Year 9, Day 225 - 8/13/17 - Movie #2,714
BEFORE: William Atherton played the guy from the E.P.A., Walter "Dickless" Peck in the first "Ghostbusters" film, and since he was interviewed in "Ghostheads" yesterday, he appears again today and acts as my sneaky link back to narrative films. My other choices were Sigourney Weaver (I'll catch up with her at the end of the month) or...well, that was about it. Maybe Bill Murray in "Rock the Kasbah" but that's not high on my list of priorities, plus I know that this path gets me to the end of 2017.
Geek Week is over, but there is a Comic-Con connection here - I was in San Diego in 2006, which was maybe my 3rd or 4th year there, and our booth was next to Cartoon Network's Adult Swim booth, which they had decorated with a working fountain and a lot of owl statues, for some reason. But they weren't selling anything, which struck me as quite odd, because who pays for a booth and then doesn't sell any merchandise? Turns out they were just using the booth for signings, and each day they had a different show's cast there autographing for an hour or two - then they would re-decorate the whole booth for the next day (different colored owls), which again, I thought was quite crazy. It defied all the natural logic about how to set-up and run a booth.
One day, a loud noise rang up from halfway across the convention center, and the rumble of a cheering crowd was slowly moving toward us - it was Tim and Eric, plus their entourage of fans, making a grand and loud entrance as they headed toward the booth next door to do a signing session. Later in the day, Tim came over and bought a whole bunch of stuff from us, including a few pieces of signed animation art, and though my boss didn't recognize him, I sure did. (My other job at the time was tracking TV commercials, and I had to tape a lot of Cartoon Network to cover that demographic.). So I had to let Tim know that I knew who he was, without acting like a fanboy - I've found that's the best way to talk to minor celebrities - they want to be recognized, but they also don't want that recognition to get in the way of buying the thing that they want.
I also happened to catch about 15 minutes of this film, on in the background late one night while I was searching through the cable guide. Not enough to spoil the whole film, just enough to want to see more of it, though I hope I didn't see the best parts, meaning I'll have to watch the crappy bits tonight just to cross it off my list.
THE PLOT: Two guys get a billion dollars to make a movie, only to watch their dream run off course. In order to make the money back, they attempt to revitalize a failing shopping mall.
AFTER: Maybe it's just me, because I never got behind their shows "Tom Goes to the Mayor" and "Tim and Eric's Awesome Show...Great Job!" on the Adult Swim, but what the freak did I just watch? Even with the advance work of having seen about 15 minutes of this before by accident, it still manages to defy all narrative logic. Like, I can't tell if it's just comedy that's coming at me from a weird angle, or if it's put together poorly and the jokes aren't landing. There's got to be a difference, right? I mean, taken one way, there are parts that aren't funny, so comedy fail, but if that was the intention all along, to just be weird and not funny, then they succeeded, because that's what they got.
I get that this film doesn't take itself seriously, so therefore nothing in it can possibly be taken seriously, or even at face value. It's a silly movie that knows it's a silly movie, but it's not funny enough to be a parody like "Airplane!" was, it's more on the level of something like "Baseketball", which set out to parody every sports movie at once, but was not a serious narrative in any way. I see Tim & Eric as sort of the new Trey Parker and Matt Stone, following in their footsteps. Just two creative guys who want to be funny, but they get there by throwing a whole bunch of stuff against the wall, hoping something will stick. So to speak.
Maybe this whole thing is meant to be a send-up of Hollywood filmmaking, seen at first in the actor characters who get in trouble by wasting a billion dollars of the studio's money making their film (and for hiring a Johnny Depp impersonator instead of the real thing) and then spending the rest of the money on themselves and their guru. The rest of the film spoofs the corporate world as they transform themselves into phony business types to run a mall in the middle of nowhere - there's a lot of double-speak as they pretend to know about profit/loss statements and the "action steps" they need to take to re-open the mall and make back their billion.
The S'Wallow Valley Mall is in disrepair, and its owner can't wait to hire them and then sneak out the back door, leaving them to deal with the failing businesses, the hobo squatters and one very hungry wolf that roams the premises. There's an old yogurt shop that has spoiling inventory, and another shop that sells used toilet paper. (Really?) I think about 2/3 of the way through the excessive toilet humor really dragged the film down, a succession of poop jokes and masturbation jokes is usually a sign that the story couldn't support itself any longer, so boom, let's go right to the lowest common denominator.
The supporting cast of odd-looking people, some of whom are actors and some who I assume are not, was also a little suspect to me. I'm reminded of movies like "The Ringer", which mixed in a bunch of mentally-challenged people, and then there sort of becomes this fine line between giving those people a voice and downright exploiting them. In a weird way the two main actors sort of seem like mentally handicapped people themselves - so I wonder if they surrounded themselves with odder-looking people so they'd look more attractive?
Overall I'd probably be a lot more upset if this film didn't get me out of the "documentaries about geek films" section and link me to (hopefully) better films ahead.
Also starring Tim Heidecker (last seen in "A Merry Friggin' Christmas"), Eric Wareheim, Robert Loggia (last seen in "Hard Time"), Will Ferrell (last seen in "Daddy's Home"), John C. Reilly (last heard in "Sing"), Zach Galifianakis (last heard in "The Lego Batman Movie"), Will Forte (last seen in "The Ridiculous 6"), Twink Caplan (last seen in "Clueless"), Ray Wise (last seen in "X-Men: First Class"), Matt O'Toole, Ronnie Rodriguez, Mary Bly, Lillian Adams, Howie Slater, Robert Axelrod, Tennessee Winston Luke, James Quall, David Liebe Hart, with cameos from Jeff Goldblum (last seen in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2"), Erica Durance and the voices of Bob Odenkirk (last seen in "Nebraska"), Michael Gross.
RATING: 3 out of 10 slices of pizza