Thursday, November 26, 2015

How's your Thanksgiving Prep going?

Jingle Watch: Jingle All the Way (1996)

Well, you can tell Doug is in town, because somehow we found ourselves watching the 1996 Christmas catastrophe Jingle All The Way starring Arnie and Sinbad.

This is the movie most famous for ending the cinematic career of stand-up comedian Sinbad (your mileage will vary on Sinbad.  Doug = not a fan) and the debut of Jake Lloyd in a part that in no way should have inspired confidence that he could carry a Star Wars movie.

It's an odd movie, and I have my theories about it.  It's set as this family friendly comedy, but it's not really fun for kids to see "Dad" getting tortured for an hour, I'd think.  A movie in '96 was a little early for what we'd get with Bad Santa (a movie I finally watched a couple years ago and firmly recommend) or other more adult-oriented holiday comedies.

And, Arnie is a businessman first, actor second.  If he was going to be in a movie, he was going to sell as many tickets as possible.  In fact, I have a firm memory of Arnie talking about the movie upon its release.  I was in film school at the time and was supposed to be making ART, but I also was a dedicated Arnie fan and saw almost all of his movies in the theater.  And here he was pitching the movie not as a story or entertainment, but as a holiday product everyone could enjoy (bring Grandma!).  It informed a lot of how I think of the movie business today, Arnie's relationship to said business, and profitability.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Supergirl Season 1 Episode 4 or 5 - "How Does She Do It?"

The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was making nobody care how good a show actually is, just how it makes them feel.

Actually, the red button would have just opened the door, but that's okay.

I'm not sure how many episodes we are into Season 1 of Supergirl, but this week's episode "How Does She Do It?" was supposed to be last week's episode, but the episode contained some terrorist-like elements that would have seemed a bit unseemly to use in a show about the world's ginchiest superhero a few days after very real terror attacks that made the news in the same parts of the world where Supergirl is broadcast.

What I do know is that the entire program feels very, very much like it is written by people who absolutely cannot be bothered to think through their own show.  And it is absolutely exhausting to watch a show where it seems like the writers cannot follow logic from Point A to Point B to Point C without then deciding Point 117 comes next.

Turkey Day 24

Monday, November 23, 2015

My Secret Shame: I Watch a Whole Lotta Hallmark Christmas Movies

About ten years ago I was up late doing who knows what, and I stumbled across a Christmas movie about a limo driver who has to haul Howard Hesseman around as he hands out money while seeking the daughter he lost track of long ago.  The movie was called Crazy for Christmas (2005), and it was just astonishingly bad.

Shot on a TV budget on the sunny streets of Los Angeles during a season that seemed to not at all be the Christmas season, I found the movie oddly compelling.  A razor thin plot, name actor kinda slumming it, a completely un-buyable situation with main characters moving about with the logic of NPCs in a Sims game thanks to the the incredibly piss-poor writing, all with a cheap-ass score cueing you for the wacky scenes versus the heartfelt moments of weepy joy?

Man.  It was like Christmas Crack.

And I was hooked.  Everything I loved about talking over a bad movie I could find here with the added bonus of the sheer, brutal formula-driven weirdly non-religious-specific Christmas magic of each of these movies.

Now, very specifically, I consider myself a connoisseur of the Christmas movies on the Hallmark Network.  I don't quite have down the nuance of the movies on the Lifetime network, Up! Network (yes.  Up!), or the smattering of movies that have already made their way onto ABC Family.

Turkey Day 23

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Pootie Watch: Pootie Tang (2001)

You're either on board with Pootie Tang (2001), or you are not.  And, according to what I've heard over the years, the studio that put out this film was decidedly not onboard with what a still kinda unknown Louis CK and his co-horts were up to.

What's amazing about the movie is that to make this movie today would cost infinitely more, as this thing is the starting gate for a whole lot of talent that people know today.  No, Louis CK never appears in the movie, but we get Wanda Sykes in her break-out role (no kidding), David Cross, Jennifer Coolidge, J.B. Smoove, Missy Elliot, Todd Barry, John Glaser, Mario Joyner, Dave Attell, Laura Kightlinger.  And, yeah, it also had the then-established Chris Rock and Andy Richter.  But also a very young Kristen Bell in a small role you only see in the credits.

And, of yeah, Costas.  Bob Costas is all up in this movie.

If you've not seen it, it's a bit of an urban super-hero movie.  You get an origin, you get the loss of faith and loss of powers, all in a comedy about a guy named "Pootie Tang" who is one part action hero, one part musician, one part friend of the children.  And who is, according to the movie's tag line "too cool for words".  Sappa Tay.

It is true, at no point in the movie does Pootie Tang ever actually string together any words you can understand.  And that's either totally funny to you, or it is not.

I really don't feel like I'm selling this film at all.

Turkey Day 22