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.