Double Feature Duel: Unknown vs. The Cove

Double Feature Duel:
Unknown vs. The Cove

Bout #11: Another narrative vs. documentary story. So far the battle favors the narrative 2-1 (if I lump Shattered Glass, a based on real life story) into that category. Which I will. Because I can and mostly because I just did and I don’t feel like deleting it.

Unknown: Liam Neeson plays his character from Taken and gives himself some Bourne Identity-grade amnesia. Only he can remember some things but not other things, which is a very convenient trick used often in the writing world. It’s good, and I do especially enjoy the twist, but the movie couldn’t help itself and threw in some cheesy action car chases and lines of bravado that sucked it back down to Hollywood cookie cutter status. 5.5 bugs

The Cove: Wow. This was an incredible look at this underground dolphin mass murder that goes on over in Japan almost daily from what I understood. And for part of the movie, I thought I was actually watching a real life Oceans 11 in how they had to sneak in to get the footage. 8.5 bugs

Title: Unknown is a good title. Which is why 6 other movies are also named that. (Point, The Cove 0-1)

Funnier: Don’t go watching either of these movies expecting a laugh-out-loud moment, though I’d have to give the banter in the Cove a nod over Unknown, who seemed to take itself a little too seriously to let down its hair (Point, The Cove 0-2)

Better Turn: It’s hard to say where the action actually turns in The Cove, though it was shot a little more like Oceans 12 than your average documentary. Unknown also seems to keep turning, as we learn something new every scene. But I rather enjoyed the middle 15 scenes of the movie. (Point, Unknown 1-2)

Better Ending: When ESPN shows their top 10 plays, they usually don’t speak over the final play and let the play-by-play peeps do the talking. That’s kinda what The Cove did. It was obvious and easy and it worked superbly. (Point, The Cove 1-3)

Better Message: Don’t kill dolphins. And if you do, don’t lie about it. And if you do, learn what a fake rock looks like and steal the HD camera from inside it. (Point, The Cove 1-4)

Better Acting: Again, the yin to the Better Message category’s yang in the narrative vs. documentary battle. (Point, Unknown 2-4)

More Creative: The lengths that these documentary guys had to go to get the shots they wanted was straight from Oceans 13. Except this was real. And it worked! Better than it did against Al Pacino. (Point, The Cove 2-5)

Poster: Shallow water, deep secret >OR< Take back your life. Unknown just wanted you to know that Liam Neeson and two hot blondes were in this movie. (Point, The Cove 2-6)

Watch again: I’d probably watch Unknown again just for the scene with Bruno Ganz and Frank Lengella. But The Cove was really entertaining and if you can stomach the needless slaughter of thousands of dolphins – which I can – I would definitely see it again. (Point, The Cove 2-7)

Overall: The Cove was a special movie. A documentary shot like an Oceans 14 movie. Unknown is the second best movie with that title (See Jim Caviezel, 2006). Winner: The Cove (7-2)

Double Feature Duel: The Invention of Lying vs. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Double Feature Duel:

The Invention of Lying vs. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Bout #10: The end of a multi-billion dollar franchise vs. a movie that pulled in just under $19 million. But hey, the Marlins beat the Yankees once upon a time.

The Invention of Lying: In a world where no one has ever told a lie, this man realizes he can. Sounds stupid, right? Well, it is. But it’s also funny. From the first frame to about 25 minutes from the end. Ricky Gervais accidentally and hilariously invents religion, fiction and deceit to get a woman into bed. Then he falls victim to his conscience and a romantic comedy checklist. But the good was good. 6.5 bugs.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: My feelings on the Harry Potter franchise have been well documented over the past year. This episode in particular. In summation, I’m sorry, America. 4 bugs.

Title: The day that movie theater marquee workers most commonly call in sick is the day Harry Potter movies come out. True story. (Point, Lying 1-0)

Funnier: Louis C.K. is in this movie too. (Point, Lying 2-0)

Better Turn: The moment that Ricky tells his first lie is overhyped by the foreshadowing in the beginning of the movie and again right before that moment. However, Harry Potter turned over a year ago now. (Point, Lying 3-0)

Better Ending: They were both covered in enough cheese to put you on Lipitor, but Harry’s was certainly within the boundaries of the world the movie created. The Invention of Lying seemed to want to make up for its earlier discretions by becoming a feel-good story. Boo. (Point, Harry Potter 3-1)

Better Message: The Harry Potter franchise has beat us over the head with the “hold your loved ones close to your heart” bullshit for 10 years. The Invention of Lying tells you that it’s wrong to deceive for personal gain, be it sex or love. But if you’re the only person in the world with the ability to do something, you have an obligation to society. (Point, Harry Potter 3-2)

Better Acting: I’ll grant you Potterheads that the trio got better at acting and Emma Watson certainly – ahem – matured. However, Louis C.K., Chris Guest, Tina Fey, Rob Lowe, Jonah Hill, Jason Bateman and Ricky is a lot of comedy fire power. (Point, Lying 4-2)

Poster: Harry Potter has decided to attack this category with strength in numbers. Good luck to the person who decides to try to narrow their search down to THE ONE OFFICIAL poster. (Point, Harry Potter 4-3)

Watch again: I’m sitting at home and they both come on cable at the same time and they’re the only two channels I can find on my 7,000-channel cable for some reason. I probably go with Harry Potter. Just to make sure I don’t like it (I like to be thorough). (Point, Harry Potter 4-4)

More Creative: Harry Potter worlds remind me of dreams. They are amazingly creative and original and completely believable when you’re in them. But once you wake up and really think about it, it was really stupid. And it would probably make a pretty silly movie. And everybody has dreams just as stupid and silly. (Point, Lying 5-4)

Overall: Who says you need to gross $300,000,000 to get to the second round of my game? Winner: The Invention of Lying (5-4)

Double Feature Duel: Planet of the Apes vs. Bee Movie

Double Feature Duel:

Planet of the Apes vs. Bee Movie

Bout #9: New quadrant of the bracket, new format. Each movie gets its own mini-review as a little foreplay before the raunchy doggie-style sex that is the Double Feature Duel.

Planet of the Apes: This is the 1978 version with Charleton Heston. I already knew the ending going in (the Statue of Liberty is actually on the current movie poster for this movie – which ruins it) and I knew how fake the ape costumes were going to be. That aside, I was pleasantly surprised at how well it delivered its social commentary while maintaining a degree of real action. Putting myself back in that time and pretending I didn’t know the ending, I would say it’s worth the 29 sequels and remakes. 7 bugs

Bee Movie: This movie started out pretty bad, actually calling out its own cheesy jokes – then it got interesting – then it tried to force a moral upon us and got stupid, confusing and boring. But it was moderately funny while I was able to pay attention to it. 4 bugs

Title: I know it was based on a book, but it’s tough to go against a term that has become such a part of our culture. (Point, Planet of the Apes 1-0)

Funnier: You know Jerry Seinfeld wrote Bee Movie, right? Yeah. (Point, Bee Movie 1-1)

Better Turn: The climax of both movies was finding out that humans could communicate with the animals from the movie title. But Bee Movie kept turning and turning until it got itself lost. (Point, Planet of the Apes 2-1)

Better Ending: The discovery of the Statue of Liberty is Bruce Willis’s realization that he’s dead for its time. And then Heston went on to damn mankind for blowing each other up rather than it just stopping with “It’s a Cookbook.” And when Charton Heston does it, it just feels more manly than when Al Gore does it. (Point, Planet of the Apes 3-1)

Better Message: I think Bee Movie was trying to say that we shouldn’t take honey from bees because it’s their livelihood. I’m not kidding. (Point, Planet of the Apes 4-1)

More Creative: This is tough. I find me asking myself which of these would I be less likely to come up with. However decent a story Planet of the Apes is, I think I could have come up with the main plot points. But a bee befriending a human, along with the entire opening scene with the action in the hive can get Bee Movie a pity point. (Point, Bee Movie 4-2)

Poster: The newer version of the Planet of the Apes poster shows the Statue of Liberty but that isn’t the original, or else it would have been really anticlimactic. The original poster was bright yellow with a sketch of apes in a cage with an ugly black strip in the upper right and – anyway, it sucks. All Bee Movie posters are better than this. (Point, Bee Movie 4-3)

Better Acting: It’s tough for me to compare a movie largely acted by people in bad ape masks (who randomly and conveniently spoke English, which I just can’t let slide) to an animated movie with no live actors. But I will. And I’m not going against live actors that don’t suck. (Point, Planet of the Apes 5-3)

Watch again: I really stopped paying attention to Bee Movie once the bee sued the humans. I don’t really feel like seeing Planet of the Apes again either, but I’d rather watch its sequels than Bee Movie Too. (Point, Planet of the Apes 6-3)

Overall: 6-3. That’s as close to their bug scores as possible. The better team won. I think Seinfeld outthought himself a little too much with this one.

Double Feature Duel (Rd4): Stranger Than Fiction vs. Big Fish

Double Feature Duel (Rd4):

Stranger Than Fiction vs. Big Fish

And in the No Surprises Here department, feast on the battle between two of the best movies I’ve ever seen. All bets are now final. And soon, a movie that I saw two months ago will be in the Final Four. I know. The system isn’t perfect.

Title: The decisions are already hard. I need to employ a panel of other people for the finals. I feel numb to these answers after the fourth time. Or I need to get drunk. But I’ve got to go with Stranger Than Fiction, despite Big Fish being one of my nicknames. Maybe people will start calling me Stranger Than Fiction. God willing. (Point, Stranger 1-0)

Funnier: See, Big Fish wasn’t really funny per se. It set a mood that was funny-like. And it was awesome. But not funny when compared to Stranger Than Fiction’s actual funny. (Point, Stranger 2-0)

Better Turn: When people ask what my favorite movie is, I say Memento. And then shortly after that, I say a close second is Frequency. BUT – after that – I mention Big Fish. Maybe after Back to the Future. Depends on the day. But the scene where Will Ferrell finds out he’s going to die just kicks you in the nuts. In a good way. Uh-oh. (Point, Stranger 3-0)

Better Ending: Yay! Here’s a point! It’s a shame Stranger couldn’t find a better ending. But it till wouldn’t have held a candle to Big Fish. Whatever the hell that means. (Point, Big Fish 3-1)

Better Message: Some movies are awesome despite the lack of meaning. Stranger Than Fiction is sucha movie. (Point, Big Fish 3-2)

Better Acting: I’m not the kind of guy to call a category a tie. Because that’s spineless and lazy. So what do I do here? I adore Will Ferrell and Dustin Hoffman, but there’s such a great dynamic from two distinctly different film genres. I’ll go with Big Fish for the degree of difficulty. There were characters distinct to one or the other (Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney), but some who also played in both (Helena Bonham Carter, really no one else) – and that’s good enough for now. (Point, Big Fish 3-3)

Poster: And the winner of the Big Fish award goes to… (Point, Big Fish 3-4)

Watch again: This category definitely does not favor movies I watch a lot. I watch Big Fish at least once a year and though I watched Stranger Than Fiction twice when I had it, it was so long ago now that I would like to see it again. And so it’s down to the last minute. Best of luck. (Point, Stranger 4-4)

More Creative: And it’s another toss up. I haven’t seen a movie like either of these to say “Hey, this movie is like [movie name], but with less annoying [adjective describing movie].” I’m leaning toward Big Fish because I love the movie and I know this is the deciding point, but I want to give Stranger its fair shake. So I’ve decided to employ a tactic I only resort to in emergencies. I asked Jenn. She said that the world that Big Fish created which drove the movie’s humor was enough for her. And that’s enough for me. Which better be enough for you. (Point, Big Fish 4-5)

Overall: Well that wraps up the Philadelphia Quadrant. And despite falling behind early in the game, the #1 seed came out alive. A valiant attempt by Stranger, but maybe we’ll find a bracket buster in the next quadrant.

Quick Inside Slant: 8/23/11

Quick Inside Slant:

Impressions of the 2011 NFL Season by a collegiate intramural flag football legend


OK. Calm down people. It’s just the pre-season. Shit, there’s a legitimate quarterback battle in Washington and not because both Rex and Beck look bad. The Colts have lost more pre-season games since 2005 than regular season games. There is no tagline for that statement. Just sit back and revel in the mathematical anomaly of it. The outcome of these games certainly doesn’t matter. The only reason for the season is for fantasy coaches to evaluate talent before their league starts. And actual coaches I suppose. So please – Washington – save the hope talk for the Obama reelection campaign. Don’t put too much stock into these things. Unless you’re an Eagles fan. Then you can shit your pants just a little.

What the NFL games taught us this week:

· New York Jets/Houston (from 8/15) – Even when Rex says boring company line shit, he gets the lead on NFL Live.

· Philly/Pittsburgh – If Mike Vick plays like this all season, people will start to remember the dog thing a lot more vividly.

· New England/Tampa Bay – The Patriots probably only need one day of training camp to be even with the rest of the NFL.

· Washington/Indianapolis – The Colts have lost more pre-season games since 2005 than regular season games. I felt I needed to mention this again.

· Carolina/Miami –SportsCenter does a really good job of fooling people into drafting Reggie Bush way too high in fantasy leagues.

· Detroit/Cleveland – I might give the Browns a shot at a dark horse wild card berth if they weren’t in the same division as the Red Sox and Yankees.

· Arizona/Green Bay – We all know Kevin Kolb was overpaid, but can you really put a price tag on hope?

· Kansas City/Baltimore – I just found out that Kansas City made the playoffs last year. Huh. How about that?

· Atlanta/Jacksonville – Jacksonville is a close second to Denver for the team that will most likely start three different quarterbacks sometime this season.

· Tennessee/St Louis – Dear Chris Johnson, You’re fucking up everybody’s fantasy drafts. Stop it. Sincerely, Touchdown My Pants.

· New Orleans/Houston – OK Houston. I’m back on the bandwagon. Again.

· Oakland/San Fran – Two men were shot in the parking lot after this game. That’s probably how I would feel if I had to watch the whole thing.

· Buffalo/Denver – #1 selling jersey, #3 quarterback. Seriously, can we stop talking about him now?

· San Diego/Dallas – If the kickoffs were moved up 5 yards last year, San Diego may have won the Superbowl.

· Cincinnati/New York Jets – Plaxico Burress looks to be in playing shape again while the Bengals have shot themselves in the foot this year.

· Minnesota/Seattle – If I was Tavaris or Sidney, I’d have tried to sneak back on the Viking’s plane after the game.

· Chicago/New York Giants – Terrell Thomas, Giants star cornerback and leading tackler last year, tore his ACL and will miss the entire 2011 season. In related news, a cornerback led the Giants in tackles last year.

Seriously, two men were shot in San Fran after the game because of their adverse opinion of which is the better team of the two. I don’t know why anyone would want to go to a game anymore. I don’t like to risk getting beer spilled on me, let alone death. Thankfully, this philosophy also falls in line with my philosophies of being cheap and not leaving the couch.