Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Vulgar (2000)

Taylor: It's official. I've outgrown the View Askewiverse.

Vulgar is a movie produced (but not directed) by Kevin Smith and his friend Scott Mosier. Starring many of the actors from Smith's other movies, Vulgur is a movie about a loser who is a clown at children's parties. Falling deeper in debt, he decides to expand his business to bachelor parties. His first job ends in him being sexually assaulted (in complete clown and nighty attire) by a father and his two sons. The rest of the movie shows how he copes with the assault, starts to gain success and seeks revenge against the men who took his...um, dignity?

The film looks like every other mid 90's independent film. Poorly shot, badly acted and just...tragic. This film is supposed to be a comedy of sorts, but let's face it - rape is never funny, clown makeup or not. Many of the scenes following the assault remind me of short one acts that I did in my college acting class, and are so over the top that you find yourself wanting to skip to the next scene. I stopped myself from doing that because I was always such a big Kevin Smith fan. I kept thinking to myself, "No one would say those sentences that way unless they were written for them." I still consider Chasing Amy to be one of my favorite movies, but even I can recognize that Smith and his cohorts are a one trick pony of a production company.

Vulgar gets one pug.

Bigger, Stonger, Faster (2008)

Taylor: Bigger, Stronger, Faster speaks to my demographic as a child (particularly, a boy) of the 1980s. I am about the same age as the filmmaker, Chistopher Bell, and can see where he got the idea for making a movie about the images that he saw as a child of big muscled action heroes and professional wrestlers, and how those images stayed with him and his brothers. The film talks about the use of steroids and, like all good documentaries should, never gives you a clear sense of pro vs. con. At times you almost feel as though he is giving you reasons why everyone should take steroids, then comes back to showing some of the devastating effects the drugs have had on his family, in particular, his older brother.

The film doesn't stop at steroids. It talks about national perception as a whole, and how the images for men have changed dramatically over the last 30 years, from Popeye the Sailor to guys like the Situation from Jersey Shore. He spends a lot of time showing how "juicing" has changed baseball, and how athletics has gone from "fair play" to "whatever it takes."

I'm glad that I finally was able to watch this documentary, and if you are anything like Taffy, who loves documentaries (and has told me that she loves this one), then you will like this film. Now available on Netflix.

Plus, it doesn't hurt that Chris Bell is kinda hot. Bigger, Stronger, Faster gets 5 pugs.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Then She Found Me (2007)

Taylor: So let me see if I got this straight. Helen Hunt directed herself in a movie where she plays a jewish woman who finds out her real mother is Bette Midler. She's also married to Matthew Broderick, but he leaves her ten minutes into the movie, and she starts sleeping with Colin Firth, who is the father to one of her 1st grade students. And there is supposed to be comedic elements to this. Hm. Ok. Sure.

Then She Found Me is Hunt's directorial debut and while it had a few (and I mean few) fine moments in it, the film is, for the most part, boring as hell. The only direction I can see she gave the other actors (and herself) is to act with as little emotion as possible. Ninety percent of the film has all the main characters acting very flat. When they are happy, they don't smile. When they cry, no tears. When they're angry, they stand still. I am not sure if this is supposed to be symbolic of April (Hunt's) standing in life, or midlife crisis, or what, but it grows wearisome over time. The story, based on a 1990 book by Elinor Lipman, has the main characters all making really, really stupid decisions that don't even seem to make sense from a dramatic point of view. Characters lie, sleep with each other, demand money...it would be confusing if it weren't so damn dull. You have someone like Bette Fucking Midler on your movie, you make sure you give her at least one chance to chew up the scenery at least a little bit. Here, she comes off as grating and selfish...but we don't understand why.

If you're looking for a movie about adult children finding their birth parents, rent or watch Flirting With Disaster. At least that one has Mary Tyler Moore giving a blowjob in it.

Then She Found Me gets 1 pug.