Tag Archives: comedy

Remember when movies were fun?

23 May

So the previous night, I watched The A-Team (2010), thinking, “Oh, yeah, I’ve seen this before. This was mindless fun.” I was shocked to find a) I hadn’t seen it before and b) it was fricking amazing! This was fun with a capital F.

This might fall under “Your mileage may vary,” but I’m a big fan of action, big fan of comedies, and this delivers under both. Mind you, I was also a big fan of the original show back in the 80’s, and although I have seen episodes recently, they captured the goofiness of the original series excellently.

The cold open starts you off with going after a corrupt Mexican general that no one can find. They introduce each of the characters one at a time and it’s beautiful; even if you had no idea who these characters were, you understand completely who they are by the end of it. Face is introduced wrapped in tires, about to be set on fire after sleeping with the general’s wife, and still telling the general he better surrender now. I love it.

For the most part, they do a great job of balancing practical effects with CGI, but it gets harder for them to do it well as the movie progresses, because the situations get more and more ridiculous. However, you can forgive the climax shootout because everything up to this point has been absolutely amazing.

Is it high art? No, but from minute one of the film, you know what you’re into. Goofy lines, hot action, straightforward exposition, and over-the-top characters. There’s a scene when they have to jump out of a C-130, so they escape in a tank attached with parachutes. Then the bad guys are shooting the parachutes, so they have to use the main gun to adjust their landing into the lake. Yeah, it’s THAT over-the-top, and I love it.

Sure, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it hits me in my wheelhouse. Have you seen it? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below! Then if you want more over the top action, check out one of my books. However, if $1.99 is too steep for your wallet, go ahead and download one of my stories for free. You’ll be glad you did.

What is obvious to some…

22 Feb

I made sure to introduce Monty Python’s The Holy Grail to my son at the earliest age possible. So when we sat with other geeks, Asher knew all about it. Then someone asked, “has he seen Life of Brian yet?” I said no. Why? Because he simply wouldn’t get it.

Why wouldn’t he get it? Because he didn’t grow up in a Christian culture. He went to Jewish schools until he was in 3rd Grade. We go to synagogue every week. The only connection he has with Christians are his friends, and as teenage boys, they’re less likely to talk about faith except in the passing. He barely knows about Jesus’ story, Christian holidays, and the New Testament… except from what we taught him.

So although it’s an incredibly funny film, for my son, most of it is only funny in context. Which means I’d have to explain the film as he watched it; that would make it homework and kill the joy out of it. So I figure he should probably discover it later on his own. However, that’s led to another problem… all modern comedy is based on Python. Every single comedic ensemble that Asher enjoys learned initially from watching Python. I tried showing him an episode of Flying Circus once and… he just didn’t get into it. Some of it dated, but more to the point, he’s seen so many other groups do similar jokes, or (gasp) do them better.

It’s like having film students watch Citizen Kane. By modern standards, it’s an okay film; solid, not amazing. It’s only when you have someone explain why the film is amazing that you actually understand. Before Orson Wells, all films showed a scene in front of a backdrop–the camera didn’t move, the lighting was always bright to show the actors on screen, there was no variation. It was much more stilted production. Citizen Kane created cinematography.

The reason you don’t see that when watching Citizen Kane is because every film after that is based on Citizen Kane. So all the ingenious concepts got copied by everybody else. It’s like rewatching The Matrix–you’re not wowed by bullet time or the inventive use of green screen. Thankfully, it’s still a good film; the fight scenes are still enjoyable, but you’ve seen similar stuff since then.

So will Asher seek out Life of Brian? Who knows? But he’s not clamoring for it. There are so many options–so many other movies he wants to see–that unless someone watches it with him, I don’t think he’ll seek it out on his own. Which is a different post for a different day; the loss of a common canon. But what do you think? Would Life of Brian still be good without knowing much about Christianity? How many films do you drag your kids (or someone else’s kids) to, because you know that if they watch it long enough, they’ll love it? Let me know in the comments below!

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