Year four now of going to the Oscar Nominated Animated Showcase. My track record for the previous three years has been 2-for-3. I need a win here. I need it bad. 3-1 looks way better than 2-2. Pretty soon I’m gonna have more misses than hits, and you’ll wonder why the hell you’re reading a post by a guy who doesn’t even know what he’s talking about! Bring on the cartoon dogs and claymation British people, I gotta focus this time! [Eye of the Tiger starts playing from hidden boom box]
Premise: Ten kids are playing a game of capture the flag, but they have very vivid imaginations, and the film portrays that by having their toy guns and water balloons actually be assault rifles and grenades. It’s (mostly) a comedy; a spoof of war movies. I suppose, deep down, it’s some sort of statement film about how childish war actually is and whatnot… But it’s a lot more fun just to look at it on the surface level of 13 year olds throwing grenades.
Premise: Dennis (Paul Giamatti) is an ex-convict released on parole after serving four years for robbery. He comes home to his family in Quebec, and his wife informs him that she told his daughter that he died of cancer a year ago, because she didn’t want him to be part of the family anymore. So, with no family and no job prospects (THANKS STEVEN HARPER), he convinces his former thief buddy Rene (Paul Rudd) to be partners on Rene’s annual business venture of selling Christmas trees in New York in a trash-filled lot, to make any kind of money to buy his daughter a Christmas present. I’m pretty sure this movie is supposed to be a comedy.
Over the weekend, I did my part in babysitting my girlfriend’s 6-year-old cousin. It was a lot of fun, but when the topic of going to a movie came up, there was some heated debate. I suggested seeing Django again, or at the very least seeing Die Hard 5, because I haven’t gotten around to it yet. But noooooo, she wanted to see the only animated movie currently in theaters… Escape From Planet Earth. Typical 6-year-old bullshit…
When I was like 12, my family decided to go on vacation to Canada and see Niagara Falls. We got there, and it certainly looked like you’d expect Canada to look. My parents took me to see the waterfall from the upper right observation area. Then we walked about ten minutes and looked at it from a slightly different angle. Then we went on that boat and saw it from the bottom. Then we went to an observatory that was like halfway up. Then we looked at it from the top again. Then we went to the New York side and looked at it from that angle. Eventually I realized that this entire trip was planned to consist only of looking at this stupid heap of falling water. So I started to throw a major stink, and pretty much ruined the remainder of the vacation for the rest of my family. Do I feel bad about it? In retrospect, yes. At the time, no. I’ve since apologized to my dad about it in recent years. But anyway, that was the worst vacation I’ve ever been on. Now, does my Niagara boredom rank up there with getting hit by a tsunami, in terms of the worst vacation ever? I don’t know… I’m just sayin’, at least the tsunami was something interesting. So I watched The Impossible with high scrutiny as I compared it to my trip to Canada.
I know a lot of sports movies seem to have some sort of uplifting theme to them, when even in defeat, everyone feels like they’ve accomplished something great. I’m not sure that was the case in the new hockey film Goon, but its lack of an inspirational message actually seemed refreshing to me in a way.
I went to a screening of all the Academy Award nominated short films over the weekend. It was a great showcase of different animation styles and storytelling. I think I’m going to have to start doing this every year. Here’s a rundown of the cool little films (none of which were more than 15 minutes) that I saw: