Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Really That Bad: Little Nicky

You know I like both Jim Sterling and Moviebob and thought why not combine two of their best series. Really That Bad, where in I defend Hollywood's so called stinkers. I can't say this will be a series but a lot of these have been rolling around in my head lately so let's go.

And because its topical and I want some sweet sweet clicks lets hit it.

Okay first off let me admit straight up that I haven't seen most of the (recent) bad Adam Sandler movies. For a really long time The Waterboy was one of my favorite movies.  What can I say. I was a bullied nerd in middle school with a lot of revenge fantasies and Bobby Boucher helped scratch that itch in film.

Did I mention it brought back The Fonz. AYEEEE (Snap).

And going back his films before that are solid comedy gold not to mention his time on SNL. It kind of irks me that people especially think nothing good has come out of this guy.

Heck even in recent years Funny People was one of the most somber yet funny movies I had seen in a long time and above all else it felt honest.  

Oh my god I'm Seth Rogen. When did that happen?

Anyway a lot of people chart THE SUCKING to Little Nicky. And while I softened on the movie at the time I loved it.

Almost everything everybody hated in Little Nicky they loved about The Waterboy and while you may have some too cool for school cats who dislike The Waterboy now realize the truth of their similarities, I was there in the late 90's and on the ground most of my peers juvenile  as we may have been really did get a kick out of it when it was rerun to death on TBS and TNT in the days before Netflix.

Adam Sandler affectation wasn't too far off from the Forest Gump stuff Tom Hanks had done before but this time added to a zany sports comedy that could go full throttle.  Not only that but the movie had one hell of a comedic cast to add to it all. Kathy Bates generally throws herself into whatever role she's got going and isn't afraid to mug with the best of them. And to this day the woman has pitch perfect comedic timing.

Nobody plays nuts like Fairuza Balk.

Henry Winkler  and Jerry Reed, come on. If the internet had existed in the 70's somebody would have written that fanfic.

Not to mention the script and story structure were tight as well. Why wouldn't it be it's basically satirizing the old structure of the sports movie by making most of it's major players no pun intended kind of nuts. Seriously The Waterboy is Rudy if Rudy wasn't so sanctimonious, if well, if it didn't have its head up its ass.

The Waterboy was a well oiled comedy machine. In short for me at least The Waterboy is one of those once in a million all the elements came together to make one hell of a movie...movies.

And why did I spend all that time talking about The Waterboy. Well I said it before. Almost everything people hate about Little Nicky was there in The Waterboy it's just that Little Nicky is a much less well executed movie.

Instead of putting its stunt cast celebrities in places where they can use there various personas to advance the plot here they are pointless filler and "how did they get that guy" cameo gags.

The wink and a nod how much will the studio let us get away with humor of previous happy Madison movies was cranked up as Sandler got more power. Rather than making the movies feel raw (Eddie Murphy style... Pluto Nash is on my list) it made them feel juvenile.

Or to put it another way there is a thin line between laid back guys at a bar humor and that annoying kid who's trying to sound like those guys humor and Little Nicky is the film that crossed it.

All the same whereelse am I going to find an actually pretty likable Satan shoving a pineapple up Hitler's bunghole.  That is to say while the movie is flawed when it works it does work in particular Harvey Keitelis a really compelling devil and his laid back hey it's a living and somebody has to deal with these asshats hell is kind of funny, and Rhys Ifans can do the traditional ham in a way that manages to be both menacing and funny ... as long none of the actors have to spout plot stuff.

And that's really where most of the movie falls apart. Whereas The Waterboy managed to somehow be able to pull the earnest thing off largely because it was borrowing so much from the Rudy playbook, Little Nicky... can't. Whenever the characters have to talk about the story's stakes the actors seem bored and lifeless, but when slinging the jokes, especially the New York centric ones things pick up.

Or to put it another way this movie actually does the offspring of the devil tooling around on earth kind of decently and a lot of movies and tv shows since have actually managed to make that sort of thing work and take it further.

Seriously The Devil is a Part Timer is basically Little Nicky  or at least it's plot but good.

That having been said in order for any other characters actions to make any sort of sense they have to not realize the guy who snores like a bear, head turns 360 degrees, has glowing red eyes, and greets people by licking them is an average joe.


It's an idiot plot. But let's be honest a lot of comedies are.

Okay I'm not doing a good job of defending it so I'll repeat myself. When the movie is just the son of Satan hanging around a bunch of stoners, dealing with his roommate and tooling around NYC it's kind of endearing if not laugh out loud funny but that couldn't be the whole movie there had to be this thing called plot.

Which gets especially nuts in the third act where said plot has to kick in to high gear. Like I said when the movie has actually stakes is when it stops being as endearing so yeah the last half hour or so is pretty groan worthy but even so brushes up against so insane you kind of have to respect it. The big good that saves the balance between good and evil is...

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Southfield July 20, 2015 City Council Meeting

Southfield City Council Meeting Held July 20, 2015

Topics Discussed Include

  • A Brownfield Plan and Tax Abatement for Kiwi Hospitality to redevelop the former Holiday Inn Building
  • Resolutions Regarding The Retirements of Michael Horn and Marty Bulger From Southfield Public Schools
  • A Rezoning Request to Allow A Tailor Shop and Dry Cleaners on Southfield Road

An agenda and related documents can be found here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

To Thyself (I am getting too old for this shit)

In the past I put pride in a knowledge of myself.
I believed I knew who I was and that knowledge gave me strength of purpose.
This is what I am doing and even if onlookers were uncertain as to the why I was aware of it.
Because I knew myself. 

But as I age I worry that I change and that certainty is failing. 
I know the man of 10 years ago but do I know as well the man of now.
The man of 10 years ago was a man of the future. Always rushing for tomorrow.
But more and more I find events rushing towards me and not the other way around.

When I find myself in that place, without my usual slow deliberation it is much harder to discover the why.

Because my actions are more immediate it is harder to understand that those actions are still of me. 

They are the culmination of actions and choices I may have made months maybe even years ago. 

It is harder and harder to think of those choices as being made by this man rather the man of yesterday who at one point I intimately understood. 

Instead the events careening towards me are due promises, dreams of the abstract, that man made unto himself and I wonder if the man of today who must work to keep those promises would have made them in the first place. 

In English: I went to the bank and did some stuff to start turning this blog into more of a business and it's kind of freaking me out a little. But at least it means in a month or so there should be some cool stuff in the pipe like election and Youmacon coverage and I might even be able to get a camera for it and other ideas. So yay, and oh my god what happens if this all crumbles.

Screw it Miles. Seize the Damn Fish Already!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Southfield Police Crime Bulletin July 6-12, 2015

Southfield Police Crime Bulletin June 29-July 5, 2015

Southfield July 13, 2015 City Council Meeting

Southfield City Council Meeting Held July 13, 2015

Topics Discussed Include
  • A Median Island that Complicates Fuel Deliveries at a Gas Station at 8-mile and Evergreen
  • A Brownfield Plan For the Former Holiday Inn Building on Telegraph Road By Kiwi Hospitality in the Hope of Turning It into a Best Western Premier
  • Possibility of Creating Ethics Rules and Guidelines for the Council
  • The Possibility of A Public Arts Requirement for Development
An agenda and related documents can be found here.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Thoughts on A Goofy Movie

Now I kind of want to talk about A Goofy Movie one of the most underated Disney movies out there, but before I can I need to talk about.

 Okay so in the 90's Disney tried to repurpose a lot of it's old I.P.s for TV. Mostly this meant a lot of ______ the animated shows.

 But oftentimes especially with older I.P.s they went weird.  Like The Jungle Book re-imagined as a 1920's flying pulp.

Goofy's version of this was a show that imagined him as a single dad trying to raise his Son, Max, in suburbia with Pegleg Pete as an obnoxious next door neighbor.

But something wierd happened. While a lot shows had a kid character Max, as well as his best friend Pete Jr. began to take over more and more of the show where it got to the point where they were the show. It eventually become more of a kid com about Max and P.J.'s preteen social awkwardness than an update to the modern slapstick of the old shorts.

Not that it wasn't there. The show was great at satirizing suburban life in same vein as the Jetsons and the Flintsons

But here is the rub. When it comes to older I.P. the mouse has never really been good at using it. That's more or less how MaleficentCinderella and even Once Upon a Time happened. Disney trying to figure out a way to actually do something it's older properties rather than just coasting off merch and theme parks.

It's on my list.

Goof Troop was a decently popular show in its time and had made Goofy, Goofy of all characters cool again. But all things must end and the show was canceled after a respectable 78 episodes.  Thing about a lot of animated hits of my childhood is they just refuse to die.

And Goof Troop got a last hurrah as a theatrical release Serenity style.

Here is the thing. Being both a fan of the show and the movie I have to applaud the choices they made in the show. Rather than it being an extended episode like most of these types of these movies the show, by a everybody up a few years the movie became about something bigger than the slap stick antics.

Due to some act one shenanigans the elder Goof thinks his kid is becoming delinquent and though well meaning drags him on the road trip from hell rather than doing the smart thing and just talking to the guy to see what's up.

For Max's part he makes the mistake of thinking that his Dad is so clueless that even if I tried to tell him what was up he wouldn't get. And that's the central conflict of the movie can these two guys who have a huge gap in each other's motivations hash it out and figure each other out before they wind up killing each other.

The ending song is so damn catchy I couldn't help but spoil the whole damn thing. Hey it's not just a Disney movie but  a Goofy movie. You didn't really think it was going to end on a downer

So okay. I am digging the plot but even you can't take drama in your talking dog movie, it broke from the more orchestral Disney tunes at the time to still find something that sounded pretty cool.  And that adds to the other reason this movie is worth watching the movie is kind of a time capsule of 90'sness. Including Pauly Shore.

And a Chucky Cheese knock off. Back. Back Dufus. Back I say,

Friday, June 26, 2015

A Disney Adventure

Okay then. There's lots of kick ass stuff going on in the world but like I said previously, there isn't much I can normally say about big national stuff that somebody else hasn't already said better so I'll leave certain supreme court decisions there.

Nope while this blog wears many hats I think it's best to think of it as a journal of sorts, a public record of whatever is on my mind. Sometimes what's on my mind is big political stuff and sometimes it's.

Okay let's back up. I normally don't do small talk at city council meetings. I suck at it. But I do overhear a lot of it. Two people were talking about the recent trend of superhero movies. The recent trend I love by the way.

I kind of wanted to rebut the comment but hey the internet has already done the. "Why are superheroes in?" convo to death.

It was another off hand comment in that conversation that sent my brain flying.

"Why can't they be more like Disney movies."

Okay then.

The reason why that's kind of hilarious should be obvious, but again it got me thinking. How did we get here. How did we get here. How did we get to the point where a Disney movie is a Disney movie and you notice when it isn't?

At least in terms of big hollywood that's kind of wierd. It's not so much with indie studios or indie subsidiaries but with studios themselves it kind of is (not counting marvel).

If I say a movie was put out by Lionsgate or Warner Brothers that tells you nothing about the content of the film at least not in the same way something like who wrote, directed or acted in it does so why Disney.

Well I think I kind of answered my own question there for a bit.

See when people are talking about Disney movies as Disney movies they tend not to be talking about the great continuum but of various eras of Disney.

You have golden age Disney which I shouldn't knock. But the think about Golden age Disney is that it was somewhat brief. We are oddly approaching the point where Disney as a film Company in terms of production history is outstretching the production run of it's namesake producer.

And as such what I consider to be the trademarks a Disney movie may not line up with the older generation who remember the Golden Era.

Me. Well I came up watching the dawn of the Renaissance.

But while love those movies I'll the first to tell you that I wasn't paying attenton to those stories because of plot or character. My parents trusted the mouse so I didn't have to ask twice to get into Lion King.

And while yes I think those movies hold up great the movies I actually started thinking about (beyond the brainwashing) are the ones that signaled the end. And damn it I so want to defend them.

Okay so I'd be an idiot to try to claim Home on The Range was solid gold and I never saw Brother Bear. But come onSpace Pirates are cool. I'm sorry. SPACE PIRATES ARE COOL!

And Tarzan had that cheetah fight going for it.

And once you get past "Reflection" Mulan is pretty straight old school war flick with the usual beats.

My point is that Disney movies of my time were a lot bigger on the adventure than the princess days. So it kind of makes since to me that that they would getting in bed with Star Wars and Marvel stuff now.

Heck I would argue that that's what made the Disney Renaissance the Disney Renaissance. That the company felt a lot more comfortable with and as a result was better at making movies where a lot of action has to take place on camera.

But that of course begs the question of gender. Is the reason why so much fonder of those movies is that more of them were being made for a male audience. Oh god and talking about Disney and gender opens a whole host of issues I don't feel like talking about right now.

Speaking of Frozen. In a lot of ways it is a throw back to the more action heavy renacance movies more than the more romance and comedy stuff of the Golden Age. But all the same it arguably has a lot more drama than even the movie based off of Shakespeare.

Oh and a thousand lit snobs want to kick my ass right about now.

Trying to dissect Frozen is also a little more head work than I want to do right now.  But it makes my list of movies that were meaningful to me, That helped me wrap my brain around some emotional... thingy I was having at the time, helping me contextualize what I was feeling and why? And honestly that is another post.

But back to my point. Walt's been dead for nearly 50 years. And It's hard to say a Disney movie is still a Walt Disney Movie.

There was a time when that may have been a bad thing but I think we're long past that point.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

This Shit Has Got to End

There are bigger more pressing things going on in the world but I've been stalling and I need to get Monday's regular City Council Meeting out. Mostly the reason why it's not out is my sleep schedule has been screwed (this time in a good way) and so I find myself being knocked out for long periods of my day but the procrastination has made something despondently clear.

 I will have a sad sad little life if the arguments between Pamela Gerald and Council President Sylvia Jordan go on.

Oh they've always gone at it feels like ever since Siver left Jordan's been taking things personal and so it gets worse and worse.

My view is and has been whoever steps up to the mic in the communications portion should be able to say what they want as long as what they want is  either factually true or relevant opinion. That forum is a government owned one after all, but Jordan tends to do a bad job at saucing out the difference opinion and slander.

Sense I've come back from college it's been getting harder and harder for people get to that mic as the rules have changed and she's had a hand in that and nothing Gerald says or does is going to make me forget that or think it's right or even alright.

If someone wants to talk to Council they should be able to do it before votes are taken, 3 minutes might not be enough time to get the point across on complicated issues or even emotions, and yes it can be crushing when somebody in a position of power tells you how you feel, not the facts you cited but how you feel is wrong or stupid.  (Hear that Jayne Cobb!)

But all the same Gerald doesn't help my case when she flirts with and occasionally crosses the previously mentioned line between opinion and slander on a weekly basis.

And I'd be lying if I didn't say I feel a little bit personally responsible. Look I'm going to keep doing what I do because transparency and all, but it irks me when people use my blog/video as a stage to talk to third parties not in the room rather than each other turning the objective recording of events I meant this to be into a parody of itself. CSPAN effect my ass.

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