Too Little, Too Late

While getting 4 movies for the price of 1 for the first time in awhile felt pretty good, and having none of them be awful even better, I still feel like I lost. As I came out of Shrek The Third, Knocked Up was starting two theaters down. But I didn’t know. And by the time I found out, it was too late. And that really would have made Saturday a success. Still, $1.88 a movie is pretty good. And if I hadn’t ruined it by paying full price for one movie the next day, I might still feel pretty good about it. And so…

What Originally Happens In Vegas Maybe Ought To Stay In Vegas

(Saturday)

Gracie – Grace Bowen (Carly Schroeder) loses her soccer-playing and more importantly, blindly supportive brother to a car accident one night and until the idea of taking his place on the Columbia High School soccer team comes to her, she’s a mess. I mean, she goes all the way to Asbury Park. On a school day! Imagine. But her father (Dermont Mulroney) saves her, and even though he won’t teach her how to play soccer, he clearly cares about her. Which is good, because eventually he is going to teach her how to play soccer. But will it matter? Will a girl be allowed on the team no matter how good she is? Well, yeah. She will. She’ll probably even score a goal in a big spot. Now if we could just get her to show up to something, a game, a practice, a class, anything, on time, we might really have something here.

It feels hard to believe that girls were still having a difficult time justifying their own high school sports teams in the mid 70’s. Especially soccer, being at its professional height in America at the time. Almost as hard to believe that daughters were still being summarily ignored by their fathers when it came to said sports. But Dermont Mulroney and Carly Schroeder do their best to make you believe it. It’s not a terribly new story, and kind of doesn’t seem like it would have been even had it been released in the time immediately following the true events it depicts, but after a slightly long and incohesively trite set up, the moments do start to achieve their intended purpose. Even if you could have predicted every one of them five minutes in.

Surf’s Up – The animated mockumentary has long been a staple of DVD extras and end credit outtakes of otherwise narrative animated movies ever since Disney had to release Toy Story with even more outtakes in their credits in order to justify staying in theaters an extra three months. And it can rarely go wrong. Even A Bug’s Life, clearly the weakest Pixar offering to date, couldn’t mess it up. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that a feature length attempt to capture this sort of thing would be great. But it is a surprise. Maybe because we should have had enough of penguins by now, animated or otherwise. Maybe because these penguins are surfing, which just makes no sense at all, even in the limited logic of animation. Or maybe because we weren’t supposed to notice this movie, what with the giant green animated juggernaut doing his funny voices in our faces.

But it was a surprise. And I was looking forward to it. With Shia LaBouef, Zooey Deschanel and a pretty funny trailer, I kind of put it in a position in which it could only fail. And not only did it not, it exceeded expectations. And you know what did it? Jeff Bridges’ breathing. It sounds like it shouldn’t be a big deal. Or, if it is, that it couldn’t possibly be positive. Big Z, the reclusive ex-surfing champion who hides out on the very island he was supposed to have died on years earlier, is a big guy. Or, penguin. And you can tell that he wasn’t necessarily always that way, because you can hear it in his labored breathing. Even while he isn’t doing anything strenuous. Which he, of course, avoids at most any cost. The lesson in the end, after all, is that winning doesn’t matter if you’re having fun. So why would you try so hard? Clearly not a problem I’m having.

Ocean’s 13 – So yeah. Twelve was a disappointment. But that’s probably not fair, because the first one isn’t a great movie by any stretch. But it just didn’t feel the same. But this one did. For the most part. So more than anything, it’s simply a relief that things didn’t go as badly as we’ve seen they could with this… thing we get every once in awhile. Because it truly is uncategorizable what Steven Soderbergh and his ever-expanding club give us every once in awhile. It’s like the supergroup/side project wherein the whole doesn’t quite seem to equal the sum of the parts. But yet, they’re clearly expressing things that they, for whatever reason, cannot under their respective regular circumstances.

Because it really can’t matter that they’re spending more money than they could possibly hope to make in their schemes (and even though it’s not technically money they’re after in this one, one Elliot Gould doesn’t justify all of this.)  It can only matter how everyone talks to each other.  How Linus tries desperately to impress the seemingly unimpressible Danny and Rusty.  How those two talk to each other.  How they handle their subordinate elders.  How the Malloy Brothers can justify their own spin off despite only getting a minuscule amount of screen time.  What they’re talking about doesn’t truly matter.  And it seems as if they know that.

Shrek The Third – Why is it funny to add “eth” to the end of every other word? Have we not seen this enough in this series? But that, and of course the medieval characters speaking with outdated-already-before-this-script-was-written slang served as the entire palate of humor for the first thirty minutes. But after that… well, it got okay. Tolerable is maybe the best I can do. Antonio Bandaras and the group of female fairy-tale characters went a long way towards bring this movie back from awfultown, but were put in such a hole it just wasn’t possible. Which is too bad. Because I think I really liked the first two. But now I’m not so sure.

What Did I Come Here For Again?

(Sunday)

Away From Her – This movie has really stayed with me. Which I guess qualifies as ironic. It representing what would happen if Discovery Health were to make TV movies and start with one on Alzheimer’s. I feel as if I learned a lot. Which generally isn’t what you want to come out with after a movie. Sure, it’s nice, but it shouldn’t be the first thing you think about.

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