Family Guy and Snuggles the Bear Makes a Movie Signaling the End of the World

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Has anyone else gone to the movies this summer? Were you pleasantly sitting in your seat, waiting patiently for the movie to start, and then desired to shoot yourself when the preview for Ted came on? If you have been lucky enough not to be subjected to it, this comedy coming to theaters on June 29 is directed by and starring Seth Macfarlane (the creator of Family Guy) and starring Mark Wahlburg, and Mila Kunis. The catch? While Wahlberg and Kunis play live action characters, MacFarlane does the voice for a drunk, foul mouthed teddy-bear. Wow. That really is as stupid as it sounds.

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As a big Family Guy fan, no one was more disappointed than I watching the trailer for Ted. Where do I start? I don’t even know what dismays me more, the fact that this trailer does not seem funny at all, that this idea for a story seems so stupid that I think it could actually lower my IQ, or the fact that Seth Macfarlane was willing to align himself with Mark Wahlberg who couldn’t act his way of a paper bag. I think this might be a situation in which the idea sounds better in your head than in practice, because I’ll admit the circumstances of the film are very ironic. Oh, it’s a teddy-bear! He must be so sweat and lovable and can make my laundry softer! But no, he’s a misanthropic, lecherous douche. No one would see it coming! In the head, that idea seems like it could work. As soon as it goes on paper, and especially on the screen, it completely falls apart. Add Mark Wahlberg and it’s a recipe for disaster.

I honestly have no idea how this occurred. there are some elements of Family Guy that are comedic genius. And yet, this movie just doesn’t seem funny at all. How did Seth Macfarlane go from hysterical TV comedy to a cussing Snuggles? Squids, please let me know how you feel about Macfarlane’s latest career move. Defend it if you dare.

Men in Black 3, or to the 3rd Power or Whatever

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I didn’t have very high expectations for this movie. Honestly I only saw it because I was bored. The second MIB sucked and bringing in time travel easily jumps the shark. And there were some significant problems. However, the movie was definitely better than I thought it would be. Which just means I didn’t completely hate it.

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Men in Black 3 is of course the third installment to the Men in Black movies. Even though I’m not a huge fan of this series, I have grown up with them. I was 7 when the first came out, and 12 when the second one was released. Interestingly, even at that impressionable age I knew it was a piece of crap. But anyway…

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Men in Black 3 was directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and follows J (Will Smith), an agent in a secret government organization that monitors alien activity. One day, J goes into work and discovers his partner, agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) is no longer there, and has inexplicably died in 1969. J has to go back in time and work with the younger K (Josh Brolin) in 1969 to prevent him from dying, and of course, saving the world in the process.

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So before I start tearing this movie to shreds, let me throw out some deserved props. One of the best things about this movie was how incredibly similar Josh Brolin is to Tommy Lee Jones, and not just in appearance. Brolin noticeably took on Jones’s performance of K and all of his mannerisms. So even though I knew they were two completely different people, sometimes it was easy to forget. Such a feat is acting at its best.

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I also loved the appearance of the villain Borris played by Jemaine Clement (don’t worry, you’ll hear about the actual character later). He was much more intimidating than Zurlina in the 2nd film. And the actor did a good job with him.

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But the character that stole the show was Griffin, played by Michael Stuhlbarg. Griffin was not just comic relief. As an alien that constantly weighed the probability of future events, he was interesting and creative. He was a joy to watch, and without him the movie would have imploded into a ball of flames fueled by Tommy Lee Jones’s formaldehyde.

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And now my favorite part: the problems. I’d say the first 30 minutes of the movie were sloppy and boring. Basically, until J goes back in time, I did not see any reason to pay attention and was reviewing my Korean vocabulary. Nothing was interesting.

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Also, for a movie advertised as a comedy, there were quite a few funny moments that were not funny at all. And the ones that were actually funny had been advertised so that they weren’t that funny anymore. I did not laugh very much at all during this movie. I’d say it was the least funny of the trilogy.

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And while I liked the appearance of Boris, the character was quite weak. Yeah, he wants to get back at K for turning him into a gimp. I get that. But why is he an assassin at all? For the money, or he just loves killing people? In fact, I think all the Men in Black villains are pretty simplistic, but I haven’t seen the other two in a while, so I could be wrong. Then again, I do not plan on watching them to find out for sure.

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But, on the whole, it wasn’t a complete waste of two hours. The movie eventually picked up pace and became more interesting. I give it a 4 out of 10 only because of my love of the character of Griffin.

The Dictator: An Excuse For Cohen To Show The World His Dick

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So, I just saw the Dictator. For the first time in a movie theater, I saw people regularly going in and out to get beers. That was new, but I understand that this is the perfect movie to drink to. Maybe if I had been drunk it would have actually made sense.

After being a homophobic tourist in Borat and shocking the world with explicit homosexual pornography in Bruno, Sacha Boren Cohen now stars in The Dictator which both mocks dictators and American politics. It pretty much mocks everything. In The Dictator, Aladeen, (Sacha Boren Cohen) a repressive dictator trying to ensure democracy never comes to his country. He goes to New York with his brother (Ben Kingsley) to attend a UN meeting when his brother betrays him and replaces him with a double. Alone in New York, Aladeen can only trust Zoey (Anna Feris) and a scientist he tried to execute (Jason Mantzoukas) to save his country…from being saved.

As my regular readers know, I look for stories in movies and characters. That aspect of the Dictator did not make sense at all. Why would a guy Aladeen tried to execute try to help him? However, considering it is a comedy, I’ll take it at face value. As far as comedy goes, over all, I thought it could be funnier. In a comedy, I want to be laughing constantly, rupturing my spleen in the process. Then I can sue the studio for hurting me and take care of my student debt. Anyway, the Dictator had its moments, but there were long periods, some like thirty minutes, in which I was not laughing at all. However, I will recognize there were moments of comedic genius that almost made it worth sitting through the long stretches.

All in all, I am pretty glad I saw it, but that was mainly because I had just seen the Raven and needed something uplifting to stop me from cringing from the pit in the pendulum scene and John Cusack’s terrible acting. And it worked. But I give it a 3 for not living up to my fraudulent expectations. I went to Austin College. I have a lot of debt.

Cannibal the Musical!: Yes, There is Actually a Movie Called That

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This movie was a real wildcard for me. Honestly, the only reason I watched it was because today I was watching movies with a bunch of my friends in celebration of the end of finals. My friend Kinsey was searching on NetFlix and cried, “Let’s watch Cannibal the Musical!” When you hear a title like that, even if you’re not a big fan of either cannibals or musicals, you just don’t walk away from it.

Cannibal the Musical is an independent black comedy directed. produced, and starred in by Trey Parker (yes, the later South Park creator) in 1993. It loosely (very loosely) follows Alfred Packer’s notorious trip across the Rocky Mountains which lead to him resorting to cannibalism for survival. In the movie, Packer (Trey Parker) is being persecuted for allegedly killing his travel companions who were all found dead and partially eaten on the mountainside. Before he is sentenced and later sent to execution, he tells the true story of what happened to journalist Polly Pry (Toddy Walters).

Warning: this humor is not for everyone. As can be imagined with a movie about cannibals, there are some very Tarantinoesque scenes mostly in the first five minutes for shock value. So if you can get through the first five minutes, you should be okay.

I personally really enjoyed the humor, mostly the fact that through most of the story, Packer is completely in love with his horse. It’s a little bit hard to get through the first 20 minutes of the film, because it’s a bit dry, but the movie does get better.

Probably what I love best about this movie is how in a self aware way, it is completely ridiculous. Nothing really makes sense. For example, at one point in their journey, Parker’s party comes across some Japanese people parading as Native Americans. And need I mention again that the main character is in love with his horse? Oh, and don’t forget, this movie is a musical. So every now and then, when the emotions get ramped up, the characters express themselves in catchy, ridiculous songs. My favorite is “Let’s Build a Snowman” which I will undoubtedly be humming as I walk across the stage at my college graduation this Sunday.

As far a complaints, it is hard for me to criticize a movie that is intentionally ridiculous and completely unserious. I guess I wish the beginning (other than the Tarantino scene) were a bit more interesting, but other than that I thought this movie was a lot of fun. A great way to spend time with your friends. I give Cannibal the Musical a 6. If you like South Park, you will probably enjoy this movie, so give it a shot. Most preferably with alcohol. Yeah, it’s that kind of film.

Dracula: Dead and Loving It

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It’s kind of difficult for me to critique comedies, because when I see movies I look for the story. But the nature of comedy in film usually requires a simplistic story because the goal is not to make a profound point, but just to make people laugh. Considering this, the only way I feel I can legitimately critique this movie is if I do it on its own terms as a comedy.

Mel Brooks’s Dracula: Dead and Loving It was released in 1995 and satirizes classic vampire horror flicks going all the way back to Bela Lugosi. He achieves this with great panache. In the movie, a somewhat clumsy and not so diabolical Count Dracula (Leslie Nielson) travels to London to wreak havoc and claim a big-breasted lady as his wife for eternity. He sets his eyes on the beautiful Mina (Amy Yasbeck) who must be saved by her fiancé, Jonathan Harker (Steven Weber), her father (Harvey Korman), and the strange yet knowledgeable Professor Van Helsing (Mel Brooks).

I honestly had never heard about this movie until I saw it listed on NetFlix on Monday. I have no idea how I missed it for so long (well, except for maybe the fact that I was four when it came out). Such a shame because this movie is hilarious. What I like most about Mel Brooks’s creation is that it is a comedy I can claim to enjoy without feeling ashamed of myself. It has a good combination of high and low humor to appeal to may different types of audiences. Whether it’s Professor Van Helsing using an autopsy to intentionally make his medical students faint, Or Count Dracula gliding imposingly out of his coffin only to bang his head on a chandelier, there is never a long portion of this movie without laughs. I, having changed my system from out of 5 to out of 10, give this movie a 5 for Brooks’s clever hilarity. Go find this movie, some liquor, and some friends, and you’ll have a very fun Saturday night.