This article originally appeared in The Proof but I’m finally putting it up here for you cheap bastards. One of these days I might even get around to writing Parade Pisser No. 2!
PARADE PISSER: Falling Skies and Sugar Crashes
Despite rarely going to an actual movie theater anymore (I love pause buttons and pooping in my own bathroom) I could not wait for Wreck-It Ralph and Skyfall to hit theaters. Two of the most highly anticipated movies of the year opened to rave reviews, critical acclaim, and ecstatic tweets from all my friends. For once I was happily in line opening weekend, grubby hands full of popcorn, heart full of hope, eyes so full of wonder…
I hated them.
WRECK-IT RALPH BULLSHIT CANDY MOVIE
Oh man, I was excited for this one. The trailer! Where we get to see all the different video game characters and the villain support group and the grand central station where you can go to EVERY video game world and oh my god this is gonna be amazing and funny and wonderful and John C. Reilly and Jane Lynch and Jack McBreyer and WOW!
That part was indeed great. It was also only the first 10 minutes of the film, before it abandoned video games entirely for the Pepto-Bismal pink bullshit candy world of “Sugar Rush.” Instead of Mario and Lara Croft we get Laffy Taffy and Sarah Silverman telling doody jokes. Now, I like a good poo joke as much, if not considerably more, than the next guy…but these weren’t jokes. This was Sarah Silverman saying the word “Doody” three times and a background artist patting himself on the back for a Nesquicksand pun.
For the record, yes, I cried during Wreck-It Ralph. We all cried. Multiple times. But I have seasonal affective disorder, so I right now I cry during yogurt commercials, at stop signs, and when I run out of batteries.
The only thing missing from this movie was John C. Reilly yelling “Go on boy, get out of here! I don’t want you anymore!” while releasing a dog into the woods (though he does the equivalent by smashing Vanellope’s race car…to save her life!). It’ll make me cry every time, but I’ll be mad about it, because it’s emotionally manipulative and a cheap trick. Especially when it’s tacked onto a big pink checklist of Hollywood storylines: loner must find himself, adorable child, betrayal, redemption, twist ending, power was inside you all along, etc, etc. It’s paint-by-numbers…with candy!
A few “internet friends” seemed surprised I expected something less formulaic from a children’s movie. UNFOLLOWED! Plenty of animated films are clever, heartfelt , funny and original. Disney certainly managed it before (The Incredibles, Toy Story, Ratatouille, Up).
Wreck-It Ralph has moments of brilliance and it’s not a bad movie – Every scene with Jane Lynch’s Space Marine and Jack McBreyer’s Fix-it Felix is great, and John C. Reilly does his best with the material. But I went to the theater ready to fall in love with a GREAT movie about video games, and instead I was forced to watch a generic movie about name-brand candy.
[Side Note: In international markets, Wreck-It Ralph was renamed “Sugar Rush.” Japan loves both video games and candy, but clearly demands accuracy when it comes to differentiating between the two.]
SKYFALL = ROSEBUD
When you heard the new Bond movie was gonna be called “Skyfall,” I bet you were all “Ooh, I wonder what kind of crazy Russian plot that’s code for!” Apparently that would have been too awesome. Skyfall is instead the name of Bond’s childhood home where his parents died tragically, turning James Bond into some sort of sad-pants emo Spider-Man.
Of course, we only find out why he’s all emo sad-pants dead-parents Spider-man after several exhausting hours, during which James Bond stands by while an innocent person is shot in the head on TWO separate occasions. Presumably he was too busy trying to remember Dashboard Confessional lyrics to give a shit about preventing MURDER. Oh, and he also fucks off to act like drunk Superman in Bermuda because Moneypenny shot him off a bridge.
Superhero references are especially apt, because director Sam Mendes’ version of James Bond can’t decide if Bond is an Ubermensch who takes a bullet to the chest without flinching, adjusts his cufflinks and keeps chasing terrorists (as he does in the first scene), or a tortured soul who doesn’t care about terrorism because he’s forever haunted by that time he got shot in the chest.
Mendes made a movie that looks like a Bond film – even the old Aston Martin complete with ejector seat and machine gun headlamps makes a cameo – without any of the classic Bond charm or excitement. Sean Connery, Roger More, Pierce Brosnan, and even mole-man Timothy Dalton made it seem FUN to be James Bond. Daniel Craig looks like banging exotic women and high speed chases are a chore, cutting into his valuable moping time.
The only person enjoying himself in Skyfall is Javier Bardem, chewing scenery like the set designer was Willy Wonka (perhaps on loan from Wreck-It Ralph?). Critics were enthralled with Bardem’s performance as flaming bisexual who nearly fellates Bond in his first appearance…I was too distracted by his shitty Party City wig and bleached eyebrows to notice. And I straight up burst out laughing when Bardem’s villain shows up in a clear plexiglass prison deep in the belly of MI6…Dude’s not MAGNETO, you fucking morons.
The lone surprise of the movie was discovering it was only two hours and 20 minutes long. Sitting in the theater, bored, wanting to go home to my bathroom, I would have sworn it was a solid three hours. If you’d told me it was SIX, I would have believed you.
Finally, while I obviously expect Citizen Kane level realism for my children’s cartoons, nobody expects a James Bond movie plot to make sense – but this one was REALLY dumb. Bardem plays a supergenius who can take control of an entire island with a click of a button…yet all he wants is to give James Bond a beej and creep on Judy Dench for not loving him and never putting his spy reports up on the refrigerator. Though I can certainly understand someone being obsessed with Dame Judy Dench. Hubba hubba.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m out of batteries.
Karla Pacheco hates everything you love. More of her despicable opinions can be found at underthewagon.com and on twitter @THEKarlaPacheco