Wednesday, March 01, 2006


They were repeat running a commercial for Without a Trace (I think) last night during the two-hour premiere of the new Amazing Race. The crawl read something like "A tiny victim...and a cop on a combination for disaster."

Is that correct? A "combination for disaster"? I mean, a recipe for disaster makes sense, but I don't think a "combination for disaster" is even proper English. They pay professionals umpteen millions of dollars to make these commercials, and they can't even proofread them?

And hey, what's the deal with Date Movie? From the commercials, it looks like all the gags involved visual references to not just other movies, but other comedies: Napoleon Dynamite, Shallow Hal, Hitch, Wedding Crashers, etc. I mean, when you make a reference to a dramatic movie in a comedy setting (as they do with Kill Bill!, as tired as such a jape already is), I can see from where you expect to have humor derive. However, what's funny about just seeing somebody who looks like Owen Wilson from Wedding Crashers? Ha, it's a reference to another movie! Is that inherently funny, for some reason? Don't you need more than that?

The Scary Movie series does the same, of course, but then again, at least they are taking scenes and characters from (mostly) horror movies and playing them comically. Still, they too often descend into a sort of, "ha, ha, I saw that"--or even, "ha, ha, I didn't see that, but I still get the reference"--as when they cut in a long parody scene of the rap battle from Eight Miles.

These films are still compared to Airplane!, but while that film had such references, too, as in the Saturday Night Fever dance scene, it had many other sorts of gags in it too. These films just seem lazy, somehow, both on the part of the people who make them and, frankly, the audience, too. Are we really willing to settle for this sort of thing?

From the "Really?!" Department: In the March 3rd issue of Entertainment Weekly, the DVD release of The Ice Harvest is given an A-, while that of Kind Hearts and Coronets, a truly classic comedy, is given a B+. And it's not because of the extras, from what I can tell. The Ice Harvest boasts one outtake, and apparently a roundtable chat of some sort by the filmmakers. Kind Hearts, meanwhile, is a Criterion release, includes an old BBC interview with Alec Guinness (who legendarily played eight parts in the movie), and an "informative" 1986 TV documentary on the film. So extras are at best a draw, meaning that the magazine is assigning a higher grade for Ice Harvest as a movie.

I don't think so. Which isn't a knock on Ice Harvest, but please.


At 11:23 AM, Anonymous twitterpate said...

You see, Ken, Kind Hearts and Coronets just doesn't have enough pop culture references to rate an "A" from Entertainment Weekly.

Maybe if they could work a reference in to Date Move, Part 2?

At 2:03 PM, Blogger baby copernicus said...

As far as Scary Movie and Date Movie are concerned, I'd just stick with Top Secret.

Skeet surfiiinn...

At 2:54 PM, Blogger Ken Begg said...

Well, yeah. TS was made by the Airplane! guys, as was the brilliant TV show Police Squad and the rather less funny subsequent movies.

Again, though, while TS has the occasional movie reference gag (the extended Blue Lagoon sequence) it also has more original and off the wall stuff like the songs, as well as some pretty dead funny sight gags.

I can't say I didn't laugh some when I watched the Scary Movies I saw--whichever they were--but by the time they started including extraordinarily lame riffs on The Matrix and The Hulk they definately started looking a bit threadbare.

At 5:30 PM, Anonymous Tork_110 said...

I keep waiting for them to make a Hot Shots 3. You think they would have made one three years ago.


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