Friday, September 27, 2013
Netflix This Movie! Vol. 44
ParaNorman (2012, dir. Chris Butler/Sam Fell) I had it all planned out. During my run up to Scary Movie Month, I like to watch Halloween style movies that are not in the Horror genre, like Addams Family Values, which was on Netflix Instant. But just like the Seattle SuperSonics or Katrina Kelly, sometimes good things leave unexpectedly. So, what am I going to do? Go to Starbucks and sulk at a table made of "Reclaimed Urban Wood"? No, I'm going to take these broken wings and learn to fly again. And ParaNorman is here to help with that. I love this movie. It was one of my top 10 from last year. I love the animation. I love the music. I love the atmosphere and I love its sensitivity. It's a special movie and one I'll be gladly revisiting every year in my run up to October. P.S. I want to see a Laika produced version of Silver Linings Playbook starring ParaNorman and Coraline. Sound like a dumb idea? They're making a remake to RoboCop. THAT'S a dumb idea.
Eat My Dust! (1976, dir. Charles Griffith) Netflix and I seem to have reached a new comfort level with each other in the last few weeks. First, it's asked that I call it "Netty," and seems to blush with appreciation when I do. Second, it's been recommending a bunch of bottom shelf movies that I've never even heard of before but that I almost always end up being glad that I've seen. The latest gem that Netty has found for me is the Roger Corman-produced Eat My Dust! The movie, while far from being Oscar bait, does not deserve such a generic name (or what appears to be a VHS, full-frame transfer). This muscle car comedy features Ron Howard and was directed by the guy who wrote Death Race 2000. Honestly, it's fairly uninspired and definitely a little too far on the silly side for me, but it tries to do some interesting things. There are quite a few POV sequences of the road itself as cars careen down it at high speeds to country music with banjos (this is a plus for me). There's also some legitimately impressive stunt driving, though there are quite a few missteps into slapstick that embarrass me for the movie. This film is for people who think that Smokey and the Bandit is too artistic. But, hey, it has its heart in the right place, and I'm finding that I could watch these cheap movies almost exclusively and never feel like I was missing anything. They're down to earth and ask very little of you other than to try to enjoy yourself, which I did. I think I'm going to add it to my collection. This movie is also worth noting because Ron Howard agreed with Corman to star in this one for very little money with the stipulation that he would then be allowed to direct his own film for Corman. Grand Theft Auto (1977) ended up being Howard's directing debut. So without Eat My Dust!, there might not have been Backdraft. Minds: blown.
Really, get these classic silent comedies out of your system because, come next Tuesday, it is going to be a steady diet of horror and terror and boo for thirty days.
Laugh now, clown-boy. God, I love Keaton.
Cannibal! The Musical (1996, dir. Trey Parker) I'm finally seeing Book of Mormon this weekend, months after the rest of the world has already seen and forgotten it. So it seems like a good weekend to recommend the movie that gave Trey Parker his start both as an artist and as a writer of musicals. Cannibal! feels like a feature-length student film at times, but it's really funny and the musical stuff is all great. Let's build a snowman. We can make him our best friend. We can name him Bob or we can name him Beowulf.