Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Well, okay, it's July 1st. Halftime 2008. Let's check the scoreboard and see how we're doing...


Moving right along, then!

If you live in California, don't use your cel phone without the proper geeky headset anymore. The new law goes into effect today. I was thinking about this yesterday as I was hurtling down the freeway at seventy miles an hour eating an In-N-Out burger and I decided that this was another one of those dumb laws that was really just a waste of paper and everyone's precious time. People complain when our legislators are on vacation all the time, but I say GIVE THEM MORE TIME OFF!

Oh sure, this will probably save lives and all. So would making a law that banned people from eating in their cars while driving, or texting on their cel while driving -which is still legal, by the way. Doesn't this all fall under the category of "distracted driving" which is already an offense? Okay, fine, whatever. I don't much like talking on the phone in the car, or much at all, anyway -so it's another good excuse to not answer the phone. (It's probably just some angry customer, anyway.)

Lileks' review of WALL-E the other day was a fine example of a good movie review, if you caught it. And, by that, I mean a good movie, well-reviewed. Movie reviews can be pretty tricky, if you've ever tried to write one, and I lamented a week or so ago that I struggle finding anything to say about films that I like. I'm just set back on my stump, usually, but if I sit and stew long enough I can come up with reasons why something works and this is what Lileks does. The trick, of course, is to keep it from sounding boring and pedantic, like a college course requirement, and to persuade someone to actually go see the flick.

Bad movie reviews (that is, bad movies, well-reviewed) are much easier to do -and much more fun. The point there being to persuade someone not to see the flick, save time, and donate the money to a worthy charity. An old friend and I keep in touch from time to time by exchanging the most recent sweet review of a bad movie, and laughing about it. It began with the L.A. Weekly review of City Slickers 2 from years and years ago. I still remember its opening line:

"Yee haw! City Slickers 2 is the rootinest, tootinest piece of sh!t this side of the Rio Grande!"

Lately, it seems, one of the worst films of all time has reached the theaters, Mike Myers's The Love Guru. I haven't seen it, but the reviews are excellent! Here's an excerpt from the review on Slate.com which is titled "No Love for The Love Guru" which has the capitalized sub-heading "WOW, WHAT A BAD MOVIE."

There are good movies. There are bad movies. There are movies so bad they're good... And once in a while there is a movie so bad that it takes you to a place beyond good and evil and abandons you there, shivering and alone. Watching The Love Guru ...is the most joy-draining 88 minutes I've ever spent outside a hospital waiting room. In the course of those long minutes, Myers leads you on a journey deep inside himself, to the source from whence his comedy springs—and it's about as much fun as a tour of someone's large intestine.

It continues.

Some of the lowest moments involve Sir Ben Kingsley, who appears as Pitka's mentor, the permanently cross-eyed Guru Tugginmypudha. I've read that Kingsley, who was made a knight of the realm in 2001, often alienates the English press by insisting on the usage of his full title, even in casual social situations. If he's that concerned about maintaining his dignity, he might reconsider taking on roles in which people swordfight with mops soaked in their own p!ss.

Wonderful! Can't wait to not see it! Not convinced? Okay, here's the review from the New York Times:

To say that the movie is not funny is merely to affirm the obvious. The word “unfunny” surely applies to Mr. Myers’s obnoxious attempts to find mirth in physical and cultural differences but does not quite capture the strenuous unpleasantness of his performance. No, “The Love Guru” is downright antifunny, an experience that makes you wonder if you will ever laugh again.

And this is, come to think of it, something of an achievement. What is the opposite of a belly laugh? An interesting question, in a way, and to hear lines like “I think I just made a happy wee-wee” or “I’m making diarrhea noises in my cup” or to watch apprentice gurus attack one another with urine-soaked mops is to grasp the answer. Please don’t misunderstand: I’m not opposed to infantile, regressive, scatological humor. Indeed, I consider myself something of a connoisseur. Or maybe a glutton. So it’s not that I object to the idea of, say, witnessing elephants copulate on the ice in the middle of a Stanley Cup hockey match, or seeing a dwarf sent flying over the same ice by the shock of defibrillator paddles. But it will never be enough simply to do such things. They must be done well.

Fantastic! It is a vast, transcendent insult to write a review of a comedy that is funnier than the comedy being reviewed.

Meanwhile, in the comedy of my life, Mrs. Ditchman is yelling from downstairs that there has been a flood in the garage.

I must be going. (Wee-wee!)