Monday, December 05, 2011

Muppet Movie Monday

I got a start on the Christmas decorations yesterday, getting the wreath on the door and the garland on the fireplace mantel. Today I need to get the garland on the loft and stairway railing, and then I think the tree will go up during tonight's airing of A Charlie Brown Christmas.

In the meantime, I have some writing to do. I was brainstorming some things to work on in a scene I knew wasn't working, and that sparked an idea about a previous scene that I'd thought worked, but then when I really analyzed it, it didn't. And fixing that will solve a lot of problems going forward.

It was a movie weekend, so I have a full Movie Monday report.

Saturday I went with a bunch of friends to see The Muppets, and it was awesome. I think it was written more for adults who watched The Muppet Show as kids than it was for kids. The one child in our group seemed to enjoy it, but not nearly as much as the adults did. I laughed myself silly, and my face hurt at the end from smiling so much. In addition to twisting, poking holes in and subverting just about every movie cliche ever, it actually had a relevant message about the cynicism in our world and what counts as "entertainment" these days. Plus, there was good music (that definitely showed its "Flight of the Conchords" roots) and a duet between Amy Adams and Miss Piggy. I think I need the soundtrack CD for that song alone. And we had quite possibly the best use of Jack Black in any film. I may need to see this one again to catch all the cameos and jokes.

Then on Sunday afternoon, I made the mistake of watching Never Let Me Go on one of the HBO channels. It seemed to fit the grey, gloomy atmosphere of the day. It wasn't a bad movie. It was well-made and well-acted. It was just such a bleak worldview that it left me so bummed out that I needed to watch The Muppets again to get my head on straight. Fortunately, last year's Phineas and Ferb Christmas episode was showing on the Disney Channel at the time the movie ended, and that worked. I got the feeling when the movie came out that some information that was in all the trailers and movie descriptions was supposed to be spoilery for what was a major twist in the book, so I don't know how to describe this without possibly spoiling the twist. It comes pretty early in the movie, so it doesn't seem like a huge secret that these kids in the boarding school are actually clones being grown to be used as organ transplant donors when they're adults. You can tell this is "literature" with science fiction elements instead of science fiction because in science fiction, the story would have ended up being about the clones banding together and fighting back while trying to get the story out to prove their humanity and force people to know who they were killing when they got life-prolonging transplants. I think the movie thought it had a happy ending, but I found it very depressing, and not in a "made me think about the meaning of life" way. I would say that I probably need to read the book in order to see what it was really supposed to be about, since the movie inevitably overly simplified it and messed it up, but I'll have to wait until The Muppets comes out on DVD, because I'll either need to have it on while I'm reading or have it standing by to watch immediately afterward so I won't want to slit my wrists -- or else I'll have to write the "clones fight back" story, though I suspect it's already been done, repeatedly.

I was really very pleasantly surprised by the first part of Neverland on SyFy. It was actually rather good, and not just in the typical SyFy movie "so bad that it's highly entertaining" way. The cast was all top-notch and though some of the effects weren't so hot, the story was interesting. It tinkered with the Peter Pan mythology a bit, giving a slightly different backstory and making it science fiction instead of fantasy (Neverland is another planet and the fairies are the local life form), but I think what they did worked. I kind of like the idea of Hook and Peter having had a past father/son relationship that ended in a sense of betrayal. They also seemed to mend some of the more problematic elements from the original story, like making an effort to more accurately portray the Indians instead of going with the stereotypes of that time (and using Tiger Lily's name in her native language). This version of the backstory even explains how all those disparate adventure story elements like pirates and American Indians ended up in the same story. I'm looking forward to part 2 tonight.

Meanwhile, I've discovered that all the Family channel and Lifetime Christmas romantic comedies are available OnDemand. I know some of what I'll be doing this month. I'm considering changing my usual travel schedule, since I really want to sing for the Christmas Eve services at my church, so instead of going to my parents' house several days before Christmas and then leaving the day after, I think I'm going to head over there Christmas morning and stay a few days after. That means I'll have a few days leading up to Christmas with not much going on, and that will be a perfect time for a cheesy movie marathon.

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