DID, but what it didn't do. If you make a movie about a Corps of Superheroes who can do quite literally anything they can imagine, the directors, screen writers, and special effects folks had better come up with some really creative fucking constructs to wow the audience with. This part of the film was underwhelming. The constructs looked cool, but there were too many mundane weapons and not enough Holy Shit moments. I wanted to have a shit eating grin on my face every time Hal used the ring, but I was underwhelmed. Sure, there are a couple cool moments, which I won't ruin for you, but damn it, I want more. So much more.

In the end, Tarable and I liked Green Lantern. I don't understand the violent hatred for it. and most of the people I heard talking about it liked it too. Partly, I think it has to do with the overwhelming number of Superhero comic book adaptions coming out this summer, and the fact that they're getting worse instead of better. It's been years since Iron Man and The Dark Knight showed the world what comic book movies could be, but no one has yet lived up to those examples. People want more than what we're being given. Though I haven't seen it, the X-Men remake supposedly bucks the trend of declining returns. Lets see where Captain America takes us next month.

Anyway, it's late and I'm tired. In the last couple weeks I've also caught Attack of the Block, and attended @headgeek666's awesome Super 8 event, which I'll be writing about soon. Here, just because, is the Green Lantern Trailer. Take the oath!

The Anger Parade Drives. Angry.

. 01 June, 2011

DRIVE ANGRY is a film full of promise and problems. I was grinning like a fucking skull one minute and then dying of boredom the next, due largely to poor pacing and an apparent lack of cohesive vision. Overall I would say I enjoyed the film, but I don't know if I liked it. It just wasn't... angry enough, for the Anger Parade.

This would usually be where I'd write a recap, but fuck that. I've embedded the trailer at the end of the post, and it tells you way more than you need to know. So watch that, then come back.

William Fichtner almost single handed-ly saves the film. His Accountant, who reminded me consistently of Agent Smith, grabs hold of ever scene he's in and lets you forget about Nic Cage being kinda angry in the background. He just sort of... saunters along, fearless and confident. His success is a certainty, and he never acts otherwise. I believed he was something otherworldly. But he wasn't emotionless or robotic, like Agent Smith (who was a program and thus supposed to be emotionless and robotic). The Accountant feels alive but unconcerned, like a cat lazily playing with a mouse it's already caught. It's a great performance. But not enough to save this movie. Along with Fichtner, Amber Heard's tire-smoking hot Piper and Billy Burke's drawling, devil-worshiping Jonah King are both entertaining and engaging in their own way. I found Piper to be surprisingly tough and foulmouthed. A perfect sidekick. And Jonah King is charismatic enough to be a believable cult leader, but annoying enough I wanted him to die fucking horribly.

The action was fun but, for a movie called DRIVE ANGRY, there wasn't enough of it. What should have been a high-octane, blood fueled race from start to finish limped along like a muscle car full of bullet holes. That is to say it sputtered and died repeatedly and took awhile to get started again. The fights were gory but silly, and not in that good, Grindhouse way either. Everything felt too shiny... it had that Hollywood polish, but this film should have been gritty unpolished to match the mood it wanted to set. Even scenes that had a tractor-trailer load of of promise too often were derailed by fatal blowouts just as they should have taken off. For example, there is a scene in which Cage's character, Milton, is attacked by a dozen devil-worshiping rednecks with melee weapons while he's fucking a truck stop waitress. Follows is a slapped together, unfunny scene where he shoots and kills them while he continues to fuck this woman. It could have been awesome. It's not.

The jokes... the jokes were fucking terrible. The 3D effects, which were probably cheesy in 3D, were triply so in 2D. Poorly rendered bullets flying toward the screen, slow motion, close up coin flips, unbelievable glass breakage... it looks juvenile, which goes back to my point about it feeling too glossy, where it should be dark and gritty. The plot is silly, but that's okay. What's not okay is DRIVE ANGRY too often pit-stopping to expound on some bullshit we don't fucking care about. There is a short, unexplained pre-credit sequence where we see a car busting out of a fiery prison. There is a bullshit voice-over about criminals thinking they can get away, but can't, blah blah blah. The should have info-dumped the plot right here, and then never stopped the fucking car for the rest of the movie. Driving, shooting, fucking, shooting, driving. That should have been the storyboard for DRIVE ANGRY. But instead it limps and fumbles and the result is a kind of entertaining film that is worth the dollar to rent at Redbox, but that's about it, and please don't forget to take it back on time. You really don't want to pay an extra dollar.

But if you think DRIVE ANGRY sounds awesome, then I have good news for you. They drop some corny bullshit before the credits that leaves the story open to a sequel. So look for Nic Cage as John Milton in


Coming soon to a theater near you.

And here's the full trailer in HD for your viewing pleasure. This trailer is, however, fucking terrible. Just saying.