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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Michael Cera: Evan VS Bleeker

One of the things I promised to do for the 101 challenge was to do a book, movie or album review and suggest/critique. Well, today's your lucky day.

I will be reviewing back to back movies who's common thread is the young actor, Michael Cera.

"Who is he?" you might ask.

If you haven't experienced a the defunct show, Arrested Development, as George-Michael Bluth, you're in for an experience. (And if you've watched Veronica Mars, you would've known him as Dean, the campus tour guide that brought Troy and Veronica together on the Hearst College campus.)

Where was I? Oh yeah, reviewing.

The movies that are being critiqued are Superbad and Juno.

Superbad is a story of 2 co-dependent friends, struggling to accept the fact that they are going to be separated for the first time as they head off to 2 different universities in the fall. For one last hurrah, Evan (Michael Cera) and Seth (Jonah Hill), and Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) try to leave a mark by boozing, sexing and "living up" on a senior party sponsored by high school cutie Jules (Emma Stone).

I may be the stoned for saying this but I thought this movie was bad-- so bad that Superbad was aptly titled. I actually had to stop the movie because it became painfully annoying, whiny, and borderline retarded! I eventually finished watching the movie but I felt that I had wasted movie time.

The Bad:

Seth's character is a big LOSER. He thinks that the world owes him. The fact that he does not contribute anything positive to society apparently is not his problem. Ethan, on the other hand, is your token good guy who doesn't want anyone to hate him. He established himself as an underachiever so he wouldn't overshadow his best friend, Seth.

The movie would've not been so hard to watch if it weren't for the fact that Seth goes through these diatribes about sex (which he's never experienced), the injustices of being a teenage virgin (for the love of God, not everyone has to be devirginized before college!!!) and how he and Evan could be the part of the cool crowd by being the procurer of all things alcoholic. There is no couth to the dialogue/language. Nilly, who watched the first half of the movie with me explained to me that Seth's lines are lines a guy would say in his head but never verbalize. Only someone who has the mental capacity of a moron would actually have an ode to penises and bodily functions the way Seth had.

There's also the side party Seth and Evan attended on their way to Jules' party which was very lame. Really, menstrual blood isn't that funny.

The movie also could have been better if the cops (played by Bill Hader and Seth Rogen who happens to be in Knocked Up, and writer to this movie) would have had less screen time. Their lines were shallow (although I do understand that they're shallow cops to start out with) and really unnecessary. I do have to admit that their final scene with Fogell/McLovin (whom I thought was a good scene stealer) was really good.

The Good:

If I haven't already said it, McLovin. He's funny, he's not pretentious. He actually wasn't afraid to actually call out Seth's BS.

Jules, Becca and Nicola were characters that were "normal". However, the drunken Becca/Evan sex convo was so American Pie contrived down to the "bitch" part.

When Evan finally called Seth a "brick". I never thought he'd actually call Seth on his BS.

The parting shot between Seth and Evan. It accomplished 2 things. One, it signified letting go between the characters, and (thank goodness) the second, the end of the movie.

Maybe I am getting too old to watch these kinds of movies. After watching this and Knocked Up, I'd say Knocked Up trumped this movie (even though I grumbled throughout Ben Stone's childish behavior of toking and acceptance of being a slob despite the fact that he knew he was going to be a dad).

Rating from 1 to 5, with 5 being a keeper movie: 2

Juno on the other had is another story about 2 best friends that decided to have sex. Almost 12 weeks later, Juno finds out that she's pregnant with her best friend's kid.

The Good:

Every part of this movie is good. Ellen Page (Hard Candy, X3) was perfectly casted in this role as a smart-mouthed teenager. Her best friend, Leah (Olivia Thirlby) was also cast very well as the supportive girlfriend. "Phuket, Thailand" has never been used so well in a conversation.

Juno's dad (JK Simmons) was also great. He and Allison Janney played the parental role so well, I would've loved to be their kid with the exception of being named strangely like Juno or Liberty Bell.

Michael Cera as Paulie Bleeker was also really good. He was very sublime, accepting Juno's decision to put their kid up for adoption and yet accepting the fact that the mistake they made could have broken them as friends.

Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman as Vanessa and Mark was also good. Vanessa was your quintessential wanna-be mommy and Mark was the guy that just constantly gave in to make his wife happy despite the fact that he wasn't happy himself.

The best part: Juno's delivery. The whole way they portrayed Juno, her scene with her dad, and finally, Bleeker, was so heartbreaking, I was crying.

The Bad:

They could have portrayed Vanessa in a lighter light. I know that there are people out there that are as intense as her when it comes to the adoption/I-wanna-be-mommy syndrome but the desperation she showed almost made me think that if I were Juno, I would've not wanted her to adopt my child. Even at that, this is nitpicking on my end.

Strangely, a lot of the plot reminded me of the movie Saved, but I cannot really draw any comparison with the exception that the dialog written was very witty. Diablo Cody should win the award for best Script Writing.

Rating: 5/5.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Tao of Grohl

I love the fact that former Nirvana member is now an emulated guy. Dave Grohl: my hero. If I am going to find a mantra that matters, it would be his.

On a side note, what would Kurt Cobain feel knowing that his "I don't wanna sell out" attitude is not being held up to its standard? Case in point, Starbucks sells the Nirvana Unplugged on its shelf. Next to it is Eddie Vedder's digital download of "Into the Wild" (which is BTW a very good album).

Talk about irony.

I guess the only thing that you can take away from it is that it's all from Seattle.