Friday, January 30, 2009

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

This is a guest review by my dear friend Crispy Whiskers. He's been going through a rough patch in his life, but that's netiher here nor there. What's important is that he's out there reviewing movies in the great movie theatre of life, as we all do. I hope you give him a warm welcome.
-Tom Thayer, Guy Who Reviews Movies.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Dir: David Fincher
Starring: Brad Pitt, Julia Ormond
Runtime: 2 hrs 46 mins

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is about a really old man-baby who eventually grows into Brad Pitt. A lot of people think that CCOBB is based on a short story or something. Actually, the curious case of Benjamin Button is the curious case of real life actor, Brad Pitt. Pitt was born an old man-baby and continues to grow younger with each movie’s he in. Some people were surprised to hear about this Hollywood secret. But is it really that surprising? A close examination of the facts will make this point quite obvious.

Remember Meet Joe Black? Pitt plays a blond haired hunky embodiment of Death. And what does Death do? He quits the killing business for a while so he can go around town eating peanut butter by the spoonful and talking with a Jamaican accent to old black ladies. Then Death threatens a crazy old man, played by Anthony Hopkins, and the old man, in exchange for his pathetically feeble life, let’s Death sleep with his super hot doctor-daughter, played by the super hot Claire Forlani. Sound familiar? Wrong! Hopkins is actually the one who plays Death and Pitt is the dementia-crazed loon. The doctor daughter is still played by Claire Forlani. Moreover, Pitt wasn’t acting. He was scarcely aware of the cameras.

Then there was Ocean’s 11. In this one Pitt plays a really old con artist who decides to rob ten casinos, and for no particular reason, pretends to be a millionaire and speak with a German accent and has a heart attack while he’s stealing all the money from the safe. George Clooney has to save his life by carrying him out of the casino in a black duffel bag. The casino’s owner, played by Andy Garcia, sees Pitt’s face as he escapes and swears vengeance. But by the end of the movie, Pitt already looks like ten years younger and in the last scene he passes Garcia on the street and Garcia doesn’t even know it and then Pitt does the coolest thing anyone could possibly do, which is wink at the camera. Enough plot summary, I’m assuming most of you have already seen the movie. What I wanted to say was, in truth, Pitt actually was ten years younger and really did have a heart attack. After the paramedics resuscitated him, Pitt said “Get your hands off of me. It’s called improvisation, bitches.”

Which leads us up to CCOBB. What can I really say about CCOBB? It’s great to finally see Pitt play a character so much like himself. But as time goes on and Pitt grows younger, it’s going to be harder for him to play the type of characters we expect from him. Sure, there is makeup and CG effects, but we all know that stuff can only make a person look younger not older. Pitt has already started to make the difficult transition from old to young roles. He has just accepted Shia Labeouf’s role in Transformers 2 and there are rumors that he will star as Fred Savage’s character in the made-for-TV movie Wonder Years: The Reunion due out by 2020. But one thing is certain, as Pitt grows smaller, so do his career options.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Email to

Hopefully this very diplomatic letter that I wrote about 20 minutes ago (with the assistance of several plastic cup-fulls of red wine) will clear things right up, and I can go back to my usual business of reviewing the shit out of movies.


I wrote a review for Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. Many people liked my review and voted it "helpful," but for some reason it was deleted. 
I also noticed that my reviews for Hotel for Dogs and Seven Pounds were also deleted.
To my knowledge, I did not break any of the guidelines that IMDB sets forth for reviews. I have not used any profanity, or revealed spoilers without warning. 

I would like to know why my reviews were deleted, and is there any way to have this decision reversed and future deletions avoided in the future?  

Tom Thayer

UPDATE: IMDb's Response:


Thank you for your message concerning the user comments system. 

Please note that all comments must conform to the guidelines as described at: 

We have examined the comment(s) which have been deleted and stand by our decision to remove them from the site. We recommend you read the guidelines again.

The IMDb Help Desk

As you can see, this is a really shitty response. I told them that I read their guidelines, but didn't see what I did wrong. How is referring me back to the guidelines in any way helpful?

IMDb's guidelines say don't include:
  • Profanity, obscenities, or spiteful remarks.
  • Time-sensitive material (i.e., promotional tours, seminars, lectures, etc.).
  • Single-word reviews. We want to know why you liked or disliked the title.
  • Avoid unannounced spoilers! Please don't reveal crucial plot elements. If you include a spoiler without warning readers in advance your name will be added to a blacklist and, subsequently, all your comments will be discarded automatically. To label a spoiler make sure you check the 'contains spoilers' checkbox.
  • Phone numbers, mail addresses, URLs.
  • Availability, price, or ordering/shipping information.
  • Writing in ALL-CAPS! Writing sentences in all-uppercase characters is considered "SHOUTING" and must be avoided.
Okay, so I broke the URL rule. I see people doing that all over the place on IMDb, so I assumed it was an acceptable rule to break. This is where it would be helpful to get an actual response to my question.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

Dir: Patrick Tatopoulos Starring: Michael Sheen, Bill Nighy, Rhona Mitra
Runtime: 1 hr 32 mins

In some movies, the characters and plot are so far removed from our real life experiences, that the movie fails to make the human connection. Take Little Miss Sunshine for instance. Sure, it won plenty of awards from snobby critics, but who was that movie actually made for? How many of us actually go to beauty pageants, or drive vehicles, or have grandfathers? It was a movie made by the Hollywood elite, for the Hollywood elite.

And that's why Underworld: Rise of the Lycans is a breath of fresh air. It's not about Hollywood fat cats, riding their VW buses across the country like millionaires. Watching Rise of the Lycans is like looking through a magical porthole into my own childhood.

My Dad used to be a vampire. He would stumble back home before dawn, with the powerful stench of human blood on his breath. Human blood smells awful; like a combination of whiskey and beer. He would sleep all day, and would complain whenever Mom turned on a light or opened the curtains.

One time I asked Mom if Dad didn't like the sunlight because it would turn him into ashes. She just started laughing, but then it turned into crying.

At night, Dad would rise from bed, and go into town looking for blood.

One night Dad was attacked by our next door neighbor's pet Lycan. It was a big, mean beast. They kept it chained up in the yard. Dad was coming home from such a big night of feasting on blood, that he thought our neighbor's house was his house. When his key didn't work on the front door, he had assumed that Mom had changed the locks again.

So Dad went around back to where he thought Mom's bedroom was, and threw a brick through the window, and started yelling. The noise woke up the sleeping Lycan, who bit Dad on the leg.

The police came. The Judge made Dad stop being a vampire after that.

4½ out 5 stars.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hotel for Dogs

Hotel for Dogs

Dir: Thor Freudenthal

Starring: Don Cheadle, some kids

Runtime: 1 hr 40 mins

In 2004, Don Cheadle made us take a hard look at our sheltered, western lives with Hotel Rwanda. In 2009, Cheadle surpasses anything he's ever done before with Hotel for Dogs. Hotel for Dogs has all of the emotional poignancy of Hotel Rwanda, but with the added relevancy of taking place in our own country. This triumph of the canine spirit will certainly be remembered as the most emotionally powerful movie about a hotel ever made.

5 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bride Wars

Bride Wars

Dir: Gary Winick

Starring: Kate Hudson, Anne Hathaway

Runtime: 1 hr 30 mins

Bride Wars is a romantic comedy about a classic American rite of passage: the battle between two best friends who, through circumstances far beyond their control, can only get married on the same day for some reason.

Let me just say that I have been excited to see this movie since before it was even announced. On opening night, I arrived at the theatre promptly at midnight in my bride costume. Sadly, I must report that I was among the few that actually took the extra step to dress up. Apparently, wearing costumes to opening night is a dying tradition in American culture, because if you're not getting in costume for Bride Wars, what are you holding out for? Your own wedding? Please. Nobody is going to see that.

As much as I wanted this film to be the next Dark Knight, there was an obvious plot hole that was impossible to overlook. Frankly, it ruins the entire movie. I was actually embarrassed to be wearing the bridal gown when the movie was over.

The dramatic conflict is created by the two best friends who want to get married on the same day. The question burning in the audience's collective mind is: why doesn’t one bride simply kill the other?

If Hollywood and MTV have taught us anything (and they have taught us everything), it is that weddings are the single most important thing to any woman, ever. Weddings trump money, love, new shoes, children, and most of all, friendship. Weddings are the only thing that gives a woman meaning in her shallow, shoe-centric life.

In fact, I only know of one girl who would not murder her best friend if her friend was preventing her from having her wedding on a specific day (and that's only because she has no friends). Back me up on this, ladies.

I know what you're going to say: “ Tom, I agree with everything you just said, but if one of the brides killed the other one, the movie would have been too short.” Maybe you are right, Faceless-Reader-of-this-Blog. But at least it would have been real.

It would have been so easy for them to do it, too. A mail bomb, poison, hire a hitman, poison-by-mail, or scissors to the back of the head while they were clipping wedding coupons.

Another solution would be for one of the brides to kill the other's groom (no groom = no marriage). The consequences of this would have created a deliciously dramatic situation, as it would leave a vengeful, fiance-less woman, who would crash the other girl’s wedding drunk, and right before the vows, she'd start clapping real slow, and then when everyone is looking at her she'd say something like, “Everyone clap for the murder-bride!” and no one would know what she was talking about except for the bride, who would be thinking “Oh shit!”

Or she might pay a homeless man $20 to marry her, and continue with the wedding as planned, just out of spite.

You see, faithless readers, there is plenty of drama in reality. Hollywood has no need to insult us with such contrived endings, such as the two girls resolving their differences and becoming friends again in the end. No more, Hollywood! We want real! We demand the promised bloodshed that you have promised us!

1 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009



Dir: Oliver Stone

Starring: various Animals, You

Runtime: 2 hrs 11 mins

From the moment you sit down in the theatre to watch Zoolorgy, you are molested by a glorious orgy of colors and sounds. Zoolorgy is a veritable gangbang of your senses.

It’s impossible to describe Zoolorgy without losing it. The best I can do is recreate for you what the experience of Zoolorgy is like.

Watching Zoolorgy is like being a bright-eyed child of five again. Your parents take you to the zoo for the very first time. But when you arrive, the bars and cages have vanished. The animals are roaming free; the lions and the tigers, the hippopotamuses and the egrets; they are all free. And they are having an enormous inter-species orgy right before your eyes. All the animals going at it, as if they had no cares in the world.

Perhaps that was poor example, allow me to try again:

Imagine you are on a desert island, with nothing but a coconut tree, sand, and a couple of shells. If you’re a dude, you’ve got this really hairy beard. Your throat is parched; you haven't had fresh water for days. The sun is beating down on you like a drunken father.

Suddenly, you see a boat on the horizon, coming to rescue you. But as it draws closer, you realize there are no humans on this boat. It’s a boat full of animals. And they're all having sex with one another. There are monkeys, and there are chickadees, and snakes, and rhinoceroses, and gibbons, and rats, and lemurs. All of them going in and out of one another with an almost reckless abandon.

Zoolorgy, at it's heart, is a celebration of life.

4 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants II

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants II

Dir: Sanaa Hamri

Starring: Amber Tamblyn, America Ferrera, Alexis Bledel

Runtime: 1 hr 57 mins

Film buffs across the country rejoiced when we heard Hollywood was remaking Samuel Goldwyn's classic 1954 film, Women Can Wear Pants Now. No one can forget the tale of the four lovable housewives, who (with their husbands' permission) start wearing pants. Even more memorable than the film itself was the ensuing controversy, as some women actually took to wearing pants! Many film historians believe that the loose morality and ultra-liberal stereotype of Hollywood began with this very film.

As revered and groundbreaking as it was in 1954, some elements of Women Can Wear Pants Now comes across as dated. For instance, the film was shot in technicolor, and the sound is primitive. Also, several scenes are blatant anti-Soviet propaganda, and have nothing to do with the plot.

There was a social revolution following Women Can Wear Pants Now as women everywhere fought for more rights. In the years following the film, women's rights groups fought for, and achieved the right to refuse sex to anyone, and women's bathrooms (before 1955, there were only men's bathrooms. It wasn't much of an issue, because said bathrooms were only in public places anyway).

They also fought for the right to vote, and in a particularly emotional part of the month in September of 1956, this issue was taken before the Supreme Court, where it was realized, due to a legal loophole created by an obscure constitutional amendment in 1920, women technically already had the right to vote! And wouldn't you know it, black people could vote too.

Although everyone learned a lot that day, they all agreed to leave these events out of the history books, because it made everyone feel very silly.

The remake, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants II, is a success in that it stays true to the original while also managing to breathe fresh, modern air into it. The quartet of edgy, pants-wearing sisters includes Ugly Betty star America Ferrera. Her performance adds plenty of vaguely ethnic spice to the otherwise snow-white cast.

Thankfully, all the anti-Soviet propaganda of the original has been removed, and replaced with anti-Chinese propaganda.

4 out of 5 stars