Friday, November 23, 2007

Struggles for Economic Equality- Bolivia, A Sleeping Giant


It seems appropriate, following a holiday in America based primarily on consumption, especially in light of the focus on the use of fowl as the meat source on the American table, which, in giving life, can feed only a limited number of people (the average turkey provides enough meat for six to twenty Americans, while a cow could easily feed 40 people or more, or, possibly, in many developing countries, an entire village), to continue our discussion of South American economies. Today, we turn to a pivotal country for the American economy- Bolivia.

Bolivia currently struggles with an often single commodity based economic model, making it susceptible to advances from some of its Socialist neighbors. During its history, Bolivia's economy has focused on products such as tin, silver, and cocoa, with rare periods of economic diversification and an often inconsistent supply of labor. The primary focus of Bolivia's economy is agricultural, including sectors focusing on forestry or fishing. With a 2005 GDP of approximately 25 billion, recent economic development of Bolivia has been stymied both by increased government privatization and general economic downturn, especially in the dollar. Yet the potential for great leaps in economic equity for the people of Bolivia can be found in the large reserves of oil available. Currently primarily trading with its South American neighbors (Bolivia's biggest trade export partner are Brazil and Argentina, with the U.S. accounting for only approximately 13.8% of the total trade in 2005), the vast potential for trade and increased purchasing power will come from increased access to the hydrocarbon reserves. Without this increase in income, though, many Western companies avoid Bolivia, and continue to limit development, and lead to rampant and devastating inflation. Even in the areas of tourism, which add vast and desperately needed income to other areas of South America, Bolivia falls behind, with 2000 numbers at just over 300,000 visitors per year, a number that represents a decline-

What? Movie blog? I'm not posting to my OWN blog? I'm posting to a movie blog? I'm signed into the wrong blog? Ah, no, not again! I thought this was MY blog, "Economies of Latin and South America"!

Shit. Sorry. Uh, well, uh, "Cannonball Run"- great flick. Go see it. Or rent it or whatever. And lets all hope that Lindsay Lohan gets control of her life.

Sorry. Bye.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Reviews of the Ignorant: T12MLTMTIHNSNPOSOEIWGMOEOWRC

Sadly, many films have been released since I last set foot in the hallowed virtual halls of the Frog Blog. Now, I was going to start off with a long and thrilling story of where I have been since my last post (and believe you me, it involves plenty of pirate action, two elephants, a cursed crystal skull, Victoria Secret models, home made pickles, and the true and pure immortal love of a boy for Jennifer Connelly)(Okay, I made all that up; it actually involved a pit and putting the lotion on my skin or else I got the hose again), but I figured this is a film review blog, specifically reviewing films I have never seen, and this type of side note would only drive away my fan. Who is my mom. Who has been driven away anyhow by my total and utter disrespect for writing new posts. As the French would say, "Que merde".

So, anyhow, since many films have been released since my last post, and since it doesn't look like the Writer's Guild strike is going to help stop this any time soon, I figured I'd save my excuses as to where I've been for a different blog, one that exists solely to provide a forum for where I've been. This, however, is a film review blog, and I am now going to try and catch up on a few of the films that have been shat out on us by Hollywood in the last few months. These will not, of course, be my usual incredibly witty and amazingly insightful reviews all my faithful readers (meaning my mom) have come to know and love. These are just gonna be hastily and poorly written filler in order to slap a post up for the first time in months. Wait. Who said that. What I meant to say was, these will be quick and easily consumed review-bites built for convenience in order for the community of the Internets to know what I haven't been seeing the past few months and what they may want to avoid. That are poorly written.

So, to do no further ado, I bring you, in order of stench, the Top 12 Movies of the Last Two Months That I Have Not Seen and Never Plan On Seeing Or Else I Would Gouge My Own Eyes Out With a Rusty Crowbar, or, as it is known in the Industry, "T12MLTMTIHNSNPOSOEIWGMOEOWRC":

(Please note- in an effort to remain culturally sensitive, as well as attract new readers to the Frog Blog, I have considerately written the numbers of this list in Spanish for all of our housekeeper and landscaping friends from South of the Border, and also from Mexico)

T12MLTMTIHNSNPOSOEIWGMOEOWRC

Numero 12-o:

The Game Plan

I've got a game plan for this piece of junk, and it's not to see it. There's Rock Cold Dwayne Johnson, former king of the scorpions (not, of course to be confused with the king of the frogs), playing football with little girls. In the preview, the little girl must slip him some horse tranquilizers or shoot him with Novocaine or something, 'cause there's a sequence where he's slurring his words, flapping his lips around, and smiling for no reason. The little girl also wears a really big football helmet, which I assume is supposed to be cute, but most likely is to prevent her from hurting herself when she realized the film her agent got her into. And if you've seen this film, you most likely also wore a football helmet to the theater to keep from hurting yourself, while your arms were strapped behind you and you were tied to a board and volunteers from a church fed you soup. This thing was apparently some kind of money making hit, which I attribute to one of two factors: 1) The End of Days or 2) Moms hoping to catch a peek of the outline of Johnson's johnson in his tight football pants. But it doesn't take a genius to see the filmatic equivalent of getting poked in the eye with a johnson, and this garbage would be it. Not that I know what it feels like to get poked in the eye with a johnson. Never happened. Really. Just maybe on accident, like when I fell on my knees in front of a naked man. And that could happen to anyone. Otherwise, there's no proof. Other than pictures.

My Rating: Tie Score, 0 Stars to 0 Stars

Numero Eleven-o:

Love in the Time of Cholera

Okay, I admit it. I have no idea what this film is, what it's about, who it stars, or anything else about it. I would just never see it based on the name. Yuck. I'm sure it's great, and it's based on a classic book, and it's amazing and blah blah blah. But I'm willing to bet it has subtitles, and, if I wanted to read, I would have learned how. In fact, if God intended us to read, He wouldn't have made "The Ten Commandments" into a movie. So I'm not buying any of that. Plus, it has FREAKING CHOLERA in the title! Way to attract a wide audience, title-writing guy- I can't wait for the sequels- "Romance Around the Ringworm" or "Betrothed with the Bubonic Plague" or "Sex with Scabies, Shingles and Scarlet Fever". No, thank you very much. I will be treating this movie as I would anything with cholera- by staying the hell away. And burning everything it touches, even my favorite stuffed rabbit. (This review would be even more meaningful if I actually knew what cholera was- isn't it what sailors get when they don't eat enough oranges? Or is that Epstein Barr's? Excuse me! I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV.)

My Rating: A Fate Worse Than Death

Numero Ten-o:

Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium

Speaking of titles, here's one you can just hear some Hollywood executive brainstorming session coming up with after an hour and a half lunch, then ordering a script written to the title. "Great title! Now get me a movie with it!" Only it's not a great title; it makes me feel slightly damp and dirty just to say it. And, speaking of damp and dirty, the always beautiful Natalie Portman is in this flick, looking like a 14 year old boy. Suddenly, I'm horribly confused- I mean, come on, it's the beautiful Padme Amidala herself! Who was beautiful even in clown make-up in "The Phantom Menace". Who proved bald is beautiful in "V for Vendetta". Who destroyed many a server by having a body double show her butt in "Goya's Ghosts". And now, here she is, looking like a 14 year old boy! What if I went to this film, saw her, and started to be attracted? What sort of monster would that make me? I could just see the guy from "Dateline" jumping out from behind the screen saying, "Aha! We know you didn't buy a ticket for this mess, wearing nothing but whipped cream, just to see Dustin Hoffman do a Rip Taylor impression!" No, that's a chance I just can't take. And, if that isn't reason enough to avoid this film like the cholera, let me repeat: Dustin Hoffman does a Rip Taylor impression. 'Nuff said.

My Rating: None-der Stardorium (but Much Boredium)

Numero Nine-o:

Across the Universe

Do the math: The Beatles- The Beatles + the chick that choreographed "The Lion King" + a bunch of people you've never heard of dancing around = Suck. There. It's a mathematical fact. So you know it's true. I'd rather get hit with Maxwell's Silver Hammer than come within 10 feet of this beast. I mean, help, it's a long and winding road from my life to a day in the life of a paperback writer, but because in the end here there and everywhere every body's got something to hide except for me and my monkey, this bird has flown. All together now, LET IT BE! Leave the poor Beatles where they should be, in my Dad's record collection and Nike commercials. Don't drag them out every couple of months to be "reinterpreted", no matter how much Yoko and Paul want the Beatles for Sale. I mean, they were bigger than Jesus, you'd think they'd command a little respect. I'd rather see "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" as Barry Gibb's date than watch this mess. It'd take Dr. Robert's whole medicine cabinet for me to get through it. Next time, create a film around the back catalog of Wings. Goo-goo-ka-joob.

My Rating: The Word is 0 Stars

Numero Eight-o:

Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Okay, who asked for this? Seriously. Who asked for it? Who did it? 'Cause you owe us all an apology. First of all, I can't expect ANYONE except maybe Geoffrey Rush's accountant asked for this. Second of all, there are some movies that just should not have a sequel. It's like watching "A Passage to India II: Electric Boogaloo". Or "Remains of the Day 2- The Next Morning". And I saw some Cate Blanchett interviews where she tried to pass this off as an action movie. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she's got this confused with the next "Indiana Jones" film. However, as a public service, I'm going to expose the true facts about this thing. It is not an action movie; it is historical fiction, like the books your grandma buys from the library discard shelf for 25 cents that have Fabio dragging some woman around by the bodice. Again, just to clarify. "Lethal Weapon"- Action Movie. "The French Connection"- Action Movie. "Die Hard"- Action Movie. "Elizabeth: The Golden Age"- Grandma at the library complaining that they only used to charge 10 cents for the discarded paperbacks. The other thing that needs to be widely known is that, unlike film critics, we, the people, are not suckered into believing that, just because a film has people talking in English accents, it is a great film. Exhibit A: Mr. Bean. Although I'd rather watch Mr. Bean get his head caught in a subway door a thousand, billion times than watch a second and a half of "Elizabeth: The Golden Age". I'd rather get my OWN head caught in a subway door than watch "Elizabeth: The Golden Age". At least then, if I had to get a headache, I might also get a free subway ride out of it.

My Rating: Ye Olde Royale 0 Stars

Numero Seven-o:

I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With

This is a real movie. No kidding. No idea what it is about, but it is a real movie somewhere that someone managed to raise the cash to film while genocide was taking place in Darfur. I hope, at least, that the crew got decent craft services out of it. I'm sorry, now, though, that I even bothered to type it here. We must never speak of this again.

My Rating: I SAID WE MUST NEVER SPEAK OF THIS AGAIN!

Numero Six-o:

Fred Claus

Remember when Vince Vaughn was good? I mean, yeah, there was that "Jurassic Park 2" disaster, but we all gotta get paid. You couldn't blame the guy for that. But lately, man... I always have kinda a crush on Jennifer Anniston; she has the correct "Jennifer" surname, and she's cute and all (although not Jennifer Connelly league, now, let's not be ridiculous), but she sure seems a little on the weird side, and she somehow must have done something to poor Vince to damage his brain. Vince, look, wake up! You're turning into Tim Allen here! If someone reads this somewhere, although it is seriously in doubt that anyone will read it anywhere, but, if you do, please consider an intervention for poor Vince Vaughn before he finds himself starring in a CW sitcom with Shelley Long. Vince- I love you, man (but strictly in a heterosexual, platonic way, not in a johnson-in-the-eye way, even though that can accidentally happen to anyone, especially if the ball gag you have in your mouth makes it hard to breathe). Come back to the light.

Okay, where was I? Oh yeah, "Fred Claus". Sucks. I'd rather get a lump of coal. At least I can maybe figure how to run my car on that. Merry Christmas.

My Rating: H0 h0 h0 stars

Numero Hawaii Five-o:

Alvin and the Chipmunks

How in the name of a merciful and just Creator was this abomination greenlit? Now, I hear you, "Matt, you said you were reviewing films you haven't seen in the last two months, not films you haven't seen in the next month that's no fair you need to stick to what you said especially since you abandoned us for so long you stupid dickweed." And you'd have a valid point. Except for the fact that THIS IS MY BLOG SO I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT ON IT. Get your own blog, nutcase. Quit worrying about me so much and clean up your own backyard.

Anyhow, one day, I was sitting around thinking to myself, and I said, "Self, you know what would be great? A CG film based on a limited animation series that pretty much sucked anyhow taken from a novelty record that is so annoying it could make your ears bleed. And you know what would really make it great? If it had, as a lead, the once so hilarious and profane Jason Lee further whored himself into pointlessness." The only way I'd watch this pile of rodent droppings is if the print was mixed up during delivery with the titular Jennifer Connelly crime classic, "The Hot Spot" and the theater was showing that instead. No amount of vaccination could get me to the theater to watch spooky, dough-like anamorphic chipmunks. I think they cause cholera anyway. The fact that this movie is being released seriously distresses my soul with little, squeaky claws and ear-piercing voices.

My Rating: Three squeaky, grating, CG 0 Stars, plus an extra 0 Stars for Jason Lee driving a Saville over all my great Kevin Smith memories

Numero Four-o:

The Jane Austin Book Club

There are two clues to the amount of coma inducing, penis amputating power this movie contains and, in alphabetical order, here they are: "Book Club" and "Jane Austin". (Shiver). Okay, let me repeat that, for dramatic impact, this time in reverse alphabetical order: "Jane Austin" and "Book Club". (Shiver. Shiver). I feel sick.

What is this movie about? Well, I'm assuming it's about a bunch of nasal woman sitting around whining about Jane Austin books. If there could be a worse title that didn't contain "cholera", I don't know what it is. At least the word "cholera" promises painful death. This thing promises Jane Austin and Book Clubs, which makes me wish for painful death. If someone ripped my eyeballs from their sockets, carried them into the theater where this was playing, set them on the seat directed towards the screen, I expect that my eyeballs would rapidly evolve, growing legs and little feet (and, maybe eye-teeth) and run, tears falling from them, from the theater, where they would head to the nearest optometrist and beg for Visine to stop the burning. And that can really happen. I know because, in addition to being a blogger, I am also a scientist. Or I play one on TV.

And Jimmy Smits is still alive? Who knew? I thought he fell down an elevator shaft on "LA Law" or something. Poor guy. I hope he took this job to impress a chick.

My Rating: 0 Penises

Numero trio:

Saw IV

So a regular '4' ain't good enough for ya, eh, "Saw"? Or maybe, based on the number of needles and medical treatments used in this series, it's "Saw IV", as in intravenous. Whatever, the only sound I hear is the sound of sucking from the empty IV bag. The little puppet head "Saw" dude died, right, so how'd he come back? I mean, sure, if I told the studios that they'd make $81 million dollars by reanimating the corpse of Abraham Lincoln, they'd have his body laid out on that lab table under the lightening storm faster than you can say "Emancipation Proclamation". But "Saw"? Please. The first movie was in the crapper, literally. The second movie I can't even remember, so I'm just going to assume that it either sucked or my popcorn was coated in hallucinogenic butter again. The third movie I can't even remember because I never "saw" it. And the forth movie? Well, they should invent a projector with little razor blades so that the film will thread through it one way and load in, but, when played, the film would run through the razors the other way and the razors would clamp down, shredding every print. And then the projector blew up. And it was filled with money, like a big, money-filled pinata. And then they had to show "The Hot Spot" because I got so much money I bought the theater. And then I could sit and watch Jennifer Connelly all day.

Wait, what was I talking about? Oh, "Saw IV". Sucks.

My Rating: OV Stars

Numero duo:

Good Luck Chuck

Ahhh, Jessica Alba. I'd watch breakfast cereal commercials if they all starred Jessica Alba (although, to be fair, I'd also watch breakfast cereal commercials if they all starred an unhinged cartoon rabbit or a leprechaun with a serious sugar high). I'd watch "American Idol" if it starred Jessica Alba. I might even watch "The Jane Austin Book Club" if it starred Jessica Alba, but only if she was wearing a bikini. Heck, I watched "Into the Blue" because it starred Jessica Alba. Twice. There you go. I'm not proud. So why would I list "Good Luck Chuck" as the duo worst movie of the last two months? What satanic, unearthly, hideous power could drive me from Jessica Alba, and seriously call in doubt her ability to function in a civil society? What sort of demonic, foul man-beast could drive the attraction out of the Alba?

Dane Cook.

Dane Cook spelled backwards is "Kooc Sucks", or it would be if you spelled "Dane" like "Skcus", which, incidentally, is how I spell it. Dane Cook is about as funny as cholera, and ask any sailor who hasn't eaten his oranges how funny cholera is. I guarantee that, if "Good Luck Chuck" is supposed to be a comedy, it's not funny, and, if it's supposed to be a drama, it's also not funny, and, if it's a horror movie, it's also not funny. I will refund anyone's money that they have spent on this blog if you can prove there is, was, can be, or ever has been anything funny about Dane Cook. And yet, this guy gets to star in a film with Jessica Alba. Sanctuary! Sanctuary!

Stick Dane Cook in "Elizabeth III: Road Raleigh" and let him sing Beatles songs where no one would ever have to look at him. That way, he can never hurt an innocent career like that of Jessica Alba ever again.

My Rating: Negative a million stars for Dane Cook's ruthless defiling of Jessica Alba's career.

And the Numero Uno, big cheese crapitoriest movie since the last time I posted on this website has to be:

Bratz

Picture, if you will, a movie based around a Hasbro toy. Populate it with cute, vaguely underage actors in tight, trendy clothes. Put it into theaters during the summer when the preteen market has plenty of time and access to their mother's forgotten purse. Now this can go one of two ways. One- you could then add in killer robots, car chases, explosions, military battles, and jokes about masturbation. Do that, and you will have one of the greatest feats of cinematic art ever to not contain Jennifer Connelly, worthy of every major award to be thrown at it, and the undisputed box office champion of my household, "Transformers". On the other hand, two- you could call it "Bratz" and make it so stupid that the best idea it has in it is the firing of Paula Abdul. Not even teenage girls could be tricked into buying tickets for this used tampon, and they bought IN*SYNC albums and body glitter, so I don't see them as the most discerning audience. Plus, have you ever seen the Bratz dolls? Those things are creepier than clowns behind a DMV counter. They have big, swollen heads, too much makeup, and blank, painted eyes, like little, ethnic Nancy Reagans. Why would this make a good film? Of course, some would argue that little robots with arms more likely to break off than bend into the bumper of a car would also make a lousy film. For those people, all I can say is "Explosions, hot chicks, cars, fast cars, planes, robot battles, more explosions, and entire cities exploding". I've got an idea: every time Osama bin Ladin tries to broadcast one of his nonsensical rants about the benefits of Grecian formula, the U.S. should jam the signal and replace it with a broadcast of "Bratz". The sound you will hear is the sound of a thousand voices screaming in unison in the direction of Mecca. As for me, I'd rather watch "My Little Pony- The Movie". Especially if the ponies transformed into fast cars.

My Rating: 0 Starz

There. A new post. See you in two months.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Philosophy of the Frogs

If a blog falls on the Internets and nobody reads it, does it make a sound?

Do you think Jennifer Connelly might read it anyhow?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Reviews of the Ignorant: The Nanny Diaries

Some days you just don't feel like doing anything.

You wake up, wander around in your underwear, eating Doritos, just hoping that inspiration or at least motivation will strike. (Ok, I know inspiration usually 'strikes', 'cause I've read it in books and stuff, but what about motivation? Does it 'strike'? It doesn't seem quite as violent as inspiration; maybe motivation just kinda sneaks up behind you and pushes your shoulders.) And then, right about the second bag of Doritos, your kids start in with all the "Dad, Dad! We were supposed to be at school three hours ago!" And then life finds you driving at speeds of over 70 miles per hour in a school zone (Hey, the lights aren't flashing!) trying to make sure your kids get there in time for recess. And, after all that work, you still just don't feel like anything. You sit around on the porch, eating Doritos, and, even at the point that the hot neighbor comes out in her bikini, waves at you, lies down in her lawn chair, unties her top, and, hands strategically placed, tries to wave you over to rub some oil on her shoulders. So, of course, even though you haven't felt like doing anything, you head across the street, 'cause you want to protect her from skin cancer and whatever, can't let a young woman age herself in the sun, and then you find yourself rubbing her smooth, muscular back, and she's groaning just a little, her hips pressing into the lawn chair. You close your eyes, your fingers working down her sides, catching the strings on the bikini bottoms, as she lets out a soft gasp-

Uh, I'm sorry, what was I talking about?

Oh, yeah. Some days you just don't feel like doing anything. So there you are, helping out the neighbor, when your wife pulls up, all crazy and screaming about work and why am I across the street rubbing the neighbor's naked back and all the other crazy stuff women scream about, and you just don't feel like even having this discussion again. And then, she has to start in with all the "Where are the kids?", at which point you realize school has been over for 3 hours now and, in fact, it's dark outside. So back you rush to school, and the kids are all like, "Dad! You forgot us again! We were so hungry we had to eat grass!" And all you can't think of is, "I don't want to do anything", with a great feeling of, as the French say, 'ennui'

So what brings this reflection on, you ask? And, if you didn't, I'd appreciate it if you would, so we can get on with it. One. Two. Three. I can do this all day; I'm not proud. Go ahead and ask. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Ok, there, that wasn't so hard, was it? Well, the reflection was brought on by "The Nanny Diaries". I so much do not want to ever see this film that I don't even want to write a blog post on it. I am literally forcing myself to sit here and type this. Now don't get me wrong, here; "The Nanny Diaries" does not repulse me, as the most awful things in the world, such as Darfur genocide, blue M&M's, and "Rush Hour 3" do. And it does have two very nice things going for it; Scarlett Johansson. But why would anybody want to watch this thing, let alone write a blog posting about it after not watching it? So, instead, I sit and try to come up with excuses to not post. "Why, I need to help my son with his math homework!" I might cry, to which my wife would answer, "Children's services have taken them two weeks ago after you left them at the school overnight". "But wait!" I would exclaim (hence, the exclamation mark), "I need to see if Jennifer Connelly has made any new films lately!" And then my wife would answer, "You've seen them all. Three times". "But look!" I would exclaim again, at the risk of being repetitive, "'Dark Water' is on Encore Action for the fourth time today! I need to watch it!" And my wife would roll her eyes and answer, "You haven't paid the satellite bill for two months. What makes you think you're gonna tune in Encore Action now?"

I really gotta get a new wife.

And, with all of my excuses blown to smithereens, I must face the inevitable. Did Hannibal and the rest of 'The A-team' want to march across the Alps with a bunch of circus elephants? Heck no, but he did for the good of his country. Did the Ancient Egyptians want to build the pyramids? Of course not, they were slaves, but they did it anyhow because, well, they were slaves, and would probably be killed if they didn't. Did Jonas Salk want to invent the polio vaccine? Well, yeah, probably. Bad example. Did George W. Bush want to be elected President of the United States? No way, but he was, because someone had to serve for the front man for Cheney and his power-mad gang of goons. All of these people (with the exception of Salk, I guess) were faced with a duty and they did it, no matter how unpleasant, all for the betterment of humanity. Except for the case of President Bush. And that brings me to me. I could take the easy way, not cross the Alps, not build the pyramids, not cure polio, and not allow a crazed cabal of money-hungry neocons to take over our nation. Or I can sit down and act as I should, fulfill my destiny, satisfy the hunger of millions and make the world a better place.

I could post an ignorant review of "The Nanny Diaries".

I expect millions of 'thank you' notes. Checks would be nice, too.

The Nanny Diaries

Ok, if you go see this, you pretty much get what you deserve. First, let's break down the title. The first word is 'The'. So far, so good. Lots of great films have started with 'The'. "The Empire Strikes Back". "The Rocketeer". " "The Hot Spot". And "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" actually has 'The' three times. It is the most 'the'iest movie of all times. So from just that word, you can't really yet see the unholy depths of suckiness this movie will reach.

But then, we get into trouble. 'Nanny'. No, not 'Tranny'. "The Tranny Diaries" actually might have been an interesting film. But here, we're talking about 'Nanny'. Now there are only two places where 'Nanny' should appear in films, and absolutely NONE of them would involve Fran Drescher. First would be in porn, with such classics as "The Naughty Nanny", "The Nanny's Fanny" and "The Nanny Always Cums Twice". Second, would be "Mary Poppins". Just be sure not to mix up the tapes when your putting the cases away or you'll have to answer to your wife the next time the kids have a sleepover with 'movie night'. Trust me. I know. But, overall, using the word 'Nanny' in a movie title is a kiss of death. It brings to mind snooty people doing snooty things like 'spending money' and 'exercising' and talking in a fake English accent. Not that I have anything wrong with talking in a fake English accent; I do it all the time when I'm explaining to the creditors why I'm not home right now. But would you watch a film about me explaining to creditors that I'm not home? I didn't think so. Don't put 'Nanny' in the title of your movie.

So we're already failing here. Then comes, as the French also say, the 'piece de la resistance' meaning, 'piece of most resistance to going to see this movie'. The word 'Diaries'. This just congers up horrible memories of being forced to play ponies and Barbies with my sisters and their friends. What does a person think of when they think of diaries? Well, yeah, I guess some people would think of things that must be burnt before the Army gets in your bunker. But, for most of us, instantly we have images of unicorns and purple, rainbows and sticker books, braiding hair and 'Truth or Dare'. And if you have never been forced to play with a Ken doll wearing a fur coat for hours while your sister and her friends listened to 'Bon Jovi' and talked about boys, then you have no right to laugh and should consider yourself one lucky person.

And that pretty much wraps it up. "The Nanny Diaries". Just the name churns my stomach so much that they should call it, "The Nanny Diarrheas". You know it's gonna be about a bunch of rich people talking about themselves and how hard their lives are while cute kids say cuss words and the innocent nanny learns lessons of survival and becomes a stronger and better person until my head wants to blow up. There are two things, however, that possibly could save this movie; as I said before, they are Scarlett Johansson. Here is a woman of great mystery. Sometimes, she can be smoking hot. Other times, though, she looks like she was carved out of a block of butter and put on display at the State Fair. Now, I like butter, but I prefer it on my plate rather than carved in the shape of a woman and walking around the screen on the local Hectaplex. She also has the problem of coming across as extremely smart, at least by celebrity standards. Now, if I wanted my women smart, I'd move somewhere that they make them that way, but I choose to live in America, and we don't want any of that fancy European stuff here. And, sure, Ms. Johansson does have some enormous talents. While she is no Jennifer Connelly, she can fill out the old white tank-top with Academy Award winning capabilities, if the Academy Awards were given out for gigundous hooters. (Which I think it actually might be, at some point in the technical awards, between 'Gaffers' and 'Best Boys'). Yet can Ms. Johansson, as dually talented as she is, even at her most buttery, make up for the fact that this is "The Nanny Diaries"? Can Nancy Reagan fly? I mean, without her broomstick and the blood of twenty virgins.

To summarize, "The Nanny Diaries". Read it again. "The Nanny Diaries". What does this mean? It means that this movie will have "Nannies" and "Diaries". Run.

Gotta go. This bag of Doritos ain't gonna eat itself, you know.

My Rating: 0 stars, except for Scarlett Johansson, who gets 00 stars.

Trivia: In the spirit of the old William Castle horror film promotion gimmicks, "The Nanny Diaries" included, in select major cities, a 'Penis Check' room, where any male who went to see this could actually check their penis and leave it safely in the lobby prior to entering the theater.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Reviews of the Extremely Ignorant: Dog Reviews

Well, it's been a busy week or so, what with Labor Day and all the labor my wife made me do in honor of it. Plus, there was the embarrassing moment, after that 5th hot dog, where I thought I was going into labor. Fortunately, it was just a touch of the ol' irritable bowel, but was my face red (primarily from straining). It's not every day a guy has to get an epidural in order to go to the bathroom. And that episiotomy! Yikes!

Anyway, with all this crap going on, I have not had the time even to not watch movies, let alone not watch them and then write about them. But I didn't want to disappoint my fans. Ok, fan. Ok, my mom. So I didn't want to disappoint my mom by going so long without posting on the Frog Blog, and I became determined to find a partner in film reviews, someone to take up the slack I have been so generously leaving. Naturally, my first inclination was my wife, but the look of horror on her face when I asked her to post, along with the comment about 'blog freaks', gave me an immediate answer. So then, I thought, why not my boys? Their study habits certainly reveal the same ignorant streak found in their old man. But they only wanted to write a review of "High School Musical 2", and, since I had just looked at a naked picture floating around the Internets of one of the musical high schoolers from that flick, I was uncomfortable even discussing it. Seems like every kid who shows up on the Disney Channel has a matter of two years or so before they start flashing their crotches across the World Wide Web. I shudder to think what running a "Minnie Mouse" & "nipple slip" search through the ol' Google would bring up.

Despondent, I was prepared to give up and simply allow the Frog Blog to dry up, to crust and sugar over, (or, even possibly, explode), when, suddenly, like a beam of bricks sent from Heaven above, it hit me. Aftershocks from all those hot dogs! Wanting to avoid another horrible "brown stain" incident, I ran to the bathroom. But then, while I was in a state of grunting repose in the quietest room in the house, posed like Rodin's "Thinker", I also had an idea. There was another member of the household more loyal than my wife, more obedient than my children, and more ignorant than myself. Of course! Who better to assist me in ignorantly reviewing movies than the one household member more interested in licking his privates and eating flies than checking out the IMDB! No, not Grandpa! The dog!

A quick note here: My dog values his privacy and his one condition for helping me drop some new reviews up here was that I disguise his identity. He feels that, the next time he's at the park sniffing other dog's butts and urinating on playground equipment, he doesn't want to be recognized as contributing to something as lame as a blog; he has a reputation to keep up as a fifteen pound, lean, mean, barking and fighting sex machine. So, rather than reveal his real name and risk his relationship with that hot Chocolate Lab, I'm simply going to refer to him, for the remainder of this post, as 'the dog' or 'my dog'. And he most definitely is not the Jack Russell who tore up your library book you left sitting on the park bench last June, so don't come asking me for $30 to replace it. He's a different Jack Russell that just happened to be there that same day. And you, my friend, are guilty of breed profiling.

Now, one thing dogs are not is 'meta-', and he just didn't get the whole idea of reviewing films you have never seen, so I promised him that I'd let him actually watch the film he was reviewing. This made him so happy he ran in circles, biting his stub of a tail. Plus, he is not the most verbal of living creatures, so his reviews would have to be based primarily on behavioral actions, making me the Jane Goodall of pop culture blogs. So, notebook in hand, pith helmet in place (because, of course, if you're going to go into the jungles of animal observation, you have to pith firtht, underthand?), we headed down to the local Nonoplex to buy tickets for the flick I thought he'd like to see the most, "Underdog". The stupid theater, however, would not allow me in with him, despite the fact that I first tried to explain that he was reviewing the film for a well known blog, then attempted to convince the theater manager that he was a service dog. He, however, did little to assist me with this, instead primarily being interested in barking at every person who entered the theater lobby, and, thanks to this little display, I am banned from the theater under penalty of Criminal Trespassing.

$7.00 lighter and still with no review, we headed to the video store. Here, I insisted to him that he would have to stay outside, and I tied him to the bike racks. From there, I held up different film options for his reviewing pleasure. We ultimately decided on the following films, or, should I say, I decided, because he was more interested in 1) Barking at every car that went past the video store B) Barking at every person entering the video store and III) Urinating repeatedly on the dirt bike next to him on the bike rack:

1. The Truth About Cats and Dogs
2. Dog Day Afternoon
3. A documentary about land mine-sniffing dogs in Vietnam called War Dogs
4. And, for variety, Catch and Release, starring Jennifer Garner (purchased previously viewed for only $3.99)

(A brief editorial note here about Jennifer Garner. She confuses me and makes me question my sexuality. Sometimes, I think she is very attractive. There was that spy show where she would wear leather suits and milkmaid outfits and always looked real hot. Plus, she has the appropriate first name, referencing the standard of beauty and quality acting that is the radiant and awe-inspiring Jennifer Connelly (although falling far, far short of Ms. Connelly's glory, I must say). But there are other times, such as through much of this movie, where she looks like a dude in drag. How can this strange duality be explained? It is a mystery best left to Bible studies and my therapist, I'm afraid.)

Having acquired the films for Dog Review, I proceeded home and immediately set about screening these for my dog. What follows are the actual field notes of his behavior during different times of the films, and his decision as to the quality of these films inferred from this behavior. I have noted the times, in minutes and seconds, according to the counter on the DVD player so that if you, too, want to get your dog and have him watch the same films at the same times to attempt to duplicate these findings, then that makes both of us scientists and we should probably join a club or a society or something.

The Truth About Cats and Dogs

Approximately -0:45 to -0:19- The dog is insistent on attempting to lick my mouth while I am leaned over, putting the DVD in the player

0:00 to 1:10 - He is vigorously scratching his right front shoulder

1:12 to 1:37- He is now vigorously biting his right front shoulder, making a slurping, clicking sound so obnoxious I yell at him to "Stop", and, when he doesn't, I throw a sandal against the wall to get his attention.

1:39 to 1:55- He resumes biting his right front shoulder, continuing to make that grotesque chewing sound. I yell, "Stop!", even louder, pounding my fist on the floor.

1:56 to 2:02- He gives me a look that either expresses a sincere sadness that he has displeased me or a murderous intent to rip my throat out while I sleep, it's difficult to read. He then leaves the screening room.

2:03 to 14:07- Despite my calls for him to return, he refuses. I apologize profusely, even offer to scratch his shoulder, but he still does not return. I hear him somewhere upstairs, growling and running around. Realizing that he is not going to return, and that attempting to force an animal to watch any more of this film could result in cruelty charges, I stop the screening and review my notes.

Dog Review- Film is less interesting than right front shoulder. 0 Bones.

Dog Day Afternoon

- 17:00- Both the case and the DVD have some sticky substance on them. While I am attempting to insert the DVD, the dog grabs the case and carries it across the room. He then lays down and starts to lick it. I set the DVD down and go across the room to get the case, which is already at this point riddled with teeth-mark holes. He thinks I want to play and refuses to let go of the case, growling and trying to pull it away. I finally shake the case loose, but he runs behind me, growling and barking. I try and grab him, but he slips away, runs back across the room, and grabs the DVD itself in his mouth. He then runs up the stairs with it, growling the whole time. I chase him upstairs, but, by the time I get up there, out of breath, he has begun to crunch the DVD into a bunch of sharp, slivery pieces. I chases him away, gather up the pieces, and put them back in the case which is now rough with his teeth marks. Later, I tell the video store guy that this was how I found it when I got it home.

Dog Review- While both the case and the DVD are delicious, the DVD is sharp when broken and can make the mouth bleed. Due to this serious safety concern, 0 Bones.

War Dogs

Due to issues in previous screenings, I decide to put the dog on his leash and tie him to the leg of the couch, forcing him to stay in the room for the screening.

0:00 to 4:29 - The dog is growling and pulling at his leash, trying to get free.

4:30 to 6:15- The dog continues to growl and pull at the leash, making it impossible to hear the film

7:10 to 9:35- The dog has now lied down and is attempting to chew through his leash, every once in a while giving it a tug. I yell "No!" at him in an attempt to get him to focus on the film, which seems to be about bomb-sniffing dogs that were left behind when Vietnam was evacuated. He doesn't watch the film, though, and instead, after sniffing the leash one more time, begins to loudly lick his genitals.

10:02 to 15:17- I actually don't pay a whole lot of attention to the dog, as I can hear him continue his licking and chewing and the documentary is pretty good. When I do look back at him, though, I see he is no longer licking his genitals but is now chewing the wooden leg of the couch, with little bits of wood shavings everywhere. "NO!" I yell, with visions of my wife killing both of us dancing through my head, "BAD DOG! BAD DOG!" He immediately stops chewing and lies his head down on the floor, ears pulled back in an attempt at contrition.

15:50 to 16:22- He stands and begins pacing

17:48- The screening comes to a stop when he loudly vomits a pile of wood shavings and pieces of DVD label floating in a yellow goo. I pick him up and rush him outside, breaking the weakened couch leg when I forget to unhook the leash, where he proceeds to vomit two more times.

Dog Review- Despite a few minutes of quality genital licking time, any film that makes you vomit more than once cannot be recommended. 0 Bones.


Catch and Release

This time, I decide I will hold him while the film screens. We have to sit in the chair, as the couch is now lopsided.

0:00 to 4:46- The dog struggles to get away from me. I hold him tight and tell him, "It's ok, it's ok" in as soothing a voice as possible. This, though, seems to remind him of getting shots at the vet, and he proceeds then to try and pull away more urgently.

5:00 to ?- Finally, after a few more seconds of struggling, he settles and closes his eyes. He lies next to me, warm and soft, and, as the film drones on and on, I begin to lose interest in trying to figure if Jennifer Garner is hot and begin instead to think of Jennifer Connelly in her white tank-top. Everything is quiet, except for the murmur of the blabbing voices on the TV. I decide I will close my eyes and enjoy the peace for a minute.

22:14- I am violently awakened as the dog growls and barks. He has left me in the chair and is now slamming himself against the door in the daily vain attempt to frighten the mailman away from the mailbox. I try to call him back to the chair, but he runs back upstairs.

22:50 to 26:17 - I go upstairs and bring him back down, telling him to stay so I can see what his reaction is to this film. He refuses to watch it, instead pacing around and whining, trying to leave the room. I tell him to sit, which he does begrudgingly, but he continues to whine, and begins to pace again, walking back and forth in a wide oval. "Sit!" I tell him again, but he refuses.

27:05- The screening comes to an end when he begins to urinate on the rug, staring at me with a look of regret combined with vindication. I stumble across the room and grab him, trying to get him outside, but I succeed only in trailing a stream of urine across the room. Once outside, he immediately stops urinating and runs to all four corners of the yard, barking at squirrels. He then returns to his earlier vomit and begins to eat it. I yell at him to stop, and he gives me a bored look, then goes back to a sunny spot on the patio, where he proceeds to fall asleep.

Dog Review- Film inspires drowsiness, rage (directed at the mailman), and, finally, a strong and uncontrollable desire to urinate, making it have a lot in common with the side effects of certain anti-depressants and not at all enjoyable. Plus, there is no determination as to whether Jennifer Garner is truly hot or a drag queen. All of this emotional turmoil cannot lead to a recommendation. 0 Bones.

So, what was learned through Dog Reviews? That dog vomit does not come easily out of a carpet, that video store clerks are a mistrusting lot when it comes to damaged DVDs, that there is nothing better than falling asleep with a dog by your side, and that the case of "Catch and Release" will effectively even out a broken couch leg, at least enough that your wife doesn't notice. Now I gotta run- there's someone waiting to play Frisbee with me.





No animals were harmed in the posting of this blog.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Instant Film School: Ratings Bored

Today, we are going to dive straight into the toxic waters of film studies by reviewing the film ratings system, what it means, how ratings are determined, and what is it's effect on the tilt of the Earth's axis.

Many people have been asking (and, in this case, by 'many' I mean 'no', but, for the sake of this post, work with me, here) for a summary of the Motion Picture Association of America's film rating system. Of course, this system is highly confidential and incredibly subjective, so, instead, I'm just going to make something up and pass it off as a review of the rating system. First, though, let me make it clear: we're talking about the content rating assigned to most film's released in America, not the film rating system used to review films here at "The Frogs and Their King". That system is easy enough to sum up- All films with Jennifer Connelly- 100 quagillion machillion stars. Everything else- 0 stars. Now that I've made that distinction for the extremely defective among us, let us proceed.

The American film rating system is relatively simple. There are only a few rules that are followed in deciding what rating to assign to a film, and they go like this:

1. Does a film depict violence between humans, not limited to but including beatings, beheadings, shootings, manglings, bare-knuckle fighting, amputation, drownings, torturings, murder, burning alive, burying alive, hangings, car accidents, boat accidents, train accidents, plane accidents, cannibalism, tatooings, or general mayhem and madness? If so, it is rated PG-13.

2. Does a film depict any of the above, only directed towards a household pet? Then it is rated R.

3. Does a film depict naked female breasts used in an educational manner, such as showing tribal women using them for tribal purposes, like holding jugs of water or extra leaves and berries, or such as attractive twenty-somethings exposing them to teenage boys in the interest of anatomy? If so, the film is rated PG-13.

4. Does a film depict naked female breasts used in a non-educational manner? If so, and these non-educational breasts are on screen for less than 1 minute, the film is rated PG-13. More than a minute? Rated R, but the ticket-takers will look the other way if you're under-age but really have to see them, such as in the case of Halle Berry in 'Swordfish' or Jennifer Connelly in anything.

5. Does the film depict naked penguin breasts? If so, and they are not seen in a lecherous manner, the film will be rated G. If seen in a lecherous manner, then the film will only be released in Europe, Vermont, and certain parts of the Pacific Northwest.

6. Does the film depict full-frontal female nudity? If so, and it is someone you would enjoy seeing naked (ie, young Nicole Kidman, Jessica Alba, or Jennifer Connelly), then it may be rated PG-13 or R, depending on the intended studio demographics. If it is someone you would NOT enjoy seeing naked (ie, Kathy Bates, Charo, Divine), then it must be rated at least R, and must contain the mandated Surgeon General's warning.

7. Does the film depict a naked penis? If so, and it belongs to Bruce Willis, Kevin Bacon, or Harvey Keitel, then the film will be Rated R, but you will have to produce two forms of photo ID to get in an see it (such as a valid passport and a state issued ID), and you may be sorry that you did. If the penis belongs to anyone else, the film will be Rated XXX-17.

8. Does the film contain swearing? If so, and it the swearing you might hear from your 4th Grade teacher when she accidentally staples her index finger, such as 'poop', 'fart', 'damn', 'hell', 'criminy' or 'son-of-a-gun', then it may be rated G. If so, and it involves the slang name for a body-part found on a man, then it may be rated PG. If so, and it is the swearing you might hear from your grandmother during the early onset of dementia, such as '$h!t', 'g0d-d@mn' , 'p!$$', 'wh0re-faced j@ck@$$', or 's0n-0f-@-b!+ch', then it may be rated PG-13. If so, and it is the swearing you might hear from drunk sailors just arrested while on shore-leave, such as the 'f' word, the 'mf' word, the 'c' word, the 'n' word, or any words beginning with 'O' through 'W', then it will be rated R. Finally, if it's the kind of swearing you might hear between Hitler and the Devil during a 'yo momma' rank contest, the kind of words that, should I even think them, would melt the Internets, then the film will be not be rated, as several members of the ratings board are elderly and it may cause them heart problems. The only exceptions to all of the above are a) if any of the swearing is done by a penguin, the film will be rated G and b) if any of the swearing is done by an animated character, such as an ogre or a superhero, then the film will be rated PG.

9. Does the film have characters who smoke? If so, and it was made prior to 2006, it will be rated G. If so, and it was filmed after 2006, it will be rated NC-17.

10. Does the film include uncompromising adult subjects that, while not appropriate for children, also do not include hardcore, pornographic sex acts? Then the film will be rated NC-17 and will not be shown to anyone in any major theater chain or rented from major video rental stores, essentially dooming the film financially and in its impact. Sorry.

11. Was the film made in France? If so, it will be unrated, or, as they say in France, "le ratings non".

12. Was the film directed by Steven Spielberg? If so, it will be rated PG-13.

13. Did the film cost more than $100 million dollars to make and is being released between Memorial Day and Labor Day? If so, it will be rated PG-13.

14. All other films that do not fit in any of the above categories will be rated PG-13.

And that is how simple it is to decide the rating of a movie.

However, while it is extremely simple to assign the rating, due to the fact that there are over 3,267 possible ratings issued, the system itself if very complicated. Now, while I would be more than happy to list all 3,267 with a brief explanation of what they mean, I expect everyone else would be less than happy. Therefore, I will now provide the top 30 or so assigned ratings from the last few years.

'G'- 'Geek'- Only a geek would watch this movie
'GC'- 'Guidance Counseling'- You may need to visit the Guidance Counselor after seeing this movie.
'GP'- 'Gross Product'- This film cost more to make than the gross product of bottom third of the world's countries put together.
'PG'- 'Pussy Galore'- This rating is only given to James Bond films, or to certain, ah, shall we say, 'art' films that play in a continuous reel at that particular theater on the wrong side of town.
'PG-13'- 'Not Suitable for Anyone Who is Not Male or Over the Age of 13'- Most likely includes car chases, young women in various stages of undress, fighting robots, former professional football players, crotch-kicking, or old ladies dropping the 'f' bomb.
'PG-4' - 'Not Suitable for Anyone Over the Age of 4'- Usually reserved for 'Barney' films, penguin movies, or anything based on a greeting card line.
'PG-80' - 'Not Suitable for Anyone With an IQ Over 80'- Usually reserved for Uwe Boll films, or anything starring a Baldwin that is not Alec.
'PG-12mm' - 'Not Suitable for Anyone Not Carrying a Piece' Yo, anyone not packin' risks getting a cap busted in ya, dawg.
'PG-200m'- 'Please Gross 200 Million'- This film cost over 100 million dollars to make, and the studio who made it is politely demanding that all film goers see this within the first 5 days of release
'JC' - This is used on films that either star the stunning and amazing actress Jennifer Connelly or are religious dramas directed by Mel Gibson.
'BC' - This is used on really old films, such as those filmed on nitrate, 'Before Celluloid'.
'AM'- This is a film best seen on cable after drinking all night
'BM' - This is the rating given to Brett Ratner films. It would have been 'BR', but that was already being used by films with the primary setting of either the frozen Antarctic or the North Pole, such as penguin and Christmas films.
'BLT' - 'But Look at Total gross'- This is given to films that depend on the stupidity of the overseas market audiences to see a profit. This is also the rating given to Muppet films.
'BFF'- 'Based on French Films'- A subpar American remake of a barely interesting in the first place, pretentious French movie. Examples include 'Three Men and a Baby', 'The Birdcage', and 'Down and Out in Beverly Hills'. Examples do not include 'The Ring', 'The Grudge', or 'One Missed Call', which would all be rated 'BFJ', or 'Dark Water', which would be rated 'BFJ-JC',
'R' - 'Raunchy'- This is how you know, as a pre-teen, what films are worth watching on pay cable after your parents have dosed off.
'RR'- This film features a train, such as 'Silver Streak', 'Thomas the Tank Engine', or 'Throw Momma from the Train'.
'NC' - 'No Choice'- This is the rating issued to some big-name actor's vanity project that a studio feels it has to make, many times even allowing the actor to direct, in order to negotiate a starring role in next summer's tent pole release.
'NC-17' - 'Now Costs $17.00'- This is used for films shown in IMAX or digital 3-D formats.
'NC-$5'- 'No Change of more than $5.00'- This is the rating used when a theater till is running low on $1 bills.
'NC-100'- '100 uses of nunchucks'- This is given to kung-fu flicks
'NCNN' - This means that the audience would rather watch the news than the travesty the studio is trying to force on them.
'NLV'- This rating identifies a Chevy Chase 'Vacation' film.
'NSFW' - 'Nice Safe Family Watching'- Films with this rating are wholesome and affirming films for the whole family, and, whenever you see this included with an image online, it is a badge of honor that means you can download safely without worrying about inappropriate content, even in front of your boss at work or your girlfriend's parents.
'X' - This is the rating given to a film that includes penises.
'XXX' - This film has 3 times the penises as the previous rating. This is also the rating given to anything staring Vin Diesel.
'CCC'- This rating occurs when the ratings board meant to give a film an 'XXX', but miskeyed and was too embarrassed to correct it.
'NC-XINFINITY' - This film is not suitable for anyone, and no one will be admitted to the theater to see it. Films that have earned this rating include 'Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot!', 'Basic Instinct 2', 'Gigli', and anything made by Tara Reid after 'American Pie', among others.
'Y785TGNBHJDJJJKKKKKKKKKKKKKK' - This is the rating given when a film is so uninteresting, it causes the ratings board to fall asleep on the keyboard.
' '- This is what it looks like when a film is not rated.

And now you know all about the content ratings system for American films, and you are prepared to go out into the world and randomly rate films, such as your sister's wedding videos, the video at the start of a commercial airline trip, the filmstrip shown in your 9th grade science class, or the dashboard camera recording of you failing a field sobriety test (hint: all but one of these examples contains penises). There is one thing to remember, though; the ratings system is not censorship, but, rather, exists to prevent certain people from seeing certain films based on the morals and decisions of a third party. With this lofty goal in mind, our ratings system has valiantly protected sensitive American's from seeing penises while allowing us access to the car crashes and murders that make up the backbone of our society. So the next time you see the rating on a film you are viewing, go ahead and applaud in thanks, or even run up and kiss the screen. At the most, the theater owner may call a police escort out to assist a person of your leadership qualities in moving out of the theater. At the very least, your performance will rate a solid "WTF".

Note- The preceding has been rated 'PPB' for 'Pitiful Pointless Blog' by the BRAA- the Blog Rating Association of America.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Reviews of the Ignorant: Hairspray

Now I love the musical, all that singing and prancing around at dramatic moments, like everyone in the thing has become brain damaged in some bizarre accident that refuses to allow them to respond with appropriate emotions, but, instead, forces them to burst into song. I think back to all the great movie musicals. I think of the strangely clone-like bathing beauties diving into a pool filled with Tidy Bowl fluorescent blue water in all the old Busby Berkeley flicks. I think of Dorothy, and her little dog, too, being more concerned about singing than disaster preparedness, leading to horrifying, prescription drug-addled hallucinations. I think of the great Gene Kelly in the all-time classic, singin' and dancin' musical, "Xanadu". I think of Mary Poppins beating the children in her charge in the closet while singing "No Wire Hangers For Me (The Chimney Sweep Song)". I think of Mary Poppins, again, fighting Nazis while swirling around a hillside singing, "The Hills Are Alive (With the Sound of Genocide)". I think of Mary Poppins, again, flashing her breasts in S.O.B. Wait, that wasn't a musical. Oh well, I'm still thinking about it.

But what I don't want to think about is the tendency in Hollywood to take something old and not even try and hide the fact that it's old yet still expect us in the hinterlands to pay for it again. This is a direct result of some unholy alliance at the intersection of Hollywood and Broadway, where movies become musicals then become movies again, with nothing interesting added in the transition outside of boredom. As with most evil, blame this trend on Disney; "Beauty and the Beast", "The Lion King", "Tarzan", "The Little Mermaid", and even my beloved "Mary Poppins" (probably safe to assume without the Nazis or bare breasts), all plopped like rodent droppings in the Great White Way. Follow this with even less interesting things like "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" and "Legally Blond"- yikes, I didn't even want to see these films at the second run, dollar theater, let alone pay $70 for a stage version. Then, there is word that they are making a "Shrek" musical! The horror! I'd rather be trapped in an endless Ice Capades time warp than have to ever see a farting, belching chorus line of ogres and animals, followed by some 'wink-wink' pop culture references. If this makes any money, can "Hefty Cinch Sack- The Musical" or "Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben- A Love Story" be far behind?

Yet, in an even more inconvenient truth, the recycling comes full circle, with movies being made of the musicals of the movies. Long ago, Plato and John Stuart Mill would have thought this an impossible fallacy, like a snake eating it's own tail. But the snakes of Hollywood are more than happy to eat their tails if there is the possibility of easy money to be made, and, hence, "The Producers", which was a great movie, becomes an ok musical play, becomes a sub-par movie, performing no purpose but to smear feces on our pleasant memories of the previous incarnations. And did the fact that "The Producers", which made less than $20 million samoleons (which, I will point out, if stacked up, would equal the 1994 gross of that instant classic, "Cabin Boy"; see previous post for the mathematically amazing formula) on a $45 million budget deter Hollywood from doing it again? Uh, no. Now, my mind is not that beautiful, and I'm no financial genius (which may explain why I'm typing a blog in the middle of a weekday afternoon) but I can't see where spending $45 million to make $20 million is good business practice. Yet the snake returns to its tail. Maybe they need a tax write-off.

Now it's a sad fact (sad for me, that is) that I have actually seen "The Producers" in all three versions, so I must exempt myself from reviewing that celluloid recycled mess. But, as the Who said, in their album that became a film that became a stage show, "Tommy", I won't get fooled again. Hollywood loves their recycling. So, with no further ado, let us proceed with another 1st here at the Frog Blog (where our motto should be "Always Innovating, Always Irritating"); our first musical post! Now, we're not talking any MP3, 4, 5, 6, or 72 nonsense, no way. No downloads needed, which is just as well, as I expect most of our readers are on dial-up connections at the library. No, here, for the first time on the Internets, is an all-singin', all-dancin' musical Review of the Ignorant. Just follow your bouncing balls and sing along! And now, direct from the Mediocre Slightly-Yellowed Way, "The Frogs and Their King" proudly present....

(drum roll, please!)

Hairspray*
A Musical Review

(* sung to the tune of "Yankee Doodle")

Third time redo came to town
Riding on Travolta
Fickle viewers shot it down
And called it, 'Crapiola'

Chorus:

"Hairspray", I say, no thank you now
"Hairspray", I say, don't bother
If you must do this film just
Watch the original John Waters

Ricki Lake did not participate
Travolta in a fat suit
Amanda Bynes has ripened on the vine
And the 'tweens think Zac Ephron is cute

Chorus:

"Hairspray", nay, no way, I say
"Hairspray", you all have a choice
Why watch a film made from play
That's missing Fierstein's gravely voice?

Critics know nothing new exists
They say there's no originality
But they fall in line to praise this mess
A movie made from a play made from a movie

Chorus:

"Hairspray", ok, won't go away
"Hairspray", I'm really sick of it
The musical has had it's day...
But the sun has set on this piece of ... garbage.

Reprise:

"Hairspray", today, we're done with that
Just look at it's box office tally
Why hire Travolta and pad him fat
When you could just get Kirstie Alley?

My song is done, I've had my fun.
As the French would say, "Au revoir".
This flick's no fun to see, and with no Connelly
My Rating: "Hairspray"- 0 Stars

Jazzhands!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Reviews of the Ignorant: Pulse

Now, I believe that I have made it known elsewhere in the Frog Blog that I am a horror junkie. No, I don't mean I rob the undead to buy heroin. I mean I love me some horror movies. The problem is, it seems to be about as easy to make a good horror movie as it is to teach a dog to recite the Preamble to the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Ok, bad example. My dog learned the Preamble off of 'Schoolhouse Rock'. So let me try another: It's about as easy to make a good horror movie as it is to teach a dog to recite "Power of the Word" by Maya Angelou from the book "Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now". Dogs, having little respect for essays, are notoriously suspicious of Maya Angelou, and will often refuse to even say her name, let alone recite one of her essays. Don't even get me started on their opinions of Sir Francis Bacon or C.S. Lewis. Dogs can be sooooo ignorant sometimes.

It does seem to be very easy, though, to make a bad horror film, and there seem to be two recent rules that will instantly condemn even the most promising of frightfests into becoming a frightmess.

Numero Uno (as the Portuguese would say)- NEVER rate a horror movie PG-13

This should be self-explanatory. A horror movie may or may not involve gratuitous breasts (and I'm leaning heavily towards 'may' here), but it must involve things like exploding heads and flesh eating spirits and rotting corpses and intense situations and a healthy dose of profanity. Without these things, it would simply be a Merchant-Ivory, Jane Austen adaptation and we all know how good those are to sleep though, now, don't we? If you are going to have these horrible things in all of their blood-drenched gory glory, how can a reasonable person expect a PG-13 rating? You can't. If all movies were rated PG-13, what would be the point in standing around outside the box office offering to buy R-rated tickets for an extra $2.00? Where's the fun in sneaking into a PG-13 flick? I mean, maybe if you are, like, 6, it might be exciting. But what if you are 12? Or 15? No, no horror movies should be rated PG-13. and the only one that should be rated 'G' is 'Bambi'.

(As a side note, several movies that have 'horror' themes, coincidentally or not many involving Steven Spielberg, may be rated PG and still be good, but just not PG-13. These would include but not be limited to the classic catalogue of fears known as 'Poltergeist' (which is also incredibly funny, and is the sole reason I still sleep with a chair against my closet door), 'Jaws' (which, despite its 'PG', still manages to have both bloody limbs AND naked boobies), and 'Twilight Zone: The Movie', ("Look at that old ape, he looks like an old man..."). Another PG movie that doesn't involve Steven Spielberg is 'Something Wicked This Way Comes', which is not a particularly good movie, nor is it particularly frightening, but it is one of my favorite books, so I'm gonna let it slide.)

Numero Duo- Japanese horror movies suck

First of all, it's been several weeks since I attacked Japanese animation, so I think I can now safely attack Japanese horror movies without being a racist. The rule of thumb on that is "There must be more than two weeks between stereotypical statements classifying an entire nation as one simple group or else you are a racist." So I'm not a racist. I just think Japanese horror movies suck. I'm not talking about American adaptations of Japanese horror movies; these are, like, level Defcon-5 suckiness. These are like making bootleg copies of 'Rush Hour 3'. But the Japanese originals suck in the first place. Every ghost doesn't have to be blue and female and to move all slow with its head hanging down and stringy hair hiding its face, then, suddenly, move all fast up to the camera. And, really, if I wanted to read a movie full of metaphors, I'd watch Ingmar Bergman. And you don't see me doing that now, either, do you?

And if the Japanese horror movies are bad, the American remakes stink worse than month old cheese in my dad's work shoes. I mean, alright, 'The Ring'- wasn't scary, but at least it was something new. 'The Grudge'? Not scary, not new, not good. 'The Ring Two'? 'The Grudge 2'? 'One Missed Call'? Bung-filled, sleep-inducing, crap-infested piles of shinola. And now even movies that aren't remakes, like 'The Messengers', look like remakes of J-horror films, with blue women moving all hurky-jerky in the basement while little blue kids run around the bath tubs upstairs. I have to tell you, I was more frightened of 'The Smurfs'.

(And, of course, there always is the exception. In this case, the exception to the Curse of the Japanese PG-13 Horror Remake is 'Dark Water'. This movie, while also not particularly frightening (outside of its depiction of incredibly bad parenting skills) does have one thing going for it that instantly catapults it into the pantheon of 'Greatest Films Ever'. I'll put this as simply as possible so you slower Internets surfers will understand: Jennifer Connelly, white T-shirt, and 'water'. 'Nuff said. Do the words 'instant classic' have any meaning? I'd say so.)

So those are two rules, no PG-13 and no Japanese horror remakes. So where does that take us now, class?

Pulse

Seeing as how I like horror films, I have, unfortunately, seen all of the films mentioned above, making them instantly not eligible for a posting on The Frog Blog, despite their general foulness. I have not, however, seen 'Pulse', and, considering it had a domestic gross of around $20 million dollars, I do not think I was alone in not seeing it. For comparison, the classic 'Cabin Boy', starring Chris Elliot, had a gross of $4 million dollars- in 1994 dollars! How, then, do 1994 dollars compare to 2006 dollars? Well, I'm not entirely sure, but I am expecting that they are more wrinkly, slightly more torn around the edges, and have some different names on the bottom. So, if you stacked up the 1994 dollar gross of 'Cabin Boy' next to the 2006 gross of 'Pulse', since the dollars from 'Pulse' would be crisper and lie flatter against each other while the older, 'Cabin Boy' dollars would be puffier from all the handling, the stacks would be almost the same height. In other words, 'Pulse' sucks.

But a movie does not suck on box office alone. No, it also sucks on the fact that it is a Japanese-based, PG-13 horror film, breaking both of the rules first introduced almost 400 words ago. You may not know what you'll see going into 'Pulse', but you know what you WON'T see, based on that PG-13 rating- exploding heads, gratuitous nudity, unnecessary profanity, religious slander, animal slaughter, oozing entrails, David Hasselhoff wearing a leotard, flesh-eating, bone-snapping, limb-chopping, or anything else that might be interesting. And, as a matter of fact, I know what you WILL see; a lot of blue people in need of conditioner, alternately shuffling and scampering around, climbing on ceilings, jumping out of TVs and telephones, splashing out of bathtubs, acting like metaphors for past misdeeds, and generally being nuisances to a cast of twenty-something rejects put out of work when the WB was closed down. Is this anyone's idea of scary? Well, actually, it is my idea of scary, but not for the right reasons. And the fact that 2.9 million people actually parted with 7 bucks to see this train wreck in the theater scares me, too, but this time for the future of our society and the good judgement of humankind.

So what's the plot of this film? Oh, the usual 'technology run amok' garbage that the Japanese have been foisting on us since the days of 'Godzilla'. But what does it really matter, considering that THE MOVIE SUCKS!!!

Anyhow, if you must watch a PG-13 Japanese remake, go for Ms. Connelly and her T-shirt in 'Dark Water'. Even better, watch a good, vein-popping R-rated flick like 'The Descent'. The only people I can figure who would choose to watch 'Pulse' would have to be those who don't have one.

My Rating: 0 Sta- ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZTTTTT

Hmm, did you see that? The monitor just went all fuzzy and jumpy, all static-y, when I was trying to type that. Let me try again.

My Rating: 0 Sta- ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZTTTTTTTT

There! It did it again! Only longer! What the- ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZTTTTTTT

What's going on here? That time, I thought I saw a woman's face in the monitor, only she was real pale with dark circles under her eyes. What is going on- ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZTTTTTTTT

Ok, someone's hacked my blog. What is this crap? A hand was reaching towards me out of my monitor that time. Who's screwing around out there, huh? I already told you, this Japanese horror crap doesn't scare me! Who is it? Probably one of those bozos from school who used to lock me in my locker, probably looked me up on Classmates.com. Well, you don't scare me! I don't know how you're making it so cold in here, but you don't scare me, you here! I'm not scared of this crap, alright? And I'm a big time blogger, now, you hear? So cut it out.

What was that?

Ok, is someone in here? Real funny- wet, bare footprints on the hardwood floors. Funny, ha, ha. My wife is gonna kill you for that. You should have seen her the time I accidentally urinated on-

What was that? Some scratchy sound, like a voice from the grave. A growling, clicking sound. It's done, alright? You've proven your point, J-horror fans. You can stop, now. I-

Ok, something just moved in the shadows of the hallway. Real fast.

Hold on, let me see what that- what the hell...?

Omigod, IT'S ON THE CEILING RIGHT OVER ME THE WHOLE TIME IT'S ON THE CEILING CRAWLING LIKE A SPIDER IT'S ON THE CEILIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH-




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Monday, August 20, 2007

Department of Shameless Plugs

"The Frogs and Their King" is a big brother!

Please welcome the glorious birth of our brand-new, No lbs, No oz little sister!

In an attempt to dominate the entirety of the Internets, we now have joined forces with a sister blog, "Unknown Mysteries of the Strangely Unexplained". Based on scientific research, there are only 3 reasons people ever get on the Internets:

1. Pornography

2. Pop Culture and Entertainment

3. Wacko, kook-fringe ideas

The Frog Blog pretty much covers Numero Duo, so we will now take on Numero Three-o with our sister blog slogging the way through the dark and pasty nooks and crannies of the World Wide Web. And, rest assured, as we strive to become Masters of the Internets, just as soon as I can figure how to upload these full-frontal nude pictures of myself, we'll conqueror Number 1 as well.

In the mean time, remember this handy guide:

Tune in to "The Frogs and Their King" for- Jennifer Connelly, thoughts about Jennifer Connelly, pictures of Jennifer Connelly, poems about Jennifer Connelly, ignorant movie reviews, and anything else about Jennifer Connelly.

Tune in to "Unknown Mysteries of the Strangely Unexplained" for- Weird things, things that stink, ghosts, aliens, chupacabras, mysteries, the aura of Jennifer Connelly, and dog grooming tips and tricks

Now that you know the difference, try it out! It's amazing how many dirty corners there are on the Internets! Click below...if you dare!

(MUH-HUH-HUH-HUH-HUUUUUUUUUUH!)

http://strangelyunexplained.blogspot.com/

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Reviews of the Ignorant: Rush Hour 3

"Taking candy from a fish", "Shooting babies in a barrel", "Tipping cows in a, uh, well, in a cow tipper", "Taking babies from a fish", "Shooting candy in a barrel", "Tasting, sucking, licking, nuzzling the forbidden fruit", "Teaching spiders to tap-dance", "Letting the good times roll,"- wait, no, forget that last one- "Teaching dogs to conjugate verbs and perform basic algebraic functions", "Shooting barrels with fish", "Upping the Auntie, uh, anty?", "Barrel rolling candy and fish and babies"- there are many old proverbs about doing things that are too easy and the terrible punishments you will receive for taking the low road. Or maybe you should do things too easy, and make the easy money? Where's an old wife when you need one so I can ask what all this junk means? Honey, can I ask you something-?

-Ow! Alright, already, I wasn't calling you old. Forget it.

Anyhow, these were the sort of sayings that might have been running through my head when I sat down to write this Review of the Ignorant. Or it might have been thoughts about pizza. But, whichever, all I know is that, the moment I sat down to type this, an angel appeared on one shoulder and a devil appeared on the other, just as in all the classic Western texts by Homer, Virgil, Chaucer, and Tex Avery. What follows is an exact, scientific transcript of the conversation taking place on my shoulders:

Angel- "Oh, Matt, it is so great of you to return to the Frog Blog with a 5000 word treatise on how films prior to 1930 just did not have a "Modern Hollywood" sensibility! Your fan (Ed. note: Here, I believe, the Angel is referring to my mother) will be so happy upon reading your glorious and triumphant return!

Devil- "Eh, snoozefest! But did you see this 'Rush Hour 3'? What a load of steaming dung patties that thing looks to be! And I should know- I produced it! You should be able to post on that in what, maybe 4, 5 minutes tops?"

Angel- " 'Rush Hour 3'? You must be kidding! Anyone with sight, or even a audio description machine, or even a strong sense of vibrations, can see that that is a flaming disaster without setting foot in a theater. It is beneath your talents, Matt, to write a review of something like that. Already, critics across the country have written reviews of 'Rush Hour 3'. Do you think any of them actually watched the movie? Hell- I mean, Heck no! No one outside of the lunatic asylum would question whether 'Rush Hour 3' sucks."

Devil- "Ha! I shut down the lunatic asylums years ago! They're all in the general prison population now! Write the 'Rush Hour 3' review, post the sucker, and let's order that delicious, slightly homoerotic "All the Meats" pizza you've been craving. You may still have an artery or two that is clear, and that should do the trick."

Angel- "Matt! I implore you! Stick with the original plan of a pre-1930 comparison essay! And eat an apple while you're doing it! Do not go down the path of destruction and struggling circulation by posting an easy 'Rush Hour 3' post! Take a challenge! Take a stand! Take a-"

Devil- "Ah, you take a crap, Angel. Have you even looked at the title of this post?"

Angel- "What?"

Devil- "Look at the title and tell me what path this jerk is taking. Go ahead, scroll up and check it out"

Angel- "Hold on...scrolling...Oh, Merciful Father! There is such thing as predestination! You will find no righteousness in 'Rush Hour 3'! Your path is sealed, Matt! Disappoint everyone with a pointless and repetitive review of this smoldering chunk of brimstone! But don't ask me for help the next time you have a job review! Take your "Unsatisfactory" like a man!"

The Angel disappears

Devil- "Ah, now that that loser is outta here, let's post this sucker and get that order in. And throw some extra cheese on that pizza! I'll be sure and spread that around your left ventricle!"

Rush Hour 3

First, in the interest of the Fairness Doctrine, let me disclose that I have seen a preview of 'Rush Hour 3'. It was a preview most foul that I felt like clawing my eyes from my head and asking for my money back before the actual movie even started. In fact, I did ask for my money back, but I do that every time I go to the cinema, and, that way, I've been going on the same $6.00 since 1987. That aside, though, the preview for 'Rush Hour 3' made three things absolutely clear: 1) It is set in Paris (or, as the French would say, Paris) B) It is loud and III) It sucks.

But I get ahead of myself.

I can assure you that I have never seen 'Rush Hour 3' and that I never will. In fact, if I ever do, I will remove myself from society and live under an assumed name in Brazil along with Elvis and all the escaped Nazis. I have also never seen 'Rush Hour 1' or '2', but, apparently, someone has, because they keep making them. When I see on one hand that there are people in the world dying of hunger, unable to obtain potable water, unable to keep warm, being slaughtered in unjust civil wars, and contracting horrible diseases, yet, on the other hand, millions of dollars are being spent not only on 'Rush Hour 1' and 'Rush Hour 2', but also on 'Rush Hour 3', I suddenly question the judgement of humankind, and I shed a single, slow tear, just as my Native American grandfather did in his commercial. In fact, in a show of activism rare for the Frog Blog, I encourage anyone who has even said "We could go to 'Rush Hour 3'" or even thought about going to 'Rush Hour 3' or looked at the films showing at the local Magestoplex and thought "Oh, 'Rush Hour 3'" to go immediately to the Charity Navigator website at www.charitynavigator.org , choose a well-rated charity, and, as penitence for spending thought energy on this foul concoction, give the total amount you would have spent on 'Rush Hour 3' tickets to that charity. If you have already seen 'Rush Hour 3', may God have mercy on your soul. Head immediately to the religious figure of your choice and confess to what you have done. THEN go to www.charitynavigator.org , choose a well-rated charity, and give TWO TIMES what you spent on tickets for this monstrosity in attempt to show an act of true repentance. I only hope, for your eternal salvation, that you sneaked in without paying after seeing "The Simpsons Movie".

Now that we are all back on solid moral footing, what is this disaster about? Well, the black guy bugs his eyes out, sings, talks in a real high voice that is really annoying, and gets whacked in the crotch by some hard object. The Chinese guy can't speak English, sings, does his own stunts, and gets whacked in the crotch by some hard object. There's a lot of shooting, some kind of stunts on the Eiffel Tower, and, in the end, the black guy and the Chinese Guy learn that black people and Chinese people are not so different, in that neither will make as much as a white man and both get hurt when they are whacked in the crotch by hard objects.

The characters are more life-like in 'Ratatoullie', the homosexual undertones less apparent in 'The Last Tango in Paris', the connections are more French in "The French Connection", and the music less horrible in "Moulin Rouge". To sum it up (because, well, this pizza ain't gonna eat itself, you know) let us turn for a final opinion to our brothers from across the pond who, out of eternal gratitude for us always saving their ass, have given us the Fry, the Kiss, the Toast, and the Manicure:

"Le film 'Rush Hour 3' est un gros morceau énorme et stinky du merde qui m'incite à vouloir au waggle mes pièces privées à votre tante et fart dans votre direction générale."

Well said!

My Rating: 0 Stars and a big chunk o' merde

Trivia: Due to a partnership with the CIA designed to undercut the credibility of the Chinese throughout the world, every English-language movie starring Jackie Chan is purposefully designed to suck fat donkey dongs. No one is quite sure, despite several "Freedom of Information Act" requests, what the deal is with Chris Tucker.

More Trivia: This is the 1st Ignorant Review in the history of the Frog Blog that I could not work in a reference to the gorgeous Jennifer Connolly, primarily out of the belief that Ms. Connolly and 'Rush Hour 3' should not be mentioned in the same posting, out of respect for the incredible Ms. Connolly. However, since I now find myself with tears in my eyes for not having typed her name in this posting, I'm typing it now, under the guise of trivia. But please be aware- Not even the presence of the luminous and stunningly beautiful Jennifer Connolly would make something as offensive as 'Rush Hour 3' bearable. She would know this herself, and the only way she would ever have anything to do with the production of a 'Rush Hour' film is as a guise to get on the set and, acting as an incredibly fit, white tank-top wearing ninja, destroy all camera equipment in order to shut down production and free the world from it's dependency on crappy movies.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ye Strang Talle Tale Regarding Dwarfes and a Lazy Gentelfellow

Ok, where have I been? Well, you see, it's a long story, and it all started a long time ago, when the critters were closer to the folks, and the folks were closer to the critters. It was long ago, like three weeks, and it goes a little something like this...

Once, there was a man. This man was a friend of mine; I mean, I knew him; I mean, ok, he was me. And this man, who was me, was harangued and harassed by his loving wife for being a slovenly and lazy bum. Now any self-respecting lazy bum of a man can only take so much haranguing and harassing before he has to get out of the house, and, somewhere between "Look at that grass! It's been so long since it was cut, I'm afraid the Viet Cong will come charging out of it!" and "When are you going to change this oil in this car! Black goo is oozing out of the tailpipe!" and "Is it too much to ask that a dish be picked up rather than kicked under the couch?", the poor man, who was me, couldn't take it any more, and announced in a voice that indicated quite clearly that, even if he didn't wear the pants around the house, he was not afraid to go out pantless, telling his wife, "That's it! I can't take this any more! I'm going bowling!"

But the usual bowling alley was in the middle of "Extreme! B-Owling! Night!", and the man knew that the music of Boston combined with strobe lights was a recipe for a migraine, so he headed on down the street to see if there was another bowling alley, or at least a curling course. It was then that the man, who, in case I haven't said it, was me, found a new bowling alley that he had never seen before, so he headed in. This bowling alley was obviously geared towards a very specific demographic (as should have been indicated by the abundance of handicap spaces outside), and there was no one bowling that night except dwarfs. "Hey, Godzilla!" the dwarfs yelled in greetings, "How's the weather up there?" The man thought about tossing a few dwarfs in retaliation, but then thought better of it, and instead stooped over to join the dwarfs in a game of bowling. But his feet didn't fit in the rental shoes (which all had 'Toy Story' on the sides anyhow) and his fingers didn't fit into the holes of the ball, and he decided that he didn't feel much like bowling anyhow. "Have a drink of our special home brew!" one of the dwarfs squeaked in his dwarfish voice, and he handed the man, who was me, a shot glass of some amber liquid that the man gulped down and almost tasted in the process.

"That might have been good," I, I mean, the man, said, "But I'll need another to tell for sure. In fact, make it a double. In fact, make it a quintuple."

The dwarfs all laughed at this, and proceeded to bring the man many more drinks of their special bowling alley home brew. Soon, after forty or fifty shot glasses of this drink, the man began to feel tired, and asked if he could lay his head down on one of the tiny, plastic bowling alley chairs and take a rest. Not waiting for the reply, and not caring that there were tiny pieces of Chiclet-sized gum stuck to the chair, the man dropped to his side (crushing several dwarfs in the process) and fell fast asleep.

20 years, uh, no, make that 20 days later...

When the man awoke, a great many years, uh, oh, days had passed, like 20. The bowling alley was gone, and the man was ashamed to see that he had been sleeping in an alley behind the "Sav-A-Lot" grocery store. Just as he awoke, a boy carrying a large turkey was walking past.

"Pray tell, young lad, what day is it?" the man yelled.

The boy carrying the turkey started to cry. "If you are a pervert, please don't violate me! I'm just taking this turkey home to my mother for our holiday dinner, and, since it is 6 months from the holidays, she was hoping to get a real good deal on it. And I don't know if we're late from last year's holidays or early for next year's, but-"

"Shut up!" the man yelled. "Shut your mouth about perverts and turkeys and tell me what day is it?"

"August"

The man rolled his eyes. "Ok, turkey boy, but what day of August is it?"

The boy shrugged. "I don't know. Like the 15th, maybe?"

The man's eyes bugged out in comical surprise. "But, surely, that cannot be! It was only the 25th day of July when I was heading to the bowling alley, and now, here, many years-"

"Days," the boy corrected.

"-days have passed, and I am much confounded." The man rubbed his forehead to demonstrate his confounding. "Let me ask of you a few questions, just to know I am in the correct world. Of course, Karl Rove is still the closest advisor of President George W. Bush, correct?"

"Uh, no. He resigned."

"What?" The man's world rocked in confusion. "What? Turd-blossom! Not in the White House! The horror!! Yet I know this, by far the safest toys for children, they're made by Mattel, correct?"

"Uh, no. Those toys all got recalled for being painted with lead paint, and the head of the Chinese company that made them killed himself."

The man began to swoon. "But, surely, Jennifer Connolly is still the most beautiful woman on the planet, correct?"

The boy appeared quizzical. "Who?"

"AAAAAAHHHHHHH!!" The man felt that a world where Jennifer Connolly was not the most beautiful woman on the Earth was not a world worth living in. But there was one thing, one thing only left, that could anchor the man, make him realize he was truly still connected with his life. "Tell me, good lad, the blog known as 'The Frogs and Their King', this is still the best place to find ignorant reviews of films the author has never seen, correct?"

The boy smiled so big his face hit the turkey. "Yeah, 'The Frog Blog'! It's the greatest site on the Internets! Love it! It's where I always go for any info on movies never seen! I wouldn't miss it! But, sadly, it hasn't been updated for almost 20 days! And the Internets, they are just a little dimmer because of that."

The man was so overjoyed that he knocked the boy over running home. Unfortunately, he had prepared himself for the sad news that his wife had died during his extended sleep. But, being that it had only been 20 days, she was actually just really pissed that he hadn't been home and immediately started to harangue and harass him that there were dishes that needed washed and bills needed paid and the dog needed his toenails cut, etc, etc, etc, et al, et al (as the French would say).

All of which the man promptly ignored and began preparing a brand spanking new post to the Frog Blog.

And that, my friends, is the true story of why it has been so long between posts.

'Nighty 'night, boys and girls. I promise a new review tomorrow.

(P.S. Sadly, the boy in the above story was ignorant and got all his ideas of attractive women from the tabloids and the copy of "Jugs" he had stolen from his dad's sock drawer, neither of which is a place you would find a woman of the beauty and refinement of Jennifer Connolly. So, when the boy said she was not the most beautiful woman in the world, he was sadly simply ignorant. Of course, in actuality, Jennifer Connolly was, is, and always will be the most beautiful woman in existence. Amen. And, until the boy chooses to embrace his education, he will alwasy be a poor nobody struggling for existance in a capitalistic world.)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Reviews of the Ignorant: Princess Mononoke

Do you know what I hate? No, well, yeah, I hate Nazis, but that wasn't what I was thinking of. Do you know what else I hate? Yeah, ok, the designated hitter. But do you know what else? Yeah, Fat-free Pringles, but that- well, yeah, pre-fab pop groups, ok, but that still wasn't what I was thinking of. Ok, yeah, Court TV. That's- yeah, well, that's true, too, scrambled eggs for dinner. Again, though, that wasn't what I was thinking of. What? Yeah, car insurance, but- ok, already, enough! Yeah, I hate pinatas, but that wasn't what I was thinking of, either.


Seriously, do you know what I hate? Well- what? Yeah, poaching on game reserves, stores with bad return policies, and hypocrisy, yes, yes, and yes, I hate all those things. But I was trying- tuna salad, I'll give you that, that's something else I hate. But I was trying to prove a point, to introduce this ignorant review. So, with that in mind, do you know what I hate? Ok, this is ridiculous. Yes, I hate SUVs. Yes, I hate squirrels. Yes, I hate "Home Improvement". But I'm really- ALRIGHT ALREADY!!! Yes, I hate wasps. Yes, I hate having a hole right in the big toe of my sock. Yes, I hate people who drive in the passing lane. Yes, I hate ink jet printer cartridges. Anyone else? Anyone? Really now, anyone else want to contribute something I hate? You're done, now, then, right? You're all done? Ok, then, let's get on with it. Time to be serious.

Do you know what I hate? Mucousy discharge? Oh, for Pete's sake, let's just get on with the review already.

Princess Mononoke

Ok, now that you've had your fun and you've all driven the blogger crazy with your "What about tornadoes?" and "What about those wind-up monkeys that clap the cymbals?", it's time to move on to today's ignorant review. Do you know what I hate? Anime! I hate it! I mean, first of all, it doesn't make a lick of sense. There's always some teenage girl who meets up with monsters and demons and spirits and little creatures and what not while she's trying to finish some quest for something that not even the people making the film seem to know what it is. And none of it matters, anyhow, because as soon as you start to think there might be something as inconsequential as, oh, I don't know, PLOT, then some dancing bear or giant baby comes in and parades around and hijacks the entire story, at least until a train being driven by a talking frog crashes through the whole thing and releases a flock of doves from the mouth of a sleeping prince who falls in love with the teenage girl. And then they walk off to a castle on a green hill, leaving the viewer with the lingering, important question of "What the hell did I just watch?"

Now, apparently, some people (and you know who you are)(and you are a bunch of greasy weirdos who sit on the Internets all day arguing whether the teenage girl from whatever is the latest anime disaster is is hotter than the teenage girl from last year's anime disaster, and then you write horrible, pornographic fan fiction where said cartoon teenage girl comes to your mom's basement where you are hiding out all day and does things to you that even Bill Clinton wouldn't dream of doing OUTSIDE of the Oval Office) find anime enjoyable. Of course, some people also find getting hit by a board enjoyable. Some people might even find reading this blog posting enjoyable. Ok, that might be going too far. But some people find anime enjoyable. At least enough people enjoy it that they keep making the crap. Well, anime geeks (and, yes, I'm talking to all of you who know the thirty-two different types of anime by heart, and could have an intense discussion on whether sentai (or, as they say in France, le sentai) is better than hentai (or, as the French would say, l'hentai)) let me give to you, free of charge (donations accepted, though) a little PSA for Y-O-U: writing pornographic anime fan fiction in your mom's basement while eating Cheetos will not EVER attract a real live girl. Never. You are dooming yourself to your mom's basement for eternity. Get out. Get some sunshine. See that real girls do not all wear plaid skirts that flash their underwear every time they turn. Come on, do you really want to find yourself at sixty-eight typing fantasies about you making love to teenage cartoon characters with one hand while your mom screams down from upstairs that she's pooped herself again? Listen and listen well, if you want to save your lives: Anime sucks.

And not only does it suck because it has nonsensical plots built around the sketchiest of characters, but it sucks even harder just based on the hideous design of the animation. I mean, these things are UGLY with a capital UG. What if, in the real world, everyone you encountered had eyes the size of manhole covers with pupils the size of basketballs, noses like fish, and crooked slits of mouths with no lips that flash into "o's" and back to slits whenever they talk? And, what if everyone's heads had swollen to encephalitic portions and their hair stuck out in random clumps and spikes and could just as easily be purple or green as brown or black? And all the girls wore Catholic school-girl uniforms that were never long enough to cover their underwear and all the boys wore shiny track suits left over from an ABBA concert? It would be like living in the world of Strawberry Shortcake, only without the sexiness of Lemon Meringue. I mean, not that I find Lemon Meringue sexy. Or, I mean, not that I even know who she is. Or anything about Strawberry Shortcake. Not like those Internets nerds. Yeah, they think Strawberry Shortcake is sexy! Yeah, they photoshop naked pictures of her! Stupid Internets Nerds! Perverts! But not me, that's them.

(Of course, it would be argued that, in any discussion of anime, I'd be a stupid idiot if I didn't take a moment to mention all the -mons, such as "Pokemon" and "Digimon" and "Dragonballmon" and "Pubismons" and all their sword fighting ilk. To that, I can only say, "Duh! I is a brain!" 'cause I am not going to dedicate one extra pixel or flex of my fingers from the home keys to these retarded bastard animated children of the WWE. You might gotta collect them all. Me, I gotta blog to write)

Anyhow, once you get past the fact that every inhabitant of Animeland looks like they have a syndrome, and the fact that there will not be any plot or story development or conflict or even sense, and the fact that a two story mouse wearing a diaper could appear at any time and the movement of the lips does not match the words AT ANY TIME EVEN WHEN SPEAKING JAPANESE, anime is pretty enjoyable. Wait. No, it's not. It's pretty horrible. To demonstrate this, I have chosen a film I have never seen, "Princess Mononoke", to provide an ignorant review.

Ok, what's the plot of this film? Well, I think it is safe to assume it is about a princess. And this princess, dressed in a plaid skirt and suit jacket and showing her underwear whenever she moves, must free her kingdom from an evil spell in the form of a black cloud with a dog's head that blocks out the sun. So, she sets out to find the witch, an old woman with amazing wrinkles and an enormous rear end, that can remove the spell. To get there, she must take a flying bus driven by a monkey in a hat. But, the bus crashes into the side of a mountain filled with waterfalls where the princess meets a prince in a tracksuit, carrying a sword, who introduces her to a talking spider. The spider takes the prince and the princess to the steam powered center of the mountain, where gears clang and steam hisses, and the spider insists they must work there forever. But a fish swims into the mountain and transforms into a horse that the prince and princess ride out through a tiny doorway. Then, a giant, lizard-like creature shows up wearing a diaper and parades around while some kids fight at it's feet. Then the witch releases a comet storm. Then a ten-foot tall spirit that doesn't talk but moves all hurky-jerky takes everyone into a forest of mushrooms. Then a subway crashes through the mountain, and the witch falls to the sea, where she transforms into a turtle and is washed out to an island, where she shakes her reptilian fist and curses the mainland. Then the people celebrate and the prince transforms to a flock of ravens and the princess transforms to a sea serpent and the prince transforms to a wolf and the princess transforms back to a human and shows off her underwear. And none of the lips match the words at anytime. And actors you have heard of but couldn't recognize their voices even if they were wearing name tags, such as Kirsten Dunst and Alec Baldwin, dub the English versions with all the passion that can be mustered for a five-day paycheck.

Ok, so that may not be the 100% ACTUAL plot, but why argue over a few little things like facts that don't matter anyhow. That's close enough to catch the idea of the thing. Besides, facts are tiresome things that require "research" and "care", and, for our long-time reader, you know that we here at the Frog Blog never get so hung up on facts that it prevents us from posting. Besides, what really matters is that this snoozefest is directed by Hayao Miyazaki, who is known as the "Japanese Walt Disney". This label, though, assumes two very offensive things. First is the racist implication that the real Walt Disney was not, somehow, "Japanese" enough. Second, there is the assumption that Walt Disney would ever make a movie while sitting in a steam room high on peyote. Well, other than "Saludos Amigos" and "The Three Caballeros", I seriously doubt that "Uncle" Walt would do that to us. He might lecture us about American History, but he'd NEVER make a movie in a steam room while high on peyote, which is pretty much how I think "Princess Mononoke" was made, along with every other piece of anime.

So, to sum up, what is the difference of the product quotient when we check the remainder of our review? Oh, yeah, "Princess Mononoke" sucks. And how is this anime-inspired suckiness calculated? Big-eyed, swollen head character design? Check. Lips don't match the words? Check. Vaguely familiar actors that we honestly don't care about doing the English dub? Check. Talking animals and witches and spirits? Check. Nonsense? Check. Plot? Uh, noncheck. Put it all together and what do we have? Something only a fanboy, hands stained orange with Cheetos residue, musty smell of basement seeping into his pasty pores, could love. As for the rest of us, I'm gonna make like a giant diaper-wearing hippopotamus and get the hell out of here.

My Rating: 0 Stars, all of which fall down to the Earth while the Princess watches from a cliff at the edge of the sea just before transforming into a hawk, and showing her underwear in the process

Trivia: "The Three Caballeros", the only movie ever made by Walt Disney while high in a steam room, is also the only movie to ever use the tagline "Thrilling Beyond Words! Amazing Beyond Belief". Coincidentally, with the addition of a few more lines, "Acting Beyond Decency!" and "Fluids Beyond Viscosity!" and "Humans Beyond Depravity!", and you then have an exact transcript of the police report from the hotel where my wife and I spent our wedding night.

Bonus: "But wait!" you all say (and, if you didn't, I'd appreciate it if you could say it now so that we can move on). "How can you leave the topic of anime without a picture of the way Jennifer Connelly would look if she was an anime character?" Fear not, me buckos! Uncle Matteo wouldn't let you down! His wife and family, maybe, but not you! So here, due to unpopular demand, is an actual created picture of what Jennifer Connelly would look like if she were an anime character. (Her underwear flashing out from under her dress, unfortunately, I will have to leave up to the fanboys to write in their fiction).
P.S. I just looked it up on your precious Internets, and, for your information, "Strawberry Shortcake" WAS for girls OR boys, so there is nothing wrong with a BOY who wants to play with them. It's not even wrong for a boy to know that middle name of the Peculair Purple Pieman (which might be "Percival") or that Huckleberry Pie's dog's name is "Pupcake". So there. I'm gonna go brush their hair now, and there is nothing wrong with that. Go back to your anime porn, freaks. Leave me and Blueberry Muffin alone.