Thursday, March 23, 2017

MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS (1995)





I was snarky teenager when the Power Rangers first came out, so their appeal was lost on me and therefore never bothered to learn more. However, they've been rebooted and there's a new movie coming out this weekend, so I thought I would try to be open minded and figure out what the kids were so keen on.

First of all, I understand that the show and subsequently, this movie were not made with the word "quality" on people's minds. I work for a major studio and I know the meaning of the word "cash grab" when I see it. I understand that there were budget constraints and that kids can have terrible taste in things, so concepts like "special effects" and "acting" and "plot" tend to not be priorities in a project like this.

It should also be pointed out that this movie was released in July of 1995, being the cornerstone tentpole for 20th Century Fox. Seems they could have released the purse strings a little more, but whats done is done.

So right away, this movie opens with a Star Wars-esque crawl to clear up any confusion that someone like myself might have about the Power Rangers and how this whole story universe works.


I read this thing about three times and I still have no idea what its talking about. Also, why is Alpha 5 seeking out teenagers? Technically, you hit the peak of your health and strength when you're in your twenties or thirties. Are they teenagers in the legal sense where they've finished their high school requirement and are able to emancipate themselves from parental guardianship? Because none of these things were answered and I'm going to have issues with a bunch of teens who are forced into fighting life threatening wars and still aren't able to vote in their own planet.




And here's how we meet the Power Rangers. They're skydiving doing the first of many extreme sports that has absolutely nothing to do with the story. Its not really even character development either. I guess its just to rub it in my face that they're teenagers and have the ability to be out past ten p.m.


So the movie introduced us to this story line of a father and his son who's super ashamed of him because he can't do extreme sports. I was expecting Dad to redeem himself at some point. I should have been prepared for disappointment.


Another issue this movie has is everyone is told to be the comic relief in this film. If it was a intentional comedy then okay - everyone brings their own special gifts to the table. But its all the same sarcasm, and everyone's trying to be louder than the other.


Again, I realize there's fault in searching for logic in a Power Rangers story, but these construction workers found a giant purple egg hidden mere feet under the ground they just demolished. I can't ignore this. I just can't.

Okay, so they've been hired by a weird Wizard of Oz type mentor who's only other employee is this robotic Black Manta who's clearly about to snap at any minute, given that they (I have no idea if its a he or she) have no control over their motor skills.

This is actually the only character in this movie that did not feel the need to crack jokes. And there was sadly not enough of him.

This purple thing came out of the egg and made a lot of jokes usually at the expense of others and had an upsettingly obscene beard. He has a plan - and it involves something with ooze and creating weird monkey and crow soldiers to harass the Power Rangers. He was also very clear on first he controls Angel City and then the world, which also seemed short sighted. Its not a well explained plan which makes me think he didn't really work out all the details. He was suspended for 6000 years. There was no excuse for that kind of sloppiness.

There's a fight scene with said crow army and I have a serious complaint against the Power Rangers.

They spend so much strength and time gearing up for combat by doing back flips, spinning around and random dance moves. Had they ever read The Art of War, they would know the key to defeating your enemy is to wear them out before you.


Watching these obvious actors in crow suits made me wonder exactly how many of them have been classically trained on stage.


Here's something else I noticed about the production value of a Power Rangers movie. You can film it anywhere. An abandoned construction site, a parking garage or an old cheese factory - its up to you.

The Ooze master steals their powers somehow ( it involved ooze) and they decide to leave Earth and look for them back. They were doing what they were told, no questions asked, which made me wonder if they were actually teenagers after all.

They actually had to walk. No extreme sports in getting from point A to point B.

And now something for the adults...

I really couldn't tell you what this woman's purpose was. She fought the alien crows but spinning sticks around and gave them directions.


They fought a skeleton Triceratops, which seemed kind of pointless. If he eats you, you just slide out and try again.

And because they so dutifully obeyed instructions, took apart a skeleton, they got to stand around a fire, and get new ninja outfits as well as a second set of spirit animals (why do they get more than one? )


Hey, remember that father who will never earn the respect of his son?  Well, he touched some free ooze and became brainwashed.


So while the Rangers are gone, the Ooze Master is now a foreman who enjoys sitting in the sun and barking at his employees, which are just hypnotized parents who also stuck their hands in something that they didn't know. It doesn't seem like the best use of his time and says that maybe this guy has an issue delegating to a series of managers.

I will say this though - in the short amount of time this guy has been on  Earth, he's managed to set up a business, build up buzz and capital, and a big enough factory, not to mention branding. Clearly someone spent the last six months watching nothing but episodes of Shark Tank.


So the Power Rangers throw away those nifty ninja suits, which clearly served no purpose at all, got back their powers and came back to Earth where there's ooze and weird mechanical insects that aren't doing anything but walking around and bumping into things.


Again, I may be confused on how the Power Rangers work and the boundaries of their powers but they power animal shaped ships. I feel like I should have known this in the first few minutes going in.


Why do the Rangers need to communicate with such strong arm movements? I tried doing it in my own day to day life and people assumed I was too aggressive and about to mug them.


It should be noted that the Ooze Master (was his name Ivan? I don't know) decides to skip the middle man and put himself in one of his metal bugs to fight the Power Rangers. Question: is he aware of his massive time wasting?

Also, I don't want to accuse Disney and the Marvel Cinematic Universe of plagiarism, so I'll just leave this here:






 And back to this story line where this kid saves his dad from menial work and dad still has no way of redeeming himself at any point in this life or the next.

It seemed like a fairly easy victory for the Power Rangers. The entire battle led up to them collectively kicking the villain in the groin and doing it so hard he blasted off into space. No lessons were learned and the city was fine going back to normal and forgetting about the whole thing all together.

And that's what I missed out on.

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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

SON IN LAW (1993)




We know reading is hard. So we're podcasting this like all the cool kids do.


Beth and I are talking about the real issues of this movie. Things like "Why would anyone bring Pauly Shore home?" Its intense stuff.

Also, we should have mentioned that Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers appears and is unsure of what he's doing or that a movie is being filmed. The management here solemnly apologizes.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

EXCALIBUR (1981)

Its been awhile since my last post and basically 2016 got away from me. Its not as though I didn't watch tons of bad movies, because I did. Mostly, life has a way of getting ahead of you. But in the time I wasn't writing about my favorite hobby, I was traveling, doing other kinds of writing and getting married. But thankfully (for me anyway), I watched this with my husband the other night and as we riffed away, it dawned on me that I missed writing for this blog and I set out to make things right.

So we're getting a new King Arthur movie this year.  Did you know you wanted one? Well, no matter what you're answer, the good people at Warner Bros are going to give you one anyway.



Look, I'll throw money at it, that's for sure. I enjoy Charlie Hunnam, Guy Ritchie and that quick style editing that feeds my ADD.

However, this put me in mind of a King Arthur movie from years past and unfortunately, its not the one with Kiera Knightly looking sad while she shoots arrows. Unfortunately, its not Disney's Sword and the Stone, which is delightful and shows how much any story is improved with a wizard singing about doing the dishes. Instead, its this one:


So I did some hunting and I found it. It really wasn't that hard to find actually.

Here's your film overview - its over the top lovely but if you asked me to recount the story of Arthur based on this movie alone and not on anything else I'd read or watched. There's a lot of story packed in, so basically, Arthur is born out of deeply upsetting circumstances, which somehow involves Excalibur stuck in a stone. He falls ass backwards into the most important job of the country, marries a woman who flirts with everyone, sets up Knights, Inc. His wife cheats on him, which he takes the blame for. Then there's another deeply upsetting scene where his sister has a baby with him, which leads to that kid declaring war. And somehow the Holy Grail fits in.

That being said, the main takeaway here is that Arthur becomes King of England by doing very little and he maintains that statue of accomplishments until his death where people still have to do all the work for him.

One thing I didn't realize was how many well known actors got started in this:


Like Helen Mirren!


Liam Neeson!


Patrick Stewart! The villain from Casino Royale AND Doctor Strange!

This movie introduces us to Merlin, who's style of interacting is using forcefully punctuated sentences that are always being shouted. Sometimes its louder than other times, but for the most part, he's either shouting out of anger or he's shouting out of vindictive glee.



He will find something to yell at you about...

Or rub your face in the fact your mortality is aggressively stupid to him.

And then there's Arthur, who while the actor portraying him is clearly talented, However, this is a man who accidentally got hired as king and immediately started delegating tasks to everyone around him.


I know that according to legend, Merlin instilled Arthur with the power to turn into animals to see things from another persepective, but if this movie is to be believed, I think Merlin just took him aside and said, "Listen, if you complain with enough confidence, people will just do whatever you want to get you to shut up."

And it totally works -

Arthur sees Guinevere and after one conversation, he demands Merlin force her to fall in love with him.


Which sort of works. But keep in mind this...


When you're wife is giving this look to your best employee, its time to read the writing on the wall.


It just leads to running off into the woods...

where there is no dress code.



"Look, I'll fix Excalibur for you one more time, but if it happens again, you're going to have to find some other lady in the next lake over to do it for you."

At one point, through the film's logic which I didn't quite follow, Arthur makes it his mission to find the Holy Grail. And by "his mission" I mean, "sends out his knights to go find it while he lays in bed". Thankfully, the last one came back, minus clothes, while Arthur downed what was in it and said. "Hey, Percival, you wanna go wash your feet next time?"

Two very upsetting things happen in this movie and Merlin is sort of responsible for both.

First of all, Merlin gives the green light for Arthur's biological father to go rape Arthur's mother...


Despite the fact it was this dance that threw him into fits of desire.

Secondly, Arthur's sister, Morgana pulls the old "I dare you to show me how smart you are!" gag on him, steals his magic and promptly sleeps with Arthur.



Arthur was not the only man in the kingdom. She had options, is all I'm saying.



And it needs to be said, she gives birth to the smuggest kid in all of human history.


And since when is gold armor considered acceptable play clothes for children?


It should also go without saying that an afterschool program would have benefitted this kid to no end.

But regardless, Morgana's son, Mordred then quickly grows into the smuggest man in history.

So in the end, Arthur gets Merlin to fight his battle for him but implementing a fog which throws off Mordred and his troops because there was no mention of fog in the weather forecast. (Yes, that was actually said).



And so, with the kingdom restored and having fully apologized to Guinevere for her cheating on him, his work is done. He is carried away on a ship to live on....



While Excalibur is dumped into the sea like garbage. However, littering is a crime and the higher powers that be will simply not allow it.


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Monday, June 6, 2016

TROOP BEVERLY HILLS (1988)


Lets talk about this masterpiece. Chances are, you've already seen it, loved it and think about it  and stumbled on this post. If so, then lets chat about what's possibly the finest film ever made. At least the best ever made about being a Girl Scout in Beverly Hills.

If you don't know what its about, well all you need to know is that Shelley Long IS Phyllis Neffler, a soon to be divorcee living in Beverly Hills, who takes over her daughters Wilderness Girls troop and teaches them what its really like to survive life. You know who really gets the life lesson here? Phyllis Neffler. And she does it in glorious 80s style.

So instead of going through characters and themes of this movie, lets talk about the important lessons we learned from this movie.


1.  Always look on the positive side of things.

Its hard to get Phyllis down. Her husband is leaving her and has forced a mirror in her face of what her life is REALLY about. Despite it being harsh news, she takes it like a champ and decides to challenge herself doing something she's never done before.  Hello, Wilderness Girls!



2.   Money isn't everything, but friends and family are.

Something about these kids brings this out. Phyllis' social life is a bit of a mystery. She has her Joan Collins-esque friend...


...who's fabulous in her own way, but what kind of support does she really have? Hello, Wilderness Girls! Where would she be without them? Like in my life, there's this woman named Marilyn in the finance department who sends out emails saying we need to cut back on Office Depot orders but she's not realizing that if you have friends in other departments, they can make orders for you.



3.  You can take anything and make it glamorous.

I hate camping. I've never been, but I can tell you now - nothing about it appeals to me. So when I see the way Phyllis Neffler camps, sign me up. She made fondue and took the girls to the Beverly Hills Hotel. Seriously, SIGN ME UP.


4.   If you're unsure of anything in life, then make it your own.


Phyllis took a drab Wilderness Girls dress and turned it into MAGIC.


The structuring of that jacket isn't what makes it magic. Its the fact that she saw something she didn't like and did something about it. I hate khaki, but she makes a strong case for it. Marilyn from Finance likes to send out excel spreadsheet templates that make no sense. You take those templates and give her a pie chart. Shuts them up everytime.

5.  There is no enemy too great that you can't take on.


Meet the Red Feathers. Sure, Tori Spelling is a member, but the important thing to consider is that every enemy has a weakness. There's was also the one thing getting them ahead, which was their "Kill or be Killed" attitude. Maybe it works in the here and now, but it will catch up with you when you leave your mother in a ditch with a broken ankle.

6.  How to sell cookies.

Instead of going to door to door, make the market come to you. Stake out Jane Fonda's Workout gym chains or coordinate a fabulous pool party at your house. Everyone likes cookies - including Marilyn from finance who takes the boxes in the breakroom home with her every week.



And never underestimate the power of working the crowd with a heart pumping choreographed number:


7.   If you don't like how people make you earn their approval, then make your own merit badges.

Maybe you'll never be in a situation where you have to learn how to make a campfire or bind a wound. Thats because that's not crucial to your environment. That's when Phyllis stepped it up and had her girls learn truly useful things like how to appraise jewelry and how to be active in your community.

Those are some fabulous patches.

8.  You can't "win" him back. You can only make yourself attractive for the world.

Man, Freddy. This guy made all of his money with Phyllis at his side and then traded her in for a younger and hotter real estate agent. If your goals of self improvement involve winning a man back, then you're doing it wrong. Win yourself back. If he's a real man, he'll see what he's missing.


9.  Never let the bullies get you down.

Despite the emotional beat down Velda gave Phyllis, it never stopped her from offering her a smile and a cappucino. Velda never came around, but it didn't matter in the end. Phyllis got to be the poster woman for Wilderness leadership and Velda settled back for a career in customer service. That's how the universe works sometimes.

Also never get married in Reno. Because reasons.



10. Dress for the person you are, not the person that others want you to be.

Look, I take a stand against wearing sweatpants to work (although Marilyn in Finance feels differently as she has given up on life altogether), but other than that, every day is your own occassion and dress for whatever comes your way. 


I don't know how one would sit in this either but does it really matter?



Is it culturally insensitive when you're teaching the value of turquoise to all cultures?



Bet you don't give up on gardening as quickly if you're wearing this.

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