September 2010

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] *Watched in 720p HD.

PEOPLE: Matthew Perry (aka Chandler from Friends), but then he gets all young and becomes Zac Efron. Melora Hardin (Jan from The Office) as Principal Jane (see what they did? Jan? Jane?). Hunter Parrish (Silus from Weeds; it took a long time to recognize him) as the douchebag bully. Leslie Mann (Knocked Up, 40 Year Old Virgin, The Cable Guy) as the love interest. Michelle Trachtenberg (Buffy The Vampire Slayer). Thomas Lennon (Hancock, Memento, Reno 911, Viva Variety, The State) as the rich geek best friend.

QUIRKS: Contrary to some belief, this is *NOT* a body-swap movie *OR* a time-travel movie. He literally becomes a 17-year-old version of himself in the present day. Which actually makes this a unique gimmick in the “body swap comedy” genre.

There is also some great geekism depicted in the movie, between the rich best friend and the principle. “You can plunder my dungeon any time.” “I’ll bring my longbow.” Then they start talking in what I think was Quenya.

MORALS: This movie deals with regret — having regret for your past decisions, and learning to work through them. It’s actually kind of therapeutic to watch.

I’ve often questioned that if I could travel back to high school and re-inhabit my 10th grade self… Would it be worth having all the work I’ve done between now and then destroyed? Imagine having to re-buy all your albums, and sit through almost 20 years of new movie releases that you’ve already seen. Imagine everything you’ve ever written no longer existed; every picture taken gone; every file processed not processed, every dollar you earned now gone. Would it be worth it? And if so, is the only reason merely that it would extend your perceived life by 20 years? Or is the reason deeper than that?

Part of me thinks I would know every correct decision to make, and would repeat none of my mistakes, while realizing in advance who to make friends with, when to go, when to wait, and when to act. Another part of me couldn’t bear to part with everything that’s already here now. This movie, however, takes the two ideas and smooshes them together. You’re in high school — now, 2009 — and are getting a second chance to do things. The only bad thing is that he didn’t get to stay young forever (is this a spoiler? obviously in every movie where someone’s body changes, they are always reverted by the end!). But that’s what he wanted. The movie gave him a form of personal growth that he couldn’t have experienced otherwise.

CONCLUSION: It’s not quite fair to call this a body swap comedy, since there is only one person involved. But this was both funny and endearing at the same time. They actually made something somewhat inspiring out of the gimmick.

RATINGS: Clint: IMDB: 8/10. Netflix: 4/5 stars.
Carolyn: IMDB: 8/10. Netflix: 3/5 stars. I keep saying 8/10 is too high for 3/5!

RECOMMENDATION: My recommendation is somewhat neutral — Did you like what you just read? Than see it. Is seeing a High School Musical star star in a high school movie beyond your tolerance? Then don’t see it.

MOVIE QUOTE: Principal Jane Masterson: “Are you peacocking?”

COINCIDENCES: (Less Than Zero, 17 Again) Within a few days of watching Less Than Zero, 17 Again has a scene where he talks about someone reading Less Than Zero. (more…)

Very strange dream where the upstairs floor of my house was a combination of our house in real life, and something akin to Uncle Duke’s downstairs house.

I don’t know why his house comes up in my dreams so often; maybe it’s because my whole family lived there for a month in 1983 in between houses.

20070615 - Nate's going away party - IMG_2467 - Kipp & Carolyn - out front

why is this house always in my dreams?!?

Anyway, I had a problem with the door to Carolyn & my bedroom. As the repairman was working on the hinges to our door, he noticed that there was another set of hinges facing the other way next to them. He then had me come over and was like, “Look at this!” He pulled the wood paneling off the wall, and lo and behold, there was a second door to the left of our bedroom door! He opened this up, and there was simply another door there. Like, touching it, but opening outward instead of inward.

20100528 - air hockey table - IMG_0735 - so surreal to see our door inside our house

A door... in my house... where it doesn't belong?!?!

We opened that, and there was this huge room there! What the hell, we had a whole huge room we didn’t know about?!?!! But to make things even stranger, a bunch of our belongings that we had forgotten about were in there. Apparently, we’d gone into this room in 1999 when we first lived in our house, and had settled into it. But somehow we blocked it off, and forgot our stuff was in there! It was almost as big as our main post-addition TV room is in real life, but had concrete floors and sparse furnishings.

20080220 - Flooring downstairs - 152-5215 - floor transition between old and new

This was WAYYY more festive than the room in my dream.

I think this is a combination of my real-life desires to always live in a house with secret passages, and the real-life experience of cleaning out my attic this week, and finding all kinds of our stuff I had forgotten we had. (In real life, I had remarked to Carolyn that cleaning out our attic was kind of like going to a yard sale–finding all kinds of neat stuff.)

20070325-26 - Catcha the raccoon - 116-1632 - the raccoon in the attic

always an adventure cleaning out my attic

The room was mostly square, but it had a hallway — and a 2nd washer and dryer were in there. Damn, now we can do laundry twice as fast! But that hallway ended at ANOTHER door. That door — also a double door — went to public restroom — a good 10 toilets or so on both walls. I think this restroom was from another dream I had long ago, where I kept getting lost in these endless locker rooms.

Postcard - Urinating - Businessman Vs. Native American

Public restrooms. Yuck. (Private > Public!)

Apparently, these were bathrooms in the white house or something. Later, I opened them up while people were in there, to see if the Secret Service agent (who was John Glaser’s original bodyguard agent in season 1 of the show Delocated) would shoot me. He pointed his gun at us, I laughed at the thought that he might shoot us, and then he didn’t shoot us. I got into a discussion with the staff there about whether I could force them out of the bathroom, because it’s really part of my house and not their property. I think I decided I didn’t want to maintain 10 toilets, so it might be best if we share.


That's his hand on the left.


Later, I was walking around in the mall — or was it a mall shaped very much like my high school(?) — and I ran into Eve C, and told her about this dream I had. Little did I know I was in a dream within a dream.


Still later, I managed to stumble upon a party that my old friend Tiffany O was throwing. I got there late — like 1AM — and there were lots of drunk girls around. I sorta hit on / befriended one girl, who’s name was “Amit”. I thought she said Amy, but no, it was Amit. At some point we walked outside somewhere, but she wandered off or something. I crashed at Tiffany’s house and slept. When I woke up from my night’s sleep, I was really fuzzy. I couldn’t remember if this was X-Day weekend, or even what month it was, or where Carolyn might be. I was about to get in my car and drive to New York, as if I had simply taken a 1-day break from X-Day, come all the way back down to Virginia (8hr drive), and then was going to drive 8hrs back to X-Day. I couldn’t even remember what month it was, I was so f’ed up from the night before. (Even though I don’t remember drinking in the dream.) Finally, I managed to remember, “No, it’s NOT July,” and simply drove home to my normal home. The end.

''Dreams... They're the hurricanes that wash the soulfilth from the superdome of our nightminds.'' --Xavier:Renegade Angel

“Dreams… They’re the hurricanes that wash the soulfilth from the superdome of our nightminds.”
Xavier:Renegade Angel

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] Ricky Gervais? I’m in.

PLOT SUMMARY: A coming-of-age dramedy about 3 British youths growing up in the 1970s. Sounds pretty dry, eh?

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): The UK is full of losers.

PEOPLE: Co-Written, Co-Directed, and starring (in a lesser role) Ricky Gervais, creator of The Office, The Invention Of Lying. The other co-writer/co-director of this movie is Stephen Merchant — Ricky’s co-star in the Ricky Gervais Show. He is also in the film for a brief second. He *totally* looks like the cartoon version of him from the Ricky Gervais show. Instantly recognizable despite the fact that I’d never seen more than 2 seconds of his live-action self. :) Karl Pilkington is in an uncredited cameo, and unfortunately we missed him.

The main 3 characters are played by TV actors Christian Cooke, Tom Hughes, Jack Doolan. I should mention that Jack Doolan is pretty much the British answer to Clark Duke (Sex Drive, Kick-Ass, Hot Tub Time Machine). They both play the “fat kinda douchey kinda retarded annoying guy”. Compare this to this. And, of course, many might consider Clark Duke a poor man’s Jonah Hill. Thus, Jack Doolan is a British knockoff of an American knockoff. Jonah Hill -> Clark Duke -> Jack Doolan. The love interest is played by Felicity Jones.

Also starring Ralph Fiennes (Voldemort from Harry Potter, Clash Of The Titans remake, In Bruges, The Hurt Locker, Red Dragon, Sunshine), Matthew Goode, Emily Watson (as the love interest’s mother) (Red Dragon, Punch-Drunk Love, Equilibrium, Corpse Bride), and Steve Speirs (Flatnose from Inkheart, Capt. Tarpals from Star Wars 1:The Phantom Menace, Pirates Of The Caribbean:Dead Man‘s Chest) as the ‘good’ cop.

QUIRKS: Drinking, fighting, working-class mischief, police brutality, insurance sales, old-money, douchebags, racism, sexism, decreasing levels of comedy, depressingness.

VISUALS: Bleak, depressing 1970s UK.

MORALS: Sometimes you have to rise above your friends’ bullshit, as much as they want to keep you down. Start your life anew. Realize what you already have going for you. Leave town and get a life.

POLITICS: Society is not set up for the working class to succeed. UK sucks.

GOOD STUFF: Ricky Gervais‘s influence.

BAD STUFF: It’s not really a comedy, it’s a drama-comedy / dramedy. Heavy on the drama. Especially at the end. There’s a moment where all jokes stop for the rest of the movie. However, in its defense, there are some HOWL out loud moments of laughter worth catching.

MISTAKEN AS BAD is the racism, homophobia, and sexism. This is the 1970s. If you want an accurate film, you need to portray people like they were. People getting mad over this are revisionist: They want movies about 1970 to reflect 2010 values. They want to forget awkward history rather than acknowledge it. Political correctness is an enemy of art!

CONCLUSION: It was good for what it was, but it wasn’t what we wanted. I still enjoyed this, but it was a mostly depressing film, with decreasing levels of comedy. Ricky Gervais fans might be disappointed, as you expect to laugh your ass off with anything Gervais related. And while our asses were laughed off a few times, the laughing stopped mid-way, and it became a more generic drama movie. The entertainment value decreased and decreased until we got to our “happy” ending, which wasn’t even *that* happy. I’ve seen this movie a million times before, and it’s called “life sucks”. At least The Invention Of Lying was fresh, unique, and funny.

Clint: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 6.4/10 (a high 6).
Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 7.2/10, Netflix: 3.5/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.3/5 stars).

RECOMMENDATION: For Ricky Gervais completists only.

SIMILAR MOVIES: This kind of reminds me of Judd Apatow‘s Funny People. Not by it’s plot, but by the fact that it’s an occasionally funny drama, disguised as a comedy, from someone who pretty exclusively has made comedies.


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