When the plucky, hard-working, yet delicate, Fruitless Pursuits team come up with a regular feature then you had better believe they'll stick with it! Regardless of how popular it is!
That's why week after week we continue to band together to give you an assorted grab-bag of bite-sized movie reviews that most of you don't bother reading! Well! Maybe this one could be your first!:
Doesn't that look appetizing! Come on! Don't be shy, baby! Join us after the jump and take a bite...
Your Highness (2011)
When I heard about the concept of Your Highness, I thought this was going to fall into the love/hate category with all fantasy film fans drooling all over it. But after seeing the film, I think it's going to be more of the like/hate category.
The "likers" will be the fans of all things medieval, Danny McBride superfans, and those (male and female) that are obsessed with either Zooey Deschanel, Natalie Portman and James Franco.
The "haters" will be everyone else on the planet. Why? It's an extreme concept - well-known actors in a fantasy comedy. That's not the most successful formula for a film, but there are enough World of Warcraft players and fantasy gamers to fill a lot of theater seats. They're passionate enough that to return for a second or third viewing. But with known actors attached, it's hard to escape into a fantasy world and really enjoy it beyond the laughs.
In the end, it just wasn't that memorable, which is the complete opposite of what it should have been. I'm a huge fan of everyone in this film as well as the fantasy genre, so for those reasons I liked it. But it isn't the epic fantasy comedy that we've all been wishing for.
The Stuff (1985)
For anybody who doesn’t know, I love B-movies...like, way more than anybody should. So I was surprised when I was talking movies with my friend Erica, and she brought up a movie I’d never heard of called The Stuff. In a complete and total coincidence, she brought it up only days before it was re-issued on DVD, having been out of print for years. I took it as a sign that I must own this movie. I’m oh-so glad I did!
The movie stars Michael Moriarty as an FBI man turned industrial saboteur who is hired to find out the secret recipe behind the new dessert craze that is sweeping the nation, called simply “The Stuff”. It looks like whipped cream, tastes amazing, it’s low cal and cheap...how can you go wrong, right? Well, it turns out that “stuff” is alien in origin and is taking people over to work towards its supposedly nefarious goals. To be honest, the goals of the stuff itself are never really explained, as the movie’s more about Moriarty’s character trying to stop it then it is about telling us why it should be stopped. Of course, I think we can all agree that if a weird, white, gooey substance were taking over friends and loved ones, it probably isn’t up to anything good.
But anyway, toss in the woman who created the Stuff’s marketing campaign, who finds out about it’s evil and gets in on trying to stop it, and one lone kid who saw it move and figured out he probably shouldn’t be eating it; along with appearances by Paul Sorvino, Danny Aiello, and some craziness from Garrett Morris; and you have what amounts to a really fun B-movie experience! It’s basically a movie about white goo that’s trying to eat you. It’s got some really fun special effects, and generally, if this sounds like you might like it at all, you’ll probably like it quite a bit.
Red Riding Hood (2011)
It's a little embarrassing but my movie for the week is 2011's epic "Red Riding Hood". I know, I know, it's about 20 years out of my demographic and probably a shameless "Twilight" rip-off to boot, but anything with werewolves AND Gary Oldman can't be that bad, right?
Actually, it WASN'T that bad. Say what you want about the dialogue of this movie, but it LOOKED gorgeous. Like an Evanescence video stretched out over an hour and a half. Plot wise this movie ended up being about how Red aka Valerie aka actress Amanda Seyfried is the prettiest girl in the village and everybody wants her. Sadly, one of these lustful people is secretly a werewolf (a BIG BAD werewolf!). You, the viewer, are challenged to figure out who it is! Personally, I don't mind admitting that I guessed wrong. Of course, my guess was a dark horse and actually would have made more sense if you think about it, but whatever. My main problem with this movie was the ending. It had an ending that doesn't really make a whole lot of sense. I'd tell you all about it, but it's far too spoilery. In any case, I recommend this as a fun movie whodunnit type of movie, one you'll likely want to drink to. Don't have high expectations. Go nuts!
The Phantom Menace (1999)
Look, the Blu-rays are out and it's time to revisit The Phantom Menace. For realz! Because hating on it is so 1999! Is 12 years of distance long enough for you to finally stop pining for the movie you wanted it to be, and start accepting it for the movie that it actually is?
I am going to argue that it's actually almost as bold and visionary an experiment as the original Star Wars was in 1997. It pioneered new film-making techniques and showcased a unique, singular vision that was so unexpected it was somewhat difficult to parse. It's a peculiar hybrid which, on first viewings, seems only tangentially attached to what we knew and loved about the original trilogy, so much so that it left many of us angry and confused. But the biggest problem wasn't Jar Jar, or Anakin, or the wacky dialogue, or occasional fart joke - that's not really why you hate Phantom Menace. You hated it because you're not a kid any more.
So... 12 years later, put aside all that angst, and be a kid again. Laugh at all the terrible and cringe-worthy moments - they're a ton of fun! Even at its worst, the film is insanely entertaining! Hundreds of novelists, and comic writers, and television creators, have tried to expand upon the Star Wars universe but no one does it with the scope, pace, and imagination of George. The Phantom Menace has hit the brink now where it is actually beginning to elicit feelings of genuine nostalgia - not for the original movies, but for the film itself. Give it another shot!