Thursday, January 01, 2009

Slinging Tacos & Practicing my Spanish

or "How I spent my New Years Eve."

Well that's about it. Not much more to say. It would also be a moot point for me to wish anyone a Happy New Year because no one could have had one worse than mine. It was, in a word, "dredge." Is that even a word?

My January day one wasn't much better. Eight and a half hours of non stop customer service, and I came home to find that I missed one of my all time favorite motion pictures; Them!

If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. James Arness and James Whitmore fighting giant, mutated ants.

Simply bad-ass.

So I missed it, save the last five minutes. Life is such a tease. Right now I'm watching Basil Rathbone play Sherlock Holmes in a film called Terror by Night. Don't you wish you lived my life?

It's not all that bad, actually. In fact, if you were me, you would be posting cool sh*t from the 80's like this live performance of Mexican Radio from Wall of Voodoo -

Admit it; there are times when the Turzman most definitely rules.

Gold-digging hussie REDSEXGODDESS says, "If you rule so much, why did you stop giving me money? Did you forget that if you give me money, I take my clothes off?"

The impatient ghost of Robert Shaw says, "If that bloody video is any indication of what music was like in the 80's, I'm glad I died before having to live through such rubbish."

Hey, I could have posted something from A Flock of Seagulls. But even I have standards in times of desperation.

Oh, what the hell. You Can Run. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"Yes Man"

Yes Man (2008)
starring Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel, Bradley Cooper, Rhys Darby, Terrence Stamp
written by Nicholas Stoller, Jarrad Paul, Andrew Mogul
based on the book by Danny Wallace
directed by Peyton Reed

It’s truly a sad time when one can go to a movie theater in 2008, see Terrence Stamp onscreen, utter the phrase “Kneel before Zod!” and have no one around you get the reference (I swear, kids today have no idea what they’re missing). I experienced this dejection first-hand when I saw Stamp in a supporting role in the Jim Carrey vehicle, Yes Man. I saw Stamp and sprouted the Zod line to no audience reaction save a chuckle from my friend Zuke (and I’m not convinced she wasn’t just being polite. Thanks, Zuke. Love you.). Aside from that, my experience with Yes Man was quite enjoyable.

Yes Man is a comedy in the vein of Liar, Liar and Bruce Almighty; a ridiculous concept played for laughs without going over the top into the realm of slapstick. It’s not as funny or cleverly written as Liar, but it’s not as dopey as Bruce. Most importantly, it returns Carrey to his more familiar (and favorable) comedic talents. Let’s face it, after Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I figured he would avoid drama. Then I saw The Number 23. I’m still scratching my head.

Anyway, Carl Allen, (Carrey) is a lonely loan officer with an insufferably friendly boss, Norman (Rhys Darby). Carl is a recluse who spends his evenings with rentals from Blockbuster, despite the continuous invitations to hang out from his buddies (Bradley Cooper & Danny Masterson). Why is Carl so lonely and reclusive? Because he still hasn’t gotten over his three year old divorce from Stephanie (Molly Sims).

Carl coincidentally stumbles across long lost friend Nick (John Michael Higgins) who convinces him to attend a “Just Say Yes” type of self-help seminar presided over by “Just Say Yes” self-help guru, Terrence Bundley (General Zod. Oops, I mean, Stamp). In a nutshell, Carl is convinced that the key to ending his depression is to trust the positive powers of saying “yes” and must do so to any proposition, no matter what the proposition is. Silly and fanciful? Oh hell, yes. As is evidenced in his first test where a homeless bum asks him to a) give him a ride to a place WAY out of the way, and b) use his cell phone to the point where the battery dies. Carl reluctantly says, you guessed it, “yes.”

The chain of events resulting in saying yes leads Carl to meet Allison (Zooey Deschanel), the script’s obligatory love interest. This spot of good fortune leads Carl to believe in the power of “yes,” and decides to do it more often. The results are, in a word, funny. Carl is enjoying life more than he ever did before, and he rides the “yes” wave until it crashes at the start of the third act. Well of course the good luck runs out. You know what they say about “all good things,” don’t you? Besides, conflict between boy and girl is as obligatory as a love interest in a story like this.

Said conflict is as ludicrous and unbelievable a plot device as I’ve ever seen, but not as much as the premise of the story to begin with, so it’s completely acceptable for the purposes of the comedy.

As for the comedy, if Jim Carrey ain’t your bag, than neither is Yes Man, for all the comedy in the film stems from Carrey’s Carl Allen. However, the supporting players feed off Carrey to the letter, and the laughs are genuine. Deschanel is nothing special, but considering it took a team of three screenwriters (Nicholas Stoller, Jarrad Paul & Andrew Mogul) to convert Danny Wallace’s book to screenplay, I can surmise that the bulk of rewrites were to change the character of Allison to better suit the limited talent of Deschanel after she was cast. They succeed to a degree, but it’s still Zooey Deschanel, and her signature cute, left of center quirkiness gets old about midway through the second act.

Peyton Reed directs Carrey as well as anyone else has. And when I say “direct,” I mean let Carrey use the script as inspiration for his improvisations. It works, but I reiterate, Jim Carrey is an acquired taste. So if you’re avoiding this movie simply because of who has top billing, fine. Just wait three years for Yes Man to be on cable TV. There’s not too much cursing, so you won’t lose much in translation, save for annoying commercial breaks. Then get back to me.

Amity Island Harbor Master Frank Silva says, "I can understand why Turz didn't appreciate Number 23 or Spotless Mind. They're artsy-fartsy films for a more sophisticated crowd. Like harbor masters, dock workers and trash collectors."

Here is one of the coolest live performances youTube has in its brain-dead collective. Jenny Says from Cowboy Mouth-

Turzman: out.