Friday, September 30, 2005

One is Enough

As the nation attempts to find its footing again after the worst couple of months in four years, we as
Americans (Red and Blue alike-which together make Purple) have at least found a patch of common ground in order collectively spew all of our hatred at a common enemy we can all agree upon.
Mike Brown, the former head of Feeble...uh, FEMA.
Is this guy not a prime candidate for Turd of the Year?
This Stable Boy's such a petulant punk, that White House Press Secretary Scott McClelland, a man whose own nuts have never fallen, even had to say, "Jesus, what a pussy!"
He may have been correct when he stated that he did "the best job he could". Brownie the Clownie should be put on a clean-up crew in the Superdome. Just don't put him in charge.

Meanwhile, Democrats in Virginia are considering running Ben Affleck for senator next year.
Apparently there is a Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse and its name is Gigli.

Film critics seemed to be surprised that Roman Polanski chose to direct a new version of OLIVER TWIST. They shouldn't be. He's used to working with children.

When the Sept. 30 edition of ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY arrived in my mailbox, I really thought they were really over hyping the new Tim Burton film CORPSE BRIDE. After all there was an article the week before and now there were two characters featured gracing the front cover. Boy was my face red when I discovered that it was just Sheryl Crow and Fiona Apple.

Speaking of Tim Burton, I caught CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY last week during Regal Cinemas' CANS FILM FESTIVAL. Once a year, anyone who bring three cans of food for the Oregon Food Bank is admitted to any Regal Cinema here in the Portland area for the movie of their choice. While I harshly criticize Regal for a number of infractions, this is a great tradition here in Portland and they deserve a pat on the back or wherever they want it.
This year, the only movie that fit into my schedule was the aforementioned CHOCOLATE FACTORY remake since I really was curious about it while being diametrically opposed to the whole idea. (I hate this obsession with remakes. Even Peter Jackson's KING KONG crushes my grapes.) The film is a mixed bag of tricks and treats and one cannot help but compare it to the 1971 version directed by Mel Stuart since the damn thing exists. The production is of course spectacular, primarily due to the whopping $150 million dollar budget whereas the original came in for what, twenty five bucks and change?At least the candy looks appetizing this time out. Some of the back stories are interesting, except for the useless chocolate palace sequence, but I did enjoy the trip to Loompaland and Willy Wonka as a boy with the worst set of dental braces of all time. The Oompa Loompas' musical sequences were a Burton tour de force, though the lyrics (the point of the whole thing-the life lessons, y'know) were unintelligible.How about a special Oscar for Deep Roy, the one actor that portrayed ALL of the O-Ls? Freddie Hightower was definitely an improvement over Peter Ostrum as Charlie that's for sure.And anybody that hires Christopher Lee is okay in my book for all time.
But there just seemed to be such a by the numbers approach to the whole thing. Where was the frenzy of the search for the Golden Ticket? And the Chocolate Factory tour itself seemed truncated. The kids and their colorless parents (except Mrs. Beauregard) didn't help matters much. James Fox may be a fine actor, but he's no Roy Kinnear as Mr. Salt. The kids got some updating without much follow through Mike Tee Vee was into violent video games, but it never really came into play, so to speak. Veruca was not a holy terror when she could have been and her elimination by squirrel was just creepy. And speaking of the C word...Johnny Depp as Willy.
I think he is probably the best American film actor at the moment, but this time, he was just miscast, For the first time, I could see the wheels turning and really going out of his way to be just weird, not merely eccentric. He seemed to be floundering and it just didn't work. Gene Wilder hit a balance between madness and charisma. He still owns this role. The screenplay by John August (so good with BIG FISH) lacked any of the wit of the first adaptation (co-written by Roald Dahl) and its exclusion left a hole-one would say a cavity-that this film desperately needed. In all, I wouldn't put this in the same trash heap where the PLANET OF THE APES debacle sits, but I wouldn't call it a success either. I was have to say it was just unnecessary. In the words of Mr. Wonka himself,
"Everybody gets one...and one is enough for anybody."
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