Thanksgiving: A Weekend
was not my intention to spend the Thanksgiving holiday wallowing
in crap. Instead, I looked upon the weekend as a chance to
catch up on DVDs and comics on those evenings that I would
not be with my wife and kids.
as I trekked to pick up my 91-year-old grandmother, I took
along a few DVDs for no other reason than I knew no matter
when I watched them, everybody else in the house would have
to be asleep and be the type of people who never would ask
what I was watching. Bless you, Grandma.
Deuce Bigalow, European Gigolo
The world of Happy Madison Productions is populated almost exclusively
by freakish man-children. If we met one of them in real life,
we would back away slowly and perhaps tell our friends about
this freak we met. Yet we keep giving Adam Sandler a reason
to film these people.
Never having seen
the first Deuce, I feared that I would be lost in the
intricacies of the franchise's continuity. Give credit to
the film for actually wrapping up an apparent loose end or
two, bothering to explain why Deuce would be a free man to
travel to Europe.
connected by a murder mystery - Who is killing the Great Man-Whores
of Europe? - of course the film is really just an excuse for
a lot of gross jokes, cameos by friends from the SNL days
and occasional teases of nudity. Perhaps it can be best summed
up by the song the killer whistles: "Something Stupid."
But then, we all
knew that, so it shouldn't be a surprise that this isn't exactly
deathless cinema. It's just frustrating that Rob Schneider
doesn't really have anything to hang on him for a comedic
persona; he just sort of wanders through his movies. Yet it
had a lot of laughs - the kind that again made me give thanks
for watching this by myself so that no one would know just
what exactly I was finding so funny.
The real test
of the Happy Madison formula will come with the upcoming Grandma's
Boy, which stars long-suffering stable player Allen Covert.
It's about time he got a shot at the title - but that's another
stream of consciousness for another time.
Bigalow - European Gigolo
Bonus: Ultimate Adventures
After making a derisive remark this week about Marvel's U-DECIDE
event from a couple of years ago, it seemed time to actually
delve into it. A couple of months back I girded my courage
and read Bill Jemas' Marville, and to rip into it would
just be beating a dead horse.
So after watching
Rob Schneider's movie, I turned to a stack of comics that
I picked up through dubious means and read into the night:
Ron Zimmerman's contribution to the event (actually, I think
it officially had Joe Quesada's backing) -- Ultimate Adventures.
At the time of
its release, people panned this thing right and left. Zimmerman
was only slightly less hated than Chuck Austen, and disappeared
from the industry slightly faster. Folks, we were wrong. This
book ain't half-bad.
Yes, it's an obvious
riff on Batman with lame identities that seem vaguely homophobic
- Hawk-Owl and Woody. But the story actually treats every
other element with respect, including a nice confrontation
with the Ultimates. The development of the characters has
a nice build and understandable motivation.
Then comes the
other half, in creating an arch-enemy that seems to be borrowing
from the Joker, but inexplicably so. Yet the overall story
works really well, spiced up by the always great art of Duncan
Since this mini-series,
the characters haven't appeared in the Ultimate Universe,
but with Ultimate X-Men building Chicago into its mythos,
maybe that will change. It should. And discovering Ultimate
Adventures provided a little fiber with my turkey diet
on Wednesday night.
Adventures: One Tin Soldier TPB (Ultimate)
Once again, bereft of wife and children, I turned to the large
stack of unwatched DVDs. Oh, I could have gone for my intended
marathon of The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, Bad Education
and The Mask of Zorro (all linked together in a six
degrees of separation way) but something about Reign of
Fire caught my eye.
It seemed like
a no-brainer. This year's Sexiest Man Alive Matthew McConaughey
teams with Christian Bale to fight dragons? DRAGONS?!?
Why, if this movie
couldn't bring men and women together in some sort of ultimate
date night, no film could. Throw in an appearance by Phantom
of the Opera Gerard Butler (so so close to being named Sexiest
Man Alive) and this, my friends, should be the fabled guarantee.
Don't make me explain that.
Then the movie
Have you ever
sat through a film and become convinced that you must have
fallen asleep and missed something? Then the dread grows that
no, you've been wide awake the whole time. Then you finally
realize, yes, you did fall asleep and it still doesn't matter.
of this movie is not the climactic battle against the stud
dragon, but a charming little scene in which Bale and Butler
(what a vaudeville team they would have made) re-enact The
Empire Strikes Back for a group of children that have
so far avoided becoming dragon meat.
Sure, it probably
sounded cute in the script, but it's never a good idea to
remind your audience of a better fantasy adventure film than
your own, because then they realize how bad they actually
Friday and Saturday still to come...