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My Movie Weekend

April 16th, 2007

Vic and I thought about going to the movies this weekend, but the only thing out either of us had much interest in was Blades of Glory, and after Talladega Nights we’re starting to think that rental might be a safer bet when it comes to Will Ferrell comedies.

Speaking of rental, that’s just what we did. And it’s been so long since we’ve set foot in a video store that there were actually quite a few films that appeared to be viable choices.

Oddly enough, the first one we watched was actually something we’ve had stored on the TiVo-Like DeviceTM for months, the lost-in-the-woods comedy Without a Paddle. While predictable and lazy at times–and featuring more of Seth Green’s pale skin and tighty whities than I really care to see–it generated some solid laughs. (Vic and I both loved the scene in which Green was carried off in the mouth of Bart the Bear.) Plus, I thought it was refreshing to see stars such as Green and Matthew Lillard, who have appeared in any number of youth-oriented flicks, acknowledge that they’re well past their teen years.

Next up was The Notorious Bettie Page, in which we learned that there was really nothing all that notorious about the heralded ’50s fetish pin-up. While it seemed a little unlikely that the real-life Page could be quite as blithe about the implications of her soft-core porn career as she was depicted here, it struck me as a fairly accurate portrayal overall. It’s just that, without the corsets and ball gags, there was really no story there. Girl backs into the seedier side of “glamour photography,” girl has a genuinely good time, girl ultimately gives her life over to God. However, it must be said that Gretchen Mol was a remarkable lookalike for the mysterious Miss Page.

Later that night I treated myself to a recent horror film, Feast, about which I’d heard good things. The subject of the final season of the TV show Project Greenlight, Feast was a low-budget tale about a bunch of stereotypes who walk into a bar…and are promptly attacked by ravenous monsters.

The film revels in its clichés, never giving its characters anything other than descriptive nicknames, and cleverly introducing each with a graphic detailing their role in the film and their “life expectancy.” Yet, it immediately begins to defy those conventions, and two of the first characters to die were ones previously said to have had the best chances to survive. An obvious hero is promptly slaughtered, and his putative replacement unexpectedly goes down before the final act. The only cast member to die exactly in the predicted manner is the one said to perish horribly 70 minutes into the film, though it was actually 68.

And while it’s a spoiler, I have to share my favorite moment. A second act subplot has the characters attempting to commandeer a truck in the parking lot to make their escape. When the first try fails lethally, they concoct an improbable scheme to slip one of their own number past the monsters. She succeeds in reaching the truck…and promptly drives away, never to appear again.

Plus, you gotta admire the audacity of a film that casts actor Jason Mewes (the “Jay” of “Jay & Silent Bob” fame) as himself, then rips his face off in the first reel.

It was by no means a masterpiece; it well exceeded my tolerance for slime and maggots a couple of times, and the editing was at times so frenetic that I occasionally had to scan back to see just who had been killed. Still, I was happy to watch a monster movie during which I could never be quite sure what would happen next.

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