Saturday, July 28, 2012

Everybody's Working for the Weekend

211) Born on the Fourth of July (1989) Dir: Oliver Stone Date Released: December 20, 1989 Date Seen: July 5, 2012 Rating: 4.25/5

212) Tales from the Quadead Zone (1987) Dir: Chester Novell Turner Not Yet Released Date Seen: July 6, 2012 Rating: 3/5

213) Ted (2012) Dir: Seth McFarlane Date Released: June 29, 2012 Date Seen: July 6, 2012 Rating: 1.75/5

Leading up to that weekend, I saw a couple of films that I vividly recall the experience of seeing but only have vague impressions of what I specifically saw. I watched Born on the Fourth of July with my friend Matt Zoller Seitz at MoMA. And both the film itself and the conversation we had after the film made me think I needed to see movies by Stone (recommendations welcome). Stone's version of Ron Kovic's experiences post-Vietnam are moving, scary and very effective. The twinges of surreality and the distinguishing details that made Kovic and his story relatable were extraordinary. I was bowled over by the film and it seems that Stone and Kovic, both of whom were in attendance at the screening, were, too. Which was nice; it felt like we had all been through something together in that theater, even Matt, who had already seen the film multiple times!

Tales from the Quadead Zone was seen when I was down in the dumps after a low day at work. I bought some new comics at Midtown Comics, had some craft beer and a turkey meatball sub at Whole Foods and then went to see the film at the Museum of Arts and Design alone. I'm very glad I went. Quadead is not as charmingly delirious as the late (?) Turner's Black Devil Doll From Hell but it is winningly eccentric and corny in ways that remind me of Robert Rodriguez's brand of DIY pastiche. Quadead is much less self-conscious however and is hence more exciting than most Rodriguez films I've seen, but yeah, it's not exactly going to win any major awards or anything.

And Ted is just top-to-bottom sucky whenever Sam Jones is not on-screen. Even then, McFarlane's creative constipation is more than apparent. Still, I laughed at that particular non-sequitur/running gag because I am a nerd and Jones was clearly more than game. I can't say that anything else in this film really won me over. I strongly disliked its phoney "grow up, stupid" moral. But honestly, what should I have expected from a Seth McFarlane film, right? Saw this at the nearby Alpine at an 11pm screening with my roommate Bill Best. Bill hadn't been out that night and also wanted to see the film and I wanted to check out the theater. Fuck that theater and fuck that movie, too. But! I'm glad I went.

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