the settle: relationships are never how you want them to be

February 8, 2013 § 18 Comments

Take your relationship advice from me, I’ve been in one.  ;)  Literally, one.

Okay fine, I’m not a “relationship expert.”  I haven’t had “a ton of girlfriends.”  I’ve never “met” a “girl” that “liked” what “I” had to “offer” and maybe I’m not “handsome” or “smart” or “whatever” okay?  Maybe in high school I never “went out” with any “girls” and didn’t ask anyone to “prom” and “homecoming”.  BFD, amirite people??  But what I do have is my finger on the pulse of the American people.  I am great at sensing feelings and understanding how others live.  I am the human observer to the human experience,  a meta-Zoo if you will.  “We Meta Zoo”  

Sorry, once I said “Meta Zoo” I had to write that down.  (Did you see We Bought a Zoo?  It’s the literal worst.)

In all sincerity, I still think that I have valid opinions on relationships, even if my last serious one was a couple years ago. Okay, a few years ago.  Okay, fine, four years ago exactly.  Not like I was counting or anything.   You do realize that most sports coaches were not good sports athletes right?  If you can’t do — teach, right?  Exactly.  I’m an excellent teacher of the human experience.  An excellent coach of sexual conquests.  I’ll get you where you need to go, even if I can’t go with you.  I am Sex Gandalf to your Sex Frodo. 

One particular subject that I wanted to broach today was the concept of people who seem to have a hard time finding “the one.”  People that might have been through a lot of partners, or people that find themselves single at a mature age.  (Huh, maybe I do have experience on some relationship subjects.)  It came up recently in the comments that older people that do find a partner seem to have an easier time making that relationship work.  And it’s quite true.  Statistically speaking you are much more likely to avoid divorce the older you get once you are married.  It’s basically a statistical improbability by a certain age, and not just because you’re close to death.  Why is that?

Well, there are a lot of easy answers that hold truth.

Experience, you wised up, you rushed into your first terrible marriage (terr-iage), you just don’t care anymore, the kids are out of the house, you’re more financially secure, you know what you want finally, you’re used to your lover farting in front of you now, and so on and so on.  But I think the most important of those reasons is basically an amalgamation of all of those reasons; You just are not going to find “the one.”

Listen, I am a romantic moreso than the next guy.  I own How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days, so I think I know a thing or two about romance.  ;)   I’ve seen Can’t Hardly Wait a dozen times, okay.  The only thing that “Drives Me Crazy” about romance is the movie Drive Me Crazy with Melissa Joan Hart and Adrian Grenier.   Do I know something about romance?  Only if you count that I know a lot about Love, Actually.  And so on and so forth.  I’ve seen a lot of movies, is what I was getting at there.

But there’s a lot of truth in that.  We idealize relationships and romance moreso than our parents, and they idealize it a bit more than their parents, and so on and so forth.  Our forefathers didn’t divorce our foremothers not just because they had a lot of foreplay and because it was fore-bidden (nice job, me) but they also probably didn’t think it could get any better.

“This is marriage.  Martha likes to do needlepoint while I’m trying to play the flute and it annoys me but oh well!”  not “Martha, stop that!  Elizabeth doesn’t do that to Henry on Real Housewives of Humboldt County!”  That was just life and love back then.  As a matter of fact, its still life and love.  We’ve just forgotten that.  We’ve taken that for granted.  This is how I see so many young relationships fail: You just want too much.

I wouldn’t say that older people “settle” necessarily into relationships that make them sad or angry, but I think older people start to realize that a good relationship requires things like patience, acceptance, sacrifice, and compromise.  It’s not always going to be perfect, in fact it rarely will be.  It’s going to be hard some days but those days shouldn’t make you run away.  There are going to be times when it might not seem ideal, but you don’t want to become the disaster known as “Liz & Dick” and in that case I am talking about the real life relationship of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton and also the movie Liz & Dick.

Mostly the movie.  Jesus what a disaster.

I’ve been prepared for a long time to know that my next serious relationship will have rocky roads that must be traversed rather than turning away or going another route just because it gets difficult.  You don’t settle, but you do settle in.

 

 

i believe in the unbelievable. i believe that there is more. i believe that anything is possible.

December 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

To understand a person and how they came to be the person that they are today (though you never truly understand a person) you have to trace back to every day of their existence.  Every day is a brick, a chair, a room with a trampoline as a floor since my lifehouse can have that, its my lifehouse metaphor.  You may not understand the theme of this article by me only giving you a little bit of background into my upbringing, it simply will not suffice, but I can try.

I was raised by a single mother from the time I was 3, though I am sure she was always raising me alone from the time I was born, since my father had other places to be.  I have one sister, four years older, and she was cursed with a curse that all sisters have: She is a girl, and girls, especially ones that are four years older, do not want to hang out with their brothers.  When my sister was 10 and I was 6, she wanted to be 16 and I wanted to be 6.  That’s just the routine for young boys and girls and so I did not play with my sister very often.

In fact, I can’t recall a single time that I did so without her feeling forced to do so.

So what is a boy left to do during his formative years without anyone telling him how to form?  Watch movies.  And when there is no television, as we canceled cable several times for financial purposes, make shit up!  I spent countless hours jumping around the couch shooting imaginary bad guys with my imaginary guns.  I put my action figures into action.  I will never forget the time that I was having a funeral for one of my toys, a G.I. Joe lost in battle that was being given an epic send-off, and humming Taps as the other action figures carry his body to the grave, except for one fatal error: It turns out that I did not know Taps, or at least I had gotten confused, because my mother came by and asked why I was humming the wedding song.

*pulls tight collar away from neck and says ‘oh. boy.’*

But that was my childhood.  Not the part where I accidentally passed a gay marriage bill for my action figures, but the part where I was living in a reality made up of either movies and television half of the time, or whatever war, adventure, or game-winning sports play that I deemed to be possible for the rest of the time.  It’s not that I, at the age of 4 or 8 or 16 or I-should-probably-stop-now, actually believed that I hit the game-winning shot for the Seattle SuperSonics in Game 7 of the NBA Finals (or that they actually allowed me nine attempts to hit the shot) because I am not a psychopath or completely delusional, but I did live with the idea that the world is whatever I want it to be.

I did not choose the reality as we know it.  I did not create the Earth, the Sun, the Oceans or the iPod.  Those realities are out of my hand.  But whenever I want to, I can create a different world, a world where anything is possible and I can be anybody.  Who would not want to live in that world?

In movies like Pan’s Labyrinth or The Science of Sleep, these imaginary dreamscapes are better described than what I could explain, but it’s something like that except without really seeing these worlds, settings, or characters.  You just have to believe it.  And so when I had time to myself as a kid, which was plenty often, I could be whoever I wanted to be and live where ever I wanted to live and the rules of science and math and physics only exist as I allowed them to exist.  I don’t live in these worlds much anymore (I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t caught a few game-winning Seahawks touchdowns in my bed over the last couple of years) but that does not mean that I don’t still believe.  Whereas I created these Universes* as a child for the purposes of entertainment and passing the time, now I use these same principles as a means of coping with the many unanswered questions that turn the Sun and our very existence into an enigmatic Rubik’s cube for which I will likely die before solving.

I am a logical and rational human being.  I don’t want you to think that I have completely lost my shit.  I know that the laws of physics seem rather legit.  I don’t doubt that E does equal MC squared, even though I could not tell you how Einstein got there or how it makes my popcorn pop in the microwave, but I have no reason to think it’s bullshit.  (I mean, I heard that nutrinos could fuck that up, but once again, not my field of expertise.)  However, why do we, as people, have to stop there?  Why do we have to accept anything and everything that has been told to us?  You once told me motherfucking Santa Claus was real and THAT was bullshit, so why should I just bend over, look over my shoulder, and say “Sure, shove the laws of gravity up my butt, I’ll take it.”?

Yeah, gravity seems VERY legit.  But what if I told you that tomorrow, there would be no gravity?  Or that it would be like Moon gravity and we raised the NBA hoops to 25 feet?  You can tell me that it won’t happen, but I will reply, “Why not?”  And you would give me a verifiable 100% scientific answer as to why it wouldn’t, but that’s not really the point of what I’m trying to convey.

Here are some questions I would pose to you:

- What if time travel is real?  How could you ever really know for certain?  The life that you are living right now, what if it didn’t exist until a second ago?  What if before that second, someone from the future went back in time and shot Abraham Lincoln and so now you’re Tim Carter instead of Tina Leone?  What if Marty McFly was a real person?

- What if the Matrix is real?  Fuck, how should I know??

- What if tomorrow you are eating Haagen-Dazs and watching Family Guy and then all of a sudden a vortex pops up behind your couch that leads to God knows where?  Would you go through it?  You most certainly would at least throw in the ice cream first or eat it all first.

- What if you weren’t even you until this very moment?  What if you were transported into this body at this second and implanted with all of your memories that you think are real?  What if you’re Quantum Leap but if Quantum Leap didn’t know he was Quantum Leap and what am I trying to stop from happening?  Who do I have to stop from getting married or killed?

I am not trying to say that I necessarily believe all of the above because I pretty much don’t.  I know that tomorrow I will wake up and go through my regular routine.  The sky will be there, the Earth will be there, episodes of Sweet Valley High will still be around somewhere.  I know this.  But damn it, it doesn’t mean that I am absolutely and utterly against the idea that anything is possible.  Please, for the love of Sweet Valley High, tell me that anything is possible.

Tell me that we will all be able to fly tomorrow.  Tell me that one day I will get to jump in John Malkovich’s head.  Tell me that I can be Limitless like Bradley Cooper in Limitless.  Don’t we all sort of get by on hope?  Don’t we all sort of get out of bed for a reason and not only because we have to (because hey, you don’t have to do anything), not only because we want to, not only because of what already is, but we also get out of bed because of the things that don’t exist.

“I don’t have a girlfriend.”

GET OUT OF BED!

“I need to pay my bills.”

GET OUT OF BED!

“I can’t walk.”

SOMEBODY HELP HIM OUT OF BED!

Everything we do in life should at least hinge somewhat on the idea that we are going to get something today that we did not have yesterday.  Is today the day you fall ass-backwards into a windfall of cash?  Is today the day that you look in the mirror and are satisfied with your physique?  Is today the day that new episodes of Arrested Development are released?  We need a little something to motivate us to go on.  We need a little something to believe in.  Maybe for me, that little something is the ability to fly, to find a vortex, or to travel back to the day when stock in Microsoft was like $10 a share.

Maybe when I was a bored little boy whose sister wouldn’t play with him I created these worlds and beliefs to pass the time and make the day a little better, but even as an adult I still hold out hope that anything is possible- so that I may pass the time and make the day a little better.  It makes the morning more palatable.  It makes existence more fruitful.  It doesn’t make the Universe more understandable, but perhaps easier to cope with since we know we don’t know very much about it anyway.

For me, that’s all I need to wake up.  That, and an action figure wedding.

 

*Side-Bar About Creativity, Writing, and Comedy

People often attribute creativity to some inherent attribute that never had to be worked on or molded.  Many people think that if you are an adult writer, director, painter, musician, or likewise, then you are just one of the “lucky” ones.  I have told people that I write and they immediately say “Well shit, maybe I should write too!”

Fuck. You.

I can probably weave a quick tale, story, subplot, or narrative together for you right now but it’s not because that shit is easy to do.  If everybody was a good writer, then 99% of screenplays wouldn’t wind up in a: Fireplace, waste basket, shredder, Recycle Bin on your desktop, or turn into emergency toilet paper.  And guess what?  If I turned in a screenplay to Hollyweird right now, best be sure that it would wind up in the same place.  Maybe if I keep working on it for 8 or 10 or 15 more years, we will see what happens, but where I am today at 30 wasn’t because the writing fairy tickled my nutsack when I was 2 days old and said “You get to be a writer!”  No, do you want to know how people become creative?  They were really fucking bored for a really fucking long time and so every single fucking day they worked that muscle.  For me, I did not work it with the purposes of turning it into anything; it was a means of survival.  I watched 1-4 movies every single day.  I made up shit every single day.  I spent all day in class scribbling and doodling and making up villains, heroes, space battles, and monsters on paper because the I was more interested in that than I was in math.  (Maybe an occasional pair of boobs.)

What did a scientist do in class?  Probably spent all day in the lab because he or she couldn’t get enough of the beakers and such.

What did a philosopher do in class?  Wondered what the fuck he or she was doing there.

What did LeBron James do in class?  Probably jack shit because he was great at basketball, but hey, he was/is great at basketball!

Everybody everywhere gets something out of something.  You are where you are at least partly because of the shit you enjoyed when you were a kid and how you spent your days.  You: Perhaps a musician that picked up a guitar when you were 5 or 9 or 14.  Me: Kind of a loser actually.  I always had A friend, but I never had like 30 friends.  So I coped with my childhood by making shit up and watching TV.  You know how funny people are funny?  They coped with the society of bullies or feeling that they needed attention or not feeling like they were good at anything else.  I was a child that thrived, no thirsted, no hungered, no needed-or-i’m-going-to-have-a-fucking-fit on laughter.  Nothing makes ME feel as good as when YOU are having a laugh.  Comedians can go through 10+ years of stand-up before making any kind of names for themselves.  The first few years are even rougher because you bomb a lot and frankly that’s no different than a classroom.  You have to re-live the days when your first *fartnoise* joke causes rolling in the aisles, but dead silence because “Hey we’ve heard that one before, Kenny.  Say some shit about crayons!”  

I know a lot of people that read blogs, especially on WP, are writers or bloggers themselves.  I’m not saying you, yes YOU /reaches through Laura’s computer screen/ are a person that would say that writing is something that comes natural to people, but a lot of people seem to have that inclination.  Fuck no it does not come natural and neither does comedy.  This is something you live with.  This is how you cope.  This is something I have been working on before I knew you needed to work on shit to get good at it.

It just so happens that writing for 40+ hours per week has only happened in the last two years.  But there was a pretense of over two decades in which I fine-tuned and worked and molded that muscle.  In retrospect, I should have been a doctor.  But instead, I am a person that likes to write and make jokes.  It was not natural.

*Side-Bar Over*  *Overruled*

 

 

The Room: The Book

November 30, 2012 § 3 Comments

Writing “a book” can be rather daunting if you’ve never done it before.  Just ask me: I’ve never done it before and I’m daunted!  However, I think I’ve stumbled upon a book idea that is not all that daunting because really it would just be a collection of essays on one particular subject.  It’s a subject that I’ve spent countless hours going over in my head, I once started a blog about it, and I know that I could expound upon the subject for at least 500 pages without even feeling like I had fully covered it.  (Though I won’t write 500 pages.)  If you’ve read the title of this article, then you probably already know that I’m talking about the 2003 Tommy Wiseau film, The Room.

The Room isn’t just considered to be one of the worst films ever made, but I believe that it’s one of the most thought-provoking movies in the history of cinema.  No fuck that, it is the most thought-provoking movie ever made.  I have seen a lot of deep movies that made you think, but none quite like the mind-taxing phenomena that Wiseau somehow produced almost a decade ago.

Last night I was having a conversation with my roommate about a line of dialogue.  Let me repeat that: Last night I had an entire conversation (that could have gone on forever if we had wanted it to) about a single line of dialogue.  It seems like it is so simple, but The Room is somehow layered unlike most movies and the most amazing thing about it is that it was probably just an accident.  (The use of the word ‘probably’ also hints at the fact that there’s a thread of possibility that it was not an accident and the world has just been trolled by Wiseau.  In which case, my brain is Humpty Dumpty.)

The character of Johnny (Wiseau) is one the roof (again) and talking to Denny (how much I could talk about Denny…) and discussing what movie they should go see.  Denny asks Johnny and Johnny replies: “We could see…. Oh Denny, don’t plan too much.  It may not come out riiiight!”

Immediately my mind races:

- Don’t plan too much, for it might be all a wasted exercise.

- How much planning is too much planning?  Because in this case, the only “plan” that Denny proposed was deciding on a film before you get to the theater…

- Why is Johnny brushing off Denny here?  It seems as though perhaps Johnny could just be completely oblivious as to what movies are out, what movies even are, and instead pushes back on Denny with a lecture about planning.

- We’re talking about going to see a movie here.

- Then I also wonder, since we ARE talking about a movie here, is this sort of meta-commentary on the film itself?  Was Tommy saying “Look, don’t plan too much on making a movie because in the end it might be shit.”  OR was he saying “I actually DID plan too much, this is my life’s passion, and look what we have here even after all of that careful planning?”

Ultimately I don’t believe that Johnny and Denny ever actually went to see a film that day.  Maybe they should have planned better.

That’s what can come about from a single line of dialogue, and I’m paraphrasing.  A single scene, such as the masterful Chris-R scene, would take forever to analyze.  Or the “Hi Doggy” scene, Jesus.  So now I begin my journey towards writing up as many essays on the movie as I can, both analyzing scenes and trying to hopefully find answers on the intent and result of what happened in The Room.  It’s not something that I could just let rest.  It doesn’t really matter if anyone reads it, I’m not sure that there’s much of a market for it, but we’ll see what comes out the other end.  I’m not sure what’s going to happen, that would be too much planning.

 

Made-Up Stories From The Set Of The Movie Flatliners: Billy Baldwin Part 1

June 25, 2012 § 4 Comments

1989.

I’m cruising down Sunset in my magnificent cherry Corvette when I get a call on my car phone.  I don’t answer the first time.  Never answer a phone call on the first try, you’ll seem desperate.  Let them know you’re Billy Baldwin.

I hit a red light and look over to my left where I see three bodacious babes spotting me, they must recognize me from my Calvin Klein ads.  They’re tryin’ to figure out where it is they know me from.  I think I overhear one of them say, “Beetle Juice.”  Wrong Baldwin, bitch.  My phone rings again.  Now is the time to answer, total power move for the bodacious babes.

Billy: “Talk to me.”

Billy’s Agent: “Billy, it’s your agent, Lenny Mousekawitz.”

“Lenny, this better be good.  I’m meeting with Tommy Cruise to talk about Born on the Fourth of July and then he wants to talk to me about scienceology or something.  Apparently he is really into science.”

“Sounds great, Billy.  Really great.  Hey listen, things are really heating up for you, you’ll never guess who just called.”

“Spielberg.”

“No.”

“Scorsese.”

“No, this really isnt-”

“Coppola.”

“Billy, let me just tell you.”

“Kubrick and Baldwin make The Shining 2″

“Billy, it’s Joel Schumacher.”

“Who?”

“You know, Lost Boys and St. Elmos Fire.  Have you seen Cousins?”

“No, but is this Shoemaker trying to do like a sequel to that called Brothers with me and my brothers?”

“No, Cousins is starring Ted Danson.”

“Woah, this guy is working with Ted Danson?  The Ted Danson?”

“That’s right and he wants you for a co-starring role in his next suspenseful thriller about a group of medical students that intentionally stop their hearts so that they can cross over to the other side for a few minutes and then be brought back to life.”

“Sounds interesting.  You think this might be bigger than Beetlejuice because for the last six months whenever I talk to Alec it’s Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice.”

“This is gonna be big, kid.  They’re looking for nothing but up-and-coming stars for this flick and a group of people that’s gonna be just as big as all the other careers that Schumacher has launched this decade.”

“Yeah, like who?  And besides Danson, because we already knew Danson was one of the biggest stars in the world before that movie that you had mentioned before that I remember the name of.”

“Ever heard of The Corey’s?”

“Oh.”

“Andrew McCarthy?”

“Woah.”

“Jason Patric?”

“OH, WOAH.”

“Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy?”

“Okay, okay, you have convinced me and you can now stop.  These names that you are naming, these are the biggest names on the planet.  Thirty years from now, how many Oscars and collective billions of dollars will this group of actors and actresses have accumulated because as of today in 1989, you’ve just named the biggest stars of the future.”

“And you can join this list.”

“You are damn right I can.  Sign me up immediately Lenny.  I must do this movie.”

“Great kid, let’s get you in this picture.”

“By the way, what is the name of this movie?”

“Flatliners.”

To Be Continued….

Movie Monday: The Cabin in the Woods Review, It’s a Real “Game-Changer”

April 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

“Game-Changer” was the word of the day on Saturday.

That’s what my friend said he had heard in reference to the movie The Cabin in the Woods.  “It’s supposed to be a game-changer!”  That’s when the word game-changer really flipped the script on our day and everything we thought we had known about adjectives was changed.  Our game’s had been changed.

But what about the movie?  Was it really a game-changer for the movie industry and specifically for the horror genre?  Did Joss Whedon (the name that was heavily attached to the project and promotion even though the film was directed by first-timer-in-the-chair Drew Goddard) just change everything we know and expect about horror movies?

Boy, the game will never be the same!

Or it might.  These things go in cycles.  The horror genre is changed like every five years: Halloween was a game-changer by popularizing the slasher genre.  Scream was a game-changer.  Saw was a game-changer.  The Ring was a game-changer.  And now, The Cabin in the Woods is the latest film to put a new direction on the horror genre.

Cabin set out, like Scream, to put a mirror on the genre and say “This is what you are.  This is what you do.  Now, this is what we think about it and we’re going to use every cliche to our benefit and call you out for it.”

The movie doesn’t over-explain how any of what they are doing is possible, letting the viewer decide for themselves whether or not they want to fill the (many) plot-holes of Cabin but did Whedon and Goddard under-explain?  You know, by leaving so many questions for the viewer?  It would be nice to think that the movie didn’t sort of use a cop-out by the end of it, but when you release yourself from worrying about it you’ll find that you just had the most fun at a movie that you’ll have all year.

Any horror fan should recognize how great The Cabin in the Woods really is and just enjoy that you’ve got a very talented group of people making a $30,000,000 horror movie (a lot for the genre) just gave an homage to a genre that I hold very near and dear to my heart.  There are a lot of crappy horror movies but Cabin shows that when great people decide to dip into the genre, they can create something that gives you positive emotions for 90 minutes.

Isn’t that the whole idea of going to the movies anyway?  To feel something?  To escape?  I laughed, I jumped, I rooted for the characters, I gained more appreciation for Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford, I saw the genre take a new direction for the foreseeable future (Welcome back to a sci-fi/horror mix of copycats!) and the game has been changed.

I can already see that I’ll probably watch The Cabin in the Woods 20+ times in my life, depending on how much longer I actually live.  It’s going to spend some time in my PS3 when it hits blu-ray, that’s for sure.

The game-changer gets a perfect score: 10/10.

Also saw:

  • 21 Jump Street.  Really great.  9/10.  Surprised at just how funny it was and I’m not even the biggest Jonah Hill fan these days.  I actually like Channing Tatum more than Jonah Hill.  He’s just so…. dreamy.
  • Re-watched: Ducktales The Movie.  Because I spit hot fire.
  • Re-watched: Scrooged.  An underrated Bill Murray movie?
  • Re-watched: 50/50.  I liked it better the second time around, but I still don’t think it’s all that great.

 

 

Netflix Memories: The Gate (1987)

March 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

It’s amazing how fucking stupid we are when we’re kids.

It’s no wonder that as adults (technically speaking) we see kids television, movies, and music as being “quite shitty” but we understand that it’s just because kids usually like to keep it simple.  Don’t over-complicate it, just make a watered-down movie that will make kids laugh and scream in joy because it doesn’t take much to do that.  I guess what we don’t quite get to live down is watching kids grow up and realize just how stupid their favorite movies are.

For example, I remember watching Mac and Me as a very young child and LOVING IT.  I thought it had great story, adventure, and a classic tale of a boy and an alien and I stuck with that story for a very long time.  Why change it?  I didn’t bother to actually watch Mac and Me for years but I never forgot how it made me feel as a five year old.  I should have stuck with that story.

Mac and Me is the dumbest fucking movie ever fucking made.

Forget the fact that it’s a complete ripoff of E.T. or that it’s basically a 90-minute commercial for McDonalds, it’s just a terrible movie and it’s only redeeming quality is just how terrible it is.  (At least do yourself a favor and watch the dumbest dance sequence in cinematic history.)  But that’s just part of being a kid; loving really stupid shit and being ignorant of what is good and what is not.  It doesn’t matter when you’re a kid if it’s good or not, it only matters if it made you happy for a little while.  Mac and Me did that for me as a kid, but it also made me feel like a damn idiot as an adult.

Another movie that’s similar in that respect, but not quite as bad, is The Gate.  A movie that I recently revisited on Netflix Instant watch.

If you’re unfamiliar with the movie, I’ll break it down like this: Stephen Dorff (what’s the point of giving the characters name when he’s played by a young Stephen Dorff?  It’s Stephen fucking Dorff!  And he’s 12!) and his sister Al (played by a not famous person, although she looks like the big sister in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids!  Although, I guess that actress isn’t famous either) are left home alone for the weekend by their parents.  A lightning storm or something forces the tree to fall over in the back hard and landscapers have to dig it out and leave a big hole in the backyard.  Dorff and his loser friend Terry (no offense loser) go to the hole and find a geode (a rock with pretty insides.  I am not breaking this down because I think my audience is dumb, I honestly wouldn’t know what a geode was if not for The Gate) in the ground and let’s just say it has magical powers because I have no time to pretend like it doesn’t.  We know where this is going.

(My apologies for all of the parentheses.)

They take the geode into Dorff’s room and then it like burns some ancient evil words onto a piece of paper and they repeat the words: Aka kuto alla meta.  Which is an anagram for “A Oatmeal Talk Auk” and that’s not in the movie but I’m giving it to them for free.

But uh oh everybody, the house is now cursed or something and demons are going to be released in Stephen Dorff’s house!  That night, his sister Al is having a a party and like most high school parties, they stop and tell ghost stories.  And like most times when kids sit around and tell ghost stories, one of the girls swears that she can make a person levitate.  And like most attempts to levitate Stephen Dorff, it works!  And like most times that a bunch of people actually see a person levitate, people basically shrug it off like no big deal.  That’s all.  He just floated in mid air when that girl said “Watch I can make Stephen Dorff float in mid air.”

When all the weird shit in the house begins to happen, Stephen Dorff and his friend Terry realize that it’s some effed up stuff and that they have a serious problem (like when their loving dog mysteriously dies and they get over it in a couple hours) or the levitation and Terry brings over a terrible metal album and explains all this stuff about demons and why demons are probably coming out of the hole in the backyard.  Seriously, 12-year-old Terry knows more about demons than a Satanic Book Shop Owner.

In order to keep the demons from getting out of the hole in the backyard though, the guys have a good plan: Put a piece of wood over it….  Really.

This doesn’t work and hilarity (horror?) ensues.  Terrorizing Dorff, Terry, Al, and the Lee sisters for the next 40 minutes or something.  Who are “The Lee Sisters”?  Fun Fact: They are the only other people besides the Dorff to become famous, even though they have a relatively small part in a relatively small movie.  They are played by Kelly Rowan (The O.C., One Eight Seven) and Jennifer Irwin (Eastbound & Down, No Strings Attached.)

I won’t “ruin” the rest of the movie for you, and I also am just sick of talking about it.  The movie left some images in my mind that sort of always stuck with me, such as an eye in Stephen Dorff’s hand that he has to stab and little claymation demons running rampant in the house.

It’s one of those movies that I would never forget, except for all of the important details that made it really stupid.  The Gate has a lot of sentimental value for me (like going to Blockbuster on Fridays with my mom and running straight to the horror section and picking out a different VHS every week, probably renting The Gate several times) but otherwise turned out to be a pretty horrid movie.  This is properly exemplified in its 5.4 rating on IMDb and its 33% Fresh Rating/45% Audience Rating on RottenTomatoes.  There is a reason we usually don’t let kids rate movies or have respected opinions on movies, because I would have easily given The Gate 10/10.

That’s not to say that The Gate is all bad.  I mean, it’s got The Dorff and the Lee Sisters and it has some interesting moments, while also being unintentionally funny at times.  Here are some interesting facts about The Gate, both good and bad:

  • It’s a Canadian film.  I feel like I should have opened with that.  It would have made a lot more sense if I said from the get-go that it was a Canadian film.  I never knew that until this morning and then that did sort of explain a lot with just one word: Canadian.  No offense to my Canadian readers :) xoxoxoxo.  (It doesn’t really help if I say “No Offense” does it?  I love many things Canada, I promise.)
  • Don’t worry, the Dorff isn’t Canadian.  He was born in Atlanta, Georgia.  This was his film debut.
  • Dorff was nominated for a Saturn Award (a nerdy science fiction/fantasy awards show) for Best Performance by a Younger Actor, but he lost to Kirk Cameron for the “body switch” movie, Like Father Like Son.  The following year, the award went to Fred Savage for the much different “body switch” movie, Vice Versa.  Note to young actors, if you’re not in a “Freaky Friday”-type movie, what are you doing with your life?
  • He was also nominated for a Young Artist Award for leading actor in a horror film and lost to Corey Feldman for The Lost Boys.  Other winners that year included Patrick Dempsey, Fred Savage and River Phoenix.  Ohh… eighties, how I love thee.
  • The Gate won the “Golden Reel Award” at the 1988 Genie Awards, a ceremony for Canadian films.  The Golden Reel is given to the highest-grossing film of the year (The Gate grossed $13.5 million) which is rarely the best film of the year.  Other winners include Meatballs, Porky’s, Johnny Mnemonic, and Air Bud.
  • A short documentary named The Gatekeepers was made in 2009, about the making of The Gate.  I have not seen it.  I will search for it now though!  If only to find out if people can actually levitate in Canada and that’s why nobody at the party freaked out.
  • A 3D remake directed by Alex Winter (yes, Bill S Preston, friend of Ted Theodore Logan) was in pre-production for a long time around 2009-2011 but I can’t find any updates on it recently.

You can watch The Gate right now on Netflix Instant, and you can see the Dorff scowling and trying to give a sexy look somewhere in Hollywood.

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Bulletpoints Movie Review: 50/50

January 14, 2012 § 3 Comments

  • I haven’t been a Seth Rogen fan for quite some time.
  • Seriously Rogen, you’ve been an actor for long enough that you should be able to play somebody else besides “Seth Rogen.”  Why don’t they just name every character he plays “Seth Rogen”?
  • I know that a lot of actors play themselves or don’t have much range, but even Adam Sandler and Will Ferrell change their personas when they do more serious roles.  50/50 is a movie about cancer and he was no different than he was in Funny People or Knocked Up.  He was Seth Rogen.
  • I haven’t been a fan of Joseph Gordon-Levitt for quite some time.
  • I just don’t think he’s a very good actor and is quite overrated and now he’s showing up in everything.  I know it’s popular now to turn TV stars into movie stars, but 3rd Rock from the Sun was like 15 years ago.
  • This might have been the first time I kind of liked him.
  • I have been a fan of Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air) for not very long, but I’ve only ever seen her in that one movie.  Okay, I might have caught PART of that Twilight movie.
  • She’s the kind of girl you bring home to Mom.  You know, because she’s a super hot movie star.  That’s all.  I would bring Sasha Grey home to Mom too.  Since when did I start dating girls based on what my mom thinks?
  • Movies about cancer are interesting but rarely funny.  This wasn’t really an exception.  They are interesting but not funny.  Did you watch The Big C?  Well, I did, and it’s a sitcom on Showtime and I think I giggled once.  But I watched the whole season.
  • How many more times is Anna Kendrick going to play a young female “hot shot” that’s new to the job?  I don’t think that type-casting will work when she’s 27, unless she’s playing the first female President of the United States who is really smart but not sure how to handle the responsibilities of the job.
  • Bryce Dallas Howard is in this movie.  I had to go to IMDB to find out that Bryce Dallas Howard is not Evan Rachel Wood.
  • I’ve now seen like five movies that Bryce Dallas Howard was in, and I still don’t recognize her.
  • I’d totally take her home to mom and my mom would say “Oh, I loved you in The Wrestler.” and then I’d be like “Mom, that was Evan Rachel Wood.” and then I’d look at my girlfriend Bryce and sort of give her a look like, “Right?”
  • Nothing really happens in the movie.  I mean, sure, he has cancer and then he has to deal with that and with his relationships and then Rogen is there for no apparent reason, but nothing really happens.  I don’t know how you can have a movie about cancer where none of the characters overcome any adversities.
  • Seth Rogen serves no purpose.  He’s just a guy who isn’t a very good friend even though we are being told “Oh yeah, he’s totally a good friend.”  He’s a selfish person and yet that serves no real purpose either.
  • The movie is set in Seattle for no apparent reason, other than people wear flannel shirts and girls have short hair and glasses.
  • The exposition in the movie has no subtlety.  The first shot in the movie is Gordon-Levitt being too cautious to cross on a “DONT WALK” sign while no cars are in sight.  Then you find out he doesn’t drive even though he’s 27 years old.
  • He got back cancer, but it seems to me he really had pussy cancer.
  • This movie wasn’t that funny and almost every plot twist and the ending could be seen from a mile away.
  • If you absolutely love watching Seth Rogen being Seth Rogen and you think that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a good actor, than this movie is for you.
  • This movie has an 8.1 on IMDB!  I guess I’m in the minority that Rogen isn’t enough comedic relief without James Franco and that Levitt isn’t a lead actor, but I might watch it again for Kendrick and Bryce Dallas Howard.  This movie could have used at least three more people with “three name” names.
  • I give it a score of 25/50 because it’s watchable and because of Kendrick but ultimately I think that it needs a whole lot more chemotherapy.

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