Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My petition to James Cameron to let me write Avatar 2 (my pitch is taking the Avatar saga to an epic new level)

So, I'm sure everyone reading this has seen James Cameron's Avatar. Well...I hear that a sequel is in the works, but from what I hear there is uncertainty about what will take place in the sequel.

With that in mind, I would like to write the sequel to Avatar. So please check out what I would do with Avatar 2 if I was the writer. I believe my Avatar 2 would be the most epic movie of all time! Please check it out, and give me suggestions on what you like or don't like. I'll take your suggestions, make changes and then I'll actually put this pitch into an online petition form.

But for now, read on and I hope you enjoy. Here we go...warning you...this is a long read.

Dear James Cameron,

Congratulations on making the #1 highest grossing movie of all time. Avatar was a huge achievement in 3-D. You must be thinking, “My god! How do I possibly follow up Avatar? What am I going to do with the sequel?” I have your answer. I know how to take the Avatar story to an epic new level. All those cynics who said that Avatar lacked originality will be silenced when it comes to Avatar 2. Fascinated? Read on…

Fade in to Pandora, 1 year later. Everything is back to normal, but Jake…he ain’t doing so well.

Jake Sully is not happy in Pandora. His relationship with Neytiri is not going so well. He’s having trouble satisfying Neytiri, because as a human he had a premature ejaculation problem which has carried over to his avatar body. Right when Jake and Neytiri hook up their hair tentacle thingies…BAM!...he’s blown his load. And, blue splooge? Ewww, gross! That is something Jake still has not gotten used to. He loves Neytiri, and he starts on a quest, to learn from the other Na’Vi how to satisfy his woman.

Jake misses his life as a human. He just can’t relate these na’vi. However, when the calendar hits April 20th there’s a celebration. It turns out both humans and Na’Vi celebrate 4/20; the key difference being that the Na’vi don’t get high on weed…they get high on eywooaah: plants which they hook up their hair tentacle thingies to. The way that humans trip balls on shrooms is absolutely nothing compared to the way Na’Vi trip balls on eywooaah. What would happen here would be the absolute craziest 3-D scene ever put on film. This scene would be shot in the POV of Jake Sully, where through his eyes you see what it’s like to trip out on eywooaah. I’m talking crazy 3-D tunnel sequences, really trippy objects in fully gimmicky 3-D mode flying at the audience. Jake Sully tripping balls should be a 10 minute scene. While I’m sure it’d be tempting to make the entire movie Jake Sully tripping balls, we do need to tell a story rather than just entertain stoners (not that there is anything wrong with wanting to make a movie for the sole purpose of entertaining stoners). I know I’m not the only person who wondered what it’d be like to trip out on Na’vi drugs.

Jake can’t handle this high, and he jumps on to the dragon and flies around. You know how drinking and driving is not cool? Well getting high and flying a dragon…that is sooo not fucking cool at all! Jake gets wreckless, and crashes the dragon into the tree of souls, demolishing it. The Na’Vi close in on Jake and as they’re about to beat the shit out of him, here comes Neytiri to save him. She pleads with them to not touch him. They figure out that the tree of souls has metaphysical powers, and they could potentially connect with Eywa in a metaphysical way, but it involves having to reach nirvana. The only way to reach nirvana is to do 5 plant hits of eywooaah which is insane. Neytiri steps in for the challenge to save Jake, but Jake insists that they must do it together.

On Earth, a nuclear bomb is accidently activated. Its mutation is so bad, dead humans rise from their graves in zombie form. However, these zombies are no joke. In fact, they make 28 Days Later zombies look like pussies; what makes them scary is that they can walk, talk, and function like human beings. Anyways Pablo Escobar’s zombie and his gang of zombies all stumble into the avatar control centre and maul everyone there. They then discover the avatar technology and they find out about the Eywooaah. Pablo Escobar’s zombie must have this drug! Think about how much money can be made. They grab all these awesome weapons and make avatars of themselves. There’s no explanation for how Pablo Escobar’s gang of zombies know how to operate this complex avatar technology…you just have to suspend your disbelief. Anyways, they all transport into Pandora and what a time to capitalize…when they‘re all tripping balls on 4/20.

Because they’re zombies turned into avatars, their avatars are deadlier and more evil. They can shoot blue lava out of their eyes. The Na’vi put up their best fight, but they are no match for these evil zombie avatars run by Pablo Escobar. Tied up and captured, Pablo’s gang take their time stealing their eywooaah plants. They laugh at how easy this takeover was. Unknown to them, they have forgotten about one person they should not be fucking with: Jake motherfucking Sully!

After Jake’s colossal fuck up, he must right the wrong by saving the day. The hallucinations are too much for him to handle. They’re controlling him. He just wants those hallucinatory rainbow colored flying spiders to leave him alone. He stops, breathes, postures up and says, “My hallucinations won’t control me. I control them!” and right there he all of a sudden can control his hallucinations. Deciding that he needs to one up himself on this rescue mission, he does the most bad ass thing he has ever done in his entire life. He gets his dragon high on eywooaah; him and his dragon, united, high out of their fucking minds are going to save the day! He flies in with his dragon and Pablo Escobar starts to laugh at Jake’s pathetic attempt at a rescue. Jake closes his eyes then…his really trippy hallucinations appear. Giant multi colored flying spiders attack the gang, shooting spider webs made out of a lava/sulfuric acid mix. All the Na’vi are shocked at Jake’s amazing feat. Jake frees them all, as Pablo Escobar’s gang retreats. They’ll be back!

While this goes on, Neytiri stays behind to try to reach Nirvana. She meditates, hooks her hair tentacles thingy to the fallen tree and starts having conversations with The tree of Souls. As she’s hooked in, her body starts shaking like crazy and convulsing. This is very intense. In another trippy 3-D scene, we go into Neytiri’s head as she’s haunted by trippy, metaphorical representations of anger, attachments, and obsessions that chase her all over the place. She tries to get away, but they consume her. This is where Avatar 2 can turn all avante garde. How about that? A little avante garde in a biggest epic blockbuster movie ever.

Back on Earth, Pablo Escobar seeks help from another dangerous gangster; Al Capone’s zombie. As Pablo, Al Capone and all their gangster zombies form together, ready to attack, Jake Sully is getting everyone on Pandora ready for the attack. This is their land, damnit and this is their eywooaah. Jake says urges them to step it up a notch; all the Na’vi must do 5 hits of eywooaah, and learn to have control over their hallucinations. He tells them, “You are Na’vi! You are strong! I know how you’re all thinking, hallucinations…they aren’t real. But guess what? They can be! Do 5 hits of eywooaah, and just believe in yourself. Be in control of your hallucination, show it who’s boss, and you know what? They’ll come to life. Just believe!”

The whole tribe cheers. The energy is electric! Someone says to Jake, “Maybe if you just believe in YOURSELF, Jake…you could satisfy Neytiri in bed.” Jake thinks about this and contemplates.

Cut to a montage of the Na’vi getting ridiculously ripped on eywooaah.

The gangs of zombie avatars are back! The fight is on. The Na’vi aren’t doing so well. They can’t tell the difference between real and hallucination. They are fighting the zombie avatars and their own hallucinations. This is too much. They can’t handle this! They are getting slaughtered. Jake’s hallucinations are fighting back, but getting destroyed.

As things get more and more hopeless, we go back to Neytiri. She is now in a calm, meditative state. In her mind she is having a conversation with Eywa on the meaning of life, what it means to be Na’vi, and finding her place in life in Pandora. As another 3-D sequence goes back into her head, all the metaphorical representations of anger, temptation and obsessions attack her, but they do nothing to her at all. She closes her eyes, as her body lights up and makes everything explode into a beautiful paradise. Neytiri has reached nirvana, as the Tree of Souls slowly starts to re-erect.

The whole Na’vi tribe look in awe as the tree of souls is erecting itself back into its original shape. They smile. Things will work out just fine.

All the Na’vi scream, “Hallucinations, we control you!” as the most fucking bad ass hallucinations come to life and beat the living shit out of the zombie avatars. Their blue lava shots aren’t doing shit. Jellyfish made out of lasers, the dark unicorns of death, giant killer pink rabbits…an epic battle commences, but the hallucinations win. As Pablo Escobar tries to escape, Jake Sully and Neytiri beat the living shit out of him. Like, they beat him up…to death…WITH THEIR FISTS. If you have this shot in 3-D, it should be from Escobar’s POV, and having the fists coming out in 3-D, so the audience can feel what it is like to take a Jake Sully and Neytiri ass whooping.

Everything is back to normal. Jake sweeps Neytiri off her feet and says, “Ready for your first orgasm?!”

She nods, but then stops. She has an even better idea.

Next thing, they are doing another 5 hits of eywooaah. Not only will they be making love, their hallucinations will be making love as well. Then…


Does Jake Sully end up satisfying Neytiri? Find out in Avatar 3!

I bet that when you were reading this, you envisioned this entire movie in your head, then when you got to the end you were like, “Wow…that is an awesome movie!” Please, let your voices be heard! Tell James Cameron, you want Jeff Ching to write the screenplay for Avatar 2.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The cinematic shit-stains of the first half of 2010...

If you haven't yet read my list of the top 10 best movies of 2010 so far, please check it out here:

But now, it's time for me to take a shit on the movies that deserve to be shat on. So here we go...

Most Disappointing movie - Shutter Island
Rating: **1/2 (Out of 5)

Calling this movie Shitter Island would perhaps be a bit of a stretch, as it's by no means a horrible movie. If this movie had been directed by someone else not named Scorsese, it would not be showing up on this blog. In an attempt to make a creepy, chilling Hitchcockian film, Shutter Island just does not pull it off. It moves along at a slow pace, and it does a rather poor job of building up tension. A visceral experience this movie is not. Even the big twist didn't come close to a goosebumps type reaction or a "Holy shit!!" that a good twist delivers...I merely shrugged my shoulders was like, "okay"; not a good reaction to a big twist. Plus, when you analyze the movie postmortem, the twist simply does not make sense and makes the entire movie even more absurd and implausible.

Leo...please drop the Boston accent. It's getting annoying. Am I the only one who thinks Dicaprio is a tad bit over-rated? He's a good young actor, but I'll take Ryan Gosling and Joseph Gordon Levitt or him any day.

The most shameless, un-necessary, money hungry whore of a movie sequel - Shrek Forever After
Rating: ** (out of 5)

It really sucks to see a franchise that started off so fresh and different end like this. I hate sequels which are so obviously motivated by money rather than creativity. It sucks to see Dreamworks milking Shrek the way George Lucas milks Star Wars. Apparently, legacy just doesn't matter. See Shrek 4 then Toy Story 3 to see the difference between a sequel which was obviously just made for money and a sequel which had creative reasons to exist and tell a story that needed to be told. There is absolutely no reason this story of Shrek 4 needs to exist at all. It's a fucking bullshit story.

The humor is lazy and uninspired, the repetition of jokes from the previous Shrek movies are no longer funny (I can't believe people were still laughing at Pussinboots trying to be cute), and all the characters that were once interesting, and lovable from the earlier Shreks are now completely dull. I will say Rumpelstiltskin is a funny villain, and the only interesting character the film has to offer.

It's too bad, because the first 20 minutes of the movie showing how Shrek is bored with the repetition of his new family life was actually very good. However it all goes down hill from there. Its moral of, "You don't know what you got till it's gone...don't take the people you love for granted" has been done to death and delivered in such a trite way. Am I being too hard on the movie? No. I'm not comparing Shrek 4 to The Godfather...I just wish Shrek 4 could have been at least close to Shrek 1...or maybe even 2.

These unmotivated sequels to brilliant originals anger me more than a brand new movie that just sucks. Shrek 4 is a better than let's say...Fly me to the moon, but if I had the power to remove one of those movies from existence, it would definitely be Shrek 4.

Un-necessary remake - A Nightmare on Elm Street
Rating: **1/2

First off, what have you guys done to Freddy Kreuger? He does not look NEARLY as scary as the original. Someone in the audience screaming, "Awww, come on!!" at the first shot of Freddy Kreuger's face would be completely warranted. Second of all, horrible use of the line, "How's this for a wet dream?" It was a hilarious and brilliant line in Nightmare on Elm Street Part 4 (the water bed death), but in the context of this remake...WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU GUYS THINKING? That would be another time where an "Awww come on!" from someone in the audience would be completely warranted.

Finally, the director doesn't seem to understand that less is sometimes better. There is way too much exposure of Freddy Kreuger in the 2nd half to the point that his prescence on screen is no longer ominous. I really like Jackie Earl Haley, but he just doesn't really do it for me as Freddy.

You know, this is not a terrible movie. It's competently directed and it has its share of suspenseful moments. But, it offers nothing new that the original didn't do better. For that, this movie's existence is pointless. I ask, what's the fun in doing a remake like this? Why not do something different? Why not apply Nightmare on Elm Street to today's world dominated by the internet? There's many creative directions they can go with Freddy. But, I don't want to encourage them to make a sequel. Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th...come on, guys! Try to think up original new ideas and leave the classic horrors alone.

On another note, someone actually brought their baby to see this movie. During the first 20 minutes, I heard a baby crying a few times. Then the baby was silent for the rest of the movie. So, there you have it. Past the 20 minute mark, this movie couldn't even scare a baby.

The L Word - No, not lesbian, not love. LAME - The Lame-Team, I mean The A-Team
Rating: ** (out of 5)

Is The Lame Team funnier or The Aids Team? This movie is boring! I've seen soccer games with more exciting action than The A-Team. I did not go into A-team excepting a complex plot and 3 dimensional character. I expected a somewhat decently entertaining action movie with some funny moments. Is that too much to ask for? The entire time watching this movie, I kept thinking about another movie with a similar premise, but 1000 times better called The Losers, a movie with better characters, a fucking hilarious villain and action scenes that you can actually *gasp* see what's going on! Seriously, watch The Losers. That is a stupid, absurd, but very fun and entertaining action movie directed with style.

The first scene fight scene that shows Rampage Jackson beating people up shows exactly what is wrong with the movie. I hate action movies that employ the style of cutting so fast that you can barely see what the hell is going on. This is how the majority of the action is conveyed. The one saving grace is the ridiculous tank falling from the sky scene...there, you could actually see what's going on and it's a stupid, but fun action scene.

The movie is just so sloppily structured and repetitive. It's a repetition of this formula:
a.) Liam Neeson comes up with a plan for his team
b.) Action scene where it's hard to see what's going on and lacks excitement
c.) OMG! Somebody has betrayed the A-team, with Neeson getting all angry and being like, "GRR! I can't believe you betrayed me! I trusted you!"

And repeat that formula over and over and over again. Seriously...fucking everybody and their mothers betray the A-team. The number of, "You traitor! I trusted you!" scenes is laughable. Get it through your head, A-team...people just get a kick out of betraying you.

Oh right I guess there's change to the formula when Neeson is like, "Drrr, I'm so burned out, I can't come up with plans anymore" that dude from The Hangover becomes the new plan maker, but he's all like, "Oh no! I don't have confidence in my plan making skills, cuz usually it's that older wiser dude who comes up with the plans."

Completely ridiculous action scenes where our hero can get shot at by absolutely everyone, but every bullet will somehow miss, or a scene where the villain can shoot the hero, but talks and stalls until someone else comes in to save the day may have been cool in the 90s, but nowadays it just comes off very corny. Watch Rampage's motorcycle rescue as a good example of this. The action scenes have no excitement, no suspense, no sense of urgency, or even style.

Dumb action movies can be good if directed with a sense of unique style. Movies like Wanted and The Losers are good examples of this; dumb movies that are good. The A-Team however is just dumb, boring, and isn't even funny in a "So bad it's good" way. Seriously...this movie felt very long.

Worst movie of 2010 so far: Legion
Rating *1/2

There are two good things about this movie. One is that scene in the trailer when the old lady in the coffee shop goes apeshit and attacks. The other is that in the end credits, the font they use is really nice. I want to know the name of that font. That is all.

You know...there's a thing about dumb campy movies. If you're going to make a dumb, campy movie, embrace the stupidity. When dumb movies are very aware of how dumb they are and don't care, there's something kind of charming about that (once again I point to Wanted as an example). There's nothing worse than a dumb movie that takes itself WAAAAAY too seriously. That is Legion.

The plot about God losing faith in humanity and sending angels to kill off humanity is pretty dumb, but whatever...humans fighting off these scary creatures can still make for an entertaining movie, right? Here's the feels like a horror writer and a writer from The Young and the Restless teamed up to write the script. I was utterly shocked at the huge amount of melodrama between the stranded characters. The cheesy, "Oh gosh, this apocalypse has made me realize how horrible of a father I am" to "You're a horrible daughter!"...or a thug telling a rebellious girl that being rebellious isn't so cool with the girl being like, "Maybe you're right. Maybe I should stop being rebellious." ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?

There's like 40 fucking minutes of this corny soap opera writing with dramatic music and slow zoom ins to the characters' faces as their pour their hearts out. the filmmakers actually think their dramatic material is good?! It's also funny to see Dennis Quaid in this movie...he's the ultimate king of mediocre performances. Oh right, and the movie preaches on and on about how horrible human beings have become.

Did the writer actually think the script was good? I bet the writer's all like, "This is so much more than just a horror. It's a social commentary on the state of humanity. It's also a study of the human condition." haha, I actually want to see if the DVD has a behind the scenes with the writer saying shit like that. That'd be fucking hilarious...probably more enjoyable than the movie itself.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The top 10 best movies of the 1st half of 2010...

So far, 2010 has been a fantastic year for movies. We're only halfway through the year, and I already have two 5 star movies in the top 10. The fact that Temple Grandin only made #5 says a lot about the quality of movies ranked #1 to 4. There are some odd choices in my list (including a movie that's only 40 mins long), and there are a few movies that are arguably not 2010 movies, but fuck it...I saw them this year, and I want them to get more exposure.

Honorable mentions:

Youth In Revolt, Hot Tub Time Machine, The Lovely Bones, Splice, The Losers, The Crazies, Long Pigs (this film had the coolest time lapse shot in the history of time lapse shots)

10. Alice in Wonderland
Rating ****
Perhaps the fact that I saw this movie on shrooms might explain why it's placed up here. I just remember being unbelievably tripped out by this movie. While Tim Burton is often accused of casting the same people over and over again, kudos to him for the most inspired casting choice which was Mia Wasikowska who is fantastic as a 19 year old Alice, and really makes Alice a very memorable character. I understand why a lot of people hated this movie, but I had a lot of fun. Maybe I'll watch it again...not on shrooms and see if my opinion changes.

9. Get Him to the Greek
Rating ****

It's been a good year for raunchy R rated comedies. As funny as Hot Tub Time Machine and Youth in Revolt were, Get Him to the Greek was an easy choice for the best R rated comedy of the year, which is not only a more complete movie, but with great quotable lines of dialogue and smarter humor overall. The first half of the movie just might have some of the biggest laughs of any movie of the past few years. There are moments that made the audience laugh so hard, and long too...after a big joke, the movie would cut to a dialogue scene where you can't hear what's being said due to the audience still laughing at the joke that just took place. Aldous Snow's character released a flop of a song called "African Child"...he's hurt by some of the critics' comments including one critic who said, "African Child is the worst thing to happen to black people since the Rodney King beating"...I fucking love this type of humor!

I think most lesser writers would have been content on just having joke after joke after joke, but Nicolas Stoller is better than that. The 2nd half of the movie surprisingly has good dramatic depth, fully developing its two lead characters, and making the audience really care for their friendship. While Judd Apatow is still the king of the raunchy R rated comedy, Nicolas Stoller is getting very close to Apatow. I can't wait to see what he does next.

8. High life
Rating: ****

What a nice surprise this movie was...especially after seeing a very uninspired trailer which makes the movie look very generic. As a Canadian, I'm proud to flaunt this movie as what us Canadian filmmakers are capable of. It's the best heist movie since Matchstick Men (though it's not quite as good).

This is a very funny movie that shows what can go wrong if you get a bunch of drug addicts to team up together to pull off a robbery. The actors are very funny and there's a nice mix of personalities in the team; the funniest character is definitely the good looking charming guy who's importance to the heist is being...well...good looking and charming. The scene with him in the convenience store alone is worth the price of admission.

But, let's not forget about the heist aspect of the movie. The actual robbery plan is actually quite clever, the movie is easy to follow, unpredictable and unlike other heist stands up quite well in post mortem plausability analysis. High Life is simply a very fun, entertaining movie and far more intelligent than most of the bullshit offered by Hollywood. Go Canada!

7. Sita Sings the Blues
Rating: ****1/2

This movie can be seen for free at:

This movie is proof that often suffering leads to the best art. True story: the husband of this filmmaker left her, leaving her extremely depressed. How'd she get over it? sitting at her computer and spending years animating this astonishing and extremely creative animated film. What a fucking accomplishment! She directed, wrote, produced...she did pretty much everything on this movie. This movie is a very funny and extremely sarcastic re-telling of a classic Hindu tale of Ramayana (I should add, there are 3 Indian narrators who are fucking hilarious and poke fun at this story, showing how shallow the characters are) paralleled with the true story of the filmmaker's relationship. When you get to the end of the movie, you understand what the two stories have in common. People who are frustrated at the lack of creativity in animated films nowadays need to give this one a try. I hope to see a lot more of Nina Paley.

6. Toy Story 3
Rating: ****1/2

Pixar has still got it! This is one of the rare trilogies where the franchise doesn't run out of steam. In fact, I'll say that the last third of Toy Story 3 is some of the strongest material of any of the Toy Story movies. Pixar has not yet turned into shameless money hungry whores like Dreamworks Animation (Shrek 4 was such an obvious money grab, and a completely unwarranted sequel). Toy Story 3 clearly had a creative reason for being made, and it's the most satisfying conclusion to a trilogy I can think of. No matter how much pressure Disney made put on you to make a Toy Story 4, tell me to fuck off and end on a high note, Pixar! Toy Story 3's ending was perfect, and leave on a high note.

The action/adventure scenes are surprisingly intense and very exciting (sometimes very dark too), there's a lot of good humor, especially with the addition of Ken and Barbie. But, it's ultimately the ending which really makes this Toy Story a memorable movie. It may not have been as ground breakingly creative as its first two predecessors, but this is the Toy Story that will resonate the most on an emotional level with older people. We've all grown up, and I'm sure we all miss our childhood. Beyond all the crazy action scenes, it's a profound movie about life, the transition from childhood to adolescents, and moving on and letting go of the past. I recommend seeing this movie in 3-D, as if you don't want to look like a huge pussy crying at a Pixar cartoon, the 3-D glasses do a pretty good job of hiding your tears.

5. Temple Grandin
Rating: ****1/2

After getting bored with the huge amount of biopics which are getting very repetitive, it is so refreshing to get Temple Grandin, which I think is the best biopic since Monster. People who liked bullshit "based on true story" inspirational stories like The Blind Side and The Pursuit of Happyness need to watch Temple Grandin to see how a true inspirational story is done with creativity, originality and authenticity that doesn't feel completely phoney. It is unfortunate that this movie will have no shot at the Oscars due to the fact that it's an HBO movie.

The film is directed with such a refreshingly different style, and Temple Grandin is a very fascinating person who's struggles in life and being able to past all the obstacles of being an autistic person is very admirable. You learn a lot about autism, the movie's direction sort of lets you see through the eyes of an autistic person, and when the film finally arrives at its ending, it is one of the most well earned, and uplifting feel good endings since...perhaps The Shawshank Redemption. I can't believe this movie's only at #5.

4. The Secret in Their Eyes
Rating: ****1/2

This movie pulled a huge upset at the Oscars, but after seeing A Prophet, White Ribbon and this one...the Oscars got it right this time! This is a fascinating, thought provoking, moving, darkly funny police procedural which is brilliantly written and directed (the soccer stadium scene...holy fucking shit!! I can also say Holy shit to the brilliant and witty dialogue), well acted and I should add includes an ending which will linger in your mind for a long time after the credits roll (it's a twist ending which really makes you think and can spark a long morality debate). Simply saying that this movie is a mystery or police procedural would be doing it a huge injustice. The Oscar for best screenplay should have gone to this movie.

While the murder case itself is fascinating, and unravels at a good pace, the movie's core focus is on the characters and how it affected their lives. The film jumps back and forth in time...we see the characters working on the case in 1974 and present day in 2000 where the former investigator is now trying to write a book about the murder case in 1974, but the lack of closure has made it impossible for him to move on with his life. Within it all, involves a romance where I'll movie I can think of has made me root for two characters to hook up more than this one. This is the kind of drama that I wish Hollywood would make.

3. Kick Ass
Rating: ****1/2

After seeing The Dark Knight and Iron Man evolve the super hero genre, here's a movie that will hopefully further the evolution of super hero movies. What if you took a post modern approach to the super hero movie, added Kill Bill type brutal violence, directed action scenes with the very cool style of Wanted, added in Superbad type raunchy humor, include an 11 year old girl who calls people cocksuckers and cunts, and integrate the super hero world into today's modern world ruled by myspace and youtube? That sounds to me like one of the freshest, most original takes on the super hero movie. Let's not write this off as something trashy, the writing is very clever, and even the opening existential speech made by the main character about how ordinary his life is and how he merely exists is brilliant. Immediately, the film has 95% of the audience that can relate to the main character's teenage angst.

Oh how I wish all big blockbuster movies were this much fun. Very few movies have gotten me more excited about the final big action scene than this one. The build up is phenomenal, the surprise weapon that remains a mystery does not disappoint, and the villain suffers the most epic death of any movie I can remember. This is the movie you can just sit there, be very entertained...then when you think about it and analyze it's even better.

2. Hubble
Rating: *****

Okay, so is it absurd that I put a 40 minute Imax movie into this list? Maybe. I normally find those 40 minute Imax movies at the science centre to be great visual treats, but very corny in its storytelling. To say that my mind was completely blown by this movie is an understatement. Now, if I were to have seen this on DVD, then maybe the rating would be lower, but I'm judging this based on seeing it on a giant Omnimax screen with a sick sound system.

If there is only one movie to see in theatres this year, it's Hubble in Imax. If there's only one movie get stoned's Hubble in Imax (I will say with ease...this is the trippiest movie I've ever seen). The visuals are simply...mind blowing; seeing the stars forming, cocoons in space that may form into artist can match the absolute beauty that's captured in space by this hubble telescope.

Beyond the dazzling visuals, the film tells a very good story. It documents a team of astronauts being sent into space to fix the telescope. The dangers they face are crazy, and there are some very intense moments. What surprised me the most is the emotional power of this movie. It is so uplifting, and made me feel proud to be alive, and human, and living on this planet, and proud of what the human race has accomplished. It sounds cheesy, but that's how I felt. This movie is a truly unique experience you won't get in any other movie.

1. Leaves of Grass
Rating: *****

From what I know...this movie will be released in the summer. I may get some backlash for saying good as the Coen Brothers are, I'll take Leaves of Grass over any of their movies. While ordering this top 10 list was hard, picking this as #1 was an easy choice.

If you're the kind of person who's bored of the predictability of your typical Hollywood movie, this is the movie for you! One minute it's thoughtful and philosophical, next minute it turns absolutely batshit insane. I loved it! Simply put, you can never predict where the movie's going. You just go along with it, and enjoy all the surprises. This sort of reminded me of why I loved Punch Drunk Love so much as well.

Leaves of Grass is like a more thoughtful, deeper, philosophical Pineapple Express (there are many scenes of characters getting high, as well as one character running a grow op) combined with a violent Coen Brothers crime thriller...oh yeah, and the movie's fucking hilarious as well. In committing a somewhat clever crime, the characters commit one of the funniest fuck ups I've ever seen in a movie. To top it all off, Leaves of Grass gives us a romance that we can really care for between the main character (a philosophy professor) and a poet. Ed Norton and Keri Russel have phenomenal chemistry together and the very smart dialogue between them is what I wish I saw more of in Hollywood romantic comedies.

Edward Norton deserves an Oscar for playing two very different, but equally brilliant twins. I'd also like to see a supporting nomination for Richard Dreyfus who is hilarious as the dangerous Jew who will kill Brady if he doesn't get his money.

On one hand, the movie is a wacked out, outrageous, brutally violent, and darkly funny movie. On the other hand, it'll make you think more deeply about life, the paths you take which lead you to who you become as a person, and the unexplainable actions and behaviors of humans and why they act that way. This could be the smartest stoner movie ever made. This is perhaps a movie for intellectual stoners to get baked then watch. Then smoke another joint when the movie's done and have a long indepth discussion about the themes and ideas of the movie.

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Monday, May 31, 2010

No Pixar! Not you guys too!

It looks like the day has finally come that Pixar have become sell outs. For the longest time, they seemed like a studio with a lot of integrity. They were always thinking outside the box, wanting to tell a creative, original story. In all their movie releases, they only opted to make one sequel which was Toy Story 2, which seemed more creatively motivated than being an easy money grab. Almost every Pixar movie has felt like so much passion and heart went into it. No wonder why Pixar typically sweeps the Oscars with ease.

But, the truth is that Pixar is under Disney's control. I guess we should have seen the day coming. It's fucking Disney for crying out loud. Not only is Toy Story 3 coming out, but Pixar has also announced that they're making sequels to not only Monsters Inc, but also Cars. As someone pointed out, perhaps the reason is that Disney can make fuckloads of money on making toys for the movies. Is this what Pixar really wanted? Is Disney like a rich scary pimp who used to let his clients roam free and do whatever, but now he's cracking down, enforcing strict rules and delivering vicious pimp slaps to his clients for not complying? Especially Cars come on! Yeah, let's make a sequel to the most mediocre Pixar movie of all time. A studio going sequel crazy is the first sign of a once creative studio with lots of integrity selling out. Who knows? Sequels = easy money. I wish audiences would stop falling for it. The best recent example is Shrek 4...a shamelessly, lazily written, creatively unmotivated money grab...a half assed effort which grossed $70 million on its opening week-end. Yes, it made less than 3, but I wish it bombed big time to send a message that we're tired of this shit.

Let's take a look at one of Pixar's projects that was cancelled. From wikipedia:

"Newt was a film project announced by Pixar in 2008 that was supposed to be distributed by Walt Disney Pictures in 2012. The film focused on the last two blue-footed newts in existence; they are destined to mate to save their species from extinction, but circumstances make the situation more complicated. Writer and director Gary Rydstrom explained, "Newt is smart but he's never had to think for himself and is pampered. Brooke on the other hand is streetwise and not to be messed with. It’s fair to say it’s about as bad as first dates can get!"

What a brilliant concept!! Wouldn't you much rather see this than fucking Cars 2 and Monsters Inc 2? But, I suppose that the sounds of cash registers ringing was not too loud on this one premise.

I'm afraid of Pixar turning into another Dreamworks Animations which lost its integrity a long time ago. I really hope I'm wrong and there's a creative reason for making those sequels, but come on...nothing about the originals screamed for a sequel. Toy Story 3 is coming out soon, and we'll see. If Toy Story 3 really delivers, then I'll have more hope for Pixar's future. But now, a Pixar release no longer stirs up excitement. It looks like they're becoming just like everyone else.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Review: How to Train your dragon...

Rating: ***1/2 (out of 5)

Writing this review reminds me of my review of Up. Once again here's another cartoon where I'll's a very entertaining movie, but calm down with the over-praising. At rottentomatoes, the movie has a 98% with the consensus saying, "Boasting dazzling animation, a script with surprising dramatic depth, and thrilling 3-D sequences, How to Train Your Dragon soars." Surprising dramatic depth? Really?
If you go to the movie to expecting to be entertained with great visuals, you'll have a good time. However if you expect to see a movie on par with Pixar's best, or even expecting "the best Dreamworks animated film since Shrek", you will be a tad bit disappointed (just for the record, Kung Fu Panda is the best animated Dreamworks film since Shrek). I hope this review isn't coming off too negative as it is a good movie, but I feel the need to put the movie in its rightful place. The movie has spectacular visuals, but ultimately it's the script that lets the movie down a little bit.

Most of you have seen the trailer, and I don't think you really need me to summarize the plot. In a formulaic sense, if you've seen Cloudy with a chance of meatballs (just for the record, I think Meatballs is a better movie due to being more creative), you will be very familiar with this movie's structure and formula. Here's yet another movie with a very ambitious and intelligent protagonist, but can't get the approval of other people...including his father. Once you see the first scene between the main character Hiccup and his viking father, you know exactly how this will play know that his father will not approve of him the entire movie which will then all build up to the dramatic, "I'm proud of you son, moment." Look at the relationship between the main character and the dragon he befriends, or his love interest...everything in these subplots has been done to death. Simply put, the movie's formula is so cliched, so predictable and by the numbers, and that's what prevents this movie from being one of the greats.

I should also add that what really disappointed me about the movie was the comedy. It has its funny moments here and there, but none of the jokes are memorable. With maybe one exception, I can't remember any quotable or memorable lines of dialogue.
The kid characters and one of the dumb vikings try to be comic relief, but they just aren't funny. Watch Monster House to see how funny child characters are done (I'll also add, Monster House is a better movie).

I've been spending an awful lot of time criticizing the movie, that I should spend some time discussing the strengths. From a pure visual standpoint, Dragon is excellent. The 3-D is used very well. The gimmicky in your face stuff comes occasionally and is excellently delivered, and the flying on the dragon scenes do make you feel like you're flying. Most of all, the action scenes are a lot of fun. The final battle vs. the scary, bad ass, gargantuan sized dragon is a lot of fun.

The movie never overstays its welcome. It's paced well, and the friendship that grows between Hiccup and his dragon is overall well done. Just like any other animated film, Dragon has its morals which will not be difficult for the audience to pick up on.

How to Train your Dragon is a very entertaining movie, but to suggest that it's anywhere in the same league as Pixar's best is absurd. If I hadn't read all the hype about the movie, I perhaps would have enjoyed it more. If Dragon ends up winning best animated film at the Oscars, that'll speak volumes of how weak the animated entries are (I'm not all that excited for Toy Story 3, and Shrek 4 just looks really bad). Ultimately, How to Train your Dragon has the recipe for a good time at the movies, but it lacks original and creative storytelling to elevate it to greatness.

Friday, March 26, 2010

You know who are some interesting villains? Wrestling villains...

Villainy is always an interesting subject to explore whether it being in books, films, TV shows, or real life villains. For this blog, I feel like writing about wrestling villains. "The Bad guys"...the wrestlers that get bood by the fans, or the "heels" for the more hardcore wrestling fans. I figure with Wrestlemania coming up this Sunday, let's talk heels.

In wrestling, you need the good guys and the bad guys, otherwise it would not be interesting. It's up to creative to figure out how to make the fans hate the bad guys. Sometimes they got lazy...they'd be like, "How can we make the fans hate Stone Cold Steve Austin? I know! Let's have him beat up women with chairs. Yeah!" On the other hand, they sometimes came up with great material.

I'm sure everyone knows this...wrestling is like a soap opera for guys. All wrestlers have characters, and there are stories behind feuds. Looking back, it must have been so much fun to be a creative writer for WWE back in the Attitude era. We're talking villains, and you know which WWE villain was given some really funny, dark material to work with? The Big Bossman.

I will call him the Eric Cartman of WWE heels. The creative team really made this guy hilariously evil. In the fictional wrestling world, if I were the good guy, Big Bossman would be the last guy I'd want to fuck with.

Let's start with his feud with Al Snow. Al Snow used to come out with a really cute dog. I don't remember why they're feuding, but Big Bossman comes out, beats up Al Snow and kidnaps his dog. On the next episode of Raw, Al Snow gets a ransom note telling him that he must show up at a certain hotel or his dog dies.

So...Al Snow shows up to the hotel being like, "Where's my dog?" to which Big Bossman is all happy to see him and is like, "Hey, Al! How you doing? Here. Sit down. Have lunch. I cooked. Tell me what you think."

So, Al Snow sits down, eats and is like, "Woah. This tastes really good." He's getting really into it when Big Bossman then starts to laugh and reveal that Al Snow has actually been eating his own dog. Al Snow then starts coughing, feeling sick to his stomach to the laughs of the Big Bossman. Doesn't that remind you of the Scott Tenenmen episode of South Park?

I think that then lead to a match for the hardcore title. It's funny what WWE comes up with sometimes to have a feud, but here's an even funnier even more evil example.

Big Bossman then had a feud with The Big Show. According to the WWE script, Big Show's father passed away. So WWE actually films a funeral for Big Show's dad. Big Show is there, crying, all sad. Then out of nowhere, Big Bossman pulls up in a car, hooks it up to the coffin and drives away with the dead body of Big Show's dad. Big Show is all emotional, and jumps on the coffin as it's being dragged away by the pick up truck screaming, "Noooo!". Big Bossman is laughing like an evil man as he drags Big Show's dead father away.

What's funny is how all this eventually lead up to their big match at a PPV, which I'm pretty sure ended with Big Show winning the match with a choke slam. It's funny how that ends a feud. It's like, a wrestler could have done the absolute worst things to you possible, yet doing your finishing move and then pinning the person to 3 is good enough revenge. It's like, "Yeah, he kind of did ruin my dad's funeral and dragged his dead body away, but choke slamming him then lying on top of him for 3 seconds. Yeah, I'm happy. Good enough revenge."

I found the promotional video package hyping up the Big Show vs. Big Bossman feud. Here it is...this is funny shit:

Watching that video package, that's what's fun about wrestling...just how absurd it can get.

I'd like to end this blog by posting one of the funniest heel promos ever done. Thanks to Moe for bringing this video to my attention:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Just writing to say I will update the blog soon...

So I know I haven't written a blog for a while. I guess I've been having a bit of a writer's block as of late. Even writing facebook birthday messages has been a bit of a struggle as of late.

Just wanted to say, stay tuned. I'll update soon. I have a rough idea of what I want to write about, but I've simply lacked motivation as of late. It'll come back soon.

Until then...if you haven't seen it yet, please watch my eHarmony commercial parody sketch at:

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Criminally under-rated/un-seen movies Ed. 1 - Sex Drive

Note: This movie can be found at any video store. If you've never seen this movie, watch the original theatrical cut. The director's cut has some fun moments, but isn't as good as the theatrical cut.

With She's Out of my League coming to theatres tomorrow, I thought I'd write my first edition of under-rated movies on a criminally under-rated raunchy teen comedy called Sex Drive. What's the connection, the same guys who wrote Sex Drive also wrote She's Out of My League. I am wishing though that they could have directed the movie as well as I actually think Sex Drive's greatness came from the direction rather than the screenplay.

Exhibit A: Here's the opening scene of Sex Drive. Yes, we've seen this type of thing done before in American Pie...but I really think this one is much funnier than American Pie 1 or 2's opening scene...correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't recall those scenes ending with a final punch line. Especially American Pie 2's opening scene doesn't fully deliver, because the element of unpredictability is not fully there. Now on this scene...Yes, some of the humor in this scene doesn't work, but the final punchline accompanied by the older brother's last line of dialogue is hilarious and kind of caught me by surprise.

Good set up at the beginning, the following 2 minutes is a good enough distraction to make you forget how the scene began, then BAM...well delivered punch line to end the scene.

The majority of raunchy teen comedies are bad. They often think that simply having lots of swearing and having jokes about sex, masturbation and semen is good enough. The directors of abominations such as Van Wilder (in my opinion, one of the worst teen comedies of all time), Eurotrip and American Wedding need to watch Sex Drive and take notes. It's interesting...none of the humor in this movie is that original. They don't do anything that hasn't been done, yet this movie really delivers some of the biggest laughs of any teen comedy. I'll pick the funniest moments of this movie over the funniest moments of Superbad. This movie is all about taking trashy, low brow humor, but doing it well. For one, low brow humor often depends on unpredictability. If you see the joke coming, it doesn't work...(I'm looking at you American Wedding! We all fucking knew Stiffler was going to eat the dog shit. That's why the joke didn't work!) Now observe Sex Drive. There is a jail scene where Felicia is confiding in the other prisoners. The camera tracks backwards for one of the funniest reveal shots I never would have seen coming.

It actually takes some skill to make jizz jokes actually work and not just gross (I'm looking at you again Van Wilder. Your dog semen joke was a pathetic attempt at getting a laugh). The movie knows how to play up awkwardness and it knows when to go over the top and make it work.

Here's an example. Watch this scene:

Now here...most amateur comedy directors would ended the joke with stepmom catching her stepson doing something embarrassing that's it. However, Sex Drive is better than that. The humor of this scene is the hilarious reaction of the stepmom.

Observe her reaction very carefully. She sees her stepson doing this, she doesn't know what to do, so she quickly runs back up the stairs to take the "I'll pretend that I didn't notice what you were doing" approach. Though as she runs back up the stairs, the son turns around to see his stepmom running up the stairs. She then walks back down the stairs, holding the food, with a phony, pasted on smile to her stepson. She hopes that he didn't notice her noticing his making love to a punching bag. Good fucking comedy, though it's better on DVD. On youtube it's a bit hard to see the look on her face.

I will not spoil the final appearance of stepmom which to me is the funniest part of the movie.

I should also mention that Seth Green makes an appearance playing an Hamish guy who helps out the protagonist along the way. For one, I've never seen such a funny Hamish character. All I can say is...NOBODY I've seen has delivered sarcasm in a funnier way than Seth Green in this movie. Here is a hilarious scene with Seth Green on youtube:

(Ignore the "Now you don't have to waste your money to see a 1 minute scene." She doesn't know what the fuck she's talking about)

In the midst of all the raunchy comedy, there actually lies a sensitively told love story between the protagonist and Felicia, a good friend of his who he has feelings for. However, he's stuck in the friendship zone with her. There is a lot of truth and honesty to this subplot that never comes off corny.

Yes, this humor is very low brow, very trashy, but delivered with intelligence. The humor has the guts to go all the way and never pulls its punches. This is truly one of the most under-rated teen comedies of the past decade. Perhaps a good double bill would be to watch this on DVD, then head to the theatre to watch She's Out of my League.

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Monday, March 8, 2010

My rant on the oscars...

So usually after every Oscars, I tend to go on a rant and be all, "Grr! I'm angry that this happened" or "How the fuck did so and so not win!". This year though...I don't have any angry remarks. I think maybe I just didn't care that much this year after the nominations were announced. When Mary and Max failed to secure a best animated film nomination, and 500 Days of Summer and Where the Wild Things are failed to secure even a single nomination...I kind of stopped caring. But, I'll just rant about any random thing that pops into my mind.

-I liked Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin's opening and the funniest joke of the night had to be the joke about Christoph Waltz searching for Jews.

-Is it just me or did this year's Oscars fly by really fast? The Oscars usually feel really long, but this year I was surprised when they were already at the main acting categories. On the other hand, I was watching it this year in a big room with roughly 20 people, lots of booze, and junk food being passed back and forth. Had I watched it alone this year, I'm not sure I would have felt the same way.

-This year was the first where they didn't have all the bands nominated for best song perform. That saved a lot of time, and let's be honest...the musical performances were often when most people would take their bathroom breaks or channel surf. But, I think they should atleast have the winner perform.

-Okay, if there's one category they really went wrong it was awarding best adapted screenplay to Precious over Up in the Air. I still have no clue what the critics saw in that movie. I've mentioned it before, but watch this parody called "Precious moments" which perfectly mocks and ridicules the movie and points out exactly why this movie is so hard to take seriously. Its depiction is 100% accurate:

-Haha, it was funny when the best actress category was presented. When Oprah was up there, the entire room burst out laughing. It's sometimes hard to take Oprah seriously. I know. It's hard to take her seriously since she went on her show and said, "Over 9000 penises and they are all raping children!". Come on, Oprah! When the person who posted that calls himself Pedobear it's pretty obvious it's a joke.

But you know what? Oprah gave a better speech to the Precious actress than anyone else did to the other nominated actresses. Speaking of that, why the fuck was Keanu Reeves not asked to introduce Sandra Bullock for best actress? Come on!! How fucking funny would it have been to see Keanu up there? "When we were in Speed together I knew you had potential, but when I Saw you in Blind Side, I was like, 'Woah!"

-Was that an abrupt presentation of best picture or what? What the hell happened? Hi I'm Tom Hanks, winner's Hurt Locker!" Everyone in the room was like, "What the hell just happened?" Did Tom Hanks make a bet that he can present the award faster than anyone else?

-Who won for best foreign film again? I know it wasn't the favorited White Ribbon. It seems like every single year best foreign film is an upset. Last year, no one thought Departures would win over Waltz for Bashir (no one had even heard of the movie). A few years back, no one expected Pan's Labyrinth to lose to The Lives of Others. So for future oscar pools or predictions, best against the favorite when it comes to this category. Take a completely uneducated wild guess, and you just might predict this category right.

-None of the acting categories were surprises at all. I won't bother ranting about how much I hated Blind Side or what a crock of shit it was for Sandra Bullock to get the Oscar...we all knew it was going to happen. Oh how sweet it would have been for Carey Mulligan to pull the upset.

-What can I say about best picture? I'm glad Avatar didn't win. The Hurt Locker was not my favorite movie, but I'll cheer for the indy over the mainstream film. Fact is, if you want to win best picture you need a little more originality and a little less cliches, predictability, and heavy handedness. You know what movie was way more deserving of a best picture nod than Avatar? The Dark Knight. There's a mainstream Hollywood film that took big risks and never felt the need to pander. Avatar fans shouldn't be too disappointed. If I was a director, I'll gladly take being the #1 movie of all time over getting an Oscar any day.

-Comment of the night came during the best documentary presentation when a clip of The Cove was played. One part shows the ocean completely red with dolphin blood, which rightfully got an uncomfortable reaction from the audience. Pellar then says, "oh whatever. They could have done that with color correction." Fucking hilarious!

Can't think of anything else to say. Hope you enjoyed the read.

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The first GREAT movie of 2010...

Temple Grandin
Rating: ****1/2 (out of 5)
The movie is on HBO. People with TMNonDemand, you can find the movie there too.


The first cinematic masterpiece of 2010 sadly is nowhere to be found in movie theatres, but only on HBO. It's called Temple Grandin which is not only the best biopic since Monster (yes, I'm picking this one over American Splendor), but also breaths so much life into the tired, generic, schmaltzy, cliched subgenre of the "inspirational" underdog movie which is "based on a true story" (See The Blind Side and The Pursuit of Happyness as the shit-stains of this already shit-stain subgenre). I would also pick Temple Grandin over every best picture nominee at the Oscars not named Up in the Air. People who actually liked The Blind Side (the #1 most undeserved best picture nominee in the past 10 years) need to watch Temple Grandin to see how this type of movie is done with intelligence, creativity, originality, and unforced emotional manipulation. I should also mention that the movie currently has an 8.7/10 rating at imdb. This movie has not been seen by many, but those who have seen it absolutely love it.

The movie is about the life of Temple Grandin who is the most famous autistic person and who has written books which have gone a long way to help people understand her condition. She's also one of the first people who did research on animal behavior and designed a more humane and less brutal way of killing animals in slaughter houses.

Biopics have become sort of dull as of late, and Temple Grandin shows how to do it with style and originality. For one, Temple Grandin is an extremely fascinating character who really had to overcome huge obstacles in the 60s, where no one understood autism and she was often the centre of ridicule. Claire Danes is simply phenomenal in her portrayal of Temple. The movie is shot brilliantly with such a refreshing style. Not only do we learn about her character, but the film's style actually shows exactly how her mind works and the way that she sees the world. It lets you see life through the eyes of an autistic person. It's interesting that she understood animal behavior so well, because she can put herself in the minds of animals and see the world through their eyes.

Let's not only compliment Claire Danes. If there's another award calibre performance it's Julia Ormand as Temple's mother. Her life raising an autistic daughter was by no means easy, and society back then tended to blame autism on poor parenting. Through-out the entire movie, you see a mother who is so caring, but never sure that she's doing the right thing and making the right decisions for Temple. Catherine O'Hara also does some great work in the movie.

Not only did I learn a lot about autism, but its look at animal behavior and slaughter houses is also really interesting. Most of all though, Temple's life makes for a very fascinating story. It all leads to what I think rivals The Shawshank Redemption as the all time greatest feel good ending, which works on so many levels. Not only is it great to see how far Temple got in life, but most importantly it is a really inspirational ending for all autistic people. This movie's here to confirm with them that there is nothing wrong with them. Possibilities in their lives are endless.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

What's been the most annoying pop cultural fad?

Very often movies, shows and even commercials create some great comedy. It's too bad when everybody takes these ideas and run them into the ground with non-stop repetition to the point that you start to hate on the movie, show, commercial, etc. Everyone thinks they're comedians all of a sudden. There's nothing wrong with quoting your favorite movies, but when everyone else is doing the exact same thing...that's when you should stop. Otherwise, when a piece of entertainment that was actually good is now hated by many, were partly responsible for that.

Here's a challenge. Come up with your own material. If people who know you start unconsciously imitating your phrases, mannerisms, etc...that's pretty cool. There's one person I know who's mannerisms have sort of caught on with other people. Kudos to you, Pellar.

Please check out these fads, let me know if I left any out, and vote in my poll at the bottom of the page for, what was the most annoying pop cultural fad?


Pop Cultural Fad #1: The Water Boy - "You can do it!"

In highschool, there was a movie called The Water Boy. The one line of dialogue that got the biggest laugh was Rob Schneider screaming, "You can do it!" Yes it was funny, but from grade 9 to 11, everyone would find the opportunity to scream, "You can do it!" in their best Rob Schneider voice.

"I think I'm gonna fail the math test."
"No, you're gonna pass. YOU CAN DO IT!"

There was no escaping it, and you know...I cannot recall a single time where someone not named Rob Schneider screamed that, and it was actually funny. I can't believe I'm actually complimenting Rob Schneider in this blog. Moving on...

Pop Cultural Fad #2: Budweiser commercial - "Waaaazzzzzuuuuup?!"

Yep, you guys remember this one? I have to say, when this commercial came out...there was no beer commercial like it. I'll give them that. Then came the imitations...and they never fucking stopped. Imitations on the internet popped up everywhere. Kids were shooting their own version. People started dubbing their voices on cartoons, and Superman started greeting Batman with, "Waazzzzuuup?". People started answering their phones with that and even throwing in the tongue action; if only they could see how ridiculous they looked...

This was perhaps the pop cultural fad that defined the 90s. When it comes to irritating, over done cliches, I will say surprisingly...I think this comes in #2. 2000 to 2010 had an even more over-done pop cultural fad which I'll get to later.

Additional note: There was one good use of the wazzzzup and it was Milhouse saying it in The Simpsons.

Pop Cultural Fad #3: Austin Powers - A few various things from it

I don't recall exactly what it was from Austin Powers people referenced, therefore this is probably in last place when it comes to irritating fads. I'm pretty sure that for a long time, instead of telling someone to shut up, people were now going with "Shhh" with the hand motion, or "zip it". Oh right, and of course there's the pinky finger to the mouth Dr. Evil style as well.

This was a fad, but it was not quite over done and over killed like the others or the next one.

Pop Cultural Fad #4: The ultimate Pop cultural fad of the 2000s - Borat

This is my pick for by far the most irritating, over-done, contagious, annoying fad of all. I think this was bigger and lasted longer than Budweiser; correct me if I'm wrong. But yes, Borat came out a few years back and made HUGE dollars at the box office. The movie was hilarious and it deserved all the money that it made. No doubt about it.

But, my god! Everybody started to fucking talk like Borat, and horrible imitations too. People never shied away from the opportunity to say, "High 5", "Very nice!" or "I like!". I recall having beer with a bunch of people where one girl did the Borat voice atleast 5 times within the vicinity of an hour. What's unfortunate is that it's very easy to find opportunities to do this. It can be in anything:

"I'm got a new job"
"Very nice!"

"I just bought a new home"
"High 5!"

"How's your meal?"
"I like!"

Yes, Borat was a funny movie. When people were imitating him at first, it was fine. But, after a while you couldn't go anywhere without hearing that accent...I wonder how often people do it to Sacha Baron Cohen, and how annoying it must be to him. Does he fake a smile, or is he just honest and is like, "No...just...stop...please."?

What new annoying pop cultural fad will be next to plague humankind? Who knows, but I predict the next one will be in 2012. Yep, the next pop cultural fad will be the annoyingness of Borat multiplied by 1000, and that's what will end the world.

Fads I'm a little surprised didn't take off:

The 40 Year old Virgin - "Wanna know how I know you're gay?"

Remember The 40 Year old Virgin? The one thing most people remember from that movie is the whole, "Wanna know how I know you're gay?...(Fill in the blanks)" I think the one most people remember is, "Wanna know how I know you're gay? You listen to Coldplay."

I'm surprised this one didn't take off. While I'm still not condoning following any fads, this one would have been less irritating than the rest. Why? Because atleast in this one, there's the whole (Fill in the blank part). Atleast with this fad, it forces people to use their creativity and come up with their own shit.

Juno - "Honest to blog?"

I loved the movie JUNO, but I hated this one line of dialogue. Not even Olivia Thirlby could make the line work (and she's an extremely under-rated actress).

Okay, I'm really glad this fad never took off. When I saw the movie, I was a little afraid teenyboppers everywhere would start using this. On the other hand, I don't hang out with teenyboppers, so who knows if it's being said everywhere in highschool nowadays?

I'm glad I don't hear it anywhere. That might cause me to start hating Juno, which would suck. Juno is probably one of my favorite feel good movies, and it would suck to hate something that's actually awesome.

Alright, so the poll is below. Vote on what was the most annoying pop cultural fad.

What was the most annoying pop cultural fad?

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The Top 20 best movies of the past decade...according to me...

Be prepared, this is a very long read. If you take long shits and need reading material and you're not yet ready to buy a new book for this, maybe print out this blog?

So here it is. I know I sort of cheated by having a few ties, but this is my top 20 bitches!

I should note that my picks for #1 and #2 are not only my favorite of the decade, but my favorite movies ever. My #3 pick is my #4 pick for best ever as well.

Honorable Mentions
Me & You & Everyone we know, In America, Almost Famous, In Search of a Midnight Kiss, Bubba Ho-tep, The Incredibles, In Bruges, The Dark Knight, Knocked Up, Off the Map, Melvin Goes to Dinner, Fantasia 2000 (for stoners, this is trippy as fuck!), High Fidelity, House of Flying Daggers, South Park's Imaginationland trilogy (I know it's not really a movie, but put those 3 episodes together and it makes for a 65 minute epic movie. Funnier than the actual South Park movie and Team America, which is saying a lot, because both those movies were hilarious)

20. Closer

This is the best anti-romance of the decade for people who are fed up with generic cliched Hollywood romances. This movie is also further proof that stageplays turned into films often lead to great results.While love can be beautiful, love can also bring out anger, jealousy, and bitterness which is portrayed with 4 great performances, a dark sense of humor, and some of the finest dialogue writing of any movie this decade; memorable, quotable lines can be found everywhere in the movie. The break up scene between Clive Owen and Julia Roberts will forever be the most memorable, and most brutal break up scene ever put on film.

19. The lives of others

When The Lives of Others won for best foreign film over the heavily favored Pan's Labyrinth, people were shocked. Then people eventually got around to seeing Lives of Others and really was a better movie! This is a fascinating movie about East Germany, its socialist agenda, and the way everyone was spyed on and how easily the government can ruin anyone's career. On top of that, it's a wonderful and very touching character study of a man originally committed to his job of spying on a couple, and his character transformation where through experiencing lives of other people, he changes himself and realizes what's missing in his own life. I should also add, this movie has one of the finest endings of any movie.

18. 500 days of summer

It's so refreshing to get a romantic comedy which isn't held down by formula, predictability and contrivances. Here's a romantic comedy where you really have no clue where it's going or how it's going to end. Isn't it also refreshing to get a young director who clearly thinks outside the box and strives for originality? He takes a few big risks with some experimental filmmaking, and it all pays off nicely! There's a little Eternal Sunshine, Annie Hall and High Fidelity in this movie which by no means is bad at all...those are all fantastic movies. It is a hilarious, absolutely charming, and delightful movie. The humor feels like it comes naturally out of the situation and it doesn't feel like the filmmakers are reaching for their laughs (ie: Garden State). As a love story, it feels very genuine and honest. Easily one of the best romantic comedies of this decade.

17. Tape

Films like this are proof that to make a good movie, you don't really need a shitload of money. All you need is a great script and some capable actors. If I told you about a movie with just 3 actors and all shot in just one location - a hotel room, you would probably not be terribly excited to see it. It sounds boring. However, the time flies by really fast and the movie is unbearably intense by the end. It's kind of difficult to explain the movie's brilliance without giving away some very surprising moments.

At first the viewers have no clue what to expect. The movie begins as just a friendly encounter between two guys who've been really close friends since highschool. It seems like a friendly encounter, but slowly character motivations are revealed. Tape is a movie that is bound to leave you thinking about all its events and what it's trying to say. Its characters are very well developed and it's interesting to see how they react to the dilemmas and moral conundrums brought up to them. It's a fascinting look at friendships and past events, and how some wounds never heal. Or also, how a single event or memory can be completey subjective, how two people who experienced the same thing can walk away with totally different memories.

The 3 actors are pheneomenal, though I think the strongest performance goes to Uma Thurman. She's only in the movie for roughly 10 minutes, but what a performance! This is a movie that can lead to lots of debates and discussions. Tape is further proof that often stage plays lead to the best movies.

16. Tie: Slumdog Millionaire & Juno


I don't care what the haters say. Juno is one of the most charming, delightful, and smartly funny comedies of the decade. It takes a massive shit all over Little Miss Sunshine, Garden State, Away We Go, and all the other quirky indy comedies of the past decade (maybe except 500 Days of summer...maybe it just takes a bit of a piss on 500 days of summer, but not a massive shit)

This movie was released to huge critical acclaim, but since then it's gotten some pretty bad backlash...not Crash bad, but still pretty bad. It's almost become cool to hate Juno. But let's get something straight...being a Juno hater doesn't make you fact, you're totally not cool. Not in the slightest.

Not only is Juno one of the most unforgettable characters of the past decade, but Ellen Page puts on one of the most unique comic performances of anyone this year, firing off brilliant and witty one liners non-stop through out the whole movie. Yes, the dialogue is contrived for a 16 year old girl, but when it's this well written and delivered, it's very forgivable. While the movie's ending is probably the cutest most perfect ending for the movie, I wanted more. I feel like I could have spent 3 hours following Juno's life. She was that fucking good of a character!

Slumdog Millionaire:

This could be the only movie of the past decade that actually deserved its best picture oscar win. The sub-genre of the Hollywood inspirational rags to riches story is perhaps the worst genre out there plagued with being awfully generic, cliched, heavy handed, schmaltzy, and just fucking dull. The over-rated Blind Side and the even more over-rated Pursuit of Happyness...I'm looking at you! Your "happy endings" fucking suck, because your movies suck, and happy endings need to be earned.

When you think about it, Slumdog Millionaire is a cliched, Hollywood inspirational rags to riches story, except Danny Boyle does it 1000 times better than everyone else. How refreshing it is to get someone's life story told in such an original way...the use of "Who Wants to be a millionaire" to highlight the key moments of his life are brilliant. The movie takes you through so many different emotions of happiness, heart break, betrayal, brotherhood, and love. Its depiction of living in the slums of India are truthful, gritty, and don't hold back. The rise to a better life of one of the most likable protagonists is very well done, with a happy ending which is fully deserved and you really need to be very cynical to not be in the greatest of moods by the end of the movie.

15. Memento

Yes, the new Batman movies are awesome, but Memento will always be Chris Nolan's biggest achievement. Memento's is a fascinating exploration of memory, and a very intruiging mystery. It is such a fresh and original movie and completely unpredictable. Its structure of beginning at the end and unfolding the story in reverse is brilliant. Revelations become so much more shocking, and surprising this way.

Beyond the mystery, Leonard makes for a very fascinating character. His battle with memory loss and only remembering 3 minutes into the past, he needs to tatoo all important information, and keep photographs. It's interesting how at the beginning of the movie he seems like a somewhat straight forward character who's going through some tough shit. The more and more you get into the past, the darker, and more fascianting he becomes. It's always a treat seeing a vignette where you're like, "What the hell? Why's this happening?"...and the revelation of past event that caused it. Memento is a great movie about memory and how it shapes our identity and who we are.

14. The Descent

I think being the #1 best horror movie ever made warrants a spot in my list of the best movies of the decade. I don't think any other horror comes even close to The Descent. It simply transcends a usually mediocre genre and is easily the most intelligent horror that really exploits every human fear. It delivers pop ups better than just about any other horror (because hey, they aren't so fuckin predictable!), a lot of suspense, very well done gory scenes, and best of's a horror that is a total mind fuck.

The cinematography is brilliant, might I add. The movie is frequently dark with just little bits of light here and there. It really adds to the horror as you see how little the characters can see and really makes you empathize with how fucking scary it must be to be in these characters' shoes. Besides working on a visceral level, this is a movie where you can have very indepth discussions about its themes, symbolism, and really break down and analyze it. Yes, it's scary that these critters are fucking the girls up, but the movie's also about the human condition, and what humans can be driven to do in a time of distress. I hope film schools add this to their circulum. This would be a very interesting film to study.

13. Monster

While I got somewhat bored with the huge number of biopics that came out this decade, MONSTER is one that truly stands tall above every other biopic. Not only is it also the most insightful serial killer movie, but also my pick for the best performance of the decade...maybe even the best performance of all time goes to Charlize Theron. Whoever stared at the gorgeous Charlize Theron and said, "Add 30 pounds to her and she'll look like Aileen Wuornos is a genious. Let's not sell her short by saying that she simply imitates Aileen. I had never seen any pictures or videos of Aileen before seeing this movie, and was completely blown away by Theron's performance. Although what she does is morally wrong and her actions should be excused, you can't help but sympathize with her and feel all her pain and everything she's been through.

What a powerful, fascinating, intense character study. It's a raw, disturbing, emotional, and uncompromising look at what drives an innocent person into a monster.

12. Up in the Air

A.O Scott on At the movies said, "50 or 60 years from now when people want to know what life was like at this anxious, strange moment of recession at the end of this decade, they're gonna look at this movie. I think that it captures something very deep and kind of sad about the way we live now in a light hearted and comic way"

Completely agreed! On the surface, Up in the Air is an extremely well directed, slickly edited, great looking movie with great performances from the three leads. Its comedy is very intelligent and it also has a really charming romantic subplot. However, I felt like I really connected with this movie on a much deeper level which is why it deserves a spot close to the top 10 of the decade.

I feel like this is one of the most relevant movies, in our current recession society, and about people in the modern technology age trying to find their place in life, and find some sort of meaning. This movie really stuck with me well after its runtime. I found myself really thinking hard about my own life, how I've spent it, and where I hope my life takes me in the future.

11. Finding Nemo

You know...Wall-E, The Incredibles, and Ratatouille were all great movies, but Pixar's biggest achievement of the decade has to go to Nemo. This movie is what big blockbuster entertainment is all about. It's thoroughly satisfying in every way and can please anyone of any age group. It is stunningly beautiful to look at, very creative sense of humor (the sharks anonymous was funny shit), exciting action scenes, surprisingly very touching at times, but what really separates this movie is how well done the characters are. I found the father - son relationship between two fish to be far more effective than actual human relationships in many live action films.

On the surface level, the movie's about a father going on a death defying quest to find his son. On a deeper level, this is a movie about a good hearted, well intentioned father who's unfortunately become way over protective and neurotic due to the loss of his wife. Through his journey to find Nemo, he slowly learns how to become a better father and learns the lesson about parenting that sometimes you can't always be there to protect your kids and sometimes you just have to let things be. This is a good fucking character transformation.

Within a very cliched, generic hero's journey structure of the movie, there are plenty of very creative, inspired moments. There's a scene when Marlon tells the story of his son to a bunch of sea turtles. The sea turtles tell the story to other animals. It then turns into a montage of different various animals sharing the story of Marlon's struggle and how this man will stop at absolutely nothing to find his son. It's scenes like this which separate Pixar from everyone else. Perhaps the finest few minutes of any movie this year.

10. Tie: Waking Life & Before Sunset

Waking Life:

I have a nostalgic reason for loving this movie so much. This is one of the very first movies that I got stoned to. For the longest time, no movie even came close to tripping me out the way Waking Life did. I should also mention that a while back, I had no interest whatsoever in philosophy. "Who fucking cares?" used to be my answer to any philisophical question. Waking Life is the movie that's single handedly changed that about me. Don't get me wrong, I'm no philosophy expert. If people ask who my favorite philosopher is, I'll just say filmmaker Richard Linklater for making Waking Life, Slacker, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset.

In one scene, the main character hitches a ride with someone he doesn't know. The driver is driving a boat-car and talks Buddhist philosophy...he's like a boddhisatva...and he's driving a boat. Little things like that are nice. They drop him off at a completely random spot. When the main character asks where he's being dropped off the driver replies, "I don't know, but it'll determine the course of the rest of your life."

This is such a fresh, unique, original movie. It is bound to change the way you think about life. It's rotoscoped animated style is perfect for making the film feel very dream-like. It's about life, how we sleep walk through our existence, about dreams, finding purpose and meaning, is our collection of memories what makes us who we are and establishes our identities, dream time vs. real time, evolution, human communication, is there such a thing as free will? many fascinating topics. You simply absorb them all, and it's a movie that's bound to have you thinking for a long time after. It's a movie that needs to be seen again and again to fully absorb everything.

Before Sunset:

Oh hey look, another Linklater movie. Welcome to the best sequel ever made. A sequel which was made purely for creative reasons rather than financial. We needed to know what happened to this couple who fell in love during one day in Vienna, and this sequel is absolutely perfect, showing how their lives have changed 9 years later after their one night fling. They were supposed to meet 6 months later, but we find out in the sequel that it never happened. Here they are in Paris, now.

Here's a romantic comedy made for intelligent people (let's say cinematically can write amazingly insightful film criticism, but be a fucking moron in other aspects of life, and vice versa.) Not a single Hollywood romance cliche can be found in this movie. It's simply two people who fell in love over one day, shit didn't work out, and here they are in front each other 9 years later. How have their lives changed? How did their one night stand affect them both? Their conversations are always fascinating, once again being a Linklater film, they discuss a lot of philosophy, though this time not being as confusing as Waking can probably understand it all in one viewing. Linklater and Delpy are both fantastic and put on some of the most naturalistic performances I've ever seen. It never looks like they're looks like we're simply peering into the lives of two very intelligent young people. Linklater understands that so much can be conveyed by just little actions.

The structure is perfect. They tip toe around touchy subject matters, conversation at the beginning being very light hearted. As the day goes on, the movie gets more and more tense as the two characters start to reveal more and how their lives are in fact not okay since the one night stand (the scene in the limo is fucking hard to watch). They wonder why things unfolded the way they did, and wonder how life would be had they spent it together. This is a funny, fascinating, intelligent, and poignant story about the one that got away.

9. Mary and Max

Not only is this the best film of 2009, but it's also my pick for the best animated film ever made. Yes, I'll pick Mary and Max over any Pixar movie even including the Finding Nemo. It's one of the most beautiful and touching films about loneliness, friendship and the impact we have on each other's lives.

What a refreshingly original, unique and insanely cute movie. Its structure and storytelling is unconventional, even its've never seen anything like it. At times cute and charming like a kids movie, at times very over the top, and at times extremely dark, but always very intelligent. When Max explains to an 8 year old Mary where babies come from he says, "Babies are laid by Catholic nuns. If you're an Athiest, they're laid by dirty, lonely prostitutes." That is fucking hilarious!

As much as I love Pixar, they still cannot take huge risks as they have little kids to please with their movies. Fortunately, Adam Elliot is not on the same boat. This feels like a movie where the director had 100% creative freedom and never has to pander. That is why this movie works so well. It's very original, brilliantly and darkly funny, and despite the characters being made out of clay...if you don't feel any emotion for them, or especially the simply have no heart...or a really cold one...even colder than the coldest glacier that hasn't been melted by global warming.

8. Minority Report

My pick for the best sci-fi/film noir ever made. Here's a big budget blockbuster which respects the intelligence of the audience and never feels the need to pander. There are action scenes, but the movie realizes that it's very fascinating plot is most important and never loses sight of that. It's a visually stunning movie with a very original storyline, a mystery that keeps you guessing, and also gives the audience plenty to think about with its philosophical exploration of destiny vs. free will, as well as its moral exploration of the concept of pre-crime.

This is a fantastic looking movie. Its vision of what the future looks like is fucking cool; it really goes all out. When it comes to the action scenes, I love how they're all very creative and deliver tension in different ways. The jet pack scene is a lot of fun. The scene where robotic spiders go into every room looking for John Anderton is absolutely brilliant. Or how about the scene in the mall where the pre-cog who sees the future tells Tom Cruise everything to do to avoid being caught...give the homeless man spare change, so when he bends down to pick it up, a cop will run in and trip over him. Shit like that...fucking creative!

It's such a good movie on so many levels. Unlike a lot of sci fis which fall into style over substance, or delivering the fascinating storyline in the first half to turn it into an all out action movie the 2nd half, here's a movie that's all style and all substance as well.

7. City of God

Not only is this my pick for the best foreign film, but also the best gangster movie ever made. Slumdog Millionaire owes A LOT to this movie as you can clearly see that Slumdog's shooting style was inspired by City of God. This movie not receiving a best foreign language film nomination from the Oscars is the #1 biggest Oscar travesty of the decade. City of God is a raw, gritty, disturbing, and very shocking look at life in Rio.

What immediately pops out about this movie is its hyper kinetic shooting style which adds to the intensity, and the chaos.
It's also a gangster movie which explores how unlike Godfather and Goodfellas, people in the slums of Rio don't get into the gang lifestyle for greed; in Rio, it's almost a must. It's for survival, where knowing how to fire a gun is more important than knowing how to read.

The film is not all gloom. There are some great moments of comic relief (Rocket's inability to join in the life of crime, because everyone he tries to rob is too cool is hilarious!), and the film has some very colorful characters. I like the structure and Rocket's narrations of the story, often jumping from past to present, but never being confusing. Rocket makes for a very likable protagonist, and I like that he never actually gets involved in the life of crime. He tries to live his own life and pursue his passion which is photography, but it's through photography that he finds himself thrown in the middle of two gangs who are about to shoot the shit out of each other.

Just when the film teases at a feel good ending, it ends with a final dialogue scene involving a bunch of kids which is even more haunting than any of the gangsters before. City of God is an unforgettable movie. It's sometimes hard to watch, but a true portrayal of how sad life is some parts of the world.

6. About a Boy

I'm aware that many people will give me a weird look for having this movie put up so high on the list. To me, this movie's like the Parenthood of this decade, as in, it's among one of the best human comedies. Hugh Grant puts on easily his funniest performance ever. This may not be the laugh out loud funniest movie, but I had so much admiration for the comedy writing. Instead of just laughing, I'd often laugh and think in my head, "Fuck! That joke was brilliant!" The humor is so intelligent, and About a Boy understands how to use voice overs for comedy better than just about any movie. Robert Mckee has shit-talked the use of voice overs as lazy writing...I wonder if he'd change his mind on that after seeing About a Boy.

Comedy aside, it also happens to be a wonderful coming of age story with very convincing character transformations, might I add that the friendship that develops between Will (Hugh Grant) and the little boy Marcus (Nicholas Hoult) is wonderful. Marcus first comes off as an annoying shit stain in Will's life; When Will realizes how important Marcus is to his life, it feels completely genuine. Love Actually tries to re-create this type of magic with his adult-son friendship, but it's not nearly as successfully as About a Boy.

5. Two Days

The term "Hidden gem" truly applies to "Two Days". This is a movie I had never heard of, and if you look it up at rottentomatoes, only 2 reviews can be found. I went over to Charles's house and he had just randomly found the movie in a bargain bin. I had no clue what to expect. After watching it, I am shocked as to how the movie flew so low under the radar. How did a movie this brilliant not get into filmfests?

Two Days is the most fascinating movie I've seen about suicide. The premise is simple; Paul Miller (played by Paul Rudd in what I think is easily his best performance and shows his talent as a dramatic actor) is fed up with his life and wants to commit suicide. He hires a film crew to film his last two days alive before he finally does it. To add to it, there is another film crew of film students who are filmming a movie about the the other documentary crew making this movie.

Had this movie been handled by a big Hollywood studio, it would have wallowed in cheap sentimentality. This is why Indys are better at this type of stuff. The drama is subtle, the comedy is very intelligent, and I really like the way the movie treats suicide. They don't try to attach bullshit reasons of "Oh, I had a horrible childhood" or anything like that. Fact is, a lot of people commit suicide and people will never know why. This is one of them. The movie handles it with subtlety. In his last two days, when the film crew follow him around and he interacts with friends and family, you can see subtle things about his life that makes him miserable. The dinner scene with his parents is brilliant at showing a relationship where his parents love him to death, but he feels so disconnected from them. I don't want to give away the ending, but there's one scene close to the end which is seriously one of the most intense, uncomfortable scenes I've ever sat through.

But this isn't just a drama. This is also a movie filmmakers will love. Two Days's satire on filmmaking is razor sharp and very funny. You've got the pretentious director of the documentary who wants that big emotional crying scene vs. the director who thinks documentaries should just capture life. Let's just say the movie has a lot of fun completely ripping into film students as well. After doing sound myself, I just loved the dramatic moment between father and son with the sound guy walking in being like, "Can you guys speak louder? My levels are really shitty."

It's too bad this movie's so hard to find. I really want to know why a movie this good has gone so unnoticed. It's funny, very dramatic, subtle, and it is very very observant about life.

4. Punch Drunk Love

What a dark, twisted, fucked up, weird, charming, refreshingly different spin on the romantic comedy genre. After complaining about how predictable and generic so many Hollywood films are, here's Punch Drunk Love...a movie where you have no bloody clue where the movie's headed (granted you don't watch the trailer which sadly gives away too many details. Luckily I never saw the trailer before the movie). I love that about the movie. I never knew which direction the movie was headed, but I simply went along with it and enjoyed everything about the ride. Even the music in the movie is completely unconventional and unlike anything I've heard.

The first 10 minutes of the movie are unlike anything I've ever seen. Note to anyone taking film studies...if you have a sequence analysis assignment, do it on the first 10 minutes of Punch Drunk'll have plenty of great material. The more I watch it, the more brilliant I find it in foreshadowing what will happen in the rest of the movie. The cinematography of this movie is so well thought out. Notice the way that Sandler is constantly peripheralized in the frame at the beginning of the movie, with his back always to the camera and the way that he dominates the frame much later in the movie as he gains more confidence and love in his life.

This is a movie where just about every scene is a memorable scene. The phone call with Philip Seymour Hoffman is brilliant, funny, and unbearably tense. No one in the history of cinema has told someone to shut up in such an awesome way. The car accident, the beating scene, the final confrontation at the furniture store, Sandler destroying the bathroom...every scene is so fucking good. Barry Egan is a fascinating character with many offbeat quirks, and his character transformation from a very shy, timid guy to a fully confident man full of love and fighting for his life is completely convincing. When Sandler says, "Say that's that, or I'll beat the living hell from you. I have a love in my life and it makes me stronger than you can imagine" can't help but believe him. I wouldn't fuck with him.

3. Matchstick Men

There's one part of this movie I love quoting, and I absolutely love the writing of this scene. When Nicolas Cage is talking to his shrink about his OCD, he is miserable. He says, "Sometimes I think about ending it all. Maybe I should just stick a gun in my mouth and blow my brains out. But then, I worry about what that would do to my god damn carpet!" Funny in a fucked up way, and I hear this is very true of people with OCD.

I know that many people will be surprised to see this movie so far up, but I think this is one of the most criminally under-rated movie of the decade. There have been many movies about con artists, but there's a reason why I pick Matchstick Men over the rest. The movie does a great job juggling three stories and later on connecting them nicely: a story about conning, the con artist's struggle with OCD, and then the change in his life when his daughter enters his life and his struggle with how to be a good father. In another wonderful moment, when his daughter is trying to run away from him, he says, "I'm just not good at being a dad. I barely get by being me."

As a con movie, not only are the cons brilliant, but I love the simplicity of them (especially the lottery ticket con he does with his daughter). Sam Rockwell and Nicolas Cage have great chemistry together. Sam Rockwell is hilarious and charismatic, while Nicolas Cage does a great job playing the straight man, simply reacting to Sam Rockwell's antics.

However, it is the characters that truly make the movie. The father-daughter relationship between Nicolas Cage and the very under-rated performance of Alison Lohman is wonderful. It is wonderful to see the transformation of her at first being just a big annoyance in his life to him finally realizing that she's finally brought happiness into his life for the first time.

The movie goes forward in such a straight forward manner that you almost forget that, "Hey. This is a heist movie. There's gotta be a twist." Here's the thing about twists...I hate it when a movie has twists just for the hell of it. Not only is the twist in the movie brilliant, but it serves a purpose as it changes the characters and their lives. At the end of the movie, a good question is who really won at the end?

Matchstick Men is very entertaining and just a wonderful movie. As a con movie it's just as clever as the rest, but it's really the characters that make this one memorable.

2. Adaptation

This movie is proof that Charlie Kaufman is the greatest screenwriter of all time. What happens when you're asked to write a screenplay based on a book about flowers; a book with no narrative and seemingly unadaptable? You make a movie about the struggle of adapting the book of the movie that we're currently watching. That sentence would seem confusing to anyone who hasn't seen Adaptation, but those who fucking brilliant!

Adaptation is truly a writers movie. Not only is it the most painfully accurate depiction of writers block ever put on film, but if you happen to be friends with a writer and want to understand them better, watch Adaptation. The anxieties, insecurities, neuroses of your average writer is perfectly depicted.

Here is a film that constructs itself as it goes along. It plays around with the audience's knowledge of films and has fun with our expectations. We get to see how Charles Kaufman had originally planned to write this film, things that inspired him, and even how the process of writing this screenplay changed his look at life itself.

Let's not only compliment Kaufman, the writer. Nicolas Cage is really good playing the two twins: the nervous, neurotic, but brilliant Charlie, and his fictional twin Donald, funny, extraverted, outgoing, confident, and also representing everything that Charlie hates about Hollywood. Donald is a hilarious stereotype of what sucks about Hollywood films. Meryl Streep is fantastic at playing the author of The Orchid Thief, successful, but feeling like her life is empty. The direction her character takes in the last third of the movie is really funny. Of course there's Chris Cooper who won for his amazing portrayal of the charismatic, but somewhat fucked up John Laroche.

People who say that there's nothing original anymore and everything's been done need to watch Adaptation. I guarantee that absolutely nobody saw where this story was headed. This is one of the most original, creative movies I've ever seen, and is very darkly funny. Although the movie is not a 100% faithful adaptation of The orchid Thief, it seems to capture the spiritual nature of the book. Beyond all the craziness of the movie, it's simply a movie about life. Seeing the way the miserable Charlie Kaufman character finds happiness and changes through the writing of the screenplay of the movie that we're currently watching is beautiful.

1.Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Yep, both #1 and #2 are going to the same writer - Charlie Kaufman, truly the most brilliant screenwriter of all time. In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Kaufman has not only made a very original movie that's very thought provoking, but it's also a movie that really tugs at the heart strings in a completely non-Hollywood way. Eternal Sunshine is the perfect concoction of a science fiction and romantic comedy; Its structure is unconventional and odd, yet brilliant. The direction of the movie is perfect and especially the memories through unconscious dream state is so artistically directed. Just like every other Kaufman movie, there is plenty of brilliantly delivered dark comedy to be found.

Ultimately, this is a movie that explores the notions of love and memory. Wouldn't it be great if we can erase painful memories? Here we have two lovers who erase each other from their memories. They had a good relationship at first, but by the end, it was just sad, and depressing, leaving them both angry and emotionally fragile people. However, as Joel has his memories of Clementine erased, and he re-lives some of the wonderful moments they shared, he realizes what a mistake he's making. I'm sure we all have some memories we would love to hold on to, and no amount of money can justify taking those memories away. Once we get past all the fights and see the times where Joel and Clementine were really in love, that's when the movie slowly drifts from the weird twilight zonish feel to a fucking fine drama. The tragedy is in losing the great memories. The movie makes a strong statement about how we try to forget when things go wrong. Memories are what define us, and sometimes you have to take the pain and make it a part of who you are, and especially hold onto all the great times.

I haven't even gotten into all the secondary characters who also add a lot to the movie. There are some unexpected twists that take place around Joel and Clementine. Some twists lead to what I think is one of the most brilliant scenes involving hearing Joel's audio tape. It's hard to think of a scene which is more painfully awkward and uncomfortable than this one. You can really feel what must be going through both characters' minds.

Jim Carrey is great in a surprisingly un-Jim Carrey like role, where this time he's the quiet introvert and his performance is subdued. I think just about every kate Winslett fan will name Eternal Sunshine as her most memorable performance. At the time she lost to Hillary Swank in Million Dollar Baby, I had agreed. However, the more years that have passed, the more that Kate's performance has really stuck with me as opposed to Swank.

I'm pretty sure I've seen this movie atleast 5 or 6 times, and it still gets to me. Every viewing you can find something new and brilliant to appreciate. Sometimes Charlie Kaufman can get a little too weird with his material, but Eternal Sunshine finds just the perfect balance. In the end of it all, beyond the weirdness and all the awkwardness, it's a really beautiful love story.

Best Short Movie of the decade


Hey check this out, you can watch my pick for best short film of the decade on youtube:

What a fucking crazy, brilliant movie! The first time I saw this, I was completely blown away. Ryan is a brilliant concoction of a documentary and cartoon. The animations are absolutely stunning and trippy as hell! The rise and the sad downfall of a brilliant Canadian artist is told in a very artsy animated way. The more viewings, the more you'll understand the symbolic reasons for why certain things were animated the way they were in representing the human psyche. The director calls it psychorealism.

Ryan tells a fascinating, but sad and painful life story. You see Ryan's rise to the top, an Oscar nomination for best short animated film, then as one of his friends says in the doc...trying to get that moment, that brilliance back can drive someone into insanity. They show the tortured soul that Ryan is today, becoming a cocaine addict and alcoholic. Kind of like how Adaptation is the perfect movie about writers, Ryan is the perfect movie about the tortured artist.

Other Random Categories:

Best Canadian film of the decade:

Best Stoner Comedy:
Harold and Kumar go to Whitecastle

Best Cameo:
Eminem in Funny People
(Best ever is still Bob Sagot in Half Baked...this will never be topped)

Trippiest movie:
Coraline 3-D

Best Bio-pics:
-American Splendor

Best Super Hero movie:
The Incredibles (Yes, I like it better than The Dark Knight as well. Flame away)

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