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Tag Archives: unfunny

Late Night Movie House: Zoolander 2

16 Feb

February 16, 2016

LNMHOC zoolander

In a recent review, Leonard Maltin explained that, for the first time in his career, he walked out of a movie he was intending to review. Unsurprisingly, that movie was Zoolander 2.

But as I embarked on the experience of watching Zoolander 2 at a press screening the other night, I had an immediate reaction of annoyance and impatience. The film was stupid right from the start. I told myself that I was wasting my time for no good reason.

Still, I stayed. Ten minutes passed, then twenty, filled with puerile and unfunny gags; along with gratuitous cameo appearances by everyone from Katy Perry to Willie Nelson. If even one of them had seemed clever I might have summoned some hope for the rest of the picture, but it was not to be.

Mind you, I thought the original Zoolander was pretty funny. I had no reason to expect this one to be so much worse. But it is.

Finally, after almost an hour, I strode out of the theater, proud of myself for taking positive action and sparing myself further insult.

But could Zoolander 2 really be that bad? Sure, it looks bad. And sure, everyone says it’s bad. And yes, the commercials all make it seem bad. But is it really bad? I sent some of the regulars from this blog to check it out and get their opinions.

It's the sequel no one wanted ten years too late

It’s the sequel no one wanted ten years too late

I can relate. I saw the original Zoolander in the theater when it first came out in 2001. I recall laughing here and there, but I also recall that the laughs became less and less as the film rolled on. It became less funny as it went on too, and more stupid. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say that as the movie went on, I realized there was less to it than it seemed. It was just a generally stupid movie. I was feeling stupid for buying a ticket. I should have been warned by the presence of Will Ferrell, whose bad films and roles are slowly piling up higher than his good films and roles.

Let’s put Will Ferrell on the Mike Meyers scale.

meyers scale ferrell head

But aside from all that, I sat through the original Zoolander and every other film I’ve paid to see. Unlike Leonard Maltin, I never left a movie before it was over. But In retrospect, there were some films I wish I did walk out on.

ANY GIVEN SUNDAY. This was Oliver Stone at his worst, and that’s saying a lot. The film was close to three hours long and several people left after about an hour and a half. Unless you’ve seen it, you don’t understand the pain we felt in the theater.

STARSHIP TROOPERS. That movie wanted you to root for the Nazis. A lot of people say how great the novel is, and it is- I read it. But none of the satire or real meaning made it to the screen. It was simply disgusting Nazis fighting disgusting bugs. I was rooting for the projector to break.

BATMAN AND ROBIN. Do I need to explain this? To borrow a phrase from MST3K: “Deep Hurting.”

Honorable mentions- I did not walk out but others did.

BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. This was a found footage movie before people knew what that was. I saw it in a theater that was half full when it began, nearly empty when it ended. I enjoyed it but there was a lot of loud and rude complaining from almost everyone else throughout.

THE SOUTH PARK MOVIE. A lot of people brought their kids. Big mistake. They left very quickly, but as soon as I realized it was a foul-mouthed musical, I settled in and enjoyed the ride.

 

BONUS! ROGER EBERT’S REVIEW OF NORTH (the movie, not Kanye’s kid)

I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it.

Best review ever!

 

 

 

 

 

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My Review of Fibber McGee and Molly

17 Jul

July 17, 2014

Fibber McGee and Molly is an Old Time Radio show, meaning that no one under the age of 50 has heard of it. Well, that’s not entirely true. OTR has a thriving sub-culture of radio show collectors, each hoarding old and rare copies of shows that originally aired from about 1935 to 1963. You and I don’t get to listen to these. Old records (called “transcription discs”) are treated like gold, only rarer, and are only played once every epoch when wizened old men pay homage to The Great and Terrible Victrola and play these discs while taking their communal liver pills.

Aside from that, there is a ton of old radio shows available out there for free and they aren’t hard to find. Are they in the public domain? Trust me; you are better off not asking. Move along.

I’ve got some favorites and even though they date back decades, you are very familiar with at least one of them, a guy you may have heard of called Superman. And another favorite isn’t quite as big but he is currently being published and can be found pretty close to ol’ Supes, The Shadow. I also enjoy The Jack Benny Show and Abbott and Costello, just to name a few.

There are also some shows I really don’t care for, and I recently came into possession of a free collection of one of those shows, Fibber McGee and Molly. Now, I do tend to be a discriminating snob, but on the other hand, free is free, and who am I to look a $40 value in the mouth? I decided to give it a listen because my favorite comedy, The Great Gildersleeve, was a spin-off of this show and I was eager to hear his early appearances.

Gildersleeve does not appear in these shows.

I am nothing if not a fair man and I have to admit that, in all honestly, while I have not come to love Fibber McGee and Molly, I have come to hate them.

Fibber+&+Molly+V7

Fibber McGee is- wait for it- a fibber. He lies. He exaggerates, He makes himself out to be a big man and he is not. (But if he has no influence, why does the Mayor always drop by his house? I have no idea, the Mayor hates him.) Molly is his wife who affectionately calls her husband “McGee.” She’ll also lovingly refer to him as “Fibber” or “Himself,” as in “Himself has been thinking of flying an airplane.” She has a habit of laughing hysterically whenever an actor flubs a line, which seems to happen quite a lot on this show.

Most of the humor of the show comes from the broad characterizations of the supporting characters and Fibber’s (Jim Jordan) less-than-subtle wordplay. While the audience laughs at even the least funny pun, very often some of the jokes come and go without a whisper of a laugh, a point even Fibber will sometimes remark on. Marian Jordan, who played Molly, battled alcoholism most of her life. And while that isn’t a laughing matter, it is amusing to try to guess how far in the bag she is during any given performance. Sometimes she laughs so hard at some of the jokes (especially the flubs) that you wonder what show she’s listening to that only she can hear.

One of the conceits of this show is that everyone in town stops by their house, for no reason, at any time. This includes The Mayor, Mrs. Carstairs, who is the local rich woman and sounds like Margaret Dumont from the old Marx Brothers movies, Doctor Gamble who is not and is never funny, and other assorted neighbors with funny voices. There’s the wimpy guy who sounds like Droopy Dog, the old guy who sounds old, and the little girl who messes up the English language and is obviously voiced by a middle-aged man. (Actually, Molly provides her voice, and what does that tell you about Molly?)

And don’t get me started on Harlow Wilcox, the Johnson Wax salesman who is so annoying even Fibber seems to dislike him- and that’s the sponsor’s product!

Everyone takes a shot at insulting Fibber and out of all of them, the doctor is the least funny. He’ll walk in and say “Hello, trombone,” or “Hello Molly, hello tennis shoe.” Is that funny? No, it is not. There is no context for any of that. Why is he calling him “trombone?” There is no set up for it, no rhyme or reason. If Fibber was playing in a band, ok, maybe.

arthur-q-bryan-dr-gamble

Although the show is generally not funny, and gets less funny the more Molly opens her mouth, the more I listen the more annoying it gets. Like I said, people just drop by all the time and that’s how Fibber gets to interact with them. Fred Allen used to walk down Allen’s Alley and knock on doors. This is the same thing except Fibber stays home and everyone comes to him.  But there is almost never any reason for them to drop by. There will be a knock on the door, Mrs. Carstairs will walk in and immediately get caught up in the McGee shenanigans, then say she has to get going and leave. Why did she stop by to begin with? We never find out. Then The Old Timer will stop over, Fibber will badger him about something and he’ll leave, and we’ll never know why he came by. Then Wallace Wimple would come and go, and why we’ll never know. (BTW, he calls his wife “Sweetie Face,” which just sounds ridiculous.) OK, maybe I’m being picky. After all, this is a silly sitcom and all the coming and going is just to set up McGee for jokes anyway. But on at least one occasion it was glaringly stupid.

In one particular episode, it was ten degrees below freezing and Fibber, with his usual false bravado, was threatening to go out for a brisk walk by the lake. Of course, he had no intention of going. Did I mention it was also snowing and hailing outside, with a wind strong enough to knock over tress? Then there is a knock on the door and Doctor Gamble comes in. After a few “jokes” Fibber tells him he’s going for a walk, and the doctor tells him that it isn’t fit for man nor beast outside, that he saw a snow drift as big as a house, that Fibber would freeze before he got three feet. The doctor then said goodbye and left. So what was he doing out? What did he want at the McGee’s? Where was he going? No clue. Seemed like he just went out to tell Fibber not to go out. I would have just used the phone. Then Mrs. Carstairs stopped by, said it was so cold her butler froze and left, as mysteriously as she arrived. Then everyone else did the same thing. If it was so nasty out, what were any of them doing outside? We’ll never know.

You know, if the jokes were funny, if the show made me laugh, none of this would have bothered me.

Overall, and seriously, Fibber McGee and Molly really isn’t bad. I have gotten one or two chuckles out of it, but in the long run, I’ve gotten more laughs from watching some baby ducks on the side of the road.

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