GOOBY (2009)

gooby05

Elizabeth

I think Paul Scheer of the podcast How Did This Get Made? summed up Gooby best: “Finally, a kids movie that proves the age old adage that a kid’s best friend is a 7 foot tall scary ass looking Scottish bear that makes other kids piss their pants.” Because that’s what happens in Gooby. And it is totally insane.

Gooby is about a neglected 11-year-old boy hilariously named Willy. Willy’s parents, Jack (David James Elliott) and Elize (Ingrid Kavelaars) hate him. I’m not kidding. Though he clearly has profound mental health issues, they treat him like total shit by ignoring him so completely that Willy pretty much just lives his life until one of his parents tells him that something’s changing, like they’re moving out of Willy’s childhood home . . . in like 2 weeks. Willy is constantly on edge, and for good reason. Some choice parenting moments: Willy’s parents hire a nanny, which he has never had before. They tell him they’re hiring a nanny by introducing him to her, because fuck what the kid thinks. Willy sits at the kitchen counter and eats cereal as the nanny looks on and packs his lunch. She puts two cookies on the kitchen counter behind her, near an open window, and she turns around and sees that they’re gone (hint, it was Gooby). She immediately accuses Willy of stealing the cookies, even though he was sitting right in front of her the whole time. It happens again and she accuses Willy again, getting the attention of Willy’s mom. Willy tells her he didn’t do anything and his mom doesn’t believe him. He even says, “Every time I tell you the truth you say I’m lying.” That issue is never addressed. Another good moment: Willy sits at the table with his parents, eating Chinese takeout. Gooby starts making noise upstairs, so to distract his parents Willy pretends he’s about to be sick. Instead of taking him to the bathroom, or coming to his side, both parents immediately move their food (not Willy’s food, just their’s) away from him and look at him with disgust. Nothing like favoring Chinese takeout over your child’s health.

So what made me say that Willy has profound mental health issues is that he has frequent visual hallucinations (Gooby is not one of them). He believes the monsters he draws are real and he sees them come to life right in front of him, 100% believing that they are there and are going to kill him. His parents seem to know this (his mom references a therapist he’s seen) buuuut don’t seem all that concerned. So for some reason, when Willy and his parents leave their house for the last time, Willy’s childhood stuffed bear, Gooby, is left behind, even though we clearly saw Elize check all the rooms in the house before they go. And then, again for some reason, we see Gooby light up and glow, and that’s it. Did Willy make a wish for Gooby to come to life? Was there a magical lightning storm? We’ll never know.

So one day while Willy is in his backyard, he discovers a full-size, talking Gooby and much to Willy’s surprise, he is not a hallucination. Willy takes him in and Gooby quickly becomes his only friend. They share moments not unlike a similar scene in 9 1/2 Weeks involving sitting in front of the open fridge eating food together, Gooby eating disgusting raw hot dogs out of tupperware. Also involved in this story (sort of) is Willy’s evil teacher, Mr. Nerdlinger (Eugene Levy), a failed children’s book writer who is obsessed with becoming famous. He sees Gooby (yeah, other people can see him) and it becomes his goal to get a picture of Gooby that will make him famous. Because anyone would look at a picture of Gooby and think it’s a real creature and not just a man in a weird bear suit.

Gooby basically becomes the dad Willy never had, which is sad considering his dad is still around and Gooby is a giant magical teddy bear. He helps Willy get in with the cool kids by taking them all to an R-rated movie on Halloween, pretending to be, you guessed it, a man in a weird bear suit. Eventually Gooby realizes he has a purpose and that is to get Willy and his dad back together. He does this by taking Willy to the abandoned apartment building where his dad grew up, where Willy promptly falls through the floor and is hanging on for life (or more likely just for his legs to not get broken). Gooby decides to not use his giant size to help Willy up, but instead calls Willy’s suddenly worried parents. By the time Willy’s dad shows up an undetermined amount of time later, Willy is still hanging in the hole in the floor. What the hell? His dad finally saves him and meets Gooby and is not at all concerned about Gooby’s existence. Willy’s parents accept Gooby as part of the family . . . until Gooby hones in on a little girl at Home Depot and asks Willy to to give him (Gooby) to her. Somehow, Gooby turns back into a teddy bear and Willy gives him to the little girl, essentially giving her a grown man in a suit to follow her around indefinitely. Thanks, Willy!

You just can’t help but wonder the thought process behind Gooby. It’s confusing enough to make me think a lot was cut out of it but I don’t think a director’s cut would suddenly make it not insanely terrible. Gooby is terrifying and also tragic considering he was basically brought to life because a child was so isolated that he went insane. GREAT FAMILY FILM!!!

Christopher

I have been wanting to watch this since it came out. The first time I saw the trailer for this I had no idea what I watched. It’s interesting to me how stuff like this is made because how could you look at Gooby and think he wouldn’t scare the fuck out of children? Also he acts like a grown adult the whole time.

The best part about this movie though was how much the parents hated their kid. It was kind of like What Dreams May Come. Any kind of situation involving the parents in this film always ends with them just looking annoyed that Willy was their kid. At one point the kid pretends to be sick and the parents’ only reaction is to not let him throw up on their food.

Gooby also has a problem with scenes just ending. There are so many situations where you aren’t quite sure how a scene is going to end and guess what, you never do! For instance, the scene where the Willy pretends to be sick. What’s happening is that Gooby is up in Willy’s room trying to be quiet so his parents don’t know he exists. At this time Willy and his parents are sitting around the table eating take out Chinese food. As dinner progresses you start hearing Gooby up in Willy’s room. He keeps knocking shit over and as the dinner moves along he keeps getting louder. As Gooby makes noise Willy pretends to be sick, making noises so his parents’ stop thinking about the noise upstairs . . .then the scene ends. I guess the parents don’t want to see why it sounds like a 300 lb man is stomping around upstairs?

Great movie!

Advertisements

THE BLIND SIDE (2009)

the blind side

Elizabeth

So, The Blind Side is one of those rare, somewhat glorious movies that was a huge deal that I absolutely cannot understand how it got made. Because it is fucking terrible.

What do you think the most important things are to a film’s story? Or any story for that matter? I would say the two biggest things that come to mind for me are A.) Character development and B.) Conflict. The Blind Side has neither. That’s right. The Blind Side has ABSOLUTELY NO CONFLICT. Well, let me correct that. THE BLIND SIDE HAS ABSOLUTELY NO CONFLICT THAT ISN’T IMMEDIATELY RESOLVED WITHOUT CONSEQUENCE.

So, obviously, the biggest and most advertised conflict of the movie is the fact that Michael (Quinton Aaron) is a homeless teenager. Well, I hate to break it to you, but that conflict is resolved in maaaaybe the first 30 minutes of the 2 hour and 10 minute long movie, when Leigh Anne (Sandra Bullock) and her husband Sean (Tim McGraw) see Michael walking alone in the cold at night and take him in. They later adopt him, and have no issues with that. There’s a scene where Leigh Anne, Sean, Michael, and Leigh Anne and Sean’s kids Collins (hilariously played by Lily Collins, daughter of Phil Collins) and S.J. (Jae Head) are all sitting around their giant, empty dining table. Leigh Anne and Sean propose to Michael that he officially become a part of the family and they adopt him. Michael looks around at the family, at the literally giant smiles, glowing faces, wide eyes of his new family. It’s the perfect illustration of how there is absolutely no conflict: the family adopts him so lovingly and so easily, and they all look at him like he’s a puppy/Jesus. We see slight resistance from Sean when Leigh Anne first brings up the adoption issue, but all it takes is a conversation that maybe takes 2 minutes of screen time in which Leigh Anne just tells Sean it’s a good idea, and he agrees, and it’s done. So are we supposed to believe this rich, white, Southern family of 4 individuals (one of whom is a teenager) all completely, without question, accept this HUGE change to their family with huge open arms? Give me a fucking break. Because even if that’s how it exactly went down in real life, it shouldn’t have been made the central conflict of the movie.

And here’s another issue: Leigh Anne’s bigoted friends. We don’t have any context on how Leigh Anne feels about race. From what we’re told, Leigh Anne reached out to Michael because she’s a mother and felt like he was a child in need, totally separate from anything to do with race. So it’s surprising to me when we see Leigh Anne go on a couple of lunch dates with a group of friends that are so stereotypically racist and Southern that it’s totally unbelievable. Did Leigh Anne have racist tendencies before she took in Michael? If so, why wasn’t that ever mentioned? If not, why the hell is Leigh Anne friends with these people who stand in such complete stark contrast to her? We’re supposed to think Leigh Anne is a strong woman who stands up for what’s right no matter what, but her involvement with this group of friends makes me really question that.

Even though she somehow won the Oscar for it, I think Sandra Bullock is a real problem in this movie. First of all, except for Tim McGraw (who does not look like Tim McGraw in this movie), Sandra Bullock is by far the biggest name in this movie and it shows. She just kind of outshines everyone else, and I don’t really mean that as a compliment. Her accent is also, to put it lightly, laughable. She just sounds like Sandra Bullock trying to do a Southern accent. It’s bad.

There are plenty of other issues, like how the movie opens with an interrogation that, you guessed it, ends up being not a problem at all, or how all the adults call Michael “Big Mike” as if that was his birth name until he finally asks them to stop, or how Michael’s football coach never actually coaches anyone . . . but it’s not even worth it. This movie is a total, not-worth-it mess.

Christopher

I went into this movie not expecting to like it and that’s exactly what happened. I understand why people would be into this but it was not for me. I thought the story was very weak, the characters felt like they were characters of what their real-life counterparts were probably like. However, there was one element of the movie that both had no sense to me and was super funny. What I’m talking about is the high school football coach in this film.

This movie is about Michael Orr and how he overcame many life obstacles to become an NFL player. One of those obstacles, based off this movie, was easily making it past his high school football coach. I say this because his coach did absolutely nothing to coach him . . . in any way. This would be a good time to say that he LITERALLY never taught Michael a damn thing about football. From the moments you first see the coach with Michael on the field, he’s standing on a raised platform on the side of the field yelling at Michael to play football better. That’s all he does. Never, at any point do you see the high school football coach say anything constructive to Michael other than, “Why can’t you play?” All we know about Michael up to this point is that he might be mentally handicapped so why would this guy automatically assume he could just play football? I mean from the beginning of this film the coach was the main reason Michael even went to that school! The first time we ever see Michael improve with his football abilities is not until Leigh Anne played by Sandra Bullock intrudes on a practice session to actually tell Michael some pointers. Why did the coach need a parent to help him coach?

The coach character just stood out so much to me. To a point where I really thought it was a joke in the film that he was so shitty, but apparently that was just a part of the film that felt that way to me. Watch this movie for laughs cause it has a ton of them, even if the creators didn’t plan it that way.

AWAY WE GO (2009)

John-in-Away-We-Go-Trailer-john-krasinski-5147243-1680-1050

Christopher

I definitely liked this movie more than I thought I was going to. It was still a little too cute for me but I think it had interesting moments. I think the idea of trying to decide on where to raise a child would be best decided by visiting multiple places. However I just think the idea could of been a little more developed. They visit different states but they only really base their experience there off the friends they already know there. Not the landscape or the city or the food or the school system.

I hope this did not make Elizabeth mad! I tried to make a point this time. Also if you are at all interested I think you should check this out it just wasn’t for me.

Elizabeth

Well I don’t know what Chris is going to say about Away We Go, but I know he was not into this movie despite my best efforts. But it’s so good!

I love the concept of this movie. Verona (Maya Rudolph) and Burt (John Krasinski) are a young, unmarried couple a few months away from having a baby. They find out that Burt’s parents are moving to Belgium for two years right after the baby is born, and because Verona and Burt only live where they do to be near his parents, they decide to use the opportunity to find a city to settle down in.

What I loved most was the relationship between Verona and Burt. It felt both real and unreal to me. When I first saw this movie about 6 years ago, I liked Verona and Burt as a couple but thought they kind of over-exaggerated their relationship. Like there’s just no way two people like that can just be in love like that. But luckily now that I’m with Chris I know that their relationship is realistic, and it made me feel sort of at home watching it.

THE CARTER (2009)

maxresdefault

Elizabeth

The Carter was definitely really interesting to watch. I went in knowing ehhhhhh little to nothing about Lil Wayne. I didn’t even know he was from New Orleans, which is where I’m from, if that tells you anything.

But yeah, I think Lil Wayne might be sort of crazy. Which is perfect for a documentary. It’s just so crazy to see what’s in a normal day for someone as famous as he is. Sometimes he seemed like he was a caricature of himself, and other times he was surprisingly insightful. It was also just sort of crazing hearing about all these New Orleans connections that I didn’t know about, like how he went to McMain for middle school. That’s crazy! Or that he was in the group that had the song “I Need A Hot Girl” which I definitely remember from around middle school, but I guess was more local to New Orleans. It’s just interesting.

I didn’t really enjoy the long parts of him just rapping; his actual stage performances were interesting to see but I just didn’t care for the rapping. Probably because I don’t like Lil Wayne, though, so I’m not a great authority on it. The Carter is definitely worth watching. Lil Wayne is someone that is sort of untouchable to me, in that I don’t like his music and I didn’t know anything about him, but he’s suuuuper famous. So if you’ve ever been curious as to what Lil Wayne is all about, The Carter might be a good place to start.

Christopher

I love this documentary. Lil’ Wayne is so crazy and so interesting I love just watching him be for an hour and a half. I remember watching this in college and needing to be somewhere and people being mad that we were late but them ending up watching it because of how weird it can be. One of the things I love most about the film is that it shows, at least at that part of his life, how he isn’t surrounded by naked women 24/7 as his lyrics and music videos indicate. He’s a complete workaholic, it’s crazy. All he does is drink, rap and watch ESPN.

If you are at all interested in Lil Wayne watch this! But if you think he’s this great guy or something don’t because I can’t say you’ll leave the movie thinking the same.

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY (2009)

movie_paranormal_activity_5_

Christopher

I put off watching this forever. So much so that I’ve known what the ending is for some time; it was definitely explained to me a few times by Elizabeth. Overall I thought this film was scary or at least tense. It remained me of The Blair Witch Project at times, not as good but just having crazy stuff happen around our protagonists but never actually seeing who the real villain is. I really enjoyed this movie but I can’t say it has me wanting to watch the other ones, although if presented the opportunity I’m sure we would.

I will say though, if I had seen this as a kid I don’t think I would of been able to sleep for weeks. There was nothing worse than bad stuff stuff happening to characters in films and never being able to see the bad guy. I cannot imagine how many times I stopped watching movies as a kid because I was too scared and ended up being more scared of what I imagined the rest of the movie being than what actually happened. I should have just toughed it out.

Elizabeth (spoilers!)

Out of our aforementioned similar movie experiences, Paranormal Activity was mine. I saw it in theaters, thought it was super scary, and thought the last couple of seconds of the movie ruined it. Seeing it again now, I more or less feel the same way.

Paranormal Activity is weird because so many of its problems could be fixed so easily. While I believed the relationship between the two main characters, Katie (Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micah Sloat), I just thought they were sort of annoying, especially Micah. The thing about Paranormal Activity is that it’s not the couple’s house that’s haunted, it’s Katie herself. And Micah, while concerned, is so pigheaded that he refuses help (even if no one could actually do anything). He also lies to Katie and masks it as a non-lie: he wants to buy a Ouija board, but a medium told them that if they engage with the spirit(s) and try to communicate, it’ll open the door to let them take over (or something). Katie makes Micah promise that he won’t buy a Ouija board, and he does. And then lo and behold, he comes in with a Ouija board, his excuse being that he didn’t buy it. Ugh, I hate shit like that. What an asshole! AND THEN, while they fight about it, the Ouija board bursts into flames all on its own! And they’re barely concerned! Annoying.

But yes, I think the ending is terrible. I think Paranormal Activity is famous now for its minimalism; there is no monster or ghost, we don’t see any CGI, everything is just subtle. And it works so well and is soooo scary. So then, in the last scene, the fully possessed Katie kills Micah off-camera and hurls his body toward the camera. She’s covered in blood and sniffs his body. Then she turns to the camera, gets close to it, and her face turns into a weird CGI thing and the movie ends. Uhhhh what? After the entire movie having no real special effects, is it really necessary to squeeze one in in literally the last couple of seconds? The alternate ending on the DVD has Katie slit her throat instead, which I don’t like, but is still better than the theatrical, I think. There’s another ending floating around that I saw after I saw the movie the first time that I think is far better.

All in all, I do think Paranormal Activity is pretty great. It’s scary and fun. But honestly, The Blair Witch Project takes a similar theme and does a much better job with it.

OLD DOGS (2009)

old_dogs02

Elizabeth

You know a movie is bad and not memorable when two people start watching it thinking they’re totally different movies. Chris thought Old Dogs was Wild Hogs (they do have the same director, though) and I thought Old Dogs was The Shaggy Dog. Sooo how bad does a movie have to be to be mistaken for two different also bad movies?

Pretty bad, because Old Dogs is insanely terrible. Granted, for the first 45 minutes or so I was waiting for either Dan (Robin Williams) or Charlie (John Travolta) or both to turn into dogs, so that was sort of distracting. But I think it somehow would have still made more sense than the real movie. Dan and Charlie are bachelors, or at least that’s what they say. I’m convinced that they’re just gay. I’m basing this not on the fact that they’re just two guys who are friends, but rather on the fact that they appear to be two guys who are life partners and in love. But, I guess not. Dan discovers that when he had a one-night stand with Vicki (Kelly Preston) seven years ago, she ended up having twins by him that are now 7. And now Vicki has to go to jail for 3 weeks for trespassing. After other plans fall through, Dan agrees to watch the kids. And Vicki accepts? Even though she barely knows this guy. But then again, the kids don’t know him at all and when they see him, they immediately run to him screaming “Daddy!” So obviously relationships don’t really matter in this world.

The majority of the movie is about Dan and Charlie hanging out with this kids. Dan and the kids move in with Charlie because Dan’s condo is only for adults. They do some crazy, sort of fucked up shit. Case in point: the most disturbing scene in the movie. Apparently, Dan’s son, Zach, has always dreamed of going to a men’s restroom alone, but can’t because he doesn’t have a dad. Okay. So Dan takes him to a men’s public restroom with stalls. Okay, no big deal. But then, Dan stands in the stall with Zach while Zach sits on the toilet. Ehhhh, what? Taking a kid to the bathroom is one thing, but why the fuck is he standing in the stall with this half-naked, pooping child that he just met? It’s insane and Dan should have been arrested, the end.

There’s also a scene where Bernie Mac plays a master puppeteer and develops a “human puppet suit,” which he lets Dan use so Bernie Mac can control his body while Dan has a make believe tea party with his daughter, because Dan feels too incapable of doing it himself. Uhhhhh. There’s also a scene where they take the kids to some kind of fucked up Boy Scout camp, with Matt Dillon giving the only bit of comedy ever in this movie. There’s also a scene where Dan gets locked in a spray tan chamber and ends up, essentially, in blackface.

THIS MOVIE IS GREAT!

Christopher

I totally thought this movie was Wild Hogs before we watched it. And I know Elizabeth thought it was something else too. So when we sat down to watch this my hopes that this movie might just be boring quickly disappeared, this movie is beyond terrible. It’s so insane!!! It has a mom going to jail, Robin Williams watching a kid shit, and the last appearance of Bernie Mac.

This movie is a complete mess and it’s one that gets worse with every scene. Watch this if you have the time!

ALL ABOUT STEVE (2009)

ALL ABOUT STEVE

Elizabeth

Here’s what I think All About Steve is supposed to be about, or at least what it wants you to think it’s about: a quirky, unlucky in love woman finds her way in the world after pursuing the man of her dreams, learning about herself, life, and love in the process.

Here’s what All About Steve is actually about: a mentally retarded woman stalks a man after almost sleeping with him, losing her job but gaining other mentally retarded friends in the process.

All About Steve is so fucking insane I have no idea how anyone remotely involved in it could ever think it wasn’t totally horrible. So Sandra Bullock plays Mary, who is living with her parents while her apartment gets fumigated. I’ve never lived in a place that needed to be fumigated, but doesn’t it only take a few days? Maybe a week at most? The movie is set up like Mary has completely moved back into her parents’ house, so I can only assume the apartment fumigation is a lie that Mary and her parents tell to mask the fact that she’s in her 40’s and living at home. Mary is the in-house crossword puzzle writer for some Sacramento newspaper. I’m extremely impressed that this random newspaper can afford to keep a crossword puzzle writer on staff full-time, and apparently pay pretty well. It’s almost as if the writers didn’t even attempt to be topical and address the decline of newspapers. But whatever!

So Mary’s parents set her up on a blind date with a news cameraman, Steve (Bradley Cooper). And despite the fact that Steve looks like a complete douchebag, Mary is overcome with desire for him and immediately changes out of her work clothes (which is what she was going to wear) and into her date clothes (consisting of an exposed bra). When they get to Steve’s car, Mary almost immediately jumps on him to have sex with him, which Steve is down for until Mary exposes herself as a TOTAL NERD. And because she’s a TOTAL NERD, Steve doesn’t have sex with her, doesn’t go on the date with her, and leaves her at her parents’ house. Now, I’m not going to say this is impossible. But. I cannot imagine that a man who has someone who looks like Sandra Bullock on top of them, stripping, would ever turn that down. Unless maybe Steve could tell that she wasn’t actually a nerd but retarded. Hmm . . .

So, like anyone in her position, Mary stalks Steve, first by printing a crossword puzzle about him, which gets her fired. This reminded me of Elizabethtown: should Mary get fired, or should the fucking editor of this stupid newspaper get fired? Does no one look at the paper before it goes to print? Just like in Elizabethtown, the fiasco somehow falls on the shoulders of the smallest people involved. So now that Mary is unemployed, she decides to spend her time following Steve on his various cameraman assignments including, but not limited to: a protest regarding the removal of a baby girl’s third leg, a tornado, and deaf children falling into an abandoned mine shaft. At the baby leg protest, Mary meets two other possibly retarded people. One of these people apparently makes a living by carving apples to be like the faces of celebrities. Okay.

Then Mary falls into the mine shaft herself. While her story is publicized, everyone falls in love with her (except Steve). When she gets out of the mine shaft, she suddenly doesn’t care much for Steve, and runs away with her new friends the end.

I skipped over so much because All About Steve is an insane mess, like how Mary wears red hooker boots the entire time with her only explanation being that, “Because it makes my toes feel like 10 friends on a camping trip.”

How did Sandra Bullock become involved in this? How did anyone become involved in this? How are Mary’s parents not the villains for not giving her proper treatment for whatever mental disability she has?

I don’t know. But All About Steve is too bad to ignore.

Christopher

This movie is so good!! When this movie came out I remember wanting to watch it cause it looked so bad but I’m glad I waited to see it so Elizabeth and I could share the experience together. Sandra Bullock plays an insane person, who also might be obsessed with The Wizard of Oz?

Bullock is insanely in love with Bradley Cooper only after a five minute date where she immediately tries to have sex with him? And I don’t think it was cause she was immediately in love with him, he just had something to have sex with her with. And after he gets rid of her, she follows him across country. And along the way she runs into hurricanes, children with three legs, and deaf children.

What I love about this movie is that we saw it so close to watching Gravity. How is this even the same actor? How could anyone think she could do Gravity after this?