Friday, June 5, 2009

All over the place

An old man ties what seems like hundreds of thousands of balloons to his house, causing that shit to float up into the sky. He steers his flying house towards South America, looking for a place called Paradise Falls. A fat Asian kid accidentally comes along for the ride. Wackiness ensues.

That's it for the plot synopsis. I was looking over my blog entry and noticed I didn't give one, so there it is.

So I went to check out Up at my local theater, and kicked in the extra bucks to watch it in 3-D. This is a very easy decision to make when you're using the ticket kiosk outside and paying for a child's ticket. I don't even think there was an actual kid-aged kid in the audience, so going to the 10:00pm showing on a Thursday night worked out for me. A group of preteens sat in the row in front of me just as the film started, but this also worked out for me because these kids were totally into it. You couldn't ask for a better group of people to watch this kind of movie with -- except for your own friends and family, I suppose.

Before the film, there's a short film by the Pixar guys called Partly Cloudy, a very cute piece about how and where the storks get the bundles of joy they deliver to expectant parents. Then the movie starts, and while it opened with the Disney and Pixar logo, a more appropriate way to begin would have been for a sign to fill the screen, reading: WE ARE GOING TO FUCK UP YOUR SHIT SOMETHING AWFUL. YOU ARE NOW OURS AND THERE'S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT, BITCHES. Then the second card comes up and reads: WELL, THERE IS ONE THING YOU CAN DO. JUST WALK AWAY. GO HOME, FAGGOT. TELL YOUR FRIENDS THAT YOU HAD TO WALK OUT OF A PIXAR MOVIE. Then after a minute, the third card comes up and reads: THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT. Then the movie begins. It would work out much better that way, but then the use of "fuck", "shit", "faggot" and "bitches" would probably kill their chances at getting a family-friendly rating. I'm just saying.

Holy shit, does this movie sucker-punch you emotionally as soon as fucking possible. Maybe it's because I didn't know squat about this flick other than what the poster showed me: an old man, a fat boy and a dog hanging onto a garden hose attached to a flying house with balloons. I did not know that the first 15 minutes or so was going to tell a motherfucking soul-crushing, heart-breaking story about how a man met the love of his life and how that shit plays out.

This is some shit that little kids will not get or give a fuck about. They might even call this section "the boring part". Adults, on the other hand, may refer to this part as "holy shit, this is fucking real life and is way too fucking painful to watch". Of those adults, people who are weak and lame and not real men and will never become real men, the real pansy fuckin' pieces of sensitive gelatinous shit (aka People Like Me) will remember this section of Up as "the part where I almost fucking lost it and started blubbering like a fucking baby in the movie theater".

The best part is that the last two-thirds of the opening 15 minutes is done without dialogue, and yet this montage does more to fuck you up emotionally than most two-hour films do in their entirety. That's one of many testaments to how fantastic the Pixar guys are, not just in animation, but in filmmaking period. There are people that will always dismiss animation as only being for kids, or they'll divide it into black & white and say it's either stupid pop-culture references and fart jokes for kids or it's a bunch of perverted bloody tentacles going into schoolgirls for adults. Fuck those guys. Pixar specializes in family films, as in, the whole fuckin' family is entertained and no one's intelligence has been insulted, and as far as I'm concerned, they are the only game in town. Dreamworks has come up with some entertaining shit, but fuckin' Shrek and Monsters Vs. Aliens can't fucking compare AT ALL.

These motherfuckers at Pixar are getting better and better, I mean, look at what they've come up with in the past five years: They made The Incredibles which kicked ass, then they topped that awesome movie with Ratatouille and then they topped that great shit with Wall-E, then they managed to top that motherfucking masterpiece with Up. Somewhere along the way they also made Cars, but I haven't seen that shit. I guess being so fucking good is a huge liability to others, like this fucking award winner who was quoted in a USA Today article:

"Since Pixar came around, I was a totally there-is-none-better person," says Kevin Kapanowski, 37, of Detroit and dad to Kaylee, 6. "But after the last three pictures, I'm not that way anymore. It seems like Pixar is reaching and getting a bit boring. WALL·E was fine and all, but eh. Now Up is up, and it's not really doing anything for me. Rats, lonely robots and old men? Really?"

Yes, really. I can't believe we can act so fuckin' spoiled by it all. Who gives a fuck about "reaching", as long as that shit isn't boring -- which it isn't. It can be a lot worse, you know. A lot fucking worse. Like Alvin & the Chipmunks-eating-their-own-feces worse. Who cares about the subject matter, as long as these flicks entertain you and involve you emotionally, which Up definitely does. The fact that these guys have managed to make great movies about nasty-ass rats messing with food and grouchy old men messing with balloons just goes to show you how talented they are in the first place.

Enough of that, let me stray from the negative for a change. Let me go on about Up instead. There's lots of emotion running through this flick, and it's all good. Laughs, tears, moments of awe and moments of aww. The whole movie is filled with movie magic. Now when I say "movie magic", I don't mean like some special effects type of shit. I'm talking about those moments where for some reason, something just touches a part of your movie geek soul and makes you go "Wow, I REALLY fuckin' dug that". The kind of movie magic that will guarantee the movie you just watched will be remembered fondly until the day you die.

A lot of movies we watch while growing up contain those moments of movie magic, and as we get older, it gets a lot harder to feel them in new movies. Now could that be because movies are shittier now? Or maybe because we get more jaded in our old age? I prefer the latter, because I don't want to lose hope in movies. It just means the movies nowadays have to try harder. But it also makes those increasingly rare moments so much more special when they happen. Now I'm not telling you that you're going to feel the same way with Up. That would be foolish to assume. I'm just here to tell you how *I* felt. And I think by now it's pretty fuckin' clear you KNOW how the fuck I felt about this movie.

Kinda digressing off the topic, I'd just like to say that I feel it's a great time to be a movie geek. You just have to look on the bright side and not let all the crap cloud your mind and make you think otherwise. Lots of talented motherfuckers are out there doing their thing. Today, you can buy a ticket to an old-school horror film by Sam Raimi, you can watch a badass Star Trek flick from J.J. Abrams, or you can watch a cool con artist flick with Rian Johnson's Brothers Bloom. Next week, you have muthafuckin' Francis Ford Coppola dropping a new joint. Next month, Michael The Fucking Mann has his Johnny Depp gangster movie coming out. The month after that, my boy Quentin Tarantino busts out with his horribly misspelled WW2 flick. By year's end, Peter Jackson and James Fucking Cameron return to the fold. Then there's guys who we know are working or going to be working on something. We have the Coen brothers, we have Steven Soderbergh, and we have Jim Jarmusch. We have Wes Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson, and even Paul W.S. Anderson (if shitty movies are your thing). Woody Allen makes a fuckin' movie every year. Takeshi Miike makes five movies every fuckin' year. All of that good shit, plus we're watching Pixar in their fucking prime.

It's just too bad I'm too fuckin' broke to see all that shit. The rest of you, on the other hand, have no excuse. So get going.