The Real “Monsters”

Monsters Inc (2001)

We’re talking about monsters, not humans. If a child touches a monster, he or she is in fatal danger. The appeal of “Monsters Inc” is one that notably gives power to children as the audience. Whether it’s under our bed or hiding in the closet, this Pixar film takes that concept and hilariously turns it around on its own head to show that it is actually the monsters that are more terrified our “toxic” human touch.

*SPOILERS*

“Monsters Inc” introduces the lovable dynamic duo consisting of Sulley and Mike Wazowski. I included Mike’s last name because for some odd reason it’s always been a fun name to pronounce… Wazowski (ah that feel good). While these two have a heck of a day at work collecting children’s screams to help contribute to their world’s power supply, they unexpectedly get a surprise visit. Through a strange unknown pink door which serves as a portal to the human world, Sulley discovers that a little girl has entered the monster world.

This “serial killer” is eventually given the name, Boo, which showcases the progressive bond that Sulley and Mike eventually begin to form with the little girl. I’ve actually always wondered just how is it that monsters came up with this idea. First of all she turns out to be no toxic catalyst. She’s cute, she’s adorable, she’s charming, and best of all even she likes to say Mike’s last name…

Ah that felt great again… After a lucrative chase ensues with the film’s clear antagonist, Randall, Sulley and Mike must find a way to return Boo to the human world before she is discovered and apprehended by the CDA (I guess this is the monster’s version of the CIA).

The characters themselves are full of color and texture and enough emotion to make you fall in love with their uniqueness. Sulley is that horrific string monster that actually turns out to be the most emotional sweetheart, thanks to Boo’c complete purity and charm. Of course this is also displayed by Sulley’s complete concern for Boo’s safety in even the lightest of situations…

Now Mike is a little more close-minded but his bond with Boo eventually becomes a tight one shared by the actions he has taken at the end of the film where he reconstructs Boo’s entire pink door from scratch. Hugging is maybe the most prominent display of love that is shown in this amazing animated film.

And well of course there’s Boo whose lovable charm and limited set of vocabulary, make her the ultimate puppet master and clear bundle of joy.

The animation and motion with hair is a very noteworthy thing to mention about “Monsters Inc.” Almost all the characters in this film have a distinctive hairy feature and thus it’s no secret that the production team had a lot to handle when it came to putting together the finished product. But yes, as any animated film lover would say, it certainly is worth it. “Monsters Inc” is a lovable piece of emotion and storytelling that can even engage adults into the mixture of its audience.

In It For the Whole Stretch

Happy Gilmore (1996)

Adam Sandler usually picks out his roles in various nuanced characters. Out of all his roles so far, one of my favorites would have to be the impulsive temper-acting titular character. This was actually one of his first roles ever and from what I’ve read he even made a production company out of it (Happy Madison). Released in 1996, golf maybe found a new place in comedy with “Happy Gilmore” thanks to Adam Sandler’s outrageous yet hilarious performance.

*SPOILERS*

Since this was one of Sandler’s early films, it isn’t much of a surprise that a lot of his humorous material here was fresh and original as compared to his more recent stale work. It isn’t that much of a recyclable gag film, but rather a progressive one that follows Happy on a quest to save his grandmother’s house after it gets repossessed by the IRS. Eventually he inadvertently  finds the solution in playing golf and soon sets his goal on winning a grand golf tournament.

The rest of the film’s plot follows the various struggles that Happy must cope with such as his arch-enemy rival, McGavin. If you’ve already seen this film you would certainly know that Happy has a temper problem that he just can’t control and usually that’s where most of our laughter ends up coming from. Of course this flaw in his character ends up being his greatest advantage as he develops his unique “skills” under the tutelage of Chubbs.

Another part that almost made it too irresistible for me, from what I remember was the scene with Bob Barker. Their fight taking place before a national television audience almost left me wanting more celebrity cameos. But alas, Happy makes full use of his temper as his best weapon against McGavin as he delivers long-distance worthy shots. Putting however is something that he definitely needs to work on, and trust me if he screws up, he would not hide the fact that he isn’t the happiest person to be around.

Ironic given that his name is Happy but alas inside all of us, we sometimes too feel this temper that just needs to be let out. Don’t believe me? Check out Happy’s way of coping with his frustration…

See what I mean? It isn’t Sandler’s most notable mature work to date, but it’s still holds a special place in my heart. “Happy Gilmore” is a fun ride filled with deride laughter and entertainment. I would certainly recommend it for any late-night comedy enjoyment.

Freaky Enough

Freaky Friday (2003)

Once upon a time there was Lindsay Lohan. Once upon a time there was Jamie Lee Curtis. Eventually these two would “trade” places for a day and I mean literally. “Freaky Friday” embellishes the positive tones and messages that it conveys to an audience, whether it be Jamie’s hilarious acting or Lindsay’s typical but humorous performance. And just think, those roles are meant to played by each character in vice-versa transition.

*SPOILERS*

Imagine you’re mom for a day. The responsibilities of adulthood and the troubles that kids must bring you. Now think like a teenager. The drama, the living-in-the-moment mentality, the considerations about your future. It’s obviously a Disney production, but somehow I still remember loving this movie with every bit of laughter that it would instill on me. Tess and Anna are basically a mom and daughter duo who unexpectedly end up switching their bodies after a fatefully reading a fortune cookie

Credit should definitely go to Jamie who took herself to the unfamiliar role of being comedic, which is unique because I always remembered her for the Halloween series, as did everyone else I’m sure. Playing the teenager who gets trapped in her mom’s body seems pretty seldom, but for Jamie, I think what made this work was the fact that we see her display the typical rebellious teenager who gives off nothing but a vibe of unique naiveness. Her makeover would have to be my favorite part.

Then of course, we have to give Lindsay some credit. I’ve always had the typical celebrity crush on her (well at least until 2006), but let’s just put aside that fantasy for a moment. Since she’s playing the mature mom who get’s trapped inside her daughter’s body, she has maybe the chance to be “serious” for once in her life. Complete opposite! She humiliates her English teacher, berates her friends, and even sabotages a fellow alumni’s school test. Oh well, so much for having gown up.

This isn’t the greatest comedy of all time but it’s one that everyone should at least watch once. It’s not one necessarily meant for adults but it is a payoff of well-toned humor for both kids and teenagers. Who knows. Maybe some of you adults reading this post could find it funny. But like I said, everything has to be tried at least once. Don’t love it till you try it. Keep in mind that this is a Disney movie we’re talking about.

Noble Steed Indeed

Shrek

If I didn’t write about “Shrek” before, I’d have to be crazy cuckoo. But I’m not, so here we go. Besides Pixar, DreamWorks has some of the best animated films that I love and this is the reason for one of them. Released in 2001, this one for some reason will have a special place in my heart. Maybe it’s because I would always want to hit that replay button as a kid. Maybe it’s because of how alluring  and compelling it was with it’s animation. Or maybe it’s because of its high-end originality with its characters and the various ways that it alluded pop culture. Or maybe it was because of its catchy soundtrack.

*SPOILERS*

Before I watched “Shrek” I did NOT even know what an ogre was. I just thought it was another word for feces. But thank goodness, this film cleared that up for me. We have our titular character on a quest to save a princess, he makes some friends as well as some enemies, and becomes a hero destined for greatness altogether.

What I loved about this, was how “Shrek” basically took those elements and flipped it around on its own. An ogre for a hero goes completely against the norm of handsome prince. A donkey for a sidekick goes completely against the norm of noble steed. Throw in a female dragon, a midget king & a beautiful princess that actually turns into a polar opposite at night, and you’ve got something original and hilarious.

I also appreciated the effects and how every character’s design was handled perfectly to give them a realistic look. Even the inclusion of various fairy tale creatures is also something I’ll always remember about this series. They usually are thrown in for comic relief when everything seems too serious but they do a pretty decent job at mocking who these characters are. Out of all these characters, my favorite would have to be Donkey (for this first installment). A “useless, pathetic, annoying talking donkey” was the best idea they could’ve came up with.

You can’t help but love the voices of all the characters and I think that’s where the casting worked perfectly. Everyone fit their roles as well as their character’s personalities. Last but certainly not least, if there was one other thing that I loved about “Shrek,” it was the fact that EVERYONE could love it. Animated movies are typically focused on gaining children’s eyes, but if I were to watch this movie again now, at 19 years old (and I haven’t watched this in a long time), I’m pretty sure I would still be laughing my buttocks off. 10 years later I’m pretty sure I’ll still feel the same way.

Another Close Encounter

Paul (2011)

This is one alien that I actually wished existed. Released in 2011, “Paul” follows Graeme, Clive and the titular character on a cross-country adventure. While it’s foolish at times, it’s remarkable to laugh at and enjoy watching an alien with a nuanced sense of humor.

*SPOILERS*

First off, I loved the idea of having Seth Rogen voice the titular character. His character fit his personality perfectly and it gets caught up in a series of humorous conversations that everyone has with regards to Paul’s origins and his race. As for the plot of the film, I would have to say that it doesn’t necessarily bring anything new to the table, but it makes up for it with its other series of conversations about science, religion and the unknown.

The production alone was handled really well in my book. You can tell by watching Paul’s appearance, that the production team tried to make him look more comedic and believable without being too horrific. Pretty much tho, Rogen is the only standout in this film. Everyone else’s performance was well-delivered, but not anything Oscar-worthy.

It can be a little cliched from time to time, but it’s wildly entertaining. The bromance, the setting, the characters, they’re all well crafted and bring us a hilarious story. If there ever was an E.T. movie version for adults, this would definitely have to be it. As brash and over-the-top as Paul may be, you can’t help but love the guy.

“BFFF?”

Pineapple Express (2008)

I’m a fan of Seth Rogen. Or should I say I’m a fan of his movies. From the ones I’ve seen so far, he always brings “IT,” one way or another in order to make people laugh whether it’s by himself or with his co-star(s). Whether it be the hilarious bromance we see or the insatiable desire for drugs, “Pineapple Express” delivers comedy altogether.

I don’t do drugs myself, but that does’t mean I have to in order to be able to laugh at the jokes and humor that even James Franco brings to the table. James for me was the real stand-out aspect of the film. Up until the time this film came out, I only used to remember him as the 2nd “Green Goblin,” but upon watching this I thought, “Wow, this guy is actually really funny.”

*SPOILERS*

No matter how stoned or clueless Franco’s character Saul is, you can’t help but love the guy. The way he bounces off of the supposed bromance that he shares with Dale (Rogen), to inadvertently getting him into trouble with Ted and the police and ironically being the one to get him out of it, Franco pretty much stole the show. That’s why this movie seemed different for me; because Franco actually made me laugh more than Rogen did. Surprisingly the film also seemed well shot from a director’s standpoint. It made every scene look all the more dramatic than it probably should’ve since this is a comedy we’re talking about.

The title itself is more of a laugh too since every scene that involves use of the titular drug either has something hilarious in it or ends up getting Dale and Saul into even more “misadventures,” if we can even call it that. From Dale panicking after witnessing Ted commit murder, to the cat and mouse game involving Craig Robinson and Kevin Corrigan, to the hilarious fight scene involving Danny McBride, to a disastrous car chase scene, to the final shoot-out act, “Pineapple Express” should deliver enough entertainment if you want to enjoy a comedy without having to do drugs in order to laugh.

9 Months & Out

Juno (2007)

This is kind of weird for me to talk about. “Juno” as it is known by, happens to be one of those films that doesn’t really sink in with me like it probably should’ve. From what I’ve heard about, a lot of people and even critics really like this movie, but I’m admittedly NOT one of those people. I’ll try to elaborate a little bit.

*SPOILERS*

First of all I don’t hate this movie but I don’t like it either, or should I say one particular character. The titular character that was played by Ellen Page was pretty real and sometimes humorous I’ll admit, but sometimes seemed very naive, brash, and cocky. I did admire some aspects of her character. She choses to be smart by actually thinking through her decisions and handle them with care. That’s especially admirable about her, given that she is basically in a coming-of-age situation with adulthood right in her front door. As for her overconfidence though, Juno just never rubbed me the right way. If anything I actually liked her dad better (JK Simmons).

As for some of the other aspects of film like the plot and themes itself, it was pretty much the way you would expect a film about pregnancy to be. Something unplanned occurs, lives take on a new path for the future, drama escalates with hardships, but by some miracle everything works out in the end. I just could never put my finger on it. This film did have some sequences that made me laugh and feel entertained but overall it just wasn’t for my taste. I’m sure others would think otherwise so I’ll just say that “Juno” is still worth a view, given that others may interpret the film differently.