Wednesday, July 18, 2007
The Amazing Spider-Schmuck!
Just as Jack Kerouac feasted on Benzedrine as he produced the large paper roll that became On The Road, so too does Two Buck Schmuck sit, a large RC and bagful of plain M&M's in his gut, mulling over his latest opus to the cinematic arts... oh, I'm sorry, didn't see you there. I was just self-mythologizing a bit.
Here's the movies I had to choose from at the LaGrange (or as I like to call it, The The Grange):
Georgia Rule? Nah, I still don't need the stink of Garry Marshall upon me.
Disturbia? Nah, that's okay. I have Rear Window on DVD.
Delta Farce. Delta Farce. Oh, I think I just pulled a brain muscle. I see that as of this writing, on the IMDB page for this movie, the user rating for this film is 2.0 out of 10, with a total vote count of 2,148 thus far. When you're feeling down, be comforted in the knowledge that the moviegoing public can recognize a cinematic dookie. Well, I guess you can still be depressed that over 2,000 people actually saw this movie. I noticed the poster for Delta Farce, which parodied the poster for Full Metal Jacket, had a slogan that said, "War Isn't Funny...but this movie is." Perhaps they should have put quotes around the word "is", as in "that depends on what your definition of 'is' is."
So, I saw Spider-Man 3. This was kind of an unusual situation for me. I have already seen Spider-Man 3, paying full price. I was a little disappointed the first time around, but felt like seeing it again. I'm a former superhero comic book collector, and Spider-Man is still near and dear to my heart. I'll be giving away a plot point or two for this movie, so's you have been warned.
First, the good things about Spidey 3.
1) The Dark Spidey-Suit
I loved what they did with the dark Spidey suit. It was different from the comics (which I liked as well), but it just fit really well -- I can't imagine it any other way, which is a compliment to James Acheson, the costume designer.
2) Pretty much every scene with Harry Osborn
The first action piece is a really personal fight between Harry Osborn as the new Green Goblin, and Peter Parker (in his civvie clothes). A lot of neat things happen -- Parker gets thrown through the corner of a glass skyscraper, Harry gets clotheslined, etc. The later fight scene between Harry and Peter is also nice, and more than a bit vicious. The tender scenes between Harry and Mary Jane are great. I don't even mind the kind of cheesy Marvel Team-Up Harry and Spidey do at the end to fight the combined forces of Venom and the Sandman.
3) Some small character moments
Just some nice flourishes with actors that had small parts in the previous Spider-Man movies. For some reason, it makes me happy seeing actors in small roles pop up again in later films of a series. I think the various cast disappearances of the Back To The Future series (Crispin Glover, whoever Elisabeth Shue replaced) left a bad taste in my mouth. When I see an actor again, I breathe a sigh of relief, thinking "Well that's nice that everything worked out with that actor and the film production."
Bruce Campbell *again* has a cameo that's great, but it also works seamlessly within the context of the film. The manager of Peter's building, as well his daughter, show up again. The manager actually gets a nice quiet moment with Pete, which I appreciated. Even Flash Thompson shows up in a very brief, non-speaking cameo at Harry Osborn's funeral. It was a small little detail, but appreciated.
Venom first came onto the comics scene a few years after I stopped collecting, but I have read a few of the comics, and thought they were kind of cheesy. I liked him much more in the film.
And, the bad things...
1) Why did you people bring in your three toddlers to see this movie?
Seriously, it's 10:00pm now. What were you thinking? I remember going to the Davis as a childless young man. A large family with screaming kids would be sitting in front of me. I would be pissed, but back in my mind, I would think, "Well, it's gotta be rough having a family. I know they must want to get out and see a movie once in a while, and maybe they can't get a babysitter."
Well, I have three kids now. I can safely say, without a doubt, these people are nimrods. They were sitting in the back of the theater, apparently under the assumption that sound does not travel through air-filled space. It does, however. The screaming of children died down in the last hour or so of the movie. I looked and they were mysteriously gone. I guess someone complained. Oh no, it wasn't me. Sure, I turned around in my seat and gave them the stinkeye a couple times, but I was about twenty rows in front of them and silhouetted by the screen.
2) Jesus, when is this goddamn movie going to end?
There was just too much damn movie to get through here. I loved Sandman in the comics, but I think he didn't really belong in this movie. And Venom didn't even come onto the scene until the very end of the movie. If it would have been possible, I would have cut Sandman and moved up Venom earlier into the film.
3) Cheesy, cheesy character moments
a) Oh, crap. Stan Lee makes a cameo.
A SPEAKING CAMEO. His lines, as he (as a complete stranger) walks up to Peter Parker and says, in reference to Spider-Man -- "I guess one man *can* make a difference. [beat] 'Nuff said." OH CRAP. I wanted to rip my eyes out of their sockets. "'Nuff said" is a well-known Stan Lee catchphrase, but here are a couple other phrases I would have preferred to have him say:
"Say, could you squeeze my balls?"
"Do you think I need a boob job?"
"I'm Stan Lee. Did you recognize me? Here's a little fact. A Marvel Comics movie's crappiness is in direct proportion to the size of the role given to me, Stan Lee."
b) J. Jonah Jameson
I love J.K. Simmons, and I love him as J. Jonah Jameson in the first two Spider-Man movies. But here? It's like they didn't know what to do with him. They had a running gag where his secretary buzzes him, and the buzzing is so jarring it startles him, makes him spill a bottle of pills, etc. Why is the buzzer so loud? I have no clue. It's just a gag, but a completely ludicrous gag. It would be like Ted Raimi's character Hoffman popping in randomly into Jameson's office, mentioning an old bluesman's name, then leaving. Sure, it's funny, but what the eff?
Jameson also has a completely lame scene where he buys a camera off a little girl, who is snapping pictures of the climactic fight. After he gets the camera, he realizes the camera is missing film. One, would the girl be using a camera that uses film? Two, would the girl, if she had film on her person, be shooting pictures knowing that her camera was not loaded with film?
c) Sam Raimi's kids
Speaking of that little girl, hmm, she looks a lot like two other boys in the crowd watching the climactic fight. Oh, I see. They are all Raimis. And, how shall I put this? They are not actors.
Two Buck Schmuck would like to thank his daughter for the loaning of the Spider-Man mask in the above grimacing picture.