Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Anacondas: The Hunt For The Blood Orchid (2004)

Anacondas: The Hunt For The Blood Orchid is surprisingly enjoyable, at least for a while. The opening sequence of some guy running through the jungle is pretty cool. And all of the shots of the snakes under water look good. (When the snakes are out of the water, they look less convincing.) The major problems of this film are the script and the acting.

Basically some corporate types travel to a jungle to collect a rare flower because they believe it will grant humanity immortality. The flower only blooms once every seven years, and then only for a short time. So they have to get there immediately if they want to make their billions of dollars, which they do.

When that group hires a boat, it’s a complete rip-off of the scene where Ben Kenobi hires Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon. Seriously. And then when the group sees the boat, it continues to be a Star Wars rip-off. You can almost hear Luke say, “What a piece of junk.” The dialogue is only slightly different.

There is lots of terrible dialogue in the film. One character offers this tip to another character early on: “You want the best young talent – recruit early.” Right. You mean while they’re young. It’s difficult to get the best young talent if you wait until they’re forty before recruiting them. There is also this excellent observation: “Everything gets eaten out here. It’s a jungle.” (It’s nice to know that no food is wasted in the jungle.)

Anyway, a big deal is made of it being the rainy season in this area, and yet the moment they’re on board the boat, it stops raining. And it doesn’t rain again until near the end of the film. Of course, that’s better for the actors. Wet work is pretty fucking miserable.

Not that I have much sympathy for this group of actors. Basically, apart from the Han Solo character, none of the cast has any acting ability. The monkey is actually the best of the actors, at least at expressing emotion. I believe him when he acts scared. Yes, there’s a monkey.

But like I said, a lot of the film looks good. They found some great locations, and obviously spent a good deal of time drawing up their shots. I really dig the fight with the crocodile. It’s actually pretty cool. And the underwater shots after the boat goes over a waterfall look really good too.

Toward the end, the movie gets a little ridiculous. Once it strays into a Goonies rip-off (you’ll know exactly what scene I’m talking about), it’s basically time to stop watching. And at the end we don’t even know if the survivors managed to get any of the orchids or not. It seems like they would have, but they don’t say anything about it. Maybe we’re supposed to believe that all of the orchids were destroyed. I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter.

Monday, January 14, 2013

This Is 40 (2012)

I recently saw This Is 40, and I was kind of baffled. I have a friend who works for Judd Apatow. This friend did a little poking around at my request, and managed to find Apatow’s original notes for the film. I persuaded this friend to send them to me in an email. And now I’m passing them on to you. Obviously I’m not going to name my source, but what follows are Judd Apatow’s original notes when he came up with the idea for the movie This Is 40. I think they shed some light on the film.

“I want to deal with someone turning 40, and the problems associated with that age. So, let’s see, I’ll start with a husband and a wife. I’m not sure which one is turning 40, so for now let’s make it both of them, and I’ll figure it out later. They should be having some sort of marital problems, but I’m not sure just yet what sort. Maybe financial, maybe communication problems, maybe problems at work, or with the kids. I’ll just include all of those, and sort it out later.  Oh, maybe problems with their parents. Perhaps a parent has remarried and has much younger children. I’m not sure if it should be the wife’s father or the husband’s father who does this, so for now let’s make it both and I’ll sort it out later. Either the husband or the wife owns a business, and it’s in trouble somehow. Wait, better make them both own businesses, and both businesses are in trouble, and I’ll figure it out later. Maybe someone at the wife’s business is stealing from her. I’ll put a hot girl in the store, so people will think it’s her, but it’s really the other girl. I’m not sure how to resolve this, and right now all I can think of is that the other girl is Asian and she just acts crazy at the end. That’s believable because all Asian women are completely fucking bonkers. Seriously. Why is that? I don’t know. But I’m not going to get into it with this film. How do we make people think it’s the hot girl? I know – she has new clothes and a new car that she could never afford on her salary. But how can she afford that stuff then? Of course! She also works as a prostitute. That’s the only way a woman would get that stuff. That’s where she makes her real money. So why does she bother working at the store? I don’t know. Do I need a reason? Maybe I’ll come up with one later.  Oh, by the way, the wife is having trouble coping with turning 40, so she lies about her age. That is brilliant and original. So she doesn’t want a party. But the husband does. Also, the husband likes cupcakes. That just came to me. Just now. He loves them. Can’t get enough of them. Maybe I can show him eating an old cupcake that’s been in the sink. That would be a really funny scene. The wife hates that he eats cupcakes. So who keeps buying them – him? Does he do the grocery shopping? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. There are just lots of cupcakes. Fuck, I’m a genius.  I feel like the script is almost done. But we need some sort of chase scene or someone should be in danger somehow for some reason.  I almost got in an accident yesterday. I almost hit someone on a bicycle. Fucker kept swerving out of the bike lane. I’ve got it – the husband loves riding his bicycle, and he goes for a really fast ride on his birthday, and ends up in the hospital. That way the husband and wife can tell each other they love each other. Scenes like that always work in hospitals. Hospitals, hospitals.  I have an idea! Let’s have an early scene where the husband or wife is getting a check-up, and it’s really embarrassing. Turn and cough, finger in the butt, all that stuff.  Should it be the wife? I’ll just have them both go to the doctor, and I’ll figure it out later. This is going to be a great movie. I just need to work in some fart jokes somehow. Doesn’t matter how, or when. Yes, I’m ready to cash my paycheck for this one. Fuck it, you know what, I’m just going to use these notes as the script. Done, done, done. Now time to go order lunch.”