This week I had to fly to San Francisco, then to Honolulu, then home to Toronto via San Francisco again; in effect, four 5-hour flights. The week before I flew to Seattle. So I have had the opportunity to see a lot of in flight movies. And let me tell you, these movies were pretty awful. Somehow, I managed to see five in flight moviers and every one of them sucked.
In order from least bad to worst, they were:
- She’s the Man, starring Amanda Bynes as a girl who pretends to be a boy to play varsity soccer.
According to the credits, “She’s the Man” is based on Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” Now, I have read “Twelfth Night” and seen it performed, and I don’t seem to remember Viola playing a lot of soccer. The nice thing about Shakespeare is that he wrote a play about almost everything, so you can claim almost any movie is based on Shakespeare. Chick doesn’t get along well with her Dad? Why, that’s based on “King Lear.” Girlfriend’s giving you problems? “Antony and Cleopatra.” Fighting a war? “Henry V.” You’re on drugs? “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Amanda Bynes plays the cross-dressing character. The movie was impossible to enjoy because it is impossible to imagine anyone believing she was a boy. She basically turned herself from a reasonably pretty young woman into the drum major for the Toronto Pride Weekend Dyke March. Ms. Bynes is also the second worst actress* I’ve ever seen; she apparently attended the Twitchy Facial Expression School of Acting, the one (frequented by many young actors today) where they teach you to react to everything with incredible exagerrated eye-twiches, lip-twitches, and generally look like you got a good dose of what Michael J. Fox has, except only in the face. Equally distracting was that everyone in the movie playing a high school student looks like they’re 27 years old.
What was interesting about this movie was that I saw it twice; it was playing on the Air Canada flight out to SF, and again on the United flight to Honolulu. The first time I didn’t even bother to listen to the soundtrack; I just watched, and figured I had it straight. The seocnd time I was bored of listening to MP3s, and listened to the soundtrack, and you know what? Not only did I have it straight, I could have written the fucking dialogue myself and probably gotten it exactly correct within 10, 12 words.
- Firewall, starring Harrison Ford.
In this film, Harrison Ford plays an IT security expert at a bank whose family is kidnapped to force him to help thieves rob the bank.
This is a pretty conventional caper flick, which one notable exception; the criminals are retarded. Honestly. RETARDED. They should be wearing hockey helmets, eating from pudding cups, and wearing retard shoes. To have a good ordinary-guy-against-the-criminals movie you need some smart criminals, but this batch doesn’t look like they could steal a sideways glance.
The other irritating thing about this movie is that it featured Harrison Ford, who is 64, being married to Virginia Madsen, who is 44. Enough already, for fuck’s sake, with the card-carrying AARP members and the younger women, okay?
- Failure to Launch. Holy flying fuck, Sarah Jessica Parker is ugly. Holy flying fuck, Matthew McConaughey is irritating. Holy flying fuck, Terry Bradshaw is stupid.
If you saw the trailers for this movie, you saw the movie. There’s this guy and he’s a slacker who lives at home and this chick comes along. Woo, hilarious.
What kills me is that Kathy Bates was in this movie. I guess she needed the money.
- Take the Lead, starring Antonio Banderas.
This is your standard inner-city school movie where an idealistic teacher (Banderas) inspires a bunch of tough inner city kids to do great things - in this case, ballroom and salsa dancing, that being something Antonio Banderas can actually do. From that, you can probably write it yourself. The kids become professional-level dancers in about two weeks and win a trophy or something, I think; by the end of the movie I was getting pretty drunk. I love first class.
These movies are all exactly the same, and it’s been done really well exactly once (“Stand and Deliver.”) This one is only marginally better than that made-for-TV one I see almost every week where Ted Danson teaches a bunch of inner city kids to play chess. And it’s only marginally better than that because Ted Danson isn’t in it. Or was it that the chess one was marginally better because Antonio Banderas isn’t in it?
The chess one, at least, had WAAAAAAAALT in it, whereas the Banderas one has Alfre Woodward.
Who, I assume, needed the money.
- The Pink Panther, starring Steve Martin.
Jesus Fucking Christ.
I’m not saying “The Pink Panther” was bad; I’m saying it was criminally bad. Halfway through, me and some of the passengers were seriously considering charging the cockpit and crashing the plane so as to stop the anguish.
I cannot even tell you in words how bad this movie was. It was more than just bad in the sense of being a poorly made movie; it was disgraceful, a blot on the career of everyone involved. It insulted the audience.
Steve Martin is especially unfunny. I know Inspector Clouseau is supposed to be a parody of French, but Martin’s “French” accent sounded more like a horrible cross between Mexican and Russian and a harelip.
This is how bad it was; halfway though I was so sick of it, I had to get up to go to the lavatory. I was sitting pretty far forward and the shitter in the front of the plane was in use, so I had to walk past almost everyone on the plane. Not one person was laughing. Not one was even smiling. Normally, among 200 people, you’ll find at least sixty or seventy special ed types who will laugh at even the worst comedy. But not “The Pink Panther.” Every person on the plane looked like they were attending their own funeral. Some were so pained by the horror they were watching they were trying to commit suicide (they were eating airplane food.)
To my absolute amazement, the producers of this movie convinced Kevin Kline, Jean Reno, Henry Czerny, and Emily Mortimer to be in it. I guess they all needed the money.
- Rebecca Pidgeon.