Double Feature Duel (Championship Match): The Nines vs. Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Double Feature Duel (Championship Match):
The Nines vs. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
The championship match is finally here. A couple surprising 10-buggers square off in the final match in a great example of a good idea gone way too far. But if you’re reading this, I suppose it was all worth it. Still a fun and interesting experiment if I didn’t have a job or a wife or a hobby.
Title: Rule #3.4 section A states that any movie with more than five words or 23 total characters shall be ineligible for competition in this category. Section B continues on to explain tie-breakers in the case that two movies are ineligible. Which I don’t need to do now. (Point, Nines 1-0)
Funnier: There’s a reason Will Ferrell and Ben Stiller aren’t in either of these movies. But Ryan Reynolds puts in a great performance in the second segment to sprinkle some humor on top. (Point, Nines 2-0)
Better Turn: The “turn,” as far as its definition with respect to film terminology is concerned, is the point in which the plot develops, or the first act (character development) yields way to the second act (plot development). (Ed note: There is no film definition of “turn.” He made it up.) Anyway, I think we all know how badass I think the scene where Caesar shuts the gate is. And this is no different. (Point, Rise 2-1)
Better Ending: Both of these endings are probably in the top 27% but not the top 8%. Rise connected the dots on their way to show how the Planet of the Apes could have begun. The Nines tied together three vignettes and introduced an interesting question of the nature of creation. It’s a tough one and I appreciate how Rise was able to be a prequel of sorts to the Planet of the Apes, but I really remember (barely at this point) being blown away by The Nines’ ending. Besides, Rise is coming out with a sequel, which should devalue the ending further. (Point, Nines 3-1)
Better Message: Maybe I’ve said this before, but Rise brings up a lot of issues of both chemical testing in animals and slavery. And it bundles it up in a nice badass ape revenge movie. (Point, Rise 3-2)
Poster: Not my favorite part of The Nines. And props to Rise for staying true to the original, whilst still being original. Which was basically its entire mission statement. (Point, Rise 3-3)
Better Acting: Two Oscar nominees (Melissa McCarthy and James Franco) didn’t even put up the best performances in each movie (Ryan Reynolds and Andy Serkis). And who’s going to be the tie-breaker? Little Elle Fanning beating out John Lithgow, perhaps? Well, I haven’t been talking for a year about Ryan Reynolds being snubbed by the Oscars. So congrats Andy. Why the hell not? (Point, Rise 3-4)
More Creative: It would be easy to cash it in and just say The Nines’ vignette structure and creative handling of the subject matter and the timely release of information garners yet another award for creativity. But Rise – well, I think I just talked myself into it. (Point, Nines 4-4)
Watch again: And it’s down to this. And there’s unfortunately not much I can say about the wall Rise is about to run into to make it close. There’s no movie that I’ve already seen that I want to see again as much as The Nines. (Point, Nines 5-4)
Overall: Congrats, Nines. You are a gentleman and a scholar. And you did it the hard way. You earned it. Winner: The Nines (5-4)

Double Feature Duel (Final Four): Rise of the of the Apes Planet vs. Super 8

Double Feature Duel (Final Four):
Rise of the of the Apes Planet  vs. Super 8

One and a half of the more enjoyable surprise movies I’ve seen in the past year take on each other for a chance to challenge The Nines in the championship. Can Super 8 continue its run based on the charms of Elle Fanning and the standard JJ Abrams opening 20 minutes?

Title: I don’t have a lot of actual criteria for this thing here, but titles that give marquee changers carpal tunnel syndrome lose. (Point, Super 0-1)
Funnier: As much as I want to include the clever homages to the original POTA in this, they weren’t exactly funny. Super 8 was. (Point, Super 0-2)
Better Turn: I do love both of these turns, or at least what I’ve decided the turns are. The train derailing scene is quintessential JJ Abrams (which means he did it in Lost too) and Caesar closing the jail cell and opting to stay with the apes in captivity were both awesome. But I’ll go with the scene that drove the plot along better than the other. (Point, Rise 1-2)
Better Ending: Super 8 may have beat Adjustment Bureau in this category. But none of the other 62 movies. Including this one. (Point, Rise 2-2)
Better Message: Super 8 does make a decent statement about xenophobia, while Rise warns of the dangers of animal testing and makes a subtle statement (for those that weren’t paying attention) about classism. I favor subtlety. (Point, Rise 3-2)
Better Acting: Golem vs. Dakota Fanning’s little sis. I have been very vocal (to my 3 blog readers) about how I think Andy Serkis should have gotten an Oscar nomination for his work as Caesar. Or at least how it would have been cool. I have also said how much I enjoy Elle Fanning and the rest of the supporting cast of Super 8. As much as I enjoyed Serkis, I am really impressed with the comedy the new kids were able to create in Super 8. (Point, Super 3-3)
Poster: Super 8 is not going to lose this to many movies. This one included. (Point, Super 3-4)
More Creative: This is where I’ll give Rise its due for all the homages to the original. The name Caesar, the nickname Blue Eyes, the model of the Statue of Liberty, the first word he spoke, etc. etc. And in the end, Super 8 just turned out to be another misunderstood alien movie. (Point, Rise 4-4)
Watch again: These are two of the few movies in this contest I actually saw twice since the tournament began. And this is a tough call. I watched Super 8 twice before returning the DVD because I wanted Jenn to see it and I watched Rise in the theaters and again on DVD because I wanted Jenn to see it. So if I had to pick one to show my 18-year old daughter, I’d have to go with Rise. Congrats. (Point, Rise 5-4)
Overall: I know it seems like I make these close on purpose sometimes and I really know who’s going to win, but that is not the case my friend. I thought Super 8 might have pulled it out. And now, onto the finals. Winner: Rise of the Planet of the Apes (5-4)

Double Feature Duel (Final Four): Big Fish vs. The Nines

Double Feature Duel (Final Four):
Big Fish vs. The Nines

The first matchup of the Final Four pits one of my Top Five (and a Father’s Day tradition) against a movie I didn’t even know about but now tell everyone to go see.

Title: The Nines isn’t particularly sharp in this category to begin with and it’s going up against a movie named after one of my nicknames. Tough break, newbie. Maybe Achilles would have had a better shot. (Point, Big Fish 1-0)
Funnier: The Nines was definitely not without humor, but that wasn’t its forte. Big Fish wasn’t exactly a laugh-out-loud production either, but the mood it set definitely tricked me into thinking it was humorous. (Point, Big Fish 2-0)
Better Turn: It’s tough to diagnose a movie’s turn when it’s shot as three vignettes. But this one was kinda easy. It was the end of the first vignette, which produced the first “What the hell?!” moment of the movie. And it definitely brought the audience into the second act. (Point, The Nines 2-1)
Better Ending: I almost started typing “Far and away, the better ending belongs to Big Fish” until I started thinking about The Nines. And it was worth a thought, but there’s a reason I watch Big Fish every year on Father’s Day. And there’s a reason I cry every year too. (Point, Big Fish 3-1)
Better Message: The Nines certainly posed an intriguing question about the nature of creation and thus, God. And though I love the Living Years message played out in Tim Burton’s head, I have to give the philosophical nod to the newbie. (Point, The Nines 3-2)
Better Acting: I do love me some Ryan Reynolds. But I also love me some Ewan McGregor. I also love Albert Finney. But I love Melissa McCarthy too. And then there’s Elle Fanning. But also Marion Cottiliard. This one is tough. And looking ahead, possibly game-changing. And I’m going to have to give it to The Nines. Despite the strange world Big Fish convinced us to believe in, The Nines gave us three different worlds, each of them different and superbly acted. (Point, The Nines 3-3)
Poster: Big Fish. In a landslide. (Point, Big Fish 4-3)
Watch again: The Nines. In a slightly smaller and less horrific landslide. (Point, The Nines 4-4)
More Creative: It all comes down to this. Which is more creative? They’re both top 5 percentile in creativity for sure. Big Fish has two worlds, one very real and based in fact and one very fantastic and based in story. The Nines shows us three vignettes and threads them together to question the nature of what it is to be a God. I haven’t seen either of these things taken to the extent these movies have brought it to. It could really go either way on any given day. But right now, if I had to pitch these two movies in 50 words or less, I’d lean toward the three vignettes spelling out the narrative of creation. (Point, The Nines 4-5)
Overall: It was the battle to the end we all hoped it would be and it came down to a category near and dear to my heart. And even that was a tough decision, especially considering what was on the line. Congrats, newbie. You have earned the respect of many today. Winner: The Nines (5-4)

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Double Feature Duel: The Final Four Begins

Double Feature Duel:
The Final Four Begins
So there’s definitely an underdog but not necessarily a clear favorite. Of the three favorites, Big Fish has the distinction of being the only 10+ bug film at 10.5 and also carries with it a tradition (I watch it every year for Father’s Day) and the distinction of being occasionally called my favorite movie, and always one of my Top Five. Also, I had seen it before. Both The Nines and Rise of the Planet of the Apes were first-time views, though both got a 10-bug rating. I’ve also seen Rise of POTA another time since the first view because I like to make Jenn watch things I know she’ll hate I really enjoy. And then there’s the misfit Super 8 that has some sort of magic formula to keep winning this game. Like George Mason of 2006. And no, there was no storybook ending for them. And they were quite boring to watch actually. But anyway, let’s take a look at the paths of these movies before we get stated.

Big Fish (10.5): This movie won the Philadelphia Quadrant, which had the highest QBA (Quadrant Bug Average) of 6.31. It easily shut out the atrocious Storytelling and dodged An Inconvenient Truth with a little help from narrative-favored criteria. It shut down Body of Lies in the Sweet 16 and barely escaped with a one-point victory over Stranger Than Fiction, outscoring its first four opponents 27-9. Of the 9 points it lost, 3 of them were strangely in the category of “Watch Again,” which probably speaks to the fact that I watch this movie a lot. The other 6 points were in 6 different categories and the only two categories it won every time were “Best Ending” and “Most Creative.” It’s also due to get watched again in 2 months.
The Nines (10): This movie won the Baltimore Quadrant with a QBA of 5.94. This movie had by far the toughest road to the Final Four, having defeated (in order) Cars, The Cove, Planet of the Apes (1968) and Source Code, who had an average bug rating of 8. It was beaten 3 times in the “Poster” category but undefeated in “Better Acting” and “Watch Again,” the latter of which happens to be its next opponent’s biggest flaw. I think I see one point already.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (10):This movie didn’t really see too much resistance on the way here, having its toughest match against a 7-bug Definitely, Maybe, thought this was indicative of the Cincinnati Quadrant, which was the only one to come in below average (4.91). It shut out the battle of the Planet of the Apes movies by shutting out the Battle of the Planet of the Apes in the second round. And it also got behind 0-2 in all other three matches by losing the “Title” and “Funnier” categories. It only lost 2 total other points – “Acting” to Definitely, Maybe and “Message” to Bucket List. It remained undefeated in the other 5 categories.
Super 8 (7): Proof that anything can happen. It took care of the top half of the DC Quadrant (which had an overall QBA of 5.44), beating a 3.5 (Pirates of the Caribbean 4) and two other 7s (Swimming to Cambodia and It’s a Wonderful Life). Meanwhile, the bottom of the bracket was doing battle with each other with 4 movies of an 8.5 or above and eventually put Midnight in Paris up to face Super 8. Somehow, Super 8 managed to squeak out four victories, despite never scoring more than 6 points. It lost every single “Best Ending” and “Better Message” point, but won all “Title,” “Better Turn” and “Poster” points. It has its strengths, I’ll give you that.
And now it’s time to get the Final Four underway. Can Super 8 do what George Mason couldn’t? Or will Big Fish finish its #1 overall seed Kentucky-style? Or will one of the two surprise new 10-buggers take it all? Tip-off in approximately 24 hours.

Review of Young Adult

Review of Young Adult
A movie with a slutty Charlize Theron and Patton Oswald playing a fat geek? Where do I sign?
I liked this movie before it even came out. A delusional young adult trying to continue living her college years well into her thirties? Throw in the dilemma of when to divulge her actual age to her new friends and it’s basically Dustin circa 2005-2008.
A smokin hot author of Young Adult fiction (Theron) learns that her high school sweetheart just had a baby so she goes back home to save him from this lifestyle that he must obviously hate. Because she would. And why wouldn’t everybody think like her? Real people didn’t have kids. Only losers who gave up on the life that they couldn’t have because they weren’t smokin hot enough had kids. And now we’ve moved on to the current Dustin years.
Things don’t end the way she’d hoped. The movie drops a few clues in our lap that she might not be rowing with both oars if you know what I mean. But she also defends some random guy’s sexuality when given the opportunity. And when she completely breaks down, you think she’s coming to terms that maybe she has been stuck living in this Young Adult bubble. But then some bland girl from high school reminds her how smokin hot she is and how that makes her better than everyone else. And she’s back. Just when you thought she was having her first self-reflective breakthrough, she was pulled back into the TV.
I’m not sure if the movie had a moral in mind, but if the takeaway was supposed to help us understand that pretty people are immature well beyond their years because bland people occasionally look up to them, then kudos. Was she pulling her hair out because she was coddled? Or does she feel the need to be coddled because she’s not well. Good questions. Well presented, Diablo. Next time, do it without the jump cuts of her plugging in her laptop. 6.5 bugs (out of 10)